Last week, for my birthday my guy gifted me tickets to a Vegan cooking class at the Kitchen Conservatory. I was most excited because the theme was Mexican inspired and I would probably eat Mexican every day for the rest of my life if I could. The class was taught by Susan of Yellowbird Nutrition and the menu featured everything from tamales and mole sauce to tempeh tacos with cashew cream. The group was partnered up and then the pairs chose what recipe they wanted to tackle. We went for the pickled onions and pickled vegetables and then also helped another pair with the homemade flour tortillas. The food was delicious and I'm excited to try the recipes at home!
Still looking for a unique gift for the health-minded people in your life? Here are a few of my favorite gift ideas found online!
1. Mandala Coloring Book – Sometimes meditation can be hard with our busy lives. This coloring book will help calm the mind as you focus on the mandalas, putting you in a zen state. Plus, who doesn't want to feel like a kid again?
3. Coconut Milk Caramels – Usually store bought caramels are made of ingredients such as corn syrup, refined sugar, preservatives and food coloring. These caramels, made with coconut milk, will satiate your vegan sweet tooth without all the bad stuff.
4. Root for Vegetables Tote Bag – The perfect tote for Farmer's Market hauls and a little reminder to eat your vegetables! Note: occasionally this item says no longer available. Usually if you wait a day, it will become available again.
5. Beet T-shirt – Don't just eat your veggies, wear them!
6. Spiralizer – With people being more mindful of the carbohydrates they eat, the spiralizer is the new "it" kitchen gadget. There is even an entire blog based on recipes using a spiralizer. (we are obsessed with zucchini pad thai at our house)
7. Himalayan Sea Salt Lamp – These lamps naturally ionize the air, benefiting allergy sufferers, as well as helping to reduce the amount of electro-magnetic pollution caused by electronics in the home and at the office.
Here are the past three CSA shares, concluding my little project! Over all, I loved the produce I received and it taught me a lot about eating seasonally as well as challenged me to use things I wouldn't typically buy at the store. For next year, I've decided not to participate in a CSA but instead visit a weekly Farmer's Market to do most of my shopping. I feel like I will be able to control any food waste better if I can buy week to week and purchase according to our eating habits. If you are interested in a CSA, I would highly recommend it! Unfortunately, the farm I used is taking a break in 2015 but the Local Harvest site is a great resource to find a CSA near you! Also, see the little animation below I made to show you the arch of seasonal produce. Enjoy.
Big changes over here with a move and merging of two households! I've basically been making the same dishes with my CSAs so I am combining 8+9 into one post. Despite the hectic schedule that comes with a move, I was still able to can and preserve some of my CSA. I mainly canned tomato sauce and pickles with these two CSAs and also made a batch of sun-dried tomatoes in the dehydrator. Looking forward to having fresh produce during the blustery Missouri winter months.
Tomatoes: salsa, stewed tomatoes, tomato sauce
Cherry and/or Plum Tomatoes: sun-dried tomatoes using the dehydrator
Green Beans: sauteed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar
Melons: (watermelon) as a snack!
Cucumbers: maple bourbon pickles for Christmas gifts (and as a special garnish for Bloody Mary's)
Summer Squash: curry squash soup
Sweet Peppers: salads
Loose-leaf Kale: Kale Ceasar salad
Okra: Fried okra (recipe courtesy of Riverbend Roots Farm)
Tomatoes: tomato paste (to be made into Ketc
Green Beans: sauteed with onion and bell pepper (omitted the bacon grease and used butter instead and vegetable broth to make it vegetarian friendly
Cherry or Plum tomatoes: in salads and bruschetta
Cucumbers: cucumber salad and pickles
Sweet Peppers: in salads
Summer Squash: squash au gratin
My CSA pickup was on July 3rd right before the holiday weekend so I wasn't able to plan and start enjoying until the Sunday after the 4th of July. Boy, was I glad to come home to some fresh vegetables after the (to many) fried fair foods and sweets. So far, this is the share that I am most familiar with except for the fennel... to be honest, the fennel makes me very nervous. I am not a fan of licorice and when I put the fennel away, I caught a whiff of just that. After some googling "fennel recipes", I decided on Roasted Fennel with Parmesan from Food Network. The reviews claim that the licorice taste goes away when roasted, and I love anything with parmesan on it so this seemed the best choice. As I am writing this, I have made most of the below except for the fennel so I will come back and update my experience. Hope everyone enjoyed the holiday weekend!
Carrots: pickled and roasted
Potatoes: roasted and mashed
Celery: chopped and then froze for soup bases this winter
Bunched Purple Baby Onions: in salads and hash
Fennel: roasted with parmesan
Cabbage: roasted with carrots and potatoes
Cucumbers: cucumber salad
Summer Squash: squash au gratin for one
Zucchini: breakfast hash with easy-over eggs
Parsley: garnish, in cucumber salad
FENNEL UPDATE /// In attempt to use up the rest of my CSA, I combined the cabbage, carrots and fennel, roasted with thyme and rosemary, and then topped with fresh parmesan cheese. As a whole, it wasn't too bad! I am still getting used to the fennel flavor but am open to using it other ways to see what I like best. After all, it it very good for you!