Tag Archives: produce

Saturday Morning Market

Need a simple activity that helps you slow down while promoting small, local businesses? Try checking out a local Farmers’ Market. The one in Greenville, SC, is right on Main Street between Washington Street and Court Street on Saturday mornings from 8AM till NOON.

It has everything from coffee and classic Southern breakfast items to fresh breads and pastas,  handmade candles to local photography and art, all-natural meats, seafood, and tons of local, fresh produce. It’s a chance to meet new people, be active, and get some fresh air. Plus it’s a great little community and culture that everyone should experience on a regular basis!

Meal Plan for July 7-13

This Week’s Basket from Milk and Honey Organics Included Bananas, South Carolina Peaches, Red Globe Grapes (caution: watch out for seeds), Tommy Atkins Mangos (not pictured: we got more of something else), Purple Garlic, Ginger, Local Green Cabbage, Hurricane Creek Romaine Lettuce, Globe Eggplant, Russet Potatoes, and Bioway Farms’ Squash and Cucumbers.

This Week’s Meal Plan:

Recipes for this Week’s Meal Plan:

  • Pancake Bar – use your favorite pancake mix or simple recipe and top with anything you like. If you’re adding peaches, bananas, chocolate, etc. to them, pour the batter first and let it cook for a minute on the first side, then top with fillings and cook another minute or so before flipping.
  • Egg Salad – hard boil eggs ahead of time, cool, peel and chop, then add the dressing (1/2 c. mayo, 1-2 tsp. prepared yellow mustard, salt, pepper, dill, a pinch of sugar and a splash of apple cider vinegar whisked together).
  • Grilled Peaches – Spray with a little olive oil before adding to the grill at the last five minutes or so of cooking the pork chops (optional: sprinkle with nutmeg).
  • Sautéed Squash and Onions – Pan fry thin slices in 1 Tbsp. butter with salt and pepper till just soft and slightly translucent.
  • Sautéed Cabbage – Chop into bite size pieces and cook in 1 Tbsp. butter with salt and pepper till soft and slightly caramelized (medium to medium high heat and keep it moving so it doesn’t burn).
  • Sautéed Onions and Peppers – slice into strips and toss in a hot pan with 1 tsp. olive oil till just tender and slightly translucent. Feel free to cook the chicken sausage links right down in the middle of this, if you don’t feel like grilling.
  • Baked Potato – rub with oil, sprinkle with coarse sea salt, and roast on a pan at 450F for 40-50 minutes.
  • Bacon Jam
  • Enchiladas
  • Cheesy Garlic Bread – mince garlic and mix into a stick of melted butter, brush over bread (French loaf or Italian loaf, cut in half, cut side up on pan), sprinkle with shredded cheese, and broil till cheese is golden brown (keep an eye on it).
  • My Favorite Falafel
  • Tzatziki Sauce
  • And the rest are on M&H’s Recipes Archive page.

Weekly Basket and Meal Plan

St. Patrick’s Day is traditionally a day of Irish inspired feasting, recognizing the patron saint of Ireland for bringing Christianity to Ireland. There is wearing of green and talking of leprechauns and eating of corned beef, potatoes and cabbage.

This Week’s Basket from Milk and Honey Organics included traditional Irish ingredients, like Local Green Cabbage and Red Potatoes, Jumbo Carrots and Yellow Onions, along with some other seasonal goodies, including Parisi Farms Turnip Greens, Parisi Farms Beets with Greens, Cherry Tomatoes, Bananas, Valencia Oranges, Braeburn Apples, Rio Red Ruby Grapefruit, Shallots, and Boston Butter Lettuce.

This Week’s Meal Plan:

Recipes for this Week’s Meal Plan that aren’t on the M&H Blog‘s Recipes Archive Page:

Weekly Recipe Ideas and Meal Plan for November 4-11

This week’s basket from Milk and Honey Organics included the following: Bio-Way Scallions, Bio-Way Mustard Greens (hiding off to the left hand side of this picture), Macintosh Apples, Golden Tangelos, Parsnips, Bananas, Seedless Crimson Grapes, Leeks, Spring Mix, Parisi Farms Green Peppers, Parisi Farms Sweet Potatoes, Parisi Farms Eggplant (mine are green).

This Week’s Recipe Ideas:

And finally, check out this week’s Meal Plan:
For an interactive PDF with recipe links, click on the meal plan above or here.

