What is going on?!? I am actually posting my menu plan on time. Even more impressively, my son’s birthday party is in two days and I am posting my menu plan on time! I’m just going to take a moment to pat myself on the back. 🙂
Now I’m going to explain why I am spending this evening menu planning amidst the chaos (and yes, inadvertantly explaining why it is not such a big deal that I’m posting this on time, but let’s just keep pretending it’s a big deal anyway).
Chaos. It is hard to set aside time to menu plan when chaos abounds. It seems so much more difficult to set aside a big chunk of time than to simply spend a little bit of time each day figuring out what to cook in the moment. But I promise you, if you take it day by day and add together the amount of time you spend thinking, uhm-ing and aah-ing, checking the fridge, consulting cookbooks, checking the fridge again, maybe rushing to the shops to pick up something… You spend a lot more total time than if you just blocked out some time, sat down, and nutted out a menu plan then did one or two shops in the week to fit the plan. And let’s face it, when we are surrounded by chaos, it’s nice to have something totally under control, and one less thing to stress about.
So tonight, I organised dinner, picked up our CSA box, came home, ate dinner, got T bathed and into bed, made some fudge for his b’day party (and ate way too much of the mixture!), then set a tomato/carrot/capsicum mix in the TM to reduce for the sauce which will go on the mini pizzas for T’s party, and sat down to plan my menu for the week. Because although T’s party will be over and done with in two days, I then have to focus on assignments and catching up on lectures, plus my Thermomix business, plus a possible media thing for a wonderful friend of mine and a wonderful organisation. Oh, and still unpacking/packing away. So you can see why I need the reduced stress throughout the week, no?
There are many benefits to menu planning. To me, reducing stress and saving time are the most important factors. Remember to head over to Quirky Cooking for some more meals inspiration.
I promised more info about CSAs this week. And I actually remembered to take a photo of my fruit and veg that came in this week’s box – hooray! This week we got: cos lettuce, leek, silverbeet, carrots, apples, tomatoes, bananas, cabbage, sweet potato, kiwifruit, potatoes, onions and broccoli. Not a bad haul! I get my box from Food Connect Sydney every Thursday night. So far, I have found them to be reasonably priced, and the produce excellent.
What is the point of CSA? Well, there are lots of reasons to join a CSA.
1) Eat more seasonally. I think that we eat too much of the same thing, year round. Everything is always in season, at least at the supermarket. But that’s not the case; often foods have to be stored a long time so that we can have them year round, and that’s not good for the food itself or for us, for a host of different reasons. But, long story short, our food is more nutrient-rich when it hasn’t been stored.
2) CSAs are often organic or at least chemical free. Ours is a mixture of both. The chemical free farmers farm at the same standards as organic farmers, but haven’t pursued certification. It’s a great way to get a variety of reasonably-priced, good quality produce. And organic farming is much better for our land.
3) Less travel miles. Generally, CSAs are local. Local is a pretty vague word. Ours is probably less local than a lot of other CSAs – let’s face it, it’s hard to find farms in Sydney. But overall, joining up to a CSA will reduce the distance your food has to travel. Of course, this reduces the need for long-term storage, but it also means that your food has less of an impact on the planet. Not as many resources need to go into transporting your food to you, and as such, your food is not taking away from the Earth.
4) More support for the farmers. I find it incredibly sad the way that the two supermarket giants are totally disregarding Australian farmers. Although overseas food can be cheaper than food grown and packaged in Australia, it’s not all about the money!!! What about the wasted land, the wasted resources, not to mention the stress on the farming family and their community? And then the travel miles on international food! It’s a disaster. We should be supporting Australian farmers, especially those who are using sustainable and beneficial techniques.
5) It’s exciting! I can’t wait to get some crazy weird items in my CSA and start experimenting!
There are many more reasons to join a CSA, but those are my top 5.
Anyhow, here is this week’s menu plan, in week 2 of my CSA.