Roasted Delicata Squash with Quinoa, Apple and Arugula Salad

Delicata “delicious” squash has a smooth, rich creamy taste and texture similar to butternut, without the peeling. The skin is thin, edible and add’s a crisp texture. It can be steamed in as little as seven minutes when cut into 1-inch cubes, baked, grilled or roasted in up to thirty minutes, and has a savory sweetness when caramelized.

This light-weight squash is easy to cut, clean and cook. If you’re feeling adventurous, the seeds can be roasted for a crunchy snack! Delicata squash is excellent paired with Sage Mountain Pork, onions, maple & cayenne pepper or simply with a pinch of salt!

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Today I’ve decided to boost Delicata’s antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic and insulin-regulating benefits with two super foods! The most protein-rich food available, Quinoa contains all nine essential amino acids, is rich in iron, magnesium, B2, manganese, and lysine essential for tissue growth and repair.

Arugula, my favorite green discovered last summer working at Sage Mountain Farm, has surprising health benefits. Inactivating cancer-causing chemicals, arugula protects cellular DNA from damage, induces cell death in cells that have already become cancerous, and prevents tumor blood vessel formation and tumor cell migration. Wow! Arugula’s vitamin and mineral rich content are necessary for soft subtle healthy skin, healthy eyes by preventing eyestrain, strong bones decrease rick of osteoporosis, boosts mood naturally by increased production of serotonin, creates red blood cells and is an excellent blood cleanser and oxygenator.  Chlorophyll rich arugula has a strong detoxification effect, increases energy levels and is being studied to prevent against heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and depression.

 

Arugula, squash and apples are great weight loss food too! Replace foods that promote weight gain with leafy greens & veggies as a simple way to boost your nutritional intake and minimize body fat storing insulin spikes. In the long term this is a far easier way of keeping the weight off than restrictive dieting.


Roasted Delicata Squash with Quinoa, Apple & Arugula Salad

Toss quinoa with arugula, apple, raisins and fresh herbs, then spoon the salad into a halved baked squash.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Delicata squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 tablespoons golden raisins
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, finely diced
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped mint
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 2 cups arugula

Preparation:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Brush the cut sides of the squash with 1 teaspoon of the olive oil and season with freshly ground Himalayan salt and pepper. Place the squash cut side down on a baking sheet and roast for about 45 minutes, until tender.
  2. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, bring 2 cups of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the quinoa, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the raisins and simmer, covered, until the water is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Transfer the quinoa to a large bowl and let cool.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk the vinegar and honey with the remaining 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons of olive oil and season with freshly ground Himalayan salt and pepper. Add the dressing to the quinoa along with the apple, shallot, garlic, mint and parsley and toss well. Add the arugula and toss gently.
  4. Set the squash halves on plates. Fill with the salad.
  5. Give thanks… and enjoy!

Additional Recipe

Healthy Roasted Delicata Squash Seeds:

Scoop the pulp and seeds from inside the squash and separate out the seeds. Place them in a single layer on a cookie sheet and lightly roast them at 170°F for 15-20 minutes. By roasting at a low temperature for a short time you help to preserve their healthy oils.


*Winter squash is a vegetable that might be especially important for us to purchase organic. Recent agricultural trials have shown that winter squash can be an effective intercrop for use in remediation of contaminated soils, according to whfoods.com. For this reason, make a special point of purchasing certified organic winter squash from a local, small certified organic farm. We at Sage Mountain Farm are dedicated to growing the most nutritious, delicious certified organic fruits and vegetables.


At Sage Mountain Farm, we supply only the best nutrient rich produce grown in good healthy soil, mountain rich air using the cleanest natural volcanic spring water available to our local customers in San Diego County, Riverside and Palm Springs.

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Let’s make small farms in our region stronger and profitable. Coming soon new ways that you can support small farms in your community!

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Now available! from Sage Mountain Beef 



This week in my Sage Mountain Farm CSA box:

Local Raw Clover Honey, Strawberry Watermelon Jam, Local Farm-fresh Eggs, Concord grapes, Certified Organic tomatoes, a variety of Apples, Oranges, Radishes, Candy Onions, Tomatillos, Delicata & Butternut Squash, Dates Medjool, Watermelon, and a bag big of luscious Arugula.


Thank you for visiting the Sage Mountain Farm BLOG!
Subscribe & follow
Comments, suggestions and questions?
Contact me directly: amy@sagemountainfarm.com
Visit www.sagemountainfarm.com & www.sagemountainbeef.com
for more information about our farm.
Together, let’s get healthy!

