Summer’s Abundance

Photo of the Day
September 11, 2012

This is my second food photo this week and it’s unusual for me to post food photos. I’ve been the recipient of home-grown vegetables this week and I can’t resist the brilliant colors and the beauty of this food. My own basil plants are growing like weeds. Many of us use our homes for cooking and eating. This is the perfect time of year to cook, making the most of the summer harvest. Bon appétit!

A medley of zucchini, red pepper, garlic, slivered almonds, fresh basil, Parmesan cheese, sea salt and pepper.

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Green Tomato and Silver Fork

Photo of the Day
September 8, 2012

A friend gave me this tomato from her garden. I love tomatoes. This was a feast for both the eyes and the palate.  It’s not everyday I get a green tomato; I loved the color as much as the taste.

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Farmers Market Finds

The Minneapolis Farmers Market
A Photo Walk Tour–Part 2

Flowers and Jeans
Burst of Floral Color
Lettuce Wrapped in White Paper
Rooster Feet and Shadows
Metal Birds Flock Together
Sea of Flowers
Green Stalks Tied with Red
Pasta and More

See more photos and learn more about the Minneapolis Farmers Market:

It’s Not All Food at the Farmers Market

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Yum! Yum! YoYo Donuts in Minnetonka

Made From Scratch Donuts


Contemporary Concept–Classic Recipes

I have always loved donuts. Each one is a small cake with a hole in the middle. Plentiful flavors and toppings to choose from. Some filled, some not. In recent years they haven’t been good for us due to what has gone in to them.

They’re different at YoYo Donuts. These are made from scratch each day and have no trans fats. They’re also peanut and nut-free for those with allergies. YoYo Donuts doesn’t use preservatives or dough extenders. Instead, they take classic recipes using real ingredients such as their flour blend that is a mixture of wheat flour, barley flour, potato flour, and some special spices. The result? Donuts with a wonderful taste and texture.

YoYo Donuts is more than a donuts and coffee shop. They serve lunch fare each day as well. Sandwiches and salads are made fresh in the kitchen each day. Three soups a day are available in fall and winter. Take it to go or eat at one of the tables in the seating area that has plenty of natural light from the large windows.

YoYo Donuts is a family owned, independent business. If you’re a regular reader of my site, you know how I feel about patronizing our local businesses (see my post Keeping It Local).  Free WiFi and parking.


YoYo Donuts and Coffee website
5757 Sanibel Drive in Minnetonka MN.
Off Shady Oak Road, just north of Highway 62 in the Sundial Center.
Mon-Sat: 6:00am–4:00pm
Sundays: 7:00am–Noon

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“Star Berries”

It’s blueberry season and the pickings are good right now. The blueberry is one of the few fruits that are native to North America. The Northeast Native American tribes revered blueberries and the elders of the tribe named them “star berries” due to the shape of a perfect five-point star blossom at the end of each blueberry.

Blueberries, also known as “star berries”, are ready to pick and eat.

Blueberries can be enjoyed in a multitude of ways: plain, in cereals, in pancakes and waffles, on ice cream, in pies, in muffins and scones, in a salad, in a smoothie, etc. I recently picked my own blueberries at Blueberry Fields of Stillwater. They’re easy to pick and it’s a good way to save money at the grocery store. And these are grown without pesticides, a definite plus!

Pick your own blueberries at Blueberry Fields of Stillwater

Bev, one of the owners of Blueberry Fields of Stillwater,
greets you and shows you how to pick if it’s your first time.
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My box of blueberries and a sheet with several recipes. Picking is easy.
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Beautiful, ready to eat and wonderfully fresh.
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Bev and Mike O’Connor of Blueberry Fields of Stillwater
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Check their website for a schedule of picking times:

Blueberry Fields of Stillwater

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Blueberries are a real food that are naturally good for you:

Nutrition Facts on Blueberries

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Beauty and Bread

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in,
where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.”
—John Muir

Flowers next to a window in a restaurant

The photo above was taken at Forepaugh’s Restaurant in Saint Paul, Minnesota. They served us a potato bread that was delicious. You can always taste the difference between homemade bread and store-bought bread. If you like homemade bread, here’s a recipe for a quick bread that is flavored with savory herbs. Bon appetit!
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Herb and Onion Quick Bread Recipe

Ingredients:

1/2 cup milk
1-1/2 T sugar
1 t salt
1 T butter
1 package yeast
1/2 cup warm water
2-1/2 cups white or whole wheat flour
1/2 small onion, minced
1/2 t dried dill weed
1 t crushed, dried rosemary

Directions:

  1. Scald the milk and dissolve in it the sugar, salt, and butter; cool to lukewarm.
  2. In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Add the cooled milk, minced onions and herbs. Stir well with a large wooden spoon.
  3. When the batter is smooth, cover the bowl with a towel and let the dough rise in a warm place until triple in bulk—about 45 minutes.
  4. Stir down and beat vigorously for a few minutes, then turn into a greased, small loaf pan (or a couple of smaller loaf pans). Let stand in a warm place about ten (10) minutes before putting in a preheated, 350 degree oven.
  5. Bake for about an hour. Smaller loaf pans make bake faster so check accordingly.

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“When you have only two pennies left in the world,
buy a loaf of bread with one, and a lily with the other.”
—Chinese Proverb

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Cool Lemonade for a Hot Day

Simple, natural and great tasting.

