Heartland Revival

Farmers' Market Recap

Amber BransonComment

This summer, I've been so proud to be a sponsor of the Tower Grove Farmers' Market! Along with being a sponsor of this great community event that happens EVERY Saturday at Tower Grove Park, I've been doing cooking demos every third Saturday of the month. My cooking demonstrations feature recipes using produce that in-season that month and Double Star Farms has been my generous sponsor, donating the vegetables I need to make the demo happen! 

The May demo was all about how to make homemade salad dressing to spruce up the abundance of greens Spring has to offer. Besides sharing recipes, I came up with a graphic showing how easy it is to make up dressings as you go, with what you have on-hand. Click here to download the image below.

June's demo showcased Cauliflower. In my house, we love using Cauliflower as a carbohydrate substitute and often use it as rice in stir-frys or sushi. For the demo I made Cauliflower "fried rice" with onions, peas, carrots and soy sauce. It was a big hit and it made me smile when I kept getting asked, "there's no rice in this?!" 

Below are the links for the recipes I shared along with a recipe that I came up with. Enjoy!

Cauliflower "fried rice"
Cheesy Cauliflower Bread Sticks
Cauliflower "Ranch" Dip

Garlic Mashed Cauliflower
Makes 4-6 servings

• 1 head of cauliflower
• 1/3 cup grated parmesan
• 2 tablespoon sour cream
• 2 tablespoon butter
• 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
• 1/3 cup milk (or unsweetened almond)
• salt and pepper

1. Boil or steam cauliflower. Drain well.

2. In a bowl with an immersion blender, or in a food processor, puree the hot cauliflower with the sour cream, Parmesan, butter, garlic, milk, and salt and pepper until almost smooth. 

Join me for the rest of the summer for more demos and a special giveaway on July 18th.

Hope to see you there!
Amber

Drink To Your Health

Food for ThoughtAmber BransonComment
Image courtesy of zirconicusso at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of zirconicusso at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

For many people who are eating healthy, their beverages can be sabotaging their efforts to achieve the level of health and vibrancy they desire. Are you drinking empty calories that prevent you from losing weight? Are you putting toxic additives and chemicals into your body? Upgrading your beverage choices can be the key to taking your health and wellbeing to the next level.

Making the switch to a healthier diet came pretty easy to me. I loved researching the benefits of plant based food and experimenting with new recipes. But for a long time I could never kick my diet soda habit. I was in total denial about the harm it was doing to my body. I still get a craving, especially when I am stressed and honestly, sometimes I cave. For the most part though, I can say that I feel good about the choices I make when it comes to hydrating. Here are a few switches and tips so you can drink to health:

  • Instead of reaching for the coffee pot the moment you wake up, try a cup of warm water with fresh lemon juice (about 2 tablespoon). This invigorating beverage supports liver detox – with fewer toxins in the body, you have more energy. Moreover, coffee promotes blood sugar fluctuation and sugar cravings – both of which can send you on the spike and crash energy roller coaster.
  • If you drink coffee throughout the day, you can transition yourself off caffeine more gradually with beverages that contain less caffeine instead of going cold turkey – e.g. black tea, green tea or green tea.  Green tea and white tea, in particular, have much less caffeine and are rich in health-promoting antioxidants.

  • Sugar in soda can cause a lot of health issues. Diet soda is no better – artificial sweeteners are toxic to our body, causing many health problems including weight gain and low energy. Instead of sugary soda, try mixing sparkling mineral water with pure fruit juice – start with a 1:1 ratio and as you get used to the less-sweet taste, increase the amount of sparkling water. Eventually, you will feel satisfied with just a splash of juice or a squeeze of lemon.

  • For those on the go, try having packets of green juice powder handy. They are great for boosting energy and provide a ton of antioxidants and micronutrients that are essential for vibrant health. I recommend the Daily Good Greens from Aloha.

  • In social occasions when you desire a drink or two, alternate your alcoholic beverage with water or sparkling water (add a twist of lime and it looks like a gin and tonic!) to help you reduce your alcohol intake while stay hydrated.

