Turn Your Locavore Box Into a Readymade


Take a few hours on Thursday night or over the weekend to get a jump start on cooking your Locavore Meals!

Last week I spent a few hours on Sunday morning slicing, chopping, simmering and shredding and partially prepared my entire Large Locavore Box. After quickly reading through the menu and all the recipes, I made a list of all of the tasks that could be done ahead of time.

For this particular box I was able to fully prepare two meals [the cauliflower soup and the curry] and get significant head starts on the other three meals. Here's how it broke down::

MEAL 1:: Fusilli with Garlicky Kale Raab [chopped kale]

MEAL 2:: Cauliflower Soup [fully prepared the soup]

MEAL 3:: Kale Quesadillas with Spiced Pinto Beans [kale + onions sautéed, cheese shredded, beans fully prepared]

MEAL 4:: Pork Potstickers [veggies shredded for slaw, veggies prepped for potstickers]

MEAL 5:: Shrimp Curry [curry fully prepared]



My leisurely Sunday morning spent in the kitchen yielded a stack of neatly packed glass containers that wound up saving me a TON of time during the week. Consolidating most of the preparations into a single session also reduced clean up time during the week. Instead of washing my salad spinner, food processor, knives, cutting boards, etc. nightly, I did it once on Sunday.

It was so nice to just open the fridge on a busy weeknight, gather my prepared ingredients and have dinner on the table in just a few minutes. Definitely time well spent!

GETTING KIDS TO EAT

Harry enjoys peeling his carrots for lunch.

Kids don’t always want to eat. No matter how much thought or effort we put into meals, some days they can be picky or unwilling to try new things.

In the early days we had success in getting our kids to eat and try new foods with “deconstructed” versions of our AF+K recipes.

When making Smoked Salmon Chowder Joy would portion out pieces of salmon and cooked potatoes to be eaten separately. Now, Ana loves the the chowder. It was easier to convince her to try it by reminding her she liked the individual ingredients.

Since our recipes all start with whole foods, it’s an easy task to portion out small bites while making your meals. By doing this, everyone in the family is eating the same food which experts say is essential in normalizing variety in your child’s diet.

ACME Farms + Kitchen Smoked Salmon Cobb Salad   

AF+K Smoked Salmon Cobb Salad and deconstruction version.

Research shows that sometimes kids need to try a new food 7-15 times before they acquire a taste for it. By encouraging kids to try at least one bite, you’re that much closer to their acceptance of something new. When meals are broken down into individual ingredients it's easier to try one bite and to experience the specific flavors and textures of different foods.

Another way to encourage eating is to replicate meals they like with items that are similar but integrate new-to-them ingredients. Do they love grilled cheese? Try a cheese quesadilla, (you can sneak some kale in there too) it’s similar, yet adds variety to what they're eating. Do they like hamburgers with a favorite condiment? How about a Black Bean Burger with the same condiment? 

Experts also suggest that it can help if parents show enthusiasm for the food they’d like their kids to eat. We have customers tell us that receiving their Locavore Box every week feels just like Christmas, so exciting to open and unload their box. Share that enthusiasm with your kids. Let them help you unload the box. Get them excited well in advance of eating.

Try pointing out fun or interesting things about your meal - the color of the pretty purple cabbage or that a particular item came from a place you visited like a local farm or the Farmers Market, that beans come from leafy green plants, etc.

Overall, it’s been found that children learn their healthy eating habits from their parents and most specifically from seeing them eat good food and sharing it with them. So, if you’re having a tough time in your family or you’d just like your kids to eat new foods try “deconstructing” your next AF+K meal.

 

 

PRODUCER SPOTLIGHT | RED DUCK FOODS

PRODUCER:: Red Duck Foods 

LOCATION:: Portland, OR

PRODUCTS:: Artisan Organic Condiments

Red Duck Foods started as a class project at the University of Oregon. Classmates Jessica Hilbert, Shannon Oliver and Karen Bonner felt like there was no creativity in the condiment aisle and knew they could make really flavorful products from honest and clean ingredients.

Their ingredients are sourced as close to home as possible. Tomatoes are grown in the Central Valley of California, spices are custom blended by a Portland company, and the honey for their BBQ Sauces comes from Glory Bee Foods in Eugene.

Jessica, Shannon and Karen enjoy the variety of tasks every day brings, from delivering their products to testing newly developed recipes. There’s never a dull moment and they have a lot of fun whatever it is they're doing.

You can read more about Red Duck Foods and their delicious products on their website.

This week ACME Farms + Kitchen Locavore Boxes will include Red Duck Ketchup used in a fun dipping sauce for Sweet Potato Fries served with homemade Black Bean Burgers.

We always like to ask our Producers about their favorite recipe. When we asked Jessica she said that was nearly impossible to answer but she did share this recipe for homemade Cauliflower Tots!

 

Cauliflower Tots
 
1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
1/3 cup almond meal
1 egg, plus 1 egg white
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Olive oil, for baking
Red Duck Ketchup, for serving 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Use a food processor to process the cauliflower florets in batches until they are cut into pieces roughly the size of rice grains. Place into a microwave-safe dish and microwave for 4-5 minutes or so, until softened, stopping once or twice to stir. Let the mixture cool.When cauliflower is cool enough to handle, use a cheesecloth to squeeze out as much of the moisture as possible. Discard liquid and combine the solids in a medium bowl with the onion, Parmesan, breadcrumbs, almond meal, egg, and egg white. Season with black pepper and mix thoroughly until combined.

Coat a large cookie sheet with a tablespoon or two of olive oil. Use a tablespoon to scoop out uniform pieces of the cauliflower mixture and shape them into oblong tot shapes. 

Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes or so, then use a spatula to flip tots. Bake them for 10-15 minutes more, until browned and cooked through. Serve hot, alongside the Red Duck Ketchup flavor of your choice (or all three!). Makes about 24 tots.
 
Adapted from Just a Taste.

KIDS IN THE GARDEN

There’s no better way to learn where our food comes from than to sink our hands in the soil. To help plant seeds and patiently await sprouts to spring from the earth. To pull weeds and dig for the friendly worms that amend our soil. To watch yard trimmings and table scraps turn into luscious compost. To hide and play in cornstalks and sneak sweet raspberries from the canes. To dig up potatoes and eat fresh peas right off the vine. To work together as a family to cultivate the food that will become future meals.

Research shows that there are many benefits for children who work in the garden. Much like helping to cook food, it’s been found that kids are more likely to eat vegetables they’ve helped grow and in general, kids who help in the garden have more positive attitudes towards eating fruits and vegetables. It’s also been found when kids spend time in the garden their appreciation for nature and the environment improves and that they're more likely to become adults who garden and grow their own food.

At ACME Farms + Kitchen we want to help more kids have the experience of gardening so this week we’ll be donating proceeds from the sale of our Pi Day Pie Kits. For each kit sold we’ll donate $5 of the sale to one of the organizations below. Please take some time to read more about these important organizations.

(For Bellingham and Seattle area customers orders are due by 10am on Monday, 7th. For Portland customers orders are due by midnight, Sunday 6th. Visit our SHOP page to order.)

Students enjoy Cooking in the Classroom with Common Threads Farm. Photo courtesy of Common Threads Farm. 

 

Common Threads Farm is a Bellingham based non-profit that works with schools throughout the area to plan and grow vegetable gardens as an educational opportunity for students. The aim of Common Threads is to help raise kids who know how to grow, prepare and eat healthy food. Their School Garden Program offers a class room educator, a mobile cooking cart (because eating what you’ve grown is the best part), and coordination of donated gardening materials including seeds, starts, compost, and wood chips. If your child’s school doesn’t already have an educational garden, we encourage you to take a look at Common Threads resources and to make a connection with your school. Help all kids have the opportunity to learn how good food grows. https://commonthreadsfarm.org

 

Harvesting at Sauvie Island Center. Photo courtesy of Sauvie Island Cener

   

Sauvie Island Center works to educate elementary aged school children in the Portland area about food, farming, and the environment. Field trips to Sauvie Island Organic farm and Howell Territorial Park are the perfect educational adventure. Kids learn about healthy soil, do plant part investigations, inspect the landscape for wildlife foraging, and learn about the critical role pollinators play in our food system. Students also get to plant, tend, harvest, and eat veggies from the Grow Lunch Garden. Contact the Center to schedule a field trip or check their website for summer camp opportunities. http://www.sauvieislandcenter.or

 

 Seattle Tilth

Seattle Tilth program participants. Photo courtesy of Seattle Tilth.

 

Seattle Tilth offers garden and farm education for kids and teens. Through garden and farm tours, a mobile garden classroom, and summer camps young people discover where food comes from. Seattle Tilth’s programs give kids the opportunity to taste fresh vegetables straight from the garden or farm, tend and harvest crops, collect seeds, make compost, learn about worms, insects and other pollinators, and explore our natural environment in hands-on science based learning. Check their website for details on bringing hands-on experiences to the classroom and for summertime camps, tours and classes for kids of all ages. http://www.seattletilth.org/learn/kids/kids-and-families

COOKING WITH KIDS

Cooking with Kids

Cooking [from scratch] is “the single most important thing we could do as a family to improve our health and general well-being.” – Michael Pollan

When we started ACME Farms + Kitchen we did it with our families in mind. We want to feed our kids the best food possible. We enjoy watching them learn about good food choices, how food made from scratch is prepared, and we especially love seeing them develop a taste for a wide variety of different flavors and textures.

It can definitely be a challenge to prepare meals that are healthy and we know that sometimes when we do, kids don’t always want to eat what we prepare. Our hope is that by using AF+K Locavore Boxes, full of interesting, colorful and flavorful local foods, it’s easier for you and your family to eat food you feel good about and enjoy. We also hope it makes it easier to share the experience of preparing food and to pass on the skills needed to help your kids feel comfortable in the kitchen.

Ana helps make handpies.

There are a lot of positive outcomes when kids help cook.

  • The more kids are involved with the food they eat, the more likely they are to try new things. They’re also more willing to eat what they’ve helped prepare!
  • When kids help prepare and eat a variety of healthy foods they are more likely to develop a taste for whole foods and less likely to crave processed foods. This sets them up for good habits as adults.
  • By inviting our kids to help prepare meals, we’re teaching them an important life skill and giving them self confidence in the kitchen.
  • Cooking is also a great way to teach other transferable skills. Reading recipes, following directions, measuring, using math, seeing cause and effect, developing motor skills, identifying different types of foods and the tools used in cooking are all excellent learning experiences.
  • Spending time in the kitchen is also a great way to have quality family time and to connect with one another. It’s the perfect time to talk about good food choices and how by eating well, we’re taking care of ourselves and staying healthy. It’s also a sweet way to make family memories.

            Etta in the kitchen with Cara's grandmother.

            Etta in the kitchen with Cara's grandmother. 

            Throughout the month of March, look for tips on your weekly recipe sheets for ways your kids can get involved with your family meals. Also watch for other fun ways to get your kids excited about eating and cooking. Together we can grow the next generation of healthy kids that love good food!