Sunday, April 25, 2010

Organic Harvest Box for April 23, 2010

Here is a look at this week's Harvest Box from Life Organic in Ottawa:

Are you looking to ripen green bananas? A fast and easy way to do this is to put them in a brown bag with some apples - ethylene (a plant hormone that causes growth) causes the bananas to ripen more quickly and lose their green-ness!

Last week I used my cucumber to make this
Tzatziki Sauce recipe I found. I really enjoyed it and used it all week as a dip for raw veggies, although I have to admit that my kids were not fans of it. I think it would taste lovely on chicken souvlaki or pork.

Tasha pointed me in the direction of these yummy Tangerine Muffins
- it is great to use the peel in these muffins (extra healthy!) and especially good when your tangerines are organic! No fear of chemicals and pesticides ending up in your mid-afternoon snack.

I also found a number of this week's recipes on a new site that Tasha sent me - Dani Spies. Pop over and browse around - there are healthy and delicious recipes of all types, as well as a terrific section of baby and pureed foods for your wee ones. I think this California Scramble looks delicious and would be an energizing and healthy start to your morning. I'm hoping to try this Turkey and Avocado Super Sandwich one week day for lunch. I came across a couple new and funky alternatives for avocado - what do you think about this Grilled Avocado Recipe? Even stranger? Avocado Fries
?!! Not sure I could get excited about avocado fries, so if you do try this recipe, PLEASE let me know how it turns out!

Start slicing those mushrooms and get ready to toss them into this Sesame Kale with Mushrooms - a light and healthy side dish which would complement most meals. Or try this
Rachada Mushroom Salad
for lunch. I also think these Marinated Mushrooms would be a perfect spring dinner accompaniment.

Looking for a healthy meal to add your zucchini to? I think you would enjoy this 5 Ingredient Snapper and Zucchini Dinner, or maybe these Squash and Zucchini Cakes? For simple and easy side dishes, try a fast
Baked Zucchini or use your barbecue for this Roasted Zucchini. Looking for something to sink your teeth into at your afternoon tea time? Whip up a loaf of Zucchini Bread and wow your family and friends.

I found this fantastic recipe for your chard this week - Swiss Chard with Peppers and Garbanzos. This is not hard to make and is packed with healthy goodness.

Slice up this week's pineapple and make this spectacular Pineapple Flan. Or chop it up and serve this Sweet and Crispy Chicken Salad. My kids still love pineapple the old fashion way - sliced in rings and slurped up from their fingers!

I'll leave you with one last recipe to peruse for the week:

Curried Black Bean and Yam Skillet - Recipe adapted from

4 cups of yams, peeled and cubed
1 red onion, diced
1 zucchini, cubed
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 bell pepper (any colour), diced
1 cup of cooked quinoa*
1-15 oz. can of black beans, drained and rinsed
½ cup veggie broth
1 Tbsp of curry powder
1 bunch of chard, stemmed and chopped
2 tsp of olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste

*Quinoa is an ancient seed that was a staple of the Incas. Easy and quick to cook with a mild flavour it has a slightly crunchy texture. It's got a lot of the amino acid lysine providing a complete protein unlike many other cereal grains. Substitutes for this recipe include: couscous, rice or bulgur.

Heat the olive oil in a large cast-iron pan or fry pan. Stir in the onions and cook for about five minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the yams, garlic, curry powder, a good pinch of salt and half of the veggie broth, stir well to combined, cover and cook for about ten minutes or until your sweet potatoes are just about fork tender. You’ll need to stir it occasionally. Add the beans, quinoa, chard, zucchini and pepper and season with salt and pepper. Pour the remaining broth into the pan, cover and allow it to cook for another five minutes - until the greens are wilted and the beans are heated through.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Organic Harvest Box for April 9, 2010

What a beautiful looking organic harvest box this week! I'm looking forward to getting my hands on some of this delicious produce . . .

I love tasty, fresh spinach in the spring - there are millions of wonderful good recipes for spinach out there, the trick is just finding a few of your favourites. For starters, why not peruse through this fantastic list of Spinach Recipes from Martha Stewart?? I personally love this Spinach Pie, which can be served as a hearty main dish for lunch or dinner. I also think this Polenta and Spinach Soup looks very interesting, although I have never tried my hand at making it myself. Add to the "interesting" category this Warm Spinach Salad with Fried Egg and Potatoes and you have yourself some new fare for your spinach. Who doesn't love a crunchy spinach salad? Try this Spinach Salad with Dried Cherries or a favourite at our home, Warm Spinach Salad with Bacon, Tomato and Pecans.

