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Fresh Box Week 3

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Week 3 is here and I think I officially overwhelmed the farm with my shopping habits! Mission accomplished? I am almost done reading this great book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle I really respect their commitment to eating only locally as much as possible. While I don’t think that’s realistic for us now, I have taken a lot of her tips to heart. I also follow some great people with tips to eat organic/local on a budget and deliciously! They are 100 Days of Real Food
And The Food Babe. I think they have great recipes and realistic ideas. Here are my top five things that I have learned:

1) In an effort to save money, eat Vegan/Vegetarian before dinner and sticking to the meat serving sizes.
2) Only buy produce when it is in season locally
3) If you can’t pronounce the ingredients… You probably shouldn’t eat it
4) You don’t have to give up all the fun food, you just have to find the local people making it
5) You can make almost vegetable taste good by putting it in eggs, on pizza, or by cooking it with bacon

What these mean for us:
1) We eat a lot of eggs a week… (cheaper then grass fed meat). Actually sticking to the serving sizes of our meat to make it last longer (dinners and lunches)
2) Doing the fresh box program, trying only to supplement with produce from the farmers market
3) Keeping a list of our go-to foods. Ex: cracker brands, pretzels, breads, etc
4)We have found some really fun local businesses to support and that all support each other, it is so much more interesting to talk to an actual person that knows their product!
5) What a good excuse to eat more bacon!

Our list for the week:
Lettuce
Zucchini
Cilantro
Asparagus
Arugula
Radish
BreadSmith Treat (oatmeal cookie bar)
Locally Roasted Coffee

Our Menu Plan:
Tuesday: Greek Scrambled Eggs, Zucchini Fritters, and Bacon (zucchini)
Wednesday: Chicken Sausage, Quinoa, and Roasted Asparagus (asparagus)
Thursday: Flank steak arugula salad with caramelized pears, candied walnuts, and feta (arugula)
Sunday: Cilantro Pesto Tortellini with roasted string beans, asparagus, and tomatoes, side salad (lettuce, asparagus, cilantro)
Weekend treat: Yogurt, Feta, Radish dip with Pita

Beets two Ways

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Last year when we saw beets in the line up for the week we immediately planned to give them away! To be honest with you, even transporting them sort of grossed me out. I know, I was totally judging them on their disgusting exterior. They were always so dirty and stringy, who knew I could make something delicious from them.

Knowing that I had never even attempted to cook a single beet last year, I figured I needed to jump right in and cook the whole beet. I had this idea to do a beet spread or dip, figuring that I thought I could pair it with other things to make it tasty. For example, beet crostini or as a sandwhich spread. As for the greens I decided to use my go to trick with a twist. Whenever I want to cook greens that I’m unsure of I sauté them with sausage or bacon and potatoes. They a always turn out delicious as they typically pick up the flavors of the meat. The twist with this version is that I used sweet potatoes for the first time.

Beet Dip:
3 beets greens trimmed off
1/2 head of garlic
3-4 TBSP olive oil
1cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
Salt, oregano, crushed red pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 375 and wrap the beets and garlic in foil. Place them in the oven on a baking sheet for 1 hour.

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Remove the beets from the oven and let cool. Once beets are able to be handled peel skin away and cut into wedges.

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At this point you can use a food processor, blender, or immersion blender. I used my immersion blender and they looked like this when I was done.

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At this point add sour cream, olive oil, and spices to your liking. I made mine a little spicy and it was delicious! I used it on a sandwhich, dipped celery, cucumber, and crackers in it as well!

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Beet Greens:
Greens from 3 beets
2 sweet potatoes
4 pieces of bacon
Salt, garlic, crushed red pepper to taste

Start by removing the beet greens and washing them

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Cook the bacon in the pan until it starts to shrivel.

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Next take the sweet potatoes (chopped) and add them to the pan with the bacon.

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Wait until they are browned (10-15 minutes) and then add beet greens. At the point you should season everything with the salt, garlic, and crushed red pepper.

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Fresh Box: Week 2

I don’t know if I’m just so excited to be back to this program or if my winter months spent dreaming about farm fresh veggies paid off. We have successfully used all of our items with days to spare both of these weeks! I hope to keep this up and if so we may even upgrade to a bigger box!

One of the things I love most about this program and my goal of using everything is that I have to get creative sometimes. We have already tried a few new recipes and discovered that things like radishes and beets don’t have to be so scary!

Here’s this weeks list:
Spinach
Strawberries
Goat cheese
Beets
Red leaf lettuce
Dill
Savory Spice – garlic and onion

The Meal Plan:
Tuesday: Greek scrambled eggs (spinach and dill)
Wednesday:
Lunch: Sandwich with beet spread(beets)
Dinner: Salad (red leaf lettuce, strawberries, goat cheese)
Thursday: Tacos with Homemade Salsa

Arugula Pizza

My husband has been begging me to put arugula on pizza since we started making our own a few years ago. I don’t why I held out for so long, but I can now say it’s absolutely delicious. So when I saw arugula and pizza dough in our fresh box… Arugula pizza was a no brainer!

My husband would tell you that I doubt myself every time I make a pizza at home and I think it’s because the dough just never looks perfect before it hits the oven. After a few years of practice I would say I have three tips for anyone who is attempting to make their own pizza.

1) Use cornmeal on the pizza stone
2) Put your oven shelf on the lowest possible rack (if your heating element is there like ours)
3) When you’re stretching the dough, stretch it over the edges of the stone so that when it shrinks it’s the perfect size

These three tips have helped us to accomplish what we believe is the perfect thin crust pizza!

