13  Feb
Harvest Time!

Hi everyone,

Well mission accomplished! Fresh salad greens and herbs are ours for the eating! We have been enjoying the fruits of the AeroGarden Bounty’s labor. Really fresh salad and wonderful herbs.

Now, I was really bad here – so anxious to enjoy that I didn’t photograph the salads or herbs. But we have harvested and continue to do so almost daily. The salads we eat are fresh picked and the variety offers you greens for salads, sandwiches, or any other use you can think of for greens. There is a commitment required, as with any garden, to trim and harvest properly. But there aren’t any weeds to pull!

The herbs have been wonderful – fresh dill on the salmon! cilantro with the tacos, basil in sauce and on homemade marghreita pizza, parsley as a garnish on chicken dishes or in tuna or chicken salad. And the list goes on.
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Posted by admin, filed under Local Food Connections. Date: February 13, 2016, 12:54 pm | Comments Off on Harvest Time!

Hi everyone,

It is now almost a month and success! We are so pleased with the progress of the AeroGarden Bounty’s “crops”. Salad and fresh herbs are in our future.

It is wonderful to see the herbs starting to become reality. Fresh basil is on its way into sauces and pizza. The chives don’t seem to be responding so we will have to contact AeroGarden for a replacement.
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This is probably what we are looking forward to the most! Fresh greens in Minnesota and many other parts of the country are just not possible this time of the year. Come June there will be lots of opportunities (barring a wet or soggy spring) but in the meantime buying organic produce is expensive and still not reliable as it isn’t as fresh.

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It shouldn’t be too much longer and the joys of a fresh salad will be ours every day!
Take care,

Judy

Posted by admin, filed under Healthy Food, Herbs, Hydroponic Gardening, Local Food Connections. Date: January 28, 2016, 12:21 pm | Comments Off on Yea Salad And Herbs!

Hi there,

We are moving steadily towards the reality of herbs and lettuce. These photos were taken at about the 10 day mark.
The AeroGarden Bountys are doing well and we are really pleased at what we have seen in the past week or so.

The herbs are a bit slower than the greens, but still coming along nicely.

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Posted by admin, filed under Local Food Connections. Date: January 15, 2016, 12:16 pm | Comments Off on It’s Beginning to Look Like A Garden!

Hi there,

Well, it has certainly been awhile since I last posted. Life does get in the way sometimes. Anyway…

Summer left us a while ago and winter is here. What we find missing in our diet is the wonderful veggies and herbs from our CSA. Tired of buying organic greens in the clamshell package that get soggy after a day or two, we decided to experiment with growing our own in the winter.

Now as much as we wanted to grow our own salad greens and herbs we are not adventurous or brave enough to start with seedlings in little pots and deal with grow lights, etc. so we researched and found the AeroGarden. Once we made the decision, we went the whole way and purchased two of them – one for salad greens and one for herbs.

We were a bit skeptical, so I decided to photo log the way to fresh salad greens and herbs. Rather than posting a week of nothingness at a time, here is the journey from seedlings in pods to really good food!

Day of Planting:

The basics – the garden, seed pods and getting started. It is a very simple process helped along with the “Quick Start Guide”. In no time at all, we had two gardens planted.
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Posted by admin, filed under Healthy Food, Herbs, Hydroponic Gardening. Date: January 3, 2016, 11:56 am | Comments Off on A New Way to Garden

Hi…

It’s that time of the year again in Minnesota…fresh and local produce will be available very soon. It has been a strange weather here with winter lingering into April and May and then blazing hot temps so it should be interesting.

Regardless of the weather, each there is a “dirty dozen” list – foods that are better options if organically grown because of pesticides. The list does seem to change from year to year. I thought this article/slideshow really explains it well.

