Tag Archives: farmer’s market

Garlic, Ginger, and Raw Honey

Everyone around me is getting sick these days. Cold, flu, nasty flu, bronchitis, pneumonia… It seems nobody, even my healthiest friends with the strongest immune systems, can fight off the illnesses that abound. And yet, I am trying… I am throwing together every natural remedy I can think of or find, in pure stubbornness and refusal of getting sick. I have been able to dodge the symptoms so far. A tiny sniffly nose here and there, but an extra dose of the next natural remedy I have discovered has been able to scare those germs away before they take a full hold on me. I am hoping to keep that up as I am starting to feel a little twinge of something coming on this evening. Some extra garlic pieces with dinner, a few shots of my home remedy concoctions and early to bed tonight will hopefully knock it out of my system! I figure if I eat enough garlic and ginger, the germs won’t want anything to do with me. (This may also contribute to my single status…perhaps I should re-think my healing strategy?)

My wish for you today is that you are healthy and happy. My wish to all my friends, family, and blog-readers who are ill or fighting off illness is for fast healing. To help nurse you back to health, I share with you some remedies that I hope will help in your healing. They have certainly helped me in fighting off the germs, and I hope they keep doing their job.

Honey Tea: 3 Ingredients to relief from cold and sore throat symptoms Fresh Lemon Slices Fresh Ginger Local Raw Honey

Honey Tea:
3 Ingredients to relief from cold and sore throat symptoms
Fresh Lemon Slices
Fresh Ginger
Local Raw Honey

In the last 3 weeks or so I have boiled fresh ginger and added raw honey for a ginger tea. I tracked down a supplier of dried elderberries to make elderberry syrup. My local bee keeper and his family have seen me in their shop multiple times, picking up more raw honey for my next concoction. Today I finally chose a larger container (3#, it fills a glass quart jar) that is refillable, so I can save a little money on my next trip. I considered getting the 6# half-gallon jar, but thought that may be overkill. I would have been wrong. I already used over half the jar I did purchase, and that was just a few hours ago! I also picked up some buckwheat honey at the bee keeper’s recommendation. It is a much darker honey, sweet and rich like molasses with extra benefits to help fight off the cold and flu.

I made my first round of Honey Tea, using local raw honey from Bees in the ‘Burbs a couple of years ago. I still use their honey and have gotten to know the family that runs the local business and I like giving them my business, even as seldom as it may be. I made 3 jars of Honey Tea today, so I can bless some friends with this treat. Among the most simple remedies, this “tea” requires only 3 ingredients (raw honey, ginger, and lemon) and takes about 5 minutes to put together. Store it in the fridge and when you need a boost or want to add flavor to your tea, mix it up and add a spoonful or two to your hot water.

A search last month for natural cold and flu remedies brought me to many, many links for elderberry syrup. It quickly became my new favorite remedy and I have started calling it my Feel Better Juice! I found a place near-ish my office to buy dried elderberries, but if you don’t have any luck with that, there are several Amazon.com retailers selling them. The remaining ingredients were already in my arsenal at home.

Feel Better Juice | Elderberry Syrup | Cold and Flu Remedy |ThatCookGirl.com |To make your own Feel Better Juice, you'll need whole sticks of cinnamon, whole cloves, fresh ginger, dried elderberries, water, and raw honey. Simmer all except the honey for about 20 minutes. Drain, discarding the solids and reserving the liquid. Allow to cool slightly. You don't want the honey to cook, just melt. You lose the benefits of raw honey if you let the good stuff cook out. Pour your Feel Better Juice into jars and take a shot or two every day, sick or not.

To make your own Feel Better Juice, you’ll need whole sticks of cinnamon, whole cloves, fresh ginger, dried elderberries, water, and raw honey. Simmer all except the honey for about 20 minutes. Drain, discarding the solids and reserving the liquid. Allow to cool slightly. You don’t want the honey to cook, just melt. You lose the benefits of raw honey if you let the good stuff cook out. Pour your Feel Better Juice into jars and take a shot or two every day, sick or not.

You will find many more natural remedies on the web, or better yet, Pinterest! That way you can save all the great things you find into one place, like I’ve done on my Pinterest page. Of course, you’ll want to create different boards to keep yourself organized. My Natural Remedies board has a pretty good collection of remedies with everything from headache relief to cold and flu symptoms, and everything beyond and in between! I hope you find some remedies that work for you! And as I find new ways to make my family healthy without putting drugs into our bodies, I will share them with you.

Now go get yourself some garlic, ginger, and raw honey and feel better soon!!!

