Fresh Vegetables, Herbs, and Meat

It’s Farmers Market Time!  We love the fresh vegetables, herbs and meat now available at our market and want to share with you what we planted, cooked with and how we stored the purchases we brought home this weekend.

The beginning of Spring is my favorite time of year — blooming flowers, fruit trees, new vegetables and growing herbs — especially at the farmers market!  Our trip Saturday yielded two blueberry bushes with lots of blooms, 11 herb pots and three tomato plants, all ready to be planted in Roy’s raised container herb garden. He spent the afternoon digging in the dirt, while I am sat in the sunshine writing this post!

Herbs, tomatoes, and blueberries.

Herbs, tomatoes, and blueberries.

The herbs we selected were just a few of the ones planned for the garden.  Some are for culinary uses, some are medicinal and many are for both.

Culinary:  Rosemary, Sage, Thyme, Lemon Thyme, Flat Leaf Parsley, Curley Leaf Parsley, Basil

Medicinal:  Lavender, Comfrey

Both:  Rosemary, Sage, Thyme, Parsley, Basil, Lavender

Next week we hope to add Oregano, Lemon Balm, Tarragon, Mint, Bay, Arugula, Calendula, Chamomile, Marigold, Echinacea, Garlic and Plantain.  We’ll let you know what we get and also how we will be using them, both for cooking and for medicine!

So what did we do with our farmers market produce and meat purchases:  we ate a bit of them and stored the rest for use later this week!

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Best Salad Ever!

Best Salad Ever!

Lunch was great — the Best SALAD Ever! made with red and green leaf lettuce, carrots, spinach, hard boiled egg, avocado, left over roasted chicken and left over beef and sausage Meatloaf Italian Minis topped off with Herbal Balsamic Vinaigrette!  I love this salad because it works with whatever you have on hand.  I have used left over vegetables (sweet potato — so yummy, baked butternut squash, roasted mixed vegetables, brussels sprouts, , broccoli, tomatoes, cabbage, asparagus, roasted garlic), various kinds of fruit (kiwi, pineapple, orange, pear, apple), crunchy nuts (almonds, pecans, walnuts, cashews, macadamias, sunflower seeds, coconut) and any meat you can imagine (pork roast, shrimp, pot roast, short ribs, chicken, sausage, steak, bacon, deli ham, turkey or salami).  Top it off with my favorite Herb Balsamic Vinaigrette salad dressing and it is pure heaven, served in a gigantic bowl!

In addition to produce, we also bought meat — local, pasture-raised, grass and non-GMO corn fed pork sausage, chicken and BACON!  We love our supplier of pork, Po Mans Farms.  There is no recipe I have made lately that is not fabulous with pork sausage added in.  I almost aways, now, add pork to all of my ground beef recipes, including the meatballs for Italian Wedding Soup and a newly listed recipe for Meatloaf Italian Minis that we used in today’s salad.

Coming home from the farmers market with fresh vegetables is wonderful, but knowing how to store and preserve them for use later in the week is important.  The following technique works for most vegetables — except sweet potatoes, garlic and onions, which should be removed from their plastic bags and kept in a cool dark place.

Lettuce inside storage packet.

Lettuce inside storage packet before sealing outside edges.

Lettuce covered with moist paper towel on foil.

Lettuce covered with moist paper towel on foil.

    How to store fresh vegetables:
  • wipe off dirt.
  • lay out a piece of aluminum foil long enough that will wrap around the vegetable.
  • wet and wring out a connected sheet of paper towels that will wrap around the vegetable
  • lay the moist paper towels on top of the aluminum foil.
  • place vegetable in center, wrap with moist paper towels and then foil, sealing edges by folding over twice and crimping, making sure the paper towel is completely tucked inside.
  • label with vegetable name and date.
  • unwrap for use, keeping paper towel moist and then reseal again.

This technique will keep your lettuces, mushrooms, beets, carrots, celery, peppers, etc. crispy and fresh for at least a week — if you do it soon after bringing your produce home!  Don’t lay them out on the counter, get busy and then discover them hours later limp and wilted (I know from personal experience).

Enjoy your lovely Spring weather and your local farmers market — we certainly are!


Recipe for Meatloaf Italian Minis

Meatloaf Italian Minis

Meatloaf Italian Minis

Meatloaf — Italian Minis

Meatloaf -- Italian Minis
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Individual portions of Paleo meatloaf made with ground beef, ground pork sausage, spinach and onions, covered in Italian pasta sauce. As good as your Mom used to make, minus the grain fillers!
Recipe type: Dinner
Serves: 6
  • 1 lb ground Beef, organic, pasture-raised, grass-fed
  • 1 lb ground Pork Sausage, organic, pasture-raised, non-GMO corn fed
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 Onion, diced
  • 4 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 2 cups spinach, chopped
  • 1 cup Organicville brand Pasta Sauce, your favorite flavor (Paleo ok -- agave sweetened)
  • 1 tsp Turmeric
  • 1 tsp Oregano, dried
  • 1 tsp Basil, dried
  • 1 tsp Thyme, dried
  • 1 tsp Parsley, dried
  1. Preheat oven to 400*
  2. In a sauté pan, heat bacon grease or coconut oil on medium, then cook onion, garlic and spinach until softened. Set aside to cool.
  3. In bowl, gently combine beef, sausage and egg using hands.
  4. Add onion mixture, herbs and 4 Tbs pasta sauce, combine again.
  5. Line a baking sheet with foil, place drying rack inside pan.
  6. Form meat into 12+ miniature loaves, about ¼ cup each, placing on the rack.
  7. Spoon additional pasta sauce over top.
  8. Bake for 30 mins.
Serve with extra sauce on top, if desired!

