Don’t be afraid of the produce! When you are given something that you have never cooked or eaten before it can be daunting, but you might just find your new favorite thing! After all, cooking is experimenting with different foods & flavors, and most of all have fun with it! ~ Karen Linebarger
Today, we’d like to introduce you to Karen Linebarger, a new member who recently joined our Lakewood farm stand through Groupon.
Karen, tell us what inspired you to become a part of Urban Acres?
I had heard of Urban Acres through my boyfriend, who does Crossfit (White Rock), and some of their members are a part of it as well. We usually shopped organic (or tried to) most of the time anyways, and this was just a better way to do it. I love supporting local farmers; plus I just love food! When I saw the Groupon go up, I immediately jumped on it. It was the best decision ever! I have only been a member of Urban Acres for about a month now, but I know this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship! I have even gotten a couple of my friends to sign up as well!
When and why did you decide to start eating real, wholesome food?
That part of my journey started a few years ago while living in Chicago and especially Seattle. I was fortunate enough to have a market that provided all sorts of fresh, local & organic food. It was then that I realized how amazing food can taste when it’s grown in your own backyard, hypothetically speaking. Eating this way just makes you feel so clean & healthy, and who doesn’t like to feel that way!?
What is your favorite part about the “co-op style” produce?
Cooking & food are two of my passions in life, and it thrills me to know that the amount of passion and love I put into cooking the food is put into putting my bin together every other week. Every other Saturday is like Christmas; I get so excited to see what we have gotten and what I can make with it!
What is your favorite fruit? Favorite veggie? Why?
This is a hard one! I would have to say my favorite fruit is apples. There is nothing better than the crunch and sweetness of an apple. They are so great in so many different ways. With some almond butter/peanut butter, or in a salad, or who can resist the apple pie at Thanksgiving? Our first bin from UA had apples in them, and I distinctly remember saying to my boyfriend, “This is the best apple I have ever had.” As far as vegetable, I have to go with beets. Yellow or red, I love them all! Most people either love or hate beets, and I LOVE them! They aren’t the easiest things to make, and they make your hands turn red. It is all so worth it though!! One of my favorite dishes combines my love for both apples & beets which is a leafless salad of roasted red beets (chilled), green apples, walnuts, goat cheese & basil. YUM!
Do you have any produce tips for our other members?
Don’t be afraid of the produce! When you are given something that you have never cooked or eaten before it can be daunting, but you might just find your new favorite thing! After all, cooking is experimenting with different foods & flavors, and most of all have fun with it!!
Please share your current favorite “real food recipe” with us.
My boyfriend & I have been strict Paleo Whole30 for the month of January, and we jumped at the opportunity to join Urban Acres with the amazing Groupon. I have never been an avid squash eater, but when someone gives you a beautiful butternut squash you can’t help but turn it into something delicious. So without further adieu, I give you…
Butternut Squash Lasagna (Paleo-friendly)
- 1 lb of grass-fed ground beef or Italian sausage (just remove casing)
- 1 red or yellow onion
- a couple cloves of garlic minced
- 1 15oz can of organic pizza sauce (you can find in any grocery store)
- 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
- handful of fresh basil (this makes ALL the difference)
- 1 small butternut squash
Preheat your oven to 400ºF. In a saute pan crumble the sausage and brown it, along with the onions & garlic. While that’s going, cut the top and ends of the squash off and peel it. Split it into 1/4′s. What I mean by that is, right where the squash starts to turn bulbous, cut it in 1/2, width-wise. Split those two halves in half, lengthwise. This will make it much easier to cut into planks. Pull out the seeds. Don’t be anal about getting out all the strings, as you won’t even notice those when they’re cooked. Slice the squash into the aforementioned planks.
Make the sauce by pureeing the pizza sauce, olive oil and basil. If you don’t a contraption that will puree (blender, food processor, immersion blender), just chop up the basil & whisk everything together.
Using a 9×9 oven safe baking dish, put down enough sauce to lightly cover the bottom of the dish. (This keeps the squash from sticking to the pan.) Next add the squash, trying not to overlap the pieces, then spoon on the sausage mixture, followed by the sauce. Repeat until all your ingredients are used up…trying to reserve enough sauce to cover the top of the lasagna.
Bake for 45 minutes. You’re looking for a bubbly pan with a crispy, browned top. Right out of the oven, the lasagna may by liquidy, let it set for a good half hour before cutting into it, as it will solidify. By creating an aluminum foil house, you can keep all the heat intact while the lasagna is setting.
Everyone should try this at least once; trust me all your friends will be asking for the recipe!