Monday, August 15, 2011

California Trip

Some point along the 17-mile drive

18th hole at Pebble Beach

Nepenthe's Restaurant.  The view is to die for.

These fatso birds at Nepenthe's watched for stray french fries and would swoop down to take them from your plate.  

Point Lobos

The Sacramento (Folsom) temple where Becky and Terry got married

      I realized that I never posted anything about our trip to California in June.  We had a wonderful time in Carmel, Monterey, San Francisco, and Sacramento.  I'm not exactly a California girl, but I do have to say that I love how easy it is to get local produce and fish.  The farmer's markets there are daily, not weekly.  The best meal we had was at our hotel in San Francisco, called the Orchard.  The food is all local and organic.  It was probably the best meal I've EVER had in a restaurant.  I had a wonderful bit of roast chicken with vegetables and then a cardamom chocolate dessert of some sort, but of course I forgot to take pictures of it.  Mike had an incredible beef brisket that was the most tender brisket I've ever tasted.  So, here are some pictures of the farmer's market in Monterey, some yummy seafood, and the beautiful coastlines.  Enjoy!

Sunday, July 17, 2011


Okay, this isn't really a post, but does anyone know when Zuppero's blueberry farm in Avon is going to be open for picking?  I've been driving by whenever I can but still haven't seen a sign.  I don't want to miss it so let me know!  Thanks!

Summer is here and flying fast!

  I can't believe how time flies, especially now that I'm working full time.  My house is the dirtiest it's ever been, I always have laundry to do, and I can't seem to be the superwoman I used to be.  Ah well, I guess that's expected.  Now, if only I was getting paid.....but I guess I can't expect that from an internship.
    So, I'm taking a moment on this Sunday night to post some overdue blogs.  This may sound silly, but one of the things I'm having the most trouble adapting to with working full time is less time for food preparation.  I used to spend hours thinking about food, planning menus, shopping etc.  Now, I'm having to cram it in in the evening when I'm already completely exhausted.  I'm disgusted by how our dinner nutrition has already declined drastically.  I do a pretty good job about packing healthy lunches with fresh fruits and veggies, but sometimes dinner doesn't go as well.  So, especially for food preservation during this bountiful season I'm having to really plan ahead and also be realistic about what I can do.  I was able to get to the farmer's market last week and buy some beautiful baby zucchini and summer squash, as well as green beans.   Green beans are something that I have to put away a lot of because I eat them a lot.  When they're fresh, I eat them raw as a snack or side.  When want comfort food, I them with onions, butter, bacon, chicken stock, and pepper slowly until they are just fabulous (FYI - according to Gary Teaman, you can cook them this way in a dutch oven and they are even more delicious!).  I also put them in lots of things, including a tuna pasta salad (no mayo!) that I just have to eat year round. So, it's important I have a on hand.  I'm hoping I can get back to the  farmer's market or Farmer Tom's soon to get more.
   I haven't ventured into the world of canning yet, so I freeze these.  Plus, freezing vegetables is healthier than canning as it allows them to keep more nutrients.  All you have to do is prepare them, blanche them for a couple of minutes, then dip in an ice bath, dry, and put them into freezer bags.  Only small zucchini and summer squash are good for freezing.  The medium or big ones have too large of seeds and too tough a skin.  For more information, I totally recommend Putting Food By, which my Aunt Jenny gave to me last Christmas.  It really is the bible of food storage and it's user friendly.  Good luck with your freezing!
1. Freshly picked beans (<24 hrs) ready to be washed and trimmed.

2.  Blanche in gently boiling water for 2 minutes (hard boiling water for zucchini).  Then place in ice bath.

3.  Dry on paper towels.

Zucchini and summer squash ready to be blanched as well.

4.  Finished products.  Ready to go in the freezer.  Total cost of food was $8.50.  We'll get 4-8 meals out of this.  Also, you can always bargain, especially if you buy a lot.  Sometimes family farm stands are a lot cheaper than the farmers market as well.  

