Wednesday, June 27, 2012

taco tuesday = epic fail.

Okay, I must Monday eats weren't the best.  I had a great 5 mile run, followed by some chocolate milk...and then snacked through the day...and didn't have much of an appetite.  I did devour some cheesy mac & broccoli for dinner, followed by a hershey bar- in preparation for yesterday's trip to Hershey Park.  

I rode rides like a champ and had a blast people watching with friends.  
We finished the day at Red Robin where I enjoyed a Troegs Pale Ale...brewed just a few parking lots over from the restaurant.  That's pretty local...even if it was at a chain restaurant.  

So today, I was totally in the mood for tacos.  The ground venison was thawed, I picked up some tasty local veggies....'s a purple pepper. 

I had the venison browning, the peppers and tomato was diced, I had already realized I was making my own taco seasoning....but then I opened the fridge....and had no cheese.  Arg. 

So, I went to plan B: Sloppy Joes.  

I dumped the diced peppers and tomato into the ground venison, chopped up some onion and added that too, and let the veggies soften up.  

I went to add tomato sauce, but the remainder of pasta sauce in my fridge had a touch of fuzz.  So, I added tomato paste, ketchup, some water and chili powder.  I let it simmer for a bit...then tasted it and realized I wanted something more like a BBQ flavor.  So I added some brown sugar and apple cider vinegar and let it simmer for a bit longer.  

I popped some whole grain buns in the oven to warm them up....alongside some sweet potato fries.  
And this is how my tacos turned out:

Pretty delish for a botched up taco tuesday, dontcha think? 

Until tomorrow's tasty treats . . .

Sunday, June 24, 2012

really, i eat more than just pork...

After an afternoon of thrift shopping at Billy's mom's cottage.....some of the fun finds will be posted later, but I'm hoping that my front porch and my high porch will be somewhat decorated with some fun and funky old stoves and and quirky bird cages.  Who knows how it will all pan out.  After a light lunch with mom and packing up the truck, we ended up getting some take out for dinner.  We made it to The Latin Corner and ordered pork and beans, and a side of sweet plantains.

Here's what we enjoyed:
Normally the pork comes with rice, but trying to be a little more carb conscious, we asked for beans instead, which led the woman at the counter and her dad on a mission to give us the best bang for our buck, because 'Mom wasn't there.' We ended up with a boatload of tasty just $10.  The daughter came up to up with a bowl of the crunchy pork skin and said, "Because we had to pull more pork out of the oven, we pulled off some of the skin, because you have to taste it." 
So there we were, listening to the chef talking about using fresh ingredients and how everything is made on site as we crunched away.
We will definitely return.

Yesterday I followed a link from to a tasty grilled summer sandwich.
We grilled some whole wheat pizza dough, then covered it with pesto and provolone cheese...and popped it back on the grill.  Then we pulled it off and turned it into an open-faced BLT.
It made for a delicious lunch today :)

After a quick training at Muhlenberg College to prepare for my small group leader role at the National Youth Gathering in NOLA this summer.  We stopped at Allentown Brew Works We sampled some tasty brews and ate like champs.  

 The nachos were tasty...

But the Pear Bleu Cheese Pizza with Sherry infused pears, prosciutto and chopped walnuts.  (And a bleu cheese drizzle) was the crowd favorite!  So delicious and savory and sweet! 
We may have to figure out how tho make this on our own....luckily yesterday's food adventure gave us a sampling with grilling dough, now to figure out how to infuse pears with Sherry.....mmmmmm.

Until tomorrow's local and tasty eats . . .

Thursday, June 21, 2012

a few days late....

So tonight's dinner was a new found favorite several summers ago.  I heard Nigella Lawson on NPR talking about summer eats.  You can find the story at NPR and the recipe I used to make zucchini fritters.  They are so tasty!  The only problem with these fritters is that I eat them while I make them....I guess the good thing is that I make enough for a few meals and by the time I'm done cooking I'm also done eating!  

They are super delicious!

A few days back I enjoyed some tasty treats with fresh mozzarella, tomato and basil. Appetizers one day:

Local tomatoes, fresh mozz, fresh basil from my garden all drizzled with olive oil and aged balsamic vinaigrette. Then became a salad the next day:
In the summer I could live on salads....and well, all the other tasty treats I love to prepare.

