Upgrade your life!

Search This Blog

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Are you on a restricted DIET (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Paleo, GAPS, etc). Check out RESOURCE:

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Coconut Flour Muffins

Baking is something that I gave up a few years ago, with the exception of homemade pies. Every year I make delicious pumpkin & pecan pie from scratch for Thanksgiving, but that is about it. I stay away from gluten & dairy. So much of the time it is too difficult to eat baked goods with those requirements. Well, these days I have felt the need to try and make a few baked goods myself. So this morning I decided to make muffins. Coconut flour muffins that are gluten-free & dairy-free. They tasted really good!

Here is what you need:

2 heaping tbsp of Coconut Oil* (I use Tropical Traditions brand)
*If the coconut oil is solid, heat it up so that you are working with a liquid
2 heaping tbsp of Raw Honey (if you are looking for a less sweet muffin try less Honey)
1/4 cup of applesauce (if you want dry muffins use less applesauce or cut it out entirely, I like my baked goods a bit on the heavy side.)
3 Eggs
1 tsp of Almond extract (if you want to use less feel free)
2 tbsp of coconut milk
- Mix the wet ingredients together in a bowl.

1/4 cup of Coconut Flour (Tropical Traditions brand)
1/4 tsp baking powder (aluminum free)
1 small carrot - minced into small bits
1/3 cup of almonds - minced into small bits
1/3 cup of goji berries
1/3 cup of shredded coconut (Tropical Traditions brand)
- Mix the dry ingredients into a bowl

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Then grease your muffin tins with coconut oil - enough so the muffins don't stick. Mix all the ingredients together and then spoon into the muffin tins about half way full. At this point I sprinkled shredded coconut on top of the muffins before I popped them into the oven, just to make it look pretty.

Bake for about 15-20 min depending on your oven. Use a toothpick, knife, or fork to test the muffin. If the utensil comes out clean the muffins are ready.

NOTE - mix and match things. I did not have any dried fruit or bitter chocolate chips, but if I had I might have tossed them in. I had also thought about using brown rice syrup rather than honey for a less sweet muffin (next time I will try that because these were sweeter than I had wanted for breakfast). I had a zucchini so I had debated on using that with the carrot...the possibilities are endless.

Don't forget to signup for the FREE Coconut Oil Contest!!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

WIN Virgin COCONUT OIL by Tropical Traditions!

Here are the details:

What -
Win a 16 oz. bottle of Gold Label Standard Virgin Coconut Oil!

Who -
Anyone can enter and as many times as they like! The winner will have to send me their mailing address (Sorry USA only).

How to Win-

Enter byLeaving a comment on this post, with your name, email and what you would like to hear about in this blog.***

Then if you so choose there are SEVERAL ways to multiply your chances of winning:

1. Enter by sending in a healthy recipe of your choice with a photo of your creation. Be as creative as you want. Your entry will be posted on this blog! Enter as many recipes as you like!

Email me with your recipe - mary@marylangfield.com

2. Sign up for a free 20 minute health consultation.

3. Become a follower of my blog - make sure to let me know

4. Follow me on Twitter @MULBERRYMARY - make sure you let me know who you are

5. Sign up for my newsletter - www.marylangfield.com (make sure I know you signed up via email)

6. Tweet about the Contest using @MULBERRYMARY (let me know!)

7. Link to this contest from your blog - let me know

8. Join my RSS Feed - let me know you signed up

WINNER will be chosen at random using - www.random.org

Time Frame -
Submit Entries starting today October 28th, 2009. Submission deadline is November 11th, 2009. Winner will be announced on November 13th, 2009!

I think that is everything.

Food Criticism: What are you eating?

