9/11/15 Food Stamp Shopping

Food Stamp shopping for September 2015

I finally got my food stamps this month and once again I tried to do all my shopping in the first 2 days. I do not like shopping that much, so I really like to get it done and over with. I have a really hard time trying to budget everything in that we need on only a minimal amount of food stamps but I seem to do ok.

I started my adventure on the 10th and started it with a treat for me and my husband. I got us some bagels from the local health food store, and treated us to some old fashioned cream cheese. I discovered this cream cheese one time, just trying to supply something for my husband and I’s once in a while bagel binge, the owner of the health food store, asked me if I wanted to try it and I have been addicted ever since. Its called ‘Gina Marie’ cream cheese by the Seirra Nevada Cheese Factory.

I consider the little bit of cream cheese that I bought that day to be one of the delicacies treats I bought this month, and I am planning on making the best of the rest of it. I have been thinking about making cheesecake with the rest of it, and or cranberry bliss bars that use a cream cheese frosting with white chocolate. Although I did not get a chance to buy some white chocolate I can get it relatively cheap from bulk next door. (the health food store is next door.)

I also treated the boys to their favorite boxes of organic cereal this month. I was really happy to budget in some Barbera’s shredded wheat for my husband and some Natures Path organic Kamut puffs for the boy. I also got my much needed supply of butter from the health food store. I get Berkeley brand because it is the cheapest per pound, I pay about 3.20 per pound. I got 3 pounds of butter, but I think I may need more by the end of the month. If I decide to make scones or pie at all this month, the supply will go really fast.

shredded wheat
shredded wheat

I also get our coffee at the health food store. I grind fresh beans their of double french roast and I get about 3-4 bags ie pounds, a month of percolated grind for our percolator. I do not know how I would function without having coffee every morning. I rely on that energy and speaking of I need to pour a cup right now.

That was the shopping trip next door, then I had a few more stores to go to. I also had to go to my local meat butcher for my bulk supply of meat and had to go to the Mexican store for a few things.

I did the Mexican store next, my local family owned Mexican store has a whole lot of bulk products that we like to buy. I think that they get their store stock mostly from Costco runs and it helps a lot to have some Costco prices out here on the coast. I bought some bulk raw non-gmo verified sugar from their in a 4 lb bag. I bought a 40 pack of flour tortillas for only 4.50. I bought some chorizo that we both like and I bought a kirklin bag of mexican cheese. I bought a huge 5 lb bag of organic raisins for only 5$. I also bought a cheap bottle of veggie oil. That was what I bought at the Mexican store.

Next I went to the meat store, I bought a whole bunch of meat. I got a short rib rack, a chuck roast for Carnita’s, a whole bunch of ground beef, some country sausage, some ground pork,(which I have not had before), some fajita meat and some pork chops. I already made the pork chops, and last night we had he fajita meat. I also bought some milk for cereal there, and some salsa and sour cream for making tacos and chorizo.

Yesterday I also did my Safeway run, it was not easy and it was not fun. I only had like 50 $ of food stamps left to use, because I need to save 100$ for Schwans. I bought a double flat of eggs for 19.99 and I bought a 20 pound bag of jasmine rice for 16.99, I bought some maple syrup and bought some flour to bake with. I am really disappointed that I could only get 10 lbs of flour, but I am happy to at least have some. I bought some king Arthur flour on sale that I have been wanting to try for bread making for months, so I cannot wait to bake with it. I also got my regular bread flour that I seem to never get enough of. That was all I bought at Safeway and it was about the exact 50 $ I needed. I also got a gallon of ice cream that is cheap that we all like to eat.

Although I did not buy much, I had like 5-6 things in my cart, they added up in price and weight. I had to bag the flour and the ice cream together, put the 20 lb bag of rice into a bag on my other shoulder and carry 60 eggs home. It was not easy. The bag of rice broke by the time I got home. I literally walked into the door and the bag ripped open, thank god I got home. I am really happy to have this 20 lb bag of rice, because Safeway did not have it in stock for months, and when I finally gave up waiting for them to have it again, I saw it. I am really happy that I found it, its the same price as buying 10 pounds of the same rice at the Mexican store. I can get a 5 lb bag for 6.99 and I am really happy to be getting 20 pounds for the same price of 2 bags of 5 lbs.

