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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Go Buy: From Asparagus to Zucchini

When I go to the farm for my CSA pick up each week, Farmer Gail (and her mama) are always SO helpful and full of information!  They suggest recipes to check out regarding veggies that I am not familiar with.  When I was at my second pick-up, they pulled out the book From Asparagus to Zucchini-A Guide to Cooking Farm-Fresh Produce.  This book is simple and CHOCK-full of amazingly easy recipes that incorporate produce that is common AND rare (like daikon)!

You can buy it here:

Ten on Tuesday

  1. ....I've got some kind of stomach thingy today (and worked all day), so I'll catch up later this week!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Local Readers!!!!

Please pass this along to any families you know of that would be interested!!!




Thanks, Jenny!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Ten on Tuesday [On Wednesday]

  1. I am on Thanksgiving break this week for school but let me tell you, I have been GOING, GOING, GOING! Sheesh! I edited 8 photography sessions, cooked a ton, photographed a bunch, and of course hung with Ava, and the break is not even half over!
  2. This morning, I'm using up the last of the CSA food from last week's pick up- Kohlrabi Soup, White Bean and Collard Green Soup, and Broccoli Rabe!
  3. I don't want to boast but I am offically 2lbs away from a huge goal of mine!! I think the running has really been helping.
  4. Speaking of running, I am on Week 4, Day 3! Yesterday, I went to run and my phone was dead. Shoot! I use the Couch to 5K App on there, so I tried to download it to my husband's phone, who happily charged my account, but did not feel the need to properly download. Arg! I had limited time because both J and A were about to wake up for the day, and J had to get ready for work. So I took J's phone as a watch and headed out the door. I warmed up and then ran. And I ran some more. I finally stopped jogging and looked at the time --15 minutes of consecutive running!!!!! YEAHHHHHHHHHHH! This is huge for me!
  5. Happy Thanksgiving week! What are you eating? We're eating a lot of soups and a lot of veggies. We had my family's Thanksgiving on Saturday and it was delicous! I am looking forward to dinner at J's aunt's house tomorrow evening---I LOVE TURKEY!
  6. My CSA is half over and I'm pretty sad about it, but I am really looking forward to the full harvest year. 
  7. I must say, I have not been at a loss for meal planning AT ALL! I take whatever we have from the CSA and divide it up for meals- ie: I'll use something with collard greens one night, broccoli the next, cauliflower the next, make soup with potatoes and leeks another, etc! Some days (like today), I will make three meals (one or two of them will be soups), and I will freeze the soup. I have a nice little stockpile of fresh, local soup concoctions just waiting to be discovered during the cold dark winter evenings! 
  8. I tend to get very frustrated during my food journey. I constantly feel like "Ooh, this is the healthy thing to buy/way to prepare/food to eat/milk to drink" and then within a week or so, I find out why that is NOT the best option and why there's something even better (and usually much more expensive).
  9. I bought grass-fed milk two weeks ago, at $7.99/gallon (GAG ME!).  It tasted good, but guess what? Two days before it's expiration date (these are not ultra pastuerized, so they last as long as regular milk...because I read that is not the best option either ahhhhh), my husband said, "Babe, the skim milk smells weird." It did. Lovely. So I get the baby's milk out of the fridge to fill a sippy cup and not only does it smell AWFUL, it is FULL OF CHUNKS (double gag)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! $16 down the drain. The store I bought it from was about 45 minutes away, so I didn't bother taking them back. I'm really disappointed though.  This week we bought Nature's Promise from Giant, which guarantees that the grain and grass they eat is certified organic. Oy.
  10. Are you a big Black Friday shopper? I am not....I cannot stand sleep-deprived crowds! If you're with me and want to shop from the comfort of your own home, check out this link to see the ROCKIN' Photography Specials I will be running!!!!!

Toddler Tip: Picky/Finicky Eaters

I was so proud and excited to make applesauce from scratch for Ava. She loves "APP-A-SAUCE" and eats it almost every day.  We made it in the crock-pot and smelled it all day.  Ava went to bed before it was ready, so JP and I enjoyed some warm applesauce goodness that night by ourselves.

