On a roll this week! Here’s what’s been shaking over here. It’s been busy! Last weekend I went to a work-life balance workshop we put on for Boston Business Women. I’m on the leadership team of BBW – and going to our own programming is one of the best parts of the running the organization!
Even though I work one on one with women on self care, work-life balance, lifestyle, and productivity, on a regular basis, I’m consistently seeking out opportunities to do find time to do this important work for myself. One of the principles that I teach (and try to follow through with myself) is making the time to do the work. Workshops are a great way to have dedicated thinking time in an otherwise busy schedule.
When I came home, I was so inspired that I went a little crazy with the cleaning and organizing.
Among my productivity boost I managed to do the following – working towards some long standing nagging tasks on my house and home list:
– acquired a new whiteboard for my fridge
– completely cleaned out my car and trunk
– finally took old clothes that I had already set aside months ago to Goodwill
– made huge strides in my “box room”
– completely cleared our coffee table (it was over run with books)
– organized my tupperware and container collection
– put up a new bookshelf in my office
– unpacked ten boxes and bags of books from our stairwell
– passed on two AC units and two fans to those who could use the cool air
– cleaned my kitchen and prepped for my farm share and meat share
– tossed a bunch of old condiments
– took several kitchen appliances out of boxes and gave them proper homes
One of my written goals and intentions for the second half of 2016 is to spend dedicated time making my home a true sanctuary. Just by writing out this goal, I jumpstarted some real action! Just looking at this list thrills and relieves me.
By the time I went to pick up my farm share on Tuesday, I was prepped and ready to fill my fridge with food. In our share this week (August 9th, 2016):
At the stand: 2 pounds of potatoes, one pound of carrots, one bunch of radishes, a pound of beans, 3 pounds of tomatoes, one pepper, a bunch of scallions, an eggplant, 1/3 pound of cherry tomatoes, a bunch of kale, collards, or chard (I went for kale), and 3/4 lb. salad greens.
Pick your own: 25 stems of flowers, and fresh herbs (I went for basil, parsley, and yerba buena).
This weekend my batch cooking was productive as well. I made:
– stuffed peppers and tomatoes with ground lamb and rice
– braised kale with bacon
– fennel salad with fresh herbs and fresh tomatoes
– mashed potatoes and cauliflower
– roasted a chicken from the meat share
– four salads with cucumbers, parsley and tomatoes for lunches
– boiled rice for multiple dinners
– pre-peeled hardboiled eggs
– tahini dressing (simply a few tablespoons of tahini, lemon juice, and water)
– mint yogurt dressing (which had to get tragically tossed because there was detergent in my blender bowl UGH.)
Just a few hours, and I got a full head start to good healthy food for a busy week.
I typically take a few hours every Sunday or Saturday to work through my fridge and pantry and get food prepped. I’m contemplating launching a small meal prepping e-course – is this something you might be interested in?
If you are, shoot me an email at sam at thesecondlunch.com or leave a comment on this post and I’ll keep you updated.
Puptron was trying to be patient, but he really prefers my attention be on him.
Just a quick note – I sent out my August newsletter today – I’ll be doing a few re-sends for new subscribers in the next couple of days. I cover all aspects of wellness: food, productivity, fitness, great reads, self-care, finance, and cultivating habits to live a thriving life.
Join me? http://eepurl.com/bzejLL
Picking up my farm share is hands down one of my favorite parts of my summer. I came back from a long weekend in Colorado mid week, and had moved my farm share pickup from Tuesday to Friday. I used to be a Friday sharer, and truthfully I think I miss it. I was super excited to get back to the farm this week.
The past few weeks I’ve been feeling extra organized, and it’s felt really great. Normally, coming back from a trip I can feel uninspired and unwilling to get back to real life, but my Coloradan host was just as much of an organizer as I am, and I felt particularly on top of getting back into my routine when I returned.
The rain broke in the late afternoon for a nice time in the fields on Friday. There was only a handful of pick your own this week, but I always enjoy hanging around the stand chatting with other sharers and the farm staff. Everyone was getting excited about spiralized vegetables and peanut sauce, fermentation, and travels to Colorado. If you don’t have a spiralizer yet, I recommend the Paderno or the Inspiralizer! Game changer!
