Archive for Crop Sharing

What I’ve Been Up To in the Kitchen

Once we returned from Europe, the CSA had just started and things have been full speed ahead in the kitchen. We have received tons of veggies (and lots and lots of greens!) and have gotten some great deals on fruit. A couple of weeks ago, we picked some blueberries and were able to purchase a total of 30 pounds of peaches in the past couple of weeks, and I think we will probably get more next week. We also got quite a few blackberries from the CSA. So yeah…we’ve been kind of busy in the kitchen! Here are just a few things we’ve done:

 

wpid-img_20140723_075944.jpg

Light Blackberry and Chocolate Chip Muffins – We made 8 muffins and froze two containers of it for later!

wpid-img_20140721_193419.jpg

Bowtie Pasta with Zucchini and Shrimp in Light Tomato Sauce

 

wpid-img_20140723_192924.jpg

Peach BBQ Sauce – We canned about 10 half-pint jars full of this!

wpid-img_20140721_212919.jpg

Homemade Pizza Sauce – We froze enough for 2 pizzas and used the leftovers for Portabella Parmesan this week.

wpid-img_20140722_192623.jpg

Basil Peach Chicken

wpid-img_20140720_190541.jpg

Quesadillas with Yellow Squash

wpid-img_20140629_163824.jpg

Green Beans! – We canned about 5 pints that came from our garden and the farmer’s market.

wpid-img_20140713_215335.jpg

Peach Salsa – This stuff is amazing. We now have numerous pints of this:)

wpid-img_20140714_145043.jpg

Blackberry Bars

Some of the things I forgot to take a picture of are:

  • Peach Pancakes – We had some for breakfast and then froze 3 more batches of it in the freezer.
  • Light Blueberry Muffins – We made some and froze 2 more batches for later.
  • Blueberry Brownies – I know this sounds weird but it was actually pretty good!

 

Let me know if you need any of these recipes; I’d be happy to share them!

 

Adventures in Crop Sharing: Sweet Potato Chili

Sweet Potato Chili

We got a ton of sweet potatoes at our CSA over the last few pickups and ended up getting even more at the Thanksgiving pickup this past weekend. I like sweet potatoes more than I did before and have tried a few things with them including sweet potato fries, Irish nachos, and mashed sweet potatoes, but there is only so much of them we can eat at a time, as my husband and I don’t like the “sweet” taste after awhile. I searched pinterest and found a recipe for sweet potato chili. I didn’t have exactly what it called for, but it was enough to give me something to start with, so I took the idea and made it up as I went.

First, I chopped up about 2 medium sweet potatoes and 4 small ones along with a little over half an onion and threw them in the crockpot.

Sweet Potato Chili - potatoes and onions

We had the last of the tomatoes my husband had pulled from his garden. They were green but had been sitting on the window sill for awhile, so I chopped up the ones that had turned red and added them to the crockpot.

Sweet Potato Chili - chopped tomatoes

Sweet Potato Chili - potatoes, onions, and tomatoes

Next, I added 3 cans of chili beans, a can of diced tomatoes with chili seasoning, and a can of zesty tomato sauce.

Sweet Potato Chili - in crockpot

I found some celery in the refrigerator that needed to be used, so I added some of that.

Sweet Potato Chili - add celery

I set the crockpot to cook on high for about four hours. As I watched it cook in the afternoon, I felt like it was pretty thick, so I added about a cup to a cup and a half of homemade vegetable stock. Some of the potatoes weren’t very soft (but still good and totally edible), so if you like your potatoes soft, you would want to cook it for longer.

Sweet Potato Chili - after veggie stock

We had it for dinner (along with some corn bread) and served it with some cheese and green onion.

Sweet Potato Chili - Bowl

 

Adventures in Crop Sharing: Potato Soup

Now that it’s definitely fall (and sometimes feels like it’s moving into winter), we have been eating more soups. I don’t really care for soups in a can, but if I make a homemade soup that is hearty enough to fill me up, I can certainly make a meal out of it. Plus, they tend to be low in Weight Watchers Points Plus so that is always helpful to me.

We got potatoes from our CSA a few times so I decided to do something with them on a Sunday afternoon in November. I started with this recipe as the base but then kind of made it up on my own. I took all the potatoes we had, which was about 1.6 pounds and peeled and cubed them. Then, I dumped them into the crockpot.

Potato Soup - Potatoes in Crockpot

I used both red and Yukon gold potatoes, because that’s what I had on hand.

Next, I chopped up some onion, celery, garlic, and collared greens to add to the mix.

Potato Soup - Ingredients in Crockpot I used about 4 cups of homemade veggie stock and added some salt and pepper before letting it cook on low for about 5 or 6 hours.

