2016 CSA Series- Week 1

2016 CSA Series- Week 1

Can’t believe it’s almost time to pick up our next CSA box! If you missed our latest post about how we are participating in a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) share this year, check it out here.

So since we are about to pick up our next box, it’s about time we share with you what got in our first box and what recipes and fun things we did with each of the items!

So here is the haul we received in week 1:CSA WEEK 1 BoxThink you know what each item is? Let’s take a look:

  • Asparagus
  • Fresh breakfast radishes
  • Buttercup Lettuce
  • Bok Choy or Pac Choi
  • Green Garlic
  • Shallots
  • Rhubarb
  • Herb Pack (Thyme, Basil, Oregano, Sage)
  • Pea Shoots
  • Large bag of Spinach in the middle!

I love that we get such a wide variety of stuff in our boxes! It’s fun to experiment with different ingredients and never feel like you’re “drowning” in something and not sure what to do with it all.

Ok so lets get started! I’ll just list out each ingredient and post what we did

Asparagus I honestly love raw asparagus as a snack and the stuff I got was so skinny and beautiful and tender that I was half tempted just to snack on it. But that’s not very fun to share with all of you so I decided to try fermented “pickled” asparagus spears. If you want to learn more about the benefits of fermented foods and the amazing impact they can have on your health, check out our past post, here.

These asparagus spears are fermented and not pickled. What’s the difference? Pickled foods are preserved in an acidic medium, where fermented foods are preserved in salt water with a starter culture. These are sort of quasi pickled because as you’ll see below I used about a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar (make sure it says “with the mother” & here’s my favorite brand) to act as my starter.

If you’ve been wanting to dip your toes into fermenting your own foods but are a little hesitant, this the perfect recipe because it’s so simple, you don’t need any special equipment (just make sure to burp your jar occasionally).Fermented Asparagus 2These bad boys are good on their own but probably even better as a garnish in a bloody mary! 🙂Fermented Asparagus Spears RecipeFermented Asparagus 1 Fermented Asparagus 3Radishes & Spinach Confession- I’ve never had cooked radishes before. I have always eaten them cold, preferably with a hefty sprinkle of sea salt too. But when I was researching something out of the norm to do with radishes, I came across this Radish & Spinach Pasta dish that looked too good not to give it a try.

If you think cooking radishes is weird, STOP IT! It’s delicious and you won’t be sorry. They turn a soft pink color and it sort of enhances their peppery flavor. Plus I mean the recipe also has bacon in it sooooo how can it be bad?CSA WEEK 1 RADISH SPINACH PASTA 1We used the breakfast radishes (ok we ate a few cold too) and the beautiful spinach as well as a few of the shallots from our box. It turned out delicious. Not heavy at all and surprisingly light for it being pasta and all oh, and containing bacon but it really made for a delicious light summer dinner!CSA WEEK 1 RADISH SPINACH PASTA 2Radish & Spinach Pasta RecipeCSA WEEK 1 RADISH SPINACH PASTA 3**Don’t get rid of your radish greens! They are very nutritious and can be used for any number of things. In salads, in smoothies, in stir frys…I happened to be making some homemade chicken bone broth and threw them in there with it. I’m all for being resourceful and reducing waste!

Butter Lettuce Recently I posted about how much I love salads and how they’re the best super fast and healthy dinner for busy weeknights…aaaaand I still think that 🙂 Butter lettuce is so soft and yet crisp and delicious. I think that these would also be PERFECT for a lettuce cup but this time we opted for the traditional salad route. However the salad we made was anything but traditional.CSA WEEK 1 QUINOA BUTTER LETTUCE SALADTopped with quinoa, loaded with veggies and dressed in THE most delicious “creamy” avocado dressing ….. you’ll find it hard to believe it’s “just” a salad!Qunioa Veggie Salad with Avocado Balsamic RecipeThe dressing isn’t pictured above but it truly is amazing.

Bok Choy/Pac Choi & Green Garlic So another confession (you guys are really making me wear my heart on my sleeve today!) when I saw my farm list Pac Choi on the list for the box, I had no idea what it was. And then when I saw the picture I said to myself, wait…that’s BOK CHOY! Well it turns out, from what I was able to conclude, that Bok Choy and Pac Choi are one in the same. Now you know 🙂

I was very tempted to try to grill the pac choi but it was pretty large and I think that might work better with smaller more compact heads. So I settled on a Ginger Stir Fried Bok Choy & Green Garlic over Turmeric Rice. I had been wanting to try a rendition of some turmeric rice I had come across lately but didn’t know what to pair it with. These stir fried greens were perfect with it.CSA WEEK 1 PAC CHOI & Tumeric Rice 1My husband doesn’t really do well with meals that don’t have a lot of protein so I threw some nuts, and seeds on top and we were both happy! I used sliced almonds, pistachios, and some hemp seeds. CSA WEEK 1 BOK CHOY & Tumeric Rice 2Bok Choy Stir Fry with Turmeric Rice Recipeand of course if you’re like me you are addicted to spicy and you top it with chili sauce (& some nutritional yeast 🙂 )CSA WEEK 1 BOK CHOY Tumeric Rice 3Rhubarb I am obsessed with rhubarb. My mom and I have a matching cookbook that is dedicated solely to rhubarb. There’s so much you can do with it! I actually already had some more rhubarb just chilling in my fridge waiting to get used up so when I got some more in by box, it was the motivation to finally make something with it.

