Archive for the ‘Farmer’s Market’ Category
Happy Marvelous Monday! I hope everyone had a fun and relaxing weekend. Here are some things that are making my Monday marvelous.
This summer in Wisconsin has been stiflingly hot and sticky, which makes fall all the more welcome. I can’t get enough of the changing leaves and temps in the mid to high 60s.
A Marvelous Weekend:
Mondays are so much more enjoyable when I’ve really been able to let lose on the weekend. Yesterday we drove to my parent’s house to grill out for dinner and just hang out. Brenton also did a photoshoot of my nephew in the backyard, which turned out awesome.
Marvelous Fall Produce:
I love heading to the farmers market this time of year. Between the sweet potatoes, butternut squash and tomatoes, I’m getting a ton of inspiration for new recipes. These are the grape tomatoes I picked at my parent’s house. I could pop these like candy. YUM!
“Marvelous” Weird Bugs:
Check out this little critter that was hanging out near the tomatoes. I’ve never seen a Praying Mantis before. My mother was pretty horrified!
I love leftovers. Since I’m taking a yoga class after work and getting home pretty late (7:15), cooking is the last thing I want to do. Good think Brittney’s Sweet Potato Chili will be waiting in the fridge. I followed her recipe pretty closely, except I used less spices and cooked it on high in the slow cooker for about 4 1/2 hours.
Question: What is marvelous about your Monday?
Also, what’s the best thing you’ve ever made in a slow cooker? Feel free to link up!
This post is all about the random, but delicious, things I’ve been noshing. First off, I’ve been freezing my own basil with help from Karis’ blog post. This weekend I picked up a heap of fresh basil at the farmers market. And like clockwork, I usually have to throw at least half of it away because I don’t use it in time. Although we do have a dehydrator (shocking, I know!), I’ve never used it to dry herbs. In fact, I’ve only used it once to make fruit leather. opps. But freezing herbs in ice cube trays I can definitely do.
I’ve also discovered the most delicious snack ever. It’s called Skinny Pop and I’m completely obsessed. Thank god the lovely folks over there gave me so many bags because I am tearing through them like a woman on a mission.
With all this running I’ve been doing, I’ve been ravenous most hours of the day. It is hard to find snacks that fill me up without weighing me down or doing damage to my waistline. With only 39 calories a cup, I don’t feel guilty about digging in and eating however much I want (which usually tops off at about 5 cups if I’m really starving). And the only ingredients are all-natural popcorn, sunflower oil and salt.
So far Brenton hasn’t been too interested in this (probably because he is so obsessed with his fat-laden chips and salsa which are always in the house). But before where I would indulge with Brenton, I have a healthier alternative that doesn’t make me feel like I’m giving up something. And believe you me, I will be bringing a Coach tote into the movie theater next time so I can sneak a bag of this in.
Speaking of corn, fresh farmers market corn has been the star in my latest culinary creation – a veggie orzo salad. I also picked up fresh green peppers, banana peppers and tomatoes. Although I’m not into lettuce salads these days, I have been craving “meal-type” salads that are quick to prepare and make for killer leftovers the next day.
Farmers Market Veggie and Orzo Salad
2 ears corn
1 green pepper, diced
1 sweet banana pepper, diced
1 large tomato, diced
1 cup orzo pasta
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil
Place 2 ears of corn in the microwave (husks and all) and microwave for 8 minutes. Set corn aside on the counter.
Cook orzo according to package directions and drain. Place in a bowl with peppers, tomato, lemon juice, Parmesan cheese, basil and olive oil and turn to coat.
Once corn has cooled a bit, run a knife down all the sides to get the kernels off. Add these to the salad and mix.
Question: Do you sneak snacks into the movie theater? What do you pack? I’ve been known to bring apples, homemade trail mix, Good N’ Plenty and Jelly Belly’s (just not all at once). My friend Sun brought Chex Mix when a bunch of us gals saw Magic Mike and I was pleasantly surprised (maybe because I felt like I wasn’t the only one who did this!)
Disclaimer: Skinny Pop has given me this product to review. I was not given the product in exchange for a positive review. All opinions are my own.
Happy Marvelous Monday! Today is especially marvelous because I had a marvelous weekend.
Pre-run, I fueled up with some whole-wheat zucchini banana bread and homemade lemon curd, a diced peach and some coffee.
