CSA 101

This year, I decided to try out signing up for a CSA for the first time.  When you join a CSA (community supported agriculture), a local farmer allows the public to buy a certain number of “shares” of their crop.  You can learn more about the advantages of joining a CSA by visiting Local Harvest’s website, but for me, the biggest advantage is knowing that our produce is grown right down the street from us, without a bunch of chemicals and pesticides.  We’ve really enjoyed eating fresh, in-season foods that we might not normally purchase from the grocery store.

Our CSA share is with Palovchak’s Produce in Doylestown, PA, which is conveniently on my way home from work.  We purchased a half share, as it’s only the two of us.  Every Wednesday afternoon, from May through October, we get to pick up our weekly share of produce.  The selection changes week to week, depending on what’s in-season.  Here’s a picture of their little farm stand that I grabbed from their page on the Local Harvest site:

Palovchak's

The owners of Palovchak’s are so nice! They will usually recommend recipes or tell you how to prepare whatever it is that you’re picking up, if you’ve never tried it before.  They post how many of each item to pick up on a little blackboard.

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I’ve learned a lot from my experience joining a CSA this year – here are a few tips!

1.  Don’t be afraid to try something new!  Ever tried kohlrabi?  Garlic scapes?  Pea shoots?  Squash blossoms?  Chocolate mint?  I can say I have 🙂  Use the weekly produce selection as a way to branch out and give some new recipes a try, too.  Here are a few recipes I’ve tried recently:

2.  Prep the veggies right away when you get home.  I learned the hard way that if I didn’t make it easy to eat all of this produce, I’d let it sit in my fridge for too long.  When I come home from picking up my delivery, I immediately fill the sink with a bunch of cold water to wash my greens, then wrap them in a paper towel and store in a plastic bag.  I also learned a neat trick for storing fresh corn: dampen a paper bag, store the corn in the bag, and place that bag inside another plastic bag and keep in the fridge.

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3.  Stay organized.  Again – learned this one the hard way.  I’ve found it helpful to keep a little dry erase board on the fridge, listing each thing we have for the week.  That way, I’m much more likely to use the produce in a recipe, and can reference the list when I’m meal planning for the week.

csa list

I hope you find these tips helpful! Have you ever joined a CSA? What did you think? (oh, and happy Friday 🙂 )

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Green Super Smoothie

green smoothie(source)

Although I am traditionally not the kind of girl that likes to eat the same meals day in and day out, I’ve really been on a smoothie kick lately for breakfast.  Green smoothies are nothing new to the blogosphere, but I thought it would be fun to share my favorite mix:

Green Super Smoothie:

I like to blend the spinach and water together first, and then add all the other ingredients and blend again.  I think it mixes better that way.  I really like the ingredients in both the Perfect Fit Protein and the Green Vibrance powder, but neither of them are that palatable on their own…this smoothie masks the taste and keeps me full all morning!

Let me know if you try this recipe!

Weekend Recipe: Baked Apple Steel Cut Oats

Every time I get sick, I get this weird burst of energy right before it takes me down.  It’s almost like my body knows that its hours are numbered and I better get all my chores in before it’s too late.  Weird, right?

Go figure I got a flu shot for the first time in, oh, a decade, and I think I still got the flu.  What gives??  But fortunately, in the window of time before I became the completely useless, sniveling, fever-ridden mess that I am right now, I had the foresight to cook up some really yummy comfort food.

I think this would be a great recipe to make on the weekend, and then you’d have plenty of leftovers to reheat during your work week.  It’s a warm, yummy, healthy, stick-to-your ribs kind of breakfast – enjoy!

Baked Apple Steel Cut Oats

Ingredients:
1 cup uncooked steel cut oats
2 tablespoons of butter, divided
2 cups of boiling hot water
1 large apple, cubed (I used a Pink Lady)
1 cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or regular milk would be fine)
1 tablespoon of maple syrup
1 teaspoon cinnamon, plus some for sprinkling
1 teaspoon vanilla
a pinch of salt
Optional:  brown sugar, nuts, granola, raisins, etc.

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Place your steel cut oats in a heatproof bowl along with 1 tablespoon of the butter:

Oatmeal1Pour 2 cups of boiling water over the oats, cover, and let sit for 20 minutes:

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Meanwhile, melt the other tablespoon of butter in a saucepan, add the apple pieces, and sprinkle with cinnamon. Let this cook down on medium heat until the apples are softened (this smells heavenly!!):

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Mix together the almond milk, cinnamon, vanilla, maple syrup, and salt:

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Now mix the almond milk mixture, apples, and oatmeal together and spoon into either a 8×8″ baking dish, or 4 smaller crocks.  Bake for 40 minutes (please excuse my dirty oven):

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Et voila!  I sprinkled 1/4 cup of granola cereal over the top of the crocks in the last 5 minutes just to add some crunch:Oatmeal7Please let me know if you try this recipe!  And stay healthy, friends.  xo

This week’s meal prep

Good morning!

My hubby was out of town over the weekend, so I thought I’d take advantage of a quiet Sunday by prepping some food to have throughout the week.  Here’s what I came up with.

Hard boiled eggs:

Turkey zucchini muffins (EDIT:  scroll down to the bottom of the post for the recipe!):

A batch of steel cut oats (one container will go in the fridge, and the other in the freezer):

Some cucumber and tomato salad:

Some asparagus dip, courtesy of Peas & Crayons:

And the shrimp and crab ceviche that I talked about in this post:

Click here to see this week’s meal plan and how I plan to incorporate these foods into my week!

Turkey Zucchini Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil
  • 1/2 of an onion, diced into small pieces
  • 1/2 of a red bell pepper, diced into small pieces
  • 1 medium zucchini, shredded (I shredded mine with a box grater)
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. package of ground turkey (I used 93% lean because it was on sale, but 99% lean would be even better!)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup of ketchup, divided
  • 1 teaspoon of sriracha sauce (optional – if you like spicy!)
  • 1 teaspoon of Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
  • 1 teaspoon of chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of red chili flakes (optional – if you like spicy!)
  • salt and pepper (approximately 1/4 teaspoon of each)

Directions:

  • Preheat your oven to 400 degrees
  • In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high heat
  • Add the onion, red pepper, and garlic, and until the onion starts to become translucent.  Add the shredded zucchini and cook for about 2 minutes more (enough for some of the moisture to come out of the zucchini)
  • In a large bowl, combine the cooked ingredients with all other ingredients on the list, with the exception of 1/4 cup of the ketchup and the sriracha sauce (if using)
  • Mix everything together well, and then with a 1/2 cup measuring cup, scoop out and place into muffin tins which have been sprayed with olive oil spray or non-stick cooking spray  (NOTE:  for me, this equaled out to 8 muffins total)
  • Mix the reserved 1/4 cup of ketchup and the sriracha sauce together and spread on the top of each muffin
  • Bake for approximately 30 minutes, or until the muffins are cooked through
  • Let cool, and then remove from the muffin tins with a spoon – they should pop out easily
  • TIP:  Place a sheet pan on the rack underneath your muffin tins in case any “juices” from the meat bubble up and spill over while it is cooking

Nutrition (based on 8 muffins, 1 muffin per serving):

  • 133 calories
  • 8 grams of carbs
  • 5 grams of fat
  • 12 grams of protein

Did you do any meal prep for your week?  What did you make?