Spring Changes

 spring garden/mygoodcleanfood.com spring garden/mygoodcleanfood.com

I’ve been burning the midnight oil lately trying to prepare the next big thing. We’re days (I hope!) away from launching our very own, REAL WEBSITE! I ‘m really quite terrified, especially after a long hiatus and with a busy life, but I’m sort of over waiting around for something awesome, so instead I’m making it. I’m working on branding, designing, and hopefully making it a beautiful and welcoming place for you to visit, to peruse, dream and maybe even decide it’s time for you to dig in. This is hard work for the computer UN-learned.

spring garden/mygoodcleanfood.com

We’ve had spring snow the last two days here. Cold and icky, but prior to the icky, we got a good taste of real spring. Buried under a thick blanket of hay, we had some winter survivors. Beautiful, tasty green things. My almost three-year-old little girl thinks she’s sneaking when she tucks away a spinach leaf, and then another, and then another, chewing them up with great delight.

spring garden/mygoodcleanfood.com

Our garden is much more than a place to grow food. It is our hard-work training ground, a science experiment, an escape, our favorite picnic spot, the raspberry patch, our compost pile, and place to dig badger holes, get dirty, take out aggressions, and yes, even sneak a spinach leaf or two.

Banana Bread and Seed WINNER!

Dear Friends,

It’s late, late, late Tuesday night and I’ve just finished baking another loaf of banana bread and a double batch of Granola. We have an impromptu trip coming up so I’m trying to prepare – Montana isn’t the most plant-based friendly location I’ve been. I”m lucky that with a full kitchen at our disposal on our trip, we’re planning on cooking a lot. It will serve as a great reminder that meal planning is a good idea and makes life much easier, even if we eat pasta twice in a week.

It’s been a busy week full of surprises – both good and bad, a visit from my dear mother (7 half-pints of pesto in the freezer!), and preparation for changes ahead (but isn’t that all of life?). When things get crazy around here, I head to the kitchen. It must be my coping mechanism, the way I deal with life, so it’s a wonder I don’t weigh 800 pounds.

I, like most silly people, often turn my tired bananas into banana bread. We do this so we don’t waste the 42 cents worth of bananas and fail to consider the added cost of all the other ingredients and calories that will be inflicted upon us. This may be the most expensive banana bread I’ve ever made, but it’s super yummy, plant-based, whole grain and more expensive (which makes it better if we’re getting points for being pretentious) than your average banana bread.

Plant-based Banana Bread

2 T. flax meal

4 ½ T water

1 c. sugar – I used Sucanat, but any will work

½ c. unrefined coconut oil (I like the flavor in this)

3 bananas

1 ½ c. fine kamut flour (whole wheat pastry flour would also work)

½ t. salt

¾ t. baking soda

1 T. apple cider vinegar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil and flour 8×4 bread pan (you could use any other option, just change the baking time).

Combine flax meal and water in a small bowl (your flax “eggs”).  Cream together the coconut oil and sugar, or at least combine well. Add bananas and mix until creamier. Add your flax eggs and combine. In a separate bowl whisk together flour, salt and soda. Add to the banana mixture, stirring just until almost combined. Stir in vinegar until barely combined – it will start streaking white. Quickly pour into your bread pan and bake 50-55 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Turn out onto cooling rack after 5 minutes in pan. And if you’re like me, you’ll eat it with good, old-fashioned butter, just to negate the vegan-ness of it.

And for the winner of last week’s seed giveaway (using random.org):

SARAH who shared this memory:

The oldest memory I have is picking strawberries with my Mom in the hills. She gave me my love of making jam to say the least……

Sarah – email me at goodcleanfoodblog@gmail.com so I can get your mailing address and send it to rareseeds.com.

I can’t tell you how many memories had berries in them. Reading them was great fun as I was reminded of other memories of mine. Thank you all for sharing.

Planting time!!! (with a fabulous ending – keep reading)

It’s time to get dirty and PLANT something!

Yes, as in, planting food for you to eat. I am relatively new (I’ve tried the last two years and failed) to the idea of a 3- or 4-season garden, but I’m totally infatuated with it. I can’t get the idea out of my head. And even though I’m prepping Turbo for kindergarten (yikes!), our summer garden is ready for harvest and processing (lots of pickled beets and ketchup go through my house), and I’m tired (dog days of summer, three-month-old, and all that), I still obsess over the idea of putting more food in the ground.

