Tuesday, August 25, 2015

maple marshmallows

Who doesn't love a fluffy, delicious, pillowy marshmallow?  I am partial to them when they are roasted and smushed between graham crackers.  Chocolate is strictly optional in my s'more.  :)

Todd has been on a kick lately where he is begging for marshmallows.  It might have been all the leftover Easter candy that the Switch Witch forgot to take with her when she brought the toys.  Oops.  Anyway, I'm really glad that I'm able to provide a simple, wholesome alternative to store-bought - no refined sugar to be found in this recipe!  And it's got gelatin, which is a lovely addition to the diet that provides joint-nourishing collagen.

We got our annual shipment of maple syrup back in May.  I usually buy two gallons of the good stuff, organic and straight from a farm in Vermont.  We store it in the chest freezer and pull out what we need, pouring it into a smaller jug to store in the fridge.  This will typically get us through the year!

Making marshmallows is sort of like candy-making 101.  You will need a good thermometer - preferably a candy-making thermometer that shows you when you have reached "soft ball stage."  But don't let that deter you!  It's really not that tricky.



Maple-Sweetened Marshmallows
1 C water
2 1/2 T gelatin
1 C maple syrup
1 t vanilla
1/4 t salt
Arrowroot powder for dusting

Coat an 8x8 pan with butter, sprinkle with a bit of arrowroot powder, and set aside.

Add 1/2 C of the water into your mixer bowl.  Sprinkle the gelatin over the top and allow it to bloom for at least 5 minutes.

Combine the remaining water, maple syrup, and salt in a saucepan over medium-high heat.  Bring to a boil, watching and stirring continuously as it will try to boil over on you.  When it reaches 235-240 degrees, remove it from heat.  This will typically take 12-15 minutes, but just watch the temperature to know for sure.

Turn your stand mixer on medium.  With the mixer running, slowly drizzle the boiling syrup into the bloomed gelatin and water.  Try not to get syrup on the sides of the bowl.

Once all the syrup is into the bowl, turn the mixer on high.  Allow the mixture to beat until it has tripled in size, and the side of the bowl is cool to the touch.  This could take up to 10 minutes, but again, use your sense of temperature to know for sure.  The finished marshmallow cream will hold soft peaks on the beater.  Add the vanilla and beat for one more minute.


[If you wanted your own marshmallow cream for fluffer nutters or Rice Krispie treats or something like that, you could just stop here!]

Transfer the marshmallow cream into your prepared 8x8 pan.  Dust the top with more arrowroot powder, and use your fingertips to pat down the top surface.

Allow the marshmallows to set for at least 6 hours, covered, at room temperature.

Once they are set, remove the marshmallows from the pan and use a greased knife to cut into squares. Dredge in more arrowroot powder, and store in an airtight container.

These will keep for a few days, maybe a week if refrigerated.  You do need to eat them fairly fast, because they will spoil!  (Like real, good food should.)

Enjoy!

[This post submitted to Fat Tuesday 8/25/15.]

Monday, August 24, 2015

menu plan august iv

Where have I been!?  What's going on?  I haven't posted in over three months!  Almost four.  Sorry.  There's been a bunch of stuff, but let's just skip it and get to the food.  That's what I'm here for.

The biggest, most amazing development in my food life has been the arrival of this book:



It's been changing my life.  I decided to cook my way through it, making one or two cheeses each week.  It's really been taking things to the next level.  Anyway, I will do a separate post (or maybe series) on all that.  Suffice it to say:  cheese.

Other than that, it's the same old deal:  local produce, animals whose origin is identifiable, grass-fed dairy, wholesome grains, plenty of good fats.

Sunday
Breakfast:  I was gloriously alone, as in, my children stayed other places.  So I had some coffee and a zucchini bread muffin.  
Lunch:  I totally binged on fried fish and hush puppies from Captain D's.  What!?  I keeps it real.  And I freaking love that nasty hydrogenated oil-based tartar sauce.
Supper:  It was Julie's birthday choice at Family Dinner.  She made some superb choices.  She requested this appetizer, a florentine lasagna, an arugula-fennel-red onion-Parmesan salad, and a chocolate dessert.  I made the appetizer.  I used my homemade ricotta, herbs from Memaw's backyard, tomatoes from the CSA, and baguettes using this recipe.  The baguettes were quite easy!  Easier than I was expecting, and easier than my standard sandwich loaf.  I'm definitely making more.

Hi baguettes.  I'm going to eat you.
Monday
Breakfast:  pancakes with butter and syrup, coffee and milk
Lunch:  leftover baguette with avocado and chopped tomato
Supper:  ham, pepper, and onion quiche with sauteed zucchini

Tuesday
Breakfast:  eggs, toast, jam, butter, coffee and milk
Lunch:  leftover quiche and zucchini
Supper:  cheeseburgers and fixings (buns, mustard, ketchup, pickles, tomato), roasted potato wedges, watermelon-lime water kefir soda

Wednesday
Breakfast:  eggs, toast, jam, butter, coffee and milk
Lunch:  corn and potato chowder, baguette
Supper:  grilled salmon, rice, sauteed peppers and squash

Thursday
Breakfast:  pancakes, butter and syrup, coffee and milk
Lunch:  out with my clergy friends!  I'm excited.  Sushi!
Supper:  ham and white beans, cornbread, tomato

Friday
Breakfast:  toast with peanut butter and honey, grapes, coffee and milk
Lunch:  leftover ham and beans
Supper:  eggplant pizza.  I think I will also add some ricotta dolloped on top of that.

Saturday
Breakfast:  bread pudding, home-canned peaches, coffee and milk
Lunch:  picnic at the pool!  Bread, cheese, boiled eggs, mango spears, more watermelon-lime soda.
Supper:  roast chicken, potatoes, corn on the cob, sliced tomato

What are you all eating out there?  Any good recipes to share?

[This post submitted to Menu Plan Monday 8/24/15.]

Monday, May 4, 2015

menu plan may i

Spring has sprung!  Cinco de Mayo is tomorrow (baby Todd was due on May 5, as well - two years ago!), the weather is lovely, and the kids had their inaugural dip in the kiddie pool last night when friends came over to cook out.  Hooray for Vitamin D.



This week something out of the ordinary is happening:  because I'm going to be gone for much of the month, I've canceled our milk order for May!  So, no cream, no eggs, and only the milk we have now to finish up.  I know I could always go to the store and buy more (and I might, if I need to!), but it's sort of a fun challenge to see if I can make do without my usual staples.

So, here's what's on the menu, as we finish up what's left of the winter CSA produce, work without the normal dairy, and try to use up odds and ends before I head to Memphis for my Doctor of Ministry unit next Monday.

