Day 186–Cantaloupe Preserves = Epic Fail

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Sometimes, I see a recipe and immediately think, “That is going to be sooooo good.” Other times I think, “That sounds so weird and gross, that it must actually be good.” In Italy, they serve a tripe sandwich called lampradotto that sounds gross, but is actually pretty amazing. Who knew? So sometimes when you venture beyond your comfort zone, you can really come out the winner. This is what I was thinking when I saw a recipe for cantaloupe preserves. Sounds so strange that it MUST be good, right? Right?

Wrong. Armed with a day off and some very ripe cantaloupe, I thought I would venture into new territory. I mean, there are only so many things you can do with a lot of very ripe melon, so why not try to pack some summer in a jar. Who knows, maybe I would be the one to introduce my friends to this great new phenomenon! Children would finally eat melons! Trendy chefs would be using it everywhere! (My mind is a strange place and it works this way.)

The road to hell, as they say, is paved with good intentions. As it turns out, cantaloupe preserves are just as gross as they sound. And they look worse. I mean, would YOU eat the jar of preserves pictured above? One of my colleagues said it looked like a weird science specimen from a horror movie. I think that’s spot on. Blech.

I’m not even posting the recipe because it was that bad. Thankfully, I only made four half pints, so I don’t have a lot of food to dump. Chalk this one up to experience. Eat your cantaloupe the way nature intended and leave the canning for tomatoes, cucumbers and berries. And if you’re in Florence, try the tripe.

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Day 106–Starting Week 15–Budget and Menu

I absolutely love this time of year. Our farmers markets are full of fresh, spring produce, strawberries are ripe and we don’t have scorching temperatures yet. In some ways, shopping at the markets was easier in the winter–now I find myself completely smitten by all kinds of beautiful produce NOT on my shopping list. A good excercise in self-control. And–TA DA!–this is the first week for our Produce Box deliveries! My box of lettuce, greens, strawberries and hothouse cucumbers should be delivered Wednesday afternoon. We’ve planned a Saladpalooza night to celebrate!

This week’s budget is pretty good! I spent $94.40on our groceries for this week. I spent an additional $18.00 on strawberries that have become jam and frozen berries for later (recipes to come this week). Since we are getting more in our Produce Box, I went ahead and put almost all of the strawberries up for later. So, technically, I went over budget at $112.40, but the six half pints of jam and quarts of frozen berries will be used throughout the year. That should save us over the course of the year. We have a busy week ahead, so no super involved dinners. Hopefully we will get some rain this week–we sure do need it.

  • Water Oaks Farm (eggs): $4.00
  • Produce Box (lettuce, greens, strawberries, cucumbers and more): $23.00
  • Farmer’s Market, various vendors (bok choi, potatoes, onion): $13.00
  • Farmhand Foods (skirt steak from Meatbox): $15.00
  • Trader Joes (broccoli, chicken thighs, frozen fruit, soy milk, Ezekiel bread): $39.40

What’s on the menu for this week? Well, here it is–pretty simple, but good!

  • Sunday–grilled skirt steak, sugar snap peas, potatoes, salad; carryover frozen lemon blueberry pound cake and strawberries for dessert
  • Monday–chicken and veggie stir fry with spicy peanut sauce
  • Tuesday–grilled cheese with leftover Hillsborough Cheese Co cheese and frozen chicken soup [What’s On Your Plate? screening]
  • Wednesday–egg salad sandwiches, carrots and strawberries for dessert
  • Thursday–saladpalooza!
  • Friday–leftover cleanup night
  • Saturday–family pizza night, salad

A great moment for me this week was completing my first 5K road race in a long time. I have never been able to finish a race running the entire distance (I usually have to do a run/walk thing toward the end). But I ran the entire way and felt absolutely great! I am owing a good part of this to our better eating and more conscious exercising. We’re looking for the next race to run!

Have a wonderful week and enjoy the beautiful spring weather wherever you are!