  • Don’t forget water! Clean water is the most healthful beverage. Dehydration can cause headache, low energy, sugar cravings etc. Carry a water bottle with you and sip often. 

I hope you enjoyed these tips and tricks for choosing beverages that benefit your health! Stay tuned for the next post of the "Healthy Eating for Busy People" series. I'll be talking about eating healthy while traveling..

Interested in learning more on how to break unhealthy habits and change your life? Let's talk! Contact me for a complementary session to discuss how we can work together and transform your health. 

Crowdfunding Round Up

Food for Thought, Out and AboutAmber BransonComment

This week on Facebook, a friend posted about the Flow Hive (which I'm dying to get) and that got me browsing through Crowdfunding sites looking for other health-minded/environmental projects. Being a creative person myself, I love the idea of people coming together to invest in others originality and creativity so I thought I would share some projects that I thought were fun and exciting! And even if it's too late to donate, check them out!

Flow Hive: Honey on Tap Directly From Your Beehive

Noocity Growbed - Ultimate Urban Gardening System

Green Pea Cookie: These delightful cookies are made from roasted green peas.

Smart Rope is an LED-embedded jump rope that connects to your smartphone.

A local small farm CSA in Virginia wants to renovate two large chicken coops into high tunnels that will grow year round organic food.

Whole Wheat Blueberry Scones | 100 Days of Real Food

In My KitchenAmber BransonComment
IMG_0407_EDITED.jpg

I don't bake often but when I do, I prefer to find a recipe that uses simple ingredients and that is low in sugar. 100 Days of Real Food is one of my favorite blogs and when I saw them post a recipe for Whole Wheat Blueberry Scones, I knew I had to try them. I like that they always use whole grains in their recipes and that the only sweetener in this recipe is a few tablespoons of honey. (I also used this recipe as an excuse to use the dough blade on the food processor I received for Christmas, ha) I did make a few changes, which you'll see in italics in the recipe. Enjoy!

Whole Wheat Blueberry Scones (from 100 Days of Real Food)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whole-wheat flour (I used maybe a 1/2 cup more. start with 2 and then add if the dough is too sticky)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest, chopped (used lemon zest)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) cold butter (straight out of the fridge)
  • ¾ cup frozen blueberries (used 1 cup fresh blueberries, folded in after the dough was mixed)
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup heavy cream (used coconut milk)
  • 2 tablespoons honey

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400° F.
  2. In a food processor fitted with a dough blade, mix the flour, baking powder, zest, and salt until combined.
  3. Cut the butter into tablespoon-sized chunks and sprinkle them on top of the flour mixture. Pulse until the butter breaks up into pea sized pieces. Add the blueberries and pulse again just until combined.
  4. Drop in the eggs, cream, and honey and process until the dough comes together into one ball chasing itself around the machine (or if that doesn't work, you can just bring it together with your hands).
  5. Turn the dough ball out onto a floured surface and pat down with your hands (or use a rolling pin) into one big circle that's about ¾ inch thick. If the dough sticks to your hands, pat it with a little more flour.
  6. Cut the dough into triangle shaped pieces (it helps to cut into the circular shape like you would a pie or a pizza) and place on an ungreased baking sheet. If there are any remaining scraps press them together and cut more shapes until it’s all been used.
  7. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Plan Smart To Eat Smart

Food for ThoughtAmber BransonComment

Just a few years ago my meal planning mainly meant stocking up on frozen "meals" as breakfasts and lunches. After a LOT of practice, I can now say that I am at meal planner level: expert. If the thought of meal planning seems overwhelming, no worries. Keep reading for some tips to becoming a successful meal planner yourself.

Most busy clients I work with are actually very intelligent and knowledgeable when it comes to what a healthy diet and lifestyle looks like. The challenge is to make it happen in their hectic and over-committed lives. If you are like most busy people who are also very driven, you can turn this into your asset to help you implement healthy dietary changes.