Sunday
-- breakfast:  scrambled eggs, sausage, coffee + milk
-- lunch:  spaghetti marinara with chicken breast, crescent rolls
-- supper:  Family Dinner!  We cooked out in the backyard - brats and burgers.  I made an old-fashioned pasta salad with peas, radishes, cheddar cheese, green onions, and celery, dressed with a mayo-mustard-chopped pickle dressing.  We also cut up a watermelon to share.

Monday
-- breakfast:  granola and milk, coffee and milk, watermelon and oranges
-- lunch:  leftover barbecue from a church dinner on a roll plus a pickled boiled egg from my coworker Tina :)
-- supper:  black bean and corn tacos with home-canned salsa, avocado, sour cream, shredded cheese, pickled jalapenos

Tuesday
-- breakfast:  scrambled eggs, sausage, pumpkin bread, coffee + milk, fruit
-- lunch:  leftover pumpkin soup, crackers, jerky stick, blackberry water kefir soda
-- supper:  Korean beef on steamed rice with stir-fried cabbage

Wednesday
-- breakfast:  soaked oatmeal with home-canned apples, cinnamon, coconut cream, and honey; coffee + milk
-- lunch:  leftover Korean beef, rice, and cabbage, kombucha
-- supper:  creamy polenta with shrimp and tomatoes, green beans

Thursday
-- breakfast:  scrambled eggs, sausage, watermelon, coffee + milk
-- lunch:  leftover Korean beef, rice, and cabbage, kombucha
-- supper:  Breakfast for Dinner!  Biscuits, sausage gravy, fruit salad.

Friday
-- breakfast:  granola, milk, fruit, coffee + milk
-- lunch:  out somewhere!  Maybe to Calypso?
-- supper:  pizza night.  I'm thinking BBQ chicken:  sourdough crust, leftover shredded chicken, homemade BBQ sauce, green onions, shredded cheddar cheese.  Topped with some vinegar slaw?

Saturday
-- breakfast:  soaked pancakes, sausage, fruit, coffee + coconut milk
-- lunch:  leftover pizza
-- supper:  roast chicken, pumpkin halves stuffed with couscous and olives, green beans

What are you eating?  Tell me.  I love talking about food.

[This post submitted to Menu Plan Monday 5/4/15.]


Monday, April 27, 2015

menu plan april iv

We are deep into the stormy, confused weather of April.  Hot, cold, and when they intersect too rapidly - tornadoes.

Neither here nor there - but I found this at Hobby Lobby and really want to hang it in my living room!

Our winter CSA has wrapped up, and I have to say I'm a bit relieved.  Toward the end of each CSA season, I get a little bit of fatigue as I try to deal with the regular stream of produce coming into my home.  In the summer, it's easier to can and freeze extras.  Winter produce keeps longer at room temperature, but I have some pumpkins that have been staring at me for months from the dining room table!  We are down to just onions, garlic, sweet potatoes, turnips, radishes, and a couple horseradish roots (that might be too dry to even mess with at this point).  Oh, and those pumpkins.  :)

The spring CSA will start in late May, so I have from now until then to work through what's left on the counter and in the fridge and freezer.  It's kind of a fun time to get inventive.

This week is pretty quiet in terms of events, meetings, and traveling, so let's get on with the food!

Sunday
-- breakfast:  scrambled eggs, bacon, sourdough toast with honey, coffee + milk
-- lunch:  barbecue chicken drumsticks, green beans, macaroni and cheese, fruit, crescent rolls
-- supper:  Family Dinner!  We are bringing a chocolate meringue pie.  Basically you take my pudding recipe, put it in a pie crust, and top with meringue from the leftover egg whites.

Monday
-- breakfast:  Todd and I totally ate leftover chocolate meringue pie for breakfast.  With coffee and milk, so it was a balanced meal, obviously.
-- lunch:  a couple of grass-fed jerky sticks, leftover couscous with sauteed carrots and sweet potatoes
-- supper: lentil soup (I'm going to do the roasted garlic version!), sourdough bread

Tuesday
-- breakfast:  soaked oatmeal with home-canned apples, honey, crispy walnuts, and coconut cream.  Coffee + milk.
-- lunch:  black beans and salsa on corn tortillas with cheese, kombucha
-- supper:  cheeseburgers on sourdough buns with ketchup, pickles, onions.  Sweet potato fries.

Wednesday
-- breakfast:  scrambled eggs, bacon, sourdough toast with honey, satsumas coffee + milk.
-- lunch:  leftover lentil soup and bread
-- supper:  soy-sesame salmon fillets, Asian slaw, steamed rice with scallions

Thursday
-- breakfast:  soaked granola with milk and raisins, coffee + milk, satsumas
-- lunch:  Vicki and I are going on a Field Trip to TPAC!  We are seeing a play with her Encore class, and then we will lunch like ladies somewhere downtown.  I'm really excited.  She will probably want pizza.
-- supper:  leftover ham salad on sourdough toast, sliced radishes with butter and salt

Friday
-- breakfast:  oatmeal and fruit
-- lunch:  steamed rice topped with steamed pumpkin and green beans
-- supper:  no supper.  I'm doing a gallbladder cleanse.  Don't even ask. Just don't.

Saturday
-- no breakfast
-- lunch:  pumpkin soup (thinking something like that link, but without the chestnuts!) with soaked crackers and cheese
-- supper:  we are having a BBQ potluck honoring our intern at church, who will be leaving to take on his own congregation this summer in Kentucky!  I'm bringing whatever he says his favorite dessert is.  :)  (I'm secretly hoping it's another chocolate meringue pie!)

What's up with y'all?  Any good eats?  Or just interesting happenings?

[This post submitted to Menu Plan Monday 4/27/15.]

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Asian slaw

I wrote in my last menu plan that I needed to finally get this recipe out into the ether.  I make this Asian slaw probably once a month, usually for a potluck situation.  My mother-in-law requested that I bring it to the family Easter dinner yesterday.  I love bringing it because:  cabbage.  It feeds an army for like fifty cents.  This whole salad probably costs $5 to put together, and it feeds 12 as a side dish, easily.  I also love it because you can make all the three elements in advance (salad base, dressing, crunchy toppings), and just put it all together right before serving.  So, without further ado, please have my recipe for Asian slaw!



Asian Cabbage Slaw

1 small head cabbage, finely shredded
1 carrot, shredded on a box grater
4-5 green onions, finely chopped
1/2 C dried cherries
4 oz sliced almonds
1 package Oriental flavored Ramen noodles
1/4 C sugar (I used sucanat here)
1/4 C rice vinegar
2 T olive oil
2 T sesame oil

Preheat oven to 350.

In a large bowl, toss together the shredded cabbage and carrot, green onions, and dried cherries.



Crush the Ramen noodles inside the package, using the back of a knife or a mallet.  Open the package, remove the seasoning packet, and spread the noodles on a baking sheet, along with the sliced almonds.

