Category: Food/Recipes/Restaurant Reviews

Diane Roark: Tacos4Life {A review}

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. All opinions expressed are those of Diane Roark.

Celebrating Food Adventures

Tacos4Life - Every Meal You Buy A Meal Is Donated to Hungry Child
Every Meal You Buy Means A Meal Donated to a Hungry Child 

How is Tacos 4 Life so different from every other restaurant?

When you eat at Tacos 4 Life, you have an opportunity to help end childhood hungry around the world.

By choosing to eat Taco 4 Life’s delicious tacos, burritos, quesadillas and more, Tacos 4 Life helps feed a child who needs a meal. Tacos 4 Life calls this “Eat Good Do Good”.   You not only get amazing food, but you also get a good feeling when you eat a reasonably priced meal and know you are helping to feed hungry children.  My son Casey had an opportunity to help pack the meals.  His high school volunteered to help pack meals a couple of times.  My other son Caleb and I joined them.  I can tell you from experience that if you eat at Tacos 4 Life, they use a portion of the money to ship meals to hungry children with the help of the non-profit organization Feed My Children.  Feed My Children sends meals to countries with high rates of poverty and hunger.

In my opinion, not only is Tacos 4 Life Mission the best, but their food is just as terrific.

I Love Taco 4 Life’s Tex-Mex Food.  I could eat there several times a week and never get tired of it.  Their food is that delicious. Everything we have ordered at Tacos 4 Life has been extremely tasty.  

Here are some of my favorite things from their menu:

Beef Burito

  • Serious Steak Burrito: Marinated and grilled skirt steak, cilantro lime rice, refried beans, Pico de gallo, jack cheese, and chipotle aioli.  The Chipotle Aioli is amazing!  I would love to figure out how to make this amazing sauce.

Chipotle Chicken Burrito Tender marinated and grilled chicken, cilantro lime rice, refried black beans, chipotle aioli, jack cheese, and pico de gallo. This is one of the best burritos I have ever had. The Chipotle Aioli is extremely amazing!

  • Chipotle Chicken Burrito: Tender marinated and grilled chicken, cilantro lime rice, refried black beans, chipotle aioli, jack cheese, and pico de gallo.  This is one of the best burritos I have ever had.  The Chipotle Aioli is extremely amazing!  I would love to have this recipe.Tacos4Life Coconut taco
  • Ono Shrimp Tacos: An amazing shrimp taco with crispy shrimp tossed in pineapple cream ono sauce; served with pineapple, green onions, and toasted coconut in a grilled flour tortilla.
  • Where is Tacos 4 Life located? Tacos4Life’s newest location is in Fayetteville on College Avenue.  Visit the original location in Conway the original location is on Dave Ward Drive or their second location on Oak Street. Their food is amazing and their mission is incredible.  The owners are changing the world by feeding the hungry, and they are doing a wonderful job.  Follow Tacos 4 Life on their Facebook page.  You can volunteer to help pack meals to send to hungry kids all over the world.

If you are looking for a patio to have a picnic, Tacos 4 Life has extremely nice covered patios.  The Conway location on Dave Ward even has a fireplace for colder days.  

Diane 200

Recipes For Our Daily Bread and Our American Travels are personal blogs written and edited by me, Diane Roark.  I am passionate about family, food, travel, and my new love of photography.  Recipes for our Daily Bread is where I blog about easy recipes to help you put dinner on the table quickly.  I enjoy sharing Southern Recipes for special occasions too.  Our American Travels is where I write about Family Fun Travels in America.   You will find restaurant reviews plus information on Disney World, Branson, Alaska, Maine, and many Southern states.  Be sure to join the other 20,000 Pinterest followers who follow Diane_Roark on Pinterest , FaceBook, InstagramTwitter

 

Join us for a FALL FAVORITES Roundup! {Blogger Challenge}

Good morning, Arkansas! The weather people are telling me that, along with a little rain, that cool fall weather is finally supposed to start moving in today.

I don’t know about you but when the weather starts to cool I start thinking about chili and cornbread, pumpkin pie and hot apple cider. All those delicious “fall foods”!

I also start to think about all the beautiful colors of fall and I can’t wait to purchase pumpkins and gourds and start decorating up my house.

AND, I love fall fashion. I love long sleeves, scarves, long flowing skirts and cute boots.

So, we have a little fall challenge for you! We are going to do a FALL FAVORITES Roundup!

