That Harvest Bag Life

I’ve mentioned here in the blog about my delivery of vegetables and fruits that I receive weekly from a local farm and how much I’ve enjoyed my bounty which I have dubbed The Harvest Bag (that’s not actually what the farm place calls them, but it sounds like it should be called that, right?)

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But I have learned something…there is something a bit dark that you’re not told when you order your first delivery…and it’s this: The Harvest Bag is a commitment. The Harvest Bag is a LIFESTYLE. The Harvest Bag requires attention, otherwise its contents will wither and die, not unlike those tiny digital animal keychains from the 90s (Tamagotchi, anyone?). I hate to admit that some of the produce from my first 2 bags ended up in the trash because I just didn’t understand that I needed to take care of things right away (or at least within the first couple of  days). What can I say? I was unschooled in the ways of vegetation and did not know what I did not know.

BUT when I got my bag last Friday, I was prepared with a plan. After work that evening, almost as soon as I walked in the door, I started taking care of business. I washed, I salad-spun, I chopped, I diced, I roasted, I steamed…I did everything humanly possible that I could to ensure that my produce would not go unused this week, and that it would not suffer the same fate as its Sister Bags had in the weeks before. All told, I spent about 3 hours of my Friday night tending to my little Tamagotchi vegetables. Such triumph! Such a dopamine rush! This morning I thanked my Friday Night Self for taking the time to prepare it all  – making my lunch salad was a breeze because the ingredients were already prepped and chopped and ready to go. It also makes throwing a balanced dinner together a snap.

And now that I know what I need to do, I’m confident that it won’t take me as long to prep the next bag’s contents on Friday night. Although it might help if I were to buy a bigger salad spinner.

 

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Friday Free-for-all: LocalFarmOK

Earlier in the week I mentioned that I finally have access to a local farm harvest delivery service (localfarmok.com) – I received my first delivery last Friday and I am in love.

 

Here’s what I got for $26:

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Celery, lettuce, broccoli, portobello mushrooms, potatoes, blueberries, pears, mandarin oranges, and also not shown are 3 cucumbers that I gave to my boss because cucumbers are the devil’s vegetable. I felt like that was quite a bit of produce for the money and can I just say that the taste of this produce…THE TASTE…I swoon over how good it all tasted. It was all so delicious.

How I felt all week:

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And this is a sample of what I made with all my delicious farm fresh goodies:

The first one is an egg scramble with peppers and onions with a sprinkle of cheese topped with avocado on top of a portobello mushroom. The second is a sheet pan dinner with turkey smoked sausage, broccoli, onions, and red & baby potatoes. I’ve also been eating salads all week with the lettuce. I think I’ve used up everything except the celery, which I keep forgetting to wash and chop. Maybe I’ll do that tonight.

I signed up for every other week delivery, but I’m thinking I might go ahead and sign up for the weekly delivery because I used up everything quicker than I thought I would. When you’re as health conscious as I am, you need to have a steady flow of produce coming your way. There can never be too much kale.

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I don’t think he believes me. 

 

 

 

 

I’m rouxined

I used to hate cooking. It was ONE MORE THING on my to-do list of a lot of other mom-things. It was just not an enjoyable task, wich is surprising, given how much I love to eat. And when I was trying to diet cooking was even worse because then I had to cook TWO dinners: one disappointing meal for myself and a tasty one for my family.

But then when I finally decided that I would liberate myself from the diet du jour, guess what?! I actually started to enjoy cooking. When I could cook whatever sounded good to me, that’s when cooking became fun.

What I love about cooking is learning how to make things from scratch that I would normally buy in a can. I’ve learned that the basis for a lot of these is starting with a roux.

If you don’t know, a roux is just oil or butter mixed with flour. From there you add your liquid of choice and voila – you have a delicous sauce and just saved yourself a chunk of change.

For example, not long ago I was making a casserole and needed a can of cream of chicken soup but I didn’t have one in my pantry. I Googled “diy cream of chicken soup” and found a recipe. Some butter and flour cooked until bubbly then I added some chicken broth and stirred until thick. Ta Da! Cream of chicken soup that was delicious and free of unpronounceable ingredients. And so quick and easy – I couldn’t believe how simple it was and it didn’t take much time at all – a few minutes at most.

I also found a dangerous homemade nacho cheese sauce recipe that starts with a roux. I say dangerous because this stuff is so easy and delicious…it might become a problem if I let it. A cup of milk is added to the roux then a couple of handfuls of grated cheddar cheese is melted into the mix. Add a pinch of salt and chili powder…BOOM. Nacho cheese to fulfill all of your cheese dip dreams. So easy & delicious! And again, free of unrecognizable ingredients. I’ll be more than happy to never buy Velveeta again in my life.

