Sunday, January 25, 2009

Carrots like no other


CSA: Community Supported Agriculture
Every other Monday, I exchange an empty basket for one full of fresh, local produce that is in season. Most of the produce is picked the same day that I receive it. It's so fun to dig to the bottom of the basket to see what I get each week. Many farms offer this type of program, to help promote eating from local sources. This way, you know exactly where your food comes from, and you have a relationship with the people who grow your produce. There are so many good reasons to support your local farms:
  • supports local farmers financially
  • encourages the community to become more aware where their food comes from, and the challenges of growing produce, raising cattle, etc.
  • builds communication between farmers
  • cuts down on money and energy spent on transporting goods
This is a great alternative if you don't have the space for a large garden, and is usually very cost-effective. Some farms even deliver the produce to you door step. So go, support your local farmers. You'll be surprised how much better the food tastes!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Coffee: Roast Your Own Beans

I am always attempting to expand my horizons when it comes to food, and the new year seems a perfect time to try new things. So we decided to try roasting our own coffee beans. You can buy green beans (pictured above) at some grocery stores, co-ops, local coffee shops, or you can order them online. To roast the beans, we used an air popcorn popper. Position the popper beside the sink, so that the chaff doesn't fly all over your kitchen (you may also want to disengage your smoke alarm). Place the green beans in the popcorn maker, and roast for about 5-7 minutes. There are more specific instructions on this website:
Cool the beans in a metal colander or baking sheet. The color will vary, depending on what type of roast you want (light, dark, etc). After the beans are cool, place them in an air tight container and store in the pantry for about four hours before grinding. Our first attempt produced coffee that was slightly bitter, but pretty good! Overall, the process was very easy and provides the freshest coffee available.

Sunday, January 4, 2009


This is a standard recipe for granola; you can add in different nuts, seeds or raisins.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

Mix in a large bowl:
6 cups rolled oats (not instant)
1 cup wheat germ or wheat bran
1.5 cup nuts (I used walnuts)
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1/2 cup dry milk

In a small pot, on low heat combine:
3/4 cup oil
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup honey
1.5 tablespoons vanilla extract

When the liquids are mixed together, pour over the dry ingredients and stir. Spread the mixture out onto a greased baking sheet, and bake at 300 degrees for 45-60 minutes.