March 31, 2012

March Madness

truly, it has's hoping April isn't!

S: Fish, Collards, Sweet Potato Fries
S: Tofu Parmigiana
M: Polenta with Lemony Asparagus & Chick Peas
T:  Balsamic Chicken, Spinach, and Tomato Pasta Salad 
W: Black Bean Kale Quesadillas
R: Spring Vegetable Risotto with Shrimp
F: vacation!

March 29, 2012

How is it Friday and I haven't blogged!?

So here's a recycled post:

As I pulled off Kerr Mill Road, Amy and her dad, Alan “Buddy,” welcomed me with big grins to Hoffner Organic Farms. Their farmstead was bustling on the warm Sunday afternoon in March, and immediately I knew that this operation is a family affair.

The land, just off Highway 150 near Sloan Park in Rowan County, has been in the Hoffner family since 1956. Amy’s grandparents were conventional dairy farmers, and her father and brother, Chris, continue to raise dairy cows on the 400 acres. The farm has been organic for about six years, with a three year transition period from conventional farming.

The cattle are just part of the Hoffner’s life and work. Buddy also grows barley, wheat, corn, and other grains, mostly as organic feed for their herd. Recently, he has provided barley to malters for use in locally crafted North Carolina beer.

Amy, who is finishing up a masters degree in crop science at N.C. State University, is also experimenting with vegetables, thanks in part to a grant from the Natural Resources Conservation Service, which has allowed the farm to build a hoop house (pictured below, but check out the happy cows playing in the compost pile in the background!)

The first stop on my tour was through the greenhouse where she has kale, broccoli, squash, lettuces and other cold weather plants just starting to grow.

She has plans for tomatoes, corn, green beans, basil, and more to all be planted in her newly-turned acre and a half garden. The produce, like her brother’s cattle and her dad’s crops, will be organic. Amy hopes to work with farmers markets, in addition to the Bread Riot cooperative and local restaurants.

The Hoffners acknowledge running an organic farm can be very labor intensive because of the one-on-one time needed to care for the crops and animals instead of just spraying fertilizer and pesticide or injecting hormones and medicine to control production.

With the organic certification come standards the farm must follow, such as what types of manure can be used for fertilizer and how long fields can be bare.

Speaking of the fields and pastures, we hopped on the Kubota and headed out to the pasture that will transform for a special event on May 20: Riot in the Pasture, the second annual local food extravaganza put on by the Bread Riot. Fannie, Amy’s 10 year-old farm buddy who follows her everywhere, was peeking over the back for the ride.

Along the way, I got to see the Hoffner woods and fields that will also host the first Dairy Dash, a 5K run in September, held to benefit the Land Trust for Central North Carolina.

Not only does the organic farm support sustainable agriculture with methods such as cover crops, rotational grazing, and drip irrigation, the family clearly values the natural resources around them.

Tickets for Riot in the Pasture go on sale soon, and one thing Amy says you simply cannot miss are the calves! In fact, a little girl happened to be hanging out in the pasture on my visit. The calves spend a few days with mom and then move to protected hutches where they are bottle fed with milk from the herd.

Chris has about 100 acres for the grazing stock, and they milk around 100 heifers a year. Their herd includes Holstein, the black and white and red and and white cattle, as well as Jersey cows, who provide the higher butter fat milk and protein.

Amy and her family hope that visitors to the farm will learn a little about where their milk and food come from, but also have an enjoyable farm experience with family and friends.
She looks forward to talking with visitors about the benefits of being organic, the importance of local food, and continuing the farm practice her family has established.

I spent an hour on the farm last Sunday, but I could have spent the entire afternoon enjoying the beautiful wide open spaces and talking with such an energetic local farmer. Luckily I can do just that on May 20. Check out Hoffner Organic Farms on Facebook and the Bread Riot’s website for details about Riot in the Pasture.

March 24, 2012


Did y'all notice I totally skipped Tuesday in my outline of the menu plan? Clearly I don't know my days of the week, so let's try again!

Saturday: The SXSW Salad that never happened
Sunday: Citrus Chard and Sausage with Lemon-Pepper Pasta & White Sauce
Monday: Tofu Stir-fry with Rice
Tuesday: Shiitake & Greens Fritatta
WednesdayNature Burger
Thursday: leftovers, freezer thaw, the sky's the limit!
Friday: BBQ Chick Pea Pizza
Saturday: Warm Quinoa-Bean Salad, Asparagus, Fish

March 20, 2012

March 19, 2012

Lucky Greens

Instead of cabbage and corned beef (what is that even?!), YJDKIY went with collard greens for St. Patty's Day!

The Fat Free Vegan recipe was pretty spot on, and I only made slight adaptations. Hers were much prettier than mine (and my iPhone photos) so go check them out.

They were tasty, if slightly torrible to roll up.

March 18, 2012

simple supper

My new pans have perfected the art of the frittata. Just saute some veggies (zuch, asparagus, red pepper, onion in this case), pour some egg mix (beaters, basil, parm, pepper) over top, let it set, and bake at 350 for about 5-10 mins. 

Served with whole wheat naan. 

March 17, 2012

busy bee

BZZZZZ....That's what it's like this week. Consequently, we'll be eating a lot of the same thing and a lot of prep ahead things. Salads are excellent for that becuase I can wash two heads of lettuce, carrots, and celery and portion them out for 2-3 days. That, and someone said we were on a diet.