If you are finding your regular potato recipes a little "ho hum" these days, why not spice up your regular mash potatoes and try Parmesan Garlic Mashed Potatoes instead? And you can't beat tried and true Garlic Roasted Potatoes - it goes well with just about any meal and is loved by all. If you are a Jamie Oliver fan (and I am), he offers up his suggestion for Perfect Roast Potatoes. Or you could try his Roast Potatoes, Parsnip and Carrots or Baked New Potatoes with Sea Salt and Rosemary - all simple to make and deliciously healthy.

Do those gold beets have you a bit stumped this week? For the more adventurous I suggest trying this Farro Pilaf with Gold Beets, or a nice Roasted Beet Risotto with Lemon Chard. This Red Flannel Hash is another good choice, and for those looking for something quick and easy, try these fun Beet Chips.

Until next week . . . enjoy your harvest boxes!!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Easy and Tasty Grilled Sweet Potatoes

While there are dozens and dozens of sweet potato recipes I have not had the chance to try yet, this one was definitely a favourite at our house over the Easter long weekend.

We chose the grilled sweet potato packets. I found grilling them in the packets really sealed in the taste and the potatoes tasted just glorious.

First thing you do is peel your sweet potatoes and slice them into 1/4 inch slices.

Turn your barbecue on and get it ready for grilling.

Place your potato slices on four 14x12-inch sheets of tin foil. Brush the tops and sides with olive oil to prevent drying. You can season them any way you like, I added freshly grated pepper and salt, a bit of garlic, and some cayenne pepper.

Wrap in foil using the following technique: Bring the 2 long sides of the foil together above potatoes; fold down in a series of locked folds, allowing for heat circulation and expansion.

Fold the short ends up and over again. Crimp closed to seal the foil

Place foil packets on preheated grill. Grill packets, on covered grill, over medium heat 25 to 30 minutes or until potatoes are fork-tender. Open packet carefully and serve hot.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Organic Harvest Box for Easter Weekend, 2010

I love to see sunshine shining in my organic harvest box!! The weather has been so glorious this weekend that I am late with this week's post. I suspect those in Ottawa haven't noticed because you are very likely outside enjoying the beautiful weather with your families anyway.

With this gorgeous, summer-like weather hitting the nation's capital this long Easter weekend, I set out on a mission to find the perfect grilled sweet potato. The first thing I did was compile what I thought was a pretty decent list of recipes:

Grilled Sweet Potato Packets with Pecan Butter
Grilled Sweet Potato Fries
Grilled Sweet Potato with Apples
Grilled Sweet Potato Salad

I'll be posting my favourite recipe after I get a chance to try some of them out! If you have a favourite grilled sweet potato recipe that you're willing to share, be sure to let me know.

I came across some interesting recipes for cucumbers this week and I'm particularly liking the look of this Lentil and Cucumber Salad - sounds perfect for an unexpectedly warm, summery weekend. I think this Falafel and Cucumber Sauce also looks great and is a wonderful vegetarian alternative for a weeknight meal. Hot weather also brings people together for barbecues and backyard munching - why not serve up a giant tray of fresh veggies with this tangy Cucumber Ranch Dressing? Also on my radar is this Cool Cucumber and Dill Soup - I'm a gazpacho lover so I suspect a cool cucumber soup would be right up my alley.

Looking to make some small, healthy changes in your life? Me too! I came across two easy ways to incorporate healthier snacks into your day. Make a batch of this nutrient-packed Vegetable Salsa and snack on it when you're hungry throughout the day. It's fantastic served with whole grain tortilla chips or crackers. And one of my favourite healthy choices is smoothies - they are so easy to make, fill you up, and are a fantastic way to pack healthy goodness into your day. Martha Stewart's Whole Living offers up this Banana Yogurt Smoothie, but there are a dozens of varieties you can try. I often add a protein mix to mine (Vega Smoothie is my favourite), a cup or two of frozen berries, a tablespoon of almond butter, and a cup of soy milk. It's delicious and full of protein, offering up loads of energy to get you through your day.

I hope everyone is enjoying this beautiful April long weekend!