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Posted by admin, filed under Fruits, Local Food Connections, Organic Choices, Vegetables. Date: May 17, 2013, 10:18 am | Comments Off on Organic or Not – That is the Question

Hi there,

Hope you are enjoying your summer! The past couple of weeks in MN have actually been almost decent. We sure suffered a long period of high temps and dewpoints, lots of rain and this affects the crops seriously. With such a short growing season, it offers a serious challenge to our CSA. However, they seem to always come through with great veggies. Corn took a serious hit this year, but last week’s share was wonderful. So after the pre-requisite grilled corn on the cob…the result for the leftover ears was a great chowder. Here is my version…

Cream of the Crop Corn Chowder

  • 6 strips bacon
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 medium potatoes (Russet or Yukon Gold) peeled and cut in 1/2″ pieces
  • 5 – 6 ears of corn, cut off the cob. If you don’t have fresh, you can use frozen. That would be preferable over using canned because of the salt content.
  • 1 red pepper, seeded and diced
  • 3 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 3 cups  milk (Use at least 1%)
  • 1/2 cup half and half (full or non/low fat version)
  • 2 -3 oz. chopped green chiles (or one small can)
  • 1/2 – 1 Tbs. red pepper flakes (or to taste)

Cook bacon in soup pot. Remove and drain on paper towels. Let cool and crumble.

Saute onion in bacon grease until just tender.

Remove onions and drain the grease from the pan. Wipe the pan. Return the onions to the pan. Add the potatoes and the broth.

Bring to a boil, stir and simmer uncovered until potatoes are tender – 15 to 20 minutes.

Add corn and cook for an additional 10 minutes.

Remove about half of the potatoes and corn with some broth and puree in a blender or food processor until thick. Return to the soup pot.

Add the milk, half and half and stir. Add red pepper, green chiles, red pepper flakes and stir again. Let simmer for about 10 minutes for flavors to develop. Do not allow it to boil.

Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle into serving bowls and top with crumbled bacon bits.

I made grilled turkey sandwiches to go along with the soup – sourdough bread spread with mayo and a bit of spicy mustard, sliced turkey breast, sliced tomatoes, fresh spinach and Swiss cheese.

Surprisingly, it was not a heavy dinner, even for a summer night.

Take care,

Judy

 

 

Posted by admin, filed under Healthy Food, Local Food Connections, Local Food Recipes, Vegetables. Date: August 14, 2011, 10:30 am | Comments Off on Cream of the Crop Corn Chowder

I saw this video this morning and had to share – the package free store. It will be coming soon to Austin, TX. There is also a store of this type in Longmont, CO that has been open for some time, but I only knew of it because of the press for this ingredients. The CO doesn’t appear to carry local produce, but for areas that offer a long growing season, this could be a hit!

Our co-op offers a package-free philosophy for spices, bulk foods, and cleaners. You can bring in your own containers, have them weighted with a tare assigned and then use them for shopping. We bring our own produce bags, as well as shopping bags wherever we shop. To some extent, it isn’t a totally new concept, but it an idea that should be considered.

It would certainly change the way you would have to shop, but I also wonder if more frequent trips to the store wouldn’t mean more gasoline consumption. What this option does is certainly reinforce the buy local theme!

Read the post and watch the video! What do you think?

http://www.good.is/post/zero-packaging-grocery-store-to-open-in-austin-texas/

Take care,

Judy

Local Food Connections

Posted by admin, filed under Local Food Resources, Local Shopping Opportunities, Package Free Grocery Store. Date: June 28, 2011, 8:41 am | Comments Off on Package Free Grocery Shopping

Hi everyone,

I came across a couple of side dishes that would be a nice accompaniment if you serve a ham or pork roast for your Easter dinner.

Honey Glazed Carrots – http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/honey-glazed-carrots-recipe/index.html

Ingredients:

  • Salt
  • 1 pound baby carrots
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

Directions:

In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add salt and then carrots and cook until tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Drain the carrots and add back to pan with butter, honey and lemon juice. Cook until a glaze coats the carrots, 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with parsley.

