Thursday, February 26, 2015

Eating Locally: Discovering our Co-op

Back in California, eating local, organic and humanely raised food was relatively simple. Sure it took more than a simple trip to the supermarket, but there were so many options for CSAs, a wealth of farmer's markets year-round, and even locally owned grocery stores that stocked great CA-grown products. We belonged to both a fruit/veggie CSA and a meat CSA, bought our eggs directly from a farmer at the farmer's market, and had access to an amazing number of resources for the kind of food we want to buy.

After moving to Colorado, I can see just how spoiled for options California is!

Here, the growing season is much shorter than I was used to (year round crops in CA, roughly May-Oct in CO). The farmer's markets ended before we even moved into our house, and they won't start up again until May. There are fewer CSA options, and most are only available during the summer. When I go to the grocery store, most of the fruit and vegetables are brought in from CA!

So imagine how happy I was when a neighborhood friend invited me to join her at a meet and greet for the High Plains Food Co-op. It is a network of local farmers (again, cue the shock as I realize "local" here includes Kansas and Nebraska, which are both closer to Denver than Los Angeles is to San Francisco) and the co-op facilitates sales directly to the consumer. Transparency is important, and all the farmers welcome visitors. All of the meat is humanely raised, and some farms are certified organic -- not all have gone through certification, but all follow organic principles. There are free range and pastured eggs for less than the cost of store-bought cage free eggs. There is even a farmer who sells heritage wheat flours! The vegetable selections are limited right now, and the fruit selections are only dried or jams, but I'm looking forward to seeing those offerings come spring.

Living Design Eating Locally Discovering Coop High Plains

For our first order, we got the following:

  • 1 dozen pastured eggs
  • 1 package of German bratwurst
  • cheddar sampler pack (3 varieties, about 1lb total)
  • lamb shanks
  • triticale flour
  • heritage turkey red flour
  • ground beef
  • chuck roast
  • whole roasting chicken
They even gave us an insulated tote to keep everything cold, which I will reuse for future orders. We haven't tried everything yet, but so far we are happy with this resource for good, humane, locally raised food.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Eating Locally: Our Dairy Delivery

One of our amazing foodie discoveries since moving to Colorado has been dairy delivery. When we were touring homes with our realtor, we noticed that many had a cooler on the front porch with the name of one of two dairies. Our realtor told us that these dairies are both locally owned, and they deliver fresh milk and other products throughout the Metro area.

After the craziness of moving settled down, we did some research and settled on Longmont Dairy for our needs. They own their own cows, practice organic farming (though they're not currently certified) and best of all they deliver all milk products in glass bottles! Each week, the night before our delivery day, we set out the clean empty bottles in the cooler, and in the morning we have a new bottle of fresh milk.
Living Design Eating Locally Our Dairy Delivery Longmont

If you're in the Denver area and looking into dairy delivery, here are some of my thoughts on Longmont Dairy:

-they have a three item minimum per delivery. We tend to get milk, orange juice and eggs, and change it up every once in a while (the photo above shows milk, whipping cream and half-and-half, which I got so I could make ice cream)

-they have amazing seasonal eggnog. It's a good thing it's a short season.

-prices seem to be comparable to purchasing the same quantity of organic milk at the grocery store, but you don't have to run to the store for "just one thing" and come out with extra

Overall, we love the ease and convenience. Plus, for once the convenient thing is also the one that produces less waste -- the lids go in the recycling bin but the bottles are returned and reused. Our neighbors were already getting this same delivery service, so the truck would already be stopping on our street -- no extra gas used.

And, the milk is really delicious and tastes fresh!

Do you have dairy delivery in your area? What do you think about it? Share in the comments!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Weekly Meal Plan 2.22.15

Today is our first week with ingredients from the food co-op (full post on that soon), so I'm excited to be trying out their meats and artisan flours! Here's what we'll be eating this week:

Sunday: Slow Cooker Lamb Shanks with Olives and Potatoes

Monday: Eggplant Parmesan

Tuesday: seared ahi tuna with rice and salad

Wednesday: leftovers

Thursday: lentil soup

Friday: currywurst

Saturday: Balsamic Pot Roast and vegetables (sides will be based on what looks good at the store)

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Weekly Meal Plan 2.15.15

This week I'm trying to get some of the frozen meat out of the freezer in preparation for picking up our co-op order. We'll be trying some new recipes and going back to some old favorites, like 100 Days of Real Food's sloppy joes recipe. Here's what we're eating this week:

Sunday: Steak Fajitas with Sweet Potato and Poblano

Monday: Sticky Asian Lamb Riblets with oven fries and salad

Tuesday: borscht (we froze a ton when I made it a couple weeks ago)

Wednesday: leftovers

Thursday: sloppy joes

Friday: baked pasta with spinach, priscuitto and ricotta

Saturday: turkey and basmati rice pilaf (from 5 Spices, 50 Dishes)

Friday, February 13, 2015

Musical Tables

Last week my aunt visited and helped me tackle some home projects. One project ended up being a new breakfast nook table -- I had been looking for a beautiful, well priced pedestal table so that the nice dining table I had from my grandparents could go in the dining room. Fates aligned and a great table was posted on Craigslist, and we were able to get it plus some counter stools for the island.

So now, this great table is in the breakfast nook:

Living Design: Musical Tables

Living Design: Musical Tables

Living Design: Musical Tables

And this table has moved to the dining room:

Living Design: Musical Tables

It's kind of amazing to actually have a table in the dining room now! It's been a fairly empty room until now, perfect for sorting as we unpacked boxes and figured out where to put things away. But now, all we need to do is clean up the stuff that's still sitting on the floor, get some chairs, and we can actually use this room as a dining room!

I love the look of the antiqued white, and the pedestal has a great shape to it. Not too formal, but not clunky either. The new table has a leaf to make it bigger too, which will be great when we have friends over, or in the future when it's not just me, Sean and Fleck!

We are also planning to get some new chairs for the kitchen -- those ones were free to my roommate during college, and then she gave them to me when we moved out. They've had a great run as freebie chairs, but I'm ready for something a little more comfortable. Not to mention something that stylistically goes with the whole kitchen/family room open area better.

So there will be plenty more kitchen and dining room updates in the future! Stay tuned!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Single Duck Egg

On Friday, Sean came home from work with this:

It's a duck egg from one of his co-workers. She has ducks, chickens and I think even some turkeys. Apparently she picked up the egg while taking care of the flock before work, but put it in her pocket and forgot about it until she got to work. When she pulled it out, she offered it to Sean. And so we have a single duck egg.

We're thinking of making something very simple with it, like a simple omelette, so that we can really taste the difference between the free range chicken eggs we get and the duck egg. But I thought I'd ask if any readers have any favorite ways to use duck eggs. If you have recipes, please share in the comments!

Weekly Meal Plan 2.8.15

Last week my aunt was visiting, and since we knew where we wanted to take her but didn't know which days would be what, I didn't do a structured meal plan like I typically do. But I'm back with a meal plan this week! Here we are:

Sunday: breakfast for dinner (pancakes, sausage, fruit)

Monday: fish tacos

Tuesday: Spaghetti Squash Alfredo (normally I don't like to pretend spaghetti squash is pasta, but this sounds like it could be tasty and I have all the ingredients so I figured we'd try it this week)

Wednesday: leftovers

Thursday: "Valentine's Day" date -- dinner out before seeing Rogers and Hammerstein's Cinderella

Friday: meatloaf and roasted vegetables