I was inspired today to talk about how to deal with unwanted, unwarranted food criticism. This morning I received an email from a client asking for help. It seems like her family, co-workers, and others are interested in her food choices. By interested I mean to say scared, by her unprocessed whole foods. This challenge is something I also deal with a lot. Does this sound familiar? I try my best to keep my food opinions to myself (as much as possible) because I have had a lot of negative experiences myself. It isn't always easy when dealing with family. You want what is best for them whether they are interested or not. And ever since I started eating wholesome foods I feel AMAZING and I want to share. However, I think I am a lot better at keeping to myself these days than I used to be. Of course, sometimes before I even see what someone is eating they think I am judging them (I am thinking of my family). It is a drag. No one wants to be a downer. So on to the irksome question.

What are you eating? followed with a face of disgust or a loud eew sound. Really are we five years old again? I totally get it. I like my food and you like yours. I want to eat loads of veggies, grass-fed meats that were raised humanly without anti-biotics,  and raw butter & cheeses. I enjoy eating whole grains that I get out of the bulk aisle that take a bit more time to prepare, but I feel better eating that kind of fiber. These foods do not have marketing executives backing them. No one is making huge amounts of money off of broccoli. If you have ever read anything by Michael Pollan you know that he suggests that you avoid anything that has to be marketed to you, anything that needs convincing (say Coke with vitamins). However, if you enjoy a breakfast of Pop-Tarts and Cherry Coke to get you going. Then by all means enjoy. At least you are eating breakfast.

Here is an example from my life. Head to the work refrigerator and bust out my lunch. Heat it up at the microwave and while I am waiting for my healthy green soup to cook someone looks at my lunch and makes disgusting sounds about what I am about to eat. Their eyes start bugging out of their head, a curled lip, and overall distain for what I am about to eat. It doesn't have to be soup, it could be hummus, seaweed, sardines, kale or whatever leftovers I had. Then comes the next question.

Why are you eating that? I would explain that my homemade soup, hummus, seaweed, sardines, kale or whatever is not processed and full of unwanted sugars, chemicals, artificial flavors, etc...it is also tasty and fulling. Of course, they are not listening they instead either change the subject or zone out. Why did they ask?

So how do I handle the questions?

  • I turn it around and ask them what they are eating? I try to focus on the other person, everyone likes to talk.
  • I sometimes joke that I am eating tree bark, leaves, roots...and then slip in what I am actually eating, which seems normal in comparison.

So the question for you dear readers: How would you advise my client?

Tell me if your food choices ever get heckled and how you have learned to deal with it? I would also like to know how you create a safe space with others to talk about food choices.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Good Karma & Homelessness

Sometimes, I feel really overwhelmed when I think about donating. I feel like I have to give money to an organization never a real person.  Of course, then when I encounter someone on the side of the road I am never sure how to act. It hurts my heart and I struggle with decisions: Should I ignore them, pray for a green light so that I do not have to stop, smile at them and give them whatever money I can?

Do you ever feel at a loss when you are driving or walking by someone who is homeless. You want to help, but feel like you are not sure how? Maybe you do not feel comfortable giving them cash because you aren't sure they will use it to feel themselves? Or you ignore the homeless because you are not sure what to do? 

Today I wanted to share with you some ideas that my husband's cousin, Christi gave me. Christi has graciously given these tips so that we can make an impact and really help in the short-term.

  • Who doesn't love a new pair of socks? I know I do! Imagine having to wear your socks for more than one day? Not a pleasant thought right? Try imagining wearing the same socks for 2 weeks? The BEST item to give is clean socks
  • Keep a bag in your car that has socks, gloves, hats, blankets, granola bars to hand out
  • When you are shopping pick up whatever is on sale (gloves, socks, blankets, granola bars)
  • You don't have to buy new. Go through your closets, ask your friends for gently used items.  Remember if you won't wear it because it has holes or stains DON'T give to homeless people.  Everyone likes to feel good about themselves, even homeless people.  
  • Just roll down your window and ask them if they would like, socks or hats etc.  
  • You don't have to give money to make a homeless person happy.  
  • No one likes to be looked through...look at the homeless in their eyes, say hi, ask how they are doing.  They are people too!
Where ever you live these tips can be helpful. Do you have any other helpful tips or other ideas to keep good karma going? Leave a comment!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Nope its a Spanish Omelet, yummy.

