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December 2011 Community Foods and Crafts Swap

This was a huge swap… I believe we had over fifty different types of items, and more then 15 swappers.  It was fabulous! All word of mouth, the best way. Creative/foodie types always stick together!

I am one of the swap coordinators along with my friend (and the person who inspired our the Homemade Swappers of Sarasota) Liz. We set up an area where we have sign-ins, with nametags and little swap papers. These are used for the silent auction aspect of our swaps. We have different tables for foods, crafts and the potluck.

To decorate we bring tablecloths, playsilks, scarves, vases etc, and its all casual and informal, beautiful and fun.

At 10:30 we officially begin, with about a half-hour of time for setting up and filling out the papers (name, item and suggested use on each, with room for offers or “bids” below). When everyone is looking settled in, we open up the potluck/sign-up portion of the swap. That takes from 11-12 or so. When everyone looks finished and ready to swap we announce that new transition. The swap is casual and so lovely. The best and most common feedback I hear is that everyone leaves with more then they came with. That, to me is just the most beautiful aspect of the swap. As one swapper told me, making a batch of something is simple, but to make six different things to enjoy would be impossible. And it is SO TRUE! I don’t have the time, energy or knowledge to create everything I can swap for, and it is lovely not to have to.

I highly encourage you to start or find a swap in your area. We hold ours every other month, on a Saturday morning. Many swaps are food only, but for this swap we began accepting crafts for trading as well. It was a big hit, and will be repeated at each swap.

I brought to trade: little zipper quilted bags, some jewelry, homemade panang curry paste, handspun yarn, and lemons. I think i’m forgetting something… but those are the highlights I suppose.

And here is what I went home with:

I recieved: a pen and ink framed drawing, a vanilla sugar scrub, a felt play crown, cloth hankies, keifer lime leaves, handmade cards, apple-cider toffee, a vintage fat quarter fabric bundle, a giraffe baby rattle, backyard grapefruit, strawberry jam, backyard tangerine marmalade, tovetop potperi mix, echinasia/elderberry tincture, felt flower headband, fabric gift bags, a peace on earth stained glass ornament and a binecone birdfeeder.



Official Postpartum Meal Plan

I went through this with Rob, and figured out the game plan. It may sound like a whole lot, but I counted everything out and I’ll only need to freeze 4-6 items per week, which is easily doable. The payoff will be beyond worth it!

Soups, Stews and Sauces (begin in mid February)

