local

Summer Series: Farmers Market Guide

IMG_3231*Warning: Beautiful pictures to follow. May cause an urge to be out in the Summer sun all day with a green juice.*

I did my first official run to the farmers market about a week ago.  For myself, that means a beautiful day required.  I need to take my time and enjoy what I love to do best.  SHOP FOR FOOD.  I scope the premise and options.  Then I start picking what I like, grab a little snack, and I am on my way.  Simple.

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If you are finally entering a warmer climate for the Spring Season, the markets I believe are finally here and with a lot to choose from.  Now is the perfect time to get the most out of them.  It’s not just about organic and locality, it’s really about getting in tune with yourself and community.  I say yourself, because what the Earth provides you with is what would be most beneficial for you.  You support your health and your community as well.  Knowing where and who is putting the food on your table is rewarding for both sides.

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Where I’m at it’s a late Spring haul.  This is the time for much more seasonal variety.  What we are still loving:

  • Greens – Kale, lettuces, spinach
  • Cabbage
  • Radishes
  • Asparagus

Then we have some new additions:

  • Strawberries
  • Rhubarb
  • Zucchini
  • Spring onions galore! IMG_3185

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With this produce, you are easily good to buy for the week.  And you definitely do not want to skip the herbs.  So many to choose from!  They have both in bulk and then in the pots, which is very accessible and practical for those that want to buy their own to plant.

My personal favorites to always have on hand:

  • Parsley
  • Mint
  • Basil
  • Cilantro

 

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And for my meat-eaters and cheese-lovas, we got you covered.  Most of the meat you see in farmers markets are hormone-free, free-range and pastured raised.  Since not operated by big corporations, you can be assured that animals were raised and killed in humane ways.  You are ALWAYS welcomed to ask questions to the farmers who raise the animals or obtain the meat.  They are usually very pleasant and informative about those things.

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Don’t forget to try out local vendors!  Seriously amazing foods.  Usually made with seasonal ingredients, they are a great way to try something new and get ideas for yourself.

I have a few ideas of my own and have already started!  Can’t wait to share with you all very soon!

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*Pictures from Summit Farmers Market, New Jersey.  Look up your local market here!

 

Whole Foods Favorites

Hey heyy!

Well it is finally here! Spring!!  This Friday will mark the start of a new season, new moon, solar eclipse, and end to the Zodiac Year.  How’s all that for a Friday?  I will most definitely be celebrating 😉

So around this time, it is most popular to talk about slimming down, detoxes, and change of diet.  All very interesting (some of my favorite things to talk about), but I thought we try something new.  I would like to talk about where, how, and why I shop at my favorite store for my favorite buys

Whole Foods Favorites!

These are things I buy as part of my everyday essentials.  When I splurge, where I save, and how it’s actually possible to get yourself a cabinet/fridge/home full of amazing products.

1. Local Fruits and Vegetables.  I know it depends mostly on the time of year and where you live for this to happen, but I’m almost positive I stress it every chance I get.  If you live in the northern part, summer farmers markets are the way to go.  Here in Florida, I noticed quickly the abundance of local vegetables in January!  To say I was excited is an understatement.  Until I find a farmers market in the area, I will continue to shop for more local and pick and choose when to be organic.  Local is usually cheaper, tastier, and always in season.  If it isn’t organic, it’s ok!  Tomatoes and apples are my go-to organics, if not I know that most likely less pesticides and travel time were used before they ended up in the shelves.  This equals yummier and healthier produce!

2. Coconut Oil.  Whether Whole Foods brand or larger named brand, you can usually get a good deal on a jar of coconut oil.  I love organic and fair trade, so Dr. Bronners is my go-to.  I buy a big jar, usually whenever it is on sale because I go through it so fast!  Especially now in a more tropical setting, coconut oil is actually one of the more cooling oils to use for warmer months.  From make up remover, moisturizer, DIY deodorants, and mouth wash, I dare say one day I may have the guts to drink this stuff.  Buy in bulk and distribute how you like!

3. Apple Cider Vinegar.  Yes, because of so many reasons.  Benefits are endless and real.  Buy in bulk and wait for that sale!  So worth it!  So cheap and will last you depend on how much you take advantage of this stuff.  My love for ACV goes into my morning cup of lemon water, EVERYDAY.  As a way to keep your skin and gut happy, it may also be use as a toner and hair shine.  If you tried for anything else, please share!