This morning I decided to make a Tortilla de Patata, otherwise known as a Spanish Omelet. This dish is one of my favorites and it brings back a lot of memories. In college, my husband and I spent a month backpacking through a tiny piece of Europe. We ended up in Barcelona. Barcelona was fantastic (and it wasn't because of the plentiful sangria! well sort of). We stayed in a touristy part of town on the street Las Ramblas. There were tons of street vendors, amazing restaurants, and the water front wasn't far away. We spent our time visiting architectural endeavors by the famous Gaudi, touring museums featuring Salvador Dali, Picasso, and Gaudi among many other things.

Anyway back to the omelet! One of the best things I had to eat in Barcelona was the Tortilla de Patata. Lucky for me my husband told me that his mother knew how to make the Spanish Omelet. One of the first things I did on my return to the States was get a lesson.

The Spanish Omelet is a staple. You can eat it for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Sometimes in Spain they would toss it on a baguette. I like to serve it with a side salad. And it is great to make on the weekend so you are assured you have an easy meal to eat for breakfast during the work week or to take for lunch. The best part about it is it requires so little ingredients!

I decided to make my own version (go figure). Now for those of you that are interested in making this omelet - a word of warning. It requires the ability to flip your pan upside down and then replace the omelet in the pan for cooking on both sides. This takes practice. So even if you don't get a beautiful round saucer like omelet the first time it will still taste great. Here is a great STEP by STEP with photos.

So I chose to use some other ingredients instead of the traditional ones.

2 - Leeks
4 - Purple Potaotes
4 - eggs (mixed with a fork)
1 cup of sesame oil
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 - 4 inch diameter pan

1. Chop the leeks and clean them in a colander
2. Peel potatoes, half, and then slice in thin half moon shapes
3. Put a bit of oil in a large frying pan, turn of the heat, then toss in the leeks.
4. Once the leeks have been in for a minute or two toss in the potatoes. Mix well with the oil. If necessary add a tad more.
5. Season with sea salt & cracked pepper.
6. Let the onions & potatoes caramelize a bit and become translucent
7. Turn off the heat.
8. Pour the onions & potatoes into a bowl and then add your eggs. Make sure to mix everything. Let the mixture stand up to 20 minutes so it binds (this binding can be skipped, but it helps!)
9. Heat your 4 inch diameter pan with oil - cover the bottom - it is very important to use enough oil so that the mixture does not stick to the pan. (You can always add more)
10. Once the pan is very hot, add the mixture slowly. Use a spatula to make sure the edges of the pan do not stick to the mixture. If they do, add oil. Also make sure it doesn't stick by shaking the frying pan a bit so that your mixture moves and isn't connected on the edges.
11. Let it cook. I would say that you want to see the edge cooked to about a 1/2 inch.
12. Turn the heat off. Take a plate larger than the fry pan and lay it over the top. Walk the pan over to the sink and hold the plate firmly and flip the tortilla over onto the plate.
13. Return the tortilla to the pan (may need to add more oil) continue to heat, shake the pan, same idea as before. About 5 min.
14. Flip the tortilla again. You can tell if it is ready by sticking a knife in the middle, if its firm its ready to go! If not...
15. Return to heat
16. May need more flipping - check it out.

NOTE - Try adding peppers, garlic or other herbs to experiment! No matter what it will taste great.


Check out the details of the link at the top for the visual step by step.

I want to know. Have you had a Tortilla de Patata? Have you made it before? What modifications have you done to make it your own?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Use Coconut Oil!

Coconut oil is a healthy saturated fat derived from the fruit of the coconut tree that has numerous uses, among them being cooking. It's no surprise if you've never had occasion to use it. These days its use in the American kitchen is rare. In fact, your only experience with coconut oil or coconut milk may have come from dining out on Indian, Thai or other Southeast Asian cuisine. That wasn't always the case. As recently as the early 20th century coconut oil was the oil of choice for baked goods. This made perfect sense because coconut oil is a stable fat, with lasting shelf life. It remains solid under 75 degrees Fahrenheit. It's use dwindled mid-century when misconceptions about the link between saturated fats and heart disease led to the widespread use of vegetable oils and margarine – trans-fats that are now understood to be far less healthy.

