Farm Fresh Eating

Once upon a bowl of soup, I learned while visiting a friend in Western Massachusett, that I liked vichyssoise, the potato leek soup of an earlier time.  Having picked fresh leeks during our visit to the farm, I wanted to see what other recipes I might enjoy with leeks.

A quick web search, and I found this recipe.  I cut the leeks and cleaned them well, and then the magic began.

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Of course, I could still make potato-leek soup, but right now, I am loving this dish.

Do you like leeks?  What would you cook with them?

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Farm Fresh

While at a farmers market several weeks ago, we learned of a farm that was in the same town where SpecialK works.  10 minutes from his office!

We learned that we could go to the farm to get more fruit and vegetables.  We went to visit.

Most of their products are pick your own..  SpecialK was not happy about berry picking.  Pick your own blueberries?  Yes, please and thank you!  I only picked the plumpest, dark blue berries.  The little ones, no thank you.

The raspberries were mostly golden , and a little bitter.  I decided another week of sun might help them grow a bit sweeter.

On the vegetable side, we picked tomatoes, both salad tomatoes (for SpecialK) and plum tomatoes for me.  He picked a small eggplant, and decided to try purple peppers.*

For me, he helped pull two leeks out of the ground.

We also bought a quart of peaches, so large the five peaches in that bucket did not fit in the bucket.  “Please no handling the peaches” the nice lady on the other side of the table requested.

With all of the blueberries we now had, it was time to bake.

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Low carb Blueberry Cheese Danish Cake on the left, Lowcarb Blueberry Crisp on the right.

I made a blueberry crisp and blueberry cheese danish cake. Oh, yes, I did bake both of those dishes.  They were delicious, and I will make both again.

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Look at the inside of this cake!  SpecialK has declared it his favorite cake, more than the lemon cupcakes, orange cake, clementine cake or chocolate cake.  This cake has now upped my cake success to 5/6.  (The carrot cake recipe we tried was not a winner.)

We went back this weekend, picked more blueberries, 4 more leeks, and these adorable cherry tomatoes.

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SpecialK bought twice the number of peaches he bought the week before.

What would you bake with blueberries?

 

*Red peppers are SpecialK’s favorite bell peppers. I don’t like any of them.

Orange Chicken

Since switching my food consumption to low carb, I have a hard time thinking of how I can have some of the old school food I grew up eating.

Imagine my surprise in finding an “Orange Chicken” recipe on a local store website that I would be able to make.  (Once we bought oranges, of course.)

I don’t often plan to make dinner for more than the two of us.  In simple terms, I was not looking to make leftovers.  Since we wouldn’t eat over a pound of chicken breast, I cut the ingredients in half.

My one question on this recipe was about the ginger.  Of course fresh would be better, but I didn’t have any and used ground.  I wasn’t sure if the measurements were written for fresh.  Additionally, next time I make this, I might try chopped garlic, cooked with the chicken, instead of using dried garlic powder.

Finally, SpecialK suggested cooking the chicken in the sauce.  I might try that too.

 

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Orange chicken, served over tri color quinoa

Original recipe can found here

Nutrition:

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Vegetarians:  Cook your favorite vegetable, instead of chicken. Broccoli might be a great substitute.

Kosher:  This dish contains no dairy!

Non-meat eaters:  see suggestions for vegetarians, above.

I have not tried this with any substitute for honey.  I am not sure how that would work, as the honey is the component that really creates this sauce.

Do you like proteins combined with fruit?

Salad Dressing

We have so so many choices for what to put on a vegetable salad.  I have been advised to make my own salad dressings, which I have done.  For example I have made my own balsamic dressing, and foresee that I will again in the future.

Living with SpecialK changes some of my options.  He would rather have me purchase than make some things, and salad dressing is mostly on that list.

In an ongoing effort to maintain a harmonious marriage, we have compromised, and bought dressings that seem to be healthy. Until today, when that ideal was shattered by an email from VeryWell.

The dressings that we use are made by Wishbone.

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My point of concern was that the VeryWell article was strongly suggesting that we limit our choices to those that have less than (or equal to) 250 mg of sodium.  These bottles each have 350 mg of sodium.

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As I set the bottles up to take this picture, I realized that only the Caesar is made with EVOO.  Sadness reigns, as I begin to realize I will be making salad dressings after all.

Your favorite salad dressing?

