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At What Price

Fresh salad with hummas and walnuts

I love what we do. I love that our team gets to grow, source, and deliver health. I love that everything we deliver is better for your heath and better for the environment. For the last twenty years we have been offering nutrient rich fruits and vegetables to families like you every single week. That is a long run! Many of you reading this newsletter have been a customer for a decade or more and more than a few of you have been customers from the beginning since 1998.

For us, doing business is more akin to serving our neighbors. We want everyone to eat healthy and be healthy. We want each of you to have access to the freshest and healthiest foods to nourish your body and provide energy to accomplish everything on your to do list – everyday!

I firmly believe that health and health care start at the farm and our forks. When we choose a diet rich in organic fruits and vegetables, our bodies tend towards a normal weight as does our A1C, lipid panels and blood pressure. We also introduce a lot of antioxidants into our bodies that just love to tie up damaging free radicals.

The other day I saw this ad in the Everett Herald – “Ready to Get Healthy”. There was a picture of a smiling obese person. The sub text said, “Sign up to attend a free seminar on Bariatric surgery.” To be perfectly clear, Bariatric surgeries can work, but so can sewing your jaw shut! Our stomachs are about 1 liter in size. That is not very big and to go through an intense and invasive surgery to limit our ability to overeat seems extreme.

I think it would be better for insurance companies to invest the thousands of dollars that this surgery costs and spend it on a one month stay at a health clinic where a person could get educated about a healthy diet, be fed a healthy, primarily plant-based diet and given an appropriate exercise regime – all monitored. The same money would produce better, less intrusive results and would impact other people in the immediate family and circle of friends.

Of course, the FDA and USDA could just require purveyors of junk food to pay for the medical bills out of their obscene profits instead of expecting the taxpayers or insurance companies to pay for the medical costs as they use their profits to sicken more. Or, the USDA and FDA could just ban known junk food that is contributing to the health crisis, but don’t hold your breath for these changes.

Unfortunately, legislating health is not likely, but we get to choose health one bite at a time, 3x’s a day. Even having just one salad a day can have immense health benefits.

I also want to share that is both hard to eat healthy and easy to eat healthy. So, where ever you find yourself on the continuum of eating healthy or being healthy, that is where you are. You can’t change that.

You can’t go backward, only forward. So today, tonight, pick up that fork and make a healthy choice and another and another.

The culmination of all of us saying yes to healthy food will have a powerful impact on our personal health, our family’s health and eventually our Nation’s health.

 

Tristan Klesick

Your Farmer and Health Advocate

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The Chocolate and Radish Experiment

In 1996 Roy Bauermeister developed an experiment to better understand “will power”. For most of us, will power is something to be marshalled, built up like a muscle, or an inner super hero we would call upon to help us overcome a temptation. And for those people who were successful at making lifestyle or diet changes, well, they just had better will power and the rest of us hadn’t conjured up enough will power to say “no” and were consequently, viewed as having weaker will power. Or dare I say, “we were just lazier”.

Dr. Bauermeister and his colleagues designed an experiment that brought in 3 test groups. The first group was invited in to fill out a questionnaire. In the room was fresh baked chocolate chip cookies, hot out of the oven (I already want one of those cookies) and a bowl of radishes. They were instructed to not eat the cookies because they were for another project, but they could eat the radishes. After 15 minutes they were led off to a room to do a geometry equation that was impossible to solve (that part was unbeknownst to them). The second group came in to the room with the cookies and the radishes and they were allowed to eat the cookies, but not the radishes and after they were finished with their questionnaire led off to a different room to solve the same impossible equation. The 3rd and last group entered a room without cookies or radishes, filled out the same questionnaire and attempted to solve the same impossible equation.

The groups that could eat the cookies and didn’t have cookies or radishes persisted for 19 minutes and the ones who had resisted eating the fresh baked chocolate chips only persisted for 8 minutes. Their ability to persevere had been depleted earlier denying those chocolate chips cookies. Basically, the groups that could eat the cookies or had no cookies offered to them were able to persevere twice as long the group that had to exercise their will power to not eat those fresh baked chocolate chip cookies! This was the first experiment that changed the notion that will power was something you just conjured up when needed or built up like a muscle; will power is a depletable resource. And to make matters worse, you only have about 15 minutes of it available at a time. And we use will power for a lot of decision making things, like checking emails, getting the kids to school, to getting on a treadmill, to trying to eat less sugar…the list goes on and on.

