Category Archives: Food/Drink

Guest Post: September Foodie PenPal Reveal

The Lean Green Bean

As I mentioned in my original September Foodie PenPal Reveal Post, the Foodie PenPal Program is open to blog readers as well as bloggers.  This month I was paired with a blog reader named Kristin Adams and was more than thrilled to pack up a box of goodies to send for her first Foodie PenPal experience.  Since Kristin doesn’t have a blog of her own to share her goodies on, she has offered to write a short guest post about what she received (and she even included some pics!).

So without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, Kristen Adams…

September is my first month participating in the Foodie Pen Pal program, and I’m already hooked.  I was very fortunate to get Heather from In Her Chucks as my pen pal.

I got an email from her within a day or so after the program started asking about my food preferences, dietary restrictions, allergies, etc.  We emailed a few times and then a couple of weeks later…..my box arrived!!  I was excited to open it and see what was in it.  My family gathered around the kitchen table, and we oooh’d and aaaah’d at what I got.
Heather’s theme was “Back to School”, so she sent Sour Apple Licorice.  I’m not a huge fan of really sour foods, but these were fantastic. They were coated in organic sugar which offset the slightly sour taste. I’ll be buying these!  She then sent a packet of Knorr Leek soup mix and a packet of Italian dressing mix, along with the recipe for a spinach dip. It makes quite a bit, so I’ll be making this when we have people over. I’m a big fan of dips so I can’t wait to try it.
She sent some quinoa pasta and a packet of cheese sauce mix to make macaroni and cheese.  I haven’t tried quinoa pasta before, and it was quite tasty.  The sauce mix was good and not overpowering.
In one of our emails, she asked if I drank tea or coffee.  I don’t drink coffee at all, but I do drink tea, so she sent me three packets of Teeccino, which is an organic herbal coffee. The drink is made like tea (bag and all), but smells more like coffee.  I was skeptical, but it was really yummy! It’s caffeine-free, which means I can drink it anytime, another bonus.
I got two packets of Justin’s Nut Butter, which I’ve always wanted to try.  I had the chocolate hazelnut flavor which tastes just like the filling in a Godiva chocolate. Amazing!  Another new food for me to buy.
She sent some Everything flavored pretzel chips, which are nice and crunchy.  The flavor is mild, so it’s great for satisfying the crunch craving I get.
The last item that even my husband was thrilled to see was the crepe mix.  He’s South African, and they used to make crepes when he was younger.  He says he hasn’t been able to find any mix here, so seeing this made him very happy.  He made them for breakfast on a weekend morning, and I’m not ashamed to admit, I ate way too many.  Thankfully, we have enough mix leftover for several more batches.
Thank you, Heather, for all my wonderful goodies!
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September Foodie Pen Pal Reveal

The Lean Green Bean
By now, we all know about my love for boxes and my love for food.  Well, I also love to make new friends.  So when I happened upon this amazing Foodie PenPal Program from Lindsay of The Lean Green Bean I knew I wanted to be a part of it.
If you haven’t heard about the Foodie PenPal Program before, let me tell you a little bit about how it works.  Each month you get an email with your penpal pairing.  You contact your penpal via email to get their mailing address and any dietary restrictions, likes, dislikes, etc.  You go out and fill up a box with $15 worth of fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats.  Your box must also include something written (hence the penpal).  Then you pop your box in the mail by the 15th of the month.  On the last day of the month, you get to reveal the delicious goodies that you received from your penpal in a blog post.
Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you can choose to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.  Foodie Penpals is open to US, Canadian residents & UK residents.
Sounds awesome right!  Yeah, I am totally stoked about this new journey.   Especially since my first Foodie PenPal was more than generous with her goodies.
This month I received my package from Tina of The Barking Hen.  And boy did she spoil me :)  My box was filled with some of Tina’s favorite treats from her hometown of McCall, Idaho (which looks absolutely beautiful and is now on my “must visit” list).  According to Tina, they recently wrapped up huckleberry season in the mountains and so she was excited to share this local fruit in various forms.

When I first opened the box I was met with a clever postcard starring Mrs. Potato Head (another Idaho favorite!).  Beneath the colorful tissue paper was a lovely tin of Huckleberry Tea, a package of Wild Huckleberry Hot Cocoa Mix, a deliciously sweet Huckleberry Lollypop, freshly baked Gingersnap Cookies, and a bottle of Huckleberry Honey.  So much fruity goodness I didn’t even know where to begin.

