Saturday, November 28, 2009

Harvest Box for November 27, 2009

Look at all that colour in this week's harvest box! It looks absolutely inviting and delicious.

I will be adding a little information each week here at the Life Organic blog about storing your produce . . . so keep reading and be sure to comment if you have any questions or challenges you'd like me to address.

See that bag of local parsnips?? They are a pleasant tasting root vegetable, similar to carrots. Like carrots, parsnips need to be peeled. They can be boiled or steamed, and are quite divine when roasted in the oven. Parsnips can also be boiled and then mashed, just like potatoes. Smaller parsnips can also be peeled and grated raw into many salads.

Store your unwashed parsnips in a cool, dark place, just as you would your carrots. Wrapped in a paper towel and placed in a plastic bag in the vegetable drawer of your refrigerator, they should last up to two weeks, if not longer. And your cooked parsnips may be refrigerated and used within three days.

As always, I am a big fan of the Foodland Ontario recipe lists, and they have not disappointed in their parsnip recipes. If you think I am not trying these Cajun Parsnip Fries this week for my kids, you are nuts!! They look fantastic. I hope to take some photos and have a full review for you next week. And I also found this cook weather-friendly recipe for Middle Eastern Spiced Carrots and Parsnips - looks great and carrots and parsnips create a wonderful blend of flavours.

Those Honey Crisp apples? TASTE LIKE CANDY. They are absolutely divine. I'd like to suggest some delicious baking recipes, or share my favourite crock pot applesauce recipe with you - but, really, just crush your teeth into those delicious apples and eat them all in one sitting. You can't beat it!

Because the local broccoli is really at the end of its season, be sure to eat it right away. This week's bunches of broccoli won't last nearly as long as some of the earlier varieties. And I have raved about broccoli soup before, but why not serve up some Sesame Broccoli as a pleasing side dish? We love to have it with a grilled steak! This very simple Penne with Broccoli is a nice light weeknight meal, too.

See those yam sweet potatoes??? So much potential! Yams and sweet potatoes should be stored in a dark, cook area for up to two weeks - do not put them in your refrigerator! Cooked yams can stay in your fridge for two or three days.

My kids absolutely adore these Savoury Sweet Potato Sticks - they are mouth-watering and pretty healthy too! Basic but luscious Roasted Yams are also a favourite, and you can't beat a recipe like these Roasted Mashed Potatoes and Yams. These will definitely be making an appearance on my dinner table over the Christmas holidays!

And I realize I've posted this Potato Leek Soup a gazillion times before, but it really is THAT GOOD. I urge you to give it a try this week - you will simply not be disappointed! Here is a great bunch of tips on how to cut and wash your leeks . . . I had no idea how to handle leeks before I started cooking with them regularly. The same cook offers an interesting Split Pea Soup Recipe that uses leeks.

Did you know that blueberries contain 14 mg of Vitamin C and 0.8 mg of Vitamin E per cup???
These naturally occurring antioxidants are thought to help protect the body against the damaging effects of free radicals and chronic diseases. Yup, totally true. And because I have a bit of a sweet tooth (understatement of the century), I often eat my blueberries in baked goods. Take a look at Canadian Living's list of their very best blueberry recipes. I always have people raving about my Lemon Blueberry muffins, and they are healthier than a lot of the other varieties I have tried. I also love serving blueberries or other berries (even sometimes frozen ones, in the winter) on top of my home-made granola with some yogurt.

Keep your mango at room temperature until it is ripe. You can usually tell it is ready to ready to eat when it is soft to touch (not hard and firm) and has a sweet aroma. It will often be a reddish-orange colour, although mango colours can vary from region to region. This Baked Mangoes with Cinnamon Sugar Tortillas doesn't look like a particular quick and easy recipe, but - oh my goodness - it looks decadent and well worth the effort in preparation. And I've been eying this Mango and Lime-Glazed Chicken as I am a big fan of roasting whole chickens (and very recently bought some two-for-the-price-of-one at a local grocery store!). Malaysian Mango Chicken Curry is also tempting me . . . the recipe had me at "curry"!

