Monthly Archives: January 2010

Responding to questions about family size

Many people are bothered when others comment on their family size, but it really doesn’t bother me. I often get comments, probably more than most people, since we homeschool and often kids are out with me when I go out.  But I can’t remember any negative comments.  I think most people are just genuinely curious since large families in the secular world are uncommon.   Just questions like, are they all yours?  Usually everyone isn’t with me and I honestly say, “no, there are one/two/three more at home”.  Some more of the questions I often get, and my responses, all said with a smile:

“How do you manage?”  With a lot of help from G-d!

“Your hands must be full! Better full than empty.

“You sure are busy!” Isn’t everyone?

“Are you planning to have more?”  I’m not making any plans but it would be wonderful!

I really think a big part of the reason that the feedback that I get is almost uniformly positive (or at the very least neutral) is that I’m not apologetic or embarrassed at all – I love having a big family and people are very influenced by your attitude.  Also, my kids are well behaved and we get a lot of compliments about them and their behavior; I think this also influences the response people have.  I’ve had people tell us we should keep having more (“people like you should be having more kids”), that raising good children is the most valuable contribution that a person can make, etc.

I almost always hear: “You don’t look like you have nine kids!”  That used to always leave me wondering what they would expect a mother of a big family to look like, so often I now ask them to explain themselves. The answer always is: “You look so young/happy/calm!”


Weekly menu plan

Sorry that the menu plan is late this week – I was feeling totally uninspired on Saturday night and then again Sunday night when I sat down to write it. But I know when I don’t make a menu plan for the week, we end up having unnecessary pressure around mealtimes, meals don’t get served on time, and the food isn’t as nice as when I plan it in advance.  Somehow after coming home from doing my monthly shopping today it seemed much easier!

Shabbos – d – challah, chicken soup, meatballs and sauce, mashed potatoes, vegetable kugel, power bars, chocolate chip cookie bars; l – cholent, roast turkey, kishke, green bean mango salad, tomato olive salad, fresh coconut, dried fruit, nuts, power bars

Sunday – breakfast – pizza; l – chicken vegetable soup; d – beef stew, salads

Monday – b – banana bread; l – out doing monthly shopping, had snacks; d – falafel patties, carrot sticks, sour cream, milk

Tuesday – b – blueberry muffins (w/ coconut flour); l – cheesy cauliflower soup; d – vegetarian meatloaf, carrot fries

Wednesday- b – pecan burgers, eggs; l – vegetable lentil soup; d – baked fish, yams, salad

Thursday – b – raisin scones; l – leftovers; d – homemade buckwheat noodles, sauce, cottage cheese

Friday – b – quinoa pudding

In order to prepare for today’s shopping trip, I defrosted and then dehydrated all of the frozen vegetables in my full size freezer yesterday (except for the whole green beans).  I always marvel at how small the quantities look once they’re dehydrated!  It’s a good thing that last week I took out all the prepared food I had frozen and used them, as well as freeing up the space from the vegetables and some soft cheeses, since today I found a great buy on berries, and was able to buy 20 packages of blueberries (10 oz each) and eight packages of mixed berries (3 lb each).  Oh, and six or eight pounds of frozen sliced peaches.  And 12 lb of whiting fillets.  :)  It was good I had room for them – last month I didn’t take the precautions before I went shopping and bought way more than I had room to store.  Fortunately it was freezing outside so I was able to use my outdoor ‘stair pantry’ to keep things cold.

I found a new source to order my bulk food that I’m very happy about, since it’s making my shopping even less expensive!  As I’ve said before, don’t be shy to ask store managers to work with you; just because they have never done it before for anyone else doesn’t mean they won’t do it for you!  This is the second store that has gladly tacked my bulk order on top of theirs and put it to the side for me when it comes in.

