Monday, March 18, 2013

Ooh La La

When I feel like being fancy, I usually turn to French Cooking. Julia Child once said "In France, cooking is a serious art form and a national sport." I couldn't agree more. It's why I read so much about how they feed their children. It's their insistence on the freshest ingredients available that always produces delicious food that is at the same time simple. 

I was trying to figure out what to do for dinner tonight and when I was checking my email, I got an email from my husband about a dish for the brussels sprouts we got from Hollygrove. It's almost time to pick up our next box, so I need to finish what we have in the current box. This recipe looked super yummy and when I clicked the above link that said "Prepare a Simple French Farm Dinner", I knew I was in for a treat. 

I clicked the link and realized that I had about every ingredient - with some variations. The great thing about cooking versus baking is you can experiment with the ingredients and the measurements and still come out with a delightful dish. Try to substitute baking powder for baking soda!!

With a few adjustments and a quick trip to Whole Foods, I had everything I needed for a perfect French dinner. 

Adapted from

Radish and Orange Salad in Balsamic

1/3 cup mayonnaise - pantry
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar - pantry
1 tablespoon milk - pantry
1 tablespoon chopped capers - didn't use - don't like capers
4 cups trimmed watercress - used regular salad mix - it's cheaper! $1.00
3 large sliced oranges -  50 cents
1 1/2 cups sliced radishes - CSA
1/4 cup sliced green onions (scallions) - CSA
In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, balsamic vinegar, milk and capers; set aside (can be made up to 4 days ahead and stored covered, in refrigerator). On serving plates, arrange watercress sprigs; top with orange slices. Scatter radish and green onion slices over oranges, dividing evenly. Just before serving, drizzle with reserved dressing. Garnish with a radish rose, if desired.

Sautéed Brussels Sprouts With Apples 

1 pound fresh Brussels sprouts - CSA
2 cups chopped onion - didn't use this much - about 1/2 cup .50
1 tablespoon butter - pantry
1 pound sweet red apples, cored and sliced - only used one apple - .50
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves - used herbs de provence
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Steam Brussels sprouts until fork tender but not soft, about 5 to 8 minutes; drain well. Meanwhile, cook onion in a skillet with butter, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Add apples and stir gently to combine. Stir in Brussels sprouts, thyme leaves, salt and pepper. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Toss gently to blend thoroughly before serving. 

Pheasant Baked With Cream Recipe

1/2 cup all-purpose flour - pantry
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 whole pheasant, dressed (about 3  lbs) - not even! I used 4 chicken thighs - $3.50
1/4 cup olive oil - pantry
1 cup heavy cream - $1.50
1 large yellow onion, quartered - used other half of onion from sprouts
4 cloves garlic - pantry 25 cents
1 teaspoon dried thyme - used herbs de provence
In large paper bag, shake together flour, salt and white pepper. Place pheasant chicken in bag and shake well to coat.
In large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add pheasant chicken and brown on all sides.
Add onion, garlic and herbs and saute until onions start to become clear and get browned on edges. Drain grease. Add cream. Saute about 15 minutes or until chicken is cooked.

I changed how I made this part of the meal the most. You can read about it here.

We really loved this meal!! It was so simple and full of flavor and a lot less than dining out in a fancy French Restaurant. Including the pantry items, I don't think I spent more than $12.00 on this by using the CSA foods. 
Fresh, Local, Organic

Bon Appetit!

It's All Green to Me!

Since this past weekend was St. Patrick's Day, I took some time with my family and friends and didn't get to update our meals. Here's a little bit of what's been going on. 


We were so tired on Friday night, so I just took the easy way out and asked my husband for help. He made pork chops in the pressure cooker with a gravy from the drippings and sauteed some of the turnips with butter. 

no hormone pork chops - $7.50 for two large ones
turnips sauteed in butter - CSA

On Saturday, we had our annual party for the Irish Channel St. Patrick's Day parade that rolls right past the store. It's a fun time with friends, good food, and parade fun! It's always a great time and gets more and more fun each year. We didn't get home until almost 7PM that night, so we put the baby to bed and ate leftover spaghetti from the freezer. I'm so happy we freeze meals for times just like this. Total cost: Nothing!