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Many blessings to you and yours!

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Apples!

You’ve probably heard the expression, “you are what you eat,” but what exactly does that mean? Put simply, food is fuel, and the kinds of foods and drinks we consume determine the types of nutrients in our system and impact how well mind and body are able to function, Mental Health America reports.

It’s not surprising that eating a daily intake of fruits and vegetables makes us more likely to have a longer life expectancy than those who don’t. When you look at all the available research, it becomes perfectly clear that “Food is Medicine” and consuming a little everyday is vitally important to over-all good health.

The benefits of eating an organic apple a day:


Apples are a wonderful source of tasty essential vitamins & minerals
like magnesium, potassium, and vitamin C.

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  1. Weight loss and Obesity
  • Apples are filling, without costing you a lot of calories. “When healthy adults consumed one medium-sized apple approximately 15 minutes before a meal, their caloric intake at that meal decreased by an average of 15%.”
  • The magic of apples comes from its two types of fiber!
  • The apple’s peel, containing most of its fiber boosts calorie burn and increases muscle and brown fat, lowering the risk of obesity. Maintaining a healthy weight is also important for keeping your blood pressure at a safe level.
  1. Cholesterol & Cardiovascular Health
  • An apple a day can lower cholesterol by 40%, as reported in a study at Ohio State University. Researchers at the University of Oxford calculated what would happen if 70 percent of people over age 50 ate an apple daily, and compared that with putting that same group of people on statin drugs. They estimated that out of 17.6 million people 8,500 deaths would be avoided annually because of the apples, and 9,400 due to statins.
  • Pectin works with the phenolics in its skin to lower your plasma cholesterol and triglycerides. This aids the body’s absorption of cholesterol more effectively and leaves less cholesterol to accumulate in the arteries.
  1.  Healthy Lungs
  • Apples are tremendous anti-inflammatory agents. Five or more whole organic apples consumed a week; with their skin provide better lung function.
  • The decreased risk of lung cancer and anti-asthma benefits of apples has surprised health researchers. In one study, apples showed better risk reduction for asthma than total fruit-plus-vegetable intake combined!
  1. Cancer Fighting
  • Apples are high in antioxidants and prevent cell damage. They show a distinct and undeniable capacity to reduce lung cancer and slow its spread. Apples prevent colon cancer, while fighting against liver, colon, prostate and breast cancers.
  1. Gut Bacteria & Digestion
  • The important health benefits of apples may stem from their impact on gut bacteria. After apple is consumed, bacterial changes in the large intestine provide more available fuel to the large intestine cells, according to whfoods.com.
  1. Decrease Risk of Diabetes
  • Apples have been shown to lessen absorption of glucose from the digestive tract, making it easier for you to regulate your blood sugar.
  • Sugar (fructose) in fruit, has a very different effect on our biochemistries than other sugars. Sugar that comes in the form of a whole food (like an apple) is absorbed slowly because it takes more time to digest, and this helps insulin levels to stay steadier.
  • Eating apples on a regular basis might reduce insulin resistance, which should lead to lower blood sugar levels. The polyphenols in apples, which are found primarily in the skin, stimulate your pancreas to release insulin and help your cells take in sugar, according to healthline.com.
  1. Brain Food
  • Apples increase acetylcholine, which is linked to concentration, problem-solving, and memory. Apples stop the gradual breakdown of dopamine-producing nerve cells, which can be an underlying cause of Parkinson’s disease and also prevents Alzheimer’s.
  1. Atrophy – Muscle Weakness
  • Apples prevent muscle atrophy; the loss of muscle mass due to natural aging. Researchers from the University of Iowa have found a compound in tomatoes and apples can turn off a protein responsible for aging muscles. After consuming both daily for two months, muscle mass increased by 10 percent and muscle strength by 30 percent, according to medicaldaily.com.

Whole Apples Are Best

To get all the benefits from apples, eat them whole. In addition to both kinds of fiber, pectin works with the phenolics in its skin to lower your plasma cholesterol and triglycerides. This aids the body’s absorption of cholesterol more effectively and leaves less cholesterol to accumulate in the arteries.

By changing what you eat, you can help decrease the risk of numerous chronic diseases, stabilize your mood, improve your focus, and boost your brain health, all while trimming your tummy. Come by the farm stand today and pick up some local organic, farm fresh apples!

