Making the best of winter… an outing to the winter market

Hi everyone!  I have to admit, I am less than impressed with today’s snowstorm.  I mean, tomorrow is the first day of spring!!  Apparently Mother Nature did not get the memo…..

So, one great thing about winter is the great selection of local WINTER farmer’s markets.  Yes, that is correct, you can get fresh local vegetables in the winter, even in New England  😉

One of my favorite markets is in Exeter, NH and I had the pleasure of going this weekend with my friend Heather.  Heather worked on one of our local farms a few summers ago… for me, this experience (you know, second-hand friend-experience) started me on this journey of farm-fresh food and healthier whole food eating.

I’m pleased to report that the farmer’s market is so much more than just vegetables.  There is so much to see, and taste, that I could (and did) spend the whole morning there!  The highlights……..

The Heron Pond Farm farmstand… this is where Jonathan and I usually do our CSA membership!  Tons of fresh produce, always a treat…. and the owners are really great.  Come to think of it, I’ve never met a farmer that isn’t great… must be something about all that fresh air and fresh food that makes a person happy 🙂

market veggies

Fresh bread and local cheese….. (I ONLY refrained because we are still working our way through a loaf of foccacia at the house)

market bread

Fresh pasta!!  Need I say more?  Well okay, I do have more to say… Valicenti Organico is has tons of pasta options, including some made from farro and grains other than your traditional wheat.  He also had so many different ravioli choices.  I was ten minutes deciding… I went with the multi-grain portobello with spinach and chevre.  Yum!!

market pasta

White Heron is another favorite.  I just love their teas.  I enjoyed an iced cranberry ginger at the market.  They also had a tasty looking quinoa salad… I didn’t buy it, but I did stare at the label long enough to memorize the ingredients.  Can’t wait to make a batch 😉

market tea

And here I am with Heather, Shelly and Tamara… Shelly is one of the owners at Burnt Swamp Farm.  I plan to get her fresh eggs until Jonathan lets me have some pet chickens.  She has 224 chickens… I would be happy with just 3-4, totally manageable, right?  😉  And I would be remiss if I failed to mention her greens.  Fresh spinach and kale, delish!  I also love the market because it’s a chance to catch up with friends and chat with new people.

market girls

If you are curious about the market schedule, and live near me, you can check it out here (this is not an exhaustive list!)

Hmmmm… now what to do with all this fresh food?  A delicious meal, of course!!

Winter Market Bowl

This meal combines some of winter’s best harvest.  Paired with a gingery soy sauce, this bowl is tasty and satisfying.  This recipe was also my first use of wheat berries… SO GREAT!  Of course, you could serve this with rice or quinoa, but once you try wheat berries, you won’t want to.  Serves 2 with extra wheat berries.

  • 2-3 small beets, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1/2 cup corn kernels
  • 1 cup broccoli, broken into small pieces
  • ~2 cups kale, torn into bite size pieces
  • 1 cup wheat berries
  • sauce: 3Tbs tamari or Bragg’s, 1 Tbs rice wine vinegar, 1Tbs olive oil, 1 tsp tahini, 1 clove minced garlic, 1/2-1 tsp chopped fresh ginger
  • toppings (optional): chopped almonds, nutritional yeast

Start by getting the wheat berries going… bring 3 cups of water to a boil.  Add a dash of salt and 1 cup wheat berries.  Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until all of the water has absorbed and the berries are cooked, about 45 minutes.  The veggies will cook quickly, so give the wheat berries about 30 minutes of cook time before starting the vegetables.

Chop the carrot and beets.  Roast at 450F for 5 minutes then add the corn kernels and roast an additional 5-10 minutes.  I like my veggies a bit crunchy.

Here’s the coolest thing ever… Jonathan got me a bamboo steamer!

bamboo steamer

It is so quick and easy, and vegetables come out perfectly!  Bring an inch or two of water to a boil over high heat.  You can just pop this steamer on top of the pot… if you don’t have a steamer, a collander works well too.  The broccoli and kale were cooked to perfection in 5 minutes.  Here it is in action:

bamboo steamer2While the veggies are cooking, whisk together all of the sauce ingredients.  The raw garlic and ginger can be a bit heavy for sensitive taste buds, so you may want to strain the sauce before serving to remove the bits.

