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Going to the farmers market is like going to church, for me. I make it a point to walk across the river and shop for my produce at the market every Wednesday, regardless of my schedule during the day. My weekly market is modest in size, but this real food girl can get everything she needs to survive the week. Summer is my favorite time of year at the farmers market because there is a bounty of every fruit and vegetable! And I don’t know about where you live but a bounty of harvest here equates to cheaper organic produce. Can’t beat that!

Last week I went to Blue Heron’s stand to buy some carrots. I’ve never eaten their carrots before but they looked so gorgeous I was just magnitized to them. (Sorry not photo!) I was ready to pay $2 for a very large and healthy bunch when I was offered 2 bunches for a dollar more. I hesitated at first because I thought “What will I do with that many carrots?” but a deal that good would be a waste to pass up. With all of the carrots inhabiting my fridge, I bring you this recipe!

If you have a bounty of carrots in your fridge, or if you just really like carrots, this is the perfect summer recipe for you. It’s very easy to whip up too so it’s perfect to make ahead of time for your next picnic or potluck.

Carrot Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing

Ingredients

-1 large bunch of carrots, tops removed and julienned

-1 cup spinach, shredded or chopped

For dressing

-1 bunch cilantro, stems removed

-juice of 2 limes  (or 1.5 large lemon)

-1 garlic cloves, minced

-about 1/4 C olive oil, or more

-water to consistency

– salt and pepper to taste

Optional

-pumpkin seeds

Directions

Place all dressing ingredients in a blender and blend until ingredients well combined. If adding water, pour small quantities until the dressing reaches your desired consistency (creamy, more watery, etc..)

In a large bowl, pour dressing over carrots and spinach. Toss. Serve chilled.

I like adding different nuts and seeds to my salad because they add extra protein and fats and also add a nice texture and garnish to any dish. I chose pumpkin seeds for this recipe but chopped walnuts or sliced almonds would go also exceptionally well!

* Serving suggestions: Aside from adding nuts, try swapping the spinach for another dark leafy green: steamed/raw kale, swiss chard..serve as a side with rice and baked fish..top with a fried egg!

But wait just one moment.. there is something missing!

GOAT CHEESE!

I’ve convinced myself that I will work at or own a goat farm at some point in my life. I love me some goat cheese! It seriously makes everything taste 1,000,000 times better. Trust me on this.

-peas!-

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Oh sweet chocolate, you make me swoon!

And zucchini… You are so beautiful this time of year.

I had the strong urge to bake the other day when I came home from the market with 2 very large zucchinis. Zucchini bread has to be one of my favorite treats. I didn’t really have every ingredient of hand to make a normal loaf of zucchini bread, but I did have Pamela’s Chocolate Chunk Cookie mix. Baking a loaf with a pre-made cookie mix is not really what I had in mind to do but the bread turned out amazing! Would most people consider it healthy? Probably not. But at least it uses real ingredients. As in, I can pronounce every item used in the making of this delicious baked good. You must make this as soon as you can!

Chocolate Chunk Zucchini Bread (Gluten-Free)

Ingredients

-8″X6″ or 9″ baking dish

-1 package Pamela’s Gluten-Free Chocolate Chunk Cookie Mix

-1 tsp nutmeg

-1 tsp baking soda

-1 tsp baking powder

-1/2 tsp salt

1/2 C chopped walnuts

-2 eggs

-5 T coconut oil, melted

– 1/2 coconut milk, plus extra to thin if necessary (I used So Delicious)

-1 C shredded zucchini

* Yes, my secret is out of the bag! I take most photos on top of our washer and dryer. The best light comes through there and our kitchen is very small!

Directions

-Pre-heat an oven to 350 degrees.

1. Combine dry ingredients, including walnuts.

Coating the walnuts with the flour will ensure that they will not sink to the bottom while baking.

2. In a separate small bowl, whisk eggs and add to the dry ingredients along with the oil and milk.

Mix on low or with a large whisk or spoon until well combined.

3. Mix in zucchini.

4. Lightly grease your baking pan and add the mixture. Spread evenly.

5. Lick remaining batter in bowl.

5. Place your pan on the middle rack…

and bake for 35 minutes or until the toothpick comes out clean.

Allow to cool before serving.

Enjoy!

Tomatoes are summer’s blessing, and nothing taste sweeter than a home grown tomato!

I’m so excited that my tomato plants are going to be bearing fruit soon!

Tomatoes are one of the most popular plants to grow in a container but there are a few things you will want to make sure you do to ensure you have a successful growing season. These delicious fruits need all of the TLC they can get! The more love, the sweeter the tomato I promise.

Most tomato plants need at least 15 gallon containers so that they can have plenty of room to establish their roots, take in moisture, and spread out. Smaller plants like cherry or grape tomatoes don’t need as much space. If possible it is always better to give your plant larger space when container gardening because the plants are already being confined to a small space (not in actual terrain).

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Tomatoes can also be grown upside down. I’ve actually never tried this method so I’m not 100% sure how that works but there are plenty of resources available on the internet if you want to try that out!

For those of you container gardening tomato plants that are right-side up, another tip is to buy some inexpensive stakes to help your plant grow up right. Tomato plants tend to be like awkward teenagers going through puberty sometimes. They can grow lanky and bend in ways that confuse you. That is what the stakes are for! The stakes are most effective when tied in a tee-pee formation that will allow you to gently tie support to your gangly growing tomato plant where it needs help most.

This plant was nearly twisted upside down. No, it isn’t tied and incarcerated in an evil bamboo trap I’ve created! I’m hoping that it wasn’t bent in an awkward way for too long and that it will bud flowers soon… 🙂

I’m no professional but those are my tips for you as a home gardener! Have you grown tomatoes in containers before? If you have any tips, share below!

-peas!-

 

…here. 🙂