Things I ❤! Thursday

Today I am LOVING our CSA farm! Do you know what CSA is? I’ve talked about it on my little blog here before, but it stands for Community Supported Agriculture, and I am a BIG fan!


I found out about this whole concept a few years ago and I was immediately interested! When we moved to Michigan a few years back, I was on a mission to find a farm near us where I could get involved. I found Stone Coop Farm in Brighton, Michigan – run by the 2 smartest, friendliest farmers you’ll ever know! It is clear, from the second you meet Joannée and Shannon that they are truly working their life’s passion. All of the produce, and eggs are certified organic and non-gmo. Which is becoming more and more important as we learn about the less than stellar sources for the foods we’ve been eating.

As a CSA member, you pay for a share of the farm’s harvest. So for us, that means that every week, we go to the farm and pick up our weekly share. Depending on the season, we get anywhere from 5-10 different veggies. I have been introduced to some new and exciting produce that I had never tried before. It’s kind of fun actually to cook based on what I get in my share each week. It forces me to look up new recipes and try new things! We are now hooked on kale and kohlrabi as a result of our farm share.

Of course, I’m totally spoiled too…I can hardly stand to eat a store tomato anymore! The colors and varieties of veggies are astounding! I never knew there were purple peppers and beans! Or purple and yellow carrots! Tomatoes come in so many shapes, sizes and colors, but sadly…we usually only ever see 2-3 varieties in our grocery stores. In the grocery store, we get red and round tomatoes, because they pack, stack and keep longer than the farm fresh varieties. The produce we get from grocery stores are genetically modified to look the same, keep longer for shipping and be uniformly sized and shaped so that they can be boxed and displayed efficiently. And guess what they DON’T have…TASTE!

This is going to be my third year as a ‘helping share’ member. That means that I actually work a little for the farm and in exchange, I get a discount on my share! Cool right! My “job” is to work at the local farmers’ market on the weekends and sell our beautiful produce. I like talking to the customers and ask them what they’re making to eat with the goodies they buy! I’ve gotten some pretty good ideas!

And I’ve LEARNED so much! Joannee and Shannon are a wealth of information! Our kids have gotten involved, too. We’ve taken them out to the farm to help out quite a bit. They like to hang out with the chickens and squish tomato worms – the nastiest, fattest, green caterpillar – things you’ve ever seen! And we’ve discovered that when you step on them, they pop like a tomato juice-filled water balloon! YUCK!

Anyway…I’m excited because summer is just around the corner. I just got my first of 5 spring shares that will have a lot of nice green leafy veggies that they grow in hoop houses in the dead of winter in Michigan! I’m in awe of everything they do, and I’m so proud to be a part of it! I love knowing that our food is fresh, clean, local, organic, and non-gmo. . I highly suggest supporting your local farms! If you can find a CSA – GREAT! If not, make sure you check out your local farmers markets, but ask a lot of questions! Not all booths at a farmers markets, are actual farmers…or selling food from actual farms! Get involved, and be informed!

Caterpillars Squirt When You Step on Them!

Today was the last day of the Farmers Market, which means no more 5:00 a.m. alarms on Saturdays, and no more f-f-f-freezing cold mornings spent standing behind the bounty of veggies I’ve come to know and love. It also means no more chats with repeat customers about the soup they plan to make with their swiss chard, or the kale chips they’re going to bake later that day. No more chats with my co-farmers between customers, or wafts of bacon and sausage, cinnamon bread and coffee.  There is a lot going on at the local farmers market.  And despite the fact that I am NOT a morning person, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every minute, and learned a lot in the process.

What brought me to be here, early Saturday mornings while my whole family snoozed happily in their beds? Well, we decided to do a helping share at a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), which means that we spent 3 hours a week working at the farm in some capacity. At the beginning of the season, we spent evenings at the farm with the kids clipping up rows and rows of tomato plants, until we were literally GREEN! Other times we would weed and weed, because somewhere in the thick there was certainly a row of kale to be found. Stone Coop Farm is certified organic, meaning they don’t use any pesticides, or weed killers of any sort.  As a result, they rely very heavily on good old-fashioned manual labor! Pulling weeds is such a KILLER hamstring workout, you have no idea! As summer temperatures rose and kids became busy with friends, I decided to work the three hours myself, at the farmers market every Saturday. Good times…

I learned so many things that I never would have otherwise. Here are just a few:  I learned that kids LOVE chickens! They had such a blast chasing them around as little chicks, and not-so-little chickens. They gave them names, learned the proper holding techniques, and stepped in lots of poo. I learned about the most interesting vegetables too, like kohlrabi, indigo rose tomatoes and sweet reba squash. The varieties and colors are endless and amazing! We really miss out on so much variety when we only shop at the grocery store! And the taste is unparalleled! We discovered that tomato worms are very juicy and squirt up your leg when you squash them! This is an activity that was performed many times! At fifty cents a pop, the kids were motivated! 🙂 Most of all we learned where our food comes from, who grows it, and how important it is to help sustain such an operation. We’re big fans. This was my last early Saturday, for this year, but I’ll be back…if they’ll have me. 😉

I’ll post my Clean Eating Challenge pics, and highlight a couple of the recipes I particularly enjoyed!

Let’s see, day 17 highlights would be the super yummy pumpkin steel-cut oatmeal that my crock pot cooks for me overnight while I sleep.  I posted that recipe about a week ago.  If you’re interested, just search “oatmeal”, and you’ll find it. For dinner I made a family favorite, which also happens to be clean and healthy, as long as you avoid a lot of ‘dirty’ toppings: shredded chicken tacos.

Day 18 consisted mostly of leftovers and quick grabs. Nothing fancy or fun to report here.





Two yummy things happened on Day 19. I discovered that I could make a clean version of french toast, which sounded so delicious after I made standard french toast for the kids. For mine, I used Ezekiel bread that I dipped in egg whites, almond milk, cinnamon and vanilla. I used blueberries sweetened with a little Stevia for the topping and Oh My was it yummy. It really satisfied a craving, and I love when that happens. For dinner I made stuffed portobello mushrooms that were a real treat too, if you’re a fungus-lover like me. 🙂

And that sums it all up for today. Going to go take a nap, or workout…or both. 😉

Breakfast of Champions!



This is one of many variations of my favorite breakfasts.  When I’m not having Shakeology for breakfast (I’ll probably have it for lunch today) I like to scramble myself a couple of whole eggs plus 2 extra whites (more protein) and top them with a little organic spinach, some tomatoes (these are heirloom CSA tomatoes) and a spattering of reduced fat cheese.  This particular meal was completed by a heel of whole wheat toast leftover from my kids’ breakfast (couldn’t let it go to waste!).