Go ahead and wash those grapes and toss them in a freezer for a fast, fun snack! I can’t wait to try the “Crustless Mini Pies” using last week’s butternut squash tomorrow night! I might just have to go ahead and make it tonight!

By the way, if your eggplants were green like mine, eggplants don’t change color as they ripen. Some are purple and some are green, so go ahead and throw them in some curry or grill them with olive oil and seasonings. Whatever you do, enjoy them!

Bon Appetit! And have a great weekend!

The Noisy Rabbit Produce Pick-Up in Greenville, SC

Here’s a new great resource in the Greenville, SC, area: The Noisy Rabbit. My friend Rachel Siglin started getting her produce here a few weeks ago and has really been enjoying it. She and her husband and one of their neighbors split the basket each week, so it’s only half as expensive for each family. It’s not organic, but it’s still produce, and heaven knows we could all use more of that in our diets. Here’s what she has to say about her experience with The Noisy Rabbit:

“Pickup for Noisy Rabbit is once a week at one of their many Greenville locations.  Each member is supplied with a basket to bring each week.  Produce is fresh and they supply a good variety.  One of my favorite aspects is the more unusual items like rutabaga, avocado, various peppers, and pineapple.  Even with splitting my basket, I often have more produce than I can use in a week, but I don’t have to feel bad even if something does go bad since I’m only paying $7.50 a week plus the bi-yearly $15 registration fee.  Another benefit is that grocery trips have been minimized so I’m not seeing all those ‘extras’ at the store that seem to end up in my basket every shopping trip. BTW–the samples below are whole baskets before we split them.”

Today’s Basket and Farmers’ Market Finds

This week’s basket from Milk and Honey Organics was packed with beautiful, organic produce! The basket included MacIntosh Apples, Red Pears, Bananas, Scallions, Parsley, Chard, Mixed Baby Greens, Snow Peas, Roma Tomatoes, Yams, Broccoli, and Cauliflower. Check out some recipe ideas for this week’s basket on the M&H’s Blog, “The Beehive Buzz.

On top of that, I stopped by the Rutherford Road Farmers’ Market on the way home from work and picked up the rest of this week’s groceries. If you haven’t shopped here, you have to give it a try. It’s open all year round, Mondays through Saturdays! You can even purchase raw milk here! And just behind the milk and cheese cooler are some flaps you can walk through into a large refrigerated room with eggs and tons of produce. It’s so much fun to shop here!

All Local Products: fresh eggs ($3/20),  all-natural cheeses (~$6 each), Happy Cow butter ($7.99), raw milk ($3.50), all-natural ground beef ($3) and pork sausage ($3.50), local honey ($10), veggies (onions, shallots, red potatoes, baby carrots, and radishes), cilantro, garlic, ginger, and two squash from the “bargain table” (gently bruised for 50¢/lb.). All of the farmers’ market finds, including the pumpkins and gourd below (~$10), totaled $71.53!

As a side note, I used the Instagram app on my iPhone to take all of these pictures. If you have an iPhone and haven’t used this app, it’s free and definitely worth checking out!

Produce Spotlight: Champagne Grapes

Champagne Grapes are a beautiful little fruit, but their name can be deceptive. No, they are not used to make champagne and they are not from the Champagne region of France! So, why “Champagne Grapes”? Stories vary, but they were either photographed with a flute of champagne or named after their resemblance to tiny champagne bubbles. Champagne Grapes were originally known as Corinth Grapes, as they are one of the oldest varieties of grapes produced and were originally grown on the Island of Zakynthos (or Zante), off the coast of Corinth, Greece. And, if you didn’t already know, dried Champagne Grapes are commonly known as Currants! Ever heard of Zante Currants? Well, now you know.

Growing up, my great-grandmother made a fabulous Currant Butter Tart! The recipe has been passed down for over a hundred years now in my family! After college, I spent a summer on a mission trip in Latvia and Poland, and they sold Black Currant Juice in little glass bottles. It was fabulous! And all this time, I had no idea that Currants and Champagne Grapes were the same fruit!

I can’t help but add my first memory of currants: watching Anne of Green Gables! Remember Marilla’s Famous Red Currant Wine that Anne mistakenly gives to Diana instead of the Raspberry Cordial?! Well, here’s a snippet from the scene along with Marilla’s  recipe, if you dare!

