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'09 in the Books

 

It was this time last year that our farm and faming neighbors were hunkering down and sand bagging like crazy.  The January ’09 flood was a record event.  Flooding is a fairly normal event during the winter, but last January was the perfect storm.  We had snow melting, huge amounts of rain and really high tides.  As you can imagine, I am glad that the January ’09 flood is put to rest. 

It is ironic how over time disasters take on their own personality and eventually are referred to as the ’51 flood or the ‘9o flood.  Farmers are already referring to the January ’09 flood as the ’09 flood.  I have been in more than one meeting where an old timer has stood up and referenced the ’51 flood.  I have never seen pictures of the ’51 flood, until recently. I knew that it was a big flood to have so burned the memory of into the farmers pysche 50 years later.  But when I saw the aerial photographs, I finally understood.  That flood wiped out the City of Stanwood. May we never see water like that again.

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Baked Potato Chips

Ingredients

4 russet (baking) potatoes, peeled and sliced diagonally 1/8 inch thick
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) of butter, melted
salt to taste

Directions

Pat the potatoes dry between paper towels and arrange them in one layer on 2 buttered cookie sheets pans. Brush the potatoes with the butter, bake them in a preheated 500°F oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown. Sprinkle them with the salt.

Adapted from simplyrecipes.com

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Kale Chips

Ingredients

 

12 large Tuscan kale leaves, rinsed, dried, cut lengthwise in half, center ribs and stems remove
1 Tablespoon olive oil

Directions

Preheat oven to 250°F. Toss kale with oil in large bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Arrange leaves in single layer on 2 large baking sheets. Bake until crisp, about 30 minutes for flat leaves and up to 33 minutes for wrinkled leaves. Transfer leaves to rack to cool

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Simple decisions for healthy living

The days of heavy holiday foods laden with luscious cream and butter are now a thing of the past, but their memory lives on in the form of tight fitting clothes and an extra pound (or three). We remember those days of celebrating with joy and fondness, but as the new year is upon us, most likely new lifestyle changes and goals are here as well.

Often, diets come and go. Big diet decisions are hard to follow and are quickly laid to rest and old habits become new again.

For me, the most successful lifestyle decisions are the ones that start small yet over time show big changes.

If eating healthier in the New Year is on your list of things to do, first of all, congratulate yourself. Having fresh, organic produce in your home on a regular basis is a HUGE step towards a healthy lifestyle. When sweet cravings strike you can turn to the Bartlett pear or a tangy satsuma. If salty is what you crave turn on the oven and make chips. Yes, I did say chips – they can be part of healthy eating. Many winter vegetables can be turned into crispy and salty morsels that satisfy the need for a crunch. My husband, who feels as if the grocery list is not complete without chips, fends off his cravings with Kale chips.

Other little daily healthful decisions I try to make include: limiting calories that come from beverages and drink more water, watch my sugar intake – which is hard for me as I love to bake, eat smaller quantities and park in the last parking spot rather than the one closest to the store – it’s amazing how a few extra steps a day adds up to miles in the course of a year.

When we make small daily decisions we may not see drastic results as you would with other ‘fad’ diets but you will see a gradually feeling of overall better health and eventually, if weight loss is your goal, you will drop the pounds. The best part is that you will be more likely to stick with this new ‘diet’ because it is quite easy and fun.

You may argue the fun part but I will argue right back at you. Scour the internet, magazines and cookbooks to find new recipes for vegetables and fruit. Old standbys will get new life as you see them used in different ways.

The best decision has already been made as you are making fresh, organic produce a part of your daily life. May 2010 fill you with joy in the kitchen, new recipes to try and a healthful renewed energy.

Blessings to you all in this New Year! 

by Ashley Rodriquez
Chef, food blogger, and full-time mom.
You can read more of her writings at www.notwithoutsalt.com

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Off and Running

This is the famous time of the New Year’s Resolutions.  We save up all of our energy, build up all the muster we have, to make the big push to change something.  If we could only apply all the time we spend waiting to implement the change to the actual change, most of us would be more successful than less in our new habits.  

The crux of the issue boils down to motivation and accountability.  Some would throw in desire, but I have all the desire I need to start anything, but I really need that motivation that comes from accountability to succeed.  “The experts” say it takes 91 days to change a habit.  I think they are right.  It takes 91 days to make the new habit an old habit.

But if we are going to make it to 91 days, we need a plan with some measurable goals.  But don’t spend too much time thinking about your plan. We love to plan in this country, the shelves are filled with dust covered intentions. You already know what areas you want to improve, pick one and get started! 

So if you need to eat healthier, make a plan to eat a salad every day or bring a lunch to work 3 days per week.  You might decide to walk for 30 minutes, rain or shine, 3 0r 4 days a week.  These are measurable goals that will eventually lead to the bigger goal of losing weight or increasing your stamina or whatever. 

