I love that fantastic, healthy food does not have to be complex. On a recent grocery store trip my littlest one had the choice between cookies and bananas. She chose bananas. We have them infrequently and they are treat. Mostly, we don’t keep them in the house because they are so coveted that my little one can plow through three large bananas in 1 day. But what a wonderful testament to fantastic, healthy food when a young child chooses it over cookies (I probably would have a hard time making the same choice!). Now that spring is upon us and summer is just about to burst forth what wonderful simple snacks will you choose? Strawberries, snap peas, fresh asparagus and dip?
Cooking for a family of five with young children in the house means that meals have to be quick and easy on most nights. Still we stay away from the prepackaged as much as possible and focus on in season local foods. If you haven’t done so already, I highly recommend that you look into joining a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) you can find out more on LocalHarvest.org We are members of Sunny Hill’s CSA for the summer and often join an early spring share with Brad’s Produce. Once you start looking you will find there are lots of options out there and more appearing each day.
As I said, I love simple, healthy meals. So last night I made Quinoa Bread and Cream of Asparagus Soup. It is always a toss up knowing whether the children will dig in or turn up their noses on any given night. But last night, my eldest went back for thirds. The quinoa bread came from I have now baked 3 batches of bread from this book and it is really simple. One day you mix the ingredients then another day you pull off enough dough to make a loaf. As long as you have time for the rising and baking there is very little else you spend time on. I found this tub today, which I purchased to make the storing of the dough easier but that is just because I wanted my soup pot back.
For the cream of asparagus soup I chose a very simple recipe that I had used before from epicurious.com. I skipped the step of making a garnish since that nicety would be lost on my wee ones and they gobbled it up anyway.
Every week I plan meals around the following main dishes: eggs, beans, beef, chicken, fish, pork and … pizza? Well, maybe eating out. We often spend 1 night a week enjoying a meal with our neighbors or family so for those we are either pitching in to a meal financially or with a side dish. In the winter, one meal a week is soup based. In the summer, one meal a week is salad based. It just makes it easier to take advantage of the cooking styles and foods that are most available during a particular season. The children have not noticed we eat less meat and doing so allows us to afford the local, grass fed meats we prefer.
Tonight, I picked up half a pig that I ordered earlier this year from Rumbleway Farm and a fresh chicken that was processed on Friday. I’ll put an order in for a quarter cow soon. You’ll hear about the chicken tomorrow but once you go fresh…you can never go back!
PS if you are looking for the books and products that I recommend check out my list here.