I know that I have way more will power at the start of the day, than I do at night, which ironically is the time that I will succumb to a temptation to a snack or “brake” my commitment to lifestyle change or… To make matters more challenging, the brain runs on Glucose (sugar) and when it is feeling tired from all the decision making it begins to demand some fuel, particularly a sugary fuel and it is not concerned about what kind, so even your brain can work against you to make those lifestyle changes.

The solution is more KNOWLEDGE not more WILL POWER. Now that I know that will power can be depleted, the antidote is a plan, a good old-fashioned plan pre-thought-out and put-into-practice plan. If I am craving sugar, I’ll have an apple—not a donut or cliff bar.

Now you have a little knowledge, what is your plan to be successful—eat better, lose weight, run a 5k, or go to bed earlier? Whatever your goal is, you will have to plan for success in advance and not count on will power for success. You can do it, but you will have to have a plan for lasting results.

 

Health Advocate and Farmer,

Tristan

 

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Summer, we taste you near!

In a true bit of parenting hypocrisy, I’m encouraging, rather, pleading with my children to finish the school year strong while I’m staying up with the sun, ditching work to feel its warmth on my skin, and sneaking away to tuck into the raspberry bushes to taste what to me is summer boiled down into one sweet, tart bite.

“Only one more week of school!” I tell them, hoping that that’ll be the boost they need to finish with a smile on their faces, rather than the moans and groans I hear as I attempt to motivate them out of bed. Meanwhile, I’m still in bed with the lingering scent of smoke from the fire we sat around while staying up far too late on a school night the evening before.

Summer, what we’re saying is, we are so ready for you. We’re ready for your long days, your leisurely activities, and the way you manage to change our priorities so that much of our day can be spent outside. I’m ready for the garden you help me grow, the camping trips you inspire, and the food that sweetens and softens in your heat. I always romanticize you when you first appear. Of course I do know that shortly, with three kids at home, there will be the “I’m boooooored” chorus singing its familiar tune, but I’m choosing to ignore that reality and live in the delight of a new season.

The newness of the nearly summer days have all of us delighted by what’s growing. The kids, without prompting, headed to the garden to pluck the first of the raspberries off the vines, with plans of raspberry ice cream. Their plans never made it to the freezer, as we (mostly me) ate the whole bowl. With the few leftover berries I found this morning, I made my girl what I proclaimed to be the best sandwich of her life – mascarpone slathered between two pieces of seedy bread, and studded with fresh raspberries that practically turned to jam under the weight of its top cover. It was my little way of saying, “Summer is nearly here. Finish strong.” I’m telling myself that too.

Ashley Rodriguez
Award-winning food blogger
Author of Date Night In
 
 
 
Recipe: Fresh Raspberry Scones

This recipe has been made no fewer than a hundred times in our house. These shortcakes are our scones, the cobbler on top of our baked fruit, and sometimes, with the addition of herbs or cheese, savory biscuits to accompany dinner.

The trick here is not to overwork the dough. It’s a very crumbly mass once it comes out of the bowl, but that’s why the finished texture is so light and tender. Don’t knead the dough together, but rather press it until it just holds. This dough can be made by hand, in a food processor, as it is written, or in a stand mixer.

Makes 8 shortcakes

Adapted from Date Night In, by Ashley Rodriguez

Ingredients:

2 cups / 270 g all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon aluminum-free baking powder

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped (optional)

1⁄2 cup / 115 g unsalted butter, diced into 1⁄2-inch cubes, chilled

1 cup / 240 ml plus 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream, divided

1 – 1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries

3 tablespoons Turbinado or granulated sugar

Directions:

1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, salt, baking powder, granulated sugar, and vanilla bean seeds, if using. Pulse a few times to combine and break up any clumps.

