Chicken Soup

This is the chicken barley soup I made for dinner last night. Johnny and I managed to catch the same cold this week, and we’re desperately trying to shake it. I wasn’t feeling too excited about cooking anything, but it was actually quite easy. I sauteed two leeks, garlic, two carrots, and chicken breast in olive oil, added chicken broth, sliced mushrooms, dried thyme and basil, a tiny rice wine vinegar, and lemon juice. I wasn’t sure how much the barley would cook up, so I added a few handfuls and let it cook for about an hour.

I don’t know if it was the soup, or the yoga routine I’ve been following, but I’ve gotten over this cold much faster than usual. Chicken broth is basically bones that have the marrow cooked out of them. There’s lots of good minerals in there, plus it gives you extra liquids, and the steam is good for the sinuses…..I guess the belief that chicken soup is a cureall goes back to Ancient Egypt, Persia, and Greece. If it’s stood the test of time so well, who am I to argue?

As we were eating, Johnny commented that when he was a kid he thought Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup was as healthy as it got. It never occurred to him that a person could make their own chicken soup. His upbringing was so different from my hippy health food past! He’s a good barometer for me of how most Americans relate to food…… It’s interesting how many levels there are to diet. He was excited by home-made soup, andI was feeling guilty about using store bought broth!

Here’s the current produce line up on the dining room table. I’ve still got the Marina di Chioggia, the Turban, and the Long Island Cheese squashes. I’m planning on making gnocchi with the Marina and pie with the Long Island Cheese for Thanksgiving. It’s probably just be Johnny and I, but I’m not going to let that stop me from cooking. I’ll still get to blog about it!

The larger red apples are Galarinas from one of my favorite farmers in Blue Lake. They’re really pretty – so red with beautiful galaxy like patterns. The flavor is good – sweet, with almost a hint of spice. The little apples are Crimson Golds. We’re going to have these on sale over Thanksgiving, so I’m sure I’ll be writing more about them. They were developed locally in Ettersburg by Abert Etter. They are tiny, cute, and oh so tasty. They really have hints of wild honey……

And oh yes, the persimmons. These are Fuyus from Gilroy. I like the tops – there’s just something about them that makes me happy.

Persimmon Crazy!

I’m a little Persimmon crazy these days. They’re just starting to come into their own – the season will last at least another couple months. So many people think they don’t like Persimmons because they’ve only had them unripe. An unripe Hachiya is so astringent that your face won’t return to a normal expression for a good 5 minutes after eating it. Ripe, however, they are one of the sweetest fruits around. I guess I’m weird for liking the ‘ooey gooey goodness that is a ripe Hachiya Persimmon. You can just suck it out of the skin like pudding! The photo above is from Wikipedia. It captures the color and texture pretty well. I think a large part of the charm of these fruits is their color – it’s the same as pumpkin, but even deeper and more intense. Just what we need during these dark late autumn days!

This is another Persimmon picture from Wikipedia. It’s a Fuyu tree in Japan. The Fuyu are the most popular persimmons because they’re sweet and tasty even when they’re hard. You can eat them crunchy like an apple, but I prefer to wait until they’re almost as gooey as a Hachiya – there’s so much more intensely persimmony sweetness that way.

Back to my own kitchen now. Tonight we had a wild dinner – literally. The main ingredients were Scallops from the sea, Mushrooms from the woods, and Wild Green Onions from our yard.

Here are the Green Onions. They are incredibly annoyingly invasive plant here. They come up when it rains in the fall, bloom in the late winter/early spring, and die back in the summer. They’re pretty and good to eat, but boy are they hard to get rid of! I was weeding these out of a flower bed today and I snagged some of the “weeds” for dinner.

This is a Porcini mushroom that I bought at the farmers market this morning. I’m not sure where it was picked – somewhere nearby for sure. It’s really a nice one. It was one of the #3 grade mushrooms which were priced lower than the #1 and #2’s. This one looks pretty good though – no bugs living in the cap – that’s always a plus! It was $7.00/lb, and it weighed exactly a pound. $7.00 for such a big beautiful mushroom seemed like a deal – they’re usually a minimum $14.00/lb.

These are Chantrelles that I bought at the Co-op on Friday. They smelled fruity and spicy, had a vibrant golden color, and beautiful shape – all good signs! They were picked somewhere up in the Hoopa Indian Reservation by Larry Alameda, the best mushroom hunter around. He almost seems to have a mystical connection to the mushroom world…..

