Monday, December 24, 2012

Happy Holidays!

Well, since this blog is all about using locally available organic produce, I am taking a break while my local farms are closed for the holiday season.  They are scheduled to be open again on the second week in January, but that is all dependent on the weather.  Last year, it rained so much in January that they didn't open until February!  :(  I will greatly miss my fresh produce for the next few weeks, but will continue to feed my family the best food I can.  I hope you all have a happy and healthy holiday with your family and friends, and I will see you in 2013!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Black Bean and Kale Quesadilla

I am so excited about this recipe!  It is a fun new way to sneak some more kale into your kid's diet.  These are so tasty, the kids won't even believe that there is any kale in them!  They are also jam-packed with black beans, tomatoes, cilantro, and avocado, making this a very hearty quesadilla (not just a big pile of melted cheese).  

Another great aspect of this meal is the fact that you can make the bean mixture and grate the cheese ahead of time.  That makes the dinnertime rush much easier to handle!  Serve these with a great side dish like Roasted Mexican String Beans or Spanish Rice, and you've got a fantastic meal for the entire family!


4 large handfuls of kale, stem removed and chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
15 oz cooked black beans, rinsed and drained
1/3 C chopped cilantro
3 tomatoes, chopped
1 large avocado, peeled, pitted, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp chili powder
juice of 1 lime
6 flour tortillas
8 oz shredded cheddar cheese
8 oz Greek yogurt or sour cream
3 green onions, sliced


  1. Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a medium fry pan over medium-high heat.  Add the kale and cook, stirring constantly until wilted, about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and place into a large bowl.
  2. To the kale, add the beans, salsa, cilantro, tomatoes, avocado, salt, pepper, chili powder, and lime juice.  Mash with a fork until smooth.
  3. Put an even layer of bean mixture onto half of a flour tortilla (about 1/3 C).  Sprinkle an even layer of cheddar cheese on top of the bean mixture.  Fold the tortilla in half.
  4. Heat the remaining olive oil in a large fry pan over medium high heat.  Cook the quesadillas for about 3 minutes, or until golden.  Flip and repeat on the other side.  
  5. Serve topped with more salsa, yogurt or sour cream, and green onions.  Enjoy!

Adapted from Kiwi Magazine Dec. 2012

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Spinach Tomato Alfredo Pizza

Boy, have I found another great pizza recipe for you!  This delicious pizza uses a base of homemade Alfredo sauce in lieu of your basic tomato.  It is pretty much everything I love about pizza and Fettuccine Alfredo all rolled into one amazing dish!  Adding a bunch of minced garlic over the sauce takes this to the next level.  The little bursts of garlic in every bite is just heavenly!

The farm fresh tomatoes and spinach give this pizza great flavor and texture.  It is a new family favorite for sure and we already can't wait to make it again.  If you are looking for an out-of-the-box pizza, give this a try.  I promise you will not be disappointed!


For the Alfredo Sauce:
1 C heavy cream
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 C freshly grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
a dash of nutmeg

For the Pizza:
your favorite pizza crust
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 oz shredded mozzarella
1/2 C tomatoes, seeded and chopped
2-3 large handfuls of fresh spinach, chopped
Italian seasoning


  1. Cook Alfredo Sauce: In a medium fry pan, bring the butter and cream to a boil.  Reduce heat and let simmer for 2-3 minutes.  Add the parmesan cheese and stir until it melts completely.  Continue to simmer until the sauce is slightly thickened, 3-5 minutes.  Remove from heat and season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.  Set aside.
  2. Heat the oven to 475 degrees with a pizza stone inside.  Evenly spread the Alfredo sauce around the pizza crust leaving a 1 inch border.  Sprinkle the garlic over the sauce.  Layer the cheese, spinach, and tomatoes evenly over the pizza.  Top with a sprinkle of Italian seasoning.
  3. Bake for 8-10 minutes until cheese is melted and golden at the edges.  Allow to cool 3-4 minutes before cutting or else the sauce might be a little to runny.  Enjoy!

