Monday, June 23, 2008

Millions of Peaches, Peaches for me... and Apricots and Figs, too!

A friend e-mailed me yesterday to tell me that her peach tree was full of ripe peaches if we'd like some, and a neighbor offered her all the apricots off of their tree. Plus, she found a fig tree in a parking lot near her house. So Jax and I will be picking fruit this week to freeze for smoothies and fruit crisps throughout the year. Yum!!

Another local dinner last night was delicious but not especially photogenic. Last fall I froze a meal of chickpeas and barley in eggplant sauce with spinach (with chickpeas from Phipp's Country Store, barley from the grain CSA, and eggplant and spinach from Full Belly Farm.) Last night we ate that in pita bread with fresh basil from this week's CSA box and feta cheese from Spring Hill Cheese. So tasty! I served it with sauteed zucchini squash out of this week's CSA box as well. The pita was not from local wheat, but is from a local independent bakery. I'm looking forward to the leftovers for lunch.

Monday, June 16, 2008

One Local Summer: Week 3 - and Meatless Monday, and a recipe too!

For yet another One Local Summer menu, and a Meatless Monday one at that, I made a delicious bean and potato soup. This was one of those dinners that just hit the right balance of hearty and soul satisfying without being too heavy. I served it with cabbage and tomatoes.

Gigantes bean soup with potatoes
1-2 T olive oil
1 onion, coarsely chopped (again from Full Belly)
2-3 carrots, coarsely chopped (Full Belly, of course!)
1-2 celery stalks, coarsely chopped (from the farmer's market)
5-6 cloves garlic, crushed and coarsely chopped (from Gilroy)
4 c. cooked Gigantes beans (any mild white beans would work here; mine were left over from the polenta lasagna and were cooked with onion, garlic, bay leaf, oregano, and thyme)
6 starchy potatoes, like Yukon Gold, chopped coarsely (mine were from Full Belly Farm)
4 c. vegetable or chicken stock (homemade chicken stock from Vacaville chickens)
2 t. thyme
1/2 t. marjoram
1/2 t. sage
1-2 bay leaves
salt and pepper to taste
water to cover potatoes if needed

In a large Dutch oven, saute the onion, carrots, celery until the onion is translucent. Add garlic and saute another minute or two, or until fragrant. Add beans, potatoes, spices, and stock. If the stock doesn't cover the vegetables, add water so that everything is covered. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes or until the vegetables are softened. Remove the bay leaves. Puree to a smooth consistency, adjust seasonings to taste, and serve with chopped parsley on top.


Yesterday, Mr.M, his mom, Jax and I drove out to Half Moon Bay and Pescadero to celebrate Father's Day with fresh, locally caught fish and a trip to Phipp's Country Store for beans. At Half Moon Bay Brewing Company, I ordered a halibut entree with halibut caught not 100 yards from the table (yum!)

Phipp's was busier than usual with U-Pick olallieberries, baby chickens in the farm area, and my favorite, the beans! I stocked up on five varieties of beans and you'll be sure to see them featured here over the next few months. Overall, a lovely day by the coast!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Trying something new

Our veggie box this week includes:
Salad Mix
Summer Squash

I've never heard of mibuna before, so I Googled it to find that this Japanese green leafy veggie has a nice, mildly sharp taste for mixed salads and light cooking. I'll make a salad with them one day this week and will post a photo.

The carrots from Full Belly are the best I've ever eaten - so sweet and completely flavorful in a way that grocery store carrots just aren't. And I'm not sure that I reported back on the fresh vs. stored onion flavor: they're pretty much the same in recipes. I can't tell the difference, anyway.

Friday, June 13, 2008

One Local Summer: Week 2 - Polenta Lasagna, and Daily Menu for June 13

We had Polenta lasagna for dinner tonight, and although it has quite a few ingredients, they're all local! I'm using a recipe I found on the web with a few adjustments; namely, I'm adding beans to make it a higher protein meal. I love Gigantes beans - they're huge as the name might suggest, but smooth and creamy, almost like potatoes, but with a delicious mellow flavor. They blended right in with the polenta, vegetables, and feta cheese. (I used just the feta cheese and skipped romano. I didn't have any rosemary so I skipped that.)