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Dehydrated Apples Recipe


Did you know that dehydrating food keeps most of their vital nutrients intact? My Dad got me a dehydrator last year for my birthday and I love making healthy snacks for when I’m on the go! Sage Mountain Farm has included the sweetest, most delicious varieties of farm fresh apples this year!

Now offering Red delicious, Gala, Golden delicious and Granny Smith apples hand picked locally by our neighboring small farm in Garner Valley! Sage Mountain Farm loves that it has been able to inspire many others in our community to peruse their dreams of small farming. Sage Mountain Farm’s Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program allows us to help farmers who don’t otherwise have a way or means to distribute their nutrient rich treasures by including them in our CSA.


Using local organic apples, fresh squeezed organic lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger, make Dehydrated Apple Rings:

  1. Wash and dry apples.
  2. Mix 2 tbsp fresh squeezed organic lemon juice in 2 qts water to prevent browning.
  3. Mix 1 teaspoon of each cinnamon, nutmeg and freshly ground ginger into a bowl.
  4. Peel & Core Apples.
  5. Slice apples 1/4 or 1/2 in. thick.
  6. Place fruit fresh in water mixture, then dip in your spices.
  7. Arrange on dehydrator tray & top with a sprinkle of cinnamon.
  8. Set dehydrator to fruit & veggie setting (135-145 F).
  9. Run dehydrator until apples are chewy (about 12-18 hours).
  10. Store in an air tight container; I like to use mason jars but a Ziploc baggie will do. If you have any condensation they haven’t fully dehydrated.

Savor the delicious sweet smell of cinnamon apples through-out your home while you prepare these healthy snacks even your kids will enjoy!

Tip: Make a batch before entertaining house guests to create a comforting fall aromatic atmosphere that will enhance the festivities. You could include a delicious apple crisp that would be the perfect compliment to any dinner party favorite!

Give thanks… and enjoy!


We supply only the best nutrient rich produce grown in good healthy soil, mountain rich air using the cleanest natural volcanic spring water available to our local customers in San Diego County, Riverside and Palm Springs.

Join+Our+CSA+2015

Let’s make small farms in our region stronger and profitable, coming soon new ways that you can support small farms in your community.

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Thank you for visiting the Sage Mountain Farm BLOG!
Subscribe & follow
Comments, suggestions and questions?
Contact me directly: amy@sagemountainfarm.com
Visit www.sagemountainfarm.com for more information about our farm.
Together, let’s get healthy!

The Mighty Onion Prepared with Acorn Squash and Yogurt

It’s hard to pinpoint just one reason to love the onion!

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Eating onions gives more to our lives than simply flavor to our food. Incorporating onions into our diet can alter the course of major disease, such as heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and most forms of cancer. Beneficially effecting a staggering multitude of other diseases and disorders including cataracts, cardiovascular disease as well as cancer of the breast, colon, ovarian, gastric, lung, and bladder while helping to reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease and stroke. You can see that the onion is mighty, in deed!

The richest dietary source of quercitin, onion holds a powerful antioxidant flavonoid that has been shown to thin the blood, lower cholesterol, ward off blood clots, and fight asthma, chronic bronchitis, hay fever, diabetes, atherosclerosis and infections. Onions antioxidants and amino acids allow your body to function optimally, help prevent damage and are used in virtually every vital function in the body. Oh that’s all? No, there’s more.

“Onions are excellent at killing cancer cells.” Published recently in Food Research International, “Onions activate pathways that encourage cancer cells to undergo cell death. They promote an unfavorable environment for cancer cells and inhibit growth by disrupting communication between cancer cells.”

“Altering dietary habits may be a practical and cost-effective means of reducing cancer risk and modifying tumor behavior. Approximately 30–40% of cancers are preventable by appropriate food and nutrition, physical activity, and maintenance of healthy body weight.” Said in the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health research article: ‘Garlic and onions: Their cancer prevention properties’ published in 2015. Summarizing that, “Mechanistic studies provide compelling evidence that garlic, onions, and their (stinky) sulfur components alter the biological behavior of tumors, tumor microenvironments, or precancerous cells, and decrease cancer risk.”

Do you smell breakthrough? Onions pungent smelling sulfur compounds are actually a powerful detox element which help the body to release toxins, especially from the liver. Foods naturally high in sulfur also help the body detox itself of heavy metals and other dangerous toxins. Damage to DNA caused by environmental toxins is thought to be the cause of most cancer. Eating organic, local sustainable food never sounded better!

