May 20, 2013

The Bounty in the Basket

Recently, the Hubs and I find ourselves on a non-processed food kick. Meaning, we're doing our best to slowly eliminate all the processed foods in our pantry and fridge, one item at a time.

Yeah, so this was basically my idea and I've dragged the Hubs into it. But for the most part, he's not complaining. He's such a good hubs. 

This idea began slowly. I started by adding more fresh fruits and vegetables to our diet. Eating salad more often was about as creative as we got for several weeks. Then, I discovered this great co-op called Bountiful Baskets

Ever heard of it?

The basic idea is this: Either every week or every two weeks (depending on your location), you purchase "baskets" full of fresh produce at a discounted rate. This is a co-op, and all volunteer, so don't expect awesome customer service. Instead, you arrive for pick-up (with your own bags or boxes handy), load up, and move out. 

Did I mention they also sell bread, and granola, and juicing packs, and fresh herbs, and all kinds of other enticing items?? 

Well, they do! These add-on items can change weekly, but I've noticed others are fairly consistent in our area. 

The produce each week is a complete surprise, and I love it! This forces me to think outside the box with my meal planning. Items I may not have purchased at the store are suddenly at my disposal. I mean, I can't very well throw it away, you know? So I find ways to use whatever comes my way. 

This was what I received in my last 'basket': 

Here is what you're looking at:

1 large bunch of bananas
1 bag of apples (plus 3 individual apples)
1 watermelon (woot!)
1 cantaloupe
3  heads of broccoli
4 green peppers
2 heads of iceberg lettuce (previous weeks have contained romaine, which I personally prefer)
1 head of cabbage
2 cucumbers
4 ears of corn
2 artichokes 

My, oh my! Though I've eaten artichokes in restaurants, I've never made them at home. Totally new experience for me. Also, I don't ever cook with cabbage, so sometime this week I'll be testing out a recipe for Bubble and Squeak

Next week, my basket could be entirely different. For some, this might be an annoyance, but I really enjoy it. 

This past basket day, I also purchased the additional bread pack: 

This included 2 loaves of whole grain bread, 2 loaves of English muffin bread, and a baguette. I adore English muffin bread, and it's almost all gone already.

This co-op isn't for everybody, but check it out if you're looking to save some money on your produce and you don't mind a little adventure. Also note, you can purchase fully organic baskets as well! 

As for me and the Hubs, we're working hard to eliminate all those processed foods. If it's something we really love (like ice cream!!), I'm finding ways to make those items myself. This way, I know exactly what goes into each treat. 

And you will receive the benefit of all my new recipes! Keep an eye out later this week for my Orange Sorbet recipe. It's easy, and delicious, I promise. 

Let me know if you try Bountiful Baskets, and feel free to send in pics of your bounty. Happy shopping!

Thanks for reading, everyone!
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