What are the obvious things to plant? Well, plenty of “spring” vegetables grow great in the fall. We have already put in Fall carrots and beets, and are getting ready to plant our Fall spinach and lettuce and my favorite stir-fry mix and radishes and “spring” onions and anything else I think of. You could put in peas, turnips, brassicas (kale, broccoli, cabbage) though they all take a bit longer and require a bit more planning.

But you know what else you can do for next year? Garlic! Put in garlic in October, and come June of next year you have beautiful crop of garlic with almost no effort. Onions? Put in the seeds a month or two before your first frost and you can have early onions without dealing with sets or starts! Spinach? Even spinach can go in a few weeks before frost to get you ready for an early spring harvest.

And the secret? Lots of these things grow better in the fall, especially if you live in a place like we do. The days get cooler with the growth of the plant, so you don’t worry about it going to seed (bolting) as quickly. The bugs seems to be less noxious this time of year also, and rain more frequent, which in our high desert garden, is a blessing! And finally, many of these foods can survive a decent frost and still be harvestable, so you could be eating from your garden until Thanksgiving!

But, I’m kind of a gardening geek (horticulture was my first college degree). Nothing is better than cursing that lower back sunburn I got from weeding with a shirt that was slightly too short and having a million too many beans to eat. I would love, love, love some Eliot Coleman (the unofficial king of 4-season gardening) books (I keep raiding the library, but there is always a wait).  I think seed ordering is exciting and it makes me goofy in the spring- and yes, I almost always order my seeds from the same place (keep reading, it’s worth it).

This same place is RareSeeds.com. If you get their glossy catalog in the spring (Baker Creek Seeds), it’s beautiful and CHOCK full of a bajillion kinds of seeds for everything. And they’re all heirloom varieties, which means Monsanto (theoretically) isn’t getting a lick of money from you, and you can save your seeds if you know how to do it and care to. But why would you when seeds are super cheap? That’s why I love seeds. For the cost of a bunch of broccoli, I can experiment with something, and if I like it, I might get a TON of food from that many seeds.

So, here’s what you’ve been waiting for. I have arranged with rareseeds.com to GIVE AWAY A 10-pack of FALL SEEDS, which can also be planted in the Spring (keep them in a zipper storage bag in the fridge until then) if you don’t get to them now!  And I’ll be honest, I’ve been so happy with these seeds, that I wish I could win! But I can’t, sorry, only you can.

And secondly, here’s another bit of exciting news. They have a restaurant from which they have compiled a cookbook, The Baker Creek Vegan Cookbook, coming out in September.  I’m super excited that I’ll be reviewing it and giving one away as it come closer to release. You could be that lucky winner, but if you don’t want to hedge your bets, you can pre-order the book now AND they’ll include three packets of culinary herb seeds fer free! yeah, i just typed fer, but I’m in farmer mode so it’s legit.

Rules of Engagement:

1- You must be a follower of this blog, if you don’t know how to do that, there is a “Follow blog via email” button at the top column to the right. This contest is open to followers living in the U.S. only (I’m pretty sure there are rules about shipping seeds across borders – nothing personal).

2- You must like this post (click on the title name of this post, then go to the bottom of the post just above comments and push the like button), 

3- You must tell me in the comments below one your favorite memories of eating fresh grown food – you know you remember that first raspberry from grandma’s prickly berry patch – totally worth it!

Winner will be announced Wednesday 8/15/2012 (only five days so we can get seeds out!) and needs to contact me within 24 hours so we can get stuff mailed.

My Farm to My Fork: Herbs – they’re really not that scary

I love my herbs. I love the first tender spikes of chive that sneak up through the snow in the Spring, I love the masses of mint that take over our neighbors side-yard (which we use a few times a week for frosty mint (black/rasp/strawberry limeade), and the huge heads of dill that start tipping too early for my cucumbers that I started too late. This is all awesome, you say, because I have a huge garden, right? I do, but that garden is 2 1/2 miles from my house behind a church. It isn’t so very convenient for herb use unless one is really organized with perfectly planned meals. That, I am not.

But! I have a tiny patch of ground in the front yard of my two-bedroom townhouse (I like to throw that in there to feel like more of a martyr) and three planters with herbs in them. In my tiny space I have marjoram, thyme, sage, peppermint, pineapple mint, lavender, tarragon, coconut thyme, oregano, chives, unrelenting lemon balm, and rosemary – and I use them all the time. I have tried unsuccessfully to grow other edibles out there, but to no avail. It all dies. It’s like it knows I have another garden and gets jealous. But my herbs are content to grow and be and bring me great joy – except for my rosemary which must hate me (or Utah winters – more likely).