Great with Roasted Vegetables, Asparagus with Scallions, Rosemary Carrots and Cauliflower Mash!


Best Salad Ever!



Best Salad Ever!
A salad to beat all salads! Flexible and delicious!
Recipe type: Lunch
  • Lettuce, such as bibb, green or red leaf, spring mix, spinach
  • Vegetables, such as cooked or raw broccoli, carrots, onions, peppers, sweet potato, butternut squash, cabbage, asparagus, tomatoes, brussels sprouts, mushrooms, avocado.
  • Fruit, such as kiwi, pineapple, orange, pear, apple.
  • Nuts, such as almonds, pecans, walnuts, cashews, macadamias, sunflower seeds, coconut.
  • Meat, such as pork roast, shrimp, pot roast, short ribs, chicken, sausage, steak, bacon, deli ham, turkey, salami, hard boiled egg.
  • Seasonings, such as roasted garlic, turmeric, pepper, dried or fresh oregano, basil, thyme, sage, parsley.
  • Salad Dressing, such as Herbal Balsamic Vinaigrette, Citrus Vinaigrette or Honey Poppy Seed Vinaigrette.
  1. Wash lettuce, spin dry.
  2. Open refrigerator, select ingredients that seem tasty today.
  3. Chop vegetables and fruit.
  4. Choose a large bowl, add salad ingredients.
  5. Add meat last.
  6. Top with salad dressing of choice -- my favorite is Herbal Balsamic Vinaigrette
  7. Enjoy!
I almost always use the combination of hard boiled egg and avocado, plus bacon, because of the richness of flavors. Then I add whatever else I have on hand. That is what makes this salad so great -- it works with all savory and/or sweet ingredients you put together!

Herbal Balsamic Vinaigrette

Herbal Balsamic Vinaigrette
Sweet and tangy herbal balsamic vinaigrette that is perfect drizzled over salads or sautéed fresh veggies.
Recipe type: Salad Dressings, Sauces, and Spices
  • ½ cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 Tbs local Honey
  • 2 tsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1½ tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 Tbs dried Basil
  • 2 tsp dried Thyme
  • ⅔ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  1. Measure ingredients into small bowl.
  2. Whisk thoroughly to combine.
  3. Store in a glass bottle in the refrigerator.
  4. Bring to room temperature and shake vigorously before serving.
My all time favorite salad dressing! It works on any type of salad, especially the Best Salad Ever!


Honey Poppy Seed Vinaigrette

Honey Poppy Seed Vinaigrette
A sweet and tangy salad dressing. Perfect on the Best Salad Ever. Also tastes great on fruit alone.
Recipe type: Salad Dressings, Sauces, and Spices
  • ½ cup Avocado Oil or Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3 Tbs organic Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 Tbs local Honey
  • 1 Tbs Poppy Seeds
  • pinch of Ground Dry Mustard
  • Sea Salt and Pepper
  1. Measure ingredients into small bowl.
  2. Whisk thoroughly to combine.
  3. Store in a glass bottle in the refrigerator.
  4. Bring to room temperature and shake vigorously before serving.


Roy Reached his Paleo Lifestyle Birthday Goal

Roy reached his paleo lifestyle birthday goal, this week!

Yesterday, I turned 56 years old.  And I can tell you after four months of my wellness journey with Tracy, I have never felt better.  We have been eating paleo (since 1 November), going to the gym 2-3 times a week for strength training (since mid-December), and doing basic yoga classes 2-3 times a week (since mid-January) and we are both feeling better than we have in years.

The goal I set for myself, in November 2013, was to lose 25 pounds and to be healthier by my March 2014 birthday.  As you can see in the pictures below, I reached my weight loss goal on 21 February and I have maintained that loss.  BUT, even more important than the weight loss, is that I have totally remade my body, in four short months. Reasons:  (1)  the gym weight machine workouts have GREATLY improved my overall strength, (2) the basic yoga classes have TREMENDOUSLY improved my overall flexibility, (3) eating a healthy paleo diet has TOTALLY reduced the inflammation in my body.

Someone asked me the other day to put a number on how I feel.  I told them I feel as healthy today as I did at age 36.  If they had asked me that question four months ago, I would have told them that I really felt old and like I was about to celebrate my 66th or 76th birthday, not coming up on my 56th.

The best thing about this whole journey, and the real reason I give for all my success; is that Tracy and I are truly partners and doing this together.  I give our teamwork all the credit.  Now, that I have reached and maintained my birthday goal, I wanted to post and share these three pictures that document my progress.  (Tracy’s birthday is in May, so she will post about her success later.)

Menu for a Special Occasion

A special occasion requires a special menu.  Whether it is Valentine’s Day (and you are stuck eating dinner at home because of the snowy winter weather) or a big family meal like Thanksgiving or Christmas or July 4th, having a really outstanding menu that is low stress, easy and truly delicious will make the occasion even more special!

Menu for a Special Occasion

Menu for a Special Occasion

This menu allows you to cook the meat all day, worry free, and roast the vegetables before dinner while preparing the desert.

Entree — Braised Short Ribs

Sides — (1) Roasted Rosemary Carrots and (2) Roasted Asparagus with Shallots

Dessert — Molten Lava Cake and Vanilla Ice Cream

YES, this meal is 100% PALEO!  Even the Molten Lava Cake — which is fabulous and the Vanilla Ice Cream, which is made from coconut milk.

Give this menu a try the next time you have a special occasion!  I’m sure these recipes will become some of your go-to choices.