Monthly Archives: June 2012

CSA – Week 4

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HOORAY! We conquered the never-ending pile of lettuce! After about a bojillion pounds of salad, we actually finished all of our CSA goodies from last week!

Well… all but 1. The cabbage is still sitting in the fridge. I’m not a huge fan and other family members are, so I left them in charge of it and… nothing has happened. I’ll yell at them a little more tomorrow to make sure it gets eaten πŸ™‚

I’m not sure if I mentioned this or not in my last post, but I made rhubarb ice cream! Using this recipe, I made the rhubarb sauce last night, then after work today, I added the milk and cream, mixed, and churned in the ice cream maker for a half hour or so, froze and had myself a delicious scoop of rhubarb ice cream topped with a bit of the red currant rhubarb jam I made the other day! It’s pretty tasty. Nothing spectacular, but definitely a good way to use up rhubarb and let’s face it, who doesn’t love ice cream?

Rhubarb ice cream with red currant rhubarb jam! Please note that I am NOT a food photographer πŸ˜‰

Now onto week 4! Oh, we got some goodies in the box this week! What’s in the box:

  • Sugar Snap Peas
  • Snow Peas
  • 2 bunches Swiss Chard
  • 1 bunch Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Green Beans
  • Onions
  • Raspberries
  • Mint
  • Cilantro
  • 1 dozen organic eggs from happy, totally free-range chickens! (as always)

My brother giving the CSA a big thumbs up this week!

So my family appreciates a nice, fresh, crispy pea. We got these suckers home and my mom dove right in and ate some. I had one of each, just to try ’em, and my brother had a few, too. My mom was so excited that she immediately sat at the table and started shelling the Sugar Snaps. She gave one to my 15-month-old nephew and he didn’t know really know what to do with it, so he walked it over to me and I said, “Oskar, it’s food! Yummy!” and made a motion to my mouth showing him to eat it. He shoved it in MY mouth… so we don’t know yet if he likes peas, but we shall find out!

As for the meal plan, it’s a good one! At least I’m excited about it…

  • Thursday – Salad Nicoise using the green beans, a few eggs
  • Friday – Pasta salad with Sugar Snap peas, bell pepper, onion, zucchini, tomatoes
  • Saturday – Potato-leek hash using some of the Swiss Chard & eggs (we’ve done this recipe before and it’s EXCELLENT)
  • Sunday – Sweet potato & black bean tacos with Swiss chard pesto (this is a new one, but I’m excited to try it!) This will use the other bunch of chard and some of the cilantro
  • Monday – Stir-fry using the snow peas, onions & broccoli

That’s what we have planned so far. I’m pretty excited about it! I think I may try to make this Beet Greens Pie, omitting the bacon and bread crumbs to make it vegetarian and gluten-free. It may turn into more of a frittata or something, but I want to try using the beet greens. No idea yet for the actual beets themselves. I’d LOVE a beet, goat cheese & arugula grilled cheese sandwich, but it’s just not the same with gluten-free bread. We’ll see.

The real question is what would you do with all that blasted mint? I’m not a huge fan. Last time we got some (like an eighth of what we got this time), my sister-in-law made mint ice cream and it wasn’t bad, but it was a little earthy. I just don’t know what to do with it… help?

Weekend of Excellence

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So we’ve been eating a lot of salad lately. At least I have been. I actually had a really delicious salad today for lunch. I made a Thai peanut dressing and put it on some Romaine (CSA), shredded carrots and edamame. It tasted a lot like the Thai Chopped Chicken salad from Panera. I plan to make it again… maybe for dinner tomorrow since we STILL have most of a head of Romaine left from the CSA πŸ™‚

In less successful news, I used this recipe from Whole Foods to make a Mediterranean salad the other day. Not good. Won’t be making it again. I’m not sure what happened, but it just was. not. good.

Mediterranean Crunch Salad of ickiness. I added feta to it and it was still awful. And we all know that feta can fix anything.