Toast the Ramen noodles and almonds for about 5 minutes - watch closely because they will burn fast!



Meanwhile, combine the sugar, vinegar, olive oil, sesame oil, and the seasoning packet from the Ramen noodles in a small mason jar.



Shake shake shake!  Dressing is done.



Pull the noodles and almonds from the oven and allow to cool slightly.  Toss them with the cabbage/carrot/onion/cherry mixture.  Dress it all liberally and serve!

(If I make this ahead of time, I dress the salad mix with about half the dressing, and reserve the rest.  I also pack up the noodles and almonds separately so they stay crunchy.  Combine it all at the last minute and serve!)

Serves 8-12 as a side dish.


Monday, April 20, 2015

menu plan april iii

I'm back!  DC was amazing.  I really enjoy it, as a city.  It's like a nice compromise between New York and Nashville - large enough to not really need a car, but not quite so dense.  The Metro is like a happy little miniature subway (although the Brutalist architecture can be a little overwhelming).  Also, I had some really great food.  Highlights:

Republic:  local, great seafood (had oysters), sustainable, beautiful inventive drink menu (Takoma Park).
Matchbox:  wood-fired pizza, great salads, oysters were also lovely (14th Street).
Ted's Bulletin:  adult milk shakes, homemade pop tarts.  Need I say more?  (14th Street).
ShopHouse:  think Chipotle but with Thai/Vietnamese food.  Ridiculously good, cheap, fast.  Nashville needs one of these stat.  (Chinatown, but there are tons of locations).

Wonderful friends and colleagues pretending to listen to me tell some story.  ;)

After all that beautiful food and fellowship (and learning), I was ready to get back to some of my home cooking.  And my kids - I like them too.

Here's what's up in the kitchen this week:

Sunday
-- breakfast:  soaked oatmeal with raisins, cinnamon, home-canned apples, and honey; coffee + milk
-- lunch:  pork ribs with barbecue sauce, ravioli, salad, rolls
-- supper:  breakfast for dinner night with my Family Dinner peeps!  We brought sweet potato hash.  Soooo much good food:  waffles, eggs, biscuits and gravy, fruit salad, and the hash.

Monday
-- breakfast:  we were in a rush!  Granola, yogurt, honey.  Coffee + milk.
-- lunch:  I'm still pondering.  Do I grab something while out visiting?  Or do I eat the leftover chicken and rice with lentils that I brought?
-- supper:  this bulgur wheat salad, I think.  I will add roasted cherry tomatoes I froze last summer, and some soaked and cooked chickpeas for heft.

Tuesday
-- breakfast:  scrambled eggs, bacon, sourdough toast, jam, satsumas, coffee + milk
-- lunch:  leftover bulgur salad, kombucha
-- supper:  Korean beef with broccoli, rice, kimchi

Wednesday
-- breakfast:  scrambled eggs, bacon, sourdough toast, jam, satsumas, coffee + milk
-- lunch:  leftover Korean beef and rice, water kefir
-- supper:  Shrimp Fra Diavolo (recipe coming soon!), fettuccine, green beans

Thursday
-- breakfast:  soaked pancakes with butter and maple syrup, home-canned apples, sausage patties, coffee + milk
-- lunch:  out somewhere between two Bible studies - probably Panera for a big salad?
-- supper:  grilled bratwurst on sourdough buns with mustard and sauerkraut, sweet potato fries

Friday
-- breakfast:  blackberry-banana-yogurt smoothies, crispy walnuts and chocolate chips, coffee + milk
-- lunch:  leftovers of whatever
-- supper:  we are cooking out at the home of one of my great friends from my clergy covenant group!  Can't wait to get all the families and kids together.  I'm bringing a German potato salad.

Saturday
-- breakfast:  I'm positive Vicki will want pancakes.  :)
-- lunch:  pumpkin soup, crackers, cheese, pickles, kombucha
-- supper:  this will be the wedding I'm doing for my dear friend and brother-in-law Chase, and his fiance Carly.  So excited for us to be a part of it!  Vicki will be a flower girl, too.

So, what's up with y'all?  What are you doing?  Or eating?

[This post submitted to Menu Plan Monday 4/20/15.]

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

menu plan april ii

Heyo!  This week feels like a bit of a cheat, because I'm going to be out of town for most of it!  I have the final meeting of my Lewis Fellows cohort in DC.  I'm hoping and praying that my children won't be too insane as their father, grandmother, and great-grandmother take care of them this week.  And that I can get some quality sleep in a hotel and not miss them too much.  And not get bedbugs.  Ya know - normal stuff.

On Saturday we had Vicki Jo's fourth birthday party.  It was so fun.  We had a pinata, good times in the backyard, and chocolate raspberry cupcakes (her request).  I love all the spring birthdays that me and my children have.  It makes for such lovely outdoor parties, as long as it's not pouring.

Birthday cupcakes!!  Chocolate raspberry cupcakes with raspberry buttercream.  It was my first time making buttercream, and it turned out a little grainy.  But I didn't hear any complaints!
Okay:  the food.  Like I said, this week is a bit of a cop-out, as I'm traveling.  Wish me luck with that!

Sunday
-- breakfast:  soaked oatmeal with hemp seeds, dried cherries, bananas, and honey
-- lunch:  pork tenderloin, roasted sweet potatoes, green beans with bacon ends
-- supper:  Family Dinner!!  It was Sean's birthday choice this week.  He wanted burgers, and we delivered!  Grass-fed goodness for all, plus cheddar, mustard, mayo, lettuce, and onions.

Monday
-- breakfast:  gonna try to have something quick-fast before I have to be at the airport by 5:40!  In fact, I'm thinking I may just pack trail mix with crispy walnuts, dried cherries, and chocolate chips to munch on once I get through security.
-- lunch:  in DC somewhere!  I'm meeting my best friend's sister Maria for a happy lunch - unless her overdue baby comes first.  :)
-- supper will be with the cohort.

Tuesday & Wednesday
Meals are provided as part of my program, and we will go out Wednesday evening somewhere awesome in the area!  (I have received a zillion recommendations from friends!  Oyamel, Jaleo, Luke's Lobster . . .)

Thursday
Breakfast is with the cohort, and then lunch will once again be somewhere between Silver Spring Metro and Reagan National Metro.  Supper I'm still undecided about.  My flight leaves at 5:30 and arrives at 6:35, so I might just have a snack on hand and then wait until I get back to Nashville to eat.

