Week 43: The Sun Will Rise
We are all living through a time of which none of us have ever experienced. As our lives are drastically changing minute by minute, it can feel impossible to stop feeling overwhelmed. Now more than ever it is critical to implement stress-management techniques. Your mind is your control board and plays a vital role in keeping you healthy and happy. These 10 tips were pulled from many sources, and you’ll notice many things on this list go hand in hand:
Eat healthy, well-balanced meals. Moutoux Orchard CSA for the win!! And we have some extra time on our hands to cook those more complex recipes we’ve been eyeing.
Write a daily gratitude each morning. Ask yourself “What can I be thankful for today?” Be specific, write it down and read it throughout the day. Extra credit if you put each daily note in a jar to read in 6 months from now.
Seek out and provide social support. This is a perfect time to check in with friends and family on a more consistent basis. Texting is good, but give extra effort to hear that person’s voice and see their smile. With phone, FaceTime, Skype there is no excuse. Research has shown that feedback sent to the brain from facial muscles may impact the development of emotions.
Listen to music that sounds the way you want to feel. Cooking and music go together like PB and Jelly. And you might just find yourself dancing around your kitchen a little.
Limit screen time and media exposure. While keeping informed is important, too much can cause problems.
Challenge your negative thinking. Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. Ask yourself “Is there another more positive way I could view this?” Not only is positivity good for your health, optimists are better problem solvers and better at accepting bad situations.
Learn and practice relaxation techniques. Yoga, meditation, mindfulness or tai-chi all focus on breathing and help reduce stress. Just 7 minutes a day of meditation has been shown to improve mood, decrease stress and improve sleep.
Exercise regularly. Walking is also a great way to connect with nature and the seasons.
Find a new hobby or try something new. This can also be researching something new that you want to try if it can’t be easily done right now.
Maintain a consistent sleep/wake cycle. It may be easier to snooze without the morning commute, but give effort to wake up around the same time you normally do. It will help your body stay in rhythm and get better sleep each night.
This week the blog recipes are focused on all things orange (and green) as a little nod to the St. Patrick’s Day no one got to celebrate. AND because the farm still has a lot of sweet potatoes in storage. With over 400 varieties, sweet potatoes are a versatile root found in a number of recipes across the globe. Try these fantastic sweet potato recipes to get your fill of sweet and savory while they are still in stock at the CSA!
Although we are trying to avoid posting recipes with currently hard-to-find ingredients, if you don’t have something on the list, stay positive (Tip #6), try a new substitution (Tip #9) and get to eating that healthy meal (Tip #1).
Do not forget to fill out your CSA share order by 10am on your pickup day (Tuesday or Friday)--if we do not receive and order from you, we cannot box your share.
PLEASE return your milk jars CLEAN and STERILE! PLEASE ensure your name is on the lid. WE WILL NOT BE RE-CLEANING THEM BEFORE REFILLING!
Please return yogurt jars clean and sterilized.
PAN(DEMIC) FRIED DUMPLINGS
Mix 2.5 cups of flour, a teaspoon of salt, and 1 cup of hot water together in a bowl until it starts forming lumps. Then knead into a smooth and soft dough. Let rest for 30 minutes in a greased bowl, covered with a (CLEAN) damp kitchen towel.
While it rests, make the filling. Try cabbage, sweet potato, carrot, and onion or whatever you have leftover in the fridge. This is where you can be creative! ;) For these, I coarsely chopped everything and sautéed them in a wok with a bit of oil, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, and turmeric. Remove from pot and let cool.
Now it’s time to make the dumplings! Divide the dough into 8 balls and roll out into circles. Fill each one with about 2 tablespoons of filling, fold in half, and seal. I did a decorative edge on these, but you could just fold them and pinch the edges.
Once you finish folding the dumplings, take a frying pan and heat up some oil over medium heat. Pan fry each side until golden brown. Sprinkle a bit of salt and enjoy!
SWEET POTATO PARMESAN TATER TOTS
4 medium sweet potatoes
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
kosher salt and black pepper
1 clove garlic, grated
2 cups Panko bread crumbs
2 teaspoons chipotle or regular chili powder
extra virgin olive oil, for brushing
4 Tbsp salted butter
2 Tbsp fresh or 1.5 dried thyme
1 Tbsp chopped fresh or 1 tsp dried parsley
2 tsp chopped fresh or 3/4 tsp dried sage
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Prick the sweet potatoes all over with a fork. Bake directly on the rack until tender, 50-60 minutes. Allow to cool.
Once cool use your hands to peel away the sweet potatoes skin. It should just easily slip off. Place the potatoes in a medium-size bowl and mash well. Stir in the Parmesan cheese, garlic, and a pinch each of salt and pepper.
