Saturday, May 29, 2010

Organic Harvest Box for May 28, 2010

Due to some technical difficulties with my home computer, I am unable to upload this week's photo of the Harvest Box.

***As the weather gets warmer and your Harvest Box arrives on hot days, be sure to leave a cooler at your front door so Life Organic can leave your Harvest Box items inside it to keep them cool and fresh. ***

One of my favourite recipes from last week was the delightful Fruity Spinach Salad. I made it and this was a tasty, fresh salad that I served along grilled chicken - I thought the taste was refreshing and light, and I'll definitely be making it again soon!

I've been in the market for some new and interesting ways to use our broccoli. I've mentioned before that our kids all love broccoli and will eat it many ways, but I'm trying to branch out a bit form our regular broccoli fare. I scoped out this Steamed Broccoli with Almonds, Lemon Zest and Red Pepper Flakes and think it will be lovely as a side dish to one of our meals this week. I also like this Couscous Salad with Broccoli and Raisins as a delicious and healthy lunch choice. And although my kids are typical mac and cheese lovers, I'm not sure how they'd react to Broccoli and Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese but if I am brave enough I will give it a shot! And I certainly don't think you could go wrong with these Broccoli and Cheese Smashed Potatoes - a perfect addition to any meal.

Why not try this weeks greens in a Mixed Greens Salad with Yellow Pepper Vinaigrette? Or for some Asian flare, try a Crispy Noodles Salad with Sweet and Sour Dressing.

Feeling lost with your big bag of yams? Try this Yam and Zucchini Green Powerhouse - a nutrient-packed recipe that will have you coming back for seconds. Or fire up your barbecue and try these Smokey Chicken Skewers with Bacon-Wrapped Sweet Potato Kabobs - I hope I get a chance to make these for my husband, as I'm pretty sure I can sell him on the "bacon-wrapped" alone! I like the sound of these Crispy Yam Fries as we are all fans of sweet potato and yam fries, and this one has an Indian flavour! And if you like the above kabob recipe but would like something slightly healthier, try these fantastic Yam Kabobs for a warm evening treat.

Has chard got you stumped? Serve up a plate of this Chickpeas and Chard and you'll be stumped no more! An easy favourite in my home is basic Sauteed Chard - I find it quick, easy, and tasty and I can serve it as a side to almost any meal I'm making. Never though of using your chard in a salad? Well you should!! Try a Chard Salad with Rasberry Dressing or this Colourful Chard and Bean Salad and you may be surprised by how much you like it.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Organic Harvest Box for May 21, 2010

Let's have a look inside our tasty Organic Harvest Box this week:

I found this recipe for a Fruity Spinach Salad in my inbox this week and am really excited to try it. It looks easy and delicious, and is something I can eat on the South Beach diet. I'm truly addicted to my lunch time salads now, and my goal is to branch out over the summer months to try new combinations of vegetables and fruits together. I don't want to get bored, so the key is mixing it up and keeping it a little exciting!

I recommend this Spicy Curried Spinach Open Omelet if you're in the mood for something new for breakfast or brunch. This omelet has some zing and is full of healthy goodness. Serve it this holiday long weekend and impress your friends and family!

If you have an ice cream machine at home (I, unfortunately, do not) then I most definitely suggest you try whipping a batch of Strawberry Ice Cream for some Victoria Day weekend fun. You'll need to freeze your strawberries first, or else use frozen strawberries from your freezer. Another fun and easy berry dessert is this Charred Eggy Bread with Strawberries and Honey - something fun to grill up on the barbecue and enjoy with your strawberries. I also like the look of this Strawberry Orange Salad - another I'm adding to my "must try" list for the next week or two. And if you're not trying to lose weight this week, why not get that baker's apron dirty and throw together this Strawberry Rhubarb Pie (with lattice crust) or this one (with one crust). Be sure to report back and let us know how it turns out - strawberry rhubarb pie was something I enjoyed as as a child, and it really takes a special cook to be able to make it just right!

Do you like to use your red or green peppers for stuffed pepper recipes? Stuffed peppers are delicious and often healthy, and are a simple way to really impress your dinner guests (or your kids . . . or your mother, you know what I mean). If you're new to this type of cooking, try out this recipe for Stuffed Peppers or these Stuffed Bell Peppers. I came across this recipe for Green Pepper Relish and think it looks worth every bit of effort it likely takes. But if you like to keep it simple, nothing beats a summer Red and Green Pepper Salad - easy, healthy, and too tasty for words.

Ready to try something a little out of the ordinary with this week's tomatoes? Why not ditch your regular jarred salsa from the store and make this Grilled Tomato Salsa - it's simple and adds a kick to any salsa-deserving meal or appetizer. I guarantee you'll never go back to store bought after making your own. Also new this week is this Tomato and Fennel Salad with Barbecued Fish and Fried Eggs with Tomato, Watercress, and Breadcrumbs. And for those looking to enjoy a tomato's flavour all on its own, add this Tomato and Basil Salad to your long weekend fare.

