A Year Of Eating Locally - Meal Plan + Food Costs: Week Of August 12, 2018

So, I completely forgot to post our meal plan and food costs last week.  What I can tell you is we spent $72.47 and I focused on developing recipes that are very simple and quick.  I'm continuing my development of recipes and will begin sharing the winners with you soon.

Life is hectic, isn't it?  It doesn't matter if you're s single person, a couple minus kids, a couple with kids, or any other combination.  We all need quick and easy (and delicious) options.  I'm trying to use my instant pot and slow-cooker more, and experimenting with creating new homemade sauce recipes that will freeze well.

I was not able to get veggies yet this week.  I was too busy at the farmer's market on Sunday and unable to break free so I'm using our extra's from last week as well as what's ready in the garden until our market Wednesday.  Luckily, our garden is in full swing!  You'll see noted below my weekly CSA amount of $18.00 but no veggies listed, because I'm not sure what I will be picking up.

I'm thinking of doing a pantry challenge next month.  This week's menu has inspired me because I'm using mostly what I have on hand.  Are you interested in joining me?  The month of September I will attempt to buy no groceries and only eat from our pantry, freezer, refrigerator and garden.  One exception is that our CSA runs through the second week in September, so I will be getting fresh fruit/veggies for 2 weeks, but not after that, unless it comes from the garden.

The goal is two-fold: 

A Master Guide To Creating Herbal Infusions

This post may contain affiliate links which come at no extra cost to you. These links allow me to share the products I authentically recommend (and use) and support Cobble Hill Farm by receiving a small commission.

There are various ways for herbs to be absorbed into the body.  One of these methods is herbal infusion - think of it as an herbal tea.  Herbs can be infused either in water or into oil, and should be steeped or simmered, never boiled.

Herbal infusions are made from the leaves, flowers, and aromatic parts of plants.  I prefer to infuse dried herbs, if infusing into oil, because they have less moisture.  (if using fresh herbs, wilt them for 10-12 hours first to allow them to dry out some)

Preserving The Harvest: Freezing Blueberries The Right Way

This post may contain affiliate links which come at no extra cost to you. These links allow me to share the products I authentically recommend (and use) and support Cobble Hill Farm by receiving a small commission.

A wrong way to freeze blueberries, you ask.  While there isn't technically a "wrong" way, there is, I guess, a better way which will allow you to use as few or as many frozen berries as you would like.

Blueberries are so incredibly good for you and it is recommended by many that a small handful a day is very beneficial.  Although blueberries are likely available at your local grocer year-round, it doesn't mean those you find in the winter will taste good.  Let alone the miles they've traveled to get to your town.  Because of this, I highly recommend picking or buying extra blueberries when they are in season and freezing what you can for use later.

You'll be happy you did.

I also like to make blueberry jam when the temp's drop.  Usually I'll make one or two batches in the summer, after picking them, and then make more in the fall using the now frozen berries.

This Month On The Farm: July 2018 - Garden Updates (plus a plan!), Kitchen Updates, Answers To A Business Question Many Of You Have Asked Me About, And More!


Oh my.  It was a HOT start to the month.  We had a 6-day stretch of upper 90's to low 100's + full on "oppressive" humidity weather to kick it off.  It was, in one word, miserable.

It's generally been quite a hot and humid summer and you can see it in the garden.  The few times we've been the lucky recipient of rain, thankfully, we've received quite a bit, but it was very inconsistent and partnered with scorching hot temp's during the stretches between rain showers.  There's proof of it in the summer squash with some of the little fruit getting rot as well as in the cukes with deformity on a good handful.

The Garden
Despite the oppressive summer, the garden continues to do well.  We are even still collecting sugar snap peas from our very generous, albeit little, patch!  I can't believe it.  Usually by now they turn hard and lose their sweetness but for some reason it's working out well this year.  The potatoes are about ready to begin harvesting, we've been swimming in green beans the last 2 weeks (hooray for that!), the cukes are ripening slowly, which is ideal, so we are able to keep up with them, and the broccoli is ready to begin harvesting.

I (again) forgot to net the elderberries, so the birds have feasted on a good portion of them.  It will still leave me quite a few to dry now that they are ripe, so for that I'm grateful.  I hope to remember to net them after they flower next year.

Summer squash has had a few issues, but it's looking good and we are harvesting a LOT of tomatoes (stinks now that I'm not eating tomatoes.....).  The peppers are getting big and the little sweets are ripening as if on cue, because I am now out of frozen peppers from last year's garden.  Did I tell you we had some surprise kohlrabi?  I didn't mean to plant the seeds, they must have gotten into my broccoli seed packet by accident.  So, surprise!!  They are delicious.