For busy folks, planning smart is key to eating smart. If you make healthy choices available to you when you need them, chances are you will make better decisions. Here are a few tips to help you plan better so you can eat better and feel better:

  • Plan for the week ahead – plan out your meals for the upcoming week on the weekend, and do all your grocery shopping in one trip (which will save you time too!) If possible, set aside a couple of hours during the weekend to prep your meals – e.g. you can chop some veggies, or even cook the entire dish and put it in the fridge or freezer. You can even get your kids to help out, and make it a family ritual. Kids will have fun and they are more likely to eat the meals that they take part in preparing.

  • “Cook once eat twice (or more!)” – when it comes to healthy eating, nothing beats home-cooked meals made from scratch (a whole foods based diet). Having to scramble for dinner every evening can be challenging, and “Cook Once Eat Twice” can help you save time and headache. You can prepare more than one meal worth of food so you have leftovers for one more meal. You can also cook a big batch of grains and use them in different combination. For a meat option, grill a bunch of chicken breasts to keep on hand to shred for tacos or for quick casseroles.

Stock your fridge, pantry and desk drawer at work with healthy snacks – make sure you have some healthy snack alternatives handy so you don’t go for the vending machine which is usually stocked with less desirable options. If a fridge is available at work, try some hummus with celery sticks, carrots or broccoli. If you are always on the go, a handful of nuts with dried fruit or an apple with nut butter (available in single-use packets) can be great pick-me-ups. Keep in mind that fresh whole food is always better than processed foods – there are many “bars” on the market with “health claims” – however, most of them contain sugar, additives or processed food products that are less than desirable. If you have to turn to packaged foods, always read the labels to make smart choices.

  • Instead of getting caught with nothing for dinner, stock a few healthy frozen options so you don’t dial the greasy pizza place. Make a point to pair frozen meals and fresh veggies (even if it's just celery or carrot sticks with dips). My favorite thing to do is make a big batch of soup over the weekend and divide into individual containers and freeze.

  • Team up with a few other families or friends - each prepare one dish in a big batch, and then trade dishes - you will walk away with a week's worth of dinner!

 I hope you enjoyed these tips and tricks for planning smart to eat smart! Stay tuned for the next post of the "Healthy Eating for Busy People" series. I'll be talking about how your beverage choices affect your health.

Interested in learning how to establish a solid, smart eating plan? Let's talk! Contact me for a pantry makeover or a grocery store tour.

Snow Day Vegetable Soup

In My Kitchen, At HomeAmber BransonComment

Yesterday I got woken up to "WHAT, Um, we need to go to the store...." Apparently the forecast for the beginning of the week had changed and now we were finally getting our first "real" snow! I had already been promised a trip to the History Museum so on our way there, we made a quick stop at the store to stock up on some snow appropriate foods including the fixings for vegetable soup. Well, the weatherman was right so I took a break from my snow day work to make a batch of soup to simmer until dinner. 

Vegetable soup makes me think of my childhood. I remember my mom taking leftever vegetables from dinner and putting them into baggies and into the freezer. Once our freezer was full of half baggies of corn, green beans, etc, she would defrost them all and throw everything into a big pot to simmer throughout the day. When I was little, I loved the soup EXCEPT I would always beg for her to leave out the cabbage.... but I guess we all have to grow up at some poing so I now love cabbage in my soup. (thanks, mom!)

As you know, I like being flexible when cooking so feel free to substitute or change the ratios between vegetable or spices. I use some frozen vegetables because they are convenient but fresh can be an option. Also, I make my soup without a fat, using broth to saute the vegetables but if you prefer, they can be sauteed with oil or butter. This batch makes a lot of soup, probably enough for around 6 bowls. I like to cook one big batch and then freeze for quick lunches to take to work. Hope you enjoy! 

