Dec 29, 2010


December 29, 2010

It's been a while! I can't think of a better way to revive this blog than with a post about how much I can't stand WalMart.
It's copied and pasted from my other blog, and I really, really, really hope you'll repost the story so I can find this great guy.

Even Jesus has an Issue with WalMart


Love it. Hate it. Love to hate it.

I don't know about you, but for me, those very seven letters conjure up so much. So many feelings, so many memories, so much frustration, rage, confusion, and a host of disturbing images that are forever seared into my cerebrum. If you're not sure what I'm talking about, and longing to understand, go ahead and hop on over to People of WalMart--whoa my word.

Whoa. My. Word.

Aside from a cheap eyeliner or two, I can't say I've ever had my ups with WalMart, but I've certainly had my share of downs, and as a result, in April 2010, I made a solemn vow to never step foot in my local WalMart ever, ever, ever again. Click here and here to read the story of the straw that broke the camel's back--you know, I'm the camel.

But from time to time, as we all know, even the most benevolent of nuns has been known to sell her soul to the devil. That's right, eight months later, I broke my vow and I went back. I did it in the name of an iPod Shuffle.

It's embarrassing to admit, but I think I love my iPod more than I love my husband. It's my sanity on my runs, in the car, at work, while I slave around in the kitchen. Its company and support are unconditional. My husband? Well, he only hangs around when I'm being pleasant. Clearly, the iPod wins.

Tragically, I lost my love a few weeks back. I think it happened after a trail run near the local high school. When I piece it all together, I'm quite sure I left it on the roof of my car and carelessly drove away. It's so sad I could cry just typing this--it's cold and alone, probably sitting in a puddle attached to my $23 ear buds that are specially designed for people with completely stupid shaped ears. Ugh, I mustn't go on.

In a moment of desperation, combined with a splash of middle class crunch, I decided I couldn't wait long enough to save up the money for a new iPod Nano. I'd bite the bullet and use a Sam's Club gift card to buy a Shuffle for $40 today.

Except my neighborhood Sam's Club was fresh out of Shuffles.

I didn't want to do it, I really didn't, but I glanced at the back of the gift card and sure enough, it was redeemable at WalMart. So I checked their website, and dang, my local store had plenty of Shuffles in stock--green, orange, and pink. My old iPod was green, so I decided I'd get the green one and pretend it was my Nano's little newborn baby.

At three o'clock, I picked up two hungry, tired kids from daycare and drove twenty miles to the crappiest place on Earth. We parked fifty miles away, and I pushed a cart with a bum wheel through a super slushy parking lot, in ten degree weather. We walked through the doors, were greeted by the same greeter who was there in April, and headed straight back to electronics.

Where were proceeded to find no iPod Shuffles in no colors because WalMart sucks.

But we were there, and I had broken my vow, and since the groceries truly are an arm and a leg cheaper at WalMart, I decided to load up on everything we could ever possibly need. From bags of flour to four pounds of cheese, my cart was completely mounded over. My sweet, little fourteen-month-old was wedged between two gallons of milk and six bags of frozen peas because "I don't care how cold you are! Muscle through it, Maggie! We're gonna save some money, damn it!"

After we packed every cubic inch of the cart with every food item we possibly could, we took one last spin through the electronic section, just to be sure that WalMart still sucked.

Yup, it did. Not a Shuffle in sight.

So we headed to the checkout, where Jan (names have been changed to protect the woman I'm dying to tackle) started to scan my items. When she was on the fourth or fifth item, a 40-something year old man (tall, good looking, great hair, nice jeans, and super fancy ski jacket--not your typical WalMart patron) approached her.

I heard him say, "Hey Jan, after....[whisper, whisper, whisper]...Okay? Okay?" Then he walked away.

I don't even know how to describe it. Jan had the most horrified look on her face that I think I've ever seen. I had no idea what he'd just whispered in her ear, but according to her expression, it couldn't have been remotely acceptable. He didn't fit the profile of your typical creeper, but she looked genuinely disgusted.

I said, "Are you okay? What'd he just say to you?"

And Jan said, "He's a creep. What a creep. He's just a creep. And a pervert."

So I said, "Are you sure you're okay. He's right over there. Should we tell your manager? Or security?"

"No," she said, "he's just a creep."

Jan continued to scan my items, and when there were three or four left, the man came back. And this time, he wanted to talk to me. Obviously, my guard was up. I didn't know what he was trying to do, but I had my two kids, so I decided I just wouldn't engage him.

He came up to me and said, "Hi!"

I looked at Jan, she gave me a very cautious shake of the head, and I said nothing.

He held out some sort of business card and I simply said, "No thank you."

He politely said, "Are you sure?"

And I said, "No thank you."

He smiled and said, "Really? You're sure?"