But what in the world do I do with my herbs? Everything. And you can too. Because they’re not that scary and unlike spices, they’re really, really hard to screw up using if you use your nose.

How do you know what to use? First, consider what you’re making or what veggies you have are or what you want! Does it hail from the Mediterranean? Asia? Middle East? South America? Think about what herbs you’d find used there. Are you in the mood for potatoes or a salad – or both (I make a killer herbed potato salad)? Can you throw a handful into a loaf of bread or stirred into your quinoa after cooking?

Second, what do you have? Does your neighbor have mint growing like crazy (it’s the only way it grows), or can you dig out a start from your friends thyme or oregano or chives? Most people I know are more than willing to share herbs. Use what you have and it can turn any vegetable into something you’ve never dreamed of.

Third, smell your herbs. They’re most pungent first thing in the morning or if you’re doing a big harvest just as the flowers bloom. If you want to mix herbs, crush a few of them together in your hand – do they smell good? Excellent – use them! If not, try another combo, or just use one. You will quickly learn that lavender and curry plant DO NOT go well together, but that thyme and chives and mint do!

Fourth, don’t be scared to try them!!! I’ve screwed up meals that had perfectly good recipes to follow, so I’m willing to screw some up that don’t too. Odds are good that you won’t be disappointed, but if you are, the loss is usually bearable.

Fifth, and very importantly, don’t add them too early! Spices need to be exposed to high heat to bring out their flavors (blooming them), but herbs just want to be warmed to release their very fragile oils.

If you don’t have herbs growing, now is a good time to find them cheap or to dig out a start from a neighbor’s plant for the perennials (oregano, thyme, dill, tarragon, lavender, rosemary – if it doesn’t die like mine, and mint).  If you don’t get them growing this year, they’ll grow like crazy next year. Dill, cilantro, and parsley still elude my growing skills (I haven’t tried that hard), but they can be pretty cheap (except for the dill) at the store.

If you’re not sure where to start, start with my favorite use of them, especially right now as we’re up to our eyeballs in potatoes. I love the smallest potatoes for this dish cooked whole, and a variety of colors makes it ever tastier. I try to use four or five varieties, last night using chives, basil, tarragon, thyme, and mint (which is the most surprising and amazing addition). With leftovers or if you want to make an extra big batch, my Herbed Potato Salad recipe follows.

New Potatoes with Fresh Herbs

(portions are per person – multiply per serving)

¼ – ½ pound baby new potatoes per person, scrubbed

2 T. chopped fresh herbs (mixed is the best way)

1 T olive oil, or butter, or butter substitute

Salt and fresh ground Pepper – to taste

Scrub your potatoes, cutting larger ones into smaller pieces to ensure uniform cooking. Boil or steam until fork tender. While cooking, stem your herbs and roughly chop, tossing into your serving bowl with the oil, and a generous amount of salt and pepper. Drain your potatoes and toss with herb mixture. Serve!

(if using rosemary, chop it finer since it’s a bit tougher than others, and be careful with some of the stronger flavors, like sage)

Herbed Potato Salad

Unlike most potato salads that have a lot of other “things” in them, I keep this one simple so the herbs can show off.

1 4-person batch of New Potatoes with Herbs

or

2 lbs cooked new potatoes (yukons, reds, blues, whites – just not russets)

½ to 1 c. chopped herbs – mix it up

3-4 stalks celery, sliced thin

¼ to 1/3 c. chopped red onion, if you have it

Dressing:
¼ – ½ c. vegan mayonnaise

2-4 T non-dairy milk, I like almond milk best

1-2 T balsamic vinegar

1-2 T dijon or spicy brown mustard

1-2 T lemon juice

Salt and fresh ground Pepper (so much better fresh, especially in simple dishes like this)

Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a bowl and whisk them up. Use your blender if you like, I usually just toss it all in a bowl cause I’m lazy like that. Adjust seasonings to your liking – does it taste yummy and is it strong enough to flavor the potatoes without overpowering them?

Toss ALL the ingredients together, and chill until ready to eat – that means the salad AND you.

