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Month: June 2017

CSA Share Week 4

CSA Share Week 4

blueberries, black raspberries, shelled peas, green beans, zucchini, slicing cucumber, pickling cucumber, red potatoes, and basil


For those of you who have never participated in a CSA, I thought I would share this week’s produce pickup.  Isn’t this beautiful?  Jeff from Conover Farms put together this box, and I can assure you everything has been wonderful!  This is the time the shares start picking up speed.

Pictured is the full size share.  I have three people in the house and we eat this plus other farmer’s markets finds.  I have not been disappointed yet!

Spring Greens Season

Spring Greens Season

It’s early in the produce season, despite the warm weather we’ve had this year.  You know what that means, don’t you?  Greens!  Kale, chard, beet greens, spinach… you name it, it’s growing and overflowing.

I have been getting beautiful bunches of kale in my CSA share from Conover Farms, and I’m growing Swiss Chard in my tiny little garden, but my friends have also blessed me with their kale and chard that they have had enough of!  I have made so many different greens recipes, being as creative as I can to use these guys up.  I made Green Meat-less-Balls, Green Hummus, Sauteed Greens, Swiss Chard Soup,….  you get the point.  But I came home the other day and realized I had four giant ziplock bags of greens.  And did I mention the chard in the garden too?  Yeah.  Time to take action.



So I decided to make a giant batch Kale Chimichurri, one of my favorite recipes for greens.  Chimichurri is a South American treat that can be used as a dipping sauce, a marinade, a soup enhancer, a salad dressing base… in other words, it’s extremely versatile.  And better yet, it’s extremely forgiving and flexible!  You start with a base of greens, oil, and garlic and sea salt and the rest is up to you.

For this recipe I decided to use the mint overtaking my garden, and I gave it an Asian flavoring.  I added a little basil, lime juice, and coriander seasoning.  It is subtle, but tasted wonderful on shrimp and zucchini noodles tonight.


This is my basic Kale Chimichurri Recipe:

1 bunch kale

1/2c. olive oil

1-2 cloves garlic

1-2T. acid, lemon or lime juice, fresh squeezed, or red wine vinegar

sea salt to taste


  Toss everything in to the food processor, pulse until thoroughly mixed.  Season with salt and pepper as you go.

Remember, the biggest thing about chimichurri is it’s versatility !  If you don’t have these spices and herbs on hand, use what you’ve got!

Flavor options:

  • mint, basil, coriander and red pepper with lime juice
  • dill, mint, basil, thyme, and parsley with lemon juice
  • cilantro, thyme, marjoram, parsley and oregano with red wine vinegar
  • cilantro, jalapeno, and lime juice
  • basil, oregano, and thyme with lemon juice
  • ginger, turmeric, black pepper, coriander, cumin, and lime juice


Really you can’t go wrong with the seasonings.  If you taste along the way, you will come across a flavor profile that you love and will want to indulge in.  For this batch, because I had so many bunches of kale, I made enough to enjoy now and also

put some away for later.  I portioned them out in to small 1/2 pint mason jars, covered with plastic wrap and sealed with a lid, then froze.  Now I can enjoy this garden fresh goodness all year long!


I topped fresh zucchini noodles with the Kale Chimichurri and blackened shrimp.  We served it with a side of coriander roasted potatoes and salt and pepper rutabaga.

Broth, Three Ways

Broth, Three Ways

Summer may be approaching and soup may be far from on your mind, but broth is a staple in this house hold.  I keep broth at the ready for many reasons, but they all come back to health.  Broth is a phenomenal health builder, good for the immune system, the heart, the brain, the gut, the skin… the soul.

I have three versions of broth I would like to share with you, one for each type of need.  I use an Instant Pot for my broths, but you can always use a basic slow cooker or a pot on the back of your stove.

Here is the list of basic ingredients you will need for all three:

  • filtered water
  • sea salt
  • apple cider vinegar
  • mix of vegetables: carrots, celery, onions, garlic, etc.
  • herbs: oregano, parsley, thyme, pepper, etc.


Chicken Broth

Let’s start with chicken broth, as it is probably your first thought!  Chicken broth is such an easy home remedy for what ails you, and it tastes so rich, too.  That’s because it is!  Those bones are powerhouses of minerals and nutrients.  Cooking the bones over low heat releases the minerals, such as magnesium, calcium, omega fatty acids, protein, collagen… you get the idea.  The slow and low method breaks down the bones and allows these nutrients to escape the bone and infuse the broth.

As I cook chicken for meals, I reserve the leftover bones and meat parts.  Usually I keep a container in the freezer dedicated to broth parts- bones, meats, tendons, cartilage, and random vegetable parts.  When it is full, I know it’s time to make broth!

So into the Instant Pot I dump my broth contents, and then cover with clean filtered water.  Personal preference note: Make sure there is plenty of garlic!  I love garlic cloves in my broth, as they add more depth to the flavor.  Add the sea salt, black pepper, and apple cider vinegar.  For chicken you only need the seasonings to taste and the apple cider vinegar can be a tablespoon or two.  Save the herbs.

Cook the broth on low for 12 hours or so.  Keeping it on low preserves the natural and collagen proteins.  Too high heat will break them down and you will lose the benefits, and the gelatinous quality of your broth.  Once it is down, remove from heat and allow to cool. It is at this point I add my softer herbs.  They can be overcooked and lose their flavor if cooked too long.  So I allow them to infuse the broth for the last hour or so during cooling.