Here’s the completed dish. First, I started the pasta water boiling. I cooked the stem of the Porcini with the scallops in white wine, olive oil and butter. I added a zucchini, garlic, the Porcini caps and the Chantrelles and cooked it all for just a minute or two. I combined the scallop/mushroom mixture to the drained vegetable rotilli which was just done cooking and added the diced Green Onions, Sundried Tomatoes, a little more Butter, Salt, and Pepper. We ate it with grated Romano Cheese on top. Mmmmm…… The Porcini was especially delicious – melt in your mouth delectable. It’s good that it’s so good – we have tons of left overs. Oh how I love left overs!

Meditations on a Squash

This is what the rodents who live close by are eating! They’ve been gnawing on the last few apples in our tree and knocking them down one by one. Every morning when I leave for work there’s one or two more on the sidewalk. At least we can be sure that none of the apples are going to waste, and no rodents are going hungry!

To make up for my lack of imagination on Thanksgiving, I decided to make an elaborate meal this Sunday. I had a very large Long Island Cheese squash that was beginning to develop spots that would eventually turn soft, so I took the opportunity to to cook it. I wanted three separate courses that all featured the squash, but were different enough to still make an acceptable meal – Kind of like the Iron Chef, except I took my time. I think rushing things the way they do can only lead to compromised results.

Johnny had to cut the squash. It was just too big for me to handle. He cut it into quarters and I baked three of them. I could hardly fit them in the pan! The texture of this squash is nice – It’s a tiny bit fibrous, but very creamy at the same time. It’s a nice dark orange color, with a relatively mild sweet taste. It’s an heirloom from Long Island – named “cheese” because it looks like a cheese wheel. This one was grown on Full Belly Farm in the Capay Valley (about an hour North of Sacramento.) Unfortunately none of our local farmers grow this squash – perhaps next year I’ll convince one of them to.

Coordinating the three dishes was a bit of a chore. I basically made all three recipes at once. I’ll describe them in the order we ate them.

For the first course I used the quarter of the squash that I hadn’t baked. I peeled it and cut it into bite-sized chunks. I tossed them with a little flour and deep fried the squash chunks in batches for about 5 minutes per batch. They cooked up really nicely – there wasn’t much breading so they weren’t too greasy, but the little bit of flour that stuck to each piece gave it just a touch of deep fried goodness.

Here they are right out of the fry oil. I laid these out in a pie plate and sprinkled sliced garlic, chopped anchovies, chopped sage sage, olive oil, and a tiny bit of apple cider vinegar on top.

I mixed it all together lightly and let it marinate for a few minutes while I quickly browned a few pine nuts in a skillet. Once the pine nuts were added it was done. The whole thing was unbelievably delicious. The recipe I started with called for mint instead of sage, but I decided I’d rather have sage. It was such a great taste combination with the spicy garlic the salty anchovies, and the sweet squash. Mmmmmm……

For the main course I made an Italian potato squash “pie” (I’d call it more of a casserole, but maybe I’m being too picky.) I pureed 1 quarter of the squash (already cooked) in the food processor with about the same amount of boiled potatoes. Into that, I mixed butter, 4 egg yolks, Parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper (yes this is a decadent recipe!) I cooked up a little sausage into tiny bits and added that too. Finally, I whipped the egg yolks until they were stiff and folded them in. I spread bread crumbs on the bottom of a pan and added half the squash potato mixture on top. I sprinkled grated mozzarella cheese on that layer and then added the rest of the mixture. I topped it off with more mozzarella and Parmesan and baked the whole thing.

Here it is coming out of the oven. It was like the lightest, most buttery, creamy mashed potatoes you’ve ever had. The squash is mild, so it didn’t overpower, but it did add a nice twist. It was very filling. We only ate about a quarter of it – we’ll be eating it all week!

For dessert I made pumpkin flan with the third quarter of squash. I’d never done it before, but it worked amazingly well. The first step was to make the caramel. I didn’t have any white sugar, so I used Sucanat, which is unrefined. The recipe said to warm the sugar over a burner till it caramelized. I did, and at first nothing happened. I got nervous when I started to smell burned sugar and it had still not changed texture at all, so I added just a touch of bourbon (which I was planning to use as flavoring anyway.) Immediately the sugar liquefied perfectly. I poured the carmel into the pan I would bake the flan in and set it aside while I mixed up the flan: pureed squash, eggs, brown sugar, and cream. I poured that on top of the carmel in the pan. Finally, I filled a large pan with hot water and baked the flan in its pan within the hot water pan. I have no idea why that’s how you do it, but that’s what recipe said, so that’s what I did.

