Sunday, December 12, 2010

Organic Harvest Box for December 10 , 2010

 Here is our delicious Harvest Box for this week:

Green Beans!  Green beans are a delightful side dish to serve around the holidays, and are easy to incorporate into your Christmas dinner.  These green bean recipes are fast and easy to cook, delicious, and good for you.  Check out these  Green Beans with Lemon and Garlic or tasty Green Beans with Shallots .  You can also serve up Green Beans with Onion, or for a little extra *zing* try these Green Beans in Spicy Peanut Sauce. Pan-Fried Tofu with Garlic Green Beans is a good choice for vegetarians, and these Spicy Green Beans with Lime and Cilantro are a lovely accompaniment to an ethnic meal.

Garlic is another Harvest Box item that is wonderful to add to almost any dish over the holidays.  Despite what some may say, freshly chopped or diced garlic is far better than the jarred or powder varieties.  Nothing tastes as good as fresh garlic!  If you  have a whole head of garlic, then you haven't really lived until you experience true Roasted Garlic.  It's amazing, and there are so many uses for it.  For example, you can try this Roasted Garlic Hummus , or make a Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette.  Another huge favourite is Sourdough Garlic Bread, which makes a perfect pairing with hot soup or chowder on our cold winter evenings.  I came across this Ginger Garlic Paste which can be used in a variety of ways, and I stumbled upon this recipe for  Eggplant in Garlic Sauce, which is surely to be a big supper-time hit!

If you're looking for some interesting ways to work with your button mushrooms, you should give Michael's Best Button Mushrooms a go.  I promise you will not be disappointed.  Mushrooms are like green beans in that they are fast and easy and can be incorporated into so many types of meals.  Other fabulous ways to cook with mushrooms include these Herbed Butter Mushrooms with Mozzarella or Spaghetti with Mushrooms and Garlic. Looking for a little mushroom flare?  Impress your guests with Tofu and Mushrooms in Oyster Sauce or a Mushroom and Asparagus Risoto!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Organic Harvest Box for December 3, 2010

Ginger is a fragrant, flavourful, and versatile root or spice.  It lends itself well to many different styles of cooking . . . and baking as well.  Fresh ginger can be substituted for ground ginger at a ratio of about 6 to 1, although the flavors of fresh and dried ginger are somewhat different.  Ginger is often thought to be effective in treating nausea of various kinds. 

A popular use for cooking with ginger is to pair it with meat, like in this recipe for Ginger Pork.  While pork is especially tasty with ginger, seafood works too, as in something like this Grilled Shrimp with Lemongrass and Ginger.  And be sure to try out this Sesame Ginger Chicken Salad as well. For those with a sweet tooth, like ME, nothing beats the old tried and true Ginger Cookie, especially during the holidays. Or for something different why not serve a hot slice of  Spiced Apple Ginger Bread to your friends and family on Christmas morning?  Another winner on my radar this week is this Pear Ginger Maple Pie - I think the picture speaks for itself!

I'll be the first to admit that as the mother of three young children, endive are not something that are normally on my shopping list.  But when they arrive in my Harvest Box, I'm more than happy to find some exotic uses for them!  Did you know that an endive is is a leaf vegetable belonging to the daisy family. Endive can be cooked or used raw as appetizers or in many types of salad.  A popular favourite is Endive Stuffed with Walnuts and Goat Cheese, and it's lovely to serve as an appetizer before a dinner. Smoked Trout in Endive is a fantastic treat to serve over the holidays, is easy to make and will most definitely impress your guests.  As for salads, a few tasty uses for endive include this Apple and Endive Salad, a Warm Endive Salad, or this Endive-Radicchio Salad with Pancetta and Gorgonzola. One last unique idea - fire up a pan and try this Sauteed Endive with Avocado.

Looking for some new uses for that bag of beets?  We can help you out.  Ever thought of trying Gnocchi with Roasted Beets?  If not, you should give it a go, as I can guarantee you will be delightfully surprised.  Other delicious meal ideas include Beets with Walnut Garlic Sauce, Beets with Lime Butter, and Beets and Greens Quesadillas. And nothing "beets" a traditional Ukranian Borscht.

Keep it healthy, and enjoy your organic produce this week!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Organic Harvest Box for November 26, 2010

Another Friday, another beautiful Organic Harvest Box arrives on my doorstep!  Check it out:

This week, I felt it was time to revisit the avocado. I love when I see the round, bumpy, greenish-dark skin of an avocado peeking out from inside my Harvest Box.  I do, however, seem to get in a rut and use my avocados for the same things over and over again.  Our family loves avocado chopped on top of a green salad, or sliced thinly in a cheese and tomato sandwich.  To help me broaden my avocado taste buds, I rounded up a variety of different salad recipes this week.  What about a Quinoa Salad with Avocado, Radishes and Cucumbers? A couple other light and easy ones are this Cucumber and Avocado Salad and Mango Salad with Black Beans, Avocado and Mint. Another option with fruit included is this Avocado Mandarine Salad.  If you're interested in trying some protein with your avocado, check out this Grilled Chicken with Avocado Citrus Sauce or this Grilled Salmon with Avocado Salsa.

Looking to move beyond that plate of celery sticks and see what more those green, tall stalks have to offer?  Celery is most definitely an easy, healthy, low glycemic snack.  Munching on a snack of  Celery with Peanut Butter is a perfect mid-afternoon pick-me-up.  But what about a Green Apple, Celery, and Walnut Salad or a Bulgar, Celery, Nectarine Salad as healthy lunch or snack options?  Or serve up a delicious dinner of  Stir Fried Turkey with Celery and Snow Peas and you will see how easy it is to include celery in a meal.  Celery is also fantastic in soups, and two delightful choices are a Raw Creamy Celery Soup or this Chunky Celery Soup.

