Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Final Week Outside the Box

Hello Positive Eaters,

We are here! The final week of shopping Outside the Box. Lots of adventures to share with you in this post...since we are coming towards the end I wanted to get in some great content that will hopefully give you a better glimpse into what this month was like for me.
I finally ran out of Quinoa and needed to think up a new idea fast. There were plenty of farm fresh veggies in the fridge so I put them in a cast iron frying pan and lightly sauteed them.

This was not going to carry me any sort of distance. I put some dough in the oven and made myself a baked flatbread and put these veggies on top. I added some fresh mozarella and instantly made a "pizza like creation." This was delicous and satisfied me for quite some time. The picture below says it all.

One beverage I often buy inside stores is iced tea. This month made me realize how insane it is to spend a $1.79 every time I feel like iced tea. There is more tea in my cupboards then you might find at a bed and breakfast. I can make my own. Simply pour hot water into a glass cylinder of some sort (I actually used a flower vase). Allow to cool...add ice or put in the fridge. Very simple...I may never purchase iced tea again....I do like Steaz and Guayaki though.

Now that my own iced tea was prepared it was time to re-stock up on the "Beverage of Everlasting Life"....Spring Water that is! I piled all my jugs into a milk crate and headed to Exeter. On recent trips, I brought all these loose bottles with me. This was incredibly inefficient, plus they were prone to tipping over this way. When I got to the spring there was a woman who was using the same milk crate system. I said "I just thought to put my jugs in milk crates today" she looked at me, cigarette dangling from her mouth and said "you sure are pretty slow aren't you." We both laughed and I kept my comments regarding her nicotine habit to myself.

I was committed to picking some Blueberries before the season comes to a close. In this month of filling my fridge and pantry with foood from farms, I did not pick a single item myself. That is shameful, I thought. I need to get close and touch the food as it comes out of the ground...or in this case off the bush. On the way to the spring I stopped at Monahan Farms and spoke to the very nice lady who works there. She gave me a bucket and said "Now there is no need to fill this up. Just make sure you pick the firm ones...the soft ones can be for the birds." Can you imagine hearing that at a grocery store?

I picked about 2.5 pounds of blueberries. I was certainly impressed at the speed in which I filled about half the bucket. When I got home, I thoroughly rinsed and put 2 pounds in freezer bag for freezing. The rest went in a tupperware container and in the fridge. I felt like Huckleberry Finn walking amongst the blueberry patches singing and being out in the open air. Still there was one more stop I needed to make on this trip.

I heard rumors of a tea shop in Exeter. Those of you who follow this blog know that I used to frequent the Licorice and Sloe Tea Company in Newburyport for many years until they closed up. This loss was difficult for me to bear. Still, I set out in hopes of finding a nice place to grab a cup of tea when I visit the spring. I found the White Lily Tea Shop.

Upon entering, it became immediately apparent this place was so much more than a tea shop. There were botanicals, herbs, soaps...the shop also offered herbal remedy consultations and massage therapy. I felt like I walked into a magical nook in which I could order up any potion I wished. The owner was a lively and engaging woman named Rebecca. She let me look all around her shop and taught me about some of the teas and herbs she carries. I ordered up her secret recipe Chai on ice...which was made just the way I like it. She even let me take a picture inside her shop.

I told Rebecca that I will be posting this on my blog and that she will get a ton of new business after this goes out to the world. I know there are tens of thousands of you out there who read this every just try not to inundate her all at once!

Three more days before I make my return to Whole Foods...part of me wants the journey to just keep going. I will write a bonus post on Sunday, a reflective piece regarding all the insights and friends I gained through this experience. Then the blog will continue to evolve into an even brighter beacon for filling our lives through positive eating and positive living!

Stay Outside the Box!


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Journey from Goudreault Farm to my Lunch

Goudreault Farm
Plaistow, NH
Hello Everyone,
Nourishing myself "outside the box" is 3 weeks old. To this point, no pictures of farms were included in any of my blog posts. This post is to make up for that. The closest farm to my house is in Plaistow, NH off route 108. The people there are friendly and will carry on spirited conversation with you. I really like being much so that I think of any reason to go back and buy more produce from them. I decided to take you on the journey from one trip over there to my lunch on Monday.