Adapted from Love Bakes Good Cakes

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Weekly Menu

Well, it has been an emotional few days for us all.  Thank you for understanding my choice to join many fellow bloggers and be silent yesterday.  I hope you all have taken some extra time to let those you love know just how you feel about them.  I know I have been hugging my babies a little tighter.

We did still manage to go to the farm.  This will be our last big farm run until January as our main farm closes over the holidays.  :(  There is another farm that will still be open, but our weekly haul will be much smaller since their selection is not as varied.  We will likely have to get much of our organic produce from our grocery stores for the next few weeks, but I will still be making some great food!  This week, we picked up some spinach, carrots, tomatoes (can you believe it?!?!), broccoli, kale, cilantro, and yellow wax beans.  With that delicious assortment, we will be making the following meals:

  • Parmesan Chicken Sandwiches (using Gardein) with frozen Organic Veggie Medley (my daughter's favorite treat)
    • not using any of the fresh veggies

  • Spinach Tomato Alfredo Pizza with Italian Steamed Broccoli
    • using the tomatoes, spinach, and broccoli

  • I will be steaming the carrots for finger foods for the baby.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Healthier Spanish Rice

I love Spanish rice, and I'm not really a rice kind of gal.  I think my love of Spanish rice has something to do with the tomatoes and onions in it.  They give it some texture so it's not just a bowl of rice grains.  The only problem with Spanish rice is that it tends to be very unhealthy (and often cooked with chicken stock), so I decided to make a version using brown rice!  Boy it turned out great!

It really is quite simple and does most of the work itself.  You could easily make this with white rice if you wanted, or a combination of white and brown.  No matter what, it will be delicious!  It really is the perfect side to any home-cooked Mexican dinner.  We love it with my Crock Pot "Refried" Beans!


2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 C chopped onion
1 1/2 C brown rice
2 C Imagine No-Chicken Broth (or veggie broth)
1 C chunky salsa (not salsa fresca, good ol' salsa-in-a-jar works best)


  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add rice to the skillet and stir.  Cook until the rice begins to brown, about 5-10 mins.  
  3. Stir in broth and salsa.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 25 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed.  

Adapted from ilovetocook

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Beet Salad with Goat Cheese and Toasted Pecans

Beets are one of my daughter's favorite vegetables.  I'm not sure if it's because they are so sweet or if it's the bright red color.  :)  Either way, she always gets excited to bring some home.  I love finding new ways to enjoy them, and this is a delightful option.  It is very convenient that this can be made ahead of time.  It is best at room temperature, so it is perfect to bring to a holiday pot luck (doesn't hurt that is has festive red and green colors too!).  The sweet beets, mild goat cheese, and crunchy pecans give this dish an interesting texture and range of flavors.  It is sure to please a crowd!


2 bunches beets, washed and greens removed
2 Tbsp raspberry vinegar
4 Tbsp olive oil, divided
salt and pepper to taste
3/4 C toasted pecans, chopped
4 oz goat cheese, crumbled
2 Tbsp chopped parsley


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Place the beets in a baking dish and toss with 2 Tbsp olive oil to evenly coat.  Cover and bake approximately 1 hour, or until the largest beet is easily pierced with a knife.  Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  2. Remove the skins and cut into small wedges.  Place into a bowl and toss with vinegar, remaining olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Top with pecans and goat cheese.
  3. Refrigerate until ready to serve.  Top with parsley.  Enjoy!

