Saturday, June 28, 2014

Join The Farm Large Share Meal Plan - Week of 6/22

Hello Everyone!  So, this post is a little later than usual, but chances are you have not eaten through your entire box just yet and still have plenty of planning to do. Here are some ideas of what to do with your produce in the coming week.

*Please Note, I am changing our subscription to a Large Share Bi-Weekly, so my next post of this nature will not be until the box pickup on July 10th.  I truly believe that the large share is about the amount of produce a family of 4 should be eating.  Reality is, we are almost there, but not quite. I've found myself with lots of leftovers and freezing a lot.  Be honest with yourself if you are not utilizing everything.  Play around with the size and frequency of your share to get it to be just the right amount for your family.

Large Share Contents - I got some different items than projected & adjusted accordingly. 

Magda Summer Squash
Hass Avocado
Squash Blossoms
Heirloom Bloomsdale Spinach
Scarlet Nantes Carrots
Romaine Lettuce
Ruby Lettuce
Crookneck Yellow Summer Squash
Italian Basil
Rainbow Swiss Chard
Meyers Lemons
Golden Nugget Mandarin Oranges
Green Onions

Carrots & Cucumbers I cut up for snacking. My husband makes this amazing hummus from Barefoot Contessa - we ate the whole batch this afternoon!

Don't forget to make a batch of lemon water - have some every day!  Read about the health benefits of lemon water here.  

Again, we are throwing a bunch of greens into smoothies.

Salad made with lettuce, carrots, green onion, some spinach, oranges, avocado. 

Squash and Chick Pea Mash - use as a sandwich spread.  I'm making it with the Magda Squash.

Herbed Summer Squash and Potato Torte - Green Onions & Crookneck Squash

We have a lot of squash right now!  I like to puree & freeze squash to sneak into pasta sauce & baked goods throughout the year.  Follow these steps HERE and be sure to blanch the squash!

Also try this Yellow Squash and Carrot Puree - yes, it's definitely great as a baby food, but the author of Weelicious (A fabulous website for kid friendly recipes!) points out she enjoyed it growing up & still enjoys it today.  Try it as a side for dinner!  

Lentil Lettuce Tacos - Use the Romaine, Cilantro, Avocado.  With these you do not need to follow the recipe item for item.  I do have lentils in my pantry, but a lot of the other ingredients I'm subbing with what I have on hand. 

Basil Pesto - Sub with a vegan parmesan if going dairy free.

Also check out 10 Delicious Ways to Use A Bunch of Basil!

Lemon-Garlic Rainbow Chard

The Best Healthy Zucchini Bread

Jamberry Nails - Why have I not heard of this fabulousness sooner?!

I am really hard on my nails.  I love having manicures and pedicures.  I pretty much gave up on manicures because I end up chipping them so much.  I tried gels for a while, but can we say toxic?!  Not to mention that my nails got extremely weak - each time I changed them I felt like a whole layer of nail was coming off.  I recently found an article here that also points out the dangers of the UV light involved in gels.  So, for a while now I've just been getting pedicures.  I didn't mind indulging a bit, but even at some cheaper salons the price really adds up after a while.  Plus, I'm a sucker for the extras:  Callous remover?  Sure!  Design?  Absolutely!  If you are a graduate of Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University, or have read his books, you know that if you dive in and get "gazelle intense" about your budget, salon expenses are definitely something to widdle down.  So, I nixed the manicures all together, and have been doing my own pedicures for a few months now.  I bought a pumice stone to remove my heel calluses (works amazing!  Do a little bit every time you shower), and dive in with the pedicures.  I discovered I am not a good nail polisher!  Instead of getting nice sleek pretty nails, it ends up looking like my 3 year old did my nails!  (I love her artistry, but not quite the look I am going for.)  I did find 1 polish that worked ok, OPI's Liquid Sand, but what a pain to take off!  Even after soaking my nails in a non-acetone nail polish remover, I found myself chipping a lot of stuck polish off. 

Enter my friend Claire!  I heard the news that she was starting her own Jamberry Nails business, which gave her some awesome flexibility in her schedule to be able to stay home more to raise her 2 adorable little ones.  (She's also an amazing photographer in the San Diego area - check out her work here.)  What an amazing concept, nail wraps that are easy to apply, last long, look amazing, are non-toxic, & cruelty free!  Plus, they cost a fraction of going to even more reasonably priced salons.  You get a lot of use out of each sheet!