I decided to start with the cookies because Tina said she couldn’t get enough of them.  And I can see why.  From the first bite I was hooked (and so was Freddie).  They were soft, chewy and full of the flavors of fall.  After barreling through half the bag I am throwing the rest in the freezer for safe keeping and because Tina said they are even better when they are cold!

Then I whipped up a cup of hot chocolate for Freddie and a cup of huckleberry tea for me.  While I was waiting for my tea to steep I took a sip of Freddie’s hot chocolate.  It was A.MAZ.ING!  I honestly have never tasted anything so scrumptious in my entire life.  Imagine a chocolate strawberry in the form of a warm beverage.  Divine!  Before I knew it I had finished off the whole mug.  Oops…So I quickly made Freddie another cup (hoping he wouldn’t notice that I drank more than my allotted “few sips”).  This time I used unsweetened almond milk as the base.  And wouldn’t you knew I drank that entire cup too.  Oops!  I have never been the best at sharing (I blame it on the fact that I was the oldest of two children).  So I am on the hunt for another round of this magical cocoa.  Can’t wait :)

But what about the tea?  I finished that too.  Not the entire tin, just my initial cup.  I sweetened it with the huckleberry honey and I was in pure heaven.  It would also make for a great iced tea as well.  Looking forward to giving that a try.

Finally, the lollypop is yet to be devoured.  I am waiting for just the right time to enjoy my candy on a stick without interruption.  Because as big as it is, it might take a while for me to finish it.  But now that I am a huckleberry fan, I can only imagine the yumminess that is in store for me :)

A big thanks to Tina for such an awesome box.  I appreciate you introducing me to huckleberries and all your delicious local eats.

Interested in becoming a Foodie PenPal?  CLICK HERE to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions.

You must submit your information by October 4th as pairings will be emailed on October 5th!

Who knows, I might be your next Foodie PenPal :)

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Foodzie Tasting Box

I have a confession to make.  I am addicted to boxes.  Boxes filled with delicious fresh produce.  Boxes packed with environmentally friendly products.  And boxes bursting with treats that are just plain good!

My love affair with the Foodzie Tasting Box actually started about six months ago.  My sister-in-law to be introduced me to this new phenomenon and I have been hooked ever since.  It’s my once a month guilty pleasure and it never disappoints.

The Foodzie Tasting Box is a monthly subscription service of gourmet goodies that get shipped to your home.  Each month is a different theme of artisan products to excite your palate.  There are three different boxes to choose from, all for only $29.95 each.

For the month of February they offered a Date Night Cooking Box, a Valentine’s Day Tasting Box, and a Movie Night Tasting Box.  I received the Movie Night Box.  And boy did it hit the spot!  So much so that it never made it to the movie.  I couldn’t keep my hands off of these things!  Each one was better than the last.

My favorite?  The Lovelies, dark-chocolate-covered raisins, hands down.  I intended on just having a few, and before I knew it, I had eaten the entire bag!  So delicious :)  And don’t even try to compare these to anything store bought.  These little gems are plump, sweet, and oh-so-yummy.

And then I had to check out that Zzang! Bar Original.  Wow!  I’m officially a candy snob.  Nothing can beat this handmade bar filled with fluffy nougat, rich caramel and crunchy peanuts, wrapped up in a layer of dark chocolate.  Delicious doesn’t even begin to describe the flavor.  And what makes this treat even better?  No chemicals or preservatives.  Just old fashioned goodness.

While I was enjoying the chocolate train, I couldn’t help but sneak a bite of The Joycup Co.’s handmade chocolate peanut butter cups.  A classic flavor combination at it’s finest.  It was amazing to taste the difference in the quality of the peanut butter and chocolate.  A treat to die for.

What’s a movie night without some popcorn?  But not just any popcorn.  Heirloom popcorn from Tiny But Mighty.  With all the GMO corn out there today, it’s nearly impossible to find corn products that are wholesome and natural.  This popcorn stays true to the way nature intended it to be.  And even though they may be small, they pack a whole bunch of flavor.  Fluffy and buttery.  Need I say more?

I’m sure you have enjoyed a cup of chai tea before, but I highly doubt you have indulged in a Chai Cola.  Which means, you need to hurry up and get on it!  Because there is nothing more refreshing than a mouth full of cinnamon, cardamom, clove, and ginger mixed with black tea and yerba mate.  Yeah, it’s pretty much a match made in heaven.

