rockinthemomrole

I'm on the journey called Life, let's travel together


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I have a ‘guy’ who sells me my meat.

I haven’t always had a meat resource, but I am blessed to have a dear friend who facilitated my desire to source locally raised animals, so now I can happily say I have a local farmer who I can turn to when I need to stock my freezer full of meat.

Todd the Meat Guy (as I lovingly call him) is a sweet farmer one state over (about 40 minutes drive) who raises lambs, hogs and cattle with his family. I met him when my friend called and asked me if I wanted to go in on a half hog with her from a local farmer. There wasn’t a moments hesitation, as I had been searching around for a local source anyway.

When I first called ‘Todd the Meat Guy’ about my hog, he shared that his family is known for its lamb, but they were also starting to get serious in to raising grass fed beef cattle. Well, when life gives you lemons…

So, back to the present. This morning, driving home from church I get a call from Todd regarding this years order. You see, one year I forgot to call early enough in the fall and I missed out on my pork. As foodies the world around can agree, life without bacon is not a life worth living. I now am diligent to call EARLY every fall and get on the list.

So why would I post about local sourcing & meat prices on a blog called ‘Rockin the Mom Role’? Because I feel a good part of my job as the ‘mom’ is to get healthy and cost efficient food on my family’s table.

Might I pass on a few pearls of my wisdom?

Find your own “Todd the Meat Guy”. It’s really not as hard as you think. Just start talking to your friends, their friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, church, grandparents, ect. If you live in an urban area, you can talk to restaurants, who promote a locally grown menu, for their sources. Cooking stores often have names of local producers. Even eggs and chicken can be locally sourced. I have a friend through church who has hens in her yard. There honestly is no comparing those mass produced eggs with the eggs from her, lovingly cared for, hens raised in her backyard.

So, I’ll be pulling out of my freezer some grass fed, 97% lean, mighty tasty ground beef to make sloppy joes made from scratch. Maybe tomorrow will be pork chops, or lamb burgers. Instead of running to the grocery, I can shop in the comfort of my basement. And when I run low, its time to call Todd.


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Halloween Came Early…

I am currently sitting here, in my spot, at the kitchen table and had to share with my fledgling community of friends and followers the intense joy I am feeling. 

To my left is a gaggle of girls. I use that term endearingly, having raised two and having had young ladies trooping in and out of my house for years. When there are more than three, it becomes a gaggle. Ask anyone who has experience of more than three women together. Talk gets fast, increasingly louder, giddy, giggly, you know, girlie!

Here in Minnesota, October is the month of MEA. Basically, it’s a convenient, state mandated day off for teachers to ‘educate’ themselves. Thus, basically its two days off for the kids. Offspring #2 is a senior in High School. As seniors, they got off a day early as the rest of the school is in testing. (They do pre-ACT’s for the younger grades) As seniors, they are celebrating by having a pumpkin carving extravaganza, and decorating store bought cookies. Yes, I did offer to make them, but was turned down by offspring #2. To be honest, I was disappointed and relieved at the same time. I love planning parties, and offspring #2 knows that. I think she inherited a bit of control freak from me, as she wanted to do this – HER WAY. (I’m dating myself, but i’m reminded of the Burger King commercials)

I had a bible study tonight, so hubby saved the bacon by setting up the banquet tables in the garage for them to do their ‘biz’ with the pumpkin until I got home. 

Now they are in the kitchen, around my island with frosting flying, black teeth, and the beginnings of a sugar high. And I am in heaven. 

I think about the fact I have a senior. I have been a stay at home mom for 18 years. Staring at that number, I cant help but think 18 looks like a small number. That is, until I put it in perspective. I’ve been through 3 moves; many friends who have come, gone and stayed; I’m nearly 2 decades older, and I’ve seen 3 presidents in office during that time. I have been a mom nearly 2/3rds of my life. This year will fly by. It did with offspring #1 and I know it will with this one. What will it look and feel like this time next year? Where will be the gaggle of giggling girls, excitement and joyful noise filling every corner of my house? It is something I look forward to with anticipation and trepidation. The fear of the unknown, the anxiety of entering a new phase of my life and redefining ‘who’ I am. 

I’ll worry about that later. For now, I am in my own little slice of heaven. Thank you Lord for all the blessings you have given me. Truly, it is the riches of the heart that are more precious than all the gold of this earth.

ps) I am one who struggles with technology. I have not mastered yet how to post pictures, but when I do, I will attach them. I apologize in advance for the lack of visual cohesion. Its a joyful mess here. 

 


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Changing Seasons

Its that time of year. One can begin to smell fall in the air. The days are dry and temperate, the evenings cool and crisp. 

Here in the upper mid-west, we are ‘blessed’ with very long and very cold winters. I have many MANY opportunities to make all the comfort foods I love; soups, stews, braises. Those long winter months are ideal to bake, as my oven does double duty in my house, baking and heating! I love chaos of the holidays. The constant in and out of friends and family. Volunteer activities, school events, fundraising events, holiday meals and entertaining, all having that kernel of food at the core. Then comes the welcome post-holiday downtime, and the pause before the next season arrives.  

Spring. Its a late arrival this far north and feels all too brief. One day there is snow, the next we start to hear the tornado sirens letting us know spring is here. This is a time of pining for me. The produce is lackluster. I’m running out of ideas for new ‘twists’ on soup, and my friends in other parts of the country are already starting to shop their farmers markets with early peas, baby lettuces, early strawberries. This is my time of envy and longing to live somewhere else. Anywhere else. 

After what is only a few months but feels like years, Summer comes.

I am always initially delighted with the sun and increase in temperature, but this is the midwest, and it is followed immediately with humidity and evenings that never cool down. This is my time of canning the bounty of the garden and u-pick fields. I’ve discovered that hot flashes are all but un-noticable when standing in your kitchen sweating above a water bath canner. When I cant take the heat inside (or outside for that matter) another moment, I run outside and jump in the pool to cool off. On the up side, its peach season. I have a local grocery that gets in the best peaches and I confess, I gorge. Many will bake and cook with them, but not me. I long for them all the other seasons, so when they finally come in ripe, sweet, juicy and in total perfection, I relish the simplistic purity. Summer is pool parties, BBQ’s, toiling in the garden with sweat dripping off my nose, early morning walks with my dog, trips to the North Shore of Lake Superior. Summer is altogether too short here. 

Fall. 

I adore Fall. We still have access to late summer produce here, mostly because the season starts so late. Tomatoes are in their full glory. The crisp evenings bring juicy sweet apples. Fall is the time for bonfires, steaming mugs of mexican hot chocolate, apple cider, s’mores, plump plums, autumn leaves, the smell of baking pies, and the quiet of my home as my children head back to school. 

Fall is the calm before the storm. The bustle of summer is wrapped up with my oldest back at college, my youngest back in the high schoole routine, and I have a brief respite before the upcoming back to back holidays.

Part of my seasonal rituals for fall is a trip to the apple farm. While other parts of the country have the blessings of moderate weather, none can match the upper midwest’s perfect climate and soil for apples. Every year I look forward to that first trip to the farm. I pick Honeycrisp for eating out of hand, Haralson for baking pies, Paula Red for the beautiful pink it tints my applesauce, and always a few Firesides because they keep a long time.

Then I head home trying to decide what to bake first. Will it be a pie, a crisp, or baked apples? Maybe caramelized apples for breakfast, or maybe I drag out that canner again and put up applesauce or apple butter. 

No matter what I decide, it will be good, because its Fall.