Tuesday 23 July 2013

Day Two Of The Real Food Challenge

Technically, it's day three because I'm late getting this post up.  We're doing this in real time folks and I've been busy.  The roofers arrived a week early and had to cut a lot of tree limbs away from the house before they could start.  I have to cut up and haul all those limbs away!  I've had company three times today and a friend brought me fresh corn to do up for the freezer.  What all that means is that I didn't have time to think about special meals or staging pictures.  Because I have more than a year of eating natural meals behind me, it all worked out for the challenge anyway.

I never hear anyone say they don't want to eat natural, healthy food.  I do hear them say they don't know how to find the time or the money for it.  For me, it was not a religion but a goal that I worked toward and having a good size vegetable garden is a big help.  I go to our local farmer's market for extra produce.  Even without space or time for gardening on a large scale, pots and planters can give you a nice supply of fresh, chemical free vegetables. 

 I've had a lot of fun with a salad greens garden planted in an old wheelbarrow.  I just roll it out of the way to cut the grass and move it into the shade in the afternoon so things don't bolt in the heat. ~

It's giving me gourmet baby spinach ~

and perfect radishes, all without weeding!  I've just planted some parsley along the edges to take over when the spinach and radishes are done. ~

I freeze all the produce from the main garden that I can't eat. Today it was beans and peas. ~

Drying herbs is an ongoing thing over the summer.  It's quick and easy to do, saves money and I know there are no pesticides on them.  Every couple of days I cut some herbs, trim the woody stems away and mince them in a little, electric chopper.  Then I spread them out on a plate to dry for a day or two and store them in glass jars for the winter. ~

I'm a basil addict, so I make sure to make lots of pesto and basil flavoured olive oil.  Nothing could be simpler to do.  I use the little chopper to cut up garlic, add basil leaves, sea salt, pepper and olive oil and give it another good chop.  Put the mixture into ice cube trays and pour olive oil on to cover.

I keep the tray going until it is full, ~

then, turn the frozen cubes out into a freezer container and I always have a base for salad dressings, saute oil and bread dipping oil on hand. ~

So, what did I eat today?  I don't move in the morning without a big cup of coffee.  I keep my eye out for a good deal on organic, fair trade coffee and stock up on it.  The last time, I bought six bags that were marked down to half price and stored them in the freezer to keep them fresh. As usual, I had an egg for breakfast.  I'm lucky to have my own chickens, but even when they didn't lay during a moult I bought free range eggs.  I broke the rules when I had bread and jam at lunch.  We're not supposed to be eating refined sugar during the challenge.  Does it count that I made the jam myself from organic berries?

While I'm doing corn down for the freezer, a friend dropped in and I needed to come up with a quick supper for us both.  So, I ordered a pizza.  Just kidding!

Left over cooked salmon, minced with a fork and mixed with an egg and bread crumbs made patties.  I coated the top side of them with parsley I had already chopped up to dry.  Prep time on that was about 5 mins. ~

New potatoes were tossed in some of the basil oil to roast and halfway through I put the salmon patties in the same pan.  Drop a few cobs of corn in a pot to boil for 6 to 10 mins. and supper was done in one half hour. ~

As you can see, I haven't staged any of this.  The food is tossed on the plate and I took a quick shot.  You can't keep your dinner guest waiting forever while you take pics for a blog post!  She was busy shutting the kittens in the bathroom, so they didn't attack us while we ate, and that gave me time to take this pic.  In honour of the birth of the new prince, we had a cup of British Invasion tea.

This all sounds very organized, but believe me the day was chaos!  Simple food was dressed up with herbs and oil.  Dinner was ready in about 30 mins., with a minimum of effort, and probably cost about $5.  

My friend Mel at Mellywood's Mansion lives in Australia and she has a great post on how she started her garden with a few pots and moved on to turn her suburban yard into a great source of cheap, healthy food for her family.  She has five kids and a tight budget while she is home with the two youngest ones.  Her two eldest boys have been involved in the garden from the beginning and they and her husband are the ones who do most of the work in it.  The part I find wonderful about that is, that the kids have learned to appreciate real food and Mel says they are heavily involved in the cooking of it.  Those are habits that will last a lifetime!

