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What’s in the Box? #82

What's in the Box?

It’s officially Fall and I couldn’t be more excited.  Where as summer is my favorite time for fresh fruit, the colder months welcome the harvest of the most delicious veggies.  I love the abundance of leafy greens and sweet winter squash and do my best to celebrate their seasonal goodness by incorporating them into as many meals as I can (for the record, I’ve served butternut squash 4 different ways in the last week…that’s how happy I am that it’s fall!).

And my affection for autumn goes beyond the produce.  Now that I’m a mom, I actually look forward to Halloween again.  I love seeing Harper dressed up in her costume (which we purchased yesterday) and finding spooky activities for us to do as a family that give her the opportunity to wear it over and over again (got to get our money’s worth!)

Finally, I love fall because it’s my birthday on Sunday!  I can’t believe I am going to be 31 already.  Seems like just yesterday I was celebrating the big 3-0.  My how time flies :)

So in honor of fall, and in honor of my birthday this weekend, let’s party it up with some fruits and veggies!

Last week we had 8 link ups and it week was a great reminder of why I continue to host this link party.  For one, it’s nice to know I’m not the only person who gets overly excited about local and organic produce.  But more than that, your new and creative ideas on how to make use of it all never ceases to amaze me.  It’s no secret that I am a kale lover through and through.  And even with all the ways I have prepared it, I have never thought about putting it into fried rice.  Nothing short of genius Kirsten :)  Next, broccoli is a weekly staple in our house.  And although I often scramble it in my eggs, I love Sam’s idea of turning it into breakfast tacos.  Finally, I am sure we can all attest to the importance of onions in our lives, but did you ever know an onion could create such beautiful and delicious masterpieces?  Angie of The Novice Gardener has a gift of making ordinary things extraordinary.

Thanks to everyone for linking up and sharing their goodies.  Keep ’em coming :)

And now for my first haul of fall…

What's in the Box? #82

Before I go any further, I have to bring attention to my tomatoes.  Do you notice the sad face on the top tomato?  He’s bummed that his season has come to an end.  So I have decided to make the best out of my last crop of tomatoes, and whip up a Tomato and Corn Pie.  Yum!  And on the side, a lovely green salad, with grated carrots, nuts and dried fruit.

I picked up some boneless pork ribs on sale yesterday. I have never cooked with them before, but was able to find a recipe I am really excited about.  When I was planning out the meal, I thought a side of green beans would compliment the dish nicely and lucky me, I got some fresh ones in my box this week…score!

I roasted up the potatoes tonight for dinner and they were delish.  I tossed them with minced garlic and melted butter and baked them with some chicken for an hour and the result was scrumptious.

Speaking of scrumptious…nothing makes me happier than a huge bunch of kale.  I am officially in heaven.  And I plan on making Kirsten’s fried rice with it for lunch tomorrow.  I have no doubt it will be perfect :)

And for an afternoon snack?  I’m looking forward to having some of that melon with a bowl of cottage cheese.  The perfect balance of savory and sweet.

Finally, fresh oranges.  Is there anything better?  I’m hoping we can hold out on them until Sunday, so I can enjoy a glass or two of orange juice with my breakfast in bed.

Your turn: What are some of your favorite ways to incorporate your CSA fruits and veggies into simple and delicious meals? Looking forward to drooling over your ideas.

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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What’s in the Box? #80

What's in the Box?

I think it’s safe to say, we are officially “OC” residents.  We have a library card (and have visited 3 times already!), spent an entire morning in line at the DMV in an attempt to get a new driver’s license (lost mine during our travels this summer) and Harper is enrolled in preschool.  Phew…it’s been quite a week, but everything is starting to fall into place.

Here is my little muffin on her first day at her new school… (in her chucks of course!)

Harper's First Day of Pre-School

(for the record, little miss came up with this pose all on her own.  I merely asked her to stand by the tree…)

And all the while, we have been enjoying our delicious and nutritious treats from our new CSA.  I have also been enjoying perusing over your CSA eats from last week.  We had 10 link ups and apparently it was all about the green.  Green beans, pesto, and green tomato bacon jam.  The perfect veggie color :)

Thanks to everyone who linked up and shared their awesome ideas with us.  Keep ’em coming!

As for me, this is what I will be working with this week…

What's in the Box? #80And before we go any further, I have to mention the 3 garlic cloves that I forgot to place in the box before the picture.  Didn’t realize it until all the produce was put away…darn.

I am most excited about the figs!  I have never received figs in my box before, nor have I ever even tried one.  Not sure why, I have just never come across them before.  Looking forward to whipping up a savory dish with them that the whole family will enjoy.  Which means the garlic will come in handy for that recipe as well.  And Freddie and Harper can’t wait for a side of my famous mashed potatoes.

