CSA – Week #7

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So I took a bit of a break…

I missed the last 2 weeks of CSA posts because 1) Our CSA is picked up on Wednesdays and the 4th of July was on Wednesday, so our pickup was pushed back to Thursday, which just threw my whole schedule off and 2) Last week was really crazy at work so when I got home, all I wanted to do was sit on my butt in front of the TV. So that’s what I did.

But I’m back now! And we’ve got some goodies this week! In the box:

  • Yukon gold potatoes
  • Pickling cucumbers (that are gigantic)
  • Tomatoes
  • Assorted peppers (1 green bell, 2 jalapeno and 1 Thai chili)
  • Onions
  • Cabbage
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Eggplant
  • Dill
  • Cilantro
  • Basil
  • Carrots
  • Garlic
  • Eggs (as always!)

Whew! I think I got it all. I’m pretty impressed with our CSA and the variety we continue to get. Southern Wisconsin is officially in an “extreme” drought (there’s only one more category of drought “badness” and I think it’s called something like “Catastrophic” (not kidding), so it’s pretty bad around here. Our CSA newsletter has been talking about the 1,200 gallons of water they’ve been bringing up from their creek every week to water the crops. Our personal tomatoes and peppers are doing pretty well, all things considered. We’ve been watering every once in awhile, but it’s becoming more often now that things are ripening and needing more water.

Which leads me to my next point, WE PICKED OUR FIRST TOMATOES! We’ve got 4 big, plump, juicy, delicious, heirloom tomatoes sitting on the counter, waiting to be eaten! The first to ripen were the Mortgage Lifters and Tigerellas. There are also a handful of cherry tomatoes that are yellow and should be ready pretty soon. All this tomato talk leads me to this week’s menu:

  • Thursday (today!) – BLTs using CSA tomato and lettuce (cheese sandwich for me with a bonus slice of CSA onion!)
  • Friday – Heirloom tomato sandwiches using our tomatoes & CSA basil. We started making tomato sandwiches constantly last summer after I stumbled across this recipe. They’re. So. Good.
  • Saturday – TBA. It’s the last weekend my mom’s sister is in town, so we may go out…
  • Sunday – Grilled chicken legs with grilled potatoes & onions (using CSA potatoes & onions)
  • Monday – Thai basil curry using basil, Thai chili pepper, onion,
  • Tuesday – Loaded nachos w/ shredded chicken, black beans, onion (CSA), cheese, sour cream, sliced jalapenos (CSA), cilantro (CSA), homemade salsa (!!!)(CSA & homegrown tomatoes, onions, cilantro, garlic, peppers…)
  • Wednesday – Leftovers?

The following are bonus snacks/other things we’re doing with CSA items:

  • Pickles! My mom LOVES pickles (I hate ’em), so she sliced up all the cukes, green pepper, and some onions last night and pickled them.
  • Sauerkraut using the cabbage (my brother and sister-in-law really like sauerkraut… I do not)
  • Creamy dill veggie dip using the CSA dill with carrots (CSA) and other veggies for dipping

My brother and sister-in-law will probably come up with something to do with the eggplant. I’m not a fan of it, so… we’ll see what happens there.

My gosh that’s a lot of food… but yay, CSA!

Bladders can apparently hold a lot of water

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So I had my ultrasound this morning to check out my ovaries since there’s the new-found family history of ovarian cancer and I have this weird pain on my lower right side (though I now know that it’s not in the area of my ovary). We’ve recently found out that not only did my grandmother die at age 50 from ovarian cancer, but my great great grandmother died at age 50, though we don’t know the cause of death. There’s also another female relative somewhere a few generations back who died in her 40’s. I’m glad we found my mom’s biological family!

Luckily, they told me this morning that everything looks good and there are no abnormalities, so that’s good! My mom just had her physical and got a referral to genetics so we can get tested for the BRCA gene mutation. Let me take a moment to brag about my mom. She’s lost about 40 lbs over the last 2 years. She’s done it without fad-dieting, she’s just eaten less and been eating better. She was taken off one medication and had another medication cut in half at her appointment because her bloodwork is so good and she’s so much healthier now! Yay, Mom!

Okay, enough bragging…

We received a special package in the mail yesterday. My mom ordered a DNA paternity test. We think we can get my grandmother’s ex-husband (1 of 2 men who may be my mom’s father). She still hasn’t met him and won’t until we get the results.

We have some of Mom’s family coming over tomorrow to cook out and enjoy Monticello’s fireworks. I’m enjoying building relationships with them, though it is a little weird, because we’ve missed out on so much time. Oh well, we’ll just have to make good use of the time we have now! 🙂

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 🙂

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 😉

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 🙂

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 🙂

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 🙂 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 🙂 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 🙂 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 🙂 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 🙂

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! 🙂