Assessment time

I'm not one for assessments, but sometimes it just wants to be done. Lately I've been having some "Wow!" moments when I think about our food choices and I thought I would share some of them with you. We've been shopping at the farmer's market for a year now and have been on the dairy, egg, and meat-free pathway for about the same amount of time. We do eat cheese now and then, when it pops up at us, and the girls do eat meat when it's offered to them, but for the most part, our family diet consists of local vegetables and fruit, grains and beans, pasta, a small amount of tofu, and soup - lots and lots of soup.

Here's my Wow! list of things that have struck me as odd, awesome, and awful:

1. Awesome: aside from the short-lived cold that Jeff and I picked up after Christmas, we've been healthy all fall and winter. None of us has gotten the H1N1 or flu vaccine (yet...?) and we've so far managed to avoid those illnesses plus the usual colds, stomach bugs, ear infections, and a host of others that crop up during these cold months. I like to think that all the Vitamin A and C we're getting from our local winter veggies is helping us out.

2. Odd & awesome: now that we've been introduced to certain vegetables, we find that we choose them over others at the market instead of ignoring them. Cabbage and turnips come to mind. Who would have thought we would jump at the chance to buy a cabbage for soup? And turnips.... I never would have pictured myself bolting toward the turnips, picking the bunch with the nicest looking greens attached. I love the turnips that are grown here. They're small, perhaps an inch in diameter, and usually white. They're so sweet, whether you eat them raw or roasted or cooked in soup. Use them as you would a potato, and you won't be disappointed. The greens make a fabulous salad. Last night I made a new recipe that was wonderful. Here it is:

Toast some pecans and set them aside. Slice several small turnips (1-inch in diameter) very thinly, and add them, with the pecans, to a bowl of washed turnip greens, cut into salad-size pieces. Top with a warm dressing and serve at once.

To make the dressing, combine the following ingredients in a saucepan and whisk over medium heat:
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons olive oil

3. Awesome: I've said it before, and I was reminded of it again tonight as I tasted the mashed potatoes I made for dinner. Taste. Local, organic vegetables have so much flavor! I made mashed potatoes in honor of 'A' because she's been having trouble swallowing her food (nothing new for her, but it's reached a new level of grossness). We're going to talk to her pediatrician about it, but until then I figured I would cook her some easy to eat fare. For the record, I HATE mashed potatoes. I think tonight is the first time I've ever made them. I even called my mother while I was cooking to let her know that pigs are now flying. But you know, when I tried them, I actually liked them for a split second because the flavor was so rich and sweet... and then I remembered that they are mushy mashed food and I didn't like them all over again. My point is that our food has so much flavor now. Even food I hate is bearable.

4. Awful: the only bad thing about eating locally is that our diet is pretty much limited to what's in season now. Squash, hearty greens, turnips, beets, potatoes, leeks, celeriac, carrots and a few others. It can get boring if I don't take time to spice things up. I know I'll continue to have this complaint as each season comes. I remember being just plain sick of greens last spring. Now I'm sick of beets and squash.

I'll leave you with this wonderful recipe from a recent Cooking Light issue. If you happen to have some celeriac on hand and don't know what to do with it, this soup tastes great.

2 tablespoons butter
1 cup thinly sliced leek
1/2 cup finely chopped carrot
2 tablespoons dry white wine
3 cups (1/2-inch) cubed peeled celeriac (celery root; about 3/4 pound)
3 cups broth
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 3/4 cups cooked wild rice

1. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add leek and carrot; cover and cook 5 minutes. Uncover and cook 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in wine, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Add celeriac, broth, 1 cup water, salt, and pepper; bring to a boil. Cover and cook 10 minutes or until celeriac is tender.

2. Place 1 cup soup mixture in a blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth. Add pureed soup mixture back to saucepan. Add wild rice; cook 15 minutes.


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About Me

My name is Jillian. I started this blog as a way to experiment with my camera and it's a become a nice little spot where I enjoy spending time. I'm a mother to 6 and 4 year old daughters, wife to a cool computer guy, and mama to a cuddly cat. We enjoy eating local, organic food; managing several food allergies; homeschooling with love; spending time in nature; and we love to take time each day to be creative. You can also find me over at From Scratch Club from time to time. Welcome!