Category Archives: Health

Time for fresh, local produce in Worthington

I love summer! You know after the long, cold winter our summers here in Minnesota just don’t seem long enough. So I am thankful that today the Worthington Farmers Market starts in downtown Worthington at 4 p.m . Buying fresh, local produce from people I know makes me happy and summer meals created with the local food purchased at the farmers markets are loaded with flavor and healthy nutrients.

farmers market 13 final

Farmers markets have gained a lot of popularity over the last few years as people are becoming more aware about the foods they eat and where they come from. People love the opportunity to buy straight from producers. It feels good to be able to ask questions about the food you are purchasing and a good number of the producers at the Worthington Farmers Market grow their goods without using harsh chemicals. This year, I am happy to see several vendors selling gluten free options.

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If you live in the Worthington area I invite you to visit our local markets. The downtown Worthington Farmers Market goes from 4 to 7 p.m. on Tuesdays at the parking lot at Second Avenue and 10th Street and this year the Saturday market starts July 11 and runs from 6:30 a.m. to Noon at Ace Hardware along Oxford Street. If you are not around Worthington, I encourage you to find a farmers market close by and enjoy all of the delicious produce and goods it has to offer!

So last week we in our fresh produce box from 10 Acres Flat there was kale. This is definitely a vegetable I have grown to love but trust me it took some time. Last year, Freya from 10 Acres shared the kale recipe posted below. It made me love and crave kale!The one thing I learned from this recipe is if you are eating kale fresh you should massage it so it is easier to digest and it also gives it a better flavor. Now, I know many of you are saying…ick, I am not going to eat kale but give it a chance! And if you don’t like it one way, try it another way. Kale is loaded with vitamins and minerals including calcium and vitamin c. In fact, did you know kale has more vitamin c than one orange?

Why is kale a winner-

 

This is the first recipe I have used fresh kale. Usually, I throw kale in a morning smoothie or I sautee it with onion and garlic in butter or bacon grease. This salad was a hit at our house. In fact, my husband and I finished it off the first night I made it and I had to make some just a few days later because I was craving it. And of course, kale is something you can purchase at the local farmers market.

Kale

KaelSalad

Kale Salad

1 bunch kale

1 avocado

Juice from 2 fresh lemons

2 tbsp. olive oil

1-2 tsp. local honey

1 cucumber, bell pepper, carrot or other favorite salad veggie

¼ cup sliced almonds or sunflower seeds

Salt and pepper to taste

Remove the stem from the kale leaves. Discard stems and slice kale into strips. Place chopped kale in salad bowl with about a ½ tsp. of real salt or sea salt and 1 tsp. of lemon juice. Rub the salt and lemon into the kale (like you are giving it a massage) for a few minutes until it turns a brighter green and is starting to look almost wilted or cooked. In a smaller bowl, mash the avocado and mix with remaining lemon juice, honey and olive oil. If it seems to thick add a dash of water. Pour over kale and stir well to combine. Add chopped veggie of choice and almonds or sunflower seeds. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

NOTE: When I made this recipe last week, I chopped the avocado into pieces and did not mash it. I used a red pepper and cucumber for my first batch this season and loved the flavor the cucumber added. We did not put the almonds or seeds on it. The next time I made it I used a carrot and turnips. As you can see you can be creative and come up with many variations of this recipe.

Please share your favorite recipe using fresh, summer produce with us here at Be Real Blog.

Please subscribe to Be Real blog so you can receive email notification each time I write a new post. You can find the subscribe button to the right of this post or if you are using your phone it may be at the bottom of this post. 

Bone broth is a great addition to your diet

If you are like me when you hear the words bone broth you are thinking what? That sounds so weird how could it possibly be good for you. I grew up on a farm and we many times butchered our own animals and utilized many parts of the animal for food but I can honestly say growing up my grandmothers, mom or dad never made bone broth. I sure wish they would have introduced me to this super food much earlier in life, but then again if they had I might have turned up my nose and said no thanks!

