Blog

Aimee’s Post: Joining the SEL Intern Team!

Hey everyone! My name is Aimee, I am excited to be one of Seacoast Eat Local’s new interns! This is my first time working with Seacoast Eat Local, and I am looking forward to working with a wonderful organization that puts a strong emphasis on healthy and locally sourced foods.

A little bit about my background, I am a senior at the University of New Hampshire of the Nutrition and Dietetics program. I have a dual major in Ecogastronomy, in which I study sustainable food systems and how they impact various aspects of life- including nutritionally and economically. As you can see, I devote my studies to food and sustainability.

My interest in Seacoast Eat Local stems from my desire to work in the field of community nutrition and public health. I have done some work at a local food pantry that puts an emphasis on locally grown food, and I thoroughly enjoyed this work. Through my work at this food pantry, called the Waysmeet Center, I discovered where my strongest interests regarding nutrition were and have been working to expand my experiences in it.

Before college, I grew up in Nashua, New Hampshire. I often went to farms to find different vegetables with my parents and friends, and those trips were always enjoyable. I remember being interested by all the types of foods at farms and farmers markets that could not be found in our regular grocery stores (typically Hannafords or Market Basket) and I am excited to work at the farmers markets with Seacoast Eat Local and spread my excitement about food!

If anyone has anything they would like to see on this blog, do not hesitate to reach out! I hope to see you at the markets soon!

Also, this is a picture of me at one of my favorite farms! Parlee Farms, in Tyngsboro, MA, has a pick your own flowers and blueberries in the summer time! I am in their beautiful flower field, and fun fact- it was pouring in this picture!

Melissa’s Post: Back at SEL!

Hello there! My name is Melissa, and I am one of the Seacoast Eat Local interns this year. This is my second time around with SEL, having interned over this past summer at the farmer’s markets, and I’m very excited to be working in a great environment and be totally surrounded by wholesome, locally grown foods again!

I am a senior at UNH in my last semester of the Nutrition and Dietetics program, as well as a dual major in EcoGastronomy, which is the study of sustainable food systems and its impact it has socially, economically, and nutritionally. I can’t wait to graduate, and while I haven’t sorted out my exact dream job, I feel a strong pull towards community nutrition and sustainable local foods—so you could say this job is a great fit for me!

One of my favorite parts about the markets would have to be watching the young kids get all excited about being able to pick out the fruits and veggies they want at the market, and seeing them have the same excitement about picking fresh carrots as I’ve heard some little kids get excited about candy. It warms my heart as a future nutrition professional, and makes me think about how I was raised around food. I didn’t have parents who were really into it and brought me every week to help them pick out our groceries like I see many children with their parents, but instead grew up the rather “conventional way”. I grew up in Hooksett, NH, a nice town in the middle of Concord and Manchester, but spent most of my time in either Hooksett or Manchester. I was fortunate enough to be able to visit the Manchester market almost every weekend of the summer when I was about 11 or 12, and though the market is pretty small there, I loved everything the market had to offer, and wished I could have spent more time there. But my parents just weren’t into it, and I was pretty much only allowed to go there to grab a little snack after they picked me up from the nearby summer camp. Looking back on an adult and experiencing the market every week now, I’m so happy for all of the little kids I see running by with our wooden tokens, racing to find a bundle of carrots or rhubarb, sort of wishing I had the same up-bringing, but knowing that it only enriches the advice I will give to parents as a future dietitian, because I believe that once the children think it’s fun and are on-board with healthy eating choices, the rest of the family just sort of follows suit, and it leads to better chances of a healthy lifestyle sticking in a family over a longer period of time.

I’m looking forward to this spring with SEL to experience a spring harvest for the first time, and I’ll be sure to provide some fun, interesting blog posts in the future for recipes and nutritional information, so if you have a request in mind, don’t be a stranger! Come visit me at the Rollinsford markets, I would love to meet you and chat!