Friday
-- breakfast:  soaked oatmeal with coconut cream, raisins, canned apples, and honey
-- lunch:  probably just a big old salad from somewhere like Panera
-- supper:  Pizza Night!  I'm thinking it will just be pepperoni and mozzarella.  I will try to make a sauce from scratch with some canned tomatoes, but the rest of my game will be off from having been gone all week.  :)

Saturday
-- breakfast:  soaked oatmeal with coconut cream, raisins, canned pears, and honey
-- lunch:  carrot-ginger soup, raw cheese, sourdough toast
-- supper:  roast chicken, mashed potatoes, turnip greens, radishes with butter & salt

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

vicki jo: 4 years!!!

Oh, my sweet girl.  Can it be four years ago that we went to the hospital in a terrified frenzy after falling down the stairs?  Can it be four years since I held you the first time and could only say "My baby! My baby!" over and over again?

In honor of four years, I have posted four videos, one from each of the years of her life.  I hope all these links work.  :)




Posted by Emily Reeves Grammer on Wednesday, September 7, 2011







Getting closer!
Posted by Emily Reeves Grammer on Sunday, August 5, 2012



Me McGregor & Peter Rabbit
Posted by Zan Starnes Martin on Saturday, March 8, 2014



So how cute are these two little ones? A little play time after fish fry fundraiser for our church youth
Posted by Zan Starnes Martin on Sunday, March 22, 2015

Monday, March 30, 2015

menu plan march v

Welcome, my friends, to the busiest week in the life of a pastor.  The time between Palm Sunday and Easter is called Holy Week, and we really double down on the activities and worship this week.  It's all amazing and wonderful.  But it gets to be a little overwhelming.  So, I'm writing my weekly menu plan post as a little distraction.  :)

My favorite Holy Week infographic.  Blow it up if you want your mind blown.


It also happens to be my baby girl's FOURTH birthday this Thursday!  Wow.  To think how much life has happened between then and now.  It's unreal, actually.  Moving from Topeka, buying our house, starting my ministry at City Road, pregnancy and birth of Todd, separation/divorce . . . it's just a lot to contemplate.  She has put in her special menu requests for her birthday, which of course you will see reflected on Thursday.

Here's the food!

Sunday
-- breakfast:  eggs mixed with a little leftover crumbled bacon, shredded cheese, and green onions, scrambled.  Garlic toast.  Satsuma mandarin.  Coffee and milk.
-- lunch:  baked potato soup, more garlic toast
-- supper:  it was finally my birthday dinner!!  (A week late since all my teacher friends were out of town for Spring Break last week.)  My requests were a mushroom risotto with peas, spinach salad, asparagus wrapped in prosciutto, and a lemon meringue pie.  It was completely delectable.  Every bite.  Best friends ever.

Monday
-- breakfast:  granola, raw milk, bananas, coffee and milk
-- lunch:  leftover turnip greens with bacon ends, corn muffin
-- supper:  chicken enchilada casserole, using soaked black beans, some leftover pulled chicken, and the last of some enchilada sauce I made last month.  Topped with avocado and sour cream.

Tuesday
-- breakfast:  scrambled eggs, bacon, garlic toast, satsuma, coffee and milk
-- leftover mushroom risotto, kombucha, pickled carrots
-- supper:  chickpea and yogurt salad, pita bread, roasted sweet potatoes

Wednesday
-- breakfast:  scrambled eggs, bacon, sourdough toast, strawberry jam, satsumas, coffee and milk
-- lunch:  leftover enchilada casserole
-- supper:  tuna salad sandwiches on sourdough, carrot sticks, potato chips

Thursday (Vicki's birthday!)
-- breakfast:  pancakes, butter, syrup, pineapple, strawberries, coffee and milk
-- lunch:  whatever leftovers we still have!
-- supper:  cheeseburger macaroni, peas, green beans, chocolate cake

Friday (Good Friday - office is closed and both kids' schools are closed - don't ya love living in the South!?)
-- breakfast:  scrambled eggs, sausage patties, sourdough toast, raw honey, home-canned pears, coffee and milk
-- lunch:  leftover cheeseburger macaroni and veggies
-- supper:  pizza on sourdough crust (ricotta, cubed sweet potato, caramelized onion, rosemary, roasted garlic, kalamata olives)

Saturday
-- breakfast:  sourdough cinnamon rolls, sausage patties, coffee and milk
-- lunch:  we will be at my grandmother-in-law's house for an Easter lunch.  She has requested that I bring my Asian cabbage slaw!  It's similar to this recipe, but I make a lot of swaps such as using shredded cabbage and carrots instead of bagged slaw mix, sucanat instead of white sugar, a combo of olive and sesame oil instead of vegetable oil, and I add dried cherries.  Okay, it's not really like that recipe at all!  Lol. I should probably just write up my own recipe.  I'll try to take some pictures when I do it this weekend.
-- supper:  roast chicken, stewed turnip greens, mashed potatoes, roasted carrots

What are you eating this Holy Week?

[This post submitted to Menu Plan Monday 3/30/15.]

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

the voice of the heart: suffering

I'm taking part in this pretty amazing group of pastors and church people for several months this spring.  Our text is "The Voice of the Heart," which is a kind of emotional fluency primer that is great for anyone.  (But would be especially great for you if you came from a background where emotions in general were discouraged, and didn't have a great language to describe your emotional landscape.)

It's technically a Bible study, but it's short on Bible and long on the kind of twelve-steppy sharing stuff that pastors really get off on.  Needless to say, I freaking love it.

In our first couple of sessions, we were asked to identify what kinds of responses we might have experienced in our upbringing related to the sensation of hurting.  Did your parents say things like, "Big boys don't cry"?  Or, "It's not that big a deal?"  Or, "Look on the bright side!"?

Yeah, most of us weren't allowed to fully experience our own hurts.  This is because those who raised us found our strong emotions so threatening that their own well-being was shaken by them.  If you have kids, allowing them to express the fullness of their emotions is very intense.  You know what I mean.  The temptation to tell them "Shhh . . . it's okay" - even from a well-meaning place - is extremely strong.  The primal urge that screams inside our heads These tears are not okay - make them stop! is extraordinarily difficult to resist.


Anyway, in my own family, the attitude was less "look on the bright side," and more "it could be worse."  And so I've always told myself that things could be worse.  Bad marriage?  Sure - but I could be beaten or with no other options.  Hurting because my mom died?  Sure - but she could have suffered so much more, or we could have had a strained relationship and died on bad terms.  Things can always be worse.  In fact, I should just be grateful that the suffering I have experienced has been so manageable.  After all, there are women in this world who are told they are nothing from the day they are born.

For a long time, I thought this was a fairly harmless coping mechanism.  But then I realized that telling myself these things denied a basic truth about my theology.  When I minimized the impact of my suffering, I was denying the fact that there isn't a limited amount of suffering in the world.  

