Friday, July 1, 2011

Eating seasonally from your local farmer's market (or your garden... or your neighbor's garden....)

Last Saturday we packed up the children (in only 30 minutes... I KNOW!) and headed to our lovely Old Town Ft. Collins. We went primarily to browse the local farmer's market where we could visit with my cousin and her husband. Yet, with Thing 2 in his sailor outfit and Thing 1 in his argyle, we stayed a bit longer so we could parade around with our frigging adorable offspring and nod knowingly at the passers by who smiled and took in some sights and activities of Old Town, including the fountain on Oak Street and an awesome sandwich shoppe that serves gluten-free bread called Backcountry Provisions, where I ate the best BLT of my life. It had brie on it. Bacon and Brie. Do I need to say anything more? Thing 2 missed his nap, but that bacon sandwich was worth it! Bacon....brie......yum...

Sorry, back to my cousin; she, in true Iowa girl fashion, married a farmer. This farmer happens to be from Eaton, CO. Yay! So not only do I get to live 15 minutes from my awesome cousin and her awesome husband, we also get to visit their booth, Leffler Family Farms, at the Old Town Farmer's Market on Saturday mornings. Also, her husband has a tractor and takes Thing 1 on rides, making him one of Thing 1's favorite people. We won't talk about the wet willies that he taught my baby ....

How cute is this little farmer's wife???

They grow a variety of food on their farm, but at the booth over the weekend they were selling lettuce, small red beets and pinto beans. Since I will be manning the booth on July 9th and 24th for them (come and see me!), I snagged a bunch of beets for some experimenting in the kitchen.

Thing 1 can really hold a beet. blahaha!

I believe there is something to be said for eating seasonally; not only is it more affordable, it is actually good for you! Gasp! I found this article, which is short and describes the benefits of eating seasonally in a very straightforward manner (and it is short.... did I mention that?).
Bacon is always in season, for the record.

....humming Baby Got Back in my head.....

Now that we are all on the same page with our seasonal eating; I was sitting in my lawn chair outside in front of the fan on Sunday night. It was 90 degrees or some madness like that. Thing 1 was practicing for his future as a nudist and Thing 2 was screaming and trying to throw himself headfirst down the deck stairs. As usual, I really just wanted to take a nap, but alas, I needed to feed my family. I didn't want to cook until I remembered my bunch of baby beets (the size of large radishes). I go through spurts of playing a mad scientist in the kitchen and I decided I would once again use my family as guinea pigs for a brand spanking new made-up recipe! Muahaha! I felt even more more inspired as I wandered out to my own garden to see what was ready, and then snipped some fresh spinach and cilantro (which I didn't use, but I feel guacamole in our future). By the time I turned on the stove there was smoke rolling out of my ears.

Look at me being all domestic and shit. I grew that stuff!

Keeping "eating seasonally" and "It is frigging hot and I don't want to spend very much time in front of the stove" in mind, I came up with this recipe, which we all liked (okay, I had to bribe Thing 1 with chocolate, but in the end, he ate all of it):

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Gluten-free, can be made vegetarian or vegan very easily
Serves 4

Can't Beet That! (Brock named it)
2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup Quinoa
~Bring the vegetable broth to a boil in a saucepan, add quinoa, return to boil, reduce heat and cover. Cook for 15 minutes.

2 Tablespoons Olive oil (drizzle in large skillet)
1 Tablespoon butter (add over oil)
~ Heat until butter is melted, then add and saute:
1 medium onion, sliced or chopped
1 small bunch of small beets(6-8 small or 2-3 large beets)- greens removed (save these for a follow-up recipe!) and diced
6 carrots- peeled and chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
~cook together until onions are tender
~then add:
4 cups of washed and chopped fresh spinach
drizzle with 1-2 teaspoons honey
pinch of sea salt
dash of Nature's Seasonings
Stir for a few minutes then reduce heat to low and cover for about 10 minutes. This will steam the root vegetables until tender.

Slice 2 fresh peaches or nectarines for garnish. Pears would be Delish! with this but they are not yet in season, so peaches it is.

I had one leftover chicken breast and four breakfast sausage turkey links so I used this opportunity to use them. I chopped them up and threw them into the skillet to warm before I put the lid on. It worked well, but the dish was great without meat as well. The spinach and quinoa are both adequate sources of protein, but the flavor of some grilled pork chops with balsamic vinegar would be lovely with this too.

I hope you like it. If not, send letters to the complaint department.*

*Sorry, the complaint department is closed for renovation.

Peace, Love and Unicorns,


  1. your cousin is sweet-midwestern-girl-next-door cute!