Fresh Picked Plates-July

I love local food…especially when it’s coming straight out of the garden or from a farm down the road.

Even though the growing season has been slowed down with all the rain, we’ve been very blessed with loads of arugula, radishes, swiss chard, beets and beet greens, chives, scallions, cilantro and lettuce. We’ve also been picking up beans, carrots and other veggies, along with local meats, eggs and cheeses at the market or our co-op.

My favorites (potatoes, tomatoes and peppers) are coming along and I can’t wait… we’re also going to have a squash and bean surplus…perfect for the freezer!

Anyway, here is a peek at how we’ve been using up all of our greens lately (please forgive my less than stellar photography skills):

A simple salad

A simple salad with radishes, goat cheese and chicken.

Roasted beets that we've been putting in everything!

Roasted beets that we’ve been putting in everything!

I was on a butternut crust pizza kick a few weeks ago:

A squash pizza crust with chicken, scapes, local cheese and Ben's BBQ Sauce

A squash pizza crust with chicken, scapes, local cheese and Ben’s BBQ Sauce

A Squash Pizza with arugula, garlic scapes and olive oil.

A Squash Pizza with arugula, garlic scapes and olive oil.

But we always love our giant salads…

Another delicious salad with carrots, beets, beet greens, avocado

Another delicious salad with carrots, beets, beet greens, avocado

A simple green salad topped with yellow carrots, scallions and a mustard vinaigrette.

A simple green salad topped with yellow carrots, scallions and a mustard vinaigrette.

Beet greens and swiss chard topped with goat cheese.

Beet greens and swiss chard topped with goat cheese.

Cold soba noodle salad over greens (salad has green beans, green tomatoes, peppers, scallions, cilantro)

Cold soba noodle salad over greens (salad has green beans, green tomatoes, peppers, scallions, cilantro)

And we’ve had a few other tasty hot meals:

Lasagna rolls (ricotta made by me) and a big salad with chevre.

Lasagna rolls (ricotta made by me) and a big salad with chevre.

Local Pepper stuffed with barbecue pinto and adzuki beans, black rice, local cheddar and topped with chives.

Local Pepper stuffed with barbecue pinto and adzuki beans, black rice, local cheddar and topped with chives.

And here are some of my meals I’ve been packing for breakfast/lunch:

First potato(!) with eggs, local cheddar and chives and a big beet and green salad.

First potato(!) with eggs, local cheddar and chives and a big beet and green salad.

Beets, Swiss Chard, Beet greens, carrots, cilantro, mint, scallions, grilled veggies, a local burger and pecans with a roasted garlic vinaigrette

Beets, Swiss Chard, Beet greens, carrots, cilantro, mint, scallions, grilled veggies, a local burger and pecans with a roasted garlic vinaigrette

image

Swiss Chard rolls with rice, dill, garlic and lemon juice, big green/beet salad

image

Green pepper stuffed with rice, and local chicken sausage, eggs, onion, and eggplant

 

What about you? What’s your go-to summer meal? What’s been on your plate lately?


Food Goodness-The Weekend

It was an amazing weekend for food. I can’t even tell you.

But I really want to tell you… so here are some photos.

image

Meatloaf “Cupcakes” (made with local, grass-fed beef) with Mashed Potato “Frosting” and rutabaga fries.

The meatloaf cupcakes and rutabaga fries were served with Farmer Ben’s ketchup and NYS Red Wine. Homegrown goodness all around.

image

Grilled Cheese on Homemade Basil Bread with Monterey Jack  Cabot Butter and Ben’s Maple Horseradish Pickles/pickled onions. Mind=Blown.

The Grilled Cheese was served with the spiciest tomato-like soup I’ve ever eaten (I say tomato-like because it actually had stewed tomatoes, vegetable juice, butternut squash, rutabaga, scallop squash and a million other things in it…including about half a jar of hubby’s super spicy chili sauce). So good!!!

Another win? Ben & Jerry’s BOGO! Hello Coffee Heath Bar Crunch (for me) and Boston Cream Pie (for him)!!!!

I also drank way too much coffee …but that’s nothing new.

Food-Winning all around.

What did you eat this weekend? 

Happy Monday!


Daniel Fast-The Plate

In my last post, I spilled the beans on what the hubs and I have been up to for the last three weeks. I also gave a brief explanation as to what the logistics of the Daniel Fast are… In my next post, I’ll discuss my personal experience.

