Monday What-to-Eat Post

So here's what we actually ate yesterday. In addition to the list below, btw, C. and K., the new guys ate a fair number of totally non-local oranges and bananas, as well as some local apples. Because they've experienced real hunger, they have a bowl of fruit in their room that they can eat anytime, so that they never need to worry there won't be food. The first night they were with us Eric took them shopping and let them pick out some junk food to put in the bowl (sugary granola bars and fruit-roll ups), but when we ran out of that stuff, we moved on to just fruit, which is going very well. Eventually I hope we can remove the bowl altogether, or go just to local fruit, but I'm not pushing that too hard yet.

Just to note - yesterday was kind of a weird day. It was the first day back at school for our new guys, and an unusually long work day for Eric (as the semester winds up). In addition, we were expecting social workers to come to the house later and had a lot of other stuff going on, so the cooking was pretty simple. Because C. and K. have a very early start to their school day, we had extra time to cook early in the am, so breakfast was kind of leisurely, and after that everything got kind of rushed.

Breakfast: Choice of Yoplait Yogurt (totally unsustainable), homemade whole wheat-oat sourdough with butter or jam or peanut butter, homemade granola, oatmeal, generic cheerios (which I buy in bulk and we refer to as "infeerios" because they really aren't quite as good) or eggs. C. and K. ate yogurt, and had breakfast at school again later. Eric and I ate bread and butter and tea. Asher had a yogurt and some eggs. Eli and Simon had toast and eggs. Isaiah had granola. Kids had cranberry juice.

Notes: I can't make yogurt right now because we don't have enough milk - most of the goats are dry and due to kid shortly. Because I can't legally feed our milk or any milk products to foster children, even if I pasteurize, I can't give them homemade yogurt, so I probably will be buying yogurt for the foreseeable future, unfortunately. We will be shifting to local and organic and not artificially key lime flavored, but again, this is gradual. If I'm offering it to C. and K., some of my kids will want the junk food, since ths is a rare thing in our house.

We are also buying milk again because of this, and while I try to buy the good local stuff, it isn't always easily available to me, and I've bought convenience store milk once. I've got to get together a mental plan for this milk thing.

We have eggs coming out the wazoo, so while I don't normally offer eggs on a school morning, when Eli asked I said "hey, how many can I get rid of? Victory!" We can feed our own eggs, thankfully.

Granola I make - incredibly easy stuff. I mix 5 parts rolled oats with 1/2 part whole flax seed and 1/2 part ground (ground can be digested, whole is awesomely crunchy when toasted and everyone loves it), 1 part organic slivered almonds from the coop bulk bins, and then toss it with a mix of oil (just enough to coat the mixture very lightly, brown sugar or honey, almond and vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and a little salt, and toast it in the oven until golden). Everyone loves it - I like it with yogurt and fruit, the boys like it with milk as cereal. I buy the rolled oats in bulk from Pennsylvania (coop orders them for me) and also use them for oatmeal.

The cranberry juice is frozen concentrate, which is better than shipping water around, but not much. The tea is either fair trade organic, or one of my cheats, since I really love Constant Comment, which is neither fair trade nor organic. Butter is local and Amish - I don't separate cream from goat's milk to make butter, it just isn't worth the effort. Eli and Asher also drank goat's milk.
Jam was Welch's (picked out by the boys - in a squeeze bottle no less ;-)) or blueberry made by my friend Michelle (thank you!!!!!). We're out of everything homemade but peach, which honestly isn't anyone's favorite.

Snack: CCR (which does not stand for any '60s band in our house, but for "Cheerios and Cranberry Raisins") - I buy bulk organic MA cranberries in 20lb boxes and mix them with the aforementioned infeerios for a kind of trail mix. I have no idea when I started out doing this, but I've been doing it for decades and the kids adore it. Cheerios are the one non-local food I am NEVER allowed to stop buying - we compromise by buying hotel size boxes of them in plastic bags to minimize packaging. Isaiah and Asher eat apples as well (local - ours are gone, but we buy them from farmers nearby who keep Mutsus in cold storage).

Lunch: Fresh Mein noodles (made in NYC, purchased in asian grocery store) with some leftover chicken from one we roasted this weekend (ours, butchered last fall), overwintered onions, scallions and bok choy (the last two ours). Sauced with totally non-local and non-sustainable faux-oyster sauce (made from mushrooms) and kecap manis.