BeefBrothPhoto

When I started doing research about gluten free eating and how to heal the digestive system I started coming across bone broth. It was popping up in nearly everything I read.I became aware of the many health benefits and realized is it very cheap to make. I am all for healthy foods that are affordable.  I made my first batch of chicken bone broth back in January 2014 and wrote this blog post about it. Get the recipe here. I was very happy with the way it turned out and it is so nice have to chicken broth in the freezer whenever we need it for recipes. Then about six months ago, I made a batch of bone broth with bison bones. I was so thankful when the bison producer we buy meat from for my two health food stores provided me with some bison bones. This broth turned out with really great flavor. In fact, I liked the recipe so much I used the same recipe for my beef bone broth this weekend.

There are many articles on the benefits of bone broth. Click on these links to read more about the benefits. Dr. Mercola lays out the many health benefits in this article. Whole 9 does a great job of answering questions about bone broth. Read their insights here.   It can be beneficial for joint pain, skin, teeth health, digestive health, bone health and so much more. It is loaded with lots of vitamins and minerals that can provide our body with much needed support.  So you can make bone broth and have it ready when you need it for recipes (this is a great money-saver) or you can consume 4 to 8 ounces each day for health benefits. Just like with anything, if you want to notice some kind of a difference you will have to drink it consistently and every person is different so what works for one of us might not work for another person.

BoneBroth

Beef Bone Broth

2 to 3 pounds of beef bones with marrow

3 tbsp. organic apple cider vinegar

3 cloves minced garlic or 2 tsps. Simply Organic garlic powder

2 tbsp. Real Salt

2 tsp. Simply Organic oregano

2 tsp. Simply Organic basil

Filtered water

Put all ingredients in a crock pot (I used a 6 quart crock pot). Fill crock pot almost to top with water. Cook on low in crock pot for 24-48 hours. Let cool and put in glass containers to store for the week or freeze the leftovers for use anytime.

Come learn about the awesomeness of essential oils

You may have noticed my blog posts have been very minimal lately and to all of you who have been asking I do apologize. It was never my intent to not keep on with the writing but I was in a season of life that was demanding a lot of my time. I did not keep my blogging as a priority. I am hoping to change that for the rest of this year. My list of blog ideas is piled high and I have so much I want to share with you. I just have to take the time to sit down at my computer and write. So please forgive me for my absence, but know that I am super excited to be back blogging and for all of the great things ahead at Be Real!

Today, I want to touch on the hot topic of essential oils. Everywhere you go people are talking about the many uses of essential oils. It is so awesome to see oils becoming more and more popular because they are natural and they have countless uses! Oils have been used for thousands of years and have been popular in the natural health world for a long time. My dad and stepmom first introduced me to oils when I was about 17 years old. Of course back then, 22 years ago, I sure did not believe a few drops of oil could do so much and I thought all of the oils had a horrible smell! But let me tell you if Dad or Sherry ever gave me an oil for something, it worked! Yes, even as skeptical as I was I could tell a difference when I would use oils.

Essential Oil Starter Kit

Fast forward to almost seven years ago when I purchased The Daily Apple Worthington—-yes you guessed it my inventory came complete with essential oils. I started to dabble and reacquaint myself with the oils and in the last couple of years, I have spent a lot of time researching oils and using them in my work and at home.

The Daily Apple has three big essential oil events coming up this month. If you would like to learn more about essential oils make your way to one of our classes. This Tuesday, May 12 at 5:30 p.m. there will be a class at The Daily Apple in Worthington, MN. On Thursday, May 14 at 5:30 p.m. we will offer the same class at The Daily Apple in Storm Lake, Iowa. And we are so excited to team up with The Wine Bar and Art Gallery on Wednesday, May 27 in Arnolds Park, Iowa. Come learn about oils and enjoy a glass of wine and food.  The Wine Bar is under new ownership and we are thrilled to partner with them for some special events this summer.

We are excited to announce that at both Daily Apple stores we are featuring a Now brand essential oil each month and during the month that oil will be 20% off. For our first oil during the month of May we chose the most expensive oil we sell—Chamomile. Chamomile is relaxing, calming and revitalizing and has many wonderful uses. We are so happy to offer you a special price so you can add it to your collection today and start enjoying the many benefits of chamomile.