I absolutely love this Broccoli Salad from Jamie Oliver - it gets raved about every time I serve it. I love adding broccoli to salads in the warmer months. But since my family seems to adore broccoli served with pasta, I hope to try this Quick Vegetable Pasta and maybe even this Penne with Broccoli to share with them.

Enjoy your long weekend and be sure to gobble up your harvest box treasures!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Organic Harvest Box for May 14, 2010

Here is this week's Harvest Box, full of fresh spring goodies!

There are weeks when I never get around to doing anything special with my tomatoes. I love slicing them and adding them to basically any type of sandwich, or tossing them on top of a salad. And there's nothing tastier than a plate of sliced tomatoes drizzled with Basil Vinaigrette (for Drizzling Over Tomatoes). This vinaigrette is so flavourful, it will knock your socks off!

If you enjoy roasted tomatoes, try this recipe for Whole Roasted Tomatoes, it is fantastic and easy to do. I'm also a lover of this Zucchini Salad with Tomato and Basil and have this Tomato and Shrimp Pasta with Feta as well as this Kale, Mushroom, and Tomato Saute on my radar for upcoming meals. And nothing says spring to me like fresh Spicy Tomato Salsa - I like to bring a bowl to the dinners and barbecues I attend all summer long . . . usually makes me the hit of the party!

Remember that anytime you come across a recipe that requires canned tomatoes, it is always easy to substitute fresh ones. And don't throw those tomatoes in the crisper in your fridge, leave them on the counter - they ripen better and will taste far superior.

Fresh local asparagus is another springtime favourite at our home. Asparagus is a veggie you can easily incorporate into a main meal, like this Risotto with Asparagus. It's divine in salads like this Asparagus, Cherry Tomato, Olive and Feta Salad and this Asparagus and Crab Salad. You can also make Creamy Spring Asparagus Soup, or throw those stalks right on your barbecue and serve Grilled Asparagus with Parmesan alongside your main dish.

If you're willing to try something different with your chard this week, why not get some use out of those gorgeous stems and make these Baked Swiss Chard Stems? Or toss that chard into Swiss Chard Tuna Salad, and layer it on some crusty bread. I think my favourite find of the week has to be these Swiss Chard and Mushroom Squares, so if I get a chance to make them I will be sure to post some pictures! I also like the sound of this Swiss Chard-Stuffed Flank Steak and think Swiss Chard with Shallots would be a welcome addition to any spring-time meal.

Until next week, enjoy your harvest box!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Roasted Asparagus Wrapped in Ham

Here is another one of Kalyn's fabulous recipes. I tried this Roasted Asparagus Wrapped in Ham out for Mother's Day on Sunday and all who ate these, loved them!

It is simple, fast, and delicious!

Grab some asparagus and cut the ends off. Wrap each piece of asparagus in a slice of ham. Place them on a baking tray to stick in your oven. A toothpick will hold the ham in place.

Bake at 400 for about 10-15 minutes.

Enjoy and serve as is or with mustard for a dipping sauce.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Salt and Vinegar Kale Chips

I found Kalyn's recipe for Kale Chips when I was perusing her site for South Beach diet recipes. We made them yesterday afternoon . . . and the entire tray was gone in about 2 minutes! Even my kids ate them. They were FANTASTIC.

This recipe is almost exactly like the recipe on her blog.

one small bunch of kale, about 6 oz.
1 T extra-virgin olive oil
1 T vinegar (any vinegar you like will work)
sea salt to taste

Preheat oven to 300.

Cut kale from stalks and tear into small pieces (chip-sized is good!). Wash torn kale pieces and spin dry in a salad spinner or dry with paper towels until they're very dry.

Put kale pieces into a large Ziploc bag. Add half of the 1 T of olive oil, seal bag, and squeeze the bag so the oil gets distributed evenly on the kale pieces. Add the other half tablespoon of oil and squeeze the bag more, until all kale pieces are evenly coated with oil and slightly "massaged."

Open the Ziploc bag and sprinkle the 1 T vinegar over the kale leaves, then seal bag and shake to spread the vinegar out over all the leaves.

Arrange kale leaves in a single layer on a baking sheet, then roast until they are mostly crisp, about 35 minutes. Be sure to check them every 10 minutes or so, to make sure they aren't over-cooked.

When chips are done to your liking, sprinkle with a generous amount of sea salt and eat immediately.

My husband was suggesting we try other flavours next time, so I think we'll give it a go!

Let me know if you give this a try - I can assure you, you will not be disappointed!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Organic Harvest Box for May 7, 2010

Another gorgeous looking Organic Harvest Box is here!

I managed to survive my first full week of the South Beach Diet. Although I was not entirely "unhealthy" to begin with, the biggest change in my diet is the cutting out of sugar and carbs and the increase of protein and vegetables. So far so good, I am feeling much more energetic than I expected, and have fewer cravings too. So stick with me while I focus on a fabulous blog this week, Kalyn's Kitchen, (I have linked to a number of her recipes in the past) and post mostly recipes I found on her fantastic site.