It’s hard to see in this picture, but this is the flan going into the oven…..

And here it is just out of the oven. I put it in the freezer to cool. After we were done with the rest of the meal, I made a simple warm cranberry sauce with just fresh cranberries, bourbon, and brown sugar.

I pulled the flan out of the freezer and flipped it upside down so that the carmel on the bottom (which had liquefied again as it cooled) dripped down over the flan.

The only problem was that I didn’t quite get it centered on the plate….ah well, next time…..

Here’s my portion with the cranberry sauce on top. I love cranberries with sweet things – they added such a great sour to balance the carmely sweetness.So this was my 3 course meditation on the Long Island Cheese. It was one of the most satisfying (and time consuming) meals I’ve had in a while! We still have one quarter baked squash left… we’ll probably just eat it plain. What a versatile thing winter squash is!

My Marina di Chioggia is changing color!

My Marina di Chioggia is changing color! When I brought it home it was very dark green, and it’s slowly turning a dark orangy pink. It’s name translated means “Chioggia Sea Pumpkin” – it looks like something from the sea. Soon I’m be making gnocchi from it……I’ve just got to find the time!

Life has been busy this past week, so there hasn’t been a lot of time to cook, but I still managed to collect a few pictures….

The satsumas are here! It is truly incredible how many of these little oranges are consumed in ?Arcata this time of year! Last week, we sold about 600 10lb bags, 200 5lb boxes, and about 1500lb of loose satsumas at the Co-op alone! They really are good – so sweet, juicy, easy to peel, and almost no seeds. They’re perfect for this time of year too – extra vitamin C when the cold season is starting to set in. I’ve certainly been eating a lot of them, but I think I prefer the stronger flavored pixie and honey mandarins that come later in the season.

This is a Matzutake Mushroom that my favorite mushroom picker brought in to the co-op for the produce staff. No one else wanted it, so I got the whole thing. The Matzutake is a very expensive symbolic mushroom in Japan. The can be over $500.00 per pound! Lucky for us, they grow wild here and this year there have been tons of them.I had a few friends over for dinner last Sunday, and I wanted to use the Matzutake. I had been wanting to roast a chicken, so I decided to have a pre-Thanksgiving meal: roasted chicken with matzutake stuffing.I used some old bread for the stuffing, and added sauteed onions shallots and celery, hazelnuts, Matzutakes, a few eggs, and salt and pepper. I cooked some of it in the chicken, and some separately in a pan. One of the guests was vegetarian, and I was a little nervous having a vegetarian over for roast chicken – but she loved the stuffing! The mushrooms were good – they held their own, but didn’t overpower.

Here’s the chicken right out of the oven. I cooked it to 185 degrees. It was very well done, but still moist – it practically fell apart when Johnny tried to cut it.

These are New Zealand Guava that one of our guests brought. She has a tree in a pot that lives on her porch. They were really good – like huckleberries with a tropical flavor.

The food was good, but these margaritas were the star of the night. Our group of friends had discovered Passion Fruit margaritas a while back, and we wanted to experience them one more time before the passion fruit season ends. There’s a Portugese lady in Arcata who grows Passion Fruit in her greenhouse and sells them to the Co-op. She brought in her last load of them this week. The margaritas were tequila, orange liquor, lime juice, and Passion Fruit. A friend brought strawberries, so we added them too, shook them in a shaker, and drank them. A good time was had by all!

Later in the week, I decided to take full advantage of the left over chicken and make soup. This is the chicken bones starting to cook into broth. first I stripped all the usable meat from the carcass, and then boiled all the bones for a few hours. I drained the broth from the bones and used it as a base for chicken soup. It ended up being Thanksgiving day before I had any time to make the soup, so that’s what we had for Thanksgiving dinner.

Since it was Thanksgiving, I decided to make the meal kind of special and we made dolmas to go with our soup. This is the filling: rice, ground lamb, roasted yellow pepper, oregano and lime (to tie in with the soup.)