Product of the Month! (1)

And if you are wondering some of my favorite oils —-my first pick has to be Now’s Cheerup Buttercup blend. I love the fresh citrus smell of this oil and it definitely brings on a happy feeling. We also use Now’s Peaceful Sleep blend each night at bedtime in our diffuser. I am also a huge fan of peppermint and lemon eucalyptus.

Time to think health in the New Year

Does anyone else feel like the New Year is quickly passing by? I had so many good intentions right at the beginning of the year but each day passed quickly and already we are half way through the month. Today, I have decided it is time to look at my healthy priorities for this year. The blog posted below was written last year. It is all still so true so I made a few updates and posted it again. When I read through it is had me thinking healthier choices!

I love the month of January because getting healthier is one of the top things people are talking about. I am fortunate because in my business we see people every day who want to get healthier. But I love all of the excitement and interest people have in getting healthier as a New Year rolls around. Now just so you know, I am not a big fan of New Year’s resolutions because so many times people make resolutions and quickly get discouraged and do not keep with it…But this time of year gets us talking about healthy lifestyle changes. My hope is this interest and longing for a healthier life will last not just through the month of January but all year long.

There are many people who make commitments at the start of the year to get healthier and they do just that one little step at a time. They know the importance of making changes and they take that step and decide to start somewhere. So let 2015 be the year you decide to step it up a notch when it comes to taking care of your body.

So where do we start? Here are some recommendations that can be implemented into your daily life.

  1. First off, make sure you drink enough water. I know, I know we hear this all of the time but it is a simple way to be healthier. And when I say drink water here I mean straight water. If you need to flavor it use citrus fruits but do not add artificial flavorings or sweetener to the water.  And all of those “healthy” flavored waters do not count as a daily serving of water. The harmful additives are far worse than the benefits of the water. Citrus Zinger water bottles are one of my favorite ways to flavor water. Read more about it here. And they just came out with new style bottles for this year. We all know water is important but the reality is most people are dehydrated. A good suggestion is to drink at least half of your body weight in ounces each day! And if you drink soda, you should drink an extra glass of water for each soda you drink.
  2. Pick one unhealthy food or drink in your diet to cut back on or eliminate from your diet. For example if you are a soda drinker cut back on how much you drink and see if you can get to the point of not drinking any at all. If you love carbs make an effort to cut back on carbs. Do you eat too much processed food? Then cut back on your processed food intake. Remember, this is a process and as you start to change your eating habits you may feel some not so pleasant changes at first. Much of the food we eat today is highly addictive! So changing our eating habits has to be very intentional and it is hard work!
  3. The beginning of the year and at the change of each season is a great time to complete some sort of a detox. There are full body cleansing products you can purchase to help remove toxins from your body. Fifteen years ago this February, is when I completed my first whole body cleanse and started to get a handle on some of my bad habits including my 6 to 8 cans of diet soda a day and a pot of coffee. Just this simple change of not drinking pop and as much coffee helped me start to feel better almost immediately once the horrible side effects from cutting back on caffeine wore off. Even adding a greens drink to your daily regimen can help the body detoxify. Or you can complete a detox eating program like the 21 Day Sugar Detox or the Whole 30 Challenge. There are many options available. It is so important to give our digestive system a break and a cleanse of some sort can help.
  4. Start reading food labels. Be aware of what is in the food you are eating. If it has a lot of ingredients and words you cannot pronounce you probably should not be giving it to your body for fuel! Our bodies will only perform as well as the food we give it. We have the choice to fuel our bodies with whole, nutritious food or processed garbage. For me, reading labels gets me pretty fired up and discourages me from buying things I should not eat.

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5. Eat more fruits and vegetables! These wonderful, colorful foods are loaded with vitamins and nutrients and they help us feel full.

6. Find time to prepare your own meals. (And preparing a meal does not include throwing a frozen pizza in the oven to bake). We are all very busy but we cannot use being busy as an excuse to not eat well! So throw that excuse out the window and find a little time each week to cook.  Remember it is what we give our body that makes it work well. The better we eat, the better we feel and the better we can handle our busy lives. We all have different schedules so you have to find what works best for you. For me, Sundays are a good day to do food prep for the week. I like to make recipes in big batches and then freeze items to use through the week and beyond. Also, when we are preparing meals on the weeknights we make plenty so we have leftovers for lunch the next day.

