My Yummy Local Life

{October 17, 2013}   Yum Yum Box # 21

Our box is back!!! I am so excited- 24 lovely boxes are in my future. Here is the first one:


6 bell peppers
2 chili peppers
2 baby eggplants
2 baking pumpkins
1 acorn squash

Oh happy day- there are soups and fall recipes in my near future. I have been making pumpkin EVERYTHING. In addition to the two pumpkins above I also have these:


Yes one of those is a blue pumpkin. Yes I will be consuming all of these. No I don’t want to carve them. Okay maybe I will carve ONE since I have so many and the 4 above plus the 3 already consumed in out household have come to us for free (Consumed how you ask? Well- in the form of pumpkin pie, pumpkin kale lasagna– twice, pumpkin beer, pumpkin granola bars, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin bread, pumpkin soft pretzels, pumpkin oatmeal, pumpkin breakfast cookies, pumpkin goat cheese pasta, pumpkin monkey bread, double pumpkin chocolate swirl brownies, pumpkin BBQ sauce with pasta and soon to be more pumpkin deliciousness…)

Also I have obtained two pomegranates from church friends. I peeled them today in this very groovy way and it was very fast and mess free.


Here are some of the pumpkin things I have managed to capture I pictures before they were completely gone:


Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Granola


Pumpkin soft pretzels


Pumpkin Swirl Brownies


Pumpkin bread


Pumpkin breakfast cookies


Pumpkin pie

{May 4, 2013}   Yum Yum Produce Box #9

There was bounty in my box this week. Check it out:


Here’s what we got:
– 7 summer squash/zucchini
– 1 huge bunch of cilantro
– 1 bunch of kale
– 1 small bunch of beets with tops (chard)
– 1 large bunch of garlic scapes
– 1 bunch of spring onions
– 1 bunch of quinoa leaves/quioletes/wild spinach
– 1 large bag of sprouts

So the summer squash so early is quite a surprise, although there are places in the state that already feel a lot like summer. We’re going to make squash pasta- basically pasta with roasted/sautéed squash, some garlic and onions and some goat cheese- all made into a sauce with a little white wine. I’ll try to take pictures and post the recipe.

Our current favorite way to eat kale is inside of a frittata so I think we’re going to do that again with some various veggies added in to it. I’ve been basing it loosely on this sweet potato kale frittata.

Favorite ingredient of the week is garlic scapes. They are very strong so a few goes a long way. We added them to the top of our cabbage casserole on Thursday, and put some in our enchiladas last night. I think they will be in everything this week. However the specific plans we have for them is a scape and beet top pizza with Brie- combining this and this recipe.

My bread of the week will also contain the garlic scapes (and peppers and cheese). The bread will then be used for grilled cheese sandwiches for lunches and French onion soup sandwiches for dinner one night.

These sandwiches are one of our fall back staples but we haven’t made them in a long time. I’m really looking forward to them. We’re also making another staple in our house- quinoa burrito bowls which will use some of the cilantro and the quinoa leaves/wild spinach.

The beets themselves…ok. Here’s where I get nervous this week. We’ve tried them a few ways before and neither the hubby nor I have found them to be very tasty. More like they taste like clean dirt. Anyways were going to try roasting them along with some sweet potato as a side dish and see how they go. I’ve got about 6 different methods pinned on Pinterest so we’ll see!

Aside from that I am overrun with sprouts. I can’t seem to use them enough and I think I have about 3 weeks worth in my refrigerator right now! Eek! If you live close to me and want some to share please let me know! Also if you have any good ideas for using them, chime in! We usually put some on salads, stir fry, in egg wraps ect. but we still don’t seem to make a dent before the next box comes!

Have a yummy week!

{April 19, 2013}   Yum yum produce box # 7

Well I made it through my first 6 week cycle of CSA boxes. And now here I am at the beginning of another cycle. This week we got another lovely box of veggies:


This weeks box has:
Napolitos (prickly pear pad)- these grow like weeds in AZ so it’d be awesome if I like it.
1 bag of sprouts
1 large bunch of carrots
1 bunch of Swiss chard
1 bunch of rutabaga
1 bunch of Russian red kale
2 extra large fennel bulbs

So my ingredient of the week is fennel. There is SO much of it and the flavor goes such a long way. My thought is that it will get to go in a little bit of everything. A few of my ideas are fennel pork potstickers, Caramelized fennel & onion pizza, and mussels in a fennel wine broth. I am hopeful that these three will use most of the fennel.

