Unchained Dinner Menu ~ April

Hey guys!

April has been an interesting month on the Unchained Journey. We’ve conquered the hardest few months of a harsh winter, but we haven’t quite reached the abundant variety of spring just yet, but almost!

I’ve been waiting patiently for my favorite spring vegetable to gain a footing and reach for the sun through the wet, dark earth, and it’s finally HERE!

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These beautiful bundles were found at The Trading Post where they were cut from a local farm earlier that day. My heart rate increased as soon as I turned the corner….this is exciting news! Before this year, asparagus was a weekly staple in our diet, like apples and bananas. 😉 So, I’ve been waiting all year to eat this crisp vegetable again.

Did you know that once an asparagus bed is firmly established, it will produce for 25 YEARS?!  However, asparagus season is not lengthy….so we made contact with Farmer Steve at Nature’s Promise Farm to pick up as much as he can provide us with this week! We’ll be eating it in just about everything in the coming weeks!

Unchained Dinner Menu ~ April

Day 1
Beans & Cornbread

Day 2
Spaghetti & Tomato Sauce

Day 3
Good Friday! First Seder with the Perry Family!

Day 4
Meatloaf & Turnip Greens

Day 5
Roasted Chicken & Sauteed Greens

Day 6
Frankfurter & Potato Soup

Day 7
Sweet Potato & Egg Hash

Day 8
Chicken Tacos

Day 9
Chili & Cornbread

Day 10
OUT!

Day 11
Chicken Soup

Day 12
Beef Stew

Day 13
Zuppa Toscana

Day 14
Spaghetti & Meatballs

Day 15
Chicken Pot Pie

Day 16
BBQ Chicken & Sweet Potato

Day 17
Shepherd’s Pie

Day 18
Beef Burgers & Coleslaw

Day 19
Chicken & Sweet Potato Stew

Day 20
Breakfast for Dinner – Pancakes!

Day 21
Asparagus & Wild Onion Soup w/Biscuits

Day 22
Chicken Taco Casserole

Day 23
Cornmeal Dumplings & Turnip Greens

Day 24
Wild Onion & Egg Pizza

Day 25
Beef Stew & Roasted Asparagus

Day 26
Spring Pot Pie

Day 27
Chicken & Spring Vegetable Soup

Day 28
Radish Green Pesto & Noodles

Day 29
Beef Tacos

Day 30
Sweet Potato Soup

“For behold, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.” –Song of Solomon 2:11-12

Lisa

Dinner Menu ~ Weeks 11 & 12

We’re approaching 3 months without stepping foot in a grocery store.

3 months!!!

Information about the challenge here:
http://www.libertystarfarms.com/unchained/a-year-unchained/

So, how do we feel about conquering winter?

Guys, this is the mack-daddy of unprocessed food challenges, and many people have voiced that this year would be completely unrealistic for themselves or their families. “My kids would never eat those vegetables!” It’s too much work!” I encourage you to take a baby step approach…start with locally sourcing only one weekly staple….then focus meals around what’s in season…..your tastebuds, wallet and health will be positively impacted! 🙂

I know it’s not easy. The planning and workload can be intense, but I’m learning the importance of diligence and determination….to keep going when it doesn’t feel all warm and fuzzy.

The best part: I absolutely love meeting the same farmers’ again and again….and knowing my husband’s hard-earned money is going to a local farmer clad in dirt-covered Muck Boots who just harvested the vibrant, crisp vegetables that I will use to nourish my family for a week….the beauty of farm-to-table.

All in all, I feel like the closing of the winter season puts the hardest part behind me. I’m looking forward to adding bright asparagus to our menu in the coming weeks and foraging for morel mushrooms on our family hikes!

Dinner Menu ~ Weeks 11 & 12

Day 1
Beans & greens

Day 2
Spaghetti with meat sauce

Day 3
Roasted chicken & collards

Day 4
Kale, bean and sausage on cornbread cakes

Day 5
Rabbit rillettes with roasted butternut squash

Day 6
Beef stew

Day 7
Burgers and kale salad

Day 8
Shepherd’s pie with butternut squash

Day 9
White chicken chili

Day 10
Radish leaf pesto with fettachini

Day 11
Chicken salad over greens

Day 12
Breakfast for dinner: Pancakes

Day 13
Chicken with turnips & shitakes

Day 14
Steak fajitas

Day 15 
Out!

Day 16
Spring vegetable pot pie

Day 17
Spaghetti and meatballs

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Japanese sweet potato slips

  • Cut sweet potatoes in half and place in a shallow pan of water.
  • Place the pan in a sunny window and keep the water filled halfway up the cut potato.
  • Look for sprouts at about 4 weeks!

Lisa 

Dinner Menu ~ Weeks 9 & 10

After a dreary few weeks, we carved out some time to visit the Franklin Farmer’s Market last weekend. To be honest…I was resisting the trip on Saturday morning; I had been awake for 24 hours celebrating our son’s 10th birthday and then to the hospital to support a sweet friend while she welcomed a precious new baby into the world! However, I’m glad Cliff made the call for us to go then and sleep later….he knows me well. 😉

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Photo credit: http://franklinfarmersmarket.com

The Franklin Farmer’s Market is one of the only markets open year-round in our area.

We saw many vendors selling homemade goat’s milk soap, cheese and other impressive handmade items, but I only wanted one thing….GREENS!

