Archive | November 2018

Weekly Meal Plan

This evening I wrote out our meal plan for the week.  Something I do often.  I would love to say weekly, but there are weeks I just don’t have it all together.  My husband suggested I post our weekly meal plan, so here I am.

The method to my  madness is this; my husband chooses 6 different cuts of meat from the freezer.  I have a list of what is growing in the garden or what is in the fridge or freezer that has to be used.  I take the meat and the veggies with the help of http://www.pintest.com, I come up with recipes for the week.  You might not have a garden to do this, but you can do this with a sale flyer from your favorite grocery story  or what is available at the local farmers market.

This Weeks Menu

Monday

Pan-Seared Pork Chops with Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic-Maple Glaze, Apple Sauce and Baked Potatoes.

So take out your potatoes, wash the skins, poke holes in the skin with a fork, place in a 400 degree oven.   Slice brussels sprouts in half and place on a cookie sheet, drizzle with oil, salt and pepper to taste. Place in the oven with the potatoes.  On the stove top reduce 4 tbsp of balsamic vinegar, 3 tbsp of maple syrup till you have a glaze then remove from heat. Pan-Seared Pork Chops:  With a little corn oil heat in an oven safe pan to a medium heat.  Brown the pork chops on both sides in a pan then transfer to the oven to finish cooking, goal is 145 degrees. When you put in the chops, turn the brussels sprouts so they can roast on both sides.   Chop up two gloves of garlic and three sprigs of thyme.  Remove the chops from oven, remove chops from pan and set aside, add two pats of butter to the pan, scraping the lovely bits off the bottom, once butter is melted add  garlic and thyme.  When garlic is soft, add back the chops.  Cover with foil and set aside.  Remove sprouts, top with glaze.  Remove potatoes, serve with a side of apple sauce and eat

Tuesday

Taco Night, Beef Taco Meat with Rice, Beans, Homemade Corn Chips, Lettuce, Salsa, Peppers and Onions.

This one is easy,  brown ground beef, (sometimes we use cube steak), drain and add Taco seasoning.  I cut up peppers and onions and saute in a very little oil, cook beans in the pressure cooker, chop up lettuce and fry corn shells.  This is a quick meal for us, the kids help cook and we all look forward to Tuesday!

Wednesday

Crock-pot Rotisserie Chicken, Pan Cooked Potatoes and Chard Au Gratin.

I cheat with this one too. I take a frozen chicken from the freezer and put it in the crock-pot, top with garlic powder, onion powder, paprika and pepper.  To the crock pot I add a very small amount of water to the bottom, careful to not wash off my seasonings.  The potatoes are washed and peeled.  I pan fry them in butter and oil, not the healthiest but it is worth it for every once and a while.  I cook them till they turn golden brown. The secret is not to turn them too much.  The recipe for Chard Au Gratin is on my site already.

Thursday

Asia Garlic Sirloin, Noodles, Snowpeas, Carrots, and Peppers.

The sirloin has to come out of the freezer the day before.  Chop it into 1 inch cubes when it is thawed then marinade it in 6 garlic cloves, crushed, 1 tbsp fresh grated ginger, 2/3 cup low sodium soy sauce, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup oil and ground pepper.  Put on skews or pan cook it depending on weather.  Once cooked top with sesame seeds and serve over cooked noodles.  I will cook extra marinade for dipping sauce.  Stir fry the veggies and serve.
Love quick Chinese nights.

Friday

Crock-pot Brown Sugar Pork Roast, Rice, Corn, Salad and Roasted Radishes.

Also you have to take out the roast the night before. In the morning sear the roast on high heat on the stove.  Mix together crushed garlic, chopped sage, 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, 2 tbsp soy sauce, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 tbsp corn starch, and salt and pepper to taste.  Place roast in crock pot and pour sauce over top.  Cook for 4-6 hours depending on your crock pot. We cook rice in the rice cooker, pan sear some radishes in butter, garlic and pepper. Lastly heat up some corn.  The salad the kids pick and build from the garden.  Love fresh veggies.  This is a veggie heavy meal because not all of us eat all the veggies, and I want to make sure everyone has at least one veggie. Some of us eat them all!

Saturday

A special reward meal for a kid, so Tacos again!

Sunday

Crock-pot Beef Roast, potatoes, Carrots, and Celery with Gravy.

