I almost took this week’s Dark Days Challenge off–I just haven’t been that excited about what we’ve eaten lately. We’re working hard to eat down the freezer and pantry supplies, but that means more of the same ol’ same ol’.  It seems like every meal has frozen green beans, corn or broccoli mixed in with a jar of tomato sauce or vegetable stock. There are only so many times you can throw those in a pot, shake them up and expect something new to come out. It doesn’t help when some of the other Dark Days Challengers are coming out with meals like this:

Thrift at Home’s Lamb Bone with White Beans and Rosemary
Backyard Grocery’s Gingered Poached Pears and Chicken with Mashed Acorn Squash
Tom at Rubus Raspberry even had ice cream last week!

After looking through the recaps, I have to extend my apologies if the ingredients seem repetitive. This has been the hardest winter yet to stay focused. With the warmer temperatures and lack of snow it just feels like we should have access to more variety, more spring-like veggies. A few of the challengers have hoop houses and have harvested greens in Minnesota. Without that type of gardening space, I’m left to what I can scrounge at the farmers’ market and co-op. Lately it’s been more of the same ol’ same ol’.

This is NOT a complaint about the winter we’ve had. But it is an observation about how challenging it can be for locavores to stay motivated this time of year. Eating seasonally means appreciating the variety and bounty of summer and fall while being patient through longer winters. Eating regular meals of frozen and cold storage vegetables may seem like a drag, but it does free up my winter evenings for other things besides cooking. It does take some resourcefulness to stir them into something new, and a little creativity  dedication to admit they don’t taste like the last three meals.

I’m thinking a trip to the apple orchard is in store for the weekend. A cure for the winter drag. Someone has to have fruit stored around here!

Until then, here’s a quick all-in-one-pot meal with our kitchen staples. I’ve started a new recipes series on SGT called Great Grains, with introductions on how to use some of the more uncommon whole grains. This week I’ve experimented with millet in preparation for an upcoming post. Consider this a preview of what you can make with these tiny little guys.

Slow Cooker Vegetable Soup with Millet 

Ingredients 

1 C. onion, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 C. millet
2 C. water
4 C. vegetable stock
2 C. frozen green beans
2 C. frozen corn
3 medium potatoes, chopped into 1″ pieces
1 bay leaf
1 Tbsp. italian seasoning

Instructions
1. Place all ingredients in slow-cooker and stir. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or until potatoes and millet are tender. Remove bay leaf and serve warm with a slice of crusty bread.

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