A Week in the Raw

It’s Tasty Wednesday Tuesday and many of you all ready know that I live in Utah, what you may not know is that my particular city should be named “Kidville”. There are literally over a thousand children in my subdivision. It’s fabulous and all the kids are always out and about riding bikes, playing at the parks and sharing lots and lots of germsWe get sick more often since moving into this neighborhood than we ever have before. Vomiting, colds, flus, pink eye, rsv, Montezuma’s revenge, you name it, we get it. There are a few nasty bugs going around at the moment and we caught them too :/ so in an attempt to strengthen my immune system and help me heal faster, I have been eating entirely raw for the last few days. I’m planning on eating raw for the rest of the week. I have to say that I don’t think I would be surviving otherwise. Raw foods provide far more nutrients than cooked and give the body more energy. I wish I was cool enough to eat raw all the time, but I’m not, and frankly, I like cooked food, a lot. However, I think eating “high-raw” is sustainable and really good for our bodies.

It’s not really that hard and you don’t need a half-naked Juliano cookbook to do it either (I used to own that book, some of the photos are….well, Juliano nearly in the buff, shopping, playing in the ocean, but not cooking, because that would just be gross).

I’m juicing, eating lots of fruits on their own, making big ol’ salads with raw dressings I whiz up in my blendtec. I’m more than a little obsessed with chia seeds too at the moment, maybe it’s because I recommended Born to Run to a friend, then  I had to start re-reading it again myself because it’s awesome.

Here are a couple of raw chia recipes I’m LOVING right now:

Raw Overnight Neopolitan Oats

Holy Crap, it’s like the best dessert ever for breakfast, this is adapted from this much cuter than mine recipe here, but my adaptation is fully raw.

1 C. oat groats (use certified gluten free for gluten free option)

4 T. chia seeds

2 1/2 C. raw almond or raw cashew milk (I used cashew milk, drool)

2 T. raw cacao powder

2 t. raw agave (or to taste)

1 t. vanilla extract (oops, not raw)

2 sliced frozen bananas

4 sliced frozen strawberries

Method: BEFORE YOU GO TO BED: Blend oat groats in blender or grind in coffee grinder until fine. Get out two pint-sized mason jars. Put half  of the ground oat groats in each jar. Add 2 T. chia seeds to each jar, 1 1/4 C. nut milk to each jar and 1 t. raw agave to each jar. Add the raw cacao powder to one of the jars and the vanilla extract to the other. Now you have chocolate and vanilla. Put lids on and shake until well combined. Put in fridge. IN THE MORNING: get out your food processor and put your frozen bananas in it with a splash of nut milk. Process until creamy. Mmms. Remove half of the mixture and set aside. Add frozen strawberries to the food processor and process the same way. Now you have raw strawberry and banana ice creams FOR BREAKFAST. Layer and alternate ice creams, and chocolate and vanilla overnight oats in mason jars or fancy cups. Serve with fresh fruit. I didn’t because I hadn’t been to the store because we were sick and I only had frozen fruit. This should serve 2, but I stretched it to serve 3. I was sorry I didn’t have any leftovers at lunch time.

Raw Chocolate Chia Pudding

1 C. raw cashew milk (you could also use raw almond milk)

3 T. chia seeds

1 T. raw cacao powder

2 t. raw agave

Method: Combine all ingredients with a wire whisk until cacao is fully incorporated. Let sit on the counter top for an hour or so. I thought this would serve two, I also thought I would take a photo before eating it all. Wrong on both accounts.

I have also been growing my own wheat kamut grass, it’s not all that difficult, but since I’m a total novice and nearly killed it because I hadn’t watered it enough, I shall refer you to this post if you so desire to grow your own.  I’m  absolutely in love with it! The juice of the grass gives me instant energy and clarity and I even like it’s grassy taste. You can almost feel the cells inside your body healing when you drink it. Try it, you might like it.

Only sort of about Food … well, indirectly exactly about food

A few weeks back I wrote about how much we were enjoying the show 100-Mile Challenge. It ended after 6 weeks. It appeared that either interest or funding collapsed and the show condensed in to repetitions of what we’d already seen for the last two weeks. Suffice to say, we felt a bit cheated, and it didn’t help that our other standby shows have been just awful … think crime show featuring grizzly bears in the everglades, and yes, it was that bad. But, one great thing that came out of the 100-Mile Challenge was a recipe I have yet to try for Honey Caramel, but I will because it looks OH SO GOOD!

I also just finished reading their book entitled The 100-Mile Diet: a Year of Local Eating or Plenty: Eating Locally on the 100-Mile Diet. The first is the version I read from our Library, but theoretically it’s the Canadian/Australian version, and the second is the American version. I have no idea the differences in the American version, but maybe they are a little kinder towards the American way of eating, but I doubt it.