In Southeast Asia's tropical climate, coconut trees are everywhere and coconuts are a staple of the diet. The coconut tree is referred to as the Tree of Life. What an asset to have such plentiful access to such a nutritious and versatile fruit! The coconut provides valuable minerals, vitamins and fiber. Not only is coconut milk and oil great for cooking, but coconut water can be consumed straight from the fruit. I know from experience the pleasure of drinking directly from a coconut with a straw after a vendor has hacked off the top of the fruit with a machete. Not only is the water tasty and refreshing, but it is full of natural electrolytes (think “natural Gatorade”). And, once you are done with your drink, you can tear into the meaty flesh of the fruit. Yum! (Note: If you want to avoid the use of a machete and the messiness of tearing into coconut flesh, bottled coconut water is available at a number of natural foods coops at prices comparable to Vitamin Water or Gatorade.)

Now you might be thinking that coconuts are really high in fat. You're right! Really, really good fat. Not all fats are created equal. There is research out there that touts that coconut oil can even enhance your metabolism.  Additionally, earlier warnings linking fats like coconut oil to heart disease have been de-bunked by several studies.

Coconut oil is a saturated fat and fabulous for cooking. Think cooking stir-fry, baking, sautéing, etc. Saturated fats are tough and can withstand very high heat, unlike monounsaturated fats like olive oil that become rancid at high heat. There is evidence that shows that the oxidation of fats (heating unstable fats to high temperatures) is linked to many diseases like strokes, Alzheimer's, and liver disease. I think coconut oil tastes delicious and adds variety to the diet. Use it as an alternative to butter.

While it's great for cooking, coconut oil has other nutritional uses. I use coconut oil as a lotion when my skin is dry as well as a hair conditioner to keep it hydrated. I've also read that eating
raw coconut oil can be great for your overall health.

I have tried many brands of coconut oil. I have purchased them at my local co-op as well as over the web. I found that each of them had a distinct taste and I really enjoy the flavor of Tropical Traditions coconut oil. If you decide to make a purchase consider using my number #5531550. 

Keep your eyes peeled as a competition will be starting to win a 16oz. jar of premium Coconut Oil! Woo Hoo.

Interested in learning more:

Do you use coconut oil? Tell me about it!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Time Management

Lately I have felt really strapped for time. How about you? I feel like there are not enough hours in the day and even if there were would I be more productive? Do I need to be? I know that Time Management has been tapping some of my energy & I wanted to share this article from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. I thought it was helpful and I have changed the way I set up my priorities. The jury is still out to see if I like my new setup, but at least it is a start.

Have you ever wished for a few more hours in the day? Why is it that some people seem to get everything done effortlessly and others feel that time constantly eludes them? The secret to managing your time well isn’t working more hours. The secret is working smarter, not harder. It is about prioritizing the important things and learning to use the time you have more efficiently and effectively.

Some of us, by nature, organize and get tasks out of the way before we relax, while others of us play first and work later. It is important to first recognize which type you are and whether your style is allowing you to have the life you really want. Maybe you are super-organized at work, but burned out because you don’t know how to make time for yourself. Maybe you are naturally a less organized person who knows how to relax, but you are dissatisfied because you aren’t fulfilling your goals and dreams.

Rather than labeling yourself or beating yourself up, realize that time management is an area of your life that you can strengthen. Like a new muscle, it takes practice and repetition to make it stronger. To help you get started, here are some steps to streamline your days at work and at home. Try the first one or two that jump out at you:

  • Allocate time for planning and organizing.
  • Create to-do lists that are realistic, not intimidating. Use only one to-do list.
  • Under-schedule your time: Leave time for the unexpected and for interruptions. When you estimate how long something will take, add on a third of that time.
  • Schedule your time in a way that reduces interruptions that lower your productivity.
  • Practice the art of intelligent neglect: Eliminate trivial tasks.
  • Prioritize what is most important and do that first.
  • Consider your biological prime time: At what time of day do you work best? Plan to do your most important work at that time.
  • If you say yes to everything that comes your way, learn to say no.
  • Ask for help and delegate.
  • In the evening make your to-do list for the next day, so it will be out of your brain and on a piece of paper.
  • Leave work with a clear head and a clean desk.
  • Acknowledge yourself daily for all that you have accomplished.