In (hopefully) more successful news, I just jarred this Red Currant Rhubarb Jam (both CSA items) and it’s sitting on the counter cooling. I’m VERY excited for this and I really hope it turns out. Not going to lie, I was a bit depressed last week when my mom made my grandmother’s famous rhubarb jam last week using our CSA rhubarb. I grew up eating and LOVING the stuff, but it uses jell-o (which has gelatin) and I’m vegetarian now. Most people probably wouldn’t think about jell-o and vegetarianism, but guess what! Jell-o is not vegetarian. Gelatin is made up of the collagen found in pig and cow skin and bones. No bueno por son vegetarianos. SO no delicious, delicious rhubarb jam for Hilary 😦

BUT! I was looking online for a recipe to use both our rhubarb and red currants and stumbled upon the recipe I linked above. It’s 4 ingredients (I’m all about knowing how to pronounce my ingredients!): red currants, rhubarb, water, and sugar. That’s it! I’m not exactly sure how it will be jam-y, but I’m hoping there’s enough fruit pectin in the currants and rhubarb to make it work. It’s still a bit liquid-y, but I need to let it rest for another 22 hours or so, so I’m hoping it sets over that time and I’m left with delicious, fresh, vegetarian red currant rhubarb jam πŸ™‚

Red currant rhubarb jam just chillin’ on the counter (ha!)

So those are the updates on the food front here at our house. We’re just about out of our CSA produce for this week, which is good! In unrelated news, Mom and I wanted to do something normal that’s not related to the shop, so we went to see Brave last night. Guys, it’s pretty fantastic. You should all see it. I totally wish I had Merida’s hair. Pretty jealous.

And today was the last day of the shop hop meaning we can go back to having my mom only work 6 days a week instead of 7! Yay! Mom might call her sister (!!) tomorrow to see if she and her daughter (that’d be my cousin, whom I haven’t met yet) want to get lunch with us next Sunday since we finally have a day we’re both not working. We’ll see what we can arrange.

Hope everyone had a lovely weekend! We sure could use some rain around here, so if you’ve got any to spare, send it our way!

CSA – Week 3

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Yay, CSA!

Unfortunately, it’s been so hot and dry here that some of the lettuce we’ve been getting has been a bit on the bitter side. I don’t mind too much, I just make a sweet dressing to throw on it πŸ™‚ For instance, tonight I made a salad using some of the last of the lettuce from last week’s box. My salad had Bibb lettuce, garlic scapes, onion (from today’s box), feta, and blue cheese. I was going to toast some walnuts to put on there, but we didn’t have any. I made a honey mustard dressing with olive oil, honey, dijon mustard, salt, pepper, and a dash of white balsamic vinegar and it was delicious πŸ™‚ My salad wasn’t much to look at since it was lots of green things that blended in, but it was pretty tasty!

Tonight’s salad with lots of camouflaged green veggies!

SO, you’re probably on the edge of your seat wondering what we got this week, am I right? Of course I’m right! Ha! Well, wait no longer. Drum roll, please…

This week’s box includes:

  • Eggs (as always, a dozen per week!)
  • Rhubarb – newsletter says this is the last of the rhubarb 😦
  • Garlic scapes – newsletter also says this is the last of these guys 😦
  • Small red/white onions
  • Medium red/white onions
  • Broccoli
  • Swiss chard
  • Cabbage
  • Red currants
  • The biggest head of Romaine lettuce I’ve ever seen

It’s so pretty! And a little less green and leafy this week!

So then, what are we going to do with this this week? Well, here’s the plan:

Thursday – BLTs & coleslaw – we’ll use up some of the lettuce on the sandwiches and the cabbage and some of the scapes will be turned into coleslaw. As the only vegetarian in the family, I might have my usual cheddar sandwich with lots of veggies. Or, since I’m (temporarily) gluten-free (to test for an allergy), I may use some of the HUGE lettuce leaves to make a lettuce wrap sandwich thing? We’ll see. I do have gluten-free bread I can use for a sandwich, but it’s SERIOUSLY not the same.

Friday – Stir-fry – We love a good stir-fry in our house. The broccoli will get used here as well as some of the scapes and onions. We’ll pick up some other veggies at the store (boo) and the meat-eaters will probably have some chicken or something in there. Ooo, maybe some rice noodles with a peanut-ginger sauce? YUM!

Saturday – Meal Salads – I like to call these “meal salads” because you say “salad” and many people think “wimpy” and “side dish”. Oh no. Salads can give you all the nutrition you need and be plenty filling. And with all the lettuce we have, everyone gets a salad (except my sister-in-law, who doesn’t like lettuce). We’ll grill up some chicken and that gives people the option to do Cobb, Greek, Caesar or anything else. I’ll probably have a big bed of lettuce with some fresh, Wisconsin cheddar (holla!), hard-boiled egg, tomato, maybe cucumber… we’ll see, but I’m sure it will be delish.