4. Nut butters.  Whole Foods always has a sale. Whole Foods always has an amazing selection.  Try them out.  Really,  all are beneficial and tasty in there own way.  I’m all about having fun with food.  This is the perfect way.  From traditional, to chocolaty, to cinnamon raisin, you can keep it as healthy or naughty as you like 😉  Whoops!  I’ve enjoyed mine in oatmeal and smoothies, on toast, or straight out of the jar!  Healthy fats and protein any way you like.

4. Toothpaste.  Natural toothpaste is the way to go for me.  I go to Whole Foods for the wide selection, which allows me to pick and choose.  Even though I have my favorite brand Auromere, sometimes if others are on sale, I experiment.  Why not?  This allows you to figure out which works best for you!  And going to a larger supermarket allows for more customized preferences, while trying to stay on YOUR budget.  Why natural though?  Less chemicals and ingredients I don’t understand.  This helps your sensitive gums, strengthen teeth, and keep both you and the environment healthy as well.

5. Pasture-raised or local eggs.  I’m not fully convinced with organic.  I’m more of a “want my chickens to be eating grass and worms all day-everyday.”  Chickens are actually meant to eat insects and feed off of other animals (poop) and grass.  Organic usually means vegetarian-fed and which is still great considering less pesticides and antibiotics.  Although Whole Foods gives me the selection I crave, so I may make my own decisions on how I like my eggs.  I’ve noticed that most New Jersey Whole Foods have local eggs, here in Florida not so much.

These are just everyday and weekly favorites of mine.  Of course, there is so much more I love to buy and try, but I thought I keep with the basic necessities.  You have your veggies, protein, and edible healthy beauty products 😉  I think it’s the perfect time to really get to know your grocery stores, health food stores, and farmers markets.  These items and brands will not only help you transition into a healthier new season, but an overall healthier new way of living.

If you would like to know a little more about certain items, please let me know.  If you are fortunate to live by a major health food store (like myself) check out there products and prices!  I find some stuff to be cheaper and if you are one to get overwhelmed with a lot of choices, definitely check those out.  It’s a great way to try and talk with the workers too, as it’s usually a more intimate setting.

Remember, it’s not easy, especially in our culture, to spend good money on good food.  Choose your priorities.  Choose them wisely and humbly.

 

How To Shop With a Conscious Heart

Good morning, my dears!

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It’s mid-week and I couldn’t be more excited .  The weekend is almost here and by now the daily grind doesn’t seem so dreadful.  I think I feel a bit more refreshed since I had my day off yesterday, so excuse me for my enthusiasm.

Let’s Talk Groceries!

As of late, I have been a little more busier.  What I once loved (and still do) for fun, has sometimes become a chore.  You may say I’ve been spoiled this summer as well.  With the farmers market open, I was able to do most of my shopping there, and well, feel really good about it.  Shopping in the open doors.  Knowing your food is as local as it’s going to get (unless you or your neighbor have a tremendous garden, in that case, I envy you) feels amazing.  You are doing something great for yourself, as well as the others and environment.  It’s healthier, tastier, and more intimate.  When you are a passionate foodie all that is pretty important.

So what to do when you don’t have the time?  It’s hard to do two separate shopping trips sometimes.  Maybe you work when the farmers markets by you are available.  You don’t have the cash at the moment either? (Most small town farmers markets are cash only.)

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I.  Look to see what’s local at your supermarket.  Some supermarkets adversities what is local within their produce.  Of course Whole Foods Market does, but even names like Shoprite and Wegman’s in my neck of the woods do their part.  You are supporting a bigger farm, but also advocating for in season produce that didn’t have to travel so far to make it there.

2.  Buy in season anyway  If you live in the north east coast, you probably do not need that acorn squash from mexico in the dead of summer or strawberries from California in the fall.   Once in a while that is cool, but let me tell you, it will most likely not taste as good or be a price you would enjoy.  In the early summer I may buy peaches from Georgia and in the winter, apples from Washington.  Not as local, but you know it’s that time of year to be enjoying such fruits.

3.  Organic.  Some things just should be organic.  Apples, tomatoes, and strawberries carry the most pesticides when not organic.  I say cut cost where you can.  Bananas, avocados, and garlic are some of the few that I don’t worry as much if I can’t get organic.  Since the peel comes off and you only eat the inside, not as much pesticides have entered the fruit.  This is better for your own well being to some extent, but regardless, I don’t think one should be consuming products from farmers that need to wear masks as protection.

