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.

* * *

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!

* * *

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!

* * *

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


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


  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!