Showing posts with label local farmers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label local farmers. Show all posts
There is no doubt if you have a family, budgeting is extremely important during grocery shopping.  This morning while I was shopping I ran into one of my good friends and we were joking around that feeding a family needs its own full time job to pay for it…especially growing boys.  After thinking, I realized I do a lot to budget and save a little at the check outs.


I am sure, if you have kids, you already know how to save but why not share a few of my secrets in case you don’t already use them. :)

•    Buying in season and at the farmers market is a lifesaver for me.  It is a great way to get fresh fruits and produce and to save a few dollars.  Buying straight from the farmer or farm cuts down on the transportation costs and also minimizes the harmful emissions from big trucks.  Shopping at the farmers marketing is an experience in itself, full of vibrant foods, interesting people, and plenty of laughs.



•    Instead of getting fancy “super foods” find your own super foods and concoct a super food recipe.  Social media, the news, and word of mouth spreads food hype so quickly it is hard to know what is actually true and what is just made up to make a little extra money.  There are so many wonderful foods that are readily available for a low costs that are high in nutrients.  Skip the hype and go for something that has lasted the test of time.

•    I never skip the frozen section at the grocery store.  Fruits and vegetables that are in the frozen section are always in season.  Because most of these products are picked and frozen during their peat ripeness, they retain all their nutritional values.  They also go on sale more frequently than fresh products, so stock up.


•    Skip the name brand and chose the store brand.  I know there are those products and brands you can give up, but does it really matter what kind of pasta it is or what brand the olive oil is.  Save a few cents goes a long way when you’re shopping every week.  To make sure I am getting a good quality store brand I always make sure the check and compare the ingredients list.  Sometimes the store brand is even healthier!

•    Coupon!  I don’t mean like “Extreme Couponing” but going on the stores website or browsing a paper before heading to the store can help schedule meals during the week in accordance to what is on sale.  Many stores accept competitor’s coupons and online coupons presented on your smart phone to save on paper.

Saving a few extra bucks a week on groceries can go a long way when you are saving up for college tuition.  What are your grocery saving tricks?

Go Green and Stay Keen,

Julie



Have you have been strolling through your local farmers market and saw some sort of mythical looking fruit or vegetable.  I love finding weird looking fruits or vegetables that I haven’t tried.  Last week I was at the farmers market and found the strangest shaped squash, obviously I had to get it. 

Finding weird shaped fruits and vegetables is always exciting; but finding a “weird” looking new fruits and vegetables are the best.  I think trying new foods is a great way to experiment with cooking and using new ingredients.

After getting home with my odd-ball shaped squash I went surfing the web to find some new fruits and vegetables I haven’t tried.  There are so many out there, here are five fruits and five vegetables that are on my trying to-do list.

Vegetables-

•    Spigarello is a form of broccoli that has a sweet, delicate, less bitter taste.  It is similar to kale, but said to be better.


•    Kabocha Squash is similar to a squash or pumpkin but much sweeter.  There are various recipes with it baked with garlic, cheese, oregano, and olive oil.  A must try!


•    I actually have heard of Sunchokes, or sometimes called a Jerusalem artichoke, but haven’t tried them.  They are actually kind of a sunflower.  It is said to have a nutty taste.


•    Seckle’s look like a pear and are supposed to taste delicious.  They are sometimes called “sugar pears” and are known from their grainy texture and spicy-sweet flavor.

•    Romanesco- I won’t lie, this vegetable looks like it should be part of a science project.  CRAZY!  I found quite a few recipes that say to add it to stir-fry’s for an extra special taste.



Fruits-

•    If you like bananas and pineapples, Jackfruits are supposed to be a delicious combination of flavors!  The Jackfruit has sweet bulbs that cover brown seeds. 

 •    Kiwano is said to have the perfect combination of sweet and sour!  They are also called horned melons.  Kiwanos are full of filling fiber making a great snack.


•    You may have heard Lychee.  It is a sweet smelling fruit with an exotic taste similar to grapes.  They have become somewhat more popular in the past year or so.


•    Grenadia has a similar taste to passion fruit.  The seeds are said to be covered in delicious pulp.  I think they look terrifying on the inside, but I definitely want to try it.




 •    More common in the grocery stores are Star fruits.  I have them all the time, but they are so good I felt the need to share them with you too. This fruit is actually shaped as a star when sliced.  It is crunchy, juicy and full of goodness.


 I hope this list inspired you to pick up those weird fruits and vegetable you’ve been scared to try.  I can’t wait to try all of these and more.  Do you know any more strange food that I should try? I would love to know! :)

Go Green and Stay Keen,

Julie
I have always been fascinated in how the body reacts to the food we consume.  Different foods have properties that benefit internal organs and physical appearance more than others.  Since becoming a vegetarian and being aware of what is going into my body, I have noticed a change in my skin. 


Many of my friends and family ask me what face creams and anti-wrinkle serums I use Neutrogena Healthy Skin Face Lotion SPF 15 a few times a week. But specifically I watch what I eat and understand the benefits of each food.  I swear by a few foods that make my skin look so healthy and rejuvenated.  Here are my favorite foods that keep me looking youthful and have healthy skin.


 Here are my favorite foods that keep me looking youthful and have healthy skin.

•    The Kiwi is my favorite fruit because it is packed with vitamin C and stimulates collagen synthesis which keeps skin tight and smooth fine lines.  I notice less dryness and fewer wrinkles when I consume a diet high in vitamin C.



