Food

Meal Plan in Review 02/12-02/18

Last week on my Instagram account, I posted a glimpse of my meal plan for February 12-18th. I thought that it would be fun to take a look back and see if I stuck to my meal plan or if I deviated from it.

This week's meal plan featuring @papajohns & @plated

A post shared by Emily Rena Elliott (@emielli5) on

The purpose of planning out my dinners for the week was to eliminate some of the last minute indecisiveness that leads to poor food choices,  to better utilize what it already in my pantry/freezer and to narrow down what I actually purchase from the grocery store.

Overall, we did poorly at sticking to our plan this week. Robb and I both came down with a cold that lingered (and still lingers) for days, leaving us without energy and really without an appetite.

Sunday – We ordered Papa Johns pizza on Sunday. Papa Johns is sort of our monthly treat [Canadian bacon, pineapple, roma tomatoes, and sometimes mushrooms and olives on Robb’s half]

Monday – While I ended up doing country-fried steak this day instead of chicken-fried steak, I did stick mostly to my meal plan for this day, though Robb asked if I could hold off on making the pie until he would actually be able to taste it. It’s in the oven now and smells amazing!

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Tuesday – We did end up having leftovers so this was a win!

Wednesday – Robb’s cold was kicking his butt on Wednesday. I ended up making the Plated: Mediterranean Burgers with Harissa Aioli and Carrots Fries for me but made him a simple bowl of chicken ramen with peas and carrots. [Plated is one of those meal delivery kits.]

Thursday – Wanting something warm and comforting, Robb made a stew of sorts with chicken, potatoes, onions, broth, corn, peas, and dumplings. It was the perfect thing to help combat the crud.

Friday – I didn’t use my other Plated meal. Instead we were bad. I didn’t feel like cooking, Robb didn’t feel like cooking, so we picked up sandwiches from a local restaurant, came home, and watched Netflix. It was a good night though and after dosing myself with Nyquil, I was asleep by 7:30.

Saturday – Robb had purchased Barbeque Chicken plates from a local fire department so we had those Saturday night. They were DELICIOUS! Well worth the $8 per plate and we enjoy supporting our community.

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I have my meal plan for this current week ready to go but may or may not post it as 3 days this week will be leftovers/on-your-own due to our work schedules. My main goal now is to cook as much from the freezer as we can. Doing a quick evaluation today, we have a lot of frozen produce that needs to used before this growing season starts.

Do you try to plan out your meals each week? How do you stick to your plan?

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Food · Recipe

Duck Bombs

When Robb and I first started dating, one of the first things I learned about him was that he loved duck hunting. He often regaled me with tales of the duck-based goodies he created after a morning of hunting. During our first year of dating, he fixed me meals made with goose, swan, wild turkey, and deer. But no duck. I always just figured that he caught too-few ducks and that he had earned the right to enjoy them on his own. After all, he is the one getting up at 3 or 4 in the morning and sitting in a blind in the freezing cold while I’m still snuggled in bed.

We’ve been dating a little over two years now and I’ve finally been able to enjoy a few duck dishes. But nothing compared to the duck bombs (as I have dubbed them) Robb fixed a few days ago.

There is no recipe really for this. To be honest, I’m not sure if Robb even knows what he did. He cooks instinctively, which is something that impresses me. He throws this-and-that into a pot, no measurements. Sometimes the food turns out delicious, sometimes the dogs get a large dinner that night. These duck bombs were a definite win.

He used a mallard and a wood duck, breasting them out to get 4 breasts. He pounded the breasts thin and then marinated them in Allegro and garlic for 24 hours (simply because he forgot to fix them the night before). After marinating, he rolled the duck breasts up with a sliver of jalapeno, smear of cream cheese and wrapped them in bacon.

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He cooked them in a grill pan in a mixture of onions, olive oil, garlic, and jalapenos for about 10 minutes (I’m guessing) or until medium rare and tender.

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We served the duck breasts with asparagus (marinated in garlic and Allegro as well) that was oven roasted until tender.

Delicious! Hopefully he’ll snag a few more ducks this season and we can recreate this dish!

What’s your favorite, most mouth-watering way to serve (or be served) wild game?

Food · Life

Farmer’s Market Haul 12/10/2016

This will be my last farmer’s market post of the year. While there is one more Saturday market before Christmas – I won’t be able to attend because of a previous engagement. The Edenton Farmer’s Market will start back up in January with an indoor market on the second and fourth Saturdays of January, February, and March. I’m going to try to be a vendor at least once a month to help continue to showcase my brand (and with plans to create something deliciously edible soon).

I did super good, spending wise, at the market this time. I spent $39.48, slightly under my $40 goal.