Sundays are my day off, and we headed out of town for the day. When we got home, it was almost time for dinner. Our friends came over and brought a traditional Irish Dinner for us to enjoy. We picked up a loaf of Irish Soda Bread from Whole Foods to go with the meal. Total cost: $3.50

Tonight's meal is still a mystery to me, but I have to decide soon! It's sure to include more of the CSA box items. We do eat some of the items for breakfast and lunch, so we don't waste anything.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Living the life

Life in New Orleans has its ups and downs. As I have mentioned in the past, it is a great place and a crappy place. We have learned to just let it be our home and accept the things we like, while ignoring those things that annoy us. 

One of the things we absolutely love is the availability of fresh, local, organic foods. There are a lot of options including farmer's markets, Co-Ops, and CSA's. When we moved last month, we ended up being less than a mile from the best CSA, Hollygrove Market & Farm. It is a fantastic CSA in that you don't have to join in order to get their weekly box and the food is so fresh and seasonal. You can also purchase local meats, eggs, and dairy. We love them :)

I know that not everyone has this kind of access. In a city like New Orleans, I am still amazed that all this is available. We are in the South, where healthy living and eating isn't prized. Somehow, people in New Orleans have forgotten that and are making a growing grassroots effort to bring fresh fruits and veggies to everyone. You can drive through almost any neighborhood and see people growing small plots of crops in their yards and raising chickens. In fact, in our old neighborhood and our new one, we have neighbors that had free roaming chickens! There are also people creating gardens in empty lots. I love this and hope it spreads to every single abandoned lot in the whole city - imagine that!! 

There are those that think organic/local foods are so expensive and hard to live off. For the next few weeks, I will be posting what we get in our CSA food box and what we make for dinner each night. We have a budget, too! We aren't rich and we both work, so there is a lot of nights where it would be easier to give in the towel, pick up some takeout, and eat garbage. I don't want our daughter to grow up like that. 

So, here's the picture of what we got this week from Hollygrove.

With each dinner, I will post the recipe and what it costs to make it. In places where we already had the item in our pantry, I will still do my best to list the price that I paid for it.

Tonight, we made a yummy soup that I would recommend to anyone! Hubby loved it and is eating the rest for lunch tomorrow. It makes four servings, but could easily be doubled. I didn't add any grain source, but it would be awesome with quinoa, rice, pasta, or just some bread on the side.

Berman Soup

2 links of deer sausage - free from a friend
2 small sweet potatoes, unpeeled and cubed - CSA
1 small organic onion - about 50 cents
small amount of coconut oil
bunch of mustard greens, roughly chopped into large pieces - CSA
1 can organic garbanzo beans - pantry, but they cost about $1.39
1 quart chicken stock - pantry, but it cost $1.99

Saute deer sausage in stock pot. Add in coconut oil, sweet potatoes and onion and saute until soft. Add greens and broth. Saute about 20 minutes or until all flavors mix well together. Season with sea salt and pepper. We used the pressure cooker, so it was done even sooner.

Any of these items could be replaced with whatever you have on hand. We would have saved money if we had used dry beans that we soaked, but we didn't have the time and already had the beans. We would also have saved money if we had homemade stock on hand, but we have used all of ours. Someday, we will have a larger freezer and will have more room to store these sort of things. 

This would also make a yummy vegetarian meal with veggie stock and no meat. 

Total cost not including the CSA: $4.89 


So little time

Why does it always seem like there is so little time in my day? Between work, home, and my daughter (Yeah! She's here!!), I barely have time to chat with my husband, eat dinner, and fall into bed. (after a few episodes of "Fraiser" that is!) 

So, that said, my daughter is here - her name is India Jaymes. She was born early. Everything went the wrong way. I was seriously depressed about that for quite some time. And then, one day, it was all OK. I wasn't so hurt about everything. I mean, she is about the cutest thing EVER, and so who can be mad about that sweet face making an early appearance :) 

So, somehow, life is back to normal. Our new normal. Our new normal with India. Life will never be the same and I am thrilled about that!

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