Vegetarian Vegetable Soup
1 celery stalk
3 carrots 
1 small yellow onion
1/2 small green cabbage
2 cloves of garlic
1 cup frozen green beans
1/2 cup frozen corn (I like fire roasted)
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 can of crushed tomatoes 
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon thyme
1/2 tablespoon oregano
1 tablespoon tomato paste
48 oz of vegetable broth (approximately)
salt and pepper to taste (keep tasting as it cooks to adjust the seasonings.. I feel like I use a good amount of salt for this soup)

1. Heat a stockpot and add a few splashes of vegetable broth. Add chopped carrots, onion and celery, season with salt and pepper and saute until vegetables are softened, about 3-5 minutes. 
2. Add garlic, bay leaves, thyme and oregano. Stir until the vegetables are coated in herbs and fragrant. Add more broth if needed to keep from burning. 
3. Add frozen green beans, corn and peas, stir and add more salt. 
4. Add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and cabbage and stir. Pour in vegetable broth until you reach the consistency you like your soup. (I like mine more stew like, while my guy likes it more liquidy)

Bring soup to a boil and then cover and let simmer at least an hour. I usually try for about 3 hours. Once you are ready to eat, remove bay leaves and serve. 

Valentine's Day Baking Roundup

Recipe RoundupsAmber BransonComment
/// All images found via individual websites. See links below for the full posts. 

/// All images found via individual websites. See links below for the full posts. 

Skip the box of chocolates this year and go for homemade Valentine's Day treats instead. Here are a few healthier recipes to help your loved ones get their chocolate fix without all of the unnecessary bad stuff. Or if you just want to make them for yourself, even better! ;) Clockwise, starting top left:

Chocolate Chunk Nut Butter Blondies

Peanut Butter Cups

Chocolate Peanut Butter Raw Love-Bombs

Flourless No-Bake Cookie Dough Balls

Black Bean Chocolate Chili Cherry Cookies

Simple Chocolate Custard

 

 

Birthday Cooking Class

Out and About, In My KitchenAmber BransonComment
cooking class.jpg

Last week, for my birthday my guy gifted me tickets to a Vegan cooking class at the Kitchen Conservatory. I was most excited because the theme was Mexican inspired and I would probably eat Mexican every day for the rest of my life if I could. The class was taught by Susan of Yellowbird Nutrition and the menu featured everything from tamales and mole sauce to tempeh tacos with cashew cream. The group was partnered up and then the pairs chose what recipe they wanted to tackle. We went for the pickled onions and pickled vegetables and then also helped another pair with the homemade flour tortillas. The food was delicious and I'm excited to try the recipes at home!

Hello 2015

At HomeAmber BransonComment
Namaste Everyday goals (on and off the mat) written on the studio wall!

Namaste Everyday goals (on and off the mat) written on the studio wall!

Hello friends! I hope your Holidays were filled with good food, good company and good health! I am finally back into the swing of things over here and can't wait to start putting my plans for 2015 in action. I know resolutions are always a touchy subject, some people make them and then some people are vehemently against them. I like to think I'm somewhere in the middle. I like to start right into the New year with a few goals that I know I can complete or get started on in good time. Work, life, etc gets in the way so why not make some short term resolutions that are do-able and will ultimately have a lasting impact? Here are my goals for the beginning of 2015:

Complete the Namaste Everyday Challenge - My favorite Yoga studio is hosting a challenge where you practice yoga every day for the month of January. My goal with this challenge (besides completing it) is to establish a better yoga practice and continue to go a few times a week once the challenge is over.
Read  - This one is pretty self explanatory and I have no excuse considering I received some great books for Christmas (see below).
Travel  - So far my guy and I have a trip planned to Chicago in the spring and then have talked about the possibility of taking a longer trip in the fall.
Devote time to documenting my cooking + health adventures - I finally invested in a good camera! Now I can actually enjoy playing with my food as well as show off the healthy places that St. Louis has to offer.

Online Gift Guide 2014

At HomeAmber BransonComment
/// All images were found on the individual product websites

/// All images were found on the individual product websites

Still looking for a unique gift for the health-minded people in your life? Here are a few of my favorite gift ideas found online!

