Category Archives: Farmer’s Market

The farmer’s market is back!

I’m so excited that my farmer’s market has opened up on Tuesday mornings again. They were still open on Saturdays through the winter, but since I’m not down that way on Saturdays, I had to do without. It was such a great sight to see all of the fresh produce again! And the wonderful people 🙂

I went back the first day they were open and got some regular and sweet potatoes, plus some kale and spinach. This week when I went, I got the same thing, but also got these beauties!

They are super early this year, but man are they good!! I’m excited for all of the other fresh produce I’m going to be getting this spring and summer. I won’t be having much of a garden this year (but my honey has promised me a lovely raised bed next year!), so I’ll be relying on the farmer’s market again this year for most stuff.

After a year of picking up the fresh stuff there and then going blueberry picking and peach/apple picking, plus having access to copious amounts of blackberries, I’ve learned that the best way to ensure I can have the yummy fruits for months to come is to pick in bulk and then freeze! So that’s my plan this year. I’m hoping to hear from the blueberry farm in the next month or so that they are ready to be picked, then I plan to pick a few gallons so I can have them for smoothies, muffins and oatmeal well into the end of summer and hopefully into the fall. I plan to do the same thing with the peaches and blackberries as well.

I get giddy just thinking about it 😀 Can’t wait!!

Buying in bulk

In thinking about my food purchases lately, I realized that I have been spending more than I originally had planned to spend on groceries for my honey and me. I attribute this to a lot of things, but the main one is that I buy healthy, whole, real foods, and a lot of organic ones at that. It can really add up!

In an effort to reduce my spending, I’ve done quite a bit of bulk shopping for foods lately. It’s amazing how much money you can save by doing this! Plus, there is an abundance of healthy food you can buy in bulk if you know where to look.

Here’s a list of items I’ve bought in the past month, where I bought them, and any savings I’ve had by doing it. If you’re not already buying in bulk, I highly recommend it!!

Local grocery store purchases

  • Organic Golden Flax Seed from the bulk bins– $2.29 per pound. Compare to Bob’s Red Mill- $3.99 per pound. The bulk bin is directly across from Bob’s Red Mill products, so it took me awhile to actually find out that I could buy them in bulk. I use flax seed in some way every day, so I definitely need to save on it in any way I can!
  • Organic Brown Rice from the bulk bins– $0.59 per pound! I love having brown rice on hand when I need to bulk up a meal, so this is a cheap way for me to buy it.
  • Fruit to freeze- last week at my store, Mangoes and Kiwi were on sale. I loaded up on them and chopped and froze them for smoothies.
  • Organic Baby Spinach- $5.99 for 16oz. If I’m eating a lot of salads this will only last me a week or so, but I have been using it mostly for smoothies lately so it has lasted maybe two weeks. I plan to stock up next time they have a sale and freeze the spinach in cubes like Amy suggested for kale.
Online purchases
  • Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil 32oz– buy one get one free- $40. This is top of the line coconut oil, that’s why it is so expensive. I probably would never spend that much on this stuff without this deal. However, the two times I’ve bought a 16oz jar at the grocery store, it has been nearly $1 per ounce…so this is actually much cheaper and a better deal since I’m getting 64oz for $40! Plus, coconut oil has so many excellent health benefits, to me it is worth it to buy.
  • Pamela’s Baking Mix– 12lbs (three 4lb bags) for $32.51 on Amazon with Subscribe and Save (Thanks Mindy for recommending it!). I bought one 4lb bag at Whole Foods this summer for $16, so this was a HUGE savings!

Costco: I love Costco. I am always surprised to find such healthy foods in bulk there. Especially when they are organic! My most recent finds are:

  • Organic Peanut Butter two-pack: $8.75 for 56oz. I was paying $3.99 or $4.99 for 16oz at my regular grocery store…never again! The great thing is, it tastes really good too!!!
  • Grass-fed ground beef: $4.66/lb. I can find organic ground beef at my grocery store for $4.99 and maybe sometimes $4.79, but it is not grass-fed. Plus, at Costco you have to buy 3 pounds at a time, so I can plan ahead with meals or just always keep one on hand for quick marinara sauce or chili.
  • Organic boneless, skinless chicken thighs: $3.99/lb. I can find these much cheaper in my grocery store, but they have the skin and bones. I don’t mind the skin and bones, so I might only pick them up at Costco if I want to use the meat for something other than just eating it straight off the plate (like for chili or chicken salad).
  • Organic quinoa: Under $10 for 4lbs! This bag probably lasted me nearly a year. A little bit of quinoa goes a long way!
  • Quaker Oats: $6.99 for 10lbs. TEN POUNDS! That is quite a steal. And to answer your question, no I do not buy gluten-free oats. I have found that I do not have any side effects or issues from eating regular Quaker oats, so I’m going to stick with them since they are so cheap.
  • Walnuts: $13 for 3lbs. I eat walnuts pretty much every day in some form or fashion, so I only buy them at Costco. They are $8.99/lb at my grocery store, so it is a huge savings. I’m excited for the fall though….our walnut tree in our yard produced this year!!
  • Kirkland brand Nut & Seed and Nut & Fruit Granola bars– even though I make my own granola bars a lot of the time, I find that my honey needs more than that each day, so I read all of the labels of the granola bars Costco offered and these were the healthiest. No weird oils, no high-fructose corn syrup, lower sugar, no soy, wheat-free, and seriously delicious. I plan on making my own version of the Nut & Seed one soon!
As you can probably tell, I shop at lots of different places in order to get the best deals on the healthy foods I like to buy. I’m glad that I have that option, but I also buy online when I know I can get things for cheaper that way.

I also plan to stock up at the Farmer’s Market tomorrow on certain items. One thing I will definitely be buying in bulk tomorrow is butternut squash! I made another batch of my Butternut Squash Pancakes yesterday and I know I will be making them more and more as the fall comes into full swing because they are just that good 🙂 I’m also going to look for sweet potatoes, white potatoes and carrots too!

Do you buy in bulk? What do you buy? Have you gotten a good deal on healthy food recently? From where?

Butternut Squash Pancakes

Last week, Jenna over at Eat, Live, Run posted her favorite fall recipes. One of them stood out to me: Butternut Squash Pancakes.

At first, I was a little taken aback. Butternut squash in pancakes? But remembering that I had leftover roasted butternut squash (which I picked up from the farmer’s market last week) from making my cheesy rice casserole, I decided I’d give it a try.

I pureed up the roasted butternut squash and just went for it. I halved my pancake recipe (omitting the nuts because I forgot!) and added about 1/4 cup squash. The final product was excellent! However, I just made them even better 🙂

Butternut Squash Pancakes (inspired by Jenna)

This fall recipe will warm your heart and soothe the soul after a long day (trust me!!!!). The added squash gives the pancakes a boost flavor-wise, but also nutrient-wise with loads of fiber and vitamin A. Enjoy for either breakfast or dinner (like me!). 

1 cup GF baking mix/flour

1 tsp cinnamon/nutmeg blend or pumpkin pie spice

1/4 cup oats

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground flax seed plus 2 1/2 tbsp water, then set aside)

1 cup raw milk, plus a few tablespoons to thin it out to desired consistency

1 cup butternut squash puree

1-2 tbsp coconut oil

pure maple syrup

Make your flax egg and set aside. Mix together the dry ingredients. Add the flax egg, 1 cup of milk and the butternut squash. Mix well. Use a few tablespoons of milk to thin it out if necessary. Heat your skillet or frying pan over low heat. Wait until it is heated to pour on your first pancake. You want the batter to sizzle as you pour it on. After it is heated, drop a tablespoon of coconut oil in and let it melt and coat the pan with it. Pour the batter into the skillet and thin out with a spatula if too thick. Let cook until bubbles form around the edges. Make sure the coconut oil touches the edges of the pancake as it cooks. This will allow it to almost fry in the oil giving it a crispy edge. Trust me, the coconut oil is totally worth it and takes these pancakes to a whole new level!! Serve with a generous drizzle of maple syrup 🙂

I will be working on editing my pictures from the weekend, but I can’t help but share this one I took Saturday morning when I first got to see Ally again. That face will warm the heart and soothe the soul too 🙂 Enjoy!

One Recipe Tuesday?

It was Farmer’s Market today again 🙂 I didn’t get as much this week because I still had some leftover squash at home. This week it was eggs, garlic, watermelon and peaches! I’m so excited to have peaches again 😀 I really meant to take pics at the market this morning, but I forgot again! Next week, I promise I’ll get some because it is beautiful!

I also picked up some homemade kombucha, which is a fermented tea. In this case, it was oolong and rooibos tea. I’ve been reading about other bloggers drinking this, plus my chiropractor suggested it, so I decided to pick up two bottles today. At $3 a pop, they definitely aren’t cheap! The flavor is very interesting and it took me awhile to get through the bottle and I actually didn’t finish it today! I don’t feel any different after drinking it (which a lot of people say they do!), so we’ll see if I end up buying it again.