A coworker of mine had recently gifted me a hunk of her mint plant and seriously it’s growing like crazy in my pot. So I needed to use some of that bad boy and what better way to do that than with mojitos! And what’s better that regular old mojitos? Rhubarb Mint Mojitos ❤Rhubarb Mint MojitoWe made a rhubarb simple syrup and then put that in some mojitos. But good news is that if mojitos aren’t your thing or drinking alcohol isn’t your thing, the syrup makes a delicious spritzer with just sparkling water as well! These will have their own special post coming soon, but you get sneak peek 🙂
CSA WEEK 1 RHUBARB SIMPLE SYRUPRhubarb Simple Syrup RecipeCSA WEEK 1 RHUBARB MINT MOJITOSUse the syrup as you would in a “normal” mojito. Make sure to check back for the recipe post coming soon!

Pea Shoots If you’ve never tried pea shoots, you need to. They are such a fun ingredient. They taste exactly like freshly shelled peas and yet are a leafy green! I love the way they taste so I didn’t really want to cook them or drown out their taste with other ingredients.

I tried to make cauliflower steaks (big fail people, big fail) and needed a simple salad to go with. I used these to make a Pea Shoot & Arugula salad with lemon vinaigrette and needless to say, it was the highlight of the dinner and we wished there was more of it to drown out our sorrows of the less than delicious cauliflower 😉Pea Shoot & Arugula Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette RecipeCSA WEEK 1 Pea Shoot Arugula Salad

Shallots CSA WEEK 1 SHALLOTSThese were so adorable, if you are one who agrees food can be adorable.  I mean look at them, they’re so little and cute! We used some in our radish pasta listed above, some in our stir fried bok choy also listed above, and still have some saved to use in the future.

Herb PackCSA WEEK 1 HERBSThis might have been my favorite thing in the box! I was so excited to get these goodies. We planted them to let them grow and hopefully (I say hopefully because if you saw my thumbs, they’re black as night) we can use to make various things, maybe they’ll even grow big enough so we can make our favorite chumichurri sauce!

Whew! That’s it! That’s what a week (plus a few days) of food looks like in our house. What do you guys think? What are some of your favorite things to do with the ingredients we got?

Thanks for hanging in there and reading along. Tune in again in two weeks to catch what was in our 2nd box and what we did with it all!

xoxo

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Tiered Trays

Tiered Trays

Tiered Tray Blog HeaderThis post is not food or crafts, it’s sort of a little out of left field for me. Hope that’s ok with everyone.:) It’s fun to spice things up a little sometimes, right? So how about a little home decor!! Or more so just a tribute to my love affair with these tiered stands and trays lately.

I’ve been seeing this look all over Instagram and Pinterest but usually the items people post about are out of stock/no longer being made/or like $200 😦

My hubs and I bought our first house recently and are moving in soon (ahhhhh so excited!) so interior decorating and interior errrrrythang is on my mind lately. I just love the way these stands look, adding functionality as well as style. I don’t want to go overboard but I can see it in the kitchen, bathroom, living room, dining room….I mean no, I’m not going to put one in every room but I think the options are pretty versatile.

I was researching to find a reasonable priced stand that also had “the look”. I came across some really pretty good deals and thought I would share them with you. First a little inspiration (none of these are my photos)4bda948f4ab84257e2ca10e39ff0e85a4d619d01b8712db22bf97d2e6de357fd9520af66832ffd91274b617e12461539b1bf3790374515f13e6dc002a9b10f5dc36ecbea3c9cc12c6b2730a3a7ca4543633474f4d28c2328b0b4cb7021efdf5fd837a9d83e8e654295ef80e3e034f7d0

SO cute right?? Now onto where you can find one of these bad boys for yourself! Just click on the numbers below to link over to buy. Tiered Tray Shopping List1    2    3    4    5    (another option for #5)    6

I can’t even pick a favorite. Which one do you love most? And sorry not sorry in advance for the possibility of more home projects in the near future. These creative juices are flowing with a whole new house to redo, put my own touch on, and decorate like a page out of Restoration Hardware 🙂