Although I've written about kale a great deal in the past few months, I still seem to be finding new and interesting recipes on a regular basis.  When I'm short on time, I really love this easy recipe for Sauteed Kale with Garlic and Onion.  It's an easy and quick side dish that is completely healthy.  Around here we love to snack on these Kale Chips that I posted last spring.  This week I came across another recipe for Baked Kale (Chips) and they are also delicious (very similar to the other recipe).  You can also toss your kale into a regular meal, like in this Red Kale and Cheese Omelet, or this luscious Autumn Harvest Soup with Butternut Squash, Kale, and Farro or Brown Rice.  And why not try a Raw Kale Salad for a light meal one evening?  I bet you won't be disappointed!

Until next week, enjoy that organic produce!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Organic Harvest Box for November 19, 2010

Here is a colourful and bright organic Harvest Box for a cold Fall day in November:

Kale - a form of cabbage - is considered to be a highly nutritious vegetable with powerful antioxidant properties.  It is also has anti-inflammatory properties.  Is is high in beta carotene, Vitamin K, Vitamin C and calcium. And if all that's not enough to sell you on this leafy veggie, how about the fact that it is believed to be full of anti-cancer chemicals as well?  That's what I thought.  Now go grab that head of kale and get busy cooking!

Kale is lovely in salads, and a delicious one to try is this Kale Salad with Blood Orange and Lemon.  It is also a perfect vegetable to serve cooked, like in this Pasta with Black Kale, Carmelized Onions and Parsnip or Polenta with White Beans and Black Kale. And it is also pretty fantastic in soups, and I recommend trying this delightful Butternut Squash, White Beans and Black Kale Soup or a rich Bacon, Tomato, and Kale Soup.

Finished cooking all that kale?  Then grab that head of cauliflower and serve up a piping hot bowl of Roasted Cauliflower and Poblano Pepper Soup. And while we're talking roasted cauliflower, why not try this Oven-Roasted Cauliflower with Garlic, Olive Oil, and Lemon from the culinary expert himself, Emeril Lagasse?  I also like to cook cauliflower with a little Indian flavour, and I came across a few interesting recipes this week.  I love the look of this Cauliflower Sabzi, as well as this simple Curried Cauliflower. And although I had to google "Panch Phoran" because I didn't know what it was (and I eat a lot of Indian food), I'm convinced I'm going to make this Cauliflower Dal with Panch Phoran this week if I get a chance.  A final dish I located on my search was this Pasta with Spicy Cauliflower Sauce- perfect for a light weeknight meal.

Green peppers - versatile and easy to cook in just about anything. Throw them on top of your favourite dough and make yourself a Green Pepper Pizza. Got some chicken lying around?  Toss your peppers into this Shredded Chicken with Green Pepper. Prefer steak?  No problem if you're ready to whip up a Green Pepper Steak.  Other yummy dishes include Green Pepper Masala and Green Pepper Chili - both easy but extremely tasty. And be sure to check out this Green Pepper and Tomato Salad from Rachael Ray as it will leave you coming back for more.

Until next week . . . enjoy your organic cooking!



Saturday, November 6, 2010

Organic Harvest Box for November 5, 2010

This week's Organic Harvest Box is full of colourful and nutritious goodies:

I thought I would revisit the good ole' avocado this week.  I am always interested in new recipes that incorporate avocado, but the truth be told, I love to eat it plain, or to simply add it to a sandwich.  Avocado offers the nutritional benefits of monounsaturated fat, which may help to lower cholesterol.  They are also are a good source of potassium, a mineral that helps regulate blood pressure.  Some people steer clear of avocado because they worry it is too high in fat, but remember that monounsaturated fat is the "good" kind of fat that your body needs.

Avocados are often enjoyed in salads, sandwiches or other cold meals or snacks.  This Avocado and Roasted Corn Salsa is a lovely addition to many meals, including chicken, beef, and even fish.  A light and easy meal can be made from these Avocado Salad Wraps which are free from grain products and are gluten-free.  Other tasty alternatives are this Avocado Beet Pea Shoot Salad or this Mango, Avocado and Arugula Salad. I stumbled upon this recipe for Carrot, Avocado, and Cilantro Soup and am quite intrigued by it.  Also grabbing my eye was this Avocado and Chocolate Shake  - and I'm not sure how feel about this.  A shake?  That you drink?  With avocado in it?  That seems to bring a whole new level to the term "green smoothie" for me.  If you try it, please let me know how you like it!

Spinach is another nutrient-dense food that is full of goodness and so healthy.  I try to include it in our diet whenever we can.  Spinach is lovely to eat both raw or cooked, and one of the simplest recipes I've ever tried is this Sauteed Spinach from the Food Network.  With only a couple of ingredients this is a fast and basic side dish that can be served with any meal.  Also delicious is this Spinach with Feta Dressing, with just the right amount of feta to give this dish some zing.  If you like spinach in your main dish, then I have definitely got some recipes for you!  How about a rich Spinach Bisque Soup?  Or a Spinach and Tofu Paneer?  Nothing beats a traditional vegetarian Spinach Lasagna, and if you enjoy pasta then you must check out this delicious Angel Hair Pasta in Creamy Spinach Sauce.

Still looking for ideas on how to make those beets just a little more exciting?  Well, look no further!  Spice up your menu this week with these Spiced Pickled Beets and and you'll never look at this purple-coloured root vegetable the same again.  Or better yet, why not try a Red Beet Ravioli or Red Beets on Pasta?  Beets are also fantastic in salads, and two great ones are Red Beet, Blue Cheese, and Walnut Salad and Roasted Beet Salad - why not try one this week?

