Saturday, March 30, 2013

SSFC: Super Spinach Salad!

For my last SOLE Food Challenge I made a super spinach salad. All winter long I'd seen various spinach salad recipes on the internet touting the health benefits of spinach and eggs and other ingredients that go into this "super salad." I kept mine really simple with local ingredients, forgoing a bacon vinaigrette (as so many of the recipes have) because I didn't have any local bacon.

Super Spinach Salad ingredients
My ingredients of Spinach, Potatoes, and Onions were all bought at the Dupont Circle farmers' market. The eggs came from a family farm in Maryland and are being sold at my local Whole Foods. I steamed the spinach (which had been frozen and stored in my freezer), hard-boiled an egg, and sauteed the potatoes and onions with some olive oil, salt, and pepper. The result was a light, healthy, and delicious meal, perfect for me when I was feeding only myself one afternoon.

Super Spinach Salad

Now that spring is here, more farmers' markets are re-opening for the season and I can't wait to start enjoying seasonal foods like asparagus, broccoli, and more spinach, and eventually strawberries, green beans, tomatoes, summer squash, blueberries, and watermelon!! I've literally been dreaming of watermelon. Can't wait for summer! I'm also looking forward to working on my own garden, and I hope to find time to get some seeds started soon.

I had fun participating in the winter version of this challenge to eat local and seasonal foods. It'll be so much easier to eat that way now that spring and summer are on their way! To see what other participants are eating, click on the SSFC badge above.
Happy Easter!!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

SSFC: The Loaf Post

Local ingredients: meatloaf and bubble and squeak

This local food challenge post got lost in draft format back in January. I want to share my two favorite kinds of loafs (loaves??): meat and lemon. Meat loaf is the ultimate comfort food to me, and on a cold winter night, if I can't have a big bowl of soup, then I want meatloaf and mashed potatoes. We eat red meat maybe once a week, and I'm happy to have found Smith Family Farms in VA as my source of local beef. We've tried different cuts and have been pleased with the flavor of all of them.

Local ingredients: Bubble and Squeak cooking

Instead of mashed potatoes, I had this meat loaf dish with bubble and squeak (my version of it) made with potatoes (farmers' market), Swiss chard (farmers' market), bell peppers and onions (my garden, frozen). Click here for my recipe with seasonal ingredients.

Lemon blueberry loaf glazed
My other favorite loaf is lemon loaf. I am addicted to Starbucks lemon bread but I have to restrict myself on how many times a week I get it because it's very sweet (and expensive) but oh so good! When Meyer lemons were in season back in January I made a lemon loaf. It wasn't quite as sweet as the Starbucks kind, but it was pretty damn good! Especially with a hot cup of coffee.

I have one more week left of the SSFC now that winter is over. To see what others are eating this week, click on the badge.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Spring Has Arrived!

tulip planting
Spring is here! Although you wouldn't know it from the near-freezing temperatures and snow flurries I saw this morning. There are several signs of spring around my garden, though. I've seen a lot more bird and squirrel activity, and my tulips have sprouted! I planted these Queen of the Night tulips back in November, and on March 10 saw the first signs of them sprouting.

tulips 3-10-13
tulips 3/19/13
 I took this last picture two days ago, and you can see the tulip leaves starting to unfurl. I can't wait to see these pretty dark purple flowers in my garden. I planted Queen of the Nights a few years ago with some red tulips, but this year I may add a different type of flower to fill in the gaps, maybe in yellow or cream. I  haven't had much time lately to write about my garden plans, I've been busy with work and am probably going to start a new job soon which may mean longer work days for me. I'm aiming for a low-maintenance garden this year, and I also want more flowers in my garden. I think more flowers may attract more pollinators, which could then help the veggie plants.

Has Spring arrived yet where you are?

Sunday, March 17, 2013

SSFC: Spinach Carrot Risotto

Risotto with spinach and carrots
In honor of St. Patrick's Day, I whipped up this risotto using colors from the Irish flag. The spinach, carrots, and onions came from the farmers' market at Dupont Circle. It's a bit of a trek for me to get there on Sundays, and I can't wait for the market near work to open for the season, which should happen this Thursday. It'll be so convenient to shop after work. (Both are part of the Fresh Farm Markets network in the DC metro area). The first day of Spring is this week too. Lots to look forward to!

Click on the icon to see what other SSFC participants are eating this week.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

SSFC: Cleaning Out the Freezer

Chickpeas with crushed tomatoes and spinach
As we're getting closer to spring, the SSFC challenge is close to wrapping up too. I've been working on cleaning out the freezer of food we have stored over the winter. We've been working our way through broccoli, spinach, peppers, and meat. We recently grilled up some salmon and I was trying to think of a good side dish that wasn't fish or rice. I settled on a side of chickpeas with crushed tomatoes and spinach.

oven roasted tomatoes final
 I wanted to use the tomatoes that I dried in the oven last fall. I've been trying to incorporate them into different meals. I think that might be another reason why it feels like spring is almost on its way--I'm eating warm weather food.
This side dish did include some locally sourced ingredients:
  • tomatoes and bell pepper (my garden/frozen)
  • onions and spinach (farmers' market)

I got a new phone recently and was playing with the camera on my new phone, which is almost better than my little point-and-shoot camera. These are the peppers, onions, and oven-dried tomatoes sauteing:

This is the setting that only picks up red and yellow colors:

focus on the tomato

To see what other SSFC participants are having this week, click on the icon.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Snow Storm That Wasn't

The Snowstorm that Wasn't
A late winter snow storm was supposed to hit the DC area yesterday. The news people predicted 5-8 inches of snow--possibly even a foot! Salt trucks and snow plows were idling on the side street, waiting to spring into action. And then...nothing really happened. I live just outside DC and we barely got a few inches of snow, it was a rainy slushy mix. This is the peak of the rain/snow fall at around 10:30 a.m. By evening most of it had melted away. But a friend of mine who lives about an hour's drive away in Virginia said they got 7-8 inches of snow, the good snowman-building kind. Funny how a few miles made such a difference.

snow day 2

Did you get much snow from the storm? I hope you're warm and didn't lose power!

Also, did you notice that they were calling this Winter Storm Saturn? When did they start naming the storms?

Sunday, March 3, 2013

SSFC: Breakfast

pick your own strawberries
maine blueberries
{Fresh berries from last spring/summer}

How is it March already? 2013 has been busy with work commitments and personal commitments, and I haven't yet started planning my garden. The temperatures are still cold in the DC area, but there have been some really pleasant warmish days, and days are getting longer. Spring is coming. I need to get in gear!


We've been cleaning out the freezer and that has made it easy to incorporate local and/or seasonal food into our meals. For this purpose breakfast is the EASIEST. It's very easy to find locally sourced eggs, and we've been using the strawberries and blueberries that we got in season last spring to make pancakes and smoothies. We recently made blueberry pancakes with blueberries we got last August from a trip to Maine.

And while this is not a local ingredient, I had to show off my frothy latte. Love our new espresso machine!

Smoothies are another easy way to use up the berries. I've been eating a lot of oranges this winter, and I haven't had fresh berries since last summer. It has been a treat to eat strawberries and blueberries. It's really getting me in the mood for spring. I make mine with one or two bananas, a spoonful of plain Greek yogurt for a little thickness, and about a cup each of strawberries and blueberries that have been stored in my freezer.



Click here to see what seasonal and locally-sourced meals other SSFC participants are eating this week.