This is the fun post. I’m talking about the food.

So, what’s been on my plate?

As you probably know, I am a huge breakfast person…as in, I can barely survive if I skip it. That being said, I stuck with oatmeal most days of the fast.

Because you can’t have dairy or sugar during the fast, I would just cook with water, then throw in some apples, cinnamon and peanut butter to spice it up a bit. Other days I would do bananas and pecans. It all works.

Toward the end of the fast, I started cooking the oats in (unsweetened) almond milk to add a little more calcium and iron. I’ve been tracking my food on MFP for a long time and was noticing that I wasn’t getting enough of the two. The almond milk definitely helped. 

My main snacks were popcorn, apples and matzos with peanut butter.

The key to making this fast work is to plan your meals. It’s possible to go out for lunch or  dinner on this plan, but it’s very difficult–Mostly because you never really know what restaurants are putting in your food.  Thus, you want to plan ahead and cook a  few meals at a time.

I tried to snap pictures of what I was eating throughout the 21 days. Apples and oatmeal aren’t very pretty, so here are a few photos of other meals.  Keep in mind, these are all meat and dairy free; Vegan, with more restrictions. 

I’d say we still ate some pretty delicious things!

image

Burrito Bowls: quinoa, beans, vegan sausage (ToFurky Brand), onions, tomatoes garlic peppers, olives and guacamole

 

image

Skillet Meal (makes multiple servings): Corn, black beans, tomatoes, carrots, onions, garlic and peppers served over volcano rice. Great with a splash of hot sauce.

image

Veggie Packed Miso Soup: Red Miso, Water, rice noodles, peas, broccoli, sprouts, tofu

image

Veggie Packed Tabouleh: sprouts, carrots, avocado, peppers, garlic, tomatoes, peppers, scallions, cashews, lemon juice, parsley served over romaine

image

Tofu Breakfast Scramble: tofu, curry powder, potatoes, onion, garlic, broccoli and spinach.

image

Mostly Plain Pasta: Organic Bow-tie Pasta, Olive Oil, smoked salt, black olives, parsley and some secret spices

image

Fresh Tomato Sauce and Pasta: Whole wheat pasta, tomatoes, olives, garlic, onion, basil, parsley, capers and peppers

image

Salad and Latkes–kind of: greens and broccoli with balsamic, shredded potatoes and onions, olive oil and leftover tomato sauce.

image

Drunken Noodles (Pad Kee Mao): One of two times we ate out, veganized for us.

image

This was probably one of my favorite meals-more salad with balsamic and a Moroccan chickpea stew over rice. YUM!!!!

image

Sweet Potato Quinoa Burger (I adapted the Lean Green Bean’s recipe) over greens with Tabasco sauce

image

Veganized Minestrone with rutabega, kale, potatoes, carrots and loads of other veggies.

image

Popcorn: my snack of choice for the fast, popped on the stove in the trusty old cast iron, seasoned with olive oil, salt, pepper and smokey paprika.

image

Thai coconut curry soup with lots of veg and tofu

image

The other time I ate out-a burrito less the shell: rice, peppers, onion, tempeh, black beans, tomatoes and roasted potatoes, with salsa. Yum!

image

Another pasta sauce with vegan sausage. Onions, garlic, peppers, basil, olives, sun-dried tomatoes and capers.

image

Tofu Tikka Masala

image

Another breakfast scramble.

image

Another salad, matzos and peanut butter ( another go-to snack)

Again, this isn’t everything, but it’s a good description of what our diet was like.

We ate a lot of beans, dark leafy greens, pasta, potatoes and rice. I’m not complaining. I love all of these things. We also ate a lot of tofu and tried tempeh in a few meals.

Peanut butter and apples became a staple (not that both of these weren’t before..but it was more pronounced).

We also experimented with seasoning and made sure to pack in a lot of veggies in almost every meal. I noticed that the amount of fat, sugars, and cholesterol I was eating dropped a lot, not that it was high before, but it was even lower in these three weeks.

I mentioned before that we didn’t have any coffee… I tried to trick myself by drinking hot water out of my coffee mug. It worked about half the time.

Anyway, stay tuned for my next post where I will give you a look into my personal experience with the fast.

Do you have any favorite vegan staples? Do you think you’d be able to give up meat, dairy, drinks and sugar for three weeks? What would you miss the most?  Let me know!


