Better Than Takeout Beef & Broccoli

Better Than Takeout Beef & Broccoli

Hi my lovelies!

I have had my share of cheap, delicious, questionable ingredients, Chinese take-out. In college that was my ultimate hang over remedy. Nothing like Sundays filled with headaches, Chinese, and the Green Bay Packers. Buttttttt those days were quite a while ago and since then I’ve (as you know) put a huge effort in to live a healthier life than back then. Somedays though, the craving for the old favorite strikes. So I’ve come up with this healthified version of my favorite and I have to say it tastes EVEN BETTER! You could so easily add way more or different veggies and it would be amazing. Yummmmmm I need to make this again.

One quick note: coming up within the next couple weeks I’m going to be hosting my very first GIVEAWAY on the blog!! I’m really excited about it and can’t wait to share more with you all in the next coming weeks! Make sure to check back often so you don’t miss your chance to win!

Now back to the fooood!

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I even have take out chopsticks to make the whole “experience” :)

Ingredients:
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp water
2 tbsp oil of your choice
1/2 lbs flank steak, sliced into thin strips
1/2 c low-sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp brown sugar
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp flour of your choice (I used almond flour)
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
3 tbsp oil of your choice
2 heads broccoli, cut into pieces
3 or 4 small sweet peppers, cut into strips

Instructions:

1. Whisk together the baking soda, sugar, cornstarch, soy sauce, water, and oil in a large bowl. Toss the steak with the marinade to coat. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

2. In a small bowl, stir together the soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, flour and vinegar until smooth. Set aside.

3. In a large wok, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over high heat until shimmering. Add broccoli and saute 3 minutes, stirring often. Transfer broccoli to a plate. I like my broccoli to still be crunchy but if you don’t like that- cook for a little longer.

4. Reduce heat to medium-high. Carefully add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the pan. Add the marinated meat and half of the sauce mixture and saute for 3- 4 minutes, stirring often, until the meat is cooked through. Stir in the broccoli that you had set aside, the pepper strips, and the remaining sauce. Saute 1 minute more to heat it all through. Serve over rice and fall in love!

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So simple and delish! Give it a try and let me know what you think! As always thanks for stopping by the blog and come back soon to make sure you enter for your chance to win the giveaway!

xoxo

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Food Myths

Hi all!

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Some gorgeous heirloom tomatoes from my CSA. Ahhhh sweet summertime.

I have been so, so, so, so awful about posting lately. I’ve been crazy busy with life! Life is great and some awesome things are happening in my life. Hopefully more on that later- but in the meantime I came across something I wanted to share with you all.

I’ll just preface this by saying that I am all for people eating healthy and improving their lives, but it breaks my heart and frustrates me to see them going about it all the wrong ways! There are 1000 ways out there that claim they are the “perfect” solution. I am a firm believer in eating as naturally from the earth as possible. No “low fat”, “fat free”, aspartame chocked full foods are “good” for you. Less calories? Sure, but the effects that the poisons, yes poisons that are the so called ingredients, in those things are down right scary. Lately I’ve been putting a HUGE focus on natural healthy eating for me and Jake. And the differences I’ve noticed are enough for me to never stop. So back to what I wanted to share.

Tanda Cook is an amazing person I cam across lately (read her book and visit her website) and I love her and her out look on pretty much everything. She posted this awesome article on her own blog today and I wanted to pass it on to all of you.  She is an MD and a homeopathic/naturopathic. She shares her thoughts (very good ones at that!) on a list of foods that are often times labeled as “bad for you” but in all reality aren’t (in their pure natural forms).

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#1 butter 

First off, why do we even need fat? (Cuz that’s what butter is mainly, right?) We need fat to provide concentrated sources of energy, it’s the building block for cell membranes and the precursor for a variety of hormones.

So we HAVE to have it to maintain health and balance.

Now lets talk about sources, in particular, butter.

Butter is awesome. Eat it.

Why you ask?

Many reasons.

Organic pasture butter is a short chain fatty acid, which means it does NOT have to be acted on by the bile salts (our gallbladder), it is DIRECTLY absorbed for energy use (and less likely to cause weight gain FYI).

It contains antimicrobial properties to help protect us from harmful microbs in the gastrointestinal tract. It is one of the greatest sources of fat soluble vitamins like A, D, E, and K.

Butter is mostly saturated fat. And lets set this straight as to WHY we NEED saturated fat as it has been demonized in the modern American diet.

Saturated fatty acids constitute about half of our cell membranes giving them the rigidity and structure to function optimally.

These fats help our immune system, specifically our white blood cells and enhances their ability to recognize foreign invaders like certain bacteria and viruses.

Saturated fat protects our liver from alcohol and medications.

