Thursday, March 10, 2016

Good Eats - #1

In retirement, I vowed to learn to cook healthy, avoid processed foods, and steer clear of restaurants (unless it is a special occasion and the restaurant is special, too!).  Not just for the two of us, but to share our meal with friends and make a social occasion out of it.  In the beginning, I doubted myself often and relied on the store-bought casserole for guests.  Not any more.  Falling off the healthy meal wagon happens, but not as frequently.

The reason this lifestyle change made it into the blog is (1) I am excited about the success, (2) I like to share my successes to encourage others, and (3) another way to stay active and healthy in retirement which is what this blog is about.

To make this a goal a forever one, the meals have to be simple to make, every-day ingredients, and easy to obtain local/fresh (Mystery Bay Farm goats photo left).  I also had to devise a monthly plan with recipes.  It is documented on my computer tablet calendar to make planning and list making straightforward.  Here is the skeleton plan without the recipe:

Sunday - homemade soup (usually in a slow cooker)
Monday - pork (roast/chops)
Tuesday - ground beef
Wednesday - chicken
Thurday - pasta day
Friday - fish
Saturday - beef (roast/steaks)

From there, a recipe for each day of the month (for example, every second Tuesday of the month is meatloaf, every second Monday is pulled pork, etc).  October through March are the winter recipes; April through September include lighter fare for warmer weather.  Each recipe is tweaked to make healthier and easier.  Once we achieve a great meal, out loud we declare, "It is a keeper!"  (Honestly, we really say it out loud.)  Each meal is planned to serve at least 6 and if we do not have a dinner party, then the leftovers are used for lunches the rest of the week.

This week, our meatloaf recipe is a keeper! (every second Tuesday).  Finally, a recipe without sugar-laden ketchup.(Note:  photo from Wicked Stuffed website, but our meatloaf looks just like this, complete recipe found at All ingredients purchased local--direct from farmer or Farmer's Market.  Recipe includes ground beef (local beef from about 2 miles from home), eggs (fresh eggs from the small farm across the road--they have over 200 chickens running free--often running from the eagles!), scallions, spinach, garlic, onions (from Nash's Organic Produce, about 2 miles from home in the middle of their farm), herb soft goat cheese ( located on Marrowstone Island about 30 miles away, but we buy their cheese from Nash's unless we decide to take a scenic road trip to their farm), coarse salt/peppercorn (Sequim Spice and Tea shop--they sell bulk downtown and fill your container directly), and finally rosemary just out the door which practically grows wild here. 

Mix all except goat cheese and spinach, lay out flat, plop the cheese and spinach in the middle and roll meat mixture around.  (Note:  I do not include the tomato paste in the recipe.) Cook at 450 degrees for 60 minutes.  Verra good!

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