 

Carrot and Yam Puree – http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/carrot-and-yam-puree-recipe/index.html

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 pounds carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 pounds yams, ends trimmed, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup water

Directions:

In a saucepan or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute until aromatic. Add the carrots, yams, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Cook for 5 minutes until slightly softened. Add the stock and water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the carrots are tender, about 25 minutes. Using a ladle, remove 2 cups of the cooking liquid and reserve. Using an immersion blender, puree the mixture until slightly chunky, adding the reserved cooking liquid, 1/4 cup at a time, if needed. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Cook’s Note: The carrot mixture can also be drained in a colander and working in batches, blended in a food processor or blender.

Take care,

Judy

Posted by admin, filed under Healthy Food, Local Food Connections, Random Recipes, Vegetables. Date: April 16, 2011, 11:09 am | Comments Off on Carrot Side Dishes for Easter

04  Apr
C is for…Carrot

Hi everyone,

After a frantic March, I am back on track, so here goes!

C is for Carrot, Cucumber, Cilantro and Coconut –  our April “C” foods.

Starting with carrots… the “good for your eyes” food.  Carrots are a root food and grow underground. California grows carrots year around, however, the very best tasting carrots will be those grown locally and fresh in their season, which is summer and fall.

Carrots are a member of the Umbelliferare family, which includes parsnips, fennel, caraway, cumin and dill. That is due to the umbrella-like flower clusters that are part of the plant. They come in the familiar orange color, as well as purple, red, white, yellow and black.

Carrots are a superior source of Vitamin A and have many anti-oxidant properties, which benefit anyone’s diet. Beta-carotene helps with vision, particularly night vision, and carotenoids promote good colon and lung health. They are also rich in Vitamin K, C, B6 and dietary fiber.  One cup chopped carrots contain 52 calories with 428% of your Vitamin A requirement, 13% of Vitamin C and 14% of your recommended dietary fiber. The minimal amount of fat and sodium occur naturally.

When selecting carrots, look for firm, smooth, straight carrots with bright color – the more orange in color, the more beta-carotene in the carrot. Storing carrots is easy. They will keep longer than many other veggies. Simply store them in the coolest part of the refrigerator wrapped in a paper towel or plastic bag. Don’t store them with apples, pears, potatoes or fruits or veggies that produce ethylene gas. If the green tops are attached, cut them off before storing.

Want to grab a quick snack, peel a carrot and enjoy. Carrots are a wonderful (and to me necessary) addition to stew or that roast in the crock-pot. They do well in soups also. I also like to serve them with my Buffalo Chicken tenders. I like the sweet contrast of the carrot to the spice in the chicken.

Food52.com had a recent carrot showdown and here are the recipes and links for the two finalists: Roasted Carrot Soup and Glazed Carrots with Braised Bibb Lettuce. Check out the blog and the recipes. Go ahead, try them and vote for your own favorite.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/14/carrot-recipes_n_835696.html

Check back next week and we’ll talk about another “C is for….” food.

Take care,

Judy

 

Posted by admin, filed under Alphabet Posts, Healthy Food, Local Food Connections, Vegetables. Date: April 4, 2011, 11:36 am | Comments Off on C is for…Carrot

Hi everyone,

I love basil – its clean, fresh and intoxicating aroma just fills my head with ideas for using it in my cooking. It has such a wonderful taste and I can’t imagine a Margherita pizza without fresh basil. The dried basil just doesn’t impart the same wonderful fresh taste.

I wrote an article a while back about basil…. here is the link if you would like some ideas for using basil in  your cooking http://ezinearticles.com/?Basil—5-Ways-to-Use-the-King-of-Herbs&id=1429712

Be back soon with another “B” veggie or fruit!

Take care,

Judy

Posted by admin, filed under Alphabet Posts, Herbs, Local Food Connections, Random Recipes. Date: March 12, 2011, 10:57 am | Comments Off on B is for…. Basil – The King of Herbs

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