Thursday, March 6, 2014

Getting Fresh

Day 15 of 100 Happy Days: 
When I shared that picture as part of my 100 Happy Days gratitude exercise, I captioned it: "big basket of fruit that will last us about three days." As it happens, I was proven right -- and that is a very good thing.

Our household's move to eat more fresh produce started almost two years ago, as I shared here. For a while, we subscribed to a food-basket delivery of organic, locally grown produce, but it was all vegetables (no fruit) - and not necessarily the ones we like. (There was an awful lot of parsnips and micro-greens.)

And, honestly, I missed my trips to the produce store, where I could giggle as I pick up funny items like these conjoined mushrooms.

So we decided to go back to do-it-yourself produce shopping. Here's what today's purchase looked like at the checkout.

She had already started bagging, so some items are not shown here.
I've been making a point of getting a variety of fruit, just a few of each usually, rather than buying a whole bag of apples. The kids seem to eat more when they have lots of options. Whereas we used to find apples rotting in the back of the fruit drawer, we rarely have that happen anymore.

A sampling. (Not shown: bananas)

I've also found that leaving some fruit out on the counter actually encourages them (and me!) to grab them as a snack.

On produce-shopping day, the inside of our fridge looks like this:

Salad fixings drawer.
Root veg and cooking vegetables.
Fruit - in addition to what is in the fruit bowl.

Bulky vegetables. (This is also where our leftovers go, so usually there is a layer of plastic containers under the veggies.)
One of the hidden benefits of my unemployment retirement is that we are actually using up all the vegetables before they become compost. I've been preparing really hearty, healthy vegetable-heavy meals since December.

I am the first to admit that this takes time. I generally start planning the meal after my walk with Kane, around 2:00, and then start prepping at about 3:30 for dinner at 6:00. I do have a stack of recipes that come together in less time, but since I have the luxury of time, I often prepare my own salad dressing or bake a loaf of bread in the bread machine.

In the process, I am learning something that my friend K.B. knew long, long ago: making meals can be really good therapy if you don't look at it as drudgery. Scouting recipes, using new ingredients, adding a twist of my own, and then sitting down with my family to really dig in -- these are pleasures. Here are two quotes from her:
The stress-busting that baking does is not to be dismissed lightly.
Cooking for someone is a good remedy for whatever ails you.
Thanks for the lesson, K.B.


  1. What beautiful photos of fruits and veggies, Wynn Anne! I see cooking as a creative outlet, too, and I don't mind spending an hour or two when that fits into my schedule preparing a new recipe; I'm so curious how it will turn out. And I agree with K.B.'s approach to cooking as therapy. I see growing vegetables the same way: you can't get stressed out when your body and mind are occupied with the labour of gardening.

    1. Thank you, Alison. I think most things that require honest physical labour are restorative and healing.


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