Live Green!

Be Kind to the Earth

A Peaceable Kingdom

This peaceable kingdom is the honey bee farm of my friend John Accornero. John is my friend who always brings me back to sanity when I get all riled up by the ways of the world. And having visited his farm, I can see why he is able to do this. A bee farm runs by balance, respect and equitability… I guess the way we’d all like the world to run, with a sense of fairness and a adherence to personal responsibility. Bees seem to have this all down; we are—at best—catching on.

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“Bee” Careful When You Buy

As consumers, our purchases can be powerful tools. We can influence advertisers, change trends and make or break brands. We can also use our buying power to change political policy and the world environment. If we buy responsibly, even if it means putting ethics and quality above a lower price and convenience, we truly can make the world a better place. And, as Delicious Living Magazine author Rachel Cernansky explains, ‘Bee Better Certified’ could help with pollinator-friendly choices you want to make.

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If You Build It, They Will Come!

If you read the post Saving Grace, you know that my friend Henry Holt is a pretty special guy doing pretty amazing things to impact his neck of the woods…and what an inspiration, huh? Well, I agree, not everyone can build his or her own prairie. But I’m pretty sure that everyone I know would love to be part of a more sustainable planet.

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Saving Grace

Clearly wilderness had been under siege for a long time, and defending it now seemed unlikely. Yes, I was a raging torrent of opinion and blame when I first sat down to write.

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Market Sprouts

If you ask the dedicated staff of the Land of Goshen Community Market to explain the goals of their popular “Market Sprouts” program, they will tell you it is about one, over-arching idea: Harvesting a Healthy Community. True to the spirit of Alice Waters’ vision, Market Sprouts, created in 2011, is a community-based children’s program offered at The Land of Goshen Community Market with the purpose of educating children and their adults on the importance of eating healthy, local produce. Market Sprouts reaches its goal by offering weekly educational activities such as taste testings, interactive exhibits, demonstrations and hands-on activities. All these activities are designed to foster strong relationships between consumers, area farmers, local artisans and small businesses.

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Choosing a Mindful and Healthy Path of Your Own

My recent road trip to Daydream Farm and Marcoot Jersey Creamery in Greenville, IL offered more than the sweet, tender asparagus and rich artisan cheeses that went into my Asparagus and Caramelized Onion Quiche. These visits left me reenergized and feeling highly connected to the food I put on my family’s table and to the wonderful folks who provide that food. We all need that—connection to nature and moments of calm, but how often do we find it? The once-a-year vacation? The weekly trip (maybe) to the local farmers market? A family meal with everyone at the table—how many times a week does that happen?

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Citrus Salad with A-Peeling Ruby Dressing

Well Happy Valentine’s Day! I think I have a new salad and dressing pairing that will tug at your heartstrings… in a super healthy way. Not only is it delicious, it allows you to be planet-conscious while being health-conscious.

One sure way to tug at my heartstrings is to give me new ideas about eliminating food waste (I know, hopeless romantic). This is nothing new coming from me, right? But I try not to harp on it too often because I realize everybody can only do what they can do. Every effort is valiant. However, when I get the inspiration to turn my compost into delicious recycled food, I gotta share.

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A Super Bowl of Protein-Packed Vegan Chili

Who has not seen chili as a main offering at Super Bowl parties? Who has not overindulged in spicy beans and peppers during Mardi Gras? And you still can with this protein rich, gluten-free, vegan chili that features complex flavors and textures from pumpkin and quality spices to protein-packed adzuki beans and quinoa. And if you really want to, of course you could add some broiled shrimp, grass-fed ground beef and pork or even bacon…ok, maybe a small chunk of Andouille sausage. Just ask Don (sigh). But try it as it is presented here first and see if it lives up to my prediction as a soon-to-be party favorite.