Adapted from  Parents Magazine 12/12

Monday, December 10, 2012

Weekly Menu

Welcome to the start of another great week!  I am so excited because it is going to be beautiful here with a great mix of sun and showers.  It's really feeling like winter (well, as "winter-y" as it get's in Southern California) and we are taking full advantage.  We made our gingerbread house this past weekend, have had some lovely fires in the fireplace, and enjoyed snuggling under blankets.  But in the midst of all that, we got some great food from the farms this week!  We selected some kale, chard, beets, cilantro, orange and green cauliflower, red potatoes, parsnips, persimmons, guava, carrots, baby sweet onion, and tomatoes (I KNOW!  I can't believe they are still growing!)  With this variety, we will be enjoying the following meals:

  • Spinach and Cheese Ravioli with my Farm Fresh Marinara and Beet Salad with Pecans and Goat Cheese
    • using the beets

  • Creamy Chard and Spinach Cold-Weather Soup with Roasted Root Vegetables
    • using the chard and some spinach from last week, carrots, parsnips, and potatoes

  • I will be having the Kaleslaw for lunch
    • using the kale

  • We will be making Cauliflower Popcorn for a snack and enjoying the persimmons and guava (how fun is that?!) as treats.

What's on your menu this week?  I'd love to know!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Roasted Chard with Feta

If you have been too wary to try chard, do I have the recipe for you!  This is my current obsession.  I LOVE this side dish!  It is not only easy, it is so delicious.  The leaves have a bit of a crunch on the edges (think kale chips), the onions are sweet, and the feta is rich and creamy.  The combination of flavors is great!  Roasting vegetables is such an easy way to incorporate them into your meals since there is so little hands-on time.  The oven does the work for you!  This dish will turn anyone into a fan of chard.  Try it and let me know what you think!


1 bunch Swiss chard, leaves and stems separated and chopped
1 small onion, chopped
3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
salt and pepper to taste
4-5 oz feta cheese, crumbled

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Using a jelly roll pan, combine the onions and chard stems (the leaves will be added later).  Drizzle 1 Tbsp of olive oil over them and toss to combine.  Spread out into an even layer.  Season lightly with salt and pepper.
  3. Roast for about 15 minutes, or until the stems are soft and the onions start to brown around the edges.  
  4. Toss the chard leaves in the remaining olive oil until evenly coated.  Layer the leaves over the stems and onions.  Season with salt and pepper.  Sprinkle the feta over the leaves.  Roast an additional 20 minutes until the edges of the leaves begin to crisp.  Serve immediately.  Enjoy!

Adapted from Xandismom

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Hearty Vegetarian Chili

Chili is my absolute favorite winter meal.  Comfort in a bowl.  I LOVE IT!  This particular chili has been a house favorite for years.  It is filled with black and pinto beans, tomatoes, onions, and faux ground beef (it would be AMAZING with real beef too!).  I cook my own beans ahead of time to cut out the need for canned beans (loaded with extra salt).  Serve it with some cornbread and honey butter for the perfect meal.  This recipe is so easy and so delicious you will wonder how you ever survived a winter without it!


2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
12 oz veggie ground beef (or about 1 pound ground beef)
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp oregano
15 oz black beans and their juices
15 oz pinto beans and their juices
28 oz diced tomatoes and their juices
1 tsp salt
pepper and crushed red pepper to taste
freshly grated cheddar cheese, sour cream, and green onions to garnish


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add onion and cook for about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook an additional 1 minute.  Add veggie ground beef and and break it up with a spoon.  
  2. Add cumin, chili powder, and oregano.  Stir frequently until veggie crumbles are broken up and heated through.  
  3. Add black beans, pinto bean, and tomatoes, with their liquids, and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer stirring occasionally for about 45 minutes.
  4. Add salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes.  Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.  Serve hot with the toppings of your choice!