Here they are rolled up in the grape leaves. Johnny did the rolling – he did well! They were delicious! We only ate about half of them, and the leftovers are great for lunches.

Garden Produce

I’ve been displaying my non-refrigerated produce items on our dining room table like this for a while now. It’s turned into a seasonal food altar that I sit and contemplate while I eat dinner. I love the way it changes with the season: in the beginning of September I had plums, peaches and tomatoes; now it’s winter squash, onions, apples, and garlic. The limes are the only thing that aren’t grown regionally, but I just can’t seem to live without them! I think someday I’ll have to move to Mexico just so I can have local limes and mangos……

We had the perfect week-long leftover experience this week. I’m really getting into using leftovers throughout the week in new and exciting ways. It’s a way to use the time I have on the weekend to make quick delicious meals all week.

Last Saturday we had a friend over for tacos. Earlier in the day I started black beans soaking and made tomatillo salsa (the details of which are in the last post.) Towards dinner time I turned the beans on to cook. While Johnny cooked and seasoned the ground beef to perfection, I made fresh corn tortillas. We added grated cheese, sour cream, cilantro, fresh lime, chopped tomato, and avocado to make one of the best meals I’ve had in a while. Fresh tortillas really make all the difference – The tequila we drank with it didn’t hurt either!

The next night it was just the two of us and I made another very delicious time consuming meal. I had two thick steaks and I wanted to try a Tuscan Style Braised Beef recipe that’s in The Big Book of Italian Cooking. I’ve never cooked beef this way, and it seemed the perfect thing for a chilly rainy Sunday. I had to bastardize it a bit since I didn’t have all the right ingredients, but it still worked well. First I made incisions in the steaks, filled them with chopped rosemary and salt, and tied them closed with string. It called for “kitchen string” which I didn’t have, so I used hemp twine that I have for jewelry making. Then I browned the steaks on both sides and added potatoes, a carrot, an onion, and some sage and cooked that for a while with the meat. I then added a lot of wine (more than the recipe called for since I had a bottle I wanted to use up) and canned plain tomato sauce and let the whole thing cook for about 2 hours. the recipe said 2.5 hours, but we were just too hungry and couldn’t wait. Here’s what it looked like when it was done – the beef was so tender and delicious!

Now for the leftovers part. We had quite a bit of food left over from both of our weekend meals: black beans, a little cilantro, ground beef, and a lot of the cooked vegetables and sauce from the braised beef. On Monday we combined all of these things with the right spices to make some of the best chili I’ve ever had. I was a little concerned that the wine and herbs in the braised beef sauce would make it weird, but it wasn’t overpowering at all. We made some cornbread to finish the meal. We had enough chili and cornbread to feed us on Monday night and again for two lunches during the week. Genius! And we didn’t even plan it that way!

Now back to the items on my dining room table. Right now I’m totally enamored with apples. At other times of the year I go for months without eating any, but this October I’ve probably eaten an average of 3 or 4 a day. We have over 25 varieties at the co-op, so trying them all keeps me busy!

This is my current line up. On the left are two Spigolds, a beautiful crunchy variety that’s grown locally in Blue Lake. The next two are Hudson’s Golden Gem – an heirloom from Oregon. It’s a little soft, but the flavor is great, and I love the russetting. Last year we all swore these tasted just like buttered popcorn jelly bellies, but this year it’s not as intense. They’re grown in Mendocino County, not too far away. The next two are Blushing Goldens from Fortuna. I don’t know much about this variety, other than that I was surprised that they’re so much crisper and tangier than a gold delicious that I had to buy some! The last two are Ashmead Kernals which is a very old English variety. They’ve got a great flavor and the same russetting that I like so much. They’re grown at the same heirloom orchard in Mendocino as the Hudson’s Golden Gem.

The other item of interest on my table right now is my turban squash:

This will probably sit for a while by the Marina di Chioggia while I contemplate its beauty and what to do with it. I’ve heard that it makes a good soup that you serve in the shell. We’ll see if I have the time or energy to get that fancy! Johnny’s been calling it a “Spaceship Squash” which it certainly looks like when stood up with it’s stem on top:

Lastly for my garden update. It’s been raining all week and it’s stayed relatively warm, so my seeds have germinated beautifully. Still no sign of the carrots or garlic yet, but I’m not worried. Here are some of the salad greens. I plan to harvest most of them as babies, so it’s OK that they’re so close together.