So I bought another 25 lb of pecan meal, 30 lb of quinoa, and 25 lb of raisins – I’ve been using lots more nut and coconut flours for baking and have significantly cut down on oats and grains.  Though grain flours tend to be cheap and nuts tend to be expensive, buying nuts/nut meals in bulk has made using them often workable within my budget – I pay between 1/2 – 1/4 of what the exact same items cost in the same store when sold in small packages.  I also have been using raisins and dates to decrease the amount of sucanat or honey I use in baked goods.   Quinoa is officially a seed and I think it’s more digestible than other grains, and that’s why I got more of that rather than a less expensive grain.  But I’m not cutting out grains altogether since they are a frugal cook’s friend. :)

In addition to that, I got the usual 50 lb potatoes, a case of eggs (30 dozen), 80 lb yams (instead of  my usual 40 – the baby loves them and eats our supply down quickly!); 50 lb onions, 27 lb carrots (peeled and packaged as carrot sticks- they were outrageously cheap; I should have gotten more but didn’t realize how few pounds were in each case until I got home), 10 gallons of raw milk (I knew I wouldn’t be able to find fridge space for more), 12 lb honey, and a bunch of canned goods.  And all the other miscellany that aren’t worth mentioning.  So I’m pretty well set for the coming month, except for the meat/poultry and cheese, which I’ll buy tomorrow, and vegetables, which I’ll shop for again in another couple of weeks.  Nice to have it mostly out of the way and done for a while – who wants to be spending time in the store every few days if you don’t have to?!

Last month I bought 25 lb of raw sunflower seeds, and yesterday I finally took some out to soak overnight; they’re in the dehydrator right now and will be ready by morning.  Sunflower seeds are the least expensive of the nuts/seeds, and they are a nice addition to various dishes, like salads and grainless granolas.


Free group violin lessons

Music lessons are so pricey that I mentally categorize them as  ‘nice but luxury’, and as such, aren’t in my budget.  But H-shem has been very good to us and provided the means for three children to take piano and now another two to experience violin!

Today I took my ds3 and ds7 to a group violin lesson for children ages 4 – 7.  The teacher gives private lessons but very generously is providing this as a free service.  I thought ds7 would especially appreciate the opportunity, but took ds3 (he’ll be four in three months) along after speaking to a friend who has several kids who have played string instruments to get her opinion about if that was too young.

Violins come in lots of sizes, some very tiny, so they can be appropriately sized for young children.  I’m not a parent who is driven to get my kids to perform at a young age in any way, but this seemed like a fun opportunity and I was glad to access this for them.  We joined a number of children and their parents today at the home of the very nice teacher, who lives locally. In the 45 minute lesson, they were fitted with the right size violin (ds3 – 1/10, ds7 – 1/4), learned the names of all the parts, how to hold it at rest, how to hold it to play, how to take a bow, the names of the four notes, and learned two short and simple songs.  It was a lot!

Ds3 was tired (today it took place in the early afternoon, when he usually is napping) and I’m not going to predict if he’ll maintain ongoing interest, but I’ll keep taking him as long as he’s interested.  Ds7 is ready for something like this and I think it will be a great opportunity for him especially.

The teacher would like to start with a large number of children, knowing that many will lose interest and drop out within a short time. That way, she’ll be left with enough children who are interested to continue the group.  I received an email from her after the lesson saying that since a couple of people who had reserved spots didn’t come, she has space for two more kids.  I wanted to share this with those of you in my area who might be interested.

Before you email me for info, here are the conditions to participate: you have to come promptly on time – 5 pm on Sunday. You need to come every week; if you can’t make it, you need to notify her in advance.  You can miss one lesson, but if you miss more than that, you’ll need to pay her to give your child a private lesson so he can be at the same level at the rest of the class.  An adult needs to stay with the child during the lesson, and it needs to be the same parent every week (ie no switching off).  You have to either buy or rent an instrument for your child to use (rental price is $20 a month).  The group is geared for kids ages 4 – 7 (my ds7 is the oldest).  If after reading all of that you’re interested, either email me at the address above shown in the ‘Contact Me’ section or use my personal email address if you already have it, and I’ll send you the contact information so you can be in touch with the teacher directly.

