<![CDATA[Upendo3 - Faith, Family, and Food - Blog]]>Fri, 05 Feb 2016 02:11:41 -0500Weebly<![CDATA[Supporting your Local Farmers]]>Thu, 20 Aug 2015 21:23:30 GMThttp://upendo3.weebly.com/blog/supporting-your-local-farmers
Knowing that your produce has been picked at the peak of freshness to meeting the people who grow your food, there are countless reasons to support farmers markets. Here are a few from my perspective!

1. Taste Real Flavors
The fruits and vegetables you buy at the farmers market are the freshest, healthiest, and tastiest available. Fruits are allowed to ripen fully in the field and are brought directly to you—no long-distance shipping, no gassing to simulate the ripening process, no sitting for weeks in storage. This food is as real as it gets--fresh from the farm.

2. Enjoy the Season
The food you buy at the farmers market is seasonal. It is fresh and delicious and reflects the truest flavors. Shopping and cooking from the farmers market helps you to reconnect with the cycles of nature in our region. As you look forward to asparagus in spring, savor sweet corn in summer, or bake pumpkins in autumn, you reconnect with the earth, the weather, and the turning of the year.

3. Support Family Farmers
Family farmers need your support, now that large agribusiness dominates food production in the U.S. Small family farms have a hard time competing in the food marketplace. Buying directly from farmers gives them a better return for their produce and gives them a fighting chance in today’s globalized economy.

4. Protect the Environment
Food in the U.S. travels an average of 1,500 miles to get to your plate. All this shipping uses large amounts of natural resources (especially fossil fuels), contributes to pollution, and creates trash with extra packaging. Conventional agriculture also uses many more resources than sustainable agriculture and pollutes water, land, and air with toxic agricultural by-products. Food at the farmers market is transported shorter distances and is generally grown using methods that minimize the impact on the earth.

5. Nourish Yourself
Much food found in grocery stores is highly processed and grown using pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, and genetic modification. Some of it has been irradiated, waxed, or gassed in transit. These practices may have negative effects on human health. In contrast, most food found at the farmers market is minimally processed, and many of our farmers go to great lengths to grow the most nutritious produce possible by using sustainable techniques, picking produce right before the market, and growing heirloom varieties.

6. Discover the Spice of Life: Variety
At the farmers market you find an amazing array of produce that you don’t see in your average supermarket: red carrots, a rainbow of heirloom tomatoes, purple cauliflower, organic green garlic, watermelon radishes, quail eggs, maitake mushrooms, and much, much more. It is a wonderful opportunity to savor the biodiversity of our planet.

7. Promote Humane Treatment of Animals
At the farmers market, you can find meats, cheeses, and eggs from animals that have been raised without hormones or antibiotics, who have grazed on green grass and eaten natural diets, and who have been spared the cramped and unnatural living conditions of feedlots and cages that are typical of animal agriculture...have you ever tried REAL GRASS FED BEEF?? All I can say is...WOW and I'M HOOKED!

8. Know Where Your Food Comes From
A regular trip to a farmers market is one of the best ways to connect with where your food comes from. Meeting and talking to farmers and food artisans is a great opportunity to learn more about how and where food is produced. 

9. Learn Cooking Tips, Recipes, and Meal Ideas
Few grocery store cashiers or produce stockers will give you tips on how to cook the ingredients you buy, but farmers, ranchers, and artisans at the farmers market are often passionate cooks with plenty of free advice about how to cook the foods they are selling

10. Connect with Your Community
Wouldn’t you rather stroll amidst outdoor stalls of fresh produce on a sunny day than roll your cart around a grocery store with artificial lights and piped in music? Coming to the farmers market makes shopping a pleasure rather than a chore. The farmers market is a community hub—a place to meet up with your friends, bring your children, or just get a taste of small-town life in the midst of our wonderful big city.

Check out the "TIME TO EAT" page of my blog, and get one of Timetha's favorites "FARM FRESH RECIPES" (TT'sRoasted Broccoli)

Remember to Cook with LOVE, and bring a smile to someone's face!! 

Content Credit: www.cuesa.org (Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture)

<![CDATA[Restaurant Copy Cat Recipes]]>Thu, 06 Aug 2015 03:18:18 GMThttp://upendo3.weebly.com/blog/restaurant-copy-cat-recipesPicture
 If you are anything like me, you LOVE a good meal out with your Bae, the Family, or with Friends! Right? Now, while you are enjoying that meal, or on the ride home, does something "click" in your brain that says, "I CAN MAKE THAT AT THE CRIB"? Well if your mind does not "click" like that, let's take a trip into my crazy mind. :-)