Turkish Meat Sticks

Sometimes, I overestimate my memory.  I find notes written, only half the information is missing.  I expected I would remember.

I found one such note in the notes on my phone.  This was the note:

“ground beef, pistachios, caramelized onions and parsley formed into a kebab and grilled. Bonus with”

I pasted those words into Google, to see what I might have been thinking. First, I found that it is a Greek dish, Kafta.  But the recipes were not correct.  (Afterwards, I found the exact string of words in this blog.)

Curious, and remembering there was part of a package of ground beef lingering in the fridge, I decided. “Why not?”

There were no quantities listed, so I cut that in half.  A small onion, a handful of pistachios, shakes of the dried parsley bottle.  I cooked a meatball, tasted, added more parsley, salt and pepper.IMG_5695

I covered the bowl with plastic wrap and put it back in the fridge.

Last night I cooked it up.  3 burgers were made, Papa Bear Size, Mama Bear Size and Baby Bear Size.  I served Papa Bear Sized to SpecialK, and Baby Bear sized yo myself.

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I asked SpecialK what he thought of this dish.  Should I keep the recipe?  He said, “Sure”.  But the real answer came when I asked him if he would like the leftovers for lunch.  “No”.  Ok, dear, I won’t be making these Turkish Meat Sticks again.

What new recipe have you tried lately?

Product Taste Test: Carrot Chips

When we find a new to us product that I can eat, we try them.  Imagine my surprise when SpecialK stood looking at a bag of beet chips.

Sue:  “Do you want to try them?”

SpecialK:   “No”.

Sue:  “Do you even like beets?”

SpecialK:  “No”.

So I did what I usually do, and dug through the rack, to see what else they had.  Ignoring the bags of potato chips, I came up with a bag of carrot chips.

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Sue:  “Do you want to try these?”

SpecialK:  “Will you eat them, too?”

Knowing that I didn’t want to be told that I said to buy them, I answered tentatively.  “Yes, I’ll try them”.

We brought home a bag of carrot chips.  Did you know they claim there are vegetable servings in the bag?

Surprisingly, the bag was not ripped open during our ride home.  Once home, unpacked and settling in, I may (or may not) have opened the bag.  We tried them, and my first thought was that they tasted like sweet potato chips.  So I ate a few more.  They look like carrot chips, and started to taste like carrots.

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What is your newest snack food?

 

I was not compensated or sponsored in any manner for this post.  Product selection and opinions are all my own.  We paid at the register just like everyone else.

Bowl of Breakfast Yum

‘Breakfast is the most important meal of the day’. Is it true?  As long as I can have this Breakfast Bowl, I am not sure if I care.

I found the recipe for this version of oatmeal in Instapot’s 4th version of their app.  I eliminated some ingredients, added what I like, and I do ❤️ the results.

1 C steel cut oats

2 C water

1 C milk of choice

Cinnamon to taste

2 drops of vanilla extract.

Put all of the above in your Instapot.  Stir so all of the oats get wet.

3 minutes of high pressure, natural release, and we have creamy oatmeal.

(I may have shown my Breakfast Bowl of Yum to SpecialK and called it “Porridge or Gruel”.)

I enjoy it fresh and refrigerate remainders.  I reheat each 1/2 C serving approx 45 seconds and this is the time it all gets interesting.

To the top of each bowl, I add fresh blueberries (soon to be frozen ones as I am out of fresh), toasted walnuts and some Maple Grove Farms Sugar Free Maple Flavor Syrup.

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Creamy, crunchy, juicy, and sweet; have I missed anything?  Creamy oats because they were cooked with milk, juicy blueberries, buttery crisp walnuts, and some sweetness.  I tried pecans, and they just weren’t right.

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Being that fresh blueberries will not be fresh year round, I foresee apple cinnamon oats in my future.  While there are blueberries, I have this bowl of yum. Good to the last spoonful.

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What is your favorite ‘no thought’ breakfast?

Cowboy caviar, and others

Hello!

This weekend, I decided to challenge myself.  I finally made the 90 second muffin.  I followed this recipe:

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Of course, I substituted light olive oil for butter, and I carefully chose which dish I would use.  Still, I think I got the desired look.

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I split it in half and toasted it.

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Finally, I recreated the actual idea that had inspired me to finally make this.  Toasted cheese.

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Success!  Until I tasted it.  I was not in love.  Well at least I gave myself the chance to try it?