When Ava woke up the next day, I couldn't wait to present her with this beautifully delicious treat.


She took one look at it and screamed, "NO!?"


Guh.


She refused to eat it.  I showed her how mommy loves it and how yummy it is, and she wouldn't budge. Crap. Has she turned picky on my overnight? Am I a failure as an applesauce-maker!?


I persisted and offered her some homemade applesauce each day (and did not offer any of the remaining store-bought).  I noticed that the color is very different than what she was used to- the Mott's is yellowy-white, and mine is a rich brown, so I thought that might have deterred her.  While I was unpacking her lunchbox one day, a lightbulb went off---I should rinse out a Mott's container and put her applesauce in there! Crazy, but it just might work!


Guess what? It did!!!!!!! She scarfed it down! She loved it! YAY!!!!! I have my Ava back! I gave her applesauce in that container one more day, and then switched to some BPA-free tupperware that was the same size. She ate it.

It's the little things in life, people! I am proud to announce that Ava will now eat MY applesauce in any bowl and she loves it.  I don't know that I will be buying jarred applesauce again, the recipe was so easy and nutritious- WOO HOO!!!!!!




ps- Those sweet aprons can be purchased here!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Toddler Tip: Offer it!

Our daughter has a very good palate. She will try anything and rarely refuses any type of food.  I get butterflies in my stomach when she does refuse something because I have echoes of friends saying, "Oh just wait, she'll eat anything now (when she was like 10-12 months), but once she's a toddler, she'll turn picky on you". NOOO!!!

I try not to be deterred and continue offering her whatever we are eating- like soy sauce.  I did not know if she would like it, but I put a little puddle on her tray and did not make a huge deal out of it. I encouraged her to try it and before I could even start eating my dinner, she was yelling for "MOISE!" (more).

Try not to get nervous and don't listen to naysayers. Continue offering without forcing the issue and see what happens, you might be surprised!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Toddler Tip: Ripping Greens


Don't forget to let your little one join your in the kitchen! Prepping greens is a great activity for toddlers to do, as long as they are able to tear.  Ava is 19 months old and giggles with each and every tear.  Ripping may seem like an odd developmental activity but it's a wonderful pre-writing skill to practice and strengthen!!!



[PS- love the outfit? It's her Queen shirt and leggings from Granny HA!]

Friday, November 19, 2010

Make Your Own: Broccoli, Cannellini Bean & Cheddar Soup

Mmmmmm I just made this for lunch and it was amazing.
  • 1 14-ounce can reduced-sodium chicken broth, or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 pound broccoli crowns, trimmed and chopped (about 6 cups)
  • 1 14-ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed (see Tip)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1 cup shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
  1. Bring broth and water to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add broccoli, cover and cook until tender, about 8 minutes. Stir in beans, salt and pepper and cook until the beans are heated through, about 1 minute.
  2. Transfer half the mixture to a blender with half the cheese and puree. (Use caution when pureeing hot liquids.) Transfer to a bowl. Repeat with the remaining broccoli mixture and cheese. Serve warm.

Make Your Own: Roasted Brussels Sprouts

 I got brussels sprouts in my pick up last week and was actually VERY excited to see them! I recently sampled roasted brussels sprouts at Wegman's and have been looking forward to testing them in my kitchen.  My guys got really browned because I was distracted while making them (imagine that!), but they were still awesome. I was eating them like they were potato chips while finishing dinner!!!!



Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed, cut in half, and yellow leaves removed (I added half a red onion, sliced)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C).
  2. Place trimmed Brussels sprouts, olive oil, kosher salt, and pepper in a large resealable plastic bag. Seal tightly, and shake to coat. Pour onto a baking sheet, and place on center oven rack.
  3. Roast in the preheated oven for 30 to 45 minutes, shaking pan every 5 to 7 minutes for even browning. Reduce heat when necessary to prevent burning. Brussels sprouts should be darkest brown, almost black, when done. Adjust seasoning with kosher salt, if necessary. Serve immediately.