1. Mandala Coloring BookSometimes meditation can be hard with our busy lives. This coloring book will help calm the mind as you focus on the mandalas, putting you in a zen state. Plus, who doesn't want to feel like a kid again?

2. Purple Lettuce UmbrellaJust a little reminder to eat your greens on a rainy day... a little bit of a splurge, but how can this not make you smile? It also come in green too.

3. Coconut Milk CaramelsUsually store bought caramels are made of ingredients such as corn syrup, refined sugar, preservatives and food coloring. These caramels, made with coconut milk, will satiate your vegan sweet tooth without all the bad stuff.

4. Root for Vegetables Tote BagThe perfect tote for Farmer's Market hauls and a little reminder to eat your vegetables! Note: occasionally this item says no longer available. Usually if you wait a day, it will become available again.

5. Beet T-shirtDon't just eat your veggies, wear them!

6. SpiralizerWith people being more mindful of the carbohydrates they eat, the spiralizer is the new "it" kitchen gadget. There is even an entire blog based on recipes using a spiralizer. (we are obsessed with zucchini pad thai at our house)

7. Himalayan Sea Salt LampThese lamps naturally ionize the air, benefiting allergy sufferers, as well as helping to reduce the amount of electro-magnetic pollution caused by electronics in the home and at the office.

8. Fermenting CrockThe benefits of probiotics are finally known mainstream so the next thing is to make your own kimchi or sauerkraut at home!

Happy Shopping!
Amber
 

 

Final CSA

In My Kitchen, At HomeAmber BransonComment

Here are the past three CSA shares, concluding my little project! Over all, I loved the produce I received and it taught me a lot about eating seasonally as well as challenged me to use things I wouldn't typically buy at the store. For next year, I've decided not to participate in a CSA but instead visit a weekly Farmer's Market to do most of my shopping. I feel like I will be able to control any food waste better if I can buy week to week and purchase according to our eating habits. If you are interested in a CSA, I would highly recommend it! Unfortunately, the farm I used is taking a break in 2015 but the Local Harvest site is a great resource to find a CSA near you! Also, see the little animation below I made to show you the arch of seasonal produce. Enjoy.

Local Gift Guide 2014

At HomeAmber BransonComment
*all photos used are either from the business' website, facebook, instagram or etsy shop with the exception of Maven and Cheryl's Herbs.

*all photos used are either from the business' website, facebook, instagram or etsy shop with the exception of Maven and Cheryl's Herbs.

Gift guides are all the rage right now so I thought I'd share some items on my wishlist but with a little twist... all local to St. Louis stuff! With Small Business Saturday this weekend, I wanted to show off some of the awesome, healthy gift options we have right here in the center of the USA; Heartland Revival style!

1. Perennial Herb Drying RackPerfect for your favorite gardener. Not only practical, it is made entirely of upcycled materials.

2. PuraVegan Treats — It wouldn't be the Holidays without some indulgence so why don't we indulge guilt-free? The treats at PuraVegan are organic and made with only a handful of ingredients!

3. Body Sticks from MavenConfession, I already have their deodorant but who can have too much of that? It's by far the best working aluminum-free deodorant I've tried. Now, the face oil cleanser I haven't tried yet but it has spirulina in it so that automatically puts it as a want. Both would make great stocking stuffers.

4. My Coconut Kitchen Everyone has heard the good word about Coconut oil but what about flavored coconut butter?! The Divinely Dark flavor would be awesome in bulletproof coffee!

5. Essential Oils from Cheryl's HerbsCheryl does 'em right. Their products are top quality and made in-house. My favorite is the Lavandin oil (stronger than Lavender oil) and their tea tree oil.

6. Missouri Cutting BoardMade entirely out of Missouri wood, this would make a great gift for the ultimate host in your life.

7. Body soap from Buddha Bath and Body Made from natural and sustainable ingredients, their soap is the most luxurious of homemade products I've found. BONUS, they just opened a store down on Cherokee!