We’ve also made the difficult decision to not continue with our community garden next year. There are various factors including travel, time required, other priorities including getting our own house with our own yard, and the bit of drama the community garden is currently experiencing with it’s “reorganization”. Not to mention the fact that they tilled up our carrots, beets and kale that were happily growing into their winter sweetness.

After all this, my heart has been aching to find ways to support local farms and dairies and to be a little more self-sufficient. I don’t just want to grow my own food, but I want to take care of our planet in so doing. We have a lead on a wonderful CSA, but their prices just went up 50% this week and I’m not sure that’s going to fly with us. So, I’ve planted garlic and horseradish in our front yard, we have a few upsidedown hanging pots for tomatoes for next year, and the herbs should be happy now that I’ve removed the GIANT lemon balm and pineapple sage. We have also decided to buy local dairy products at the Winder Country Store in West Valley. It’s a bit of a drive, but we can buy 4 gallons of milk, cream, cottage cheese, and sour cream (and Egg Nog this time of year) and it will keep for a good while (it’s super fresh when we buy it) for not much more than we normally spend at Costco. The milk is tastier too, somehow creamier, and it should make good yogurt as well. I can’t wait to try making cheese with it.

But, this wasn’t enough. So, we are now the proud owners of a fully installed window shelf and growlight Matt found online. The growlight can go up and down easily having been installed onto a $1 shade we bought several years ago – love the repurposing! I plan on transplanting my rosemary from outside and bringing it in for the winter, and maybe I’ll grow some lettuce, green onions, basil and chives to bring life to our otherwise dreary kitchen in the winter. I love that my husband is handy enough to figure stuff like this out. and the whole light contraption is hidden by sliding it up behind by the cute shade made by Matt’s mom.

I know I need to find more to fill my local fix, but it will take time, and I will very likely never give up a lot of things like oats and sugar and bread, but I’ll try new things if I must. Now, if we could only get started on actual construction in the basement … speaking of other projects.

Seeds. Yes, it’s time.

As my sister has been posting about her gardening adventures, I ache inside to see anything green that isn’t evergreen. I miss that fresh smell of new growth and the sun actually being warm. But the idea of actually planting anything yet is still a bit frightening. Just because it’s sunny, doesn’t mean it’s warm. We still have the whole of this month to get through.

That said, if you are planning on growing a garden this year and ordering seeds to do so, now is the time to order seeds. The benefits of ordering now are that you can spend hours perusing seed catalogs (which almost makes you believe it will again be spring), you have a better variety to choose from than if you wait to order (believe it or not, they do sell out of the cool seeds – if there is such a thing – and we have already missed out on a few), and the seeds are better stored than the ones you buy at the store. Seeds ordered direct have been kept under controlled conditions, and not in the sun of the Home Depot during hot days and cold nights for weeks on end.

Seeds are wonderful little things, containing the whole potential to be a plant. But they need to be taken care of, and if they are, they can last you a long time, up to five (or more) years if stored properly. That means, keep them dry and cool, but not cold. I store mine in my fridge in zipper bags, and keep them there. When planting, I put them back as soon as possible after removing what I will actually plant. No, I am not a “rip off the edge of the seed packet and drag it down a long row shaking it, with the hopes it will be about even” kind of girl. Because, when seeds are cared for, you have an excellent germination rate, and you only need to plant one for every plant you want.
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I am also the type to start seeds at home, but we’ll talk more about that later. For most people, it’s still too early, although when my seeds arrive, you better believe I’ll be starting my cabbage, broccoli, brussel sprouts and lettuces. Somethings have to be started outside – like peas and root vegetables, but not everything.

I ordered most of my seeds from www.rareseeds.com. I liked them because they are all heirloom types, and because their shipping is a flat $3 rate. I also got together with Erika – another contributor to this site – and we are splitting about half of the seeds we’re ordering. That makes it cheaper and more fun, because you can order more varieties.

I ordered my seed potatoes from Johnny’s Seeds. Unfortunately they are not organic, but since I won’t actually be eating those potatoes, but planting and growing them organically, that seems okay by me. And I found a code for free shipping for orders over $30. Type 09-1014 into the special offer code box (not the coupon code box) for free shipping.

Good luck, and don’t get lost too much in the catalogs. Here are the sites I recommend, and get them all to send you their catalogs, because the more reference you can get (i.e. more pictures), the better. And if you have more good ones, let us know and we’ll add them.