“[Marilla meets with Mrs. Barry and Rachel after Diana got drunk]
Mrs. Barry: Marilla, I don’t believe a word. Anne Shirley is a conniving, manipulating child and she’s pulled the wool over your eyes.
Rachel Lynde: I always warned you about making that current wine, Marilla. You said it wouldn’t have the least effect on anyone. Well, I ask you.
Marilla Cuthbert: It isn’t meant to be drunk three tumbler-fulls at a time! And if I had a child that was so greedy, I’d sober her up with a darn good spanking!
Mrs. Barry: Oh! So it’s my Diana’s fault, is it?
Rachel Lynde: It’s the demon liquor’s fault. And as I told you for years, if you didn’t insist on making that current wine…
Marilla Cuthbert: [Marillla quickly then cut in furious anger] My current wine is famous all over the island, Rachel Lynde, as you very well know. And the Reverend Allen himself is not opposed to taking a bit when he comes calling. And as for Christian virtue: making a little wine for a refreshment is far less sinful than [then shouted extra loud, speaking] meddling in other people’s affairs!
Rachel Lynde: [in shock] Oh!
[Marilla leaves]
Marilla Cuthbert: [to Mrs. Allen] Of all the unreasonable, pig-headed, self-important women that I have ever met – she is the worst!”

Champagne Grapes can be eaten straight off the vine, cooked into sweet treats (like the Cream Scones with Champagne Grapes recipe on this week’s meal plan), made into juice or wine, or added to savory dishes (like the Champagne Grapes and Shrimp Salad Sandwiches orPan-Seared Scallops with Champagne Grapes and Almonds). Any way you eat them, they are delicate and sweet! Bon Appetit!

Produce Spotlight: Lemons

I can’t help but smile when I see the sunshine of lemons sitting on my table or in my fridge! We all know the saying, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!” And that’s a great use for lemons; but lemons can be used for so many more things. Lemons are an amazing and beautiful fruit, nutrient dense and full of benefits for your body. Lemon juice is a natural antibacterial and high in Vitamin C, which can boost our immune systems while assisting in calcium absorption. It’s also great for reducing phlegm and stomach irritation. Here are some ideas to get you started. The possibilities are endless!

Whole Fruit:

  • A bowl of whole lemons makes a beautiful centerpiece.
  • Or you can add them to the bottom of a large vase and top with a flower arrangement.
  • Smell a lemon if you have a sweet craving you’re trying to curb!

Wedges and Slices:

  • Add to water for an alkalizing effect.
  • Add to punch for added flavor.
  • Add to hot tea with honey to help a sore throat.

Juice (the Inside):

  • Make lemonade, of course!
  • Add to your favorite recipes: works well with savory and sweet dishes.
  • Add to your washing machine or dishwasher to help whiten clothes and rinse dishes.
  • Add to cut fruit (like apples and bananas) or other produce (like potatoes and avocados) to slow down oxidation (what turns them brown).
  • Combine with water and use as a natural face cleanser (watch the eyes!).
  • Lighten up your hair!
  • Lemon Juice, Vinegar and Water make a great all-natural all-purpose household cleaner.
  • Lemon Juice, Apple Cider Vinegar and Salt Water (equal parts) makes a great spray for your next grilled pork or chicken cookout (sprinkle meat with salt, pepper, and garlic powder and spray with solution throughout grilling process)!

Peel (the Outside):

  • Add zest to dishes for extra bright touch to your meal.
  • Drop down the garbage disposal to remove those unpleasant odors.
  • Dry excess zest and save for future recipes.

Leftovers:

  • Rub the inside of the used lemon on  your cut boards to naturally cleanse.
  • Or add baking soda to the inside of the used lemon and rub on your elbows as a natural exfoliator.
  • Set a bowl of halved and juiced lemons out as a natural air freshener.
  • Put small pieces of lemons in cracks where bugs get in as a natural repellant.
  • Rub on your hands and wash them with salt to remove garlic, onion, and fish odors.
  • Finally, throw the used lemons in your compost or add them directly to the soil below plants that grow best in acidic soils, like azaleas, rhododendrons and hydrangeas.

Helpful Sources:

Another Step in the Journey: Is It Time to Go 100% Organic?

Growing up, my parents fed us pretty healthfully. Don’t get me wrong, we still ate Little Debbie Snack Cakes occasionally, but we always had fruits and vegetables readily accessible. Most of what we ate was made from scratch at home.

Through the years, I’ve taken Nutrition courses and done personal study. It was only in the last few years that I started looking into what “organic” meant. My study of the “organic” lifestyle began after watching Food, Inc. a couple years ago. I had no idea there were that many chemicals added to our foods: pesticides, fungicides, insecticides (notice the Latin suffix “-cide” which means “killer”).  On top of the killers, we add growth hormones and excess antibiotics to our livestock. None of this is natural or necessary. After watching Food, Inc., we decided that when we bought meat, we would buy “all-natural” meats (aka, no hormones or antibiotics).