2. Add the butter, scattering it over the flour. Pulse 15 times to break up the butter. The mixture will look sandy, with some larger pieces of butter throughout.

3. Pour 1 cup / 240 ml cream over the dough and pulse an additional 20 times. Add the raspberries and pulse just a couple more times to combine. The dough will look crumbly and dry.

4. Dump the dough onto an unfloured work surface and use the palm of your hand to work the dough just until it holds together. You don’t want to overwork the dough, as this can make it tough. Gather the dough together into a 6- to 8-inch round (for making wedge-shaped scones) or a rectangle (for cutting out round biscuits).

5. Use a brush or your fingers to spread the remaining 2 tablespoons cream in an even layer on top. Sprinkle the extra sugar, if using, on top of the cream. Chill the dough for 30 minutes.

6. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

7. Cut the dough into the desired shapes and then place them on the baking sheet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until deep golden along the edges.

8. Cool to room temperature on a wire rack.

9. These are best served the day they are baked. Unbaked dough can be wrapped and frozen for up to 1 month.

Note: Often I make these by hand and simply grate the chilled butter into the dry ingredients with a cheese grater. From there I toss the butter and dry ingredients together, breaking up any large clumps with my hands, and then stir in the cream.

For extra flaky layers, give this dough 1 or 2 turns as you do in the Quick Puff Pastry recipe (page 19 of Date Night In).

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It’s a good thing there are only 24 hours in a day

Hustle, hustle, hustle! When the weather turns and the sun comes out, it is all hands on deck. I have to keep reminding myself that it is only April and that I will be planting crops until August. I used to think that vegetable farming was a marathon race, but now I am more inclined to think of it as a track meet.

Yes, the season is long, but it really feels like a series of sprinting events, and the starter gun has definitely gone off. We are getting the peas, spinach, beets, chard and lettuce planted. We are also getting the ground worked up for potatoes, corn and winter squash. So in the spring we are mostly preparing the ground for planting and then planting it.

As the season marches on we are still working the ground for summer crops, like tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers, but we add in weeding – lots of it (ugh!). We also add harvesting of those early planted crops of lettuce, spinach, etc.

About June we move into a weeding, watering and harvesting cycle. Life also begins to mellow and the days become more manageable (ahh! deep breath). Life feels normal. We are not quite there yet, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.

We have lots to do between now and November. This week we are planting strawberries and potatoes!

 

Sprinter (Farmer) Tristan

 

 

 

cow

Order your grass-fed beef before prices increase!

Prices for our local, grass-fed beef will go up $0.10 per pound after April 30th, so place your order today!

June beef is sold out, but we still have shares available for August and October.

 

Mashed Cauliflower with Cheese and Chives

Ingredients:

1 medium head cauliflower

2 tablespoons cream cheese

1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

1 clove crushed garlic

1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives, plus more for garnish

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Trim the stem from the cauliflower and cut it into small florets.

2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the cauliflower florets and simmer just until tender, about 8 minutes.

3. Drain the cauliflower florets and transfer them to a food processor. Add the cream cheese and Parmesan cheese to the food processor and pulse until creamy. Add the garlic and pulse for about 30 seconds.

4. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, stir in the chives, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve topped with additional chopped chives.

Adapted from Kelly Senyei’s recipe from justataste.com

Know Your Produce: Beets

If you’re not a fan of beets’ famously bright hues, then cover your work surfaces before you start peeling, slicing, and grating. To store beets, cut the greens from the roots, leaving an inch of stem attached, and place the different parts in separate plastic bags and refrigerate. Beet roots will last at least a month, but you should use the greens within three or four days.

Roasted Beet and Fresh Greens Salad

2 1/2 lbs. small beets, trimmed and scrubbed

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Coarse salt

4 cups leafy greens, with any thick stems removed

2 teaspoons cumin seeds

Flaky sea salt, such as Maldon

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place beets on foil lined with parchment. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil; season with coarse salt. Wrap foil into a sealed pouch. Roast beets on a rimmed baking sheet until easily pierced with a skewer, about 45 minutes. Carefully open pouch; when beets are cool enough to handle, rub off skins with paper towels. Halve beets (or quarter if desired).

