Monday, October 14, 2013

{31 Days} Back to Basics Day 14

This month I am participating in the nester's {31 Days} challenge.  My topic for the month is Back to Basics.  If you would like to follow along you can find all of my posts here.

Menu planning is something that is a huge help in the day to day living for any family.  It helps to keep you on a budget, and also helps you to not waste food.  When you are committed to eating a local diet, it is a little more difficult to menu plan.  Most people would make a menu, and then make a grocery list, with shopping being the last step.  With eating local food it is different in that you need to really see what is available first before you make a menu plan.

Typically for me, menu planning does not happen until after I get to the farmers’ market.  I want to see what is the best quality before I make a plan.  I do not like to have a plan just to find out that x, y, and z are not available that day.  I think that having different “themes” for each day makes it a little easier.  You could do this like Italian one night, Mexican the next, or you can get a little more specific with soup night, potato night etc.  Winter is a little easier because a large majority of the local foods are already in our home, and I mainly have to look in the cupboards to see what is available.

I have said several times before that I eat a lot of soups and stews in the winter.  Some of the typical meals that we will eat during the week are chili, roasted chicken, vegetable soup using homemade stock from the roasted chicken, baked or mashed potato bar, pasta with sauce (bonus if it is homemade pasta using our chicken eggs and homemade sauce), and pizza.  Then we typically will have leftovers for lunch.  It ends up being a lot of the same dishes over and over again, but by changing the seasoning we have different flavors and it does not get boring.

Eating locally lets you get incredibly comfortable in the kitchen.  After a while you know what you can substitute for a dish and have it still turn into a delicious meal.  It also gives you a chance to be creative in the kitchen.  You will learn what is in season when, and what you most likely will be able to find each week.

If you are not comfortable in the kitchen, I would recommend replacing one ingredient with something you can find local for one meal each week.  Eventually you will see how the ingredients you are using each week will work together, and you can put together an entirely local meal!

Do you menu plan and keep a mainly local diet?  How do you do it?

1 comment:

  1. I do menu plan, make tons of soups, stews and try to stick to a local diet. We tend to have a lot of the same things when they are in season, which seems to work well for us and maintain our budget....most of the time anyway :). Now we are snacking on applets, enjoying pumpkin soup. That sort of thing. I also like to try to freeze more....but that's what I need to get better at, making larger quantities!


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