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Organic Harvest Box for October 29, 2010

Another Organic Harvest Box arrived on our doorstep this week!  Check out the goodies:

Arugula may look like most other greens out there, but it has a very distinguished and different taste than most.  The leafy green has a rich, peppery taste, and has an exceptionally strong flavour. It can be easily used like most other greens, although it is exceptionally tasty tossed on top of pizza.

For example, this Arugula Pizza is easy and delicious. Or how about White Pizzas with Arugula?  And feel free to use your imagination as arugula is wonderful on many pizzas, especially those using strong-tasting cheeses.  You can also throw some arugula leaves in an Arugula Grilled Cheese and enjoy it with a piping hot bowl of soup. And an Arugula and Orange Salad or Arugula Salad with Honey-Drizzled Peaches make a delightful lunch or light supper.  Want to add an extra bit of tang to your weeknight pasta?  Make this Arugula Pesto and pour it over your favourite pasta noodles.

I've mentioned numerous times before that my favourite way to incorporate zucchini into our meal plan is to bake Zucchini Chocolate Chip Muffins  - they are easy and fairly healthy, and my kids absolutely adore them. Other "fun" ways to add a little zucchini to your life include making Zucchini Fries, Zucchini Chips, or these yummy Zucchini Cakes. These are not the healthiest choices, but are nice treats in moderation.  Zucchini fits well into regular meals as well, like this Zucchini Ricotta Frittata, and this Zucchini and Onion Teriyaki.
An interesting way to offer a zucchini-inspired meal would be to serve a bowl of  Zucchini Soup with these mouth watering Zucchini Bruschettas.  Your guests would not be disappointed!

I find I cook a lot of yams during the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas, so I am always on the look out for new recipes this time of year.  And while I'm not a fan of traditional "candied yams", there are many of you who are.  In my searches I did come up with three fabulous recipes: Orange Candied Sweet Potatoes, Candied Yams with Apples, and good old Candied Yams with Marshmallows.  Yams are always a popular side dish, so why not try Baked Yams or Mango and Almond Yams with one of your main meals?  I also like the look of this Molasses Roasted Yams and Sweet Potatoes Medley, or for something with a little Indian flair, add Curried Yams in Coconut Milk to your next weekend meal!

Enjoy your week and Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Organic Harvest Box for October 22, 2010

It's time for another colourful, local, organic Harvest Box for October!  Take a look:

While there are a variety of different ways to cook baby bok choy, one of the simplest recipes you can find is this one for Easy Garlic Baby Bok Choy  that I stumbled up on via You Tube.  Fast, easy, and delicious.  This can be served as a side dish for almost any meal.  I also like this very basic Bok Choy, and if you scroll down you will find a couple other easy recipes on this page. This Baby Bok Choy Stir Fry makes a fantastic weeknight meal and is not time-consuming at all.  If you prefer a more ethnic taste, try Baby Bok Choy, as a traditional Chinese side dish, or Baby Bok Choy and Garlic in Sweet Chili Sauce.  Another big favourite is Baby Bok Choy with Shiitake Mushroom - a lovely light meal with something for everyone.

Squash is in abundance at this time of year, and their versatility is often overlooked. Why not slice up your butter cup squash and make a delicious Glazed and Roasted Butter Cup Squash?  Or serve up a steaming hot bowl of Butter Cup Squash Soup with some fresh, home-made bread?  Penne Pasts with Roasted Butter Cup Squash is a delectable treat that will tickle your tastebuds and have you coming back to fill your plate a second time.  And if you're keen to use your squash in some non-traditional recipes, what about a Butter Cup Squash Custard?  Sounds absolutely fantastic!  Don't forget to end your meal with a slice of  Butter Cup Squash Coffee Cake . . . 

That large root vegetable in your Harvest Box this week is a celeriac root.  It is a kind of celery, but also a root vegetable and it can be eaten raw or cooked.  It has a celery taste and is often used in soups and stews.  A fine example is this Celeriac and Celery Soup.  Celeriac root is also enjoyed mashed, as in this Mashed Artichokes, Celeriac Root and Potatoes Recipe.  Or it can be sliced thinly and enjoyed as Celeriac Chips!  Other options for your celeriac root include this Celeriac and Carrot Salad, a delightful Celeriac Remoulade, or you can add it to these fragrant Roasted Root Vegetables with Rosemary.

Enjoy your Harvest Box!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Organic Harvest Box for October 15, 2010

Here is our mid-October organic Harvest Box!  It looks fantastic ...

Are you struggling for ways to use your beets?  I tried to find a variety of different recipes this week, so I'm hoping you'll all try something a little out of your comfort zone!   Martha Stewart's Beet Salad with Arugula and Orange is simply fantastic and completely delicious.  Another delicious salad is this Beet and Tomato SaladIf you like roasted beets, give these Roasted Beets with Mini-Yogurt Sauce - they are truly amazing.  And new to me, but looking positively yummy, is this  Creamy Goat Cheese and Beet Green Pasta.

I always enjoy trying new ways of cooking kale, as I'm often pleasantly surprised at how delicious it tastes.  This Crispy Kale and Tofu with Brown Rice is a wonderfully healthy meal that can be enjoyed by your entire family.  Kale is a pleasing addition to a Tuscan Vegetable Soup, which makes a nice light dinner or a satisfying lunch.  Or better yet, try  Black-Eyed Peas with Black Kale and enjoy the essence of this delectable flavour. Another option is Bacon, Tomato And Kale Soup, a rich-tasting soup that will have those enjoying your meal coming back for more!  And if you're looking to appreciate the taste of kale on its own, be sure to give this recipe for Cavolo Nero (Black Kale) a try.

