Posts Tagged ‘organic winter life’

Long, Cold Winter

I knew it was going to be harder in the winter to come up with food solutions and I even prepared a little for it by freezing fresh ‘summer’ meals; but alas the freezer is empty and the garden is under 2 feet of snow.

I am eagerly looking forward to March when I go to visit my parents in Florida.  I am already elated that my mother mentioned hitting up Whole Foods after the airport (their closest WF is at least 30 minutes away).  I have 2 weeks to come up with a plan – what have we learned?  It always pays to be prepared!  🙂

In preparation for my trip, I have started researching organic rums (priorities, you know)!  That is my drink  of choice and being it is made from sugarcane, it’s important for me to try to find an organic substitute.  (It was argued that the ‘bad’ is distilled out by the time the rum is bottled but I don’t feel like I should buy a bottle of conventional rum, directly supporting GMO crop production.)  Granted, my parents drink enough rum that they will buy a bottle no matter what, so if I can’t find organic, I will ‘suffer’ through it LOL  I have been able to find 6 organic rums that are made, however actually locating the rum is posing to be a challenge.  I asked my mom to check around their way too.  I’ll let you know what we find!

The last time I saw my parents was for Christmas at my brother’s house in PA.  It was a great (all-be-it short) trip!  I was solo on this one and I was driving 8 hours to an old friend’s house, spending the night and then driving the final 2 hours to my brother’s, staying the weekend and then driving the full 10 hours back.  Now we all know about my need to appear low-maintenance, especially when it comes to people whom I feel have different opinions of food than me – in this case, my brother.  I also didn’t want my 6-year-old niece to notice I was eating differently than them and start asking questions that might aggravate my brother.  When I pack for these trips I try to picture myself in the moment, eating.  What are people going to be eating?  Snacks, dinner, special events?  If there is a special event, am I willing to cheat?  I answer that question by asking is it feasible for me to provide my own food?  If I were to cheat, what would I be eating?  (Basing my answer on the level of contamination/eco impact/ingredients.)   For this trip I packed eggs, milk, Batter Blaster (organic pancake mix in a can!), cookie dough, coffee, cream, sugar, and road snacks – lots and lots of road snacks!  As always, Trader Joe’s is my go-to for snacks.  We remember what Trader Joe’s says about GMO’s

My first obstacle was my friend’s husband’s birthday breakfast at Denny’s.  Feasible to supply my own food?  No.  If I cheat, what will I eat?  Well, it’s Denny’s.  I perused the menu and found there to be an egg scramble with tomatoes and spinach and such.  I really wanted a grand slam with pancakes and sausage.  I weighed the options; all the ‘good’ in the first choice was conventionally grown produce (tomatoes? UGH!) and the eggs, and… you know what?  Just do it!  Just get what you want!  I ate the whole thing.

Eating at my brother’s was VERY easy.  Dinner the first night was pasta and sauce – SCORE!  I brought my own pasta!  FAIL! – Why didn’t I bring that jar of sauce??  Oh well.  50/50.  My brother made our family’s traditional Christmas morning breakfast of crepes.  I brought blueberry agave nectar so was able to skip the fruit filling and whipped cream – but I didn’t SMH  I did skip the syrup at least!  My mother had already lovingly prepared an organic turkey pie for me ❤  (this is a family favorite, my mother’s signature recipe, so I can’t tell you how thrilled I was to have my very own pie that she made from scratch just for me! – well, she is the best mom in the world!)  That took care of lunch and dinner Christmas Day!  Late Christmas night it was discovered that there was a blizzard moving along my route home so I decided to leave at 4:30 in the morning to try to beat it home; meals were over – how easy was that!?  The best part of it?  My brother said his Chef on the boat (he’s in the Coast Guard) cooks organic whenever he could and my brother was interested in the movement.  I’m unsure of his level of interest as we didn’t talk too much about it but I am going to mail him a copy of Food, Inc. for he and my sister-in-law to watch and see what develops.  I’m sure I don’t have to tell you how much I would love to see my nieces starting their lives off eating whole foods! (especially after reading about the health differences other families have discovered – it seems this diet has a bigger (maybe just more noticeable) effect on children.)

The week prior to Christmas brought the typical treat train through the office.  I did very well but there were some pit-falls and I’ve noticed that around holidays (any holiday) I cheat more and tend to have a period of sanction.  I jokingly referred to the week before Christmas as “GMO Week” – it’s not as bad as it sounds!  I barely cheated but my co-worker latched onto that moment and is still asking me if I want to try this or eat that.  It made me remember how long it took for him to stop offering me food when I started this.  Now I realize, this brings him pleasure; he likes to share food with me and discuss it.  I’m realizing how big a part of our culture food is and it’s making me wonder how anyone looses weight in this country!  If I didn’t have my ‘rules’ I would eat anything offered to me and now I’m seeing just how often people offer up food!  I suggest to anyone trying to lose weight to go organic, not because you starve or because the food is lower in fat or calories (it’s not!) but because it would remove the everyday temptations – the ones you may not even notice!  (Not to mention what the artificial sweeteners and other additives do to your metabolism)

So now that my freezer is empty I don’t have any crutches as far as my weekly meals go, I must have two full dinners every week or I won’t have enough to eat for the week.  (I know, you are cursing me under your breath because I only have to come up with two meal ideas a week.  I’m sorry.  I admit to everything you are saying right now.  I am sorry.)  I haven’t written too much in this blog lately and I have to wonder if it’s because I am subconsciously ashamed that I have basically been living off of Shepard’s Pie for the last 3 months!  Of course that is an exaggeration but when I try to list some dishes I’ve been eating, I can’t!  Shepard’s Pie has been easy, yummy and cheap so that’s my go-to, but I am so tired of it!  Last week my sister shared some of her beef stew and a tomato-based hamburg soup she made (we call it Venus De Milo soup, after the restaurant who makes it).  I made a chicken and lentils dish which turned out to be more of chicken risotto with lentils.  I made a Finnish dish that was basically a hamburg and macaroni bake but I added frozen broccoli.  I’ve been enjoying homemade pizzas too!  A lot!  My favorite has been sausage, mushroom, onion and cheese.  I also had a HUGE craving for caprice salad so after that hankering was satisfied, I had extra cheese and basil so I thought I’d put it on a pizza (with a lil balsamic as the only ‘sauce’) – YUM!!  I have been looking in my pantry and saying “I don’t need to go grocery shopping” while recipes swim in my head.  As soon as it’s time to make those recipes *POOF* my mind is empty, just like the fridge!  This morning I made two boxes of Annie’s Mac & Cheese, added frozen broccoli and topped with organic Italian breadcrumbs.  Jeeze, is that it??  Is this really all I’ve been eating?  Well, no wonder I am reporting $70/week food costs!

This post has been in my drafts for 3 weeks.  Since then my interest in food has dwindled even more!  The mac & cheese with broccoli has made it onto every weekly menu; I added chicken last time (yuck!).  This week is a challenge, so far I’m loosing.  I’m loving my new creation of a bag of TJ’s organic brown rice with mixed frozen veggies (corn, green beans, carrots and peas with asparagus for good measure) and marinated (garlic teriyaki) chicken thighs.  Couldn’t be easier and it’s SO delicious!!  Only problem?  I’m over it.  Last night I tried red quinoa with the mixed frozen veggies plus edamame, would’ve helped if I used some soft of flavoring but I just ate it plain.  Guess how disappointed I was at lunch time today?

Honestly, I’m just trying to make it through the winter, one day at a time!

Here’s some pictures of what I’m working with, in case you think I’m exaggerating

The bottom shelf is holding non-organic left over products...