Thursday, December 30, 2010

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Winter Buyers Co-op, Week 4

grapefruit, 3 jars of One Straw Farm chopped tomatoes (this is the farm we get our CSA from - so fancy!)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Dark Days - Meals 1 & 2

Our happy local Thanksgiving turkey carcass got simmered (by the hubby, dlb) for hours with onions from the farmers market, carrots from our garden and I believe the celery was from whole foods (of unknown origin... dlb bought it).  Once we had turkey stock, dlb and I split it in half and each made a soup.  He made an Italian wedding soup, I made a southwestern tortilla soup.  They were both so good I didn't get a chance to take photos!
Parisian something-or-other carrots... which grow to have more of a beet-shape.  YUM!

This dish is made with collard greens from our CSA - which I cooked with a ham hock (left over from LAST YEARS winter co-op... amazing how things can get lost in the freezer!).  I then used the excessive "pot liquor" to cook some speckled butter beans I bought fresh at the farmer's market.  Served with a slice of toasted sourdough from the market, it was quite a nice weekend meal.

This salad was a combination of spinach, radishes, greens peppers and smoked swiss cheese, all picked up at the market.  I really don't know how the green peppers were in season locally.  Greenhouse?  They may not have been within the 150 miles...

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Dark Days Challenge - 2010-2011 Introduction

I'm not sure why I think I can keep up with this, since blogging has taken a "back-back" seat (that's an official term for the seat in a station wagon that's behind the back seat - usually also facing the back of the car, fyi) in my life.

But sustainable, organic, locally-sourced, ethical food (SOLE food) is still an important part of my diet, so I'm hoping I can piece together enough complete meals to live up to the challenge.  It did lead me to think more about where ALL my food comes from last year - and it wouldn't hurt to try that again.  For all the fine details, visit this posting... it's hosted by Laura at the (not so) Urban Hennery.  There's something crazy - like 100 people participating, so it should be fun.

This is the post where I define what my terms are for the challenge.   The standard we're asked to abide by in terms of what is local is a 150 mile radius.  Thankfully, this works well for me since it includes key growing areas in Pennsylvania, most noteably my wonderful Amish Farmer's co-op.  So I know that anything I order from them fits within the SOLE guidelines.

Also helpful is the local grocer where I buy most of my produce and some meat and dairy.  Every week I think she's gotten something new this past year - and most products fall within 150 miles.  It is there that I pick up my Winter Buyers Co-op - a share of 4 veggies each week from Dec-Feb.  THAT will make things pretty simple for produce.

Last year I found a local flour source as well as several grains.  It took me practically the whole challenge to do so, but now I feel pretty set.

I will try to use primarily local herbs - but this is where I feel okay cheating.  So spices will be used and I will note when they are not local.

Basically - I will try my best to make fully-SOLE meals, but there will be times where I will simply note what is not SOLE in order to get dinner on the table.  A 90% SOLE meal is much better than take-out pizza!

So I will most likely post for each "recap period," which will be twice a month (again - check out the details of the challenge here).

I'd also like to reserve the right to simply list all the SOLE dishes that I've prepared over the half-month period rather than describing two particular meals. :)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Holy smokes, where'd the summer go?

I felt like it had been awhile since I posted something (ya think?!?), but it really shocked me to come here and see my last post was week 1 of our CSA.  Today is something like week 14.  Where did the summer go???

I haven't stopped taking photos, of course... just stopped uploading and posting.

So please excuse me while I catch up on the weekly CSA posts... and then maybe garden updates... and then maybe some other fun stuff I've been up to.  As usual, I will post them on or around the date taken since I can't stand things not being chronological here...

All I know is it may not all happen today.  It is too beautiful to be indoors; however - all the windows are open, I have a breeze at my side, and I can't really go anywhere until I'm done babysitting the tomatoes slow-roasting in my oven.  So stay tuned!