Here is how it works:

1. Choose a current or previous post on your blog from one (or all) of the following categories:

  • Fall Recipes
  • Fall Fashion
  • Fall Decorating and DIY

2. Email me at julie@arkansaswomenbloggers.com using the following format:

    Subject: Category from above

    Body of Email:
    Title of Blog Post
    Link to Blog Post

    Attachments: ONE photo from your post (photo must be original!)

Of course we can’t have a blogger challenge without a few rules!

  1. You may submit to all three categories.
  2. Only ONE submission per category. (Multiple submissions will be discarded.)
  3. You MUST be a registered member of ARWB. (You can register here.)
  4. You must get you links to me no later than October 19th.
  5. You must include one photo of your finished product.

Once I have collected all of the links, I will put together a special post with everyones links! I hope this will be a great way for you to share something from your blog or even inspire you to create something new and post about it!

Razorback Homegating 101 {Foodie Friday}

By Misty Thompson of Burlap and Beestings

In the fall, there are few things in Arkansas that you can find more fun than Razorback tailgating. The atmosphere, the spirit and the fans really capture the best in Hog season. However, there comes a time in one’s life *clears throat* when the cost of babysitters, travel, the effort to dress to impress and the next day hangover just don’t cut it.

So, I’m going to provide a few tips for the next best thing: The Homegate.

  • Keep it simple. You don’t want to be more stressed out than you already will be once the game starts. Find recipes that are easy and, if possible, prepare some ahead of time.
  • Keep it bite-sized. Let’s face it, it’s the Razorbacks. You WILL jump out of your seat a few times and more than likely yell at the TV. You don’t want to be too full to be able to jump out of your seat or have an entire meal spilled on your floor.
  • Prepare to intercept interruptions. If you are homegating, more than likely your kids are home too. Pick up the latest kid flick at Redbox, and stock up on activities, games and books to ensure your little Hog fans will have hours to kill all by themselves. (You should probably check on them during commercials though.)
  • Invest in essential Hogware. It may sound silly, but you’ll use this way more than that china you registered for. It’s ALMOST as essential as that perfect Hog shirt.
  • Invite close friends. This goes back to keeping it simple and being comfortable in your own home. This way you’ll feel less like you have to entertain guests and more like you can spend time enjoying the game.
  • Have plenty of adult beverages. No one wants to stop watching the game to go on a beer run.

One homegating staple for my family is cheese dip. It’s super easy, and everyone likes it. (Also, did you know that cheese dip originated in Arkansas?)

Thompson Family Cheese Dip
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Ingredients
  1. 1 lb Velveeta Mexican cheese
  2. 12 ounces cream cheese
  3. 2 fresh tomatoes, chopped
  4. 1/2 bunch green onion, tops, chopped
  5. 4 jalapenos, seeded and chopped
  6. 2 -3 fresh garlic cloves, minced
  7. 1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
  8. black pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Melt cheese in a crock pot, stove top or microwave. Stir in additional ingredients.
  2. Serve warm and enjoy!
Arkansas Women Bloggers http://arkansaswomenbloggers.com/

cheese dip 20130829-214457.jpg

20130829-214618.jpgMisty is a full-time working wife and mom. She lives in Central Arkansas with her husband and two boys. After attending Arkansas Women Bloggers Conference last year, she decided to start a “grown-up blog” but struggles to keep up with it and the projects in her daily life. Follow her attempts at www.burlapandbeestings.com.

Mexican Horchata #Bean2Blog {Foodie Friday}

Written by Julie Kohl of Eggs and Herbs

Being an active member of Arkansas Women Bloggers definitely has its perks! First, and most important, is the amazing friendships you will find with other women but another great perk is being invited to attend really cool blogging events.

Back in May, a bunch of bloggers (mostly Arkansas Women Bloggers) were invited to spend the day at Moss Mountain Farm, the home of P. Allen Smith, in Roland, Arkansas for an event called Bean 2 Blog.

We were invited to tour Allen’s home and gardens and hang with him and some farmers from the Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board. Our goal was to learn about the importance of agriculture, in particular the soybean industry, here in Arkansas.

I came to Bean 2 Blog with very little experience with the soybean. I thought soybeans were only for making tofu and I had no idea they could be delicious. Boy, was I wrong! Turns out, soybeans are delicious and very versatile.

I’m going to hazard a guess that a lot of you are unaware of the versatility of the soy bean. And that’s okay! We can learn together.

Today I am going to make a delicious drink called Horchata. Horchata is a “milky” beverage with Latin American roots. It can be made in a variety of ways and with a variety of ingredients. I will be using rice and soy milk. Rice and Soy are Arkansas’ most prolific agricultural products.