“Organic conditions boost flavonoids and antioxidant activity in onions” said the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry in a study published on June 14, 2017. They went on to say, “organic foods contain more health-benefiting phytochemicals.” Now, researchers have found that flavonoid levels and antioxidant activity in organic onions are higher than in conventional onions. Their investigation, in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, is the longest-running study to address the issue.

An organic onion a day? A study conducted at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle found that eating a teaspoon of fresh garlic and a half cup of onions per day increases the levels of a key enzyme for removing toxins in the blood cells. As told by FOX News, “eating onions can get your blood sugar-and your weight-on the right track. So here is a simple, powerful health-enhancing recommendation: Eat an onion every day. One medium-sized onion equals approximately one cup of onion when chopped.”

In addition, other factors including the gut microbiome, may also influence responses, giving last weeks blog post about gut-boosting Okra something more to think about.

You see, organic onions are an essential ingredient, to the flavor of wellness through-out our life.  The taste of a good life, absent from disease is the most savored quality offered up in the onion. So next time you start to cry over an onion, let them be tears of joy! Breakthrough is yours.

“It’s hard to imagine civilization without onions.”
— Julia Child

Acorn Squash with Onions and Yogurt

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Ingredients:

  • 1 acorn squash, halved, seeded and cut into 8 wedges
  • 1 medium onion, cut into 8 wedges
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • ½ cup full-fat plain grass-fed organic yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • ¼ cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves

Directions:

  1. Preheat over to 375. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss squash and onion with oil; season with salt and pepper. Roast until squash is tender, 30-35 minutes.
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  2. In a small bowl, combine yogurt and lemon juice. Transfer squash and onion to a serving plate. Top with yogurt and mint.
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  3. Serve with a refreshing glass of mint green tea or lemon water..

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Give thanks… and enjoy!

 


Onion Preparation & Storage TIPS:

Preparation:

Onions are healthy raw & cooked, though raw onions have higher levels of organic sulfur compounds that provide many benefits, according to the BBC. A 2005 study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that there is a high concentration of flavonoids in the outer layers of onion flesh, so you’ll want to be careful to remove as little of the edible part of the onion as possible when peeling it. Never microwave your antioxidant-rich foods since the process decreases the antioxidant content by more than 75% in just one minute.

Storage:

Best not to leave an onion cut open in the fridge because it will absorb bacteria. Either use the whole onion, or buy a variety of small, medium and large onions to have on hand; and use accordingly.  Sage Mountain Farm CSA box shares typically include a variety of sizes in a season, seeing to it that in my kitchen, an onion never goes to waste. However, once an onion is in a salad in a sealed container, it is safe and can be eaten at a later time.


Thank you for visiting Sage Mountain Farm BLOG!
Subscribe & follow. Posts weekly. Stay connected.

Comments, suggestions and questions?
Contact me directly: amy@sagemountainfarm.com

Visit www.sagemountainfarm.com for more information about our farm.
Together, let’s get healthy!


To be engaged in Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), offers you a chance to share in a sustainable small farm’s hand picked, certified organic seasonal daily harvest.  There truly is a difference in taste, quality and variety! 

Let’s make small farms in our region stronger and profitable, for theirs is a labor of love that we reap the benefits of. Support your local small farm and become a CSA member today, visit us at your local Farmers Market or come by the Farm Stand now open (in Anza off Bahrman Rd at HWY-371) everyday from 9am-5pm (Mon-Sat).

Come to the farm this weekend!  Sage Mountain Farm is having a BBQ Slider Event this Sat. Sept. 23rd from 10am-4pm with guest chef Phil Knoke, The Rock’N Roll Chef cooking up Sage Mountain Beef local, green-fed beef sliders and fun for the whole family! Come by!  Taste the difference!


Farm Stand FlyerFarm Stand Flyer BBQ Event 9.23.17

Gut Renewing Farm Fresh Stewed Tomatoes with Okra & Candy Onion

This week’s farm share includes an abundant variety of colorful, organic produce. The first thing to catch my eye was a bright and cheerful medley of baby bell peppers and the most succulent, vibrantly deep purple plums. I love summer and the wealth of fresh local, organic, sustainable food that is available.

In our Sage Mountain Farm Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm share box this week is a farm fresh local organic sustainable variety of fruits & vegetables that include: a richly sweet Sharlyn melon… which, I must say, if you haven’t smelled or tasted this heirloom variety of melon yet, you should and soon! Fleshly harvested and hand picked Valencia oranges, green apples, grapefruit Star Ruby, nectarines, melt in your mouth dangerously delicious dates Medjool, Candy yellow onions, tomatillo de Milpa, okra, salad mix and acorn squash (reminding me that fall is near).