After cleansing my palate I moved on to the “healthier” side of the box, and grabbed a handful of some all natural gummy bears by Surf Sweets.  Delicious and nutritious.  Each serving is packed with 100% daily dose of vitamin C.  So why not eat a few more and boost your immune system while you satisfy your sweet tooth.

And finally, who doesn’t love licorice.  My dad’s favorite.  I was excited to share my new find of Black Ace Red Licorice with him but had to try it first to make sure it was up to his standards.  Half a box later.  On his last trip to visit it seems that I might have misplaced the rest in the pantry somewhere.  Guess I know what to get him for father’s day.  Let me just say this…melt in your mouth good.

Besides enjoying all the delicious treats Foodzie has to offer, I really love what Foodzie stands for.  Foodzie’s mission is to promote small and passionate food producers, helping them find customers and grow their business.  They believe in good food and want to help connect those that like to eat it with the people who make it.  Between their online marketplace, and their monthly tasting boxes, they are building edible bridges that seem to satisfy even the most bizarre craving (Bacon Jam anyone?).

Have the need to feed your craving?  Go ahead and sign up for your monthly subscription.  Or purchase a box as a gift for a friend.  Sharing the joy of food always makes my tummy smile :)  Happy eating!

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What’s in the Box? #13

It’s the second week of February, which means all of the month’s festivities are right around the corner.  Between our wedding anniversary and Harper’s birthday, we are going to be a busy family the next few weeks.  In fact, I had to cancel next week’s box because we will be out-of-town.  So look forward to another fun recipe roundup!  But in the meantime, I am going to savor every last drop of this week’s box, because after Sunday there won’t be any home cooked meals for a few days.

So before we go any further, what is it about Brussels sprouts getting a bad rap?  To be honest, I can’t remember eating them as a kid, but I do recall people always speaking of them negatively.  A few years ago I was invited over to a friend’s house for dinner and she had prepared Brussels sprouts.  I was a little hesitant to try them considering all the terrible reviews I had heard but after my first bite I was hooked.  They are wonderful!  And are now one of my favorite vegetables.  Thus, we planted a bunch in our garden :)  I have tried a few different recipes when it comes to Brussels, but to be honest, you can’t go wrong with simply roasted Brussels.  Check out this easy to follow recipe for some amazing roasted Brussels.

I also seem to be way too excited about the leeks.  And to think that about a year ago I would have no idea what to do with a leek.  But now I have a favorite recipe that I can’t wait to share with you.  It has been a while since I cooked it because I was going a bit overboard with it last season.  I wanted to make it every week!  And finally Freddie requested we try something new.  So I can’t wait to revisit it.  I plan on steaming up those lovely broccoli florets as well.  Always a nice complement to any meal.

There is nothing better than a fresh bunch of thyme.  It is so fragrant and sweet smelling.  No joke, I kind of just wanted to take a bite out of it.  I am not quite sure what I will use it for but no doubt it will find a happy home.

After the success of the Cheesy Cauliflower Pancakes that I made last time we got cauliflower, I think I might have to make another batch.  Harper was bonkers for them!  They were a great finger food for her and a yummy side dish for us.

Speaking of side dishes, we all know one or two of my meals this week will incorporate this huge head of lettuce.  It took up almost a quarter of the box!  Biggest head of lettuce I have ever seen.  And because I always like to add a lot of crunch to my salads, I plan on dicing up some of the celery and adding that in as well.  Whatever celery doesn’t end up in the salad will become a delicious snack along with those mandarins and tangerines.  That is, if there are any left.  Freddie already swiped 5 for his evening and morning smoothie!

Finally, if you can see them behind the lettuce, I also got 3 deliciously plump avocados.  Looks like I am going to have to bust out a batch of my Ultimate Guacamole.  So, who’s coming over for the fiesta?

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What’s in the Box? #12

Happy February everyone!!  This is the most exciting month for our family.  For one, it is the month Freddie and I met almost 8 years ago.  Second, this is the month when Freddie and I got married, three years ago.  And finally, February is the month when Harper was born into this world.  Can’t believe she is almost 1!  Only a few more weeks.  In the meantime, Freddie and I have been busy planning and coordinating her party.  It is going to be a blast!  But more about that later.  Now, onto the fruits and veggies!

