Bringing Home the Greens

I’ve been wanting to join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture – basically, you pay a flat fee at the beginning of the year, then get a share of the harvest every week for the whole season. Good for you, great for farmers!) for a few years, and this year we finally did it! We signed up with Cook Farm here in Bloomington, IL and two weeks ago we picked up our first share!

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One of the things I’m most excited about with being part of a CSA, is that it will give me an opportunity to try new foods I wouldn’t have necessarily chosen at the grocery store. It is going to help me along in refreshing my go-to recipe stash!

My favorite from this week’s CSA? Sorrel.

Spring Eggs-4

I had never heard of it before, but it is delicious! It has a surprising citrus-y flavor that was great in some summer salads. I also tried two new recipes with it and both were fantastic. First, I tried this Spring Scrambled Eggs with Sorrel. When you eat eggs every day, it’s nice to try a new take on them!

Spring Eggs-5

The other sorrel recipe I made was this fantastic salmon dish. Friends, it was SO good. The hubs agreed and Little Miss gobbled it up, too!

I’ll definitely be keeping my eye out for sorrel from now on and I can’t wait to see what we get in our next CSA share. Have you been cooking with anything new lately?

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Refreshing my Go-to Recipe Stash

Between the LONG cooking rut I’ve been in (we’re talking a year + here, folks) and the changes we have been making to the way we eat (more on that later), I’m in pretty desperate need of a recipe stash overhaul. Trying new recipes just feels like so much more work though. It takes time to sit down and hunt for new recipes – recipes that meet our health goals, don’t contain crazy ingredients I’ll never use again if the recipe flops, and that come from reliable sources or with enough reviews to feel confident it’s worth trying. Then, when it comes time to cook it takes work to actually read a recipe and use ingredients I may not be familiar with. With a 2 year old (currently in a super clingy stage) and a 4 month old (What?! How did that happen?), anything described as “more work” is just. not. happening. So, I stick to my staples that I always keep on hand (which saves brain power when it’s time to grocery shop, too) that I can throw together while thinking about a bazillion other things. Thus the rut.

 

I’ve come up with a solution to break away from my easy-peasy roasted chicken, breaded pork chops, and grilled salmon. A few weeks ago, I decided that I’m going to start trying one new recipe every week. It has to be in line with our new eating habits, and it has to be different than what I would normally cook – a different method, new ingredient or combination of flavors, etc. I was a little wary because, well, I just don’t trust recipes. I NEVER follow one exactly, and changing up a recipe is hard to do when you aren’t familiar with all the components. I was dreading all the “work” I mentioned above.

 

Let me tell you, the first recipe I tried was so great, I ended up trying three more that week! 3 of 4 were definitely-make-this-again successes, and the fourth I was able to get Little Miss to finish off with some major tweaking.

 

So what were these new recipes?

 

Chocolate Chunk Paleo Cookies

These are AWESOME. Maybe my enthusiasm is partially due to the fact that I hadn’t had a “real” cookie in almost 3 months, but my husband wolfed these down, too. Only problem? I think the recipe says it is 10 servings. I say it is 2. Oops.

 

Easy Sweet Potatoes and Eggs

Super yummy, super easy. Breakfast for dinner is always a win!

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Pioneer Woman’s Chicken Cacciatore

Requires a bit of thinking ahead to plan the timing, but overall was pretty easy. Very tasty, even with my changes –

I omitted:

noodles, mushrooms, tumeric, red pepper flakes, & parmesan

I replaced:

All purpose flour with Gluten Free flour

Chicken thighs with a whole, cut up chicken

Green peppers with orange peppers

 

Carrot Cake Pudding

This was easy enough, but I wasn’t a fan of the flavor at all. I don’t know if it’s my super strong vanilla, or the spices, or maybe a funky batch of carrots, but there was a bitter after-taste that I couldn’t get past. I mashed up a banana to mix in & Little Miss was content to finish it off. I’m thinking about trying it again, but maybe replacing half the carrots with sweet potato or pumpkin.

 

I’m looking forward to trying (and sharing!) many more new recipes. I hope you’ll share some of your own as well.

Blackberries & Cream

Blackberries & Cream-24

There aren’t many things that taste better than fresh berries in Summer. Especially if you have freshly whipped cream to dip them in. Today, Annabelle experienced this truth for the first time.

First, she helped me make the whipped cream.

Want to try it? Fill a mason jar about 1/3 with heavy cream, add a splash of vanilla and a splash of real maple syrup. Shake, shake, shake. But don’t shake too long or you’ll have sweet butter. It’s best to check periodically, but you’ll learn to feel the difference once the cream is “whipped” after you do it a time or two. Bonus: just think of all the calories you burned shaking that jar and eat another spoonful.

With the cream whipped up nice and fluffy, and the berries washed, she finally got to try one.

Watching my big girl experience simple joys is one of my favorite mama perks.