Potato Soup - with Veggie Stock

At that point, the potatoes were fairly soft so I used our immersion blender to blend the vegetables. I left it a little chunky because we prefer it that way over being too much like a puree. After blending the mixture, I added about 3/4 cup of milk and about 1 1/2 cups of reduced fat cheddar cheese. It turned out looking a little green because of the celery and the collared greens, but it still tasted great, though next time I think I will cut back on the amount of vegetable stock I use so that it will be a little thicker. It wasn’t necessarily hearty enough to be a main entrée but it was an excellent side and we used some of the leftovers as a side for another meal this week. We also froze some for future use.

I’m always looking for a good potato soup recipe for the slow cooker. Share your favorite in the comments!

A Different Kind of Quesadilla

We have a quesadilla maker and it is one of the kitchen gadgets we own that we actually use. Typically, we like to make chicken, onion, and mushroom quesadillas, and Anya will even eat a cheese quesadilla on occasion. A friend gave us some yellow squash that we needed to use, so I decided to make quesadillas out of it. I love squash and I love quesadillas, but I had never made squash quesadillas.

I started with this recipe and altered it based on what I had on hand and the short amount of time I had. Basically, it gave me the idea and I just made it up as I went.

First, I sliced the squash.

Quesadillas - Squash

Then, I put it in the skillet with some green pepper and onion and sautéed it.

Quesadillas - Squash with veggies

Next, I sprayed a whole wheat tortilla with olive oil spray and put it in the quesadilla maker. I added my sautéed veggies and topped it with some reduced fat cheese and some halved grape tomatoes from the CSA. I also added a Mexican seasoning we like, as well as some hot peppers we had gotten from our CSA.

Quesadillas - Squash with veggies and cheese on tortilla

I put another whole wheat tortilla on the top of this and a few minutes later, I had an amazing squash quesadilla. I used a little light sour cream to cut down on the heat.

Quesadillas

Eric wasn’t so sure about it, but even he had to agree that they were pretty good and very healthy!

What do you put on your homemade quesadillas?

Creative K Kids

Adventures in Crop Sharing: Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

This year, our family joined up with another family to buy a partial share of a crop share (a CSA) in our area. This is our first experience with a crop share, and so far, we are really enjoying the weekly supply of vegetables (and some fruits) and trying out new vegetables and recipes. In this series, I will share some of our experiences.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

I can’t believe I have gone my entire life without ever having eaten roasted pumpkin seeds. We got a pumpkin the last few weeks at our CSA and I made pumpkin puree for the very first time a couple of weeks ago. After searching online, I realized that you can actually roast pumpkin seeds, which is something I had never done, either. So I decided to try it. It seemed that there were a couple different ways to do it, but I just pulled the seeds from the pumpkin, soaked them in cold water, and laid them out to dry. Once they were completely dry, I put them on a cookie sheet, sprayed olive oil on them, and added sea salt, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes, which made them come out a little spicy. I put them in the oven at 350 for 10 minutes, stirred them around a little, and then put them back in for another 10 minutes.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

But they were amazing! Definitely something I will be trying again!

Looking online, I have seen numerous sweet and savory combinations for roasted pumpkin seeds. What are your favorite ways to roast them? I can’t wait to try some new flavors!

Adventures in Crop Sharing: Pizza Sauce

We got a lot of Sungolds through our CSA this year. We got some tomatoes, but it just seemed like we were really overwhelmed with Sungolds. We were given a recipe for pizza sauce that specifically used cherry tomatoes so we decided to try it out. We used Sungolds and some regular larger tomatoes because that is what we had on hand.

We sliced all the tomatoes and added olive oil, oregano, thyme, and salt and pepper. Then, we put it in the oven for 30 minutes. After the 30 minutes was up, we added some garlic and put it back in the oven for 30 minutes.

Roasted Tomatoes

We used our pizza stone for extra flavoring.

In case you try this at home, you should know that the house smelled amazing by the time these got out of the oven! The next step was to put everything into the food processor.

Tomatoes and Basil in Blender

I also added fresh basil at this point.

Pizza Sauce

The finished product smelled, looked, and tasted amazing.

 

I froze about 2 batches of this in the freezer and can’t wait to try it the next time we make pizza!

What’s your favorite pizza sauce recipe?

Thrifty Thursday: Joining a CSA

We are almost 21 weeks into our CSA that we joined in May of this year. For those who don’t know, CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Basically, our family and another family have split the cost for a partial share of fruits and vegetables grown at a farm in our area. Every Saturday, one of us picks up our weekly share and we split what we get. When I do the math, it comes up to be around $8 a week when we split a partial share. Of course, some weeks we get more than other weeks, but all in all, I really do believe that we have gotten a fair price. Though our CSA is not technically certified organic (due to paperwork and red tape), they do follow organic guidelines when growing their crops, so that makes the deal even better. So basically we are getting fresh and locally grown organic fruits and veggies each week.

Anya Picking Sungolds at CSA

Anya picking tomatillos at the farm.

How is this saving us money?

1. We don’t have to buy much produce at the grocery store. There are a few things we get to supplement what we don’t get from the farm, but we don’t have to buy nearly as much. Plus we are eating healthy by adding in all the veggies we wouldn’t normally think to buy.

