A Little Blue Bin of Veggies

A Little Blue Bin

Important conversations have started to take place in our home and they all began with a little blue bin of veggies and a farmer with a passion to feed people.

CSA Blue Bin | www.jenniferdyck.com

A passion to feed people

“I just love to Feed people” said Will Bergmann to a group of food enthusiasts this summer. And that he does. This growing season my family had the opportunity to join our first ever CSA garden with Bergmann CSA.

The end of a season

Today, Will handed over our last bin for the season. It was a bitter sweet moment. I’m sad that our weekly mystery box of locally grown, seasonal veggies will not enter our home again until spring but I’m also truly thankful to have been a part of this magical vegetable journey.

CSA last bin 2015 | www.jenniferdyck.com

Lessons from our CSA bin:

1. You will #EatMoreVeggies
When you know a fresh bin of veggies is arriving each and every week you will eat more veggies. Veggies become the focus of every meal and you literally stuff yourself with them every chance you get.
CSA bin 2015 | www.jenniferdyck.com

2. Your heart will grow
Your heart will grow three sizes as you watch your kids literally vibrate with excitement over veggies. They couldn’t wait to unpack and pick out their first bite from the bin each and every week.

Veggie Excited | www.jenniferdyck.com

3. #FarmToFood conversations will take place
Something magical will happen when you get to know a farmer. The personal connection that my kids made with our farm family paved the way for many conversations at our dinner table.

I answered questions about: where our food comes from, who grows it or raises it, different types of farms and interestingly food waste.

It also created an “ah-ha” moment for my kids. My sister and her family farm too. They operate a mixed farm with beef cattle and grain. My kids suddenly realized the importance of all farmers. That all farmers feed people. My kids started asking deeper questions about where their Uncle’s crops go and who eats his animals.

These important questions are being asked, conversations are being had and it all started with our blue bin of veggies and a farmer with a passion to feed people.

Blyth Farm 2015 | www.jenniferdyck.com

Thank You!

Thank you Bergmann CSA for filling our plates, for entering our hearts and for feeding our souls!

Bergmann CSA Thank you 2015 | www.jenniferdyck.com

Always…Jenn

Patty Pan Squash Soup

What do you do with a giant patty pan? Make soup of course!

Giant Patty Pan Squash | www.jenniferdyck.com

This growing season we have been introduced to the patty pan.  The start of the season brought bite size morsels to our table that we grilled, sauteed and ate raw.

Baby Patty Pan | www.jenniferdyck.com

Now that the season is well under way, these summer squash have turned into the monsters of our CSA garden bin and it’s time to switch up how we are going to eat them.

Our farmer, Will Bergmann, suggested that you can make soup.  We are a soup loving family so this quickly became our next meal.

Patty Pan Squash Soup | www.jenniferdyck.com

I hunted online for a recipe but I could not find one that suited what we had on hand for ingredients and one that maximized the produce that had arrived from the farm.

As with any soup, please add extras and change up the flavours to suit your family. Potatoes would add some heartiness, or a handful of cooked noodles.  The basil and parsley could easily become a combination that includes; dill, tarragon, thyme or oregano.

Patty Pan Squash Soup

Patty Pan Squash Soup | www.jenniferdyck.com

Ingredients:

  • 8 cups unpeeled patty pan, cubed
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 medium carrot, diced
  • 2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup Feta cheese OR sour cream

Directions:

  1. Dice the squash and set aside.
  2. Chop the garlic and set aside.
  3. In a large saucepan or small stock pot, heat the canola oil over medium heat.  Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently for 1 minute.
  4. Add the flour, stir to combine and continue cooking for 1 minute.  Stir for the entire minute.
  5. Slowly whisk in the broth and continue to whisk until well blended.
  6. Add the squash, carrot, 1 tsp pepper and turmeric.  Stir to combine.  Your broth will not cover all of the squash and this is fine.  The squash will release moisture.
  7. Cover the pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until the carrots are tender.
  8. Remove from heat and use an immersion blender to puree until smooth. Alternately you can puree in a food processor or blender but you may want to allow the soup to cool slightly.
  9. Return to heat, stir in basil and parsley.
  10. Serve garnished with Feta cheese or sour cream and the additional pepper.  The cheese is important as it gives the soup a bit of salt.

