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From Farm to Table

May 24th, 2010 by admin | Permalink

Produce Travels Transparency, image courtesy of Good and Always With Honor

Did you know that broccoli travels for about 7 to 10 days before reaching your local grocery store?  That means that half of your broccoli’s life is already gone when you take it home.  If it sits in your refrigerator for a few more days, there’s a good possibility that by the time you want to make stir fry, you may need a new head of broccoli.

And if you live in Iowa, for example, chances are the tomatoes you’re buying in December are not coming from the surrounding area.  What does that mean?  Extra travel time, of course.

Beyond the mere problem of wasting food, buying produce takes on a whole new meaning when you really look at where your produce is grown.  This affects things like supporting local farmers, reducing energy spent in food transportation, and enjoying fresher foods.

What does this mean for you?  It means that maybe you should buy corn from the farm down the road this summer, guaranteeing that you are getting absolute freshness and supporting a local farmer.  My father would drive 45 minutes for corn from “the farm.”  I’m serious, I don’t even know the name of the place… we just call it the farm.  It always trumped store bought corn and thanks to local patrons, the farm continues today.

And it means that you may have to become more choosy about what you’re eating throughout the year in an attempt to eat the best produce available.  So if you live in Georgia you can enjoy lush, local blueberries in the summer, adding them to your favorite cereal, breads, and smoothies.  But know that enjoying them in November means they’ve done some traveling.

The folks at Good partnered with Always With Honor and created a neat infographic showing us “A season-by-season list of when 10 common fruits and vegetables are locally available around the United States.”  Check it out here and find another equally interesting infographic about food travel distances here.

Friday Eats: Graduation Fare

May 21st, 2010 by admin | Permalink

Well, I’m not surprised to say that Martha Stewart and gang have outdone themselves again!  There will be tons of recipes in this post to cover a broad range of palettes, from fancier get-togethers to backyard simplicity still bursting with flavor.  These recipes are from blogs and sites that I adore, and trust with all my culinary endeavors.  Good luck!

These recipes are the perfect complement to warm summer days and good friends and family gathering around for special occasions.

Prosciutto and Basil Crostini, image courtesy of Martha Stewart

Prosciutto-Basil Crostinis.  I’ve made my fair share of crostinis, and they’ve all been more difficult than this recipe appears to be.  The prosciutto and basil combination alone should make your mouth water.  Crostinis are also great with combinations like roma tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella, brie and apple, goat cheese and olive tapenade, and the combinations go on for days.

Shrimp Cocktails.  These are not rocket science.  Really, I promise.  But they are easy, a great cold appetizer, and of course, perfect as a finger food.  You can pair the shrimp with a traditional cocktail sauce, or infuse it with other ingredients, like mango or jalapenos, to make it standout.  Or for a savory, grilled version of shrimp, try Emeril’s Lemon-Herb Grilled Shrimp.

Try your hand at an Arugula Salad with Strawberries and Pecans from Ezra Pound Cake.  She (yes, “she” not “he”… her name is Rebecca, actually) has a really neat story behind her blog and her recipes have never steered me wrong.

Rosemary Fried Chicken, image courtesy of Martha Stewart

And to round it up, this Rosemary Fried Chicken from Martha Stewart is a slight twist on a classic favorite for any summer get-together.

I hope for those of you who are celebrating big with graduations (or maybe just little, personal picnics and fun), have a wonderful weekend!

DIY: Graduation Party and Favors

May 19th, 2010 by admin | Permalink

Cupcake flags, image courtesy of Marthastewart.com

There are so many things to make ready for a graduation party.  From food to favors to decorations, all the while dealing with the fact that your graduate may be leaving home for the first in a few short months, or may be moving onto a full-time career in just a few days.

So because this is kind of a big deal, we’ve gathered a few different resources for you to celebrate in style!

First off, DIY pinwheels in your graduate’s school colors.  To decorate the lawn, show some school spirit, and ensure that no guest fails to recognize the right house for the party, these are a great and simple way to add some flair.  This DIY is actually featured on Style Me Pretty, Abby Larson’s wedding styling brain child.

Next, we have two great DIY’s from Martha Stewart, including cupcake flags and a graduation banner.  Some people still opt for cakes, but for parties that are on the go and include a younger audience, cupcakes are the perfect sweet to add to your celebration.  These cupcake flags can be made at home, just using your printer, some glue, and toothpicks.  And the graduation banner is a must!  Making your own allows you to experiment with different fonts, colors, and sizes to fit your venue.

Cake Pop Caps by Bakerella, image courtesy of Bakerella

And finally, the DIY that takes the cake… a really cute and fun-to-make idea from Bakerella.  It was months ago that I first stumbled upon Bakerella’s site and was totally confounded by the projects she undertakes and shares with the world.  These candy cup caps are a great project to involve family and friends in, and will be a standout item at your grad’s party.  And, if you are looking for a more challenging project, you can try her cake pop caps (same link).

So start making!  And check back with us to get a special Friday Eats on some wonderful food for your graduation party.

DIY: Chalkboard Plant Stakes

May 17th, 2010 by admin | Permalink

Chalkboard Plant Stake, image courtesy of Design*Sponge

If you’re challenged at identifying plants like I am, raise your hand.  It’s ok if there are people around you… just raise your hand anyway and tell them you’re stretching.

I can’t tell the green of a vegetable from another, let alone a plant from a plant.  And herbs?  I have no idea… the only way I know that I’ve got cilantro in hand instead of Italian parsley is by smelling the leaves.

But fortunately, the creative minds over at Design*Sponge have done it again.  These people are serious about their chalkboard paint and they are all about planting and growing vegetables at home.

Now that we’re in planting (well, even some are harvesting) season, these plant stakes are great… You can eat as many popsicles as you want (or you can steal a handful of tongue depressors when you’re at the doctor’s) and paint them with chalkboard paint.  Then just write away and identify your growing greens without ever second guessing what they are.   It’s also nice to eliminate those little plastic ones that you see in planters sold at stores.  Just make sure you buy a water-based, non-toxic brand of chalkboard paint for this project!  For the full how-to, click here.

Friday Eats: Milk Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Pancakes

May 14th, 2010 by admin | Permalink

Have you ever used the box mix to make pancakes?  You know, the kind that you just add a little water to?  Yeah, been there and done that.  But this Friday Eats is about inspiring you to wake up a little earlier than 11:00 tomorrow morning and try your hand at making some pancakes from scratch.

For me, cooking and baking from scratch has become a bigger part of my lifestyle and sometimes it’s way easier than the preconceived notions we might have.  Part of the reason why I’ve switched to making pancakes from scratch is due to none other than Joy the Baker.

I mean, look at these pancakes.

Milk Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Pancakes, image courtesy of Joy the Baker

So, if sometime between tonight and Monday you’re able to squeeze a few extra minutes into the kitchen, you can come out with a plateful of these.

Milk Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Pancakes, images courtesy of Joy the Baker

For full recipe, please visit here.  And a full-stomach thank you to Joy for sharing a perfect weekend recipe and these eye candy photos.

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