Monday, June 6, 2011


  Okay, so this post has absolutely nothing to do with being a locavore, except maybe that I played on a local golf course, but that's a stretch since all golf courses are local.
  I realized a few days ago that the reason I love yoga and being in yoga class is because practicing yoga is the only time I completely accept myself exactly as I am.  That is one of the principles of yoga: accepting where you are and observing, not judging.  I'm really good at this in class.  I realized last week that that is part of the reason why I'm so relaxed when I come out of class (that, and the backbends and head balances).  It shocked me to realize that I never accept myself as I am at any other point of the day in my entire life, at least not completely.  Now, don't get me wrong, I think it is good and necessary to always strive to better yourself everyday, but part of that process is accepting where you are now.   So, I'm been trying to generalize what I've learned through yoga into my everyday life.  I think Heavenly Father is probably pretty happy about this too.
  So tonight we went golfing.  Usually, I'm way self conscious and if we're not just at the range, I get frustrated and only enjoy about half the course.  Well, tonight I just accepted where I was.  I observed instead of judged and I have to tell you I had a fabulous time!  Even when Mike got frustrated with a few holes, I didn't internalize that to mean that I had to get frustrated too or that it was somehow my fault.  He's so used to me being hard on myself that he didn't really know what to do with me.  He would say things to build me up and I would say, "It's okay.  I'm fine with it just the way it is."  Well, we had a great time and on the last hole I made par for the first time ever.  As the guy on New York Doll says (which btw, I highly recommend watching), "It's a pretty good deal, really."
  I hope this inspires you to use this principle to get over any stumbling blocks that you may have keeping you from reaching your goals and inner peace.  Namaste.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Move Over Campell's

Okay, so I really need to get better about posting on a regular basis - I miss out on a lot of good stuff.

If you have never cooked a chicken in a crockpot - do it!  It's comes out so moist and tender.  Since I'm about to start working full time, I'm searching for ways to make good tasting and healthy food even when I'm inbetween jobs and exhausted.  Cooking a chicken in the crockpot is definitely something I'll stick with, because I can get several meals out of it.  Here's the recipe I used (not really a recipe, but just some tips):

1 4pd chicken
Rinse and pat dry.  Line bottom of crockpot with cut up carrots and onions.  Pour in some chicken broth - about 1 cup - just eyeball it.  Rub chicken with a mixture of garlic powder, paprika, poultry seasoning, salt and pepper.  Cook on high for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.  Turn to low and cook an additional 4-5 hours.
When you take it out it will fall apart, so you kind of have to scoop it out.

Here's my meal plan:
Day 1:  Cook the chicken  - nibble on some if you're hungry!
Day 2:  Use 2-3 cups of the cut up chicken for Catherine's Chicken and Biscuits (I'll post the recipe soon) or Chicken Enchiladas from the "The Diet Rebel's Cookbook" ( I love their red enchilada sauce).
Day 3: Use leftovers to make amazing chicken noodle soup.

Okay, so now about the soup.  I had never made chicken noodle soup from scratch before because I was intimidated.  I mean, if you mess up chicken noodle soup, you're pretty lame right?  And can you really claim it's from scratch if you don't make the stock or the noodles?  Well, I am.  I was so pleased with my super easy soup that I think it will become a regular in my household (during the winter and spring).

Here's my "recipe":
2-3 cups shredded chicken (from crock-pot chicken)
3 or more cups chicken broth (eyeball it)
1-2 cups water
2 beef bouillon cubes (I know  it sounds crazy, but it's good! You can skip this if you want, but you'll probably need to cut back on the water then and add more chicken broth.)
Carrots and onion (from crock-pot chicken), sliced or chunky chopped
Peas (frozen) or chopped celery
Half a bag of egg noodles - or more if you want
Parsley (fresh if you have it)
Poultry seasoning
Touch of Pepper

I basically just eyeballed everything until it looked good.  I put it on the stove to simmer (covered) while I taught two lessons (so about an hour).  You could probably cook it shorter or longer without any problem - or use the crock pot - always a good choice.  It made 4-6 servings.  And let me tell you, it was dang good!  That's right, you heard me:  "Move over, Campbell's!  You're not needed anymore!"