On the Stand: potatoes (2 lbs.), cucumbers (5), summer squash and zucchini (1.5 lbs.), 3 pounds mix and match fennel, cabbage, and beets. I have a glut of beets so I took mostly fennel and a head of cabbage. 1 bunch carrots, 1 bunch scallions. 1 lb. tomatoes. 1 bunch choice of collards/kale/chard – went for the kale. 1/2 lb. beans. 2 heads of lettuce. 1 eggplant or pepper – went for the pepper. (Bonus: a half dozen eggs from one of the sharer’s chickens; and the full amount of garlic harvest – maybe 10 or 12 stalks).
PYO: blueberries (1 pint), flowers (25 blooms), herbs – I took an abundance of parsley, thai basil, and mint.
:: The Weekly Meal Plan: Week of August 1st, 2016 ::
This week’s prep: here’s what I’ll be making with my produce and some of the meat share. Most of the produce will be for my lunches. I still have a cucumber, the zucchini, cabbage, herbs, and beets from last share to use up. Oh and a few of the snap peas for snacks.
– hard boil eggs and pre-peel some of them
– a batch of Turkish zucchini with fresh tomatoes
– chop kale and lettuce for lunch salads
– prep snacks: sugar snaps, baba gannoush
– roasted chicken for lunches
As for our meals this week:
Monday: chicken italian sausage with potato and fennel salad
Tuesday: cod with rice and Turkish zucchini
Wednesday: Indian spiced lamb with coriander and cumin carrot and cucumbers
Thursday: miso salmon with rice, pickled cucumbers and carrots
Friday: kapuska (Turkish meat, cabbage, and rice)
Happy Week! I thought I’d catch up this afternoon with a quick “From the field update”. I’m heading back to the farm on Tuesday – and I haven’t eaten through enough of last week’s produce yet, so my meal planning this week is focused on eating through as much of this as I can! I also have a Walden delivery – coming on the 21st, so I have a good amount of eggs and meat to make my way through. (Don’t forget you can get $20 off a Walden share through August with my referral code thesecondlunch)
:: June 28th produce at Stearns Farm CSA ::
To pick: 2 quarts of sugar snaps, 1 quart of snow peas, and I grabbed some yerba buena (a type of mint) from the herb garden.
Pre-picked: 2 lbs. zucchini, 2 large cucumbers, 1 head lettuce, collard greens (or kale!), 1 bunch scallions, 1 bunch salad turnips, 1 bunch kohlrabi, 1 bunch beets.
And here’s how I organize my CSA share.
This week’s prep: here’s what I’ll be making with my produce and some of the meat share. Most of the produce will be for my lunches.
- hard boil eggs and pre-peel some of them
- a batch of Turkish zucchini
- cook down collards
- pickle turnips
- spiralize kohlrabi for kohlrabi slaw
- sauté beet greens and kohlrabi greens with olive oil and garlic
- prep snacks: sugar snaps, baba gannoush, and green tahini
Here’s what I’m thinking for dinners this week:
Monday: pork chops and apple-kohlrabi slaw
Tuesday: crab, mango, and avocado salad
Wednesday: ground beef with salsa, cauliflower rice, and guacamole
Thursday: butter chicken with rice and salsa
Summer is here, and we are feasting! Each summer, I get a good percentage of my food from my two CSA’s – our summertime farm share, and our meat share. The rest I supplement from local farmers markets, Trader Joes, and Whole Foods.
Our meat and eggs are from Walden Local Meat Co. – if you are interested in trying out a meat share, you can get a $20 referral discount to Walden this month (and through August 30th) by leaving my name – Sam Tackeff or thesecondlunch – as your referral! They do home and office deliveries in the greater Boston area, and the small packages start at just under $50 a month.
Life is just better when farm season has started. We had the first farm pickup of the season last week, and I headed out on Friday afternoon to get my bounty. It’s actually quite a schlep from home – over an hour – to get to the farm, but I’ve been a sharer at Stearns Farm CSA since I went to college at Wellesley, and it’s definitely one of my happy places! We get an alternate share, so I only go once every two weeks.
:: June 17th produce at Stearns Farm CSA ::
To pick: 1 quart strawberries, and I snuck a small handful of mint and thyme.
Pre-picked: a large head of escarole, three heads of lettuce, lots of bok choy, a pound of spinach, a bunch of radishes, and garlic scapes.
If you are overwhelmed with your own share, or curious how I organize: here’s a post I wrote for tips for organizing my CSA share. I have a great system down!
:: The Weekly Meal Plan: Week of June 20th, 2016 ::
This week’s prep: hard boil eggs and pre-peel some of them, defrost and cook another piece of meat from my meat CSA (chicken thighs, chicken sausage, pork chops), Cook down bok choy with cubed pancetta and sherry.
