We have headed back to school, summer has officially left, new has worn off the weekly routine, and here comes the cold. Literally, the common cold, full of sneezy sniffles, aches, and unrestful nights. Busy moms, students, and those of us who don’t have time to feel bad need a little extra help making it until Friday. Enter Mr. Pick Me Up Off the Couch, Make Me Get a Shower, and Press On – a tall, dark purple smoothie, handsomely stacked with Vitamins A, C & B6. This not-too-sweet smoothie is loaded with nutrients to give your system a boost! This recipe makes enough to share with your own tall drink of water</em>.
1 large handful greens (I use spinach)
1 c frozen mixed berries
1 medium frozen banana
1 T ground flaxseed
1/2 t ground cinnamon
1 c vanilla yogurt
As June draws to a close, enjoy the last bit of the season for blueberries & strawberries. People will tell you blackberries are ready, but I disagree, see ya next year! The best time of year is here! Tomatoes, zucchini , green beans and corn are coming into full swing. Word to the wise: the 4th is not complete without cherries & peaches! July finishes sweet with big ripe melons (Get your mind out of the gutter). For you smoothie makers & juicers – greens are always in fashion.
I usually have the children and the iPad with me when grocery shopping. Kiddo keeps busy by taking pictures in the Photo Booth app while I shop. His work is featured today.
I’m a foodie. I enjoy the process of putting together a meal. Rarely do I have the time to plan and shop for elaborate menus. Usually I rush to make a list, check local specials, and plan meals for the week. When Man is sweet and squeezes in a supermarket run while I herd kids and tackle the mountain of laundry formerly known as our couch, he returns fuming. Like the kind of fuming that is, “thank you Lord he didn’t punch someone in the parking lot”. Then we spend the rest of the day madder than two wet hens and we barely accumulate enough food to last us a week or two. I inevitably forget to put something on the list, have to go to several stores to finish my list, or reach for an ingredient mid-week only to find it had already molded.
The whole process is giving me a nervous twitch.
I started doing a little research. The class I was teaching was knee-deep in a study over Omnivore’s Dilemma any way. I became more exhausted, frustrated, and annoyed — every eat on a budget article, post or pin was full of processed foods, cheap foods laced with God knows what, or hours of labor.
I do not have patience or time for hours of labor.
I am not naïve, Wal-Mart is not going anywhere any time soon, and a quick run to the mega store does have its place.
But, I want more than settling for whatever Wal-Mart or Target has on its shelves most days.
Can I split the difference between the supermarket and alternatives?
My aspiration is to feed my family based on the following:
Be sure of what is in my family’s food.
Know where our food comes from – preferably Texas, if not – then the good ole’ USA.
Buy seasonal produce.
Limit the amount of preservatives, chemicals, antibiotics, etc in our family’s food.
Find high quality product on my shrinking budget.
Avoid product that is overly processed or not on the up and up (enter Monsanto, chickens in the chicken feed, HFCS, etc)
I’m not unrealistic. Man is not giving up his Dr. Pepper. Kids should have cake and ice cream at a friend’s birthday party. I’m not giving up my chocolate. I like pizza dough made with white flour. I don’t see me baking or making iced tea without sugar. However, I am a dietitian, former personal trainer, and newly retired culinary arts teacher…if anyone ought to feed their family decent food it’s me.
That got me to brainstorming.
Of course I will still have to go to the “grocery store” for household items, but how long could I get eggs, milk, meat, produce and bread without it? Could I forgo Wal-Mart & Target (where customer service usually sucks) for neighborhood stores that give me a bag refund, offer to help me out with the groceries, and actually answer questions I need to ask while shopping? Could I find everything we needed at the farmer’s market in town? Would it cost me an arm and a leg to eat well?
Aaaahhhh, homegrown strawberries. They are like that first warm breeze after a winter of brisk wind and cold drizzle. A sign of summer as refreshing as the first cool dip in a crystal clear pool during one of those sweltering Texas June days. May brought the first fruits of our labor, and they are delicious my friends!
They are not as large as their store-bought counterparts, but they are sweet, fire engine red, and pack the punch of everything there is to admire about the strawberry.
Don’t get me wrong, gardening is a J-O-B. I’m not sane enough to stay on top of things, so there is always fruit to pick, weeds to pull and bugs to battle. (I have taken great pride in the fact that my attempt at transplanting the new plants from last years’ runners has successfully produced in their new location. It’s the little things.)
This year, I seem to be having a battle of the wits with our little lightweight powerhouses, the ants. Those suckers are so unassuming, but so stinking irritating (both literally and figuratively). Anyway, I have called in the big guns – Man is taking care of them for me. He has been reading the Chris Kyle story, and since he’s not a Seal, he desperately needs someone to battle with – so I just pointed his testosterone in the direction of the ants. And I’m not even sorry.
While I was waging my own battle on the weeds and Man was strategizing the ants, he whipped up some of these lovely egg &sausage tacos. Not to brag, but Man makes a mean breakfast.
I digress, back to what to do with all these lovely berries? My boys’ favorite way to eat them is straight out of the garden (sometimes even before I get to wash them off). I love them any way you want to dish them, but today I think I will try Strawberry Basil Lemonade. I had a version a couple of weeks ago from Good Karma Kitchen on my Food Truck Excursion and it was delightful.
Here’s my version…
2-4 cups water
2/3 cup sugar
4-5 large lemons, juiced
1 small bunch basil leaves
1 pint fresh strawberries, divided in half
I like to heat 2c of water and sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Let it cool to room temp. In a 2 quart pitcher, add the lemon juice, strawberries, and basil in the lemon juice. Using a wooden spoon, muddle the basil and strawberries just a bit. Stir in your sugar solution. Add water to desired tartness. Top with a little sparkling water for some fizz if you wish.