Come join us at Karen's Neat Nails Online Jamberry Party on Facebook.  There are so many styles to choose from and we'll be having some fun games & giveaways too!  Or, click on the link below to check out all that Jamberry offers.  Be sure to select "Karen's Neat Nails Online Jamberry Party" at checkout.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Join The Farm Large Share Meal Plan - Week of 6/16/14

Large Shares

Green Onion
Crookneck Summer Squash
Magda Summer Squash
Golden Nugget Mandarin Oranges
Heirloom Bloomsdale Spinach
Ruby Lettuce
Romaine Lettuce
Patty Pan Summer Squash
Scarlet Nantes Carrot
Ruby Beets

Strawberries as snack on first day!

Salad made with Lettuce, Carrots, Green Onion and anything else on hand from last week or this week.  Remember to prepackage the salads in individual servings for some great lunches.  

Greens - Spinach & Lettuce, are added to morning smoothies. They are a staple in our house!

Orange Tomatillo Salsa 

Speedy Spinach Pesto

Carrot & Zucchini Ribbons with Pesto

Crispy Oven Baked Beet Chips

Tortilla Soup - Squash, Cilantro, Avocado

Crookneck Squash Frittata - Squash, Rosemary 

Baked Patty Pan Squash Parmesan - This was so good a few weeks ago, we're having it again!

Orecchiette with Roasted Fennel and Sausage - I'm using a vegan sausage. 


Saturday, June 14, 2014

Buy School Supplies Now!

If you're lucky enough to be at a school who has already issued the needed supply list for the upcoming fall, do your supply shopping now, especially if you are an Amazon Prime member!  I thought about keeping my eyes out for coupons and shopping for deals at stores throughout the summer, but after seeing the great deals on Amazon right now, I am so relieved to be done with this task!  Many schools are just ending this week and everyone is looking forward to the summer, so school supplies are on sale, keeping more money in your pocket!

I found these Crayola items on my list ALL ON SALE!

Elmer's Glue is also HALF OFF right now!

Headphones were on my list - if you need them too, or maybe just would like some for at home use, check these out!  This is an 85% Savings!

Once again, Off Season Shopping Saves!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Join The Farm Large Box Meal Plan - Week of 6/8/14

Some weeks I'll just keep things short & simple.  Here's the plan! 
*Don't forget to check what you have on hand from last week and use those items first!

Large Shares

Heirloom Bloomsdale Spinach
Magda Summer Squash
Easter Egg Radish
Green Onion
Scarlet Nantes Carrot
Ruby Beet
Romaine Lettuce
Ruby Lettuce
Patty Pan Summer Squash
Golden Nugget Mandarin Oranges

Salad:  Ruby Lettuce, Fennel Fronds, Carrot, Green Onion, Radish, & Orange.  I will probably throw some sliced almonds in there too.  I package this up in individual servings for lunches or snacks throughout the week.  

Snacks:  Carrots, Strawberries & Oranges will be served as snacks. Check out this amazing Hummus to pair with the Carrots:  Barefoot Contessa's Hummus

Lemon Water is always a staple. Throw some mint in too if you have any left from last week.

Spinach will be gobbled up in smoothies, and perhaps even pureed and slipped into some pasta sauce for a boost of nutrition.

Chamomile Herb Tea 

Lemongrass Tea - This was so good last time we got Lemongrass I have to make this again!  Makes wonderful Iced Tea.   

Roasted Radish & Potato Salad with Black Mustard & Cumin Seed 

Summer Squash Couscous with Sultanas, Pistachios, & Mint - Can use Patty Pan, magda, and/or zucchini.  Also uses lemon & mint (last week).  If you've got enough ingredients, why not make a big batch & freeze! 

Mediterranean Garden Frittata - Use more Squash here! 

More Squash Recipes!

Lettuce Cups with Tofu and Beef - I'm using just Tofu.  Use the Romaine & Green Onion for these. 

Beet Green Pesto

Balsamic Glazed Roasted Beets

White Bean Dip with Carmelized Fennel and Toasted Garlic

Tomatillo Avocado Guacamole Dip - Perfect if you've got some Avocados from last week ripening up!


Saturday, June 7, 2014

Saving Money on School Uniforms

Yes, I know, I know - Summer is here!  What am I doing posting about school?!  Well, if you want to save some cash for the upcoming fall, you need to start thinking school now (or a few months ago!), and all of the supplies that go with it.  I am buying school uniforms for the first time.  I am used to getting hand-me-downs, buying my kids clothes used, on clearance and in the off season for the next size up, thereby saving a ton of cash.  To say I have sticker shock on these uniform prices is an understatement!  One can argue that having uniforms is actually saving money for families.  Afterall, back to school shopping is made simpler, perhaps needing a new pair of shoes, some undergarments, socks, and uniform pieces to last a week (or 2 if you are buying for cold and warm seasons).  Considering most families do weekly laundry at least, and that uniforms are usually higher quality, less clothing items will probably be purchased.  That being said, I still like to save as much as possible.  Even in my small bit of experience uniform shopping, I've already picked up on a few money saving tips I'd like to share.