How do you guys feel about this trend? Take it or leave it? Let me know if the comments below!!

xoxo

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*None of the links in this post are affiliate or sponsored links. I’m just sharing products I liked and where to find them. 🙂 

Healthy Flourless Dark Chocolate Brownies {Gluten & Dairy Free}

Healthy Flourless Dark Chocolate Brownies

{Gluten & Dairy Free}

Healhty Brownie 3You know those annoying “ads” on Facebook that are so misleading? Like the picture of a banana with the title “10 foods that are slowly killing you”. Yeah, you totally know the ones. They’re a buzzkill. Sometimes I’m deceived and click on them and read the craziest things and always wonder…what are these sites that only have that stuff? Who’s making money from this? How is this a real thing? Who writes that stuff? Do people believe this stuff? I probably spend too much time thinking about it to be honest.

What does that have to do with brownies? Ummmm not much.

I think I saw one one time about being addicted to sugar and how sugar is the devil. Totally agree…sort of. Too people people eat too much sugar and sugar is unnecessarily added to so many things. While I struggle um, try really hard um, attempt to keep processed sugars to a minimum in our diet, natural sugars are fair game! Honey, syrup, all fruits, molasses, rapadura, yes please, sign me up.

Inappropriate side note: if you love black and sweet coffee,  honey in coffee is delicious.

Focus. Back to the brownies!  These puppies are made with beans and nuts  (last time made dessert with beans it turned out great too) cocao powder and sweetness from maple syrup. They’re too good to be true! But it is true. +Plus+ if you add chocolate or carob chips you gets extra special gooey spots, which lets face it, just make the world a better place. Healthy Brownie 9Healthy Grain Free Brownie Recipe100% disclosure here…. I’m having a hard time not making these every day and eating them and rationalizing it as healthy for me. So far only the one batch of them, but I can feel another one coming on. I mean c’mon you guys….like, how could you not?Healthy Brownie 11Healthy Brownie 8Healthy Brownie 4Healthy Brownie 7Healthy Brownie 5You’re hungry for them now, right? Make them. You’ll love them. *pinkey swear promise*

xoxo

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Healthy Brownies Pinterest

String Art

String Art Tutorial

ANNOUNCEMENTIt’s been a while since I’ve shared a craft with you! Not that I haven’t been making any, but I forget to document them throughout the process. I made a bunch of stuff for the Holidays including all the crafts I did that were sponsored by JoAnn Fabric and Craft Store for the TV Segment back in December, but never really got around t0 posting them.

One of the things I did make for a Christmas gift for a friend of mine was a little cute string art heart. It was small (like 6 inches by 6 inches) but it turned out really good! When I gave it to her she decided we should have a crafting weekend (that is our “thing” we do together) so she could make something else for herself too! And of course I was up for it to actually make myself something too!

I brought the supplies and told her all she needed to do was print off the image or pattern she wanted to do. I show up at her house and with no discussion about it, we both printed the exact same thing to do our string art with. The great state of Wisconsin! 🙂 At first I had plans to do a heart around the Madison area but then I decided I just wanted a plain jane one, which is more my style.

It’s really not hard to do it takes a little time and you need to do the whole “stringing” part in one sitting, but it doesn’t take a whole lot of “skill”.
STRINGARTTUTORIALString Art Tutorial
Materials:

  • Soft (non hardwood) wood
  • Shape print out
  • Hammer
  • Short Nails ( I used ones similar to these)
  • String/thread (I used something similar to this)
  • *Optional small needle nose pliers

Instructions/Steps:

  • First things first, you need to find a piece of wood. Obviously whatever size you want but it’s also important to find a piece that’s not too hard as you’re nailing in a million little nails, you want to make it easy on yourself. Lots of craft stores actually sell cheap low quality (which is ok in this case) wood that is soft and perfect for these types of projects.
  • Next you need to find whatever shape you want to do. The first time I did a simple heart shape. For this one, I did the outline of Wisconsin. It’s really up to you. Pinterest is filled with ideas for this. Some of my faves right now are this, this, and this. Print out whatever shape or words you choose and then cut your image out.
  • Using one small piece of tape, place your paper shape cut outs on your wood. Begin pounding in nails just along the outer edge of your chosen shape. You want to try to space them as evenly as you can, but no need to drive yourself crazy.