7. If you are committed to becoming healthier, clean out your cupboards. Gradually use up the unhealthy foods you have hanging around your kitchen. It is much easier to eat healthy and feed your family better when there is not junky food in the house. If you have a lot of groceries stocked up this might take awhile but it is worth it. And for some of you—you might just decide to throw unhealthy items away to get rid of them quicker. Shortly after Christmas I did this. I threw away a few gluten free sugar cookies that were left from my family celebration. By this point, I was so sugared out I knew I could not keep them around.  And remember if getting your kitchen loaded with healthy foods is your goal, you have to quit buying the junk each time you go to the store.

Small, consistent changes lead to big, life-long results! You can do this!

Amanda

Pheasant taco soup perfect for a cold day

So today I had it in my mind I wanted to make a recipe with pheasant because we have a lot of it in our freezer right now. I also wanted to use ingredients I had around the house so I did not have to make a trip to the grocery store! The recipe I came up with is Pheasant Taco Soup. Of course, you could use chicken for this recipe and have the same flavorful results if you don’t have access to pheasant. I also think this recipe would work great in a crockpot but today my crockpot is filled with buffalo bone broth. Stay tuned for the recipe soon on the blog!

The pheasant taco soup was easy to make and it tastes great. I used my homemade taco seasoning for this recipe. You can view the recipe by clicking on this link. It is hard to believe we have been using homemade taco seasoning at my house now for about a year. The flavor is great and it is not loaded with unhealthy fillers. I also like this pheasant soup recipe because it uses corn which I froze last summer and tomatoes that I had in the freezer. And the onion came from the local farmers market when I stocked up at the end of the season.

My plan is to freeze some of the pheasant soup leftovers and have it for lunches at work. I think fresh cilantro would be delicious in this recipe but I did not have any at the house. When I make this again I will grab some cilantro to add even more flavor. When serving you could top it with fresh avocado, tortilla chips and/or salsa.

PheasantTacoSoup

Pheasant Taco Soup

6 pheasant breasts, cleaned well and cubed

1 tbsp. oil

1 small onion diced

3 tbsp. homemade taco seasoning (or 1 taco seasoning packet)

1 bag frozen corn

2 cups tomatoes (frozen or canned)

1 can green chilies

1 jalapeno (optional)

2 1/2 cups water

Put 1 tbsp. of oil in a soup pot. Add cubed pheasant, onion and taco seasoning. Cook on medium-high heat until pheasant is almost fully cooked. Then add corn, tomatoes, green chilies, jalapeno and an additional 1 1/2 to 2 cups of water. Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes on low. Remove from heat and serve.

Squarin’ up for the 2014 Old Threshers Reunion

OTCollage As I anxiously await traveling to my hometown for Midwest Old Threshers this weekend, I thought it would be a good time to share a column I wrote 15 years ago (yikes, that make me sound old) when I was the managing editor of the Lakefield Standard in Lakefield, MN. The article was later published in the Threshers Chaff publication. I will let you read that article if you want and then I will have some additional comments below. Chaffphoto (2) By Amanda Walljasper, Managing Editor, Lakefield Standard, Sept. 9, 1999

Another great Old Threshers Reunion was held this weekend in Mt. Pleasant, IA. After some debate last week as to whether or not I was going to attend this event for the 23rd year in a row, I decided I could not miss it.

The Old Threshers Reunion is held every Labor Day weekend in Mt. Pleasant and over 100,000 people come to town to attend the event. Mt. Pleasant-population 9,000 becomes very busy. There are lines everywhere you go and traffic increases dramatically. People come from all over the world to attend the event. It is known as the largest steam engine show in the nation. However, it is a lot more than just steam engines. It seems as though each year there is something new. There is a log village, many work horses, over 400 antique tractors, hundreds of antique cars, museums, crafts and antiques for sale, a trolley, a train, lots of good food, musical entertainment throughout the day, nightly concerts and much, much more. This is only a small list of everything that goes on. I cannot possibly tell you everything but there are a few things I want to highlight.