Nutritional Information open nutritional information

Amount Per Serving  Calories: 104 | Total Fat: 7.3g | Cholesterol: 0mg

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Make Your Own: Kale Chips

I know what you're thinking---kale CHIPS!?  I know. I googled kale when I had it in our pick up last week and thought the same thing. I read the comments and reviews for the recipes I came accross and decided it was worth a shot. O.M.G.  really, really good!

Kale Chips--a.k.a Seriously Addictive Snack!

Ingredients:

    1-2 big bunches kale
    1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
    1 tablespoon oil
    coarse salt (to taste) or favorite seasoning blend (we love hot n' spicy Spike)

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Wash and de-stem kale. Chop or tear into "chip" size pieces.

Spread onto baking sheet. Pour the apple cider vinegar, oil and seasoning (1-2 tablespoons) onto kale. Mix to coat all pieces.

Bake for 10 minutes or until crispy. Serve immediately!

Makes: 3-4 servings, Preparation Time: 3 minutes, Cooking Time: 10 minutes



My tip: be sure to use JUST enough oil and vinegar...I used too much and a few were soggy. Oops!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

  1. I have 15 minutes to get this in...so here it goes! I cannot tell you how awesome it is to have frozen soups on hand. Ava got sick Monday so out came the homemade chicken noodle!  
  2. I cannot wait to eat the potato leek soup I made with this week's veggie haul!
  3. I find myself wanting to get take out WAY less. a) Because we have so much food to use! b) I have a hard time finding food I want to eat from a restaurant!
  4. I still have to post the recipes from our fun day of cooking last week....it's crazy-town in special ed world, and in the photography world- thanks for your patience!
  5. I am in Week 3 of the Couch to 5k Program and I LOVE IT! So far it's been very doable and not too killer!
  6. I cannot wait until December, things will be much calmer!
  7. Does anybody want to buy our house?  It's not listed yet and I REALLY dread listing it!!!
  8. I am excited for pick up #3 tomorrow (if I survive my first jury duty), but am a little sad for it to be half over....I think I will really have to convince JP that a spring membership is NECESSARY! :)
  9. Three + months without soda, I don't miss it at all! 
  10. Sometimes people make comments around me that makes me think they think I don't eat any "junk" food. Well to make all of you feel better- I had two hot chocolates with whipped cream tonight--it was that kind of a day! We all eat junk sometimes (well most of us)!!!

Have a great week!

CSA: Week 2

Woo hoo! We are still going pretty strong with our CSA consumption!  I forgot to take a few pictures and still have some greens left, but I completely forget what they're called.

Not pictured:
Mac N Cheese [with cauliflower]
Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Potato Leek Soup

 [Roasted Rutabaga]

 Stir Fry [Radish, Bok Choy]

 Pasta with Scallops [Parsley, Garlic]

Roasted Beets with Goat Cheese
 Iced Tea [mint leaves]

 Beans and greens [escarole, garlic]

[I wimped out, but we used it in stir-fry]

Ham and Cabbage in the Crock Pot [radish, cabbage, potatoes, brussels sprouts]

Make Your Own: Beans and Greens

Hands down, my new favorite food!!!! I have gotten escarole both weeks in my CSA pick up and it was the first time I had ever SEEN escarole, let alone eaten it! I emailed Gail at the farm last week and said, "What was the green plant your husband told me to keep wet if possible?"  She wrote back right away with a description and a link about it. YAY!

After that, I did a little google searching and found a recipe for Escarole and Beans. I was a little nervous to try it, but it's seriously my new favorite food (well that and roasted brussel sprouts but more on that later!)!!!!


Escarole and Beans

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 large heads escarole
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 (16 ounce) cans cannellini beans, undrained
  • 3 sprigs fresh parsley, chopped

Directions

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Toss in escarole, turning to coat with oil. Season with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes, or until tender.
  2. In a separate skillet, heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Stir in garlic. Pour in beans with juices, and simmer until creamy, about 10 minutes. Stir in escarole and parsley; simmer 10 minutes more.