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  • Sometimes it does get hard to pound in all the nails without pounding your fingers, especially when you get into tight areas (like the Door County of Wisconsin). If that is the case, you can use a needle nose pliers to hold the nail steady and in place while you hammer it in.
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  • You want to pound the nails in far enough that they’re really “in there” but leave enough of the nail exposed so you a) don’t poke through the back of your wood, depending how thick your piece is and b) have enough nail to wrap your string around it several times.
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  • Once you have surrounded your entire shape with nails, carefully remove the paper shape and tape. You’ll be left with just the nail outline of your shape(s).
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  • Now comes the part that once you start, you can’t stop until you’re done. So take a bathroom break and get a snack 🙂 But for real, because you’re really just wrapping the string around the nails over and over and over again, pulling it tight(not tooooo tight) throughout the whole time, you can’t stop or it will all unravel.
  • Start by just tying a double knot with the string around one of the nails. Any nail, doesn’t matter, and you just cut the “tail” of the string off close to the nail rather than trying to get the end knotted perfectly around the nail. Now just start wrapping the string up, down, across, sideways, backwards, upside-down (kidding just running out of directions here) around the nails. Basically just weaving it all around the nails. Here’s a close up:
    20160109_19111120160109_191106*As you can see, I’m not tying anything off, just continuously wrapping the string around and back and forth between the nails. You want to keep the string tight so it doesn’t unravel or come off the nails but not soooo tight that it puts too much pressure on the nails that they pull out. This will make more sense once you’re doing it.
  • Just keep going until it looks “full” enough and even to your liking. Once you are done just tie off the string on one of the nail and again, don’t worry about the “tail” just double knot and then cut off very close to the nail.
  • Then you’re done!! Hang on your wall and admire your handy work 🙂
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This is a really fun and pretty simple craft that can be done in an afternoon and produces such a cute and customized finished product. If you have kids who you are worried about them with nails and a hammer, you could even do the outline of a shape in nails and then let them do the “stringing”.

I hope this tutorial was easy to follow but if you have any questions, feel free to ask away and I’ll do my best to help!

We will have a few other crafts to share soon as we were asked again by JoAnn Fabric and Craft Stores and Madison ABC affiliate WKOW 27  to come back and do another on air spring crafting special! Could not be happier to be asked again and have the great opportunity to make some really adorable stuff again!!! If you’re in the area tune in on the morning of Sunday, March 6th to WKOW 27 Madison. I mean if you don’t want to wake up early for that, or if you’re not in the area, I’ll make sure to post a link to the video!

Thanks for checking out our string art tutorial!

xoxo

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Roasted Cauliflower Beer & Cheese Soup

Roasted Cauliflower Beer & Cheese Soup

DSC_0330editWinter.is…..here. It’s snowy, it’s sleeting, it’s icy, it’s…..COLD.

But that’s nothing this delicious and *BURSTING* with flavor soup, can’t fix.

Jake helped me make this soup and when we got to the part where you put all the ingredients in the blender and puree into the freaking smoothest thing this side of, I don’t even know… he was a little concerned.

“Wait. What are you doing? You’re going to blend it all up? It looks good enough as it is. Are you sure?”

Truth is, he had a good point. The soup did look delicious and great as is, before blending. But seriously you guys….. don’t be tempted. The silky smooth creamy velvet texture that a Vitamix blender creates is out.of.this.world.20160106_171020editNow we were  fortunate enough to have received a Vitamix as a wedding gift, but any high powered blender will work well (I’m told). I’m still learning the ways of the Vitamix and all the amazing things we can do with it. This was the first soup we made and I am SERIOUSLY impressed. I’ve obviously had a regular blender for most of my life and I’ve tried to make blended soups, both in the regular blender and also with an immersion blender. But seriously while those other two methods obviously work to a degree and definitely have their place in my kitchen for other tasks, I’ll never, EVER use either one again for the purpose of creating a smooth blend of ANYTHING(smoothies, soups, dips, hummus, etc…).

Yummm. I’m actually eating leftovers of this for lunch today so these pictures are making me hungry already. DSC_0322editEven though the soup does have beer and cheese in it, because, why not? Oh and Bacon….we got a hearty 6 servings out of this batch of soup so for each serving you aren’t really indulging toooo much. But it will taste like you are. While eating this soup, it was like an EXPLOSION of flavor. So many of them. We both said aloud, “Wow, this is great. It’s like you can taste all the individual ingredients but yet they combine to make a kick a** combo!” Paraphrasing of course 🙂 And no lie, the leftovers were even better.

But it was really good, and overall pretty simple:
ALWAYSSUMMERWe used some pretty serious dark beer in ours, a dark ale from a local brewery, so our soup had some serious beer flavor, which we loved. But if you aren’t really into that, you could try a lighter brown ale (like Newcastle or something similar).

Additionally, you could make this vegetarian/vegan by omitting the bacon. If you did this, I would add an extra tbsp of oil when sauteing your veggies. I honestly still think it would be delicious even without bacon, so no fear of missing out on flavor!

Serve with some crusty bread or crunchy crackers and ENJOY!!!20160106_170921edit

xoxo

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Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Butternut Squash