Saturday, October 16, 2010

Trail blazing

This post falls more under the "Live abundantly" section.

My friend Christina has been all into doing new and exciting things (...though, this is the girl who lives on french fries and will not try any new foods.)

But at any rate- we decided to go horse back riding!  Each of us have only been on a horse once in our lives... I was last on one in the 6th grade, so it seemed like a new and interesting adventure. We went to Ridge Valley Stables in Grafton MA. We did the beginners trail ride.

My Grandmother called me while I was on the way there, and I informed her I was going horseback riding, her response was, "I don't believe you."
so... I had to get pictures.  Unfortunately the horses were not cooperating.

I took many shots like this with a horse, where the horse would then move its head out of sight.

This horse Bit me! I was unaware horses just bit at random, but I was going around, patting all of the horses, and this one started nuzzling me, and then nipped my hand. I had to take a picture of the offender, but alas, he like all of the others moved at the last second. 

As for the actual ride I lucked out with a cute little horsey named "Nilla" short for Vanilla Bean. I was happy she was on the smaller side, as some of the others looked extremely wide and hard to ride.

Nilla decided to take up the rear of the pack... she also enjoyed taking the route less traveled by, all of the other horses stayed on the path, she liked to take the "Long-cuts" going in little loops through the trees.

At any rate, it was a fun and interesting experience. By the end I was even just holding onto the reins and not holding on to the saddle for dear life every time she ran! Progress.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Seasonal Soup and Salad: The Soup

My last post discussed Jon and I's seasonal dinner inspired by the bounty of my CSA box.

I had made a Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Cider Vinaigrette, and he made a lovely potato and leek soup.

I generally attempt to make my recipes healthier- but Jon was only willing to do so much tweaking to the recipe...

He used:

1/2 stick unsalted butter
olive oil
2 leeks
1/4 large onion (so.. like one small one?)
3 cloves garlic, minced
~1.5 pounds potatoes, peeled (we used russet potatoes )
1 pt chicken or vegetable broth
black pepper
1 cup heavy cream (Um.... I would not have chosen this. You can substitute 1/2 or all milk, or use a light cream at least)

* wash and chop leeks, garlic and onion.
* Heat a bit of butter and oil in pan (big frying pan/ wok).
* add garlic, leeks and onions. Saute until soft. Set aside.
* peel and thinly slice potatoes.
* prepare pan again with olive oil and butter, and add potatoes. You are not trying to brown the potatoes. Add a bit of broth and cover pan. Cook until soft.
* add in the leek combo, and saute. Add the rest of the of the broth and spices as desired, and let simmer.
* place a large pot over heat. Pour the soup mixture into pot.
* add 1 cup of cream (or milk).
* use immersion blender to blenderize some of the soup until reaching a creamy consistency.
*** note: Jon blenderized quite a bit, but in retrospect we think he should have left some chunks of potatoes etc. So blend to your desired consistency.


We served ours with our salad and a side of french bread.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Seasonal Soup and Salad: The Salad

Getting a CSA is a great way to force you to eat seasonally- and eat some what creatively. Normally I just go to the grocery store and buy whatever is on sale or looks good.

With a CSA- I get a box of random vegetables and fruits that are fresh, local and in season. It has also forced me to get more variety in my diet which is always good too.

This weeks box included:
leeks (which I had never had before last week- I had to google to figure out what they were)
Some leafy green (Red Chard?)
lots and lots of potatoes

Jon, as per usual, was pestering me what we were doing for dinner, so I told him what vegetables we needed to use- and we went ahead and googled recipes.

I decided on the Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with cider vinaigrette, and he made a Potato and Leek soup (recipe to follow!).

For my salad I used:
1 butternut squash
3 tb dried cranberries
1 tb pure maple syrup
salt and pepper
1 bunch arugula
1/2 head romaine (I used a whole head and had lots left over.)
1/2 cup walnuts
3 tb apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup apple cider
1 shallot
2 tsp dijon mustard
1/4 cup olive oil
1 apple
fresh parm cheese

* first pre heat oven to 400*
* peel, cut and cube squash
* Place squash on baking sheet or pan, add maple syrup, a little bit of olive oil and some pepper and salt to squash and toss. Roast for ~15 minutes.
* add cranberries after 15 minutes, mix again and continue to roast until cooked.
* add chopped shallot, vinegar and apple cider to a small sauce pan and let simmer for about 10 minutes.
*remove dressing from heat. Add dijon mustard and olive oil. Mix well.
* wash, dry and cut arugula and lettuce.
* cut apple (add lemon, or other citrus juice to keep from browning.

* prep plates by placing greens, apple, walnuts, parm cheese.
* once squash is done, add some to salad. (I let mine cool for a little bit first.
* add small amount of well mixed dressing to salad and enjoy!