Eating Clean, Fresh and Local: Follow Up

For the past four months, Matt and I have been participating in a local CSA for all of our meat. It has been a great experience, and has shaved a great deal off or our monthly food budget. Last month, I also completed the process of loading all of our recipes into Evernote, and creating a seasonal/local/Paleo meal plan. Already having the meat in our freezer has made it so much easier to plan meals and get groceries.

Here is how it works: every month we go to the East Nashville Farmer’s Market to pick up a 20-lb bag of frozen meat. We avoid the strange looks we get when walking to the car. :) We have received everything from whole chicken roasters, to chuck roast, to goat chops.  We plan our meals based on the meat that we get. Some of the recipes that we have made have been:

Beef Stew (from Paleo Comfort Foods)

Chicken Breasts with Mushroom Sauce (from Paleo Comfort Foods)

Chili (from Everyday Paleo)

Slow Cooker Barbecue

Meatloaf

Pecan Crusted Chicken (from Everyday Paleo)

Puerto Rican Beef (my favorite! also from Everyday Paleo)

Perfect Roast Chicken (from Ina Garten)

Another favorite family recipe is sausage and peppers “rustica”- my husband worked as a server at The Olive Garden in college, and has loved this dish ever since. He has perfected it over ten years. Below are some photos of that process: we received hot italian sausage, sauteed zucchini and bell peppper with olive oil and spices, added a dash of white wine, and let it simmer. It is also amazing baked with mozzarella sprinkled on top!

I am considering another post on how I have done my meal planning using Evernote, for those who may be interested.

Eating Clean, Fresh and Local… A New Plan

Pastured, grass fed cows = happy beef.

As I have shared in another post, Matt and I have been doing our best to follow a Paleolithic eating framework for about over a year now. We have been able to get into a pretty good groove with what we buy and prepare at home, with some freebies and cheats here and there, of course (usually when we are out to eat). :)

The one thing that has been really bothering me about our diet is that we are buying regular meat from the grocery store. We try to get all natural or organic when we can, but sometimes the cost is just too high. And Matt has to have his bacon, no questions asked!

I am opposed to the factory farm system, and am not okay with supporting it through my purchases. I also know that local, pastured meat is much more ethically treated, and better for the environment. It is also healthier. If I am not eating grains in my diet, why would I want to eat grain-fed beef? It doesn’t make sense.

Last weekend I went to the West Nashville Farmer’s Market with a few friends, and found a farm called Peaceful Pastures that does a 6-month CSA for beef, poultry, pork, goat and lamb. So we are going to participate this summer! The cost is $675 for 6 months, and you receive 20-22 lbs each month. This comes out to around $100/month, which is doable for us on the food budget we have now. I am so excited!

So the new plan is as follows… for our meat we will participate in the CSA, and just plan our meals around what we receive each month in our share. For produce, I will stop by one of our local Farmer’s Markets once per week to pick up some fresh, seasonal items. My dad also just planted a big garden, so we will hopefully be reaping the rewards of that soon! For the staples and pantry items, we will hit up Costco once a month, and for the incidentals, we will go to Trader Joe’s and Kroger. (I have to have some dark chocolate in my life, and a few coconut milk products).  I am really excited about this new step in our eating habits, and I will keep you posted on how this plan works out!