Next, 3 cheers for Thai basil!  It has been a while since I have gotten some in my box and I am looking forward to cooking with it.  It has such a lovely aroma and the flavor bursts in your mouth.

The taco salad last week was a big hit so I plan on duplicating that again.  I will chop up some of the tomatoes to throw on top in addition to some of those sweet peppers.

I am happy to see another bundle of grapes.  Our last batch went pretty quickly so I am hoping to experiment some more with recipes this week.

For the carrots, I have a great chicken recipe that calls for roasted carrots.  It’s a recipe I have been dying to share with you, so hopefully this will stand as a reminder for me to post it ASAP.

Speaking of roasting…love me some roasted cauliflower.  I roasted some last week for Harper to throw in with her broccoli and she LOVED it!

Your turn: What are some of your favorite ways to incorporate your CSA fruits into simple and delicious meals? Looking forward to drooling over your ideas.

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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Kale Salad

Kale Salad - In Her Chucks

This summer I fell in love…with kale.

Since subscribing to my CSA 3 years ago, I have been slowly warming up to this leafy green vegetable.  But over the last few months, my affection for kale has reached a whole new level.  Whether I am munching on kale chips, drinking kale juice, or dipping some sliced cucumbers in kale pesto, I just can’t get enough.  But this salad is definitely my go-to recipe.  And I have been going to it A LOT this summer.

What makes this recipe so good is the bright and complex flavors.  There is something about the mixture of sesame seed oil and soy sauce that sends me over the edge.  Add a few squeezes of fresh citrus and minced garlic and the dressing is nothing short of a party in your mouth.  And then of course, who doesn’t love the extra texture of toasted sesame seeds and perfectly ripe avocado perched on top of these leaves of glory.  Do you catch my drift?  It really is a healthy slice of heaven ;)

Ingredients

1/2 cup fresh orange juice

3 tbsp fresh lemon juice

2 tsp soy sauce

1 clove garlic, minced and smashed into a paste (or use a garlic press)

4 tbsp toasted sesame oil

3 avocados, peeled, pitted and chopped

2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

1 bunch kale, stemmed and chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

Place kale into a large serving bowl.  Add remaining ingredients (except for the avocado) and toss to coat.  Gently fold avocados into the salad and season with salt and pepper to taste.

This recipe makes a good portion of salad.  If you are anything like me, you might be able to scarf it all down in one sitting.  But if you find yourself with left overs, the good news is that it keeps well in the fridge overnight.  So feel free to enjoy it the next day for lunch.  However, if you plan on sharing it with friends for a bbq or potluck, you might want to double the recipe because I can promise you the salad will be gone within minutes.

I have to admit, I feel terrible that it took me so long to befriend kale.  But now that we are clearly BFFs I have no doubt we will be making up for lost time.

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What’s in the Box? Recipe Roundup #14

What's in the Box?

After over 2 months of vacation, Harper and I are finally back to reality.  It feels nice to unpack our bags, hang up our clothes and put our toiletries back in the medicine cabinet.  But lots has happened since we first left for Ireland back in June.  While we were gone, Freddie got another new job.  Which means yet another move for us (which, if you’re still keeping track is 12 moves in 8 years…with 3 of those moves happening in the last 8 months).  As much as we had hoped they would, things just didn’t work out for us in San Louis Obispo.  But as they say, when one door closes, another one opens, and Freddie’s new opportunity is even better than his last.  So while Harper and I were visiting friends and family all over the globe, Freddie was busy packing up our new home up north and moving us south to good ol’ Orange County.

Luckily, I am no stranger to this area.  I have aunts, uncles and cousins who live in Orange County and so I guess you can say I have grown up coming to visit here.  It’s just so much bigger than what we have become accustomed to after living in Santa Barbara for the past 3 years.  But there is nothing better than being close to family, so we are very grateful for that.

And of course, I couldn’t approve of the move until I found a CSA.  And my new one sounds awesome!  I just didn’t submit my subscription in time to get a box this week, so next Tuesday I will be picking up a box and can’t wait to share it with you all.

But in the meantime, let’s check out the links from last week.  I am loving the rooty, tooty, fresh and fruity flavors that are coming our way…Pizza with Raspberries, Pasta with Peaches, and Quinoa with Cranberries (and pineapple mint!).  Get’s me more excited than it should.  But, as we all know, I have a weakness for fruit.  Which is why I have decided to share my favorite summer fruit recipes this week.

Enjoy!

Raspberry Chicken

Raspberry Chicken with Homemade Rice Pilaf - In Her Chucks

Fresh Strawberry Yogurt Cake

Fresh Strawberry Yogurt Cake - In Her Chucks

Lime Pistachio Squares

Lime Squares with Pistacio Graham-Cracker Crust - In Her Chucks

Lemon Iced Tea

Lemon Iced Tea - In Her Chucks

Your turn: What are some of your favorite ways to incorporate your CSA fruits into simple and delicious meals?  Looking forward to drooling over your ideas.  