I was planning on sharing both my pasta salad and my potato salad recipes that I made this weekend, BUT I failed to take a picture of either of them….

So instead, I am sharing a recipe I made up tonight to go with my leftover chicken!

Cheesy Squashy Quinoa

  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup chicken stock (plus a little water)
  • diced zucchini
  • diced yellow squash
  • 1/4 roasted butternut squash
  • salt and pepper
  • Parmesan cheese

1. Start by mixing the chicken stock and quinoa in a saucepan.

2. Heat over high heat to a boil. Simmer until the little white things spring out (so technical, right?).

3. Add a little water to the pan and throw in the zucchini and squash and cover with a lid to steam the veggies a little bit.

4.Meanwhile, pulse the roasted butternut squash in a food processor until finely chopped.

5. Add the butternut squash to the saucepan and mix well.

6. Season with salt and pepper, then grate in Parmesan cheese to taste.

Enjoy with the most fabulous leftover chicken ever!!! Oh, you don’t have any?? I do! But I won’t be sharing because seriously it is that good 🙂

Thanks for the suggestions for detoxing! I’m pretty similar in that I am including lots of veggies in my meals, staying away from added sugars. Also, resisting the urge to devour tortilla chips has been tough, but rewarding. I’m feeling phenomenal today!

On the menu today was the following:

Breakfast

Oatmeal with walnuts, flax seed and rasp-, black-, and blueberries

Glass of raw milk

Snack

Protein Balls

Larabar (before my noontime workout)

Lunch

Spinach salad with carrots, apples, chicken, and walnuts

Carrots and peanut butter

Snack

Apple

Yogurt

Dinner

See yummy pic above 🙂

I made enough quinoa so I can have leftovers tomorrow for lunch, so I know I’ll be set with that. I’m also about to finish making my triple nut crunch granola bars!!

Have you ever tried kombucha? What do you think of it?

Detox

After so much good food this weekend, I feel it is imperative for me to do a little detoxing!! I have no plan for said detox, but I know it will include lots of smoothies and salads. Feel free to shout out your favorite foods to eat when you feel you’ve overdone it for awhile. I’d love suggestions!

Although I drank LOTS of water and did a lot of exercising this week with the crazy amount of stair-climbing I did on Friday and the 4 mile hike yesterday (more to come on this later!), it still didn’t make up for the food I took in! I’m not mad at myself, nor do I feel guilty for eating such great food all weekend. Instead, I know I just need to get back on track with my healthy eating and my workouts so I can get rid of the puffiness I’m feeling. You better believe that meal planning and workout planning will be taking place today 🙂

Although I don’t really have a plan, I know that I will be limiting some foods this week and increasing my intake of others. I have eaten far too many tortilla chips in the past week, so I will definitely be cutting those out. My salsa is totally addicting and I couldn’t get enough of it yesterday, meaning I ate a million chips to wash it down with!! Plus, I haven’t had any of my granola bars since late last week, so I know I haven’t been taking in enough protein. Luckily I made that batch of protein balls! I’m getting much more used to the flavor of the chickpeas, so I’m enjoying them.

Did I tell you that my honey likes them too?? I had him try a bite in the car on Friday and do you know what he said? “I want another one of those!” My jaw dropped!! I love it when he likes the crazy healthy food I make 🙂

I will be going to the farmer’s market again tomorrow, so I’m hoping to pick up more of the yumminess below! I know I will feel so much better once I start putting good food in me 🙂

Do you ever do a mini detox? What kind of stuff do/don’t you eat or drink?

Fresh food

I don’t really have two recipes that I’m ready to share today, so I figured I’d just show you my yummy fresh food from the farmer’s market and a new grocery store near my work!

First up, the farmer’s market. It never disappoints!!

A bag of red potatoes to make Jenna’s potato salad, carrots, a squash that I don’t know the name of, small yellow squash, yellow zucchini and green zucchini, cherry tomatoes, two ears of corn (to grill for dinner tonight!), a bulb of garlic, a pound of ground beef for burgers tonight, and finally, a sprite. It is a sweet melon that has more of a crunchy texture than honeydew or cantaloupe. It is VERY different from the crenshaw melon I got last week but really good!