Ladies and gentlemen, we got another 70’s box!  Gotta love those orange, brown and green hues.  Everything looks delish :)   But I am most excited to see the bok choy.  True story, one of Harper’s first words was bok choy.  I promise you.  Ask my mom.  A few months ago I was cooking up a meal for my friend who was pregnant with her first baby and on bed rest and I happened to be making bok choy.  I was telling my mom about it over Skype and all of a sudden Harper said, clear as day, “boy choy”.  I guess her palate isn’t the only thing that is developed :)  So I think I am going to have to make that dish again.  And I am excited to share it with you!

My second favorite this week has to be the arugula.  Arugula always reminds me of my brother.  Back when Quincy and I were living together before Freddie and I got married, he used to always make me a delicious chicken dish served over a bed of fresh arugula with homemade salad dressing.  I begged him to make it often.  He never seemed to mind since his favorite food is chicken (oh, and subway!).  I will do my best to re-create this dish in his honor :)  And will gladly use that lovely fresh garlic for my salad dressing.

I can’t wait to experiment with the blood oranges.  I remember getting them last year.  I packed them in Freddie’s lunch since he loves citrus, and he came home and told me I had packed him rotten oranges.  I laughed out loud.  He had never seen a blood orange before so he thought it was defected.  This time, I have a few recipes I have looked up that I am looking forward to trying out.  One of them even calls for butternut squash.  So I could potentially kill two birds with one stone.  I’ll let out know how it goes.

Don’t you just love when you learn something new?  I happened to be checking out Pinterest the other day, (ok, let’s be honest, I am ALWAYS checking out Pinterest…but I can’t help it…it inspires me!) and I came across this quick and easy way to peel and cut kiwis.  Stoked to try it out on these bad boys.  It is a great way to ensure you get the most meat.  Which makes me happy because I hate to waste even the smallest morsel.

Looks like I am stocked up on snack foods.  Yummy colorful carrots and mandarins for days.  I brought some of my mandarins with me to the park the other day when I met with my mommy group and a few of the babies were going to town on them.  Harper isn’t such a fan but she was happy to share her stash.

Freddie’s favorite meal of the day is breakfast.  I always keep a fresh batch of chopped onions in the fridge for his morning eggs.  So these white spring onions will be perfect in a yummy scramble.  I have also had my eyes on a yummy potato recipe that would be perfect to serve on the side.  Sounds like Freddie is in for a breakfast of champions this week! Oh…which reminds me, we’re out of eggs.  To the store I go!

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What’s in the Box? #11

Is anyone else amazed that this is the last Wednesday of January!?!  Where did the month go?  Time is flying by way too fast!  Kind of sounds like my day today.  We were so busy with our daily activities that before I knew it, it was 5:30 and I still hadn’t opened up my box!  So it was a mad dash to grab a quick pic before the sun was completely gone.

The picture may not do it justice, but this was a different kind of box.  I like it when they switch things up on us.  Especially during this time of year.  There isn’t much variety that is available during winter so when we do get some new items, it is always fun.

If you hadn’t already guessed, blueberries were my top pick this week.  I can’t get enough of berries.  They are a staple in my household.  And these little guys are perfect in every way.  I like my blueberries a bit firm.  That way when you bite into them they burst in your mouth.  A nice surprise when you throw them into oatmeal, yogurt, or just enjoy them plain.  Harper takes after her momma and loves blueberries as well.  This carton may not make it through the night!

Since we started our garden, I look at broccoli completely differently.  I never knew the effort it took to grow broccoli or where those large stalks came from.  I have always loved broccoli before but now I have a whole new appreciation for it.  Being one of my favorite green vegetables, I can’t wait to begin harvesting our own.  But in the mean time, I will enjoy my weekly dose from my box.

I was excited to get my first delivery of delicata squash.  I have never tried it before but just read a new recipe for Oven-Fried Delicata Rings the other day.  They looked divine.  So it was perfect timing!  Guess I know what I am having for dinner tomorrow night :)

After the yumminess that was Sausage White Bean Kale Soup, I will most definitely be using the kale and onion to whip up another batch.  It was the hardiest soup I have ever had.  And super easy to make.  Plus, Harper couldn’t get enough of it.  I can taste it already!  And of course, as I always do, I will be serving a delicious salad on the side with my favorite lettuce, red butter lettuce.  I will most likely shred some of those colorful carrots on top as well.  They make everything look so much more fancy!

Just when I thought I had found the perfect recipe for Grapefruit Cake, I came across another one that I have been dying to try.  So I was super stoked to get fresh picked grapefruits to help me out with this venture.  This will be number one on my list for things to do tomorrow.  And trust me, it is taking everything in me to not run to the store right now.  Can we say eager?  So in an attempt to divert my attention, I am going to sit here and enjoy a few mandarins, my favorite snack, and wind down before it is time to hit the sack.