You see, I started attending Old Threshers 23 years ago when I was just a baby and I have not missed a year since. Then 16 years ago, my Dad started participating in the O.T. Smokin’ Gunslingers as a deputy sheriff. This is a group of guys who re-enact gun fights, bank robberies and such from the past in the days Jesse James and outlaws roamed the Wild West. These guys work very hard to prepare for these shows and each year thousands of people watch them. After each show, the group signs autographs for children and adults. These shows are one of the things I enjoy about Old Threshers.

Another part of the Reunion that I enjoy is working in the church tent and helping out where I can. Many churches and organizations from Mt. Pleasant and the surrounding areas serve a wide variety of food during the five-day event. I had the chance to work in the church tent one day this year while I was visiting. It is important to realize that nearly everything that goes on during Old Threshers is done on a volunteer basis. Thousands of volunteers donate thousands of hours to help with this event.

Just a few years ago Old Threshers purchased a steam powered carousel. This carousel was built in 1894 and it is only one of six steam powered carousels that are operational and active in the United States today. Adults and children enjoy riding on the carousel during the Reunion.

Well, here it is, the number one reason I cannot miss Old Threshers – the square dancing. Each night beginning at 7 p.m. in a barn there is a band that plays old country music and people polka, waltz and two-step. And every so often a square dance is called. Now, I am not talking about modern square dances but ho-down square dances like my grandparents and great-grandparents used to do. I began square dancing when I was 10 years old. Some friends of ours who had been dancing at Old Threshers for 32 years introduced us to this and we’ve been doing it ever since. You see not only is the dancing really fun, but it’s the people. Nearly every year we meet new people and teach new people how to dance. Many of the friends we have at Old Threshers we only see once a year. But I cannot imagine missing this time of year. dance I know this sounds kind of crazy, but it’s a lot of fun. This year for the first time ever, I called a square dance. I still cannot believe I got up in front of over 600 people and chanted the words to a square dance in a microphone. I was visiting with a woman (Aunt Mae) who has called dances at Old Threshers for 26 years and telling her how I would like to try to call a square dance. I want to make sure that in the years to come we are able to keep square dancing. This is a tradition I do not want to end. She immediately was excited and told me she would help me get it started. She wants to make sure the tradition is carried on. Now, before next year I plan to practice calling some square dances so I can do better. AuntMae I believe that Old Threshers is something different for everyone. Some people love to work with the steam engines, others volunteer to help the Reunion run smoothly, some people bring out their antique cars to show off and so on. Everyone likes Old Threshers for a different reason.

Maybe some of you readers have attended the Old Threshers Reunion. If so, please let me know. I would love to hear your stories about the event. If you want to know more or are thinking of attending next year’s event, feel free to ask me more questions. Next year, during 2000, Old Threshers will celebrate its 50th year anniversary. I hope not only square dancing but all of the Old Threshers traditions will be continued for many years to come.

As I typed this column the other day so I could publish it on my blog, I could not believe how true all of what I wrote is still today. For those of you who enjoy the North Village Gang Shows, this year some of the “old-timers” including my dad will be taking part in the 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. shows this Saturday in the North Village on the Old Threshers grounds. My dad retired in the early 2000s from this group, but it will be fun to see him and some of the other guys back in action.

And if you want to try square dancing, we would be happy to teach you. It happens each night at the dance barn starting at about 7 p.m. Check out the Keeping Square Dancing Alive Facebook page for more information and a schedule of the music at the barn.

What do you love most about Old Threshers? Whatever it is that keeps you coming back year after year enjoy it, as today marks the official first day of the 2014 event! And if you have never been to Old Threshers, I invite you to put in on your list of events to attend, it is a wonderful event that happens each year Labor Day weekend in my hometown—Mt. Pleasant, IA.

