Tag Archives: basil

What’s in the Box? #78

What's in the Box?

My apologies for the tardiness of this post but Harper and I have been busy this week soaking up all that Santa Barbara has to offer before we head home.  We are blessed to be able to visit such a beautiful place, but the best part of Santa Barbara is our wonderful friends.  Here is a peek at what we have been up to this week:

Play dates at the park…

Play dates at the park

Pool time fun…

Swimming in the pool

Picking produce with friends…


Stopping to smell the flowers…


Boat rides in the harbor…

Lil Toot

and taking in beautiful sunsets…


We are definitely going to miss this place, but are looking forward to being back home with Daddy :)

Now, without further ado, lets get “produce wasted!” (my own little spin on a popular movie line…name it!)

Our party last week was rockin! 19 link ups?!  The most we have had in a while.  Makes a veggie-obsessed, mommy blogger like me very happy :)  And you know what else makes me very happy?  Zucchini.  Especially when it’s hidden inside a chocolate waffle (Thanks Kirsten for taking my love of zucchini to the next level) or shredded into a savory loaf of bread.  It truly is the essence of summer.

And like the groundhog in February, a zucchini in my box this week means that summer will be around for at least a few more weeks (Full Disclosure:  I’m no meteorologist, it’s only a theory.  Just go with it.)

Not only did I get a pair of zucchinis, check out what else came in my box…

What's in the Box? #78

A rainbow of delicious colors.  And I’m loving nature’s candy again.  A bunch of red, crunchy grapes.  They make my world go round.  And no, I didn’t share.

But I was willing to share some of my other goodies.  I sliced up the apples for a picnic at the park.  Steamed the broccoli for my little veggie lover as a side to her lunch (she practically ate the whole head herself).  And the basil along with a few leaves of kale got thrown into the food processor for a batch of pesto.  Delish!

The oranges have inspired me to make a batch of muffins which will help to balance out the bowls of salad I will be eating thanks to the size of that head of lettuce.

I like my spaghetti squash simply roasted and tossed with some butter and parmesan cheese.  Although the fresh tomatoes would be a great addition to the squash in the form of homemade sauce.  In fact, I’m hungry just thinking about it.

Cheers to a fabulous weekend!  I hope it’s filled with as much fun and food as you can handle :)

Your turn:  What are some of your favorite ways to use the fruits and veggies shown?  Any special recipe, tips or tricks you’d like to share?  Looking forward to reading your responses :) 

Linking up for the first time?  Click here for more info…and Welcome!

PS:  Don’t forget to tell your readers about the party by linking back to this post and grabbing the official “What’s in the Box?” button at the bottom of my blog.  Thanks!

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Chopped Caprese Salad

Chopped Caprese Salad - In Her Chucks

After nearly three years as a loyal CSA subscriber, I can honestly say, my weekly boxes have converted me in ways I never thought possible.  Once upon a time I used to feel lost and overwhelmed by the site of unwanted veggies but now I can honestly say I am a beet buff, a kale craver and most recently a proud tomato lover.

And if it weren’t for the help of my CSA, I don’t think those conversions would have been possible.  Week after week, they provided me with bunches of soil dusted root vegetables, luscious leafy greens and perfectly plump tomatoes.  And because I wouldn’t dare waste any of it, I had to get creative.  And slowly but surely, I became more and more excited to get these items in my box.  And today, I will pretty much eat anything.

Now, I know Caprese Salads aren’t anything new.  I mean, if you’ve met one Caprese Salad you’ve met them all, right?  Well, in this case, I promise that this Caprese Salad is sure to kick things up a notch.  The secret ingredient?  Kalamata olives.  These little suckers change. the. game.

Readers, meet my new favorite salad.  New favorite salad, meet my amazing and loyal readers.


1 pound cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered (or I like the Baby Heirloom Tomatoes from Trader Joe’s)

12 oz fresh mozzarella cheese, chopped (I use the Ciliegine Fresh Mozzarella Cheese from Trader Joe’s)

3 oz Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped

5-7 basil leaves, finely chopped

1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (or more to taste)

1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar (or more to taste) *traditional balsamic vinegar would work fine here too

Salt and pepper to taste


Throw the tomatoes, cheese, olives and basil into a bowl.  Add olive oil and vinegar.  Season with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Add more dressing or seasoning to taste.

What I love about this recipe is that it is so darn easy!  It’s the perfect dish to bring to a barbecue or pot luck or can be portioned out for a single meal.

The measurements shown above are merely suggestions.  Feel free to make this your own.  I personally prefer a balanced tomato to cheese ratio as each bite must have a piece of each before it enters my mouth.  Which is why I am obsessed with the Ciliegine Fresh Mozzarella Cheese from Trader Joe’s because it matches the size of the tomatoes perfectly :)

So for those of who have tomatoes coming out of your ears, here is one more recipe to add to your repertoire.  I promise you will love it.  I just can’t promise you it will make it to the dinner table before it’s half eaten.

