My Yummy Local Life











{August 15, 2013}   Yum Yum Produce Box #17

Cannot believe that this is box five out of our eight week cycle! It feels like it just started. Here’s what we got in our box this week:

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1 bag of sunflower sprouts
1 bunch kale
1 bunch chard
1 eggplant
2 sweet onions
2 bulbs of garlic
2 lemon cucumbers
4 cucumbers
Many cherry tomatoes

We plan on using the eggplant ad some tomatoes for a ratatouille type pasta. I getting fresh milk on Monday so I will make some cheese and we will have fresh pizza. Also planning a stir fry to try to use up some sprouts. Got to use some greens for something. Hubby things maybe in some Mac and cheese. That will only make a dent (as we forgot to put the greens in the frittata we planned to use them in last week).

I will have you notice that there was no (sweet) fruit in my box, but never fear:

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(Ugly, sweet) nectarines that I picked thanks to Lindsey…and also a few bunches of grapes. So thankfully I am set on fruit again for a little while. It would be awesome if my freezer was fixed and I could freeze it in bigger batches.

Check out the other CSA blogs this week at In Her Chucks.

Have a yummy week!



{June 29, 2013}   Apricots- edible sunshine!

So earlier this week the lovely Lindsey invited me over to help harvest fruit off of their apricot tree. My reward was about half of the bounty:

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The above picture was after I had sorted them into “ripe today”, “ripe tomorrow” and “needs a few days” batches.

The ones that were ripe right away I halved and frozen on a sheet tray.

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After about 2 rounds of freezing I ended up with about a gallon of frozen apricots for use in smoothies and smoothie popsicles.

There were still A LOT of apricots left. I thought I might make some jam but since it is HOT here in AZ- with the high temperatures hovering around 110°F- I decided to see what was involved with drying fruit in the sun. As it turns out, as long as you dip them in lemon/citric acid water so that they won’t brown, that you basically have to remove the seeds and let the sun do all the work.

EASY AND 100% FREE!

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The first batch went from being 40 ounces to being about 8 oz once the fruit was dry enough. Surprisingly this only took about a day and a half. So afterward I did two more batches. And that is the end of my apricots (or the beginning depending on your perspective). I am storing them in mason jars and filled 3 quart jars and them a little overflow in some plastic baggies.

I am still shocked and amazed that this was a successful endeavor. Coming from Florida and then North Carolina you can even dry your hair in the summer time, let alone food!

Now I am definitely going to make some sun dried tomatoes…and maybe some other dried fruits…what would you dry in the excessive heat and next to no humidity of the Arizona sunshine?



LOTS of green going on this week.  I am still having headaches when I eat stuff with a lot of onion in it, but have found that peppers can at least give some flavor and crunch to a recipe that is supposed to have more onions.  The Ladies of LOVE Chapel Hill are having a “crock pot prep day” today and I am excited about trying out some new recipes.  I am making this vegetarian recipe: Squash, Chickpea and Red Lentil Stew– got all the ingredients for 16 servings worth for $20- at Whole Foods.  Eating healthy doesn’t have to break the bank.

Here’s what I got at the market today:

Fall finds 10/9

Costa Rican Coffee: $9

Hot pimento goat cheese and Luntias (brie like cheese)- $9 (SO missed my cheese fix when I didn’t go to the market last week- next week I’m getting pumpkin spice goat cheese and jalapeno queso fresco- love my cheese guy!)

Huge bunch of beautiful KALE and a bag of Tatsoi- $6 (KALE CHIPS!!)

Shishito peppers- $2.50 (Price is dropping- they must be on their way out- hubby will be sad)

Mix bag of bell peppers- $6

Grand total: $32.50

Also over the course of the last week and a half I have gotten 2 dozen duck eggs.  The layers are doing so good so far- averaging 2 eggs per day.  Eggs in everything! Keep up the good work little ducks!

That’s about $10 worth of eggs!

Have a yummy week- and if you need inspiration, check out In Her Chucks’ link party for more yummy ideas.



Farmer’s Market (plus cucumbers and green zebra that we grew)

To anyone who dislikes fall, you cannot argue that this is a beautiful array of colors and flavors to be had this week.  Find of the week is definitely the fresh ginger- which will be contributing to a new *not exploding* batch of ginger ale!

