Category Archives: Food

Farmer’s Choice Box + meal planning

I picked up our first Farmer’s Choice box from Ward’s Berry Farm yesterday and am quite pleased with its contents.  You might remember that one of the 7,000 browser tabs I shamefully keep open on my phone is the Farmer’s Choice Box info page.  

farmer's choice box ward's berry farm

We haven’t been home enough to commit to a full CSA share, but I’ve been keeping an eye on the weekly boxes (a best guess at each week’s contents is posted on Mondays and you can order as late as Wednesday night for a Friday pick up at the farm), which currently cost $23.

ward's berry farm

We’re home all week and you know I love a good bunch of carrots and berries by the pint, so I got my order in right away.  We met my mom at Ward’s (word to the wise: it’s really busy there at lunch time) and I really appreciated having her there to help navigate with Grace and baby Nick.  Our first stop was the animals, or as Grace calls them, “the little friends.”

ward's berry farm

My mom and Grace picked up our Farmer’s Choice boxes at the back of the store and grabbed a table outside in the shade, while I ordered smoothies and tried my best to not knock over produce displays with Nick’s stroller.  Small life goals.  That’s how we roll these days.

Mo’ berry for her, Green Machine for me

Once we were outside, I couldn’t resist taking a peek in the box.

This week’s Farmer’s Choice box contained

  • 1 head of lettuce
  • 1 bunch of carrots
  • 1 lb Romano beans
  • 1 Green bell pepper
  • 2 onions
  • 1 lb wax beans
  • 1 head of fennel
  • 1 pint of blueberries
  • 1 bunch of Bok Choy
  • 1 lb of squash

I picked up a pint of strawberries and some new potatoes at the farm store to round our my order.

Meal planning with the Farmer’s Choice box

  • Lettuce: Use in salads; lettuce wraps with black beans, corn and pico de gallo
  • Carrots and Romano beans: Use in salads; as a snack with hummus
  • Green bell pepper: Greek salad (I’ve been eating a simple mix of peppers, cucumbers, onions, tomatoes, feta and fresh oregano all week)
  • Onions: Use in an easy summer gazpacho; and roasted with new potatoes and thyme
  • Fennel: Shaved fennel salad with fresh herbs, parmesan cheese + olive oil
  • Berries: Breakfast and snacks 
  • Bok Choy…. I’d love some suggestions!  In the meantime, I’ve bookmarked these ideas: Chowing down on Bok Choy: 10 Ways to Love this Asian Green from The Kitchn, Bok Choy Recipes from Cooking Light
  • Squash and wax beans: Handed those off to my sister

And now that I’ve worked up an appetite, it’s time for lunch.

Also On Tap for Today:

Do you belong to a farm share?  What the heck should I do with that Bok Choy?  

What to eat in the summer | 4 favorite salads

Most days, my meal planning (if you can call it that) goes something like this:  

  • Consider what we have on the counter, in the cabinets, in the fridge and sprouting on the deck
  • Hold baby Nick with one hand, rummage with the other hand
  • Hope something miraculously falls out and a. doesn’t hit me or Nick in the head and b. somehow lands in my mouth and c. is delicious.  Oh, and nutritious.  

Unfortunately, I’ve yet to have a perfectly made summer salad fall into my mouth.  Or onto my head, for that matter.  As with most (all?) good things, it takes a bit of work.  But not much.  This is summer, after all.  If you’re wondering what to eat in the summer, I’ve got a few (simple, delicious) ideas.

WHAT TO EAT IN THE SUMMER | 4 FAVORITE SALADS

Mixed greens with pears, bleu cheese, walnuts + dried cranberries

what to eat in summer 1

This is really as easy as slicing a pear and throwing it, along with everything else, into a bowl.  I added a drizzle of Champagne vinaigrette because I like to pretend I’m fancy.  In reality: It’s well past noon and I haven’t showered yet.  Also, I just congratulated myself on wearing my “nice” sweat pants.  