Then I watched Supersize Me, which really made me lose any desire to eat fast food ever again. We started eating less meat (even the “all-natural” kind) and filling up on fresh produce. This past winter, we found Milk and Honey Organics(a local produce delivery service) and switched to mostly “organic” produce.

I’ve tried various diets and studied a myriad of nutrition methods, read The China Study, researched Raw Diets, Vegan Diets, Vegetarian Diets, Lacto-Ovo-Pesco-Vegetarian Diets, and the list goes on. There are studies for everything, and you have to decide what’s right for you on this matter. One Scripture passage that keeps coming back to my mind is Acts 10 and 11, when God tells Peter in a vision, “Rise, Peter; kill and eat. …What God has made clean, do not call common.” Also, Jesus fed fish to the disciples in John 21 and ate fish in Luke 24.

I saw The China Study’s research and was intrigued at the seemingly direct correlation between vegan diets that allow seafood (not bottom-dwellers) and the decreased risk of heart attack, stroke, cancer, etc. I’ve seen people with diseases healed by eating Raw or Vegan diets; and I’ve seen those on Raw and Vegetarian diets recently switch back to eating a more balanced diet that includes meat because of lack of energy, anemia, cholesterol levels or moodiness.

The hard part is that there are too many factors to control in many of these studies. There are some countries that only eat meat and vegetables, especially starchy vegetables, and yet they’re not overweight or malnourished and they’re not seeing the rates of heart attack, stroke, and cancer that we see in America.

So, is there a good, better, and best with food and nutrition? It seems to me that a good rule of thumb is balance: “all things in moderation.” Though the phrase does not come from the Bible, the thought is there in I Cor. 9:22, “all things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful.” Also, in Genesis 9:3, God tells Noah, “Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything.” The key is eating a balanced, nutritious, sustainable diet, not following some short-lived fad diet.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been watching more and more documentaries about food and nutrition. I watched Food Beware: The French Organic Revolution and saw communities in France make steps towards 100% organic diets. As a result, they saw decreases in miscarriages, deformities, diseases, and other abnormalities. Then I watched Food Matters, and saw the nutritional research behind an organic lifestyle and the importance of vitamins and minerals.

The more I think about it and study it, the more I want to be 100% organic. I see some definite benefits to it. And since we’ve been eating more organic, we’ve noticed an increase in energy and a decrease in sickness and even allergies. Plus, say we’re wrong and organic isn’t necessary, at least the lack of chemicals in our systems won’t hurt us. So, I asked Bryan if he was ready to take this step with me and he said yes. We’re going to do our best. It won’t happen overnight; it may never be 100%; but, it’s something we want to try to do eventually if possible.

What does this practically mean for us?

  • Only buying what we need (since organic products are more expensive)
  • Not buying processed items (or genetically modified items)
  • Not eating out as much (there are very few organic restaurants in our area; this will also help our budget)
  • Only buying organic meat (this is one step further than all-natural)
  • Possibly limiting our menu items (as not all things are readily available in organic yet)
  • Making more things from scratch at home
  • Ordering bulk organic flour, sugar, etc.
  • Sticking to the meal plan and shopping list (studies show that “the average household goes to the grocery store 2-3 times per week, shops 90 minutes a week in the store, and spends $1.89 each additional minute he or she is in the store. They also know that because few shoppers use lists, 66% of purchases are unplanned, and often unnecessary” ~Brent Honshell, M.M.)
  • This doesn’t mean that we will not eat non-organic food ever. We know that the Lord will protect us as we serve Him, so if we go out to eat with friends or co-workers, or are invited to share a meal in someone’s home, it won’t be something that is asked or even brought up.
  • It’s certainly not something to be paranoid about. We’ll do our best to make informed choices, but we won’t flip out if we eat something that isn’t 100% organic.
  • It’s not an alter I’m willing to die on. If someone thinks the entire organic movement is a big conspiracy theory, targeting individuals that are willing to spend more to get what they believe to be more nutritious, I’m not going to argue with them. It’s just not worth it.

