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It has been remarkably cold the past three days, with lows at night down to -18 and daytime temps not getting above the 4-10 degree range. The nice part has been that the wind has stopped blowing though, so it’s not a bad tradeoff! I am having to chop ice out of the creek every other day now for the horses.

Before our snowstorm came in last Friday, I made a shopping trip down below on Thursday to the “big city” and stocked up for the month. The big city of 10,000 residents consists of Wal-Mart, Smiths, and Safeway, as well as feed stores and the like. We were out of several non-grocery items (dog food, paper goods, toiletries, etc) which would have made my 160-mile roundtrip worthwhile anyway, so I stocked up on groceries for the next four weeks while I was there. My plan is to save a little money in the budget to buy milk and the frozen yogurt that I like in town, and buy everything else I need for the month down below.

While I am all for supporting small town businesses, I have made the decision this month to once again make monthly trips down-country for groceries and supplies. Several ongoing factors over the course of the past year have led me to this decision, and at this time I feel like is the right thing to do financially and otherwise due to the price and quality of products offered locally (I am sick of buying expensive, expired and/or damaged food!). In mentioning my decision to others, I have realized that several others in the community are doing the same. I always take a list when I go, and I stuck to it pretty much completely with the exception of purchasing quinoa. I had planned on buying wild rice, and when I got to the isle I saw several types of quinoa blends nearby and decided to give it a try since I have been reading a lot about it over the past year.

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The box describes the Roasted Red Pepper and Basil blend of quinoa and brown rice as “a unique, versatile whole grain with a slighly crunchy texture and a light nutty flavor that is used around the world.” It is also Fair Trade Certified, and I feel good about buying products that benefit the producer and agriculture as well as the consumer. Fair Trade is a global movement that aims to give farmers competitive prices, improved trade terms and incentives to invest in their communities and help protect the environment.

Tonight I got done with work and did not have to go to my other job, and found myself with time to cook. This is what I came up with: Parmesan Broccoli Quinoa with Wild Game Sausage.

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Ingredients

  • 2 c fresh broccoli
  • 1/4 c parmesan cheese
  • 6 oz. (about 1/3 lb.) wild game breakfast sausage
  • Roasted Red Pepper & Basil Quinoa, 1 box prepared
  • Kraft Salad Dressing & Marinade: Roasted Red Pepper with Parmesan (optional)

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1. Cook quinoa according to package directions until water is absorbed (typically you just have to add water, olive oil is optional and I did not add it). You can cook the broccoli right in with the quinoa if your pot is large enough, otherwise steam or boil the broccoli separately.

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2. Crumble wild game breakfast sausage in frying pan and cook until no longer pink. This is venison breakfast sausage we made this year with a kit from Hi Mountain Seasonings.

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3. Combine quinoa, broccoli and sausage together in pot and stir gently to combine.

4. Transfer to 8×8 baking dish and sprinkle evenly with parmesan cheese.

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5. Serve immediately while hot. Top with a drizzle of Kraft Roasted Red Pepper & Parmesan Salad dressing if desired.

ON BUYING LOCAL:
Something to Digest….
According to Susan Witt, Executive Director of the E.F. Schumacher Society, “buy  local” campaigns serve another function: alerting a community about gaps in the local market. For instance, if consumers keep turning to on-line or big-box stores for a particular product—say, socks—this signals an opportunity for someone local to make and sell socks. This is the way product innovations get made, says Witt.
Read more: http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1903632,00.html#ixzz2I0mFBTAL
Something to Think About…
“We as a society and as an economy need to start optimizing for a large number of small things, not just relying on a small number of large things.”
Woody Tasch, founder of the Slow Money Alliance, a new nonprofit that is raising money to support local food ventures.

How much do outside factors play into the decisions you make regarding the food you choose to buy and the food you choose to produce yourself? How important is it to shop local?

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