Eli, C. and K. take lunches to school. Eli had leftover lentil soup from the weekend, homemade bread, an apple, an orange and water. C. and K. at their request have PBJ on purchased bread (a sort-of whole grain commercial bread), an apple, an orange, a granola bar and an organic juice box. I let them pick the stuff for their lunches for the first few days, but we will be make some transitions. I'm baking Challah today so that they have a whitish but homemade bread for tomorrow's sandwiches, and we bought them new water bottles to take to school. Still, we're trying to go slow and not scare them.

Snack: Carrots (Asher), Apple (Isaiah), Orange (Simon), and then after everyone comes home from school, pumpkin-chocolate chip bars.

I pretty much made up the recipe on the fly yesterday, but this is what I think I put into it. I can of pumpkin (commercial), 3 eggs, about 1/2 cup milk, 1/4 cup oil, a cup of brown sugar, a splash of vanilla, all mixed together. Then I mixed 2 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp baking soda and some nutmeg together, mixed until it made a batter that looked kind of like a bar/cake batter, added chocolate chips (I have no idea how many - some), and baked it at 375 in a baking pan until it looked like bars and was done in the middle. (This is why I rarely post recipes, because this is how I cook - you may have to play with this a bit to get the right results - I didn't measure anything. Today I will remember I am posting about this and measure, I promise.) These were roundly pronounced super-awesome by all tasters. Most of the kids had milk with their pumpkin-chocolate bars - ours if my bio kids, local cow's if not.

Dinner: Eric was from home working, I had a social worker visit at 5:30 and had to get the house cleaned up, so it had to be simple. Quesadillas are one of my favorite lazy-parent dinners. We had chili for Saturday lunch, and I'd put some anasazi beans aside after cooking them, so I cooked the beans with salt, garlic, various spices and lovage until softer, and then mashed the with the potato masher. I grated a bar of local cheddar cheese with peppers and slathered two flour tortillas (non-local) first with beans and then with cheese. I made six of these for six kids, one of which had no cheese because Isaiah prefers it without. I baked them in the oven until crisp and the cheese was melted. At the same time, I roasted three sweet potatoes (local) from last year for Eric's and my dinner (on nights when he teaches late, I wait and eat with him after the kids are in bed).

I served the quesadillas with canned peaches from last year and with purchased local salsa, since we're out of homemade salsa. Several of the boys reassembled the quesadillas with peaches inside, which they swear was awesome, and probably was. Everyone drank water at all meals other than breakfast.

Much later, after the ravaging hordes were contained, Eric and I ate one of our favorite quick meals - sweet potatoes (we also do this with regular potatoes) and greens with a chipotle-cheese sauce. We topped the roasted sweet potatoes with broccoli raab (farmer's market) and made a basic white sauce flavored with cheddar cheese, spices and non-local canned chipotles in adobo. We had chocolate pumpkin bars for dessert, which we probably shouldn't have had. Eric had a beer (non-local, we're still finishing beer given to us last fall by friends who had a lot leftover from their wedding), I had two swallows of his and water.

Ok, that's reasonably comprehensive. Today the cooking should be slightly more elaborate, since I don't have so much going on and it is cool and rainy. I promise to take notes on what actually goes into the food ;-).


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"infeerios" - oh, thank you, thank you. That one's a treasure.

What; no nettles?? I was hoping for some recipes. We've got tons, at the moment; actually thinking about harvest/selling them. I'd have to assume you're familiar, yes?

Nettle tea or nettle soup with milk, potato, nettles of course, chives, and a bit of sausage if you have it:)

I also love Constant Comment Tea! Good use of miture of local and the inferrio stuff considering who you have to feed. We have rhubarb which makes a good crisp this time of year. Good luck with the new kids.

We had nettles over the weekend, and will have them again this week, but I'm a total rapini addict, so we mix and match.

The transition to a healthier, non-junk diet, was one of the challenges when my son moved in at 9 years. I remember him proudly telling his friend "you'll like this ketchup, it's not home made." Almost 3 years in, he still prefers the junk, but it's less of a battle to get him to try new things. And he actually prefers many of our homecooked meals. Sounds like your boys are doing pretty well to start.

I must concur on "infeerios"! Cheerios have been my favorite cereal since I've been old enough to eat cereal, and I assuredly can tell the difference.

Thanks for the recipes - they sound delicious!

I'll also take the opportunity to say that I am continually impressed by the facility (and seeming ease) with which you welcome new children into your home and life.

Best wishes,