I waited about an hour and a half after eating to run and then downed a half package of Powerbar Energy Blasts during the run. All in all, a great run. I’m really curious what my running readers eat before a long run. Feel free to leave a comment!
Afterwards, I had a 60 minute massage in Wauwatosa. I absolutely loved my massage therapist. She was so nice and even gave me back exercises to work on (in addition to kneading a knot out of my quad for 15 minutes – thank god for her!). I just booked another appointment for after the Fox Cities Half Marathon. What’s even better is that she gave me the groupon deal for my next visit so I’m only paying $30 for a 60-minute deep tissue massage. Woo hoo!
After the massage Brenton and I headed to the West Allis farmers market and then Milwaukee Irish Fest. Needless to say, we were pooped.
On Sunday, I had a great time brunching with the ladies at Karis’ house.
Karis put on quite the spread. We enjoyed a Greek yogurt bar with vanilla Chobani yogurt, a vegetable frittata, cinnamon-sugar doughnuts (which now really make me want a doughnut pan), fried potatoes and cantaloupe. You can check out links to Karis’ recipes on her blog.
By the way, I am super jealous of Karis’ container garden. I’ve killed herbs the three times I’ve tried to grow them, and hers are perfect.
In addition, I also finished Emily Giffin’s “Where We Belong.” Like all of her other books, I loved this one too. It’s about an 18-year-old girl who gives her child up for adoption only to have her daughter find her 18 years later. I’ve heard rumors that there will be a sequel and a movie. If this does hit the big screen, I totally see Kate Middleton playing Marian. Maybe she should consider a career in acting….
Although I had a great weekend packed with tons of fun things (and work things), I think sometimes I need to slow down more and really live in the moment (instead of jumping from one thing to the next). Do you have any tips for living in the moment? What are you grateful for today?
Hope your week is off to a good start!
But I’m far from done.
See, even Oliver got in on the fun (that’s a locally grown watermelon rind on his nose from the West Allis farmers’ market).
If there’s anything I learned from the Eat Local Challenge, it’s this: Eating local is sustainable, it’s tastier and it’s more satisfying eating a meal where the ingredients are grown just miles from you.
Although I may have been one of the more relaxed bloggers in terms of the “cheat” foods I ate, i.e. oats, greek yogurt, Dove chocolates, I discovered some great local food companies and new places to score local eats.
Tonight, we had burgers (purchased from a local farm) with Wisconsin cheese on Cybros hamburger buns (based out of Waukesha) with fingerling potatoes (from the farmers’ market).
For me, the longer the challenge went on, the easier it became to create new meals. It also forced me to eat a ton of produce.
Speaking of fruits and veggies, I also had a great time learning how to preserve foods, like these peppers I bought at a local farm stand for 33 cents a piece!
For me, fall baking is where it’s at. And with so many local apple orchards around Milwaukee (like Apple Holler and Awe’s Orchard) I’m already planning my fall baking list: apple butter, apple crisp, apple pie bread, Dutch apple pie, sauted apples over waffles and pancakes…the list goes on.
So Milwaukee’s Eat Local Challenge may be over this year, but the best of local eating is yet to come.
At the Eat Local Resource Fair, I discovered an awesome company called Cybros. As a runner, I love my carbs, so I was thrilled to have a local grain company to turn to during the Eat Local Challenge (and in the weeks leading up to the Fox Cities Half Marathon – now was not the time to go on a low-carb diet).
Cybros is a company that specializes in sprouted-grain products. They are the only producer of sprouted grain breads in the central U.S. and they are located right here in Waukesha.
I’ve been eating my way through their 7-grain bread for breakfast and lunch (toast with jam from the Wauwatosa Farmers’ Market and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches). I don’t know what I like more – that there are 5 grams of protein per slice at only 65 calories or that it’s local.
Either way, I’m just glad I discovered it. (By the way, you can purchase Cybros’ products at Outpost and Sendiks).
Now get ready for one of the best local meals we’ve had since the challenge began – Load ‘Em Up Veggie Pizza.
This showcases all of my farmers’ market veggies in the best possible way. I also love that the crust is hearty and stands up a heap of toppings.