Here’s the breakdown:

Mozzarella, Farmer’s Cheese and figs: $14 (supposed to be $14.25 but the guy likes me)

3 leeks, 1 bunch of basil: $5

Fresh Ginger: $3.70

Bell peppers, sweet peppers and tomatoes: $7.95

Shishito peppers, fairytale eggplants: $6

Sweet potatoes: $3.25

Cucumbers: FREE to a good home (will be bringing them to church tomorrow to share)

Grand Total: $39.90



So it seems that fall is making an early appearance here in Carrboro. It was chilly this morning when I headed out to the Chapel Hill Farmer’s Market.  First thing I saw were some pumpkins of various sizes! That is a sure sign that Fall is fast approaching! Hooray- Fall is my favorite season. Not only because of pumpkin everything, but also because not being hot the minute you walk out the door makes me much more likely to spend more time outside and moving and less time on the computer or watching movies.

Anyways, here is what I obtained on this early fall morning (which was not really so early since I went to Chapel Hill and didn’t have to be there at 7 AM to get delicious options).

Early Fall Finds

Shishito peppers and juliette tomatoes: $6

Peppers and okra: $6

Garlic and shiitake mushrooms: $4.90

Fig Honey Chevre, Spicy Pimento Goat Cheese and Mozzarella: $13 (Got a dollar off for getting 2 spreadable cheeses-oh darn!)

Gala apples and muscadine grapes: $3

Edamame: $2

 

Grand Total: $34.90

 

Seeing the pumpkins made me decide to go check on the ones we had growing at the Love Chapel Hill Garden at Merritt’s Grill.  It’s kind of more like a jungle than a garden and I’ve been slacking on checking on it since we’ve gotten so much rain.  But anyways, I should not slack so much cuz here is what I found:

LCH Gardens Bounty

3 pumpkins (the plants were dead but these 3 pumpkins look pretty happy), 1 mini orange watermelon and 5 big cucumbers! That’s probably at least $15 worth of produce!

I know, tinniest watermelon EVER and ORANGE… don’t believe me? Check it out:

tiny orange watermelon

 



I’ve said this before, but at the Carrboro farmer’s market the early bird really does get the cream of the crop. In this case, I got some lovely oyster mushrooms today.  I think in order to get mushrooms you have to be truly among the first wave of people, which today I was, because I have to work at noon today instead of my usual 5pm shift on Saturdays and I wanted to make sure I would have time to go to the market, eat, write this and get ready for work all before 11am.

Here’s what I got:

This weeks veggies! Mushrooms as the highlight!

Mushrooms and long peppers: $5.00 (the mushrooms were 4 so those peppers were like $0.25 a piece!)

Three big tomatoes (all different types): $4.55

1/2 lb of table grapes: $1.50 (A couple of these will hopefully provide the yeast starter for my next batch of ginger ale)

Goat Cheese: $4.49

1 red and 1 white onion: $1.75

Salad mix: $4.00 (Not from my regular salad mix guy who I couldn’t find today-sad)

Peaches: $5.00

Total Spent: $26.29

Spaghetti Squash and Mangos!

Also got some spaghetti squashes and mangos (3, hubby already ate one) from a co-worker who had too many: FREE! (Because she knows I love to be cheap). These aren’t at the market right now, so not sure what their value might be, but free is a good price if you ask me!

Earlier this week I called to pretty much every blueberry picking farm in the area and got the same story: “We have some blueberries still ripening, we might be open for picking on Saturday, but if we are it will be the last day.” Lovely since Thursday is the day I had open and wanted to go picking…

So yesterday I called farms further west in the state (typically they have stuff for a week or two longer than us), thinking I could go next Wednesday on my day off, but NO… same. exact. story.  So sad for me. Evidently due to the extreme heat everyone’s blueberries are done early.  Happily they were still at the market, but I had to pay a stupid tax for not finding time to go sooner.  I got this bucket of blueberries for freezing:

Stupid Tax blueberries!

Instead of costing about $12-15 like they would have had I picked them myself (assuming between $2-3/lb), these lovely berries cost $25 for the 5 lb bucket.  Now they are getting frozen so that I can have blueberry muffins in the winter! Selfish. I know.

In all fairness, there was ONE farm that was still open for picking… since they are “certified organic” instead of just “natural growing practices” they charge $6.95/lb to have the privilege of picking some of their berries yourself.  That would have made my 5 lbs cost about $35, which is how I have talked myself into the fact that these berries were actually a deal!



{July 7, 2012}   Farmer’s Market 7/7

Farmer’s Market Beauty

It was a colorful day at the farmer’s market this morning.  I literally got something form every color of the rainbow! Also have some not pictured eggs and what I havent used yet from these beauties from a co-workers garden:

Garden sharing

We sliced one of those peppers and added it to our guacamole grilled cheese sandwiches and it totally made the sandwich even more AMAZING!