Storage:

Keep in a sealed container in the fridge for 3-5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Notes:

If you are going to freeze the soup, for best flavour, I suggest adding the fresh herbs after you’ve thawed and reheated.

Do you have extra zucchini?  I have successfully made this soup with 4 cups of cubed patty pan and 4 cups of cubed zucchini.

Fat Quarter Forest Animal Four Patch

Say that five times fast!

The Triple Threat Project

At some point I picked up forest animal fat quarter bundles in a brown, orange, green and teal palette.  Anyone that knows me will find this an odd selection from my typical jewel tone selections.

This purchase immediately became a triple threat challenge that needed to be conquered.

1. The fabric is not my typical colour palette,
2. I’ve never sewn using fat quarters and
3. I don’t have any connection to a forest.

Choosing a Tutorial

After hunting high and low for a simple online quilt tutorial using fat quarters I landed upon Take-Along Quilt {Tutorial} from Clover & Violet.

This tutorial was exactly what I needed to give me the courage to get cutting and try something new.

Fabric Layout

I decided to use the lower volume fabrics in the smaller squares and use the larger print fabrics in the large squares.

Four Patch Fat Quarter Forest Animal 2015 | www.jenniferdyck.com

Once I decided to go full forest theme there was no turning back.  On a separate fabric excursion I came across faux wood grain fabric.

Now this is something I never imagined I’d ever purchase but it made a perfect border to extend the size of my quilt on both the front and back.

Four Patch Fat Quarter Forest Animal 2015 | www.jenniferdyck.com

Machine Quilting

This was the first quilt that I made 100% on my Janome Skyline.  I went with a very basic triple straight line window pane look that followed the large four-patch blocks of the front.

Choosing Binding

When it came to choosing a binding I gravitated back to my comfort zone and picked a pop of colour. It happened to be a fabric from my stash.

Washed and Ready to Use

I’ve recently decided to stop pre-washing fabric that I use to make quilts.  I like the way they crinkle after their first machine wash and dry.  They instantly look loved and ready for use.

Four Patch Fat Quarter Forest Animal 2015 | www.jenniferdyck.com

Quilt Backs Can Be Fun Too

It can be fun using extra pieces from the front to piece together the back of your quilt.  There was still more faux wood that I used to frame the back piece.

The biggest challenge with getting creative on the back is that you need to take extra care when layering your pieces together to ensure that the fabric directions of both front and back line up properly.

Four Patch Fat Quarter Forest Animal 2015 | www.jenniferdyck.com

To Keep It or Gift It

Often when I make items they have a specific recipient in mind.  I will careful choose fabrics that remind me of the person, I pick a project that I think the person will enjoy and most of all I imagine the project in its forever home being used.

Since this quilt began with a spontaneous fat quarter purchase I’ve decided that our home will be it’s forever home.  The boys immediately pulled it from the laundry basket and it’s been in use ever since.

“One who sleeps under a quilt is comforted by love.” ~unknown

Always…Jenn

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins | www.jenniferdyck.comIt’s zucchini time!  On the Prairies from late July until the end of August it’s zucchini season.

Did you know these summer squash can grow up to 1 meter long!?

Stop in at any farm yard or visit an urban garden enthusiast at this time of year and I’m sure you’ll leave toting a zucchini too large to fit in your fridge.

I like to make them into delicious cakes, loafs, muffins and other baked treats.  Save the small tender ones for grilling and eating raw.  You can also grate and freeze extra zucchini for winter baking or for adding into sauces and soups.

Here is our family favourite recipe for Chocolate Zucchini Muffins.

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins | www.jenniferdyck.com

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 Tbsp wheat germ
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup 1% milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Prepare pan with parchment muffin liners.
  2. In medium size bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, wheat germ, cinnamon, baking soda and baking powder.
  3. In a second bowl, beat together sugar, canola oil, milk, eggs and vanilla.
  4. Add wet ingredients to flour mixture and stir just to combine ingredients.
  5. Add zucchini and chocolate chips and stir just to combine ingredients.
  6. Add batter to prepared muffin pans using leveled 2 Tbsp (30 mL) measure.
  7. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from pans and let cool on a wire rack.

Notes:

Mini-muffins – makes 24.  Bake at 350F for 12-14 minutes.

Storage:

Keep in a resealable container on the counter for 1-2 days or in the freezer for up to a month.