Tag Archives: cucumber

What’s in the Box? #76

What's in the Box?

After 2 months without a box…we are back in business!  As much as I have enjoyed our summer travels, I have missed the routine and excitement of a local, organic and totally scrumptious box of fruits and veggies.  Even though Harper and I are still in Santa Barbara house sitting, I went ahead and subscribed to a box for the next few weeks.  I couldn’t come back to our old stomping grounds and not indulge in the goodness that is Plow to Porch.

I was a member of Plow to Porch for nearly 3 years.  It was my first CSA experience and the inspiration for this weekly post.  I am so grateful for the quality or service they provided me and I miss their bountiful hauls.

But before I reveal what I got in my box this week, I must brag about last week’s party.  First of all, we had a total of 16 link ups!  The most we have had in a while :)  And it looks like the trend is all about peaches.  Pam from Simplify and Satisfy got 4 juicy and delicious peaches in her haul (which in my house would be gobbled up within minutes).  Kirsten from Farm Fresh Feasts is busy harvesting her own peaches from her backyard (lucky duck) and is busy making Peaches and Cream Muffins (to die for!).  Finally, The Novice Gardener is extra fancy this week with Peach Rosette Frangipane Tartlets (almost too pretty to eat).  Thanks to everyone for linking up and sharing your goodies.  I love looking through your recipes each week and learning how to prepare my favorite fruits and veggies in new and creative ways :)

Now, for the moment I have been waiting for…

What's in the Box? #76

My very own bambino box :)  Since Harper are in Santa Barbara alone while Daddy is busy working, I opted for a smaller box.  It’s a lot less produce then I am used to, but with one less mouth to feed, I wanted to make sure nothing went to waste.

I was most excited for the peach.  Yes, only one peach, but it’s large and is looking mighty delicious right about now.  It still has to ripen up a bit, but as soon as it does, I will be devouring it all on it own.

I am also happy to see a lemon.  I have been hooked on lemon water lately.  With the warm weather, I find a glass of iced lemon water to be so refreshing.

The head of lettuce made a killer salad tonight to go alongside a big pot of Spaghetti Bolognese.  I added some chopped tomatoes, and cucumbers along with some carrots and celery and tossed it all with a blend of half ranch, half italian dressing.  So delicious!

I enjoyed a few of the tangerines as I made dinner tonight.  It was the perfect little nosh :)

Apples dipped in almond butter are a favorite snack around here.  Harper and I have plans to go to the zoo tomorrow afternoon and they will be great to eat on the go.

Onions are always handy to have around because pretty much every dish I cook starts out with sautéed onions.  They add so much flavor to a meal, especially red onions.

I am not sure about the specifics of the peppers, but my CSA’s website suggested roasting them and then melting some Manchego cheese on top.  I’m sold!  Sounds absolutely delicious.

And finally, the corn.  Being that this is my first batch of fresh corn of the season, I have a million recipes I am drying to try (including this one).  But I think I might just have to boil it, slap some butter on it and call it a day :)

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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Green Grab Bag

By now, we all know about my obsession with subscription boxes.  There is something about the element of surprise, the excitement of trying something new and the joy of passing on that information to you that keeps me coming back for more.

I came across a new subscription service that I am thrilled to share with you.  White Apricot’s Green Grab Bag is every “green” girls dream.  Packed with 6 samples of the latest and greatest in natural, organic and vegan beauty products, the Green Grab Bag is the ultimate opportunity to “try before you buy”.  And for only $15 a month, it’s a pretty rockin’ deal.  The best news?  If you find a product you like, chances are there’s a Green Grab Bag Exclusive Offer on the full size.  Which means you could potentially save up to 50%!  Gotta love a good discount :)

Each month Green Grab Bag creates a different theme featuring new products.  This month’s theme was “April Showers bring May Flowers” and all the products fit this idea perfectly.  Check out the list of lovely samples I received.

1.  Aura Cacia Shower Tabs:  As a busy mommy on the go, I was most excited about the Relaxing Lavender Shower Tablets.  Not one for baths (total weirdo germaphobe, I know…), these effervescent essential oil tablets are the perfect way for me to unwind and relax without getting in the tub.  They also come in Purifying Eucalyptus (which work wonders when you are feeling stuffy or heavy-headed) or Reviving Peppermint (which is sure to get you going in the early mornings!).  These shower tabs are sure to transform your ordinary hygiene routine into a luxurious spa experience.

2.  Egyptian Magic All Purpose Skin Cream:  I am normally not one to fall for the hype.  But after trying this amazing all-purpose skin cream, I can see why Egyptian Magic has such a huge following.  Not only are all of the ingredients pure and natural, but they work wonders on everything from your skin, to your hair, to your lips.  I can’t wait to get my hands on a full size jar so I can make Egyptian Magic part of my daily routine!

3.  Elemental Herbs Sunscreen:  With summer just around the corner, it is important for me to protect my skin with an all natural, broad spectrum, sunscreen.  Unfortunately, so much of what is on the market today is full of nasty chemicals that are not only harmful to your skin but are unfriendly to the environment.  Made with organic ingredients Elemental Herbs Sunscreen contains no chemicals or parabens and is gentle enough to be used on babies.  So not only do I feel good about protecting my skin from the elements, but I feel good about protecting the environment too.

4.  Golden Earth Chakra Wellness Oils:  Feeling out of balance?  Golden Earth Chakra Wellness Oils can help to renew and restore your balance with a unique blend of essential oils.  Each oil combination is derived from specific plants that resonate with the assigned chakra to allow you to vibrate at a sate of wellness and help heal a state of imbalance.  These oils are great to use as a daily perfume or added to lotion for a full body massage.  I applied my oil to my feet before bed to receive healing while I slept.  It was a wonderful way to heal my mind, body and soul.

5.  Beauty from Flowers Serums and Cleansers:  Have you ever wished for skin was as silky as a rose?  Well, Beauty from Flowers has figured out a way to help women attain that dream.  By harnessing the therapeutic properties found in roses, as well as other plants and flowers, these organic products offer natural sun protection, anti-inflammation, and inhibit the breakdown of elastin, keeping skin supple and smooth.  The name of the product couldn’t be more perfect, as I have learned, it is now possible to recreate the beauty of flowers in your own skin.

6.  Clairvoyant Beauty Toners:  Nothing screams spa-day to me more than the smell of cucumbers.  Whether you wear fresh sliced cucumbers on your eyes, or sip spa water infused with cucumbers, this magical fruit is known for its healing and soothing properties.  This cucumber toner is made from the natural sea salt, enzymes and vitamins in cucumbers which has been shown to stimulate cell growth and strengthen connective tissues.  After using this product my skin felt clean, calm and balanced.  This would be a great addition to any skin care routine.

Not only did I enjoy all of the amazing products featured in the Green Grab Bag, but I was extremely impressed with their beautiful presentation.  Wrapped in an eco-friendly bag, complete with bright green tissue paper, I felt like I was opening up a special gift from a girlfriend.  Attached with a delicate raffia bow was a list of the included items with additional information on each.  I truly appreciated their attention to detail.

I would highly recommend the Green Grab Bag as a monthly subscription.  It is a great way to find out about all the wonderful green beauty products that are currently available.  The Green Grab Bag would also make a fabulous gift for a friend, family member or co-worker.  It takes pampering to a whole new level, making it more fun and creative than ever before.  Plus, with a new bag every month, it is the gift that keeps on giving!  Want to join Green Grab Bag?  Click here to sign up now!

My appreciation to White Apricot’s Green Grab Bag for your generosity.  I am excited about your mission to acquaint others with natural, organic and vegan beauty products and I support you in your endeavor.  I am grateful to be a part of your cause.

* Full Disclosure:  White Apricot’s Green Grab Bag did provide me with a bag free of charge.  I was not paid to write this post.  With exception of some of the factual information given about the various products, all opinions regarding products are my own and 100% honest.

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How is My Garden Growing?: The Next Chapter

The weather on Sunday was warm and sunny.  It was a perfect day to play in the garden.

Even the critters were getting into the action.

But there was a lot of work to be done.  It is time to plant a new batch of crops.  We were excited to harvest some of our winter crops and make room for the vegetables of spring and summer.

We started by digging up our lettuce so we could share them with our friends and neighbors.  We decided to plant rows of corn in it’s place.  We also added a few asparagus plants in the same section as well.  Two of our favorite vegetables!

In the back of our plot we planted a few potatoes, green beans, sweet peas and cucumbers.

We still haven’t seen a huge harvest from our initial strawberry planting, so we decided to add a few more plants to see if it would spark some action.

Finally, we added some shallots and chives to the mix as well.  We are still tending to our carrots, celery, onions, Brussels, and parsley which are all thriving.  We had to say goodbye to our broccoli plant as the weather has been a little too warm and as a result it decided to bloom flowers instead of a head.  Oh well, 8 out of 9 ain’t bad :).