 

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Farmers markets a highlight of summer

I love summer! You know after the long, cold winter our summers here in Minnesota just don’t seem long enough. So I am thankful that today I am able to sit out on my deck and type this blog post. As the hot sun is beating down on my skin, I get to sit here and write about one of my absolute favorite things about summer—the Worthington Farmers Market. Every Tuesday and Saturday in my town we have a farmers market. Buying fresh, local produce from people I know makes me happy and summer meals created with the local food purchased at the farmers markets are loaded with flavor and healthy nutrients.

farmers market 13 final

Farmers markets have gained a lot of popularity over the last few years as people are becoming more aware about the foods they eat and where they come from. People love the opportunity to buy straight from producers. It feels good to be able to ask questions about the food you are purchasing and a good number of the producers at the Worthington Farmers Market grow their goods without using harsh chemicals. This year, I am happy to see several vendors selling gluten free options. A few weeks ago I purchased a delicious, heavy, homemade bread with good ingredients that is gluten free. It was a real treat. Bread is not something I eat on a regular basis so I enjoy it sparingly.

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If you live in the Worthington area I invite you to visit our local markets. The downtown Worthington Farmers Market goes from 4 to 7 p.m. on Tuesdays at the parking lot at Second Avenue and 10th Street and on Saturdays the market runs from 6:30 a.m. to Noon at Ace Hardware along Oxford Street. If you are not around Worthington, I encourage you to find a farmers market close by and enjoy all of the delicious produce and goods it has to offer!

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One of my favorite new recipes I have tried this summer came from Freya at 10 Acres Flat. She included the recipe with one of our weekly farm shares that had kale in it. The one thing I learned from this recipe is if you are eating kale fresh you should massage it so it is easier to digest and it also gives it a better flavor. Now, I know many of you are saying…ick, I am not going to eat kale but give it a chance! And if you don’t like it one way, try it another way. Kale is loaded with vitamins and minerals including calcium and vitamin c. In fact, did you know kale has more vitamin c than one orange? This is the first recipe I have used fresh kale. Usually, I throw kale in a morning smoothie or I sautee it with onion and garlic in butter or bacon grease. This salad was a hit at our house. In fact, my husband and I finished it off the first night I made it and I had to make some just a few days later because I was craving it. And of course, kale is something you can purchase at the local farmers market.

Kale

KaelSalad

Kale Salad

1 bunch kale

1 avocado

Juice from 2 fresh lemons

2 tbsp. olive oil

1-2 tsp. local honey

1 cucumber, bell pepper, carrot or other favorite salad veggie

¼ cup sliced almonds or sunflower seeds

Salt and pepper to taste

Remove the stem from the kale leaves. Discard stems and slice kale into strips. Place chopped kale in salad bowl with about a ½ tsp. of real salt or sea salt and 1 tsp. of lemon juice. Rub the salt and lemon into the kale (like you are giving it a massage) for a few minutes until it turns a brighter green and is starting to look almost wilted or cooked. In a smaller bowl, mash the avocado and mix with remaining lemon juice, honey and olive oil. If it seems to thick add a dash of water. Pour over kale and stir well to combine. Add chopped veggie of choice and almonds or sunflower seeds. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

NOTE: When I made this recipe, I chopped the avocado into pieces and did not mash it. The first time I made this recipe we used a red pepper, carrot, cucumber, fresh garlic and onion. We did not put the almonds or seeds on it. The next time I made it I used a carrot and turnips. As you can see you can be creative and come up with many variations of this recipe.

Please share your favorite recipe using fresh, summer produce with us here at Be Real Blog.

Please subscribe to Be Real blog so you can receive email notification each time I write a new post. You can find the subscribe button to the right of this post or if you are using your phone it may be at the bottom of this post. 

Rhubarb pudding is a treat

Last Saturday when I was visiting my friend Jen, I discovered she had a huge rhubarb patch with some very fine looking rhubarb! We picked lots and lots of rhubarb and she let me take a bunch home with me. For some reason this year, I am just loving the taste of rhubarb.