Carrots are so versatile, and yet I find myself relying on the same couple of recipes all the time.  My kids are huge carrot eaters, so I make sure to always have peeled, sliced carrots in a sealed container in our fridge so they are easily accessible for a quick snack.  While I've never tried it, I have heard that Creamy Carrot Juice 
is delicious and one hundred per cent good for you. Pickled Carrots???  Never tried them but they do sound intriguing. Creamy Carrot Soup, and many varieties of carrot soup, is fantastic and scrumptious this time of year and are perfect as a side dish or appetizer before dinner.  If you like to serve carrots as a side dish accompanying your main meal (and many people do) be sure to check out  Garlic and Thyme Glazed Carrots , Spicy Braised Carrots, and this Morrocan Carrot SaladIs that sweet tooth calling out your name lately?  Then come forth and satisfy it with this luscious Carrot Cake - you won't be disappointed.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Did Someone Say Pumpkin???

Take a peek at these amazing pumpkins from Songberry Farm.  If this doesn't scream "October" than I don't know what does! 

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Organic Harvest Box for October 8, 2010

It's Thanksgiving weekend up here in Canada, and this week's Harvest Box from Life Organic is full of produce for which to be thankful!

I know Autumn is in full swing when my Harvest Box is full of butternut squash, fresh cranberries, and a pumpkin!

Speaking of butternut squash . . . its deep flavour lends itself well to hot, steaming soups. I'm a big fan of this Spicy Butternut Squash Soup and my entire family adores this Apple and Butternut Squash Soup. Both go well as a light supper with fresh bread or sandwiches, or they make for a tasty, filling lunch. I gathered a few more soup recipes that I haven't tried yet, but am hoping to soon. They include this mouth-watering Butternut Squash Soup with Fontina Cheese Crostini, a Spicy Lentil and Roasted Butternut Squash Soup, and this fabulous-looking
Curried Butternut Squash Soup.

You also don't want to miss this Butternut Squash risotto as it makes a wonderful addition to your Thanksgiving table. This Butternut Squash Pie (no shell) is also another Thanksgiving favourite, and I don't think you could go wrong pairing your turkey with a side of Glazed Butternut Squash.

Fresh Cranberries! Perfect for a good old fashioned Cranberry Sauce to be enjoyed by one and all. Cranberries pair well with most of the white meats, and I especially like this Chicken with Cranberries, or this Easy Pork Chop Saute with Cranberries. Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Cranberries is perfect for a holiday weekend, and why not try adorning your Thanksgiving table with these beautiful Sparkling Cranberries? If you've still got a few cranberries lying around after the long weekend, be sure to toss them into these Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies with Coconut and Cranberries. Delicious!

The sugar pie pumpkin that you received is best for cooking or baking, so be sure not to use that one to carve your jack-o-lantern! Instead, try this tasty Sugar Pie Pumpkin Pie and top it with a dollop of whipped cream. Or really "wow" your Thanksgiving guests with a stunning Pumpkin Mousse Trifle. Entirely new to me is this Pumpkin Pie Dip - sounds interesting and I can imagine it is something my kids would love. On the cooking side of things, this Grilled Pumpkin with Rosemary and Sea Salt is absolutely divine. And, this Moroccan Pumpkin and Lentil Soup is on my radar and will hopefully be making an appearance in our home soon. If you're looking for something really different, why not have a go at Pumpkin with Yogurt and Meat Sauce (Habeas Brulee)?

Happy Thanksgiving weekend to you all!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Organic Harvest Box for October 1, 2010

Another beautiful Fall organic Harvest Box this week! Full of delicious goodness . . .

Earlier this week Tasha passed on some great recipes for your mustard greens, so be sure to check them out.

And what about that gorgeous head of cabbage? For something with a little flare, why not try this Spiced Red Cabbage? Cabbage lends itself beautifully to salads and slaws, and both this Red Cabbage Salad and Crispy Red Cabbage Salad are definite winners. I also like this Red Cabbage Tomato Slaw. A chilly fall night begs for Red Cabbage Soup, especially nice this time of year. And this Red Cabbage, Green Bean, and Pasta Salad with Yogurt Dressing offers up something a little different. Are you a fan of Pickled Cabbage? Try this recipe out and let us know what you think of it!

Let's talk leeks! I've grown more and more fond of leeks over the past few years, as I have branched out and tried new and tasty recipes. Leeks, part of the onion family, have a mild onion taste but are less bitter than scallions. The part of the leeks that are edible are the bundle of leaf sheaths known as the stem or stalk. After they are cleaned (very carefully!) they can be chopped and added to a variety of recipes.

For example, who could resist this Leek, Ricotta and Lemon Flatbread? Or a Leek and Thyme Tart? Both of these would be perfect for lunch or alongside a hearty soup or stew at dinner. I have tried Roasted Leeks a few times, and they were delicious. And, I found this dish with Fried Leeks with Sweet and Sour Red Pepper and thought it looked quite interesting. Also on my radar was this Leek Pasta - another I have not tried but am interested in tasting.

Leeks are fabulous in soups . . . especially something like this Summer Squash and Leek Puree. But if you're a regular reader of mine, you'll know my family's personal favourite is Potato Leek Soup not the healthiest option, but so rich and delicious a small bowl is like a little taste of heaven! I haven't served it to anyone who didn't fall in love with it - and I make it often.

Moving on to cauliflower. I posted last winter about my success with Simple Roasted Cauliflower, and we still choose that recipe most of the time. Summer picnics and barbecues are a great time to try out this Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad - it packs well and tastes delicious a few hours later. I think these Cauliflower Pakoras with Cilantro Mint Sauce would be a big hit in my house, and I'm also anxious to try Garlicky Braised Cauliflower with Capers. Another healthy choice is this Spring Frittata with Cauliflower and Green Beans. And for those conscious of their weight or trying to cut back on carbs, dishes like these Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes and Cauliflower and Green Onion Mash are wonderful alternatives to a heavier, potato-based side dish. And, yes, they really taste amazing!