I used the bell pepper last night for fajitas and some of the tomato, and we also tried some of the new garlic salsa I bought and some sour cream.

veggies I grilled on the side
veggies I grilled on the side
my fajita close up
my fajita close up

I am still waiting for my oven to be working, but the electrition will be coming on Monday, so hopefully I will be baking bread, making cheesecake and having a baking fun ol’ time by then.

Until then thanks for reading about the Boho kitchen, and until next time.


9/9/15 Food Stamp Day


The other day I finally got our food stamps for the month. I had to do some shopping while my son was in school then finish more when he got home. At 4 pm I decided to stop shopping and save the rest of the shopping for the next day, which was a 5 $ Friday at Safeway anyways.

I did manage to fill the freezer on food stamp day, I got a whole bunch of meat from our local butcher from our regular cut of short ribs, to some new found fresh ground pork, to a whole bunch of ground beef, a chuck roast to make and even some pork chops and fajita meat.

I also picked up some unexpected produce from out local store, I bought a fresh tomato, a red bell pepper and a bag of green beans to make. I normally NEVER buy produce on food stamps, because I always get enough from the food bank, but that day I made an exception.

As a family we decided to make the pork chops fried, mashed potatoes and gravy and a side of green beans. Elijah was the deciding vote, he wanted to have potatoes and green beans. I was actually kinda excited about making green beans, since my husband can actually eat them I tried to make them really good.

A few weeks ago I made homemade chicken stock boiling a whole chicken of leftovers in the crock pot with some veggies. The results are a chicken fatty awesome broth to cook with and I poured some in a pot to boil the green beans. I also added some diced mushrooms and bacon fat and I cooked the green beans in that.

I also poured some into my little sauce pan for the gravy packet. I had bought a brown gravy packet to try at the store and I made it with the chicken broth. It turned out a little salty due to the store bought packet, but otherwise it was good on the potatoes and the pork.

I coated the pork chops in some whole wheat flour, some of the gravy packet seasonings and some salt and pepper. I first brushed them with some mustard to make sure the coating would stick when I fried it. It worked out really good. Advice for frying coated pork chops, is do not press down on the chops while frying or you will loose the coating, I only lost a little bit of coating before I figured this one out.

The potatoes were especially good that day because we had whole milk and butter. The other day when I made them with low fat milk and oil, it was not as good. Fat makes a big difference when it comes to good taste, and butter helps a whole lot for potatoes.

Here is a picture of the meal.



We finally ate from cooking on the stove top that day, my landlord is sending an electrition to look at it next Monday, but in the meantime, I do FINALLY have my stove range top back, but I do not have use of my oven. I am dying to bake, and if you all know me at all, you know that I am more depressed not being able to bake, than anything. It sucks.

I will tell ya’ll more about what I bought with food stamps in the next post, which will be all about my shopping that I did on the 10th and the 11th. I also am getting 100$ worth of schwans food on the 18th so I am looking forward to finally having that order. Last month they never brought it so I have been waiting like 4-5 weeks for this last frozen food order to come in.

8/10/15 Food Stamp Shopping

The other day I went shopping with our food stamps. We do not get our food stamps until the 10th of the month each month. I bought mostly bulk ingredients to make good food. I wanted to share with you the results of shopping. I inventoried the items I had and figured out that I had a whole lot of bulk stuff, that I was pretty proud of buying.

This is the inventory of what I got: 10 lbs of Thai Jasmine Long Grain Rice, 3 lbs of salted butter, 4 lbs of raw sugar, 6.5 lbs of cheese (Mexican and mozzarella both), 1 lb of chorizo, 4 lbs of double french roast artisan coffee, 40 flour tortillas, 2 lbs waffle mix in a box, 10 lbs flour, 2 lbs powdered sugar, 2 lbs brown sugar, and a half a gallon of milk. I also got about 80$ worth of bulk meat that has now made my freezer look great. I get so anxious when I do not have bulk meat, so I am relieved to fill the freezer again.