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Tomato Basil Bisque

Tomato Basil Bisque - In Her Chucks

I am a meat eater through and through.  No meal is complete without a big lump of protein on my plate.  So when I went through my Fresh Start Challenge meal plan and saw that there was a vegetarian soup on the menu, I was skeptical.  I mean, I love veggies, and I love soup, but can’t we toss some chicken in there to boost up the heartiness factor?  Well let me just say, this soup is perfect just as it is!  Not only was it incredibly delicious, but it was definitely hearty!  The quinoa and goat cheese help to bulk up the texture and give it enough protein to keep you full and satisfied without weighing you down.


4 large carrots, chopped,

1 medium onion, chopped

2 tsp Tamari

2 tbsp coconut oil, divided

1/2 red bell pepper, chopped

1 stalk celery, chopped

3 cloves fresh garlic, minced

28 oz can whole tomatoes, drained

1 cup organic marinara sauce

1 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves, chopped

2 tsp honey

1 1/2 cups coconut milk

1/4 tsp Celtic Sea Salt (more or less to taste)

Fresh ground pepper to taste

Dashes of dried thyme, rosemary and oregano

2 tbsp nutritional yeast

2 cups chicken broth

Prepared quinoa

Goat cheese


1.  In a large soup pot, heat the Tamari and 1 tbsp coconut oil over med-high heat.

2.  Stir in the chopped onions, celery and bell peppers and sauté for about 5 minutes before adding the garlic, carrots and about 1/2 cup chicken.  Sauté another 5 minutes.

3.  Add the tomatoes, coconut milk, basil, broth, salt, marinara sauce and remaining spices (wait to add the remaining 1 tbsp coconut oil and nutritional yeast until the very end before pureeing).

4.  Let soup come to a boil and cook on low-med heat for about 1/2 hour, allowing all of the flavors to meld together.

5.  Pour all of the contents from the soup pan into a blender, along with 1 tbsp coconut oil and the nutritional yeast.  Blend on high for about 30 seconds until smooth and creamy.

6.  Portion out soup into bowls and add prepared quinoa, mix until combined.  Top with crumbled goat cheese.

Recipe slightly adapted from Amazing Grass:  Fresh Start Challenge

What I love most about this dish is how super duper easy it is to make.  Just throw everything in a pot, let it hang out for a bit and then toss it in the blender.  And with enough soup for 4-5 servings, there is plenty to share or hide away in the freezer for later ;)

PS:  Congratulations to Tiffany T for winning the Amazing Grass Giveaway!  And a big thank you to everyone who participated.  Cheers to a Fresh Start!

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Summer Pasta Salad

With summer winding down, my goal is to enjoy as many backyard barbecues as possible.  And nothing completes a summer meal like a freshly tossed side of pasta salad decorated with the season’s best produce.  But this dish isn’t your ordinary potluck headliner.  This summer staple is jam-packed with fiber and omega-3s, which means there is no need for guilt when you pile it onto your plate.

During this last week, I have enjoyed a variety of clean meals.  Everything from smoothies, to stir fry, to tacos, all cleaned up and made deliciously healthy.  But this dish is by far my favorite.  The homemade vinaigrette, the whole-grain pasta, the fresh summer veggies…it’s a match made in heaven.



1 16 oz pkg whole-grain penne pasta

1 yellow summer squash, quartered and sliced

1 zucchini, quartered and sliced

1 pint grape tomatoes, halved

1/8 red onion, cut into thin 1-inch-long slices

1/2 cup fresh basil, thinly sliced


2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp flaxseed oil

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1 tsp pure maple syrup

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

1/8 tsp kosher salt


1.  Cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain and rinse under cool water.

2.  Meanwhile, in a blander, blend vinaigrette ingredients and 2 tbsp water.  (Alternatively, which ingredients until blended).

3.  Transfer pasta to a large bowl and add squash, zucchini, tomatoes, onion, basil and vinaigrette and toss to combine.  Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until chilled, up to 1 day.

Recipe from Clean Eating

Being able to enjoy satisfying summertime foods without excess calories or processed junk, makes me a clean eating believer.  Making simple, small changes to your favorite meals can make a huge difference in your life.  Remember, a journey of a thousand miles starts with one step.  Or in my case, 2 cups of pasta salad :)

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What’s in the Box? #36

Hello last Wednesday in July…where has the summer gone?  But looking back on the last few months, I feel like I have made the best of my summer days.  Between blueberry picking, trips to the beach, park play dates and outdoor grilling, I have savored each moment of this lovely warm weather.  And as far as my fresh farm produce goes, I am enjoying every bite.  Especially all the delicious fruits.  They keep getting better.  And this week is no exception.  But before I get into everything I love about my current haul, let’s look back at the highlights of last week’s party.