  • Autumn Chicken Immunity Boosting Soup, recipe inspired by whole foods recipes and my friend Jessica. Make sure it has plenty of chicken.
  • Addictive Red Lentil Curry
  • Beef Tips in Gravey with Peas and Carrots (serve with noodles or plain)
  •  Black Bean Soup, recipe received from a food swap many moons ago.
  • Cabbage Soup with Shredded Chicken
  • Carrot Soup with Honey and Nutmeg, from NYMSCCB (Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Cook Book… one of my favorite books!).
  • Cheesy Vegetable Chowder double or triple recipe
  • Chicken Cacciatore with mushrooms and plenty of Shredded Veggies. I LOVE this dish. Rob eats it with pasta usually, but it’s so yummy alone or with steamed, buttery broccoli. Make it with bone on, skinless chicken thighs for the most flavor.
  • Chicken Curry Soup with Spinach and Red Peppers
  • Chicken Stew with Garlic Herb Dumplings I’ll be freezing this sans dumplings in half-size portions. The dumpling mix I will make up and store in a glass container on the counter, just adding milk and butter when ready to mix them up and cook.
  • Chilli…. oh… how soon I need to make this! YUM! I could eat this chili weekly or more often, and usually do.
  • Creamy Potato and Leek soup, recipe adapted from NYMSCCB . Freeze in jars and have with turkey sandwiches or pesto spread on toast.
  • The EASIEST French Onion Soup, adapted from NYMSCCB, 
  • Ground Beef Minestrone Soup
  • Harvest Vegetable Soup (with Shredded Chicken and without). This was one of the first recipes I created, I think I was about 15. I have been making it often, ever since. The vegetarian version of this, with plenty of parmesan cheese on top is my favorite.
  • Lamb Stew with root veggies in a tomato wine broth
  • Matzoball Soup, frozen in single serve jars
  • Meat Sauce for Pasta
  • Pannag Chicken or Shrimp Curry
  • Pesto, frozen in small jars. Serve with grilled or sautéed chicken and pasta, or on toasted bread with a soup.
  • Ratatouille in the crock pot, frozen in jars. Serve with pasta covered in mozzarella and parm, or as the filling of a sandwich on a big crusty roll, also with melted mozzarella. For a meat meal, eat as a side with grilled chicken breast cutlets. I may also use part of this recipe for a veggie lasagna to also freeze! Recipe here:  Changes I’ll try for the recipe include adding just a bit of balsamic vinegar and some red wine, plenty of fresh basil leaves, honey rather than sugar, and I will omit the red pepper flakes since my husband (and some nurslings) prefer less spice). I’ll cook it on low and check it around 5 hours in, as a 7-9 hour cook time seems too long to me.
  • Roasted Tomato Soup, made from fresh picked tomatoes
  • Roasted Red Pepper and Fish Chowder- double or triple recipe.
  • Salsa Chili (from NYMSCCB) I’ll make this from homemade salsa
  • Sloppy Joe Filling. I make this with ground beef, lentils, and plenty of shredded beets, sweet potato and carrots. We just LOVE this meal, it feels so warm and comforting. This is a grown up version of the childhood fave, and just fills a heart up. I’m thinking of freezing this in muffin tins then transferring it to a zip top bag. I think this might give me the perfect meal sized portion to heat up on the stove or in the oven, right from frozen! I’ll freeze rolls with it so its easy and ready to go. This is also a fab topping for baked potatoes too.
  • Slow Cooked Broccoli Soup with Garlic and Olive oil
  • SouleMama’s Tomato Sauce
  • White Chicken Chili

           Casseroles and Meal Components: (start prepping in March)

  • calzones and Stromboli (my husband doesn’t like ricotta, so we call his strombollis even though we bake them anyhow.
  • Cheesy Pasta Bake- this might be the LEAST healthy meal on my list…. but I know that even “junky” food has its place. I make it with sprouted or brown rice pasta, and there is plenty of broccoli in it to (leftover steamed with butter is perfect).
  • Chicken Enchiladas recipe:
  • Chicken Pot Pie (or Turkey Pot Pie)
  • Cilantro Lime Chicken Taco (filling component)
  • Farmhouse Chicken or Turkey Casserole (my husband LOVES this meal!)
  • Lasagna Roll ups, with spinach/ricotta. I’ll do these as the roll-ups since Rob won’t like these filling choices. Flash Frozen then put into ziplock bags. It’ll be so easy to just pull out a few, pop into the oven and have lunch.
  • Lasagna probably I will do a few types of layered lasagna, all versions Rob will enjoy, frozen in molds to fit smaller glass baking dishes to serve 4.
  • Meatballs- to eat with pasta sauce for sandwiches, dinners etc.
  • Mini Meatloaves
  • Shredded Chicken in bags
  • Shepherd’s pie with ground beef, carrots, peas, green beans and topped with mashed potatoes.

         Snacks, Smoothie Bags, Sides, Quiche Slices, Desserts etc: (start prepping in April)