Adapted from Food to Live By

Monday, December 3, 2012

Weekly Menu

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend!  I really hit pay dirt at the farm this week!  There were so many delicious choices, I could barely control myself.  We are really into winter now (well, as winter as it gets in southern California), so I am really into making my comfort foods.  Warm, hearty, eat-by-the-fire-under-a-blanket sort of foods.  Luckily, the veggies available this week are perfect!  I selected some chard, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, romaine, kale, and tomatoes.  I also have some cabbage left over from last week.  With that, I will be cooking the following:

  • Spinach, Mushroom, and Feta Quiche and Roasted Chard with Feta
    • using the spinach and chard

  • I will be having Kaleslaw for lunches
    • using the kale

Friday, November 30, 2012

Roasted Mexican String Beans

I was lucky enough to see yellow string beans at the farm this week and just knew I had to try them!  Sure green beans are everywhere, but I had never cooked with YELLOW beans before!  I pretty much always cook my string beans in a skillet, but I wanted to try something new this week.  Sometimes the skillet takes too much time, or the rest of the meal is taking up the entire stove top.  I wanted to see if roasting would be a nice alternative.  You know what?  It worked!  This simple recipe compliments any Mexican meal and is a great way to add an unexpected veggie to the mix!  


1 pound string beans, trimmed
5 larger garlic cloves, finely chopped
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp ground coriander seed
salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place the beans in a large rimmed baking sheet.  Drizzle with oil and toss to coat and spread into a single layer.
  3. Evenly sprinkle garlic, cumin, coriander, salt, and pepper over the beans.  
  4. Bake until lightly browned and shriveled, about 20-25 minutes, turning once while cooking.  

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Caramelized Onion and BBQ Panini

As the weather gets cooler, I am on the hunt for more warm foods.  One of my favorite cold-weather meals is a panini.  It is simple, quick, and always satisfying.  This little experiment turned out to be a big winner!  Caramelized red onion, cheddar, and my favorite BBQ sauce come together in one big bite after another.  I even spiced mine up with some crushed red pepper flakes to take it to the next level.  YUM!


Crusty bread (I use a french miche)
1 large red onion, sliced
cheddar cheese (and/or pepper jack cheese)
your favorite BBQ sauce


  1. Heat 1 Tbsp butter in a skillet over medium heat.  Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly browned and sweet, about 15 minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Heat your panini press to medium high.  Butter the outside of the bottom piece of bread.  Spread an even layer of BBQ sauce on the inside of the same piece.  Top with a layer of cheese.  Add a layer of caramelized onion.  Top with a little more cheese.  Spread an even layer of BBQ sauce on the inside of the top piece of bread.  Butter the outside of the top piece.
  3. Place the sandwich in the panini press and cook until the cheese is melted and the bread is golden brown.  Let stand about a minute before serving.  Enjoy!

Adapted from Ring Finger Tan Line

Monday, November 26, 2012

Weekly Menu

Hello everyone!  I hope you all had a wonderful weekend!  I enjoyed a little time off from the blog last week to really focus on my family and celebrating Thanksgiving.  It was a lovely change of pace, but I am happy to be back with you all!  :)  I decided to keep with a simple meal plan this week and thus did not select a ton a veggies, but have some great uses for them.  We selected some kale, cabbage, broccoli, carrots, and yellow wax beans.  We will be having the following this week:

  • Caramelized Onion BBQ Panini with Coleslaw
    • using the cabbage and carrots

  • Mushroom and Black Bean Burritos with Mexican Roasted Yellow Beans
    • using the yellow wax beans

  • Breakfast Pizza with Sauteed Broccoli
    • using the broccoli

  • I will be having the Kaleslaw for lunch
    • using the kale

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Simple Sauteed Cabbage

I have only ever tried raw, uncooked cabbage in dishes like coleslaw, fumi salad, and the like.  Well, I have been missing out!  The farm had some beautiful cabbage this week and I just had to pick some up.  The weather had been cooling down and I really didn't want a cold salad, so I decided to try something new.  WOW!  This is not only one of the easiest side dishes ever, it is so delicious!  I can't believe how much flavor is packed in this simple recipe!  If you have never tried cooked cabbage, you owe it to yourself to try this recipe.  It's perfect for these cold weather evenings!