Nutritional Information open nutritional information

Amount Per Serving  Calories: 322 | Total Fat: 11.8g | Cholesterol: 0mg


This is THE perfect dish for a cold night in with your family.  It's a healthy, creamy comfort food!  Baby A and the hubs LOVED this dish. MMMM!!!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Organic Milk

 We have officially made the switch in our house...to organic milk.  I had been reading about it and it just makes sense to me. Sure we buy the milk that has not been injected with steroids, or pumped with antibiotics, but what about their diet? Who knows what they are eating.

Organic milk is more expensive (boo!) but gives that assurance that your cows are eating the way nature intended them.
 One cool fact about organic milk is it's shelf-life. Because it's ultra-pasteurized the expiration date is often more than one month from your purchase date!

It does go on sale, so make sure you try to buy when it's on sale.  You can also find coupons for it. My sister features coupon matchups on her site and one of her weekly posts features organic coupons. Check it out here!

I am still very interested in buying local milk and a friend told me a little spot in Franconia sells local organic milk which is very ideal but not quite in my radar as far as being a quick little trip. It's not far from me, I am just never out that way these days!


Friday, November 12, 2010

Go Visit: Nettie Jane's

If you live anywhere near North Wales, you have probably seen the cute new bakery/cafe that has opened up on the corner of Sumneytown Pike and North Wales Road.  It's called Nettie Jane's and is absolutely beautiful from the outside.

"Nettie Jane's is a full service neighborhood bakery offering a light cafe menu for breakfast and lunch."


I love it. Started by a mom who wanted to honor her mom and her grandmother's with real, homemade cooking, Nettie Jane's owner made a huge leap in leaving the corporate world to persue her dream, what is better than that?

Ava and I visited this morning and each enjoyed the muffin of the day: Apple Cinnamon. The muffin was really good and had little chunks of apple in it. Mmmmm.  I had two cups of coffee and we split a cup of fresh fruit.  The food was really good, and they offer much more than what we had today--check out the menu here.

The atmosphere is clean, simple and charming. There is a ton of window light, and there is a big window that showcases whomever is baking at the moment (really fun for Ava to watch!).  You can get "quick service" at the front window, and you can sit at a counter on wooden stools to enjoy your goodies, or I am pretty sure you can take them to go, too.

We sat in the little dining room and were served. Our waitress was exceptionally attentive to Ava's needs and gave her TWO coloring sheets along with some crayons. She was friendly and very kind.

We really love eating local and supporting small businesses in the area, so we will definitely be back. I think Mr. D. is planning to take Ava back this weekend while I am out shooting!

C25K Program: Week Three

Welcome to week three of C25K!
This week's plan:

Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then do two repetitions of the following:
  • Jog 200 yards (or 90 seconds)
  • Walk 200 yards (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 400 yards (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 400 yards (or three minutes)

If you don't know what I am talking about, click here.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Baby in Kate's Kitchen

Today I met up with the amazing Kate of Kate's Green Book to do some heavy duty cooking!  Kate often posts recipes that are SO up my alley---fresh, healthy, and full of FLAVOR.  She graciously had me over for some cooking lesssons and I am still on a cloud from it!

I will be posting recipes to the meals we cooked, but here is a preview!

Hot and Sour Soup with Chicken and Shrimp

Sweet Potato Soup with Lobster
Lobster Risotto
Chana Punjabi



MMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Our little "helpers". I use that term VERY lightly. :)

CSA: Week 1

So, you are all probably dying to know how I did with our CSA pick up, right?
:)
I am please to announce I really used almost all the veggies!!!! I still have the daikon radish and little radishes left, and did have to throw out a few greens that I just couldn't get eaten in time!

Here is a re-cap to the week!

A crap-load of veggies. OMG.
Here is a photo journey of most of our meals last week!

Stir Fry [bok choy and veggies]


Ham, Cabbage, Carrots, Potatoes, Onions in the crock pot


Baked Mac 'N Cheese [cauliflower]


Chicken Orzo Soup (celery, onions, carrots).