A Year? Really?

WordPress just informed me that I have been blogging for a year… And to be honest, I can’t believe it!

Has it really been a year since I told you about my crazy wedding photo journey?

This got me thinking… what’s changed in the last year?

I’ve made peace with turning 25. Sort of.

I’ve learned a lot of new things. And discovered a lot about myself and those around me.

I’ve lost 28 lbs.  After getting married, I gained some weight. A lot more weight than I wanted to. I started and stopped trying to lose weight a few times, and then…about 6 months ago, something clicked.  I still have a few more pounds to lose, but I am feeling pretty darn good lately. I’m also in a size I haven’t worn since high school…and I am okay with that.

I am back to running. Last year, I did some running…on occassion. But this year, I am a runner.… I’m doing crazy overnight races… and huge races in other states… and now I am planning more races. Some say I’ve lost my mind, but I think I am just finding it.

I also joined in on some online fun. I never would have done this a year ago because I considered myself a rebel… And I still am of sorts… but now I am embracing this whole internet community thing. I dig it. I love hearing from new people and learning about them.

People I love have passed… but I’m keeping their memory alive and working to do great things in their honor.

Things that still haven’t changed?

I still love pickles.

I still don’t like flavored yogurt.

I hate styrofoam.

I still cook/bake with booze.

I still heart my hubby.

I heart local food. Obvoduh.

And I am still super excited, blessed and thrilled that you’re reading…especially those of you who have been there since the beginning. Thank you for taking the time to read, comment and support me.

Thank you!

Anyway, it’s been a pretty great year in the world of Noelle’s Notebook….and I hope for many more!

Much Love. Happy Almost Turkey Day.


Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is.

I don’t broadcast my political beliefs on my blog and I try not to rant and rave about too many political issues on this site–It’s not the place for that.

However, I will use it to remind you to get your butt out and vote today. It’s your right and your duty.

I voted, did you?

 But don’t just vote today. Practice your beliefs every single day.

Vote with your dollar.

People forget that they have a choice every time they go to the store…pump gas…buy clothes or makeup… or order online. Even when they go out to dinner!

Whether it be trying to buy from local farms instead of large supermarkets, buying American-made products as opposed to items made overseas or supporting companies who are committed to the environment and their employees instead of those who are focused solely on the bottom line and the latest technology, your dollar is the biggest weapon you have for change.

I realize that sometimes it’s a tough choice and it can be a little more expensive (although many times, this is a myth), but if you want to change the system, every dollar–or vote–counts.

An example of this? My husband and I are very committed to knowing where our food comes from and eating local. 

We grow a lot of our own food and what we can’t grow, we get from local farms that we know and trust. Or order from companies that we have researched.

When we go out to dinner, we try to pick local restaurants that we know support local farms over chains and big food vendors.

We also try to buy products made in the US, whenever possible.

Again, this takes time and effort…and sometimes extra money, but it can be done.

I grow very tired of seeing people rant and rave about their personal beliefs and politics, who then go out and support the exact opposite with their dollar.

Do your research. Be educated. And use that knowledge.

So today and every day,  put your money where your mouth is.


What Did I Eat?

I’ve been eating a lot of delicious food lately. Seriously.

I would call it major (over) indulgence on my part…but then I would feel guilty…

Anyway, I’ve been holding out on you… The hubby and I have done some cooking. Like this delicious macaroni and cheese, complete with jalapenos and caramelized onions.

image

Melted cheese gets me every time….

While I was in DC, I ate some seriously good food. Like the Pesto Burger from Silver Diner.

Silver Diner is a 50’s style diner, jukeboxes on every table and really great staff. Seriously, I don’t think I have ever been into one and had an unhappy server. One thing that I love is that in the last few years they have gone local. They also try to do organic/minimally processed foods, making everything super delicious.

My first night in DC, I knew we had to go. So we went. And I ordered this burger.  Pesto. Goat Cheese. Roasted Red Peppers. Grass-fed beef. I couldn’t resist.

image

Pesto Burger. Life is good.

I also had to have lunch at Potbelly… we don’t have any in Plattsburgh, so I HAD to go…and eat a lot of processed meat. Yum! If you’ve never been to one, please go. Now.

image
A Wreck on Wheat. Loaded.