Check out Mel's garden by clicking here. Yeah, that's a lemon tree in her back yard! ~

As the day ends, I head back to the river.  I step on the dock and the movement causes ripples. I think about how every action I take in a day has some ripple effect that I'm not even aware of.  All these small changes I make are my protest against things I believe are killing us and destroying our planet.  I hope it has a ripple effect!


  1. Keep the ripples coming Maureen - LOVED this post - and your supper looks beautiful - because the thing with fresh food is that it doesn't need to be " staged or prepped " for photos - fresh food always looks beautiful!!!

  2. Your dinner does look tasty! How wonderful to live by a lake. If you don't already grow purple basil you should try it it's delicious, thanks so much for the shout out :) I still have chicken/fresh egg envy, still not allowed to get them!

  3. This actually won't be much of a challenge to you, will it Maureen? I mean, you've been eating this way for such a long while now and I'm very impressed. It'll be an organic cakewalk! Also, if your food doesn't make a "ripple", you definitely do as a person! xo wendy

  4. Nice simple meal that was delicious, thanks for a nice evening, which ended with rainbow which we almost missed. I like the idea with the basil and olive oil, hmm very simple, as usual great post.

  5. I think if more people understood the ripple effect we would solve some basic problems that appear as insurmountable.
    I am loving my little garden and already have plans for what it will look like next year. Growing my own food seemed somewhat daunting to me but I think small steps are helping me to see how I can control some of my food. I have always been a big anti GMO individual. That is not easy given the fact that our government refuses to push labeling of GMO products.
    Great post Maureen.

  6. OK girl! You've inspired least to start thinking seriously about it anyway! I started a pin board called Real Food Challenge and this is my first pin to it! Keep em coming!

  7. Good for you Maureen. Freezing the herbs is a great idea. I can keep thyme and rosemary going outside all year long but need to dry the basil but I did not grow any this year for some unknown reason.I do have an enormous amount of chocolate mint that is trying to take over the world. I am an avid compositor. I am growing tomatoes from compost in my flower beds on accident. Because of our constant rains most everyones gardens are not doing well though. Great post.

  8. You are really an inspiration and a nudge to my hippy side

  9. Supper looked great. Just found 2 tomato plants in my older compost bin - am leaving them alone to do their thing. Love the idea of going as natural as possible.

  10. You are onto something there, Maureen. I am proud of you for doing the work to stay healthy and eat naturally. I love growing my own herbs but we do not have a veggie garden here...what a pity.
    I love the ripple effect at the end- I often think about that- it works two ways- good AND bad! xo Diana

  11. I really enjoyed this post, especially the wheelbarrow greens bed.

  12. You are so right Maureen. You never ever know how your actions may ripple out and effect someone else....and our words too. Loved this post. I have little veggies tucked around all over the place. In pots and the flower beds. We have a lot of land but the deer have eaten my veggie gardens, no matter what we did, so I just grow things close to the house now, willy nilly. There is something so darn satisfying about preparing a meal from things you grew yourself. :)

  13. Oh my Maureen, that dinner looks so good. I am headed for the Farmer's Market tomorrow for some fresh corn. I have a huge garden spot that grows weeds. I should get serious about growing veggies. I did once, but thought it was cheaper to buy from the neighbors down the street. You have me inspired.
    Audrey Z. @ Timeless Treasures

  14. Your supper looks just delicious! We have a farmer's market close by and you've inspired me to go check it out. We do grow a few of our own veggies, but need to find a better source than the grocery store for the rest. Love your wheelbarrow of salad greens. So inventive and fun too!

  15. Maureen what a fantastic post! I love all your ideas and I love your wheelbarrow garden - I am on the hunt for one now! I have a wee veggie garden too, but with the mud pit that is our winter garden, I only grow in Summer, I usually have a bumper tomato and green bean crop but only a smaller scale.

  16. Supper looks so tasty, and it makes me think that I really need to make more effort, even though I come home so tired.
    I love the idea of your basil ice cubes, that's something we could all do so easily, and the salad greens in a wheelbarrow !

  17. Yum! I loved fried potatoes and Im a sucker for herbed butter too. But alas, my apartment living do not allow me to grow my own veggies in a trolley. Again, lucky girl :)

  18. I love your wheelbarrow garden! What a cool idea! I'm hoping to have a freakin' sweet garden someday....