That’s as far as we’ve gotten. Sunday may be a celebration dinner since it will mark the end of a very busy 3 weeks for my mom (and me) at work. The other items in the box will be used in everyday stuff. The eggs get eaten for breakfast or hard-boiled for my 1-year-old nephew, any broccoli and scapes that don’t get used will be made into a salad with the Swiss chard (I saw this recipe and thought it looked good and saw some people suggest substituting chard for the kale called for).

As for the red currants and rhubarb… well, we have a special plan for them πŸ™‚ A few years ago, my mom bought a small electric ice cream maker and it’s awesome. We’ve been using it lately to make frozen margarita slushies and my brother just made lemon sorbet. Well, I want to try my hand at a homemade honey vanilla ice cream with red currant rhubarb swirl. The swirl may be hard to pull off, but we can always just use it as a sauce on top. I’m ridiculously excited about it πŸ™‚ Stay tuned for that craziness.

Otherwise, things are going along. The tomatoes are starting to set fruit and the pepper plants are flowering. Yay! My friend, Jenny, just got her first CSA box this week, so be sure to check in with her to see what she’s doing with her delicious produce!

It’s always something with this girl

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As I mentioned in last night’s post, I took some Benydyrl last night. I slept really well, but was still having issues today with the itching and hives appearing and disappearing so I called the doctor. My doctor was unavailable but another doctor in the practice said he wanted to see me. Long story short, he doesn’t think it’s a reaction to the antibiotic, but he does think it’s an allergic reaction. He thinks it’s something I’ve been in contact with, like a new laundry detergent or deodorant or shampoo or whatever. I’ve seen this doctor one other time when my primary care doc was unavailable and I think this guy is probably a very fine doctor, but I think he’s a CYA (Cover Your Ass) kind of doctor. He wants me to really concentrate on everything I come in contact with and try to figure out what’s causing the reaction.

Listen, dude. Don’t you think I’ve already done that? The only things that have changed recently are the ending of the antibiotic and the reintroduction of gluten to my diet. It HAS to be one of those two things. Luckily, he still wrote me a prescription for some Prednisone to help clear up the reaction. He also wanted me to get an Epipen in case my breathing started to get compromised… yeah, right. Let me go spend $200 on something Imightneed, even though there’s only about a 1% chance I’ll need it. No thanks.

Anyway, I’m hoping I start feeling better soon. My mom and I are both pretty sure it’s the antibiotic, but I’m willing to entertain the possibility of the gluten causing this. We’ll just have to see. While I was in Madison to see the doctor, I did stop at the GF bakery and got myself some muffins, scones and a loaf of bread. I also got a donut to eat on the way home ’cause I felt I deserved one πŸ™‚

Not everything was bad today. I did cross paths with my aunt, cousin and my cousin’s 2-week-old baby girl at the doctor’s office. I had no idea they even went to that clinic, but they came out as I was waiting, so I got to see them and to meet my cousin’s baby, Abigail. She was SO tiny and I’m convinced my nephew was never that small.

Ramble, ramble. I took the Prednisone, so I’ll probably be awake all night, but that’s okay, so long as I’m not scratching the whole night. I got 2 movies from Redbox (for FREE!), so I’ve got some entertainment for the next 2 days since I don’t have to work now until Sunday.

Work. That’s another blog post. It’s been crazy, but I think I’ll save that topic for another time. Perhaps tomorrow?

 

CSA – Week 2 (also: life happens)

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So, CSA week 2! Yay! Unfortunately I didn’t get a picture this week 😦 Our fridge died yesterday, so we had to move everything to the fridge in the basement. With all the craziness going on surrounding that, a photo just didn’t get taken. But that’s okay! Our loot this week (if I remember it all…):

  • Eggs
  • Rhubarb
  • Garlic scapes
  • Bibb lettuce
  • Leaf lettuce
  • Green onions
  • Strawberries
  • Swiss chard

(I think I remembered it all…) Anyway, I’m still super pumped about our CSA. I really want to try to use everything we get and keep the composting to a minimum. Unfortunately, we did end up composting some of the radishes from last week as well as a decent chunk (but not too much) of the Bibb lettuce. The radishes were washed and cut and just weren’t stored properly (and they may have been a victim of the fridge dying) and the lettuce was washed, but not dried properly before storage, so some of it went bad.