Where's the Sting?

    I have one final word on stinging nettles:  fresh is always better.  After making my own tea and trying packaged tea, I can tell you that tea you brew yourself both tastes better and seems to have stronger effects.  However, when I was out of fresh stinging nettle and desperate for allergy relief, I still found a good amount of help in the packaged tea.  I just MUCH prefer the fresh tea.  I think it's out of season now - so sad.  I'll still keep my eye out for it.
   Glad you're all sharing the little tidbits I share - that's what this is for!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Farmer's Market! Oh, How I Love Thee!

  I had one of the best mornings of my life yesterday and it wasn't because I won a million dollars, but because I finally got to go to the farmer's market.  I screamed with joy (literally) in my car when I saw it.  Thanks to my dear friend Dawn who came with me and supported my silliness.  It's asparagus season, and now that I know how labor intensive growing asparagus is and how short the season is, it is just even more precious to me.   I was happy to get asparagus, stinging nettles, farm fresh eggs from free range chickens, bread, rhubarb jam, Ohio maple syrup, and two beautiful hanging plants.
   Now, you might be saying, "What the heck are stinging nettles?  Well, they are a plant that has great medicinal properties.  I heard about how they help with sinuses/allergies because they contain natural antihistamines.  I had even bought some packaged tea last year, but let me tell you, the fresh tea is so much better.  I could hardly stand the packaged tea and I have to say that I sort of like the fresh tea I am sipping right now.  Disclaimer:  I am often teased for liking things that taste like grass.  However, you could add some local honey, which can also help with allergies.  I'm just drinking it plain.    The crazy thing is that I can honestly feel my sinuses opening slightly  - and I didn't even know I was congested right now!  It's easy to make the tea: just boil water, pour it over the leaves in a glass bowl and steep for several minutes.  Then strain and enjoy!  Make sure you use tongs or something as you don't want to touch the leaves and get "stung."   Thanks to the wonderful young Amish farmer who gave me the recipes and so much of the wonderful food.  
    Here's a picture of my loot from the market (the stinging nettles are in the ziploc bag):  Can't wait to go back again!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

A Green Recipe from My Friend, Jill

I desperately want to try this recipe for Kale chips - let me know if you get to it first!

Book Review and Food Storage

    I sadly could not go to the Farmer's market yesterday as I forgot that I had a seminar from 9-2, which is exactly the hours of the farmer's market.  However, "The Diet Rebel's Cookbook" arrived today (actually yesterday I guess) and I have poured over it for two hours now.  It has fabulous ideas.  It is definitely not for the faint of heart as these young women are hard core, but anyone can take bits out of it that will vastly improve their eating lifestyle.  I have already learned a lot from it (and I thought I knew so much!) and am excited to learn more over the coming months.  They have a website at that's good too.
    I've studied the books food-storage list and have adapted it to our needs.  You can do the same.  I have some of this already and will be adding to it all summer and fall.  A lot of it I plan to get when in season and prepare myself.  I also plan to get as much meat as possible from local farmers.  Other things will come from Costco, Emergency Essentials or Nature's Bin health foods store.  I'll give you details throughout the spring/summer.  Here is what I've come up with for us (sorry the spacing got a little crazy when I copy and pasted):



20-gallons per person (at least) for a two-week supply

Organic Grains/Seeds
Rice (brown or white)              10lbs
Old Fashioned Rolled Oats      25lbs
Tinkyada/Other pasta              20lbs
Sprouted Wheat Flour              25lbs
Spelt/Kamut                            25lbs
Raw Pumpkin Seeds                 2lbs

Organic Beans/Legumes
Kidney Beans, dry                 20lbs
Black beans, dry                   15lbs
Whole green peas, dry            3-5lbs

Healthy Sweeteners
Dehydrated Cane Juice (Sucanat)15-20lbs
Honey, raw and local               2-6lbs
Real fruit jam                           4 jarsx10oz each
Chocolate chips             3x10 oz each/ 2-4lbs

Organic Healthy Fats/Oils
Real Butter (freeze)                 8lbs
EVOO                              1 gallon/8lbs
Virgin coconut oil           16lbs

Organic Fruits
Applesauce, unsweetened      3x47 oz each/8lbs
Peaches, canned in juice         8x15oz each/8lbs
Pears, canned in juice             8x15oz each/8lbs
Pineapple, canned in juice      3x20oz each/4lbs
Blueberries (freeze)                4-6lbs
Other berries (freeze)             2-4lbs

Organic Vegetables
Tomatoes, diced/pureed         8x28oz each/13-14lbs
Tomato sauce (canned or frozen)8x15oz each/8lbs
Green beans (canned or frozen)8x15oz each/8lbs
Chopped potatoes (dried)        4-8lbs
Chopped onions (dried or frozen)4lbs
Salsa                              3x17oz each/3-4lbs
Pumpkin puree              3x15oz each/3lbs
Tomato paste, canned             6x3oz each/3lbs
Sliced carrots, dried                2-5lbs
Chopped green sweet peppers         2-4lbs
Chopped broccoli, frozen        3x10oz each/2lbs
Chopped broccoli, dried          3 #10 cans
Sliced celery, dried                  2 #10 cans

Grass Fed/Pastured Meats
Whole chickens              2x6lbs each/12lbs
Ground beef/bison                  8lbs
Boneless chicken breasts        6lbs
Pot roast                        3lbs eachx2/6lbs
Canned Chicken             6x12oz each
Canned tuna in water              6x4.5oz each
Bacon                             2-4lbs
Sausage                         2lbs

Organic/Grass-fed milk products
Powdered Cow Milk                 3x12oz each/2-3lbs
(or Meyenberg Goat milk)                                             
Cheddar Cheese            6x12oz each/4-5lbs
Cream cheese                         3x8oz each

Sea Salt                          6lbs
Chili Powder                            .5lbs
Onion powder/diced               .25lbs
Ground cumin                          .25lbs
Ground Cinnamon                   .25lbs
Garlic Powder                          .25lbs
Dried Thyme                            .25lbs
Dried Sweet basil           .25lbs
Dried oregano                         .25lbs
Dried parsley flakes                .25lbs
Ground paprika              .25lbs
Red Pepper Flakes                   .25lbs
Black pepper                            .25lbs

Chicken broth                          8x32oz each/15lbs
Beef broth                      6x32oz each/12 lbs
Apple cider vinegar                 1/4 gallon
Pure vanilla extract                 1x16oz
Cacao/Cocoa powder              1-2lbs
Baking Powder               ½-1lb
Baking Soda                             ½-1lb
Cornstarch                     .5lb


Friday, April 8, 2011

Countdown to Farmer's Market: T-8!


             I am so excited that the farmer's market at Crocker Park opens next Saturday.  Yes, I plan on getting up and heading there before I go to class in the morning.  I know there won't be my favorite green veggies, but there might be some great bread or something of that sort.  Plus, I've just been waiting for local food for so long that I can hardly handle it!

            My husband shocked me by suggesting that we use part of our tax refund to beef up our food and water storage.  I totally agree.  With the devastation in Japan and the craziness in Libya, I think we're all weary of leaning to heavily on Wal-mart.  In fact, as I was looking through the Emergency Essentials catalog tonight, I saw that half of there inventory is unavailable due to a lack of supply from Mountain House (one of there main suppliers).  When the food storage suppliers run out, you know you better become self-reliant.
            As I was searching the web for some great advice on food storage, I found this great blog  at  The author has put out a cookbook in which she includes her "real-life food storage" list.  She's all about health and not fads, so you better believe I ordered that book from Amazon faster than you can blink.  The book is called The Diet Rebel's Cookbook.  I'll be sure to post a review later.

