Saturday, December 20, 2008

This Week's Local Meal

My youngest daughter was so excited when we received our Greenling's local farms delivery, that she asked if she could make our local meal this week from start to finish. The following was what she prepared:

We first started with a salad made with beautiful green leaf lettuce. She topped it with sunflower sprouts and a dressing of valencia orange juice and olive oil.

Next were the cabbage cups. I thought this was a great idea, and they were so delicious. She simply took leaves from cabbage from our garden and filled them with roasted beets. She then drizzled meyer lemon juice on top and added a sprinkle of celtic sea salt.

The final course was sweet potato souffle with sauteed beet greens. She lightly cooked the sweet potatoes and added just a touch of butter made with raw milk by local Amish, and then topped it with local pecans and some apple sweetened cranberries (the only item in the entire meal not local). The beet greens were sauteed and topped with a squeeze of meyer lemon juice and dollops of local goat cheese.

Her creative dinner was pretty to the eye and scrumptious to the mouth.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Local Meals - Raw and Cooked

We were thrilled with our Greenling's box this week--great goodies including all sorts of root vegetables, greens and wonderful citrus! We made two meals for our local meals this week, one cooked and the other raw (for me).

First we roasted some veggies - turnips and cabbage from our garden, and carrots and beets that came in our local box. While they were roasting, we cooked the local potatoes and then mashed them with Texas Olive Oil and some of our home grown hatch chilis that Laura roasted and put up in the freezer. Then we assembled our roasted root veggies in the bottom of a deep dish pie plate and loaded the taters on top. Then the pie was baked for a bit so the flavors could marry.

Next came the sauteed greens. We used a combination of our garden turnip greens and local beet greens. These were topped with sauteed local yellow onions. My daughters absolutely loved these dishes.

My raw meal was sooo...... good! Collard wraps.

I started with two collard greens from my garden. (So much better and softer than what you get in the grocery store) I made some guacamole from avocados, lime juice and minced onion--all local, of course. I spread that on top of the collards and topped it with shredded local beets and turnips from my garden. I then topped it all off with pieces of baby lettuce and chives from our garden. Wow!

Here are the names of some of the local farmers that contributed to our local box from Greenling's:

Avocado, lime, meyer lemons, grapefruit and oranges - G & S Groves
Beets and potatoes - Naegelin Family Farm
Baby carrots - Animal Farm (We're saving the carrot tops for soup this weekend)

Snow? In My Garden?

Snow? Here? In December? We awoke a few days ago to snow covering our deck and garden and scattered over the grass. For some of you, that doesn't sound odd. But here in south central Texas, it's kinda fun to see. We haven't had a really decent snow since, I think it was, 1985.

Anyway, I thought I'd share some of my snow dusted veggies - broccoli, collards, chard, and cabbage for a few.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Veggie Juice of the Day

I've been enjoying a veggie juice lately that's sort of like a green V-8. However, I use fewer ingredients and VERY green. I start with one large cucumber and add two stalks of celery, 3 hydroponically grown tomatoes (taste better than other out of season tomatoes), one LARGE bunch of cilantro, and one large clove of garlic. I whir that up in my Vita-Mix and then strain through a nut mylk bag. Then I add a dash or two of cayenne for some pop (I don't have any jalapenos left from my garden) and a spoonful of one of my favorite green super foods.

This is such a great juice for breakfast. Very alkalizing and no need for salt because of the wonderful natural sodium from the celery.

Today's green food was chlorella from Watershed. This picture was taken prior to adding the chlorella, so the end result was a much deeper green.

Some of my other favorite green superfoods are:

E3Live - Blue Green Algae
Spirulina - from Health Force Nutritionals
Vitamineral Green - from Health Force Nutritionals
Pure Synergy

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Local Salad

Many of our meals consist only of a large salad. This was a truly local salad. Every ingredient came either from local farmers in our Greenling's local box, or our garden.

The base of the salad was three different types of greens. We mixed in a large amount of sunflower sprouts and several herbs such as dill, chives, cilantro and tarragon. Next to be added was grated zucchini, sliced avocado (yes, local) and sliced radishes. We then made a dressing from the juice of a meyer lemon and Texas olive oil. The absolutely only ingredient that wasn't local was the celtic sea salt we sprinkled on at the end.

We actually had several other salad items we could have added, such as cabbage, broccoli and dark greens from our garden. But we wanted this salad to have a light texture with the baby lettuces and herbs. It had such a light delicate taste.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Raw Food Class - Part 3


A peak at the dinner

More of the dining experience

Donna making cranberry sauce while Elizabeth works on the sweet potato casserole

Shall we gather in the kitchen?