Mmmmmmm . . . mangoes! Get ready for the fresh taste of spring with a Mango Salad with Black Beans, Avocado & Mint, or try this Mango Salsa with Red Bell Pepper. Mango salsas are so easy to make, and are a delicious addition to so many types of food (fish, chicken, beef, even your nacho chips). Check out Kalyn's Roasted Tilapia with Black Bean, Mango, Lime & Cilantro Salsa - my mouth is watering just looking at that photo and I can assure you I'll be adding this to my menu this upcoming week.

One small issue with the South Beach diet for me has been the lack of variety in my snacks. But hold on - I think my bland days are over. Look at these Roasted Kale Chips with Sea Salt and Vinegar and tell me you wouldn't want a plate of those at your side to munch on? I hope to make a batch over the weekend and will post pictures and results for you when I'm finished! Another good choice for your kale this week is this Sauteed Kale with Garlic and Onion - fast and simple and a super side dish choice if you're doing some barbecuing over the weekend. And for those South Beach breakfasts try these Kale and Red Onion Savoury Breakfast Squares - definitely sounding better than some of the bland omelets I made this week.

Having guests over for dinner is intimidating me a little bit. I'm having friends over for dinner tomorrow night and don't want to sabotage the two-week "Phase One" by breaking this diet. But, really, who wouldn't be thrilled to be served Roasted Asparagus Wrapped in Ham as an appetizer before some delicious salads and a hearty steak? Maybe with a little Pan-Fried Asparagus Tips with Lemon on the side? And click and look at this Asparagus and Tomato Frittata with Harvati and Dill - fabulous and can feed your whole family!

Although sweet potatoes (yams) are not permitted in Phase One of South Beach, my kids love 'em so I'll have to give in and whip some up for them. I'm loving Kalyn's Spicy Sweet Potato Fries and will see if they are as popular as my Savoury Sweet Potato Sticks or the Grilled Sweet Potatoes. Not grilling weather where you are yet?? If you're feeling like some comfort from your crockpot, check out these Spicy Crockpot Sweet Potatoes.

Enjoy your produce, and I hope all the Mothers out there enjoy a special Mother's Day on Sunday!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Harvest Box for May 1, 2010

What a beautiful looking Organic Harvest Box this week - full of delicious produce, and more local goodies for you!

Are you wondering what to do with this week's local red radishes? Radishes have a very distinct and sharp taste, and lend themselves well to wide variety of different salads.

I love the look of this Pulao with Red Radish and Fresh Corn, and I'll definitely be eating this Chopped Salad with Tuna (South Beach) for lunch this week. Here is a good way to combine your tomato, cucumber and radishes all in one delicious and dairy-free salad - a fantasticTomato, Cucumber and Radish Salad with Soy Yogurt and Tahini Dressing. And this Greek Radish Salad couldn't be simpler to make, so why not give it a try?

You'll notice a bunch of this week's recipe are South Beach Diet recipes. That's because I am starting the South Beach diet this week, and am looking for easy and simple ways to include my Harvest Box produce into my new low-glycemic diet. All of the South Beach diet recipes are totally healthy and are perfect for anyone at all . . .

I'm hoping to toss my shiitake mushrooms into this Beef with Asparagus and Mushrooms (South Beach) for dinner one night, and may even get to try this Breakfast Casserole with Mushrooms, Bell Peppers and Feta. I love that you can make it in advance and have breakfast for several days. And what could be more delightful this time of year than basic Grilled Mushrooms? Fire up your grill and toss them on!

I adore arugula but will admit that I wasn't a regular consumer of it before I signed up with Life Organic a couple years ago. Now I love to toss them into salads, or whip up this Chicken with Goat Cheese and Arugula - an absolute must-try and family favourite of ours. Arugula salads are perfect this time of year and are easy for those not all that familiar with arugula - and you can take your pick from an Arugula Chickpea Salad with Feta, an Arugula and Gorgonzola Salad, or this Arugula and Sweet Mini Pepper Salad. All tasty and delicious!

Looking for some new and interesting ways to serve your Asian Greens?? Try these Steamed Asian Greens with Honey Soy Sesame Dressing, or Grilled Tofu And Sauteed Asian Greens. This Steamed Ginger Chicken with Asian Greens is an easy and light dinner menu item, and incredibly healthy. For a plethora of other uses for Asian Greens, check out this list of Asian Greens recipes from Canadian Living.

Did you know that CRESS is a fast-growing, edible herb that is related to watercress and mustard? It has a peppery, tangy flavor and aroma.

This tangy herb is easier to incorporate into recipes than you may think. It is wonderful on a variety of sandwiches, including this Egg, Mayo, and Cress Sandwich. Rachael Ray suggests these yummy Pub Patties with Horseradish Sauce and Cress. They look amazing! Cress is also perfect for soups, including this Asparagus Cress Soup, and salads, like this Fig Salad with Goat's Milk Yogurt and Pepper Cress.

Have a tasty and wonderful week!