Thursday, August 12, 2010

My CSA Adventure

Posted by Carla B. at 7:18 PM
Things are going well with the CSA I posted about recently. I have picked up my box for a couple of weeks now, and I am very pleased with the value for the money. All the vegetables are organically grown on a local farm that is considered a "slow grower". Currently, I am paying $390 for the remainder of the growing season - which means one box and one bag a week up to the week prior to Thanksgiving. That's not too bad, considering I get a wide variety that will continue to change as the seasons change.

So far, I get one box of tomatoes a week. This contains a pint container of heirloom Roma tomatoes - a beautiful yellow. It also contains a variety of other heirloom tomatoes - purple, red, even yellow zebra. The wide range of colors and types also means a wide range of flavors - some more sweet, some more tart. Some are good for sandwiches, and some make a mean tomato sauce. With these, I usually get around 10-14 tomatoes: 3 or 4 large ones (sandwich size perfect) with the rest medium-sized. 

I have gotten a bag of okra a week, with enough to serve a family of four (smaller than my family, but perfect for my family since several members seem to think okra means a sure death by taste). I also get some beautiful squash - a few crookneck and some zucchini. One week I got a pint jar of honey. This week's surprise was a small bag of garlic - about 8 heads.

I get more eggplant than I know what to do with, so if you have any good eggplant recipes please share. I have a good recipe for eggplant parmigiana, which I love. And since I am Southern, I have mastered frying them. I am trying to eat healthier, so I tried roasting them this past week but I wasn't entirely pleased. Please share any roasting tips you may have as well. This past week I received 4 regular purple eggplant, 3 Japanese eggplant and a pint container of Thai eggplant. I had never tried the Thai eggplant, and I totally messed up making it, so I hope I get another shot at that this week.

That is all just the CSA box, which also includes other things depending on the week. This past week I also got a huge bundle of fresh basil. Between that and the tomatoes, I made a killer tomato sauce we are using the remainder of this week. I am actually getting enough that I could be canning tomato sauce by the end of the season. That is very exciting considering the cost investment. It will be paying off past Thanksgiving. 

I am actually purchasing my CSA through the USLG market that I linked to in my last post. The market also has several other items that are delicious. The black bean hummus we tried was addictive, and I have now tracked down a good recipe that mimics the flavor. Their secret is to add a tiny bit of coriander. Other things I have tried include a chocolate pecan pie (not nearly as good as it sounds), chocolate milk from a local dairy (fantastic and hormone free), goat's milk (also quite good), goat cheese (you can make all sorts of delights with it), and more. I am very pleased so far with most everything I have tried.

I'll post more as I work my way through their market and menus.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

G-Free and Me?

Posted by Carla B. at 11:41 PM
I had a hysterectomy back in the spring, and I have been marking off a lot of recent symptoms as a result of the surgery. Hair falling out? Must be the body trauma - my surgeon said it was normal after major surgery. Tired all the time? My surgeon said it would take six to possibly twelve months before I had all my energy back. Since I have a house full of kids, it should be no surprise the energy level stays low. I've had some headaches here and there among other things, but I just kept saying "it must be the surgery". Then there's the whole abdominal pain issue - not like prior to surgery. I notice when I drive for a long period my belly gets this strange burning sensation all around the belly button and into the lower abdomen. I'm used to those little zinger pains that are the result of nerve endings coming to life. This is totally different. Still, I kept thinking it must be the surgery. Recently, however, I've been curious if it is not something more than that.

The fatigue can sometimes resemble a bone-crushing exhaustion. There are days I have lots of energy and therefore I get a lot done. Other days just cooking a meal and washing dishes wipes me out as though I had run a full marathon. That's just not normal. Although I do remember a similar fatigue when I got diagnosed with low thyroid. That got me thinking... maybe it's my thyroid. Perhaps my new hormone replacement therapy is somehow affecting my thyroid levels? So I started a little research thinking I need to check out a good endocrinologist - one person handling all the hormones sounds like a start.

Once I started my search, I came across the website of a doctor in the area that sounds pretty good. Most of the reviews are good. On her site, she spoke about how gluten is the root of a lot of troubles for women. That led me on another search - the gluten-free diet. One of my good friends from high school is now gluten-free. She is battling lupus, and she has found going G-Free is an integral part of staying as healthy as possible. For those interested, she is Carla Ulbrich aka The Singing Patient.  So, I think I might try it. I already try to eat as much organic as possible. However, swapping one veggie for another is a lot different than giving up an entire good group (carbohydrates which deserve their own grouping). I completely identify with that line from "Eat, Pray, Love" about "no carb left behind". I will need to have a funeral for my cereals. A coffin for my cupcakes. A testimonial and wake for my bread. I'll keep you posted on my little experiment.

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