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So here is what I purchased from the farmer’s market:

  • Hot Italian Sausage – Will be used in spaghetti soon
  • 2 mini loaves of banana/pineapple/walnut bread
  • 3 bars of soap from a vendor that supported me in return
  • a handmade winter hat ornament (only $1!!)
  • 4 pack of oreo truffles
  • 3 rabbit ears for the dogs
  • Package of English walnuts
  • More garlic!!
  • Beets (I’m think Chioggia because of how they looked when I cut into them – see below)
  • Baby bok choy
  • Mustard Greens
  • Kale
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I stayed at my mom’s house the weekend and spotted this precious moment – the animals coexisting peacefully for once. Mom’s dog was being a bit mischievous and was sleeping on her bed when I snapped this photo.

I also volunteered in the kitchen the Cupola House on Saturday evening, making sure the wassail and cookies remained stock for the guests who wondered in while on the Edenton Candlelight Tour. The Cupola House is one of my favorite houses (I swear I saw a ghost in it when I was in elementary school) and the reason why I started studying herbs (they have a huge herb garden in the back). Even though I met some wonderful people, the major perk was being able to bring home a bag of cookies and a gallon of wassail!

 

Last but not least – I finally have a photo from Alaska for y’all.

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This photo (of my boyfriend and I) is from our trip to Alaska in October – when we went fishing more specifically. I’m finally getting around to going through my photos and selecting some for the blog.
Food

Farmer’s Market Haul 12/3/16

I definitely went over my $40 budget this time. I ended up spending $50.50! But in my defense, there was a new vendor this week that had some awesome goodies. Also in my defense, I was working as a vendor myself so while I spent money, I made money. 🙂

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So here is what I got from the Edenton Farmer’s Market:

  • Homemade Peach Vinegar – I love this! She also had homemade red wine vinegar available as well but I had to make the tough choice between the two.
  • Rabbit’s ear chew for a dog
  • Tasty truffles
  • Carrots
  • Two kinds of sweet potato (Burgundy and… another kind)
  • Pickled Okra
  • Amish butter – Yes, it is a brick of butter. I let it soften over the weekend and divided into small rounds and froze those rounds so I can use what I need.
  • Sample of a shave oil to try (I love the smell already – lavender and sandalwood)
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These pickled okra did not make it past the weekend. They were delicious and I wish now that we had put up more okra.
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Belle enjoying her rabbit’s ear.
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This interesting looking vegetable is a Sunchoke a.k.a. a Jerusalem Artichoke. I have a whole post coming soon about it.

Along my discounted pork roast that I purchased at the grocery store the other day (encrusted with the lamb rub I purchased a while back from the farmer’s market), I decided to toss a bunch of vegetables in to roast. So in the pan below, there are carrots, sunchokes, turnips, garlic, sweet potato, butternut squash (all from the farmer’s market), along with potatoes and onions. I added a bit of vegetable broth in the bottom as well.

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Friday night, I ventured to downtown Elizabeth City for the SPCA’s second annual cookie extravaganza. Located in an old jewelry store,  there are cookies EVERYWHERE. For $5, you get to pick out any dozen cookies that are available. I stumbled across this event randomly last year but make it a point to attend this year.

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Life

Thoughts on Butchering

Note: This post might be a little gross for some.

Last night, I watched my boyfriend butcher a deer that had been living only hours before. Don’t worry; I didn’t take any pictures for the blog. I had never seen anyone butcher an animal from start to finish so it was important for me to watch this process. It went better for me than I expected it to. I thought I would have been grossed out, but I actually did very well until my boyfriend went to remove the horns and a piece of… ahem… brain matter…. fell on the ground. Thankfully, that was the one of the last things he did.

I have been contemplating going vegetarian for many years, which is why it was important for me to watch this process. I’ve tried to compensate by buying soy or almond milk, using eggs from our backyard chickens, and buying meat from companies that are ANIMAL WELFARE APPROVED. My goal is to one day only consume meat that I have either personally raised or that my boyfriend has hunted. The death of any creature seems unfair to me, but I would rather the animal have some sense of freedom and happiness.

The other day, I was reading one of the blogs I follow. It was slaughter day for their pigs so she spoke of how hard it was to watch them disappear into the truck to go to the slaughter house. Someone made a comment that they could never raise an animal and then eat it. They commented back and forth and finally, the woman confessed that she had no problem eating meat from the grocery store, even though the meat she is consuming has been factory farmed in inhumane – cruel – conditions. She has that disconnect between her meat having been once a living creature that feels pain and she needs that disconnect to continuing eating it. To me, that simply is not right.

All my squeamishness aside, I had mentioned to my boyfriend that I wanted to try tanning a hide. I hesitated when he told me that brain tanning was the most traditional method. I researched alternative methods, but most seemed to use chemicals. That’s not what I wanted. If I was going to go through the effort, I wanted to do it the natural way. So last night I, wearing gloves, gingerly picked up the piece of brain that had fallen and put it in a zip lock bag. My boyfriend cut me off a small piece of hide which we put in another bag to freeze until I can get started today.

Fun fact: Apparently every animal (with the exception of buffalo) has enough brains to tan their own hide.

Why did I want to try tanning? I want to simply remember what I am eating and to preserve a part of it in a show of respect. I can’t stand the thought of so much of an animal being wasted.