I <3 My CSA!

Well, this summer I finally did it – I joined a CSA. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, and as a member you commit to supporting a local farm for the season, in sickness and in health. This means if they have a plentiful growing season, you reap the benefits in an abundance of fresh, local, beautiful (and organic if you choose an organic farm!) nutrient rich produce. And if the season is more troublesome (flooding, droughts, etc.) then you may not see as much produce that season.

The purpose of joining a CSA is not only to support your local farmers, but also to provide them a guaranteed income to free them from the added stresses of a constant need to sell and let them focus on growing and harvesting the best produce they can. It’s a wonderful thing to get weekly updates with information on the upcoming harvests and the progress of the new crops and to know where your food is coming from.

Each week I pick up my box of produce, which has been jam-packed lately as we are in the peak of the season, and I am astonished by all of the beautiful veggies (and occasional fruit) that I find inside as I unpack it – it covers my kitchen counter! Veggies have taken over the refrigerator and I have had a wonderful time experimenting with veggies I have never tried before. Fennel, asian eggplant, radishes, and kholrabi are now some of my new favorites – I know it’s crazy, but no, I had never tried a radish until this summer! The tomatoes taste like the ones I remember from childhood, and the melons are so fresh and delicious!! I could really go on and on…

So needless to say, I am a convert. I have already signed up for my winter share and I’m looking forward to some new items to try in the winter crops. I highly recommend joining a CSA in your area. It will make you feel connected with your local farmers and inspire you to try new healthy delicious dishes!

If you live in the Twin Cities area and would like to learn more about the CSA I joined, Featherstone Farm, you can visit their website for more info: http://www.featherstonefarm.com/

Or check out this website to find a CSA in your area: http://www.localharvest.org/csa/

Here are a couple pictures from earlier in the season – the last few boxes have been even fuller!

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Orange Chicken and Veggie Stir-Fry

This is a delicious dish with lots of wonderful veggies! The chicken has a light orange flavor, but you can amp it up by pouring some of the orange juice into the veggies along with the chicken and simmering it a bit.

1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
14 oz pkg. chicken tenders, cut in strips
1 orange

2 tbsp peanut oil
1 tsp minced garlic
1 1/2 cup broccoli florets, roughly chopped
1 1/2 cup cauliflower florets, roughly chopped
2 cups snow peas, cut in short strips
2 tbsp shoyu
2 tbsp mirin
2 green onions, chopped in 1/4″ pieces
8 oz white mushrooms, sliced
1 bunch chard, stems removed, cut in strips
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil

Add sesame oil in 12″ skillet and turn heat on med-low. Add chicken strips, then cut orange in half and squeeze juice from entire orange over the chicken. Grate a bit of the peel over the chicken (about 1 tsp) and cover.

Add peanut oil in 16″ skillet and turn heat on med-low. Add minced garlic, then chop up broccoli and cauliflower florets and add to large skillet. Cut up snow peas discarding stem ends and add to large skillet. Add shoyu and mirin in large skillet and stir to distribute. Turn over chicken strips, turn on low to simmer and cover. Cut up green onions and add to large skillet, then slice up mushrooms and add to large skillet, stirring each into veggies to distribute flavors. Remove all stems from chard and cut leaves into strips, add into large skillet, stir, and cover. Cook until leaves start to wilt, then add chicken strips (and a bit of the orange juice if desired), stir, turn heat to low and cover. Cook chicken and veggies together for a couple minutes, then serve!

Makes about 3-4 servings.

Enjoy!

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Raw Zucchini “Pasta” Salad

Part of our learning at IIN is to try out the different dietary theories we are learning about. As we were learning about Eating Raw I joined a group of students who decided to declare Wednesday as Raw Day, so every Wednesday we commit to eating only raw foods. After tiring of a day of salads the first week I decided to try to make the veggie pasta that others were talking about. I made this the night before and brought it to work for lunch the next day. It has a very light flavor and is good alone as a light meal or snack, or makes a great side dish for a picnic! This recipe is for a single serving, or would serve 2-3 as a side dish. If you would like to share this with a larger group just multiply the amounts to get the desired servings.

1 med zucchini
1 radish, cut in half and sliced thin
1 green onion, cut in 1/4″ slices
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, cut in half
2-3 basil leaves, cut in thin strips
1 tbsp olive oil
Pinch of sea salt

Using a julienne peeler shred the zucchini into strips. (I have been told a spiralizer works well for this too.) Drizzle olive oil over noodles and work oil in with your fingers to help soften the noodles a bit. Toss noodles with veggies and basil. This can be served immediately or stored overnight.