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.

Ingredients

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

Preparation

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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What’s in the Box? Recipe Roundup #8

What's in the Box?

Greetings from Ireland!  Harper and I just touched down this morning and are so grateful to be on the Emerald Isle.  After nearly 24 hours of traveling, we are officially exhausted!  Luckily, I have a rockstar of a toddler who was perfect every step of the way…

ireland trip

It’s going to be a pretty rockin party while we are here.  Harper and I have never been to visit since my mom moved to Ireland 7 years ago so she is pretty excited to be hosting us in her beautiful home.

Speaking of parties…we all know there ain’t no party like a produce party and this produce party don’t stop.  So let’s take a look at last week’s party.  For one there were 15 links…Woo Hoo!  And seriously, I need every single one in my belly immediately.  But I thought it would be fun to highlight some delicious summer dishes that are sure to take your family BBQs to a whole new level.  My favorite link this week comes from Meghan of Clean Eats, Fast Feets.  Are you a strawberry lover?  Than you are going to die over this berry filled post complete with Strawberry Pasta!  Next, what BBQ is complete without some kebobs?  Luckily Lauren from Gourmet Veggie Mama has got you covered.  And finally, I am sure we have all enjoyed a nice juicy grilled piece of steak before but have you ever tried bison?  Melissa from Lettuce Never Squash Our Love has me curious to add this lean meat to my next cookout menu.  Thanks to everyone who linked up!  You continue to make my week extra special with your delicious and nutritious meals :)

Now on to some of my favorite green dishes in honor of my Irish Leprechauns :)

For starters, with all the avocados I have been getting in my CSA this summer, guacamole is the perfect solution.  And my recipe just happens to be the best… The Ultimate Guacamole

The Ultimate Guacamole - In Her Chucks

Next, what’s more green than, well…Green Rice!

Green Rice - In Her Chucks

And of course, what in the world is a green foods recipe roundup without a beautiful green salad…one of my favs by far…Strawberry Salad

Strawberry Salad - In Her Chucks

Even though soup in the middle of summer sounds far from appetizing, this soup is magical, and totally worth a brow full of sweat.  Plus, it’s got amazing health benefits…Watercress Soup

Watercress Soup - In Her Chucks

And finally, a bunch of tasty meatballs, served on a bed of Boy Choy.  Sautéed greens at their finest…Turkey-Basmati Rice Meatballs with Bok Choy

Turkey-Basmati Meatballs with Bok Choy - In Her Chucks

Your turn:  What are some of your favorite green recipes?  Feel free to link up some of the CSA inspired meals that you are the most proud of.  Looking forward to drooling over your dishes :)

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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What’s in the Box? #74

What's in the Box?

 

One of the things I loved most about gardening, was that seeing all the time and effort that went into planting, watering and growing my own food, helped me to appreciate my harvest so much more.  It’s no secret that I have a deep affection for my CSA box, but after last week’s visit to my CSA farm, I appreciate it so much more!    

For one, the property was just breathtaking…

 

CSA Farm

Rows and rows of luscious fresh greens, just waiting to be picked and devoured.  

 

CSA Farming

 

I was so grateful to be given a personal tour by the director of the CSA program.  We walked through the entire journey of the veggies from the ground, to the cooler, to the delivery truck.   

CSA

 

And it all happens in one day.  Now that’s fresh!  

Harper and I had such a blast on our tour.  Looking forward to heading out for another visit soon :)

Now let’s take a look at what type of freshness the party goers have been whipping up.  Last week there were 8 link ups.  And my oh my are there some yummy dishes to brag about.  As much as I love my produce, I also love me some bacon.  Thanks to Jess from Hesitantly Healthy, I can enjoy some Easy Baked Brussels Sprouts, Red Potato and Bacon from the comfort of my computer screen…drool!  And Tammy from Agrigirl shared a beautiful and colorful Yellow Squash Gazpacho.  Finally, I am loving the simple and clean flavors of Brian’s Avocado Toast from Lettuce Never Squash our Love.  Thanks to everyone for linking up and sharing their delicious goodies.  You continue to spoil me :)

You know who else keeps spoiling me?  My freakin awesome CSA!  Check out this week’s haul…

What's in the Box? #74- In Her Chucks

Raspberries AND blackberries…SCORE!  And let me tell you…they are perfectly juicy and sweet.  Simply irresistible.  But I am working my self-control like never before because I have some delicious savory dishes planned for these little gems.  Hoping to get the chance to share them with you :)

Next up are the zucchini.  A HUGE favorite of mine.  Mostly because I can’t get enough of these Turkey Burgers with Homemade Zucchini Fries.  And getting another bunch of crunchy carrots worked out well too, since the burgers aren’t complete without them.  I topped the patties with white cheddar cheese and half of an avocado.  Oh, and some of that crispy green lettuce.  Dinner tonight was heaven.