Enjoy your week . . . and happy tasting!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Mustard Greens and B.Good Cookies

Think you can't cut the mustard?

Here are some links that might help to change your mind about the local greens Ferme la Rosée is offering us in your box this week:

Curried Mustard Greens & Garbanzo Beans with Sweet Potatoes

Curried Chicken with Kabocha Squash & Mustard Green

Simple Mustard Greens

Four Easy Ways To Go (Mustard) Green

Mustard Greens and Pumpkin Pasta

Balsamic-Glazed Chickpeas and Mustard Greens

Sauté of Cauliflower and Mustard Greens with Peanuts

North African Chickpea and Kale Soup

Did somebody say COOKIES!

Just to sweeten the deal....we have just introduced B.Good cookies this week to our list of items to "Add to Your Order". You can add a dozen of any of the ten mouth-watering varieties (three gluten-free) to your 'standing order' if you would like to receive them regularly, or to your 'current order' if you would like to give them a try this week. A full list of ingredients will pop up if you double click on any variety online.

For more information on B.Good cookies and the street vendor himself, check out this article at Apt 613!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Organic Harvest Box for September 24, 2010

This week's harvest box is full of fresh, local goodies!

You know Fall is here when a delightful green acorn squash arrives on your doorstep! I adore squash of all types, and acorn squash is a particular favourite in our home. This green winter squash has sweet, yellow-orange flesh and is wonderfully versatile. Soup is a great place to start and you can't beat this Roasted Apple and Acorn Squash Soup - especially if you have a kitchen full of fresh harvest apples lying around. A cold weather favourite of many is Stuffed Acorn Squash, and another autumn pleasure is Baked Acorn Squash with Brown Sugar and Butter. A wonderful way to truly enjoy an acorn squash's sweet and rich flavour is this Sweet Roasted Acorn Squash.

If you're looking for something new and different for your squash, take a look at this recipe for Creamed Oysters in Acorn Squash - definitely sounds interesting! Also big hits are this Penne with Acorn Squash and Pancetta and Acorn Squash and Sage Mac 'n Cheese. The mac and cheese dish is always a huge hit with kids.

Ready to grab that bag of summer squash and get going? Why not slice up those fresh turnips and toss them into a Summer Turnip Slaw? Or for something with a little bit of kick, serve these Turnip Fries with a main weeknight meal. A cool fall evening begs for a batch of Turnip Soup and for added flavour, serve it with these Carrot and Turnip Buns. Braised Turnips with Mustard Sauce are absolutely delicious and this Potato and Turnip au Gratin is also mouth-watering.

Fall brings forth another harvest of luscious, crisp apples! We currently have dozens in our house, and I'm excited to get down to the business of cooking with them. First off, I suggest you take a look at these ten fantastic apple recipes - I guarantee they will not disappoint. Everyone has their own favourite apple recipes, often tried and true from old family recipe books. Why not challenge yourself to try something new this year? I've compiled a lovely list to get you started.

Grab your best cast iron pan and start working on this Apple Bake - it's not difficult at all and will have everyone coming back for seconds. Enjoy a steaming cup of coffee or tea while you nibble on these Apple Buttermilk Bread or Muffins and you won't regret it. This Vegan Apple Cake is a healthier alternative. These Maple Glazed Baked Apples are chock-full of raisins and brimming with flavour. And who can say no to a heavenly Apple Crepe? Two of my kids' favourites are good old fashioned Apple Crisp and Apple Pie. Topped with fresh whipped cream, of course! And I'm sure I've found the best Crock Pot Applesauce recipe around . . . I've been making this one for the past three years and never have enough to last more than a day or two.

Enjoy your fall harvest box this week!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Organic Harvest Box for September 17, 2010

Here's a quick look inside this week's Organic Harvest Box:

A few years ago I had never seen a piece of fruit with a papery, light-weight covering. And then I was introduced to ground cherries! Ground cherries come from a small shrub similar to the common tomato, and can be grown as an annual or perennial. This tiny round fruit can be eaten raw, used in salads, tossed in desserts, or used as a flavoring. It is also fantastic in jams and jellies. Ground cherries are decadent when dipped in melted chocolate. And did you know they can also be dried and eaten? Yes, they can!

So I set off on a mission to gather some good quality ground cherry recipes for you. At the top of my list: this
Ground Cherry Pie and this Ground Cherry Clafoutis. These small cherries lend themselves well to baking, but sometimes the key is making sure you have enough with which to bake. Another fabulous dessert to try are these Poached Ground Cherries. Fancy a good jam once in a while on your morning toast? Give this Ground Cherry Jam a go and be sure to let me know if you test it out, I'd love to know how it tastes! And I see endless possibilities for this Ground Cherry Sauce.

Like many, I was not a fan of brussels sprouts for a large portion of my life. I can pretty much guarantee that once you taste brussels sprouts cooked properly -
in a suitable recipe - you will thoroughly enjoy them. A good place for you to start is with these Roasted Brussels Sprouts from Simply Recipes. And then I found an even better site to see each how-to step in making Roasted Brussels Sprouts - check it out, it's worth the click! Another simple, but tasty, method in which to try brussels sprouts is Sauteed Brussels Sprouts.

To awaken the true chef inside you (or for hard core foodies) you may want to try Braised Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta, Shredded Brussels Sprouts and Apples, Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, Shallots and Figs, or this fantastic and delicious Brussels Sprouts with Walnuts from celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse.

I was all set to write about leeks this week, but I decided I'd hold off another week or two since I know that more are on the way! So instead, I'm talking cilantro.

Nothing beats fresh cilantro - it is widely used and is a part of many salad and pasta recipes. I tried to gather a few different uses for cilantro this week, recipes you may not have thought of before.