Caprese salad

what to eat in summer 2

I basically eat this breakfast, lunch and dinner… all summer long.  The heirloom tomatoes are Canadian, but the mozzarella is from Rhode Island and the basil is from South Boston (more specifically: my deck).  So… it’s mostly #eatlocal.  Or whatever.

Both babes were asleep at the same time for an entire 11 minutes last week, so I made myself an extra pretty platter from which to dine solo while Nick was traveling.  That was a long sentence.  The salad didn’t last nearly as long.

Chopped salad with sprouts

what to eat in summer 3

I tend to chop a bunch of vegetables at the beginning of the week for easy salads such as this.  Instead of the usual greens, though, I used some Earth Salad (sprouted lentils, sprouted chickpeas and alfalfa sprouts) that I picked up at Whole Foods in the South End (it’s in the cooler next to the salad greens, alongside the cooked lentils). 

Heirloom tomato, lentil and arugula salad with green goddess dressing

Speaking of cooked lentils, I keep a package or two in the fridge because I am lazy like to avoid cooking as much as possible when it’s 90 degrees out.  And because I love making this salad.  And because I’m lazy.

I’m thrilled (and grateful!) that my recipe was included in Wayfair’s Simply Summer Recipes cookbook.  The cookbook is free to download and features over 100 pages of summer recipes created by bloggers and tested by Wayfair team members.  I love that they included their own notes after testing each dish.  I hope you’ll check it out!

In the meantime, I’m off to go shower.  Or eat another salad.  Or both.  Not at the same time.  OK.  Bye.  I love you.  And I love summer.  And cheese.  Bye.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • A favorite read: Sam’s weekly meal planning posts 
  • Closest thing to a wonder drug? Try exercise from The New York Times
  • Playing with Grace’s new water table (“All day!  All day long, mummy!  All day!  And when it’s dark!”)

What’s your ideal summer meal?

 

Chai + peanut butter protein bites

 

You guys.  I can’t stop making these balls.  And giggling about… balls.  I promise this recipe is more refined than my sense of humor.

chai and peanut butter protein bites

CHAI + PEANUT BUTTER PROTEIN BITES

Vegan, gluten-free… and like, cooking-free.  Which is to say, you don’t need to cook them.  Makes 10-15 protein bites (or balls, call ’em what you will).  

INGREDIENTS

DIRECTIONS

  1. Mix protein powder, nut butter and oats in your food processor or blender.
  2. Add agave nectar, vanilla, cinnamon and sea salt and pulse until dough is well combined.
  3. Move mixture to a small bowl and carefully stir in chocolate chips.  
  4. Roll dough into small balls and place in a parchment-lined container, store in the refrigerator.  Or just, like, eat them.

Recipe notes: You can use your favorite protein powder for this recipe — chocolate or vanilla would work great.  And feel free to use maple syrup in place of agave.  Oh, and you can omit the chocolate chips (thereby omitting the fun… but, hey) if you’d like.  

I used a brand-new blend from Bob’s Red Mill line of nutritional boosters and am completely hooked.  It’s made from pea protein powder, chicory root fiber, chia seeds, probiotics, and sweetened with monk fruit extract. It is gluten free, vegan, a good source of omega-3, an excellent source of iron, and high in protein and fiber.  

No weird chemicals.  No weird tastes.  Just balls. 

Disclaimer: I received complimentary samples of Bob’s Red Mill new nutritional boosters for an Instagram project (you can follow me here: @ElizabethEv) with Sweat Pink… but I didn’t want to keep this good stuff from you and just had to share it On Tap, too.

Also On Tap for Today:

Do you have a favorite broprotein powder?

Today: Peanut butter, cranberry + dark chocolate granola bars.

I recently found myself scrolling through the entirety of the Internet (it’s an uppercase word… until June 1…) for a good granola bar recipe and scanning the contents of our pantry, hoping the stars ingredients would align.  

gluten free peanut butter cranberry dark chocolate granola bars

It was 10:30 on Sunday night, and I had no business being awake, let alone attempting to make granola bars… but sometimes we get peer pressured into these things (i.e. I did it for the Mama Beasts Spring Challenge points…).  And in this case, the pressure paid off.

