Wednesday, December 18, 2013

CSA Fun!

This fall Rob and I signed up for a CSA (Community Shared Agriculture) with Genesis Growers, an organic farmer in Illinois. We did it for the fall/winter starting in November and ending in mid December. We tried SO many new things! We got lots of sweet potatoes, beets, cabbage, greens, carrots, apples, pears, cranberries and parsnips. We also got TONS of different kinds of squash. We got butternut, delicata, carnival, acorn, queensland blue and some giant one that rotted before we could use it. We got some weird crap we'd never even heard of like kohlrabi and white carrots. We really loved the sweet potatoes, making fish tacos with cabbage and carrot slaw and trying new squash recipes. I baked pumpkin pies from real pumpkins and I made 3 batches of cranberry brownies. I cheated though - store bought crust and box brownies. Rob learned how to make kale and beet chips. Each week we had to go and pick up the box from a nearby restaurant. The farm would email me on Tuesdays to let me know what to expect in our box which really helped me plan out our menus. I mostly utilized Pinterest for recipe ideas and sometimes we just would have to wing it. The only downside - besides finding time to pick it up every Wednesday - was we wasted some of the food. Even though we really cut back on what we were buying at the grocery store, we just couldn't get through everything! We had to throw out cabbage, beets and a squash that went bad before we could use them. This really broke my heart, but I'm also really proud of us for getting through as much as we did. By doing the CSA we really had to adapt our normal diets and it definitely left lasting results. I'm now eating a mostly vegetarian diet and Rob discovered he actually loves some veggies he didn't think he would. I don't think I could commit to doing a CSA all year round, but it was great for 5 weeks. I hope we can do it again in the future!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Summer Nostalgia

On this snowy and cold day, I was thinking back to summer and all the fun I had! Top moments of Summer 2013 are: 8. Festivals and Farmers Markets! Burger Fest, Maifest, German American Fest and Lincoln Square and Logan Square Farmers Markets were so fun as usual! 7. The Nature Museum Food Truck Rally and Free Night with Rob with one of the prettiest sunsets I've seen in a long time.

6. Pitchfork & Lolla - Even though it was a billion degrees for Pitchfork this year - it was super fun! I had a great time seeing Rob in action, enjoying free Chipotle at after parties and seeing R.Kelly!!! I got to go to Lolla with Tara for one day and it was SO fun! We broke all sorts of rules and I loved seeing Grizzly Bear and Phoenix.

5. A few trips to Michigan including a crazy hot day in New Buffalo, a breezy day in St. Joe's and a visit to the Fernwood Botanic Garden in Niles.

4. A lovely visit to Chicago Botanic Garden on the most beautiful day in June. Looking back this is still one of my favorite days of the summer.

3. A perfect birthday celebration with friends and family including a trip to the Maxwell Street Market, LUSH Wine Bar with friends, family dinners and Brown County with Rob for the weekend!

2. Hunky Dory! Hunky Dory is always a highlight of every summer. It's so relaxing and so fun to spend time with the whole family. It was a bit cold this year but that just allowed me even more time for quality rest.

1. Germany & Italy! This was definitely the most memorable part of the summer. We had the best time to celebrate Ness and Tobi's wedding in the most beautiful setting in Germany and we also got to visit Merano, Italy for the most extravagant little getaway we've ever taken. It was an incredible trip!