2. Arrange beets and greens in a serving dish. In a skillet, bring remaining 3 tablespoons oil and cumin seeds to a simmer; toss with beets and greens. Sprinkle with sea salt and serve.

Recipe adapted from marthastewart.com

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To 2017 and Beyond!

Week of April 17, 2016

Yes, I am looking ahead. On the farm I always have the past, present, and future on my mind. I am referring back to previous years, concentrating on the weather windows to do things on the farm the current year, and preparing for future years. So this year, with an eye towards the future, we are planting more plums, pears, raspberries, and strawberries again. Here is a little update on what we are growing for the future.

Plums.  The Yellow Egg plum, is a European plum that produces an abundance of large, oval, freestone, golden yellow fruit with a golden interior that tastes like honey. The Yellow Egg has juicy flesh and is very sweet and is grown for the outstanding quality of the fruit which is excellent for dessert, cooking, and canning. This addition to the Italian plums and Green Gages will round out our plum plantings. We will have Italian and Green Gages in September, but look for the Yellow Eggs in 2018.

Pears. This year we relocated our Stark Crimson pears and added some Orcas pears and a few Asian pears for pollination. The Orcas pear was discovered by horticulturalist Joe Long. He discovered this tree growing on his property on Orcas Island, Washington and it has become a regional favorite. The fruit is large, flavorful, scab resistant, and loaded each year with yellow fruit with a carmine blush. The pears are great for canning, drying, or eating fresh. Look for them in 2018. We will have Bosc and Conference pears this fall.

Raspberries. Tulameen is the “go to” choice for fresh market farmers. These fresh market berries are large, have good sugar content, and are bred for hand picking. We pick them every two days during the season. Our new plantings will produce in 2017, but really come on in 2018. For this season we will have Tulameen from our plantings in 2014.

Strawberries. Albion is an ever-bearing type with long, conical, symmetrical, and firm fruit bursting with sweetness. This strawberry produces from June to October. We love this berry because it is sweet, but also does well in August (when there is less rain!). Look for these in August 2016, with them really producing in 2017.

I have selected these fruit varieties for three reasons: 1) they grow well in Stanwood, 2) they work with my organic approach to farming, 3) I personally like the flavor and am excited to eat them!

Lastly Tomatoes. There’s nothing like a tomato fresh from the garden. We are planting hundreds of them, but for you home gardeners we will be offering plants very soon! These plants are grown by our friends at the Rents Due Ranch. We will start selling tomatoes (slicers, pears and cherries) and pepper plants in early May. The May window to plant tomatoes will be perfect this year, given the colder and wetter spring we have had. Stay tuned for more information!

Back to the farm, I am sure I can find something to do. 🙂

Tristan Klesick

 

Recipe for this week’s box menu.

Sautéed Parsnips and Carrots with Honey and Rosemary

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 pound carrots (about 4 large), peeled, cut into slices 3 inches long by ¼ inch thick

1 pound parsnips, peeled, halved lengthwise, cored (if large), cut into same size as carrots

Coarse kosher salt

2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

1 1/2 tablespoons honey (such as heather, chestnut, or wildflower)

Preparation:

  1. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat.
  1. Add carrots and parsnips.
  1. Sprinkle with coarse kosher salt and pepper.
  1. Sauté until vegetables are beginning to brown at edges, about 12 minutes.
  1. Add butter, rosemary, and honey to vegetables.
  1. Toss over medium heat until heated through and vegetables are glazed, about 5 minutes.
  1. Season to taste with more salt and pepper, if desired.

 

Know Your Produce 

Radishes

Benefits: Radishes are a good source of vitamins C and B6, folate, riboflavin, and potassium, as well as many other trace nutrients. Due to their dietary fiber and diuretic properties, radishes promote healthy digestion and purify the kidney and urinary systems.

Storing: Remove the green leaves and place in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Preparation: Wash radishes and trim the roots just before using. You do not need to peel radishes. Soak red radishes in ice water for one hour to crisp before serving. You can grate or slice them for salads, or add as a garnish.