Know what I'm saying?  Like, the fact that someone else is hurting doesn't mean that I'm hurting any less.  It's not like I have 10% of the world's hurt and other people have 90%.  It just doesn't work that way.  And conversely, the fact that other people may not have suffered in the same ways as I have doesn't mean that their suffering is any less real for them.  We all get what we get in life.  There is no way to relativize our own suffering against the suffering of the rest.

So, moving forward, I'm going to allow myself to experience the depth of my own hurt as it occurs.  I will try to stop telling myself that things might be worse (or even better).  Things are what they are, and I can't be afraid to walk through the darkest times.

Monday, March 23, 2015

menu plan march iv

Birthday weekend was a resounding success.  The weather on Saturday was perfect.  We enjoyed the day outside as much as we could - walking, eating, walking, playing, walking.  I bought a record player.  That was the one purchase I wanted to make for myself this birthday.  So - if anyone has their vinyl collection up for grabs, I'll take it!

I started with the classics:


We are still eating our way through Nashville; Amanda will be here until Tuesday.  I'm so excited about tonight!  We are taking a break from our regular Family Dinner with friends (many of them are out of town as they are teachers or school administrators and this is Spring Break).  Instead, Amanda and I will be hitting Husk.  This is a celebrated new-ish restaurant in Nashville that I've been wanting to try for years.  Finally, I have the proper occasion.  :)

Okay - on to the food!

Preamble
We literally always have one of three things for breakfast if we are at home.

1)  -- scrambled eggs from our Mennonite hens
     -- homemade sourdough toast/English muffins/biscuits
     -- raw butter we have been making from our Mennonite cow cream
     -- local raw honey or homemade preserves
     -- seasonal fruit from our CSA or mandarins (in the winter)

2) -- pancakes
    -- raw butter
    -- real maple syrup
    -- seasonal fruit

3)  --soaked oatmeal with raisins, shredded coconut, coconut cream, honey
     --seasonal fruit or preserves

Vicki usually requests #2.  If we have time, I'm happy to oblige.  If I do any sourdough baking, though, we will use the excess starter to have sourdough pancakes.

Since it is so monotonous, I'm not going to put breakfast on the menu plan.

For drinks, we always have raw milk on hand.  We also drink Berkey filtered water, kombucha, or homemade soda from our ginger bug.  I would love to start messing with water kefir soon.

Finally, I try to make one dessert-ish item that we nibble on all week for snacks and desserts.  It's getting warm enough for popsicles finally!  I'm thinking basil and lime this week.

Sunday
-- lunch:  Fish Fry fundraiser at church!  Everything fried.  So good, so bad.  Fish, hush puppies, tater tots, white beans, etc.
-- supper:  Husk.  (Update:  it was good.  Not amazing.  I preferred the birthday dinner we had at Lockeland Table the night before.)

Monday
-- lunch:  meeting the BFF somewhere for lunch where we can sit outside and soak up the sun!
-- supper:  I think we will spatchcock and grill a chicken.  And do some roasted veggies like sweet potatoes, carrots, and turnips.

Tuesday
-- lunch:  grilled chicken and roasted veggie leftovers
-- supper:  bacon cheeseburgers, sourdough buns, oven-roasted sweet potato fries, sauerkraut and pickles

Wednesday
-- lunch:  turnip greens with bacon ends, cornbread
-- supper:  I jotted down a new Shrimp Fra Diavolo recipe while watching America's Test Kitchen on Saturday.  I think I'm gonna try it out!  If I get inspired, I might even make my own linguine.  We will have something green with this, like roasted broccoli.

Thursday
-- lunch:  leftover greens and cornbread
-- supper:  Breakfast for Dinner!  Biscuits and gravy.  Fruit.

Friday
-- lunch:  I'm going to be at a day-long training at our Conference office, and I'm just hoping there will be lunch involved.
-- supper:  I want to try to re-create this pizza we had at Lockeland Table.  It was ricotta, butternut squash (I will use pumpkin), kale, red onion, grana padano (I will sub Parmesan), and chili oil.  So freaking good.

Saturday
-- lunch:  whatever leftover roasted veggies + chicken stock soup, crackers, ricotta-herb dip
-- supper:  chicken enchiladas (homemade enchilada sauce, leftover chicken, grated cheese, black beans, corn - all rolled up together and baked under more enchilada sauce and cheese), Spanish rice, chili-spiced roasted pumpkin

What's on your menu this week?

[This post submitted to Menu Plan Monday 3/23/15.]




Thursday, March 19, 2015

the secret to a long marriage

Back when we had cable, we had this fantastic channel called Palladia.  It's dedicated to rock operas, music festivals, interviews and biographies of musicians, and other awesome music stuff.  I remember watching a certain live Lady Gaga concert at least four or five times after Vicki was born, because it was what was on at 2:00 am.

A couple years ago, Palladia was showing a biography of George Harrison, who just happens to have been my favorite Beatle.  They were interviewing his second wife Olivia.  They were married for 23 years, until his death.  She was acknowledging some of the less-than-savory aspects of being married to a major rock star.  He gallivanted, he was on tour, he drank and abused drugs.  He had affairs.  She wanted to split up many times.  The interviewer asked her:  what is the secret to your long marriage?



George and Olivia Harrison


Now, my failed  marriage of not-quite-five years makes me absolutely no expert in the secrets of long and successful unions.  I do know that Jeff and I did have our share of challenges.  We continue to share some very important core values (faith, shared experience, political vision, sense of humor, parenting style), but we had lots of personality and operational differences that made life sticky in the day-to-day.  Sometimes I think I chose someone who is so different than I because I really, really like a challenge.

I also get the privilege of joining many people in matrimony as a pastor.  One of the benefits of being in ministry at a young age is that I get to marry lots of my friends (to one another)!  And my family members (not to one another - to other people).  It is sort of neverendingly joyful.  From last October to next August, I've got four weddings of very dear people on my calendar.

As a responsible clergyperson, I need to counsel these couples on the joys and travails of marriage before using my authority to join them.  I almost always bring up this example of Olivia Harrison discussing the secret to a long marriage, because it resounded so deeply for me.  It's almost like a Zen koan.

The secret to a long marriage, she said, is not getting divorced.

I had to stop and just chew on that for awhile.  And the brilliance of her statement washed over me.

We give up too easily.  "Marriage is hard work," blah blah blah.  We have been sold a vision that says we will find perfect fulfillment in a "good" marriage (hint:  you won't).  We know all this to be true, but at the end of the day, you have to be willing to come back from the worst fight, the nastiest situation, one foot out the door, and say, "This was awful, but I'm not giving up."

Now hear me out:  everyone has their limits to this.  There are clearly situations of abuse (physical, mental, emotional, financial, or substance) that make divorcing not only a good idea, but a mandate.  I am not one of these Christians that thinks divorcing is a horrid sin.  I will say that, in my experiencing in counseling couples, cheating by itself is not a deal-breaker.  You can come back from that.

