It’s that time again, people. Challenge update time. Real food edition. Real Homesteading edition! YEAH!
This week, I’ve kept up with my seasonal shopping, for the most part. Still stickin’ to my avocado and banana exception. Girlfriends’ gotta have her avocados and bananas. banaynays! Does anyone else remember that song
Moving right along, then.
Shopping by the Season–Get Those Sales!
Though bananas are available year-round (like pretty much everything else these days), they’re in season from February to May. Which means sales! Music to this real food girls’ ears. I try to always buy my bananas organic, but sometimes…I give in and buy them on sale, non-organic. GASP! I know! I can’t help it! I eat so many, and when I saw them this week for 29 cents per pound, I just couldn’t resist it. I bought two pounds, got home, and after realizing I should’ve grabbed a few extra pounds to put up, I went back and bought three more!
While I eat an obnoxious amount of bananas, I knew I wouldn’t eat that many before they went bad, so I decided that freezing them was the best option. Here was my method: I lined a few pans with parchment paper, then sliced the bananas into 1-2″ rounds (is that the right word? You get my drift). Next, I filled the pans with the sliced bananas, making sure they weren’t touching. Then, I popped the pans into the freezer and let them freeze through completely. Once frozen, I popped the bananas into ziploc bags, labeled with the date, and tossed ’em back into the freezer.
BOOM! Bananas galore, people! Can’t beat that! The reason I froze them in the pans first, was so that they wouldn’t stick together in the bag and I’d have a big banana-y mess. Freezing them in the pan first takes care of that problem.
Real Food Eatin’
This week, I spent a nice chunk of change to treat myself to local, wild caught scallops. I don’t generally buy a lot of fresh seafood. Typically, I’ll buy it frozen already. But I was just craving pan-seared scallops, so scallops are what I bought! Scallops are in season from November(ish) to March(ish), and I ended up paying $24 per pound. I’ll be honest, folks–I have NO clue if this is a good price or not. Not one clue at all. I cringed a bit as I bought them, but I was happy to pay for them because they were:
- wild caught
- locally caught
- in season
I have a confession: I’ve never cooked scallops before. For realz! BUT–Have no fear! They were so easy to cook, and so, SO delicious. My method was simple, just like my bananas method. Apparently, I like simple methods. Ain’t no shame here.
Pan-seared Scallops with Lemon/Butter Sauce
- Add a bit of olive oil and butter to a frying pan. Don’t use too much, just enough! I used lemon-infused olive oil.
- Turn the burner onto Med-High heat. This is how you get that nice crisp on your scallops.
- Rinse your scallops in cold water, then pat dry with a paper towel. The trick is to make sure your scallops are dry as can be before tossing them in the pan.
- Once the pan is hot, but not smoking, place the scallops in. Cook on both sides for about two minutes each. Cooking time will vary depending on the size of your scallops.
- Once the scallops are done, take them out of the pan. Set aside. To make the butter/lemon sauce, I turned the pan down to low-med, and added about a 1/2 tbs of butter, and the juice of 1/2 a lemon. Let the butter melt, then mix it all together. Pour this over your scallops.
- Serve, and prepare to dine on delicious, lemony, buttery, scallop-y goodness.
Utilizing Kitchen Tools To Make Real Food Easier
I’ve started to really look around my kitchen and take inventory of all the tools at my disposal. For example, I have two crock pots. One I use pretty exclusively to make yogurt. The other is for whatever food I feel like cooking in it. But I’ve started to see how under-used my crock pot truly is. Other than the occasional soup, or to make bone broth, I really don’t even think about the thing. And that’s such a shame! It’s incredible how versatile a crock pot can be. For example, I used my crock to cook a whole chicken. Seriously! It was so easy–and the meat was delicious! Tender, moist, juicy. The only thing I missed was the roasted skin, but I gotta say–that won’t stop me from cooking chickens in the crock pot from now on. Check out this article for a great how-to. I usually shred up the chicken, then freeze into 2-cup portions. I also use the bones and leftover pieces to make bone broth. Two for one, baby! That’s what I’m talkin’ about!
Another great way to use your crock? Bake potatoes! You can toss them in whole, cut them up, spice them, the list goes on. I made mashed potatoes today by cutting into quarters about 1-2 pounds of potatoes, tossed some salt, pepper, garlic, and rosemary in, then set my crock pot to high for 4-5 hours. Do line the crock pot with some type of cooking oil first, though, so they don’t burn to the sides! The end result? Incredibly soft potatoes, perfect for eating as-is, or in my case, mushing them all up in from-scratch mashed potatoes. Be still, my heart.
The possibilities are endless when it comes to crock pot cooking. I found tons of great ideas just browsing through pinterest.
That about sums up our real food for the week, y’all. Have any great real food recipes to share? Tips/tricks how you tackle your real food journey? I’d love to here in the comments below!
Until then–keep it real, people!