  • Almond clusters adapted from here: I may add peanut too…. that is how the TN brand ones are. I’ll edit the recipe a bit and they’ll be hidden in the pantry, to ration out conservatively.
  • Apricot chocolate nut clusters, recipe on all recipes
  • Beetroot Burgers
  • Beef Jerky (marinated 30-60 minutes in honey, worshtershire and tamari) This I won’t need to freeze, of course, just dehydrate and store. The trick will be HIDING it from my husband and little one so there is some left for a hungry nursing mama!
  • Chicken Nuggets, made with thighs and possibly baked, not fried.
  • Carrot Cake Pancakes– my goal is to freeze 60 of these. Noah will eat one for breakfast, I’ll eat two, so him and I will have 20 days worth of a fairly healthy breakfast option. I’ll probably cook up a bit of beef bacon when we serve it as well, for extra protein/fats. They reheat perfectly in the toaster oven on 325 for about 5-10 minutes.
  • Creamsicle pops, made with coconut and fresh orange juice. Hey, it’ll be summer and hot out, and we love dessert! Made from the orange Popsicle Ice Cream recipe in The Perfect Scoop
  • Dried Fruits- watermelon, apple slices, banana chips
  • Fruit Leathers- strawberry/apple/pear/etc
  • French Toast Sticks- made with a batter of pumpkin, and the custard egg base. Cook and flash freeze, reheat in toaster.
  • fudgepops, made with coconut milk, cream, honey and cocoa
  • Ice Cream… I would love to make a few types of homemade, full fat ice cream. What a perfect late night mama treat, and when I make it I eat a moderate amount and I know it’s as healthy as ice cream can be! All recipes from the best (and only) ice cream cookbook I have) Chocolate p. 26, Zabaglione p. 56, cheese cake p. 62, dark chocolate raspberry swirl p. 92, Roasted Banana p.  72, white Chocolate p 33, Super Lemon p 85, toasted coconut p 96, mint chocolate chip p. 99, and some type of toffee crunch! I don’t know that I’ll actually end up with 10 flavors of ice cream…. but YUM!!! Thinking about it is almost as good.  
  • Lactation cookie Balls, ready to bake
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Muffins, many types: pumpkin spice and blueberry from Aviva Romm’s postpartum book, and these two recipes: also banana bread with walnuts and chocolate chips as muffins…
  • Orange Black Beans with Cumin, from NYMSCCB
  • Quesadillas-fully cooked and frozen in wedges, loaded with cheese and sauteed veggies. flash freeze
  • Quiche many flavors! mini quishe or slices frozen wrapped in parchment and foil for quick snacks from the toaster oven. I may do some crustless as well. smoked salmon asparagus with goat cheese, broccoli cheddar spinach and more.
  • Roti (I may just buy these, but making them is lovely and fun. It’ll depend on my energy level.)
  • Shredded Beef for Tacos
  • Smoothie Bags, many varieties. my goal is to freeze 20 bags/jars.
  • Spinach and Cheese Nuggets
  • Sweet Potato Fries (maybe some other squash fries too)
  • zucchini bread recipe from WFM:

          Marinated/Ready to Cook Meals, Pizzas, Breakfasts: (start prepping in May)


Now, I confess I haven’t made Cholent for possibly 2-3 years. I have no idea why… at one point I made it at least once a week, sometimes more. My pregnancy with Noah changed my cooking, and I think this meal just got a bit forgotten. But I remember it now… soulful, humble food, perfect for a saturday afternoon.

Conservative/observant jews make Cholent on Friday, and put it in the crock pot on low. Saturday early afternoon it is perfectly ready and warm, a decadent treat on a day of eating cold foods. This tradition is one  that I’m planning to come back to as soon as I replace my crock pot, and untill then I’ll just remember it fondly and reminise. I hope you enjoy it as well as I do.

Cholent is not so much a recipe as it is a guide. You can adapt it as you wish, just make sure you don’t forget the secret ingredient… making sure you serve it piping hot in a nice big bowl!

Ingredients: depending on the size of your crock or dutch oven you’ll use the higher or lower amounts.

  • 2-3 cups unsoaked, rinsed beans (I use a combination of kidney beans, navy beans and lima beans)
  • 1-2 onions, sliced/chopped into desired sizes
  • 6-10 small potatoes, chopped or whole depending on how you like it. I like them unpeeled and halved/quartered
  • 1-2 sweet potatoes, prepared like the other potatoes
  • 1-2 lbs meat. Sometimes I use stew meat, lamb especially, but typically I use chicken drumsticks or thighs.
  • 1+ cup pearled barley (this is my FAVORITE part!)
  • tomato paste. I ususally use 2 tbsp or so.
  • whole peeled garlic cloves (I usually put about half the clove)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • garlic powder

1. Combine all ingredients in the crock pot on low, or in a heavy dutch oven on the lowest flame you can get.

2. Cover with a good inch of water, allow to cook 8-18 hours (for the crock pot we usually eat after 14ish hours). Enjoy your meal!