Next up, I decided to make steel cut oats in the InstaPot.  Since returning the Sous Vide, and the cousin who encouraged us to buy Sous Vide bought an Instapot, we have been looking for more ways to use the Instapot.

There is a new Instapot app, that contains Volume 4 recipes.  I found a recipe that called for raisins, and after cooking, adding more raisins, maple syrup and cinnamon, I knew it was to be our breakfast.  There are no pictures, as that oatmeal is gone, consumed, finis.  SpecialK claimed he liked it, I ❤️ it, and we split up leftovers for Monday breakfast.

To make it even lower carb (aka less sugar), I have learned I like it with some cinnamon, a drop or two of vanilla, and a teaspoon of my ‘pretend’ Maple Syrup.  Maple Grove Farms, sugar free maple flavor syrup.  Still, I did add fresh blueberries and thought about toasting some walnuts.

One more success in the last few days was made specifically for SpecialK.

Food issues all have one very real side issue.  Taste.  As in, I don’t care how healthy avocados are, I don’t like them.

I got an email with a recipe for Cowboy Caviar.  I have since learned that everybody, their sister and their uncle has their own version of Cowboy Caviar.

I gave SpecialK a short shopping list, and off he went to get his car headlight replaced.  He came home with the requested groceries.

 

 

Yes, we tweaked this recipe.  No black eyed peas?  White beans to the rescue.  SpecialK prefers sweet onions to any other.  I used a sweet onion.  We had one red pepper, starting to wrinkle in it’s skin.  I chopped it up, didn’t measure how much I had, and tossed it in.  One avocado, chopped and tossed in.  No jalapeños in this house, ever.  Left it out.  I put in 1/3 if the recommended amount of chili powder, and after grinding cumin seed, I may have had a touch more than 1 teaspoon.

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SpecialK had some each day this weekend.  The flavor of the chili powder came through loud and clear by the second day.  With work travel impending, the remaining amount went to work with SpecialK.  I know Marion enjoyed it, too.

We have several zucchini in the fridge, so I will be making Valentine’s Vegetables, to freeze in portions that SpecialK could take for work lunches.

What have you been making and eating?

2 ingredient pancakes

I was intrigued, and had bananas that were very ripe. I had seen the recipes, and was wondering what they’d be like.

After tossing eggs with the Sous Vide unit, I didn’t want to ‘waste eggs’.

This is the recipe I tried, and fortunately, I read the comments first.  No, it wasn’t a banana omelet, or scrambled eggs with banana.  It was yummy.

My takeaways from this recipe, add 3/4 tsp baking powder for each egg, cinnamon based on your tastes and after mixing it, let it sit, at least a little while (5 minutes). Do not immediately put in your fry pan,

One other suggestion:  I tried to make small pancakes. They ran together, so I made one large pancake.  My pancake was made from one egg and half a banana.  Read up, I didn’t want to waste an extra egg, and I ate the other half of the banana.

One egg and 1/2 banana in the fry pan, and I wasn’t hungry for several hours.

What’s the craziest dish you’ve made that you would make again?

 

Sous Vide

Amazon has a special sale day in July.  It is called Prime Day.

We bit.  We had been discussing Sous Vide cooking for a while.  We bought the Anova 800 watt Bluetooth unit.

We received the unit during our crazy week. SpecialK opened the box yesterday to cook some eggs.  He was dismayed to learn that he would still need to boil them to get poached eggs.  He tried to make soft boiled eggs, and ended up making two different eggs into a fried egg breakfast.

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Just to play with it, I prepared some potatoes to cook.  An hour and a half later, they were edible.  As my cousin who loves his Sous Vide unit told me,”It’s a shame that you don’t eat meat, that’s where this unit shines”.

Just as an aside, I never felt I truly knew how to cook beef, and preferred chicken when given a choice.  SpecialK feels that his meat eating days are behind him. So we eat chicken, salmon, shrimp, and lean ground beef.

I began looking up specific recipes for the Instapot.  You can poach eggs, using the silicone egg cups we already own.  We can cook a piece of salmon.  Bottom line, for us, and the way we eat, Sous Vide might not be right for us.  This winter, the Instant Pot will be used, a lot.

We returned the Sous Vide, and I highly doubt we will ever buy another.

Did you get any “finds” on Prime Day?  Do you Sous Vide?