While picking up my CSA box at Sage Mountain Farm in Anza, I ran into a long time CSA subscriber who shared with me the desire to see recipes in our blog for the lesser known produce items. When I got home and started unpacking my CSA box, I found the okra staring back at me, inviting me into a new relationship.

I began researching okra and in exploring the wonders of this mystery veggie, discovered it is at the core of disease prevention and stabilizing mental health. Who knew!? A potent natural remedy used in ancient medicine for improved health and vitality needed in our modern day society. Okra boasts a powerhouse of energy, and in addition to its nutritional properties, is a micro flora booster! Micro flora, or good bugs, help our bodies digest and absorb nutrients, rally against intruders, boost our immune system and send messages to our brain to regulate mood and metabolism.

To quote Hippocrates, “All disease begins in the gut” and the study of our gut micro flora is at the forefront of scientific research for good reason. In order to effectively prevent disease and mental health issues such as depression and anxiety, we must continually grow a diverse micro flora and improve the integrity of our gut cells. Taking probiotic supplements in partnership with a diet strong in prebiotic and probiotic food is essential. Making onion and okra the stars of this week’s BLOG!

I found a recipe that withdrawls all the values of okras mucilage & nutrients in tasty compliment to other farm fresh veggies included in our current CSA seasonal harvest. This okra recipe has the taste of southern fried okra without the heaviness and on the contrary, will stabilize blood sugar levels and leave you feeling energized!

Since ninety percent of our cells are microbial cells and our diet influences our microbes, it’s true: We really are what we eat. Bon appetite!

Gut Renewing Farm Fresh Stewed Tomatoes with Okra & Candy Onion Recipe

 

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Ingredients:

2 cups chopped farm fresh, certified organic okra
2-3 medium certified organic, farm fresh tomatoes (peeled)
1 medium certified organic, farm fresh Candy yellow onion
4 certified organic, farm fresh baby bell peppers (red, orange, yellow, green)
1 small certified organic, farm fresh Anaheim pepper (chopped very small) *if you like spicy, otherwise leave this one out
3 cloves of garlic
1 TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 cup water
5 sprigs of fresh Thyme
3 tsp sweet or hot paprika
Himalayan salt & fresh ground pepper to taste

*If you love meat, this recipe would be excellent prepared with high quality, best tasting, local, fresh, clean Sage Mountain Farm Beef!

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Directions:

  1. Peel your farm fresh organic tomatoes by soaking them in boiling water for one minute followed by an ice bath for 5 minutes.
  2. Dice onions, tomatoes and pepper medley.
  3. Transfer diced tomatoes and their juice to a bowl.
  4. Give 5 sprigs of fresh thyme leaves a good chop and add them to tomatoes; along with freshly minced garlic, paprika, and 2 turns of freshly ground Himalayan salt & pepper.
  5. Heat olive oil in the skillet and add onions.
  6. Cook onions until they start to turn translucent.
  7. Add in the chopped okra and water, cover.
  8. Cook for about 10 minutes.
  9. Add in seasoned tomatoes and pepper medley.
  10. Cover and simmer an additional 20 minutes or until okra is cooked through.
  11. Plate alone or serve over rice.

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Give thanks… and enjoy!

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To be engaged in Community Supported Agriculture, offers you a chance to share in the farms hand picked, certified organic seasonal daily harvest. There truly is a difference in taste, quality and variety.

Let’s make small farms in our region stronger and profitable, for theirs is a labor of love we enjoy reaping. Support your local small farm and become a CSA member today, visit us at your local Farmers Market or come by the Farm Stand now open (in Anza off Bahrman Rd at HWY-371) everyday from 9am-5pm (closed Sun & Tues).

Visit www.sagemountainfarm.com for more information and together, let’s get healthy!

Comments, suggestions and questions?
Contact me directly: amy@sagemountainfarm.com

The Kitchen Sink Smoothie

This smoothie has everything but the kitchen sink! Quick, easy & delicious!

  • Smoothies Super Charge your body
    with essential vitamins & minerals!
  • Make weight loss easier, build muscle &
    improve physical performance.
  • Give your hair, skin & nails a radiant glow.
  • Detox harmful chemicals that
    bombard us on a daily basis &
    ensure excellent digestion.
  • Nutritious disguised in tasty so kids love them!


STEP 1
:

Use the fruit & greens that came in your Sage Mountain Farm Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) box.
Pull out whatever other fruit you have, cut it up and add it to the blender.