There were a couple of other places that I revisited/had delicious meals at …but I didn’t get photos.

That’s one thing I really miss about living in DC, so many wonderful places to eat for whatever your mood.

But then I remember that I am married to a chef, who makes me things like Birthday Paella (complete with chicken, shrimp and cod) in a flash…

image

This is love.

And takes me out for an apple cider margarita at one of our favorite restaurants (and they use our favorite local cider)….

image

Magic in a glass. Local cider makes everything better!

And allows himself to be dragged apple picking on the last day of apple picking season…and then goes a little apple crazy, resulting in this….

image

A bushel of apples…Empires, Cameos and Macs, NBD.

But it’s fine because I know we’ll use them…

And lastly, he makes homemade ravioli. With local flour, squash, butter, cider, shallots…you get the picture.

image

Acorn Squash Ravioli, apple cider reduction and caramelized shallots…just a typical Sunday lunch.

I guess I don’t need to live in a big city to eat well. I just need to run…everywhere… and then run some more.

So yeah, that’s what’s been happening on the road/in the kitchen. Any recipe requests?

What’s going on in your kitchen? Or at your favorite restaurant?

Happy Friday!


October Foodie Penpals

I’m a day late, but I am so pumped to tell you about this month’s foodie penpals!

I sent a package to Susie in Indiana…she recently moved there from Chicago and couldn’t be happier!  I have to say that this was the first time I received an email from a foodie penpal that made me laugh out loud. Major props. I sent her some of my favorite (and local) items from our co-op.

To see what other Foodie Penpals received, check out the Lean Green Bean’s Post.

This month I was paired with Mary from Wisconsin. She describes herself as a “food enthusiast” and teaches chocolate making classes in her spare time. How awesome is that?!

I received her package when I arrived home from my trip to DC (for the ATM!) And it was AMAZING. Seriously…I think this was my favorite package ever. Thank you, Mary!!!

image

Penzeys and coffee and chocolate! Oh MY!

Not only did I get a small note for every item in the package, I also got a copy of Penzeys Spices latest catalog (which has some great recipes in it, btw!), a variety of recipe cards, little post cards (also from Penzeys) and some new knowledge about the company-Did you know that they are out of Wisconsin?! Mary wrote in one of her notes that she has watched them grow from a small shop into an awesome company. I love stories like this!!!

Along with some great Penzeys recipes, I also got some of Mary’s favorite spice blend, Northwoods (Ben and I tried some the other night. Very tasty) and some natural high fat cocoa, which I put this in some pumpkin cupcakes and it gave it that extra little something.  Mary also sent her recipe for cappuccino thins, which I will definitely be making soon!

image

I’m all about new cookie recipes!!!

Other items in the package included:

– Mary’s favorite coffee blend (a chocolate roast mixed with an orange roast and tossed in cocoa-heavenly!)

-Wisconsin Truffles filled with beer. Also delicious.

-Her family’s favorite Fall snack-a trail mix which includes dried cherries, nuts and other wonderful goodies. This is really good. I’m trying to make it last a long time…but I don’t think that will happen.

Like I said, AMAZING!!!

Mary, you went above and beyond. Thanks again!!!

And now it’s time for some details about Foodie Penpals:
-On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes! Most of the time it takes 2 days to go anywhere in the country!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.
-Foodie Penplas is open to US & Canadian residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We’ve determined things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa.
If you’re interested in participating in November, please CLICK HERE to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions.
You must submit your information by November 4th as pairings will be emailed on October 5th!


September Foodie Penpals

This month was pretty stellar in the FPP department. Not gonna lie, I am feeling pretty lucky.

I sent a package to Lindsey over at Kalefornication. She currently lives in San Francisco, but lived in NYC and Eastern Mass before that. Because she was seriously missing the changing of the seasons, I tried to send her a little taste of Upstate NY in Autumn…and had so much fun doing so!  You can check out her site by clicking here.

To see what other Foodie Penpals received, check out The Lean Green Bean’s post.

As for me, I was lucky enough to be paired with Catherine from San Francisco. She sent me a wonderful package, chock full of delicious-ness!