People have sometimes expressed to me the feeling that I have some kind of ‘luck’ in finding great prices or opportunities, but good things are waiting for every one of us every day; the challenge is in recognizing them and taking action!


When to push child

>>And another big topic that comes to mind is — when do we push children to take on something that is hard for them, and when do we let them make their own decision on whether or not they want to pursue a certain area? Examples in my family: one daughter decided to drop out of a class she was taking. Another daughter would rather not study a certain subject that I feel is important. Etc.<<

I’ve had this dilemma a number of times over the years in our homeschooling.  The choice I’ve come to is that I’ll insist on something if a) I know it’s something they need and they’ll later be disadvantaged; b) it’s something that they won’t need but will regret not having the skills for later on.

The first tends to affect academic type issues – I want my kids to have the skills to navigate life successfully.  There are things that I think are important to that goal – for example, because I feel that strong reading, writing, and math skills are an asset and a person is disadvantaged without it, I’ll insist on this regardless of whether a child wants to do it or not.  However, I’m very flexible about at what age I expect a child to do certain level work.  I also try to help the kids find ways to impart the information in as enjoyable way as possible.  So insisting doesn’t mean making a child miserable and being rigid.  There’s a lot of flexibility and personalizing that goes along with this.

So let’s say a young child hates writing.  I’ll back off this and let it be for a while – this means knowing your child and paying attention to their cues.  I did this with ds7 and he’s just now finishing the lettering for the ABC.    I know the readiness wasn’t there before this and pushing wasn’t going to help and probably would be damaging.  But with some time, the resistance generally fades and the readiness builds.  At that point I’ll start them off slow and pay attention to how it’s going for the child in question.

To do this, you have to be confident that 1) your child wants to learn and 2) will learn when given the chance, or you’ll get hung up on what kids in school are up to and put yourself and your child under lots of unnecessary pressure.  This gets easier to do with time, but is sometimes agonizing the in the beginning, as you’re going out on faith that the principles of true education and relationship building will work before the results are there.  At this point it’s much easier for me since I’ve gone through this so many times, and seen that in the end they get where you want them to be- happily.

The second area to think about pushing is regarding things that they don’t need to do, like lessons you sign them up for in the spirit of fun.  Years ago my ds16 had an unpleasant experience at swim lessons (at age eight) and refused to go back.  I didn’t see the point of pushing it, and since he continued to be resistant to the idea over the years, he didn’t go back for lessons.  It would have been a mistake to make him go back right away, because it really was a frightening and unnerving situation he was put in.  But looking back I think there was a point where I could have encouraged – pushed – him to try lessons again, maybe two years after the initial trauma.  I didn’t, though, because I was unsure about how much to push, and now despite the fact that he’s an extremely athletic young man, his swimming skills remain weak.

Several months ago ds10 told me he wanted to quit piano lessons.  I grappled with this, since this isn’t something he needs to be able to do long term.  After asking him why he wanted to stop (answer: he wasn’t progressing at the rate he wanted because he wasn’t putting in enough practice time), I told him that he needed to continue and to find time to practice more frequently so he’d see progress.  How did I decide on this?

Aquiring competence is a discipline – it’s wonderful to play music well, but it doesn’t happen by itself.  I know that, but he doesn’t.  I didn’t want him to give up and years later, instead of a skill he would have taken pleasure from would be the memory of giving up.  I told him that he didn’t have to stay with it if he didn’t like it, but that I didn’t want him to quit without really making a fair effort.   He’s now really enjoying piano and is very glad he didn’t quit.  He had a recital last week and is at the beginning intermediate level, now able to play simple classical compositions and performed duets with each of his sisters in addition to his own two pieces, and gets so much satisfaction from it.

Again, it’s critical to know your child.  A general tip I would say is, if you’re feeling the desire to push because you feel fearful, then wait.


