You guys know I love a farmer’s market. It’s one of my weekly rituals that helps re-set and inspire me around food, and is now a little family ritual too, which makes my heart melt in a million ways. My one and only rule when I go is this: I’m not allowed to get anything I don’t have a plan for. (Hot tip: the same is actually true at the grocery store, too).
Why? Because otherwise, I’ll buy everything and nothing, if you know what I mean. As in way too many things that go bad before I have a chance to use them, and then, just random things that don’t actually equate to actual meals.
And I don’t mean fully set meal plans for the week (if that’s not helpful for you). Like it’s ok if the plan is a little flexible sometimes. That’s how I usually roll too.
But at the very least, I force myself to have at least one idea (or a few) on how I’ll use each ingredient I grab. That— plus a quick peek at our social/nightly calendar for the week, has saved me so much money, time, and guilt too for any food waste.
And truly, when it comes down to it, my tactic is usually this:
1) Buy only things I can roast (400 degrees, olive oil, sea salt and peppers is my solution for just about everything, and make almost all veggies taste their best) or 2) that I can add to multiple kinds of soups or salads. O 3) that last for longer than a week (squashes, yams, kale, peppers, and potatoes, I’m looking at you).
Because half the battle is having good stuff ready in the fridge. The other half? Just a tiny amount of forethought to buy things you can use in multiple ways.
Having this tiny bit of a roadmap has simplified things so much for me over the years. Its a trait that I now use more than ever with a little guy around. When I know what I need for the week ahead– for quick snacks, easy lunches, baby food, and my famous 15 minute dinners with 5 ingredients or less (like the ones in the easy dinner meal plan that I’m still using weekly over here)– I can be more intentional with what I buy.
And intentional with my time. And money. And well, those three things paired with really good food? It makes for way easier weeks. Way more fun and less pressure in the kitchen. And happy little bodies all around my table. Winning, if you ask me.
And this week’s haul was seriously a good one. (Peek at the video above for the whole thing.) This sweet little season of mid-Fall, before the bigger chill sets in it’s one of my favorite times to stock up on all kinds of squashes, and roast all the veggies.
Here are all the things I bought at the market, and how I’m using them this week:
Rainbow chard-– it’s such a fast veggie side, sauteed with some garlic olive oil or butter. The stems are gentle enough to eat so I just chop it up and give it a quick saute. It’s also amazing on top of soups on a chilly night.
Heirloom tomatoes-– these are such a good deal right now because we’re pretty much at the tail-end of tomato season. They’re the best for a rich homemade tomato sauce (my favorite recipe is coming in the next cookbook, so stay tuned!), but I’m still putting them sliced on top of avocado toast and salads.
Brussels sprouts— the first of the season! This was an exciting one for me when I see something new each week. I steamed some for the baby guy to give him something new to try and get out of the rut I’ve been stuck in with his food. Then I’ll roast the rest for us!
Delicata squash-– hands down, one of my fav squash types. I just slice it open, scoop out the seeds, slice into half-moons and roast it at 400 degrees with a little olive oil, sea salt, and pepper. It’s the fastest ever and you can eat the skin (no need to peel), add to salads and — of course, Noah’s been eating it, too. Squash season has officially arrived. And I’m HERE for it.
Carrots— serious fact: farmer’s market carrots taste so much better than what you can find at the store. These are the best for snacking and roasting for an easy side. And always having on hand for a quick soup base.
Cauliflower-– a nice and soft one to steam for baby food….and then being able to roast for ours.
Gluten-free sourdough— I found a new vendor (Shambala Bakery) with GF breads and am always all about trying new ones since my favorite GF vendors (NuFlours and Amarelo) have both stopped market production. Plans for this guy: we’ll slice it all and have some tonight with our soup, then I’ll freeze the rest to use later on to dip in soup and make open-face sandwiches and of course avo toast. There’s nothing better, especially as I’m still nursing and need those grains in my life!
Mixed organic lettuces-– again, this tastes so much better than the store-bought kind, it blows my mind. I always get a big bag for salads during the week.
Bell peppers-– on sale for a dollar, so much yes. Planning to do Instantpot tacos or fajitas with a little chicken, avocado, green salsa, and some black beans.
New apple varieties— I love to sample new kinds and have a little fun with new flavors. For the baby, I’ve been steaming apples and pears and mash them up with some cinnamon and ginger and he loves it.
Eggplant-– my new baby food attempt, because why not? Roasting it and mashing it for him to give it a try. Update: a giant hit. Will def do again.
Random squash that I don’t even know the name of– but it’s SO PRETTY. I’m going to let this one hang out on my counter for a few weeks to add some festive fall vibes to our space. Isn’t that the best thing ever about squash? They last forever and double as decor. Then I’ll probably cut it open and roast it to use in soup, like one of my all-time favorite recipes here.
My Sunday post-market plan:
I try to roast a big batch of veggies (brussels, carrots, eggplant, cauliflower, etc) right away when I get home so we have it on hand for us all week, and steam the rest to have ready for the babe. It makes grab and go snacks and meals SO simple all week and I love having fresh options for all of us.
Love this recipe? You’d love the cookbook then too. My second book, Simply Real Eating is coming out November 19th, so make sure you’ve pre-ordered it here. And be sure to check out the seasonal meal plans (or the new Easiest DINNER ONLY Plan)! It’s what we literally eat for dinner every week.
Wanna know more about this real-food lifestyle made simple I always talk about? Be sure to check out this little podcast workshop I created for you, called: Simply Real FOOD: Real food, finally explained. Check it out here!