Until the next opportunity for local eats . . .

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

beach moments.

I just returned from a 3 day beach retreat in Wildwood, NJ with a handful of our senior high youth group.  The local eats were not really the focus of this trip...although I did enjoy samples of fudge made on the boardwalk, Kohr Bros. ice cream, and a tasty 'cowboy' burger (pictured here)

A beef burger topped with pulled pork and homemade BBQ sauce and onion rings :)

More memorable, though, were the conversations that we had around the table where we ate.  From the first meal of tacos, to breakfasts and back at dinner again, we laughed deeply, we ate heartily and truly just conversed with one another.  We had moments of forgiveness and moments of grace (both moments and sung & spoken prayers), we talked about life, relationships and sense of call.  We laughed (to the point of tears) took time to breathe and laughed even more.  There is something about fellowship around the table.  I'm so thankful for the conversations that we were able to have over the past few days.  There are times when the youth make me laugh and times when we are serious...and then I think....woah, they have so much going on in their minds and their hearts and their lives....and then I worry a little bit.  I know God's holding each of them....and will never let them go....and I shouldn't have any buts....BUT....I just want to see them all succeed and blossom and grow to the best young men and women that God called and has created them to be.  

And with that, I'm also thankful that this evening, after we got home, I was able to head to my neighbors and lounge in the pool for a while to chill in this over 100 degree heat!  And I was invited to stay for dinner....more great conversation, especially with a 4-yr-old theologian at the table.  She's thankful for her pop pop....and thankful that God made him.  She was also talking to her band aid at one point, which always makes the evening interesting.  

Until the fresh or local eats I'll find tomorrow . . .

Thursday, June 14, 2012

good, healthy eats

So....I was excited a few months back when I made macaroni and cheese for the first time.  I used the recipe from The Pioneer Woman The line that stuck with me was after she finished making the cheese sauce, "And guess what? You can just steam some fresh broccoli and spoon some of this over the top. Kids from all over the land will show up at your doorstep."  Granted, I may not want kids from all over the land showing up at my doorstep, I did think that broccoli was calling out for this cheese sauce.  Knowing that I've been watching my carbs....and am planning on a long run in the morning, I figured I should use some I went with whole wheat rotini and a head of broccoli. 

I got carried away....I cooked the whole box of pasta.  I couldn't help myself.  It's like the box just dumped itself.....the cheese sauce was perfect for coating the pasta and broccoli....and then I topped it with some mozzarella and baked it for about 15 minutes.....super delish! 

I followed the pioneer woman's recipe except for the whole wheat pasta.  I went with the whole milk....and butter....because I think that's the best base for the cheesy goodness. 

My side dish was beet greens. 

Contrary to what some people may say, I don't think I'm going to turn into a beet. 

While this meal was filling and delicious....I couldn't help but think about what I would have paired with it.....if I had a smoker.....I guess this is a fab duo meal....the dinner trifecta will have to wait. 

Until tomorrow . . .

ps: the broccoli and beet greens were from the local farm :)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

cantaloupe tonight...

....getting married in the morning. 

Okay, I heard that joke at least twice as I brought cantaloupe to the cookout at church tonight. 

It was fresh....but the label said it doesn't fit into the local category.  But it was super delicious!

I did dice up some tomatoes, cukes and some feta cheese, seasoned it all with some freshly picked basil and oregano...and mixed up a red wine vinegar and canola oil dressing....and it will be a tasty lunch tomorrow! :)

Until tomorrow . . .

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

we got the beet(s)

The same woman who said I looked tired at a meeting last night, reminded me today, that I look tired.  I thought last night's tired look was due to a quick dip in the pool and my mascara moving from eyelash to just below the eye, but that was definitely not the case today. 

The day did take a bit out of me, started with a solid ride this morning in the midst of the rain.  After the first 15 minutes I didn't really notice the rain, until I got off the bike and it (and I) needed a wipe down.  Here's what I picked up on the back of my jacket during the ride:

And my socks were still wet when I got home at 8pm this evening....

I spend too much time shopping for a swimsuit.  Luckily I did find one after several hours of trying on a multitude of different suits. 