RhubarbPudding

I wanted to make rhubarb like my grandma used to make with tapioca. I have not had it this way in years but it sounded so good. As I was looking at tapioca to buy in the grocery store, I decided I did not want to buy a whole box for a one recipe and the idea came to me to use chia seeds and make a pudding. The recipe I came up with is similar to the cranberry chia pudding I shared earlier on my blog. See that recipe here. Chia seed pudding can me made with all different types of fruit so be sure to experiment and have fun!

So Sunday was my rhubarb day. I started out my morning making a refreshing rhubarb drink. This recipe came from Freya at 10 Acres Flat in our first food share box last week (read more about 10 Acres here). In her letter last week to shareholders, Freya said she was hesitant to share a rhubarb recipe because everyone around here already has a family favorite. She did however share a recipe for making rhubarb juice and serving it over ice. The recipe piqued my interest-as I had never thought of making rhubarb into a juice. So I of course, had to try it. It was tasty.

Then later in the day, I decided to try my rhubarb pudding idea.

RhubarbPudding2

This is the rhubarb cooked with honey and it tastes great this way! So if you don’t want it to become the consistency of pudding you can eat it just like this. It tastes good!

RhubarbPudding3

However, if you want it to turn out pudding consistency you can put the rhubarb and honey in the blender and then add coconut milk and blend. And then stir in the chia seeds and refrigerate for at least 3 to 6 hours. This yummy treat has been my breakfast each morning this week. It is very different from my regular breakfast of eggs or a smoothie but I am finding it keeps me full (the chia seeds are great for this and the healthy fats in the coconut milk) and it is a nice treat in the morning.

I am happy that I have enough rhubarb to put some in the freezer so I can make Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp or this pudding again when rhubarb is no longer in season.

And in less than two weeks the Worthington Farmers Market in downtown Worthington will be under way and more fresh, local food will be available!

Rhubarb Pudding

2 cups chopped rhubarb

1/2 cup local honey

3 tbsp. chia seeds

1/2 cup water

1 cup coconut milk (or any milk of choice)

In a pan cook rhubarb, honey and water on medium heat until fully cooked about 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool. Then put rhubarb mixture and coconut milk in blender. Blend until smooth. Pour into a bowl (that has a lid) and add chia seeds. Stir well. Put lid on bowl and put in refrigerator for at least four hours or overnight.

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Rhubarb and asparagus are sure signs of spring

It is really starting to feel like spring. Earlier today my husband and I went on the search for fresh asparagus and we came home with enough for several meals. It is still crazy to me that around here people go out searching for asparagus because it grows wild along the road ditches. For us it is a fun thing to do and I must say my husband is much better at spotting it than me. I say it is because I have not hunted for it until I came to Minnesota. In southern Iowa, we had large asparagus patches in our gardens.

Today, we just drizzled the asparagus with olive oil and some Real Salt or seasoning salt and put it on the grill! It was delicious. I could eat fresh asparagus every day! And it has such great health benefits. It contains glutathione, which is a potent antioxidant that helps detoxify the liver, it is a natural diuretic and it is contains fiber, iron and other important vitamins. So if you don’t have your own asparagus patch head on out and try to track some down so you can enjoy its delicious flavor and all of the health benefits that go along with it.

Rhubarb2

And tis the season for fresh rhubarb! I was so happy to get some rhubarb from my mother-in-law this weekend. Rhubarb is a sure sign that spring has arrived. And I love the tart flavor that rhubarb brings to the table.

Rhubarb

I decided to create a new recipe today using the rhubarb. And I am pleased with how it turned out. I used organic raw cane sugar in the recipe  and it has a rich flavor kind of like brown sugar so it worked very well in this recipe. Originally, I was going to use only rhubarb but when I had just under 4 cups of rhubarb I decided to add just over 1 cup of strawberries to the mix. I used my last bag of frozen strawberries from our local strawberry patch, Schumacher’s Berry Farm. Thankfully, in less than a month we can go pick more fresh, local strawberries. For this recipe you could use all rhubarb or you could use 2.5 cups of each. Enjoy in moderation. You will notice this recipe has more sugar in it than a lot of recipes I post but with rhubarb the sugar is necessary to help reduce the tartness. I choose to use raw cane sugar because it is less processed. (That does not mean you can overindulge though…too much sugar, is too much sugar.)

