Back at It [CSA Week 1 + Meal Plan]

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Hello internets. It’s me again – the blogger who always disappears and comes back months (or years) later for more. Oh, I’m not the only one? Well, okay then, moving on.

So, since I last posted here, a lot has changed. The biggie being our relocation back to the homeland: Minnesota. We left Delaware in November of last year, and although there are a handful of things we miss, we are absolutely tickled to be back. I could go on for days about my love of this place, but that’s for another post.

Near the top of our to-do list upon settling into our new home was finding local food. Now, the growing season here is considerably shorter than out East (chalk one in the Delaware column, I suppose), but we found a plethora of CSA options to choose from in the area. We settled on Nystrom Farms out of western Wisconsin. They are an up-and-coming CSA farm, and we felt good about supporting them in their growth.

CSA season is 18 weeks here (as opposed to the 21 or 22 weeks that we’ve had the last two years). We got our first share delivered to our home today (another bonus of a small farm). It’s a bit sparse, but the weather here has been horrendous (late spring, second wettest June EVER). But I’m keeping optimistic about the next 17 weeks. Here’s what we got:

CSA-Week-1-2014

eggs, lettuce, basil, rhubarb, spring onions

Here’s what we’re eating this week, incorporating this stuff and also herbs from our patio garden. Meal planning will be Wednesday-Tuesday for the remainder of CSA season, since we like to plan around the fresh stuff (duh).

Get Rid of Fruit Flies With a Simple, Natural Trap

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I don’t know if this is common elsewhere, but fall is the time we see fruit flies around here. It has happened the last two years, and this year, I was ready to fight back.

Fruit Fly Trap

What you need:

  • Mason jar with metal band (or any jar + rubber band would do)
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Fruit scraps (apple core or banana peel work well)
  • Wax paper (really parchment, plastic wrap, paper, foil would all probably work)

Poke small holes in the wax paper with a pen (about 6-8 holes will do). You want them just large enough for the flies to get in and no bigger. Add a few tablespoons of cider vinegar to the jar, and throw in an apple core or two (or other fruit scraps). Secure the wax paper with the metal band and place it near where you’re seeing flies or where you store your fruit.

In a few days, you’ll see lots of little bugs trapped in there, not smart enough to get back out. I usually take my jar outside, open it up, and let them out — not so much because I want them to live as I don’t know how else to get rid of them. Rinse it out and do it again if necessary.

Recipe: Gingerbread Granola

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A few months ago, I essentially gave up eating conventional breakfast cereal. Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve loved cereal of all varieties since my childhood. It is not any easy thing for me to quit. But my willpower is improving and I know I can do better for my body. Cold cereal is overly processed and generally lacking in nutritional punch. And it never keeps me full more than an hour or two. What a lame start to the day.

One of the breakfast foods I’ve gravitated toward is homemade granola with plain yogurt. Granola can be very nutritionally dense — and often calorie dense, which is why people shy away from it. Not to mention it carries that tree hugger hippie connotation. Ultimately, what draws me to granola is that I can eat a third cup of it over a half cup of yogurt and it will sustain me for many hours. I’m getting the proteins and fats my body needs that are lacking in your standard puffed corn or wheat cereal. It’s a few more calories, but you get so much bang for your caloric buck (and you don’t need to eat nearly as much).

This recipe is my own concoction, inspired by one of my favorite blogs, 100 Days of Real Food. Give it a try — sprinkle it on yogurt or pour milk over it or eat it by the handful — you’ll love it too.

Gingerbread-Granola

Gingerbread Granola

  • 3 ½ – 4 cups rolled oats
  • 1 ½ cups chopped raw nuts (any combination you like: cashews, walnuts, almonds, pecans, etc.)
  • ¾ cup raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • ¾ cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • ½ cup raw, local honey
  • ¼ cup blackstrap molasses
  • 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 ½ tsp. ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp. grated or ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp. ground cloves and/or allspice
  • ¼ tsp. sea salt
  • ¼ cup chia seeds
  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees fahrenheit . Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
  2. Mix first four ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Mix next four ingredients (the wet ingredients) in a small saucepan. Heat on low until melted and combined.
  4. Add spices and salt to the wet ingredients and stir to combine.
  5. Pour the liquid mixture onto the dry mixture and stir to evenly coat.
  6. Pour onto baking sheet and bake for 80 minutes, stirring in 20-minute intervals.
  7. Allow granola to dry and cool on the pan for 30 minutes (granola will become crisp as it cools). Break into chunks of desired size, loosely stir in chia seeds, and store in an airtight container. (It will keep for weeks and can also be frozen.)

CSA Week 10

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It’s another beautiful day here in Delaware. So lovely in fact, that I really don’t feel like blogging much. So let’s get straight to the goods, shall we?

Womp womp … first thing I see is more beets. I might try them grated raw. If that doesn’t go over, I’ll roast and puree them, then freeze to use in baking and smoothies over the coming months. Also the little jar was a mystery item. I cracked it open for a taste, and I’m going with some type of spiced apple butter.