Our project for the weekend is to make apple butter. We made our last batch in early September and it’s almost gone. We have apples on the tree by our front door that aren’t that great for eating but will be perfect for the occasion. They’re at the peak of ripeness right now.

No This Is Not Food But He’s Just So Handsome!

My Handsome Cat!

My Oatmeal Rye Bread turned out well last Sunday – really moist with a good crusty crust. The recipe was from the Tasahara Bread Book – a book I highly recommend. It does a great job of teaching the basics of bread making. I’ve made this recipe multiple times, and it never lets me down. It’s a bit molasses-y, which gives it a mild Pumpernickel flavor. I froze one of the loaves since I can’t imaging the two of us eating them before they get stale.

Here it is going into the oven…

and here it is coming out…

Last weekend we made apple butter with 2 big grocery bags full of apples from our tree. It cooked on low for almost 3 full days – Sunday morning through Tuesday night. We even left it on while we slept, which we haven’t done before. Previously, we’ve cooked it at a higher temperature for a shorter time. It’s the best batch we’ve ever made – incredibly thick and flavorful. The apples were pretty ripe and sweet, so I didn’t add any sugar. Cinnamon and Nutmeg are the only additives


We yielded about 2.5 quarts. Johnny eats it every morning for breakfast, so I know it’ll pay to have that much around.

We had a few too many apples, so I made a pie. I made the crust from scratch – something I’m not really too confidant at. I did a decent job though. It could have been a bit flakier, but we had no trouble eating it all up! I used the Joy of Cooking Apple Pie recipe, except I didn’t add any sugar. Instead I used just a bit of honey. It was noticeably not sweet, but like I said, we had no trouble eating it! I tried it with some of my sour cream and a drizzle of honey – very rich, but very good!

I had the chance this week to buy a case of Long Island Cheese Winter Squash from one of the co-op’s distributors in San Francisco. I’ve been trying to get my hands on this particular variety for a few years now, so I was pretty excited. I bought two of them: one for a pie, and one for dinner tonight. They’re an heirloom from Long Island; they’re called Cheese because they look like a cheese wheel. I’ve heard they’re excellent for pies….They joined my Marina di Chioggia and Turban on the table. I’m definitely nearing my winter squash limit – I’ve got to start cooking these suckers!

I spent part of this week in Austin Texas at a co-op marketing conference. I stayed at the downtown Hilton, and got to explore the city a bit. The original flagship Whole Foods Market was within walking distance of the hotel, so I had to check it out. I was completely overwhelmed! It was way too visually busy, confusing, and insincere for my merchandising and political tastes, but they did have some crazy gourmet stuff that I couldn’t resist buying.

These are $6.50 chocolate bars that I just had to try since the flavors are so out there. Bacon and salt in milk chocolate? It sounds like a joke I know. We ate it yesterday when I got home, and I have to admit, it was awesome. Apparently the flavor was conceived when the creator was a kid and had chocolate chip pancakes with bacon on the side. Sweet/Salty is a rare combination, but I think I like it. The Bacon added an almost carmel-y rich flavor. The other bar we haven’t tried yet. It’s dark chocolate with black sesame seeds, ginger, and wasabi. Sweet/Salty is one of my favorite taste combinations. I just hope it’s not too wimpy on the wasabi.

I also picked up this weird produce item at Whole Foods: a Horned Melon. It’s actually grown in California, so it’s more local to home than to Austin….I looked up the grower online – it turns out its from the Central Coast. I’m not quite sure what to do with it – I’ll probably just put it on the table and admire it for the time being.

13.5 Pound Marina di Chioggia

This is a 13.5 pound ‘Marina di Chioggia’ squash from Willow Creek that I bought at the co-op this last Friday. I was going to cut it up and cook it tonight, but I’ve become too attached to it. I think I’ll let it live on my table for a week or so so I can contemplate it for a while.

The ‘Marina di Chioggia’ is an Italian heirloom squash from the Seaside town of Chioggia, near Venice. Chioggia is also the ancestral home of the striped pink and white Chioggia Beet – perhaps I should try to combine them in one dish! The ‘Marina di Chioggia’ is mentioned in Barbara Kingsolver’s book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, but beyond that I can’t find a whole lot of information on it. While touring Italy, she found one at a roadside vegetable stand. The man assured her that is was the best tasting squash in existence. In Europe, squashes this big would probably be sold by the slice. I’ll have to either give some away, or maybe freeze some of the puree……

This is the small garden that I recently dug and planted in the back yard. I am a renter, so it was hard to make the decision to plant a garden – but I feel like growing food is something everyone should know how to do, and how are you going to know how if you never practice? Certainly this is a humble beginning, but one has to start somewhere, right?