•    Berries have anti-inflammatory agents and vitamins that help protect against premature aging.  They also are high in antioxidants and minimize the damage of free radicals in the skin that fuel wrinkle formation.  BONUS- Berries are also packed with vitamin C.

 
•    Edamame is a protein filled bean is also packed with collagen; keeping skin firm, youthful, and wrinkle free.  And did I mention, very delicious?



•    The Avocado is rich in protective antioxidants and essential fatty acids keep skin looking plump and smooth.  The “good fat” in avocado is not only beneficial to internal heath, but also replenishes the protective layer of fatty acids around skin cells.  It keeps moisture in the skin, preventing dryness and irritation.  And who doesn’t love a good avocado sandwich or for that matter face mask?

 
•    The orange hue of pumpkins are from carotenoids; wrinkle-fighting agents that neutralize free radicals in the skin.  It is also filled with vitamins C, E, and A, and powerful enzymes that work to cleanse the skin.  Don’t just make jack-o-lanterns this year, save a little for yourself.



From my previous posts, it is clear that I try to keep everything natural.  Keeping my skin tight and youthful is no exception.  Eating these foods and exercising help maintain a healthy body both inside and out.

Why not eat well and look great at the same time, give them a try!

Go Green and Stay Keen,

Julie

Foods for great skin

by on 9/08/2014
I have always been fascinated in how the body reacts to the food we consume.  Different foods have properties that benefit internal organs a...



Ready for another great post on farmers markets?  It is hard not to write about it every time I make a visit.  This morning while mingling amongst a few of my farmer friends, I noticed a couple that appeared to be new to the farmer’s market “scene.”  I went over and introduced myself, it turns out this was their first market.  I shared with them about how much I love buying locally and how farmers markets are the best to do so.  After talking with them, they seemed much more at ease and ready start shopping.

After my encounter with new market goers, I thought it would be great to share a few tips on how to shop at farmers markets if you are new to it and how to experience all that makes it what it is.  So here you go!

•    Go early- I always like to be at the market right after it opens.  There is a large selection and you don’t have to worry about your coveted favorite veggies to be sold out.



•    Bring a few reusable bags to carry your yummy purchases in.  Farmers usually don’t supply their own bags.


•    Bring small amounts of cash.  A lot of famers don’t have change for large bills.  Some larger markets have ATM’s nearby and with technology some farmers even have their own credit card readers.

•    Try new things.  Sometimes the most odd looking vegetable or fruit is the best tasting.  Try new weirdly shaped, unfamiliar or interesting veggies and fruits, your taste buds will thank you!  Every once in a while I find strawberries, like this one, in quite unique shapes.  I sometimes feel bad eating them because they are just so neat.


•    Talk to your farmers!  It is not every day that you get to talk to the person who grew your big juicy tomato. The farmers are often keen to talk with you about their harvests and tell you about the land.  And if you’re lucky, they might even share some of their recipes on how to cook it!  After talking, it is easy to make good food choices and personalize exactly what is on your plate.


•    Ask questions and create a community environment.  Get to know those around you, chat about your best finds, and enjoy the experience.


I’m sure you know from all my posts I really love farmers markets, eating seasonally, and buying locally.  I believe that they are a great place to find fresh, affordable, and delicious fruits, and veggies!

Farmers markets are for everyone!  Don’t be discouraged if you are intimidated on your first visit, trust me, I was too.  I encourage everyone to try to get the most out of local farmers markets and learn to love them as much as I do!

Go Green and Staying Keen,

Julie

Even when you think you know it all…there are always new things to learn and innovative ways to be creative with your food.  I have been a vegetarian for more than five years and still feel like I keep learning new ways to cook and incorporate different ingredients into recipes.  Everyone at the restaurant is so knowledgeable and happy to share ideas and experiences to all that want to listen.  Working at a vegetarian restaurant has catapulted my learning into something even more than I thought possible.  It is definitely what makes working there so great!  


My brilliant chef has not only been my herb garden instigator, but also been my personal cookbook the past couple months.  He is always suggesting new ways to make dishes and how to add a little “pizazz” to an old recipe.  Somehow he can concoct a fresh recipe out of ingredients you would never thought about putting together.  His enthusiasm for vegetarian cuisine is great for our restaurant’s morale, the patrons who come here, and most importantly their taste buds.
As the manager, I have to learned to wear many hats; public relations, human resources, customer service, contracting food and so many more. I have also learned about sourcing food and what to look out for when purchasing goods.  Our restaurant always strives to yield fresh and original blends of ingredients in every dish.  I enjoy purchasing from local farmers that do not process their products.  By buying straight from the farmers you can be assured they have not be cross contaminated any of the products with meat; which is extremely important in our restaurant.  We purchase a few ingredients from a restaurant distributor, but we always make sure that it has been certified as vegetarian by the American Vegetarian Association.
Farmers Market- Meeting with local farmers

The knowledge I have obtained about foods and herbs from working in the restaurant is abundant.  I have a better understanding of ingredients and how they work in to create an unforgettable favor.  I have learned even more about how different types of foods yield important nutrients that are important in a vegetarian diet. Don’t worry I will post be posting my experiences with you, my friends, and family.
Oh, the things I have learned…J I never expected to learn how to order ingredients for a restaurant or working directly with patrons to create new dishes that appeal to them.  I am proud of how far I’ve come and what still lies in front of me.  I hope I never stop learning! 

Go Green and Keep Staying Keen!

Julie

Learning never ends

by on 7/18/2014
Even when you think you know it all…there are always new things to learn and innovative ways to be creative with your food.  I have been a ...