Easy assembly… add cooked wheat berries to a bowl… top with veggies.  Drizzle with sauce and (optional) top with chopped almonds and nutritional yeast.  Not to toot my own horn, but this was seriously one of the best meals!

market bowl

Mmmmm… transport me to southeast Asia… away from all of this snow!!  Tomorrow is the first day of spring.  I’m crossing my fingers that I wake up to 50 degree weather  😉

Stay healthy… winter is almost over!!

xox, Kristen

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Surviving the blizzard

Hi friends.  It’s official… a weekend away is the BEST way to survive a snowstorm!!  Jonathan and I had already planned a weekend getaway, so we got on the road early on Friday and arrived at our destination before the storm really hit.  In fact, we arrived early enough to explore North Conway.

We had a late lunch at a great little spot called the Stairway Cafe.  I loved the eclectic vibe… they used dishclothes as napkins and served milk in a little glass bottle.  So cute!  And the fruit with house-made granola was refreshing and delicious!

stairway fruit and granolaLuckily we only saw ONE bear the whole weekend…

bear!… at Zeb’s Country Store in town.  They had the largest selection of local treasures.  I resisted the million-things-sugar but did pick up some lavender bath salts. (did I mention our room had an oversized soaking tub?)

We were back to the Inn, just as the snow really picked up.  We kept warm as best as we could…

woodstove feetsWe also camped out in front of the huge fireplace and played cribbage… three-zero (I’ll let you all guess who won)  😉

fireplace

That night we enjoyed dinner in.  Dinner was superb and the snowy view from the tavern window was beautiful.  (we were glad to be staying toasty inside)

snow out the window

On Saturday, we adventured out on our snow shoes!!  The snow was light and fluffy.  We opted for the path less traveled 😉

fresh snowy woods

We were the first to lay tracks!!  The woods were gorgeous and we both got a killer workout.  Turns out knee-deep powder = intense shoeing!!

snowshoe headshotThere we are!  We also took a ride to Cathedral Ledge… breathtaking!  But we’ll have to wait for the snow to melt to hike that one!  We did make it pretty far ‘offroading’ in the Subaru 😉

cathedral ledge winterAfter our adventure, we decided some sweets were in order.  I had the MOST delicious Mexican hot chocolate with at McKaella’s Sweet Shop.  No surprise, Jonathan had peanut butter hot chocolate.  And we further indulged with cookies…. and a cupcake.

sweets!!That night we had dinner at a really great restaurant called Thompson House Eatery in Jackson, NH.  We started with a creative appetizer called Zorba the Grape!  It was like a Greek antipasta and included ALL of my favorites: local herbed goat cheese wrapped in a grape leaf, roasted red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, roasted onions, a mint and olive tapenade (sounds weird, but was awesome), marinated greek beans, grapes and toasted bread.  Like I said… everything delicious on one plate!

zorba the grape!!

From there, I had their Fungus Among Us… mushroom ravioli with spinach and roasted tomatoes, and Jonathan had a 14oz sirloin with squash and broccolini.  We both loved our meals!

Our last morning at the Darby Field Inn, the storm had fully blown out and we were able to appreciate the mountain view over breakfast.

darby field inn mt view

A great weekend!!  We returned home to two feet of snow. (sadly, it did not melt while we were off having fun)  It was overwhelming, but Jonathan powered through it with the new snow blower.  In fact, he blew the whole driveway and a path out to the garage… then he got part of the road and did a walkway out back.  He loves his new toy!  😉  And I shoveled the walkway.  And made lunch.  After our weekend of indulgent eating, we were both dying for a nice big plate of green!  And there were some sad looking fruits and veggies in the fridge to use:

salads

Voila, greens with mango, apple, cranberries, figs, pecans, celery and fresh raspberry vinagrette.  Now we are off to enjoy the last of the sunshine and get ready for the week.  I will be attempting a new dinner, so just may be back with a recipe if things go well.

xox!  Kristen

I LOVERMONT

Hi friends.  It is official, I LOVE Vermont!!  I love the fresh mountain air, I love the hippie-alternative vibe, I love the focus on local sustainable food and the abundance of healthy options.  I must have said “I love Vermont” over 100 times this weekend.