Only one farmer had a variety of local vegetables that morning: Kirkview Farm.

We picked up bunches of kale and collards, turnips, red potatoes and the most colorful, delicious carrots. I knew the work that went into this harvest during such harsh winter conditions, and I appreciated the nutritious addition to our meals. Thank you, Jesus!

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This abundance was exactly what I needed to power through the final few weeks of winter!

Dinner Menu  ~ Weeks 9 & 10

Day 1
Roasted winter squash & sausage

Day 2
Sweet potato, egg & kale hash

Day 3
Pancotta (Tuscan bread soup)

Day 4
Chicken tamale pie

Day 5
Meatballs and twice baked sweet potatoes with kale

Day 6
Spaghetti with tomato sauce

Day 7
Gnocchi with mushroom ragu

Day 8
Butternut bean soup & cornbread

Day 9
Kale, cheese and bacon quiche

Day 10
Homemade sloppy joes & collards

Day 11
Butternut squash, kale and sausage bake

Day 12
Breakfast for dinner: Waffles

Day 13 
Pizza

Day 14
Grilled steak, sweet potatoes and kale salad

Day 15
Chicken soup with fresh bread

Have a great week!

Lisa

Dinner Menu ~ Weeks 7 & 8

Happy Snow Day Middle Tennessee!

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The push for spring is in full swing….10 more weeks until our last frost date! Hundreds of plants have been started awaiting the warmer days and cool nights. I couldn’t be more ready for this change, but there is always lots to do!

Pressing Farm Tasks:

  • Start sweet potato slips (tutorial to come).
  • Start another flat of cabbage, kale and collards.
  • Repot the Onions of Parma that I started in January.
  • As soon as the snow melts, Cliff will construct a pea trellis from bamboo stakes.
  • Sheep Fencing Project.
  • Raken (Rabbit-Chicken House) We have them in separate barn stalls now but are working to combine them.

Dinner Menu ~ Weeks 7 & 8

Day 15
Chili

Day 16
Roasted chicken with potatoes and sage

Day 17
Roasted sweet potato huevos rancheros

Day 18
Potato, sausage and kale soup

Day 19
Baked chicken taco casserole

Day 20
Pizza

Day 21
Shepherd’s pie

Day 22
Zuppa Toscana

Day 23
Frankfurter, green pepper (frozen from summer’s harvest!) and potato hash

Day 24
Chicken and sweet potato stew

Day 25
Beans and greens

Day 26
Burgers and sweet potatoes

Day 27
Pizza

Day 28
Dining Out!

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Have a cozy day!

Lisa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dinner Menu ~ Weeks 5 & 6

The challenge began with our pantry shelves lined with jars full of preserved tomatoes, pickles and applesauce. They are slowly being replaced with empty jars ready to be filled once again. It’s gratifying to crack open a can of tomatoes that remind me of the vibrancy of summer and add that bright flavor to soups, stews and sauces. Although, I’m also keenly aware that tomato season doesn’t begin again until June…..and it’s a long while until June!

Discovering the first ripe tomato of the year is always full of anticipation! ~ June 2014

Discovering the first ripe tomato of the year is always full of anticipation! ~ June 2014

We’re already down a bushel of sweet potatoes as well. We have just under two bushels remaining but plenty of fall squash that are waiting to be roasted.

Dinner Menu ~ Weeks 5 & 6

Day 1
Chicken Fajita Soup

Day 2
Sausage with kale and turnips

Day 3
Beans and cornbread

Day 4
Spaghetti squash & marinara

Day 5
Braised chicken with tarragon and cream

Day 6
Pizza

Day 7
Meatloaf with collards

Day 8
Potato soup

Day 9
Burgers with sweet potato fries

Day 10
Slow cooker ham hock with collards and greens

Day 11
Curried chicken with acorn squash and arugula

Day 12
Chicken Pot Pie

Day 13
Pizza

Day 14
BBQ brisket and coleslaw

Have a wonderful week!
 Lisa

 

 

Dinner Menu ~ Weeks 1 & 2

What do you eat in January?

Day 1:
Sausage, bean and cabbage stew

Day 2:
Pizza w/homemade mozzarella ← crosses fingers.

Day 3:
Spaghetti squash and meat sauce

Day 4:
Chicken and dumplings (I’ll make a double batch of dinner on Sunday, so we’ll have lunch for our homeschool co-op each Tuesday).

Day 5:
Squash and bean tacos

Day 6:
Chicken and collard stuffed sweet potatoes

Day 7:
Chili

Day 8:
Steak and sweet potato fries

Day 9:
Pizza (I hope the mozzarella worked!)

Day 10:
Sausage, sweet potato and kale pie

Day 11:
Beef, squash and collard lasagna.

Day 12:
Beans and cornbread

Day 13:
Sweet potato soup and french bread

Day 14:
Chicken stew with turnips

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This isn’t a far stretch from how we normally eat on a weekly basis, although I don’t have the convenience of many items like bread, pasta and the hardest yet…..cheese. I love cheese you guys….like go on dates to the Whole Foods stinky cheese section kinda love. I’m on the search for local cheese artisans…I’ll keep you posted on that!

We’ll also pick up at least 2 additional gallons of milk this week compared to normal. This will serve as butter, yogurt, mozzarella and to add creaminess to winter soups and stews. Preparation will be key! I swing back into a full homeschool schedule next week along with church and ballet activities.

Here’s to a promising new year!

Lisa