But after three stores...and the reality that it was 7pm, I treated myself to a PB & C milkshake from Coldstone Creamery.  I know...a total chain.....not really a 'local' purchase....but I saw her make the shake....and it was satisfying.  I was in desperate need of sugar and a pick-me-up. 

When I got home, after prepping lunch for tomorrow, I had some leftover meat roll.....and some fresh radishes. 

I then took the beets and roasted them for salad toppings and snacks tomorrow. 

I will try one tonight, as soon as they cool down. 

I hope to get to the local farm stand tomorrow, to replenish my veggie supply and come up with something creative to the cookout tomorrow. 

Until tomorrow . . .

Monday, June 11, 2012

meat roll.

Time to catch up on the last few days. 
It was a wonderful thing to enjoy 3 days off in a row! 

Saturday was a leisurely morning with a nice bike ride followed by an afternoon of brewing and some errands with my boyfriend.  Our all things local for the day took place in the outdoor kitchen.  And by outdoor was the burner for the turkey fryer on the patio that heated the water and wort for the Nut Brown Ale and we cooked up some tasty Thai curry in a cast iron pan over the same burner.  It was a perfect day to be outside....we enjoyed some home brewed hef and IPA while we were out there as well.  Here's the hef...we've been working on the pour to help with the head retention.

On Sunday the local eats included a tasty homemade brunch....topped off with a locally baked cake.  It revealed the gender of the soon to be born baby of my boyfriend's sister and brother-in-law. 

It's a girl!!!

I wore blue....thinking it was going to be a boy....I was wrong...but that's okay.  I had tasty leftovers of chicken, beet greens and peas for dinner.  (Still loving those beet greens!)

Today I made a recipe created by my sister.  It's the meat roll.  
A pork tenderloin, seasoned and seared and placed on rolled out pizza/bread dough.  Then you wrap it up and bake it!  I made some fresh (mock) pesto it was basil from the garden, fresh parm, evoo, salt, pepper and garlic.  (everything but the pine nuts), some diced tomatoes, spring onions and mozzarella cheese.  

It was delicious! (Thanks, LKC)

I think leftovers will be tasty tomorrow with some freshly roasted beets.  I'm looking forward to those.  

Until tomorrow . . .

Friday, June 8, 2012

run, nap and eat, eat, eat.

A wonderfully full day.
The following are on my 'done' list.

Pick strawberries.
6 mile trail run.
Snack on tortilla chips with salsa con queso.
Bake bread.
A few loads of laundry.
Try new recipes for dinner.
Clean, cut and freeze some strawberries. (7 cups)
Blog.  (well almost....)

It was another beautiful morning to pick strawberries.  I'm thankful that I got up early to get some picked before the weather warmed up.  Unfortunately, I hit the trail for my run later than I had it got rather warm.

The nap was perfect....maybe an hour or so?  All I know is that the nap was probably long overdue.

Dinner was super fresh!

Freshly baked bread using the spent grains from the
I mixed up the flours a bit and added not only whole wheat, but also some rye.  It's a heartier bread, especially with the whole spent grains.  I do need to add a pinch more of salt to this recipe,'s tasty with salted butter...but needs that little bite.

The bread was delish alongside fresh snap peas with fresh chives (from my herb garden).  I found the recipe, here: Sugar Snap Peas by Rachael Ray

 (Yup, I served them in a Rachael Ray dish.)

Those were next to some grill pan grilled chicken tenders with a light marinade of Cajun seasoning, salt and pepper, apple cider vinegar and evoo.

And the star of the plate tonight were the beet greens.  Starting with sauteed bacon, adding some local spring onion, then some grated garlic.....the greens simmer in that with some water and sugar.  At the end you add cider vinegar.  YUM!  I'm looking forward to enjoying the leftovers next week!

(not pictured - Dead Ringer IPA)

And now it's time for dessert....bring on one more slice of bread and some strawberries!

Until tomorrow's good eats . . .

Thursday, June 7, 2012

the colors of christmas.

I enjoyed more and more of the strawberry vinaigrette dressing on my salad at lunch today.  I also had a small salad with that tasty dressing with my 'breakfast for dinner' egg scramble and biscuits. 

Between hospital visits and the Baccalaureate service this evening, I did make it to the farm stand down the street.  I am happy to report that my produce drawer in the fridge contains multiple colors....other than green! 

