Heartland Revival

summer eats

Final CSA

In My Kitchen, At HomeAmber BransonComment

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.

CSA:8 + CSA:9

In My Kitchen, At HomeAmber BransonComment

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.

 

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CSA 8:

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!
Onions: misc.
Cucumbers: maple bourbon pickles for Christmas gifts (and as a special garnish for Bloody Mary's)
Summer Squash: curry squash soup
Sweet Peppers: salads
Garlic: misc.
Lettuce: salads

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CSA: 9

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
Zucchini
: hashes
Onions
: misc.
Garlic: misc.

CSA:7

In My KitchenAmber BransonComment
CSA7

Pretty obvious who the star of this week's CSA is, as well as the next few weeks I'm sure. Fine by me since I recently bought myself a canning set and a huge canning pot. Here's what I did with this share. (as I am a few weeks late posting this)

Tomatoes - made into canned stewed tomatoes and salsa
Cherry and Plum tomatoes - salads and
LOTS of bruschetta
Onions - in breakfast hashes
Cucumbers - raw or made into Whiskey Brine Pickles
Zucchini/Summer Squash  - breakfast hash and yet to be used...
Fennel - in juice
Basil - in bruschetta, pesto and still on my counter... I've figured out how to make it last forever!
Lettuce
- used in a Mexican-type salad since it was bitter

Already looking forward to my next pickup (which is tomorrow) and canning some pasta sauce and more pickles. How is your CSA going? Are you canning anything?

CSA:6

In My KitchenAmber BransonComment
CSA6

Since I am so late in posting this, the contents of this CSA is long gone! Here is what I did with my share:

Tomatoes - in my Sourdough Calzones (with basil and balsamic)
Cherry o Tomatoes -
Double Tomato Bruschetta (with this recipe, I usually use sun-dried tomatoes, NOT in oil and skip the cheese)
Lettuce - Salads
Potatoes - breakfast hashes
Cucumbers - salads, with hummus
Summer Squash & Zucchini - roasted together with onion, garlic and red pepper flakes
Green Peppers - raw with hummus
Basil - in Calzones, Bruschetta, and for Blueberry Basil Jam sweetened with honey
Scallions - in everything

Purplette onions - in hashes and salads
Onions - with the roasted squash and zucchini

CSA: 2

In My KitchenAmber BransonComment
CSA2

These are the contents of my CSA from last Thursday. So many greens! Here's what I have planned:

2 heads of bok choy: crunchy slaw

2 heads of lettuce: lettuce wraps and salads

1 bunch of kale: cheesy kale chips

Bag of spinach: salads and for juicing

Bag of baby kale: juicing

Bag of mixed greens: used for a Greek salad for Memorial weekend camping

Small container of strawberries (not pictured): in overnight oats and strawberry chia jam

I am most worried about using it all before it goes bad. I did some research on storing greens and so far, so good! Do you have any tips for storing greens? Let me know in the comments!

CSA: 1

Amber BransonComment
CSA1

Yesterday, I picked up my first CSA haul! Last fall, I made the decision to participate in a CSA in an effort to eat locally and because I eat A LOT of vegetables and it can be expensive. After some research and asking around, I decided to go with Riverbend Roots Farm. Since this is my first time participating, I chose the full share for every other week. I wanted to get the full range of what they offer but wasn't sure I could handle a full share every week by myself. I was warned that the first share is the smallest and although it won't last me long, I was happy with what was included in the share and I am excited to try a few new recipes.

Here's what I plan to do with my share:

Bok choy: seared as a side dish

Radishes: in a salad with cucumbers (to serve along with the bok choy)

Bag of greens: LOTS of salads

Lemon Balm: infused vinegar, muddled in cocktails, paired with strawberries to flavor water

I encourage you to find out where your food comes from and try cooking with a vegetable you've never had before! Here is a great resource for finding locally grown food near you.

 

Making Recipes Healthier: A How-to

In My Kitchen, Food for ThoughtAmber BransonComment
Art found  here.

Art found here.

Often times I find recipes that sound awesome but can be made a little healthier (IMO). I wanted to show you how easy it is to deconstruct a recipe and rework for maximize health benefits. I keep these 3 questions in mind when customizing recipes.

  1. How can I add more vegetables?
  2. Can I make this with less sugar? Or with a different sweetener (honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar)
  3. Is there a more nutrient-dense or gluten-free grain to substitute with? (If the recipe calls for a grain)

Lets take this recipe I came across today. It sounds delicious, looks easy to make and I've been on a pineapple phase so this is right up my alley.

Here are the ingredients called for:

  • 3 cups cubed fresh pineapple
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, cubed (1 ½ cups)
  • 1 medium red onion, cut into thin wedges (1 ½ cups)
  • 1 Tbs. toasted sesame oil
  • 1 Tbs. vegetable oil
  • 1 Tbs. dark or light brown sugar
  • 1 Tbs. sweetened coconut flakes, optional
  • 1 Tbs. lime juice
  • Serve over white rice

Here is what I would do differently:

  1. Reduce amount of pineapple (too much natural sugar) to 1 1/2 cups and add cubed zucchini (something green!) instead.
  2. Substitute vegetable oil for coconut oil. Vegetable oils cause inflammation (among other things) and the coconut oil will better complement the other flavors.
  3. Omit brown sugar as the pineapple has enough sugar. (reading comments on recipes that you've never made before can be helpful. many said that there was no need for additional sugar )

  4. Use unsweetened coconut flakes instead of the sweetened. Again, reducing sugar but not compromising flavor.
  5. Serve over soaked brown rice or quinoa instead.

There you have it! Cooking healthy food is not as hard as you think. What is a favorite recipe that you could rework to be healthier? Or what methods do you already use to make recipes healthier?

Let me know in the comments!

-Amber