Monday, April 24, 2017

Kayaking with Manatees



We recently went to the gulf coast of Florida for a few days and a highlight for me was a visit to Fort De Soto Park, a lovely state park south of Saint Petersburg. It featured bike rentals and trails great beaches and Kayak rentals, in the warmer months you will have the treat of seeing manatees in the mangroves. I was thrilled its something I had always wanted to do.

Here's a little clip to introduce you to these fascinating creatures.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Arizona Inspired Bean Soup



We visited Arizona this last December on the way back from seeing family in California. I had always wanted to visit Tuscon and love that its not hot in the winter months, however it was actually quite cold and wet when we were there, I suspect spring is the best time to visit.  When we landed in Phoenix our entry point to hire a car, we visited the Heard museum cafe to sample some Native American cuisine on the advice of my sweet twitter buddy and fellow dietitian Monika of Hip Veggies. I had a Tepary bean salsa with Indian fry bread. These beans are native to the South east and have a long history they are nutritious and grow well in dry conditions. On my return I couldn't find these beans locally in North Carolina so used Northern beans. 

But often you may find old bean varieties in your area that are often overlooked here we have cow peas, october beans and pinto beans. 

Ingredients:

  • one cup of Northern beans, or any small white bean. 
  • 1/2 a red onion, thinly chopped
  • 1 celery stalk thinly chopped
  • 2 small sweet peppers diced
  • one small tomato diced
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 cloves of garlic sliced
  • a pinch of cumin powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • a little chopped parsley 
  • 1/2 cup of corn
Method:

  1. saute the onions and garlic in a little olive oil for 4-5 min.
  2. add the cumin, celery and peppers
  3. meanwhile pressure cook the beans for one whistle after an overnight soak.
  4. add the tomato and let it reduce down, then add 2 cups of water, cumin powder, sweetcorn and the beans, season with salt and pepper and simmer for 15-20 min. Garnish with parsley or cilantro.



Tuscon was beautiful and I liked the feeling that folks there were more at peace with living in the desert than Phoenix I saw less green lawns and non native trees. There was more desert landscaping and buildings that seemed to suit the surroundings. 


We stayed at Hacienda del Sol, a wonderful historic property with great staff an amazing garden complete with citrus trees and a stables. Our girl really wanted to go horse riding on the trip and this was a big factor in choosing this hotel. It was a great experience and we even got to sample some barrel cactus along the way and see a bobcat cave.




Another great tip from Monika was the Arizona Sonora Desert museum this was a beautiful drive outside of Tuscon in the middle of the desert the museum featured trails, animals and wonderful facts about life in the desert a must visit. 





I highly recommend a visit to Tuscon, we hope to return and have more time a weekend was not enough but we got a good taste for more.



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Friday, February 24, 2017

Honeybell Cupcakes



For the last few years we have bought citrus from Florida over the winter either From The Orange Shop online or Citrus Unlimited. I found out about the later from my mail man. Citrus unlimited is a family citrus farm in Florida who during the season drive a big truck to different cities in North Carolina and Virginia. The Winston salem location is very close to my house, these big boxes are great for juicing and the family is knowledgable and lovely. 
In January you can get honeybells so sweet and juicy. This cake is an ode to them.


Thursday, February 23, 2017

Dietitians and Agriculture experts are Strong Together.


I recently arranged a meeting for Dietitians in my city. I invited some of my favorite farmers from Five and Two Farms, a small farm extension agent and a market gardener and Horticulturist. I also invited a large scale community farmer but they declined, another said yes but couldn't make it. 
The reason I wanted this meeting was to provide an opportunity for local dietitians and agriculture experts to connect, learn, share ideas and work together. As a new farmer myself and registered dietitian I see the connections. The event was well attended and folks had a great discussion. 

Friday, February 3, 2017

First Eggs and Lessons.


It was a big day on our farm recently our hens started to lay eggs, you may recall that we got them as chicks from my daughters class and cared for them they are now 7 months old so it takes a while. It was always a standing joke to whether or not they would ever lay. The day we got our first egg we walked up to our neighbors house to share the news they are retired farmers, they smiled and looked for some white pebbles for us to put in their nesting boxes to encourage them to lay there. Our other neighbor also added some wooden eggs to them. 

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