1)  Buy Used:  Ask your school if they offer a used uniform sale.  I was able to score 2 pairs of name brand pants and 2 shirts for a total of $6!  All the proceeds went back to the school. If your school does not have used uniform sales, see if you can network with some other parents and work out a deal to get or purchase some hand me downs from them. 

2)  Shop Off Season:  If your school allows you to shop stores with uniform departments for basic clothing pieces, do it!  Old Navy, Lands End, JC Penney, and Target all have some great options, and are usually less than uniform companies.  If you can use something without a logo, go for it!  I found some basic pants and shorts from Old Navy in the Spring on Clearance.  There are not too many people shopping for uniforms at the middle/end of the school year, so enjoy the savings!  Be sure to estimate some growing room in sizing.  If you find a particularly great deal, stock up. Also be sure to note this on your calendar for next year so you can enjoy the savings then.  If shopping online, be sure to check for coupon codes to enter at checkout and save even more. 

3)  Uniform Company Sales:  Call the uniform company to see if they offer any sales.  They might do sample sales or internet specials.  Be sure to make sure the specials are on pieces your school has approved.  I found a plain fleece jacket for half the price of the logo jacket and a sweatshirt for $3. Too bad the sweatshirt did not come in the size we needed, but deals are out there!  Also check to check for coupon codes on their site.

4)  Visit the Uniform Showroom In Person:  If your uniform company is in reasonable driving distance, go there in person.  You will save shipping costs and be able to try on clothes to get the right size.  If it's a bit of a drive, try to combine errands and visit other stores in the area to save on gas.  Be sure to ask again if they have any sample sales or deals on imperfect pieces!

5)  Keep Checking Online Sales!:  You never know when a deal might pop up!  I just scored a fleece hooded sweatshirt on Kohl's website in one of the approved school colors (and an approved non-logo item) for under $14 shipped!  This was such a steal because who is shopping for fleece in summer?!

6)  Buy with Siblings in Mind:  If you've got a sibling following in your eldest kids footsteps, be sure to take great care of the clothing and save it for them.  This is so easy if you've got siblings of the same gender.  Even for brothers and sisters, a few items are most likely still interchangeable like polo shirts, t-shirts and sweatshirts. 

7)  Keep Learning!:  I just learned 3 more tips from the Life Your Way Blog, including search eBay, choose darker colors and be a a minimalist. 

8)  Sell Uniforms:  When your child grows out of the uniform, sell it or donate it to your school used sale.  You'll be decluttering your home and perhaps making a few bucks back as well. 

Happy Saving!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Join The Farm Large Box Meal Plan - Week of 06/02/14

Hello!  What a beautiful assortment of produce again this week!  I'm still using up some of last weeks box.  We've got some greens we are still throwing into smoothies, I am blanching and freezing the green beans as well as freeing batches of the zucchini banana chocolate chip bread. Here is my plan for this weeks produce.  Keep in mind this is not an all encompassing meal plan, but a plan to utilize all your veggies.  Have fun pairing them with your proteins & grains of choice. Enjoy!

Large Box Contents
Lettuce - 2 varieties
Beets & Beet Tops!  (The beet tops are enormous - I've got to find something to do with them!)
Green Onions
Green Beans
Patty Pan Squash
Cousa Squash
Once again, some carrots and all of the strawberries were gobbled up by my kids during this afternoon of food prep.  It makes my heart happy knowing they are snacking on some of the most nutritious foods!  Oranges will be used for snacks as well.  Avocados don't last long in our house - we eat them a lot!  On sandwiches, tortillas, and simply scooped out of their skin. 

I will prepare a salad made with lettuce, carrots, some leftover radish I still have from last week (this stuff is so fresh it lasts so much longer than store bought!), green onion, and some fennel fronds which will add a slight licorice flavor.  See some more cool things to do with fennel & fennel stalks & fronds HERE

The Kale, more Lettuce & perhaps a few Beet Greens (there are a lot!) will be put into morning smoothies.

Lemon & Mint Infused Water

Fresh Mint Tea

Fennel with Parmesan - This is my go to snack on food prep day!
For something different, try Roasted Potatoes & Fennel

Beet Green Gratin - Utilizing the Beet Greens!

Bistro Beet Burgers - Utilizing the Beets themselves

Salsa Verde - Tomatillos

Zucchini Tacos (use tomatillo salsa here too!)

How To Freeze Patty Pan Squash - I'm saving some for the Fall/Winter!

Lebanese Koosa (stuffed squash) - If going for a vegetarian version, try a vegetarian sausage instead of lamb.

"Chinese Buffet" Green Beans

Honey Glazed Carrots