This is one section of their farm land. I even saw a young farmer tending to these crops wearing a straw hat. Perfect! He seemed shy so I left him out of the picture. The picture above is where food should come from...not factories farms! People with straw hats! The woman at the farmhouse said I was welcome to walk amongst the crops and take pictures. I thought to myself what might happen if I walked out back at a grocery store and started snapping pictures...or at a food processing plant!

Above is a summer squash growing on the vine. How cool is it that there is flower on the end. The squash wants you to eat grows a flower just to invite you over to it! The only byproduct from the factory is the smoke. Here at Goudreault's it is flowers and rich soil.

Inside the farmhouse was an array of fruits and vegetables. They also sell homemade jam, fresh eggs, pies and pottery. I bought Zucchini, Summer Squash, Tomatoes, Onions, Salad Greens and Carrots. This, combined with some quinoa, will make lunches for at least four days and it costs me around $14. I also picked up some blueberries, my most expensive item at $3.95...they only lasted two days. They were that good.

"Farm Beauty" is the title of the above photo. The landscaping in and around the farm is as vibrant and colorful as the people who labor there. They work hard not only in producing food for us to eat but keeping their surroundings bright and aesthetically pleasing. This makes a difference in the quality of the meal these people are helping to provide me. I feel more connected to my food, the people it comes from and the images in my head while I eat it are of this picuturesque farm in southern New Hampshire.
Everyone on the farm seemed to bounce about enjoying their labor...everyone except this guy below, who on this 90 degree day was just enjoying the shade.

I took a picture of this sign that hangs on the other side of farmhouse door. It made me smile.

I brought my produce home and chopped up the Onion, Summer Squash and Zucchini. I sauteed the vegetables in Olive Oil. I also prepared a salad and made individula containers for Monday's lunch. On Monday, Ryan called me and asked if I was available to meet him for lunch at Whole Foods. Ryan forgot that I was not shopping or eating there this month. I agreed to meet him anyway and just brought my own lunch. We ate in the outside eating area. He thought it was hilarious and took this picture below.

The comments are going to be..."what farm did you pick those bananas at?" {insert smurk here}. For those who read my last post you might remember, I commented on missing bananas...since I cannot buy them at the farm. My mother was nice enough to make a gift of about eight bananas. Which are already gone.
10 days to go!
Stay Positive,

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Just about Halfway/Mike and Matt's Spring and Farm Adventure

Hello Positive Eaters,

I am about halfway through the "Outside the Box" month and after a few rough spots things are going really well. As promised I made a big batch of Quinoa, Kale and Black Beans and a gigantic salad. I bought a bunch of fruit as a "dessert". That got me through four lunches and dinners! I must admit I got pretty tired of it after the third day. Here is a picture:

Not very exciting I guess...but sustaining.

Friday night at work was juice night. This time all of the ingredients in the juice came from the farm stand right down the street (Strawberry Hill Farm in Andover). The beets, the carrots, the swiss chard, parsley...everything were pulled up out of the Earth a stone's throw from the BSC in Andover. This early in the season the farms feature more vegetables and less fruit (berries and a few peaches are what is coming out at the moment). This juice was less than appetizing but made us feel great.

That's Rick in the background...he usually refuses anything I bring in to work saying "that's too healthy for me" in this case he lucked out. The juice was very nasty. Mike, Lisa, Laura and I took the plunge and were feeling a little more "juiced up" because of it.

Today, Mike and I went on a "Spring and Farm Adventure." Mike is friend of mine who is seeing the light. He committed himself to a healthy lifestyle back in January and is addicted nutrient dense food. Seriously, he would cut you if you tried to pry away bunch of kale or a farm fresh onion from him. He is down 83 pounds as a result! What can fruits and vegetables do for you?

A solitary blog post on this adventure is probably called for...but of course I forgot my camera!