You know it is going to be a good week when you can’t get cake off your mind :)  Just another reason why I love Wednesdays!

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What’s in the Box? #10

As we sat down for dinner tonight, and enjoyed a family meal together, we were going over our days activities as well as planning for the rest of our week.  Freddie kept getting thrown off by the fact that it was Wednesday, because he was off Monday for the holiday.  So in his mind, it was only Tuesday (2nd day back at work).  But I of course had no trouble remembering it was Wednesday because it’s my produce box day and I look forward to it every week!

Ok, so apparently they decided to send me a forest this week.  Greenery everywhere!  Loving the chlorophyll :)

I guess we can start with that lovely and fragrant italian parsley on the upper left corner.  Parsley is a great  herb to always have on hand.  And not just for garnish.  Parsley helps to perk up dishes such as potatoes, grains and pastas.  It also helps to enhance and compliment the flavors of other spices.  So who knows where this will end up?  Most likely it will make an appearance in many, if not all my dinners this week.

Next, some lovely green leaf lettuce.  I am feeling a delicious fresh salad coming on that will compliment those bacon avocados.  Yeah, I said it…BACON avocados.  Never knew there ever was such a thing.  But put my two favorite foods together in one sentence and I am beaming from ear to ear!  Unfortunately they don’t really taste like bacon, but I’m happy either way.  Avocados are a delicious treat in any form!

I have been craving an amazing pork Bolognese recipe lately.  It was one of the first dishes I made after Freddie and I got married and I haven’t made it sense.  Mostly because it is a proper Bolognese sauce that takes hours to cook.  But I will carve out some time this week to make it because those carrots and celery will be perfect for the mirepoix, which is the flavor base for the sauce.

Another thing I have been craving lately are my mom’s lemon bars.  It has been ages since I have had some and for some reason they have been on my mind.  So I was excited to see those vibrant and pungent lemons.  I have never made the lemon bars on my own, so the pressure is on.

Loving the mandarins and kiwis for snacking.  Although, like I mentioned last week, Freddie has dibs on these.  He is still on his smoothie kick and today mentioned that he has concocted a new recipe that will include the mandarins.  So we will see how that all works out.  But I will do my best to snag a few before he notices :)

Looks like we will be enjoying a batch of beet fritters this week.  Or, I could make some cheesy cauliflower pancakes instead and save the beets for a batch of chocolate and beetroot brownies…yum!  Of course, I can’t let those gorgeous greens go to waste so I will cook up the beet greens using this recipe.  And then I can feel good knowing that I was able to achieve some balance.

Can’t wait to get cooking on some of my favorite dishes this week.  And of course, I always get just as much pleasure sharing them all with you.  Happy Hump Day!

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What’s in the Box? #9

Happy Wednesday!  This week sure is flying by.  And Harper and I have been busy busy (yes I meant to say busy twice…cause that’s how busy we have been).  In fact, we were so busy we almost didn’t make it home in time to take a picture of our box!  With minutes to spare, I was able to snap this before the sun went down… phew!

Is it just me or does this color scheme remind you of the 70s?  Kind of groovy, right?  I actually love how everything coordinates with those gorgeous kabocha squash.  They are going to make a delicious side for an asian inspired dinner.  In fact, one of the recipes calls for fresh orange zest, so the navel oranges will come in handy.

And look at all that green!  I love it :)  Let’s start with the watercress.  I have a killer soup recipe that I can’t wait to share.  Its simple, easy and delicious.  And it calls for potatoes, so those Yukon Golds have a home too.  I might have to get busy with the romaine lettuce and make it a soup n’ salad kind of meal.  Sounds like a yummy homemade lunch!

Next up, sugar snap peas.  I have recently enjoyed blanching them and then sautéing them with butter and lemon zest.  Amazing!  And the cabbage, well Freddie loves my chinese chicken salad.  It calls for shredded cabbage as opposed to lettuce and is a sure winner around here.  The mandarins will work perfectly as a topper too.  As long as I don’t make cabbage rolls again, Freddie will be happy.

Those shallots are plump!  As much as I love cooking with them (probably one of my all time favorite ingredients), they are deathly on the eyes.  I may be a wimp when it comes to slicing onions, but shallots are no joke!  I had to invest in a pair of onion goggles to protect myself.  Strong stuff!

Finally, what about the kiwis?  Freddie has been on a smoothie kick lately.  One of his favorite combinations is kiwi-strawberry, so its possible that he might snag these before I get a chance to.

Another week of yummy fresh fruits and veg.  Can’t wait to get cookin!

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Lemon Iced Tea

There is nothing more refreshing than a cold glass of iced tea.  And even though we are in the dead of winter, and it would make more sense to be enjoying a warm cup of tea, here in California, our weather is still in the 70s.  So iced tea is definitely in order.  Rough life, I know.

As I have mentioned before, I am a sucker for tea.  But as a breastfeeding mom who is doing her best to stay away from caffeine, it can be hard to find a fix for my cravings.  So the best thing to do is to take matters into your own hands, and brew your own!

Ingredients

2 large lemons

1 1/4 cup pure cane sugar

1 cup fresh mint leaves

6 decaf black tea bags

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

Preparation

1.  Using a vegetable peeler, remove bright yellow peel from lemons.  Combine lemon peel and sugar in a small saucepan with 1/2 cup water and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar.  Lower heat and simmer 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and still in mint.  Cool to room temperature; strain.

2.  Steep the tea bags in 4 cups of boiling water, covered, for 5 minutes.  Then remove tea bags.  Stir in syrup, lemon juice, 4 cups cold water, and ice cubes.

Recipe slightly adapted from Real Simple

I was inspired to make this recipe after I had some leftover mint from my dinner the other night.  Having made this before, I was excited to put the mint to good use.  The mint is such an unexpected hint of flavor.  It takes this otherwise ordinary tea recipe and puts it over the top.  I chose to use only 1 cup of mint leaves because that is what I had on hand.  But if you are looking for a stronger mint flavor feel free to add more.

Whether it’s lunch time, teatime or dinner time, this Lemon Iced Tea is sure to be a big hit!

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What’s in the Box? #8

After two weeks without a box, you can imagine how thrilled I was when the delivery man arrived at my doorstep this afternoon. Harper and I just “happened” to be hanging out by the front door when we heard some commotion on the patio. I opened the door with enthusiasm, slightly startling the poor delivery man. I am guessing he has never seen anyone so excited to receive their produce box. I quickly thanked him, wished him a Happy New Year and whisked the box inside to the kitchen table. The reunion was glorious…all of my favs and a whole-lotta green!

My most prized piece of produce this week has got to be those two huge pints of strawberries. I haven’t had much luck finding organic strawberries at any of my local markets, so looking at these beauties put a big smile on my face. I plan on enjoying a handful for breakfast and then using a few more for my strawberry salad because that red leaf lettuce is calling my name.

Funny that we should receive such a beautiful head of broccoli because I was planning on making some for my company tomorrow night. I will be preparing a new chicken dish I found on Pinterest along with some rice pilaf. A side of steamed broccoli tossed with lemon juice, butter and a little salt and pepper will be a perfect way to round out the meal. Oh, and that lovely head of garlic will come in handy too. Especially since pretty much every recipe known to man calls for garlic : )

Having fresh fruits and veggies such as cucumbers, carrots and apples are always a great healthy option for afternoon snacking. The key is to wash, cut and prepare the produce when you first get them so that you don’t gravitate towards less healthier options such as a bag of chips out of ease. I like to keep them in glass containers in front of the fridge so that when I open it up to see what I might be in the mood to eat, they are right in front of my face. I love to dip my apples in fresh almond butter or pair it with a slice of cheese to sneak in some protein. Cucumbers and carrots are always yummy dipped in some hummus.

If you are wondering what the beautiful green and purple bunch of leaves are (or at least I was), it’s Red Russian kale. Before I began subscribing to this weekly service I had no idea how many varieties of kale there were. But the good news is all the varieties are pretty much interchangeable. So I can go ahead and use this form of kale in any of my favorite recipes I currently have on deck.

I am glad to see the butternut squash. My only dilemma is that I have collected so many new recipes that I don’t know where to start. Guess you will have to stay tuned to see which dish I decide to whip up this week:)

I am happy to have my produce box up and running again. I really felt lost without it. Although I think Freddie secretly enjoyed it because then I could make him some of his favorites. I do my best to accommodate his requests but with all the produce that we receive, there is rarely room to divert from the weekly meal plan. I have to say, it is nice to break from your regular routine and freestyle for a little bit. But being back on track makes me feel a bit more organized (or as I used to say orzanized), which helps keep me sane :)

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