Raw Food Class - Part 2

Our menu for the class was:

Eggless Nog
Christmas Kale Salad
Walnut/Almond "Stuffing"
Sweet Potato Casserole with Honeyed Pecans
Cranberry Sauce
Apple Pie
Pecan Pie
Chocolate Torte

Everyone seemed to enjoy the dishes and the colors were just beautiful - great for the seasons!

We didn't quite get pictures of all the dishes alone, but I'll share some of them in the making.

Thanksgiving and Christmas Raw Food Class

We had a great raw food class this last Saturday highlighting healthy alternatives to holiday favorites. I'll probably post a couple of times on this class. I first wanted to say thanks to my two sweet helpers. Not only did they help with preparations (Elizabeth made all the table decorations, set the table and provided us with prettily folded autumn napkins) but they both contributed recipes and actually demonstrated them (Mom's not a "pastry chef"). Elizabeth's contribution to the meal was a yummy sweet potato casserole topped with dried cranberries and honey pecans. Laura made the most scrumptious desserts - apple pie, pecan pie, and chocolate torte. What can I say but -- WOW!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Eat Local Challenge

We joined a challenge sponsored by Urban Hennery this week called the Dark Days Eat Local Challenge It runs from Nov 15 - Mar 15. The object is to eat a meal that's derived from completely local ingredients each week during the "dark days" of winter. Well, here in Texas, our winter days aren't so dark, and our garden produces year round. But we thought it would be fun to join in and see what others are doing. In fact our family is coming close to trying this challenge for an entire year - and every meal not just one a week. It's still in the planning stages, but our discussions have been really exciting so far. So.... here's our local dinner for the week of Nov 15.

It was almost too easy for us, as we chose to make this local meal the evening our local box from was delivered to our door. Between the box and our garden, it was pretty much a no brainer, but really fun. Again, not much raw as we decided this last minute. I'll work on making each meal more raw in the future.

We started with a salad of baby greens and dill from Greenlings and added chives from our garden. The dressing was made from a meyer lemon from our local box and Texas olive oil that we also bought from Greenlings.

We harvested chard from our garden, lightly sauteed it and topped it with little dollops of chevre from Pure Luck Dairy in Dripping Springs.

The red potatoes also came in our local box. I thinly sliced them and layered them in a dish, alternating potatoes with a drizzle of the Texas Olive Ranch olive oil and a dusting of local raw milk parmesan I ordered from Greenlings. So light and so good.
(I don't normally eat cheese, but again, is was in the spirit of the evening)

The eggplant was also from our local box and was roasted in the oven with the Texas olive oil. The absolutely only non-local ingredients used were our celtic sea salt and freshly ground pepper from Frontier. Can't do without that!

What a local meal! It was great!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Casa de Luz Lunch

We drove to Dripping Springs recently to pick up some goat cheese from Pure Luck Dairy and decided to continue to Austin for lunch at a place I had been wanting to try. We weren't disappointed. It's called Casa de Luz - a restaurant that specializes in macrobiotics. While I'm not big on macrobiotics because of the emphasis on grains, this was a great meal. 98% of their ingredients are organic and they try to get as many items locally as possible.

The menu is set daily, and you can either partake in the whole meal or break it down to something like grain and bean, or soup and salad. We chose the entire meal. Each day is the same framework -- all you can drink tea, and all you can eat salad and soup. Then a plate with that day's bean, grain, veggie, greens with topping and "pickle" is brought to you. And you may ask for seconds on that plate also.

Our meal that day was wonderful. The soup was creamy cauliflower and corn. (Everything served is vegan) The salad was delicious and included sprouts and a platter loaded with raw veggies including beets, carrots, etc. The grain of the day was a mixture of millet and butternut squash and was topped with an onion gravy. We also enjoyed pinto beans and a veggie mixture of turnip, carrot and snap peas. The fermented "pickle" item was purple sauerkraut. Each one of us really enjoyed this meal. So much so that my daughters decided to make a "Casa de Luz" meal each week.

