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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Yogalates and an Asian rice bowl

Hi friends!  I hope everyone is having a great week… I am having an extra-awesome week because I am not working!  Well, back to the office tomorrow, but let’s not think about that today 😉

Yesterday I spent the day around the house.  I reorganized the walk-in closet to make room for Jonathan’s clothes.  I mean, we’ve only lived there 5 months, so it seemed like it was time.  I have never, ever shared a closet in my life… so far, nothing catastrophic has happened.  And Jonathan was so happy to see his clothes hanging neatly when he got home, so it was a win.

Today, I’m enjoying some quality me-time.  This morning I tried a new class!  My friend Vanessa teaches Yogalates at Coastal Fitness in Kittery.  I am always working on Wednesdays, so I was really psyched to be able to attend her class.  As the name cleverly suggests, it is a fusion of Pilates and yoga… it was a pretty killer ab workout, which felt great (I can safely say that now that it’s done).  And Vanessa had some new-to-me moves the I look forward to adding to my repertoire… one huge perk of checking out new instructors.

In food-news, I’m excited to share this recipe with you all.  A yummy little Asian-inspired creation…

Asian Brown Rice Bowl

This one is quick and easy… and delicious, a great combination!  I’m a big ‘grab what’s in the fridge’ person, so feel free to substitute whatever veggies you have on hand… I promise, you can’t go wrong.  Serves 3.

  • 1/2 large beet
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 small sweet potato
  • 1/2 small red onion
  • 1/2 zucchini
  • large handful of kale
  • brown rice
  • Sauce: 1T rice vinegar, 2T Bragg’s (or soy sauce), 2T almond butter, 1T olive oil, 1 small clove garlic, small piece of ginger (about the size of a garlic clove), 3T water to thin
  • Toppings: scallions, chopped almonds, sesame seeds, nutritional yeast (all are optional), or whatever sounds good!

Cook the rice… I have failed at cooking rice many times.  I have had friends tease me because cooking rice is supposed to be so simple.  Out of nowhere, it suddenly became easy and has since always worked out.  In case you aren’t yet a rice-pro, here’s the deal: bring 1 1/4 cups of water to a boil, add 1/2 cup rice, cover, turn down and simmer about 40 mins or until all of the water is absorbed (I like to double this so I have rice to use later in the week).

Chop all the veggies, except the kale… I was hungry and hoping to speed things up, so I cut them into small 1/2-inch cubes.

Roast veggies at 450F until soft, about 20 mins for small-cut.  Rip the kale into bite-sized pieces and add on top of the roasted veggies.  Cover with foil or a lid to wilt the kale.

Prep the sauce… if you have a food processor or blender, that works really well to mince the garlic and ginger and incorporate all the flavors.

To assemble, scoop rice into a bowl, add veggies, sauce and toppings.  Yum!

asian bowl

Okay friends, I’m off to work on another little house project.  Have a great day!!

xox, Kristen

Fermented foods, and a quick weeknight dinner

Hi everyone!  I wanted to pop in and share a delicious and super-quick weeknight dinner, inspired by some great local Kimchi that I spotted at a market during my trip to Burlington.  Although my 10-day whole foods cleanse is officially over, I’m keeping some of the healthy habits in place… including lots of leafy greens!

If you’ve never had Kimchi, think spicy sauerkraut, which is an under-statement of its deliciousness.  Kimchi is a traditional Korean dish made by fermenting cabbage with garlic, chile, salt and spices.  Because it’s fermented, kimchi is loaded with healthy probiotics (like yogurt) which are needed to properly digest and assimilate nutrients.  Kimchi is also a good source of fiber, and vitamins A and C.  You can find kimchi at your local health food store, but most regular grocery stores carry it too… check the refrigerated section near the tofu.

Kimchi Salad

  • 3-4 cups mixed greens
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • 2-3 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 smallish beet, peeled and shredded
  • 1/2 cup Kimchi
  • handful almonds, chopped
  • Dressing: whisk together 2 Tbs rice wine vinegar, 1 Tbs tamari (or soy sauce), 2 Tbs olive oil, 1Tbs peanut butter

This recipe makes enough for two.  I’m sure you all don’t need directions for assembling salad… just pile all the goodies on a plate, top with almonds and drizzle with dressing.  😉

As I was prepping, I called to Jonathan, “do you want shredded beets on your salad?”  I was shocked that he said yes… I almost didn’t ask because he usually doesn’t like beets.  In fact, he never likes them, I was joking when I asked.  WELL, Jonathan declared this the tastiest salad EVER and suggested we have it again… every night… forever.  It’s that good!!

kimchi salad2

I know what you’re thinking…. hey, what else is going on in that picture??  Well, it’s a little homemade miso soup.  🙂  This refreshing salad pairs beautifully with a warming and mild miso soup, especially in the winter!  I recently started experimenting with miso paste, which is another fermented food, packed with health benefits!  Miso has an alkalyzing effect on the body and strengthens the immune system.  It has even been touted to have anti-aging affects, and who doesn’t want that?  Miso paste can be found at your local health food store or Asian market.  If you do not have, or do not like, miso, this simple soup totally works with vegetable stock.

Mushroom Miso Soup

  • 5-6 mushrooms, very thinly sliced, about 1 cup
  • 2-3 scallions, chopped, include white and green parts
  • few thin slices of red pepper
  • 3-4 Tbs miso paste

Add mushrooms, scallions and red pepper to 4 cups water and bring to a boil.  Simmer 10-15 mins.  Immediately before serving, mix the miso paste with a few tablespoons of the broth to dissolve and then add the mixture back to the soup.  Don’t boil the broth with the miso because you can overcook the healthy enzymes.  Serves 2.

(If you aren’t using miso, just replace the water with veggie stock… I bet a mushroom stock would be awesome here!)

Experiment with the amount of miso you like… you can always add a little, then add a bit more.  There are also many varieties of miso paste… if you are new to miso, you may enjoy one of the lighter flavors like white miso paste.

Happy Wednesday everyone!!  Jonathan and I are heading to an anniversary party tonight… AND we’re bringing quinoa-stuffed mushrooms!!  I love ‘sneaking’ healthy foods to unsuspecting ‘normal’ people… I hope they are a hit!  Wish me luck  😉

xox,  Kristen