Mary’s Kitchen is a new blog post for me – about how I shop my local markets and use those treats to live healthy.
You’ve seen my farmers’ market pictures on FaceBook and Instagram; you’ve read the blog posts about what seasonal produce you can find. You even might have tried some of recipes I shared here or on Pinterest. But I haven’t told you – yet – what I do with the delicious things I find! So I thought I’d share that with you, give you a peek into my kitchen. Tell you about my struggles and successes, the flops and the Oh WOW moments that happen to me.
My Local Market Shopping and How I Live Healthy
My Saturday started at the Downtown Fond du Lac Farmers’ Market. A new local market for me and I was anxious to see what they had. I found a nice market that not only welcomes families, but the family dog too! The market had only been open about an hour and already there was a nice size crowd. The market is three blocks long. I found many vendors selling fruits and vegetables, several of them had naturally grown and organic produce. There were also a couple tables that had flowers, a few food stands and some musicians. I did see a vendor selling homemade soaps, but really didn’t notice anyone else with other products.
I was super excited to find currants. My grandfather grew them and I hadn’t had some in over 20 years. Double bonus! They were organic!! As I picked up a pint of the delicious little fruit-strings, I explained my excitement to the young girl – how Grandma had made currant jelly – and I wondered aloud what I could make with them. A sauce for chicken, I thought. The girl happily gave me a recipe, “Make these muffins!” Yes! Organic currants and a new recipe to enjoy them with 🙂
I found chemical and pesticide-free strawberries and blueberries. I also bought some naturally grown green beans and kale. This particular kale was one I hadn’t tried yet, Bare Necessity (like the song in The Jungle Book movie!); it is a soft olive color green with purplish veins.
On my way home from the market I stopped at an organic farm to check out what they had. I picked up two small zucchini and a pint of colorful cherry tomatoes.
Then I had one more stop at a local goat cheese farm. There I got cheese curds and blue cheese (made from cow milk) from another local cheese factory.
Live healthy with #LocalMarketHaul !! 🙂
What to do with all my goodies?
I had it all planned out in my head – freeze the berries, make the currant muffins, make a quinoa salad with roasted zucchini and green beans. I’d have it all done in time to use the blue cheese with dinner. But when I got home, my husband announce “The Nanking Cherries are ripe!” Time to pick cherries before the birds got to them. Time to adjust my plans.
So out I went…and picked about 24 cups of cherries. Nanking Cherries grow on a bush and are about half the size of the cherries you find at the store. There were a lot of cherries to process! We love them for jelly. Out came the jars, lids and canning equipment. I washed, cooked, smashed and strained the juice to make two batches of delicious jelly everyone in the family loves.
Back to my original plan
The strawberries and blueberries were prepared and put into the freezer. I’ll enjoy them at a later date. Maybe make a couple pies or breads. Or maybe make a sauce to serve with chicken breast. Whichever I decide, it’ll be a welcome “taste of summer” in the cold winter months 🙂
Now for the currant muffins
The recipe called for 2 cups of all-purpose flour. I wanted to add a bit of whole grain to them so I changed it to 1/2 cup whole wheat flour and 1-1/2 cups all purpose. Since it was a new recipe, I didn’t want to make big changes and possibly ruin the whole batch. They turned out okay but were so moist it took a bit of wrangling to get them out of the muffin tins. (Note to self, remember to line the tins with papers; cooking spray alone wasn’t enough.) Next time I’m going to try adding some oatmeal along with the whole wheat flour. They taste great! Just needs to be a bit less “cakey”.
While the muffins baked, I washed the cherry tomatoes and got them ready for the dehydrator. I cut them in half, placed them in a bowl and gently tossed them with olive oil, salt, pepper and Italian seasoning. My plan was to put the dried tomatoes in a jar, cover them with olive oil and enjoy them later on a pizza or in a dish.
Time to make dinner
I wanted to make a chicken dish with a blue cheese Alfredo-like sauce. So I sauteed a large red pepper and added some chopped mushrooms. Added the chicken breast, cut into small bite size pieces, and got ready to make my sauce. I sprinkled a couple tablespoons of flour over the meat mixture, stirred to coat, and then poured in the milk to make a white sauce. So far, so good. Next I melted the blue cheese in the white sauce. I must say, it turned out pretty darn good considering I was just winging it!
It was a lot of work. And I’ll admit, I was pretty exhausted. But very happy with what I accomplished despite the cherry side track.
I never did get around to doing anything with the green beans and zucchini. They are still in my refrigerator. I think I will try roasting them in the oven for dinner. Or maybe try a couple of the Pinterest recipes I pinned on my Side Dishes board. I’ll let you know how those work out 🙂
I hope you enjoyed reading about how I live healthy. It was a very busy day, even for me! I’d love to hear what you do with your local market treats and how you live healthy. You can leave your comments in the section below.
Enjoy and Be Healthy!