Also take a look at the two biggest hindrances to using time effectively: procrastinating and lacking purpose. We usually procrastinate when a task seems too daunting, too large or too complex, or when we feel we won’t be able to handle it. When you get that “deer in the headlights” feeling, try “chunking”: break the large task into smaller, manageable action steps and start with the first one. We also often drag our heels or use our time inefficiently because we are bored, unengaged and uninspired. The most effective people will tell you that they love what they do and are aligned with a greater purpose. When it comes to managing your time, you may need to ask the larger questions, “Am I doing what I love to do? Am I doing something meaningful to me?”

As you strengthen your new time management muscle, keep your focus on getting organized so that you can live the life you came here for. Instead of being a chore, good time management can be your ticket to more fun, greater satisfaction and a vibrant, exciting life.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Have you ever been stung?

Stung by bees I mean. I have been stung on a few occasions in my lifetime. I do not appreciate it and it hurts. I would also say that when bees decide to come and hang out with me outside and dine on whatever I am having I am none too pleased. However, I respect bees for their ability to pollinate our world. 

We enjoy many foods because of the bee population. My favorite food that is directly linked with bees is raw honey for all its fantastic health properties. Raw honey is a great sweetener that is pretty versatile. The best honey to choose is a local brand. Local bees mean local pollen. One of the tricks I use when I am feeling my sweet tooth starting to take hold is I heat up some water, put a few tbsps of Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar with a single tbsp (or less) of honey in it. I drink it in about 8-12 oz. of water. It is a nice substitute for tea and its a bit of sweet and sour. In my experience it helps me curb the need for other sweets. It is a great drink before bed.
Bee pollen is also touted to have extremely positive benefits to the body. Whether that is to reducing allergic reactions, enhancing energy, and what I found out today while doing a bit a research sexual health. I think I will go for that drink once I wrap up this post...

The reason I decided to talk about bees & honey today is that although many of us have been stung and may have a fear of bees. We need to know that bees are disappearing. What does this mean for our food supply? There is a documentary that is called The Vanishing of Bees. Check it out. It only takes a minute.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Water - its what your body is thirsty for!

Today I wanted to do something that seemed special. I have been meaning to get to the "Spa" for some time now and so I thought today would be as good a time as any to make up some refreshing water. You do not have to tell me how dull water can be. I try to get my intake just like everyone else I know. So today to make it more appealing I decided to infuse my water with cucumbers. I peeled a cucumber and then sliced it and tossed it in and filled up the pitcher. Pretty easy.

Now why do I call this Spa water. Well when I see my wonderful esthetician, Alycia Tischler she always has a lovely pitcher with cucumbers. Sometimes next to the glass of water sits a packet of Emergen-C (get some free samples) if it is cold and flu season. It sets the tone. The Spa is about health and revitalization of the skin. Her water isn't plain tap water. Its got a little something something. If I had had strawberries, lemons, oranges or other tasty fruits I would have tossed those in, but I had a cucumber and I am pretty chill and if I can deal with what I got I do.

Another fantastic choice is putting a bit of high-grade essential oil into your drink. You MUST be extremely careful that you know that the source of your essential oil is 100 % pure plant & therapeutic grade before you would ever put it into your beverage I use Young Living products not just something from the co-op (and I love my co-op)! I use the peppermint oil in my water for the gym because it aids in digestion and peppermint helps with concentration & focus. When I feel like I need a bit of a detox I use lemon oil in the am. I have ordered some tangerine because that is also very refreshing and mixes things up. These oils are great for taking on a plane when you are stuck with that airplane air. It infuses something special into the water you are taking in. One drop goes a long way. These oils have many uses and they aren't cheap so I consider it an investment in my medicine cabinet when I purchase one of them. Regardless, you do not need fancy oils in your water, just toss in some fruit or herbs like basil or mint. Make it fun. Make sure you like the way it tastes otherwise you won't want to drink it.

