Thursday, September 28, 2006

Veg*n French Toast and Fruit

So, I've had Jenny's vegan french toast recipe linked forever. Well, actually, since July when she posted it, but whatever.

The point is that we finally made it :) Jason made some for a weekend breakfast, and lucky for us there was batter left over for another couple breakfasts. Eating french toast on a weekday morning felt so decadent.

In addition to being veg*an, this breakfast was very local, as well. The bread was complet from Bakers on Broad, the peaches grown at and bought from the Del Val Market and the strawberries from our Blooming Glen CSA crop share.

This recipe will definitely make it into our brunch repertoire, except maybe next time we'll follow the directions more carefully. As in, maybe we will use two TEAspoons of cinnamon rather than two TABLEspons :P

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

CSA crop share 19

You'll be surprised by whom the Blooming Glen CSA bootie is brought to you by this week... See below :)

It's the hampie poo! :D While we (Brookie, Avery and I) were unloading the produce for photographs, Avery grabbed his hamster for a roll around the yard in his super duper glow in the dark ball. Isn't he the sweetest?

Avery's all, "Yoh, gimme my hamster back, Auntie Brooke." "Dood hamster is chillin' in the sun man, relax."

Anyway.... Yeah, EIGHT POUNDS of green heirloom tomatoes. Apparently, they're done ripening for the season. Tricia the farmer provided us with a Green Tomato Relish recipe in this week's newsletter. We haven't tried it yet, but I I had to post it now for two reasons: One, just in case any of you could use it ('tis the season, you know), and two, because it's Tricia's grandma's recipe (too special to wait):

Nanny’s Green Tomato Relish
* This makes a huge batch for canning. We got over 10 pint jars. You could easily cut in half, or in third for eating fresh.
1 peck green tomatoes (roughly 20apple size)
6 large onions
6 green peppers
6 red peppers
Put through chopper and drain.

3 pints sugar
3 pints vinegar
1 T whole cloves, in cloth or tea ball
1 stick cinnamon
Boil quite awhile (20 min.?), remove cinnamon stick and cloves. Pour over relish.

1 T Salt
1 T celery see
1 T mustard see
Boil 20 mins.

Process in boiling water canner for 15 min.

Let us know if you try the recipe - or, share any other green tomato recipes that you have! :)

Monday, September 25, 2006

Dinner for two

A recent dinner for Jason and me: Yummy nachos featuring local organic tomatoes, spring onions and poblano peppers (all from Blooming Glen), piled on a bed of organic blue corn chips, veggie chili and veggie cheese, topped with black olives and hot sauce.
  • Heat chili.
  • Layer chips on a oven-safe plate.
  • Add chili to chips, top with cheese and bake at 400 degrees until cheese melts (10 - 15 minutes).
  • Dice/chop/gather your choice of veggies such as peppers, tomatoes, onions, lettuce, corn, olives, avocado, etc.
  • Add veggies to chips and top with your favorite hot sauce or salsa.
This is totally what I had in mind when I was about 13 and daydreaming about having my own place where I could do anything I wanted - even eat junk food for dinner!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Univest Grand Prix

(Check out that rainbow!)

Yes, the Univest Grand Prix is a world renowned bicycle race. Yes, it happens right here, in our front yard (well, a half block away from the front yard). Yes, it's sponsored by many local community-minded businesses. Yes, international professional cycling teams compete right next to beloved locals in the race each year. And yes, this gem of a race was born from the spirit of local Merrill Moyer, and has continued to grow larger, more exciting, and more challenging each of its nine years.

But really? The honest-to-goodness reason why people flock from all corners of earth to visit little Souderton each year? Yeah, it's is for the kids race. You know it :)

Avery ran into his super friend Alex during the sign up and line up for the race.

The kids race is separated into age groups, and takes place on part of the real race course (on Main Street).

I don't know if they declare an actual "winner," but I don't know that the kids even notice :)

The competitors gathered for a group photograph post race.

Avery also ran into super friends Danny and Benjamin at the race; here they're getting ready to be interviewed by a local television station (WFMZ).

Check out some links for this awesome race:
Then, mark your calendar and ready your cow bell for the Univest Grand Prix 2007 - we'll meet you there!

Univest Grand Prix:

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

CSA crop share 18

What a beautiful, colorful and diverse share this week - love it!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Glutonous Breakfast

Speaking of Labor day... A holiday means time to cook brunch. A BIG brunch :D

We slept in a bit. I mean we, as in us collectively, in one bed. A couple cats, a pooch, a kid and two adults. Don't you love a cuddle puddle?

So, we took our time getting out of bed, and while the boys bummed around, talking comic books, I rode my bike up to the local market to buy tofu for Tofu Scrambler, and splurged on some totally processed Morning Star breakfast patties. I countered the patties and imported kiwi with local, organic cantaloupe (from Blooming Glen), a side of roasted local, organic potatoes, red and green peppers, onions and herbs and complet toast from Bakers on Broad.

I spent a lovely and therapeutic 90 minutes in the kitchen. Cooking, organizing, cleaning up. Had the time to stop and consider inviting dad over.

