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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Earth Day Deliciousness

Our family tries to celebrate Earth Day everyday. Simple choices such as selecting the least amount of packaging when making purchases, carpooling, recycling and of course my favorite, shopping at thrift stores, all help our earth. But there is also another way to help the earth that is simple and truly delicious. (Keep reading for a few easy and yummy recipes.)  

blog 084 (Lemon~Blueberry Tea Cake)

Begin by buying organic. (Oh I just heard a large groan~ but stick with me.)


It tastes amazing. When I first joined our produce coop I had been buying baby carrots in a bag. In our first coop basket there were a bunch of good old fashioned carrots. I washed and ate one and goodness me~ it was a true taste of heaven. I had forgotten what an unprocessed carrot tasted like. You see after a bit of research I learned that the bag of carrots I was buying in the store were picked and cleaned WAYYYYY to early then injected with orange dye which results in less carroty (yes, it’s a word :) taste and yucky unnecessary chemicals. 

It is cheaper. Ok, let me clarify, if you join a produce coop (call your local city hall to find yours) and buy locally (GREAT FOR THE EARTH!) and in bulk with your neighbors you will get more for less. I drop off an empty laundry basket at Holly’s house every other Friday along with a check for $15.00 (yes, $15.00!) and this is a sample of what I receive when I pick up my basket on Saturday morning:

blog 029 If anyone can buy all of that at a grocery store for $15 I will eat a rutabaga raw. Here was what was underneath the other produce in the basket that you couldn’t see:

salmon 017

Of course I never know what we are going to get. But our family gets so excited to see what the basket will hold. By being in a coop and buying organic I am happy that I am not putting unnecessary chemicals into our earth or my family for that matter. Let’s face it, even if we wash our fruit and veggies well, not all of the chemicals come off. Over time the chemicals can cause cancer. That is an ugly fact. 

So do you want to see what an average dinner looks like at the Gunn house?

salmon 011 Easy peasy. Take a cookie sheet or baking pan and line it with recycled tin foil. Layer a mixture of cut up root vegetables (such as potatoes, carrots, onions,) add a few quartered tomatoes, sliced squash, etc. Top with the meat/fish of your choice~this time it was salmon. Add a bit of sea salt, ground pepper, other herbs you like and drizzle a wee bit of olive oil over the entire surface.

salmon 002 Take another piece of recycled tin foil and cover and crimp all of the edges closed. Bake in a 350 degree oven or on a grill until done. (About 30 minutes.)

salmon 003 For the Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus take a small amount of prosciutto (Italian ham that I buy at Trader Joe’s or Fresh and Easy) and wrap it around cleaned asparagus. Add a bit of sea salt and ground pepper and drizzle a wee bit of olive oil over the entire surface. Cook in a 350 degree oven on a cookie sheet or on a piece of tinfoil on the grill for 20 minutes.

salmon 004 Ok, did the top image of the Lemon~Blueberry Tea Cake make your mouth water?

Here are the ingredients:

1 1/2 cups of flour (it is white, wheat just doesn’t work) 1/2 cup of softened butter, 2 large eggs, 1 teaspoon (tsp.)of baking powder, 1/2  tsp. of salt, 1/2 cup of milk, 3 tablespoons (Tbs.) of lemon rind, 2 Tbs. of lemon juice, and a cup of blueberries

Take a moment to notice the organic milk and eggs in the photo below. I want to tell you why I pay $3.00 for eggs. Years ago my sweet daughter began developing at 8 years old. (Yes, 8!) At the time I worked in the medical field and my friend Cindy who is an AWESOME P.A. (Physician Assistant) and proponent for healthy eating said something very simple to me: “Laura, if you buy food (dairy, meat, eggs) in which the animal is given growth hormone to make it mature faster, your children will ingest the hormone and also develop faster.” Huge light bulb moment. From that day forward I bought hormone free dairy and eggs. My daughter stopped developing until a few years later when it was biologically the right time. 

blog 049

So let’s cook! First, beat the softened butter until creamy.

Gradually add in the sugar and beat until light and fluffy.

Add the eggs, one at a time, until just blended. 

blog 059

Stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt; add to butter mixture alternating with the milk, beating at a low speed until blended.

blog 068 Add in the lemon juice, rind and blueberries using just a spoon so the berries won’t be crushed. Spoon batter into a greased 8 x 4 inch loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for one hour or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

For extra sweetness you can make an easy glaze of 1/4 cup of powdered sugar and lemon juice. Mix it to a  drizzly consistency and place it over the top of your cooled loaf of bread.

blog 076

So why an Earth Day filled with food?

Most of you know that my beloved foster mother passed away unexpectedly 3 weeks ago. What you don’t know was that it was from a massive heart attack.

My biological mother passed away from cancer when I was a very little girl of five.

If you are interested in learning more about healthful eating and why to do it, a great book is In Defense of Food by Michael Pollen.

A good documentary to watch is Food, Inc. If you have a Netflix account you can watch this riveting 1 hour and 34 minute film instantly.

I am really loving Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution on ABC. Anyone else?

entrevista_jamie_oliver “I was 32 when I started cooking; up until then, I just ate.” ~ Julia Child

Bon Appetite!



Julie Tucker-Wolek said...

Ohhhhhhhhh since U aren't far from me I am going to check into that!!! Right now we buy from bountiful baskets! :):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):)

Cottage Chick said...

The Lemon Blueberry Tea Cake looks yummy!!! I LOVE your measuring spoons!!!!

Kathy said...

