Adventures in Suburbia: CSA’ing

In theory, I like the idea of meal planning. However, the reality is, I just don’t think that way. I’m more of a winger when it comes to making dinner. The only prepping I do ahead of time is maybe defrost some sort of protein the morning of. I also like the theory of farmer’s markets. However, whenever I go, I freeze up and can’t decided what to buy and walk out empty handed. I just can’t (meal)plan ahead!

I’ve been meaning to try a CSA(community supported agriculture) since we moved almost a year and a half ago. I had one farm in mind for awhile and the baby’s love of vegetables is what gave me the final push to go ahead and try it. Luckily, this farm runs an early season (March-May) CSA which I figured I’d use as a trial run before committing to the longer summer-fall season.

Getting a new CSA every week is kinda like my own Chopped basket. I don’t know what I’m getting until a day before and it pushes me to find new ways to try old favorites as well as make new to me vegetables. One week I had rainbow carrots which were beautiful and delicious which I roasted alongside melt in your mouth yukon gold potatoes. Another week, my father-in-law who was in town visiting the baby, sautéed the kale we got with some garlic and pasta, so GOOD. One morning I tried broiled grapefruit (they bring in citrus from Floridafrom time to time), yum! One time, I made apple bread pudding using a variety of apples and ciabatta (oh yeah, they also include bread and a dozen eggs in every week’s loot).

CSA pickup

Tonight, I made quinoa chicken stir fry using carrots, bean sprouts, garlic, and mushrooms all from this week’s CSA! Tomorrow I’ll probably make some beet salad and sweet potato pancakes using leftovers from last week’s pickup.

It’s definitely been a fun experience so far and I look forward to signing on for the summer CSA too! Bring on the fresh tomatoes and peaches!

Anywho, thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend, peeps!

Creative in the Kitchen

In my last post, I mentioned how I have recently had a bit of a cooking renaissance. I had been in bit of an imaginative funk and didn’t realize it. Some days, cooking dinner seemed like such a daunting task! And baking? I saw it more of a chore than a much loved hobby.

Thankfully, I’m over it and slowly waking up my culinary senses! What helped me dust off the cobwebs is a food delivery service called Blue Apron. Our friends so graciously gifted us 2 4 person meals for Christmas. In a package, you receive all the perfectly portioned out ingredients for two gourmet meals. All you have to do is prep and cook. First up was a traditional Japanese ramen:

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Aside from my sad looking soft boiled egg, that soup was legit! I had never made anything like it before. Was definitely a new cooking adventure that I was happy to make and consume.

The second meal was a blood orange salmon with Israeli couscous:

IMG_3224Again, something I had never attempted before but I can’t wait to make again if only just for the presentation factor alone! After making such a fun and pretty meals, I’ve kinda rethought my meal planning! Nowadays, I might buy extra ingredients I usually wouldn’t bother with like fresh herbs or green onions, just to add that extra oomph and pizzaz to my dishes. Heck I’ve even stepped up my dessert game! Whereas before I never thought too hard on dessert and would fix myself the occasional bowl of ice cream, I now find myself thinking of fun, fancier ways to make the ordinary extraordinary. Like for instance, instead of just ice cream, I made peanut butter cookie vanilla ice cream sandwiches rolled in chocolate sprinkles: IMG_3255And not to be outdone, after tonight’s dinner, I made little individual chocolate cakes in ramekins garnished with sliced strawberries. Clearly I’m on a mission to not lose any more baby weight. So much for fit mom, haha! She’ll appreciate my culinary ventures more later on than my athletic abilities any way, right? Let’s hope so!

Flexing My Creative Muscles

I recently helped my sister bring to life an idea she had for a friend’s gift. She wanted to make him a wooden bottle cap opener complete with cap collector. We have one we received as a present when Ale was in our friends’ wedding. We use it all the time (read: we’re big beer drinkers)!

Image from capcatchers.com

While my sis liked the original cap catcher, she wanted something a little more fun and personal and she enlisted my help since I’m the more crafty one (i.e. I studied humanities and she was a science major). After some brainstorming and Pinterest perusing, we came up with a Maryland themed bottle opener:

Old Bay for the win! And our state flag isn't too shabby either.

Old Bay for the win! And our state flag isn’t too shabby either.

Man, do I miss creating and designing things! It’s been entirely too long and I didn’t realize how much I enjoy it! I recently dusted off my ancient relic of a laptop (see also: my wrists hurt from only using my phone to access the internet) and started making more use of it. You’d be surprised at what you can do on old school software like Word and Powerpoint! I’d love to show you what I’ve managed to do with those bad boys but again, that’s another post for another day. Until then, peace out girl scouts!