Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas Is Looming

Ah, the holiday season. Madness reigns, doesn't it? I'm ready to lock myself in my house from Thanksgiving through Boxing Day (that's the day after Christmas on the UK calendars). Man. I ventured out today to run some errands. Thankfully, all of the presents have been bought and shipped where necessary. But plenty of other folk are still doing their shopping. It's exhausting either way.

I've done some things recently to try and make my life a little easier. I fell off the diet wagon in spite of frantic and crazy produce buying trips to Whole Foods that leave my fridge packed with stuff that sadly, mostly goes to waste. Or gets used in soup. Lots of things get used in soup. And if I were better about freezing the gallons of soup concoctions that result, then I'd be in a good way for a while. I'm about half and half here. Sometimes I'm on the ball and other times we'll just say that I'm more optimistic about eating the leftovers.

To try and but a limit on the number of hungry grocery trips that I make, though, I've decided to sign up for milk and fruit/veggie delivery. And I couldn't be more of a nerd about it. I'd read in a Jaime Oliver magazine about produce delivery in the UK and thought that we must have something like that around here with all the farmers' markets and the push for supporting local farms. Now that I'm working at home again, I figured there was no time like the present to look into it. Lo and behold, Door to Door Organics came up.

They've got the niftiest setup. I can do every week or every other week delivery. They have different sized boxes and a variety of fruits and veggies for each box (the order changes with each delivery so it's new stuff each box). My first one came yesterday and it was like diving into a Christmas present early!

My goal is to plan meals around the produce so that I get more fresh fruits and veggies into our diet and use up everything before the next box arrives. One of the ways I plan on doing this is with the help of Jack Bishop's Vegetables Every Day, one of my absolute favorite recent cookbook additions. I might have mentioned it here before, and if so, please forgive me. The book is divided alpha by veggie and has a handful of recipes for each one, along with tips on when to buy and how to store. It's perfect for anyone trying to eat healthier who's not going whole hog vegetarian. These are, for the most part, veggie side dishes. And, if you're like me and want to experiment with items that you've not cooked before, but not necessarily a whole recipe of foreign items, it's great for that as well.

What do I mean by that? Well, for example, I decided that I was going to brave the artichoke. I eat artichokes, but had never dealt with fresh, whole artichokes before. They're a bit daunting! But Bishop's instructions for "Browned Baby Artichokes and Mushrooms With Garlic" was easier than I thought it would be and was super tasty! Equally simple was the "Roasted Beet Salad with Sherry Vinegar."

Now if only he had a section on pecans and grapefruit! My grandmother gets the whole family Texas pecans and grapefruit for Christmas and mine happened to arrive this week as well. I love 'em and am always looking for creative ways to use them up.

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