I should know better than to mess with baking recipes (unlike cooking, there’s some actual science and measuring involved) and you know I’d never be so bold as to question my queen Martha… but um… I messed with a Martha recipe (this one for peanut-butter granola bars — you’ll see I made a few changes, but used her recipe as a guide).  Mostly because I needed to work with what I had.  And because Martha seemed to have forgotten to include chocolate chips.  She’s got a lot going on.  

I’ve made these granola bars twice now (proof that they don’t take a lot of effort or time or thought, all things I seem to be perpetually lacking).  

I’m always looking for filling, mostly-healthy snacks and these turned out to be both.  And they don’t taste like an old shoe (always a plus).  That’s a terrible way of telling you they’re delicious.  They’re delicious.  

peanut butter cranberry dark chocolate granola bars

Homemade peanut butter, cranberry + dark chocolate granola bars

gluten free, makes approximately 12 bars

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup gluten free rolled oats 
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup sliced raw almonds
  • 1/2 cup nut butter
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips 
  • 1/4 cup palm sugar 
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil 
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg white
  • Pinch of sea salt (I use Maldon flakes)

Directions

  1. Prep work:   Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.  Line an 8 x 8 pan with parchment or freezer paper, leaving a bit of overhang. 
  2. In a large bowl, mix oats, cranberries, almonds and dark chocolate.
  3. In a small sauce pan over low heat, mix nut butter, oil, and palm sugar until sugar dissolves.  Remove pan from heat and mix in egg white.
  4. Combine wet and dry ingredients and pour into prepared pan, pressing mixture evenly with a spatula.
  5. Top with a sprinkle of sea salt.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes, allow to cool in pan (approximately 10 minutes).
  7. Remove baked granola (technically, they’re not bars… yet) from the pan, using the parchment or freezer paper and freeze overnight on a cookie sheet.
  8. Cut bars to desired size, store refrigerated.

Recipe notes:  You could include just about any nuts and dried fruit.  I don’t recommend skipping the chocolate.  (Because, really, why?)  You could throw caution to the wind and cut them after cooling, but I found freezing the bars really helped keep them from crumbling.  Martha’s recipe calls for light brown sugar, which you could use if you don’t have palm sugar on hand.  Similarly, you could substitute (1:1) coconut oil for vegetable oil.  The Maldon is definitely optional, but I have such a thing for salty/sweet.  I used 70% cocoa chocolate chips and Bob’s Red Mill gluten free rolled oats, but again, use what you have.

That’s basically my life’s motto at the moment… use what you have.  Or, like, order it from Amazon Prime.  Just kidding.  Kind of.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • Very interesting read: The Evolution of Anxiety: Why We Worry and What to Do About It via lifehacker
  • Attempting to read an actual book (one that is not about “positive parenting” or “thriving toddlers” or “making your dog promise to live forever”) …I’m currently on page 13 and consider that a huge victory
  • Catching up on some postcrossing 

Today: For my Peeps.

This is probably the last post my teeth want me to write, what with our two unplanned trips to the dentist last week… but um… YOLO.  And PEEPO (that doesn’t mean anything… or at least I don’t think it does).

for my peeps

Easter is just a few days away, which means a lot of things.  In the interest of being inclusive, I’d like to focus on one (very unimportant, not at all holy) aspect of the week. Easter time is high season for Peeps.  I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, but I do love a (pure sugar) bunny or chick this time of year.

If you’re wondering what to do with the Peeps in your basket (besides get a cavity), I’ve got a few ideas.

Ideas for my Peeps (and your Peeps, too):

Happy Peepin’…

P.S. This post is not sponsored.  Nor is it particularly healthy or inspiring.  But, um… whatever.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • Push-up playdate!
  • Beautiful egg decorating ideas from Alisa Burke
  • Playing “pretend egg hunt” in our 1200 square foot condo… needless to say, many, many eggs have ended up in Clark’s food bowl

Salty or sweet?  (Both is a totally acceptable answer.)

Today: Grace’s 2nd birthday party.