On account of the zero-degree weather, Jonathan and I got a ‘late’ start Friday morning, heading to Sugarbush.  This means we left at 7am (one of our duo calls this a late start, the other was just glad she’d packed the night before).  Sugarbush. Is. Awesome.  The trails are nice and wide and not too steep… just right for me!  (They have lots of advanced terrain too)  We got to ride where they were making snow, which I absolutely loved.  The snow was super-fluffy and powdery.  I love Vermont!  (I also love that I spent most of the day riding down the mountain on my board, like a real snowboarder… meaning less time skidding down the mountain on my butt, or in a full-on helicopter-style roll)  Yay!  😉

sugarloaf view

After we were sufficiently tired and frozen, Jonathan and I drove up to Burlington for the night.  We had dinner at the Farmhouse Tap and Grill.  I was psyched to see two different veggie burger options on the menu… I decided on the portabella mushroom burger, which is made with white beans, walnuts and greens.  Still being on the cleanse, I ordered that without a bun… the waitress asked if I would instead like it served on a bed of garlicky sautéed kale… um, YES PLEASE!!  (I LOVE Vermont)  Jonathan ordered a burger with beef from a local farm… he said it was definitely the best burger he’s ever had!  I stole a few of his handcut fries and sampled the house-made stone ground mustard and habanero hot sauce… delish.

We were pretty wiped out and settled on a late movie… they have freshly brewed Green Mountain coffee at the theater… AND hot herbal tea!!  I love Vermont!  We saw the new Marky Mark movie, which was, of course, great!

For breakfast, we tried the Skinny Pancake… being early risers paid off and we beat a huge rush.  I always stalk a restaurant’s website and menu before going.  The Skinny Pancake’s mission is to change the world by building a safer, healthier and more delicious food shed while creating everyday enjoyment.  Yes please, count me in!  They offer traditional crepe fillings as well as tons of fun veggie options, and, get this, they have both vegan and gluten free crepe batter!  I love Vermont (and vegan GF crepes)

buckwheat crepeAfter fueling up, we went for a hike around Indian Brook reservoir.  Like NH, most of VT is snow-free right now, so our snowshoes sat this one out.  It was a beautiful hike.  The groundwater created a frozen waterfall effect… I’ve never seen anything like it.  I love Vermont.

icicle waterfall

indian brook reservoir

The reservoir itself was snow-covered, but you know I wouldn’t dare go out there 😉  I love how this picture came out, with the tree shadows.  I love Vermont!!

Lunch was at a great place called Zabby and Elf’s Stone Soup.  You can create your own plate from their hot and cold bars.  I did the only thing one can do when confronted with so many options… I tried nearly everything!

stone soup lunchLet’s see if I can remember it all… curried seitan with brown rice, baked eggplant and tomato, spicy cauliflower, BBQ tofu, steamed kale, beets, marinated mushrooms, olives, cucumbers, sunflower seeds, house-made hummus… and there’s a bed of greens hiding under there!  Whew!  A plate of heaven.  It’s not shocking that I would love a place like this… the real news-worthy bit is that Jonathan loved it too!!  Have I mentioned that I love Vermont?

After lunch Jonathan and I browsed town a bit and went to a community owned grocery store, City Market.  It was the coolest shop ever… if there was one nearby, I would be there constantly!  It was like a Whole Foods, but possibly even better, if you can imagine such a place.

city marketThere was a HUGE bulk food section, which is one of my favorite things.  And a make-your-own nut butter station!!!  Jonathan was literally jumping for joy.  Here’s Jonathan making almond butter (jumping not caught on camera)

city market almond butter

They had tons of fresh produce and local meats, cheeses and baked goods.  City Market even had local Kombucha on tap!!  I love Vermont!

hippie cooler

We picked up a few snacks for the trek back to reality.  We spent the ride home planning our next visit.  Oh, and speaking of the ride home… there is free fresh brewed Green Mountain coffee at the rest stops in VT and one even had comfy handmade wooden rocking chairs.  Wow, I lovermont!!

lake champlain

Early morning clouds over Lake Champlain, known by me some people as the sixth Great Lake!

Hope everyone had a great weekend!

xox, Kristen