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Close to Home for the Holidays: Persimmon Snickerdoodles and Sweet-Hot Nuts

I really have a very short gift list for the holidays, and most of what I give is food I’ve made or bought locally to share. So I love it when what I have to give is something a little special, something unexpected. That’s how I feel about my Persimmon Snickerdoodles and Sweet n’ Hot Nut Mix, both of which draw most of their ingredients from local food.

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Walking on the Wild Side with Tiny Tom Turkey

Not only does my Roasted Turkey and Cranberry Sauce Galette use up the leftover turkey, it salvages the leftover cranberry sauce, bits of cheese from the appetizer board and (for the vegetarian version) extra chard, spinach or kale that didn’t make it into the holiday salad bowl.

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Okay, I’ll Try Okra!

Here we are at the very end of the market season. The Land of Goshen Community Market held its final market day on October 15; other local farmer’s markets will follow suit in a couple of weeks or so. Hugs, kisses, tears and best wishes for the coming winter abounded on our last day. Community. It is what I will miss most about the market over the winter. But I couldn’t let the season end without an act of bravery; I finally started cooking with okra (A vegetable I have avoided for years.) during the final market countdown and landed on three recipes: two are passable and one was a standout.

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Southern Comfort: Herbed Ham Hocks and Beans

We had a little taste of fall this past week—rainy, chilly and gray for several days. My husband Don thought this was a great time for some comfort food. My thoughts were going in the same direction, too, and when my friend Deb’s special guest came up from Texas, I knew we needed to head south for a dinner. What could say “southern comfort” better than ham hocks and beans?

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Celebrating Not-Quite-Fall with Not-Quite Apple Cobbler

It’s not quite fall, but you can sense the change—cool air in the morning, a tinge of red on the leaves, a deeper blue in the sky and a quickening sunset. Sigh. Appetite changes, too. We remain creatures of the seasons, even if we have all but lost that tenuous connection. I start craving butternut squash soup, cinnamon tea and pear or apple cobbler. But it is rather bittersweet for me.

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Farm to Table: CSA Dinner at Biver Farms

Last Wednesday evening, Don and I were invited out to Biver Farms for the weekly CSA dinner. That’s me with Keith Biver just before things got started. People who are enrolled in Biver’s CSA program get a big bag of fresh produce each week, a selection of what is ripe and ready on the certified organic farm just outside Edwardsville, IL. They can pick their bag up most any evening after Wednesday, but most CSA members sure try to make the informal “dinner night”. As Frank Biver puts it: “We sometimes have quite a wing-ding out here.”

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Green with Celebration! National Parks, Farmers Markets and GGM

For a couple of weeks, I have been preoccupied with the centennial birthday of our nation’s National Parks System. As a member of The Sierra Club and The Nature Conservancy, I receive periodicals from both organizations, which are always brimming with amazing photography and eloquent, inspiring and passionate prose. Their August issues are almost entirely devoted to the history, beauty, preservation, controversy, competition and value of the more than 400 parks, historical monuments and sites, battlefields, and riverways that make up our National Parks System.

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Rhubarb and Ground Cherry Chutney

When I was a little girl growing up in my grandmother’s house, we had few store-bought canned goods. I ate homemade strawberry preserves and red plum jelly plopped on buttermilk biscuits regularly for breakfast. Could explain why my dress size was a “chubby” in those early years. The food in my grandmother’s kitchen was pretty amazing, although for me it was just how food was—never encountered the Pillsbury Dough Boy back then. But some things my grandma cooked up were not as appealing… at least not to me. For instance, my grandmother had an immense fondness for stewed rhubarb on toast.

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In a Pickle! Learning to Can with Lony Less

Well, yes I can… can… under very guided, expert help, that is. Last week I spent an entire morning in the kitchen of Lony Less, one of my market-vendor friends who has been canning, drying and preserving his own produce for years. It was a pretty amazing and humbling experience. From his small backyard garden and space-challenged galley kitchen, Lony manages to turn out pickles, pie fillings, condiments, pesto, beets and sundried tomatoes. Enough for himself, his local customers and his many friends. If you are on his gift list, you are truly a lucky green gal or guy.

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