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Honey Tea

Honey Tea

A friend shared a picture on facebook today that included a link for a “honey tea” useful as a sore throat remedy. I can’t begin to tell you how exciting this was to me. I see these “tea” concoctions all the time. Elaborate, time consuming concoctions that taste awful but are supposed to contain amazing healing properties. I’m sorry. I’m all about natural remedies, homecooking, and all that jazz… but if it tastes awful, I’ll just never use the remedy, so it’s pointless.

This “tea” is so easy, I don’t think it can be messed up.

3 ingredients, 2 preparation “tools”
Honey (preferably raw, local honey)
Lemon
Gingerroot
Knife
Jar with lid

I found my honey at a local place called Bees in the Burbs. I know the owner of the place from my “day job”, and my daughter is friends with his daughter at school, too. So I was thrilled to go in search of their shop that they recently opened, where they were happy to show us around, even taking the boy child outside to show him a swarm of bees that were gathering around an area where some syrup had spilled.

I chose the wildflower honey at his suggestion, and as you can see from the pictures, the honey is crystallizing a bit. That’s a good thing. That means the honey is raw, not pasteurized, a process that cooks out all the good healing properties. At room temperature, raw honey will do this. It has not gone bad (honey is a natural preservative). If you want to be able to pour it into your drinks or cooking at home, you need only warm it lightly.

Thinly slice 1 lemon. This should be enough to almost fill a pint jar.

Peel the outer skin from about an inch-long piece of ginger root. Thinly slice it and add it to the top of the lemons in the jar.

Add the honey to the jar with the lemons and ginger. My 12 oz honey bear filled it to the top. Just the right amount. I stirred it a bit to get the honey mixed in with the lemons and ginger, and that was it. Throw the lid on that baby and put it in your fridge. When someone in your home starts to feel a tingle of a sore throat coming on, pull out your honey tea, place a spoonful in a mug, and mix it with a cup of hot water. Drink and feel the magic of nature go to work!

 

For once, I am actually going to use a “tea concoction”. I’m almost looking forward to that first winter cold now, just so I can pull my honey jar from the back of the fridge and put it to use. (Ok, not really. I actually hope we stay healthy and don’t have to use it, but it’s there if we need it.)

For information on the health benefits of honey, lemons, and ginger, check out the links below. And for goodness sake, find yourself a local, raw honey supplier! You’ll thank me later. (Especially if you’re an allergy sufferer! Local raw honey has been shown to reduce or even eliminate pollen allergies. Why? Because you are ingesting the local pollens and this helps build up the body’s immunity to those pollens.)

http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/health-benefits-of-organic-locally-grown-raw-honey/

http://www.amritaveda.com/learning/articles/ginger.asp

http://www.beliefnet.com/Health/Physical-Health/Hidden-Health-Secrets-of-Lemons.aspx

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The Great Pumpkin Hunt

The Great Pumpkin Hunt of 2011

Saturday morning, just 2 days before Halloween, and it occurred to me that we still had not gotten our pumpkins for carving. It was already going to be a busy day, but we were determined to make time for our carving tradition.

We begin our hunt, before heading to the soccer fields, at the Farmers Market where I made my usual first stop to see Bambi at Parke Creek Farm. This stop was not only for getting some great fresh veggies for our weekend food as we continue the move, but to say “good-bye”, since my “home” market will be in our new town next year. She didn’t have a lot of pumpkin choices as far as carving choices go, but I did pick out some great small pumpkins that she said are called “cuties”, but admitted she had yet to actually cook with one. That’s ok. I’ll experiment and report back to her. We said good-bye with promises to keep up via our Facebook pages at Parke Creek Farm and That Cook Girl. You can keep up with us there, too! </end shameless plug. Heehee>

As I mentioned in opening, we had a busy day planned. So, here’s just a quick rundown of the rest of the day before we got to continue our Pumpkin Hunt:

  • Soccer game (we won! Go RED BULLS!)
  • Quick visit with friends before leaving the fields
  • Load car with boxes from storage
  • Stop at house (that was filled with people and food… it would have been rude to
    not have a quick visit with them as well, so we stayed there longer than we had
    planned)
  • Add a few more things to the car, hoping there would still be room for the kids to
    sit (there was)
  • Drive and hour+ to the new place
  • Unload the car (to the 3rd floor apartment)

Now that we’re unloaded and sufficiently exhausted, it was time to head out for some shopping and pumpkin hunting… our first stop had the last-minute costume things we needed, and the food, and the other home necessities we were looking for…but no pumpkins. But what they did have was squash. Butternut and Spaghetti. Both made their way into the cart for the night’s carving activities. When all else fails, we carve squash, because the carving must go on. (Wait… that’s the show that must go on… nevermind. 😉 )

We did make one final stop before ending our hunt. There is a grocery store near our new apartment, so we swung in there, to find they still had plenty of pumpkins sitting out front. We made our choices and headed for our new home.