Cornmeal from my grain CSA has been cooked and chilled in the fridge in preparation of tonight's lasagna. I'm using the tomato sauce that I made and froze last fall from farmer's market tomatoes, and Gigantes beans from Phipps Country Store in Pescadero. Onion, garlic, carrot, and kale are all from Full Belly Farm, and Feta cheese is from Spring Hill Cheese.

This recipe was FANTASTIC! It didn't come out pretty so I won't be posting a photo, but it was delicious. The polenta and beans were creamy together and I didn't miss the extra cheese. Kale and olives gave it a bit more texture and interesting flavors. I'll definitely make this one again.

2 slices toast, 1 t. butter
2 eggs

Yogurt and berry smoothie with 1 t. flaxseed oil

Carrot sticks and pita bread with Gigantes bean puree (like hummus made with Gigantes beans and olive oil)
1 c. vegetable juice

Cottage cheese and pineapple

Polenta lasagna with Gigantes beans

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Daily Menu for June 12

I'm trying to follow the rules for gestational diabetes given to me by the dietitian. Here's my menu incorporating those rules; hopefully the shifts will get easier as I get used to them. I'm struggling with getting in the recommended amounts of protein at each meal and snack - I just discovered that milk counts as both a protein and a carbohydrate, so that will help to fill in the snacks - I'm not a big snacker, but I shouldn't go more than 3 hours without eating, so hopefully that's enough.

I'm also struggling with avoiding milk and fruit for breakfast, as those are my staples! Cheese and nuts were suggested protein alternatives, but I don't want to get into high-fat habits that will be hard to break when the baby arrives. Suggestions of meat free, dairy free breakfasts that are high in protein would be welcome! I think I'll make quinoa for breakfast tomorrow - it's the only grain that is a complete protein, and it's delicious.

1/2 c. Mashed potatoes with sauteed kale and onion
1 T peanut butter (all by itself so I get the protein requirement!)

1 c. yogurt with fresh berries

Big green salad with smoked trout
1 t. olive oil in a vinaigrette
2 slices whole wheat toast

1 c. milk

Huevos Rancheros (tomato sauce, poached eggs, and beans over polenta)
Mexican style cole slaw with carrots and radishes
1 t. olive oil in polenta

1 c. milk

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

One Local Summer: Week 2 - Grilled Snapper

I made a delicious and very simple (and colorful!) dinner last night: grilled snapper, corn on the cob, steamed carrots, and strawberries. The snapper was dressed very, very lightly with lime juice, chili powder, salt and pepper, and grilled on aluminum foil "boats" because we don't have a fish grill pan. It worked out very nicely - the fish was cooked through and had the smoky flavor, and it didn't fall through the grates. Topped with cilantro and served with a lime wedge, this was light and fresh, perfect for a hot day.

Corn on the cob is great grilled, and I served that with lime wedges and dusted them dusted with chili powder. I read the idea on a blog about Indian food and thought it would be a nice change of pace from the standard butter, salt and pepper - boy is it! Tangy, spicy, and sweet, with a smoky grilled background flavor, this was a fantastic way to enjoy fresh sweet corn.

The fish was caught around Half Moon Bay, about 25 miles away. Corn on the cob came from Brentwood, 65 miles away. Carrots and strawberries were grown by my faithful CSA, Full Belly Farm, 128 miles away. And the lime was picked off a neighbor's tree (with permission, of course.) Only the chili powder, salt and pepper were not locally grown.


Adjustments to My Diet

I met with a dietitian this morning to go over the adjustments I need to make for my not-quite-diabetes elevated blood sugar levels. The biggest change for me is that I'll need to count, weigh, and measure all of my food until the end of my pregnancy (10 more weeks!) I'll also need to eat on a schedule - every 3 hours, and no longer than 10 hours between an evening snack and breakfast.