As you know, the Ragnar Relay was this weekend, so I wasn’t able to try anything yet, but I cannot wait to dive into this package! It was so wonderful to come home after a crazy weekend to find this waiting at my door. Perfect timing.

image

Catherine sent me this beautiful card. Doesn’t she have great handwriting?!

image

She also sent me some of her famous (award-winning!) jam; plum-strawberry and orange-crenshaw melon. So exciting!

image

Along with a loaf of San Francisco Sourdough from Boudin Bakery and a recipe for a San Fran PB & J. Cannot wait. to try this… and the can of San Francisco Clam Chowder she also sent!

image

I also received two varieties of Blue Diamond almonds (Honey Roasted and Roasted Salted). They are out of San Francisco and happen to be something I adore. Score!
image

Catherine, thanks so much for this amazing package! I love that you tried to capture a taste of San Francisco! I’m so looking forward to absolutely everything in this package! Thanks again!!!

And now it’s time for some details about Foodie Penpals:
-On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes! Most of the time it takes 2 days to go anywhere in the country!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.
-Foodie Penplas is open to US & Canadian residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We’ve determined things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa.
If you’re interested in participating for October, please CLICK HERE to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions.
You must submit your information by October 4th as pairings will be emailed on October 5th!


Is It Weird?

So, you already know that I have an unhealthy obsession with pickles…

And that any kind of yogurt except for plain makes me want to vom…

That I hate styrofoam…

And that I go through really weird food phases…

But now, I must confess another weird thing…

I really dislike going out to do dinner with certain people.

I know that sounds wrong. I absolutely love food. I love perusing menus, figuring out how I am going to treat myself. I love gossiping over a glass of wine.  And if I have room, splitting a dessert….

So maybe I should rephrase that…

I hate hate hate having to figure out where we’ll eat (with said certain friends). Seriously, there are so many restaurants in this town and they always pick one of the few that I try to avoid at all costs! I try not to make it a huge issue but it can be so hard!

 I’ve talked about how I try to eat healthy…and I succeed about 75% of the time. I also try to eat local most of the time-or at least responsibly in the sense that I need to know where my food comes from, how to pronounce all of the ingredients…and I need to understand how my food is processed, prepared and served to me.

This is especially important to me as of late, because, with all of this running, I am eating a whole heck of a lot more! Food is fuel. Plain and simple.

That’s why when friends suggest places that I normally try to avoid, I cringe. I am not a picky eater by any means and I would never go to someone’s home and refuse to eat…but when it comes to restaurants… I get anxiety attacks thinking about it…

“What the heck am I going to eat there?!”

“I can’t eat that much sodium in one sitting!”

The healthiest thing on this menu is beer!”

“If I eat anything at this place, I am going to be up all night!”

“Everything on their menu comes out of a bag!”

“I don’t want microwaved chicken or canned sauce!”

Now, I realize that I probably seem a bit neurotic and I may be over-dramatizing the situation… But being a person who tries to eat well (at least most of the time), you become very sensitive to certain ingredients that aren’t in your regular diet. AND, having worked/knowing people in the restaurant business, you begin to pick up on what’s going on behind the kitchen doors… some things really freak you out, like ingredient lists and food preparation.

So today, a group of friends decided that we should get together for dinner.

The first suggestion was Applebee’s. Per usual, I started to panic. I felt my blood pressure rise thinking about what on earth I would order besides cheap beer.

Again, I’m not a picky eater. I don’t want to be that person that makes a big deal about something as simple as dinner-but that kind of quasi-fast, pre-made food makes me sick. So, when that suggestion came up, I took a few minutes to have a silent mini-freakout at my desk before I responded with a simple, “Can I request anywhere but there? My race is the next day.”

It’s true, the Ragnar Relay IS the next day. If it wasn’t, I probably would have grinned and bore it… and ordered a lackluster salad that I still would have regretted eating a few hours later.

But this time is different.  I need to fuel my body properly because after that dinner, I’ll be going home, getting up by 4:30 am and heading out to do a ridiculous relay.

I prepared myself for a groan from my friends, but the only response I got was “Okay, you pick.”

So now I have the task of figuring out where we will eat because I spoke up. Again, normal people would be perfectly okay with this but for me, it’s still a hard decision.

But that’s a post for a different day….

Tell me, am I the only one who freaks out about going out to dinner? Am I the only one who won’t go to certain restaurants?

Let me know!


Who Knew???

I know this isn’t as local as Cabot, from across the lake…. but it is still nice to know that this is a somewhat local option. Go Chobani!

image

Also, for whatever reason… there was no plain on the shelves! Ugh!