Check the past couple week's posts for tips for your baby bok choy!

Have a fantastically delicious week and be sure to send me comments or questions if you'd like to see anything included for next week.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Harvest Box for November 20, 2009

Unfortunately my camera battery died on me and I didn't get a shot of my Harvest Box this week. So close your eyes and try to imagine the goodness! This week's box contains lemons, Macintosh apples, avocado, acorn squash, carrots, Jerusalem artichokes, baby bok choy, salad greens, beets, vine tomatoes and garlic.

If you're like me, you may have been confused about what to do with your Jerusalem artichokes. A Jerusalem artichoke is a North American sunflower with an edible, lumpy, brown-skinned tuber that looks somewhat like a ginger root. Leave it to chef Jamie Oliver to come up with this delicious and simple recipe for sauteed Jerusalem artichokes. Or perhaps you might like to check out this Jerusalem artichoke and potato soup. If you fancy salads, dive into a bowl of this Jerusalem artichoke and arugula salad with parmesan.

Grab your baby bok choy and get ready to enjoy a healthy and delicious treat. Braised baby bok choy is absolutely divine, and you can visit more braised baby bok choy from cooking expert Martha Stewart.

Check out these beet recipes from Foodland Ontario. I also came across this recipe for roasted beet salad with bacon, and beets, potatoes and mint. I think it's important to think outside the box when preparing beets . . .

Instead of my using my acorn squash in a soup this week, I'm hoping to try out this baked chicken and acorn squash recipe - it looks tasty and different. And have a look at this acorn squash stuffed with apples and greens - mouth watering!!

And lastly, I stumbled upon this fabulous resource for lemon recipes this weekend and it's full of great ideas - be sure to have a look!

Enjoy this week's Harvest Box and be sure to check in next week for more . . .

Friday, November 13, 2009

Harvest Box for November 13

Are you ready to tackle your Life Organic Harvest Box this week?? Look at those mouth-watering leafy greens and that delicious and crunchy broccoli . . .

I am fortunate that my very picky eaters all love broccoli, so I get excited when I see a head or two of broccoli peeking out of my harvest box. Wondering what to do with your broccoli?

For a warm fall treat for lunch, make up a batch of Pureed Broccoli Soup. You can easily add some cream to make it thicker and heartier. If you prefer your broccoli as a side dish to an easy weeknight meal, try this Broccoli with Lemon Butter Sauce (use fresh broccoli and not frozen).

If you're a seafood lover and fancy some shrimp in your diet, serve up a heaping dish of this
Spinach Salad with Spicy Shrimp and Mango which combines the sweet flavour of mango with a tangy, spicy shrimp sauce - our family absolutely loves this salad!

Another good use for this week's spinach is a Tomato Spinach and Basil Soup I came across. What soup with fresh basil isn't amazing, and adding spinach to this soup packs it full of iron and other fabulous nutrients.

A couple easy and tasty salads to throw your green beans into are this Green Bean Salad with Feta and these Almond Green Beans.

Although oranges are definitely delicious peeled and eaten, or squeezed into a rich orange juice, this Orange Biscotti recipe is something I plan on trying out on my gang this week with my Valencia oranges.

I challenge you to combine your kale and broccoli in this Stir-Fried Kale and Broccoli recipe, or better yet, serve up a hearty bowl of this Winter Vegetable Hash which is packed full of veggies, vitamins, and nutrients as well as being completely tasty.

If you've got bunches of carrots on hand, make Carrots with Ginger and Honey one evening and enjoy let your tastebuds soar.

If you're not all that familiar with zucchini, check out all this great Info on Zucchini.
It gives you all the basics you need to know. Ready to tackle those rich green veggies now? Make a Bacon and Zucchini Quiche for brunch one weekend and dazzle your friends and family. And as I've mentioned before, I always leave at least one zucchini for my Zucchini Chocolate Chip Muffins. My kids can't get enough of them!

