Box full o’ noms

I love getting stuff in the mail – and now, every other week, I receive a box full of organic goodies! I’ve loved the idea of CSA, or community supported agriculture boxes, for a long time, but I never found a company that delivered near me. When I attended the graveyard movie a few weeks ago, a friendly gal was passing out flyers for Farm Fresh to You and I signed up on the spot! Now, every other week we’ll receive a medium sized box of seasonal produce and fruit.

The lettuce is bigger than my head!!!!

This week we got peaches, pluots, corn, lettuce, cauliflower, Nante carrots, beefsteak tomatoes, zucchini and cucumbers. Matt got to open the box on his lunch break (I admit, I was jealous I didn’t get to open it!) and when I got home, it was like a veggie Christmas. The price is very reasonable ($25 every other week) and all of the produce is organic and locally grown. This is a great option for our household because I love to cook, I love fruits and veggies, and I’m in full favor of supporting a local farm rather than giving bits of my hard-earned pay check to Monsanto.

Nante Carrots

The first night we got the box, we used the zucchini, carrots and my own garden grown squash to make a delicious vegetable saute in olive oil and fresh garlic. The carrots were so sweet because roasting and caramelizing veggies brings out all of their natural sugars. The corn on the cob was OFF THE HOOK and we finally got to use our cool corn dishes we got as a wedding gift.

Peaches come from a can, they were put there by a man in a factory downtown.... NOT THIS PEACH! (5 points for whoever gets that)

I had a peach for breakfast that reminded me of summers spent in Conyers, GA with my aunt and uncle, and the pluot I scarfed down yesterday was divine. I know a lot of people think the ‘organic tastes better’ opinion is hocus pocus, but I can honestly say for many fruits and vegetables, organic just tastes… better. Essentially organic means home grown – and a garden grown with love will produce a way better taste than a garden grown with chemicals and machines.

Feeling corny? Butter me up and we'll see what happens.

I’m super excited for the next box. We can even customize it to leave out things we don’t like (eggplant made that list, and zucchini is going on the list since I grow my own), or request more of the things we do. I think the CSA box will be an awesome thing for Matt and I, and will encourage us to try new recipes, eat more fruits and veggies, and help us continue to be mindful of where our food comes from.  Would you consider a CSA box? If so, you should check out this link for more information and to find a participating farm near you!

What’s in my fridge?

  • This is part of Kenlie’s “Friend Makin’  Monday” over at All The Weigh – I’m a day late, but it was such a fun post I couldn’t resist!
  • Crappy iPhone Image - My cluttered fridge.

  1. List a few common items that can always be found in your fridge.  Diet pepsi (currently trying to kick this habit… it’s my “dark passenger”), shredded mexican cheese, cucumbers, pickles, Kalamata olives (LOVE these in salads or pasta…) soy sauce, butter, “Better than Boullion” and “I can’t believe it’s not Butter”. (Did you know a few days ago I asked Matt to hand me the “I can not believe it’s not butter?” Missed that first apostrophe…. he had a good time making fun of me.)
  2. What kind of milk do you drink? 2% – I am not much of a milk drinker at all, but Matt can go through a gallon a week, so Costco is helpful for purchasing moo-juice as it’s priced pretty reasonably…
  3. Do you prefer fresh or frozen vegetables? Definitely fresh vegetables. I’m actually kind of a veggie snob (I blame it on living in California) and only use frozen veggies in soups or stews. Frozen peas, however, work in anything. PS I am so excited because tomorrow my first CSA box comes!!!!! Don’t know what that is? I’ll write about it on Thursday.
  4. What do you currently have to drink in the fridge? Water, milk,diet pepsi, diet cranberry juice, fresca, and LOTS of beer. Sadly, none of that yummy delicious beer is mine, it’s all hubby’s. (I don’t really drink beer – I’m more of a wino)
  5. How often do you clean out your refrigerator? Throwing out old stuff happens less often than it should. Actually cleaning out the fridge happens WAY less often than it should. Kind of embarrassing to admit but uh…. the top shelf is kind of sticky from an unfortunate soy sauce explosion…. I cleaned up a lot of it but there’s still stuff that’s spattered with soy sauce. I really SHOULD clean it out but… you know. (Another embarrassing story: My cousin is extremely type-A, and on her vacation when she was staying at my house, I came home from work to find her frantically scrubbing the inside of my refrigerator. It was one of those times when you’re simultaneously mortified and jazzed… mortified because I’m that slovenly that my cousin decides to clean my fridge ON HER VACATION, jazzed cuz I didn’t have to do it! (Let’s face it, it would probably be just as nasty today if she hadn’t done it!)

    My freezer is a little more boastful... smart ones, wheat bread, rolls, french fries. CARBSSSS!!

  6. What’s the healthiest thing in it right now? Probably the big container of salad made from organic romaine, olives, tomatoes and cukes, and then the bag of cherries.
  7. What’s the most unhealthy thing in it right now? Cheese curds from Wisconsin (a gift from my aunt), beer, butter.
  8. What do you wish you had in it that you don’t have now?I have been DYING for rocky road ice cream. Craving it for several days. It’s probably time to give in because my nutritionist said if you are craving something for more than three days, you need to just do it. Maybe tomorrow.
  9. How often do you shop for groceries? I will usually do a “big” trip every two weeks to stock up, but getting veggies and random things happens about once a week. We have a wonderful chain of stores called the “99c only” store and they are amazing – I get lots of organic produce there for dirt cheap, and it’s right around the corner. I’m hoping our CSA box will help me cut down on the little random trips.
  10. What’s the weirdest thing in your fridge right now? A Kinder Sorpresa egg from Mexico! I bought this for Matt at the airport in Cabo San Lucas back in May – guess he hasn’t wanted to eat it yet! These german chocolate eggs have little toys inside. (PS see that brown schmutz on it? Yeah, see aforementioned soy sauce incident.)

Surprise! Milk Chocolate Egg

Weekend Wrap-Up

*clutches belly* ohhhh. ahh. I guess I should *strain* write a blog…*unbuttons jeans* but that requires getting off the couch….. sooooo fulll *grimace*

JUST KIDDING! But after you see all of these pictures, you’re going to think the above is true! This weekend, my lovely Aunt Ginny, Uncle Daniel and parents were in town, and man, did we eat! Here’s a brief run down of some of our most memorable meals. Surprisingly, I was fairly good and overdid it only once, on salsa and chips, one of the more benign things to pig out on. But I also dragged my butt to mega-calorie blaster impact kickboxing for an hour, so that’s a plus!

My parents and uncle arrived Friday night, and I wanted something to snack on, so I made cookie dough dip. Sadly, this dip was extremely overrated, and I think I ate two or three licks of it before throwing it out. Unfortunately it just wasn’t a crowd pleaser and tasted nothing like cookie dough.

Cookie Do"n't" dip

Thankfully, I had harvested some peppers and tomatoes from my garden and made salsa. Fresh salsa is always amazing, but I may have gone a little overboard with the garlic (3 cloves? no problem!)

Salsa!

Last night, we went to Five Guys and had burgers, fries and peanuts – Here’s Matt holding his burger and a nice shot of the table. (See that hand dipping for fries? Love that!)

Five Guys and Fries

Then, this morning, we had brunch at BJ’s – I had the italian market salad (very good – I love fontina cheese! Where can I buy it?) and the whole table shared a chocolate chunk pizzookie. Here’s my mom pretending to lick the pan (maybe she’s not pretending).

Mmmm, coookie

And then tonight, we were naughty and celebrated the season premiere of True Blood by pulling out the deep fryer. Matt made most of the dinner (great job, Matt!) and we had delicious fried chicken, sauteed squash and zucchini (from our garden – it was SO sweet and tender – yum!) and mashed potatoes (I made the gravy).

Courtesy of Chef Matthew

Last but not least, we had FRIED CHEESE CURDS. My Auntie Ginny is from Wisconsin and she thoughtfully brought us some fresh cheese curds.

Ellsworth Cheese Curds!

Curds are … exactly what they sound like – curds! When they’re fresh, they squeak between your teeth. I dunked them in a light milk batter and deep fried them and the result was salty, chewy, melty, crunchy amazing cloggin-your-heart goodness. LOOK. JUST LOOK. nommmmmmm.

mmmmm fried cheese curd

All in all, it was a very nice weekend with my family and we ate lots of yummy things. I didn’t feel so bad though because I did work out, and never ate in excess. I think that while things like fried cheese curds aren’t a good long term choice for weight loss, having them every once in awhile (I haven’t had them in years!) is not a bad thing, as long as it’s in moderation. I won’t ever be able to be a cold-turkey from junk food type person – and that’s ok. It will take me small steps to complete my journey – and I’m willing to go a little slower to savor every day :)

Lyssa with her Curds

 

Wacky Wednesday


I love me some outlandish claims, but really? “Eat Brownies, Get Muscles!” ? That’s a whole new ballpark. I think I’d rather “Eat French Fries, Get Skinny!”

While their trademarked tagline is ridiculous, you have to admit it’s intriguing, because most protein bars I’ve tasted taste like sawdust with sugarfree hot cocoa powder dusted on top.

PS Just looked up their website and they’re in the same town I live in. Irony!

Recipe Review: Peanut Power Pasta

My Peanut Power noodles wrapped around a fork.

Ok, so the actual name of this recipe from Taste of Home Magazine is “Saucy Thai Beef Noodles” but that’s BORRRRRING so I am calling it PEANUT POWER PASTA! I love Thai food, and who doesn’t love peanut sauce? I’d bathe in that stuff, if I could. Ok, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration because I would forever smell like Skippy, but who doesn’t love a good hyperole? But Peanut Sauce IS delicious, and when the creamy, tangy taste hits my taste buds, I feel bad for peanut allergy sufferers who have to live with the bland and incomparable substitution of Almond butter. (PS Have you ever tried Peter Pan Peanut Butter? I tried some a month ago because I had heard a bunch of hipsters raving about it- that shiz is nasty! Don’t do it! It’s like… peanut lard.)

I followed this recipe to a T (which is unusual for me because I’m more about “a splash of this, a dash of that, I’ll just throw this in there and see what happens” type of cooking), and if I had to rate it, I’d give it 3 out of 5 stars. The taste was right on – actually, the peanut sauce on its own was fabulous! The biggest problem was 1) Not enough veggies, and 2) spaghetti noodles are the wrong type of starch for these Asian flavors, which are already strong on their own and get overpowered by the the thick noodle and heavy peanut sauce. So it was basically a texture problem – not a deal breaker, but next time I will use some vermicelli or even just brown rice with the sauce and vegetables. Oh. I lied. I didn’t follow the recipe to a tee – I used Sugar Snap Peas instead of Snow Peas because Sugar Snaps were .50c cheaper than snow peas, and I’m cheap.

It’s interesting because the reviews on this recipe actually state the same thing – too much peanut sauce, not the right starch, and rate it about 3 out of 5. If you make it, try doubling up on the veggies, cutting down on the PB, and using a different starch – and tell me what you think!

Can you tell I love cilantro?

  • 1/2 cup 2% milk
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons sherry
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 drops hot pepper sauce
  • 12 ounces uncooked spaghetti
  • 1 beef top sirloin steak (1 pound), thinly sliced
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons canola oil, divided
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh carrot
  • 1/2 cup julienned sweet red pepper
  • 1 cup fresh snow peas
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 1/4 cup chopped salted peanuts
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro

Directions

  • In a small saucepan, bring the first eight ingredients just to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat; set aside.
  • Cook spaghetti according to package directions.
  • In a large skillet or wok, stir-fry beef in 1/2 teaspoon oil until no longer pink. Remove and keep warm.
  • Stir-fry carrot and red pepper in remaining oil for 3-4 minutes. Add snow peas and onions; stir-fry 2-3 minutes longer or until vegetables are crisp-tender. Return beef to skillet.
  • Drain noodles; add to the pan. Add peanut sauce and toss to coat. Sprinkle with peanuts and cilantro. Yield: 6 servings.

Nutrition Facts: 1-1/3 cups equals 536 calories, 19 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 31 mg cholesterol, 795 mg sodium, 58 g carbohydrate, 5 g fiber, 34 g protein.

**A serving of this is incredibly dense. I ended up eating about 1 cup.

(How many WW points is this? Do I want to know? Guess I’ll know tomorrow after my first meeting.)