Tag Archives: butternut squash

Get Healthy Co-op Style Day 15: Sweet Veggies Rock

January 23rd, 2013

get healthy coop style badge2On day 15 of Get Healthy Co-op Style, UA member and Health Coach Kim Wilson shares how veggies can satisfy your sweets cravings!

Please follow along, join us, blog, tweet and Facebook about it and be sure to use hashtag  #GetHealthyCoopStyle.

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Sweet Veggies Rock!

by Kim Wilson, Health Coach

Most of my clients crave sweets. I used to be a “sugar addict” myself, so I know firsthand how difficult it can be avoid sweet treats (they are everywhere)! Rather than depending on processed sugar to satisfy cravings, it’s a great idea to add naturally sweet foods to your daily diet to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Sweet vegetables soothe our internal organs and energize the mind. And because many of these vegetables are root vegetables, they are energetically grounding, which helps to balance out the “spaciness” people often feel after eating other kinds of sweet foods.

Sweet-Potato-940x626Examples of sweet vegetables include:

  • Corn
  • Carrots
  • Onions
  • Beets
  • Winter squashes (butternut, acorn, etc)
  • Sweet potatoes/yams
  • Turnips
  • Parsnips
  • Rutabagas
  • Red radishes
  • Daikon radishes
  • Green cabbage
  • Burdock

A simple way to cook these vegetables is to follow the recipe below that I call “Sweet Sensation.” It has few ingredients and preparation time is minimal.

Kim’s Sweet Sensation Recipe

  1. Use one, two, three, four or five of the sweet vegetables mentioned above.
  2. Chop the hardest ones, like carrots and beets, into smaller pieces.
  3. Softer vegetables, like onions and cabbage, can be cut into larger chunks.
  4. Use a medium-sized pot and add enough water to barely cover the vegetables. You may want to check the water level while cooking and add more water if needed. Remember, vegetables on the bottom will get cooked more than the ones on the top. Cook until desired softness. The softer the vegetables get, the sweeter they become.
  5. You may also add any of the following ingredients: spices, salt, seaweed. You can add a can of beans for extra protein.
  6. When the vegetables have cooked to your satisfaction, empty the ingredients into a large bowl, flavor as desired and eat. The leftover cooking water makes a delicious, sweet sauce, and is a healing, soothing tonic to drink by itself.

Other cooking methods include steaming, roasting, and stir-frying. They can also be simmered and puréed to create a soup, or you can simply eat them raw, grated in a salad. Be creative!

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Kim WilsonKim Wilson Pollock is a Certified Holistic Health & Wellness Consultant dedicated to helping busy individuals live a healthier lifestyle. She received her certification through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Kim’s life changed in 2006 when her mother was diagnosed with stage four ovarian cancer. Her mom decided to fight her cancer through nutrition by changing her diet and eating real foods, juicing green vegetables and creating delicious green smoothies and Kim was quick to join her mom in this new lifestyle!  Visit her at [www.kimwilsonhealthcoach.com]. Follow Kim on Facebook and Twitter.

Fall Has Come To Urban Acres

October 17th, 2012

Hope your October is going well!  Fall has officially arrived at Urban Acres.  In fact, our team traveled all over Texas yesterday visiting several of our local farmers and picking up some wonderful local Texas produce for you!  Stay tuned for video and photos, but here’s a list of the local produce* we’ve got for this weekend’s co-op style produce shares…

* This is just a list of the local items, there will be other organic seasonal items in the shares.

Get lots of recipe ideas on our Pinterest page!

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At the Urban Acres store, we have some new fall products such as…

  • New fall-inspired Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream flavors:

  • Honeycrisp & MacIntosh apples

  • Organic apple cider from a family farm in Colorado
  • Pie pumpkins and edible squash galore (check out our pumpkin and squash Pinterest boards for recipe inspiration!)

We also have fall decorative items like carving pumpkins and Indian corn…

Come by and see us this weekend!

Fall Produce, How Do We Love Thee? Let Us Count the Ways…

October 10th, 2012

First honeycrisp apples of the season

We’re officially in love with the fall produce that’s beginning to come in.  In the next few weeks, the co-op style produce shares will have  LOCAL butternut squash, red potatoes, sweet potatoes, acorn squash, beets and several other exciting items!    Stay tuned.  In the meantime, please indulge us while we swoon over a few of our favorites…

1) Butternut Squash.  

Every drop of sweat that goes into peeling, seeding, and chopping a butternut squash is worth it in our book.  This is simply a delicious, buttery, versatile fall vegetable with tons of great recipe ideas.  Check this post and our Pinterest board for a few of our favorite butternut squash recipes.

2) Honeycrisp Apples.

BEST.APPLE.EVER.  Enough said.

If you simply must cook them, perhaps try apple and fennel soup or apple chips.

3) Sweet Potatoes.