I take this roast out the night before too, sear it in the pan the next morning.  After searing the beef, clean veggies and rough chop.  Leaving them in large chunks.  I add onions and a little bit of Worcestershire sauce to the meat.  Again put 1/2 cup of water on the bottom, not washing away the sauce.  Cook for 4-6 hours depending on your crock pot.  I will sometimes add potatoes wrapped in foil for those kids that don’t want things to touch.  This is a great Sunday meal, left overs for lunches and my husband can pick at it through out the evening.  If I play my cards right it is done about 2 and I do not have to cook lunch or dinner, score!

This is a picture of our week. I am sorry my recipes are not great, but this was a quick post.  I will work on how to write better recipes.  The problem is I do not really follow recipes and I get ideas for meals from the titles and pictures on pintest.  My husband laughs at me because most of the time if I do read a recipe it is a guideline and I do not follow it anyway.  I made sure I copied the names the way the ideas were posted on pintest if you need to search for the exact recipe.   Meal planning reduces stress for me and helps me mid-week when I have lost brain function.  I hope that this helps you too.

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Turkey Bone Leftovers

It is the day after Thanksgiving and you have finally picked all the meat off those turkey bones.  Now what?  Put them in the trash and hope the raccoons don’t get them?  NO!!! Those bones are packed full of vitamins and they still have a use.  Bone Broth!  Take all the bones, skin, turkey neck, whatever you have left over from that bird after you pick the meat off and put it in the crock pot. To the bones add a couple washed carrots, an onion, some celery, and maybe a glove of garlic or two.  Cover the whole thing with water and turn it on high.  Let it cook for at least 24 hours.  Normally, I will let my broth cook for 36 hours.  Then I run the broth through a gravy separator to filter out all the bones, left over veggies and to separate off the fat.  Lastly, I freeze the stock or pressure can it in canning jars.  Preserving the goodness of Thanksgiving to use throughout the year.

This turkey stock or bone broth is an amazing nectar.  When someone in our family is not feeling well, I will make their favorite soup with this broth. It is the base of my potato soup, taco soup, chicken/turkey pot pie, turkey and rice soup, even sausage and kale soup.  My husband and I will drink it plain like tea when we do not feel well.  You can feel the nutrition being absorbed when you drink it.

Our turkeys have spent 6 months eating grass, bugs, and soaking in sunshine.  Below is one of our turkeys helping me harvest tomatoes in the garden.  They are packed with vitamins and I want to respect their life by not letting any of those vitamins go to waste.

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“Cage-Free Pigs”

It is the difficult time of year when we take our pigs to butcher. Part of this emotional process is loading them into the trailer we transport them in.  The pigs get loaded the day before, so that we don’t have wrestle them into the trailer at the last minute.   Yesterday, I was upset because I did not like that my pigs were cramped in the trailer for 24 hours.  My husband offered me a word of, or I guess an article of comfort, that sent me through the roof.

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New law has just been passed that by the year 2020 California has to make all their animal enclosures “cage-free”.  On the surface that sounds wonderful, but lets dig a little deeper.  Below is the regulation quoted in The News Tribune,

“It requires that, starting in 2020, calves confined for production have at least 43 square feet (4 square meters) of usable floor space, while breeding pigs be given at least 24 square feet (2.2 square meters) of floor space in their pens starting in 2022.

Starting in 2020, egg-laying hens must be been given 1 square foot (144 square inches) of floor space each on the way to being cage-free by 2022.”

According to the new “cage free” regulations, the 14 x 7 trailer that I have the pigs in for less than 24 hours would be enough space to raise 4 pigs in, for their whole life.   FOUR pigs.  A single sheet of plywood is 32 square feet, imagine that in your head.  Go to the hardware store and get a piece of plywood. Put it on the ground and stand in the middle of it.  That single sheet of plywood, would be too big to raise a pig.  As you stand in the middle of that plywood, think about that being all the space you have for your whole short life. After living in a space, less than that sheet of plywood, when that meat goes to market it is labeled cage-free.   CAGE-FREE!  Do you feel CAGE-FREE standing in the middle of that piece of plywood.  Remember, that is  8 square feet more space than the new ” cage-free” standard.

My heart aches.  Our pork is raised slightly different and I am happy to say we do not sport the label of Organic, Free-range, Cage-free, or Humanly Raised.  Our pigs are offered an average of 10,000 square feet of pasture per pig.  Yet when I am asked about my product, the first question is, “is it organic?”  No it is not organic, and it never will be.  There is not a food industry standard high enough to label our products.

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My rant will end with this, please educate yourself.  If you are paying for cage-free or free-range or organic, take the time to know what that means.  Support your local farmers, regardless of the label.  Visit the farm, see how their food is raised. Purchase your food based on that, not on a label.  The label does not mean what you think it means.

 

The Article:

https://www.thenewstribune.com/news/business/article221193020.html