I even managed to save 130$, 100 for Schwans frozen food, and I still have to go get some eggs and a few more things. I am really happy with the results of shopping, except that I spent a little too much money on meat, so I do not have any money saved for farmers market shopping this month. Last month we managed to save 15$ for the farmers market and it was a nice break from routine.

I hope my food budgeting sharing helps you with your food stamps. I always feel better when I have a whole bunch of bulk food in the house.

8/7/15 Food Bank Bounty

Yesterday I went to the food bank. I got lots of pantry items and a whole lot of produce. I go to the Fort Bragg food bank, because I am a low income mother and my son is always hungry as is my husband and our vegan dog. I go to the food bank once a week and it saves my little family from starving when we run out of food stamps. Yesterday was no exception, we do not get our food stamps until Monday and going to the food bank yesterday, Friday, is saving our whole weekend.

I did manage to take a few pics while I was there to show you the food bank.

Here are some pictures of the food bank and the line for food, I mostly show the pantry item section and there is another large selection of produce at the end that you cannot really see in the pictures. That is where I stock up the most, in the produce. I did however get a few neat and yummy items for pantry food.

inside of food bank pantry side
inside of food bank pantry side
stacks of canned goods inside the food bank
stacks of canned goods inside the food bank

Here are some of the great things I received from them; quiona crackers, sourdough bread and rolls, organic berry crunch cereal, pancake mix, lemon mousse, golden raisins, regular raisins, yougert, pudding, milk, a dozen eggs, even some local made cookies.

Here is a picture of the organic cereal, we are all excited to try and have. It tastes like organic captain crunch berry flavor and everyone loves it. I will update with a picture when it uploads.

The big score yesterday has got to be in the produce. I got so much I am so happy. Here are some of the great things I scored; yellow wax beans, purple green beans, fresh bag of basil, fresh bag of cilantro, fresh bag of spinach, potatoes, rainbow carrots, fresh ears of corn, fresh beets, fresh onions with greens, fresh celery greens, fresh kale greens, a lotus root, fresh salad mix, fresh picked still dirty fennel root and greens, ¼ of a Napa cabbage, fresh grown zucchini, fresh grown squash, and some oranges.

I am in fresh foodie heaven. I must start playing music and cleaning up the kitchen so I have a great clean space to work with it all. I am planning on making some more pesto with the basil maybe and also making a potato Au gratin with more veggies for dinner tonight. Last night we had baked potatoes with leftover rib meat and some cheese and sour cream, and the white corn from the food bank.

Here are some pictures of last nights dinner. I had overloaded baked potato with my rib meat on top and the boys had their rib meat on the side.

boy's plate
boy’s plate
my loaded potato
my loaded potato

7/22/15 Food Bank haul


Food bank day

Today I went to the food bank. It was a beautiful day which actually means the worst for me when I go walking out, I have fibromalgia and weird conditions that cause me to have hot flashes on hot days, so today was no exception. I decided to not be over dressed and only go to the food bank in a -shirt and jeans, to try and avoid a hot flash. Trying to prevent it never works, and its always the days that I try and make things easier that thing end up being the hardest.

I brought ample bags for stuff at the food bank and boy did I fill them all. I had a freezer bag full of canned goods and a gallon of juice with 2 ½ gallons of dairy free milk in one bag. A bag with a new to me purse in one with some new to me clothes and new to me books for the whole family. I cannot resist some books, and today I found some for everyone, even my husband.

