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,

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 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

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,

Continuing on with our A is for month…. the Artichoke!

If there is a specific vegetable season that I wait for in MN, it is artichoke season because then we can actually afford to buy them. They are a favorite with everyone in the family. (I am serious, including our 4 year old grandson, who actually asks for them). With five in the house at one time, it was a real treat and a dent in the grocery budget, but worth every bite!

Artichokes need a cool climate for optimum growth and that is why you will find them primarily along the coastal areas of California in the spring and summer and inland areas for winter growth. Artichokes, a member of the thistle family (sunflower plant),  are hardy plants and produce their crops for about ten years. The artichoke we eat is actually the plant’s flower bud.

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Posted by admin, filed under Alphabet Posts, Healthy Food, Random Recipes, Vegetables. Date: February 20, 2011, 10:58 am | 1 Comment »

03  Jan
Happy New Year!

Hi everyone,

Happy New Year! We are looking at 2011 as a year of hope, health and prosperity and wish the same for you.

I hope your holiday season included a bit of relaxation, fun, and time spent with those you love. The new year always brings discussions of resolutions, diets, more exercise, and the like.

Last week, I read an interesting piece that treated the subject of the new year resolutions a bit differently. Following the norm, most of us have blown our resolve in about a couple of weeks and then resolve to try again. How about if we treat the changes we want to make as intentions rather than resolutions! Sometimes a change of perspective is what is needed to make something new work well.

Some suggestion for intentions:

  • If you are not vegetarian, eat at least one vegetarian meal a week. There are lots of food options providing a good blend of protein and nutrition you need without sacrificing taste.
  • Servings of fruits and veggies should take up more space on the plate.
  • Reduce the amount of white foods on your plate. There are many wonderful whole-grain breads, rye breads, or white whole-wheat blends that are better than plain old white bread. Sweet potatoes are a wonderful substitute for the standby baked potato.
  • Manage your protein choices with lean options and correct serving sizes.
  • Eat local as much as possible and organic where it counts.
  • Aim for 20 minutes of exercise at least three times a week.
  • Look for healthy recipe sources (Healthy Living, Taste of Home is an excellent example).
  • Try fresh herbs or seasonings to boost flavor.

It is our intention to continue to follow many of the suggestions in the new year more so than in the past. We know our winter CSA made a huge difference in eating local and and has provided us with some wonderful options. It does cost a bit more to eat healthy and properly, but it might be worth pinching pennies somewhere else. Remember, a walk costs you nothing and does as much to clear the mind as it does exercise the body. You will see and feel the results.

Take care,

Judy

Local Food Connections

Posted by admin, filed under Healthy Food. Date: January 3, 2011, 11:20 am | Comments Off on Happy New Year!

21  Dec
Winter is Here

Hi everyone,

Today is officially the first day of winter, but here in MN we’ve been having winter for quite some time. The snow is piled high and familiar landmarks are no longer in sight after the plows made their way through the streets.

Winter brings different foods to our table… comfort foods. Lots of hearty soups, such as my recent recipe post for Squash and Italian Sausage soup, chilis, stews, and casseroles are the fare. I try to use as many local and organic ingredients as are available and the budget allows. Having the CSA does give us the opportunity to easily have more of both options. What is important to remember is to make those dishes healthy eating.

I am not cooking the Christmas dinner this year and am looking forward to being horribly spoiled by a wonderful grandma’s meal. I will contribute by bringing dessert, but she will present a feast to enjoy. I will be with people that I love dearly and that is what counts.

With the holidays looming large, I want to wish you and yours a Merry Christmas or a Happy Holiday celebration. Take time to appreciate your surroundings and carry Thanksgiving into Christmas.

Wishing you the best and take care,

Judy

Posted by admin, filed under CSA - Community Supported Agriculture, Healthy Food, Local Food Connections, Local Food Resources. Date: December 21, 2010, 10:19 am | Comments Off on Winter is Here

10  Dec
Using the Basket

Hi everyone,

It was a chilly Saturday so it turned out to be an experiment in the kitchen day. With the lovely squash from Featherstone Farm, I’ve been trying new recipes. One that is particularly delightful is from Cuisine Magazine – Italian Sausage and Squash Soup. Emeril Lagasse also has a similar recipe, but there are couple of extra ingredients that brightened the appeal of the Cuisine Magazine recipe. The prep takes a bit, but it is so worth it! I used the squash and fresh spinach from Featherstone Farm in the recipe.

Italian Sausage and Butternut Squash Soup

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Posted by admin, filed under Healthy Food, Local Food Recipes, Make-Ahead Dishes. Date: December 10, 2010, 7:24 pm | 1 Comment »

Hi everyone,

I’ve been away from my blog for too long! In October, I was in the Lakewinds Chanhassen store (our local co-op). There was a gal with a table display that was a bouquet of fresh vegetables. She was offering fresh carrots as a sample. I love to taste new foods and I thought – carrots, what is so different about them. They were fantastic – sweet and crisp crunchy. She was providing information on a winter CSA, which was totally new to me. I spoke to my husband about it that evening. Their deadline was drawing near for closing sign-ups. We decided we had to try it. We are so glad we did!

Featherstone Farm is located in Rushford, MN, which is about an hour away from the Twin Cities. We pick up a box every other week at the Lakewinds store. It is an easy deal for us to do so and we have been so impressed with the quality, quantity and taste of the produce. Here is a picture from their website of the first box of the season…. wow!

Box from Featherstone Farm

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Posted by admin, filed under CSA - Community Supported Agriculture, Healthy Food, Local Food Connections, Local Food Resources. Date: December 4, 2010, 1:11 pm | Comments Off on Our Winter CSA Adventure

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