This time, I glanced down at the business card and noticed that it was black and said Random Acts of Christmas across the front. I didn't know what to think, so I made eye contact with the cashier one more time, and she shook her head and warningly widened her eyes again.

"No thank you," I said, in the most assertive tone I could muster.

The man shrugged and walked away, looking a smidge defeated. He met up with his wife and two daughters and they walked toward the exit. He looked innocent enough, but the cashier had convinced me that this guy was no good. According to her expression, he pulled that card straight out of his butt, or the card was an evil piece of paper that wanted to beat me up and steal my wallet.

"What a creep," she said again. "Pervert."

"What'd he say to you? I have no idea what just happened," I replied.

"Ugh," she continued. "He wanted to pay for your entire order of groceries. That just didn't seem right to me. What a disgusting creep!"

Did you catch that? HE WANTED TO PAY FOR MY ENTIRE $150 ORDER OF GROCERIES. It was exactly what the card said it was--a Random Act of Christmas.

"He what?" I asked, thinking maybe I had misheard.

"He wanted to pay for all of your stuff! What's he trying to do?"

He was trying to be nice. That's what he was trying to do.

I silently took my receipt and pushed the cart with the bum wheel past this really weird middle-aged couple that was chopping their daughter's hair off with a jack knife (seriously, what the hell WalMart?). I trudged the fifty miles back across the slushy parking, feeling like an absolute turd for treating a random good Samaritan like a creepy pervert--you know since the WalMart employee told me that's exactly what he was.

I went home, and before I took the groceries out of the car, I Googled "Random Acts of Christmas." Go ahead and try it. He was a nice guy, who had worked up the courage to do a nice thing for a total and complete stranger. I so wish I had taken him up on it.

I wish I could find this guy.

I just want him to know that if he prayed to find the right person, he succeeded. He has no idea how much we could have used a cart load of groceries right now. Even though I completely ruined it for him, I want him to know how grateful I am for his kindness and generosity, and for trying to help a frazzled mother on a really tight budget.

And more than anything, I want him to know that WalMart sucks so much. Not only have they managed to find another creative way to crap on spirit of Christmas, but they took it a step further and told me that my Christmas Angel was a "creepy pervert." Completely not cool.

Honestly, I want to find this guy--not for the groceries, just so I can explain how it all went down, say sorry, and tell him how much I hate that store. I don't usually ask my readers to link to my posts, but if you're willing, today's the day. If we find him, I'll do a really awesome giveaway in his honor.

He was maybe in his forties. He was tall, had a sweet ski jacket, two daughters, one wife, and goes to a nice church that challenged him to commit a Random Act of Christmas. He didn't look like he was from Maine, but he was in the Augusta WalMart around 5 o'clock, hanging around the actual creepy people who decided to lop of their kid's hair with a leatherman (really, that was one of those cerebrum-searing moments that I'll carry to my grave). Maybe he was taking his family on a ski trip?

Will you give me a link and help me find him? I'll swear I'll host a kickasstic giveaway to celebrate.

I'm telling you, I can't rest until I can look this man in the eye, thank him, and testify to him that WalMart has managed to ruin the whole "Peace on Earth Good Will to Men" thing.

I've said it once and I'll say it again--WalMart sucks.

Now where's m'damn Shuffle?

Sep 30, 2010

I'm a Carrot!

Check it out! I'm a carrot!

I insisted on being the carrot since it was the only vegetable with a hat. Everyone was saying that my sister-in-law is supposed to be lettuce, but those people obviously aren't members of a CSA. Clearly, Alicia is a bok choy.

I've got to say, the vegetable that has (surprisingly) proven to be the most challenging this summer, is cabbage:

We seem to get cabbage every week. I'm not sure how to preserve it, and other than salads and cole slaw, I'm not even sure how to eat it. But this week, I made a giant pot of Cabbage and Beef Soup, and it totally hit the spot:

I added some CSA celery to the mix, and used stew meat instead of ground beef, but other than that, I followed the recipe to the letter.

I made of loaf of Gorgonzola Bread with Kale to go with it:

If that looks good to you, check out the recipes tab, follow the directions for Spinach and Feta Bread, and switch it out for kale and gorgonzola. Yumm-o.

Seriously. So good.

Last night it was unseasonable summerish, so we ate outside on the deck:

We had a grilled chicken, a CSA salad, CSA sweet potato fries, and the rest of the bread:

Those are baked sweet potato fries and they're way good.

...especially as leftovers with breakfast.

Sep 23, 2010

Squash Extravaganza!

Wow. I can't believe I haven't posted in a week. I guess that's what a fancy, high-paying job can do to a girl. Kidding, kidding. If they paid me in snocones, I'd probably be better off.

Check out last week's share:

Isn't it pretty?

But really, what's a girl to do with so much butternut squash?