Load ‘Em Up Veggie Pizza
Makes 2 pizzas (and serves about 4)
One package Cybros Pizza Dough
Two cups Crystal Farms shredded mozzarella cheese
Veggies of your choice (sliced green pepper, onions, mushrooms)
Homemade Pizza Sauce
One 8-ounce can tomato sauce
Pizza seasoning, garlic powder, oregano, salt, pepper (to your liking)
Divide the pizza dough in half and roll out into two rounds. Place on round in a cast iron skillet and cook over medium heat for about 4 minutes. Next, place the pizza sauce on top and any toppings/cheeses you wish. Finish baking in the oven for about 8 minutes at 400 degrees (or until golden).
I love how the crust held up to all our toppings despite how thin we rolled it. It’s also really dense because of the grains and adds a unique, earthy flavor to the pizza – more fresh and natural.
Question: Do you make homemade pizzas? What are your favorite toppings?
Yesterday, I showed you how to freeze tomatoes. Today, we’re moving on to peaches.
I picked about 3 pounds of these at Awe’s Apple Orchard in Frankin, WI. They were only $1.25/pound! For local peaches, that is the cheapest I’ve seen all season.
Here is the view driving through their orchard – gorgeous.
At Awe’s, you can pick your own apples or buy some in their store.
In their store, you can buy homemade apple butter, a variety of jams and these adorable homemade caramel apple kits. How cute!
I walked away with some peaches and popcorn for the Eat Local Challenge. By the way, if you’re planning on freezing peaches, pick some that aren’t too ripe and ones that don’t have soft spots/bruises.
Like the tomatoes, you want to drop the peaches into boiling water so you can remove the skins easily. I took them out of the water after about 45 seconds. Then submerge them in water to stop the cooking process.
To keep the peaches from browning, I made a simple syrup on the stove (using 1/3 cup sugar for every 2/3 cup water). I doubled that recipe and heated it over the stove until the sugar dissolved (pics not shown). You’ll use this mixture later when you are packing the peaches.
Anyway, after you remove the peaches from the ice water bath, remove the skin and cube the peaches into whatever size you like. (As I added more peaches to my mixing bowl, I added a few sprinkles of lemon juice.)
Next, place your peaches in a freezer-safe bag (I used vacuum sealer bags). Pour some of the simple syrup mixture over the peaches. (Note: when you decide to use the peaches and defrost them, some of the simple syrup will drain out, so you can’t really put too much in there).
I froze the peaches like this and let them sit in the freezer overnight so I could vacuum seal them. However, if you are using just regular freezer-safe Ziplock bags, you can skip this step. Just try to squeeze as much air as you can out of the bags before freezing.
After freezing tomatoes and peaches, I’m definitely hooked. I love the fact that I can use this technique to eat local in the dead of winter, so I plan on freezing green beans, peppers and zucchini as well.
Now I’ll just pray that our freezers don’t defrost.
As much as I love eating local produce, it kills me that in just a few short months, most of what I love will be gone (like zucchini, eggplant and potatoes).
So for this post, I’d like to show you how I preserve some of my bounty without fancy canning techniques (which I will tackle someday, just not yet). I do have a vacuum sealer and a chest freezer, though. So for right now, freezing is the way to go.
On my way home from work yesterday, I stopped by the farm stand off of Loomis in Franklin, WI. This place is a gem – awesome produce and it’s cheap. I stocked up on tomatoes for $1/pound.
How to Freeze Tomatoes
To freeze tomatoes, start by picking ripe (but not overly ripe) produce with no bruises.
Next, you’re going to blanch them in boiling water for about a minute so you can easily peel the skin off (to blanch, place the tomatoes in boiling water and then after a minute, submerge them in ice water to stop the cooking process).
Next, peel the skin off (it’ll come off very easily) and core out the stem with a knife. After that, quarter the tomatoes and try removing as much of the seeds as you can. Place them in a colander to drain for about 10 minutes.
Next, divide the tomatoes equally in freezer bags (I used vacuum sealer bags), but this can easily work with Ziplock freezer bags – just make sure to get most of the air out.
Stick these in the freezer to enjoy all winter long (like when homemade pasta sauce is calling your name in January).
This is the perfect weekend project, so make sure to stock up on some tomatoes if you’re heading to the farmers’ market on Saturday (or picking from your own garden). Me? I’ve gotta get back to that farm stand – you can’t shake a stick at $1/pound :)
Question: How do you preserve summer produce?
P.S. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post where I’ll show you how to freeze peaches :)