Tag Archives: Alan’s Orchard

Friday Favorites

From time to time I like to share things I’m really loving at the moment. If you hang out with me in person, you’ll likely hear me refer to these things as “my jam.” I guess it isn’t as bad as calling them epic? I don’t know. But anyway, here are the things (completely unrelated) that I am currently enjoying.

PicMonkey Collage

Jack Rogers Sandals

I’ve had my eyes on these sandals for awhile, but never knew the brand, or where to get them. My sister (who is very fashionable, but is picky) refers to these sandals as “preppy Southerner shoes,” and while I am neither of those things, I liked them. So when I saw that RueLaLa had them on sale, I figured I’d grab myself a pair, because I’m not really willing to spend more than $100 on sandals.

You can typically find me wearing flip flops or basic (read: cheap) sandals in the summer, so these were a nice change of pace. The construction of the shoe is serious, and its obvious that you get what you pay for. I bought them in white so I could wear them with pretty much anything (and they have a little sparkle!), but I love a lot of the colors they offer.

Local CSA – “Fresh Box”

This is my second year participating in the “Fresh Box” program with a local fresh foods grocer, Alan’s Orchard, and my love for it grows each week. I really love getting a fresh box of produce every weekend and figuring out my meals for the upcoming week based on what I have. The grocery stores by me don’t always have the freshest produce, so it’s nice to know that I’m getting something that is from a local farm. My only complaint is that things can be really dirty (which I would expect considering they literally pick it out of the ground, and bring it to the store!), so it takes some extra time to wash things. If you have a CSA program near you, I definitely recommend checking it out!

Trader Joe’s Soy Chorizo

This stuff is the bomb.com. Seriously. (Yes, I’m aware of what I just said). I actually tried this for the first time before becoming a vegetarian, and was really impressed with the flavors and texture… so naturally once I became a  vegetarian I continued buying it (it’s actually vegan!). While I’ve only had real chorizo a few times so I don’t think I can compare the two fairly, I can say that regardless of it’s close proximity to real chorizo taste, it’s awesome as it’s own product. I’ve used it in burritos, casseroles, grilled cheeses, omelets… the list goes on and on! I’ve found that both vegetarians and carnivores really enjoy it, so if there’s a Trader Joe’s near you, I definitely suggest giving it a try.

Nathan “Power Shower” After-Run Wipes

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I sweat a lot. So naturally I’m drenched after each summer run (whether it’s a speed workout or an easy run). So if I don’t have the opportunity to shower right away, having a wipe available is a great “get me a few extra hours” option. These wipes were particularly handy last weekend when I “ran” a color run with a bunch of my college friends. I wound up using two wipes, but was able to get all of the powder and color off of me, and I didn’t feel grimy and gross.

As  I was using them I noticed that there was a little soapy film, which I appreciated, since I definitely needed something substantial to get all the color gunk off of me. I just wish they came in bigger packages – I’m almost through the package I bought not too long ago!

How To Be A Heartbreaker, by Marina & The Diamonds

I don’t remember how or why I happened upon this song, but it’s been constantly stuck in my head since. I play it while I’m sitting at my desk at work, if I’m cleaning around the house, and even though I don’t listen to music while I run, this would be a perfect workout song too.

Hope everyone has  a great first official weekend of summer! Any big plans?

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Filed under Life, Vegetarian/Vegan

Summer Simple

Does anyone remember the acronym/mnemonic device KISS (keep it simple stupid) from elementary school? Well, that was the first thing I thought of when I decided to make zucchini “pasta” and basil pesto for dinner on Monday night.

I signed up for the “Fresh Box” from Alan’s Orchard again this year, and I can’t say how much I love getting a fresh box of produce each week. It’s such a fun surprise to show up on Saturday morning not knowing exactly what I’ll be getting for the week (they send out a newsletter that day, but I enjoy the element of surprise). Once I have the box I’m able to plan my meals for the week around the fruits and vegetables, and having farm fresh produce over less than impressive grocery store produce is a real treat.

When I saw that we’d be getting basil this week, I immediately thought of making a simple basil pesto and having it with spaghetti. Then I saw we also got zucchini, and decided to give zucchini pasta a try. I’m not going to lie, when I first saw vegetables being used in place of pasta I scoffed at the idea… I think mostly because I saw them being pushed simply as a low calorie alterative to pasta, which isn’t how I roll (bring on the calories, people!). But I can say that they are in fact delicious – but this definitely isn’t filling enough to have on its own (so have it as a side dish). And it only took a few minutes to throw together!

So try this… you can thank me later.