Saturated fat also is essential for bone health as we need it to properly absorb calcium.

Not convinced yet?

How bout the fact that butter contains conjugated linoleic acid (a form of omega-6) that has strong anti-cancer properties as well as containing lecithin, which assists in the proper metabolism of cholesterol.

So go ahead and eat the stuff.

Oh, and what counts as butter?

That’s right, BUTTER

(not margarine, or Earth Balance, or spray butter, or I Cant Believe It’s Not Butter, or some other food-like-item claiming to be a butter-like-thing) 

So pass the pasture butter deliciousness, please.

#2 red meat

I’ve already touched on a lot of this in the 5 Food Myths post AND I think its worth saying again.

Eat red meat. It doesn’t cause heart disease. And meat is only as healthy for you as the health of the animal. So eat sick cows, you, most likely, will be sick too.

Eat healthy animals, you will bring in all sorts of nourishment, vitamins, minerals and essential nutrients into your life and body.

Red meat specifically contains saturated fat, which we have talked about the why around needing it. It also is a great source of vitamin B12 and iron.

Why do we need these?

B12 is needed to prevent anemia, nervous system disorders, helps with energy, feeding our adrenals, maintains fertility and natural growth. Early signs of deficiency usually is indicated when there is irrational anger.

We need good ol’ iron for the health of our blood. And iron found in animal sources, aka: meat and eggs, is more readily absorbed than plant sources.

So, purchase 100% grass-fed, pasture raised, or grass finished meats. Or even better, raise it yourself if you have the time and space. OR go to your local farmer, shake their hand and buy and support them.

www.eatwild.com

www.localharvest.org

#3 mayo

This I have noticed as a food that people either LOVE or Despise. I fall in the LOVE category.

And when I tell the closet-lovers-of-mayonnaise that there is no reason to be ashamed its like I have given them the moon.

Think about this. What’s IN mayo?

Give up?

K, ready…egg yolks, mustard, olive oil, lemon, sea salt, vinegar. Boom. Done.

And yes, you can make your own, check out Jamie Oliver’s recipe here:

http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/eggs-recipes/my-beautiful-mayo 

Pasture raised egg yolks contain the fat soluble vitamins such as vitamin A, D, and A a fat soluble vitamin needed for healthy eyes, hormones, immune system and blood clotting. They also contain essential fatty acids, iron, phosphorus and zinc.

There is nothing in mayo that’s not in homemade dressings. Its whole foods based, tastes amazeballs and goes well in my chicken salad recipe.

It won’t make ya fat if you’re worried about that.

Remember? Sugar has got that one covered for you.

Shhhpread away and enjoy it. And if you’re in the DESPISE camp, well, then use avocados instead.

#4 bacon

I think there are several crazed websites dedicated to the glorious food. And rightfully so, as everything’s better with it.

And it has gotten a bad wrap mostly because of its fat content.

And I’m gonna say this again, fat doesn’t make you fat, sugar does.

And pork in general has gotten a bad wrap, and no wonder because us Americans have taken a fabulous animal (the pig) and genetically mutated it so it grows super fast, is super lean, and is super unhealthy.

Pork and lard coming from pigs that have been raised on pasture is one of the best and most readily available sources of vitamin D (a fat soluble vitamin so we need to have fat present to absorb and utilize it)

Pigs, like humans, synthesize vitamin D in their skin. So when pigs are raised outdoors, in sunlight and on grass, that meat and fat has a TON of awesome vitamin D in it.

Sodium nitrates and nitrites are used to preserve color and prevent botulism in cured meats and have gotten badmouthed. Nitrites are compounds that are naturally found in plants like celery and butter leaf lettuce. They are also found in our saliva, and the studies done in animals that showed cancer development after large exposure to nitrates/nitrites have been discredited by peer review. So take all that with a grain of salt…eh, or bacon.

I’m more concerned about WHERE and HOW the pig was RAISED than anything else.

Eat bacon. Eat it in moderation. And love every bite.

#5 eggs 

I get this one so much. “I can’t eat eggs, or egg yolks if I have high cholesterol.”

False.

100% false.

Eggs are the bomb. They are one of the most COMPLETE foods on the planet. And as I explained in the 5 Food Myths, if you have high cholesterol I can assure you it’s not eggs fault.

High cholesterol just tells me that the body is under a lot of physical and emotional stress and cholesterol is being made in the liver to do damage control. Remember 80% of the cholesterol in your body is made by the liver and only 20% is dietary.

And we NEED cholesterol, and here’s why:

It’s a precursor for hormones.

It’s a precursor for vitamin D.

Cholesterol acts as an antioxidant.

It’s needed for proper serotonin receptor function in the brain.

Eat. Eggs. Pasture raised farm eggs. Please. The whole part. Please.

And a quick thing on purchasing the dang things, which can be SO SUPER overwhelming, when I doubt I follow this logic:

Best option is to raise your own.

If that’s not possible, find a farmer that does.

If that’s not possible buy PASTURE raised eggs.

If you don’t see that option buy organic.

If that’s not an option pick up the cartons and turn them around to see where they are COMING from and buy the eggs that are CLOSEST to YOU.

Terms that mean nothing:

“Free range”

“Vegetarian fed”

“Cage free”

“All natural”

Hope this helps.

Now go eat eggs.” -TC

To read this article in it’s entirety and check out the rest of her awesome content check out her website HERE. 

xoxo

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Malted Milk Ball Creme Brulee

Malted Milk Ball Creme Brulee

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Hi All!

I can’t believe that today is AUGUST 1ST! I mean I love August as it’s my birthday month <3  :) but holy crap! Summer flew by.

So today I wanted to share a seriously delicious (although not quite what I’d call low fat/healthy) special dessert. Who doesn’t love a good creme brulee? Actually I’m sure there are plenty of people who don’t. Buttttt from time to time it is a great treat. And of course who doesn’t love to use a mini blow torch in the kitchen :) Seriously it makes you feel like a bad assssss.

These require a little bit of work and are pretty rich but they are great and an impressive dessert for a special occasion!

Ingredients: 

  • 2 cups heavy cream (you must use heavy cream)
  • 2 1/2 ounces milk (or dark if you prefer) chocolate, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons malted-milk powder
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup plus 4 teaspoons sugar
  • Salt

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Bring cream to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add chocolate and malted-milk powder; stir until chocolate melts and powder dissolves. Whisk together yolks, 1/4 cup sugar, and a pinch of salt.

  2. Whisk hot cream mixture into yolk mixture. Strain into a large measuring cup.

  3. Arrange four 6-ounce ramekins in a roasting pan. Divide custard evenly among ramekins, leaving 1/4 inch at the top.

  4. Place roasting pan in oven, and fill halfway with boiling water. Bake until custards are set, 60 to 70 minutes. Remove from oven and from water bath. Let cool. Refrigerate until cooled, about 2 hours.

  5. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon sugar onto each custard. Hold a small handheld kitchen torch(like this one) at a 90-degree angle 3 to 4 inches from surface of each custard, and move flame back and forth until sugar caramelizes and is deep golden brown, or you can broil until sugar caramelizes.

  6. The plain baked custards(no caramelized sugar) can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. Just take out of the fridge and follow step 5 to caramelize tops just before serving.

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How freaking fun is that, right?!? It’s fun to do, fun to eat, and fun to look at too! This is more work than my average posted recipe but I hope you give it a try and come back to let me know how yours turned out!

Thanks for stopping by the blog!

xoxo

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Apple Dumplings

Apple Dumplings

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Happy Friday!

I’m back from vacation and I had an amazing time! Hopefully I’ll do a post soon with pictures and details :) So last week was a week I was scheduled to pick up my CSA but as you know, I was on vacation. My aunt and uncle picked it up for me and I told them to help themselves and I would take whatever was left. So I don’t have my bi-weekly CSA post ready yet :( and might just combine with the next week. But in the mean time, feast your eyes (and bellies!) on these beautiful and delicious Apple ‘Dumplings’.

They require a little bit of work, but the outcome is worth it. I promise.

Ingredients:

    • 2 cups granulated sugar
    • 1 1/2 cups water
    • 1/4 cup butter
    • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 2 tsp baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 3/4 cup shortening or butter
    • 2/3 cup milk
    • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
    • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
    • 3 cups shredded, peeled cooking apples (3 to 4 medium); Golden delicious, Rome, Granny Smith or Jonathan apples

 Instructions: 

Sauce:

In a large saucepan, combine 2 cups sugar, water, butter, 1/4 tsp cinnamon and nutmeg. Bring to boiling. Boil 10-15 minutes; set aside (should be a liquidy syrup consistency)

Dough: In large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt. Using pastry blender, cut in shortening or butter until pea-sized clumps of dough form throughout. Make well in center of dough and add milk all at once. Stir just until moistened. Knead dough on lightly floured surface 10 to 12 strokes or until nearly smooth- don’t over kneed it. Roll out to 12×10-inch rectangle (I found I needed a little extra flour and to wet my hands before this :) )

Filling:

Combine 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 tsp cinnamon; set aside. Sprinkle apples evenly over dough. Sprinkle with sugar mixture. Roll dough into spiral, starting from a long side. Pinch seam to seal. Cut into twelve 1-inch thick pieces (a serrated knife works best). Place in a 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Pour sauce over dumplings. Bake in a 350 degree oven about 50 minutes or until golden. Cool 20-30 minutes before serving.