Enjoy! Our first Fireplace Decoration in our new home!

While I began cooking dinner, the kids set to work on their pumpkins. But they weren’t happy with carving just pumpkins. They wanted to carve the squash, as well. Afterall, that is why we bought them, right? I listened to their talking and giggling while I cooked and
put some more things in order in the apartment and started to feel like we really are at home, wherever we are together. I love you, kiddos!

 

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Market Colors

Market colors make a grey day bright again!

In spite of the cloudy, drizzly day today, the local farmers were out as usual on the street, sharing their food and their knowledge. I always learn something when I go to the market, and what’s better than that is that I often get to teach something as well. This grey day turned colorful as I walked around, talking to the farmers and other vendors, picking up my colorful bounty.

Today I was given a great way to cook up some kale leaves. I picked up the Russian Kale from Parke Creek Farm where she told me the differences between the varieties and some ways to cook them. I chose this variety because she described making kale chips with them by spritzing them with some olive oil and sprinkly with some sea salt, then baking in a low heat oven until crisp. Sounds like a great snack. I also picked up a colorful bunch of radishes in several different colors, along with some onions and arugula. This is my main stop for produce each time I visit the market. This week, though, I did pop over to get some fresh tomatoes as well. I grabbed the remaining handful of “seconds” (these are tomatoes that may be slightly bruised or are badly mishapen, but they still taste great and it gives me a chance to try a variety of tomatoes!) from their bin and went happily on my way to the cheese stand to pick up some fresh goat cheese.

Another favorite stop along the way is always Whitaker Grass Fed Beef where the farmers are always glad to see me. Today we chatted about family and how we eat. She is much better than I am with keeping processed foods out of her home, but I think I’m getting better. And I got to teach her something today. Yup! We talked about my Eye Roll Worthy Ranch Dressing and she seemed excited to try it. I hope she likes it as much as we do in our home. I picked up a couple packs of ground beef from her that I have not decided yet what to do with them, but I have a couple recipes in mind (one of them is a soup recipe I found when going through some old papers this morning).

A successful, colorful day at the market will end with a family favorite dinner of  Old Faithful, using pork chops from another local farmer. I am running low on pork in my freezer, so am glad that I have paid my deposit for this year’s order and look forward to filling up again in a couple months! The tomatoes and onions in the dinner will be from my market finds today, and I am going to use Jasmine rice, just for something a bit different. And as an added bonus, I have FRESH herbs growing in my garden that I get to use.

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…To be Continued

It’s time for some upgrades to That Cook Girl! My server goddess will be transferring my blog data to a new platform this week. What does this mean to you?

  • If you are a current subscriber, you will need to resubscribe once the new platform is up and running.
  • My posts-in-progress about the Farmers Market, Quiche, and my newest kitchen success (stay tuned! I’m excited about this one, and it is one that may surprise many of you!) are on hold until I come back up under the new platform.
  • And, I think that’s it. The web address will remain the same (www.thatcookgirl.com) and you can still find me on Facebook

I leave you now, with a picture of my Mothers Day dinner that I made yesterday, which I will tell you more about in my next blog post, once I return, which I think will be later this week? I don’t know anything about server stuff, etc… My Sis takes care of all that, for which I am always thankful!

Mothers Day Dinner… To Be Continued

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Comfort on a Plate

Comfort on a Plate

I think everyone has 1 specific meal that brings them comfort. No matter what is going on in their life at that very moment, they can enjoy that meal and feel immediately better, all their worries melting away.

For my kiddos, when they have a bad day, or when they’ve been away from home for awhile, or are about to leave for awhile, the request is almost always Salisbury Steak with Mashed Potatoes. Tonight they got their “Comfort on a Plate”. It’s been a pretty crazy week for us, and giving them this treat was the least I could do for them. Yesterday we picked the last of the potatoes from the garden, and we had some burger patties left from cheeseburgers on Sunday, so it was a logical choice, really. I also pulled a can of beans from the pantry and cooked up the rest of the carrots from the farmer’s market to round out the meal.

I admit, I do not always cook from scratch and I do buy canned veggies to have on-hand. Hey! I never said I was perfect!!! 😉

 

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I Like to Share

Dinner with Loved Ones

As you know, I love to cook for people! This weekend was a bit of a treat for me, getting to cook for my sis, who I rarely cook for and her foster daughter (the kid) who was getting to experience a dinner in my home for the first time. On Saturday morning, my sis took the kids fishing while I went shopping and to spend some “me” time. By the time I got home, everyone was waiting for dinner (which ended up being very late… but it’s a Holiday weekend, so that’s ok, right? 😉 ) I made Mom’s Stuffed Green Peppers (recipe to follow in a few days), baked potatoes with mushroom brandy sauce (this recipe will also follow sometime this week), and a big ol’ salad topped with tomatoes I picked up from the Farmer’s Market. When the kid saw the platter of salad she excitedly asked “Are you going to take a picture of that?” (This is something she thought was odd about our family at first, but by the end of pickle makin’ weekend she thought it was pretty neat.) But her real excitement came when I told her that the ranch dressing sitting atop her colorful salad was homemade! I wish I could have captured the look on her face. It was pure excitment and joy and it filled me up with excitement and joy, too. I hope the kid enjoyed her weekend here, and will always have good memories to look back on of her time with our family.

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Market Chatter

Saturday morning has quickly become one of my favorite times. It means a trip to the Farmer’s Market. A place where it seems everyone is happy, from the vendors to the visitors, kids and even the dogs. A friendly place where you can visit with anyone you happen upon. Even the lady with hair longer than mine seemed happy to talk about hair for a bit– My hair, for those who may not know, is down to my waist. This lady’s hair was about mid-thigh! I commented to my sister that I was jealous of the length of the lady’s hair, and she pondered “I wonder what kind of shampoo she uses?” And then asked her! Me? I would never have said a word, but my sister is not shy about those things. We had a fairly lengthy (pun kinda intended) discussion about tips for growing long hair before moving along to finish our shopping for our dinner salad.

This was my sister’s first trip to our market. She lives 4 hours away, and was in town just overnight, and today I was travelling with her, back to her home, along with my boy and girl children for their week at camp down “in her neck of the woods”. So, since she is kind enough to let us stay in her home overnight before sending the kiddos off to camp, I wanted to make a contribution for dinner. I knew I wanted to pick up some tomatoes, and needed to walk around a bit to see what else we might want to add. Although we only ended up picking up the lettuce and tomatoes from the market, it was a very enjoyable and worthwhile trip.

I always like to talk to the vendors I’m buying from. They are full of information and tips, and when they get to know you from stopping in regularly, they can even make recommendations for you. Today I was picking up some lettuce from one of my usual stops and she pointed out a speckled lettuce in the back of the display. Having turned me on to arugula previously, I trusted her and added it to my bag. (And, I have to say, we were very pleased with this decision!) And do you know what else she had today? She had a flyer for a local farm selling Raw Cow’s Milk!!! I’m thinking about getting a drop off site set up in my town if I can find enough people interested. It only takes 20 gallons every 2 weeks to get the drop off site set up. Just 1 gallon a week for 10 families! Let me know if you’re interested or have questions. The benefits of raw milk are amazing (click the link above for more information on raw milk). I’ll share more of my thoughts on raw milk and other real foods, but not tonight. No, tonight I am just rambling about my miscellaneous kind of day at the market.

 

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Duck, Duck, Goose

I walked into the kitchen one night to find 3 eggs sitting on the counter, marked “duck”, “duck” and “chick”. We had hard boiled some duck and chicken eggs and in order to know which is which, they were marked… for some reason, I found the sight quite hilarious. The boys in the house didn’t find the humor, but the girl child shares my sense of humor and all I had to do was show her the eggs and she started laughing, too.

Of course… I immediately knew what I had to do… I had to buy some goose eggs! And I did. And they are huge! I also had to do some research to share the difference (other than size) in the eggs. (Really, any excuse to go to the Farmer’s Market. I was happy to visit Triton’s Farms for more duck eggs and a couple goose eggs, and of course the rest of my fave vendors down there, too.)

store chicken egg, chicken egg from friend's chicken, duck egg, goose egg

I searched and searched and was unable to find a nutritional comparison that included goose eggs. What I did find compares the nutritional value of duck eggs to chicken eggs. (I know… it’s a website selling duck eggs… quite expensive duck eggs, I might add!!! But, the information is good.) Another site for egg nutritional information isn’t quite as complete, although it includes information for more types of eggs. If those sites don’t convince you that you’re not getting the nutrients you need and deserve from “regular store bought eggs”, check THIS out, and then look at my pictures below, keeping in mind that more color, brighter color=more flavor and more nutrition!

L-R: store chicken egg, chicken egg from friend's chicken, duck egg, goose egg

How about side-by-side:

clockwise L-R: goose egg, duck egg, chicken egg

Now… go out and buy yourself some better eggs! (Or if the urge strikes you, do as many of my friends have done: buy your own chickens and collect your own eggs, right out of your own backyard!)

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A Healthy Addiction

Yes, I have an addiction. I’m calling it a healthy addiction, because I can’t think of a single thing wrong with being addicted to the local Farmer’s Markets!

Reasons I love the market:

  1. It has beautiful, vibrant colors in nearly every shade imaginable.
  2. I get to be outside on sunny days, and I don’t even mind it when the day isn’t so sunny. 😉
  3. It supports local farmers
  4. The customer service is great
  5. Even the kids find entertainment
  6. I always end up running into friends or people I haven’t seen in a long time, which makes me happy

Yesterday I spent some time with my girl-child (who was kind enough to be my photographer for the day) at the Kittitas County Farmer’s Market. My first experience at this market was just a few weeks ago, though it was not my first farmer’s market experience. After just 1 trip to this market, I was addicted! Immediate addiction! For all the reasons stated above and so many more that are impossible to describe with mere words. Pictures can help a little, but the thing that cannot be shared with words or with pictures is how being at the market feels… it’s a warm, inviting place, and I can’t believe I have waited this long to get there. (Perhaps because I already knew I would fast become addicted! 😉 )

My mission for this week was to get some duck eggs from Triton’s Farm and some tomatoes from Kittitas Valley Greenhouse, and I needed 1 more tomato plant from my favorite vendor, Lark Meadows (sorry, no website for them… but you’ll be hearing more about this place from me, because they are just amazing!). Arming my shoulder with shopping bags and my pockets with cash, I was ready to accomplish my mission of gathering fresh ingredients for the weeks’ meals.  And I must say: “Mission Accomplished”

Triton’s Farm had 1 dozen duck eggs left! We were lucky enough to get there in time for that last dozen… and decided on a couple goose eggs, as well. The family is excited to give those a try, and the chosen meal for those big ol’ eggs will be quiche (flavor yet to be decided…) If you’ve never seen a goose egg, well… here’s a picture of my bowl filled with duck & goose eggs. Can you guess which are which?! (You’ll hear more about the difference between duck eggs and chicken eggs in another post… and now we have goose eggs to add to our comparisons!)

Kittitas Valley Greenhouse always has a colorful array of tomatoes to choose from. Their “seconds” bin holds great deals for those who aren’t picky about the shape of the tomato or other imperfections, like scarring or soft spots. I’ve gotten tomatoes from that bin a couple times and am always extremely happy with the purchase. This time, however, I did not find what I wanted there, because I was looking for something specific and needed to be a little pickier. To go with grilled tacos yesterday, I needed some fresh salsa, and thought it would be fun to make it colorful! I picked up a lemon boy, a goliath, a green zebra and a cucumber, and we made a wonderful salsa, plus had some left for our salad this evening.

Lark Meadows found me smiling yet again as they had 1 more of the Long Keeper Tomato plants I was hoping to get. I also picked up some asian greens, leaf lettuce and fresh tarragon for salads and dressings this week. My girl child took the opportunity to snap many more pictures, as she found the plants interesting, and I think she was even more entranced with the beautiful tags for each plant (I am only guessing on that, due to the number of pictures she took, but I think it’s a pretty accurate assumption. 😉 ) I chatted with the girl there, who, by the way, has remembered me every time I have come by to see her, which makes me happy and she earned a loyal customer by smiling and always being helpful to this newbie gardener! She has said I can bring the kids out to the farm to see their goats and sheep, and I will definitely be taking her up on that, now that school is out for summer. I look forward to seeing what other fresh yumminess Lark Meadows will have in store for me this summer, and can hardly wait for the tomato & pepper plants I have bought from them to begin producing some fruit!

Though I didn’t visit them on this trip to the market, I do want to be sure to mention Whitaker Grassfed Beef! I bought a box of their beef on my first 2 trips to the market, and the next time I visit them, it will be for purchase of a larger amount. Freezer space is currently limited, but I am finding my way to the back of what we have to make room for healthier, grassfed beef! We have used several pounds of the ground beef and find it to be more flavorful and less greasy that grocery store meat. Also used has been a gorgeous chuck roast and stew meat that was made into my favorite busy day beef soup!

As I mentioned, my girl child was my photographer and she did a great job. You’ll find more pictures in the photo album on my Facebook page. Be sure to “Like” the page and get updates from That Cook Girl, including more pictures and links to helpful information. Oh… and how could I forget?! Next weekend the Roslyn Sunday Market opens! I hope to see you all there.

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