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No doubt you’ve seen them while strolling through your local Farmers’ Market. That pop of red, and burst of blue are nearly impossible to miss. Be sure to take advantage of the summer’s sweetest, and healthiest, berries – strawberries & blueberries – to make either of the tasty recipes below.
Strawberries: Plump, ruby-red strawberries have been making a regular appearance on my menus lately and I, for one, could not be happier. Aside from being sweet and delicious, strawberries are fat and cholesterol-free, high in vitamins, folate and are rich in antioxidants.
Rinse then slice a carton of local, organic strawberries to top this healthful Super Berry Salad: mix baby spinach, sliced strawberries, pomegranate seeds, blueberries, cubed mango and toasted almonds. Top with baked tofu for staying power, then drizzle on homemade Strawberry Vinaigrette made by combining 2 Tablespoons each strawberry jam and red wine vinegar, then whisking in 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil. Season with salt & pepper, and you’re set!
Blueberries: This blue-hued berry, now in season, is low in calories but high in Vitamin C, fiber and antioxidants, and their unique shape adds a burst of flavor to anything you add them to. Generously sprinkle blueberries into cereal, oatmeal, smoothies and Greek yogurt, or try mixing them into my favorite cornbread muffin recipe for a sweet, summery surprise.
Blueberry Cornbread Muffins
Makes 16 muffins
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup natural applesauce
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
6oz fresh blueberries, rinsed & patted dry
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Whisk together melted butter, applesauce, sugar and eggs until smooth. Whisk in buttermilk.
2. In a separate bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, baking soda and salt. Add dry ingredients into wet ingredients in two batches, stirring until just incorporated after each batch.
Gently fold in blueberries.
3. Fill paper-lined muffin tins 3/4 full, then bake for 12-15 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Tackle spring cleaning around your home without exposing your family to the harmful chemicals found in common household cleaning products. Open your cupboards to find these 4 nontoxic items to clean everything from windows, to walls and wine stains.
Whether it’s table, kosher, or sea salt – all are the ideal texture for blasting away dirt and stains around the house. Use it on…
Wine-Stained Carpet: Blot all moisture from the spill then sprinkle the area with salt. Let sit for 15 minutes so the salt can absorb any remaining wine, then clean the area with a mixture of 1/3 cup white vinegar and 2/3 cup water.
Artificial flowers: Shake away dust and dirt from fake flora by placing them in paper bags and gently shaking. Discard salt and put your flowers back on display.
The acid in lemon juice naturally removes dirt and rust stains, leaving behind a fresh, clean scent. Use it on…
Hands: Rid hands of unpleasant, long-lasting smells from handling fish, onions or garlic by squeezing on lemon juice, rubbing and rinsing clean.
Cutting boards: Get rid of unsightly food stains from both plastic and wood cutting boards by squeezing fresh lemon juice onto the surface, rubbing with the lemon half, then letting it sit for 15-20 minutes. Rinse clean.
Distilled white vinegar inhibits the growth of mold, mildew and some bacteria, and is under $2/quart at the grocery store. Use it in…
The Coffeemaker: Get better tasting coffee by removing mineral deposits from your drip coffeemaker. Pour equal parts vinegar and water into the water chamber and run a brewing cycle. Run several more cycles of clean water to rinse.
The Dishwasher: Eliminate soap build-up, and reduce water spots on your glassware, by running your empty dishwasher on its hottest cycle with a cup of vinegar in the top rack.
The Windows: Clean windows with a streak free solution of equal parts vinegar and water. Spray and wipe clean with old newspaper or lint-free cloth.
The mild abrasives found in toothpaste makes items cleaned with it really shine. Stick to basic paste in lieu of whitening or tarter control formulas. Use it on…
Walls: Rub a damp cloth with toothpaste on walls to remove waxy crayon artwork left by Jr. While you’re at it, use the paste to patch up any unsightly nail holes.
Piano Keys: Get rid of dark spots on your ivory keys by gently scrubbing them with toothpaste and a soft toothbrush. Wipe clean.
What are your favorite all-natural cleaning ideas and solutions around the house?
The good news is spring planting season is finally upon us and there’s never been a better time to plant your own edible garden. Whether you’ve got a big plot of land, or a small deck or patio – all you need to get started is sun, soil, seeds and a shovel!
Why Home Grown?
Fuel costs and super market overheads disappear when your food’s commute is shortened to the backyard to the back door. The benefit of growing your own edibles is more than that though. Starting your own garden is…
Cost Effective: The costs of starting your own edible garden are few and only incurred once a season. If you live in a small apartment or condo complex, consider splitting the bill for soil, seeds and planters with a neighbor, or staring a community garden. You’ll all reap the benefits of your small investment and enjoy the fruits (and veggies!) of your labor for months to come.
Healthy: Unless you buy 100% organic, 100% of the time, you can never be 100% sure what fertilizers or pesticides have seeped into the produce you’re picking up at the store. When you purchase or make your own fertilizer or compost, you can be certain it’s not harmful to your health.
Convenient: Ever whip up a Mexican feast and wish you had a big, spicy jar of salsa to go along with it? Plant a salsa garden including jalapenos, tomatoes and cilantro, and never go without again. Craving a crunchy, good-for-you salad? Hand-pick a couple lettuce bunches, cucumbers, carrots and radishes, and make one on the spot!
Inexpensive: Organic produce is already more costly than its conventional counterpart. When you factor in rising fuel and food costs, I can only imagine what a juicy bunch of organically-grown vine-ripened tomatoes will set us back this summer! Let your seedlings save you money and grow into plants that will produce over and over again, at little to no cost to you.
Rewarding: Help the environment, feed your family and watch your hard work pay off as your garden grows and prospers under your care. There’s nothing more satisfying than watching your edible garden go from seed and soil, to a bounty of healthy, good-for-you food.
Visit your local garden-supply store to pick up materials to start your own edible garden this Spring, and get growing already!
When do you start planting your garden? What are your favorite items to grow and share?
Quick – someone get me a cold compress. I’ve got a fever!
With temperatures still hovering around the freezing point over much of the country, many are anxiously awaiting the day they can ditch their winter jackets in favor of t-shirts and warm, Spring sunshine.
As the seasons change, so does my appetite. Hearty stews, casseroles and soups fall to the wayside, in favor of lighter, simpler fare like produce-packed salads, meat seared on the grill and my quick & easy Two-Cheese Vegetable Frittata.
Fluffy eggs are whisked with salty parmesan cheese then cooked up with steamed sweet potatoes, broccoli and squash. Tangy goat cheese dots the top of this one-pan meal, which is quickly finished under the broiler.
Two-Cheese Vegetable Frittata
2 whole eggs
4 egg whites
1/4 cup green onions, chopped
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 small sweet potato, cubed
1/4 cup + 1 Tablespoon water, divided
1 cup summer squash, chopped
1 cup broccoli, chopped
2 oz goat cheese
1. Whisk together eggs, egg whites, green onions, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper in a bowl. Set aside.
2. Heat oil in a large, oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat and pre-heat your oven’s broiler. Meanwhile, microwave sweet potato cubes and 1 Tablespoon water in a microwave-safe container with a loose-fitting lid until potatoes become tender, about 2-3 minutes.
3. Drain any remaining liquid from the sweet potatoes and add them into the hot skillet. Season with salt and pepper. Sauté potatoes until they begin to brown, then add in squash, broccoli and remaining water. Place a lid on the skillet, turn the heat down to medium, and steam vegetables for 2 minutes, or until tender.
4. Pour the egg mixture into the skillet with the vegetables and quickly stir to mix all the ingredients together. Flatten with a spatula and continue to cook until the bottom and sides of the frittata are set, occasionally running your spatula around the outside of the frittata to prevent sticking.
5. Remove the skillet from the heat, dot goat cheese on top, and place it under the broiler for 3-4 minutes, or until the top is cooked.
6. Slice and serve in wedges.
Enjoy hot or cold!
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Valentine’s Day often gets a bad rap. Some say the greeting card companies invented it to cash in on the love sick, and cheesy “Made 4 U” candy hearts aren’t helping matters. I happen to believe that any excuse to show loved ones even more love than usual is reason enough to celebrate. Check out my picks for local, environmentally-friendly Valentine’s Day gifts you’ll both adore – almost as much as each other!
Organic, Fair Trade Chocolate: Every woman looks forward to chocolate on Valentine’s Day (or any day for that matter!) This year, surprise your sweetie with a box of decadent, organic, fair-trade chocolate. Every bar or box of truffles you select will not only satisfy her sweet tooth, but it’ll also benefit the cocoa bean growers who made them. Now that’s really sweet!
Organic Flowers: Flowers on Valentine’s Day are second only to the aforementioned chocolate. Send her a beautiful, environmentally-friendly bouquet from OrganicBouquet.com, whose stunning flowers are certified by third-party agencies, such as the USDA, Fair Trade or Rainforest alliance, and can be shipped in biodegradable packaging anywhere in the US. Present them with some of those chocolates and watch her love for you blossom.
Craft or Local Beer: Lets be real. Choosing a gift for your guy on Valentine’s Day is tough. Candy? Been there. Cuff links? Done that. Cupid printed boxer shorts? He’s expecting ‘em. What does any guy really want at the end of the day though? Beer! Have an ice-cold mug of his favorite local or craft beer waiting for him on the big day, and he’ll be shouting “I love you!” – and not just to the empty bottle.
FOR YOU BOTH:
This Valentine’s Day, light the fire, pour a couple glasses of organic wine, and snuggle in style with Locally Grown’s warm-weather gear for him and her. Made in the USA with 100% cotton, these soft and cozy long-sleeved T-shirts, zip up jackets, and pull over hoodies will keep you both warm against the February chill. Not that you’ll need it with all those sparks flying!
How will you be celebrating Valentine’s Day this year?
It’s been nearly a month since the champagne bottles popped and the ball plunged from the sky. If you’re one of the 50% of Americans that declared a New Year’s resolution this year – it’s time for a check up!
I know you weren’t part of the 22% who dropped their decree after a week, and you certainly won’t become part of the 40% who falter after a month. No, not you.
Ok…if you’ve already tossed that good-intended goal, I’ve got your back. Here are 5 simple resolutions you can adopt to make a healthier, happier more eco-friendly you in 2011!
Meatless Monday: Meat has a bigger carbon footprint than any other food in the world. Do your part to shrink that print by planning one, meatless meal a week. Swap chicken for tofu. Beef for beans. Pork for eggs. You’ll never miss the meat, and you’ll also be reducing green house gas emissions by creating vibrant, healthful, meatless-meals like Stir-Fries, Frittatas and Chili.
Waste Not Want Not: Continually throwing out leftovers and uneaten produce is a huge waste of food and money. Keep a white board on the front of your fridge with a list of all the fresh produce and leftovers inside, then check them off as you’ve eaten them. Being able to see what’s in your fridge at a quick glance is a great reminder to use everything up, plus you’ll be able to keep track of what most often goes to waste.
Read Up: Change is hard unless you understand the whys and hows. Start expanding your knowledge on becoming healthier by picking up books like Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food, which educates readers about making thoughtful food choices and re-defining what it means to be healthy. Or make up your own mind about buying from small, organic farms after renting the eye-opening documentary Food, Inc, which takes a peek behind the curtains of the nation’s industrialized food system.
In the Bag: One of the easiest ways to help the environment is to use re-usable bags when shopping. Most are $.99 or less at the grocery store and your use will help cut down on the 100 billion (with a B!) plastic bags Americans throw away each year. Go one step further and use re-usable bags as gift or tote bags!
What was your new year’s resolution this year? Have you been able to stay on track?
There is a movement sweeping the country that represents an idea, a lifestyle and a way of eating. It’s a grassroots movement that links the joy of good food with a commitment to community and the environment.
This movement embraces the resurgence of Farmers’ Markets, the rise of the organic products and the renaissance of local agriculture across the country to take us back to a simpler way of life.
Are you a part of the movement?
Do you find locally grown food near you? With over 6,000 Farmers’ Markets operating across the country, and almost 900 winter markets, it’s easier than ever to find fresh, locally grown food all year long. With robust directories from organizations like LocalHarvest.org, finding a market, restaurant or grocer that supports local growers is one click away.
Do you try and protect the environment? Did you know most of the produce sold in the US has traveled an average of 1,500 miles before it finally gets to your fruit basket? Buying local not only reduces the need for long-distance transportation, but small, organic farms also use more eco-friendly ways of promoting plant growth and managing weeds, compared to their conventional counterparts.
Do you support family farmers and the regional economy? Farmers’ Markets in the state of Iowa generated approximately $38.2 million in sales in 2009, in addition to creating over 500 jobs. The Portland Farmers’ Market reported nearly $7 million in sales in 2010 generated by over 700,000 shoppers, and the popular Greenmarkets in New York City promote regional economy by supporting over 224 local farmers. With numbers like these, it’s easy to see the economic and social benefits Farmers’ Markets have on communities across the country.
If you answered yes…
Than you embrace the simple premise that locally grown food is healthier for you, and the environment. You feel empowered to make decisions that help create positive environmental and social change. You’re a Locavore. You buy from Farmers’ Markets, farm stands – heck, you might even produce your own food!
You’ve answered the call to action. The call to wake up and make conscious decisions about the products we buy and the food we eat. You’re part of the Locally Grown movement!
How are you participating in the Locally Grown movement? Buying more organic and/or local produce and meat? Planting a garden at home? Seeking out restaurants that utilize local ingredients?
Welcome to the Locally Grown Clothing Co. blog!
Check back for the latest on living a sustainable, eco-friendly lifestyle, and features on how to live like a Locavore – including fresh and in-season recipes.
We’ll also keep you posted on our “Locals” around the country. These passionate folks are part of our grassroots organization promoting the Locavore Movement, and selling Locally Grown clothing at their local Farmers’ Markets and other events. Get updates on where to find them, when new ones pop up and how to become a Local, if you’re interested!
Along the way we’ll also let you know when there’s new t-shirt designs, and new states, retailers, grocers and co-ops selling Locally Grown clothing. If there’s a can’t-miss sale in our online store well, we’ll let you know about that too.