I had a bag of produce and a bag of bread items. I was thoroughly weighed down. I walked the 7 blocks home with a bag lady syndrome so bad, that I was praying that some one nice would offer me a ride home. It wasn’t but 7 blocks but with 60 lbs or more of food on bad shoulders, it gets to be a whole lot to deal with. I took 2 short breaks on the two benches that I have conveniently on the way home. One next to the train tracks and the other next to city hall. I enjoy looking around by the tracks and seeing the path that the train takes and meditating on it for a bit, while I catch my breath and open a seltzer water from the food bank. I set my bags down and again hope and wish for a ride. Most days, it never happens. Sometimes some one will see me getting too much to carry while I am loading my bags at the food bank, or other times I will run into the only people I know in this county and they will help me out.

Today no such help came. I know I saw a few drivers, alone, in their cars looking at the young lady with bags in a funny way, but no offers to go home. One time I had a police officer in his squad car stop and ask me how far I was walking, and when I told him just a few more blocks, he drove off. Living here is crazy sometimes, I do not know hardly anyone. And I barely ever am riding in a car here. I am always walking, or riding the bus. I would take the bus home from the food bank but the stop is 3 blocks from the house, so its really not as convenient as just walking home. I think I shall invest in a cart soon to hold all the food. I am so darn blessed to get so much donated and free from the local food bank.

Today I got so much food, and fresh produce I was so darn happy. I got purple green beans and fresh basil. I got some carrots and potatoes. I got some fresh salad and some lemon cucumbers. I got some fresh strawberries about 3 cartons worth. I got some artichokes, apples, pears and oranges. I got some yogurt and oat milk and rice milk, and even some cranberry juice. I got so much bread and even some cantaloupe. I am happy to have so much for this week to choose from. I got home to scars on my shoulders from carrying all the food.

To celebrate having the strawberries and artichoke I processed them right away, and even made the purple beans tonight. We had strawberry cupcakes and strawberry frosting with them, and I steamed the artichokes for their hearts in a jar with some olive oil. And we made the purple beans with dinner.

Tonight we had the rest of the ribs with some food bank rice and the purple beans. I am so happy to have the food bank. Here is a picture of dinner tonight.

dinner last night
dinner last night

After you cook the purple beans they turn green. Here also is a picture of the beans before I cooked them.

purple green beans
purple green beans

We also went to the farmers market tonight, I saved the last 15$ of my food stamps so we could purchase some local fish, and just so happened we went tonight and their was no fish to buy. The market stall fish person was not there. So we bought some fort bragg bakery chocolate fudge cookies instead and a small sourdough “torpedo” loaf from them. We all love fresh bread, and were talking about just buying fish and bread their, so at least we got some bread. We are going to save the rest of the food stamps for next weeks market, maybe then we can find some fresh fish. Or crab. I now love crab.

7/10/15 Food Stamp Shopping

Today is the best day of the whole month. We got our Food Stamps today. Shopping on food stamps is no easy task. I swear my brain spins trying to budget each month right. I try to a make room for bulk grains, meat and even a whole frozen food delivery each month.

This month I ordered about 100$ worth of frozen ingredients, and expected the delivery around 5-7pm. That gave me plenty of time to do the whole months worth of shopping done in the day before hand and save that 100 $ on the food stamp card for the delivery.

We also decided that we are going to start budgeting enough saved food stamps to make a weekly 15$ shopping trip to the local farmers market. We took a walk through and saw fresh fish being sold last week and we would love to have fresh fish each week every month. Living on the coast has its benefits and one of them is seafood that is fresh and readily available.

Speaking of, we are getting our fishing licenses asap. Like as in this week. My husband has a friend that spear fishes and catches crab when its in season, and its in season. He was offered to go kayaking and crabbing this whole month. So we are even gunna be blessed with fresh crab meat. I am so excited to start cooking more seafood. I am still not familiar with most sea foods, and we have it all here, so I should learn. My husband had a fishing license a few years ago and we had our fair share of fish off this coast and we love the fishing here.

The fishing is great, we can get salmon sometimes and blacks and link cod. Its been a whirlwind of trying new local foods once we have moved here, from different fishes to mushrooms and berries we have never heard of before. We may even have some fresh blackberries coming from a friend also. Man I love living in California, and even more on the coast. The food here is great, fresh and organic and we have a no gmo county, as in we cannot spray our crops with bad chemicals. All our farms are mostly organic in this sense.