But you will know inside yourself.  You will know if the reason you are pondering divorce is flimsy or not.  And sometimes all it takes is a week or two and things will look better than they did.  But I hate to tell you - sometimes it's a hard five or ten years in there.  Find your inner stubbornness.  Cling to this idea of life together even when things seem absolutely dismal.

The secret to a long marriage is not getting divorced.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

menu plan march iii

Birthday week!  Birthday week!!

Guys.  This week, I will be . . . THIRTY.  Thirty years.  I remarked to my dear Memaw last night that if the next thirty years held as much heartache as the first thirty, I didn't know if I could stand it.  But then again, if they have half as much joy as the first thirty, then it will all be worth it.

All I wanted for my birthday this year was for my very best friend to visit.  She will be here all weekend, and we have some killer birthday meals planned.


This was my birthday dinner last year - surrounded by nine of my closest friends.  Excited for a repeat this year!

Preamble
We literally always have one of three things for breakfast if we are at home.

1)  -- scrambled eggs from our Mennonite hens
     -- homemade sourdough toast/English muffins/biscuits
     -- raw butter we have been making from our Mennonite cow cream
     -- local raw honey or homemade preserves
     -- seasonal fruit from our CSA or mandarins (in the winter)

2) -- pancakes
    -- raw butter
    -- real maple syrup
    -- seasonal fruit

3)  --soaked oatmeal with raisins, shredded coconut, coconut cream, honey
     --seasonal fruit or preserves

Vicki usually requests #2.  If we have time, I'm happy to oblige.  If I do any sourdough baking, though, we will use the excess starter to have sourdough pancakes.

Since it is so monotonous, I'm not going to put breakfast on the menu plan.

For drinks, we always have raw milk on hand.  We also drink Berkey filtered water, kombucha, or homemade soda from our ginger bug.  I would love to start messing with water kefir soon.

Finally, I try to make one dessert-ish item that we nibble on all week for snacks and desserts.  This week I made pumpkin muffins.  The recipe is pretty good, but I think all the spices need doubled.

Sunday
-- lunch:  we had chicken and rice, roasted broccoli, and radishes with butter and salt
-- supper:  it was my friend Emily's birthday choices (I know, I know - confusing - two Emily's, birthdays both in March).  She wanted bruschetta, fettucine alfredo with chicken, roasted brussels sprouts, and apple cobbler.  I made the fettucine.  I bought a pasta roller and tried my hand at making pasta from scratch.  Total disaster.  I will have to try again!!  But I used this recipe for the alfredo.  It was perfect.

Monday
-- lunch:  leftover chicken & fettucine alfredo, roasted broccoli
-- supper:  couscous and chickpeas (subbed turnip greens for spinach), baked sweet potatoes

Tuesday
-- lunch:  out with my lady friend colleagues!  Noshville.
-- supper:  St. Patty's!  Corned beef, cabbage, potatoes.

Wednesday
-- lunch:  leftover corned beef and vegetables, Irish soda bread
-- supper:  shrimp fried rice, soy-sesame turnip greens

Thursday
-- lunch:  leftover fried rice and greens
-- supper:  pork carnitas tacos with pickled cabbage, homemade salsa, corn tortillas, sour cream, avocado

Friday
-- lunch:  out with the Covenant Group!  Mexican.
-- supper:  Jeff is taking me and Amanda out for a birthday surprise dinner!?  No idea what that entails.

Saturday
-- lunch:  Amanda will be with us, so we will probably just roam the neighborhood until we find something good that will also be kosher with two little kids.  :)
-- supper:  my actual birthday supper at Lockeland Table.  Favorite special-occasion restaurant that is just a couple of blocks from my house.  (Same place as picture above from last year!)

[This post submitted to Menu Plan Monday 3/16/15 and Fat Tuesday 3/17/15.]



Monday, March 16, 2015

todd: 22 months

Not much to say about my sweet boy this month.  He talks and talks.  He loves to sit on the couch surrounded by a stack of books and "read."  I think he might be ready to lose the diaper, and I'm dreading that . . . Here are some pictures!


He loved the ice storm until he went sledding down our street and got an ice burn on his hand.  Then it was over.


Isn't this precious!?  He loves his "candals," as he calls them.


He was my +1 at a clergy spiritual retreat - we went down for the evening and introduced him to everyone.


Bookworm life!  This makes me so indescribably happy.  My kids won't travel anywhere without at least two books apiece.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

homemade ricotta

One of the things that has been so fun and interesting for me as I ventured into a real-food diet has been the evolution of my concept of consumer choice.  For instance, your standard American mom makes a grocery list based on some recipes she wants to make (or maybe she doesn't even make a list - she just goes to the store and sees what looks good), goes to the grocery store, buys what she needs to make what she wants, and goes home.

I'm kind of doing things backward now!  I buy a half-cow in various cuts, then I look in my deep freeze at the beginning of the week and think about what I can make with what I have.  I get my CSA box and see what will spoil first, and plan on cooking those vegetables early in the week.  And we do a static dairy order each week - we can only change at the new order for the month.  So, if I ordered a gallon of milk, I get a gallon of milk each week, whether I want it or not.  And then I need to figure out what to do with it before it sours!

This may sound like a lot of work, but I really think it's a lot of fun.  It's about being resourceful and imaginative.  And once your brain gets used to shifting the order of operations a bit, it becomes second nature.  

Preserving dairy is a great extension of this resourcefulness.  Whatever we don't bake with or drink straight up or in coffee gets turned into butter, yogurt, puddingice cream, sherbet, mozzarella, ricotta, or ricotta salata.  I have shared most of these recipes with you already, but today let's talk ricotta!  



Ricotta is really the easiest soft cheese to make (aside from labneh, which is just strained yogurt).  And the uses are endless!  You can ripen it in the fridge to make ricotta salata, which is a salted, dried, aged version.  You can dollop it on a white pizza.  You can mix with salt, olive oil, and fresh herbs for a nice dip.  You can fold it into a cheesecake.   You can mix it into pasta (a traditional lasagna is my favorite!).  It has a mild, creamy texture and flavor that really make it versatile.  

So here's how you do it.


Start with a quart of whole milk.  (Raw, pasteurized, whatever.)


Heat gently to 95 C (~205 F).  I do this over medium heat, stirring frequently.


Meanwhile, mix 1/2 teaspoon citric acid with a few tablespoons of cool water.



When the milk is up to temp, pull it off the heat and stir in the dissolved citric acid.  The milk will begin to curdle immediately.  Cover and leave it for half an hour.


This is what it will look like when the half-hour is up - totally separated into curds and whey.