Onto the Food Co-Op. My first trip there was during lunch today with a group I’m working with for the year on a big campus-wide project (I’ll post more about it tomorrow). The Co-op just opened about a month ago and it is fabulous!! Bulk bins galore, organic local produce, brand name organic products that you’d find at Whole Foods, a small salad bar, local cheeses, to-go items from local restaurants. Do you know what the greatest thing was though? The peanut butter machine!!!! You just flip the switch and the whole peanuts get ground up into extremely fresh peanut butter 🙂 It’s not as creamy as packaged brands; it’s almost the consistency of Reese’s PB- YUM! Plus, I paid only $2 for nearly 2 cups- perfect for my granola bars! They also had an almond butter one, but that will have to wait until next time!

The goods: two cans of tomatoes with green chiles to make my salsa, a can of garbanzo beans to make Julie’s protein ball recipe, celery for the aforementioned potato salad, colby jack and ricotta cheese for upcoming recipes, broccoli, and of course the PB!!

I feel like I don’t really need to go to Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods since I have such great food options so close! Thank goodness for the farmer’s market being open on Tuesday mornings, otherwise I would not be able to get all of that great stuff!

Do you shop at a farmer’s market? Do you have a grocery store with local foods?

Two recipe Tuesday

Before I get to the recipes for today, I have to show you the loot I picked up at the farmer’s market today 😀

For $21, I picked up the following:

  • two ears of corn
  • a yellow zucchini- it looks white though…
  • a green zucchini
  • a patty pan squash- which I’ve never tried but am excited to grill it up tonight like the guy suggested!
  • 1/4 peck peaches- I see a lot of peach smoothies in my future- my honey’s personal fave!
  • bag of potatoes
  • one head of garlic
  • a beautiful head of deep dark green romaine
  • a dozen eggs
  • and lard. YES, I said LARD!!! Apparently it is the best stuff to season an iron skillet with. Plus, it’s not as bad for you as society has made it out to be. I have a fabulous book to review for you all that talks about it specifically. I promise to try to get to that post this weekend!

Onto the eats! The two recipes today are great dinner dishes. Both are fairly quick and don’t require crazy ingredients.

Call me crazy for making chili in the middle of the summer, but it is such a quick and easy bulk meal for me to make so I can have a good nutritious lunch all week! This batch made me five 2-cup servings and one 1-cup serving. Perfect for the work week!

Kristin’s World-Famous Chili (okay, not really, but wouldn’t that be cool?!)

Stellar picture, right? Sorry! I haven't really served it up in a nice way to take a photo of it.

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 lb ground beef (or chicken, see note below)
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 28oz can tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • dash of red pepper flakes to taste
  • 1 cup corn

1. Heat a large stockpot over medium heat.

2. Saute the onions and garlic for a few minutes or until onions are translucent.

3. Add ground beef and cook until no longer pink.

4. Drain and rinse both cans of beans.

5. Add beans to meat mixture, followed by the undrained tomatoes.

6. Then add the corn. Add spices and mix well.

7. Let simmer for 20 minutes to allow flavors to blend. You could eat it right away if you wanted to though! Serve with tortilla chips and cheese on top!

Note: to make this with chicken instead, simply skip the ground beef step and mix everything else together. Add cooked chicken once everything else has been mixed together. Allow to simmer for 20 minutes so the chicken absorbs the seasoning.

Creamy quinoa with veggies

Again with the stellar photography today...!

I bought some ricotta cheese to make a ravioli recipe recently (which was pretty fab by the way!), but I had a lot left over. What’s a girl to do? Make up recipes with it! I found a blueberry banana bread made with greek yogurt over at Daily Garnish and decided to replace the greek yogurt with ricotta cheese. It only sort of turned out…that’s why I’m not sharing my recipe here today! It was good, but I need to work on my ratio of wet to dry ingredients before I share it.

Anyways, I still had extra left over. My honey doesn’t mind eating quinoa, but always wants some sort of sauce for it. I decided to whip this up for dinner the other night and it turned out fabulous!

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 1/2 large squash, diced
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan (more or less to taste)
  • salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat the oil in a saucepan.

2. Saute garlic and onions until onions are translucent.

3. Add the chicken stock and quinoa.

4. Cover and bring to a boil.

5. Lower the heat to a simmer and let the quinoa cook until most of the liquid is absorbed.

6. Add the spinach, zucchini and squash and cover again to allow the veggies to steam a little.

7. Once everything is cooked, add the ricotta and Parmesan, then season with salt and pepper.

Have you ever cooked with lard? What’s your ‘world-famous’ recipe??