The newsletter that came with my box says that the cactus pads are often grilled and then added to eggs or as a tortilla filling. So I’m thinking we’ll go with that for a first attempt.

I still have a lot of canned pumpkin left and this kale and pumpkin lasagna looks like it will be pretty tasty. We’re bringing dinner to a friend this week too so we can split the batch of lasagna. I usually exchange cottage cheese for the ricotta cheese- I think the texture is a little better and it adds some extra protein.

At this point I am hiding carrots in anything and everything, so not making any special plans for those.

The rutabaga is just gonna hang for a while. It will last longer than everything else so it’s going to hang out with the turnip from last week until I hear of a great idea for these root veggies. Any particular ways you love to have rutabaga or turnips?

Also, the sauerkraut we made last week is ready to consume and we are nearly done with the latest batch of corned beef. The bread of the week this week will be marbled rye. Add those up and we’ll be having a Ruben night.

I venture into the raw milk world this week and sure enough it did not bother my tummy like regular pasteurized milk does. The only problem is that we can only buy it by the gallon at the store. Not wanting it to go bad, I used some of it and made farmers cheese.


This was my very first time making cheese. Having gotten past the hurdle of doing it once, I’m ready to get a kit and start making a variety of cheeses. (Maybe the next Reuben day will involve homemade Swiss cheese too!)


As always, you can check out some more CSA boxes at In Her Chucks’ link party.

Have a yummy local week!

{March 22, 2013}   Yum Yum Produce Box #3

Week 3 is here (already!). I got a little backed up so I spent today making veggie chips (chard and radish) and a new batch of carrot top pesto, so I could have space for the new box contents. Well here’s what we got this week:


1 bunch of HUGE carrots
1 bunch of mustard greens
1 bunch of collar greens
1 bunch of radishes
1 bunch of turnips
1 bag of spinach leaves
1 small bag of sprouts
4 sweet potatoes

I invented some carrot cake waffles today. I’ll try to get pictures and post them on a future post. Hubby even like them (hidden carrots!!). Thanks to In Her Chucks for suggesting carrot cake (I’ll probably be making some regular cake/cupcakes soon too). Do you think I can freeze shredded carrot-like you would shredded zucchini/squash?

I don’t have an excellent plan in mind quite yet for this week. We really liked the radishes cooked in stir fry last week, so we may do another one this week. We thought they tasted a bit like water chestnuts once they were cooked.

I have a feeling that most of the sprouts and spinach will go for lunches as part of salads or wraps. It’s warm enough to want a cool lunch instead of something hot all the time.

So I did try to collard leaves as a wrap and also in a green smoothie. I didn’t love them as a wrap, but it was kind of an off day so I might try them again this way sometime. I DID like the green smoothie, and made the leftover into popsicles for snacking. I will definitely be drinking more greens.

Does anyone have a favorite collard recipe? I just find them very bitter every way I’ve had them so far except when masked with fruit.

Mustard greens…here’s another one I’m not sure I like. I haven’t hit up the Internet for ideas yet, but hopefully I can find a way to like them.

Not sure what we’ll make with the turnips this week yet. We still haven’t made the turnip sweet potato gratin from last week as I’m writing this, so they might just get added into there.

SWEET POTATOES! Basically one of my all time favorite foods. I let out a little squeal when I saw them hiding in the bottom of my box. True story. I don’t really care what happens to them as long as they get into my belly- we have some javelina chorizo sausage still so we might make up some sweet potato chorizo casserole. It’s one of our go to recipes from the Almost Meatless cookbook.

Thanks to Yum Yum for another great box!

Check out the other CSA yumminess at In Her Chucks link party.

{March 15, 2013}   Yum Yum Produce Box #2

Well here I am again, just picked up my second Yum Yum Produce veggie box.  There are a few more things I am unfamiliar with this week, so let the challenge begin.

This weeks box contains:

1 bunch of carrots

1 bunch of brocolini

1 bunch of turnips

1 bunch of radishes

“Quelites” aka lamb’s quarters aka wild spinach

1 bag sunflower seed sprouts

1 bunch collard greens

1 bunch Swiss Chard

WOW! Where should I start?  So there are a few things here that I am not sure if I like (or have ever had).  Turnips and Radishes I maybe had as a kid, but I definitely do not have any fond memories at all of them.  I remember raw radishes on salads and always picking around them.  Turnips I may have never had in my life.  I’ve also never had quelites.