I use a ricotta strainer basket to drain off the whey.  I just discard it.  Some people save it to feed to their plants or things like that.  The whey at this point has lost all its probiotic quality due to being heated so high, so it's not a very useful dietary supplement.  You can strain it to your desired dryness. 


After straining mine for about an hour, I turn it out into a container.  

And there you have it!  Fresh, creamy, homemade ricotta, waiting in your fridge for you to eat it up!

From a quart of milk, I will get about 8 ounces of ricotta.

Have you ever ventured into cheesemaking?  Tell me about it!

[This post submitted to Fat Tuesday 3/10/15 and Simply Natural Saturday 3/7/15.]









Monday, March 9, 2015

menu plan march ii

The cheese board(s) I brought to Family Dinner last night!  So freaking good.
Are you crawling out from under winter yet, wherever you are?  Things are pretty gorgeous here today.  We spent the day outside yesterday, and I got the first light sunburn of the season.  So wrong, so right.

Also - chickens!  I bought 8 chickens from Field of Dreams farm on Friday.  We have eaten enough of our half-cow and half-hog that we had room in the deep freeze to store them.  By working directly with the farmer, I was able to get them for $4/lb!  And that is for chickens raised on pasture with non-gmo non-soy supplemental feed.  I seriously love finding deals like that.

In other big food news in the Reeves Grammer household, we are switching up our CSA for the summer.  I found a much cheaper option than the collective we've been with, and they work with the same Old-Order Mennonite community that provides our milk and eggs.  I pretty much trust that community completely.  And I convinced the CSA to host an East Nashville drop!  So excited about it.

On to the food.  Always the food.

Preamble
We literally always have one of three things for breakfast if we are at home.

1)  -- scrambled eggs from our Mennonite hens
     -- homemade sourdough toast/English muffins/biscuits
     -- raw butter we have been making from our Mennonite cow cream
     -- local raw honey or homemade preserves
     -- seasonal fruit from our CSA or mandarins (in the winter)

2) -- pancakes
    -- raw butter
    -- real maple syrup
    -- seasonal fruit

3)  --soaked oatmeal with raisins, shredded coconut, coconut cream, honey
     --seasonal fruit or preserves

Vicki usually requests #2.  If we have time, I'm happy to oblige.  If I do any sourdough baking, though, we will use the excess starter to have sourdough pancakes.

Since it is so monotonous, I'm not going to put breakfast on the menu plan.

For drinks, we always have raw milk on hand.  We also drink Berkey filtered water, kombucha, or homemade soda from our ginger bug.  I would love to start messing with water kefir soon.

Finally, I try to make one dessert-ish item that we nibble on all week for snacks and desserts.  I made some cranberry-orange gelatin that the kids love.  Super-simple:  just heat 2/3 cup each orange juice and cranberries until all the berries burst.  Throw it in the blender with a few spoonfuls of honey.  Pour it back into the saucepan and whisk in 2 tablespoons grass-fed gelatin.  Pour into the mold of your choice and refrigerate until set!  It jiggles just like the stuff from the box.  :)

Sunday
-- lunch:  creamed chicken over cornbread, steamed broccoli, roasted sweet potatoes
-- supper:  Family Dinner!  We had appetizer this week, and I brought a cheese board!  I made a blue cheese-pecan spread and an herbed ricotta dip.  For accompaniments I had mini Gherkins, sliced apple, cucumber spears, roasted pecans, toasted baguette, homemade garlic-herb crackers, and homemade cranberry jam!  A feast.

Monday
-- lunch:  Staff Birthday Lunch!  We went to Thai Phooket and I had Thai iced tea, shrimp summer rolls, and chicken panang curry.
-- supper:  black bean and corn quesadillas with avocado, home-canned salsa, homemade tortillas, raw cheddar, sour cream, and pickled cabbage salad

Tuesday
-- lunch:  chicken salad on yogurt-dough crackers, carrot and cucumber sticks
-- supper:  Asian-style ground beef over peanut rice noodles with Asian slaw

Wednesday
-- lunch:  leftover beef on peanut noodles
-- supper:  beer-battered fish and chips, pickled cabbage salad

Thursday
-- lunch:  out somewhere before Pastor's Bible Study!
-- supper:  pork roast with turnips and cabbage, roast pumpkin wedges

Friday
-- lunch:  leftovers
-- supper:  BBQ pork pizza (homemade sourdough crust, homemade cider vinegar BBQ sauce, pulled pork leftover from Thursday night, green onions, cheddar cheese.  Top with vinegar slaw after it comes out!)

Saturday
-- lunch:  creamed squash soup with crackers and cheese
-- supper:  roast chicken, mashed potatoes, sourdough rolls, roast pumpkin

What's cooking with you all?

[This post submitted to Menu Plan Monday 3/9/15.]


Thursday, March 5, 2015

nine ways to eat your cabbage!

Seasonal eating . . . It's what I'm committed to.  It's what I stand for.  It's the right way to eat - the way our great-grandparents did it!  It . . .

Starts to suck really bad in February.  Seriously.  Here's what we get in the dregs of winter:  cabbage, hard squash, turnips, cabbage, sweet potatoes, potatoes, cabbage, onions, carrots, broccoli, cabbage.

A lot of cabbage.  Those heads of cabbage are huge!  I currently have no fewer than five cabbages in my fridge.



I'm lucky that I like cabbage.  But there's only so much cabbage a gal can take.  I put together all my favorite cabbage recipes here, in case you are in a situation of cabbage richness similar to mine.

Here you go - nine ways to eat your cabbage!

Sauerkraut - the classic gateway drug to lactofermentation!  It really couldn't be simpler.  Slice your cabbage very thinly and then weigh it.  For every pound of cabbage, add two teaspoons of salt.  Put it all into a great big mixing bowl and start kneading it with your hands like bread.  Crunch the cabbage shreds between your fingers and press it all together.  Soon it will start to release liquid.  Once you can grab a handful and squeeze it and liquid trickles out of your fist, you are ready to jar it!  I usually do quart-size jars.  Pack the cabbage very tightly into jars.  Use a wooden spoon handle to tamp it down in layers before you add more.  You want the liquid to cover the top of the cabbage.  Once it's full, put a lid on loosely and leave it on your counter for a few days.  It will start to bubble.  Taste it after three days.  Is it nice and sour?  If so, cap it tightly and refrigerate (or cold storage).  If not, let it go longer.  Taste each day until it's ready.  Kraut will last basically indefinitely in the fridge.  It is an amazing natural source of probiotics.  I eat a tablespoon-full every night before bed to settle my stomach.

Pickled Cabbage Salad - I adapted this one from Smitten Kitchen.  Mix up a brine of 3/4 C white vinegar, 3/4 C water, 3 T sucanat or sugar, 1/4 t celery seeds, 2 t sea salt.  Heat the brine until everything is dissolved.  Meanwhile shred a pound of cabbage.  Add a julienned carrot.  Pour the brine over the shredded veggies and let it sit for several hours.  It will get better each day (refrigerated)!  This is awesome on Korean beef tacos or as a side to any rich meat.