Anyways, Today was a shopping experience I would rather forget. I did forget a few things, did get a few extra things. Did fill up the freezer with meat both dinner and breakfast meat. And even got some fresh chorizo from the local family owned Mexican store and sale tortillas. We love having homemade breakfast burritos.

The real key to shopping on food stamps is buying no food. I know that may sound funny, but I do not buy food, I buy ingredients to make great food. I barely buy anything that isn’t bulk, and I even got a great deal on baking flour today. I try to plan for some meals, like staples that we like. And since it is summer I got two racks of ribs in the freezer for this month. I buy ingredients from my frozen food people like meat and frozen veggies so I can make things like chicken pot pie easier and such. I like buying french frys frozen too and hash browns, since I still need to buy a good deep fryer machine.

Today I took 3 shopping trips and got the following items on food stamps: bulk baking flour, bulk bread flour, sugar, waffle mix, veggie oil, Rice, Eggs, milk and some cheap bread. I also got about 100$ worth of locally butchered meat and the freezer is looking great.

We did have a scare with our frozen food delivery tonight, about gave me a heart attack. I was suspecting something was wrong when it was 8pm and he had not shown up yet. Our scheduled delivery time was between 5-7pm. I got a call from my delivery man finally telling me that his delivery truck had broken down at our local hwy 20 and he was waiting for the tow truck driver to come help. He said he would not be back in town for another 4 weeks until August 7th. He asked if that delivery date was ok, and he is sorry. I said its not going to work because we only have food stamps after the 10th of each month, so I would have to take the service date after that. He said the one after that would be the 21st of august. I took the date, hung up the phone and was devastated. How could I not get my frozen ingredients until the next month, and even then the end of next month? It was heartbreaking.

After about 45 minutes he called back and said the tow truck helped him out and he could still come by, my worries were over. I was stressed. But now I have my frozen ingredient supply and my bulk food and meat and I am happy!

Funny thing happened to me I should mention here so we can have a picture for today. The other day my husband for the first time since we have had our own kitchen and apartment, asked to make something. I mean cook-bake something. I was more then thrilled to hear it. So we bought the ingredients for him to make corn bread in my awesome cast iron skillet. We got home and he got into my kitchen must have been thinking it was more stocked in supplies then it was. He asked me for more measuring things then I had set out for him, I said that was all I had. I am sorry if anything you need is missing that is all I have to work with. Its a medley of hand me downs and thrift store finds that were worn with age that you could barely read the labels on them. And I didn’t even have a 2 cup measuring cup. He was more then surprised that I have learned to cook so well, in such a short period of time that we have had our apartment and WITHOUT measuring cups.

Needless to say a whole new set of everything arrived in the mail for me today. Clearly labeled and new measuring spoons and cup set and even a Pyrex cup for measuring. If all I knew is that it took one time for him in my kitchen to buy me everything, than I would have made him cook sooner.

Here is a picture of what he got me.

new measuring sets
new measuring sets

I didn’t cook much today and what I did wasn’t good enough to blog about. Shopping was more interesting today for me than anything, I hope you had a good day.

7/3/15 Organic Shopping

Wow, Today we woke up to some startling news. My biggest fan texted us and told me that she bought me a 150$ gift card, to my local organic food store. I was shocked. I called her and asked, “How could this be?” And she told me it worked out fine long distance. She just had to give the store a call and give her credit card #, and my name. That’s awesome, isn’t it! Anyways, thanks mom. Lol #momismybiggestfan

gift card
gift card

So the family and I packed our bags and went on a bus trip. I made a short list first before we left of some essentials we needed; eggs, meat, flour, sugar, cheese. And my husband announced he wanted to finally make his corn bread so we put corn meal on the list. Off we went. My husband was more then surprised when I used the calculator in my head to keep track of our whole cart. I even was able to get a few house things, like doggy toe nail clippers and some amazing salve for my neck. I got the bill within 7 dollars of the gift card and saved the rest for future visits.