Margo’s Post: A Food Resolution

January is a beautiful month for fresh starts. Many individuals decide to make New Year resolutions, especially around food. And I’m no different. However, this year the main objective isn’t based on looking a different way, but feeling a different way. 2019 for me is the year of nourishment – of sharing delicious homemade meals with friends, not restricting fun foods, and being in the present to savor the flavors of locally grown and produced foods. Using ingredients that were taken care by the farmers I have gotten to know better over the last eight months to me adds an extra level of enjoyment to cooking and tasting. Food is such a social vehicle, and to add an additional element of community provides me with such joy. So here is to a year of taking in beautiful local food, the community that local food creates, and the memories created and shared over this abundance.

Included below is one of the first recipes I made in 2019 and ate with a few of my best friends. It is a flavor explosion in the best way possible – sweet, savory, salty, and with slight heat. Warning – it’s hard to stop eating them once you start! Best enjoyed with loved ones 🙂

http://thefirstmess.com/2015/04/02/vegan-curry-garlic-sweet-potato-fries-miso-gravy-recipe/#more-5766

Kaidy’s Post: Pear Apple Crisp

Pears are a member of the Rosaceae plant family, along with apples, peaches, plums, cherries and an abundance of other fruits. There are many different varieties of pears, however the most commonly grown in the United States include Bartlett, Anjou, Bosc and Asian pears. Pears are in season in the seacoast area through October, however they are still available at the farmer’s markets and can be used if you have some leftover from this year’s harvest!

One pear has approximately 100 calories, 28 carbohydrates, and 5.5 grams of fiber. A pear also contains 12% vitamin C, 10% vitamin K, 7% copper and 6% potassium of the daily recommended values. Due to their high vitamin C content, pears help support a healthy immune system and help to prevent free radical damage. Pears also contain a large amount of soluble fiber, which helps to maintain blood glucose levels after eating a meal and has also been shown to decrease blood cholesterol levels.

Ever since I was little I always loved eating pears. I would always have them when I went over to my grandma’s house. She would leave them on the counter, by the window and let them ripen until they were soft and juicy and delicious. They are the perfect snack to hold you over in between meals or even for a little after dinner dessert. Below I have shared one of my favorite ways to incorporate pears into a healthier dessert dish.

Apple Pear Crisp

Apple Pear Filling

3 pears, peeled and sliced
4 apples, peeled and sliced
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
3 tablespoons raw honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons of lemon juice

Crisp Topping

1 cup regular oats
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350.
2.  To a large bowl add, sliced pears, sliced apples, cinnamon, nutmeg, raw honey, salt, and lemon juice. Gently toss to coat all the fruit with the spices.
3.  Pour fruit mixture into 13×9″ baking dish.
4.  In medium bowl, add regular oats, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and butter.
5.  Using your hands combine the butter into the dry ingredients until everything is combined and crumbly.
6.  Sprinkle Crisp topping on top of the fruit mixture.
7.  Bake for 35-40 minutes, until top is browned.
8.  Remove from oven and serve! (optional: top with vanilla ice cream)

Kaidy’s Post: Kung Pao Brussels Sprouts!

Brussels Sprouts are part of the Brassicaceae family along with kale, cauliflower, broccoli and mustard greens. They are also referred to as a cruciferous vegetable.  This vegetable resembles mini cabbages and are usually loved or hated for their bitter taste. Brussel sprouts are in season in the seacoast area from the beginning of October through the end of December.

Brussel sprouts contain 28 calories and 2 grams of fiber per half cup serving. They also contain 137% vitamin K, 81% vitamin C, 12% vitamin A, 12% folate and 9% manganese of the daily recommended values. Brussel sprouts are also extremely high in antioxidants, especially the antioxidant kaemperfol, which has been shown to reduce cancer cell growth, ease inflammation and be beneficial for heart health. They are also high in fiber which promotes a healthy digestive track and regularity.

There are many ways to eat brussels sprouts from boiling, sautéing, steaming and my personal favorite: roasting. If you aren’t a fan of these bitter sprouts, roasting caramelizes the outside making their taste not as harsh. Adding seasonings like garlic, salt, olive oil and even a little parmesan cheese can also neutralize the taste of this cruciferous vegetable.  Below is one of my favorite recipes for roasted brussels sprouts!