Great post Laura...
I have some asparagus which I will try the wrap on this evening...
Thanks for your inspiration!
Everything looks great and your efforts to stay green and organic are commendable.
Have a good one!
xoxo~Kathy @
Sweet Up-North Mornings...

April said...

Oh, Laura. I loved this post. Besides the fact you made my mouth water--that blueberry tea bread is just in time for breakfast this morning-I love the spirit behind it. We began a journey toward healthier, unprocessed eating about three years ago because my SIX year old daughter had the same issues of early development, among other health issues I was facing. Amazing what is "allowed" in our foods, isn't it? We are hoping to get our own chickens soon; that should help with the $3/dz problem around here. I do wish we had an organic produce co-op though. . .Louisiana is usually SLOW to catch on to anything good.
Happy Day to you!

DarcyLee said...

I've been watching Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution faithfully and it's exciting to watch what he has done in England and now here. While I can't buy everything organic, I am doing what I can by growing some of our own food and buying produce from our farmer's markets. Your food looks very delicious,too!

The Boston Lady said...

I ate breakfast a couple of hours ago, but now for some reason, I am ravenous!!! I love all your recipe ideas and healthful eating tips. I need to bring Mr. Tennis on board, he's a picky eater. Thanks for telling me some things I did not know, especially about the hormones transferring to children.

Carrie said...

Wish we could afford organic. We do try to buy foods at our local farmers market.... oh, I could go crazy in there.

We started eating fresh and from scratch a few years ago when Kiddo started showing signs of ADHD. Major difference in his ability to focus and do school work!!

I will to check and and see if we have a fresh coop here. We want to start a dry foods coop-- beans and legumes and such.

I LOVE Jamie's Food Revolution. I have been watching episodes on Hulu.

Craftymoose Crafts said...

Beautiful post as usual, Laura with lots of great info! No organic produce coop in our area, but I am able to get some stuff at local farms and sometimes in the supermarket.

Btw, I'll eat at your house any day! The recipes look delish!

scargosun said...

Love your post! I am a HUGE proponent of local and organic foods. Eating seasonally helps too but it's hard for me to stick to completely. The blueberry recipe looks amazing! I want to try them all!

Deanna said...

Hello Laura!
I had heard about these growth hormones before and have to believe it.
I think part of my weight issue is due to this.
God bless and may you have a swet week,

Lorrie said...

A great post Laura. I grew up with a mom who cooked from scratch ALL the time, which served me well when we lived overseas and couldn't get any processed food. I've never cooked any other way and my family loves fresh fruits and vegetables.
I'm definitely going to try your asparagus with proscuitto!


Sandy said...

Great post Laura. Yes, I really REALLY need to eat healthier!!

Terri said...

Fabulous post! Yes, yes, and YES! it is so easy and inexpensive to grow some of your own food if you have any space at all, and if you don't, a co-op is the next best thing.

One of our local farms offers CSA (community-supported agriculture) shares and they accept food stamps. I think that's absolutely fabulous, and although we don't use food stamps I am very motivated to support this local producer because they offer a healthy alternative to the people who need it most.

Liz said...

This looks like something I would make. I've really been using my fresh herbs a lot. I love asparagus anyway, so this would be wonderful. I have gotten away from the organics, just because of price. BUT! Having said that, we do have a little farmers market that meets on Sat mornings at PV Park. I think that last time I was there the prices weren't to bad. I will go check it out this weekend. I'm inspired!:)


Blarney said...

Love Jamie Oliver! If only his show was required for all school age children & parents.
We are starting to get our garden going here and I can barely stand the wait for all my lovies to start producing. said...

Laura -

We purchase much of our food from organic farm markets and whole food stores. I make salmon once a week. I love your measuring spoons. I am keeping these recipes and will be using them soon.

- Deborah

Tales From My Empty Nest said...

I love to go to the local Farmer's Market for fresh vegetable/fruit. Your recipes sound great. Thanks for sharing. Hope things are going well with school. Love & blessings from NC!

Bonnie said...

Thank you so much for this post! I always try to eat healthier and choose more organic choices when I can. You've inspired me to try some new meals, very excited!! Thanks so much for the recipe. :)

Have a lovely day!


Mimi said...

Oh my that food looked delicious!!!So yummy and so very fresh and so good for you!!!!
Good JOB!!!!!
I am looking into a produce coop tomorrow!!!!
For sure!!!!

Karen said...

I so loved this post! I want to break from school work and shop organic and cook/bake! Thanks for the information and inspiration to get back to doing some genuine home cooking! I am sure the huz will appreciate me alleviating him of duty he has so graciously taken on.

dearmolly said...

Laura I've found your blog - gosh I'm not sure how, following links from Design Intervention I think! - but I'm so glad I'm here!
I'm in Australia and while there is plenty of organic here, much of it is $$$ so I too will be looking for a co-op. Delicious recipes, and yes I LOVE a bit of Jamie!

I'm so very sad to read you have lost not one, but two mothers. My mother also died of cancer. I too believe in food as medicine, prevention and at the extreme it can be toxic. Looking forward to reading more of your posts.

French Basketeer said...

Wow! I just found this! We are simpatico! I would love to hear more about your Co-Op; for our long-term health, organic is the way to go; I'm sure it's part of the reason my Grandmother has reached 95 years. xxoo

KnottyKnitter said...

Great post! I definitely try to go organic most of the time. In fact, I just went to the Farmers Market yesterday morning and picked up some blueberries and remembered seeing this lemon-blueberry tea cake recipe, and as I'm getting ready to prepare it, I see sugar referenced in the directions, but not listed on the ingredients. How much sugar is needed??