You can read about
cilantro here and check out some interesting recipes - cilantro pesto, cilantro rice, etc. I like the looks of this Tomato and Onion Relish with Cilantro Chutney and think it would compliment a variety of different meals. I've tried this Avocado Salad with Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette and it does not disappoint. A decadent Lime Cilantro Butter Sauce is a wonderful topping to many meats or vegetable dishes. I am anxious to try this Thai Grilled Chicken with Cilantro Dipping Sauce because I have a hunch my whole family will enjoy it (my children will eat anything that is associated with any kind of "dipping sauce"). And most interesting recipe of the week? Definitely this Carrot, Avocado and Cilantro Soup - a mix of tastes I had never considered before, in a soup I suspect is out of this world! Until next week, happy organic munching!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Organic Harvest Box for September 10, 2010

Check out this week's Harvest Box from Life Organic:

It's the second week of September and there is a cool breeze in the air in the mornings now! Fall is definitely not far away, and it's almost time to get excited about cooking up some delicious autumn meals. In a last ditch effort to enjoy the last few days/weeks of summer, I'm dedicating this post to fresh salads.

Fresh local tomatoes are perfect this time of year, and plentiful in this area. There are countless numbers of ways to create simple and nutritious tomato salads. For one, this Easy Tomato Salad. Nothing beats the simple and look and taste of a Caprese Salad - mozzarella, tomato and basil never tasted so good. Strong cheeses are a wonderful compliment to tomatoes, and I love this Tomato Blue Cheese Salad. And if you have the time and want to taste something amazing, try this Tomato and Goat Cheese Tart from the Barefoot Contessa herself, Ina Garten.

My family loves a very basic Tomato and Avocado Salad. It's easy to make - on a large plate, arrange about 2 pounds of assorted tomatoes sliced or halved. Add 1 avocado, halved, pitted, peeled and sliced. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and season with coarse salt and ground pepper. A few drops of balsamic vinegar is also delicious!

Ready to grab that luscious green head of broccoli and get busy? There are different styles of Broccoli Salad, from this Tangy Broccoli Salad to this absolutely delicious Broccoli Salad from chef Jamie Oliver. Often a broccoli salad is laden with oils or mayonnaise, making it a less-than-healthy choice, so if you're looking for lighter fare, try this fantastic Broccoli Quinoa Salad and feel no guilt when you eat it.

Is it time for beet salad?? Of course it is! Beets bitter taste lends themselves to a number of different salad choices. Like a fresh Pecan Beet Salad or Roasted Beet Salad with Goat Cheese and Cashews. Even better is this Mediterranean Beet Salad with Feta. Fancy roasted beets? Check out this Roasted Beet Salad with Barley, Feta and Red Onion or this tangy Roasted Beet Salad with Oranges.

As the evenings get cooler you may feel ready to serve up a Perfect Roast Chicken, which is a wonderful way to use up fresh local carrots, onion, fennel and herbs. This roast chicken recipe from Ina Garten is one of the best out there. It makes a delicious, moist chicken that can serve your family dinner for several nights.

When you are done with your wonderful roast chicken meal, save the chicken carcass and use it to whip up a delicious stock. I use Ina's Chicken Stock recipe, except where she says to use an entire chicken I just use the bones and leftovers from the one I just cooked. You can throw in any veggies you have at home, as you certainly don't need to use the exact ones the recipe calls for. I then like to freeze the stock in ziploc bags so they lay flat in my freezer, leaving more room for other delicious meals!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Organic Harvest Box for September 3, 2010

It's been a quiet summer here on the Life Organic Blog, mostly because I have been away or busy for most of the summer. I'm hoping to get weekly recipes and tips moving again, because I figure it's almost time for fall, and back to school and work for many. Who can't use a few extra tips???

This week's Harvest Box looks fantastic - full of local, organic produce at its best this time of year. We'll be back next week with photos, I ran into some technical difficulties this week.

Red Leaf Lettuce - I love it. For some reason, this is by far my favourite type of lettuce. I love it squished into a thick sandwich, exploding from a giant bowl of salad, or used as a garnish with a delicious fall meal. I serve a green salad with red leaf lettuce almost every night with dinner. I came across this fabulous resource with great tips on how to refrigerate red leaf lettuce , so be sure to check it out! It's very helpful. Also be sure to take a look at this Red Leaf Lettuce Salad. If you're looking for something for the more discerning palate, try this Leaf Lettuce Salad with Goat Cheese Stuffed Pears. Other tasty salad choices include this Red Leaf, Pear, and Walnut Salad or Martha Stewart's Red Leaf Salad with Roasted Sweet Potatoes. And don't forget that there is really nothing simpler and tastier than a basic leaf lettuce salad with local cucumbers or tomatoes and a little olive oil on top!

Sometimes I am looking for something a little different to try with my chard. I came across this Pasta with Swiss Chard recipe and am looking forward to trying it. Be sure to check out this website with detailed info on Coloured Chards, including storage and uses, plus a delicious recipe for Swiss Chard and Goat Cheese Galette. It looks absolutely delicious!

If you're a real foodie, check out this recipe for Grilled Madras Razor Clams with Sautéed Rainbow Chard and Cornish New Potatoes - now that would be impressive to serve for dinner one night. Coloured chard can be served quickly and easily, and doesn't need to be "fancy" to taste great. Try this Swiss Chard with Raisins and Pine Nuts or Curried Rainbow Swiss Chard - they are fast and delicious, and full of nutritional value.

