Spring is here!

Okay, not really.  We woke up to snow this morning.  But it is supposed to be in the 50′s by the end of the day, so hopefully that snow won’t be sticking around for long!  Even though it might not feel like Spring in most parts of the country, flowers and fresh local produce are just around the corner!  That means your local farmers have already been hard at work for a while.

I took a trip to Pick. at Garden Patch Farms in Homer Glen, IL last month to check out how they are preparing for Spring.  Molly was nice enough to show me around one of their greenhouses and explain how they are getting ready for the season by putting together seedlings for a number of annuals and perennials, as well as herbs, vegetable plants, fruit trees, and tons of other items for all types of gardeners (and non-gardeners!).

One of the main attractions there for me is the U-Pick.  Though the farm has events all year round, my favorite is picking my own produce.  You can’t get any fresher than picking it yourself!  Plus, it is a rewarding experience.  How much better is that pie going to taste with fruit that YOU picked off the tree or bush?!  I definitely plan on going back this summer with the kids to do some picking.

One thing you can always find at Garden Patch Farms year round are fresh eggs.  If you have never bought eggs from your local farmer or a farmers market, you are missing out.  Taste, texture, size – everything is better when they’re fresh!  The eggs you buy from the super market already have weeks worth of age on them, which does affect the yolk size and texture.  Plus, have you ever seen eggs this size at the grocery store, or ones with double yolks?

If you’re looking to branch out from scrambling those eggs, here are a few recipes where eggs are the star ingredient.  So don’t wait for warmer weather to go visit your local farm.  Pickup some eggs and start planning that garden now!

Make Ahead Scrambled Eggs

Quiche

Egg “McMuffins”

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Homemade Grenadine and Arctic Chill Ice Ball Review

After 9 months of pregnancy, I needed to mix up my beverages a little.  Not that I’m that person who can’t have a good time without a drink, but sometimes plain old water gets a little boring!  Being that I’m pregnant though, I didn’t want to gulp down loads of red dye…so I decided to check out some DIY recipes for grenadine.  There is a DIY recipe for everything out there these days.  Especially when more and more people want to know exactly what goes into their food and into their bodies.

You can use this grenadine in any way that you would use the store bought variety.  I made some Shirley Temples for myself with both Sprite and gingerale.  Also made some Burley Temples for the Husband.  He loved them!

I received these ice ball makers from Arctic Chill to try out.  They’re perfect for cocktails because they won’t water down the beverage as quickly, and dilute the taste of your ingredients.  They’re also fun for parties!  It’s a silicon mold, so the ice is pretty easy to remove.  Just run a little hot water over them before opening.  My husband, who is a whiskey drinker, especially likes them.  Since the ice balls are so large, they take a very long time to melt, and don’t dilute the flavor of the whiskey!

DIY Grenadine, adapted from Serious Eats

  • 2 cups pomegranate juice
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 tablespoons (2 fluid ounces) pomegranate molasses
  • 2 teaspoons rosewater

Heat pomegranate juice on medium for 5 minutes, then add the sugar and stir to dissolve. Continue to cook until the two integrate into a syrup, about 5 more minutes. Then add the pomegranate molasses and cook for an additional 2 minutes, stirring to dissolve. Remove from heat.

Let mixture cool to room temperature, then pour into glass container. Add rosewater, seal, and shake. Refrigerate and use as soon as its cool, or store in refrigerator for up to one month.

*I received complimentary ice molds from Arctic Chill to test.  I did not receive any compensation for this post.  Opinions expressed here are my own.

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Let Somebody Else do the Shopping: Relished Review

Even though I have a food blog, I cannot stand to go grocery shopping.  Weird, right? So I was excited to try a service who took care of that for you.  Relished is a service that provides you with all the ingredients to make a meal and instructions on how to prepare it. Relished is a subscription service where you can order up to 5 meals per week for $9.95 per serving.  It would be a great fit for busy parents, working professionals who don’t have time to shop, new mothers, someone who just moved, etc.  Basically anyone who likes to cook, but doesn’t have time to shop.  Everything is portioned out for you, making preparing the meals a bit quicker as well!  This especially came in handy, as I prepared the meals on weeknights.

I received three meals to make.  Turkey burgers with sweet potato fries, a wedge salad and salmon with wasabi mashed potatoes and bok choy.  All of the ingredients were packed in a cooler box, and everything was cold and fresh looking when it arrived.  Most food items were packed in those green bags you can buy to keep your produce fresh, ziploc bags or plastic containers.  It was all beautifully packaged and labeled.  Even though that looked nice and kept the food well, I would almost say it was too much.  So if I have one critical piece of feedback to share with Relished, it might be to explore some “greener” options for packaging, or combine certain items so they can use less.

Overall I was really happy with the quality of the meals, and how easy the recipes were to follow.  For me, someone who likes to create my own recipes, it might not be a good fit.  However, I can see it being a good fit in about 6 weeks when I have a newborn to take care of!  Given that spring is not showing any signs of coming soon, I’d love to have someone else do the shopping for me!

Relished is based in Chicago, which was an added incentive for me to try it out!  However, they offer delivery to most areas east of the Colorado River.  You can use their zip code check on the homepage to confirm availability.  If you are interested in trying their service or would like to give it as a gift, they are offering a 50% discount off of your first order!  Just use the code “relished50“, which is good through the end of the month.

*I received three complimentary meals from Relished to prepare and taste.  I did not receive any compensation for this post.  Opinions expressed here are my own.

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