Kung Pao Brussels Sprouts

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups quartered Brussels sprouts
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped scallions
  •  ¼ cup reduced Sodium Soy Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Rice Vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  •  ¼ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon corn starch
  • 8 dried Chinese red chilis
  • ½-¾ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, divided
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons peanuts
  •  4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450° F.
  2. Toss Brussels sprouts with olive oil and place in a single layer on a baking sheet.
  3. Roast until tender and slightly crisp, about 25 minutes.
  4. While the sprouts are cooking, whisk together the scallions, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sugar, water and corn starch in a small bowl.
  5. Right before the sprouts are done cooking, heat a wok (or fry pan) over medium-high heat.
  6. Add in the chilis, ½ teaspoon red pepper and black pepper and cook until slightly toasted, stirring often.
  7.  Add in the peanuts and cook another minute until toasted.
  8.  Reduce heat to medium and add in the garlic and ginger and cook another minute.
  9. Add in the corn starch mixture.
  10.  Cook for 4 to 5 minutes until thickened, stirring occasionally.
  11. Add in the cooked Brussels sprouts and toss until hot and coated with the sauce.

Sofia’s Post: Acorn Squash!

Acorn squash is a small squash that looks like an acorn- how cute! Acorn squash are most commonly found in dark green variety (you can also find orange and white) with an orange flesh that is nutrient dense. The best time to buy acorn squash is at winter markets as it is in season in North America from fall through winter. Acorn squash, which is typically considered a winter squash, is actually part of the summer squash family and is related to zucchini.  Acorn squash pairs well flavors such as apples, sausage, bacon, garlic, sage and nutmeg.

Nutrient information:

Acorn squash contains vitamin A, niacin, folate, thiamine, vitamin B-6 and vitamin C. To keep the high amounts of vitamin C, steaming or baking the squash is more efficient instead of boiling. Each serving of acorn squash contains high amounts of potassium and magnesium along with small amounts of iron, calcium and phosphorus. Winter squash is one of the best sources of the antioxidants, which can lower risk of cancer, neurological disorders, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. In order to get the most nutrients out of your acorn squash, it is recommended to eat the vegetable 3-4 days after purchase and cut right before cooking.

Stuffed Acorn Squash

Ingredients:

  • 3 small acorn squash, cut in half lengthwise and seeds scooped out
  • 1 lb. of ground sausage
  • 1 large onion, sliced thin
  • 4 tablespoons of butter or olive oil (split)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 apple, chopped
  • 2 cups of spinach, chopped
  • Herbs to taste: rosemary and thyme
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Bake the squashes face down (seeds removed) for 20-30 minutes.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil over low heat and add all onions, stirring every 5 minutes for 25 minutes.
  4. In a different pan, heat 2 tablespoons of oil on low; add garlic and sausage, cook for 8 minutes or until browned. Add apples and herbs and cook until softened. Add spinach, salt and pepper. Mix in the caramelized onions.
  5. Stuff the cooked acorn squashes and put in the oven on broil for 5 minutes.

 

Sources:

HealthyeatingSF gate.com

paleorunningmomma.com

Erika’s Post: Meal Planning and Easy Crockpot Recipes

With the cold weather likely impacting your motivation, it can be hard to get up the energy to cook during the week. Meal planning can be an easy and time saving solution. What better time of year to put that crock pot to use for some warm comforting meals!

So how do you plan for fresh meals during the winter months when local in-season produce doesn’t feel as accessible? Head to your local winter farmers market and see what you can find! Be open to trying new things and looking for recipes based off what is available.
Think about what you might like to try and cook with. There are many things that you may not have liked in the past but are maybe open to trying in a different way now. Hate horseradish? Try a creamy cauliflower and horseradish soup. Ever heard of salsify (or oyster plant)? It was popular with the victorians but fell out of fashion in the 20th century. Would you be open to trying different spices? Spices are a great way to add flavor and complexity to a dish.
You may wonder if it will be expensive to buy in bulk and make meals ahead of time. The good news is that it is usually easier to buy items in bulk at the market, especially when they are in season. Also, the great thing about crockpot meals is that you can make a lot of food at once and refrigerate or freeze to eat later on in the week, saving money by not buying take-out at the last minute.
Think of a day in the week that you may be able to set aside some time to prep and cook meals ahead so that you can come home from work and not have to worry about cooking a meal. You can simply reheat the meal that you have already prepped in advance!
Here are some crockpot meals you can make with some produce available in the winter time to give you some inspiration:

Kaidy’s Post: It’s Still Cranberry Season!