Make soup, that's what!

First you peel and cut the squash:

Then you pull out the CSA onions and potatoes that you have lying around:

You chop 'em all up, and throw 'em in a pot of boiling chicken broth, like this:

You wait until they're super soft, you mush everything up with an immersion blender and you've got perfectly creamy, virtually fat-free soup!

But if you're me, you add a few cups of whole mile and half a stick of butter--you know, just to bring out the flavor.

I also made a pork pot roast this week, and flavored it with CSA garlic and sage:

Made this big ass roasted squash thing filled with stuffing on the side:

And we had ourselves a meal fit for the 1950s!

Sep 16, 2010

Quite Possibly My Biggest Accomplishment To Date

No, not these roasted vegetables (potatoes, turnips, and onion):

Not these roasted vegetables, either (potatoes, kohlrabi, and beets):

Not this chicken salad made with CSA onion, CSA sage, and local apples:

And most definitely not this plain old boiled zucchini:

I'm talking about green tomato relish, and I canned it all by m'dang self!

 I won't be modest here...I've run some marathons, I've earned a degree or two, and I'm married to the hottest and richest man I've ever had the pleasure of laying my eyes upon. But all that stuff completely pales in comparison to the fact that I JUST CANNED SOMETHING!

If you want to get technical about it, I only actually canned two jars. And it's a food that most of the human race would turn their nose up at. But I did it, and consequently I feel like the freaking domestic goddess of the universe.

So what is it? What did I can?

I'll tell you if you promise to keep an open mind.


Green tomato relish.

That right, sweet relish made with green tomatoes instead of cucumbers. I had no idea what to do with six green tomatoes, and this was the answer that came to my heart when I took it up with Almighty Google. And honestly, I'm not even lying here, it's good as all get out. Tastes just like the crap you buy off the shelf at Hannaford.

You can find the whole recipe here, and just so you know, I left out the peppers and quartered the batch.

And now, without further ado, I give you the complete pictoral presentation.

First, I chopped up the tomatoes and the onion in my leeeeetle, tiny food processor:

Then, as you can see in this $%&*@! sideways picture that doesn't want to flip, I let the mush drain through some cheese cloth for an hour or so:

Then I mixed in the vinegar, sugar, spices, and let it simmer for tenish or twelvish minutes:

And then.....then.....THEN!!!!!.....

I canned it, bitch!

Sep 15, 2010

Ghost Schlong

So I finally managed to use that creepy ass daikon radish that came into my life two-or-so weeks ago. I'm sorry, I mean absolutely no disrespect to the hardworking farmers who toiled over that daikon, or to the innocent plant itself, but that sucker was the spitting image of a ghost penis.

I wasn't about to bite into that thing, let alone swallow it, so I took the path of least resistance, and used it to make chicken stock:

I took some meaty/bony chicken pieces, a CSA onion, some CSA herb, the diakon and let it all go in the crock pot for approximately one billion hours.

Then I threw the chicken bones and the daikon in the good old fashioned trashola, added some noodles, and had the best bowl of chicken noodle soup I've ever tasted. For real:

I made this bread to go along with it:

The picture's blurry, but that's okay--the bread sucked. It was white bread with CSA dill and oven roasted tomatoes, which sounds like such a nice idea, but it was all wrong, damnit. All wrong!

I'm trying to sound like I'm on a soap opera.

Sep 9, 2010

Soup & Sandwich

Still have that damn daikon radish hanging around in my fridge. Maybe I'll tackle it for lunch. Or maybe I'll return it to Long Meadow Farm this afternoon with a note that says "Thanks, but no thanks!" Either way, I'll let you know.

If you don't find this scene completely inspiring, then I don't know what to do with you:

Ooooooooohhhhhhh. It's a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with a side of CSA celery. What can I say? Sometimes I like to eat like a fourth grader.

And here's dinner from last night:

Soup is an excellent way to clear out the crisper the night before CSA pick-up day. This soup had squash, potato, kohlrabi, bush beans, lentils, and I don't know what else--but it was good.

Sep 8, 2010

Holy Tomatoes!

You guys are good. Those tentacle-y turnipy things were in fact kohlrabi. And that totally creepy white thing (that's still in my fridge and is giving me the nervous sweats since tomorrow is CSA day and I still haven't used it up)? That's a daikon--true in the flesh. I'll let you know what comes of it.

Last Thursday we scored about one and a half million tomatoes in our CSA basket. And I won't lie, I was a little heavy handed with the overflow bin. On Monday, we still had a bazillion tomatoes sitting in the crisper, so I went to work preserving.

I know nothing (NOTHING!) about canning, so I went another route--I made 'sun dried' tomatoes, and it was super easy.