Nut Butter Muffins – grain free

I made these for breakfast this morning – they are great if you are gluten free, low carb, or trying to increase your intake of healthy fats.  They’re very filling and just a couple will keep you satiated for hours. They have no added sweetener, so the flavor is mild and subtle.

Nut Butter Muffins

  • 1 c. nut butter (I used organic cashew butter)
  • 1 c. sliced almonds (preferably soaked and dried)
  • 1 c. coconut milk
  • 2 c. unsweetened coconut
  • 3 eggs

Blend the nut butter and coconut milk, add in the eggs.  Stir in sliced almonds and unsweetened coconut.  When thoroughly mixed, spoon into well greased muffin tins.  Bake at 400 degrees for 15 min.  Depending on the size you make your muffins, this yields between 1 – 2 dozen.

Our muffin pans make the standard size muffins (not small), and two of these left the adult eaters feeling very satiated.

(This post is part of Fight Back Fridays.)


Saving scraps for vegetable broth

>>hi avivah! do you save vegetable scraps- peels, etc- for making soup stock? why or why not? thanks!<<

Since I’m a long term frugalista, I suppose I should tell you that not only do I make stock with vegetable scraps, but so should you!  Actually, this has never been something that I’ve chosen to do.  I have several reasons.

Firstly,  I prefer to use bone broths as my stock of choice for flavor and nutritional value.  I’ve cultivated a free source of bones for broth making, so bone broths literally cost me nothing to make, plus I get the meat from the bones to use in other dishes and the fat that I skim from the top to cook with as a nice side benefit.

There’s also a limit to how much broth I can make and use in the course of a week – I generally make between 1 – 2 pots of broth each week in a sixteen quart pot (generally two in the winter, one in the summer).  So let’s say each pot amounts to about ten or twelve quarts.  That’s between 40-96 cups of broth a week, which is a lot, even for a family of eleven!  I like that bone broths have a protein sparing effect and can be used in inexpensive vegetarian dishes to significantly increase the nutrient value of a dish.  I think they taste amazing, too! (We recently sent several meals to neighbors/friends, and they kept commenting on how delicious the soups were – the only secret was that I use broth instead of water. :) )  So if I have to choose between vegetable broths or bone broths, bone broths are hands down more worthwhile in every way for me.

Next, what kind of vegetables are you getting the scraps from and why?  If the veggies are in good condition, then I don’t peel them so there aren’t many scraps; I include them with the peels in the dish I’m making.  I don’t like to sound finicky or spoiled, because I’m really not, but if the peels are from produce that is starting to spoil, then I have no desire to eat them in any form.  You might wonder about  the tops or bottoms of different vegetables that are cut off, but since  I would only use vegetable scraps if they had been washed and cleaned as well as any of the other vegetables I eat, I’m not willing to do the extra work necessary.  Call me lazy, but washing onion onion skins, beet peels, potato peels, rutabaga peels, etc isn’t where I want to spend my time.  And I’d rather save my onion bottoms to plant in the spring than put them into my stock pot.

Also, I don’t generally buy organic produce, except when I can buy it at a competitive price.  So if the vegetable is fresh and the peel is clean, but I’m still choosing to peel them, it’s often because it’s my little effort in reducing some of the pesticide consumption for our family, since the pesticides generally are most highly concentrated in the outer layers.  I acknowledge that it would be better if all my produce were organic but it’s not in the budget right now, and concentrating those pesticides further by making stock with the scraps doesn’t bring me closer to my goal of better health for my family.

However, that doesn’t mean that my vegetable scraps go to waste!  I compost a huge percentage of our vegetable scraps so they end up benefiting us by boosting our soil quality.  I don’t use pesticides when I garden, and strong soil health is very important in preventing insect infestations and having high quality vegetables.  We don’t buy organic fertilizers or compost; our compost all comes from our kitchen food scraps!  So they don’t go to waste and end up saving us money in a different way.