So here’s the price breakdown for this week’s rainbow of fruits and veggies:

Figs, 3 types of tomatoes, cucumbers: $16.00

Red and yellow onions, blueberries: $9.80

Salad mix and arugula: $7.00

Tomatillos and baby squash: $5.00

Eggplant: $2.00

Peaches: $5.00

Value of garden pickings and eggs: $7 (my price FREE)

Total Spent: $44.80

Total Value: $51.80

There are definitely some fresh salads in the near future. Not sure what else we’re going to concoct this week. Check back tomorrow to see what we decide upon.  I’m going to check out the link party now to see if I get any new ideas!



Summer must be in full swing because I had to make myself a farmer’s market grocery non-list.  This is a list of all the things that one should NOT spend their hard earned money on.  Not because these things are less delicious than the rest, but because they are FREE-flowing from your own and your friends gardens, or maybe you can get them wild off the side of the road.  Here are some of the things currently on the non-list:

Zucchini/Squash (these are pretty much ALWAYS on the non-list because they are also so easily frozen and saved for later)- looked like the average at the market was about $2/lb. These particular zucchinis came from the Love Chapel Hill Garden and I’m going to be taking them to church to try to give them away tomorrow!

Zucchini from LCH gardens

Blackberries (Einstein and I went picking on the side of the road last week)- we probably picked about $2.50 worth of blackberries for free- and they are just coming in.

Einstein “helping” pick blackberries

Freshly picked blackberries

Pink blackberries- we will be back!

Tomatoes and bell peppers are from the over flow of my friend’s garden, and the zucchini blossoms are from the Love Chapel Hill Garden at Merritt’s- again probably $2/lb for tomatoes and peppers usually are $1 a piece.  Squash blossoms were $0.50 each the one week I saw them at the market.

Homegrown goodness

Alright then, that is about $15 or so worth of FREE produce.  Here’s what I got at the Farmer’s Market to add to it:

Farmer’s Market Fare

Cucumbers, HUGE figs (!), and sungold tomatoes (if you have never tried these they are like candy!): $10

Onions and blueberries: $8

Peaches (Still the white ones, although they had some yellow freestones this week too): $5

2 lb bag of cornmeal, 1 lb of tomatillos (!): $6.50

Market Total: $29.50

Total Value of everything: $44.50

What are you growing? What’s in your box?  What are you making with fresh local fare? Share it at the inherchucks link party.  I’m there too 🙂

Have a yummy week!



I just need to brag here for a second.  I run the community garden at my church Love Chapel Hill.  As an experiment last fall I took a couple of bulbs of garlic, broke them apart, and planted the individual cloves in little rows.  This was back in September 2011.  And then I waited. And waited. And pulled some garlic in May that looked a lot more like a leek than a head of garlic.  So I waited some more.  Everything I read indicated that the garlic would be ready in June, so this weekend, I decided to pull another one to test and lo and behold it was a beautiful, fully formed head of garlic! (also pulled the first successful carrots)

Garlic and carrots from LCH gardens

Garlic and carrots from LCH gardens

So I went back the next day and pulled the rest of my first batch.  12 glorious fully formed heads of garlic, which are now braided together and hanging to dry. There are 6 more that I will pull in a couple of weeks.  I will most definitely be doing this again this September.  The 10 months is completely worth the wait.  Ok.  That is all.  If you live anywhere with a little square of land you should try this!

Glorious Garlic!

Glorious Garlic!



{April 30, 2012}   Strawberry Picking!

I went and picked a bunch of strawberries today.  Here are some of them:

Some went directly into some strawberry daquaris, the majority of the rest are in line to be frozen.  About a quart of them will be held in reserve for making some peach and strawberry jam, which was our favorite concoction from last year, but that won’t be until August when peaches are at their prime.  The rest, however many that ends up being, will be available for making smoothies and whatever else needs strawberries for the 10 months out of the year that we don’t hae fresh strawberries at the market.  The goal is to freeze about 4-5 gallons.  I picked 15.62 lbs today with my friend Megan, in addition to the 6 lbs she took home.

Cane Creek Farms grows everything naturally and organically with no sprays or pesticides, which is super important for strawberries as they are one of the “dirty dozen.” The pick-your-own berries were $2/lb, so they came out to a total of $31.24.



et cetera