First, I cut a bunch of tomatoes in half, laid them on a cookie sheet and sprinkled them with olive oil and salt:

Then I put them in a 200 degree oven. After 3 hours, the looked like this:

After 6 hours, they achieved the enlightened state of tomato Nirvana, and looked like this:

They'll last for a long ass time in the fridge, and they're quite freezable, too. I've looked around and found that for a Roma-sized tomato or larger, you'll want to let them go in the oven for 12-or-so hours. But these were weenie little suckers.

And I made some crushed tomatoes, too. As classy as it would have been to can 'em, I didn't. So into the depths of my freezer they'll go:

My friend Brianne--who happens to be the best cupcake photographer this side of the Mississippi--has a fantastical crushed tomato tutorial on her blog. Click on over you fools!

Sep 7, 2010

Week 13: Name that Vegetable

It's week 13 of the CSA, and as usual, we're swimming in vegetables:

Here's the breakdown:
4 onions
1 cucumber
2 bags of mixed greens for salad
2 summer squash
1 light green squash
2 bags of potatoes
2 bunches of celery
6 big tomatoes
2 bags of little tomatoes
1 bag of bush beans
1 bunch of turnips? radishes? I don't know...
1 bunch of beet greens
and some mystery vegetables

Here's a close up of the haul:

Wait. What the???

And get this, it's not the only mystery vegetable of the week. There's this one, too:

This white thing is about a foot long and just about as phallic as a vegetable can get--no jokes required.

So. Name those veggies...

Sep 2, 2010

Make Your Own Yogurt

(just so you know, there's another new post down there...)

I've got to admit, this post has nothing to do with Long Meadow Farm CSA and only a teeny-weenie bit to do with eating local. But since you're reading this blog, I'm pretty sure you'll be into this kind of thing.

In case you haven't heard about it, crock pot yogurt is the hippest thing on the block. If you want to up your cool factor, you should definitely give this a spin.

And it's easy, too.

1. Take a half gallon of milk and dump it into your crock pot. Any milk will do, except for ultra-pasteurized milk, and I've got to say, most of the organic milk you can buy at the grocery store is ultra-pasteurized, so pay attention. Also, you should start with whole milk, and once you get a hang of it, go for something less fattening--if you care about that kind of thing.

2. Turn your crock pot to low and let it sit for 2 1/2 hours.

3. Unplug your crock pot and let the milk sit for 3 hours.

4. Scoop a few cups of milk out of the crock pot, and whisk the warm milk together with a cup of live/active culture yogurt. You'll have to buy yogurt from the store the first time to get it started, but after your first batch is a raging success, you can use your own as a starter.

5. Dump the yogurt/milk mixture back into the crock pot.

6. Wrap the crock pot in 2 or 3 beach towels and let it sit for 12ish hours.

When all is said and done, you end up with this:

A giant vat of yogurt!

My friend gave me this jar of local vanilla peach sauce, so I added it to the yogurt to really up the kazaam factor:

And here it is in all it's glory:

And of course, to give you a better sense of the actual quantity, I give you my husband as a point of reference:

Hot damn! Now that's a lot of yogurt!

Preserving Onions

Onions last a really long time--I'm not sure why, but they do. We got about 1,000,001 onions in last week's CSA share and we're expecting storage onions this week, so I decided to do something with what we already had.

Onions are one of the easiest vegetables to preserve and store. All you have to do is put on your kid's swimming goggles (this is the most important step--really), chop up a zillion onions, put them in Ziploc bags, and stick 'em in the freezer.

No blanching, no canning, so swearing, no anger. Just take a look at these:

You can do the same thing with green beans.

These pre-chopped onions would be great in omelets, chili, casseroles, on top of pizza, in pasta get the idea.

Now stop it with the excuses. This crap is way easy.

Aug 29, 2010

Scenes from My Kitchen

This is a view from the share two weeks ago. The extra basket was completely overflowing, so I helped myself to an assload of purple beans. Carrots and M&Ms aren't the only rainbow veggies anymore:

This was also is the basket two weeks ago. You know how pugs are so freaking ugly that they're actually super cute? I feel the same way about this tomato--or maybe I just feel bad for it. As if its looks weren't rugged enough, it was the size of a softball on steroids--a total fat girl:

This was roasted carrots, beans and onion with bratwurst, leftover sucker sauce and rice:

$5 gas station pizza with heirloom tomatoes and some good ol' full fat ranch:

This was last week's share--thanks to the overflow basket, it was the week of the onion:

Basil, sage, cilantro, dill and parsley from the pick-your-own section. This probably would have cost $45 at Hannaford:

Pasta with caramelized onion and pesto:

And herbed salad--mescalin greens, tomatoes, green onion, dill, parsley, cilantro, basil, and a whole lotta love:

I'm so fancy I can hardly stand it:

And tonight we had grilled chicken and veggies: