Back To School Sale from Yasukochi Family Farms CSA!

Two things I love: Fresh produce and deals! Thanks to  Yasukochi Family Farms we are able to get both through September 10th.

Now through 9/10/2022 you can score 4 Regular boxes for $108, or 4 Jumbo boxes for $152.

I get a Regular sized box each week, and it’s good for a family of 4 or smaller. A Jumbo-sized Box is perfect for larger families or for families that are vegetarians or vegans.

Here are pictures of a box we received earlier this year.

This is the type of variety that comes in the boxes each week! Each week the box is stuffed full with the freshest. in season fruits and veggies! And don’t forget there are add-ons too! Berries, local honey, olive oil, farm-fresh eggs, and more!

I’m partnering with Yasukochi Family Farms this month to bring you all of the best deals and freshest produce! I’ll be posting pics on my socials as well.

 

Review: Decadent, Creamy Desserts from Bon Devil!

Recently, Bon Devil send us a set of all of their 4 packs of their rich, creamy vegan dessert ganache.

The big kid is vegetarian, and we frequently purchase vegan foods because they are easy to find and I want to support his desire to be vegetarian.

These little cups of ganache are rich, creamy, and smooth. They have a slight coconut aftertaste (they are made with coconut milk), which is delicious by the way. I’ve been using it on fruit, but I can imagine that it would be really good on pound cake, or with cookies/shortbread. That’s how the kids have been eating them, as dip for their cookies.

I know you can eat it by itself, but it’s so rich you really need something a little lighter to pair with it.

They come in four flavors: chocolate, vanilla, salted caramel chocolate, and caramelized banana. In our house, the chocolate and vanilla were the first to get consumed.

If you have tried them, leave a comment and let me know which flavor was your favorite, and how you eat it?

If you haven’t tried Bon Devil desserts yet, you can find them on Amazon and other Mass Merchandisers and Grocery stores.

Thanks to Bon Devil for sending us these tasty desserts to review. I received no financial compensation to facilitate this review, and all opinions are mine. This page may contain affiliate links. For more information about the use of affiliate links and partnerships, visit my disclosure page. 

Family Recipe: Cindy’s Spinach Salad

This salad is courtesy of my Aunt Cindy. I don’t remember when or where this salad originally came from, but she introduced it into our lives in my youth.

If you don’t like Spinach, you will love this salad.

Cindy’s Spinach Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag triple-washed spinach (approx 10 ounces)
  • 1 small can of mandarin oranges (drained and rinsed)- Or you can use 2 fresh peeled mandarin oranges
  • 1/2 cup French Fried Onions
  • 1/4-1/2 cup Italian Salad Dressing

Directions:

  1. In a large chilled bowl, combine all ingredients and serve straightaway.

This serves 2 as a main, or 4 as a side dish. This recipe is naturally vegan.

This is also great as a main dish topped with 4-6 ounces of your favorite grilled protein (I like chicken breast).

 

Family Recipe: Baked Red Pesto and Roasted Veggie Pasta

This recipe is easy to make, and amazing. It uses Red Pesto, which has a tomato base. It’s warm, filling, and comforting.

The first thing you need to do is roast some veggies. Check my recipe here. I roast 5-ish lbs of veggies each week, so we usually have some in the fridge.

 

Baked Red Pesto and Roasted Veggie Pasta

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Boil salted water and cook pasta per package directions. As you drain, reserve some of the pasta water (about 1/2 cup).
  3. In a large baking dish (11×13) mix roasted veggies, pasta, red pesto, and add pasta water a little bit at a time, until all the pasta is coated. You may not need all 1/2 cup.
  4. Mix in 1/2 of the cheese.
  5. Smooth the mixture down into the baking dish, and bake for 20 minutes covered.
  6. After 20 minutes, top with the remaining cheese and continue to bake uncovered for 10-ish minutes until the cheese is brown and bubbly.
  7. Serve with garlic bread and a green salad.

Serves 6-8. This re-heats well, if there are any leftovers.

Notes:

  • This dish is vegetarian, but not vegan. This is a vegan red pesto, but I’ve not tried it. To make it vegan, use a vegan red pesto and vegan Italian Cheese blend.
  • Pesto is not a nut-free product! If you have a nut allergy, be careful!
  • Feel free to use your favorite pasta (high protein, gluten-free, made from soy, etc). I do not recommend shirataki noodles- They have a weird texture and smell (seriously).

 

Veggie Loaded Zuppa Toscana Recipe!

I’ve posted my copycat Zuppa Toscana recipe before and it’s good, but this recipe is better! Heartier, more filling, and best yet- Loaded with Veggies. We got all of the veggies from our Yasukochi Family Farms CSA box. To learn more about these awesome produce boxes, check out my post here.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb of Italian Sausage (hot or mild, your choice)
  • 3 T. crumbled cooked bacon (I like the kind from Costco)
  • 2 T. Butter
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 ribs of celery, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 T. Italian Seasoning
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 3 medium potatoes, sliced into bite-sized pieces (I left the skin on- it’s up to you)
  • 1-quart chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 bag triple-washed spinach
  • 1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk (or 12 oz milk of your choice)

Directions:

  1. In a large stockpot, cook and crumble Italian Sausage
  2. Add in bacon and heat  until sizzling
  3. Add butter, onions, carrots, and celery. Cook until onions are translucent (about 10 minutes).
  4. Add garlic, and herbs/bay leaf- cook until fragrant.
  5. Add broth, and scrape brown cooked bits off the bottom of the pot.
  6. Add Potatoes, cook on medium with the lid on the pot until the potatoes are soft (about 15 minutes).
  7. Remove lid, turn the stove up to high, add spinach. Stir and incorporate the spinach until wilted.
  8. Turn the stove down to low, add milk, and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  9. Remove Bay leaf prior to serving.

This makes 10-12 servings. Serve with bread of your choice. I like to top with a little parmesan cheese.

Notes/Substitutions:

  • If you prefer Kale, substitute for the spinach and add another 5-10 minutes of cooking time.
  • This soup keeps well in the fridge for up to a week, and it freezes well.
  • If you are a vegetarian, substitute 2 cans of rinsed/drained cannellini beans in place of the Italian sausage (or meat-free Italian sausage), and use crumbled vegetarian/vegan bacon. Use Vegetable broth, and 12 oz. alternative milk (I like almond or hazelnut for this recipe). Add in 1/2 t. Fennel Seed, and a pinch of red pepper flakes (to mimic the flavor of Italian sausage) when using beans.

 

Vegetarian Recipe Round Up

It’s time for some yummy veggie meals!

Most of these are vegetarian, not vegan. These are recipes that I feed my family, so they are kid-approved and don’t require any weird, expensive ingredients.

And as a bonus, many of the ingredients for these ingredients are frequently given out in Neighborhood Distributions.

Trying to Add Veggies to Your Meals?

Is one of your New Years Resolutions to eat better or increase your intake of fruits and veggies?

Since we have been getting CSA boxes from Yasukochi Family Farms we’ve been adding tons of fresh fruit and veg to our diet. It’s fun to get the kids involved in preparing and tasting new and different fruits and veggies.

I’ve made a round-up with some of my favorite fruit and veggie recipes to inspire you to add a little more “green” to your family’s meals!

New Recipe: Chipotle Black Bean Enchilada Casserole

This is a super easy, yummy recipe. My kids love it because it’s cheesy, and vegetarian (important for my big kid). I’m making a big batch for dinner this week, with plenty of leftovers!

It freezes well so you can make a bigger batch and have some for later.

Chipotle Black Bean Enchilada Casserole

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag MorningStar Farms® Chipotle Black Bean Crumbles (12 oz)
  • 3 cups cheese, divided (I use Mexican blend)
  • 1 large (28 oz) enchilada sauce (I like green)
  • 16-19 corn tortillas, torn into bite-size pieces
  • 1 bag (12 oz-ish) fajita blend (that’s onions and peppers)
  • spray release

Directions:

  1. Spray a 9×11 baking dish with spray release.
  2. Layer torn tortillas, black bean crumbles, fajitas blend, tortillas, sauce, and cheese.
  3. Layer until pan is filled, top with cheese.
  4. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes until bubbly.
  5. Remove foil and continue to bake for 10-15 minutes until the top is brown and bubbly.

Serve with sour cream, salsa, and diced black olives (optional, but a family favorite). I serve with a Mexican Caesar Salad, or Cilantro Lime Rice-a-Roni.

To make this dish vegan, use vegan cheese.

Mexican Cesar Salad

Ingredients:

  • 6-8 cups of your favorite lettuce/lettuce blend (romaine and bibb is great!)
  • 2 tomatoes cubed/sliced
  • ½ cup purple onion, cut into rings
  • 1 small can corn, drained and rinsed
  • ¼ c ranch dressing
  • ½ c your favorite salsa

Directions:

  1. Combine the salsa and ranch together, chill in fridge 6-8 hours before servings. This allows the flavors to blend.
  2. Toss the veggies in a chilled salad bowl with the dressing.
  3. Top with ¼ c crushed corn chips/tortilla chips for some added crunch!

Serve topped with grilled chicken breasts for an entree or without meat as a side dish.  Serves 3 as an entree, serves 6 as a side dish.

 

Roasting Veggies: Simple and Tasty!

Over the past six months, I’ve been trying to get us to eat more veggies. But honestly, you can only eat so much mixed green salads and steamed broccoli. My prior attempts at oven roasted veggies were basically a hot pile of steamed veggies that lacked any of the qualities of oven roasted veggies I knew- none of them were sweet, with crispy edges, tender but not soggy. Thankfully with our CSA box coming straight to our door weekly, were getting tons of tasty new veg to try!

I did some reading in a few cookbooks, websites, and asked some of my friends who are chefs/professional cooks. The secret to perfect oven roasted veg? Space. Room. The veggies need space for the heat of the oven to circulate and heat them evenly.

Second tip: place the pans in the oven and allow them to pre-heat. Once the oven has pre-heated, pull your pan(s) out and place your veggies on the pans, then back in the oven.

Third tip: Half way through roasting, turn over/flip your veggies to ensure they are getting equal roasting time in that hot pan. I say pan, but I use a baking sheet lined in foil, like this one.

It’s all about high temp and short cooking time- 450 degrees! Your veggies will be done in less than 45 minutes and you’ll be feasting away! And anyone can make roasted veggies- as long as you have the following:

  • Cooking pans (like these)
  • Aluminum Foil (I like it because it makes clean up easy)
  • 1-2 lbs of your favorite vegetables, chopped up into evenly sized pieces (the secret to having them come out perfect)
  • 3 Tablespoons oil (I like canola, avocado, or grapeseed)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon (or more, depending on how seasoned you like your veg) fresh cracked pepper

With the CSA boxes we’ve been receiving weekly, making roasted veggies is a snap. Here are cooking times for a few in season veggies. These times presuppose that you have cleaned/peeled as needed, and cut them into 1-inch pieces as needed. Cooking time is for 1 lb.

  • Beets: 20-25 minutes
  • Carrots: 20-25 minutes
  • Brussels Sprouts (Cut off the bottom, and cut in half): 15-20 minutes
  • Onions (I usually quarter and slice them): 15-20 minutes
  • Garlic (peel each clove- if they are large, cut in half) 15-20 minutes
  • Green Beans: 15-20 minutes
  • Potatoes/sweet potatoes: 20-30 minutes
  • Zucchini/summer squash: 15-20 minutes
  • Bell Peppers: 15-20 minutes
  • Asparagus: 10-15 minutes
Brussels Sprouts and Purple Onions

If you’ve got something that isn’t on this list that you want to roast, I suggest starting with 10 minutes at 450 degrees, then flip the veggies over and see how they are doing. If they are brown and caramelized on one side, give it another 10 minutes for the other side to cook, then test for doneness with a fork. If they need longer, give them another 5 minutes and test again.

Recipe: Butternut Squash Bisque (GF, Vegan)

This recipe is super simple, and I’ve included some steps to shave off more time to get the soup in your belly faster!

Butternut Squash Bisque

Ingredients

  • 1 T. Avocado Oil
  • 1/2 Large onion, diced
  • 3 cups butternut squash, peeled and cubed (You can save time by buying it in the frozen foods section)
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 Quart Vegetable Stock
  • 2 cups Hazelnut Milk
  • 1t. Rubbed Sage
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In a large stockpot, heat oil. Add onions, and cook for 5-10 minutes, until clear and fragrant.
  2. Add squash and carrot. Cook approx 10 minutes until softened.
  3. Add vegetable stock, and simmer until veggies are tender/soft.
  4. Remove from heat, add hazelnut milk.
  5. Blend soup with a stick blender until smooth.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve this luscious, velvety soup with hot, crusty bread and a crisp green salad.  It freezes well, in case of leftovers.