S: stuffed collard leaves that didn't happen
S: edamame salad with baked tilapia
M: Tuna Salad open face sammies
W: fruity salad with Gardein
R: on your own
F: southewestern salad with shrimp

March 15, 2012

Guacamole Chicken Tacos

I don't know why YJDKIY didn't think of this before, but there you have it. Instead of making chicken salad with mayo and eating it on a bun, I simply cooked it, shredded it, and creamed with with avocado, onion, cilantro, and lime juice.

I had still planned to eat it on a bed of fresh local lettuce, but when I realized how close it was to guacamole, I decided it was going on taco shells! Tacos are sort of like pizza, you can make them into whatever you have on hand. Easy, quick, healthy, and delicious!

March 13, 2012

The Anti-Restaurant Meal

Despite a fantastic meal at Allans Falafel (seriously, best Israeli food I've ever had), YJDKIY gets very tired of eating non-home cooked food. So, tonight I did my best to come up with the antithesis of a restaurant meal.

Plus, we had a TON of baby leaf kale and a "salad" seemed in order. To wilt it, I heated some olive oil in the wok and added grated carrots and chickpeas all at once.

It cooked for about 4-5 minutes with the addition of a dash of sesame oil and about 1T low sodium soy sauce.

Meanwhile, I sauted some sliced up tempeh.

Combined it all together for a tasty, clean home cooked meal.

Totally a keeper and likely not on any restaurant menu!

March 12, 2012

the weekly

M: Wilted Kale (WH) Salad with Sesame Chick Peas & Tempeh
T: Those stuffed shells that never happened with local tomato sauce (WH)
W: Avocado Chicken Salad on lettuce (WH), Carrot Sticks (WH)
R: Collards (WH) Stuffed with Red Beans & Rice
F: Zucchini Frittata
S: something Irish!

March 8, 2012

Sneak Peak

As if this place, and this place, and this place aren't enough. Something new is coming soon!

Consider yourself peaked!

March 7, 2012

Smelling the Roses

Or the jonquils!

Especially if you are a canine. This week YJDKIY celebrated SEVEN years of never having to vacuum the kitchen floor, nose prints on the front door and car windows, tan fur on all my black clothing, and who knows how many miles of walks.

In other words, the Canine Component came home with me on March 5, 2005. That was her very first photo.  Being Little Miss Uncooperative as ever.

On that day in 2006, the jonquils happened to be the prettiest thing in the yard, so she had a little photo shoot by them.

And then again in 2007 when they just happened to be blooming the same week. The idea stuck and I tried to make a point to take a photo by jonquils each year. Only this year it wasn't really BY so much as ON jonquils.

Not sure what happened in 2008, but this was the closest I could find.

The 2009 photo was her last Winston-Salem jonquil photo. It's sort of like she's sticking her tongue out at this poor flower showing!

And in 2010, she found some a little farther south to sit beside.

2011 was a little cold and snowy in March, so I'm wondering if they weren't blooming yet since I took this one on the back porch where things were much warmer. Or maybe I just forgot. Which is funny because I actually had a nice camera then!

Here we are in 2012 and looking quite smart in our old age, wouldn't you say? She's not only the most photographed doggy in the world, she's also aged well! Happy Adoption Day Canine Component!

March 5, 2012

Slow Sunday

If Fridays are pizza nights, then Sundays are definitely slow cooker days. It's the only day someone is home all day and you KNOW I wouldn't leave it home alone.

It is SO nice to throw everything in the pot at 11 am and have dinner ready for me at 6 pm.

Plus it means lots of extra natural light for good photos.

I followed this minestrone recipe pretty closely, just used sweet Italian chicken sausage and whole wheat elbows instead.

THIS is unacceptable. I rinse them as much as possible, but there is absolutely no reason eating less than 1/3 a can of *organic* beans should be be 23% of RDA for sodium. For this reason, I often opt for the non-organic "premium" brand in order to get lower sodium.


That was the end of the good-light photos, because it was dark by 6:30 p.m when this finally got served. Only one more week of that!

March 4, 2012

Sun of a gun

The entire time YJDKIY was making this meal, the only thing I could think about was Shelby's wedding reception in Steel Magnolias. Seems odd, but it's a perfectly logical explanation.

Shrimp Jambalya! This turned out excellent and was pretty easy to make. Started off with a saute of celery, onions, garlic, and green peppers. I added some broth, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, a can of tomatoes, some tomato paste, cumin, garlic powder, and fresh ground pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes, meanwhile preparing brown rice as directed. Simply boil the shrimp in 1/3 vinegar 2/3 water with 2T Old Bay, peel and mix all three together.

And now, because if you are lucky, you have that song stuck in your head too!

March 3, 2012


1. leftover soup, baked fish, broccoli
2. Slow cooker minnestrone
3. Tofu Ricotta & Spinach Shells
4. Green Goddess Hummus Wraps
5. Sweet potato quinoa burgers

March 1, 2012


It's nearly impossible for YJDKIY to find blog time lately! I feel like I've been robbed of time, wait, make that rabbed!

We had fresh broccoli rabe, or rapini, from our Winter Harvest basket this week. I've seen it in the store lots, but never purchased it, so this was a cooking first. Chopp off the woody ends and blanch for a couple of minutes, drain, and rinse with cold water.

Meanwhile boil pasta as directed. Heat EVOO and add greens and a can of white beans, some crumbled (fakin') bakin bits, and cook 3-4 more minutes.

Mix in the pasta and serve!

As for the new green, it was definitely a keeper. The flavor is like broccoli but the texture is more like kale. Win-win!


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