Hearty fall salads! 

Roasted beets topped with thyme and goat cheese.

Kale Chips

 Beans 'N Greens [escarole]


More Stir Fry!

 Chicken & Veggies in the Crock Pot [celery, carrots, potatoes, onions]

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Ten On Tuesday

1. YAY It's Tuesday! Not Friday. Go me! We are still rocking the CSA pick up. We have another tomorrow, so I am going to make a soup tonight to use up the carrots, onions, and celery. We'll have to have salmon and potatoes to use the potatoes and chives for dinner...and then I still need to figure out what to do with the huge parsnip.

2. Do you know where I can buy LOCAL organic milk? We're currently getting it from the grocery store or Walmart, but I'd love to take it one step further and buy local.

3. Yesterday, I read a great blog entry over at Finding Our New Normal called Breakdown on Aisle 5. The blog is about a family who has been forced to make drastic lifestyle and nutritional changes due to an illness one of her sons is suffering from. Switching to better quality food is really overwhelming at times. It's scary and frustrating and you freak out when you realize you have been eating total crap for most of your life!

4. On Thursday, I will be going over to Kate's house for some cooking lessons!!! She sent me a little preview of the recipes we will be making and I am PSYCHED! I cannot wait to share my experience and our works of art with you all! For now, check out Kate's website!!

5. Speaking of local talented people, you absolutely MUST tune into The Doctors today (3pm)---they will be interviewing my SISTER about her website, Mama Cheaps!!!!!!

6. This blog started as a cronicle of Ava and my adventures and has morphed into a journey of personal (and family) improvement. I love it!

7. SPeaking of which, I have kicked my Dunkin Donuts habit. I never stop at Wawa for lunch, but I do love getting sushi at Genuardis. And every Genuardis has a Starbucks. And I am addicted to Peppermint Mocha Lattes. I looked up the nutritional info for a grande, nonfat milk, no whip, and here are the stats:

Nutrition Facts Per Serving (16 fl oz) Calories 280 Calories from Fat 25
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 3g 5%
Saturated Fat 0.5g 2%
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol <5mg 2% Sodium 120mg 5% Total Carbohydrate 59g 20% Dietary Fiber 2g 8% Sugars 49g Protein 12g Vitamin A 10% Vitamin C 0% Calcium 35% Iron 20% Caffeine 175mg *Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Yea, a lot of fat and sugar. Crap. I would love to know what the actual ingredients are, too...

8. We are in week 2 of C25K and are still going strong. I was a little deterred by the fact that my hubs gets home from work when it's already completely dark, but apparently you can totally run in the dark. That kind of scares me but we will see!

9. Starting today, I am planning to pack my lunch every day. I am doing it for Ava, so why not for myself? Today I am on the road all day so I am taking hot soup in a thermos, a banana, and an apple-pumpkin muffin.
10. Saturday will mark three months soda-free!!! Now to work on those lattes!!!!!!!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Go Visit: Peace Valley Winery

Did you know there is a winery adjacent to Peace Valley Park?  If not, read on.  Quite possibly one of Bucks County's best-kept secrets, Peace Valley Winery, located on Old Limekiln Road, has been in operation since 1984. 


According to their website, they currently have 17 different types of wine available for purchase, though a few of them might vary depending on the time of year.  My favorite fall wine is the Spiced Apple, served warm. This is just the BEST drink after a chilly autumn day! It's also wonderful to serve at holiday parties- pop it in a crock pot with some cinnamon sticks.

At this point, I have tried their Spiced Apple, Niagara, Chalfont Rougue, and the New Britain (red and white). I have never been disappointed and I love feeling good about my purchase- the grapes are grown not five minutes from my childhood home!

The service in the shop is always polite, kind and very helpful.  Make sure you head into the Peace Valley Winery this holiday seasons and stock up--wine makes a great gift!




Pic Credits: 1, 2




This post was written by me, for you, I paid for my wine and the opinions are 100% my own. I just love it that much:)

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