For those who enjoy transforming their vegetable scraps into broth, terrific!  So much of frugality is personal preference; there are things that I do that would be out of someone else’s comfort zone, and things they do that are outside of mine.  The main thing is to find ways that we can each work within our budgets in a way that is satisfying and productive.


How to make healthy recipe conversions

I’ve been asked several times where I get my recipes from, but I don’t have one particular cookbook that I rely on.  Most of my recipes are my healthful adaptations of recipe calling for processed or low quality ingredients.  Something I especially appreciate about cooking in line with traditional guidelines and methods is how easy it is to convert recipes from any cookbook so that the final result benefits your health.  Once you know how to make conversions and substitutes, it’s easy to adapt any recipe you find and make a healthy version.

I know a lot of people find the idea of improving their diets intimidating and aren’t sure where to start.  I also know some people feel like they need special recipes that expressly call for the healthy ingredients they want to use.  I thought I’d share some basic guidelines so you can see how simple it is to improve the quality of your diet without introducing too much new and different stuff that the family may turn up their noses at, and easily expand your repertoire of recipes.

Shortening/margarine/vegetable oil – instead use butter or coconut oil.  This works wonderfully for baking and frying.   Substitute it in the exact measure for the unhealthy fat that the recipe calls for.  Cold pressed vegetable oils can be used in salads (I use extra virgin olive, flaxseed, and occasionally some others), but not for frying or baking, as they aren’t stable at high temperatures.  In my opinion this is the most important thing to get rid of and replace with something better.  Fortunately, this is easy to do and can be purchased at your local health food store.

White sugar, brown sugar – instead use organic sucanat (regular sucanat is usually glorified sugar) or honey.   Sucanat is easy to substitute for sugar because of its granular quality, and can be used in equal amounts to the sugar the recipe calls for.  Because honey has such an intense sweetness, you can use fifty percent honey for the amount of sugar called for (eg 1/2 cup instead of one cup) to have the same am9ount of sweetness.  Personally, my ratios are lower since I find most recipes too sweet for us; we use 1/4 c. of honey or 1/2 c. sucanat for every cup of sugar called for.  Organic sucanat is available at health food stores and sometimes found in the health section of large supermarkets.

White flour – instead use white whole wheat flour.  Nutritionally it’s the same as the darker whole wheat flour ground from hard red wheat berries, but the color is much lighter so the final product will more closely resemble the original recipe.  Substitute 7/8 of a cup of whole wheat flour for every cup of white flour.  I buy hard white wheat berries and grind my own flour, but you can buy King Arthur’s white whole wheat flour at health food stores.

For animal products – chicken, meat, eggs, milk – use the highest quality product you can find/afford (ideally, pastured eggs, free range meat, raw milk – but any small improvement in this area is worthwhile).

For any processed ingredients, substitute a homemade version or a healthful store bought substitute.  For example, instead of regular peanut butter I use organic peanut butter/cashew butter/almond butter that are pure nut butters with sea salt added, nothing else.  Instead of white flour pasta, buy a higher quality whole grain version or make your own.

All of these things are very, very easy to do – it’s using similar ingredients to replace the less healthful ones.   Small changes that result in major qualitative improvements in the final product.

In addition to using good ingredients, there are a couple of traditional preparation techniques that can be integrated into most recipes. I’ve written about several of these techniques in detail in past posts, and will just reference them here.

In most recipes that call for flour (quick breads, cakes, muffins), you can substitute buttermilk/thinned yogurt for part of the liquid the recipe calls for, and soak the flour overnight in the buttermilk or yogurt, adding the rest of the ingredients the next morning. Alternatively, you can purchase sprouted flour, that doesn’t require any soaking and or advance preparation, either online or at your local health food store.

When cooking with beans, soak them a couple of days in advance and let them begin to sprout before cooking as usual.

Cooking healthfully isn’t hard, and it’s fun to be able to convert any recipe into something that will nourish your family!