It’s better to eat conventional produce than to avoid eating produce at all just because it might have been treated. Conventional produce still provides adequate nutrition levels. We just believe organic offers a higher quality of nutrition and, therefore, want to choose it as often as possible. I believe eating a balanced “organic” diet, rich in vitamins and minerals, is the best thing, even if it’s not always feasible. The first step was balance. The second step was nutrition. The next step for us right now is eating as organic as possible. We may or may not do this forever, but for now, we believe it’s a step worth taking.

Also, one other point I must make is that just because something says it’s 100% organic does NOT necessarily make it healthful for you. If you have to choose between a 100% organic triple fudge sundae or a conventionally grown apple, the apple is going to provide more nutrition. So, it’s not about eating 100% organic junk food. It’s about being good stewards of our bodies for the glory of God to the best of our abilities.

Which step are you on? Are these steps even necessary? Or are there other, better steps to take? Should we go 100% organic or just do our best to eat balanced meals? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section.

This Week’s Basket and Meal Plan

If you live in the Greenville, SC, area (that means everywhere from Easley to Greer, and Simpsonville to Spartanburg) and haven’t tried Milk & Honey Organics yet, please try it! Also, it would be a cool gift for new parents, birthdays, sick loved ones, or a grieving family! Be sure to fill out the surveys on their website’s sidebar to get $5 off your first order. Order by Tuesday at noon for delivery on Thursday or Friday (depending on where you live).

 

This Week’s Basket: Green Beans, Carrots, Red Chard, White Garlic, Green Cabbage, Hurricane Creek Farms Heirloom Tomatoes, Rutabaga, Golden Nugget Mandarins, Navel Oranges, and Fancy Granny Smith Apples.

On Hand: Freezer: Edamame, Berries, Bananas, Nuts, Chili, Flank Steak, Whole Chickens; Fridge: Turkey Broth, Mango Salsa, Apples, Oranges, Celery, Pomegranate, Milk, Soy Milk, Carrot Juice, Kefir, Eggs, Mushrooms; Pantry: Rice, Quinoa, Steel Cut Oats, Pasta, Tomato Paste, Garlic, Yam, Shallots, Onion, Coconut Milk, PB, & Honey.

Grocery List: Food:3 dozen eggs, lettuce, mushrooms, mozzarella and pizza sauce (for pizza), feta or goat cheese (for salads), spicy brown mustard (to keep on hand), cereal, olive oil, half-and-half (for coffee). Household Items: white vinegar (for laundry softener and dishwasher rinse cycle), organic non-chlorine bleach (thank you, Publix!), and paper towels.

This week, I decided to just put generalizations down and not fix a certain meal to a certain day (it’s kind of what’s been happening anyway). So, I start with the weekly meal calendar template and make sure there’s something in every square, and then end up drawing arrows to rearrange based on what we feel like that night. (Note: All ingredients in basket are organic. Ingredients On Hand and on Grocery List are all-natural or organic, if at all possible. Read “all-natural” labels carefully: it means different things to different people. I try to only buy the all-natural products that don’t use added hormones, pesticides, or antibiotics.)

Meals for This Week: Breakfasts: Blueberry Scones, Smoothies (with frozen fruit, kefir, and carrot juice), Warm & Nutty Cinnamon Quinoa, Steel Cut Oats, Basil Omelet Cups (for Sunday: we’re in charge of snacks this week), and, of course, Raisin Bran with Fruit; Lunches: Leftovers, PB&J with Carrots, Chili & Baked Potatoes, Sliced Tomatoes, Fruit, and Homemade Pizza and Salad (for Saturday); Dinners: Ginger Citrus Stirfry, Flank Steak with Roasted Roots (potatoes, carrots, rutabaga, yam, onion) and Green Beans with Pomegranate (for Sunday – see comment in link for recipe), Chili & Baked Potatoes,  Garlicky Red Chard and Coconut Rice, and Garlic Sauteed Cabbage with Potato Wedges.

Bryan was just commenting this past week that he loves the way we cook. It’s hard to put in words. It’s kind of a North + South thing. We don’t cook exactly like my family (from the North) and we don’t cook exactly like his family (from the South). We’ve kind of taken the best from both (in our opinion, of course) and removed a lot of the frying and meat in general (frying for health reasons, meat for budget reasons) and added a bunch of fresh, organic produce to the mix. We love trying new things, but we have those few staple meals that find their way into our menu plan, intentionally or otherwise, on a regular basis (mostly breakfast items, roasted veggies, homemade pizza, and stirfry, though every once in a while we do break down and have turkey dogs with slaw and mac ‘n’ cheese – but we’re learning to find organic and whole grain options to make even these little guilty pleasures better for us) .