Sunday: beef arepas with pickled onion, avocado, and radishes. This was a Blue Apron meal that I ended up modifying for our taste – didn’t make the arepas, but added green beans to the beef, cut the onions, and pickled the radishes instead.
Monday: roast chicken and potatoes with green beans. This ended up being a bit of a dud, because somehow I managed to overcook the potatoes and the green beans because I wasn’t paying attention to them. Whomp!
Tuesday: chicken Italian sausage from Walden and a green salad with a green herb tahini green goddess dressing. I started getting some great chicken Italian sausages in my meat share, and requesting them every month. I chopped up them up and tossed them in some sauce. The salad had fresh lettuce from the farm!
Wednesday: Turkish stuffed peppers with rice and currants – my mom actually made these, but when I make them myself, I usually use a riff on this recipe. Yes, that’s a bit of a blast from the past. I was trying! http://www.thesecondlunch.com/2009/04/summer-stuffed-peppers/
Thursday: wild cod and potatoes with fresh herb aioli over salad – keeping dinner light, but I’ve been loving some fresh herb sauces with a little bit of home made mayo or even just an olive oil slurry. Simple and summery!
Friday: out. Alternately, I have some defrosted pork chops that need eating! We’ll either do takeout from one of our favorite places or I’ll finally get some propane for the grill!
Saturday: Ottolenghi’s chicken and cardamom rice. I’ve been craving this one for weeks!
Sunday: shakshuka (eggs in tomato sauce) – it’s been far too long since we’ve had eggs braised in tomato sauce, and I have some extra sauce left in the kitchen from this week’s sausages. I also have a surplus of eggs that need cooking – I get three dozen a month from Walden as an add on to my share.
What’s cooking on your table this week?
This summer I’ll be heading west to the farm every other week as part of a CSA (community supported agriculture) program at Stearns Farm, in Framingham, MA. Unlike the CSA boxes that end up on your doorstep, Stearns is a bit more hands on, and requires both regular work hours, and picking a good portion of your produce each pickup. It’s a way for me to avoid the supermarkets, eat in season, and (selfishly) farm without the larger commitment.
:: Storing and prep ::
On CSA pickup day I try to clean my fridge and re-organize in advance so I’ll have space for my produce when I return.
When heading to the farm, I bring large cooler bags, and a few assorted sizes of Ziplocks. I also bring a pair of scissors to cut herbs and certain vegetal leaves. I bring a sharpie to label my produce with a name and date picked.
If produce can stay on the counters in a shady part of my kitchen, I’ll leave them out. If I have no space, I’ll freeze leafy vegetables like spinach and chard to put in smoothies.
So, what’s on the table?
:: June 19th produce at Stearns Farm CSA ::
To pick: 1 quart snow peas, 1 quart snap peas, 10 stalks of swiss chard, 2 quarts of strawberries, and glean spinach which was going to seed. Herbs: sage, marjoram, garlic chives, and mint.
Pre-picked: 1 lb. zucchini, a large head of escarole (or a kohlrabi), a huge bok choy, mustard greens, scallions, and three heads of lettuce.
:: Quick Meal Possibilities ::
When dealing with my CSA vegetables, I like to have an arsenal of easy no-recipe meal ideas that use a lot of vegetables. Many of my go to meals are here. I also make a lot of stir fries, serve quick cooked vegetables with ground meat, mix vegetables with eggs, eat large salads, and break out my spiralizer to make vegetable noodles.
My cookbook collection certainly helps with ideas – I have a good selection of vegetable based cookbooks which are organized by vegetable type. I also make good use of my Eat Your Books subscription.
My Walden Meat share (pictured below) also helps me plan – I try to defrost a few meats in the fridge every week, and then build meals based on what I’ve pulled out to cook.
Just a few of my meals this week – not all of these are exclusively with farm produce, but I prioritize what needs to be eaten quickly (lettuces), as well as any existing leftovers in the fridge.
- fresh herb and scallion frittata
- single serving strawberry crumbles
- salad with Turkish köfte, peppers and avocado
- peanut soba noodles with scallions, snap peas, and chicken
- salad with snap peas and cabbage, and cumin spiced chopped beef
- potato and cauliflower jalfrezi with hard boiled eggs
- chicken tikka masala with garlic sautéed spinach
- goulash with ground beef, red lentils, tomato, and cauliflower
- farm lettuce salad with fennel, pepper, roasted broccoli, vadouvan sausage
I’ll try to drop in notes over the course of the season so you can see what I’ll be doing with my produce. In the meantime, I’ve been sharing most of my meals here on Instagram lately. Take a look!