Combine the Panko and chili powder in a shallow bowl. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Scoop about 1 tablespoon of the sweet potato out of the bowl, roll into a cylinder and place on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining sweet potato mix. The sweet potato mixture will be wet, don't stress, the shape does not need to be perfect. Roll the sweet potato cylinders in the crumbs to coat and place back on to the baking sheet. Lightly brush/mist each tot with olive oil. Transfer to the oven and bake for 15 minutes, flip and bake another 10-15 minutes or until golden and crisp.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the herbs and cook 30 seconds, until fragrant. Drizzle the butter over the tots. Serve the tots warm, with ketchup and additional herbs, if desired.
NOTES: To Make Ahead: the tots can be made up to 4 days ahead of time. To warm, just place the tots on a baking sheet and warm in a 400 degree oven for 10-15 minutes. Serve as directed. To Freeze: bake the tots as directed through step 5. Allow to cool, then freeze on a baking sheet for 1-2 hours, until frozen. Transfer to a freezer safe container and freeze for up to 4 months. To warm, bake the frozen tots at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes, until warmed throughout. You can drizzle the tots in herb butter before of after freezing, it doesn't matter.
SWEET POTATO WITH WARM PEPITA DRESSING
2 pounds (about 4 medium) sweet potatoes
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds), raw or roasted
1 teaspoon mild (Aleppo-style) or hot red pepper flakes, or less to taste
1 cup black beans, cooked
1 large avocado
1 big handful fresh cilantro
4 thin scallions
1 cup crumbled cotija (optional)
Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut potatoes in half lengthwise, and then into 1/4-inch half-moon slices. Coat a large baking sheet with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Scatter sweet potatoes over and toss them with another 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, and many grinds of black pepper. Spread them evenly in pan; they won’t fit in one single layer at this point and that’s fine as they shrink as they roast. Roast for 20 minutes, until browned underneath, then flip potatoes and roast another 15 minutes, until all of the pieces are tender and have brown spots.
While potatoes roast, combine pepitas with 3 tablespoons olive oil in a small skillet and warm over medium heat. Let pepitas sizzle in oil for 1 to 2 minutes but keep a close eye on them; raw ones may be able to handle more time but already toasted ones will need less to get one shade darker. Remove from heat, season with salt to taste plus red pepper flakes. Set aside until potatoes are ready.
Cook your black beans. Halve avocado and remove the pit. Leave halves in their skin and cut avocado into thin slices, not cutting through the skin. Roughly chop cilantro, thinly slice scallions (white and green), and halve your limes, cutting one further into wedges. Squeeze one lime wedge over avocado to keep it from browning.
When potatoes are ready, immediately spoon pepitas and oil over potatoes, and squeeze the juice of your limes halves over. Scatter tray with black beans. Use a spoon to remove avocado slices in sections and fan them out over the tray. Sprinkle pan with cilantro and scallions, plus cotija if you’re using it (recipe will, of course, no longer be vegan). Season well with additional salt and pepper.
Scoop sections of potatoes and their toppings onto plates, serve with extra lime wedges, and eat right away. Leftovers keep nicely for a few days in the fridge; I didn’t rewarm them.
LOADED STUFFED SWEET POTATOES
3 sweet potatoes
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
6 strips bacon
1 small onion, diced
1 pound ground beef
2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup canned pickles, diced
1/2 cup canned diced tomatoes
1/4 cup lettuce, shredded
1 avocado, sliced
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons store-bought harissa paste
1/2 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Preheat the oven to 425ºF.
Wash the skin of the sweet potatoes. Prick with a fork. Rub with 1 tablespoon avocado oil, and sprinkle the outsides with coarse sea salt. Place sweet potatoes directly on the rack of the oven. Place a pan underneath the to catch any drippings. Roast sweet potatoes for about 50 minutes, or until the thickest part of the potato has no resistance. Remove potatoes from oven, set aside, and turn off the oven.
Make the harissa mayo. Mix the mayonnaise, sour cream, harissa, vinegar and cumin together in a large bowl and stir with a whisk to combine. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as desired.
Dice bacon. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add bacon and cook until your desired crispness. Remove bacon from the skillet and dry on paper towel.
Add onion to the skillet and cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes. Add ground beef to the skillet, breaking it up into small chunks. Cook beef until it’s browned, stirring occasionally and continuing to break up large pieces. Once cooked, stir in pickles, then turn off the heat.
Make a slit down the middle of the cooled sweet potato, taking care not to cut all the way through the bottom skin of the potato. Pull the halves apart carefully without tearing the potato in two.
Spoon about 1/3 cup of the ground beef into the sweet potato pouch. Top the sweet potato with the cooked bacon, diced tomato, shredded lettuce, sliced avocado, and harissa mayo. Serve immediately.
Notes: This is a great recipe to start using up all of your canned goods before the spring and summer canning season starts. Would be excellent with pickled peppers, canned salsa or zucchini relish. Be creative!