Posts tagged ‘Sustainable Eating’

May 1, 2010

Succulent Strawberries

and more at the Courthouse market this morning.  The twins came with us to the market today, and our picky eater was swooning over the strawberries (or maybe that was just the morning heat – it’s summer here in NoVA!).  She was given photography tasks this morning, so her pictures are featured in today’s blog.  Westmoreland Berry Farm is one of our favorite vendors at the market, and our shopping always begins at their stall.  Today we were greeted by spring onions, asparagus, and rows and rows of strawberries.  As everyone who shops at the farmer’s market knows, freshly picked asparagus tastes nothing like out-of-season asparagus that comes from Chile.  We have not even been tempted to prepare the asparagus in any fancy ways – steamed or roasted makes it perfect. 

EcoFriendly Foods wasn’t there this week, and weren’t there last week, so we decided to try some buffalo halfsmokes from Cibola Farms.  They were lunch today…and so have already been consumed.  One small criticism from the sausage expert–they tasted more like Italian sausage than a halfsmoke – but I’m going to encourage a weekly sausage purchase from them so that we can try all the different types.  

We also got our first tomatoes – some sungolds from Twin Springs we’ll use them with the middle eastern cucumbers and feta to make one of our favorite salads this week (just add a little Annie’s Goddess dressing to the veggies and cheese, and serve with a loaf of Atwater’s Country White, and really who needs anything else for lunch?).

It’s always fun to shop with the kids because then we have an excuse to stop at The Holy Grael of Sorbet.  The lime sorbet is wonderful, but I know that the kids can’t wait until we’re further into berry season when the range of flavors will expand.

Another week, another fridge full of the freshest local produce we can find.  Beyond what is described above, we’ll thrive on salad greens, basil, spinach, sweet potatoes, smoked gouda, apple cider, and mitake mushrooms. Dinner at the Family Foodie promises much this week…and I, for one, am ready for the strawberry-rhubarb pie that has been promised to me.  Check back for photos.

April 28, 2010

Meatless Miercoles

As recommended in some of my favorite reads, Diet for a Hot Planet and Food Matters,  we have been trying to purposefully plan at least one meatless meal/day a week, and I thought that we could try Meatless Mondays.  However, Meatless Monday didn’t happen this week (there were some ribs defrosted over the weekend that just needed to be cooked…), but the adults had a Meatless Martes, and we all had a Meatless Miercoles.  I’m pretty sure that trying to reduce your footprint on the planet by having meatless meals isn’t restricted to Monday, right?  So what did we eat?  Last night, we had a mushroom-spinach pizza (frozen, I fear), with a side of sautéed mitake mushrooms and wonderful salad from the market.  The kids had cheese tortellini, but the boys had a homemade tomato-meatball sauce.  The ribs were gone too, so I’m pretty sure someone had those for lunch!

Tonight, we all accomplished the meatless goal.  We made one of our favorites, red lentils and rice, based on a Mark Bittman recipe, from How to Cook Everything I have been noticing that variants on red lentil dal were recently featured on the Tea & Cookies blog, and in Eat My Globe, and was glad that one of our basic meatless meals is enjoyed by so many.  If you haven’t tried to prepare red lentils, I highly recommend them.  Quick, easy, delicious, and amenable to many different palates – key requirements for a weeknight dinner in our house. Accompanied by farmer’s market spinach sautéed with garlic, and the original Major Grey’s Mango Chutney, and a lovely malbec, it was just what we all wanted. Well, what most of us wanted. I must note that the picky eater had sunny side up eggs and toast, and asserted that she is not a food separatist, because, she said, she was dipping her toast in her eggs.  Her older brother then asked her about lasagna…her response:  eeew!  Ah well, we will continue to encourage her to taste new foods, and will wait to see what’s on her plate when she is 25.

April 21, 2010

Grass-fed beef

isn’t chewy, tastes like grass, is delicious, flavorful, and… tastes just like regular steak.  Oh well, four out of five noticed a difference!  We purchased a flat-iron steak from Emerald Family Farms at the market on Saturday (brought to the farmer’s market by EcoFriendly Foods), and served it last night.  We prepared it simply – quick fried in butter in the cast-iron pan, served with onions (also fried in butter…), basmati, sauteed spinach with garlic, and a green salad.  Everything from the market except the garlic, rice, and the salad dressing!  Buying meat at the farmer’s market is not actually something we’ve done typically, but since we’re trying to eat meatless meals more regularly and becoming more aware of the horrors of industrial meat production, we’ve made it a priority to be more mindful of where the meat we eat comes from.  Thus, the grass-fed beef.  If you haven’t had any, it’s absolutely worth every penny.

I think that we’ll have to buy some more next week.