            It's been a rough winter.  I'm used most of the veggies I stored in the freezer, but sadly neglected some.  I'm yearning for flavorful tomatoes and zucchini.  I drive past Farmer Tom's house everyday and look longingly at his little stand to see if there are signs of life: right now it's filled to the top with chopped wood.  I bought a bike pump to get my bike ready for blueberry picking (in July!).  I bought a big pot to put my tomato plant in and I'll be buying a strawberry pot for herbs soon.  I plan to be organized and frugal and store a ton for next year.  I can't wait to save money on grocery bills.
             Anyway, I've tried to continue to be somewhat of a locavore by shopping at local retailers whenever possible.  Tonight, my mother-in-law through a bridal shower for my friend, and I got the dessert tray from a local Avon bakery:  Carriage House on Detroit Road.  Go check them out and give the two nice old ladies some business.  The fig bars are amazing and their chicken salad is apparently the talk of the town.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Coming Out of Hibernation

              Well, the sun is beginning to shine and I'd like to believe that we're nearing the end of winter.  Of course, in Cleveland, you get tastes of winter all the way up 'til May, but I'm still optimistic.  I've run out of just about everything that I put in the freezer from last summer and my daydreams are floating more and more often to the farmers' market.  Two more months to go.  I can't wait!  I haven't posted much during the winter, but when the spring comes, you won't be able to shut me up!  Here's one little anecdote to think about as you begin giving up all those comfort foods you've indulged in during the cold months:

"The truly healthy alternative to that chip is not a fake chip; it's a carrot." 
- Mark Bittman

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Hidden Treasures

On Saturday, one of my cello students gave her first solo cello recital.  Since she's only 15, I wanted to get her some really nice flowers to congratulate her.  Unfortunately, I only had about ten minutes in between class and work to pick up the flowers.  I was lamenting the fact that I would have to go to the generic grocery store and pick up a pathetic bouquet.  As I was driving, I saw an old floral shop and greenhouse that I have driven by a million times and never paid attention to.  I turned in and walked in the very old store.  There was an older man in a flannel shirt and wrangler jeans selling the flowers.  He had a few beautiful, ready made arrangements and I picked one.  When I asked him how long he'd had the shop he said "The family's been here over an hundred years and I've been working at the shop for fifty years.  Their are pictures over there on the wall."  I looked at the pictures and it was so amazing to see the pictures from the 1910s/1920s.  The old man was so happy to have a new, young customer, and I will definitely be a returning client.  

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2010 Signing off

The holiday season flew by and I never posted a thing.  We had some fun days enjoying local activities and food and thanks to the winter storm airport craziness, we had a very local holiday.  For Christmas, I received two wonderful books on preserving food that I'm sure will be in my hand constantly come the spring.  Here are some of the highlights from the Christmas season:

  • A small Christmas tree from a nearby, family-owned, nursery 
  • A girls' night with my friends to celebrate my birthday, at which my friend, Diana baked an exquisite cake!

  • Cooking baking with my friend Erica
  • Baking real gingerbread (the loaf kind - so yummy!) with an old recipe from "Lost Recipes" by Marion Cunningham

  • A trip to the original Christmas Story house in Tremont, OH (complete with the leg lamp and the actor who played Randy).

  • A wonderful meal at Lucky's Cafe  - a fabulous restaurant where they grow their own produce and 90% of everything else comes from no more than 100 miles away.  The food changes seasonally and is to die for!

It was a wonderful Christmas season filled with friends, family, and the calming peace of our Savior.  I'm looking forward to a beautiful 2011!