It’s been hot and humid here in Minneapolis these past couple of days. One simple way to take the heat off is to enjoy a cold glass of homemade lemonade. It’s a simple thing to make from scratch and fresh lemon juice produces a far superior lemonade than a powder mix.

One handy tip is to make a simple syrup by dissolving the sugar in hot or boiling water before mixing it with the freshly squeezed lemon juice. By dissolving the sugar, you don’t end up with crystals of sugar swimming in your glass, or floating to the bottom of the glass and pitcher.

If you don’t own a citrus juicer, simply cut the lemon in half, hold the halved lemon over a bowl, insert a fork into the pulpy section, and then squeeze the lemon and twist the fork until all the juice is extracted. Remove any seeds that have fallen into the bowl and you’re ready to use the juice for lemonade. Substitute limes for lemons or use a combination of lemons and limes for variety.

Ah, so refreshing. Enjoy!
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Everyone has their own preference for how sweet or tart they like their lemonade. Adjust the amount of sugar you use according to your own taste. I’ve also heard of people using maple syrup in place of sugar. I haven’t tried it yet but I think it could be quite tasty this way!

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Your Kids will Eat More Veggies if…

Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution has been working to get kids to eat more veggies. Not only that, it’s been bringing to light that some kids can’t identify foods such as potatoes, carrots, eggplants, etc. They don’t necessarily know that the French fries they eat are made of potatoes.

The start of my own container garden: fresh herbs.

I realize most of us are not growing up on family farms these days. The good news is that if you have a yard, a balcony, or can find a community garden plot, you can start a garden of your own and grow some veggies.

If you’d like to learn about gardening with your children, check into Gale Woods Farm’s “Gardening for the Whole Family” event on Saturday, May 15th from 9:00 a.m. to noon. This is an introductory class that shows how to turn a grassy patch into a fun, productive garden. It’s for kids aged 3 and up. Cost is $6 per person and reservations are required. Register online or by calling Gale Woods Farm at 763-694-2001.

If you can’t make the Gale Woods Farm class, here’s more information about how to grow a healthy vegetable garden. It’s chock full of good how-to information, including what to plant given the amount of sun your garden will have each day.

This Old House: Grow a Healthy Vegetable Garden

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Bobby Flay vs. Izzy’s Ice Cream

Homemade ice cream takes the cake, figuratively speaking.

Spring begins, here in the United States, on March 20th. Warmer temperatures outside turn my thoughts to ice cream. Nowadays there is an abundance of flavors to be sampled. This is especially true when visiting a shop with its own homemade ice cream.

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The Izzy Scoop at Izzy's Ice Cream Shop in the Merriam Park neighborhood of Saint Paul MN

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We have several such shops here in the Twin Cities that are definitely worth the trip.There’s Sebastian Joe’s in Minneapolis (Linden Hills and Lowry Hill locations), Pumphouse Creamery in Minneapolis (near Lake Nokomis on Chicago Ave and 48th St), Sonny’s Ice Cream (made and served at Crema Cafe on Lyndale Avenue South in Minneapolis), and Izzy’s Ice Cream Shop in Saint Paul.

I’m giving special attention to Izzy’s for a couple of reasons. First, the shop is doing things to minimize their energy usage; they’ve installed rooftop solar panels and they deliver ice cream in high tech insulated bags, thereby eliminating the need for freezer trucks.

Secondly, they participated in a televised food competition with internationally known chef, Bobby Flay. Filming took place in August of 2006. Jeff Sommers, owner of Izzy’s, made his award-winning Hot Brown Sugar recipe. Bobby Flay made Raspberry Stracciatelle Ice Cream. The judges gave the top score to Izzy’s.

And yet a third thing I like about Izzy’s: The Izzy Scoop. This is a small, additional scoop of ice cream atop your cone that allows you to try a second (or third if you get a double scoop cone) flavor. Let’s celebrate spring and support some of our local businesses by indulging in this old-fashioned treat.

Read Izzy’s Ice Cream Shop newsletter describing the event: scoop_sept_06

Visit the Resources page for links to all the ice cream shops mentioned here.

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Grow Good Food

Wow! You Can Grow Food Almost Anywhere!

The question used to be “How does your garden grow”? A more apt question today might be “Where does your garden grow”?

It’s time to think outside the box…er, or perhaps outside the planter container, the yard, and the garden plot. Consider more outrageous, yet entirely capable, avenues for gardening. Check out the slide show below and prepare to be enchanted and inspired. Spring is coming soon, is it not?

The Incredible Edible Urban Garden

Are you chomping at the lettuce to get your own urban garden planted? I know I am. Send me some photos of your creative gardens now or later and I’ll post them here. Let’s start arugula-revolution!

Watch this video to see a truck transformed into a “farm”. So cool!

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Now, let’s eat some homegrown foods. Bon appetit!

Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual

Home, on one level, is certainly about food. A home with food is a welcoming home that’s about nourishment, sustenance, gathering, and contentment.

Food choices today are abundant, both inside and outside of the home. I regularly hear people commenting about their eating choices. Below is a link to an article that has simple food for thought. And this post is my wish to you for good eating, good health and good living.

Rules Worth Following, for Everyone’s Sake

One of my favorite Minneapolis restaurants (located in Uptown) offers both delicious and healthy food choices: Lucia’s

I’m posting this on a Monday, the one day of the week that Lucia’s is not open. But visit it another day for an epicurean treat. Lucia’s includes a restaurant, a wine bar, and a To Go shop. Bon appetit!

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