STEP 2:

Add juice.

Juice Options: • Organic fresh squeezed orange juice • Coconut milk • Almond milk
• Water • Fruit juice blend (I like Bolthouse) or • Green Tea



STEP 3
:
Grind up a variety of  Seeds & Nuts
Add a few tablespoons or more into the mix.

For a boost of: antioxidants, key proteins, vitamins, minerals, good fats & fiber

  • Flax seeds (a top potent superfood)
  • Raw pumpkin seeds (the only seeds that are alkaline-forming & helps fight depression)
  • Raw sunflower seeds (boosts energy & immunity)
  • Sesame seeds (burns fat, boosts nutrient absorption, balances hormones)
  • Raw almonds (as much calcium as milk!),
  • Raw walnuts (supports brain health),
  • Raw pecans (contain more than 19 vitamins & minerals, boosts brain, heart and bone health)
  • Hazelnuts (rich in energy, heart, brain & skin)
  • Pine Nuts (appetite suppressant, slows the aging process)
  • Brazil Nuts (helps with weight loss, stimulates cell growth & repair, improves digestion & immunity, balances hormones, boosts male fertility & reduce signs of aging)

*Tip: If you don’t have a Nutribullet, use your coffee grinder. To clean, use uncooked white rice and grind.



STEP 4:

Add a Protein Booster

I use a collagen (bone broth) powder. It’s incredible for your joints, hair, skin, & nails.

*You can also add: Matcha green tea powder, Maca powder, Camu camu, Cacao powder, Hemp protein powder, or Grass-fed whey. There are so many choices at your local health food store!



STEP 5:
Top off with frozen berries or ice.

Blend & enjoy!

Visit www.sagemountainfarm.com to learn more about your local, small certified organic farm.

Organic Farm Fresh Vegetable Soup with Lentils

Where Does Your Food Come From?

Not all vegetables are created equal. It’s a fascinating exploration getting to know our food and the relationship it has with wellness, disease and our taste buds!

I’ve always loved the simplicity of what I thought farm life was like. Deep inside me I knew there was something special that had been lost in my generation and the greater culture at large. Farming and the delicacy of what it takes to produce truly good, live organic sustainable food is an enigma sadly lost in the translation of our culture. We aren’t taught, so those of us who know have a responsibility to teach and reach out in support of local organic sustainable small farms.

Today in my Sage Mountain Farm Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) box, I see beautifully colored & shaped varieties of summer squash, eggplant, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, Anaheim peppers, okra, Valencia oranges, nectarines, Gala apples, and tomatillo de Milpa.

Many exciting ways to prepare these delightfully fun veggies come to mind!

As I ponder the options, my cherry tomatoes are slowly being devoured as I pop them whole. They are my favorite sweet treat! Usually I will save half the basket for my salads but I remember reading that the process of cooking tomatoes boosts their nutritional levels of potent antioxidant lycopene. Having recently come down with a cold, I decide to make a warm nutritious bowl of comfort food and fashion a farm to table vegetable soup with my Sage Mountain Farm CSA box. On the menu tonight….

Farm Fresh Organic Vegetable Soup with Lentils

Directions:
• Slice 1 cup cherry tomatoes in half
Chop the following into bite sizes:
• 1 zucchini
• 1 crookneck squash
• 1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
• 3 baby potatoes, with skin
• 1 onion
• 3 spring onion
• 6 cloves of garlic crushed or pressed & left to sit for 10 min. Then soak in 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil and set aside.
• 2 tablespoons Grass-fed bone broth
• 1 avocado, sliced
• 1 box of Organic Hearty Lentil Vegetable Soup

I have left over lentils in the fridge (cooked in onion & garlic) that I’m adding for a boost of minerals.*Lentils pack a ton of nutrition! They give you iron with energy to burn, stabilize blood sugar and are high in protein.

1. Heat 2 tablespoon broth in medium soup pot. Sauté onion in broth over medium heat for 5 minutes; stirring frequently.
2. Add 1 box of organic hearty lentil vegetable soup, 1 cup lentils, and your fresh, local organic veggies to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the garlic olive oil mixture into your soup. Continue to simmer for 5 minutes, until your farm fresh organic vegetables are tender.
3. Top with sliced avocado.
4. Season with freshly ground Himalayan salt & pepper.

Give thanks… and enjoy!

To be engaged in Community Supported Agriculture, offers you a chance to share in the farms hand picked daily harvest. There truly is a difference in taste, quality and variety.

Let’s make small farms in our region stronger and profitable, for theirs is a labor of love that we reap the benefits of. Support your local small farm and become a CSA member today! Or visit us at your local Farmers Market!

Visit www.sagemountainfarm.com and together, let’s get healthy!

Vegetable Soup 

img_3086So, now that the weather is cooling down soup can be added to your menu planning rotation!  That’s great for me because I love soup.  On a cool crisp day, after being outside with your kids, or your animals, or even alone with nature it feels so satisfying to sit down to a steamy bowl of hearty soup.  As with most of my recipes, this is a guide to give you ideas and not a strict formula for soup success.  Although, with soup how could one go wrong?  Well, even though it’s hard to mess up soup, if you don’t add any salt, sometimes people complain, lol!  So, let me qualify…as long as it’s seasoned adequately, it’s hard to mess up soup.

This is a great way to use whatever is in season and whatever you have on hand.  In my bowl I used tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, onions and kale.  Oh, yeah…KALE!  It’s still a very fashionable vegetable and can boost your leafy green intake at any meal.  When chopped up small and cooked in the soup, the leaves just melt in your mouth.  I also added some rice to this vegetable soup to thicken it and make it more substantial for a stand alone meal.  You can start with a vegetable broth or just plain water, toss in your chopped vegetables and your dry rice.  Then bring to a boil and simmer until the potatoes and carrots are tender and the rice is nice and soft.  Then it’s time to add your favorite herbs (dry or fresh) and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Cook for another 5 minutes or so and then remove from the heat.

This soup features onions, carrots and kale from my Sage Mountain Farm CSA box, however you can use just about any veggie from our farm to create a delicious and satisfying soup for your Autumn enjoyment!

Chopped Caprese 

These Sungold Cherry Tomatoes, tucked inside my CSA box,  were the inspiration for today’s post.  I love little tiny tomatoes, and these ones deliver huge flavor in a vibrant, exciting color.  

One of the best ways to highlight the flavor and texture of a great tomato is a simple Caprese salad.  Usually a larger tomato is used, one similar in size to a slice of fresh mozzarella cheese, but this time we are going to make a chopped Caprese so that we can utilize these cherry tomatoes and feature their awesome flavor in a more accessible and portable way!img_2806
In this recipe you also get to enjoy the aromatic goodness of fresh organically grown basil from Sage Mountain Farm.  I think that the smell of basil is the perfect smell of summer.  If you love basil check out our Strawberry Basil Lemonade!  it’s great for a change from the traditional.

Speaking of breaking with tradition, this salad not only is chopped, but it also uses firm tofu instead of mozzarella cheese.  Now if you are a purist, please use the cheese, but if you’re up for something different or just prefer to keep dairy at arm’s length, then read on farm blog followers…

I followed the method for “curing” the tofu from the Vegan Caprese Salad recipe on the Whole Foods Website.  So to deal with your tofu, please visit that link and then come back here to continue.  A note: the Whole Foods recipe calls for white balsamic, and I used regular (you know, the dark-brown-almost-black-deliciousness that can be used on many treats, both savory and sweet).

So once you have your tofu (or mozzarella if you really couldn’t help yourself, lol) ready, then simply cube it up into pieces roughly similar to the size of the cherry tomatoes when halved.

Halve your cherry tomatoes, all of them that are left after snacking on them straight from the container…yes, I saw you eat them…

Pull basil leaves off their stems until you are tired of doing it, or you’ve got a big ‘ole pile.  Stack several leaves together then roll ’em up like a tiny log.  Use a knife to slice them narrowly into strips, it’s called chiffonade, or simply give them a good choppy-chop.

Toss all of the components in a big bowl; halved tomatoes, cured tofu cubes, and chopped or “chiffonaded” basil.  Then I added salt and pepper to taste and a little more balsamic love, also to taste.

Stir, serve, eat!

This can be a great picinic/potluck bring along item and it staysjust fine in the fridge overnight.  Caution, while awesomely delicious, if left for more than a day in the fridge the basil begins to oxidize and will not be vibrantly green.  Nothing to worry about though, because it never lasts that long anyhow…

Yes, it’s that good.

Swimming Cucumbers

This is a family recipe for refrigerator pickles that, in my family, we like to call “swimming cucumbers”.  It is simple and basic, but the tartness from the vinegar and the chilled cucumbery goodness are so refreshing in the heat of summer.  I can remember eating these all the time when I was a kid, and now with fresh organic cucumbers from Sage Mountain Farm, I make them for my kids and they love ’em as much as I did.

