Those of you who saw my fridge organisation post will know that I belong to a CSA buying group, and I LOVE my CSA.
We get seasonal, local, fresh, chemical free produce whilst supporting the farmers AND getting the best bang for our buck. Not a bad deal at all!
However, being a big advocate of menu planning, I do have to acknowledge that CSAs can (at first) be a bit difficult to work with when planning. But only when you don’t have support and inspiration, and a model to work off. And that’s where I come in! I’m hoping that through my CSA menu plans I can help some of the lovely, amazing people in my CSA buying group AND some of the lovely, amazing people in other CSAs.
Basically, menu planning without a CSA means that you can shop to your menu plan. Plan first, shop later.
Menu planning with a CSA is the reverse – menu planning to your CSA. Shop first, plan later. It’s about working with the (gorgeous) produce that you get, to create a menu plan utilising all of that produce in a way that minimises what you have to buy from outside your CSA to supplement. Thereby saving you money and reducing waste! I also feel that it is about getting used to not having those staples all the time. So what if you have to make a soup with no onions?!? Even going back just a mere 100yrs, people didn’t have access to onions every single time they wanted to whip up a soup. Soup is yummy. Vegetables are yummy. It will taste better if you plan ahead and don’t stress, onions or no onions.
So in addition to showing you all my menu plan each week, I also want to try and highlight produce that I either have a lot of or am struggling to get through. I’ve also started a little weekly feature on my HHH facebook page called ‘What-to-cook Wednesdays’, where I choose a couple of produce items based on readers’ suggestions, and we all toss around ideas to use such produce. It gets everyone thinking and helping one another, and it reduces waste in our kitchens!
I am human too. We struggle to get through our lettuce each week. At the moment we are getting mammoth lettuces in our boxes. Every. Single. Week. Don’t get me wrong – I love a challenge, and I love not wasting food and eating seasonally. But sometimes I do hope for a week off from lettuce, just to catch up and get rid of the lettuce already waiting to be eaten! Luckily, T has recently decided that he does (finally!) enjoy lettuce. So we are having salads twice a week at least. But we’re talking mammoth lettuces. Most of our lettuce goes into green smoothies, and even then we struggle to use it all. My biggest task for this week is to do a green smoothie at least once a day to get through our lettuce (we currently have two mammoth lettuces and 1 almost gone lettuce to get through).
We also have a ridiculous amount of apples this week, new ones and ones accumulated from previous weeks. No stress really, we eat apples like they are going out of fashion, but all the same it would be nice to shift some. Maybe some jam-making later in the week will be just the ticket. It is, after all, coming up to Christmas! I have quite the jammy reputation to live up to at this time of year! We have also put up some applesauce today, and will do more of that later in the week as well.
You just have to put your thinking cap on. That’s all it takes. No stress, no fear. And a little bit of productive micromanaging. I tend to micromanage when stressed and busy, so menu planning is also a good way of letting myself micromanage without it rolling over into daily life/parenting and turning into nagging!
Here is this week’s menu plan, starting with Wednesday’s dinner (we pick up our box on Wednesday arvos and often throw something together in an excited, brand-new-fresh-produce frenzy).
Dinner: Honey-soy chicken wings with stir-fried veg (carrots, bok choy, broccoli, cavolo nero)
ThursdayBreakfast: Raw chia seed porridge and green smoothies
Lunch: Leftover curry with leftover potato cakes plus veg (carrot, beans and cucumber)
Afternoon tea: Kiwifruit and mint slushie
Dinner: Steak with beetroot salad and sweet potato chips
Extras: roasted veg hommus (using up the cauli, or most of it anyway); broad bean dip; stock paste; fermented mayo
FridayBreakfast: Bone broth and fruit salad
Lunch: Leftover chicken wings plus hardboiled egg, with small salad
Afternoon tea: either green smoothies or lemon and parsley juice (I was given a huge bunch of garden-fresh parsley by a lovely new customer this afternoon, so will be working to use that up this week!)
Dinner: Pure pork sausages with fermented mayo, dips and vegie sticks (Picnic in the Park!!!!!)
SaturdayBreakfast: Eggs and 2 potato hash, with green smoothies
Lunch: ‘Sushi’ salad with mackerel, avocado, tomato, cucumber and beans (and nori, of course!)
Afternoon tea: Green banana smoothie (as in greens + banana, not green bananas!)
Dinner: Pork belly with fermented applesauce plus a fennel, carrot and orange salad
Extras: Rosemary oil
SundayBreakfast: Chia seed porridge plus juice or green smoothie
Lunch: Leftover pork belly, dips and veg sticks
Afternoon tea: Green smoothie or lemon and parsley juice
Dinner: Steamed ‘roast’ chicken with ‘creamed’ spinach, and carrots sauteed in rosemary oil
Extras: Coconut milk
MondayBreakfast: CADA with cashew milk and a green smoothie
Lunch: Leftover chicken, repurposed into a salad
Afternoon tea: Lemon and parsley juice, or a banana smoothie
Dinner: Slow-cooked lamb and coconut curry with extra veg and potato cakes
TuesdayBreakfast: Bone broth and fruit salad, plus a green smoothie after
Lunch: Grain-free okonomiyaki
Afternoon tea: Banana smoothie
Dinner: Steamed barramundi with veloute sauce and soup
WednesdayBreakfast: CADA with orange juice and coconut milk, plus a green smoothie
Lunch: Leftovers (to clear out the fridge before all the new goodness comes in!)
Afternoon tea: Whatever kind of juice/smoothie will best use what we have left – probably green smoothie if we’re still working through all that lettuce!!!
Dinner: Who knows?!? Depends what we get that afternoon. This is my day to ‘go wild’ and be spontaneous. Let go of the reigns a little. Just for one evening!
What are you planning to cook this week?