A Year Of Eating Locally - Weekly Meal Plan + Food Costs: Week of July 29, 2018

my farmer's market veggie haul this week
Well, I'm happy to report that my decision to cut out inflammation-causing nightshade plants seems to be working.  As much as I LOVE peppers, potatoes, tomatoes, Mexican food, etc. I really really don't want to risk the sinusitis issues, so I continue excluding them from my diet.  It's funny though.  I tend to forget and I have to second guess everything.  For instance, I put buffalo cauliflower on the menu last week.  Ummm…..buffalo sauce has peppers, so no, I did not have buffalo cauliflower.

I usually add peppers to just about everything, so I have to watch that.  I add crushed red pepper flakes to many sauces and soups, so I have to watch that.  Tomatoes are included in many of my typical veggie dishes.  Those have to be adjusted.  It's interesting.

I made this chocolate zucchini cake recipe (our very favorite) last week and changed it to vegan.  And it worked!  I substituted the eggs for flax seeds + water, for the butter I used a combo of coconut oil and applesauce and for the sour cream I used a coconut yogurt.  

Preserving The Harvest: Freezing Cauliflower For Use Year-Round

yup, still cabinet door-less!
This post may contain affiliate links which come at no extra cost to you. These links allow me to share the products I authentically recommend (and use) and support Cobble Hill Farm by receiving a small commission.

Cauliflower is one of those veggies that I don't often think about with the exception of a few recipes.  So when I need it, I don't necessarily need a full head.  Not wanting anything to go to waste, I will either plan another cauliflower dish the same week or I will freeze the leftovers for use later.  Freezing cauliflower is super simple!

Soothing After Sun Aloe Spray (plus it's good for bug bites and other skin irritations too!)

This post may contain affiliate links which come at no extra cost to you. These links allow me to share the products I authentically recommend (and use) and support Cobble Hill Farm by receiving a small commission.

Selling at farmer's markets is the best and the worst part of our business.  It's the best because we are interacting with others and talking to our customers.  It's the worst because we are out in all of the elements.  Snow?  Yup.  Rain?  Most of the time (sometimes we cancel if we believe our products will be damaged).  Heat and humidity?  Indeed!

It's at the markets that sometimes I forget about sun exposure.  Usually when it's overcast and I just don't think about the fact that I'm going to be affected.  Next thing you know, I'm burnt.  And what happens when you get a sunburn?  You are very uncomfortable for at least 24 hours.  Enter aloe spray.....

A Year Of Eating Locally Meal Plan + Food Costs - week of July 22, 2018

our new kitchen minus the cabinets

I shared, some time ago, that I eliminated all dairy products from my diet because I'd heard (time and time again) that dairy could be contributing to my ongoing seasonal allergy pain and symptoms.  I ignored the advice (I mean who can give up cheese????) until finally I was so sick for three months that I waved the white flag and decided to try it.  For 30 days.  On day 25 I was still not noticing much relief and could not wait to have cheese again in five days.  And then day 28 rolled around and it happened.  I felt much less congested, my head was clear, and the mucous was minimal.

And then I had to figure out how in the world I was going to adopt this lifestyle for good.  It's been challenging, but worth it.

While dairy elimination hasn't completely alleviated sinusitis or seasonal allergy flare-ups, it has absolutely toned down the issues related and has made it all very manageable.  That being said, I still get headaches with changes in barometric pressure, and I still have days when the pollen and/or mold count are high, that I am in pain.  We can't sleep with the windows open or I am a congested mess in the mornings.

I've heard, for the past couple of years, from different sources, that eliminating nightshades completely from your diet would help alleviate seasonal allergy issues.  So I go back to my dairy dilemma of giving up cheese.....who can give up peppers, potatoes, and in-season FRESH

A Year Of Eating Locally-Meal Plan + Food Costs: Week of July 15, 2018

If you’re just tuning in, this is our 1 year challenge in which I share our weekly meal plan as we try to eat primarily locally grown food.  You will see that I often I make 2 different meals because I am primarily plant-based and my husband is not.  Most of what we eat is made from scratch and any boxed, canned and/or frozen products follow the Real Food guidelines.  Meal planning is my way of controlling the grocery budget (read as a LOT of dollars saved), ensuring there is no food waste for the week, as well as saving time.  You can read more about meal planning here.

This Month On The Farm: June 2018 - Wildlife, Blueberries, Chickens & More!

If you’re just tuning in, this is a brand new ongoing series in which I document each month of our lives in our transition to a simple, homemade life on a modern homestead. We ditched town and moved to the country in 2008 and we blog about both our successful and not-so-successful ventures in homesteading, switching to natural products, and embracing a whole foods lifestyle.  Check out the entire series here.

The garden is going well!  Oh how I wait (and wait and wait....) for those beautiful green tomatoes to show their first blush of red.  How I long to pick them fresh off of the vine.  Fingers crossed this will happen soon.  Our veggies are a tad bit behind because I started them about 4 weeks late.  The good news is we are at farmers markets every week so we still get to enjoy the veggies as they come into season.   Then, once ours are producing, we can switch to eating right from the garden.  I did downsize my garden this year but I think I will go back to a large garden next year.  It's just so satisfying!