Friday, July 30, 2010

CSA: week 8

cucumbers, garlic, orange cherry tomatoes, yellow pear-shaped tomatoes

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Saturday, July 10, 2010

CSA: week 5

red leaf lettuce, snap peas, garlic, zucchini
(blur due to extreme change in camera lens from indoors with AC to outdoors with HORRIFIC humidity)

Thursday, July 1, 2010

CSA: week 4

Collard Greens, Radishes, Cucumber and Kohlrabi (purple and green)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Saturday, June 12, 2010

CSA: week 1

Hooray, hooray, it's CSA time again!  In case you've been living under a rock, CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture.  You buy a "share" directly from the farmer at the beginning of the season (usually sometime Jan-April) and then you get weekly deliveries of fresh produce in return.  We buy a half-share (4 items) in a 24-week CSA that runs June-November.  The farmers get the money they need to start their crops (rather than taking out bank loans) and we get fresh produce straight from the farm.  No middle man means much lower prices!

Each week I will take a picture of our haul and post it here.  It's my favorite post since it's so easy to do!

this week: rainbow chard, garlic scapes, green leaf lettuce, romaine lettuce.

In the beginning, you definately have to handle a lot of greens!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Food & Faith Challenge: Money

I have gotten behind on all my blog posts, but this is the challenge I am most upset to be missing out on.  For the rest of the challenge I have promised myself that I will post the current week on time, along with 1-2 additional "back-logged" posts each week so that I've responded to each topic by the end of the challenge.

This week's topic is Money.

Questions for Reflection:
•Using our money to buy fresh, local food–which may or may not cost more than the supermarket equivalent–is an exciting way to put our values into practice. Even the smallest step in that direction makes a difference. Thinking about buying local food in this way, how might it be good stewardship to buy local, seasonal food even if it costs more than other options?
Especially when you are focusing on stewardship, in figuring the total cost of the food you are buying, you have to account for the TOTAL cost - not just the cash you pay up front for the product. Just as Michelle brings up in her post, a low-cost processed food today may bring you higher doctors bills down the line! The cost to the environment alone should bring the "real cost" of conventional foods higher than locally grown organic produce, so I feel it makes sense to buy SOLE food, bottom line.

Challenge to Action:
•Evaluate your food budget. Are there processed items or restaurant meals you can give up so more money is available for fresh, local products or fair trade items? Or would you consider increasing your food budget itself for this purpose?
I know that we can give up more processed foods to re-channel money into making better choices, specifically to buy more ethically and sustainably raised meat.  My main roadblock is my husband, who prefers to buy whatever meat is on sale at the supermarket.  He has yet to be convinced that better treatment of the animals, greater thought as to how the farming of those animals effects our environment, and even proper diet and lack of chemicals (promoting a healthier animal) is better for us, the eaters of said animals.  Or more rightly, he doesn't feel it's "better enough" to pay the higher prices.

To his credit - I have not been able to fully explain why I am so passionate about the subject.  That's partially why I chose to take part in this challenge; to try and flesh out why I feel we should be focusing our dining on real foods made by people we've met in places not so far away.  I struggle as well when it comes to the cost of certain foods.  It's also daunting trying to figure out where to find the "real thing".  Can you trust the labels, or do you have to know the farmer himself (or herself)?  If you know someone who knows the farmer, is that enough?  Do they have the same definition of humane that you do?

Sometimes I feel that there are more questions than answers.... but what it really comes down to is doing what you can do.  Taking those baby steps towards something better.  Taking the time to stop and think about what you are about to buy... what you are about to eat.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

I. Am. So. Behind!

So much for catching up over the long weekend, eh?  Please don't worry - I haven't fallen off the face of the earth... just been living the real life too FAST.  Not making the time to slow down and contemplate and write about stuff... 

I have been taking pictures of the garden progress though, so sometime soon I will probably be updating the weekly garden posts in a back-dated manner since I can't stand things being out of order chronologically.