8. Growler from Scratch BrewingEverything is good in moderation, right? If you're going to drink beer why not drink some that has been "brewed with home grown and locally farmed and foraged ingredients". (a little further from St. Louis than the others but definitely worth it)

9. Honey Masters HoneyA great organization as well as local. Good for your soul and immunity during the cold & flu season!

10. Sunflower Massage Gift CertificateNot all massage studios are created equal. This one is privately owned and all of the therapists are very professional and considerate of your health history and any concerns. And they use Cheryl's Herbs essential oils to boot!

11. ReTrailer TeaOne of my very favorite local brands, Lisa's teas are not only delicious but have Ayurvedic healing properties.

Please see either the websites linked or Facebook pages on where to buy. I know that I did not cover all the great, healthy gift ideas St. Louis has to offer so if you have anything additional to add, please share below!

Happy Shopping!

Pumpkin picking + Red, White, Green "Hen" Chili

At Home, In My Kitchen, Out and AboutAmber BransonComment
pumpkinpicking2015

Happy Halloween! On Sunday, we made our annual trip to a pumpkin patch to pick out the perfect pumpkins for our stoop. We visited a new-to-us patch, Stuckmeyer's Farm Market, since it was closer and we were short on time. For some reason we always seem to go on the hottest day in October so we didn't hang around too long, just enough to find our pumpkins and for me to gawk at the chickens for a bit. Once we got home we each started a pot of chili (meat for him, no meat for me) and let that simmer while we carved away.

 

henofthewoodschili

Recently, we were given some hen-of-the-woods mushrooms that had been scavenged by my boyfriend's dad and when we discovered it had a meaty texture, I knew I had to use it for a mock white chicken chili.  I love white chicken chili but haven't had it since I became pescatarian. Once I started collecting ingredients, I realized I was unprepared and only h one container of white beans. So enter red beans, green chilies, bell pepper and tomatoes, making this a Red, White, Green "Hen" Chili.

Ingredients:
1 medium onion
1 medium bell pepper
2 cloves of garlic
2 cups hen of the woods mushrooms (any meaty mushrooms would work - such as portobello)
1 small can diced green chilies
2 containers of beans (26.8oz combined)
1 can or jar of diced tomatoes
32 oz vegetable broth
2 tbsp cumin
1 tsp chipotle chili powder
1 tsp oregano
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 cup coconut milk
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Dice onion, bell pepper, garlic, and mushrooms. Saute in stock /chili pot until vegetables are soft and onions are translucent. Stir in spices and saute for about a min until fragrant. Add beans, green chilies, tomatoes, broth and maple syrup. Stir and then bring to a boil. Once boiling, cover and reduce to low. Simmer for at least an hour. About 15 minutes before serving, stir in coconut milk.

I topped mine with sour cream and some tortilla chips. Here is a cashew sour cream for you vegans out there.

Note /// Spices are very subjective so feel free to improvise. The chipotle chili adds some smokiness and then the maple syrup balances out the spiciness. I actually had added some cayenne pepper to my batch and it turned out very spicy so I omitted it here.

Be well,
Amber

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Sourdough English Muffins

In My Kitchen, At HomeAmber BransonComment

In our house, we try and limit the carbs but sometimes a girl just needs some bread. So the latest gluten-full thing I have been making are sourdough English muffins using my trusty old sourdough starter. Besides the occasional Ezekiel bread purchase, (ok, and that box of pumpkin cornbread I got at Trader Joe's the other day) I prefer to make homemade bread so that I have control of the ingredients and I know what I'm eating. After a quick recipe search, I came across this recipe and have since made it twice. Practice does make perfect but they taste delicious all the same. See my recipe interpretation below for some ingredient options in case you have a dairy allergy or want to make it vegan-friendly.

SourdoughMix

Here's what you need to make them:
1/2 cup of sourdough starter
1 cup of milk (use unsweetened dairy-free milk to make vegan. I prefer coconut milk)
2 cups of flour (whole wheat preferably)
1 Tbs of honey (or use maple syrup to make vegan)
3/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp baking soda

Flour or cornmeal, for dusting

Stir the starter into the milk until it's dissolved and then add the flour.  Stir to combine, cover with a plate or plastic, and leave out for 8 hours or overnight. I have left it for only 6 hours and it's done fine.

