Welcoming Summer and Previewing a Week of Real Food

It is officially summer. Today is the summer solstice, which is also the longest day of the year. Of course there is science and a solar system that explains the positions of the sun and earth and why the amount of sunlight is longest on this day, but I really prefer to focus on its symbolic representation. Om Times posted an article that really resonated with me this year, and within it stated, “Sun represents the soul and when it is at its northernmost elevation, the light within the consciousness is also shines brilliantly, opening possibilities of tremendous growth and evolution.” I find so much inspiration and optimism in this line; especially as I embarking on new personal and professional endeavors that will allow me to align passion with profession. 
There are innumerable rituals surrounding both the winter and summer solstices. Today I completed my own version of a yoga mala during which I performed 108 sun salutations. One hundred eight is evenly divided by three, which is representative of mind, body and spirit. In addition to connecting movement with breath, I also focused on affirmations. The first 36 sun salutations included mind affirmations. The next 36 were body affirmations, and the last 36 were spiritual affirmations. I also took advantage of technology and used the laps on my stopwatch app to keep count. In all it took me about an hour and a half to ease into practice, then finish with restorative yoga poses. It was a powerful practice that serves as my personal reminder of how important it is to stay balanced and connected with my passion and purpose.    
Turning the tables now…Happy Father’s Day to all of men out there. This weekend turned out to be a mostly sunny change of pace from the previous week’s daily deluge. We were grateful that the weather reports from earlier in the week were wrong. Of course more sunshine means more grilling. I can certainly appreciate a perfectly grilled morsel of goodness. In fact we planned our Father’s Day celebrations around our grill. It was so simple, and had so much flavor. Grilled flat iron steak from our local butcher, avocado tomato salad, grilled corn, spinach and berry salad, and roasted smashed red potatoes. It was 80% locally sourced, real food, made with love.

I would like to address, and effectively debunk, the myth that quality, real food is unaffordable. Let it be known that I live on a budget. I eat really well, and my husband never goes hungry. My most important budgeting strategy is planning. On Fridays I create a menu for the week. We tend to have the same breakfast and lunches all week because we make them in bulk on Sunday evenings. This saves us so much time during the week. On Saturdays we shop, first at the farmers’ market for 90% of our produce. Anything that I cannot get locally, like quality fish or coconut milk, I typically buy at Whole Foods. My grocery bill for this past week amounted to $105, and that included the extra items needed for hosting Father’s Day. Another very important money and time saving strategy is sourcing quality animal products locally. I am so grateful for a local butcher shop that sells meat bundles. Our bundle has beef, pork and chicken and provides around 40 pounds, which averages approximately $4.25 per pound. I can stretch this bundle out for three months with careful planning. 
Our meals for the next week are detailed below. I linked recipes when I plan to use them, otherwise recipes include the ingredients listed and eyeballing quantities and cook times.
Breakfast this week:

  • Erin: spring mix salad with two over-easy eggs, homemade oil/vinegar dressing and high protein Swiss water pressed decaf coffee
  • Nathan: green protein smoothie

Lunch this week:

  • spaghetti squash with bacon, ground cube steak, mushrooms and roasted broccoli
  • spring mix salad with tomatoes and homemade oil/vinegar dressing
  • carrot sticks
  • full-fat, organic yogurt for Nathan
  • fruit for both of us
  • dark chocolate for Erin

Snacks this week:

  • fresh fruit
  • homemade pickles
  • homemade roasted plantain chips
  • sunflower seeds for Nathan
  • a cup of bone broth for Erin

Dinner this week:

  • Tuesday:
    • sweet potatoes stuffed with leftover flat iron steak and coconut oil
    • roasted asparagus
  • Wednesday:
    • Grilled sausages served over zucchini noodles
    • leftover grain free focaccia bread
  • Thursday – eating out at Chipotle for work fundraiser

Hope you have a great week, and cheers from my cup of gelatinous bone broth to yours!