Seems to me that this type of morning should be the standard, not the exception. Taking time, having conversation, slowing down, savoring, laughing, planning the day together, enjoying the time, experiencing the moment...

When did life become so rushed? Work? School? They're important and valuable, don't get me wrong. But, really. Mornings like this? It's what I live for :)

Nockamixon State Park

After the last couple dreary days, posting about our sunny Labor (not Memorial :P) Day is a nice break :)

We went to Nockamixon State Park in Upper Bucks County (between Haycock and Bedminster townships). The park is over 5,200 acres surrounding the 1,450-acre Lake Nockamixon - the largest lake in Bucks County - and it must be one of the most beautiful reasons to live in this area.

There are hiking trails, horseback riding trails, a swimming pool, rental cabins and boats, picnic areas with grills, and walking/bike paths. The Tohickon Creek runs into the lake, and you'll often find kayakers there in June and November, when water is released from the lake's dam, turning it into whitewater perfect for an aquaholic. It's a great spot for birthdays, Father's Days, and Momma's Days. There's something for everyone to do. And, it's 15 minutes from our front door :)

We've been known to pack up the Party Car* (my dad's Volvo wagon) with bikes, kayaks, frisbees, dogs, fishing poles and picnic food to spend the whole day there. Avery inherited his Grandpa Dan's high energy, hyperactive, short attention span personality, and, let's be honest, that's the real reason why we love Nocakamixon.

*please read that as "Potty Cah." We're from Rhode Island :P

The two of them can go from fishing, to a spin around the lake in the kayak, to a bike ride, to taking photographs, to sneaking off to buy an ice cream eclair from the boat rental building (yes, we saw you :P) and back again without bothering those of us who prefer a slower pace of reading the newspaper, cooking veggie burgers, playing cards and meditating on the landscape. The park is fun for the whole family, as they say :)

My pops didn't go with us this time, and we kept it low key, only bringing the bikes, Avery's fishing gear and a tote with a couple books and the newspaper for Jase and me, some water and trial mix and a blanket. And the camera, of course.

Avery "fished" a bit. He's more into the process and the different lures and the weights than he is about actually fishing. Which works out great because he never catches (read: never harms or kills) anything :) He's much more content when his hands are doing something, and so usually abandons fishing once he's organized, tested out, then reorganized his gear. He's good at finding stuff to build; this time it was a raft made of sticks, a discarded styrofoam cup and fishing line.

While Avery was building and launching his raft, Jase and I read, and we all observed bugs.

You'll notice that the stick bug and the spider are missing legs. We also saw a grasshopper with a missing leg. I don't know if this is the usual state of bugs at the end of the summer, but hey, it makes sense, right? Spending all summer battling birds, bigger bugs, little toddlers, adolescent boys and footsteps. Come August, it's like the end of a war. Note that the tank looking bug with armor and spikes has all of her appendages. I don't think that's a coincidence, kids. (More pictures here.)

It was a great trip to Nockamixon, as usual. We were a bit sad to be saying goodbye to summer, but the lake gave our spirits a little boost and helped our heads get ready for another school year.

I'll leave you with encouragement to visit the park, with no worries that summer is nearly over. If it's too cool for picnics, there are plenty of great eating places, and check out The Wagon Wheel and The Raven's Nest for incredible music.

It's absolutely gorgeous in the fall, as you can imagine. There's the water release in November that lures river rats from all over. My dad and his buddies run the release every year, and were even featured in a photo essay in Bucks County magazine last year. We spent Thanksgiving in one of the cabins, which was just lovely - who knew family holidays could be so quiet and serene - and include hiking? In the winter you'll find cross country skiers, ice skaters and ice fishers.

And hey, let us know if you go! :)

Nockamixon State Park:

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Roasted Veggie Macaroni

A rain cancelled football practice last week meant that we had some time to actually cook dinner - and together, to boot!

Now... what to cook?

Of course, we had on hand plenty of fresh local vegetables. We also had some time to cook, but only about an hour. And, we wanted to make a dish that we could all create together. This is the lovely local (from Blooming Glen and our own garden) and organic produce we had on hand:

Cafe Cyan's CSA newsletter listed a Roasted Vegetable Pasta dish that I had bookmarked earlier in the week and it seemed like a perfect fit :) Thanks Crystal and Ryan (and your CSA farm)!

Fresh Tomato Sauce

1 (6-oz.) can tomato paste
1/2 cup chopped onion
Salt and pepper
3 cups chopped tomatoes (any variety)
3 or more cloves fresh garlic, chopped
Herbs such as oregano, thyme, parsley and basil, to taste
Splash of balsamic vinegar
Honey or other sweetener as desired

Add tomatoes and garlic. Simmer until sauce reaches desired consistency, about 20 minutes. Sauté onions in 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until onions are translucent. Add tomato paste at the end, along with herbs and vinegar. If sauce is too tart, add a spoonful of sweetener. Lightly simmer 10 minutes longer to let flavors meld together.

