Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Farm to Kitchen

I love the farmer’s market this time of year. Some of my most favorite foods are in season; corn on the cob, heirloom tomatoes, okra, peaches and my “wait all year” favorite figs! Admittedly, I don’t really cook so we typically eat these items “as is” or on the grill.

This week I got the itch to cook (yes, I feel ok) after seeing several recipes for heirloom tomato pie. Tomatoes?... and cheese??... in a pie?!! Yes, please!! Here’s the result: 

Feeling successful, I then looked for a new recipe for figs. My go to trick for figs is to stuff them with blue cheese crumbles, wrap them in bacon and grill them! YUM!! I made these as well but I also found a week night recipe for Fig Focaccia. I made it more into a pizza by rounding out the dough and adding grated parmesan cheese. We had this with a simple side salad with oil and balsamic vinegar so we could dip the thick crust into the left over oil and vinegar. (I’m patting myself on the back now!)

Lastly, and since I was on a roll, I wanted to try something different with fresh corn on the cob. I usually just soak my corn in a salt and sugar water bath for a bit and then grill it, husk and all. Instead I found a recipe for grilled corn and butter bean salad. This was perfect because we were already planning on grilling brats. The recipe calls for most of the ingredients (corn, peppers and red onion) to be grilled too. It was a very yummy side I can see myself taking to the next covered dish occasion or cookout!

Granted, none of the above were complicated and probably child’s play to the seasoned cook; but I was pretty impressed with the results. I struggle putting foods together and looking at a recipe without a picture. My friend Lauren can dump the leftovers of her crisper at the end of the week and make a delicious meal; my brain doesn’t work that way! Hopefully I’ve inspired myself to try more recipes (we will see). I actually enjoyed cooking this week and I am already thinking about what fall at the farmers market has to offer! Could I possibly pull off a squash casserole?? As my husband often reminds me, “I never said you can’t cook; I just said you don’t!”. Fair Nuff!


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Pits

Sorry for the brief hiatus during the last few weeks. As I mentioned before, I teach at a year round school and our summer break this year ended up being very short and quick (about two and a half weeks) so we’ve been busy checking off our summer to-do list in a very short amount of time. After the break my oldest started Kindergarten and we’ve just been trying to adjust to being back in school while still enjoying as many summer activities as we can! 

I wanted to share a great product I just discovered! During the pregnancies and breast feeding of my two children, I tried every natural deodorant I could find (Tom’s, Jason’s, that crystal thing).  The overall result was that I just STUNK!! Not even a nice dirty hippy stink, I smelled like a locker room!  I owned it though and warned people not to get to close! Since then I’ve been on a search for an all natural deodorant that works.

Recently, I discovered an all natural skin care company called Soapwalla  on Esty. The first product I have tried so far is her deodorant and believe it or not, it REALLY works! It’s a cream deodorant that you rub on with your fingers and it absorbs instantly. Not only does the deodorant keep you smelling fresh, it actually keeps you dry. Most natural deodorants only mask the smell because the ingredient that keeps you from sweating (aluminum zirconium) is left out.

Aluminum zirconium causes your pores to swell and inhibits moisture from releasing. Aluminum zirconium as well as parabens, are controversial * ingredients linked to cancer that are found in most deodorants. You can read more here. 

In mid July our air conditioner was hit by a storm on a Saturday morning.  As we sweated through the weekend in an effort not to pay an emergency HVAC fee, I stayed smelling great! I’ll be trying more Soapwalla products very soon!

*I have not read an article with firm evidence that these ingredients cause cancer; most say more testing is needed. I do however, try to trade out my products for natural ones when I find something that works. It just makes sense to me!