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Week 1 - Wednesday - Terra Firma Farms

Black Beans Charros Wednesday is the day Terra Firma Farms delivers boxes of fresh produce to my neighborhood. At about half past noon, I go to the other side of the hill to pick mine up. It's a little like Christmas every week, this opening up a box to see what's inside, and I look forward to it. This week I find sugar snap peas, a big bunch of asparagus, salad mix, a pint of cherries, and—oh, goodie—a nice bunch of carrots.

This box of produce will the center of my meal planning for the next week. It's hard to cook this way, at least it is for me. I'm not the kind of cook who can just toss some things into a pan and deliver a delicious meal from whatever is at hand. I'm more of a recipe follower, though I drive my husband crazy with my practice of regarding recipes as sets of suggestions more than anything else.

Like everyone, I have favorite foods, and my mind turns first to those things when I am planning meals. Or not turn to them, as with carrots. I tend to use carrots for mire poix and little else, hence the giant backup in my crisper. Even with the addition of Shredded Carrot Salad to my repertoire, I cannot use as many carrots as I get in my box every week.

Before I subscribed to the CSA, my typical meal planning scenario was simple. I thought about what I'd like to have, got out a few cookbooks to see what I needed from the store, and made a list. Now the process is reversed. I pick up the vegetables and then get out my cookbooks to find recipes that will use up the ingredients I have.

The big advantage of this is that we eat a much more varied diet than we would otherwise. There are some vegetables one of us dislikes, and many vegetables I just never think much about. If they didn't arrive in my box every week, I probably never would buy them. As it is, I have to find ways to prepare all of them.

Another advantage is that we eat more fruit than we otherwise would. I'm not much of a fruit buyer. It's expensive compared to other things, and we almost never eat dessert—we rarely have room. So getting fruit in my box most weeks gives me fruit to eat and prompts me to think about supplementing that supply at the store.

Breakfast is my usual oatmeal and lunch is one set of leftovers (Couscous) for Jesse and another (Chili) for me. Dinner is one of my very favorite meals, Black Beans Charros, and it makes good use of the cilantro that remains. Our box this week has more salad mix, so we'll have that with dinner. I'll serve up leftovers from tonight for lunch tomorrow and pop some cherries into Jesse's lunch as a surprise.

Wednesday total: $4.60. Remaining weekly allowance: $34.20 .

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I must find the Maddhur Jaffrey Carrot Salad for you. Dead simple and dead delicious. Well, I don't have to find it, it is at home in the most food-stained book I own. But I'll try to remember to type it up this evening.

Oh, I'd love that, thanks.

Grated carrots mixed with whole-milk yogurt, roasted peanuts, and some cumin are insanely good -- the recipe I have calls it a raita, but I would be very happy eating this as the mainstay of my meal, maybe with some flatbread on the side. I know you and your fella don't have real sweet tooths (sweet teeth?), but you might consider making carrot halwah (recipes all over the net). It will keep, it will freeze, you could put it in your oatmeal instead of sugar, and in your fella's lunchbox instead of his usual peanut snack. And it uses a LOT of carrots. Also, carrot jam was very popular in the 19th century, and made a comeback in England during WWII, when sugar was rationed and fruit was hard to get; it would be delicious on your breakfast corn muffins, and has the advantage, again, of being a keeper. Finally, what about pickling those carrots? You could make the pickle sweet or hot, as you liked, at it would be very nice to perk up a bean or lentil meal.

Yum! Great suggestions, thanks!


I found your blog through Serious Eats. I had been thinking about a food stamp budget experiment for a few weeks, but hadn't done much research. I was surprised at the $74 a week budget. I rarely spend that much on food for the two of us! And we eat very well.

Any-hoo. At Food Network you will find a recipe for refrigerator pickles (not processed in a hot water bath or pressure canner).

Look for "Firecrackers" from Good Eats. A very good recipe and a staple snack around here.

Carrot soup. Saute chopped carrots and onions with a little curry powder in butter, add stock, simmer til soft, then puree, or mash if you like a chunky texture. A little lemon juice or white vinegar adds bite. Seve with toasted seeds or nuts, or yoghurt if you eat dairy.

You might try -- You can search based on the ingredients you have on hand.

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» How did it begin?
» Week 1: Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Sunday | Photos | Summary: Under budget - $3.20
» Week 2: Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Sunday | Photos | Summary: Under budget - $13.34
» Week 3: Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Sunday | Photos | Summary: Under budget - $7.15
» Week 4: Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Sunday | Photos | Summary: Under budget - $6.41
» Week 5: Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Photos

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Food is a Munition of War: living for one month on UK WWII rations

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