Once cooled, strain the broth into wide mouthed mason jars and allow to cool further before covering with a lid and placing in the fridge.  Label (this part is important!) and freeze until needed.


Beef Broth

Next let’s talk about beef broth.  This broth is a stronger flavored broth, but richer in minerals and nutrients.  This happens simply because the bones are bigger and more dense than little chicken bones.  it is for this reason too that the broth needs to cook longer than chicken broth.

You follow the same steps as the chicken broth, but increase your apple cider vinegar to 1/4c.  Allow this broth to cook on low for 24 hours.  If not using a lidded pot, please monitor the water level to ensure it doesn’t evaporate and burn.  When done cooking, remove from heat and add the herbs.  Once completely cooled, label and store in the fridge or the freezer.


Vegetable Broth

Last but definitely not least, we have vegetable broth.  This broth is wonderfully nourishing, though it lacks the collagen and protein of bone and meat broths.  You still benefit from the antioxidants and nutrients in the vegetables, and it will add great depth to your meals and soups.

Follow the basic ingredients list for the broth and allow to cook on low for at least one hour.  I would cook for up to a couple of hours, but you really don’t need a long cooking process as you do for the bones.  When complete, you will have a richly colored broth, but don’t expect gelatin like consistency.






Here I have some added tips on getting the most out of your broth:

  • Use top quality ingredients.  Since you are cooking with the intention of extracting the nutrients, you want organic herbs and vegetables, pure water, and grass fed bones and meat.  You don’t want to extract any chemicals, hormones, and pesticides with your nutrients, so cook clean to eat clean.
  • Always, always, always cook on low.  Too high and even too long can alter the taste and quality of your broth.
  • When straining, dump the herbs and veggies but save the bones.  You can use them again for a second batch.  Yes, it’s true!  For the second round repeat the process, but increase the apple cider vinegar amount and double the cook time.  You will be getting deeper nutrients released from the bones, though collagen will be minimal.  This means second batch broth will be more liquid and less gelatinous.
  • If you are purchasing soup bones, roasting them before cooking will enhance the flavor of your broth.
  • Want to increase the nutrient content?  Add egg shells!  In the summer I get my eggs from local farmers.  So every time I crack an egg, I wash it and save them in my freezer broth container.  This will bump up your calcium levels in the broth!
  • To freeze, you MUST use wide mouth mason jars.  Do not over fill the jar (I leave plenty of room, as in 1/2 to 1″ of space) to allow for expansion.  I also do not seal the lid tightly until after it is frozen.  Failure to do so will result in cracked glass and tossed broth.
  • I love to add seaweed to my broths.  Kombu is a fantastic seaweed that when added to cooking liquid not only imparts flavor and iodine, it helps to extract the nutrients from the other foods being cooked.  Win win!
  • You can freeze your broth in muffin tins or ice cube trays.  Then remove and keep in a freezer container.  These are perfect for cooking vegetables, soups, sauces, or other meals.
  • Drink your broth in place of tea or coffee for a deeply nourishing pick me up!
  • Use the broth in place of water for rice, veggies, quinoa, and more.


The summer CSA

The summer CSA


Honestly, one of my favorite things about spring and summer is the farmer’s market stands overflowing with fresh produce.  It’s the highlight of my week to get to go!

This year, of course, we brought the farmer’s market directly to us through our summer CSA share.  CSA, community supported agriculture, is a fantastic program that offers you farm fresh produce at the height of it’s nutrition, while also benefiting the local economy and supporting our farmers.  CSAs are wonderful for the environment too because there is less carbon footprint.  Win-win-win!


Today we picked up our second share, and all I can say is oh my!  (I would have posted about our first share, but we were too excited and hungry to take pictures!)  But this week it was too beautiful not to share.  Our produce is from Conover Farms in Burgettstown.  It’s organic, heirloom, and non-GMO.  And amazing!!!!


Tonight’s dinner was straight out of the box.  Spring time salads are great ways to detoxify and clean out your body from the heavy winter foods.  Lots of greens, lettuces, asparagus, onions and garlic… these are all phenomenal detoxifiers.  They are full of fiber which helps to clean your intestines and move things along.  The greens are high water content and as such, a good diuretic.  Asparagus, too, is a diuretic.  Remember, this supports your liver and your kidneys, which are two important organs for toxin removal.   Onions and garlic are sulfur rich, a mineral that supports the body in many of it’s inner day to day functions.  But sulfur also helps rid the body of unwanted items.

Seeing a theme?  The foods that grow naturally in the spring season all act together to help our bodies move from one season to the next.  This is why eating in tune with the current season is so good for our health!  Nature knows exactly what it is doing.  We just need to follow it’s lead!


So for dinner tonight…


Springtime Salad

1 bunch romaine lettuce, roughly torn

1/2 bunch asparagus

1/4c. shelled peas

fresh dill, chopped

2T. fresh squeezed lemon juice

3T. avocado oil

sea salt to taste


In a small jar, mix together lemon juice, oil, sea salt and dill or other herbs.  Mix to emulsify.

Lightly steam or sauté the peas and asparagus.  You only need a minute or two because you want them to be slightly cooked, but still crisp.

Toss the romaine with the dressing and place in a large bowl.  Top with asparagus and peas and more fresh herbs.  You can eat as is, or add protein of choice.  Personally, I would go with salmon or a light chicken here!  Enjoy and know that you are doing yourself and your community a favor!