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Yeah- soooo good. And not drenched in a frosting or glaze, which I really really liked.

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What do you think? Pretty right? Give it a try and come back and tell me how yours turned out! I love to hear from my readers.

xoxo

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Asian Cobb Salad

Asian Cobb Salad

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Happy Friday!! I am currently, as we speak, on vacation!! I’ll be back Sunday and will reply to comments and messages then as well as hopefully share some of my trip! :) Now about this salad…

First of all- a disclaimer for all my photography friends. I’m aware these photo’s are grainy as *bleep!* . My ISO was cranked WAYYYY up since these pictures were taken basically by moonlight.really though…

I desperately need an artificial lighting solution. I can’t just be waiting around for the absolute perfect natural light every time I make something I want to blog. I live in Wisconsin. C’mon. In the winter that would mean I had about 20 seconds of a shooting window. Soooooo if any angel investors want to buy me one of these……that’d be cool. joking.

But main point of this story is that I don’t want to hear one comment about blurry, grainy, ISO pumped up, photos. Thanks.

Now back to the fooood!

Super healthy, beautiful, delicious, quick,  and satisfying, salad. You could add or remove anything your heart desires. Thats the beauty of salads. Soooo versatile.

Ingredients: 

Salad:
5 cups chopped romaine lettuce ( or your favorite kind of lettuce)
1 (11-ounce) can mandarin oranges in light syrup, drained
1/3 cup shredded chicken
1/3 cup grated carrots
1 avocado, halved, seeded, peeled and diced
2 hard-boiled eggs, diced
1/4 cup sliced green onions

Sesame Vinaigrette:
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 small clove garlic, tiny minced or pressed through a garlic press
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice

Instructions: 

  • To make the vinaigrette, mix together rice wine vinegar, garlic, sesame oil, sugar, ginger, soy sauce, and lime juice in a small bowl; set aside.(you can adjust the amount of garlic depending on your preference)
  • To assemble the salad, place your greens in a large bowl; top with arranged rows of mandarin oranges, chicken, carrots, avocado, eggs and green onions.
  • Serve with sesame vinaigrette and eat it up!

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Does any one know what could be causing that red line in the bottom right of this picture on all of my photographs?

Isn’t it pretty! This would look great on a tablescape for a party of some kind. And the sesame dressing is deeeelcious and could be used for so many other things!

Thanks so much for checking out the blog!

 

xoxo

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Creamy Tomato Spaghetti with Shrimp

 Creamy Tomato Spaghetti with Shrimp

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Hi my fellow foodies!

Man I can’t believe how fast summer is going. I’m off on vacation starting TODAY!!! YAYAYAY I will hopefully have lots of pictures to share when I come back and hopefully a few fun food items too.

Take a look at this beauty. This was incredibly tasty, although definitely not a low fat meal. More of a treat from time to time or could be something impressive to make for the in-laws or any guests you may have. You can experiment with different ingredients. I’m a sucker for basil especially in the summer time so I garnished mine with it. Deeeelicious. Hope you enjoy!!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2  lb medium raw shrimp, shell removed
  • ¾ lb spaghetti or angel hair pasta
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 6 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon hot chili flakes
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil, or 2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil(I prefer fresh)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Parmesan to serve

Instructions: 

  1. Put the tomatoes, onion, chili flakes, basil, garlic and butter in a heavy pan , season with pepper.
  2. Add the wine and cook over med/high heat until mixture is soft and most of the wine has evaporated. You will have about ¼ cup liquid remaining in the pan.
  3. Peel shrimp and dry on paper towels. Lightly season shrimp with salt and pepper and saute in 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium/high heat, just until cooked through, about 3 minutes. Set aside.
  4. Cook pasta in salted water with 1 tablespoon olive oil, according to the package instructions until al dente (tender but firm to the bit). Rinse, Drain and set aside.
  5. Once the sauce has mostly evaporated, stir in the cream and add the shrimp. Warm through gently for 2 minutes.
  6. Toss the pasta with the sauce. Sprinkle with Parmesan and fresh basil and serve!

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Doesn’t it look good?! Yummmmmm. Give it a try and let me know what you think! Thanks for taking a look around the blog!

xoxo

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Lemon Thyme Baked Chicken

Lemon Thyme Baked Chicken

EDIT of DSC_8224I am a sucker for anything with lemon, or garlic and love chicken so naturally I want to put them all together! This is a reallllly simple and delicious meal. It’s easy and quick enough for a weeknight but also tasty and ‘fancy’ enough for a weekend or dinner party with friends.