These are pictures of last week's spread. We started with a salad topped with sunflower sprouts and apples. Elizabeth made our soup which was basically a carrot broth with fresh parsley from our garden. Our grain of the day was quinoa, and we topped it with the same onion gravy (we purchased their cookbook). Laura made our veggies with butternut squash and zucchini from our Greenling's box and carrots. Our green was chard from our garden, coupled with pintos with cilantro. We sort of cheated on our fermented item and just dished out a spoonful of Bubbies pickle relish. No this meal wasn't wholly raw, but the girls worked hard and it was really delicious!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Blended Veggie Soup

What a delicious soup! I just put all the ingredients in the Vita Mix and blended. Spinach, zucchini, basil, tomato, celery, garlic, salt and a tad of water. I then added half an avocado and blended some more. Garnish was another tomato and avocado chunks. Wow! Sort of a goodbye to summer soup.

This recipe came from Jennifer Cornbleet from Raw Rood Made Easy DVD

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Locavore Dinner

Last night, Laura asked if we could eat the butternut squash that came in our Greenling's local box last week. Because we had been gone for the retreat this weekend, we still had quite a bit left that hadn't been eaten. So we brought out the recipe books to find a dish that would be worthy enough of our locally grown squash. Well, the first book we looked at had a pretty good looking recipe that Elizabeth could eat (because of her many food allergies). As we read the list of ingredients, we noticed that the majority of these ingredients were actually items that came in the local box we got from Greenling's.

This one recipe snowballed into an entire dinner made with mostly everything coming from either local farmers' produce from Greenling's, our local farmers market, or our own garden.

Laura made the squash dish which included butternut, yellow and zucchini squashes, onion, red pepper, and eggplant--all from the Greenling's box. We added fresh parsley and thyme from our own garden. The only ingredients not local was the lemon juice, garlic and olive oil dressing and a can of organic chick peas.

The side dishes were a salad of mixed lettuces and also a side of slightly sauteed collards all from our garden.

We couldn't leave my husband out, so I just made up a dish which he named Poblano Beef Bake. I just sauteed the red potatoes from the Greenling box and added them to some browned ground sirloin that I get for my husband at our farmers market. (I've been buying this gentleman's grass fed beef, free range chicken and eggs for years. Much healthier and tastier for David.) To that mixture I added roasted hatch chilis from our garden and a touch of onion, garlic, cumin, and chili powders. Then I stuffed this concoction into freshly picked poblanos from our garden and baked in the oven for a bit. He absolutely loved this dish and wants the leftovers for dinner tonight.

For dessert, Laura made David an apple dessert made with apples from, where else, but from our Greenling's local box. She served it with David's favorite ice cream - Blue Bell. Not organic, but sort of local. He was one happy camper.

Elizabeth set the table with ideas she learned from the retreat last weekend, and she asked David to bring home some flowers for the table. We had such a wonderful meal. The windows were open letting in the fresh cool air from outside (it was a little too chilly to actually eat outside), and we enjoyed an almost all local dinner.

Through our discussion at mealtime, we realized how economical, healthy and fresh this dinner was (although my future local dishes will be raw--I wanted to join my daughters on their veggie delights). We're now excited and feel challenged to try to eat as "locally" as possible. It sure beats the taste of veggies and fruits that have traveled such long distances and have sat for so long.

Can't wait to see what Greenling's brings this week! And we also can't wait til our cabbage and broccoli is ready in the garden. For now, our garden will just continue bringing in the greens.

With our current economic times being a little on edge, we are trying to find creative ways to be better stewards of what we have been given. I think these locavore meals are a keeper.

God is so good and faithful!

Mother/Daughter Retreat in a Garden

My daughters and I went to a country ranch this weekend for a Mother/Daughter Retreat. The retreat was great, and I felt like I was in a garden the whole time.

The cottage we stayed in was a one bedroom/one bath that was one of the earlier buildings on the ranch. It had huge thick walls with giant heavy doors with the door knobs that are really low. The front porch had a porch swing and overlooked a courtyard with a gazebo in the center and blooming bushes everywhere. The butterflies were particularly attracted to the mexican sage with their purple/blue flowers.

Our bedding, window treatments and shower curtain were English country.

And we even had fall looking flower bouquets on our dining tables.

Truly Raw Almonds

We just received our order of raw organic almonds straight from the farmer -- Organic Pastures in California. Because of the new law requiring pasturization of even organic almonds, the only way to insure they're completely untouched is to order them straight from the farmer. And October is harvest time! We put up 6 one-gallon freezer bags in the freezer. They're ready and waiting to be soaked, dehydrated, and then made into almond milk, breakfast cereals, breads, desserts and whatever else we can think of. Great source of calcium and helps to lower cholesterol.