The beautiful red radishes and the purple tones of beets!  Yum and yum. 

I bought the beets with the greens attached, but learned that it's best to store them separately, because the greens will suck the moisture out of the root. 

I also picked up a head of lettuce (for a dollar!) that was clearly just taken out of the ground.

I'm thinking the greens will make an appearance at dinner tomorrow.   And I just may have to pick some more strawberries.  (between sharing and eating them....the ones I picked on Tuesday are pretty much gone. )

Until tomorrow's fresh eats . . .

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Not until it was on my way home from pericope study today did I realize that I was wearing two different earrings.  This was after I slept in and had 2 cups of coffee.  I guess a run in the morning helps to wake me up.  (I skipped the run today for a few extra minutes of sleep.) 

In preparation of an after lunch meeting I sipped a coke zero. 
Post meeting I was still yawning, so I hit a local coffee shop for a small latte. 

(I think I have the best buns in town.)

After a few afternoon visits and a short run (Happy National Running Day!) I saddled up for a tasty dinner.  I skimmed the Simply in Season cookbook and found a simple recipe for a raspberry vinaigrette.  I changed it to a strawberry vinaigrette since that's the fresh fruit that I have. 

The new recipe creation for today: Strawberry Vinaigrette

1/6 C. lemon juice
1/4 C. maple syrup (or if you don't have enough like I didn't, add honey)
1/4 C. oil (I used canola)
1/3 C. diced strawberries
1/2 tsp. dried mustard
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper

I put all the ingredients in my pampered chef manual food processor and after a few whirls, it was good to go. 

This recipe was halved because I knew I didn't have 1/2 C. of maple syrup...but living in a house of one, this covered salad tonight and the salad I'll have for lunch tomorrow.  I'm thinking the dressing is best fresh. 

The dressing was perfect on my 'everything but the kitchen sink' salad. 

Lettuce, chicken, cheddar cheese, asparagus, cukes, shredded carrots, snow peas, strawberries and almonds.  yum.

Until tomorrow's tasty eats . . . 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

strawberry fields forever

Last night's dinner became this morning's breakfast.  After watching Extra Virgin on the Cooking Channel, I was ready to try this tasty frittata recipe.

Super delicious with fresh spring onions and freshly grated Parmesan cheese.  Last night we paired it with a fresh salad with local lettuce, cukes and tomatoes.  (yum)

This morning is was perfect reheated in the microwave alongside a fresh cup of coffee....and the last slice tomorrow will be paired with fresh strawberries! 

This morning's adventure was here:

Just 20 minutes or so down the road, to the pick your own strawberry farm.  :) 

If my back would have allowed I would have loved to stay all day.  It's a wonderfully cool morning with the plants a little wet from yesterday's rain and plenty of strawberries to pick. 

So many berries and only two containers to fill.  (I didn't want to go overboard.)  I am headed to a picnic/planning meeting tonight for our Youth Board, so I'm bringing fresh strawberries to share. 

The rest I will just eat as the week continues.  This may be the peak week for picking, so if I'm out and about early enough on Friday, I'll head back down to see what's left.  I guess I could freeze them for smoothies and other desserts. 

After an hour of picking I paid $4.60 for this:

A morning well spent, I'd say. 

I also remembered that I have an awesome cookbook, Simply In Season It has great recipes categorized by season.  I may have to highlight some of those recipes for the next month...and keep that book out on the counter throughout the year. 

And now for the rest of the day . . .

Sunday, June 3, 2012

beets & greens.

Another wonderfully long day at church today.  But there were some stellar moments. 

During the children's sermon I was going to talk to them about vocation....or more so who we are called to be as children of God.  So I said, "Who here has a job?"  The congregation chuckled....then one hand went up....and the child said, "My job is helping mommy clean around the house."  Another hand went up, "My job is helping with the dishes."  The hands kept going up with ways that these little ones help and serve within the context of their was a beautiful moment.  One little guy raised his hand and, "I help my dad with man work."  I tell's so amazing how the spirit moves.  I'm so thankful for a wonderful bunch of kiddos and their willingness to share. 

We had our confirmation service in the afternoon and I met with a couple getting married after the reception. 