A big thank you to the 63 link ups from What’s in the Box? #35.  Each one tickled my fancy.  I learned so much last week.  From how to freeze blackberries, to how to save a stalk of broccoli, to what in the heck is an Armenian cucumber?, my CSA knowledge continues to grow.  Who knew a link party could satisfy mind, body and soul?  Guess that’s the magic of fruits and veggies :)

And now on to MY fruits and veggies…

This week it is all about the nectarines.  Being reminded that the summer is coming to an end, each bite of these delicious gems will be celebrated and appreciated.  Yeah, that’s how much I love me some nectarines…to the last drop.  I am also excited that the pixie tangerines are back.  They are such a refreshing snack on these warm summer days.
Looking forward to a family gathering this weekend, I can’t help but bust out a crumble with these plums.  It is slowly becoming my signature dish and I love sharing its yummy goodness with others.  I will also be preparing a veggie platter with my spinach dip.  So the cherry tomatoes and carrots will work great as potential dippers.  And as beautiful as this fresh bunch of spinach looks, I will save that for dinner tomorrow night.  A quick sauté with some cloves of that garlic will be the perfect side dish.
I am loving this huge bunch of basil…with roots!  Which means it is the gift that keeps on giving.  Now to decide whether to plant it by my front door or down at the garden.  This could be the start of a small homegrown herb garden.  Pesto for days!
This lettuce is pretty darn fancy.  I attempted to use a few leaves on turkey burgers tonight and realized that they would work better as a salad.  Very curly and crispy which would work great tossed in a quick homemade vinaigrette.

Your turn:  What are some of your favorite ways to use the fruits and veggies shown?  Any special recipe, tips or tricks you’d like to share?  Looking forward to reading your responses :)

Linking up for the first time?  Click here for more info…and Welcome!  PS:  Don’t forget to tell your readers about the party by linking back to this post.  Thanks!

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What’s in the Box? #31

It’s no secret how much I love my Wednesdays.  But this Wednesday was even more special than the rest.  My brother and his fiancé came to visit before heading back to Fairbanks, AK where he is currently stationed with the United States Army.  It was so nice to spend some time together and get the chance to chat and catch up.  Harper loves her “Uncle” and “Koko” and was sad to see them go.  And as always, so was I.  My little brother is growing up and I am so proud of all his accomplishments.  Can’t wait to see him again soon.

So speaking of growing up?  Can you believe we had 58 link ups last week?  Wowza!  That’s a whole lot of CSA goodness :)  I hope you had the chance to check out each and every one.  We had everything from cocktails, to smoothies, to lasagna and soup.  Your posts continue to inspire me.  I am overwhelmed by all of the innovative ways to use my produce.  And each choice is yummier than the next.  Thank you for your continued participation :)  Keep up the good work!

Alright…time to spill the beans :)

But, before I go any further, I have to report, that 1/3 of this box is already gone.  Not only did my brother come to visit, he cooked a healthy and delicious meal that left my tummy happy.  His signature dish is chicken.  Simply grilled chicken has never tasted better.  We paired it with roasted carrots (which is my new favorite indulgence…they are the sweetest, yummiest little gems I have ever tasted) and a side of farro with kale (a Koko Likes original recipe).  My brother washed and prepared the lettuce for a side salad to round out the meal.  Fresh and delicious!

Now what about the rest of the box?  I am super stoked about the nectarines.  They are on top of my list for the best summer fruits.  No need to get fancy with them.  Eating them cold and crisp from the fridge is good enough for me.  And the apricots will have a similar fate.  With all of these fresh summer fruits, I would be happy eating fruit all day :)

I was also excited about the fennel.  It has been a while since we received fennel in our box and seeing everyone else’s fennel bulbs has got me jonesing for another round of my Braised Pork with Orange and Fennel dish.  It is a huge hit in our house.  Too bad I just juiced those oranges from last week.  They would have been the perfect companion.  Luckily my community garden has an orange tree, so looks like Harper and I will be taking a visit to collect some goods.  Oh, and while we are on the topic of juicing, I plan on adding these pixies to my freshly squeezed juice that is sitting in a pitcher in the fridge.  I am running a bit low on my stash and these tangerines will be just what I need to enjoy one last glass.

I have been dying to make these meatballs for dinner this week.  The red onions will work great in this recipe.  That is if Freddie doesn’t get to them first.  It’s always a fight for the onions in the house.  He usually wins but maybe if I bribe him with meatballs, he will let me use them just this once.

I must find an amazing recipe for the basil.  It is so beautiful it deserves to be the star.  It is currently sitting on my counter in a glass of water but before tomorrow ends, it will be made into a delicious tummy pleasing meal.  Let’s hope the recipe calls for celery too, because to be honest, I got nothing.

Your turn:  What are some of your favorite ways to use the fruits and veggies shown?  Any special recipes, tips or tricks you’d like to share?  Looking forward to hearing your responses :)

Linking up for the first time?  Click here for more info…and Welcome!  PS:  Don’t forget to tell your readers about the party by linking back to this post.  Thanks!

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