April 19, 2010

Waste not, want not

or Finish your peas…the ice caps are melting (Lappe’s Principle 5).  So Lappe is mainly focused on large scale waste, but when I clean the fridge, I’m always amazed at how much food goes to waste.  So, as a family, we’ve been trying to reduce what goes into the garbage/compost.

What are your favorite ways to use up the odds and ends in your fridge?  For us, I think the top four must be:

1. Chicken soup – start with a roasted chicken carcass, add lots of seasoning (including fresh herbs from the garden, of course), onions, garlic, the wilted veggies in the vegetable drawer, and a starch (noodles, leftover rice, or potatoes).  This used to seem very complicated, but it’s become a staple in our house.  It’s so easy to do, and there’s nothing so delicious-smelling as a pot of stock burbling on the burner.

2. Splorch – this is really just a funny name for a smoothie, but it’s one of the kids’ favorite summer drinks.  It involves ice, fruit that’s a bit too old to eat fresh, fruit juice or concentrate, water, and a blender!  Nothing like it when it’s 90 degrees and humid…typical DC weather. The only challenge we face is when the fruit we want to include berries…then our berry-hater is unhappy.

3. Stir fry – when you have a little bit of this, and a little bit of that, and a whole bunch of rice that wasn’t finished the night before, stir fry is a great way to clean out the fridge and make sure to reduce waste.  And our picky eater has become one of the greatest fans of this option – especially when we can add some frozen edamame to the mix.

4. Omelet – see above for stir fry – the key here is that you need cheese and lots of eggs, but if you have those, and a little bit of this, and a little bit of that, then an omelet is a great way to go.  This becomes an even more wonderful meal if you have bread from the farmer’s market, or time to make your own bread.

Readers, your thoughts?

April 17, 2010

Asparagus is here

Asparagus rulesI jumped with joy when I saw that Westmoreland was back at the market, and that there were buckets and buckets of asparagus.  Local asparagus is so sweet and delicious and lovely… a little olive oil, some Chesapeake Bay sea salt, and a 400 degree oven … is it time for dinner yet?!  But I digress. 

More and more farmers are coming to the market, and we are having great fun seeing the market grow to it’s full growing season size.  The market is very green right now – lots of salad greens, mesculin, spinach, arugula, mustard greens, kale, cilantro, green onions.  This past week has been busy in our house, so we still have some arugula and spinach, but we needed our weekly fix of salad fixin’s.

What else?  We loved the mozzarella balls from Blue Ridge Dairy so much last week – a new item for us – that I was sent with a special request to get more. I decided to buy some of their fresh unsalted butter to try on the wonderful bread from Atwater’s that must be purchased every week.  We also purchased some maitake mushrooms from Mother Earth Organic Mushrooms  — the plan is to sautee those  in the fresh butter, and serve them with a grilled flat iron steak from Emerald Family Farms, and sweet potato fries (still have sweet potatoes from last week’s shop).  If I’m really lucky, I’ll convince the man of the house to make an apple pie with our apples from Toigo

We didn’t make it to the market in time to get eggs, but we do have some pork sausages and fresh bread that will be accompanied by fresh feta cheese and apple cider for Sunday morning breakfast.  Then the rest of the week, we’ll enjoy the Middle Eastern cucumbers as a snack or in salads, fresh mozzarella the rest of our greens in salads, and our bounty.  Right now it feels like living the local life is easy….and we are incredibly grateful that we have an active farming community to make it possible.  All that’s left to say is “Yum.”

April 15, 2010

Eat and be happy

This is the focus of an article, Captain of the Happier Meal in the May/June 2010 issue of Eating Well. According to the research of Dr. Hibbeln, consuming too many foods packed with omega-6-rich oils and too few packed with omega-3s may be related to depression and poor mental health.  So, he recommends, change your diet!  Who knew?!  I mean, I knew that it was good to pay attention to getting more omega-3-rich food in our diets, but knew nothing about omega-6s.  As I read the article further, I learned that we currently consume much more omega-6s than we need (10 to 25 times more omega-6s than omega-3s), and much of that is because of our overconsumption of processed foods – made with corn, soy, and safflower oils.  And, as I’ve been learning from my ongoing reading of Diet for a Hot Planet, the meat that most of us consume is grain fed – and guess what those grains are? Corn and soy.  So, the meat that we eat is contributing both to climate change … and to the human species’ negative vibe.  As a psychologist, I know that the brain is mostly fat, but it never really clicked how important diet is to the composition of our brains! So, more reason to reduce our meat consumption, increase veggie and fruit input, and try to introduce more omega-3-rich fish into our diet…

Another reason for us all, including the Family Foodie, to think twice about the food we put in our mouth.  Now, I’m not sure how I’m going to convince my seafood hater to eat more seafood, but I have some good ideas about what I need to consider when I shop for or prepare the snacks that he’s always looking for.

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