The center circle is a pretty densely planted bed of salad greens: heirloom lettuces, arugula, etc. Around the outside I planted garlic, and some carrots. Today I put in a few tiny Red Russian Kale plants, and one little curly parsley.

One of the great things about Humboldt’s mild coastal climate is that gardening is feasible all year long. If all goes well, I’ll have fresh salad in January! For a Wisconsin girl, this seems like a miracle indeed.

Last night I made my first ever batch of roasted tomatillo salsa. We eat a lot of store bought green salsa, and I wanted to see how hard it would be to make some myself.

I bought a bunch of tomatillos at the farmers market, peeled them and put them on a cookie sheet with a local Sweet Italian Red Pepper, garlic, and a Cayenne pepper (all of which happened to be in the fridge.) I turned the oven on broil and roasted the veggies on a rack very close to the heat. When they started to char a little, I took them out and put everything in the food processor (minus the top of the pepper, and the garlic skins.) I added fresh lime juice, salt, vinegar, and pureed it. Delicious!

Eat Local Challenge 2010

I am taking part in Willy Street Co-op’s Eat Local Challenge 2010! August 15 through September 15, 2010.
Learn more about the challenge in my recent article for the Willy Street Reader, and check out the Wisconsin State Journal story I’m quoted in here.
I’m in the hardcore level, one of the elite few who have decided to eat nothing buy locally grown foods for the month. This is the second time, I’ve done such a challenge – I blogged the first one, here.
Why am I doing this?
First, because it’s fun! I find that nothing spurs creativity like a limited palate. I’ve got a lot to work with: all sorts of veggies, meats, dairy products, apples, berries, peaches (yay!), hickory nuts, honey, sunflower oil, maple syrups, wheat berries and flax from Door County…. but I don’t have vinegar, white flour, sugar, spices, tropical fruits, or processed foods of any kind.
I don’t pretend that everyone should eat like this all the time. It’s about appreciating what I have, discovering the tasty things that are all around me, and becoming more a part of my place, my foodscape.

About the Good Food Muse

The Good Food Muse was born out of a month long locavore experiment I did in September, ’07. I blogged about that experience, documenting everything I ate for the entire month – which consisted only of foods that were grown or raised in the county I lived in (Humboldt County, CA.) After the month was over, I missed photographing and writing about the things I was cooking, so I started a new food blog: The Good Food Muse. In January ’09 I moved back to my home state of Wisconsin. I currently live in Madison, WI – the setting changed, the Good Food Muse kept going!

This is a food blog that’s not interested as much in recipes as how to cook and create recipes of your own. Recipes are useful (and it’s easy to find one for practically anything on the web), but the real art of cooking is knowing when to follow the recipe and when to just make stuff up. Equally important to me are things like creativity and recovering well from mistakes, making the most of leftovers, and knowing the seasonality and origin of all my ingredients. I try to document my mistakes as well as my triumphs, ’cause I certainly don’t know everything there is to know about cooking, and I doubt anyone reading my blog does either. It sounds cliche, but I believe cooking is a life-long learning experience (or better yet, adventure!) and I plan on making mistakes and learning new things in the kitchen as long as I have the strength to saute garlic and onions!

I’m passionate about organics and sustainable farming, but I’m not a vegan or vegetarian. My attitude toward nutrition is heavily influenced by the book Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon. I believe traditional and nutrient dense fats such as butter, lard, and olive oil are good for me, but only if they come from animals who have been allowed to eat their natural pasture based diets and live in humane, healthy conditions. I’d rather be a vegan than eat the meat, milk, or eggs of animals who have lived the short tragic lives that factory farmed animals are allowed. But when I can get these products from farms that allow their animals to live in humane and healthy conditions, I eat them as often as I can!

I’m also all about local. I believe supporting the local food economy is one of the biggest contributions a person can make to their own health, the health of their community, and the health of the planet – plus local food just tastes so much better than food that’s put in a box and shipped thousands of miles! I love exploring all the ways to eat seasonal foods – they are my inspiration!