**Tip: Experiment with sprinkling in different herbs and spices for different flavors!

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Easy Lemon Chicken and Veggies

This is a simple meal you can throw together fairly quickly, and it’s delicious! I make this one often – sometimes with different veggies (pictured below). I cut the veggies up while the chicken is cooking – longest cooking veggies first.

1 tbsp olive oil
20 oz. pkg chicken thighs
2 lemons
1 tsp dried basil
fresh cracked pepper

2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp minced garlic
3-4 carrots, cut in 2″ long strips (about the diameter of a pencil)
8 oz. pkg white mushrooms, quartered
1 cup grape tomatoes, cut in half
1 tbsp dried basil
fresh cracked pepper
pinch of sea salt

Pour 1 tablespoon of olive oil into a 12″ skillet. Turn heat on med-low. Lay chicken thighs out across the bottom of the pan. Squeeze the juice of the 2 lemons over the top of the chicken. (**Tip: If lemons have a lot of seeds, squeeze into a cup first, scoop out the seeds, and pour juice onto chicken.) Season with basil and pepper. Cover.

While the chicken is cooking pour 2 tablespoons olive oil into a larger skillet (about 16″) and add minced garlic. Turn heat on med-low. Rinse and cut carrots and add to larger skillet, season with basil, pepper and sea salt and stir to distribute oil and seasoning. Cover larger skillet. Turn over chicken thighs. Rinse and quarter mushrooms and add to larger skillet, stir in with carrots to distribute oil and seasoning, cover. Rinse and cut grape tomatoes and add to larger skillet, stir to distribute oil and seasoning, cover. Turn over chicken thighs.

Let everything cook for a few minutes, then uncover both and spoon some lemon juice off the chicken and drizzle it over the veggies leaving a small amount of lemon juice with the chicken. Stir veggies to distribute lemon juice. Cover both pans again and let cook for a few more minutes.

Makes 4 servings.

Enjoy!!

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Other delicious combos!
Carrot, broccoli, mushroom, zucchini:
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Asparagus, mushroom, tomato:
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Chunky Chicken Stew

Now I’ve never been much of a cook – I get anxious when I have to follow a recipe – so I’ve had to push myself outside my comfort zone of the oh-so-fancy meat with a salad. When I decided to try this stew the first time I was motivated by 2 things – the desire to add more veggies into my diet, and the desire to not throw away the veggies in my fridge. 🙂 Every time I make this it consists of a slightly different combo of veggies – whatever sounds good, or needs to be used up. This combination was especially tasty!

1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp minced garlic
1 pkg of boneless skinless chick thighs
1 tbsp dried basil
fresh ground pepper
1/2 lg white onion roughly diced
3 lg carrots cut in half and then 1/4″ slices
2 celery stalks cut in 1/4″ slices
1 pkg oyster mushrooms diced (about 2 cups)
(or 1 lg portabella mushroom cap diced is also delicious!)
1 lg zucchini sliced 1/4″ thick and quartered
2 Roma tomatoes diced
5-6 baby red and yellow bell pepper cut in half and then 1/4″ slices
5-6 chives cut in 1/4″ slices
1 can tomato sauce (I used Glen Muir organic sauce)
1 can diced tomatoes (I used Full Circle organic)
2 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
more fresh ground pepper
a pinch of sea salt

– Add the olive oil and garlic in the bottom of the crockpot
– Lay chicken thighs out in the bottom of the crockpot (using thighs to spread the olive oil)
– Sprinkle dried basil and fresh ground pepper over chicken
– Turn crock pot on high
– Add layers of veggies
– Pour tomato sauce and diced tomatoes on top
– Season with fresh oregano, more fresh ground pepper, and sea salt
– Gently stir seasoning and sauce down into the veggies
– Cook for 3 hours (I stirred it about each hour)
– Dig chicken thighs off the bottom and break them up with a couple of forks (I pulled them out onto a plate to do this)
– Stir chicken chunks back into the stew and turn on low for an hour

All of the beautiful produce that went into this stew!
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And the delicious result!
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Tropical Green Smoothie

I’ve had several requests for this recipe. It’s packed full of nutritious green veggies with some tropical fruit to sweeten it a bit – it has a nice light flavor. This smoothie is a great source of vitamins A, C, and K and Manganese and it’s such a beautiful bright green! 🙂 I make this one in my NutriBullet.

1 handful chopped kale
1 handful broccoli florets
1 handful chopped celery
1 handful chopped cucumber
1 handful pineapple chunks (fresh or frozen)
1/2 handful mango chunks (fresh or frozen)

Add about 10 oz. water and blend until smooth.

*Tip: I cut my veggies up ahead of time so I can just grab a handful of each – saves on prep time!
**Use organic veggies and fruit whenever possible – much more flavorful!

You can also add a spoonful of chia or flax seed for an extra nutrient boost!

Before…
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And after!!
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