Monday, August 29, 2011

Nature's Bounty

Yesterday I mentioned talked about our produce co-op and showed what we got in it this week. What I didn't mention is the fact that we are overflowing in veggies right now! We hosted a potluck on friday night, and part of our contribution was veggie strips. Of course when I purchased them, I bought way more than we needed. Plus, rather than taking their contributions home with them, lots of people left them for the rest of the party-goers to enjoy. This meant that at the end of the night, we were left with a ton of food! That's both good and bad. Luckily, I was able to pawn off share the desserts with my sisters and their families, leaving us with just a few cookies and brownies that we promptly froze (except for this really incredible cinnamon coffee cake that I forced myself to finish).

One thing that was left was a gorgeous (and huge) veggie tray, with zucchini, yellow squash, cucumber, carrots, snow peas, broccoli, cauliflower, yellow pepper, and I think there's more that I cannot remember. That, plus the extra carrots and peppers that we already had, plus our co-op shop, means that we are swimming in veggies! This is only a small portion of what we've got:

While this many veggies sometimes means that some goes to waste, we are really trying right now to use our resources well and not waste food. Plus, it's the beginning of the school year, which is the most stressful time for me. So, I decided to take advantage of all the veggies and prepare lunches for this week. Here's how it went:

First, I chopped up onions, peppers, zucchini, yellow squash, and tomatoes to make a chunky veggie sauce for noodles. I got the sauce going on the stove and the water boiling for noodles, and then started on the rest.

Second, I washed and chopped up cabbage and peppers, and portioned them and some carrots out into 5 individual servings. When the noodles and veggie sauce were done, I made 5 individual servings of them as well.

When I stored those in the fridge, I grouped them by day, so that I can just grab a stack and toss them into my lunchbag:

With that, I can add an apple or tangerine (no prepping needed), and I have a super-healthy lunch and snacks for each day of the coming week, that includes my 5+ servings of fruits and veggies.

Third, I washed and chopped the rest of the carrots, celery, cucumber, and cabbage, and packaged them so that they are ready to eat (or cook) whenever we want them. I washed the green and black grapes, removed them from the stems, and packaged them, so that they are easy to grab for a snack for Pooh. I also washed and chopped mango and nectarines so they are easy to add to smoothies or yogurt. P-daddy and I have been talking about pickling lately, so I decided to cut some carrots into matchsticks and pickle them as well. Then I prepped homemade french fries for the freezer and diced red and yellow peppers to freeze for later. Once I added the rest of the noodles in veggie sauce, we had quite an array:

Now my fridge is full, I'm ready for the week, and I feel a great sense of accomplishment! And Pooh is asking for grapes so I must run - luckily I've got a few all ready for him!

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