Rareseeds.com
Johnnyseeds.com
Seedsofchange.com
Bountifulgardens.ORG
Seedsavers.ORG

Green Chunky Cookies

That is so not an appealing title, but that is how my husband referred to these soft, almost cakey, chocolate chip cookies today. They are delicious and a quick way to use up some summer squash, not just zucchini. I like the honey addition, and the butter is reduced enough that they almost seem to be less heavy than most chocolate chip cookies, which is nice in the summer when sweet is good but heavy is bad.

Thanks to Barbara Kingsolver’s book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle for the recipe. Kingsolver is right when she calls it Zucchini larceny. You could use “technique” (creaming, adding in the appropriate order and what not) to make these, but I just blended them and they were delicious. And, like any good quasi-epicurean, I modified it only a bit – added the oatmeal and increased the salt. Seriously, cookies without enough salt are sad.

ZUCCHINI CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
(Makes about two dozen)
1 egg, beaten
½ cup butter, softened
½ cup brown sugar
1/3 cup honey
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
Combine in large bowl.
1 cup white flour (I just used two cups King Arthur’s White Whole Wheat Flour)
1 cup whole wheat flour
½ cup quick oats
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
Combine in a separate, small bowl and blend into liquid mixture
1 cup finely shredded zucchini
12 oz chocolate chips
Stir these into other ingredients, mix well. Drop by spoonful onto greased baking sheet, and flatten with the back of a spoon. Bake at 350°, 10 to 15 minutes. (12 in my oven)

Garden started

One of my favorite things about food is making it. Not just making it from scratch with all the right ingredients, but making it from soil and seeds and water. Last year we had no garden, but instead had a little nino – a darling baby boy. But this year, as he is almost walking and loves to eat dirt, we begin our quest. In our new home we have only a little space in our yard for a garden, but we are determined to maximize it. We turned the soil, removed rocks, and even found a new home for the compost pile, and will end up with three small but hopefully productive beds in the back, and one in the front (disguising food for decorative plants – herbs, peppers, etc.) On Saturday we planted three kinds of lettuce, spinach, beets, and onions. On Monday, we got in the first round of peas. Now we just need to get to the store, get a few more seeds and wait for our seedlings. We started some flowers and vegetables in empty baby food containers with holes in the bottom. We’ll see how successful they are, but with lids I couldn’t pass up the ready made greenhouses.
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Last year we canned three kinds of chutney, jams and butters, peaches and pears, and froze a bunch of peppers. But we had no tomatoes and wished we had. So this year, not only will we maximize the small yard and our farmer’s market, but we have signed on to a small community garden at the church where we pick up our community food co-op orders every month. Last year we saw it and wished it was a community garden we could participate in. We found out this year that it is an organic community garden that donates 20% of the food that is grown to charity, and they are letting us have a plot. We are thrilled – overwhelmed, but thrilled. Tomatoes and peppers, squash and corn, basil, basil and more basil – here we come. We might even venture out to potatoes and more onions. I’ll try to get more pictures, but I was a bit distracted this week and sore from removing rocks.
Tonight’s dinner is using peppers and corn from last summer (love my freezer!). Here is the recipe and of course it allows for variation. Use any veggies you have – carrots, zucchini, corn, peppers, etc. I make a double or triple batch and freeze the filling for later and easy use. I made this batch earlier in the day and threw it in the crock pot so the flavors could marry and so it would stay warm until I was ready to cook.

Bean burrito casserole (I know casserole sounds lame, but it’s pretty good)
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Olive Oil
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 c. filling (cooked chicken, peppers, squash, corn, etc)
4 c. cooked black, pinto or pink beans (2 cans)
1 c. tomato sauce
2 t. ground cumin
1-2 fresh jalapenos diced, or a can of diced fresh chiles
1/4 c. fresh coriander (optional)

flour tortillas, salsa verde, cheese (jack or cheddar – whatever you have)
sour cream, guacamole, and salsa for accompaniment

Filling:
In a large pan – dutch oven or skillet, cook the onion, garlic and other veggies in the oil over moderately low heat until softened and starting to caramelize. Add the cumin, cook for a few seconds, then add the beans and mash them with the back of a wooden spoon to help thicken the filling. Add the tomato sauce, jalapenos or chiles, the chicken and salt and pepper to taste. Let simmer until thickened and warmed.

Working with one warmed tortilla at a time, spread about 3 T. of the filling into each flour tortilla (more or less depending on your tortilla size and your liking), rolling the tortilla keeping the ends open. Place the burritos – seam side down – in one layer in a baking dish, cover with a thin layer of the salsa verde, then the cheese, and bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes until the cheese is bubbly. Serve with sour cream, guacamole, and salsa.