Roasted Vegetables
1 large green pepper, chopped

1 large
red pepper, chopped
eggplant, diced
1 onion, chopped

3-4 cloves garlic,
Fresh herbs such as basil, thyme, oregano, parsley, sage and rosemary
1 yellow squash

1 zucchini
1 jalapeno
Olive oil to coat

Mix vegetables, herbs, garlic, and onion in a bowl and lightly coat mixture with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place in a large (or a couple large) roasting pans coated with olive oil. Roas
t for 20 minutes at 400 degrees or until veggies are soft, but not burned. Toss vegetables occasionally as needed. Combine the Fresh Tomato Sauce and Roasted Vegetables and serve over pasta.

Avery and I chooped the veggies we had on hand (carrots, yellow sweet pepper, skinny red sweet pepper, OKRA!, jalepeno) and roasted them while Jason made the sauce. We cooked some whole wheat macaroni and sliced some yellow watermellon from the previous week's Bloomin Glen crop share for dessert :)

Garnished with our own garden rosemary. Yummm, yummm!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

CSA crop share 17

Yay! The Blogger builders fixed my blog just in time for Blooming Glen crop share Tuesday! I don't know what was going on, but I couldn't post photographs. Now I can :) See?

I took better pictures of the share; this one is up because it features curious kitty number two, Azrielle, better known as Tubby. Usually Bluex is all over the new stuff we bring in the house, but the Tub O' Love wanted to check out the fantastic, organic, local produce this week. He's quite a photogenic cat, as you can see here and here and here >^,,^<

Anyway, I'm still having problems leaving comments and the "View My Full Profile" button, but now I can at least post. So, this week's bootie is:

1 pint strawberries
1 quart string beanns
3/4 pound sweet bell peppers
1 head head lettuce
1/2 pound summer squash
2 leeks leeks
1/2 pound swiss chard, endive and/or dandelion
1 bunch cilantro
1 bunch dill
1 bunch
2 pounds sweet potatoes
1 1/2 pounds heirloom tomatoes

Jason picked up the share again this week, so he guessed on the quantity of potatoes. It's close enough, I'm sure :) I blanched and froze the swiss chard, as well as the leek greens. I'm looking forward to using these for soups, stews and chilis this winter. Yummm!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

CSA crop share 16

2 onions
1 pint strawberries - pick your own
1 quart green beans - pick your own
1 bunch carrots
1 cantaloupe
2 onions
2 heirloom tomatoes
2 pounds potatoes
2 pounds sweet red peppers
1 head lettuce
1 bunch of dill
1 bouquet flowers - pick your own

The quantities may not be exact. Jase did the pick up this week because I totally spaced it. One three day weekend and I'm all out of sorts :P He didn't have the camera and is having trouble remembering exact amounts. We'll let him slide of course, especially since he did all the pick your own stuff in the mud and rain :)

Saturday, September 02, 2006


Okra is pretty to look at, but not very pretty to eat. Especially local okra, and especially when photographed cross sectioned with local skinny sweet red peppers. But like I said, I seem to be seriously lacking in the How To Make Okra Yummy category. Note to self: Slimy cooked okra is not a recommended wrap ingredient. Blech.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Happy Friday!

We had a field trip today at work - fun!

Sam, Trish, Nancy (that's her pictured) and I went to to the Delaware Valley College's Market on Lower State Road in Doylestown to pick up lunch. And some extras, because it's just impossible to go in and pass up all the local grown goodness. In addition to farmers market fare, the Market also has a nice selection of natural and organic foods, a bakery, a coffee bar, a prepared foods deli, a small ice cream stand, and an incredible selection of desserts. Desserts like peanut butter pie. Zomg!

The market's structure is pretty awesome. It's really a big classroom where students from DelVal College (most known for their agriculture programs). The Market provides a one-of-a-kind, hands-on opportunity for students in all areas of study:

"Learning is brought down to earth, while real-life experience is elevated to an unparalleled level of excellence.

"Business Administrations majors can handle The Market’s daily operations, including ordering, invoice processing, staff management and marketing. In the kitchen, Food Management majors can make sure supplies are available,handle prep work and hire kitchen personnel. Horticultural students can handle the daily care of orchards, vegetable gardens, and other growables. Community outreach programs can be organized and run by Education majors. A market newsletter can be written and produced by Written Communication majors, and the College’s Ornamental Horticulture department can landscape The Market’s exterior areas."

How cool is that? I can't think of a better way to gain knowledge than through this type of learning-by-doing education.

There were lots of DelVal-grown lovelies avaialable this trip: eggplant, zucchini, patty pan squash, yellow squash, different varieties of tomatoes, peaches and red, yellow and green bell peppers are some. Other locally grown produce (broccoli and romaine, red leaf and greef leaf lettuce) was displayed as well. So pretty :)

The last picture is what I took back to tthe office. For less than ten bucks. Sweet! Clockwise from left that's a quarter peck of DelVal peaches, Stuart's Rootbeer, Terra Blue chips, Del Val spicy string beans, DelVal three bean salad (that had colorful Del Val peppers in it, too) and my Market club card. Not sure what the card does for me yet, but I use it :)

The Market at Delaware Valley College: