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!

Great Veggies in Midland

What a great sign! When traveling, it's always wise to scout ahead of the trip and find what veggie friendly restaurants are available. This was a great find in Midland, Texas -- Strawberry Fields. Perfect for our family of mixed diets. Plenty of organic vegetarian items with a few free range chicken dishes thrown in for my husband. Great juices and smoothies as well as a salad bar. It's name came from the owner's love of the oldies. There were album covers all over the walls. My husband was in absolute heaven.

Laura's Chocolate

Laura's chocolate pudding is just unbelievable! Made with avocado and so...... smooth.
This was one of the desserts served at our last raw class.