Tag Archives: clean eats

What’s up, Doc?

Greg planted a bunch of carrot seeds just when the summer started to cool down (beginning of September). We thought it would probably be too cold to grow them, but figured we would try since we’d never attempted it before. As the month went on we sprouted a ton of green carrot tops.
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We still thought there was no way carrots could be growing under there. Since I need to know everything about how everything thing works, I did some carrot googling.
A few interesting facts I found:
  • Don’t peel young carrots because much of the flavor is in the skin; the skin becomes bitter as carrots mature.
  • Raw carrot tops have a sharp, herbal, carrot flavor that mellows when cooked.
  • Over matured carrots are woody and less flavorful.
  • Harvested as very young plants, green carrot tops add a bright carrot flavor to salads and sandwiches.
  • Carrots are sweetened by the frost. AHA! We didn’t pull this batch until November 16 and it was plenty frosty by then; probably why they were so delicious.
I also learned that there are a bunch of different parts to a carrot. At the risk of bringing this back to 7th grade science, I bring you…..the carrot diagram.
Rootdiagram
I find this stuff so interesting. Once you start to grow your own food you become engrossed in every detail of it.
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The second and last pull produced 63 beautiful, crunchy carrots. I didn’t can any of them because you should only can carrots if you have a pressure canner. It takes the  higher temperatures of the pressure canner to kill the botulism bacteria. So, I went to back to good ole Google and tried to find some recipes I could crank out in bulk. Soups are the best, because you can double or triple the recipe and just freeze everything until you need it. This is the one I made.
Paleo Carrot Pottage (Pottage is a thick soup or stew made by boiling vegetables, grains and, if available, meat or fish. Pottage commonly consisted of various ingredients easily available to serfs and peasants and could be kept over the fire for a period of days, during which time some of it was eaten and more ingredients added.  Pottage consistently remained a staple of the poor man’s diet throughout most of the 9th-17th-century Europe. When people of higher economic rank, such as nobles, ate pottage, they would add more expensive ingredients such as meats. –thank you wiki)
  • 1 lb. carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 turnips, peeled and chopped
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ¼ tsp. dried thyme
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp. fresh chives, minced
  • 2 tbsp. or coconut oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  1. In a big saucepan placed over a medium heat, cook the onion and garlic 5 minutes (or until softened) with the coconut oil.
  2. Add the carrots, sweet potato, turnip, thyme, bay leaves, chicken stock, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring everything to a boil; then reduce the heat to medium, cover, and let it simmer for 45 minutes (or until all the vegetables are soft).
  3. Discard the bay leaves (they have sharp edges that can cut the inside of your mouth).
  4. Puree the soup in a food processor until smooth. (If you have one, use an immersion blender instead-so much less mess)
  5. When you’re ready to enjoy the soup, return the puree to the saucepan and let it simmer for 5 minutes. Adjust the seasoning if necessary.
  6. Garnish with fresh chives and serve.
Soooo good!! This was the first time I cooked with turnips and they brought such a deep, earthy flavor to this winter soup. It instantly made me want a big cast iron pot and a fire in the living room to cook it over. Enjoy!
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Farm Fresh Tomatoes In February

Last season our tomato plants produced a total of 156 edible tomatoes. I’d say we had another 30-ish that were ruined by insects.  This was our most successful year yet. After two years of trying different locations in our yard we finally found the perfect space for the proper sun and shade.

I think the most influential thing on our garden this year, was the nutrient rich compost that Greg makes. We maintain our supply year-round by constantly rotating the compost (in our homemade compost bins) with the house scraps we save, and adding from our stockpile of leaves and grass clippings.

We also learned a valuable tomato lesson from a good friend. Pick the tomatoes when they are GREEN. Put them in a brown paper bag and store them in a cool, dark place. Check the tomatoes every few days and in a about a week they will be a beautiful red. The last two years we would wait and wait and then all of sudden they would turn and it was too late. Once they turned red and got sweet, we would have a problem with the bugs eating them.

This was one of the last tomato pulls we had of the season (October). All of these tomatoes were pulled green and turned using the brown bag method.

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In the beginning the flow was pretty steady and we would easily eat everything we picked on a weekly basis. As soon as the weather turned from warm to cool (Sept-Oct), I pulled 62 tomatoes in two weeks. I had to learn how to can…and fast.

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I found a few canning recipes online since this was my first time and experimented with two. (I had also watched a canning demo at the tomato festival this summer) One recipe was for crushed tomatoes and one was for a sauce. The crushed recipe was a lot quicker but now that we’ve been eating them I prefer the sauce recipe more. I think I needed to “wring” out the tomatoes a lot more before crushing them because those cans came out very watery. Below is a pic of the tomatoes cooking down to make the sauce recipe.

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The 62 tomatoes produced enough for 27 jars, half crushed, half sauce. I only have 6 left. It better warm up soon.

21 Days of Detox

The holidays are finally over. We were terrible to ourselves the past few weeks. Zero self-control. Sugar filled cookie after sugar filled cookie. Talk about a cheat week. I haven’t cheated this bad since I started Paleo almost 11 months ago. But its over….finally. Today is Day 1 of the 21 day sugar detox. This book is such a good read and will make you feel amazing. Well, the first week or so you don’t feel amazing; you almost feel terrible. When we first did this back in February I was googling flu symptoms after a few days. We both thought we were getting really sick. Just the opposite, we were getting better. Our bodies were detoxing from the sugar and experiencing actual detox side effects. If you can stay strong and get through the first week or so, you will come out on the other side a new person. Healthier sleep, much more energy and you will see an amazing difference in your skin. I think my favorite part of the book is the weekly food schedules. Most of the things you will cook will leave you with leftovers and the author incorporates that into the next day. The hardest part of a food plan for us is that some days we work until 6 and then go to Crossfit and by the time we get home we are just too tired to cook an entire meal from scratch. When we sat down to dinner tonight, my husband said “Man, sometimes I forget how good Paleo meals are compared to that crap we used to eat.” You really never feel like your on a “diet” and everything we make (especially in the winter) feels so homey.  We didn’t cook from the book tonight but rather just made a mish mosh of what was in the fridge. Some nights you just have to be realistic and use what you’ve got!

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  • Nature’s Promise Chicken Sausage
  • Organic Peas
  • Organic Butternut Squash
  • Organic Mushrooms and Onions

All cooked in a little bit of coconut oil and minced garlic. We used Steve’s Original Tomato Balsamic dressing on the side. It feels good to be back.