WIAW 83 – 30 Days Hath September
Wow – it is the last day of September…
OK, so this week has been a zoo. I told you that our intercom was being replaced – and that this means we had to find places for the cabinets we just inherited which were currently blocking the foyer. I didn’t know this would involve moving half the furniture in the house (or so it seemed…) But the end result is that we have more actual storage space, and I have a better place for kitchen linens and the food processor and other bulky but useful things that were overflowing our tiny kitchen, so it’s all good. And really, Rich did most of that work… And we did weed through coats and jackets, and have more space in the front closet. (And let’s hope this new intercom works better than the last one did.)
And I’m up to my elbows in Preserving the Harvest work. For the last month we’ve gotten more from the CSA than we can eat in one week – and I get as much of that into the freezer as I can. Next February we’ll love the flavor of September tomatoes and peppers! And all year round I depend on my bags of precooked aromatics – celery, hot or sweet peppers, carrot, and onion, alone or in combination – to add flavor to our meals. I will replenish during the year, but these fresh vegetables in season have so much more flavor than the ones I can get the rest of the time! You don’t have to do it all at once, but the CSA means that I don’t control what I get when, and I’ve let a few things back up on me.
Between the two, it seemed a good time to write about the Planning For Meals concept (since that didn’t require me to cook anything else) but then that was somehow more complex than I had anticipated. I mean, I could write about it forever, but making it clear – that was another story… I hope I have succeeded! Really, though, my WIAW meals have been the illustration of the concept all along.
So to illustrate… Breakfast. I’m back to my eggs and pinto beans, this time with corn muffins again, instead of tortillas. I’d precooked a big batch of beans, and made the muffins with muffin mix, so the actual cooking in the morning didn’t take much time. (Hmm… I don’t think I’ve written about making a batch of “refried” beans so that I can just heat them. Add that to my list…)
Lunch was soup – we’re alternating soup and salad these days. (And this week may combine – we got tons of lettuce yesterday, but not that much else that goes into salad…) I’d cooked chicken in the slow cooker, packaged the meat for later, made broth from the bones (which is optional, though good. If you are really pressed for time, by all means fill the slow cooker with boneless thighs, and save yourself the time. Or, as a compromise, just the thighs, not drumsticks, let alone whole chickens – they’re much easier to bone. Don’t do boneless breasts alone – they dry out. Combine them with dark meat.)
Anyhow – I had made the broth, so I used it, and some cabbage and carrots, oregano, and some Roman beans – I’m trying now to remember what all I put in that soup! It varies every time I make it… But I cooked broth and vegetables and added precooked chicken, and it was soup in about 10 minutes. I ate it with gluten free crackers (I don’t remember what Rich had, somehow he just hasn’t been buying the wheat bread lately.)
For dinner, I sauteed some onion, an Italian cooking pepper, and both a yellow and a green zucchini. Then I added Roman beans I’d previously cooked (see above) and some of that chicken, a little broth, and a container of previously cooked rice.
You may notice that I very frequently combine beans and meat. Beans alone, without any animal protein, don’t seem to work for me very well – they fill me up before they satisfy me, and I find myself… peckish (there’s a good word we don’t use much any more) later in the evening. Poking around feeling as if I need to eat without being actually hungry. (Which is the sort of feeling that leads to the consumption of snack food or sweets – which I avoid.) But a cup of beans with a little meat, or egg, or cheese – that sets me right up. Your mileage, of course, may vary – but if you find yourself hungry in the evening, it might be worthwhile to look at your lunch and dinner…
At the same time, I do want to reduce, though not eliminate, our consumption of animal protein. I ate mostly meatless for years, and do want to pull a little more in that direction again. This works better for me than alternating vegan and animal meals, as some suggest. Again, you do what works for yourself and your family.