Love that (not) Tuna

Alissa Cohen's not tuna tastes the closest to tuna that we've tried. I'm thinking it's the bit of almond butter that helps. I also add extra kelp and some dulse to further the "sea" taste. This day I wasn't prepared with some of the sprouts, so I just used extra clover and broccoli sprouts. I also add chopped Bubbies pickles, and some more on the side. I was trying to use up some tomatoes, so I just served the "tuna" on tomato slices. Perfect, light, and filling.

Bad Coconut?

Can you tell a when a young coconut is good? Here's a picture of a bad coconut mixed in with the good.

Young coconuts seem to be like avocados. We think they look perfect on the outside, only to find out they're not on the inside. You want only the coconuts that have white meat and a clear to whitish liquid. If you see pink to purple colors, just do like you do the bad avocado--throw it out.

I was amazed when I was served a purple coconut at a restaurant in Santa Fe that serves raw food. They thought it was just fine. Naaahhhh.

A Lovely Catered Al Fresco Dinner

We catered a dinner two Fridays ago at the home of one of our students. It was so much fun! My youngest was still getting over the chicken pox, so Laura and I handled this by ourselves.
We kept it a simple meal so that guests would think (hmm... maybe I could make this myself!)

The setting was on the deck in the backyard with tons of beautiful flowers and landscaping. You know how we love gardens! So relaxing and just plain pretty.

We first served coconut water for the before dinner drink and set out appetizers. Laura made some wonderful spicy avocado fries. She came up with the recipe from scratch (you'll find the recipe in our "soon to be" recipe book) and they were scrumptious. The other appetizer was guacamole stuffed creminis, a take off Alissa Cohen's portabello entree.

The guests then sat down at beautifully decorated tables with cloth linens with candlelight and tree lights from above. The pineapple cucumber gazpacho was waiting for them. (from Raw Food/Real World)

For the entree, we stuffed huge dark green romaine leaves with a seed cheeze and Rawvolution's mango salsa and topped it with clover sprouts. The side salad was made from mache, herb salad mix, and baby romaine topped with pomegranate seeds, walnuts and honey crisp apple slices. The dressing was a simple blend of fresh squeezed orange juice, olive oil and celtic salt. This was a really colorful plate.

And because everyone seems to ask for Laura's chocolate pudding, we served it up with raspberries for dessert.

The weather was also perfect for a lovely al fresco dinner. And did the guests enjoy a raw meal? Hardly a plate came back with even a crumb. Everyone seemed to enjoy it so much that we had questions galore. We think there will be a few more people looking into the joy of raw food!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Raw Food -- Take Me Away!

Well, for the last few days, we've been nursing my youngest with the Chicken Pox. Just around the time that she probably would have contracted them as a little girl, the vaccine came on the market and it became impossible to find anyone with them for her to be exposed. Soo.....she's now almost 14 and has finally experienced this uncomfortable nuisance due to the chicken pox coming back in fashion. I guess all those who took the vaccine are finding that it doesn't work as well as they had been told.

This has been a bittersweet event. You never want to see a loved one in such agony, but on the reverse side, we're glad that they finally found her so that she won't have to go through this as an adult.

So after some looonnng days and a few sleepless nights, we were looking for something quick but fun and very refreshing. We decided on this dish that was served as an appetizer in a local restaurant. Look through some of my back posts for the actual picture of the yummy concoction that was made for us tableside.

We sliced very red tomatoes for the base and topped with a mix of diced zucchini, cucumber, and green and black olives. We sprinkled on some rosemary olive oil we get shipped from Napa Valley and ended with some fresh cracked black pepper. The combination of the veggies was such that not one veggie in particular stood out--just a very clean and fresh taste--just what the Dr. didn't order.

We love these flavored olive oils. Their store in St. Helena is so much fun. They have tables and tables of different olive oils, vinegars, and lavender products that are just loaded with goodies. Just dip a little spoon in the samples and taste the olive oil straight. Our favorites are rosemary, garlic, and jalapeno. These flavored oils are not labeled organic, but after discussing it with one of their helpful associates, found that they are grown organically without pesticides, etc.-- just haven't paid for the certification. Are they raw? Don't know, but just a touch here and there on some fresh fruits and veggies are delish--no different than occassionally using maple syrup, agave, etc.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Black? Smoothies?

Our green smoothies are starting to look a little like black smoothies--especially Elizabeth's. She LOVES to add in the spirulina as well as E3Live. This beauty was strawberries, spinach, E3Live and a bit of spirulina. The extra protein helps balance the sugars and gives a great boost to the day. YUMMY!