Sweet potato chips…sweet potato fries…sweet potato hash…baked sweet potatoes…sweet potato soup…sweet potato chili…sweet potato brownies…we’re starting to sound like Bubba from Forrest Gump.  You get the idea.  Get recipes on our Pinterest board or try one of these…

4) Beets.

We’re on a mission to make every UA member a beet believer.   Don’t throw the greens away, either – you can eat them too!  There are lots of beet recipes on our Pinterest board, here on TheKitchn.com, or below…

Member Highlight: Steve Dickson & Christine Unruh // Butternut Squash + Lentil Soup Recipe

September 19th, 2012

I really enjoy the fact that we’re active participants in the livelihoods of local farmers. That’s our main motivation for doing this: to put our politics where our mouths are. Bringing back the local small farm is imperative to the health of our nation; and it also assists in boosting our own health. It’s a total win-win.
~ Christine Unruh

It’s time to get to know more of your fellow Urban Acres members!

Christine & Steve

Today we’re highlighting a couple – Steve Dickson and Christine Unruh from our Lake Highlands location.  Steve owns a Structural Engineering firm, D&E Structures.  Christine (Chris) is a self-proclaimed “nonprofit development geek” who is currently crafting concrete and up-cycled/multimedia wares that she shows at White Rock Market and other local craft fairs.  She also is involved with the Food Matters group at First Unitarian Church in Dallas.  Says Christine, “We’re both avid cooks and consider it to be a relaxing and rewarding hobby….plus, hey, you gotta eat!”

Steve and Christine, what inspired you to join Urban Acres?
We heard about it from a woman who attended a class called “Hungry For Change” at our church back in June. She had been getting Urban Acres co-op style produce for a few weeks and really enjoyed it. I had been wait-listed for a CSA six years ago, back when there were only two in the entire DFW area. So you could say she had me at “co-op”!

When/why did you decide to start eating real, wholesome food?
When Steve and I met four years ago, both of us were already avid cooks. We started dating by having each other over for dinner – which was easy since we lived in the same apartment complex. We were both shopping for the freshest foods we could get, which took us all over town from store to store.   However, we didn’t necessarily buy organic produce. The more we learn about GMO’s and big farming, the more willing we are to spend extra money for less toxins in our food. Plus, I’m pleased to report that organic foods do taste a whole lot better.

What’s your favorite part about the “coop-style” produce?
I really enjoy the fact that we’re active participants in the livelihoods of local farmers. That’s our main motivation for doing this: to put our politics where our mouths are. Supporting the local small farm is imperative to the health of our nation; and it also assists in boosting our own health. It’s a total win-win.

Plus, we love the challenge of trying new things – being ingredient-driven instead of recipe-driven is fun! Luckily with the internet, one can easily find a ton of great recipes for anything with a simple search query.  Some of the new things we’ve tried and now love: figs with goat cheese and almonds was a close tie with Indian sautéed okra and of course rainbow chard.  Now that they are in our lives, we’ll never buy them when not in season.

Do you grow any food at home? If so, what’s growing in your garden right now?
We recently moved to a new house this spring, which was followed by a very hot summer. It was agreed that we’ll start up our gardening efforts again this coming spring. However at our last home, Steve built two raised beds that were enormous – and we grew tomatoes, squash, basil, thyme, mint, oregano, eggplant, and various flowers. The squash and eggplant never did have any success, despite my actively pollinating them with a little Q-tip every morning. But the tomatoes and basil were terrific!

What is your favorite Fruit? Veggie? Why?
I have to say the fruits we use most are probably lemons or limes, simply because we use them so often for flavoring so many things we make – I even put lemon juice in my tossed salads because I like the subtle ‘zing’ and the way it makes the salad dressing go further so you use less.  We also love cilantro, garlic, ginger, and avocado! Sorry, can’t just pick one.

What is your favorite site to get recipes from?
We love reading Cooks Illustrated, cover to cover. Often we take it with us on road trips in order to have the time and attention. The coolest (and nerdiest) section they have every month is the one where they try to improve on an already classic recipe, either by lightening the fat, or shortening the prep time. When they are able to do both, Steve and I say, “Brilliant!” and make plans to cook that recipe. We found our favorite Chicken Pot Pie that way. We also love Cooking Light, Martha Stewart, and various cooking blogs (Steve’s favorite is The Wednesday Chef). Of course, we both have our cherished cookbooks, full of our favorites, plus our favorite cooks, such as the wonderful Madhur Jaffrey for authentic Indian cuisine.

Finally – it must be said that we’re huge fans of the show “Chopped.” Sometimes I feel like when we pick up our share, it’s like our ‘Chopped Challenge Basket”. We definitely challenge ourselves to cook and eat everything in our basket, every week.