I am sometimes at a loss for what to do with an eggplant - and nothing beats a local, organic eggplant! I enjoy them cooked a variety of ways, but I find my children usually have issues with the texture. What about a good ole' Grilled Eggplant Panini - it makes a healthy lunch or even a nice light dinner with a salad. Barbecue season is still in full swing, so why not try this Grilled Eggplant with Korean Barbecue Sauce? This
Curried Eggplant, Lentil, and Quinoa Burgers with Onion-Pepper Relish also promises not to disappoint. Prefer it baked? Give this Oven-Baked Breaded Eggplant a go and watch everyone gobble it up. And, last but not least, check out this recipe for Broiled Summer Eggplant - which includes three very important eggplant rules that you don't want to miss (including whether or not to refrigerate eggplant - I certainly didn't know I wasn't supposed to keep it in the fridge!).

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Organic Harvest Box for June 25, 2010

Check out this week's luscious Harvest Box! It looks delicious . . .

Did you know that you can use your broccolette almost anywhere you would normally use broccoli? Yes, it's true! Broccolette is as versatile as its cruciferous sister, broccoli. Try it stir-fried in this easy Stir-fried Broccolette and Cashews, or sauteed in a Broccolette Saute. It's easy to add to any pasta dish, and I especially like this Bowties and Spicy Broccolette. And nothing says summer like a Warm Broccolette Salad on a mid-summer night's eve. For something a little bit out of the ordinary, check out this interesting Hunanese Smoky Bacon with Bean Curd and Broccolette.

Acorn squash in summer, you ask? Why of course! Fire up your barbecue and try your hand at Grilled Acorn Squash, you may never want to eat it any other way. This Grilled Acorn Squash with Balsamic Drizzle is similar, and also looks fantastic. And I have a feeling this BBQ Acorn Squash with a Brown Sugar Glaze will not disappoint. Like to stick to the more traditional method of baking acorn squash? Check out this very helpful video for Maple Glazed Baked Acorn Squash for step-by-step instructions and a fabulous recipe.

Fresh lettuce simply can't be beat this time of year. We love all types of lettuce, especially romaine. On hot summer nights I often serve a light grilled meat with just a salad, or even a large salad as a meal. I put together a nice list of some favourite romaine-based summer salads for you. If you have a special one you'd like to add, be sure to leave us a comment!

Chicken-Romaine Salad

BLT Salad with Basil Mayo Dressing

Gorgonzola Walnut Salad

Southwest Steak and Salsa Salad

Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad

Romaine Salad with Lemon Thyme Vinaigrette

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Organice Harvest Box for June 18, 2010

We are missing our Harvest Box photo this week because we took our family camping this weekend and I had a neighbour bring my box inside for me on Friday night. She had all my goodies packed away in my fridge, so I wasn't able to snap a picture for you! It was hot and humid on Friday, so I made sure she came by to bring my food in as soon as it was delivered (my cooler was not available, since we had it with us on our camping trip). If you will not be home when your Harvest Box is delivered, please leave a cooler on your doorstep and your driver will be happy to place the contents of your box inside. Fresh, local produce can wilt and go bad in a short time in hot, Ottawa summer weather.

Before I started receiving the Life Organic delivery service over two years ago, I had no idea what a garlic scape was. And then one lovely day in June I received these curly delights in my Harvest Box.

Yes, these green, curly ribbon-like "things" are garlic scapes. The garlic scape is the "stem"' from which the seed head of a garlic bulb is formed. As the bulb grows and matures, the stem, or stalk, also begins to lengthen. Over time the scape begins to curve. Garlic scapes taste garlicky but have a fresh, green flavouring. They can be used in a variety of dishes, especially where you would want a garlic flavour. A garlic scape is less strong and has less "bite" than regular garlic cloves.

In the past I have most often used my garlic scapes in pesto - it is delicious, light, and a delightful addition to any pasta. I usually use this Garlic Scape Pesto recipe, but any variation will do, and it is usually best to fiddle with the recipe until you find something that you love. I am planning on trying Kalyn's Garlic Scape Pesto this year, as I've been so pleased and impressed with many of her recipes over the past few months.

For an easy, quick appetizer, try making this White Bean and Garlic Scape Dip - the flavour is fantastic and it is a hit at most parties and get-togethers. I am also intrigued by this recipe for Creamy Garlic Scape Soup and would love to try it out if I have enough garlic scapes to go around this week! Great for the barbecue, these Grilled Garlic Scapes are something easy to add to a weeknight meal. More of a pizza lover? Give this Garlic Scape And Ricotta Pizza a go and wow your friends and family. And if you fancy yourself an egg connoisseur, please let me know if you get an opportunity to try out these Zucchini Eggs. They look delicious!

And while we're on the topic of pesto, let's talk about your basil plant! Nothing tastes like fresh basil, and once you go fresh, you will never go back to the dried stuff in a jar (well, unless you absolutely have to). It is easy to keep your basil plant alive - so don't fret if you're not an expert gardener. Basil likes lots of sunlight, and lots of water - keep the soil moist and water it often. If the plant starts to flower, just pinch the bulbs off and your plant will keep growing and growing.

Fresh basil is most often associated with thoughts of home-made pesto. And if you want to try the good stuff, I urge you to give this Homemade Pesto Recipe a go. You'll love it! I tend to chop up basil and throw it in almost anything I'm cooking - pasta dishes, grilled chicken or fish, salads, etc. You can really enjoy the flavour of fresh basil in a simple Caprese Salad, although basil lends itself well to many salad types. This basic Tomato and Basil Crostini is a great appetizer or lunch addition, and the pairing of tomato and basil simply can't be beat. Which is why basil goes so well with so many tomato pasta dishes. For something a little unique, try this Mixed Fresh Herb Pasta.

Looking for something a little different . . . spectacular, maybe? Serve up this Boursin Burger and be ready to be the talk of all your friends - and be sure to have enough on hand for everyone to have seconds. And I just love the sound of these Lemon Basil Snaps - what a beautiful addition to such a light cookie. If I get a chance to make these this week I will most definitely take pictures and share.

