Thursday, September 29, 2011

Another Reason to Drink Coffee

Not only is it my wake-me-up-gotta-get-going breakfast drink of choice, but now my morning java wards off depression too. That according to a recent study done by Columbia University. I could've saved those researchers thousands of dollars. Heck yeah, coffee makes you feel good! Thank God for coffee and thank Port City Java for importing the finest coffee beans from all over the world and roasting them in our very own state of NC.

Port City Java's headquarters are in Wilmington with franchises all across North and South Carolina and as far north as New Jersey. Port City Java shops are the only place you can get Port City coffee along with their many signature sandwiches and cold beverages. You know, going loco...I mean, going local isn't just about supporting local farmers. It's about supporting local businesses, too.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Seasons Change

I love it when the seasons change. It's hard to say which one is my favorite. I welcome spring with daffodils bursting forth from the earth and birds singing and building their nests all around our yard. The warm days quickly turn into hot, humid, long, summer beach days. And just when you start to get used to the heat, the seasons change again as the plant life turns into the gorgeous colors of fall. Call me crazy, but I even like the cold, wet, rainy days of winter, mixed with a little snow every once in a while.

Since I've committed to eating locally-grown seasonal foods, I now have something else to look forward to. As we bid good-by to the melons of summer, we are greeted with the fruits of fall. Apples, and pears, and muscadine grapes! Fall also brings in a new crop of sweet potatoes, pecans, greens, winter squash, and root veggies. Comfort foods for making stews, and soups, and for the "chili" nights ahead.

Here's how I make my home-made soup. Save any leftovers from a beef roast, including the carrots and onions. To that add one can of diced tomatoes, another can or two of water, and any other leftover veggies like butterbeans, cabbage, or green beans along with salt and pepper to taste. Heat and serve with grilled cheese or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Better than Mmmmm Good!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Another First

Recently I tried tzatziki sauce for the first time at a Greek restaurant. It was delicious! I had to know how it was made and was told it was made with Greek yogurt. So, I applied my if-you're-trying-a-new-food-for-the-first-time-mix-it-with-something-you-like food rule and had Greek yogurt with strawberries. Yum! Then, with blueberries. Again, Yum! Who knew?

So, what is Greek yogurt, anyway? It's not that much different from regular yogurt in that it is filled with probiotics to aid digestion. But Greek yogurt is strained 3 times vs regular yogurt being strained only twice and that tends to make Greek yogurt a little less watery and more creamy. Delicious! Also, Greek yogurt has no artificial sweeteners and is packed with more protein than regular yogurt.

So, I challenge you...try a new food! Comment and let me know about it.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Who's Your Farmer?

I watched a good movie this week. It was a love story, well kind of. The non-fiction film, "Ingredients-Who's Your Farmer", illustrated how people across the country are working to revitalize the connection between farmers and food; and featured restaurant owners passionate about food, farmers careful to preserve the soil, communities banding together to support local farmers, and schools educating the children about the importance of eating healthy.

I gleaned so much from the film, and was amused when the teacher asked the boy, "What are vegetables?" To which he replied, "Vegetables are for vegetarians." This simply reinforces that we have to educate our children! Many don't know how fresh tastes, or even what it looks like. They think peas come in cans at the grocery store. Like my brother said in the panel discussion that followed the movie, "We have a major disconnect with people not knowing where their food comes from or how it's grown."

Why does it matter? Oh...don't get me started...more to come about this event in future blogs.

I met Nancy Creamer, Director of Center for Environmental Farming Systems at NCSU

The movie was shown at Witherspoon Student Center at NCSU on 9/14 and was part of an event sponsored by The Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS). Later a panel discussed what's going on in and around the University in an effort to support local farms. The panel consisted of a representative from the Campus Farmers Market; 2 local farmers; University Dining Senior Director of Hospitality Services; a grad student who is part of a team researching local agriculture, horticulture, and livestock;  and a rep from the 10% Pledge Program.

Friday, September 16, 2011

You're Eating What?

First, it was purple peppers. Now, bison. Once again, I'm trying something for the first time. I wonder if this is some kind of mid-life crisis. :)

Bison Burgers
Anyways, here's a picture of my bison burgers before cooking. Looks a lot like ground beef, huh? Bet you wouldn't know the difference until you taste. Your taste buds would come alive and say, OMG! That's the best burger I've ever had!

My research tells me that bison has fewer calories, a lot less fat, and more iron than beef. After browsing around Whole Foods, and finding bison on sale this week, I couldn't resist. Here it is smothered with fresh, sauteed green pepper and sweet onion, and oh, so good!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Color Purple

Have you ever seen a purple sweet potato? A purple pepper? Neither had I until earlier this summer. I guess you're never too old to experience something for the first time.
Sweet Potatoes - purple, orange and "ole-timey" white

Peter Piper picked a peck of purple peppers.

When a food is naturally purple (i.e. that's the color God gave it) then it is filled with wonderful flavonoids and antioxidants, or compounds filled with ammunition to fight bad cells that seek to steal, kill and destroy our bodies. The flavonoids found in purple foods help protect blood vessels, and are beneficial in ... oh what is it ... oh yeah, reversing short-term memory loss that comes with aging. Sounds like I need some purple foods!

So, what does a purple sweet potato taste like? Well, it tastes like sweet potato, so good.

And purple peppers? Well, they taste like sweet bell peppers.

Stock up on these purple foods and enjoy!

Purple Cabbage - so crunchy and pretty in a salad
Purple Muscadine Grapes - These yummies are in season now! Eat the peel for more fiber.
Dried Prunes
Dried Plums
and Red Wine - If you don't drink alcohol, then Welch's grape juice.


Friday, September 9, 2011

I'm Back

My short-lived break from blogging is over. I've had readers say they miss the blog, and I sure do miss creating it. So, if you're new to my blog, Welcome! Browse around and see what it's all about. And if you're one of my followers, Thank you! Hope you keep coming back!