You could use whatever pieces of chicken you wanted. For this recipe I had skinless chicken breast pieces on hand, so I used that.

*Warning if you use pyrex or glass, it takes a little scrubbing to get the baked bits off the side when you’re done, but you can either use foil or get a good arm workout in for the day. :)

Ingredients:

1-2 tbsp olive oil
5-6 cloves of garlic, minced
1/3 cup of chicken broth
Zest from 1 lemon
Juice from 1 lemon
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
2 lbs skinless chicken breasts or however much chicken you want to make
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
Two sprigs of fresh thyme
2 lemons cut into wedges

Instructions: 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Coat a baking dish with cooking spray.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat; add the minced garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute, making sure not to burn the garlic. Add the chicken broth, lemon zest, lemon juice, oregano, and thyme leaves to the pan. Pour the mixture into the baking dish. Season both sides of the chicken breasts with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste. Place the chicken in the baking dish along with the lemon wedges and the two sprigs of thyme.

Place into the oven and bake, basting occasionally, for 30-40 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Remove from the oven and let the meat rest for 5 minutes before slicing. Drizzle the pan sauce on top of the slices of chicken and serve. Enjoy!

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A before shot

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After baking- and so pretty!

 

Such great fresh flavors with this. Fresh and tasty and easy. I can see myself sitting out on my non existent porch by our non existent fire circle eating this with a glass of cold Chardonnay. Ahhhhhh, see ya! I’m going to go day dream about that now.

Thanks for stopping by! Hope you enjoy!

xoxo

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What is in my CSA?- Week 2

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Hi friends! I seriously cannot believe that it’s almost freaking July. Are you kidding me?!?!? I mean once 4th of July happens summers zooms by and it’s the dead of winter before you know it. I need to soak up what’s left of summer!

I am going on vacation in a little under 2 weeks! Can.NOT.wait. We’ll be going to Beaver Island, Michigan. It’s heaven on earth. We have been going since I was a little kid (a few years off here and there) but I can’t wait to carry on the tradition when I have kids of my own. While it’s not every one’s cup of tea, I love it. It’s secluded and there not much to “do” but there’s so much to do! If you know what I mean. I’m so excited to go! But back to the reason for this post!

So, this week (really last weeks) CSA box, could be summed up in one word: LETTUCE! Holy moly- lots of lettuce. But I loved it because I could eat salad for the rest of my life and be a happy camper :)

Here is what we got in the box this time:

Week2

- 1 bag salad mix
– 1 lb Asparagus
– 1 bunch Dill
– 1 bunch Cilantro
– 1 bunch Green Garlic
– 1 bunch mini Bulb Onions
– 1 head Red Romaine Lettuce
– 1 bunch Rainbow Chard
– 1 bunch Spinach
– 1 head green Leaf Lettuce

BOX 2

Bananas not included :)

So as you can tell- a sh*t ton of lettuce!!! I knew I couldn’t juuuust eat salad with it.

HERE IS WHAT I DID WITH THE GOODIES: 

Salad mix- nothing too creative here. Just really yummy tasty salads
Asparagus- Used it to make this delicious zucchini pasta dish (See below!)
Dill- I put some in a salad one night (very good) and then I made a really yummy dill and lemon baked tilapia very low fat and fresh and delicious! I just prepped the fish, sprinkled garlic powder, chopped dill, and one of the mini bulb onions from the box, on top and baked in a 375 oven for about 1o minutes.
Cilantro- This is one of the those things you either love or you hate. Personally I love it. There wasn’t a ton of this so I made a black bean/corn salsa. Similar to this previous post of mine!
Green Garlic-Now that I know what this stuff is, I’m obsessed! This week you could definitely see that this is a baby garlic plant. The bottom totally looks like a mini baby head of garlic. So interesting! I used some of this in the zucchini pasta dish (see below) and then I also used it in an omelet.
Mini Bulb Onions- Truth time: besides the one I used on my fish dish mentioned above, I ate these raw. I love onions and have since I was born, they tasted soooo good. Not inventive I know, but I’m being honest :)
Red Romaine Lettuce- This was such a beautiful color. And it was delicious mixed into some of the salads we had!
Rainbow Chard- I sauteed this up with some shaved brussel sprouts and fresh lemon juice. Along with a sprinkling of balsamic vinegar at the end. I thought it was delicious, though I’ll admit, a little off the wall.
Spinach- Primarily I used this in my morning smoothies. I also put some of it in a salad. I was a little surprised by this because it looks nothing like the spinach you buy in stores. I’m guessing it has something to do with the fact that usually the spinach in stores is baby spinach but had they not provided a list of what I got, I’d have no idea what it was.
Leaf Lettuce- BLT’s. I used my lettuce as the bread and didn’t use mayo ( I hateeee mayonnaise) It was amazing and tasted like summer in my mouth!