Rhubarb1

Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp

4 cups rhubarb

1 cup strawberries

3/4 cup organic raw cane sugar

3 tbsp. corn starch

Topping

1/2 cup gluten free oats (if you need gluten free)

1/4 to 1/2 cup organic raw cane sugar (depending on sweetness you prefer)

1/4 cup almond flour

1/4 cup butter

Heat oven to 375 degrees. In large bowl, mix the strawberries and rhubarb with the cornstarch and one cup of raw cane sugar. Place in an 8 x 8 baking dish. In medium bowl, mix oatmeal, almond flour, raw cane sugar and butter. Pour evenly over the top of the rhubarb and strawberries. Bake for about 30 minutes.

 

 

The Daily Apple puts down roots in Worthington

Sign

I am filled with mixed emotions as we prepare to rename my Worthington, MN, health food store. I am of course excited to see a new name come into play, but I am sad to see the Schafer’s name go. You see the Schafer family had a long business history in the Worthington community. It is a part of our small town’s history. I am so grateful I was able to purchase the health food store from Irma Schafer in 2008. I will never forget how scared I was that day as I took the keys from 93-year-old Irma and realized this is mine. My initial thought was, “Now what in the world am I going to do…” I have so much respect for the Schafer family for believing in me and allowing me to carry on Karl and Irma’s legacy. I am so happy I have gotten to know Herb and Stefanie Schafer and their children. I am forever grateful to them for selling Schafer’s Health Food Store to me.

Irma

Sign1

The top photo above shows Irma Schafer in front of the store on July 15, 2008-the day I purchased it from her. The second photo shows the Schafer’s sign that I had put up shortly after I took over and that is the sign that we took down on Saturday to make way for our new one.

Vitamins and natural health will continue to be “the core” of The Daily Apple but we have “branched” out and added many new “slices” to our small business including clothing, purses, jewelry, kitchen gadgets, vintage and all sorts of unique items. And soon we will be launching an online clothing boutique so people can shop from anywhere in the U.S.

A lot of people have been asking where our new name came from. It goes back four years ago when I opened a store in Storm Lake, Iowa. We spent a great deal of time brainstorming and coming up with a name for that store knowing it would eventually be the name of the Worthington store also. We chose The Daily Apple because often we think of apples as healthy and the name also has a general store feel to it which covers all of the other items we sell. I then went through the lengthy process of trademarking the name to protect our logo and our brand.  We feel our name change will also help us better market both stores. We will mention both Worthington and Storm Lake in our advertising since these two towns are only an hour and a half apart.

daily apple final logo

When I decided to leave my teaching career and buy a health food store, it was a huge leap of faith and many people wondered what in the world I was thinking. I had a real desire to see a small town, main street business continue. We know the story all too well of small “mom and pop” businesses closing up shop because it is too difficult to compete in today’s marketplace or in some cases business owners cannot find someone who wants to buy the business and keep it going. I had a strong desire then and even more so now to help keep this community I call home vibrant.

To each and everyone one of you, near and far from Worthington, if you support small, locally owned businesses I want to say thank you! Really, I want to say THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! Your support is appreciated so much and it is because of people who make this conscience effort that small shops like Schafer’s Health Food Store and now The Daily Apple can continue for many years into the future. Small businesses have a huge impact on towns all across this country. In just over five years, we have given thousands of dollars to local organizations. We support the local YMCA, 4-H, school activities, charity benefits, the local food shelf, United Way, ….the list goes on and on but you get the gist. We volunteer our time to make our communities a better place to live.

During the last six years, we have slowly updated and expanded Schafer’s and with the changes it is time to give our store a name that reflects all we have to offer. As our new sign says, “The Daily Apple. Health. Clothing. Gifts.”

If you live around the Worthington area we invite you to The Daily Apple’s grand opening party this Tuesday, May 20 at 207 10th Street in Worthington. We will be giving away free apples and we will have yummy appetizers for you to enjoy. All clothing and scarves will be on sale. And we are looking forward to the Red Shack Stamped Jewelry Make and Take Party from 3 to 7 p.m.

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