Ingredients (serves 2 as a side)

1/2 large head of cabbage
1 Tbsp butter
1/2 tsp salt
pepper to taste


  1. Remove core of cabbage and discard.  Place cut side down and thinly slice as you would for coleslaw.
  2. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add cabbage, salt, and pepper.  Stir to combine.
  3. Saute 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cabbage is tender and just starting to brown.  Serve warm.

Adapted from Ina Garten

Monday, November 19, 2012

Weekly Menu

Happy Thanksgiving week everyone!!  Hopefully you will all enjoy extra time with family.  We are having a very small Thanksgiving dinner this year (just my immediate family of 4), so I have total freedom in menu planning!  I'm kind of excited for the change of pace and the chance to build some traditions of our own.  We picked up some great produce at the farm this week and even have a brand new veggie to try: romanesco broccoli!  I am so excited to try it because it might be the coolest looking vegetable ever!  Along with the romanesco broccoli, we chose some chard, red leaf lettuce, romaine lettuce, kale, zucchini, tomatoes, green beans, and cauliflower.  We also picked up some pie pumpkins and red potatoes from another farm that are not pictured.  With that, we will make the following:

  • Gardein Crispy Chicken Wraps with Sauteed Cauliflower
    • using the lettuce, tomatoes, and cauliflower

  • Thanksgiving Menu!
    • Roasted Romanesco Broccoli, Green Bean Casserole, Mashed Potatoes, Roasted Chard With Feta, Pumpkin Pie, and Pumpkin Pie Martinis!  We will be trying the Vegan Seitan Wellington from Native Foods Cafe as a main course (something I have been wanting to try for years!!)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Hearty BBQ Chicken Salad

I am always on the lookout for main-dish salads.  We like to try and have one meal a week that is a dinner salad.  It can be challenging to find a salad that not only pleases my meat-eating husband, but also my 3 year old.  This one is a long-time favorite of the whole family!  It is packed with chicken (we use Gardein), black beans, potatoes (you heard me!), tomatoes, and corn.  The BBQ sauce on the chicken combined with the avocado and blue cheese vinaigrettes (that's right, 2 dressings) give this salad so much flavor.  There is truly something in this salad for everyone!

Ingredients (makes 2 large entree salads)

for the avocado vinaigrette
1/3 C olive oil
1/4 C rice vinegar
1 small shallot, chopped
1 1/2 Tbsp peach jam
1/2 ripe avocado
salt and pepper to taste

for the blue cheese vinaigrette
1/3 C olive oil
1/4 C rice vinegar
1 small shallot, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 Tbsp peach jam
1/2 C sour cream
1/2 C blue cheese
salt and pepper to taste

for the potatoes
3/4 pound red potatoes, washed
3 Tbsp butter
1 medium shallot, minced
1 small bunch of parsley, finely chopped

for the chicken
1 package Gardein Chick'n Scallopini
your favorite BBQ sauce

for the salad
1 head romaine lettuce, chopped
1 head red leaf lettuce, chopped
1 large tomato, chopped
6 oz black beans
1/2 C fresh or frozen corn

(Don't believe that a 3 year old eats this?  Here is how I serve it to her.  I just cut everything a little smaller and mix the dressings for her.  She LOVES it!)

  1. To make the dressings - place the ingredients into a blender and mix until smooth.  
  2. To make the potatoes - boil the potatoes in lightly salted water until fork tender.  Remove the potatoes and cut into large bite-sized pieces.  Drain the water from the pot.  Return the pot to the stove and melt the butter.  Add the shallot, parsley and potatoes.  Stir to coat evenly.  Keep warm until ready to serve.
  3. To make the chicken - cook Gardein according to package directions.  Slice into bite-sized pieces.  Place in a bowl and combine with BBQ sauce.
  4. To plate the salad - lay out the greens on a plate.  Top with corn, beans, tomatoes, chicken, and potatoes.  Drizzle both dressings on top.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

I am loving that the weather is changing and getting cooler, which means...SOUP!  Seriously, is there anything better on a cold night than a hot bowl of soup?  I don't think so!  This soup is comfort in a bread bowl.  The combination of broccoli, carrots, garlic, onion, and cheese is to die for!  The whole family loved it and can't wait to make it again.  If you are looking for a delicious soup for a cold evening, look no further! 