Things to look forward to hearing about:
-I biked 140 miles (in two days)!
-Rhubarb has come and gone.  How did that HAPPEN?  HOW IS IT JUNE?!?!?
-Strawberry picking season is upon us. (two strawberry desserts already made last weekend...)
-CSA starts up next week.  FOR REAL.  If I hadn't picked spinach while we were out picking strawberries this weekend, we would have no vegetables in the house (slept through the farmers market Sunday...), so I'm totally ready for the CSA to start.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Strawberry & Spinach picking

We picked strawberries... and then made stuff!

strawberry rhubarb crisp

strawberry rhubarb crisp

I washed all the spinach....

And then Dave made a strawberry cream pie:

4 years

Hooray for anniversaries!  Four years of marraige?  Even crazier: March 2010 marked 10 years (yes, TEN) together.  Dave planned a lovely evening out to Dinner at the Milton Inn.  Check out their site and see all the awards they've won... crazy stuff.  Although we're an old married couple... we felt like we wouldn't really fit in here for another 20 years.  Or maybe never.  It was very old-school hunting lodge meets fancy french restaurant?  Maybe?  I can't quite describe it.  Although the service and food was excellent.

Since I'm obsessed with food, of course I will share:
We split the Venison Pate for an appetizer: (example of old-school charm: when the waiter found out we were planning to split the dish he had it divided into two equally beautiful plates). 
I had the swordfish.  Dave ordered the rack of lamb.  We each had a glass of wine.  Everything was very tasty and fancy and I don't quite remember the details but it was lovely!

Then the dessert.  Isn't this cute?  Dave got the macadamia torte and I had the tiramisu.  This is the only point at which I felt I could whip out the camera, since hey - they wrote us greetings on our plates!  How can you not record that?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Saturday, May 22, 2010


Visit to Omaha May 19-24 to help a friend conquer her wedding planning.  We decided after a long day of dresses and venues that swinging at the local playground was the best way to end the day.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Remote garden update

I am in Omaha right now, but Dave texted me these pictures of things growing in the garden:

A radish is poking up above the soil...
The amish sna peas are blossoming...
And the brocolli raab needs to be picked since it's flowering already!

Monday, May 17, 2010

I'm Done!

I just rode 140 miles on my bike.  103 miles day one, 30+ miles day two.  From Rehobeth Beach to Baltimore City.  And in doing so I raised over $1200 for Moveable Feast - enough to feed one client for an entire YEAR!  Thank you to everyone who made a contribution.  It was one awesome ride!

My bike taking a break at one of the pit-stops... She's a heavy one, so she needed to rest on the ground.

Someone else's more trim bike frolicking on the playground at the rest stop.

The whole team at AVAM, waiting to ride the last few miles together through downtown Baltimore.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Weekend Garden Update - 5/9/10

Went to the first farmer's market of the season (for me) with a good friend Sunday morning and had a GREAT TIME!  Since it's the season.... my haul included rhubarb, asparagus and strawberries.  SO YUMMY.  I got one gift for Dave: last year we saw bay leaf plants but hesitated in buying them, only to never see them again.  I found him one and am excited to nurse it into a big happy plant.

Our tomato plants getting SO BIG!

The kale is really struggling.  I'm not sure it's going to make it.

Snap peas climbing along!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Weekend Garden Update - 5/2/10

carrots sprouting bigger!

spinach - the real leaves are forming!

Mountain Spinach

Neighbor's super cool kitten

Dave's Okra plants

Broccoli Raab

Peas & radishes getting bigger

all the sprouts still growing under lights in the basement (they are SO in the way)

Friday, April 30, 2010

Winter Buyers Co-op, Week 13

some sort of greenhouse lettuce, mushrooms, baby red chard, baby spinach, eggs, bison patties, spring garlic.

This is our LAST WEEK of the winter buyers co-op!  A month and a half break until the CSA starts...