Zucchini Pasta with Basil Pesto | Foodosaurusrex.com

Simple Zucchini Pasta with Basil Pesto
– Serves 2 as a side – 

Ingredients for pasta:
1 Tbsp oil
4 medium zucchini
Ingredients for pesto:
1 cup fresh basil
1 tsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
1 Tbsp lemon juice
Salt & pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Peel the zucchini with a vegetable peeler, set aside. 
2. In a blender, combine the basil, olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper and blend until well combined. 
3. In a medium skillet, heat the 1 tbsp of oil and sauté the zucchini until heated through (about 3 minutes). Add the basil pesto and stir to combine, cooking for an additional 2 minutes. 
4. Garnish with red pepper flakes and parmesan cheese if desired. 

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Filed under Food Blogging, Recipe, Vegetarian/Vegan

Vegetarian Flavor

When I first thought about taking the plunge into a vegetarian lifestyle, I reasoned with myself that I couldn’t do it because of all the things I’d be missing. Of course if you approach anything with the mindset of what you’re losing and not what you’re gaining, struggles are bound to happen. Thankfully when I finally decided to officially make the vegetarian plunge (almost 3 months strong now!), I approached it much differently. While I still have a pang for a cheeseburger once in a blue moon, I’ve discovered so much more in the food world, and have been able to make some pretty simple substitutions.

I abide by the rule that almost anything can be turned vegetarian. Obviously a steak can’t, but there are ways to approach meals and make them just as flavorful, if not more. So, when this week’s Fresh Box included radicchio, I went on the hunt for recipe inspiration  and like most recipes I find, there was a meat component. I found a recipe from Saveur that included pancetta, and immediately decided I could easily swap that out.

For the recipe, I went with Morningstar Farm’s vegetarian styled bacon. This could easily work well with smoked tempeh, and of course, bacon or pancetta. I went with the suggested pappardelle, but if you don’t have any on hand, a fettuccine or other egg styled pasta would work well.

Smoky Pappardelle with Radicchio inspired by Sauver 
– Serves 4 –  

Ingredients:
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 yellow onion, sliced
1 tsp sage
4 slices veggie styled bacon or tempeh*
1 lb. pappardelle or other egg styled flat pasta
1 head radicchio, sliced
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
Parmesan cheese
Salt & Pepper to taste 

Directions:
1. Heat oil in a skillet and add onion, sage, salt and pepper over medium heat. Constantly stir for about 20-30 minutes until golden brown (it’s a pain, but I promise worth it!). Add in the veggie bacon and sauté for an additional 5 minutes. Add the radicchio to the pan and cook until wilted, about 5 more minutes. 
2. Meanwhile, boil 3-4 quarts of salted water, add the pasta and cook for about 8 minutes, drain (save about 1/4 cup of water).
3. Combine the pasta with the veggie bacon, onion, and radicchio with the 1/4 cup of pasta water; mix well.  
4. Finish off with the balsamic vinegar and top with grated or shredded parmesan cheese.  

*Note: You can buy “fakin’ bacon” that is already flavored tempeh, or you can buy regular tempeh and mix it with some liquid smoke for the same effect.

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Filed under Recipe, Vegetarian/Vegan

My First CSA

A few months ago at a street festival in my hometown, one of the speciality fresh food stores, Alan’s Orchard, had a booth that I stopped by. In addition to picking up a loaf of pumpkin chocolate chip bread (which was SO good), I signed up to be on their CSA waiting list. I know a lot of other bloggers participate in CSAs that are local to them, but I found they were less common in suburban New Jersey than I liked. So even though I was only signing up for the waiting list, I crossed my fingers that someone would drop out, but didn’t get my hopes up.

Fast forward to July, and I got a call from the store that they had room for me in their “Fresh Box” program! Since we were on vacation when they called, I was afraid by the time I got back to them they would have already moved onto the next person. Thankfully they hadn’t, and I was able to pick up my very first box this past Friday. The program runs from May to December and provides you with a (giant) box of seasonal fruits and vegetables weekly (you can choose from three pick up days), and the box comes with a ton of information (instructions for the best storage, recipes, and general information on the fruits and veggies) all for $25! They also offer add-ins that you can purchase like farm fresh eggs, cheese, and other goodies. The store also partners with a local wine shop in town to offer weekly wine and beer selections, too! Needless to say this program is a veggie lovers dream.

This week’s haul included giant jalapeños, an eggplant, four ears of corn, tomatoes, two kinds of peaches, rainbow chard, pickle cucumbers, green cabbage, onions, and tomatillos. I typically meal plan mid-week and shop on Sunday or Monday for the week, but obviously now that I’ll be picking up these goodies every Friday, that has to change. I’ve got grand plans for it all, though. Sunday was grilled salmon with peach salsa, Monday was spicy mushroom and eggplant tacos with salsa verde, Tuesday was a rainbow chard frittata, and tonight is falafel in a cabbage wrap! You can bet I’ll be sharing the recipes soon. I can’t wait to see what each week brings!

Do you have a CSA program near you? Do you participate? 

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Filed under Home Cooking, Vegetarian/Vegan