Wow, what a feast. Here I am, sitting on my parent’s couch, still digesting the amazing meal from last night. I had all the traditional fare- turkey, cranberry sauce (homemade using the recipe posted on Friday!), stuffing, mashed potatoes, roasted root vegetables and my grandma Kempton’s homemade pumpkin pie for dessert. It was AMAZING. Healthy? Not really. But the memories created eating and socializing with my family? Worth it.
As I am still at my parents house I will not be making it back into the city on time to visit the Sorauren Farmer’s Market. That’s ok, because I stopped at a Mennonite food stand on my way home Saturday. Check out my haul:
I picked up 2 acorn squash, 1 bundle carrots, 1 bag of spinach and 1 bag of peppers. Total cost: $6. SIX DOLLARS! One of the benefits of living outside the city- access to fresh, local, organic and cheap produce. The majority of produce from mennonite farming is technically organic, they just do not pay the extra fees to become “certified” organic. So what do I plan to do with this haul?
Acorn squash: This sweet, orange squash is high in beta-carotene, which is a potent antioxidant. I always try to get at least 1 orange vegetable in a day, and this one fits the bill! Acorn squash skin is VERY tough. One of my favourite ways to cook it is simply chopping the squash in half, scooping out the seeds, brushing the squash with a little olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and pepper and roast in the oven for ~30 minutes at 400˚F. Once cooked the peel will fall right off. You can eat the squash as is, add it to soups. mix it in a pasta or even stuff the squash with a rice pilaf. Here is a great rice pilaf recipe.
Carrots: Carrots are another great source of beta-carotene, and are a popular vegetable secondary to their sweet, mild flavour. I’ve got A LOT of carrots to work with. The nice thing about carrots is they last a while, so I’m in no rush to use all of them up this week. Some plans that I have: use them in a turkey soup, cut them up into sticks for a carrot and hummus dip snack, roast them with my leftover salad turnip or make carrot cake baked oatmeal via Oh She Glows. So many possibilities!
Spinach: There’s a reason why Popeye ate his spinach to gain strength- it’s a nutrition powerhouse! It is a rich source of iron, vitamins A, C and K, potassium, folate and magnesium. Along with an orange vegetable, I also try to get a dark leafy green veggie in every day. Spinach doesn’t last long, so loosely wrap it in a plastic bag and store in the crisper section of the fridge for up to 5 days. Here are some ideas I have to use up this delicious spinach:
- Add a handful to a smoothie
- Saute with olive oil, chopped mushroom, garlic, oregano, salt, pepper. Top with goat cheese and drizzle with balsamic vinegar
- Eat in a simple salad
- Finely chop and add to a pasta sauce for extra colour and nutrients
Extra tip: The iron in spinach is harder for your body to absorb than the iron found in meat. To better absorb the iron in spinach, pair your spinach with a vegetable/fruit with Vitamin C. The Vitamin C helps absorb the iron better! Add red bell peppers or strawberries to a spinach salad. Or if adding spinach to a smoothie, mix with fruits like orange, mango or pineapple.
Bell peppers: I LOVE peppers. I use them a lot. Unfortunately peppers are high on the Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen”, meaning they are high in pesticides. So I try to buy them organic when I can. I tried some of the red pepper this weekend and it was WONDERFUL! It was so sweet and the colour was vibrant. Red peppers are a fantastic source of Vitamin C, much higher than oranges. I like eating red peppers raw, or cooked in a chilli. Get your fresh field peppers now, they are only in season until the end of October!