As someone who has lived off of processed/convenience foods her whole life (Why so chubby Jill? It’s a mystery!) cooking from scratch is a novelty. I can’t believe I have relied on canned soups and sauces for so long when it’s almost just as easy to whip them up from ingredients in my own kitchen. I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks! 🙂

 

 

 

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When The Label No Longer Fits

I have several labels I have applied to myself over the years, but the one that has been with me the longest is Sugar Lover. I didnt just have a sweet tooth, I had a whole mouth full of them. I wouldn’t just eat a cookie, I would eat as many cookies as my stomach could hold, and then I’d eat a few more. Sometimes, I would eat dinner just so I could eat dessert.

Yes, I was a sugarholic. Dessert was my love language.

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But over the last year or so, I find myself not enjoying the sweet stuff as much. I mean sure, as soon as I finish a meal my thoughts immediately turn to “what sweets do I have that would nicely complement my dinner?” because old habits die hard, but more often than not, confections don’t satisfy me like they used to.

Before I go further, let me assure you that I do still very much enjoy a decadent treat – last summer at the state fair, there was an artisinal chocolate bakery and I had the most amazing chocolate lava cake – seriously I don’t think I’ve ever eaten anything so delicious in my life. And a couple of weeks ago, I found a recipe for the most perfect chocolate chip cookie – crispy edges with a chewy middle…we made 2 batches in one week – that’s how good they were. So I am still totally on board for gourmet or homemade decadence.

But as far as just any old store bought cookie? Nah. Not interested anymore. If I do have one, it’s just because I don’t know how to let go of being that person, not because I necessarily want the cookie.

It’s hard to let go of that label. It’s scary to become someone you’ve never been before.

And actually now that I think about it, some of my other labels are changing as well. I used to be a night owl but now I really like getting up early. I used to enjoy alcohol quite frequently…now I can take it or leave it (most often I just leave it because it’s not worth feeling so awful the next day). I used to be someone who always thought she was “less than” everyone else, now I know better (I don’t think I’m better than anyone else, I just no longer assume I’m inferior to everyone I meet).

So many changes! It’s like puberty all over again, but with fewer pimples and less angst!

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Jr High Jill had a lot of angst. And bracelets. 

I think my next step is to just accept that this is who am I now, and that it’s perfectly okay to be different than I once was. But man, it feels kinda weird…like driving some else’s car or sporting a new hairdo, but you get used to it I suppose. And just like Teen Jill learned to live beyond the big earrings and rubber bracelets, Grown Up Evolved Jill will live beyond the Oreos and Hostess snack cakes.

UPDATE: Oh my gosh look what I found!!

         And in color too!!

 

 

Bad Food Combos That Just Need to Stop it Right Now

Hey Again.

So I just finished eating one of these:

And I thought I would like it when I saw it in the store. It’s LITERALLY just 1 apple and 20 blueberries all smooshed up. I like apples. I like blueberries. How bad could it be?

Well.

I really wanted to like it; I thought maybe it would be like a Fig Newton without the Newton, but sadly it was nothing like that. As soon as I bit into it, I remembered something very important: I don’t like the taste of dried apples. You would have thought this would have entered my mind beforehand, but it didn’t. And this bar tastes like a whole lotta dried apples. So it was no-go from the start, but I really like the idea of these bars. It’s literally just fruit that has been mashed together and formed into a bar. I mean, you could just grab an apple and a (very large) handful of blueberries and eat that, but if for some reason carrying around fresh produce just isn’t your bag, then these bars might be for you. There are a lot of other flavors, so it might be that a different flavor would taste better, but seeing as how apples are the main ingredient in all of them, I don’t think I would like them very much. I’ll just keep eating my apples the way God intended: in a pie with a scoop of ice cream on the side. (I’m kidding) (No I’m not)

But this whole idea got me thinking, what other foods sound good together but actually taste like death?  Another one for me is Greek yogurt and peanut butter. *shudder* I just can’t do it. I don’t think peanut butter should be tangy. Ever. OH! Celery and peanut butter. CanNOT deal with that. No. Mainly because I don’t like celery.

You know what else makes me mad? Canned soups. Sounds like a good idea, right? Make some soup, stick it in a can to be enjoyed at a later date. But why FOR THE LOVE OF INA GARTEN, WHY do all canned soups taste the same? Do they taste the same to you? They all taste like mixed vegetables to me…and not in a good way. Yick!! Maybe I’m just not eating the right kind of canned soups, but this is another thing I tend to pass on.

Also, Kale + anything at all ever. Go home Kale. Your 15 minutes are over.

So, what else? What other food combos should be banned? Is there some combo out there that everyone seems to love that you actually loathe? Fess up! Let the world (or at least those of us reading here) know what food combos you would ban if it were up to you!

 

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