2. We are eating less meals with meat. I don’t have anything against meat, but when we get fresh veggies each week, we feel like we need to be sure to use them before they go bad. Therefore, a lot of our veggies show up as the main entrée in many of our meals. Because of this, we have bought much less meat over the course of the summer.

3. We also get fresh herbs and flowers. We all know how expensive it is to get fresh herbs and flowers from the grocery. At our CSA, we are allowed to cut as much of each of these as we need for the week. I have made a ton of pesto and used lots of fresh oregano and basil in many recipes. And I think getting the freshly cut flowers speak for itself.

Seton Harvest Herbs

Herbs at Seton Harvest

4. We have been saving some of the vegetables for later. We also spent a little time canning and freezing both fresh and prepared vegetables, including things like pizza sauce, diced tomatoes, green beans, salsa verde, etc.

5. We even use the leftover ends of veggies. I have been saving all the scraps and ends of veggies to make vegetable stock when I get a full gallon-size bag of them. I keep it in the freezer to keep it from going bad until I have enough for a full batch. This has saved me lots of money on buying stock at the store. Also, whatever doesn’t go in my vegetable stock goes in my husband’s compost bin, which we use in our own garden.

6. Volunteer hours get you a discount on next year’s share. I don’t know that all CSA’s do this, but ours happens to offer a $50 discount if your family logs at least 4 hours of volunteer hours working at the farm. This makes next year’s share even cheaper.

I’m sure there are other ways we are saving by joining the CSA, but these are the main ones that I can think of off the top of my head. We considered this year a trial run, but we will definitely be back next year to do it again. We have learned so much about vegetables and have tried several we have never had before.

Have you ever tried a CSA before?

Adventures in Crop Sharing: Pickles

This year, our family joined up with another family to buy a partial share of a crop share (a CSA) in our area. This is our first experience with a crop share, and so far, we are really enjoying the weekly supply of vegetables (and some fruits) and trying out new vegetables and recipes. In this series, I will share some of our experiences.

Pickles

My husband is a big pickle fan. I am not normally, but I have to say that I actually like the pickles he made using the cucumbers we got from our CSA. We got quite a few cucumbers this year and there were only so many salads I could eat with them, so we decided to try to make pickles. My husband found an easy online recipe that used the microwave. I know it sounds crazy, but it was actually pretty good. He made his first few cans that we kept in the refrigerator, but the next time around, he canned them so that they could be stored on the shelf for longer. He made both dill and bread and butter pickles and added some peppers to them to make them a little spicy. Even just one cucumber made more than we thought so we ended up with quite a few cans of these.

Pickle Ingredients

Pickle Ingredients

Canned Pickles

Do you like your pickles spicy? What’s your favorite pickle recipe?

Adventures in Crop Sharing: Homemade Pesto

This year, our family joined up with another family to buy a partial share of a crop share (a CSA) in our area. This is our first experience with a crop share, and so far, we are really enjoying the weekly supply of vegetables (and some fruits) and trying out new vegetables and recipes. In this series, I will share some of our experiences.

Pesto

I found an easy recipe for a light version of pesto that doesn’t include any kind of nut. Our CSA also includes herbs from an herb garden and there is a ton of basil, so I decided to make some. It was very easy to do.

First, I put the basil in the food processor.

 Basil in Food Processor

Then, I added parmesan cheese, salt and pepper, and garlic and blended it all together.

 Pesto in Food Processor

I then put it in an ice cube tray. Each cube is 1 tablespoon.

Pesto in Ice Cube Trays

Once they were frozen, I popped them out and put them together in a bag so it didn’t take up so much room in the freezer.

How do you make your pesto and what dishes do you make with pesto?

Adventures in Crop Sharing (and Canning): Salsa!

This year, our family joined up with another family to buy a partial share of a crop share (a CSA) in our area. This is our first experience with a crop share, and so far, we are really enjoying the weekly supply of vegetables (and some fruits) and trying out new vegetables and recipes. In this series, I will share some of our experiences.

Salsa!

We eat a ton of salsa at our house, so one of the things we wanted to do this summer was to make our own. My husband has a few tomato plants, so some of the tomatoes used came from his plants. We also got quite a few from our CSA, and we purchased the rest that we needed from a local farmers’ market. We got peppers locally as well (from the farmers’ market and CSA). After doing a little research, we purchased a pressure cooker so that we could actually can it. We made two batches a couple of weeks apart and made approximately 250 ounces of salsa in all.

We started out with these ingredients:

Salsa Ingredients

First, we washed the tomatoes and blanched them before peeling them. The we diced them and threw them in a large pot on the stove, along with chopped onions, peppers (some of them hot), green peppers, garlic, and cilantro. We put tomatillos in some of the batches to make it a little sweeter.

Salsa on the Stove

We cooked it over the stove and then poured them into the jars to be pressure cooked. It did take some time to prepare all the ingredients, but once that was all done, the rest was super easy!

Canned Salsa

Looks like we should be set for the year!

« Older Entries