Start by washing the cucumbers and slicing the ends off.  Then using a vegetable peeler, I like to give my cucumbers some stripes.  I peel a strip of skin from one end to the other and then I rotate the cucumber before peeling another strip (leaving alternating strips of skin on and skin off).  This is just personal preference.  My kids would prefer not to have any skin on and, as a mom I would prefer them to eat the skins.  So we have found a happy medium with striped cucumber rounds, everybody’s happy.  Do what you like here…but, fair warning, stripes are fun!

Next slice the cucumbers into rounds about 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch thick, depending on your preference.  Also, if you like you can make these into half rounds.  Whatever floats yer boat!

Put all of your slices into a lidded container that has a bit of extra room for liquid.  Using a mixture of equal parts water and apple cider vinegar, cover all of the cucumbers.  Finally sprinkle the top of the liquid with a generous amount of fresh cracked black pepper, course grind works best.  Place the lid on the container and tuck these babies away overnight in the fridge.  Next day, enjoy!

For another tasty summer treat, revisit this recipe from last summer- Strawberry Basil Lemonade!

Give us a comment below if you tried either of these recipes!  We’d love to have a conversation with you!

 

3-2-1 Pinto Beans

Hey everyone!  I want to share with you today one of the recipies that I make at least once a week, if not twice.  This is how I make my pinto beans.  A lot of people ask for this recipe, so here it is!

Ingredients:

3 cups dried pinto beans, soaked overnight

3 dried chiles de arbol (or chile japones), with the stems picked off

3 Tablespoons of dried chopped onion, or a 10 oz bag of frozen diced onion or 1 medium onion chopped (This is a great place to use some fresh organic onions from your CSA box)

2 Tablespoons of dried ground cumin

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2 in square of Kombu seaweed (this one is totally optional.  I recently started adding this to help with the digestibility of the beans, it breaks down mostly while cooking and can be scooped out at the end, or blended into the beans, it really doesn’t change the flavor of the finished beans.)

1 Tablespoon of granulated garlic, alternately you can ad fresh minced garlic from your CSA box!

1 Tablespoon of salt

 

Method:

Soak beans overnight, then rinse them well.  Place rinsed and soaked beans into your pressure cookimg_2758er and add the rest of the ingredients.  I like to break my dried chiles into smaller pieces because I img_2763blend them into my beans.  If you want the flavor of the chiles but not too much spice, then leave the chiles whole and discard after cooking, before blending.

img_2764Fill
your pot to 1 inch above the beans.  This will give you an excess of liquid, but more is better, and as you will see it is possible to ladle out the extra water before blending the beans.

Use either the bean or the manual setting on your img_2765pressure cooker and adjust the time up to 45 minutes.  Make sure it is on high pressure and that the steam valve is closed for pressure cooking.

While you wait, this is a great time to chop some onion and cilantro, hit that with a little squeeze of lime juice and salt…heaven on a taco!

When the time has come to open your pressure cooker (I would let the pressure come down on it’s own rather than a rapid release because beans create a lot of foam while cooking and it is a total disaster, I know this from first hand experience…more than once…) you will fill your home with a delicious smell that will make you hungry!

Now is decision time.  Whole beans or “re-fried” aka blended?  Spicy or mild?  If your goal is spicy and whole, do nothing.  Use a slotted spoon and serve these bad boys on a tortilla, or over chips.

If your goal is a “re-fried” bean analog (only healthy because they are made without oil), then you need to either remove the chiles or not based on your heat preference.  Then you will need to ladle out as much water as you can without becoming OCD about it! img_2766 Seriously, if the beans are a bit runny the first night, while they are refrigerated overnight they will soak up some of that extra liquid and become firmer the next day.  This is really personal preference.

img_2767I use an immersion blender for this step.  You could use a fork, a potato masher, or a blender if you like…or see the instructions for whole beans above!  Blend or mash until the beans look like the right consistency to you.  Some people like ’em totally mashed and others like to see some whole and partial beans in the mix.  It’s totally up to you!

 

Voila!  Beans, done.  If you give this recipe a try, let me know in the comments below.  Tacos and nachos and even enchiladas are a great way to feature some of the great produce and meats that we have here at Sage Mountain Farm!

P.S. If pressure cooking isn’t your bag, these beans can also be done in a crock pot on high for most of the day, or even on the stove (if you don’t mind the heat in the middle of summer, ugh!).