Easter S'mores Revisited

Easter S'mores: What happens when two peeps meet a chocolate rabbit.  To read the whole Ménage à Trois story with recipe go here.   


Cottage Cheese and Fresh Fruit - Healthy Vegetarian Breakfast

I've been looking for a healthy and quick breakfast; something with protein that will get me through until lunch.  Cottage cheese with fresh fruit has been a tasty answer.  I've been eating about a half cup low-fat cottage cheese with a Clementine orange, strawberries or some of the frozen berries we put up last summer.

I let you in on another fantastic way to eat cottage cheese, mix it with salsa and eat it with tortilla chips.  I know it sounds strange, but it's surprisingly yummy.  Maybe I'll have to make that another post. 

As a kid I couldn't stand cottage cheese.  I'm not sure what's changed, but recently I've been craving it.  I still don't like yogurt.  Right now it is just a substitute for sour cream.  How do you eat cottage cheese or yogurt? 

If you are looking for a quick snack or breakfast you should give cottage cheese and fruit a try.  I'm not even sure you need a recipe for this one.  But here you go just to drive home how easy and quick this is:

Cottage Cheese and Fruit

1/2 cup low-fat organic cottage cheese
1 Clementine orange
1/4 cup fresh strawberries

 Top cottage cheese with fruit and enjoy. 
Check out how healthy this quick breakfast is:


Mindful Eating - Recipes with Nutrition Info

At the beginning of April I began working outside in the gardens again.  It's part of the cycle of working at a public garden in the Midwest.  We work outside April-October then desk work November to March.  I always welcome those first warm days of spring with dirty knees and a sore back.  However, this year, I went to put on my gardening jeans, which have the permanent dark blotches from kneeling in the garden, and I could barely zip them. 

Then I got word Taltree's Annual Gala Fundraiser will be formal attire.  I have one formal dress, actually my wedding dress, and I can barely zip it either.  Rather than go out and buy new clothes, I will lose the ten pounds it takes to fit back into my clothing. 

If you take away the bouquet and veil, it is just a simple silk dress. 
How exactly do I plan to systematically lose about ten pounds?  I have a couple things I have started doing:
  • Exercise. This one is easy. Now that I'm back out in the garden I'll be moving around more and much more active. I am grateful to have a job that helps my physical health rather than most desk jobs that add to the problem.
  • Back on the Weight Watchers bandwagon.  I did Weight Watcher in 2002 and got to my goal weight.  I started using their online program last week.  It's been revamped since the last time I did it.  I like that now they incentivized eating whole fruits and vegetables.  Although for me, it is re-educating myself about portions that really helps.
  • Adding nutritional information and servings to all my recipes.  This will take time, but I plan to go through all of my posted recipes and put up the nutrition for each as factored by the Spark People Recipe Calculator.  Part of my goal for Garden. Cook. Write. Repeat.  is to feature healthy food and recipes.  In the past I have put up nutrition on some like: Baigan Bharta (Indian Eggplant Curry) - Healthy Vegetarian Recipe.  I would like to make it universal so that each of you can more easily determine if these recipes fit into your lifestyle. 
This leads me to my next question to all of you who read my blog.  What can I do to make my recipes and posts more useful to you? Vote here.


Birky Family Farms - Local Country Market

Chris Birky talks about how he breeds his pigs for consistently tasty pork. 
I've been hearing buzz about Birky Farms in the community.  When I asked where to get local meat this is where people told me to go.  We don't eat a lot of meat, but when we do we like to know it was raised ethically. 

Jeff and I took a trip out to Birky Family Farms on Saturday for their Spring Fest.  We were lured in by the $1 brats.  When we arrived we found they had several different kinds of brats to choose from: original, smokey, Polish and Cajun.  We tried three different kinds and Jeff and I both agreed the Polish, with it's bolder garlic flavor, was our favorite.  We also agreed that we'd pass on the sauerkraut and say yes to grilled peppers and onion and of course yellow mustard.

For a cold and windy spring day, their was a steady stream of people going into the country store and a line ordering brats.  Many folks left with a sack full of brats to share. 


Birky Farms is a small family business in north west Indiana between Valparaiso and Malden, it's centered around raising quality pork.  They feed their pigs no antibiotics, no growth hormones, no animal by-products, no steroids, and no paylean. 

This family does it all from the breeding, raising and even helping with the butchering.  In addition to the pigs they no-till farm 1500 acres. They also reach out to their community and church to stock their Country Market which is located at the front of the drive right on the farm.  They sell locally sourced maple syrup (tapped this spring), eggs, cheese, pork, beef, chicken, baked goods and preserves. 

Chis Birky welcomed us when we pulled up and said hello to every person who stopped by. He answered all sorts of questions. When I asked him to give me his elevator speech about his farm. He looked at me oddly and I had to explain that I wasn't talking about corn elevators. To be fair we had just been discussing where he gets his pig feed.

Chris took the time to talk with us and even show us his sows, this group is about three weeks along.  I learned a lot about pigs and how he selectively breeds a combination of Durocs, Yorkshires, Landrace and Chester White to raise healthy pigs that give healthy pork.  

A pair of goats make excellent weed eaters around the barns. 

We'll be going back for their Friday lunches this summer and to buy butter and meat.  I'm grateful to have a farmer with such high standards just ten miles down the road. 

To find farmers like the Birky's in your neck of the woods visit Local Harvest.  Just type in your zip code and see what's near you. 

This post was featured on Simple Lives Thursday.