So let’s get started!  Most of us already have a mental plan, the plan needs shoe leather.  I can’t resist one farmer comment at this time, “it is hard to get the field plowed, if you never put the plow in the field.”  So let’s put the plow in the field.  Plowing isn’t always easy and it isn’t always pretty, but if you don’t start plowing, you can’t plant and if you don’t plant you can’t harvest (your goals).

Now tell a spouse, a friend, your farmer (smile) about your goals and ask them to motivate and encourage and hold you accountable on your new venture.  Just get going. You can’t harvest your goals, until you plow the field.

Happy Plowing!

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Egg Production – Part 2

Researchers are apparently going to research whether chickens are happy in cages or not?  Sadly, I think that Benjamin Franklin was right when he said, “nothing is more uncommon than common sense.” I have raised chickens and they do like to keep close quarters, but only when they are Roosting (sleeping), not all the time.  I also know that chickens love being chickens. They are created to scratch and eat bugs. 

So we, the tax payers, are going to pay a researcher at some university to study if the chickens are really happy in cages or not!  I can save us a lot of money and answer the question.  The answer is quite obvious, the chicken is not happy.  Sadly, the research is not about chickens, it is about egg production.  If we respected the design and nature of a chicken, it would be easy to conclude  they are not happy.  Chickens wouldn’t choose to live in a cage with 9 other birds, never seeing the light of day, never being able to stretch their wings and never scratching for some delicious bug!  Organic and cage free chickens get to live more like they were created.

Join the good food revolution, vote with your dollars.

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The Year in Review

 Supporting Local Farms  Since the inception of our home delivery business in1999, we have always focused on purchasing our fresh fruits and vegetables from local farmers first. Every week, I call my farmer friends to find out what they currently have available that I can add to our boxes. If I need to find more produce, I then source it from farms outside our area. This year, however, was a great year for local food! As your personal farmer, I really appreciate your dedication to the local farm community. With your box of good purchases this last year, you have blessed several local farm families:

Rents Due Ranch, Skagit Harmony Farm, Ralph’s Greenhouse, Motherflight Farms, Hedlund Farms, Cascadian Farms, Blue Heron Farms,  CJ’s Grassfed Beef, Munks Farm, Anselmo’s Organic Gardens, Paul and Janice Madden Orchards, Ponderosa Orchards, Goose Tail Orchards, River Valley Organics, Filaree Farms, and of course, the Klesick Family Farm.

 Helping Local People  Another core principle at Klesick Family Farm is to give back to our community. Last year, with your help, the Klesick Family Farm delivered 463 boxes of good to the Stanwood and Snohomish food banks. That is $11,000.00 of quality organic fruits and vegetables. There is no way our farm could meet this need without your help. This is one of the most satisfying aspects of our business. I love meeting local needs with local resources! Thank you for partnering with us to meet this local need. If you would like to join us to help provide quality organic produce to local food banks, visit the “How To Help” page of our new website.

Thanks for a great 2009!

Looking forward to next year!!!!

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Cabbage Patch Soup

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, (or shallot!)chopped
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
6 cups chicken broth
1 cup cooked chicken, cut into small pieces
½ head of green cabbage, shredded
1 cup sliced carrots
1 Red Bell Pepper, diced
1 lb. fingerling potatoes cut into chunks
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
3/4 cup sour cream 

Directions

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Sauté the onion or shallot in the oil for about 5 minutes, or until onion is tender. Stir in the flour to coat well, then quickly pour in the chicken broth. Stir constantly for 3 minutes, or until somewhat thickened.

Next, add the chicken, cabbage, carrots, red bell pepper, fingerling potatoes, salt, ground black pepper and bay leaf. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in the sour cream 1 minute before serving. Allow to heat through and remove bay leaf. Serve with some slices of warm crusty bread, such as garlic bread.

Serves 6

Adapted from Allrecipes.com

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Maple Glazed Acorn Squash Rings

A lightly spiced brown sugar and maple syrup mixture makes a delicious glaze for these baked acorn squash rings. These baked squash rings make the perfect fall side dish.

Ingredients:
2 medium acorn squash, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices
Salt and pepper
3/4 cup apple juice
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
Dash ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons butter

Directions:
Line a large baking pan — such as a large jelly roll pan or two smaller pans — with foil; lightly grease or spray with nonstick cooking spray. Heat oven to 350°.

Slice the squash into 1/2 to 1-inch rounds. Cut centers out of each squash slice with a knife or a biscuit cutter about the size of the seed area.

Arrange slices on the baking sheet, overlapping slightly if necessary. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper and pour apple juice over the rings. Cover the pan tightly with foil and bake for 30 minutes, or just until the squash rings are tender.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the brown sugar, maple syrup, salt, cinnamon, and butter. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring, until sugar is dissolved. Spoon the mixture over the squash and continue baking, uncovered, for about 20 minutes, or until squash rings are tender.

Serves 6