The Recipe:

1 ball of pizza dough (store bought or homemade)
Oregano, Basil, Parsley, Garlic to taste
Olive oil
6 oz sliced mozzarella
3 slices Red Onion
2 pieces of prosciutto
1 bunch of arugula
Salt and pepper to taste
Balsamic Glaze

Preheat your oven to 425 and spread cornmeal all over your pizza stone.

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Next spread your dough out on the stone and brush with olive oil. Once the olive oil is evenly spread sprinkle garlic, oregano, basil, and parsley.

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Slice the mozzarella and place it on the dough, followed by the thin slices of onion.

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Put the pizza in the oven for 20-25 minutes and start to prep the arugula by drizzling olive oil on it. Then add some salt, pepper, and garlic.

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When the pizza comes out of the oven (it should be a nice golden brown), first add some pieces of prosciutto and then top with the arugula and drizzle with balsamic glaze.

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Fresh Box is Back!

Our CSA from Dreyer Farms is finally here! We are so excited to have fresh local produce again! I feel like we learned a lot from last summer’s program. We learned that we actually really enjoy a lot more produce that we never would have considered buying before (bak choy, collard greens, and even kohlrabi). I have to admit while we tried new things it was sometimes overwhelming and we did end up skipping weeks and giving things away.

We really have missed getting our beautiful box of fresh produce every week through the winter. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, but in this case I think it made me more determined. Determined to not throw away, give away, or let things spoil in the fridge. Determined to meal plan for the week accordingly and enjoy the local seasonal produce that we have each week.

In an effort to keep myself on track this summer I have decided to try to post at least my meal plan for the week here.

So here we go for week one:
Asparagus
Romaine
Arugula
Tomatoes
Swiss chard
Radishes
Basil
Pizza dough

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Here is our meal plan for the week (We pick up our box on Tuesdays)

Tuesday : Grilled chicken, grilled asparagus, and radish apple carrot slaw.
Wednesday: chicken sausage, potatoes, and Swiss chard sautéed in white wine and garlice
Thursday: grilled chicken, tomato, mozzarella, and basil salad
Friday-Saturday: staying with friends, bringing our Romaine along
Sunday: Pizza with Arugula, Onions, prosciutto, Mozzarella, and balsamic glaze

Here’s a picture from our first dinner with our Produce:

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My Dad’s Famous Chili

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We’ve pretty much been snowed in for the past few days which always makes me want to cook comfort food! Knowing that we weren’t going to venture out this weekend I figured I’d go with two of our favorites…. Chili and Pot Roast.

Jason’s favorite is chili, any kind of chili, I make many variations, including sweet potato chili, white chicken chili, and turkey chili, so when I told him I was going to make the original chili he got very excited. I’m personally not a big fan of beans, which is why I make so many variations. However, I’ve always loved my dad’s chili, especially when he leaves some on the side for me with no beans. :)

I have learned now that there are others like me, who like chili but don’t like beans, so it’s best to split the pot and leave some without to keep everyone happy!

Here’s the famous chili recipe, with my twist inspired by my dads Texas style chili.

Recipe
Oil (I use olive) for the pan
1 Pound ground Beef
1 lb sausage (out of casing)
1lb beef cubes
1 large onion
1 Red bell Pepper
1 tablespoon of worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons of ground garlic
2 large cans diced tomatoes
¼ to 1/3 cup of chili powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cumin
Pinch of cayenne pepper (depends on the heat you want)
2 Cans of Beans (you could be creative and I use cannelloni)

In a large pot or dutch oven brown the beef

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Dice the onion, pepper, and garlic
Add the onion, pepper, garlic and worcestershire sauce to the pan and cook until soft

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Add Beef to the pan and mix with the veggies

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Add Chopped Tomatoes and spices
Bring the Mixture to a boil

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Reduce heat and simmer for about 2 hours

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Add Beans and cook for another 30 minutes.

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Chicken Schwarma

This is probably one of my top five favorite dinners ever!!! I love the spice combo on the chicken paired with the tangy garlic sauce and soft whole wheat pita! YUM!

Jason actually stumbled across this recipe in Men’s Health and suggested we try it. We were so happy with the results it has become a staple for us, especially in the summer when we can get more of the ingredients fresh from our garden!

It’s pretty simple and quick, so it’s great for a week night meal, throw some veggies on the grill with the chicken and you’re set!

Here’s what you need:
For the chicken:
1lb chicken (I used tenderloins)
Lemon juice
Coriander
All spice
Salt
Olive oil

Garlic sauce:
Garlic
Lemon juice
Salt
Olive oil
Yogurt

Tomato salad:
1 tomato
1/2 onion
Handful of fresh parsley

To prepare the chicken combine lemon juice, olive oil and all the spices in a ziplock bag or bowl and mix.

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Add the chicken and let it marinate for a few minutes.

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Heat the grill or if its raining grill pan to medium heat and cook chicken for 4-5 minutes on each side.

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For the garlic sauce combine garlic, salt and lemon juice in a blender or food processor.

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Next slowly add the oil until it starts to thicken.

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Take the yogurt and pour the sauce slowly in until its fully incorporated.

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For the tomato and parsley salad chop a tomato, onion, and parsley. Mix together.

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Now it’s time to assemble your pita and enjoy!

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