Overall, we had fun with things last week. I did try to make a radish green pesto and it was horrible. Maybe I wasn’t doing it right, maybe the radish greens weren’t right (I read later that you’re supposed to remove the radish greens from the radishes soon after harvesting and store them separately. We didn’t do that). Whatever happened, it was awful and bitter and ended up in the trash. Might try it again someday, but… blegh.

We haven’t made our meal plan yet for this week, but tonight we made potato hash with red onion, wilted spinach, bell pepper and zucchini. We fried up some eggs and tossed those on top and it was delicious. We’ll have to see what we come up with this week, but I’m fairly certain that a rhubarb custard crisp is in store for us.

In other news, I’m a mess lately. I reintroduced gluten to my diet about a week ago, after deciding it wasn’t causing any issues. I also finished my last dose of my antibiotic for the sinus infection on Saturday. Since about Monday, I’ve been scratching my head and face non-stop. It’s so bad that I had my mom look through my hair yesterday to make sure I don’t have lice. She said it looked fine and I haven’t noticed my skin being any drier than normal or anything. Then, the last day or so, I’ve started to notice my hands and fingers being really achy and my joints turn red and swell and I’m itchy in some of my “hot spots” (you know – arm pits, under the boobs, back of the knees…). I’m wondering if I might be having an allergic reaction to the antibiotic. I don’t think I’ve ever taken this kind before, but it was prescribed because I’m allergic to penicillins and Z-packs don’t really seem to help so much. So they wanted me to try a sulfa drug. We’ll see what happens overnight, but I took some Benydryl and plan to call the doctor in the morning. In the meantime, I’ve decided to eliminate gluten from my diet again to see if that might be what’s causing this. I sincerely doubt that it is, but I just want to explore all of the options.

So this is a fun post about nothing in particular, but that’s okay, and that’s how it’s going to end because works been crazy lately and as I mentioned, I took 2 Benydryl an hour ago, so I’m exhausted. I’m really hoping to be better about updating more regularly and keeping the posts on-topic and not have them ramble on about 18 different things like this one. Oh well, deal with it! πŸ™‚

Meet the Family!

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So it was a really busy weekend! Last Thursday, I drove to Chicago to spend the night with Erin and Mo. We had sushi and hung out and it was a grand time, as it always is. I left early-ish Friday morning and drove to Dayton to meet up with Katie. I hadn’t seen Katie in about 8 months, so we got together and got our nails done and had fun catching up. After that, it was a short jaunt to Waynesville to see Sarah and Emily! I hadn’t seen either of them in 15 months, so I was really excited. We made quesadillas and ate, talked, and eventually watched an episode of Mystery Science Theatre 3000 (Rowzdower!). Emily left shortly thereafter and Sarah and I went to sleep. Saturday morning was brunch followed by the wedding of two of my college friends, Greg and Kiersten and their reception. It was really great to see all of my UD friends and to watch those two get married. I’m so very happy for them!

That’s the quick rundown of my weekend, which brings us to, drum roll please, SUNDAY AKA reunion day! I left Cincinnati at 6:45 local time (that’s 5:45 Central time) and drove my little butt to Janesville. I got in around 12:30, so I made pretty decent time, especially with 2 stops. I met Mom and Dad and we drove over to my Aunt Sally’s house in Janesville. We met my mom’s (and my) biological family for the first time and it was incredible. We got to meet the following people (list form makes more sense to me right now):

  • Sally (Mom’s sister)
  • Bob (Sally’s husband)
  • Lindsey (Sally’s daughter)
  • Rebecca (Sally’s daughter)
  • Judy (Mom’s sister)
  • Don (Mom’s brother)
  • Scott (Mom’s brother)
  • Missy (Scott’s wife)

That’s 2 sisters and 2 brothers that we got to meet as well as a brother-in-law, sister-in-law, and 2 nieces! We spent the afternoon by the pool, looking through old photos Sally and Judy had collected to show Mom what their family looked like. It was interesting to see the connections that I never knew existed. I can’t remember who it was, but there was a picture of someone in the generation before my grandmother’s and we all agreed that I look a lot like her. It may have been my great grandmother, but I can’t remember. It’s just fascinating because while my mom grew up not looking like anyone else, I grew up always thinking I looked like my dad’s side of the family because that’s where I saw the similarities. I actually look a lot like my mom and her side of the family! And my oldest brother looks JUST like my Uncle Don.