Since discovering Core, I've learned how to pay attention my body's hunger cues, eating mindfully when hungry and stopping when satisfied. For whatever reason, I am unable to do this while counting Points, carbs, calories, whatever. The mindset is just different for me in a way that I am not sure how to explain. I have worked hard to revoke my Clean Plate Club membership, and counting puts me right back into the mindset of "must eat what's counted" whether or not I'm physically hungry. I'm concerned that eating a prescribed amount on a schedule will not be a positive habit for me to reacquire, but I want to do what is healthiest for the baby, so I'll have to work with these rules to find a balance that works for me.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

One Local Summer: end of Week 1

This week's veggie box:

Red Russian Kale
Salad Mix
New Potatoes
Summer Squash

Strawberries and apricots - Yum! This is the first of the summer squash, too, which is always tasty. We ate the half flat of strawberries in no time last week so I'm thinking I'll get a whole flat this week and freeze some for winter berry smoothies. Mmm, smoothies.

Mr.M wants to grill tonight, so I'm defrosting some pork (from TLC Ranch in Watsonville) to make kabobs for dinner. I'll grill those with squash (Full Belly), mushrooms from the farmer's market, and one of the fresh onions from last week's Full Belly box. I'm making barley (from Fort Scott) and a green salad (greens from Full Belly, oil and vinegar from Hare Hollow in Healdsburg) on the side and this will be another all local meal for our One Local Summer challenge.

I might grill peaches for dessert - if you haven't tried this, definitely give it a shot. The sugars in the peaches caramelize and they get warm and extra sweet. Delicious!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

One Year of Blogging

The blog turned one yesterday without much fanfare, but the past year has brought over 8,000 hits from every continent except Antarctica. I'm grateful to everyone who has commented or e-mailed me support and encouragement over the past year. Thank you for reading! This year has also brought a change in my eating habits that have made me a healthier woman with finding local purveyors of healthy food as a new hobby, and more than 2/3 of the way to a new baby girl! It's been a good year!

And now for the less than great news: my gestational diabetes test came back elevated, and while I don't have GD, I'm supposed to eat as though I do in order to keep blood sugars under control. I'll be meeting with a dietitian soon to find out more about what that means, but it is frustrating and adds another level of things to track for the duration of my pregnancy. I was never good at tracking Points, which is why I switched to Core in the first place; counting carbs doesn't seem like the most positive step to me! Obviously I'll do what I need to for a healthy baby, but I'm not thrilled with this turn of events.

Monday, June 2, 2008

One Local Summer: Week 1

For our first all local meal of the One Local Summer challenge, we had grilled steak, baby new potatoes, glazed carrots, asparagus, and strawberries. The steak (just lightly salted and peppered) was from Chileno Valley Ranch in Petaluma and all of the veggies were from Full Belly Farm in Guinda. I used olive oil and balsamic vinegar from Hare Hollow Ranch in Healdsburg for a light dressing on the asparagus, and Hare Hollow olive oil with parsley on the potatoes, and an orange squeezed over the carrots for a simple glaze. All in all, a very simple supper, but wonderfully flavorful and satisfying.

I'm going in tomorrow morning for a glucose test to see if I have gestational diabetes. I failed the one hour test and am going back for the fasting three hour test tomorrow. It is a bit ironic that with my last pregnancy, I ate junk and had fine glucose levels, and this time I'm eating much healthier, a variety of fresh vegetables and lots of whole grains, and this time there is a chance that I might have gestational diabetes! That orange glucose drink is really awful, and spending the morning in the lab having blood drawn every hour just isn't my idea of a great time. Wish me luck tomorrow.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

One Local Summer

I'll be participating in this year's One Local Summer challenge and encourage you to join me! The official challenge can be found here, and the rules are simple:
The challenge will begin on Sunday, June 1 and run until Sunday, August
31. Your challenge: prepare one meal each week using only locally grown
ingredients - the exceptions are oil, salt and pepper, and spices.
This shouldn't be too difficult given the abundance of fantastic local foods this time of year. The farmer's market is full of fantastic fruits and vegetables; the grain CSA is providing a plethora of new and interesting grain options; we still have frozen beef, pork, turkey, and chickens, and fresh fish (except for salmon) are readily available. Delicious menus of fresh all summer long? Sure!
Please join me in making one local meal a week and tell me about it!