Vinegar Slaw - This is the bare-bones version of cole slaw that I prefer!  No mayo.  It's perfect on BBQ pork or brisket sandwiches.  Shred 1/2 a head of green cabbage.  Mix 1/4 C sucanat or sugar, 1/4 C white vinegar, and 1 T salt.  Toss it with the cabbage and let it sit for several hours before serving.

Cabbage, Noodles & Bacon - This is one of my all-time favorite comfort foods.  Something about the piquancy of the vinegar against the richness of the bacon, the texture of the cabbage with the noodles.  I just love it.

Braised Cabbage - With both apple cider and cider vinegar.  This is SO freaking good.  Cabbage + apple + bacon is such a natural flavor combination.  Plus Tom Colicchio can do no wrong.

Cabbage Rolls - Leave it Ina Garten, my personal favorite and the queen of Jewish soul food, to give the perfect recipe for this comforting dish.  It takes a little bit of preparation, but it's no harder than a lasagna!

Cabbage & Rice Soup - This is one I came up with on the fly to use up leftovers.  It was perfect.  I took a mix of homemade chicken and pork stock from the freezer - maybe 2 cups.  I added 1 cup thinly shredded cabbage and let that all come to a boil, cooking until the cabbage was tender.  Then I added a cup or so of leftover sesame-scallion rice.  After it heated through I added a half-teaspoon or so of Sambal Oelek.  It was rich and comforting from the stock, filling with the rice, and pleasantly spicy.  Such a good lunch.

Asian Slaw - This is a big favorite in the family for picnics and potlucks.  This deviates from my Real Food ways a bit, since it uses the noodles and spice packet from a package of instant Ramen noodles.  But hey - you only live once, right?  Have some Ramen noodles.  I basically use this recipe, but instead of bagged coleslaw mix, I do 1/2 a head of shredded cabbage and two shredded carrots.

Cabbage & Noodles - This is supreme comfort food that I learned from my days living with my old friends Stephanie and Julie.  Julie's parents brought up all their children as vegetarians, and they had four kids!  So they needed economical ways to feed the family.  You basically just take a head of cabbage, an onion, a one-pound bag of egg noodles (or a pound of fresh), a bunch of butter, and some salt.  Very thinly slice the onion and cabbage.  Take your biggest pan and saute them in 4 T butter and a few teaspoons of salt (I also added about a teaspoon of caraway seeds last time - very nice).  While that cooks, bring a big pot of water to a boil and add the egg noodles.  Cook until they are done, then drain.  Once the cabbage and onion are very soft and starting to caramelize (maybe 20-30 minutes), add the noodles to the pan and add another 4 T butter.  Taste and add more salt as needed.  Stir well so the noodles are totally coated in butter.  Feed an army and enjoy.

So - do you have favorite cabbage dishes!?  What have I forgotten?

[This post submitted to the HomeAcre Hop 3/5/15.]

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

menu plan march i

We are scheduled for more snow this week!  Unbelievable.  This is the length of winter I was used to in New York, not here in temperate Nashville.

It's interesting how nature marches on, though, despite what we humans have to say about it.  I drove up to beautiful rural Kentucky yesterday to fetch our milk for the co-op, and saw all the little calves that were just born.  They were snuggled up with their mamas or on straw bales, soaking up the sunshine.  Can you imagine being born in an open field during an ice storm?  Animals amaze me.


Here's what we are eating this week:

Preamble
We literally always have one of three things for breakfast if we are at home.

1)  -- scrambled eggs from our Mennonite hens
     -- homemade sourdough toast/English muffins/biscuits
     -- raw butter we have been making from our Mennonite cow cream
     -- local raw honey or homemade preserves
     -- seasonal fruit from our CSA or mandarins (in the winter)

2) -- pancakes
    -- raw butter
    -- real maple syrup
    -- seasonal fruit

3)  --soaked oatmeal with raisins, shredded coconut, coconut cream, honey
     --seasonal fruit or preserves

Vicki usually requests #2.  If we have time, I'm happy to oblige.  If I do any sourdough baking, though, we will use the excess starter to have sourdough pancakes.

We also have a metric half-acre of bulk breakfast sausage from our recent half-hog purchase, so we have some sausage patties with whatever other breakfast we have.

Since it is so monotonous, I'm not going to put breakfast on the menu plan.

For drinks, we always have raw milk on hand.  We also drink Berkey filtered water, kombucha, or homemade soda from our ginger bug.  I would love to start messing with water kefir soon.

Finally, I try to make one dessert-ish item that we nibble on all week for snacks and desserts.  This week we are loving chocolate pudding pops.  These are a huge favorite with the kids, even though they make a God-awful mess.

Sunday
-- lunch:  Swedish meatballs, egg noodles, roasted turnips
-- supper:  Family Dinner!  We got a pass this week on dessert, since Stephanie had won a gift basket from the Dutch Maid Bakery at a silent auction.  We had lasagna roll-ups, loaded mashed cauliflower, and jalapeno jelly and cheese wonton quesadillas.  It was fantastic.

Monday
-- leftover pasta with pumpkin sauce, salad with red onion and pickled beets, kombucha
-- supper:  BBQ hamburger (this is an old-timey recipe from my grandmother-in-law that's basically ground beef with ketchup, mustard, vinegar, and Worcestershire.  Then you eat it on a bun like a sloppy joe.  I'll do a recipe soon!), roast potato wedges, pickled cabbage salad

Tuesday
-- lunch:  leftover Swedish meatballs and turnips
-- supper:  cabbage, noodles, and bacon; kombucha

Wednesday
-- lunch:  couscous and chickpeas with turnip greens instead of parsley and spinach
-- supper:  pork chops, baked sweet potatoes, braised turnip greens

Thursday
-- lunch:  leftover couscous and chickpeas
-- supper:  sesame/soy-glazed salmon, Asian cabbage slaw, sauteed green beans, scallion rice

Friday
-- lunch:  I'm going to a clergy tax seminar at the Conference Office and I'm fairly sure lunch is included!  If not, I'll just bring a sandwich of some sort and some veggies.
-- supper:  gonna try this pumpkin, sage, and apple pizza!  Holy moly it sounds good.  We will use our homemade mozzarella, of course.

Saturday
-- lunch:  soup of cabbage and leftover scallion rice in pork and chicken broth
-- supper:  roast chicken, mashed sweet potatoes, roasted turnips, pickled cabbage salad

What's on the menu for y'all?

[This post submitted to Menu Plan Monday 3/2/15 and Fat Tuesday 3/3/15.]