We talked about health history and the prevalence of thyroid disorder with all of the women. Every once in awhile, we’d all get a little quiet and notice that we were all looking around the table studying one another to find the similarities in features. All around, it was a wonderful experience and I’m glad I got to share it with my mom. One more item to cross off my bucket list πŸ™‚

While we still don’t know who my mom’s father is, both of her sisters said they’d be willing to do a DNA test to see if they’re full- or half-siblings. Judy was going to check with her doctor at her next appointment to ask about it and then Mom and I are both going to get the BRCA test done, too.

There’s just been so much going on! I really want to post a picture of my mom and 3 of her 4 siblings (Scott left before we got a chance to take photos), but Judy is resistant to having her picture posted online, which I can understand. Just trust me when I say there are definite resemblances! I will, however, post this side-by-side photo of my mom and her biological mother. Enjoy!

Life is good.

CSA – Week 1

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(It’s been a long time since I last blogged, but I was out of town and SO busy, so there are TWO blog posts today because they’re about two entirely different topics)

I’m so excited that our CSA started yesterday! For those of you who don’t know, CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines a CSA as “a community of individuals who pledge support to a farm operation so that the farmland becomes, either legally or spiritually, the community’s farm, with the growers and consumers providing mutual support and sharing the risks and benefits of food production.” More generally, shareholders typically purchase a share before the growing season begins (we bought ours in March), then once the season is in full swing, they pick up a box of fruits, veggies, meat, flowers, and other farm-fresh goodies once a week.

This is our first time doing a CSA and I think the whole house is pretty excited about it. We have a share from Christensen Farm in Browntown, Wis. We went to visit the farm and meet the farmers in March before we bought our share, and they’re good people. The husband is a science teacher at one of the local high schools and the wife stays home with their 3 kids and tends to the farm and the chickens. They have a TON of chickens and they are just happy as can be! They get to roam around, roll in dirt, and eat all kinds of bugs and other things to give them a well-rounded diet. I’ve learned so much in just a few months… like chickens enjoy rolling in dirt! I’m excited to keep learning and hopefully get to participate in some of the farm activities (they have a pea pick in a few weeks!).

So this post is getting a bit long, but I am SO excited about our CSA and our garden! We had really high hopes for our garden this year, but none of us had the time to get everything going, so we started with some of our favorite things, to supplement the CSA box, and we hope to add some more fruits and veggies next season. So this season, we have 14 heirloom tomato plans (2 each of 7 different varieties), a handful of hot peppers, a bunch of sweet peppers, some cherry tomatoes, and I think we’re going to try to get some beets in this weekend. We tend to spend a LOT of money on heirloom tomatoes at the farmers market, so we decided to save a bunch and just grow our own. We eat heirloom tomato sandwiches at least once a week during the summer and at up to $5.00/lb, we’re going to be saving a ton this summer! I was a little unsure of growing such a large quantity of so few things, but it will work out well. EVERYONE in Wisconsin has a garden (LOVE IT!), and last year, our friends were bringing us left-overs from their gardens and giving them to us, so this year, we’ll be able to trade! Yay!

Farm-fresh!

SO, I think this will be a good topic for me to blog about because it will pretty much force me to blog at least once a week. I’m going to try to post a list of what we got in our box that week and what we’re planning on doing with it all. Yay! This week, we got:

  • Bibb lettuce
  • Rhubarb (except they forgot it, so we’ll get it next week)
  • Garlic scapes
  • Green onions
  • Spinach
  • Radishes
  • Asparagus
  • Strawberries
  • Homemade salsa

…and we purchased an egg share for the season, so we get a dozen eggs every week. They’re so pretty! We’ve gotten white, brown and green ones!

So this week’s box kind of lends itself to sandwich and salad stuff. So that’s what we’re doing!

  • Thursday – BLTs (I just had a cheddar sandwich with veggies – no meat for me!) and we used the Bibb lettuce.
  • Friday – Pasta salad bar with grilled asparagus and we’ll use the garlic scapes and some green onions for the pasta salad. Maybe some radishes, too.
  • Saturday – Grilled potatoes with garlic scapes & salad using the Bibb lettuce or spinach & radishes
  • Sunday – Chicken breast pinwheels with ricotta and spinach (pasta pinwheels for me!)

We’ll just have the strawberries for snacking and I tried the salsa already to make sure I got a taste because my brother will devour it in one sitting.

So that’s it! Yay for fresh, local, in-season fruits and veggies! I strongly encourage everyone to look into their local farmers markets and CSA programs. I eat so much better when I really think about what I’m eating πŸ™‚