By: Leanne Ely
Another week, another CSA delivery! I look forward to my box of fresh local produce every week, but I am well aware that there are many of you out there who might not have had a chance to finish all of last week’s veggies before getting your new load.
Today we’re going to go over some tips to make sure you get the very most out of your CSA veggies. There should be nothing going to waste!
1. Store it all properly. Don’t just shove the food in the fridge all willy nilly. That’s not going to help you make good use of those beautiful fruits and veggies! Take the time to put them away where they belong as soon as you receive them.
2. Educate yourself. If you see items in your box that look like alien beings from other planets, take the time to ask your farmer what they are, and how to use them. Don’t let them go bad! Teach yourself how to use them! (Google will help you.)
3. Use up perishable items first. Certain items in your delivery are going to need to be used up right away (basil for instance) while others can last a lot longer (squash). Try to plan your meals around which items are going to go bad first.
4. Freeze, Pickle, or Ferment. Any items you don’t think you can make use of, prepare them to freeze, or pickle them. These articles will give you help with
and fermenting https://savingdinner.com/fermented-foods-a-primer/
5. Make soup. I don’t care what you got in that box, you can make soup out of it. Challenge me! I dare you! 🙂 Search the Internet for soup recipes involving the items you have too much of, and I’m sure you’ll find many new soup contenders. My famous Mitochondria Miracle Soup will make use of much of your chard, kale, celery, and other veggies. Plus it’s absolutely delicious! https://savingdinner.com/recipes/mitochondria-miracle-soup/
6. Get saucy! Make a big batch of sauce with those veggies! Simmer down some tomatoes with onion and garlic, then just toss in grated whatever you have! Carrots, zucchini, sweet potato, white potato… they will all work. Season as you like and add in any meat you want.
Now you’ll have no shortage of ways to use up that order of veggies before your next one arrives!
By: Leanne Ely
With the end of November comes the end of pumpkin season. You know what that means-we need to make the most out of this year’s harvest because you just can’t find a good pumpkin any other season!
Why not challenge yourself to see how many ways you can enjoy pumpkin this week?
Let me give you a few ideas to start with:
Appetizer: Pumpkin soup, anyone? For bonus points, serve the soup in half of a hollowed out, roasted squash. How pretty would soup in a squash bowl be on the Thanksgiving table this year?
Main: Make dinner in a pumpkin! First, cut off the top of the pumpkin and hollow it out as if you were making a jack-o-lantern. Sauté some diced onions until they’re soft, and then brown some meat in the same pan. Stir in some sliced mushrooms; coconut aminos; leftover rice, cauli-rice, or quinoa; water chestnuts; diced tomatoes . . . get creative! When everything in the pan is nice and hot, spoon the mixture into the hollow pumpkin. Put the stuffed pumpkin on a baking sheet and put its hat back on it. Bake in a 350-degree oven for an hour or so. At serving time, put the pumpkin on a serving plate and scoop out servings. The roasted pumpkin counts as your vegetable for this innovative one-pot dish!
Side Dish: Make miniature, single-serving stuffed pumpkins using a similar recipe as above, but use smaller pie pumpkins and serve one to each dinner guest. These would make perfect side dishes for your Thanksgiving Dinner.
Dessert: There are so many ways to use pumpkin in desserts. I’ve shared a recipe for pumpkin cheesecake on my YouTube channel, and it is one of our family favorites. But you can find recipes for everything from pumpkin bread pudding to pumpkin donuts if you search Google for five minutes!
Smoothies: I have a great pumpkin smoothie recipe below!
So, get creative in that kitchen with those fresh pumpkins in savory and sweet dishes! Pumpkin smoothies, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin brownies….