My first "serious" attempt at "knocking off" a dish came when Timetha and I were living in Laurel, MD, and we ventured out on a  "kid-free"" night for a meal at Ruby Tuesday. ( our first date was at Ruby Tuesday in Greenbelt, MD...ummm I had to say that...she is standing beside me with a strange look on her face ) :-) So like most of us reading this blog, we were huge fans of their New Orleans Seafood dish. So we sat and flipped thru the menu, while thinking, "I don't know why I'm looking at this, because I want New Orleans Seafood, Salad Bar, and a drink"!!! The waiter approaches us and does his best to explain the "NEW MENU ITEMS". One item caught my attention...he said, "we are now serving a "Cajun Jambalaya Pasta"!! Long story short...I went with the waiters suggestion, and Timetha stuck to her guns.. The food comes to the table, and both our eyes were pleased when we saw the "Cajun Jambalaya Pasta". Timetha's dish was good as usual, but the Cajun Pasta was AMAZING!! ( yall know she was all up in my plate..right?) :-)

In the middle of eating our dinner, my crazy mind IMMEDIATELY turned to "I CAN DO THAT"!!! and we began to break the dish down ingredient by ingredient! Honestly speaking, it took me 3 attempts to perfect it. I struggled with the sauce, but now I GOT IT!! PLEASE GO and check out the "Time to Eat" page for my Copy Cat Recipe of Ruby Tuesday "Cajun Jambalaya Pasta"! There's nothing like cooking a copy cat recipe at home, because you can really control the flavors, the spiciness, the amount of sauce etc. 

There are a lot of "Restaurant Copy Cat" websites out there...However, I have grown to really like a few that I will share with you! www.food.com/package/copycat-recipes and www.allfreecopycatrecipes.com 
( just type in the name of the restaurant in the Search Box and Have Fun )

I have had MAJOR success with a lot of the recipes from our Favorite Restaurants. The kids LOVE when we cook a copy cat meal. Their Fav is "Chipotle Night" !
Enjoy the Recipe, and get out there and eat, so you can go home and , "KNOCK IT OFF" (oh my..not sure if I should have said that...) :-)   Talk to you all next week! Remember..."cook with LOVE and bring a smile to someone's face"

<![CDATA[Grocery Shopping on a Dime!]]>Tue, 28 Jul 2015 21:39:47 GMThttp://upendo3.weebly.com/blog/grocery-shopping-on-a-dime
Wow...my first Blog post...well let me jump right in! In our household, we do some form of grocery shopping "EVERY DAY". OK OK...don't leave the site just yet :-) I know it's a little strange, but let me explain. We do monthly grocery shopping just like most households do. However, we usually only buy the basic essentials that need to be replenished (rice, potatoes, pasta, milk, cereal, fruit, etc). Why?? Well, because I am in love with the challenge of "shopping on a dime, and allowing a trip to the grocery store to provide inspiration for tonight's meal". So the essentials are at home, and I by myself, or with Timetha journey out EVERY DAY to the grocery store to be inspired, and to stay within our budget.
We almost never have the kids with us at the grocery store. We use that as time to culinarily connect ( I know that's not a word ) :-) We talk about flavor profiles, pairings, trying new veggies, new ingredients, etc. (sounds like a form of QT to me)

The fun for me is "looking for deals/sales"!  I could have a few hundred dollars in my pocket, but I still look for deals/sales. Call it what you want, but it's me :-) (I also believe its being a "good steward" over our finances) Some may call it or me "cheap", but I beg to differ :-) 

 My quest almost always starts in the meat dept, because I have grown accustom to building the meal around whatever meat I choose. Example: Family Pack of Italian Sausage links (15 links) on sale for $8.57...regular price $13.97 ...a savings of $5.40...now watch how I used the savings. (true story) So based on the meat choice, we had a few different meal choices...Sausage and Peppers Marinara, Sausage and Peppers on Hogie buns with hand cut fries or chips, stuffed Peppers, and the list goes on...well I chose Sausage and Peppers Marinara. So I went to the veggie dept, and picked up 1 large green pepper $1, 1 large red pepper $1, 1 large sweet onion $1.59. Then off to the pasta isle...1 box of Fettuccine $1(store brand). (the other essentials for this meal were already at home...fresh garlic, fresh parmigiana cheese, and fresh basil for garnish) 
So out of the $5.40 savings, I have spent $4.59...so I have $.81 left. So I decide that a nice fresh loaf of Italian Bread will top off this meal....the cost was $1.99. Total meal cost $15.15 (Family of 5) ...YES SIR YES SIR!!!

Just in case you were wondering, ....how did he account for the cost of making the Home Made Marinara Sauce?
Well, we make the "liquid red gold" in large batches, so there are always a few freezer bags stored in the freezer. 
Wanna know how to make the Home Made Marinara Sauce?? Click on the "Its Time to Eat" page, and ENJOY!

Thank you guys for listening, and for your support. God Bless and Don't forget..."cook with LOVE, and bring a smile to someone's face"!