Next, add the honey, salt and baking soda and mix well. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead for a few minutes with wet hands. Flatten it out to 3/4" thick and cut with a biscuit cutter or a drinking glass into rounds. Repeat with scraps until they've all been made into rounds. Place muffins on a surface dusted with cornmeal or flour cover and let them rise for about 45 minutes to an hour.

Spray skillet (or griddle if you're fancy) lightly with spray oil or add a little butter. (If it’s nonstick, you may not need any grease at all.) Heat to medium high and cook muffins for about 4 minutes on each side, or until browned on the top and bottom and cooked through.

Notes /// Using WET hands when touching the dough is very important! I also run the biscuit cutter under water to keep it from sticking.

Recipe adapted from here. For more information on a sourdough starter go here.

SourdoughProcess
SourdoughEat

These muffins make a perfect quick breakfast for me as I'm known to roll out of bed and head for the office. After cooking up a big batch, I let them cool and then go ahead and split them, individually wrap and then store them in the freezer in ziplock bags. When you're ready to eat one, just pop them into the toaster and top with your favorite nut butter. (or in my case, peanut butter with chia and flax seeds from Trader Joe's.) They are pretty great at other times of the day too. Mini pizzas with homemade sauce and fresh mozzerella? Done. Tuna or Egg salad? Easy-peasy. Quick snack to cure the hangries? Been there, done that. 

Interested in easy ways to implement a more-fun, fewer-ingredients way to eat? Contact me for a FREE session to go over all of your health and food desires.

Be well,
Amber

CSA:8 + CSA:9

In My Kitchen, At HomeAmber BransonComment

Big changes over here with a move and merging of two households! I've basically been making the same dishes with my CSAs so I am combining 8+9 into one post. Despite the hectic schedule that comes with a move, I was still able to can and preserve some of my CSA. I mainly canned tomato sauce and pickles with these two CSAs and also made a batch of sun-dried tomatoes in the dehydrator.  Looking forward to having fresh produce during the blustery Missouri winter months.

 

photo(13).JPG

CSA 8:

Tomatoes: salsa, stewed tomatoes, tomato sauce
Cherry and/or Plum Tomatoes: sun-dried tomatoes using the dehydrator
Green Beans: sauteed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar
Melons: (watermelon) as a snack!
Onions: misc.
Cucumbers: maple bourbon pickles for Christmas gifts (and as a special garnish for Bloody Mary's)
Summer Squash: curry squash soup
Sweet Peppers: salads
Garlic: misc.
Lettuce: salads

photo(14).JPG

CSA: 9

Loose-leaf Kale: Kale Ceasar salad
Okra
: Fried okra (recipe courtesy of Riverbend Roots Farm)
Tomatoes
: tomato paste (to be made into Ketc
Green Beans
: sauteed with onion and bell pepper (omitted the bacon grease and used butter instead and vegetable broth to make it vegetarian friendly
Cherry or Plum tomatoes
: in salads and bruschetta
Cucumbers: cucumber salad and pickles
Sweet Peppers
: in salads
Summer Squash: squash au gratin
Zucchini
: hashes
Onions
: misc.
Garlic: misc.

CSA:7

In My KitchenAmber BransonComment
CSA7

Pretty obvious who the star of this week's CSA is, as well as the next few weeks I'm sure. Fine by me since I recently bought myself a canning set and a huge canning pot. Here's what I did with this share. (as I am a few weeks late posting this)

Tomatoes - made into canned stewed tomatoes and salsa
Cherry and Plum tomatoes - salads and
LOTS of bruschetta
Onions - in breakfast hashes
Cucumbers - raw or made into Whiskey Brine Pickles
Zucchini/Summer Squash  - breakfast hash and yet to be used...
Fennel - in juice
Basil - in bruschetta, pesto and still on my counter... I've figured out how to make it last forever!
Lettuce
- used in a Mexican-type salad since it was bitter

Already looking forward to my next pickup (which is tomorrow) and canning some pasta sauce and more pickles. How is your CSA going? Are you canning anything?