Grace will be two at the end of this month.  I can’t remember a faster two years.

2nd birthday party

Nor can this guy.

Grace had a few special requests for her family party this weekend and we were glad to oblige.

  1. The guest list had to include Baby Nick, Clark and Uncle Zach.
  2. We would listen to “Michael Jackson! Michael Jackson!” music.
  3. There would be balloons.
  4. We would eat a Gaston happy cake (they’re like regular cakes, only happier).

She may have a future in event planning.

Grace’s 2nd birthday party

family birthday party

I think I need to ask for a less freaky hand for my birthday.

The weather cooperated (sorry, mid-Atlantic states), but unfortunately cold season kept a few family members home.  We missed them and made sure to save them some cake (but I might eat it…).

french bulldog birthday cake

We kept the menu simple, mostly because nothing could top the Gaston cake.  Gaston is one of Grace’s favorite books (it’s about a family of poodles and a family of Frenchies), and the folks at Sweet Tooth bakery in Southie did an incredible job recreating the cover.

appetizers

Snacks included:

  • Cheese and herb flatbread
  • Italian turkey meatballs (this was semi-traumatic for my vegetarian self, but I thought they’d be a crowd pleaser and I am trying to branch out a bit when cooking for everyone else… even if that means simply heating frozen ballz from Whole Foods in our crockpot… baby steps)
  • Feta and onion tartes
  • Spanakopita
  • Tortilla chips and salsa
  • Cheese plate with fruit
  • Carrots, hummus and artichoke dip

frenchie food cards

I photocopied a page from my sketchbook (all little drawings of Gaston characters) and used those images for food labels.  Grace helped me make a few decorations over the past month or so, including a giant two and some not-so-giant party hats.

2nd birthday party

2nd birthday party

2nd birthday party

We had our loved ones there to celebrate with, balloons to play with, Michael Jackson to listen to, and plenty of cake to enjoy.  So by Grace’s standards (and mine), this was the perfect 2nd birthday party.

Also On Tap for Today:

What is on your list of special birthday party requests?

Today: Ten minute onion tartlets.

In the spirit of honesty, these onion tartlets take closer to fifteen minutes to make… but ten minutes sounds better.  

Caramelized onion tartlets with feta and thyme

caramelized onion tartlets

Makes approximately 12 mini tarts, vegetarian (contains dairy and gluten)

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil or butter
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 package of frozen mini phyllo dough shells (I keep a few packages of these shells in our freezer — they are fully baked and just need to be reheated, a lazy woman’s dream)

Directions:

  1. Remove phyllo shells from freezer and follow directions for thawing (or baking, if necessary)
  2. Heat oil or butter in a large skillet and saute onions for 5-7 minutes, stirring often, until caramelized
  3. Remove onions from heat and add to large bowl with feta and thyme; mix and set aside
  4. Arrange shells on a rimmed baking dish
  5. Fill each shell with the onions, feta and thyme and bake according to package directions (for these, I baked them at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes)

caramelized onion tartlets

These little guys can be served hot or cold and are one of my favorite appetizers to make and share.  The filling can be made a day ahead of time and refrigerated.  While you’re at it, you may want to make a big batch of caramelized onions (Julie wrote a great “how to” post that includes 16 different ways to use caramelized onions).  

Ten minutes… fifteen-ish minutes… you could probably lie and say these took all day.  But lying is bad.  And these tartlets are good.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s the last lie you told?  Your secret is safe with me.  And the Internet.

 

Today: Just Add Cooking.

I recently had the opportunity to try a complimentary two-person, three-meal box from Boston-based meal service Just Add Cooking.  In theory, I love to cook… but in reality, I love to cook the same three things over and over.  I often end up eating whatever I whip up for Grace for dinner (fortunately, she has good taste).  

Just Add Cooking provided the perfect opportunity to shake things up a bit… and eat like an adult.

With seven recipes to choose from each week, three of which are vegetarian (so the choice was an easy one for me).  The remaining options usually feature poultry, seafood, pork and beef.  Meals that are designated as gluten-free have been evaluated by a dietitian and are clearly labeled as such, so there’s no second guessing.
My box included everything I needed to make the following meals:
  • Indian Vegetable Curry
  • Vegetable Hash
  • Halloumi Skewers and Couscous
My box was delivered on a Sunday morning, so I carved out some time with my favorite little pajama-clad sous chef and got to work.  Grace loves helping mix and pour ingredients, and asking, “What this is?” about… everything.  
It takes a bit longer for meals to come together, but it’s worth it to hear Grace yell, “More cauliflower!” at Clark later in the day.  
I’ve checked out other meal services before, but never followed through after reading mixed reviews.  Being a local company, Just Add Cooking is able to pack and deliver meals throughout Eastern Massachusetts the same day.  They use couriers instead of shipping services, so packing materials are minimal.  Like… surprisingly minimal.  Everything except the freezer bag is biodegradable.
I loved knowing that the ingredients I received were locally sourced, locally produced, and organic whenever possible.  In addition to detailed recipes (which include a really helpful preparation timeline for people like me who are inclined to wing it… only to burn half of what I make after forgetting to chop the onion or grate the carrots or, like… stop sampling the cheese), Just Add Cooking includes source information about each perfectly portioned ingredient included in each box.
My box included:
  • Spinach from The Kitchen Garden in Sunderland, MA
  • Tomatoes from Long Wind Farm in Thetford, VT
  • Apples from Barden Family Orchard in North Scituate, RI
  • Red potatoes from Maplewood Farm in Portsmouth, RI
  • Cheddar from Grafton Village Cheese Company in Brattleboro, VT
  • Bell peppers from Confreda Greenhouses and Farms in Hope, RI
Because Just Add Cooking took the guesswork out of both meal planning and shopping, I really enjoyed preparing each meal — almost as much as I enjoyed, you know… enjoying them.  Each recipe yielded exactly two portions.  I found cooking on Sunday and reheating during the week to work quite well (life as a lazy pregnant lady at its finest).  
Boxes start at $39 for a two-person, three-meal box (normally $69) and $69 for a four-person, three-meal box (normally $109) for the first box for new customers.  This promotional price will be automatically applied to your first purchase (Just Add Cooking and register by clicking “Get Cooking”).  Subscriptions are flexible, so you can skip weeks whenever you please.  This means I can keep an eye out for weeks when all three vegetarian meals capture my attention (and appetite), without being wasteful on weeks when I’m just not feeling it.
I’m already looking forward to our next delivery.  And I think Grace is, too.
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary meal box.  All opinions are my own.  Obvi (I hope).
Also On Tap for Today:

Do you meal plan/prep each week?  Or do you wing it?

Today: Happy Weekend.

I finally found salt bagels for sale in Massachusetts.  

I’m quite pleased with myself.  And I hope you’re having a very happy weekend.

Also On Tap for Today:

What are you snacking on this weekend?

Today: Banana muffins with raspberries and dark chocolate.

Alternate title: Organic raspberries were on sale… and I had a bunch of bananas on their way out. So I made muffins.  

These are a bit more dessert than breakfast, which means… they’re delicious at breakfast.

Banana muffins with raspberries and dark chocolate

Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients:

  • 3 very ripe bananas
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries
  • 1 1/2 cups flour (I used an all-purpose gluten free mix)
  • 1/3 c. butter, melted
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1/4 c. miniature dark chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and either grease or line your muffin pan.
  2. Mash bananas in a large bowl (I used a potato masher… worked like a dream).
  3. Add melted butter and sugar.
  4. Add dry ingredients and stir until well combined.
  5. Gently fold in raspberries and dark chocolate chips.
  6. Fill each muffin-cup-thing 3/4 of the way.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes (begin checking at the 15 minute mark and remove from oven when muffin tops have slightly browned).

You can easily replace the raspberries with blueberries, and omit the chocolate… you know, if you’re a terrible person or whatever.*

*Just kidding.  You’re okay, I’m okay, we’re all okay.

Also On Tap for Today:

Salty or sweet?