Search online to find new ways that you can add this power vegetable into your diet.

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A Time To Plant

I was talking to a group of second graders the other day about farming. I found that they ask some amazingly insightful questions; an insight, I think, that comes from their simplicity. A few were already well on their way to a life of healthy eating.

But as we talked back and forth, I wanted to impress upon them that eating good food starts with the soil and ends with a choice. Choosing an apple or carrot (the most popular vegetable) will help them grow up smart, healthier and strong. I explained to them that healthy plants don’t get sick, and the healthier we are, the less sick we get. It was a delightful 30 minutes with young ones eager to learn.

I too have a choice. I choose to farm without chemicals and work with nature to raise food in a watershed, in a local community, on a family run farm.

Thank you for the choice you also are making. You have chosen to support a farm that raises food without chemicals, in your watershed, in your local community, run by a family on a farm. That choice will make all the difference in the world for your health, your family’s health and your community’s health.

That is why planting the first crops of spring are so special for me, because I get to raise food for local folks – who get it!

Last week we took advantage of the nice weather and got a goodly amount of healthy lettuce and peas planted! It feels so good to get some crops in the ground.

Hang on, the local season starts with planting and ends with good food on your plate!

Tristan

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Eating Healthy in the Midst of a Full Life

 

One of my favorite photos is of our kids in 2003 when we first moved to our Stanwood farm – crowbar in hand and ready for the remodel!

IMG_9778Klesick Family

Well, I guess you could say that a lot has changed in the past 12 years. Life is full, and so is our front porch!  More importantly, our hearts are full! We feel incredibly blessed. But, I have to admit that when juggling so much love, sometimes the simple day-to-day tasks can become overwhelming. One of the things that continue to be important to us is providing nourishing food for our growing family. Without determination and a plan, this can feel impossible. I have put together a list of a few things that we’ve done that have stood the test of time and helped us pursue healthy eating.

First of all, make sure “good” food enters the kitchen. Receiving a Box of Good is a practical and convenient first step. Besides produce, we also carry a wide array of healthy staples. Remember that when our foundation is good, we have something great to build on.

At the beginning of the week, or when you receive your produce, take a look and see what items are most perishable and should be used first and then plan your meals accordingly. Take 5 minutes each night and think about the next day’s meal. One of the biggest hindrances to eating healthy is running out of time at the end of a busy day. I like to think of creative ways to make my healthy food “fast food.” When you receive your Box of Good, plan to take 20-30 minutes to prepare your produce items for the week. This will reduce meal time stress and greatly decrease the prep time when it comes to actually making meals. This alone will help you and your family eat healthier.

*Take your lettuce and any greens that you have and wash them right away. Put the leaves in a salad spinner or dry thoroughly, and then store them in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

*Take your vegetables, like broccoli, cauliflower, celery and carrots, and wash them. Then, with a quality kitchen knife, chop them into bite-sized pieces and store in the refrigerator. They are ready to be snacked on with a good dip or thrown in a stir fry. What could be easier? This is fast food at its finest.

*Use your prepared veggies to make a quick sandwich, pita, or wrap. You can skip the bread and use the cleaned lettuce as a wrap itself.

*Experiment with homemade soups. When you order your grass-fed beef from us, make sure you request beef bones. Make a super nutritious broth! Add veggies to the broth that you may not otherwise use, and get all their health benefits. Then make your soups or stews ahead of time and they’ll be ready to eat on a hectic evening when you don’t have time to cook. Better yet, make extra and freeze.

*Find ways to sneak in veggies by grating zucchini or carrots and putting it in your tuna or egg sandwiches. Add bits of veggies to fried rice, pastas, meatloaf, or burgers. Keep trying new things. Don’t give up on picky eaters. Usually over time, taste buds change.

*When serving salad, serve it first, separately and then you know everyone has eaten their veggies. Experiment with homemade healthy dressings and find one that the kids like.

*Offer a choice for snacks, but keep them both healthy. Kids love choices.

*Know which fruit stores best in the refrigerator and which store best on the counter. Display counter fruit in a pretty bowl on the table and it’s sure to be one of the first things your kids ask for.

*If your bananas get over-ripe peel them and chop them into 1-inch rounds and freeze them. Use the frozen bananas for your smoothies or banana bread.

*Use fruit with yogurt to make smoothies. Buy or make cereals with less sugar and use your apples, pears, and bananas to sweeten your cereal. Chop up fruit and use as a topping over pancakes, and use less syrup. Add sliced bananas to your toast. Use fruit as a dessert or use it to make your desserts more nutritious.

Eating healthy in the midst of a busy schedule is obtainable and can be rewarding. Set your mind to it, make a plan and be creative.

Joelle

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Good Choices

A recent study by Harvard Business School and Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business determined that shoppers who brought their own reusable bags to the grocery store tended to buy more “organic” or “green” type products, but then tended to fill those bags with items from the middle section of the grocery store (i.e., high fat, high sugar and packaged). They were able to track these trends because the shoppers with reusable bags received $0.03 bag credit on their receipts. Ironically enough, the environmental good accomplished by using a reusable bag was offset by the items they were purchasing. And to compound the issue, the health benefits were more perceived than experienced because of what they were purchasing.

Another study by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School recently followed shoppers through the grocery store. The study was designed to discover what shoppers were buying and how they flowed through the store. When the researchers were digesting the data, they discovered an interesting trend: customers who placed kale in their carts immediately followed that selection with ice cream.

I believe I understand what was going on in these studies:  the shoppers “felt” better about their purchases because they were using a reusable bag and putting better “packaged” food in them. Granted, those “organic” or “green” packaged products are better than their nonorganic counterparts, but they are still not ideal for healthy living. This study is more intriguing because these consumers were purchasing fruits and vegetables and then treats. In both cases, the real desire to eat better, live better or do right by the environment was a driving factor, and since a good choice was made, a little latitude was granted to make a less healthy choice.

Many of us go through similar choices every morning. We wake up and stand on the all-knowing “barometer of life”—the bathroom scale—and at that moment we decide, “Uh oh, better eat better today L ” or “Yay! I am down a couple pounds, I have room for another latte, donut, ice cream bar, etc. J”

I think it is human nature to offset a good choice with a less than good choice. And while many of you, like me, had the luxury to eat like that in our younger years, I would contend that that window of luxury has passed. Today I need to make a more determined effort to stay healthy. The nice thing is that eating better leads to feeling better. Now all that needs to happen is to say “yes” to more fruits and vegetables and position myself to be successful. This is what you have done because you have a box of good food delivered to your home!

Enjoy!

tristan-sign

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Enjoying the Simple Pleasure of Cooking

It’s a new year and once again many of us find ourselves with renewed goals for 2016. Many opt for the traditional resolutions of losing weight or exercising more after overindulging during the holidays. This year I have decided to take it a step further and apply a minimalist approach to my eating and lifestyle habits.

I recently read an article that alluded to the fact the minimalists like to say that they’re living more meaningfully and more deliberately, and that getting rid of most material possessions in their lives allows them to focus on what’s important: family, friends, hobbies, travel, experiences, etc. This article got me thinking on how it would apply to our everyday lives, cooking and eating.

We live in a society of the “eternal holiday.” After the New Year sale, there’s Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Independence Day… and shortly after we are back to Thanksgiving and Christmas again. For each holiday, stores have specials and themed products designed for us to over-shop and then we hold onto these things because we think they’re going to be useful in some hypothetical future that does not actually exist. Naturally, we end up with more than we need.

My curiosity led me to different blogs and articles, but one in particular grabbed my attention. Joshua Becker, from Becoming Minimalist, wrote A Simple Guide to Enjoy Cooking. “Enjoy” being the key word:

1. Clear your kitchen counters. A clean, uncluttered kitchen counter is refreshing. It communicates calm and order. It saves time and promotes cleanliness.
2. Cook healthy foods. There is a pleasant satisfaction that comes from preparing healthy food for you and your family. Its importance in the process cannot be overstated. It provides valuable motivation and incentive for cooking your own meals. And the positive benefits of cooking a healthy meal stretch far beyond the dinner table.
3. Use fresh ingredients. Replace dried spices with fresh ingredients (onion, garlic, parsley, basil, limes, lemons), the flavor of meals improve dramatically.
4. Own a sharp knife. Learn how to use it. It does not have to be expensive. And once you learn how to use it properly, preparing meals becomes significantly easier and more enjoyable.
5. Start with foods/recipes you enjoy. Begin by preparing meals you look forward to eating. And incorporate the same philosophy into cooking all new dishes at home.
6. Be confident. You can do this. Step up to the cutting board, the oven, or the stovetop with full confidence in your abilities. An anxious spirit does not enjoy creating. And unfortunately, an anxious spirit rarely succeeds. To enjoy cooking, you’ll need to convince yourself that you are able to do it. Eventually, a delicious meal and corresponding smile from your table guests will do the trick. But even before they do, believe in yourself. You will still make mistakes, but that’s okay. Just remember, the biggest mistake you can make is not believing in yourself.
7. Value presentation. There is an old saying among chefs that goes like this, “We eat with our eyes first.” Research and experience validates their claims. Food that looks good is more likely to taste good. Take some extra time to serve your food in a visually appealing presentation—even if you are eating alone. You’ll always enjoy it more.
8. Appreciate the eating. Be mindful of the cleaning. If you have a family, create the space and culture in your home that values eating together. For many families, this is not possible at every meal, but that does not mean space can’t still be created for some family meals together. You may need to establish some margin or get creative, but the more time spent together around the dinner table, the better. Appreciate the importance of sitting down long enough to enjoy your food. And likewise, learn to appreciate the act of cleaning up afterwards. It does not have to be seen as a chore if approached with the right mindset.
9. Record your favorite recipes. I store a small, index card box in our pantry. Inside, I keep all the successful recipes I have discovered over the years. And it has been an important step in increasing my enjoyment of cooking because the true value of the black box is that I have a wide selection of family-favorite recipes right at my fingertips.

Happy Cooking 2016!

Sara Balcazar-Greene (aka. Peruvian Chick)
Peruvian Food Ambassador
peruvianchick.com
instagram.com/peruvianchick
facebook.com/theperuvianchick

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Eating Successfully this Holiday Season

You made it through the Thanksgiving celebrations—were you successful in eating well? I know that I had to try all three pies! Seriously, this season is brutal on healthy eating. The amount of sugar that is going to be given as gifts, devoured at schools, parties and work will be off the charts. I also know that January is coming and I really do not want to arrive there with extra holiday pounds to have to try and lose (now that I am 50 those pounds are a lot harder to chase away). So I have decided to share with you my strategy for avoiding those extra pounds, feeling better and having more energy (a.k.a. not feeling stuffed or lethargic) during the next four weeks. I invite you to join me in making eating healthier a little easier this holiday season.

Use this simple guide to eating successfully this holiday season:

  • The first thing we have to do is admit it is going to be hard! Shake your head back and forth, sigh and then say, “It is going to be hard, but I can do it!”
  • The second thing we need to do is get on the scale, yes the scale! Record your weight ________.
  • Next, write down where you want your weight to be each week. The only rule is that it can’t be more than 5 lbs in the wrong direction and it can’t be more than 10 lbs. in the right direction. This is what I call a BRAG (Best Realistically Attainable Goal). What is your holiday BRAG for weight _______? Even on the scale or a few pounds less is my BRAG for the next four weeks.
  • Choose real food first (e.g., fruits, vegetables, meat and cheese) at family gatherings or holiday parties.
  • Bring real food to parties, someone else will really appreciate it too!
  • Next, skip the treats at least once a day (saying “no” gets easier the more you practice).
  • Eat your veggies, they won’t show up on the “scale” like cookies, donuts, etc. will.
  • Drink water, smoothies or fresh pressed juices.
  • Keep getting your Box of Good Staying out of the grocery store this season will not only save you money, but limit your temptation to buy those treats.

Remember, enjoying ourselves, plus feeling better and having more energy are the real prizes this holiday season. The “scale” will only serve as a reminder that we won!

Cheers to your success!

tristan-sign

Tristan Klesick