(This post is part of Real Food Wednesdays.)


Messages we tell ourselves

>>Can you share what you tell yourself that differentiates between you being tense or calm?<<

This is a great question! What I’ve learned is that the situation that you’re faced with really isn’t what makes the difference.  It’s the messages we tell ourselves that make the difference.

Here are things that will make me tense:

  • “I can’t take it.”
  • “It’s too much for me.”
  • “No one is listening to me.”
  • “No one appreciates me/no one cares.”
  • “It’s not fair.”
  • I do all this work and no one says ‘thank you’.

You get the idea, right?  Lots of negativity and globalizing.  Thinking how awful and unbearable something is, is a guarantee to get upset, resentful, and hostile. Poor, poor me.  There are ways to see the negative and to either reframe it entirely or to put into a more helpful perspective.   I like reframing but when there’s a big change from one thought to another, often there’s resistance to accepting the new positive thought, and it evokes another more hostile thought.

I find it helpful to mentally work things down.  It’s very hard to go from feeling very reactive and angry/hurt to feeling filled with love and joy – there are steps you need to take in the middle to get from the first floor to the ninetieth – you can’t just make a huge leap! That means reaching from a negative thought for one that feels a little less negative, and then another that is less negative, and so on – this takes just a minute or two, once you’re used to it.

Here’s a theoretical example of what I mean:

  1. ‘My husband sees all the work I’m doing and never helps; he’s selfish and doesn’t care about me.’  (very reactive and hostile, judgmental)
  2. He does occasionally take out the garbage if I ask him. (begrudging but recognizing that global statement that he ‘never’ helps is inaccurate)
  3. Actually, he does other things, too. (feeling a little more positive)
  4. He works hard all day to provide for our family, so I can be home with our kids/so we have what we need.  (see how husband is helping with his efforts out of the house)
  5. He loves me but doesn’t offer to help since isn’t sure what will be most helpful. (feeling understanding)
  6. He’s helped out plenty of times without me asking. (feeling more loved)
  7. He does that because he loves me.
  8. He’s a great guy and I’m lucky to have such a terrific husband.

And then it’s not hard to say to yourself, ‘ I can show my appreciation and ask for what I need directly without making him feel attacked and unappreciated. ‘

So when faced with things I don’t like, I try to get perspective and that always means looking for the positive and the good, and making the effort to feel more joyful even when it’s not my initial response.


Awareness of personality types

>>i am so amazed how in tune you are with your children, i often felt like my parents barely knew me beyond a surface level. i hope to be more aware of my children’s strengths and weaknesses and guide them accordingly.<<

A big part of being in tune with your children is taking the time to get to know them.  It’s much easier when you spend lots of time with them every day!

Several months ago one of my kids picked up a book from our shelf about the Myers-Briggs personality typing system.  It was given to me by my roommate when I was 17, since I had been so fascinated by it at that time.  This system consists of 16 basic personality types.  Then I learned about the eneagram (a complex nine point personality system), and when I combined that with the Myers Briggs system, it added significant depth to my understanding of personality types.

Dd15 (then 14) read through the book we had on our shelf, and took it to NY with her for her camp reunion.  She explained it to all the girls there and to others who weren’t there when she spoke to them on the phone, lol!  This has become a regular topic of table conversation since she has explained the basic info to her siblings (who have also found it interesting), so now when someone references a ‘type, everyone understands what that means.  It gives us more things to joke about, too!

When I’ve discussed careers with my children, I’ve tried to guide each of them according to what their strengths are.  I had been trying to find a book that broke down potential careers according to personality types and wasn’t having any luck, even though I knew it existed – I had picked it up and flipped through it about five years ago in the library.  Then one day dh came home from the library and without knowing I was looking for it, brought me that exact book – he said he thought it looked like something I’d like!