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4.  Fair-trade.  This is an up-and-coming topic right after organic.  Ever think about those farmers from third world countries that are picking your foods?  Quinoa from Peru.  Bananas from Chile.  Rice from India.  Can you believe that the foods they produce in abundance, they do not get to enjoy?  Get paid very little, and struggle.  Fair-trade ensures that those people get to eat to.  They harvest in a safer environment and get enough pay and food for themselves AND families.  It’s a great way to support small communizes around the world.

5.  Enjoy the experience.  Seriously.  Enjoy the me-time from the car ride there.  Enjoy the scenery and colors of the supermarket, that’s what they are geared towards, our senses.  Have fun picking out foods you want to try and can’t wait to have again.  If it’s on sale, splurge on those organic figs from across the country!  It’s not an everyday thing, just a little indulgence.  Maybe pair it with some local/organic cheese 😉 It’s the little things right?

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I hope this helps with your next trip back to the supermarket.  Just some tips and reminders.  I know we are busy and I know we have budgets. Do what you can.  Do it with love!

Till next time, loves

 

yesenia

I Remember!

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Good morning, ya’ll!

If only you knew how truly tired I am.  I’m not complaining, I’m just hinting at the fact that I can’t wait till these closing shifts are over with at work.  Moving from 5am to 11pm will do something to you.  It will turn your meditations into naps, bed into a sanctuary, and then have you craving that morning coffee like some kind of normal adult.  Say whaa? I’m not going to lie though, I’m digging the coffee.

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Anyway, yesterday I decided to go to yoga at 6am, leaving me free from 7am to 3pm.  No errands, not too much school work, so I enjoyed myself.  I took it back.  Way back when I used to cook bad ass meals before work.  Have myself a simple homemade dinner, by yours truly.  I actually took a lot of pride in making something easy, delicious, and made with everything I love and believe in.

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Nothing to special when you just see ingredients, but when you actually take time to know your ingredients.  Produce just picked from your garden.  Veggies from the farmers market.  It’s really something to be able to walk barefoot to get the ingredients you need, or to meet the people that grow humble food to share.

I can honestly say that this year may be the first year that I don’t want summer to end.  Seeing all the media for back-to-school, fall, sweaters (maybe a little excited about this, burden of working in retail).  To be able to enjoy the simplicity of summer meals, summer dresses (I’m actually turning into a shorts and tank mamacita), and just sitting to enjoy that simple summer sun is all I want to enjoy for the next month. This meal was dedicated to that.

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I grilled some eggplant from the garden with zucchini from the market.  A simple organic garbanzo salad with local tomatoes, garden fresh basil, and olives.  Organic cheese for the non-vegans, please!  Organic quinoa on the side, and I couldn’t be more satisfied.

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It maybe in my head, but nothing tastes better than knowing that your food really was made with love.  Taking your time, not having to rush, and really enjoy everything that you are eating.  Of course, it’s impossible to eat like this all the time.  That’s why I’m glad I got to remember!  Working everyday will sometimes drain you.  Who want to cook massive amounts, clean, and worry about what to even make.  That’s what usually goes through my mind and I got accustomed to other people doing the work for me.  Whether in restaurants or even home.

I’m just going to take advantage in when it’s possible.  The sense of pride and joy it really bring to me is unreal.  And what’s even more hard to believe, is that I get to share it.  Whether you are eating with me or reading with me, I just hope you enjoy it too.

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Till next time, my dears,

yesenia

PS.  For the night-time car-rides home…

Productivity

Good morning, loves!

I hope you all got to enjoy your weekend!  Mine was pretty good.   A little bit of work, a little bit of play, and a lot of good 😉

Started my weekend as a my week starts.  Can’t help it.  I love it.IMG_0569

Some of my faves…

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IMG_0605Ending with a Garden Fresh Frittata made by Mama!

I lied.  Weekend ended with a pint of coconut milk ice cream and a movie.  It just seemed like the right thing to do at the time.  Paranorman, anyone?  Pretty good.  Pretty Scary.  

Productivity

So my goal for the week is to be a little more productive.  I noticed that I give myself a lot of time in the morning to do the essentials.  The first hour is always chill time.  Don’t ever take that away from me, you will regret it if you do *Professor Umbridge voice*

Mostly I’m taking about, the next part of my morning.  I’m talking about taking even the only measly 10 min I have more seriously, the hour before yoga, more enjoyably.  Whether it be baking.  Planning the rest of my day.  School stuff.   DYI!!!  I may even have to start writing more lists.  I know some people get a real thrill out of those.  They are alright, I guess.  I used to be better at this, I don’t remember how I let it slip away.  Anyways, let us see how this week goes.  Maybe I may even indulge myself in a bedtime read :*  

Until next time, my dears!

