Friday, August 27, 2010

It's Farmer Market Season

So if you know me, you know I love food. I am passionate for good, wholesome, tasty, beautiful food. And now Eric and I have committed to buy more of our food locally. So that meant a family morning at the Farmer's Market. With grocery budget in hand, we went with five grocery bags (one of which we left in the van) and two boxes for some bulk produce I am putting up for winter. As always the Farmer's Market is an overwhelming feast for the senses. There are booths with produce, dairy, baked goods, coffee, and a few handmade crafters. So much to choose from, such a limited budget. But after an hour of walking up and down the aisle, we came home with bulging bags and aching arms with food for our family for the next two weeks. (Yeah, I grocery shop once for two weeks--sometimes that leads to some interesting meals right before payday. But for the next few days, we feast!)

And what we bought was so beautiful and smelled so great, that I wanted to share it with you--to inspire you to use these foods while they are in season, to encourage you to buy some extra to freeze or dry or can for winter, or just to visit your local farmers market. What follows is a list (with pictures of most everything we bought!). Please bear in mind that some of this food is to be stored up for winter--that is part of why there is so much. But also, we like to eat good food.

Red Peppers, Yellow Peppers, Green Peppers, Jalapeno Peppers and a cutie called the Creamsicle Pepper
Red Onions & Garlic
Mixed Heirloom Tomatoes
Baby Eggplant (I want to make Ratatouille, but know i have to keep the eggplant to a minimum).
Swiss Chard (never tried it, but giving it a shot)
Red potatoes and Yukon gold potatoes (still with the dirt on them)
Green Beans
And the first pie pumpkin of the season

Blueberries & Raspberries
Personal Cantaloupe
Peaches & Nectarines
Apples (the first of the season here in Mi!) & Pears

To Preserve:
1/2 bushel basket each of Peaches, Globe Tomatoes, & Roma Tomatoes

Turkey Tenderloin
A Whole Chicken Cut up

Fresh Locally Roasted  Whole Bean Coffee
Cinnamon Bread
Gluten-Free Granola

Oh, and Eric bought a little handmade card holder and each of the girls got a little bouquet of flowers for $1. Super cute.

The eating is good at my house. And friends are always welcome.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

School's in session

Yep, it's the 2nd week of school.

And time for the dreaded class pictures.

Except, these class pics were taken on the front steps after a fun walk around the block.

Really, I do say homeschooling is great.

So here is the entire roster for the 2010-2011 school year.

In first grade, Joshua
In Kindergarten, Katie.

In Preschool, Olivia

And now the obligatory group picture:

And lastly, because I promised them they could take my picture if I took theirs,
Teacher, Mom: Sammy.

Monday, August 23, 2010

500,000,000 Eggs

That is the number of eggs being recalled because of a salmonella outbreak linked back to two major chicken farms in Iowa. 500 million (or half a billion) is a lot of eggs. Haven't heard yet? Well, you can read about it here.

Usually, I just run by recalls like this. I feel like I am blessed enough to avoid food poisoning and well, why would I want to panic because of a couple of bad eggs?  But 500,000,000 is a lot of eggs, and we put eggs into everything--breakfast foods, baked goods, dinners. Our family eats a lot of eggs. I don't want us to get sick. Maybe this time I should pay attention.

Oh, but wait. I can breath a huge sigh of relief. Because every other week I get my eggs from a local farmer. His "girls" have access to dirt and grubs. I don't fear an outbreak of illness from my eggs.

Or my honey or beef products or much of my produce.

And this is why I eat and promote and preserve and purchase local food. Because not only does it taste better and is often raised in better conditions, but because I have a relationship with the farmer and the land that produced them.

That makes everything taste better.

Especially my eggs tomorrow morning.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

An Update

So, I must admit that I think life is pretty grand right now. By and large I feel better (although I am super tired from a couple intense weeks of Eric's job) and have learned how to eat, again. But I have energy again--and because of that I also have thoughts, have been able to keep my house clean, and have been beginning to be challenged again. I really do like feeling better.

These past weeks have been challenging as I have been thinking a great deal about many things. Often I want to share them with the world, but I find that I run out of time at the end of each day to share them with you. So instead of giving you a long play-by-play of my many (mostly incomplete) thoughts, I thought I would give you a brief synopsis (followed by a summer picture recap, just to keep you interested to get to the end of this post).

Hang on to your hats:

Food: Now, really, are you surprised? But beyond thinking about my new food life, I have also read  and re-read some influential food books in my life (and now also watched Food, Inc--a eye-opening documentary). So now my thoughts about food are more about where it comes from and what goes into it and how i can better feed my family, along with my restrictions. We have definitely had some interesting meals this summer.

School: Yep, we started our 2nd year of homeschooling last week. This year I have a first grader, kindergartner and a pre-schooler--all of whom love school. In fact, their biggest complaint is often that I don't have enough for them to do. So, I am working on that for them. In thinking about school I alternate between being very confident we have made the right choice for our family to totally questioning my ability or the wisdom in doing this at all. But I think that's normal.

Mission & ministry: Our church is in a time of transition where our pastor of 30 years retired in late spring. So we have started down the path of calling a new pastor. Wisely, while on this journey, there has been a lot of time spent on reflection as to who we are and who God is calling our church to be. So I have been thinking about that--and trying to figure out what role/responsibility/calling I have to be involved in that mission. If we are a multi-cultural, community-centered, growing in knowledge church, what is my role? How am I sharing Christ's love?

Friends: I have been incredibly blessed by such an assortment of people in my life. From the outpouring of love I have felt (in the form of fresh veggies, recipes, links to blogs, even baked goodies or an afternoon margarita on the lawn), God has put some incredible people in my path. But also, I marvel at the different kinds of relationships I have: a dear friend from my growing up who holds a treasured spot in my heart, girl-friends from college who listen to me (even when I talk to much!), a wonderful (and growing) group of friends in my neighborhood, wise women of faith from my church who guide me and walk with me in this life, a phenomenal small group of varied peoples, backgrounds, and experiences in which we all seek to know Christ and serve him fully. I am truly a blessed woman.

Wow this is longer than I thought it would be. So, I'll wrap up, but also let you know that I have had many other thoughts on true health, God's calling in my life, my extended family, my kids & my marriage, and how to keep a clean house (although I still haven't figured that one out yet--I'll take any hints that you have to offer.)

Now, as promised, pictures from our summer:

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