How much water should you be drinking? Well it depends on how much you weigh. Take your weight and divide it by 2 and then you will have the number of ounces you need to take in on a daily basis. So if you weight 200 lbs divide it by 2 and you would need to drink 100 ounces of water a day. This does not include your coffee, sodas, or tea.

Water is so good for the body. In a book by F. Batmanghelidj, M.D. called "Your Body's Many Cries for Water" he says that many of our health problems stem from the fact that we are all dehydrated. He says you should not treat thirst with medications. "You are not sick, you are Thirsty!" Check his book out. While you do that I am going to go finish the rest of my water...its calling my name.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Finishing things off

It is a few days before I get to pick up my next CSA box and here I am feeling a bit lazy about turning the remaining food into meals. I checked the fridge and before I even bothered to put thought into what I could do with the fabulous veggies I had awaiting me I began chopping them up into more soup. (Not that I am regretting the decision I made, but I just realized that the celeriac would have made a tasty gratin dish or fritters...)

I cannot seem to help but make soup. It is still wet and rainy here and we have not dared turn on the heat. Doing so would admit defeat to the inevitable winter weather that will be heading our way. Instead as I write this post I am wrapped in a nice blanket with an electric heater at my feet.

Now I cannot honestly say this is the most exciting soup I have ever made. In fact I think it tastes "healthy" - not in a bad way, but in a way that makes me feel really good about eating it.


2 Celeriac
3 Parsley Root (looks a lot like parsnips)
1 Carrot
1 Leek
3 Cloves of Garlic
5 Red Radishes
2 Small Green Cabbages

The first thing I did was chop everything up into similar size pieces. I do this so that everything cooks at the same speed.

1. In a stock pot I sauteed the garlic on low with a few tbsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and the Leek
2. Then I tossed in all the other veggies and covered them with chicken stock (maybe 4 cups or so)
3. I put a timer on for 15 min. and upped the heat a bit and headed back into the office.
4. When the timer went off I walked back into the kitchen. Added some salt, cracked pepper and another bit of EVOO and turned the heat off and covered the pot.
5. I took a phone call and let the soup chill out for about 10 min
6. I then took out my immersion blender and proceeded to blend the soup up. It was really thick and so I added some water to thin it out. During that time I tasted the soup and added some dill weed and I grated fresh ginger into the soup

Servings - About 10 

Note - this soup is not sweet. It is a bit tart and I think that I what I like about it. It is also very filling. I think this soup would be paired nicely with some corned beef. Maybe because the of cabbage in the soup? It might also be a nice baby food!

Let me know what you think. Do you have any recommendations on herbs that would add some pizzaz to these veggies? Let me know.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Annual CSA Meeting

I just returned from our annual CSA meeting with Harmony Valley Farm. What does CSA stand for? Community Supported Agriculture. The reason I wanted to post a little something about CSA's is that they are really important to the local, sustainable, organic movement that is going on these days with respect to eating good healthy food. When you join a CSA you are helping a Farm by creating a relationship, a commitment. The bonus is that when the farm is really productive you get loads of produce and you reap benefits. If the farm suffers from draught or other casualty then you share in the loss. That way the farm is able to use the money from the members of the CSA to buy the needed materials to plant the year's crops, packaging, wages and other production costs. Our CSA has been doing (CSA) this since 1992 (or 1993 I don't remember what Richard, our farmer said this afternoon, but it has been significant).

I belong to this CSA with my husband, his sister & brother-in-law. We share the weekly food boxes that we get. Actually we pick up a box of veggies every other week and it tends to work out really well. Our CSA offers Coffee (its darn good we give it as holiday gifts), Cheese, Veggie, Meat, & Fruit shares. We only get the Fruit and Veggies, but after today's meeting as well as last year's annual meeting the other members are so Ga-Ga over the cheese share we might break down and get that because these people were practically drooling.

