A Farmers Market Basket
Yesterday was a perfect 70 degrees, blue skies with some white puffy clouds and a slight cool breeze from time to time. It was seriously the perfect spring day. I love spring in Bakersfield. Spring is great for long walks with the pup in our neighborhood. Olde Stockdale is full of mature citrus trees and lots of them. I can usually find a lemon or two on the ground during my walks. Im not sure why, but yesterday in particular I felt very lemony fresh. I craved lemons, felt citrusy and well just felt like eating anything yellow for that matter. This happens to me from time to time, especially when I visit a fresh market.
I recently visited the farmers market in Santa Barbara with a friend of mine and we kept seeing these ladies with the cutest baskets for all their treasures. I was sure we would find a stand where they sold some really cute baskets for us to fill up. Needless to say we didn’t find any we liked… but I recently visited a site on line and fell in love with Vivi et Margot French baskets (oh and maybe their photography might have swooned me in a little as well). Anyway, I couldn’t resist so I grabbed one for her and one for me so on our next visit we would be fully prepared for cuteness.
The day the baskets arrived I found a new book coming out called “A Basket By The Door” by Sophie Hansen. I Amazon’ed that bad boy immediately, it was so cute and I cant wait for it to arrive…but of course it made me think how fun would it be to deliver the basket full of some goodies rather than empty. It’s mid week so I cant fill it with farmer market finds, so why not some of my favorite things? I am in a yellow mood and cooking today with lots of lemons, yellow beets and yellow peppers, so why not make my friend a meal and include a few of my favorite citrus things and deliver a basket of sunshine… So that is what I did. Don’t judge me I get off on these tangents sometimes… They are great creative outlets for me, plus they make me super happy. I really do it for me and just hope that the recipients can smile and enjoy it almost as much as I do. If not it’s ok, cuz it makes me smile… Insert big smily face here.
I am not sure if Sophie Hansen would approve and I cant wait to see what she fills her baskets with, but here is what I put in mine and Bronson and I had a blast delivering it today…. I told you I would share some recipes full of yellow today. Wink Wink.
Ok so I started off with my stuffed yellow bell peppers from Nourishing Traditions.
Stuffed Bell Peppers
4 medium yellow peppers
1 pound ground beef or bison
1 cup organic brown rice (I used the already cooked kind from Trader Joes)
1 cup organic beef stock
1 small can organic tomato paste
1 medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon each of fresh thyme, rosemary and oregano.
sea salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 350º
Slice the tops off of the peppers and remove all the ribs and seeds. If necessary, cut a very thin slice from the base to help the peppers stand up. Make sure you don’t cut a hole in the bottom of the peppers
Standing the peppers up, in an 8 x 8-inch square baking dish
Put a small amount of oil in a pan and heat. Add the diced onion. Cook the onion for a few minutes until it becomes translucent, adding a pinch of sea salt to help it sweat. When the onions have cooked enough add the garlic and cook another five minutes on low. Once done put it in a bowl and set it aside, meanwhile add the ground beef to the pan with a little olive oil and brown until crumbly and cooked. Add the onion back in, along with the tomato paste and beef broth, herbs and rice. Stir together and cook until the liquid is reduced to half.
Now you can take your baking dish with the standing peppers and fill them with the stuffing. You can either top with cheese, or set the tops of the peppers back on and then Bake for about an hour at 350 degrees.
These are super easy and great make ahead meals.
Once out of the oven and cooled a bit, I love to top mine with Trader Joes plain Greek yogurt (full fat). I put about a cup of yogurt in a bowl, and squeeze a half a lemon in it and grate one clove of garlic. Star in the yogurt mixture and top my peppers. Yum! Makes it so fresh and adds an extra kick.
For my side dish I added a Kale, yellow Beet Salad with a lemon, honey, raw apple cider vinaigrette. I love to use Kale for salads because it doesn’t wilt with dressing on it so I can make it ahead or store it for a day or two and its still fabulous to eat. In fact its better the next day because its absorbed all the juices. Plus its packed with nutrients and well I am trying to revers the gaining process now that I am seeing 50 around the corner here. EEEKK!
I happen to have an organic bunch of green and purple kale so I used both for this one. I had some rosemary almonds, blueberries, cucumbers, yellow beets and some left over raw unsweetened coconut shavings, so I through them all in, but I baked my beets first.
3 large yellow beets
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Remove the tops and the roots of the beets and peel each one with a vegetable peeler. Cut the beets in 1/2. (Small beets can be halved, medium ones cut in quarters, and large beets cut in eighths.) Then I chopped into bite size pieces since it was going in a salad. You could roast whole if you prefer and cut up once cooled?
Place the cut beets on a baking sheet and toss with the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, turning once or twice with a spatula, until the beets are tender. Remove from the oven and immediately toss in your salad. The Kale holds up well with the warm beets.
Lemon Honey AppleCider Vinaigrette
I seriously cant get enough of “RAW” apple cider vinegar… It has been associated with a variety of health benefits, including the possibility of lowering glucose levels and relieving gas, bloating and heartburn. While most vinegars are acidic in the body, raw apple cider vinegar is actually thought to have an alkalizing effect– similar to lemons or limes, which also taste acidic but leave an alkaline ash in the body. Amen for that.
When shopping for apple cider vinegar, make sure you select a variety that is labeled as “With the Mother” and has a bit of sediment floating around the bottom of the bottle. (I like Bragg’s brand.) This odd-looking sediment is actually raw enzymes and gut-friendly bacteria that are thought to promote healing.
Paired with a lemon, raw Manuka honey and fresh garlic, this dressing is sure to liven up any salad!
1 garlic clove , minced
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup raw apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1-2 tablespoons raw honey (I used 2, and I used raw Manuka Honey)
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil (I used
salt and pepper , to taste
Combine all of the ingredients in glass mason jar, then seal the lid and shake until the honey dissolves and the ingredients are well combined. Adjust flavor to taste, if necessary. For best flavor, allow the dressing to marinate for at least 30 minutes before serving over your favorite greens.
Store leftovers in the fridge for up to a week, and shake well before serving each time.
My kiddo loves to bake and well there isn’t a cookie he didn’t like. So when your friend loves chocolate chip cookies, what do you do… You make a fun night with your kiddo and make some chocolate chip cookies!!! I don’t have a special recipe or any secret tips on this. I buy the yellow bag of TollHouse Chocolate chips and follow the directions on the back. I told you I was attracted to yellow today… LOL! But here is the recipe just in case…
Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
PREHEAT oven to 375° F.
COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.
BAKE for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.
May be stored in refrigerator for up to 1 week or in freezer for up to 8 weeks.
Citrus Soap and All Purpose Cleaner
For the All purpose kitchen cleaner and kitchen sink soap, I used castle soap and some citrus essential oils. Check out Chloe’s recipes for this on her blog posts at Boxwood Avenue, I promise you wont be disappointed, her site is full of great inspirations and eye candy. The cute label stickers I got were from Substation Paperie, but I think Chloe even includes a free print out for hers.
Well I hope these recipes inspire you to cook and eat a fresh meal out on your patio this spring. Cheers for now.
P.S. I forgot to take pictures of the roasted beets with my camera, but they are on my stories with my iPhone on instagram if you want to see them. Here are a few pics from todays delivery.