I can tell by the time between blog posts that spring is almost here and I am getting busier. The schedule is much different as March comes in like a lion (it is so cold here!). No baseball on the schedule for the oldest teen and the youngest is wrapping up his committments with the Rifle team. However, that doesn't give me any time to be lazy. The greenhouses are bursting at the seams with anxious plants ready to head to their forever homes. However, Mr. Winter does not want to loose his grip just yet on us. Postponed several shipments for next week because nighttime temps are way too cold to fling those babies out into the world.
Many of you have asked me how our "no process" eating for Lent has been going. I have to say first that it is a very enjoyable process to be unprocessed. Yes, meals take a little longer to prepare then just tossing a box of something into the oven or microwave but the results have been very rewarding. I did actually have a few withdrawal symptoms for lack of a better term the first few days. Unexplained headaches mostly but I did a lot of extra drinking of water and I think that flushed the system enough to ease them. There are a few things we found that we can't do without. Cheddar cheese, ketchup, mustard, orange juice and peanut butter. The kids were like "but if we eat this we're cheating" and my answer was "I am not making homemade ketchup and mustard." And I figure that there are so few ingredients in the other items that we aren't doing too badly.
I pretty much cook dinner every day and bake bread at least twice a week. Okay, I have to confess right here and right now. That homemade bread eating thing is NOT working for me. I thought the pounds would start coming off when the processed food went away???? Uh, no, in fact I gained two. Yep, it's the bread. That gloriously, straight from the bread machine or oven, bread. So, bread has become a once a week treat for me. Sigh....I know. Sad.
I am finding that by adding fifteen minutes to my time in the kitchen each afternoon that I can have a completely homemade meal on the table within about an hour or even less. Some nights it's as simple as pasta and homemade sauce from last year's tomatoes. Or an egg dish that goes from pan to plate in fifteen minutes. Some nights it a roasted chicken that I can utilize for sandwiches, pot pie or salad the next couple of days. Last night's dinner was potato soup and that was ready in thirty minutes.
I did test our taste buds this week just to see if we were truly on our way to "no processed". I had a Marie Calendar's baked ziti and sausage meal in the freezer. I popped it in the oven and served it. I got really strange looks from the kids. They took a serving and tasted it. Nope, they didn't go for it. Neither one of them liked the flavor and complained loudly that they really didn't want to eat it. We tossed it into the garbage and had grilled cheese sandwiches with the last of the bread I baked a day or two before. So, that empties out the freezer of the last of the processed foods. Actually the freezer is looking really empty with the exception of some fish, shrimp, fruits from last summer and a couple of mystery packages of something. Okay, I have to clean out the freezer.
So, we aren't starving and one of us has put on a pound or two. We are probably another eight weeks out from the start of our CSA from Brown Dirt Farm. Really looking forward to playing with all the fresh goodies we will receive. Shopping at the grocery store is much different these past few weeks. The cart is only partially full and there aren't many boxes in there either. I still buy Corey's favorite cereal for him. I can't have mutiny on my hands. I spend more time and money in the produce department and in the chicken section of the meat department since there is still beef in the deep freezer. A quick stop in the dairy and I am out of the store within 20 minutes. And the bill is going down. Not as much as I would like but that's the quantity of produce we are buying. That will start changing as soon as the fresh produce starts coming in late April and early May. People say the produce is priced high at farmers markets but if you do the math and compare what you bought in the winter time at the grocery store, it comes out about even or a tad less from the farmers market. I would rather pay the farmer directly. It's just a good thing.
Baby chicks are coming early in the week. Will post photos!