Wednesday, 9 June 2010

What about dinner?

I gotta say that I have trouble trying to decide what to talk about when it comes time to blog-especially this time of year when time is at a premium. So, I think I'll talk about something along those lines.

By this early part of summer we are just about finished planting until the fall crops go in, yet the amount of work is still incredible. We are mulching, weeding, harvesting, mowing, raking, tending the animals, maintenance work like deck care, painting and tending decorative beds, plus the usual day to day. It gets pretty crazy. It seems most nights I come in from working and dinner is that last thing I want to deal with. We have several things to help keep us out of the local eateries (though supporting local small mom and pop joints isn't a bad thing every now and then). I use my crock pot for easy sandwiches, and the grill for a burger, pizza or steak. But we get tired of even those. About six months ago I started a freezer meal group-a group of six ladies who gather at our home once a month to cook all day. At the end of the day each family goes home with six different meals for the freezer. We go so far as to rotate categories so each member cooks from groups they may not regularly like lamb, goat and vegetarian. We also post all the recipes to a blog so that others can make what they ate. It is wonderful having those meals on hand when I walk in the door late. I am also very blessed to share time with a dear friend and her family, which includes a husband with mad kitchen skills. While my friend and I work on various tasks around the farm (they reap the benefit of sharing in harvests) her husband works on feeding us, which is awesome. The last backup we have is the newest. A friend has started a microbusiness supplying meals to others in the area with gourmet dinners. Each week this chef-gone-mama sends out an email detailing what that week's two options are. You can have one or both. In a couple days she makes things up and you can either have them delivered (if you're within 8 miles of her home) via bicycle or you can pick them up to put in the fridge until you need them during the week. After accounting for one freezer meal, two chef-mama meals, one mad skills friend meal and one crockpot meal, that leaves the weekend, when we work the hardest, but often also reward ourselves by eating out a meal or two for rest. Without all this, so much less would happen as coming inside in order to get dinner on the table would cut back on time substantially. I get creative during the winter months when I am cooped up-summer ends up being fresh veggies and grilling, but even that is tedious sometimes. Our lunches end up being chopped fresh veggies and cheeses with hummus or a sour cream dip. I love the fresh produce available this time of year, and luckily it is easy to enjoy without much effort. Even so, I love that we have found ways to still eat great food all year round, even when mama can't be in the kitchen all day working on it.

What are your strategies for getting dinner on the table on those crazy days?