Then I journeyed to a parishioner's house for dinner.  I knew I was in for a treat when I was asked if I liked beets.  When I said yes, they said good, they would pick up some fresh ones from the family garden down the road!  (fresh & local!) 

The picture is not from dinner tonight, but these were the kind we had...

They were sweet and tasty...and we alongside baked barbecue chicken, rice and beet greens. 

This was the first time she made beet greens and it was the first time I've ever had them.  They are tasty....and maybe part of that tasty came from the bacon....but I could be a greens fan.  Here's a link to the recipe that was used for the greens.

We omitted the sugar...and it tasted just fine.  Oh, and the garlic also came from the farm.

Yummy dinner, great family, fun conversation and a very relaxing evening.

Until tomorrow's local eats . . . 

Saturday, June 2, 2012


After worship tonight I was invited to a surprise party for an 80 yr old woman in the congregation I serve.  I don't think that the eats can get more local than this.  She has two step children, the child she gave birth to died (I don't know the whole story) and she's had a tough life.  But I do know this, that the church social hall had tables of people who all live in her neighborhood.  It was family created by community.  She said that no one had ever done anything like this for her in her life before....and we said wait until 85!  She has a sassy attitude and was waving her finger at each us us because we knew about the party but didn't let her know about it.  And today, of all days, her basement flooded with water and sewage, so her neighbors (and a plumber) were helping her out all day. 

I tell you, the family in that room was amazing.  They love this woman and she is so blessed to have them all in her life.  They spoke highly of her and kept saying how good their neighborhood is.  I saw it for my own eyes, a table full of food (I had some meatballs, broccoli salad and some pierogies), an 80 year old in a tiara sipping tea in a decorated goblet, and people sharing stories of their day with smiles and laughter.

We are called to live in community....yet the extent to which we do that has an impact far greater than we can ever imagine. 

I'm thankful for the opportunity to share in celebrations that lift up community and individuals. 

Until tomorrow's local eats . . .

Friday, June 1, 2012

raincoat required.

Well, I'm not really sure where May went.  It had plenty of days and many adventures with brews and beers, but not many days of blogging about it. 

I do have to say that over a week ago I saw the open sign at the local farm!  It was definitely a highlight for me and a true sign that the summer is approaching!  I have already enjoyed fresh asparagus more than once...and I will buy it until it is no longer available!  It's so tasty roasted in the oven with some olive oil, salt and pepper.  That's it...and it's super delicious.  When I was preparing it this week, I was breaking off the ends (you know the tough bits that you don't want to eat) well, it was so fresh that as I broke off the ends I ate them instead of tossing them.  Too good! 

So, inspired by my trip to Colonial Williamsburg and the very cool guy in the kitchen...I'm aiming for more fresh and local eats this month.  I was proud that when he asked the group gathered in that kitchen who in the group baked their own bread I was able to raise my hand.  I'm really lucky that I am just down the road from a great farm stand.  I mean Farmer's Markets are great....there are several nearby...and I enjoy getting the meat and poultry from the folks that raise the animals.  And while the fruits and veggies look amazing in the winter months, I know that most of them have been grown elsewhere and trucked in....which is not what I'm really looking now that the weather is warming up....I'm ready for the local eats. 

My plan is at least one meal highlighting fresh or local eats each day. 

Today's local meal was dinner.  It started with salad:
Sadly, the colors aren't the best in this picture, but you get the gist.  The lettuce, cuke and snow peas were grown in the green house at the farm. 

The main course was pizza! 
It was a crust I made  a while back that had been chillin in the freezer.  It was topped with cheese, green house grown tomatoes and spring onions (from the farm). 

While it was in the oven, I put on my raincoat and dodged the rain drops to pick fresh oregano and basil which was sprinkled on the pizza when it came out of the oven.  There is something about the smell that the heat releases from the basil and oregano.  The kitchen smelled amazing! 

I'm sure some of tonight's ingredients will make there way into more dishes in the next few days.  Tonight's pizza will be at least two more meals for me.  But I'm hoping that some of these fresh flavors will pair well with breakfast....and I see some fresh bread in my future as well. 

Here's to fresh and local eating for the next 30 days.....and hopefully blog entries that are a little more regular.  ;)

Until next time . . .