That’s pretty much it! With the  first box we got I was very confident that we would have been fine getting an every week share but after this box, I’m not sure I could have eaten that much lettuce in just one week! I’m pretty content with my EOW share. Here is the recipe for the super healthy zucchini pasta with dairy free pesto!

This week’s CSA Recipes:

Zucchini Pasta with Creamy (Dairy Free) Pesto:

For the Pesto:

2 avocados, skin and pit removed
2 cloves of garlic
3/4 cup of fresh basil leaves
Juice of 1  lemon
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/3 cup of Olive Oil

- Add the avocados, garlic, basil, and lemon juice to a food processor and blend well.
– While the food processor is on slowly add in the olive oil until emulsified (fully incorporated so where the oil won’t separate after sitting).
– Set aside.
*you could also add any nuts to this, pine nuts, walnuts etc… I didn’t because I didn’t have any. 

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For the “pasta” part:

1 small onion, diced
2 stalks green garlic (could some more onion), roughly chopped
1/2 pound fresh asparagus, cut on the bias into 2 inch pieces
1 cup organic corn kernels
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half
3 zucchini (depending on size), use a vegetable peeler to slice thin ribbons of the zucchini, do this until you hit the seedy center.
Olive oil (or any oil of your choice)

Instructions:

- In a large saute pan(or just a pan with tall sides) heat about a tablespoon of your oil until hot and add in your onions and green garlic. Cook until softened (about 5 minutes).
– Add the asparagus and stir to combine.
– Add the zucchini ribbons and stir to combine, then top your pan with the lid and let it steam for about 5 minutes until the zucchini is softened and reduced in size.
– Toss in the corn and tomatoes and heat through.
– Add in about 1/2-1 cup of the pesto and stir until everything is coated. You can use as much or as little of the pesto as you want.
– ENJOY!

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I loved this dish. Jake didn’t care for it. He said it tasted “green”….. no idea what that means but as a veggie lover I can assure you it tastes great! I’m currently doing a detox type of program where I’m eating gluten, dairy, and soy free so this dish was great. I was lovvvving the dairy free pesto. SO GOOD!

Whew! Another week down and I’m definitely loving the abundance of fresh veggies around the house. Thanks for stopping by! Hopefully you were inspired or learned something :)

xoxo

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At Home Gel Manicure

At Home Gel Manicure

GelMani


Ummmm, you guys…… this is a miracle. Seriously.

I got my first gel manicure about 2 years ago and obviously loved it. It stayed glossy and shiny and chip free for almost two weeks!  Butttttt I cried a little when I had to take it off and my nails peeled and cracked WAYYYYY more than normal. :(

I got a few here and there in-between then and now but I didn’t go in regularly because a) it’s a freaking expensive habit! and b) the state it left my nails in for about a month afterwards.

I saw someone post on Pinterest about this magical base coat that would make any regular old nail polish last for weeks! Needless to say I was highly skeptical. When I paint my nails at home I’m lucky if  I can get 3 chip-free days. Well, I’m a sucker so I went to Sally Beauty and picked up the base coat. It’s like $5, that’s less than a Starbucks.

I would not lie to you. This worked sooooooooo good. All you do is:

1) Clean and prep your nails.

  • Whenever I paint my nails before I put anything on them I’ll shape, cut back cuticles etc…. but last step is to wipe the nail down with rubbing alcohol. It cleans the nail and makes sure you get a really good bond with the polish and actual nail. 

2) Apply 1 coat of the Gelous Advanced Nail Gel Coat. Allow to dry

3) Apply 1-2 coats (as needed) of ANY COLOR NAIL POLISH YOU WANT!

  • Yep no special ‘Gel’ colors to buy. You just use anyyyyy color you want! From expensive Butter nail lacquers to $1 NYC Color  and anything in-between! 

4) Finish with a your favorite top coat!

  • Hands down my favorite is Seche Vite. Not only does it protect well but leaves your nails looking fresh and GLOSSY for days <3 <3

5) ENJOY your nails for up to 2 weeks!!!!

Yeah, I’m not lying. Up to two  weeks. This picture was taken just after one week.

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Yes, I got engaged a while ago for all of you that didn’t know :) Wedding is next summer!

ONE WHOLE WEEK PEOPLE! And virtually still perfect!

And one of the BEST parts about this?!?!? Is that it comes off extremely easily with regular old nail polish remover. No soaking your fingers in that poison for 15+ minutes. (Seriously you guys know that acetone is a carcinogen and is really, really, really bad for you? Yeah it is. I try to only put it on my nails and not all over my fingers skin to soak in and never do I soak my whole freaking hand in it! OK rant over). Just take it off like a regular old manicure, super simple!

I am honestly so excited to have found this and I can’t wait to paint my nails again and again.

This is almost TWO WEEKS People! I know the pointer has a chip but the others are still perfect

Go pick this up and try it yourself! Tell me what you guys think!

xoxo

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This is really the first post I’ve done raving about a product. I just want you all to know I am in NO way being paid by or endorsed by any of the companies of the products listed above. This is just a product I found that I fell in love with. I’m not being paid to try to get you to try it too :)  

What is in my CSA?- Week 1

CSA1

I have something exciting to share! Exciting to me anyway, and hopefully you feel the same way :)

I decided to part take in a local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program this summer. For those of you that aren’t familiar with this basically what you do is you buy a “share” of a your chosen farm’s vegetables (or fruit or eggs or whatever options they have available) and each week (or other frequency) you pick up fresh organic locally grown vegetables!

I had been thinking about doing this anyway but my health insurance company offers a $100 rebate if you participate in one! So that made up my mind for sure. I opted to do a vegetable only share, because that is mostly what we eat and I also chose an Every Other Week (EOW) share. Which means that I get a box of veggies every other week instead of weekly. I thought this was a good place to start because I have no idea what the expect as far as quantity and I don’t want to be drowning in produce and end up wasting any!

I was a little late in the game signing up for a CSA so the farm I wanted to join most, had sold out of shares. I only really had my heart set on them because they are from where I grew up and I know most of the people that work on the farm. But it turns out that a LOT of farms that do this program are from where I grew up anyway, so I could still feel good about my choice! I decided to go with Keewaydin Farms out of Viola, WI and so far I’ve love them. They send newsletters and are very involved with their “customers” they also had a pick up day and location that worked really well for me.  I  want to point out one other farm that I looked at and absolutely fell in love with their website. Take a look at their site and tell me you don’t love their vegetable background?!?! So cute.

Anyway- if at this point in the post you’re wondering “why the hell do I care you bought some vegetables?” Wellllll let me tell you- I thought that it would be a fun summer blog ‘series’ so post about the CSA box that I’ll be getting every other week. One of the great things about CSA’s is that you’ll get some great stuff that you’ve either never heard of or never tried before!

So I thought I would share my journey with you- share some great recipes and ideas for the fresh produce we get and if and when we get items we have noooo idea what to do with- I’ll share that with you too! It will be fun to see the harvest change with the season. The first pick up was 6/4 and the last one will be 10/8 so we’ll get a wide variety! Every other week it will be my goal to share 2 or 3 new recipes that I used my CSA goodies for.

I am lucky to live in a town (Madison, WI) where there is a big focus on organic and locally sourced food. I had so many farms to choose from that I had to work to narrow it down. I know I’m lucky and don’t take it for granted. Which is just another reason why I’m happy to spend my money to provide better quality and tasting food for my family and support local farmers. Farming is hard business and it takes even more work to organize a CSA and bring it to a place local to me so I can conveniently pick it up after work and not have to go to the farm. I want to say THANKS! to the farmers and definitely try to twist your arm to look into the possibility of a CSA yourself. Here is a great site to help you find some options near you!

Now- onto the good stuff! What is in my CSA box this week?

Week1

1 bag salad mix
1 bunch Green Garlic*
1 bunch Leeks
1 bunch flowering Chives
1 lb Asparagus
1 lb Rhubarb
2 Black Spanish Radish (this was a “what the ?!” item)
1 bunch Mint
1 pint pickled Beets
1 quart Tomatoes

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Immediately I was excited for the asparagus and rhubarb most. I’ve already eaten my body weight in asparagus this spring and this stuff looked gorgeous! And won’t lie but the black radishes were strange looking. They are hard and have a tough outer skin that is black, black black. I had no idea if they were just like larger radishes or what or how to cut them prepare them. I figured something out, see below.

*Green Garlic- this is the item on the far right of the picture above. Looks like spring onions. Everyone thought I was crazy when I said I received Green Garlic. They thought it would have been ramps or garlic scapes but this is an entirely different thing. It has a very mild garlic flavor but it’s without a doubt garlic and not onion-ey. I found out it’s just a young garlic plant before the bulb and cloves begin to form. There ya go! Learn something every day! 

 HERE IS WHAT I ENDED UP DOING WITH THE GOODIES!

Salad mix- nothing to inventive here we just had a lot of really good salads either me taking some to work for lunch or one day we weren’t really hungry after having a big lunch so we just had a tasty salad :)
Green Garlic- I threw half  in a thai curry dish that I made, just cut into 1 inch pieces and then the other have I cut up and put in this awesome Roasted Butternut Squash Enchilada Lasagna. It was delicious.
Pickled Beets- Ate right out of the jar :) and also threw some on a salad one day with some goat cheese and walnuts.
Tomatoes- I haven’t used these yet but they’ll be great for a pasta sauce one day!
Flowering Chives- I cut up some of these real small and put them on some scrambled eggs(my fav thing to do with them) and then I still had some leftover so I used those in my salmon dish described below.
Rhubarb- 1st I made a rhubarb simple syrup to make some rhubarb mint mojitos (see below) and then I also made a Strawberry/Rhubarb crisp(I didn’t add the extra sugar on the berries)! It is Jake’s favorite.
Leeks and Asparagus: I used these (along with my left over chives) and made an amazing springy salmon dish. It was soooo good and springy and light and delicious. See below!
Black Spanish Radish – as I said before I wasn’t sure what to do with these babies. I came across a recipe for pickled regular radishes and thought I’d give it a try with the black. They are just refrigerator “pickles” so it’s really easy and they turned out great. See below!
Mint- What else do you do with mint besides make…..MOJITOS! :) And I made special ones. Rhubarb Mojitos. They turned out really good and to my surprise, you can really taste the rhubarb! See below.

This week’s CSA recipes

Leek & Asparagus Salmon: 

  • 1 lb asparagus trimmed and thinly sliced on the bias
  • 2 small leeks, white and pale-green parts , thinly sliced (Make sure to wash leeks well!)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 skinless wild caught Salmon fillets
  • 1/4 cup fresh herbs, I used thyme, lavender, chives, and tarragon. 
  • 4 Lemon wedges

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut four 12-by-17-inch pieces of parchment. Fold each in half the long way to make a crease, then unfold and lay flat.

  2. Toss asparagus and leeks with the oil in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

  3. Season fish with salt and pepper. Arrange a fillet on one side of the crease on each piece of parchment. Top with asparagus/leek mixture, dividing evenly. Fold each piece of parchment over, then roll the edges in towards the middle to seal open sides, creating half-moon-shaped packets. (See picture)

  4. Bake on rimmed baking sheets, about 10 minutes for medium-rare. Transfer to plates and carefully cut packets open (steam will come out so be careful!). Serve, topped with herbs and some freshly squeezed lemon juice.

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The rolled up packet.

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Delicious finished product :)

 Pickled Black Radishes: 

5 Black Spanish Radish’s
1 yellow onion
2 cloves of Garlic, peeled and rough big chopped
1/2 teaspoon Fresh crushed Peppercorns
1 Dried hot chili pepper cut in half lengthwise
3 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup Water
1 cup Vinegar

  1. In a saucepan, bring the water, vinegar, salt, and honey to a boil, until salt and honey are dissolved. Remove from heat and add the crushed peppercorns, garlic, and chile pepper.
  2. Tightly pack the sliced radishes and onion in a clean quart-sized jar, and pour the hot liquid over them, making sure to pack the garlic, chile, and all those crushed peppercorns into the jar, too. Cover and cool. Stick in the fridge and enjoy!

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*Note that I only had 2 radishes so I added half a cucumber to my jar instead to make up for it. Tastes really great!

Rhubarb Mint Mojitos: 

For the Rhubarb Simple Syrup:
1 cup chopped rhubarb (3-4 small stalks)
1 cup sugar
2 cups water
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon vanilla (optional)

Combine all the ingredients in a small pot. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 5-7 minutes. Let cool completely.
Strain the ‘solids’. Reserve the rhubarb to top some yogurt, ice cream or oatmeal (seriously save it. Soooo good.)
The syrup will keep covered in the fridge for up to two weeks.

For the Rhubarb Mojitos:
3 oz white rum
5 oz rhubarb syrup
5 (roughly) mint leaves
1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice
Club Soda
lime zest
nutmeg

In the bottom of a glass add a bit of nutmeg, lime zest, mint leaves and the lime juice. Using a muddler or the end of a wooden spoon muddle the ingredients. Fill the glass with ice. Add the rum and syrup, give a light stir then top with a splash of club soda. Perfect for summer sitting on the patio!

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So- what do you guys think? Are you as excited for this series as me? I just love being able to share it with you! Do any of you parttake in community supported agriculture? Tell me about your favorite things about it and or some of the crazy and fun veggies/fruits you’ve received before. Thanks for making it to the end of this post- it was a long one, I know. But I had to explain everything for the 1st time too! :) So the future ones won’t be quite as long.

As always, thank you for stopping by and checking out my blog! HAVE A FABULOUS WEEKEND!

xoxo

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