The book is called Do What You Are, and it categorizes careers according to the Myers Briggs personality types.  Finding a field that allows you to work with your strengths is most conducive to long term career satisfaction, and this can be a helpful tool is helping a person know what direction to look in.  So far I can definitively ‘type’ only my older four kids – though I’m pretty sure about ds7 I’m still unsure about dd9, since younger kids can seem to have one aspect and then reverse as they mature with time – and reading the description of each type was fun because it so much described each of them.

It was helpful for me to see some capabilities and tendencies that I was aware of in different children, but didn’t necessarily view them as strengths.  For example, ds16 has always had an interest in analyzing numbers (eg, baseball cards, stocks) – and I always looked at it more as an interest than an aptitude, so it wasn’t something I was significantly factoring in.  However, when I read about the unique ability of this particular personality type to analyze data (some of his ‘type’s’ career suggestions were stock analyst and investment banker), it helped me to not only see a tendency, but to value it.

(On an a side note, it was interesting to see my type listed very few careers in the health care field, significantly less than almost every other personality; I’ve often thought that the only thing I could imagine doing in that area was chiropractics, holistic health practitioner, or nutritionist, and every one of these was on the short list.  It explained that my type sees the body as holistic and is open to alternative ‘healing approaches. )

But don’t think that you have to read a book like this to know and understand your child!  This is merely supplemental; lots of love, time, and willingness to listen and really hear are the most important requirements.


Weekly menu plan

I put this week’s plan together very quickly and will probably end up adapting it a bit, but this is what it looks like for now:

Shabbos – dinner – challah, chicken soup, roast chicken, roasted cauliflower/carrots/pearl onion/garlic, green bean almondine, roasted potatoes, fruit salad, nut butter truffles; lunch – cholent, kishke, chicken, carrot raisin salad, tomato avocado salad, lemon pudding pie, truffles

Sunday – breakfast – oatmeal with coconut milk, grapefruit; d – chicken split pea soup, carrot salad, fresh salad

Monday – b – zucchini bread; l – ricotta cheese pancakes, d – bean and cheese burritos w/ sprouted whole grain tortillas, roasted root vegetables

Tuesday- b – quinoa porridge; l – chicken split pea soup; d – red beans and rice with sausage, lacto fermented green beans

Wednesday – b – mango muffins; d – pizza(one with hazelnut crust, one with regular crust), salad

Thursday – b – baked oatmeal; l – red beans and rice; d – CORN (Clean Out Refrigerator Night) or crustless non dairy broccoli quiche (depending on if there’s enough leftovers in the fridge for a meal)

As always, what is written are the main dishes; breakfasts are usually supplemented by fruit and milk/yogurt/kefir; lunches and dinners are supplemented with vegetable side dishes.  I have a bunch of frozen hard cheese, cottage cheese, and ricotta, and this week I’m planning to make a dent in it.  I’ll be going shopping the week after next, and since my full size freezer is packed, I must use stuff up to make room for more!

Ds10 just shredded a bunch of purple cabbage to get a new batch of sauerkraut started fermenting.  I have a couple of quarts left of my last batch, but in this weather it takes a lot longer than in the summer, so by starting it now it will be ready when this runs out!  I also have a couple of quarts of lacto fermented green beans in the fridge, and I’ll try to use that up this week so I have more available fridge space.

The zucchini bread is baked for tomorrow morning; dd15 baked two large pans full so we’ll put one pan in the freezer for a busy morning.  I suggested she make it earlier today so that she wouldn’t have to stay up later tonight or rush in the morning to have it baked on time (it’s her turn to do breakfast duty).

Today at 5 pm three of my kids are having a piano recital (ds10, dd13, and dd15), and I have the soup for dinner simmering on the stove so it will be ready before we leave.  We’re making dinner for a neighbor again and I don’t want a big rush when we get back.  I was planning to make cornbread to go with the soup for her (not for us, since the soup and salads will be plenty for us), but now I’m thinking about sending a bag of organic blue corn chips instead.  I’m not sure if that will seem strange to her, though.  Any opinions?