 

yesenia

Tomato and Cucumber Salad with Marinated Olives

Good morning ya’ll!

I hope your ready for an easy delicious recipe.  Lately I’ve been trying to eat delicious food all day everyday.  Even my simple meals are actually things I love to eat and don’t really get tired of.  I thought I continue my summer lovin’ eats yesterday, but with more wholesome homemade meals.

BreakfastIMG_0333Whole grain waffles, organic cream cheese, and local strawberries.  Might become one of my favorite breakfasts.  It was too good.  Cup of coffee on a rainy morning!

LunchIMG_0335Bacalaitos (codfish fritters) con cafe.  My grandma has been on a roll with all this cooking.  Especially vegan/pescatarian cooking.  It’s amazing how easy it is for her to cook for me now, when just a year ago, she never knew what to do.  Believe it or not, I’m a pretty simple girl 😉

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The other day I decided to use up some very ripe tomatoes and cucumbers that have been in my fridge for way to long, before everything went bad.  I used to make simple summer salads all the time so I thought now would be the perfect time to begin once more.  This recipe is actually incredibly easy (umm, 4 ingredients only) and makes for part of a fast and simple dinner.  It’s also very versatile, so there is something for everyone!

IMG_0311Tomato and Cucumber Salad with Marinated Olives

Ingredients

  • 2 tomatoes roughly chopped
  • 2 cucumbers roughly chopped
  • heaping half cup marinated olives (juice included)
  • 2 tbs oregano
  • salt and peppa if needed

Toss the tomatoes, cucumbers, and olives together in a large bowl.  Add oregano and taste.  Depending on how your olives were dressed you may want to add more salt and pepper.  I did not, as I thought the olives gave the salad enough saltiness and tang for myself.

IMG_0342That’s it!  So simple!  I enjoyed mine with some fresh mozzerella cheese.  Make it vegan with some chickpeas!!  Add some quinoa for a great one bowl meal.  With some veggies on the side and some meat/fish.  You have an amazing full and healthy meal.

IMG_0343Roasted eggplant and zucchinni and quinoa to soak up all the juices 🙂

This is perfect for summer.  With mostly chopping you can get away with something filling and cooling.  I roasted my vegetable just because I was too lazy to mess with the grill, but I highly recommend being nothing like me and grill the hell out of your veggies.  Always worth it.  The quinoa was made a couple days before as we use it for the week for salads and sides.

Enjoy my loves,

yesenia

P.S  I was definitely on a dairy kick yesterday.  I think I’m done for few days, for my tummy will thank me.

Fried Egg and Goat Cheese Sandwich with Sauteed Mushrooms and Onions

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Mornin’ ya’ll!!!

Hope you guys had an amazing weekend!!!  Mine was pretty decent.  A little bit of work, play, and of course food.

Which of course brings me to this spectacular meal.

You know those times when you can eat anything even if it tastes like cardboard, just because you’re so damn hungry.  I especially love to hear the stories about cereal or peanut butter sandwich for dinner because you’re too damn tired.  Been there done that.  My hunger and lazy issue was in full gear yesterday.

I was going to do take out, but… I’m cheap.  And that would have taken even MORE time!  So I took matters into my own hands.  I got some of last weeks produce (two weeks old if we are being honest)  and got to using some will-be-going-bad-soon cheese, mixed with a fresh loaf of bread from whole foods and some cilantro.  Local bread, local eggs, local cheese.  BAM!!!

 

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Fried Egg and Goat Cheese Sandwich with Sauteed Mushrooms and Onions

  • 2 handfuls cremini mushroom, sliced
  • 1 small red onion, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • oil (safflower is best)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 loaf/roll of fresh bread
  • 1 block of fresh goat cheese
  • fresh cilantro
  • sea salt (my favorite is himalayan)

Over medium heat, add about a tablespoon or two of oil in the pan.  Place onions first and sweat out for about 3-5 minutes.  While waiting prep your bread on the plate.  Cut in half or break apart.  I love imperfection, so I tear it.  Once soft and translucent add garlic and mushrooms.  Season with salt and transfer on top of the bread when done.  In the same pan, add a bit more oil.  Crack your egg and put right on top.  Let it sizzle and begin to cook and brown around the edges.  Flip over, and let it cook for about 30 seconds.  Transfer onto cooked veggies.  Crumble goat cheese ontop.  Garnish with a plethora of cilantro.  With an helping of sea salt, you’re good to go!

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Enjoy!

 

yesenia