Here’s that recipe for pumpkin smoothie:
Pumpkin Spice Smoothie
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 to 3/4 cup water (or almond milk)
1/2 cup canned pure pumpkin
1/4 cup spinach
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 scoop Saving Dinner Perfect Paleo Protein
2 teaspoons Saving Dinner Fibermender 2.0 (optional)
1 tablespoon Just Juiced Greens (optional)
INSTRUCTIONS: In a blender, place almond milk, water, pumpkin, spinach, cinnamon, Perfect Protein Powder, Fibermender 2.0 (optional), and Just Juiced Greens (optional); blend until smooth and enjoy! It’s ok to add a tad more milk of your choice, if a thinner smoothie is preferred.
PS–Everything in our store has FREE SHIPPING right now! Click here to stock up on Perfect Paleo Protein, Just Juiced Greens and Fibermender!
By: Leanne Ely
It’s time once again for Tricks, Tips and a Recipe. Today you’ll learn a trick, a tip and you’ll get a great recipe to try it out with. Neat, huh?
Today’s focus is on: CELERY
I’ve done my time with celery. Those “diets” that make you eat a lot of celery because the calorie count is so low? Yeah, you did it too, admit it!
And while I don’t eat celery that way anymore (it kind of makes me cranky!), celery is a fabulous veggie. Celery is one of the 3 magical ingredients used in soups with carrots and onions. The carrot is for sweet, the onion for savory and celery is for salt. And since I try to eat soup a lot, especially when the weather cools down, celery is always a resident in my crisper.
Besides being a key soup ingredient, celery is also plenty healthy. It acts as a natural diuretic, it calms your blood pressure, and it helps your immune system too.
Now, it’s time for your Trick!
When you buy celery, only buy organic. Celery is on the Dirty Dozen list because it’s so heavily sprayed. And since most people don’t consume a whole bunch of celery at a time, here’s a bonus trick for you to avoid waste! Cut the end off the celery, wrap the celery in aluminum foil and store it in your crisper drawer. It will last for almost a month this way!
Remember I told you to cut the bottom off your celery? Don’t throw it out! Save it and place it in a glass of water on a sunny window sill. It will regrow new bright green leaves!
And your Recipe:
Chicken Kale Soup
4 cups low sodium chicken broth, or use homemade
3 teaspoons coco-aminos
1 tablespoon grass fed butter
2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves, cubed
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
2 medium stalks celery, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, pressed
2 overflowing cups chopped kale
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
Place all ingredients in a large slow cooker; stir well to blend thoroughly. Cover and cook for 8 to 10 hours, stirring every 2 hours.
By: Leanne Ely
All sorts of nutritious edibles are being plucked from the ground across North America at this very moment. Yes, October is harvest time. Even if you haven’t grown your own vegetables this year, you should still make the most of all that great local organic produce that can be so difficult to source (depending on where you live) during the rest of the year.
Preserving produce is an excellent thing to do, but if you’re not into pickling, you should know that one of the easiest ways to hang onto those veggies is to freeze them. Freezing is a great way to lock in that nutrition without having to make too much of a mess of the kitchen. Pickling is great, but it sure is a lot of work!
The following is a handy little cheat sheet for you to use to help you make the most of those fresh veggies. I’ve included some of the most common harvest veggies that you might never have considered freezing before. You’ll notice that some vegetables need to be partially cooked before freezing. That’s because a bit of blanching is required in order to stop the enzyme activity that decays veggies.
Green and yellow beans. Simply snap the tops off the beans, rinse them under running water and cut into one-inch pieces. You can keep smaller beans in one piece if you like. Blanch them in boiling water for about 3.5 minutes, and then put the beans immediately in an ice bath for 3.5 minutes. Pop them in a freezer bag and voila!
Beets. Cook the beats until they’re fork tender, then let them cool before removing the skins (if you will be using your beets for juicing and they’re organic, you can leave the skin on). Cut the beets into chunks before packing into freezer bags.
Broccoli and Cauliflower. Method is the same for both of these veggies. Cut the heads from the stalks. You should have a diameter of roughly 1” per head. Soak in salt water to remove any dirt or insects, and then drain well. Blanch for 4 minutes and then place in an ice bath for 4 minutes before freezing.
Brussels sprouts. Wash the sprouts by soaking in salt water. Rinse before blanching for 4 minutes. Place immediately in an ice bath and chill for 4 minutes before freezing.
Carrots. Peel your carrots and slice them into coins. Before you freeze them, blanch for 3.5 minutes and chill for 3.5 minutes in an ice bath.
Pumpkin. Scoop the seeds out of the pumpkin, peel it and cut it into pieces. Steam or bake until tender. Mash the pumpkin flesh or blend it until smooth. Freeze in one-cup portions.
Spinach. You can freeze raw spinach or you can blanch it for 1.5 minutes and chill in an ice bath for 2 minutes before freezing.
Sugar peas. Wash, blanch for 2.5 minutes and chill for 3 minutes in an ice bath. Then place in freezer bags.
Peppers. Wash bell peppers and cut into slices. Freeze in bags.
Zucchini. Wash the zucchini, slice it and then blanch for 2 minutes. Chill in an ice bath for 2 minutes before freezing. Alternatively, you can grate the raw zucchini into one cup portions and freeze.
Tomatoes. Freeze whole for fresh tomato sauces all winter long.
By: Leanne Ely
Eating foods in season is so important to me. When you eat local foods that are in season, you get the freshest produce possible, with the most nutritional benefits.
That’s why, over the past number of months, we’ve been sharing articles featuring tips and health benefits around seasonal farmers market finds.
So thank goodness that while pomegranates and rhubarb have brief growing seasons, many foods are in season all year round.
The following foods have no particular growing season, and are found all around North America every month of the year:
Are there any foods I’ve missed on this list?
By: Leanne Ely
Harvest time is like Christmas for me. So many delicious and healthy foods are in season that I can hardly eat enough to get in all the foods I want to eat. I’m popping these healthy foods into my smoothies (sweet potatoes), soups (pumpkin), and desserts (pears).
I like to bulk up on all of the healthiest foods I can this time of year to help get my immune system in tip-top shape for cold and flu season.
There are plenty of superfoods in season during the fall, so buy them frequently and eat them often!
Here are ten of my favorite fall superfoods:
Pomegranates. Pomegranate juice is full of antioxidants, Vitamin C, and folate. Either juice those gorgeous red orbs inside the pomegranate fruit or sprinkle them on your salads.
Pumpkins. Full of fiber, B vitamins, and potassium, pumpkin is a powerhouse of nutrients. It’s not just for pie! Add cooked pumpkin to your smoothies, soups, and chilli. Why not?
Apples. Not only crunchy and sweet, apples are rich in antioxidants and high in fiber. An apple a day is great for you, but choose organic. Apples are high on the Dirty Dozen list.
Brussels sprouts. One of my favorite of all superfoods, brussels sprouts contain loads of Vitamin K, folate, and iron. As long as you don’t overcook them, brussels taste absolutely out of this world.
Parsnips. A good source of fiber and potassium, parsnips resemble carrots, but they have a sweeter flavor and a much lighter color. I love parsnips pureed in soups or roasted with other root vegetables as a side dish.
Pears. This sweet and juicy superfood has 4 whole grams of fiber per serving. It’s also a good source of copper and Vitamin C. If you’ve never tried a baked pear, you don’t know what you’re missing.
Cauliflower. This cruciferous veggie may help prevent cancer and lower cholesterol. It’s a great source of Vitamin C. Cauliflower is fantastic as a low-carb substitute for mashed potatoes or rice.
Squash. Butternut squash, acorn squash…. so many squashes! I love them all. Squash is a great source of Vitamin A and omega-3 fatty acids. I use squash in soups and as side dishes frequently through the fall.
Sweet potatoes. Chock full of Vitamin A, iron, and anti-inflammatories, I love sweet potatoes. Why cook their white counterparts when you can get so much more nutrition from these guys?
Cranberries. Rich in Vitamins C and E, potassium, iron, and folate, these antioxidant-filled berries are one of the healthiest things you can eat. Use them in your smoothies, cocktails, oatmeal, salsa… anywhere you can fit them, do it 🙂
I just love eating beautiful food. Don’t you?