I got so much stuff that I was so surprised to get besides my list, of course I got my whole list. I got the most amazing cuts of meat I have seen in a while. Eel River Organic Beef Chuck Roast for only 11$, and a Eel River Organic Beef St Luois style Cut Ribs. I am excited, really excited to cook those next week. We were also able to get some amazing artisan chocolate; both a milk chocolate bar and a 85% Dark Bar. I was finally able to buy a bag of bulk chopped dates. Harvest Market actually has the best bulk price in town for them anyways. I got the flour from my list and even better its specialty King Arthur bread flour. We were even to finish off the corn bread meal idea with some cans of chili and some sale ears of white corn. I cant wait, I think we are going to have that for tomorrow’s dinner.

We were even able to get some pizza dough that I have never made before, Boboli, which we are having for dinner. Overall, I am so overwhelmed with food now, I feel so much better. And we are even so set that I do not have to go to the food bank today.

Shopping with the boys was so much fun too; Little man started to be bad when we got into the store, but luckily my husband took him aside, got him a mini cart and recruited him for help. He was pushing more in his mini cart then I was in mine. This was a team effort and he even got to pick out some stuff, he got some Annie’s Kitchen Bunnies that he has always enjoyed and an awesome almond chocolate milk that is really tasty.

I cannot wait to start baking with my bread flour, I have so much butter to work with that I am sure that will bake something great this weekend. Hope you all are having a great 4th of July weekend. We are planning to go to our towns fireworks tomorrow night, but I will still try and post my daily blog before we go out. Have a nice night everyone. And again, Thanks Mom!

6/26/15 Food Bank Day!

June 26th, 2015

I went to the food bank today. I got lots of local produce, fresh washed and diverse. I got a whole bunch of broccoli rabe, red bell pepper, white corn on the cob, cucumber, apples, onions, fresh beets with greens, leeks and fresh carrots. I got radishes yesterday and found some zucchini in the back of the health food store this morning. I was pretty excited to get so much produce.

I processed the broccoli rabe first and steamed it in the rice cooker, I saved it in a freezer bag and put it into the freezer for future use. Next I separated the beets, and washed them with the carrots and radishes. I took an awesome picture of them here.

beets carrots and radish
beets carrots and radish

I am thinking about making a yummy carrot-beet cake with them. I will probably make a steamed radish salad with the red radish.

I also cut all the corn off the cob, my husband loves it, but it still getting dental work done, so he cant eat it on the cob. I diced all the zucchini, and one of the red bell peppers. I mixed it all together in a casserole pan and topped with some foil and baked until all was hot and steamed. It turned out really yummy, for a side to dinner.

I also made a homemade version of sloppy joes, this time with ground beef and some diced bacon. I made this last week and my husband was really happy with it. I used Schwan’s meatballs for it, this time without meatballs, we shall see if he likes it, he’s not home yet. I seasoned it with paprika and salt and pepper and a little dash of marjoram. Reducing some tomato paste and ketchup with it, it turned out ok at least for me and the boy.

sloppy joes and corn mix
sloppy joes and corn mix

But since I also had some leftover carnitas that no one wants to eat but me, I heated them up in the oven. I made a carnitas bowl with an avocado and some of my corn casserole, and salsa and sour cream , for myself and it was really yummy.

carnitas bowl
carnitas bowl

I also made peach pie out of the gluten free pie crust I made yesterday and some drained canned peaches. I cannot wait to cut into that, maybe make some homemade whipped cream.

peach pie
peach pie

This morning I made scrambled eggs in the cast iron with some of the half and half. It was really yummy also. I mixed it up with the cream in a cup before cooking it, it was an Alton brown trick I saw on the egg files.

So that’s another day in the house of Boho mom. I hope you enjoy my blog a day challenge as much as I am starting to.

