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Meet Little Momma | Maltese mix

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Pacing yourself in the Eat Local Challenge

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As a runner, I know the best way to go the distance is to pace yourself and prepare ahead of time. I began the Eat Local Challenge full of steam for the InthekNOwla relay with menu preparations, drink ideas, and trips to the markets.
As a single mom with a full time job, who is dedicated to working out, time management is crucial in achieving all daily goals. This means that my daughter fixes her own lunch for school in the morning. I rely solely on eggs and fruit for breakfast with lunch being a Lean Cuisine or leftovers, and daily snacks consisting of fruit, trail mix, popcorn and yogurt. Sounds fairly doable on the challenge, right? For the most part, adhering to my normal routine and sticking to the challenge haven’t been as difficult as I thought, but it hasn’t been without its challenges – no pun intended!
I prefer the ease of a Lean Cuisine to preparing dinner at the end of a long day with a glass of wine, enjoying the summer breeze on my porch, or a family outing to indulge in heavily topped frozen treats from my neighborhood yogurt spot with my daughter. In the excitement of participating in this event, however, I didn’t consider how my week would be affected.  
Gratefully, there are a few places with local eggs (Rouses and the Hollygrove Market). The fruit I received in my basket from the Hollygrove Market was super sweet and delicious (I know there’s a big to do about Georgia peaches, but the Alabama peaches from Durham Farms were the sweetest I’ve ever tasted!). So, as opposed to a family outing for frozen treats, we created a sweet delectable fruit salad combining the peaches, blueberries, and cantaloupe from the basket. 

Lunch and dinner took a little more effort than popping something in the microwave and hitting “Start.” Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE to cook, but only when I WANT to do it, which unfortunately is sporadic these days.  However, as an extreme competitor, I am determined to adhere to the requirements of the challenge. As a result, my lazy Sunday was spent putting together easy meals to reheat during the week…crowder peas, red beans and brown rice, and winter squash and zucchini soup, all of which were accomplished with very little, if any, non-local products.
Eat Local Challenge |
Crowder peas really only require the basic seasoning of onions, bell pepper, celery and garlic – all of which can be purchased locally. As for red beans, although it’s perfectly acceptable to cook them with no meat, I prefer to cook them with smoked turkey legs pieces.
The squash and zucchini soup was an unexpected discovery as I had originally started out intending to cook something my daughter could eat over pasta yet that would satisfy me without the added carbs. I cooked the veggies with sautéed garlic and basil, used Emeril’s Eggplant Gaaahlic Pasta Sauce as my base and voilà! I served this to my daughter over veggie pasta and she loved it! Overnight, the veggies released more water, which I enjoyed it as a soup for lunch. The winter squash does such a great job of staying firm, it added heartiness to the dish. 
As for my evening cocktail, Bissap Breeze and Old New Orleans Rum saved the day again! The Sensual Summer Mojito, my own fruity spin on the Cuban classic, has been perfect for balancing out these humid NOLA evenings. The Gentilly Breeze, a mixture of Bissap, Old New Orleans Rum, and tonic water was a crisp, refreshing drink for Sunday’s beautiful sunset.
As you can see, my menu ended up being mostly local, perfect for the lenient level of the challenge. With a need to have a variety of snacks to keep me going through the day and food preparation preferences, this level has allowed me to be a pat of the challenge while still holding on to some of the conveniences that allow me to prepare healthy meals and snacks quickly. For those of you who may eat out a little more, the restaurants that are participating in the challenge are offering some pretty tasty food and I would strongly encourage you to pick out a few favorites to visit this month!
Happy eating!
Last modified on Friday, 08 June 2012

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