Winter Harvest, Spring Seedlings

Busy week! Half-days for the kids every day except today. A doctor’s appointment that was canceled, then rescheduled, then attended, but which ultimately was a waste of time (daughter wouldn’t walk on foot; daughter resumed walking on foot). Kindergarten registration for daughter. PTA meeting. Another education-related meeting. Parent-teacher conferences for each kid. Dinner out with friends. Conference call with mortgage company related to refinance. Phone call with book fair representative. Oil delivery. Visit from the appraiser for refinance. Looking at condos for sale with my mom. Regular grocery shopping. Farm food pickup.

Thankfully, an appointment I was supposed to have this morning ended up getting rescheduled. All that’s left for today is to get my hair done later on. Busy weekend ahead too. Somewhere between now and then I need some time to do my introvert-recharge-stare-into-space thing.

So last night I picked up my first order from Winter Harvest Philadelphia. The setup was very convenient: just drove across town and picked it up from a fellow member’s porch.

Winter Harvest Screenshot

For this week, I got 1 lb of chicken breast, a quart of strawberry yogurt, 1/2 lb of butter, 2 lb of yellow onions, 3 lb of apples, and some breakfast sausage. Next week I get eggs, frozen spinach, and potatoes (you order two weeks’ at a time). The prices are kind of high. $8.15/lb for butter and $10.40/lb for chicken are hard to stomach, especially when not so long ago I would wait to get both on sale at ShopRite for $1.99/lb. But you get used to the quality, and it’s hard to go back.

For dairy, I have been liking Organic Valley brand lately. Their butter was great. The prices are more reasonable. I have to do some more research but I’ve gotten the impression that even though they seem like “Big Organic,” they are reputable. They aren’t local, though…

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My only complaint with this food is that the “3 lbs of apples” are three one-pound apples. Ginormous. Will not fit in a lunch bag. And pretty bruised to boot.

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Last Friday we had homemade pizza again, with the local veggie sauce again, from the freezer.

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Obviously, only yours truly ate the whole wheat naan pizza topped with mushrooms.

Saturday, we went out to eat. Sunday, I tried to do short ribs in the Crock-Pot again, but I only had a pound, and it was very fatty :(. I think that cut was from Hillacres Pride. I ate the little meat there was on Monday for lunch. We just had mashed potatoes, carrots and Perdue chicken strips on Sunday. Here’s how the rest of the week has gone:

Monday: chicken soup with ditalini (no actual chicken): made with part homemade chicken stock, part store-bought broth, and some cauliflower puree thrown in

Tuesday: “Pork Chop Schnitzel,” a recipe from my friend H.P.W. that I’ve been using for years. Basically pork chops with a mustard and breadcrumbs coating. Delicious. The kids wiped the breading off. With homemade rice-a-roni and steamed green beans. Pork chops were from Wegmans and I think are local but not organic. Expensive, whatever they were.

Wednesday: Mommy went out! Kids had grilled cheese and broccoli.

Thursday: We stopped and had pizza at Stella Pizza downtown, near the WHP pickup spot.

Tonight: Ambitious Dinner Friday. A Martha Stewart Chicken Spinach Casserole. I figure I ought to take advantage of the cooler weather. Soon it will be too hot for casseroles.

I continue to do pretty well with eating leftovers for lunch. Thursday night last week, everyone else had regular spaghetti, while I had some ricotta gnocchi with vodka sauce. The gnocchi are locally made at Severino’s and sold at Whole Foods. I just couldn’t do regular spaghetti again. The bread was semolina bread baked at Whole Foods. So good at dinner, and so very good as lunch the next day. I need to master vodka sauce. That ought to be something I can make over the summer with tomatoes and can for the winter, no?

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Yeah, that’s freshly grated pecorino romano too. No doubt, our food is getting expensive, but I’d rather cut corners elsewhere.

Oh I almost forgot to mention the homemade Cheez-Its debacle. Oh my. I spent last Saturday afternoon finally attempting the homemade Cheez-Its. I had bought a small food processor so I could make the dough. The dough came together nicely in the processor. I rolled them out, cut them up. I was a little slapdash but you could really make them look like Cheez-Its if you wanted.

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When they came out of the oven, they seemed perfect. Real cracker texture. I really thought making crackers was something that could only be accomplished by industrial equipment, I don’t know why.

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Alas, the taste. Something went wrong. Really salty and weird. Weird aftertaste. I ate a bunch and told myself they were fine, but they really weren’t. Oh well. Will have to try again.

In garden news, my indoor seedlings are doing well. Those big sprouts are broccoli. I think I’m supposed to be moving them outdoors to a cold frame, but I’m not even sure what a cold frame is. Also it’s going to snow on Sunday… The other sprouts are tomatoes and onions. I also have pepper seeds started, but they are a bit behind. And this week I got arugula sown out back, and I planted some sprouted bits of potato, to see if they do anything. The next thing I really need to think about is whether I should spring for soaker hoses. I can’t be carting my watering can all over the place like last summer if I’m going to have a bigger garden.

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