Cranberries are one of the few fruits that are native to North America. The 5 states that grow the majority of cranberries in the United States are Massachusetts, Wisconsin, New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington. Cranberries often get a bad reputation because it assumed they have a high sugar content. They are actually naturally low in sugar, however due to their bitter taste sugar is usually added in the processing of cranberry products. Cranberries are typically in season from October until December in the seacoast area.

Fresh cranberries are composed of 90% water. In 100 grams there are only 46 calories and 12.2 grams of carbohydrates with 4 of those grams coming from sugar and the another 4 grams coming from fiber. Cranberries are also rich in the micronutrients vitamin C, manganese, vitamin E, vitamin K and copper. The skin of cranberries contain a high level of antioxidants, including vitamin E, vitamin C, quercetin, and, myricetin. These antioxidants can help prevent urinary tract infections. However, these antioxidants can be lost in the processing of cranberry products, such as cranberry juice, dried cranberries or cranberry sauce. So, you’re best bet is to buy fresh cranberries to reap these benefits. Cranberries have also been shown to prevent stomach ulcers and gastric cancer, as well as lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure.

Cranberry sauce is a staple in any Thanksgiving meal, but there is often tons leftover. Eating cranberry sauce on its own can become boring quickly. Cranberry sauce can also be used as a jam for toast, heated up to act as a fruit sauce for pancakes or simply used as a side dish for dinner. Below is a fun winter-time smoothie recipe using cranberries and apples, which are both still available locally.

Festive Cranberry-Apple Smoothie
Ingredients:
*   6 cubes of frozen cranberry sauce, or ½ cup fresh
*   1 apple cored and chopped
*   ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
*   ½ cup Greek yogurt
*   ½ cup milk

Directions:
1.  Place all ingredients into a blender or food process. Blend until smooth.

Sofia’s Post: Thankful for Leftovers!

Thanksgiving dinner is one meal that we look forward to all year long. I am so happy that the day has finally arrived! I may be getting ahead of myself for already thinking of what to make with Thanksgiving leftovers. A classic Thanksgiving leftover meal is the overstuffed “Gobbler” sandwich full of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce. This sandwich is delicious but it will get boring sooner than later.

 

This year I am going to try some new leftover recipes, and I encourage you to do the same! I will be making the most of my leftovers with these recipes:

  1. Thanksgiving nachos: 
  • Grab a bag of tortilla chips and scatter leftover turkey, butternut squash, onions and brussels sprouts (or any other leftovers) over the chips. Top with shredded cheese and bake in oven at 400 degrees until cheese is melted (about 5 minutes).
  1. Thanksgiving frittata:
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, green beans and cooked stuffing (or any leftovers) for 3-5 minutes. Add cooked leftover turkey until warmed. Add beaten eggs. Season with salt, pepper and basil. Top with shredded cheese and put it in the oven broiler for 3 minutes.
  1. Thanksgiving fried rice:
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet. Stir-fry chopped green beans, potatoes, carrots, onions (or any other leftover veggies) then add cooked rice and toss until warm. Fold in leftover turkey or ham. Add in 2 scrambled eggs. Serve with soy sauce.
  1. Thanksgiving salad: Mix up these ingredients with your leftover turkey and make into a sandwich or serve on a bed of salad greens.
  1. 3 Cups Leftover Turkey, shredded
  2. ¾ Cup Celery, finely chopped
  3. ¼ Cup Red Onion, finely chopped
  4. 1/3 Cup Dried Cranberries
  5. 1/3 Cup Sliced Almonds
  6. ¾ Cup Mayonnaise
  7. 2 Teaspoons Whole Grain Mustard
  8. Salt and Pepper

Source: Foodnetwork.com