Last week we had our collard greens sautéed as a side dish with rice and “tortured” (read: SPICY) sole filets.  I concluded that I don’t really like collard greens in their cooked state.  If we can find some frozen fruit on sale, I’m thinking I might try them this week in this green smoothie, but if not we might try some collard wraps. My thought here is to hide them with foods I know I like and maybe trick myself.  My hubby also made a “collard wrap” this week with a collard leaf, cheese and hot sauce in a tortilla; I’m going to try them this way next time he makes them as well.

This stir fry recipe looks really good and includes two things from my box: radishes and quelites. Might throw some of those sprouts on top of it too. I know for sure I’ve never had radishes cooked (and neither had my hubby), so I’m interested to see how they are in this.  If radishes turn out to be a not-favorite, we can always make them into cinnamon sugar radish chips 🙂 Everything is better as chips right?

Speaking of chips, last week I made my kale into chips, which were delicious as always, then I hopped on Pinterest and discovered that you can make swiss chard into chips too, so I’m going to try that for snacking this week!

So the other thing to tackle is the turnips; I am thinking turnip and sweet potato gratin, because I know I like sweet potatoes and cheese. Might as well make my first experience with turnips a good one 🙂

Going to make a brocolini cheese sauce with pasta to go with our fish this week while my sister is in town–she doesn’t eat anything with fur 😉

There is also some beans and rice on the menu this week, and we’ll be going out to get Mexican food somewhere in Cottonwood (my sister wants to get “real mexican food” while she is the closest to Mexico she’s ever been).

Looks like carrots might be a staple. I’ve been snacking on them, but does anyone out there have a favorite recipe that uses carrots?

Check out the other CSA deliciousness people got this week over at In Her Chucks link party.

Have a yummy, local week!

{April 15, 2012}   4/14 menu of yumminess

It’s going to be another delicious week:

– Strawberries for snacking, breakfasting and Strawberry Margaritas!

Asparagus quinoa salad (again), with some of the local broccoli as well

– Veggie Calzones- with homemade pizza sauce, fresh dough and an assortment of veggies and mozzarella

Avocado Caesar Salad– Learned this week that you can replace the egg yolk in homemade caesar salad dressing with an avocado, so we’re going to give it a go and see how it tastes…

-Tofu stir fry with fresh broccoli, onions and probably some assorted other veggies

– Seared lamb chops with some veggies on the side

Here’s a picture of last night’s deliciousness:

Strawberry Margarita and Asparagus Quinoa Salad

{February 27, 2010}   Shepherd’s Pie My Way

Winter is dragging on!  I am getting excited for spring- we are planting a church garden this year, and the seeds have been ordered and are on their way.   

For the time being- there are MORE potatoes to be had at the farmer’s market.  I also discovered some frozen veggies left from the end of summer when we were re-arranging the freezer for this month’s beef CSA.   Since I am hopeful that food will be on time this season, I have been trying to use some of this frozen veg up.

Most people make shepherd’s pie out of leftovers that have already been cooked, but I am trying to use up frozen stuff (beef, veg) and potatoes; so when it was my turn to make dinner for my ladies small group I thought Shepherd’s Pie would be the perfect thing.

Shepherd’s Pie:

Layer ONE:

1/2 onion, chopped (organic)

1 clove garlic, minced

1 cup corn, frozen (Lyons Farm)

1/2 c green beans, frozen (N. Raleigh Farmer’s Market & my sad, sad little bean plant)

1/2 c carrots

1 c tomato sauce (canned from the summer)

2 dashes Worcestershire sauce

4 dashes aminos (or soy sauce)

Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) (organic from Italy)

salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Over medium heat, saute the onions and garlic in a little bit of EVOO until soft, about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add in the rest of the vegetables and cook about 2 more minutes. 
  3. Add the tomato sauce. Worcestershire and soy sauces; bring to a boil, then simmer for a couple minutes.
  4. Pour this layer into the bottom of a  square or round casserole dish (8″).