Do you have any produce tips for other members?
We usually wait to write our grocery list until we receive our basket (or at least the email from UA telling us what’s going to be in our share). Then we cook around those items, incorporating them even into dinner party menus. It’s especially fun to spring new things on friends and family at the same time we’re trying them for the first time!  So far, so good.

What would you say to other members who are still trying to figure out this ‘coop style produce thing? Anything to inspire them?
Going “local” and “organic” are not just fancy buzzwords – they do mean a lot.

Urban Acres is especially great if you’re just starting out because you don’t have to make a giant commitment up front like a traditional CSA.  But you can still feel good knowing you’re helping local farmers. Also, it might help to view it as a culinary adventure. You can press yourself into action by paying forward just a bit – it’s like a gym membership. Oh, and they now offer really tasty eggs that boil up and peel quite easily. A nice low-cal, high-protein breakfast food!

Please share one of your current favorite “real food recipes” with us.
Here’s a recipe we just made with the butternut squash from our share.  It turned out great, and with the addition of a little yogurt and cilantro toppings, really REALLY great!  It’s from the cookbook  1 Stock, 100 Soups by Linda Doeser.

Photo: Christine Unruh

Squash & Lentil Soup

Ingredients:

3 Tbs olive oil
2 large onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground coriander
2 lb 4 oz butternut squash or pumpkin, seeded, and cut into small chunks
1 1/2 cups red or yellow lentils
7 1/2 cups basic vegetable stock
3 Tbs lemon juice
Salt and pepper
Creme fraiche or strained plain yogurt, to garnish

Directions:

  1. Heat the oil in a large pan.  Add the onions and garlic and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, until softened.  Add the cumin, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and coriander and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.
  2. Stir in the butternut squash and lentils and cook, stirring constantly for 2 minutes, then pour in the basic veggie stock and bring to a boil over medium heat.  Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 50-60 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
  3. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly, then ladle into a food processor or blender, in batches if necessary, and process to a smooth puree.
  4. Return the soup to the rinsed-out pan, stir in the lemon juice, season to taste with salt and pepper, and reheat gently.  Ladle into warmed bowls, top with a swirl of creme fraiche, and serve.

Butternut Squash Recipes For Fall

September 13th, 2012

Ah, butternut.  One of the most popular winter squash.  This weekend we’ll have our first round of butternut squash in the co-op style produce shares – hooray!

Butternut squash has a sweet, nutty taste similar to that of a pumpkin.  Butternut squash is prepared by removing the skin (with a vegetable peeler) and seeds, which are not usually eaten or cooked.  However, both the skin and the seeds are edible – the seeds can be roasted, and the skin softens when roasted as well.  To roast a butternut squash, cut it in half lengthwise, remove seeds, and brush with olive or coconut oil.  Place cut side down on a baking sheet.  Bake for 45 minutes or until it is softened.   Alternately, you could peel and de-seed the squash and then cut into cubes or fries and roast the same way.

Here are some of our favorite butternut squash recipes for you to try…

We always love hearing what YOU decide to make with your produce, so please share your fave butternut squash recipes in the comments section below!

What’s Being Planted? Upcoming Fall Produce!

August 29th, 2012

Well the weather has yet to show it here in Dallas, but fall is coming!  We thought we’d give you something to look forward to.  Here are some of the items our local farmers are planning* for the fall co-op style produce shares…

  • Aquaponic lettuces
  • Butternut squash
  • Beets
  • Red potatoes
  • Red Russian kale
  • Sorrel
  • Broccoli
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Cabbages

Other seasonal items to look forward to:

  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Grapefruit
  • Cauliflower

Come fall, come!

When working with fresh produce, availability can sometimes change last-minute.  We do our best to let you know what’s coming ahead of time, but sometimes things do change, especially when working with local farmers.  Thanks for your understanding!

Get Ready, Here It Comes…

April 18th, 2012

The moment we’ve been waiting for has arrived – our Texas farmers are harvesting!

Here are some of the produce items planned* to be in this weekend’s co-op style produce shares…there are several more items, but this is just a sampling!

*When working with fresh produce, availability can sometimes change last-minute.  We do our best to let you know what’s coming ahead of time, but sometimes things do change, especially when working with local farmers.  Thanks for your understanding!

  • Sweet and juicy peaches from Waxahachie, TX
  • Red Russian kale from Blooming Grove, TX
  • Green spring onions from Blooming Grove, TX

Local peach from Waxahachie

Waxahachie farm - cabbage in front and orchards in back

Update on more LOCAL coming soon…
We’re only weeks away now from Texas zucchini, squash, cucumbers, and okra!   One of our farmers just planted 2 acres of peas and 1 acre of beets just for us, and red potatoes are already in the ground.  Wonderful Texas watermelon and cantaloupe are being planted.    Also, stay tuned to our website for a feature on our new local organic aquaponics farm.  Our local organic hydroponic lettuce will be here in a couple of weeks!

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This weekend, we’ll also have incredible asparagus coming from Golden West Farms, a family owned farm in Colorado.  Sara and David Bevan along with there daughters Kyle and Caren have owned the farm since 2004.  Other items they grow each year include hard squash/pumpkins, strawberries, raspberries, peppers (many varieties), tomatoes and cucumbers.

Asparagus from Golden West Farms

There’s a reason why asparagus is so expensive at your local grocery store.  Organic asparagus is even more difficult to find.  Here’s why:

Sara Bevan from Golden West Farms refers to asparagus as an investment in the future, since many crops really aren’t profitable for several years. Asparagus from seed just begins rooting out the first year at which point they are transplanted into their regular drip line irrigated fields. The second and third year are more of a exercise in patience, it’s not until the 4th year that you really get any product to harvest and only about three weeks of production. If you are able to hold on…about the 5th year you have a enough production to see a profit.

Asparagus growing at Golden West Farms

So, all that being said, treasure every bite of your asparagus!   We’d love to see your photos and recipes, so always feel free to post a comment here on the website, link us to your personal blog, or email us!

Member Highlight: Karen Linebarger | Butternut Squash Lasagna Recipe (Paleo-Friendly!)

January 30th, 2012

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

It’s time to get to know some of your fellow Urban Acres members(see how to become a member here)

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…

Paleo-Friendly Butternut Squash Lasagna | Photo: Karen Linebarger

Butternut Squash Lasagna (Paleo-friendly)

Ingredients:

- 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

Instructions:

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.

Photo: Karen Linebarger

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.

Photo: Karen Linebarger

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! :)

Urban Acres Dinner, Inspired By Member Lilly

January 27th, 2012

We were so inspired by UA member Lilly’s creative use of her mustard greens  from her co-op style produce share, that we decided to try our own version…

Everything in this meal is from Urban Acres except the pasta!

  • Local chicken breasts from Windy Meadows Family Farm
    • Grilled in pan with coconut oil
    • Seasoned with sea salt, black pepper, rosemary, thyme
  • Fresh broccoli lightly sautéed in coconut oil
  • Fresh local mustard greens blanched a la Lilly and seasoned with salt, pepper, and a splash of apple cider vinegar
  • Gluten-free Ancient Harvest Quinoa pasta with butternut squash sauce
    • Roast butternut squash at 400 for 30 minutes and put in food processor.  Season with salt, pepper, fresh rosemary and fresh thyme (fresh herbs make all the difference!).  Add a little vegetable or chicken stock for some extra liquid and purée until it forms a paste.  Pour over cooked pasta noodles, mix together, and serve.

It was unreal. So fresh and delicious!

Share your recipes with us!

We Heart Fall Produce

September 29th, 2011

Here are just a few of the amazing fall produce items planned* to be in Saturday’s co-op style produce shares…so plan your recipes now!

Reed Avocados.

The growing season for reed avocados is short, and getting organic ones a difficult task, but we’ll have them Saturday!  They have the most amazing creamy, smooth, buttery flavor.

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Purple Sweet Potatoes.

The natural pigments in purple-fleshed sweet potatoes have important antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Particularly when passing through our digestive tract, they may be able to lower the potential health risk posed by heavy metals and oxygen radicals.   Plus, they just look really funky on your plate…can you imagine serving your kids some fun PURPLE french fries?

** CORRECTION as of 10/1/11 – we’re actually getting Japanese Sweet Potatoes instead!

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Spaghetti Squash.

This squash is easy to cook, and the insides are full of “strands” that are similar to spaghetti, so people often use it as a pasta substitute.

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Butternut Squash.

Ah, one of the most popular winter squash!  It has a sweet, nutty taste similar to that of a pumpkin.  Butternut squash is prepared by removing the skin (with a vegetable peeler) and seeds, which are not usually eaten or cooked.  However, both the skin and the seeds are edible 0 the seeds can be roasted, and the skin softens when roasted as well.  To roast a butternut squash, cut it in half lengthwise, remove seeds, and brush with olive or coconut oil.  Place cut side down on a baking sheet.  Bake for 45 minutes or until it is softened.   Alternately, you could peel and de-seed the squash and then cut into cubes or fries and roast the same way.

*You can easily substitute another winter squash, such as carnival or buttercup, for the acorn or butternut squash.  Here are some recipe ideas…

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Red Chard.

A lovely winter green!  The crimson red stalks are just as edible and delicious as the leaves.  Mature chard leaves and stalks are typically cooked or sauteed; their bitterness fades with cooking, leaving a refined flavor which is more delicate than that of cooked spinach.

*When working with fresh produce, availability can sometimes change last-minute.  We do our best to let you know what’s coming ahead of time, but sometimes things do change, especially when working with local farmers.  Thanks for your understanding!