Sunday, January 29, 2012

How to Have Fresh Butterbeans in January

I've been thinking and have decided that there are 3 easy ways to have fresh butterbeans in January.

First, live in a part of the world where butterbeans are harvested in the winter months. That would NOT be NC.

Second, Grandma's Sunday Buffet where there is always an abundance of fresh butterbeans along with other yummy veggies. WAIT! Grandma's Buffet? How I miss her Southern cooking. God, bless her soul.

Third, grab a bag from your freezer and cook 'em up for dinner. You know, those beans you froze last summer. What? Too busy to freeze fresh veggies? Oh, well. Guess you'll have to look at my pictures for now. Here's the last of my freeze from last summer's goodness. These thangs are incredibly delicious, and so easy to prepare, especially when you buy them already shelled at the Market. My cost is $2.00/bag; each bag is 4-5 servings. Time spent-1 hour. So worth it to have fresh butterbeans in January. Just follow this recipe, pop 'em in your freezer, and you, too, can enjoy fresh butterbeans in January.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Cherry Tomatoes

These babies are bursting with flavor! Popped a few in my salad and roasted the rest for freezing. Oh my! What a great way to keep it fresh!


Here's how it's done. Mix 1/4 cup olive oil with 1/4 teaspoon basil and 1/4 teaspoon minced garlic. Cut tomatoes in half, and place on cooking sheet cut side up. Drizzle oil over tomatoes. Roast at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes, or until done. Freeze and use within 6 months. Great for pastas dishes, or any recipe that calls for roasted tomatoes.

Roasted and Ready!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A Look Back before Looking Ahead

It's hard to believe that I am one size smaller than I was last January. How did it happen? Magic? I think not! Like most good things in life, it required hard work, discipline, and the encouragement from special friends. Thanks! (You know who you are.) We have shared recipes and kept each other motivated with our weekly reports.

Second, I cut back on sweet cakes and pies, sugary soft drinks, and milk chocolate. This was a huge feat for me because these foods had become my afternoon buddies. The kickoff for this was mid-February followed by a diet VOID of these foods for about 6 weeks. The MOST important thing I did when I removed these food favorites from my diet was to replace them with something equally satisfying. So, I added MORE fresh fruits and veggies to my diet. These are some of my new foods - bok choy, spinach, rutabaga, turnip roots, bison, purple sweet potatoes, almonds, and greek yogurt.

NEVER underestimate the value of counting calories. I know it may sound tedious, but with the help of online calorie-counting sites (I use myfitnesspal.com) this task is easy to master. I enjoy the daily challenge to stay within the caloric boundaries I have set.

And, last but not least, is exercise. That dirty word. Hoping I would forget, right? Well, it is of utmost importance. When I first started I couldn't last 5 minutes on the elliptical. Now I'm going 35 minutes. Way to get that blood pumping!

And the results - oh my! When the number on the scales go down, when your clothes begin to sag, when you begin to FEEL good again, when the doctor says "Your blood work is good!", when you have MORE energy, when you gain a new confidence that this way REALLY DOES work, you are motivated to keep it going!

My goal for 2012 is to weed out more processed foods from my diet, and eat even MORE fresh! I want to cook more meals at home for even MORE control.  That way I will know what goes in every dish! And, this last food goal is WAY ambitious - to try my hand at growing a few of my own veggies. I'll definitely let you know how this one goes.

Would love to hear back from my readers. What are your special goals for 2012?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Jo-On-The-Go

Jo-on-the-Go is literally exhausted from all the running around she does for her family. Her busy days are consumed with her full-time job, soccer practices and games, household chores and errands, church activities, and dinners on the run. Farmers Market? What is that? Jo knows the value of buying fresh produce, but at the Market she becomes more like Wanda, indecisive and unsure. Jo would benefit greatly from delivery services such as The Wise Choice that packages and delivers boxes filled with locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables. Placing an order for NC Goodness is as easy as logging in online. Then, all she’d have to do is slice and dice and stir fry; or slice and dice and grill; or slice and dice and roast; and save leftovers for the busy days ahead.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Cindy Cooks-A-Lot

Meet Cindy Cooks-A-Lot. And I mean she cooks A LOT. She cooks in huge quantities for a large family, pretty much every day. You can spot Cindy at the Market filling up her red wagon, and making trips to her car to unload and refill - once, twice, maybe even three times. She demands fresh, buys in season, and preserves those flavors for future use. Her pantry is filled with home-canned goods; her freezer runneth over. Cindy is an avid gardener who understands and appreciates the hard work that goes into growing fresh fruits and veggies, and she never leaves the market without at least one new flowering plant or herb for her garden. Hooray for Cindy Cooks-A-Lot!
Tomorrow, Jo-On-The-Go.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Roast with Root Veggies

Here's my New Year's roast. It was sooooo yummy and easy to prepare. Leftovers will be added to canned tomatoes for a warm and satisying soup and sandwich dinner tomorrow.

Rutabaga, turnip, carrots, and onions


After roasting for a couple of hours, I added the veggies and drizzled A-1 steak sauce.

Ready to eat.

Who Shops at the Market?

There are all kinds of people from all walks of life who shop at the Market. Through the years I’ve identified four types of customers.  On any given day you may relate to one of these shoppers. Today I want to introduce to you, Wandering Wanda.

Wanda heads on out to the Market on those lazy days when she really has nothing else to do. After having lunch at one of the Market's restaurants, Wanda casually strolls around, just looking. When she spots an unfamiliar vegetable, she wonders, What is that?  How does it taste? What other foods go well with it? I'd buy it and cook it, but I don't know how. How can I use it in one of my meals? Wanda's mind is a frenzy of questions. So many that she quickly becomes both fascinated and overwhelmed. She never imagined so many foods grew here in NC. The options are great. How will she ever choose?

Unfortunately, Wandering Wanda is the shopper who often goes home empty handed. Occasionally, she’ll purchase one new item intent on giving it a try. But more often than not, she'll buy something that is familiar, a food that she has already tasted, one that she knows how to prepare, or better yet, one that can be washed and eaten as is. Can Wanda step out of her comfort zone? Does she even want to? Only Wanda can answer.

Tomorrow, I'll introduce my friend, Cindy Cooks-A-Lot.