There is no produce more beautiful to me than golden beets.  They are vibrant, bright and when the dirt and residue are washed away, they almost resemble a glistening gem.  My recipe of choice for golden beets is my Roasted Beets with Walnuts and Gorgonzola because they make the dish sparkle, but this week, my husband has requested beet fritters.  So fritters it is.  And with the fritters I will be serving a perfectly grilled rib eye steak and some of those enormous artichokes, which will also be grilled.

And finally, the leeks.  I am torn with the leeks because I have so many delicious recipes to choose from.  So I guess we will have to see where my taste buds take me this week.  

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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What’s in the Box? Recipe Roundup #6

What's in the Box?

Well hello there!  Did you miss me?  Did you think I fell off the face of the earth?  My apologies for leaving you all hanging last week but this moving thing has been kicking my butt!  So grateful to be settling in to our new home but it hasn’t been easy.  The biggest challenge we had to face was looking for a refrigerator.  Who knew it could be so difficult?  And living without one for a week…now, that was rough!  We had to eat out for every meal, which is something we are not used too.  My poor husband has never been happier to eat a home cooked meal.  I guess the saying is true, you don’t know what you got till it’s gone…

I have yet to find a CSA (although I haven’t been looking too hard since we were without a refrigerator).  But now that the kitchen is up and running it is only a matter of time before a produce box will be delivered to my doorstep.  In the meantime, I thought I would reflect on some of my past boxes and share some of the recipes that never made the blog.

But before we get to that, let’s check out some of the link ups from the last party.  I was most excited to drool over see Views From Here’s Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Cranberry Almond Pesto.  How awesome does that sound?  I am also loving all of The 100 Mile Kitchen’s homemade soups right now.  And finally, what’s a WITB link party without a Farm Fresh Feasts pizza?  It’s only been a week and you ladies already have me jonesing for my fruits and veggies again.  Thanks for linking up and sharing your CSA goodies with the rest of the party.

Now it’s time to take a quick jaunt down memory lane and admire some produce stars from the past.

April 24, 2013: What’s in the Box? #71 

What's in the Box? #71

Kale Salad:  Ok, so I have been telling you guys about this salad for a while now and I have yet to post the recipe.  But a few weekends ago I made it again and it was so super duper stellar it is back on my radar.  So consider this an IOU.  I can’t wait to share the recipe with you.  And please, continue to bug me if I forget to post it soon.  It is the perfect summer BBQ dish :)

April 17, 2013: What’s in the Box? #70

What's in the Box? #70

Grapefruit Ricotta Cookies:  Is this post still considered a recipe roundup if 2 out of the 5 recipes aren’t actually recipes at all?  My apologies again for being such a slacker but at least in this case I have a picture.  I just can’t share it with you yet because I need to write the post.  But it is top of the order on my list of things to do (blog related at least) and I am hoping to get it done this weekend.  Trust me, it’s worth the wait!

April 11, 2013: What’s in the Box? #69

img_5403

Pork Tenderloin with Strawberry Chardonnay Sauce:  So what do you do when you have strawberries coming out of your ears?  Well, you can make a Fresh Strawberry Yogurt Cake or you can whip up a delicious and nutritious dinner for your whole family (or in my case, you can do both!).  This amazing recipe came from the new Yummy Mummy Kitchen cookbook that my dear friend Sasha picked up for me.  It is loaded with creative and healthy ways to use your favorite farm fresh produce.  It’s the first thing I turn to for inspiration nowadays.

April 4, 2013:  What’s in the Box? #68

What's in the Box? #68

Chicken with Creamy Spinach and Shallots:  As much as I love to cook, I LOVE when my mom cooks for me.  And lucky for me when she was in town for my brother’s wedding she totally spoiled me with a ton of fresh and delicious home cooked meals.  But this one was by far my favorite.  Served with a side of rice pilaf this dish is affordable, easy to make and oh so scrumptious.  Can’t wait to recreate it again soon.

March 27, 2013: What’s in the Box? #67

What's in the Box? #67

Pumpkin Mac and Cheese:  So I recently broke my own rules and indulged myself in a batch of homemade Pumpkin Mac and Cheese.  And I have absolutely no regrets.  The sage made me do it.  And between the aroma of fresh pumpkin and the intense food coma I was in afterwards, I could have sworn it was Thanksgiving all over again.  Note to self:  Make this for Thanksgiving from this year forward.  It is an amazing addition to a traditional feast.

Your turn:  What are some of your favorite CSA recipes?  Feel free to link up some of the CSA inspired meals that you are the most proud of.  Looking forward to drooling over your dishes :)

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

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