Dark days of winter with a thankful heart

I was recently asked to do a program at our county library next spring about eating local on a budget. A few days later, I came upon an eating local challenge called the “Dark Days of Winter Eat Local Challenge.” The challenge, from Urban Hennery blog, is in it’s 5th year and asks bloggers (and others) to:

Cook one meal each week featuring SOLE (sustainable, organic, local, ethical) ingredients, write about it on your blog and email your happy recapper a link to your post. It’s really that simple, but at the same time, it can really be that hard

I cook many meals a week using local ingredients, but I will take this challenge on with the goal of having a meal a week that is all or nearly all local. I love the idea of creating a record of eating local in our area, what is possible, and how I did it. I think a lot of people know that eating locally sourced chemical/GMO free produce and pasture raised protein is the way to go, but don’t know how to start. Maybe blogging my way through local winter eating can inspire someone. I am sure I will find inspiration from the others blogging on the challenge. The challenge runs from Sunday, November 27th, 2011 to Saturday, March 31st, 2012.

The recaps of the challenge will be posted on the “Not Dabbling in Normal” blog.

Today, our national day of Thanksgiving, we shared a meal with family and friends and much of it traveled a very short distance to our plate. We have everything to be thankful for. My appreciation of this holiday as deepened greatly over the past 5 years. When you play a part in producing your food or even know those who do, it makes you truly grateful there is a harvest. Farmers give thanks year round for the blessing of their labor and the miracle of the soil. I made stuffing this morning. My first step was to go out and harvest celery, sage, parsley, thyme and rosemary. I chopped all this along with onions and garlic from our farm. I then sautéed everything with spicy Italian sausage and roasted chestnuts from local farmers. The “outsourced” part of this stuffing was dried cranberries and the ingredients for the bread I baked. I am thankful for the good healthy food, but most of all for my friends and family I shared it with.

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