We introduced some worms to our compost bin and are looking forward to the benefits of their hard work.

This experience continues to be enjoyable.  A LOT of hard work, but very fun.  Harper is having a blast too.  Her favorite part is hanging out in the wheel barrel.  She also digs a mean hole with that orange shovel.  Don’t let those little hands fool you.  She takes her job very seriously :)

And even after all of that, we are still not done.  Stay tuned for the next installment.  I see some more delicious veggies in our future :)

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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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What’s in the Box? #5

Is it Wednesday already? My, has this past week gone by fast.  So much going on between Thanksgiving, my brother coming home, Harper’s 9 month check up.  Busy, busy, busy.  To be honest, I forgot what day it was until I spotted my delivery man running towards my door with my produce box.  And then I remembered, oh yeah, it’s my favorite day :)

I didn’t have time to scope out all the goods because I was heading out the door to go visit the garden.  But I took a quick peek and I couldn’t help but do a little happy dance (I know, I am a total produce nerd…but I promise you, it never gets old).

I love eating healthy!  It makes me feel so good.  And getting a weekly produce box makes eating healthy fun and exciting.  I have always been grateful for the opportunity to indulge in fresh fruits and veggies, but having my brother around makes me realize how lucky I am.  Being deployed in Afghanistan, my brother hasn’t seen a fresh fruit or veggie for the past 7 months.  So since he has been home, that is what he has been craving the most.

In honor of my brother, I think I will have to enjoy a side of steamed broccoli.  Growing up, that was always his least favorite vegetable.  He couldn’t be excused from the table until he finished his broccoli.  What is so ironic, is that now, he loves broccoli.  During the time we lived together, he taught me a few different ways to make it.  But you can never go wrong with steamed broccoli tossed with a smidge of butter, sprinkled with a pinch of salt and pepper and finished off with a few squirts of lemon juice.  Simply delicious.

Carrots are always a great item to get because they can be used in so many ways.  Our family usually enjoys them raw but tonight I tossed them into a rice pilaf which was a fun new way to eat them.  I also like to shred them in my salads.  And that head of red Romaine lettuce makes me want to whip up a fresh salad on the spot.  As fresh as my salads are now that I enjoy the lettuce from my produce box, I am looking forward to harvesting lettuce from my own garden.  There’s no way you can get more fresh than that!

While I was unpacking the box, Harper and I enjoyed the garden cucumber.  I was disappointed that there was only one because it was so sweet and refreshing, it left me yearning for more.  Harper had a good time gnawing on it.  I have the feeling she has another tooth on its way in, so I bet the cucumber felt good on her gums.

Aren’t those asian pears ginormous!  I almost didn’t recognize them.  With their crisp and crunchy texture they are going to make for a perfect fall snack.  Speaking of fall snacks, those Pink Lady apples are to die for.  I think this is the first time I have ever gotten Pink Ladies in my box.  Can you believe how many varieties of apples there are?  It blows my mind.  And they don’t only look different, they taste different too.  It makes eating apples a lot more exciting, that’s for sure.

Kiwis.  They will forever remind me of being pregnant.  Last year at this time I would get deliveries of kiwis week after week.  The problem was that I had gestational diabetes (GD) and wasn’t allowed to eat them due to their high sugar content.  Unfortunately, Freddie is not a kiwi fan, so I had to find homes for my precious kiwis.  Getting my first delivery of kiwis this year gave me a sense of accomplishment.  It made me feel proud that I was able to get through the GD, have a healthy baby girl, who now, can sit and enjoy eating fresh kiwis with me.  Isn’t the journey of life funny?

Like I mentioned before, I love it when I get ingredients in my box that work together in a recipe.  My first thought when I saw the fennel was for an amazing pork dish Freddie and I enjoy.  And wouldn’t you know it, it calls for cilantro too!  This bunch of cilantro was especially fragrant today.  That’s when you know its super fresh :)

Last, but not least, spaghetti squash.  I have never handled one of these before but I have heard such wonderful things.  I am not sure how I will prepare it yet, but thanks to Pinterest, I already have a ton of recipes waiting for me.

Looks like its going to be another yummy week.  I already have my fennel and pork recipe ready to go.  It takes a while to cook so I plan on starting it early tomorrow so its ready in time for dinner.  I am looking forward to sharing it with you.  Let’s just hope I get a picture before it ends up in my tummy!

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