Saturday, August 30, 2008

Kitchen-Sink Soup, A Crate, A Car

One of my favorite ways to use leftovers, (legumes, grains and vegetables) is in what has been called  Kitchen Sink Soup in my family for at least 3 generations.

The principle is simple; anything can go into it!I made some today, because we went to the Farmer's Market and I needed to get rid of the odds and ends of produce before I stored the new, fresh stuff.

You can start with stock or make your own, it's just a time thing. This soup does well in a stock pot, a Dutch oven or a crockpot, depending on how quickly you want to serve it and how many you're serving. It also freezes beautifully, if you're not going to use it right away. (It's too hot in Florida for soup at the moment, so I'm going to freeze mine for the upcoming cooler days/nights!)

Today, I used organic vegetable broth, because I didn't have everything I like to make stock in the house. Then, I tossed in varying amounts of the following: Squash (I grew it), tomatoes, field peas, onion, okra (I grew that, too!) potato, snap beans, peas and broccoli. I have herbs from my garden, and salt to season. Towards the end, right before serving, I'll toss in some cooked brown rice that has been in the fridge, too.

Once it's done, I'll cool it and freeze it. One of my favorite ways to eat it is with some fresh rosemary bread and farmer's cheese from our local Farmer's Market.

The great thing about this soup is it adapts to you; I've made winter versions with root veggies such as winter squash, parsnips, turnips, onions and carrots. It also is the best prevention of food waste that I know. Just like jam, when fruit has seen a better day, this soup can absorb valuable produce that might not look as good as it once did - but which is still serviceable.


Today, also, I bought a plastic crate that I am strapping to the back of my bike. If I travel down one mile to the store, I can get a small amount of groceries and put that in the crate on the back, instead of trying to balance the bags on my wrists while biking. I think it's a worthwhile investment.


And, last but not least, since my old American GM car has been dying a slow death these last 6 weeks I've been looking for a small, light, Japanese car that gets good gas mileage. Well, I found one and bought it. My new (to me) Nissan is pictured below. It's a standard transmission, immaculate interior. The miles are a bit higher than I'd like but these cars, if well cared for, can do double or more the mileage I have on it right now.

So, I'm content. And I've dumped the gas-guzzler for something more reliable, more efficient and more in tune to our needs. Yay!

Monday, August 4, 2008

The Farmer's Market & The Jones Eastside Eatery

On Saturday mornings, between 8:30am and 1:00pm, we have our local farmer's market. Everything brought to market was raised within 50 miles of its location. My daughter and I bring our re-usable cloth grocery bags, and wagons are provided.

It's a great, affordable way to get fresh, in-season fruits and veggies. The other items offers are soaps, honey, wax candles, fresh baked goods, herbs and plants. This link here also gives you a handy chart to let you know what sold each season, as well as year-round.

Farmer's markets are a great way to go green and save on your food bill. Since we're mostly vegetarian in our household, fresh veggies are important - and yet they can also get expensive. Eating in season keeps us healty, creative and in tune with the Earth.

Besides, it's a lot of fun to see what's brought to market each week and to get to know the people who are directly involved with growing/making the things we eat.


My boyfriend is here with us for an extended stay and this weekend we checked out
The Jones Eastside Eatery on a dear friend's recommendation.

Not only was it vegetarian and organic, but all the tempeh, tofu and other ingredients are local! Wow, what a great place. We didn't have to wait long for service or food.

My SO and I had the black bean burrito, with avocado and sour cream. They were fantastic. If you're in and around the Gainesville area, I highly recommend a visit to The Jones Eastside Eatery.


Next, I want to try Sweetwater Organic Coffee Company. I bet I can get my love to go, as he's a certified coffee gourmandise like me!