5 Tbsp, butter
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2/3 C flour
1 1/2 C half and half
1 1/2 C milk
1 qt Imagine No-Chicken Broth
3 carrots, grated
1 pound broccoli
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cardamom
8 oz sharp cheddar, grated
8 oz Colby jack cheese, grated
4 oz pepper jack cheese, grated
salt and pepper to taste


  1. Melt the butter in a large stock pot over medium heat.  Add the garlic and onions and saute until tender.
  2. Add the flour and whisk until evenly combined.  Add in milk, half and half, and broth.  Bring to a light boil.  Add broccoli and carrots.  Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. Season with nutmeg, cardamom, salt and pepper.  Stir in cheeses.  Cook an additional 10 minutes. Serve immediately.

Adapted from Sugarcrafter

Monday, November 12, 2012

Weekly Menu

Happy Monday everyone!  I hope you had a great weekend!  I was lucky enough to have my mother-in-law visit us all last week.  It was wonderful!  There is nothing better than seeing my girls play, laugh, and cuddle with their grandma.  She read to my oldest every night, enjoyed costume balls, movies, rolled around on the floor with the baby, and loved on them every minute of every day.  It was a great week for all of us.  With her help, I was able to go to the farm all by myself!  It was a novelty since I have my girls with me everywhere I go.  The entire trip took about half the regular time.  I picked up some red-leaf lettuce, kale, romaine, tomatoes, zucchini, carrots, cucumber, persimmons, broccoli, and red potatoes.  YUM!  With this selection, we will be making the following:

  • Broccoli Cheddar Soup (in a bread bowl!) and Apple Cranberry Salad with Candied Pecans
    • using the broccoli and romaine

  • Hearty BBQ Chicken Salad
    • using the red leaf lettuce, romaine, potatoes, and tomatoes

  • I will have Kaleslaw for lunch
    • using the kale

We will enjoy the cucumber and persimmons as snacks!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Foodie Friends Friday Linky Party and Giveaway!

Happy Friday everyone!  Welcome to another fantastic linky party!  We have some great prizes from our sponsors this week.  One Thanksgiving Plaque from Krafties by Kasie, one set of coasters from Art is Everything, and one table runner from Sage and Kai.  Good luck!  These are fantastic prizes just in time for Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Not-a-Lotta Tostada

I just LOVE tostadas.  The crispy shell.  The fresh veggies.  The spicy salsa.  Mmmm.  Not to mention the edible bowl!  That just makes any soup or salad better, right?  :)  The only problem I have with tostadas is the fact that they are usually very big.  I mean ginormous!  For someone who is trying to manage their portions, it makes it kind of difficult to have because you don't want to waste a bunch of food!  Also, the huge fried tortilla isn't going to help that waistline of yours.  Well, I fixed both of those problems!

These tostadas use soft taco-sized baked tortillas!  You heard me, BAKED!  And it is so easy you won't believe it.  The size is perfect for a light dinner, or it can be a side dish if you prefer a bigger meal.  Once you have the shell, fill it with whatever you like and enjoy!  Below are the ingredients we used, but I didn't list any quantities since it is to your taste.  Just make it up as you go and have fun! 


flour tortillas
spray oil
black beans
lettuce, chopped
tomatoes, chopped
onions, chopped
green onions, chopped
cheese, grated
sour cream


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Flip over a standard muffin tin.  Lightly spray both sides of a tortilla and place in the open space between the muffin wells.  Weigh it down with some dried beans or something similar (I used dried chickpeas).  Repeat with the rest of the tortillas.
  3. Bake for about 10 minutes until the edged are golden and crisp.
  4. Remove from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack.
  5. Top with whatever you like and serve!