Layer TWO:

1 lb ground beef (from Rare Earth Farms CSA)

salt and pepper


  1. Over high heat, add the beef and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.
  2. Cook until browned, breaking into small pieces.
  3. Spread this over the vegetable layer in the casserole dish.

* you can also use leftover beef of any type that is already cooked, just cut into small cubes and layer on top of the vegetables instead*

Layer THREE:

2 medium red creamer potatoes, chopped (from Cane Creek Farms)

1 russet potato, peeled and chopped (Cane Creek Farms)

EVOO and salt (for water)

1 Tbsp butter

2 Tbsp sour cream (Horizon organic)

1/4 cup whipping cream (Organic Valley)

1 egg, lightly beaten (from Rare Earth Farms)

1/2 cup hoop cheese, shredded (from Ashe Co., NC- bought at Earth Fare)


  1. Place chopped potatoes into a pot of water with some EVOO and salt. 
  2. Bring to a boil and let boil for about 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork tender.
  3. Drain and return potatoes to the hot pot.
  4. Add the butter and sour cream and mash with a  fork or potato masher.
  5. Using an electric mixer, add the whipping cream in and then add the egg.
  6. Whip potatoes until they are smooth.
  7. Spread the potatoes on top of the beef in the casserole dish.
  8. Maker sure to spread all the way to the edges of the pan.
  9. Sprinkle the top with the shredded cheese.
  10. Bake at 350 F for about 30 minutes (until the cheese is bubbly).

Shepherd’s Pie is a yummy comfort food that can be made through many seasons! Experiment with different vegetable combinations based on what you have available!

{January 30, 2010}   Man Chili

It’s snowing for the first time all winter here in Raleigh.  I thought this recipe would be appropriate to share today, as it is simple, warm and comforting.

This recipe is for all the guys out there who think they can’t cook.  It is so incredibly easy and also yummy and fresh. I am calling it “Man chili” because it contains beer, an entire jar of salsa and corn chips.

Man Chili in the Crock Pot

Man Chili (kinda sorta adapted from Alton Brown)


~2 cups Beans, cooked (or 1 can of beans)

1 lb beef; stewing beef works best, but ground beef will do (from our CSA from Rare Earth Farms)

1 jar salsa, mild, spicy, hot really doesn’t matter (I got a local brand from Earth Fare, made in Winston-Salem, NC)

1 bottle of beer (this time we used Sam Adams Winter Lager)

1 chipotle pepper, whole

1-2 Tbsp chili powder, to taste (we use homemade, made from my daddy’s dried chilis)

1 Tbsp cocoa powder (fair trade, organic from Equal Exchange)

1 Tbsp instant coffee (crap we try to use/get rid of when it doesn’t need to taste like coffee)

1-2 handfuls tortilla chips, organic


  1. Cook the beans if they are dry- about 1 1/2 cups will make 2-3 cups of beans cooked. Basically boil in water until they are tender. About 20 minutes gives them a good head start, they will continue to cook in the chili.
  2. Get crock pot ready to dump ingredients into.
  3. If you are using stew beef, use a food processor to grind it up into slightly smaller chunks. This prevents the need for a knife with your finished chili.  Ground beef will work just as well.
  4. In a hot pan, brown the beef. This will take about 5 minutes.
  5. Put the browned beef, jar of salsa, bottle of beer (the husband usually leaves about an ounce to drink left in the bottle), chipotle, chili powder, cocoa and coffee all into the crock pot.
  6. Add in the beans, and their liquid.  If needed add more water so that everything starts out covered.
  7. Crumble 1-2 large handfuls of corn chips into the chili. This helps to thicken the chili, you can always add more if you want it thicker later.
  8. Set the crock pot for the length of time you want it to cook.  We usually do 4-6 hours on high.  If you prep it in the morning, you can do 8-12 hours on low.
  9. Serve over cornbread, or rice.  This time I made corn bread muffins using corn bread recipe found in The Bread Baker’s Apprentice.

    Corn bread muffins from Bread Baker's Apprentice (Bacon on top)

  10. If desired, garnish with cheese and sour cream.
  11. Warning: Unless you are nuts, don’t eat the whole chipotle.

So guys, make this for you wife, fiancé, girlfriend, mother, sister… whoever.  It is so easy and will earn you mega brownie points. Even if you never cook, you can use this recipe to jump-start your yummy local life!

et cetera