Ingredients

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Hunting for Duck Eggs?

AZ Ducks

I’ve been on the hunt for duck eggs recently here in the Charlotte area.  I’ve been surprised at how many people have asked about them lately, but for good reason.  Many people that are sensitive to chicken eggs actually do just fine with duck eggs.  Interesting, isn’t it?  Maybe because most of us end up eating chicken eggs so much that our bodies just want a break?

I have done some research and asked around and have come up with some resources that may be helpful in the duck egg hunt.  I haven’t bought eggs from any of these places myself, but I’m hoping if any of you have, you’ll share your experiences so we can help other people that are on the hunt.

Some of these are general resources for farms or farmers markets in the area.   I am hoping as we move closer towards spring and more of the farmers markets start happening around town, we may find even more people who have duck eggs.  The next time you are at your favorite farmers market, start asking the vendors there.  If the farms know a lot of people are wanting them, maybe we can convince them it’s a product that they should bring to market.  It can’t hurt to try!

Charlotte Regional Farmers Market

7th Street Market

Matthews Community Farmers Market

Rooster Hill Farms, China Grove

Bosky Acres

Allee’ Bubba Farms

Super G Mart

Kuska Winasun Homestead – They have a great page about duck eggs and why they work for a lot of people.  Check it out here:

Eat Wild

Agrilicious

These resources are all over the Charlotte area and beyond, so check out which ones might be convenient to your area.  If you find a good resource, let us know!  It’s so important to support our local farmers and, in turn, we get a high quality product that will help us eat healthier!

 

 

It’s Cocktail Time!

Cocktail grapefruit, that is!  I love cocktail grapefruit and I’m always frustrated (and amazed!) at how hard they are to find.  I first found them at Trader Joe’s several years ago, and they are usually the only store that carries them. Every week since the holidays, I have been asking if they would be in this season since I didn’t see them at all last year.  My persistence finally paid off when I walked in the other day and saw an entire display of them at my local T.J.’s!  (I also saw a few at my local Harris Teeter grocery store – they were on the end caps with exotic fruits and veggies so keep your eye out for them, but they are cheaper at T.J.’s. if you can find them.)

I like grapefruit, although I don’t typically get overly enthusiastic about it.  When I first saw cocktail grapefruit, one of the nice Trader Joe’s workers explained that they are sweeter than other grapefruit and less acidic, so I decided I would try it.  An obsession was born!
They are, indeed, sweeter and less acidic but also way more interesting than that.  And they aren’t even grapefruit!

Their official name is a Mandelo, and they are a combination of a frua mandarin (tangerine) and a Siamese Sweet Pummelo.  (Hence the name, Mandelo).  It was never officially released to the public, so somewhat of a mystery as to how it is now available.  Gotta love a fruit mystery!

They are a bit smaller than what we’re used to seeing with standard grapefruit, they are super juicy, and they have lots of seeds.  I was once told that the reason they are not more readily available is that the typical American consumer won’t buy fruit with seeds in it.  Seriously?  They are big seeds, so you just move them out of the way.  Better yet, plant them and grow more fruit!

They make a great juicing fruit, but just peeling and eating is pretty great too.  This morning I combined some with pineapple, cara cara oranges, banana and homemade coconut milk yogurt for an amazing start to my breakfast.  So good!

High in Vitamin C and fiber, keep an eye out for them at your local store and give them a try.  They are delicious, and because they are only available once a year, they are a a special treat!

It’s Citrus Season!

Have you noticed all the different types of citrus in the stores lately?  This is prime time for all those beautiful oranges, grapefruits, tangerines and more.  I, personally, have become quite the pest at my local Trader Joe’s, waiting a bit impatiently for the cocktail grapefruit to come in.  They usually show up for a very short time in January or February, and only at Trader Joe’s.  They are delicious, but they aren’t here yet!

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While we wait, you might try something a bit more exotic than your typical navel orange like these beautiful blood oranges.  Aren’t they gorgeous?  I cut into this one and didn’t want to eat it until I took pictures because the coloring was so amazing.  Did you know that they are considered an anti-aging orange?  Maybe it’s because there is even more vitamin C in blood oranges than a regular orange?

Then I sliced open a Cara Cara orange – have you tried one yet?  You can see them with the blood oranges in the banner on the front page.  They are bright orange outside and look like a regular navel orange, but they have beautiful rosy colored flesh inside that is seedless and so sweet!  According to the Sunkist website, they are a cross between  the Washington navel and the Brazilian Bahia navel, and were first discovered in 1976 at Hacienda Cara Cara in Venezuela.

While reading about Cara Cara oranges, I found a really helpful resource from Sunkist – it is all the nutrition information for different types of citrus.  Check it out here when you want to feel good about adding some citrus into your meal plan!

 

Ingredients Are Everything

Have you ever shared a recipe with someone (or they’ve shared theirs with you) and the two versions don’t taste the same at all?  One of the main reasons that can occur is the quality of the ingredients used, and that is especially true when cooking or baking with more specialty ingredients, or when making substitutions.

When people first start cooking and baking more, one of the big stumbling blocks seems to be finding appropriate ingredients.  Luckily, there are so many more diverse ingredients available to us now.  Even our local grocery stores carry items such as coconut flour and sunflower seed milk which never would have been found even a few years ago.

In future posts, I will be highlighting some of the most widely used healthy ingredients, so if you are having trouble finding something, let me know.  I will do my best to help you with your search!

Home Grown Produce Is The Best!

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I did some traveling this summer and was lucky enough to stay with good friends along the way.  One of my friends has a beautiful garden in her backyard, with all kinds of wonderful growy things to choose from when preparing a meal.  The tomatoes were just coming into their own, and the fresh herbs were happy and healthy.  What a feeling of abundance it is to go out the back door and pick dinner!

The best thing about home grown produce, other than knowing how it was grown and what is and isn’t sprayed on it, is the quality of the food.  When you slice up a tomato that has just been picked off the vine, nestle in some fresh basil leaves, all you need to do is sprinkle with a good quality olive oil, maybe some salt and pepper, and you have got the most amazing dish!  It can’t be any simpler than that, and really…. it can’t get much better, either.

 

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Eating healthy meals can be so easy, especially when you start with high quality produce.  If you can’t grow any of your own, find the farmers markets in your area, or get to know your neighbors who have gardens.  Many times they are happy to share or barter.  Getting something that is fresh, full of flavor and full of nutrients – way worth getting your hands dirty!

Because I was out of state for most of the summer, I didn’t get a lot of time to grow things, but since our weather has been so nice, I did just plant herbs in hopes that I will have at least several months of use.  Along with mint and rosemary that survived the winter, I just planted dill, basil, cilantro and parsley.  I still need to find some tarragon, although that is usually the toughest one to locate.  What about you?  Let us know what you are growing this season!