We drove up to the Spring in Exeter and then hit Monahan Farms and Goudreault Farms on the way back down Route 108. After filling up our water jugs, we got some peaches and blueberries at Monahan's. Goudreault's featured fresh eggs so we both bought a dozen. Plus there was some great looking beets, broccoli and tomatoes there. Awesome stuff! I went home and made a broccoli and tomato omelet. The word fantastic does not even come close. I got to admit...these farm stands are making me wonder why I overspent on sub par produce at Whole Foods for so long. I will continue to shop there when the month is over, there is lots of stuff I like there that I am unable to get at a local farm stand (bananas being one major example). I also am enjoying all the friendly people I meet. The connectedness you form with your food after discussing the harvesting and tending of the crop with the people responsible for getting it to you is a really cool experience. These people are really in touch with the land and there is a calm and peaceful way about them that cannot really be described.

Alright, 17 days to go and lots more adventures to go on. Check back in soon

Stay Positive,


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

One Week Outside the Box - Time to step up my game!

Arial View of Farmer's Market

Hello Positive Eaters,

I am one week into eating "Outside the Box" and must admit I feel like a cheat. I did not shop or enter any grocery stores for seven days but in many ways took the easy way out. I shopped at farm stands and made all sorts of great dishes out of the items I bought, however, I did purchase many items from healthy on-the-go type places. I ate about three burritos and bought two tuna salad wraps. Technically this is not a grocery store...but I don't believe this follows along with the spirit of the challenge.

Starting today, I will be avoiding as many of these establishments as possible as well. I am slightly scared. Honestly, it will be all about preparation and slowing down my sometimes fast paced life.

I forgot to bring my camera to the Andover's Farmer's market. This was an awesome experience. Everyone seem to be in a good mood. There was arts and crafts table for the children and live jazz music being played while I shopped! There were also lots of great produce items to pick from and I even was able to buy some home baked bread. I spent $10 there and I ate for three days! I will try to remember my camera this weekend. Above is a photo I got off the internet of the Andover's Farmer's Market.

I also visited a new spring! I went to the Cooper Spring in Buckfield, ME. This spring travels through underground crystal and gem stone reserves. The water was incredibly cold and wonderful. The view was spectacular from this spot and I want to return someday around sunset! I was happy to go with several friends...and even more happy they enjoyed the adventure...I get a kick out of driving to the middle nowhere to find water coming out of the ground...but I also grew up without cable or video games.
When we were there we actually met the local church youth director. He stepped out of his car in literally his "sunday best". Two spritely little girls danced around him in their church dresses. He explained how they need to drive past this spring and several farms just to get to a grocery store. For them it only makes logical sense to get their water from the spring and their produce from the farm.

Today, I will need to make a gigantic salad from the salad greens and produce I bought yesterday and make a ton of Quinoa and Beans. I also got tipped off on a couple local fish markets that sell fish caught that day. Check out a blog post on that :)

The local organic food makes me feel fantastic! I strongly encourage you to buy from your local farmer's market and compare the freshness and flavor to your local supermarket. You might just find yourself outside the box as well.

Stay Positive,


Friday, July 2, 2010

Outside the Box for 2 Days

Hello Positive Eaters,

I am two days in to my "Shopping Outside the Box" Adventure. The closest I came to a grocery store was being in the same parking lot, when I went to the bank this morning. Yesterday, I made enough Soba Noodles from a Trader Joe's Soba Noodle Kit (thanks Sarah!) to carry me through lunch and dinner. I also stopped at Strawberry Hill Farm in Andover and picked up a cucumber, three tomatos and some lettuce. That produce will provide salads for the next couple days at work.

I don't feel particularly challenged by this yet. I am still stocked up on enough groceries to feel comfortable. I am sure as the cupboards go bare I will need to get creative. Last night, I actually went out of my way to be creative...just because I was kind of disappointed at not feeling more challenged as of yet. I made my own dough and baked a flat bread in the oven. Then I sautee'd some Swiss Chard in Olive Oil and Garlic and ate it over the flatbread. Very filling and very delicous!

Tonight is friday night and that means the juicing party throws down at the BSC in Andover. Since I will not be buying produce from the grocery store we will be limited only to fruits and vegetables from the farm stand. Looks like it will be Beets, Greens and a few Apples that were hanging out still at the house.

Tomorrow, I will hit the Farmer's Market in Andover. Look for a blog post on that.

Stay Positive,