As of lately

ThoughtsAmber BransonComment
asoflately

Health Coaching involves helping and supporting clients make small changes to reach personal goals and create long lasting habits. I thought I would share some of the small changes I've made to my daily routine.

After doing a 3-day cleanse, I've started drinking smoothies for breakfast. Also, my boss was kind enough to order me a balance ball chair since I am at my desk most of the day which is helping my posture and fixes my bad habit of sitting on my legs. The biggest change I've made has been purchasing a fitbit. With the fitbit I was really able to see my lack of functional activity with having a desk job so I've started incorporating walks at lunch as well as logging my workouts.

Health is always a work in progress and the adventure along the way is more fun than any result! Here is what else I've been up to lately:

eating /// using up my CSA, canning, experimenting with sourdough bread and pizza dough, incorporating more daily smoothies and juices

reading /// Miracles Now, Spontaneous Happiness

watching /// The Time Traveller's guide to Elizabethan England, Vine of the Soul: Encounters with Ayahuasca

activity /// adding walks at lunch and tracking my every step with fitbit, using yoga blocks for neck and shoulder stretching, balance ball chair at work for better posture

working on /// a collaboration with other wellness instructors (Gather & Seed), new class lecture materials, building newsletter templates

out and about /// Foraging walk, Lucky's Market Grand Opening, SLAM outdoor films

Interested in learning what small changes you can make to improve your health and happiness? Contact me to set up a free Health Consultation!

 

CSA:6

In My KitchenAmber BransonComment
CSA6

Since I am so late in posting this, the contents of this CSA is long gone! Here is what I did with my share:

Tomatoes - in my Sourdough Calzones (with basil and balsamic)
Cherry o Tomatoes -
Double Tomato Bruschetta (with this recipe, I usually use sun-dried tomatoes, NOT in oil and skip the cheese)
Lettuce - Salads
Potatoes - breakfast hashes
Cucumbers - salads, with hummus
Summer Squash & Zucchini - roasted together with onion, garlic and red pepper flakes
Green Peppers - raw with hummus
Basil - in Calzones, Bruschetta, and for Blueberry Basil Jam sweetened with honey
Scallions - in everything

Purplette onions - in hashes and salads
Onions - with the roasted squash and zucchini

CSA:5

At Home, In My KitchenAmber BransonComment
CSA:5

My CSA pickup was on July 3rd right before the holiday weekend so I wasn't able to plan and start enjoying until the Sunday after the 4th of July. Boy, was I glad to come home to some fresh vegetables after the (to many) fried fair foods and sweets. So far, this is the share that I am most familiar with except for the fennel... to be honest, the fennel makes me very nervous. I am not a fan of licorice and when I put the fennel away, I caught a whiff of just that. After some googling "fennel recipes", I decided on Roasted Fennel with Parmesan from Food Network. The reviews claim that the licorice taste goes away when roasted, and I love anything with parmesan on it so this seemed the best choice. As I am writing this, I have made most of the below except for the fennel so I will come back and update my experience. Hope everyone enjoyed the holiday weekend!

Carrots: pickled and roasted
Potatoes: roasted and mashed
Celery: chopped and then froze for soup bases this winter
Bunched Purple Baby Onions: in salads and hash
Fennel: roasted with parmesan
Cabbage: roasted with carrots and potatoes
Cucumbers: cucumber salad
Summer Squash: squash au gratin for one
Zucchini: breakfast hash with easy-over eggs
Parsley: garnish, in cucumber salad

 

FENNEL UPDATE /// In attempt to use up the rest of my CSA, I combined the cabbage, carrots and fennel, roasted with thyme and rosemary, and then topped with fresh parmesan cheese. As a whole, it wasn't too bad! I am still getting used to the fennel flavor but am open to using it other ways to see what I like best. After all, it it very good for you!