Enjoy your produce and have a wonderful week!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Organic Harvest Box for June 12, 2010

Take a peek at your Organic Harvest box this week! Looks delicious . . .

Don't you just love fresh cantaloupe? This type of melon is extremely nutrient-packed, yet has very few calories. It is highly concentrated with beta-carotene, folic acid, potassium, vitamin C, as well as dietary fibre. It is also one of the very few fruits that has a high level of vitamin B complex, B1 (thiamine), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), and B6 (pyridoxine). Cantaloupe is rich in anti-oxidants that help prevent cancer and heart disease.

So, what better reason to grab a knife and start slicing your melon in half?

Melon can can be enjoyed simply, with very few additional ingredients needed to enjoy it's luscious flavour, as in this Melon with White Wine recipe. Cantaloupe is a superb addition to salads, and I suggest trying this Cucumber Cantaloupe Salad and or this Cantaloupe Salad (which uses the actual cantaloupe body for the bowl!).

If you fancy something sweet, then why not fire up your barbecue and try Grilled Cantaloupe with Honey Ginger Blueberry Sauce? It looks divine! A sure winner to serve after a light grilled dinner. Or try these Crepes with Proscuitto, Brie and Cantaloupe - a fantastic idea for a brunch or late weekend breakfast. And these Cantaloupe Ice Pops? A success with my kids - an icy cold and healthy treat for summer!

How do you like to eat your green beans? Some of my favourite choices are just using them as a simple side dish to one of our main meals - like Sesame Green Beans or Green Beans with Almonds - both are fast, easy, and tasty! Green beans lend themselves well to salads too, and I found a few this week that had me drooling. What about a Green Bean, Corn, and Tomato Salad, a Fresh Bean Salad, or this Fennel and Radish Salad ? But what had me drooling most of all this week was this recipe for Green Beans with Goat Cheese, Cranberries, and Bacon - hard to disagree that bacon would be a wonderful addition to green beans!

I have not personally ever been a fan of radishes. So, I am always on the hunt for recipes that incorporate radishes in fun and innovative ways - but that they TASTE good. Since I love snap peas, I am thinking of trying these Sugar Snap Peas with Radishes. And I am even open to giving this Roasted Radish with Soy Sauce and Roasted Sesame Seeds a whirl. I like the looks of this East-Meets-West Chicken Tostada Salad, as well as these Mixed Greens and Radish Salad with Feta Cheese. Hoping to try one of them this week!

Any suggestions, feedback, or recipes you would like to share are always welcome!! Enjoy your week.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Organic Harvest Box for June 4, 2010

This week's Organic Harvest Box is as inviting as ever! Nothing says spring (and almost summer!) like a beautiful box of fresh organic produce. Take a look:

Spinach is one of the most versatile and delicious greens out there. It is packed full of Vitamin K, as well as carotenoids like beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. A good supply of vitamins B6 and C may help put you in a good mood, as both play vital roles in the production of neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin. Not convinced yet? Spinach is also an excellent source of folate, known to protect against birth defects, and it also helps prevent cancers of the cervix and lungs. It can also work with vitamin B6 to protect against heart disease.

So there you go! Grab yourself a big spinach salad and dig in.

Salads are still just about my favourite way to eat spinach. Many people are not aware of the vast array of possibilities for spinach salads - they do not have to be dull and boring! I've compiled a great list for you this week, and I urge you to try at least one of these super salads and report back with your results:

Strawberry Spinach Salad with Almonds and Dill

Spinach Salad with Poached Eggs

Wilted Spinach Salad with Chickpeas

Sassa's Spinach Salad

Spinach Salad with Mushroom and Parmesan

Spinach Salad with Bacon and Feta

Really not a salad fanatic like I am??? Toss your spinach into a batch of this Spinach and Basil Pesto or simply turn your greens into a delightful side dish and serve up this Sauteed Spinach.

I get the Kraft Canada magazine in the mail several times a year - they send one out for each season, and there are often a couple recipes I try out of each book. They are free and you can sign up for the service at their web site. This week I tried this Mexicana Chopped Salad and this Peaches and Greens Salad and both were welcome additions to my lunch time routine. I often substitute the prepackaged ingredients for those I make myself at home - especially the Kraft salad dressings as they are often high in sugar. I'm making a few tweaks to this Broccoli Salad this weekend and am taking it to a potluck barbecue.

Blueberries - what can I say? We love them at our house. I've slowly been experimenting with main meal recipes that incorporate blueberries - although often the blueberries get gobbled up as soon as I wash them by three pairs of little tiny hands in my house. However, I'm really hoping to try this Grilled Chicken with Blueberry-Basil Salsa this week. For lighter fare, I like the looks of this Summer Salad with Blueberries or a Chilled Blueberry Soup. And who can say no to a piece of steaming hot Blueberry Coffee Cake or a slice of Blueberry Breakfast Bake?

Fresh spring asparagus is another of our regular favourites. I rarely get to experiment with dark, green stalks because I tend to grill them up on the barbecue, sprinkle them with olive oil, lemon, and salt and pepper, and eat an entire bunch at once. But, just for you, I've gathered together a nice list of asparagus choices for you this week:

Asparagus and Crab Salad

Asparagus and Cucumber Vinaigrette

Asparagus with Mustard-Herb Vinaigrette

Roasted Asparagus with Capers and Lemon

Quinoa with Tofu and Asparagus

Grilled Vegetable Wrap

Looking to try something new with your avocado this week? Guacamole not cuttin' it for you? Why not experiment with these Glazed Chocolate-Avocado Cupcakes? For a healthy lunch choice, dig into these Mango Avocado Rolls or serve up this tangy Asian Spinach Salad with Marinated Mushrooms.

Happy organic eating to you all!