At the annual meeting Richard, Terri, & Andrea (the Farm's mastermind team) met with members in person to discuss what is working, what isn't working, feedback, and costs. They know that the members are what keep their farm going and they respect the relationship. This CSA is doing so well they cannot accept many new members each year. They have a pretty high retention rate. But, one of the areas that is still hard to manage is member education. Sounds silly right, but there are some basics that people tend to either forget or fail to read over when they get their weekly newsletters from the Farm.

What are the basics you ask? Well:

- If you don't cook often or eat out more than not then join a CSA might be a really hard transition as you get quite a lot of veggies (the picture above is an example of a box of weekly veggies)
- This CSA tries hard to give you all sorts of veggies that you may never have encountered before. For example, in the photo we have 2 large Celeriac roots. How many times have you eaten that in your life?
- You need to be cognizant that you are picking up the correct share(s) for that week
- Leave the boxes at the site so that they can be reused
- If there are bonus items on the veggie front then those items are not for the fruit share people but the veggie people
- If you take something from the "swap box" you should be swapping something out!
- Check off your name on the list so that you tell the site coordinator you got your goods...

These are pretty simple "rules" but there are many times when someone is missing a box of veggies or coffee or whatever and the last few people to the site feel pretty awful. Read the fantastic newsletters and emails from the Farm. So one of the ground rules to know is if you join a CSA you have to pay attention to the time, pick up your goods as soon as possible, especially if its a hot or cold day. You do not want your tasty goodness to freeze or wilt.

However, part of what is so great about CSA's and all the produce you get is that you can freeze or can whatever you do not get to for our terribly long winters. You can make lots of soup (see other blog post) or can beans, pickles, tomatoes, sauces...

So my question to you...how many of you are part of a CSA? Do you love it? What do you love? What do you have a hard time with? Do you know your farmers? Share you knowledge with us!

Check out these links to find a CSA near you.

Harmony Valley is located in Viroqua WI about 3.5 hours  from the Twin Cities. They deliver local, organic, sustainable food every week to the Twin Cities!

How about a soup off?

Okay so actually it wasn't really a cook off event. Last night I presented a class about soup. Why soup? Well I have loved soup from a very early age.  In fact my after school snack was always a can of soup. Many people think this is weird, but it was my staple - its warm & comforting and soothed my soul. Usually something from Campbell's  - nothing quite as good as what I am capable of making now, but none the less my favorite thing to eat at the time! So back to the class...

I had 7 lovely ladies + an itty bitty gentleman (can you see the little one in the pic?)! They are fabulous people so not only was it fun to teach the class to these individuals it was a delightful time filled with laughter and love - all the sorts of things you want in a kitchen and infused in the food. Really the care, attention, and playful atmosphere cannot be beat.

The goal of the class was to help the participants understand how to experiment and add their own flair when making tasty soup. They learned not to take recipes so seriously and just cook up what they have on hand. We also talked about how quick, easy, & healthy soups can be!

What else did we talk about?

-Colors! Eating green, white, red & orange foods and what that means nutritionally & energetically speaking
-Storage (plastics, glass, stainless, etc)
-Best type of pot to use
-Discussed a bit about organic, local & the environment

What recipes were featured?

-Carrot Ginger Soup
-Creamy Coconut & Lentil Soup
-Heirloom Tomato & Chickpea Soup (check for the recipe from earlier in the week)
-Creamy Kale Soup

After we made the soup we sat down to do a taste test. While everyone was deciding which soup was #1 they discussed what they learned from the class. One of the main things that the class enjoyed was that they had to go and buy their own groceries at the store. Many of the items on the list were not items they would usually pick up so they felt like the excursion was one of the best aspects of the class. Check out my website (navigate to the events page) as I am scheduling Grocery Store Tours. Check back every so often for all updated events.

How many of you out there love soup? What is your favorite soup to make? Please share!