This week I am not posting about a complete meal, even though that is the challenge! I did have lots of simple, SOLE meals this week but all of them were things I've made before and not very interesting. The best meal I had this week was a bowl of re heated Lundberg brown rice with leftover Christmas Lima beans and topped with home made pickled carrots and radishes. That was delicious, but not worthy of a whole write up. What I do think is worthy this week is the strides I've been making in making my own food. I joined the Real Food Challenge over at Not Dabbling in Normal and the timing has been great. I have learned so much during this Dark Days Challenge and have been getting comfortable in my kitchen and now for the last month I have taken on a second challenge that challenges me to put even more real food in our diets. I think at the end of this month, I will be thriving in my new way of eating and I will be comfortable to go on without a challenge to hold me up (even though I'll gladly join another if it comes around). I finally found a great bread recipe that I had the ingredients for and was simple enough for me to make and it came out great!! I used the other half of the dough and made a cinnamon/raisin/walnut loaf! I also made crackers plain and with three different seasonings: cinnamon/sugar, onion/garlic, and ginger/pepper/poppyseed. I loved the crackers and so did my kids! My son asked if I could make some for his class and if he could take them in his lunch! That was a success for me, if I can replace chips or store bought snacks with home made ones that is awesome! I also finally got the sauerkraut going and my daughter can't wait for it to finish fermenting, it's been sitting about a week now so maybe today we'll try some on some home made crackers. My other big accomplishment this week was using my canning pot for the first time and preserving some food! I don't grow my own food, but I do support local, organic growers and feel preserving their food is almost as good as preserving my own when I can't grow it. I followed a Food In Jars recipe and made delicious carrot/daikon pickles! The brine was so good, I could've drank it! This was my first attempt and I have no kitchen common sense so I didn't do a perfect job, but they are still edible. What I did wrong was I poured the brine and veggies in the jar together instead of packing it and got jars only half full of veggies. Next time I'll know better. The ones that went in the water bath are still sitting on the shelf for a few more days, but there was one jar that was only half full that we were going to refrigerate....it didn't make it that far. Those were the pickles we ate on our beans and rice for dinner the other night. They of course weren't all pickly yet, but they were delicious and I can't wait to pop open a can of them soon! So all in all I think I had a very successful week of Dark Days and Real Food and I can't wait to see what happens next week!