Have any recipes you'd like to include in a Life Organic blog post? Please don't hesitate to contact me at craftyshan (at) gmail (dot) com.

Enjoy your week!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Harvest Box for November 6

A very bright and colourful harvest box arrived on my doorstep this week, full of possibilities.

If you didn't get a chance to check out last week's avocado recipes, try your hand at putting together this quick and easy weeknight Cayenne-rubbed Chicken with Avocado Salsa. It is healthy, easy, and fast. I often use a little less cayenne pepper when I make this for my kids, and I add a little extra spice when it is just for my husband and I.

Looking for a creative way to add a little lemon flavour to your meals? Try this delicious Lemon Chicken with Green Olives as rich and flavourful meal.

A great side-dish or pot-luck candidate is this tasty and simple Spinach and Cheese Puff Casserole. I made it for Thanksgiving and the dish was empty in absolutely no time. Another option for your fresh, leafy spinach is of course, my all-time very favourite salad -
Warm Spinach Salad with Tomato and Bacon. It's decadent and delicious, and promises not to disappoint.

While my three children all enjoy broccoli raw, with dip or on its own, I like to shake things up sometimes and serve the family this Pasta with Shrimp and Broccoli. Since I have a couple of shrimp-lovers on my hands, it is always a big hit and a great way to add more veggies into a pasta dish. Alternatively, this Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower with Lemon and Garlic is a fast and easy side dish with a subtle, rich taste.

Why not grab all the tomaotes you can and make up a couple batches of this Fresh Tomato Sauce? I make several dishes at a time and then measure them out and freeze them so I can grab one at any time when I need it.

Check out that YUMMY looking pineapple! I am hoping to try this Pineapple Lemon Cake in the next few days as it promises to offer up a pleasant desert for us all. And if breakfast is more your style, get some added vitamins and nutrients in your morning power drink with this
Pineapple Delight Smoothie.

This Zucchini Chocolate Chip Muffin recipe is absolutely delicious. My whole family and all our friends adore these muffins and I simply can't keep a box of these around for long. I don't think you can exactly count it in your veggie content for the day, but I still figure it's better for my kids than other recipes!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Harvest Box for October 30

Here's a peek inside Life Organic's Harvest Box for the last week of October.

While there are hundreds of wonderful recipes for cooking with avocado, sometimes simple is best. Why not enjoy avocado at its finest and whip up a batch of mouth-watering guacamole? Not sure of where to start? Check out this informative and easy-to-follow video on how to make guacamole.

If dipping your chip into a bowl of guacamole doesn't float your boat, you'll be sure to find something that appeals to your palate at this great resource full of avocado recipes. Bacon-stuffed avocado? Does it get more rich and decadent than that??

I thought I would try and offer a couple new and unique recipes for this week's kale. I often get stuck in a rut with kale and just don't know what to do with it other than sauteeing it up in some olive oil. This Curried Potato Kale Galette looks divine as does this decadent Squash and Kale Phyllo Pie . I'm hoping I have time to try at least one of these this week!

I like the look of these Cajun Roasted Potatoes and am excited to be able to use some peppers in it as well. It promises to provide a little zing to regular mundane potatoes.

That round orange pumpkin-like veggie is actually a Celebration Squash (yeah, I didn't know that either!). Why not bust out of the regular squash fare and serve up some delicious Roasted Celebration Squash with Lemon and Parsley.

This Chinese-inspired Stir-Fried Baby Bok Choy with Garlic would be a great side dish to any Chinese or Asian meal you're serving . . . so why not give it a try?

I tend to slice up my english cucumbers and throw them in tossed salads, but I stumbled upon this Easy English Cucumber Soup and think it looks like a fabulous way to enjoy a little english cucumber on a spoon!

Have yourselves another delicious week!