Mom’s Organic Eating and Cooking tips #1

Food incorporated the movie, is the awakening moment that my family went organic and changed our eating habits for the better. Most of these tips I have developed over 4 years of trying to eat clean and teach my son to do so also. I hope they help you on your journey to eating more healthy, and having more organically sponsored fun in the kitchen.

1.Buy ingredients not food: If it comes out of a box, bag or is packaged already, somebody’s already processed your food. To buy more ingredients that you put into a produce or meat package yourself or watch a butcher do so, your eliminating that “processing” part of your food. Try to buy fresh grass fed organic pasture raised-rotated meat and eggs that is harvested locally. You are eating fresher then if your buying a prepackaged frozen meat from Tyson. Purchase local fruits and veggies from markets and get your grains and powders local and organic in the bulk section.
2.Buy Bulk: Grains, dried fruit, flours, sugars, cereals, and nuts are awesome purchased in bulk. Most stores have seasonal or monthly bulk sales so catch some things on sale. Fill at home with bulk products, like oatmeal, pastas, rice, flours and other such things like bulk tea ingredients and spices. Tea’s and spices and rubs should be packaged in bulk then put into small jars at home. I keep my jars filled with pantry items and my tea box is always full as well as my spice jars. I buy my rice in a 20 lb bag and all my sugars and flours in 4 lbs bags or larger. Specialty items like almonds, almond flour, goji berry are expensive most of the time, so if you catch them on sale stock up.
3.Stock your pantry:Having Jars of flours, sugars, oatmeal, pasta’s and dry beans and lentils ensures you cook your own food More often and actually learn how to cook better by working with more pantry items, we learn more how to cook fresh. Having fresh rice with beans is a meal and if you always have them handy you will not need to stock up on canned goods as much.
4.Plan your meals: I have a little formula for having balanced meals in my house. We stock the freezer in the beginning of the month and it really helps for less “what to do for dinner” stress. We always have our bulk pantry stocked so that’s protein and carbs down between pantry rice, noodles or potatoes and meat. I base my meals on what meat we choose for the night and then pair a carb with it then from advice from the USDA.gov my plate website, I fill the other half of our plates with vegetables and fruit. Every meal half our plate should be fruit and veggies. But in order not to break the bank while shopping for fresh produce, you should move on to #5.
5.Get to know your local farmers:Find a Local farm that offers a CSA or discounted veggies at the end of the farmers market. I used to get a basket of fruit and veggies donated each week from the farmers and sometimes even bartered for goods. When you get to know your local farmers, you can also ask them questions about how to cook their produce and get great cooking advice. I have discovered a great many recipes for odd fruits and veggies from farmers at the market. Which brings me to #6.
6.Try new things: sauteed salsify with garlic, stuffed squash blossoms, tomatillo salsa, burdock tea, watermelon radish salad, sorrel and eggs, kale and sunflower seed pesto. Be open to trying new produce and recipes, I discovered from being open at the market that I absolutely love the taste of fresh stinging nettle and lemon balm tea… who knew? I never did, until I discovered being more open to new things at the farmers market.
7. Have fun and get creative: Just because you cannot find a printed recipe for it, doesn’t mean that its a bad idea. I have tried some crazy ideas and end up loving the process of learning what not to do, as well as some things that worked fine. I couldn’t find a recipe for stuffed heirloom tomatoes but I have stuffed them with everything, and I have never even seen a stuffed beet in a cookbook, but I stuffed it with potatoes au gratin. Some ideas have been the best thing I have ever done and experimented with and half the fun of learning is getting it wrong. I never thought that I would invent recipes But after long and strenuous fun and experimentation I invented peanut butter and jelly pop tarts and they are a huge success. So do yourself a favor, and have fun and get creative.
8.Find a specialty: Don’t try to perfect the whole menu at once. Try one skill at a time and perfect it before you try another thing. Start with something simple, like dicing potatoes or onions well, then move on to more harder things like perfecting the over easy egg or caramelizing onions. I personally just got pie crust skill perfected and I have had over easy eggs for a while, but I take it easy on myself and learn one thing at time.