CSA Week 10peaches, potatoes, cucumbers, jalapenos, onion, tomatoes, beets, carrots, spiced apple butter

This week, we’re getting ready to head on a big honkin’ road trip to Minnesota. So it’s “clean out the fridge and don’t buy lots of groceries” week.

This post is linked up at In Her Chucks weekly CSA link party.

CSA Week 9

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We’re really moving into the heart of summer now. John was very excited about this week’s haul. He’s been waiting patiently for the chance to make his own fresh salsas. Now we’re finally seeing the tomatoes and peppers and onions he needs. He also scored himself a nice cantaloupe (I’m not a fan). The only really bummer was getting beets again. I use the greens for smoothies, which is fine, but the actual root part is still not something we love. We’re going back to a beet recipe we made last year that we found palatable … but if anyone wants my beets for the rest of the summer, I’d gladly send them your way.

CSA-Week-9

cantaloupe, green bell pepper, heirloom tomatoes, jalapenos, onion, beets, corn, potatoes

Here’s what we’ve got planned for meals. We’re working on a few things left from last week, but feel pretty confident we’ll be able to polish all of this produce off by next Sunday.

CSA Week 8

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Like everywhere else in the country, it’s freaking hot here. Most of the time, I like my food hot (temperature wise). It takes some strong influences to get me to crave cold food. And a week of temps flirting with 100 has done just that. Salads are certainly the name of the game around here as of late. This week we’re trying out some new ones and falling back on some favorites.

We’re also using the remainder of last week’s cabbage to revive one of my husband’s quirky favorites: runzas (a pocket sandwich made with cabbage and ground beef). He likes his fancied up with bacon, barbecue sauce, and cheese. I make them with homemade whole wheat dough.

CSA-Week-8

 

beets, carrots, green bell peppers, cucumber, onion, celery, corn, green and wax beans

CSA Weeks 6 & 7

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I am two weeks behind on posting CSA weekly hauls and meal plans. I wanted to at least get these pictures up before tomorrow, when we pick up week 8.

For week 6, I was only home two days out of the week, so John ate most of this, and some of it carried over into the next week.

CSA-Week-6

celery, zucchini, cucumbers, potatoes, blueberries, green beans, kohlrabi, corn

A few recipes we did make:

For week 7, we tried to get back in our groove after the craziness of the last four weeks: trip to Milwaukee, both sets of parents visited, 4th of July, my work trip to Minneapolis. Now we’ve got a few weeks to just stay home and enjoy our regular meal planning, cooking, and of course, eating.

CSA-Week-7

zucchini, corn, celery, cabbage, carrots, potatoes, green pepper, cucumbers

In addition to the haul above, we also got green beans and mushrooms this week, which we gave to friends. Here are some recipes we made:

CSA Week 5

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Rain. That’s the story around here. Our area in Delaware ended the month of June with 12+ inches of rain. It’s been coming down in sheets for weeks, and it’s humid as all get out (whatever that means). It makes me nervous for our CSA farm and how the crops are going to fare. Here’s hoping July brings some drier air and sunny days!

Bugs are the other story around here. A couple weeks ago, I stumbled upon this article and it resonated with me in kind of a funny way, thanks to our CSA experience. John and I often talk about how our expectations for food are very different from the grocery store versus buying directly from the farmer or growing it in a garden. At the store, you only pick up the apple with no bruises and the pepper with even coloring. And bugs in your grocery store produce? No way! We’d freak! But, on the flip side, I found three worms tonight in our CSA broccoli alone. I still get a little squeamish, sure. But I pull those little guys off, put them outside, and continue to clean and prep. It’s just goes to show this stuff isn’t sprayed to death with poison. And it’s almost like I have a soft spot in my heart for those little bugs that live such a happy life amongst our delish veggies. What a weirdo, I am!

CSA-Week-5

blueberries, lettuce (two types), beets, broccoli, kale, onions, zucchini (two types), green (and wax) beans

Recipes we’re going to try out this week (with it being a holiday week, I’m not too concerned about planning each day in detail):

One thing I am looking for: green bean recipe suggestions. Last year I got really sick of them, and I’m sure we’ll get lots of them again this year. It’s not that I dislike beans; I’m just not very creative with them.

CSA Week 4

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We’re trying to get back in the swing of things after two crazy weeks. I can’t believe we’re already in the last week of June. Our CSA haul is starting to look more summery and I can’t wait to start seeing more variety in colors. So excited about the blueberries. I’m eating them by the handful and I’m sure they’ll find their way into yogurt with granola as well as smoothies.

CSA-Week-4chard, blueberries, kohlrabi, spring onions, kale, green beans, zucchini

Here’s what we’re eating this week (you can probably guess we’ve got feta and cilantro in the fridge):

CSA Week 3 [Catch Up]

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Last week was crazy busy with a weekend trip to Milwaukee followed by a visit by my parents and another couple. Some friends picked up our CSA goodies, and we did pretty well to plow through them (with the help of our guests).

CSA-Week-3

 

peas, broccoflower, radicchio, spinach, red lettuce, mustard greens, collards/chard, carrots, kohlrabi 

 

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