I have decided to use store-bought Vanilla Soy milk for this recipe, although, soy milk can actually be easily made at home at a fraction of the store bought cost! Check out this great video from P. Allen Smith that shows you just how easy it is to make.

Alright! Let’s make Horchata!

Mexican Horchata

2 Cups of Rice (I used Arkansas’ own Riceland brand)
3 Cups of HOT Water
2 Cinnamon Sticks
Dash of Fresh Grated Nutmeg
1 1/4 Cups Sugar
1 Tbs. Pure Vanilla
4 Cups of Soy Milk

Place two cups of rice and three cups of hot water in a bowl. Break up two cinnamon sticks and stir into the rice. Cover and let sit at room temperature for 4 hours to overnight.

Pour the rice mixture into a blender and puree until the rice is broken down. Add sugar and pulse again until well mixed. Strain this mixture through a piece of cheesecloth into a pitcher. Pour in the soy milk and vanilla and stir. Serve over ice and garnish the top of each drink with some fresh grated nutmeg and cinnamon. Makes 4-6 servings.

Enjoy!

A Homemade Year {Cooking} Easy French-Toast Cups

eggs 2by Blogger of the month Jerusalem Jackson Greer

A great thing about keeping chickens is all the fresh eggs. A challenging thing about keeping chickens is all the fresh eggs. See, day after day, new eggs keep showing up. Whether you need them to or not. And if you are not proactive, they will take over your refrigerator. That is when the yoke hits the pan so to speak, and you have to decide: What are we going to do with all these eggs?

One of the ways our family gets out of the house in a timely fashion in the mornings is through a balanced division of labor: the kids feed the animals and the adults feed the kids. This means that during the work week Sweet Man makes the school lunches and I make the breakfasts. It seemed a natural progression then that I should be the one to find a way to use the majority of our eggs. However there is a slight glitch: I don’t move so fast before my second cup of coffee, which I don’t have until I get to my desk at work, so whipping up a hot breakfast every morning, over the stovetop, just isn’t going to happen, no matter how much earlier I back up my alarm. But still, there are all these eggs. So I rummaged around Pinterest, did some thinking and came up with a few easy egg-centric recipes that I can prepare ahead of time, or in the mornings-but quickly and while I am still half asleep.

eggs 9

One of our favorites are these Easy French-Toast Cups. I think the boys like them primarily because they can add syrup or honey to them and who doesn’t like that? I like them because I can make a couple of batches on Sunday afternoon and we can reheat them easily for breakfast several times during the week. If I do get up early enough to throw these together, I can pop them in the oven and then myself in the shower at the same time, knowing that by the time I am clean, they will be done!

eggs 3

Ingredient’s (makes 12 regular muffin sized cups. My boys eat 2-3 each so if I want this to last more than 2 days I will make a double batch.)

¼ Cup Milk

2 pc of bread

2 tsp Vanilla

2 tsp Cinnamon

5 Eggs

1/2 tsp Salt

Non-Stick Spray

Pre-cooked sausage or bacon crumbles

(You might not think of sausage or bacon being a part of French Toast, but because my boys are always dipping their breakfast meats into the syrup anyway, I went ahead and threw some in for extra fortification and flavor.) 

eggs 4

Directions

Mix together the eggs, milk, vanilla, salt and cinnamon

Whisk briskly with fork or whisk and then set aside.

eggs 6

Spray muffin tin with non-stick spray ( I use olive oil) and fill each with three to four pieces of torn bread- almost any sort will do. I use sandwich bread most days.

eggs 7

Next, cover the bread with the egg mixture, not quite filling up each cup.  Finally, drop a few crumbles of sausage or bacon on top of each.

Bake in a 350 degree oven until the eggs pouf up and the cups no longer jiggle like Jello. In my oven this is about 10 minutes, or as long as it takes me to get in and out of the shower.

eggs 8

Serve hot (or warmed up!) with butter and your favorite syrup or honey.

Now it’s your turn. Do you have an easy egg-centric breakfast recipe I can add to my repertoire

jerusalem1Jerusalem Jackson Greer is a crafter, writer, former pastor,
blogger, nest-fluffer, speaker and farm-gal wannabe. She
lives with her husband and two sons in a 1940s cottage in
Central Arkansas with an ever-changing rotation of pets,
including a hen house full of heritage chickens and an English Sheep Dog mutt. As a family, they are attempting to live a slower
version of modern life. She blogs about all of this 

and more at jerusalem.greer.com

Foodie Friday: International Women’s Day

Today is International Women’s Day. Isn’t that cool? If for some reason you haven’t run across it yet, check out today’s Google Doodle:

Source: Google Doodle 3/8/2013

Source: Google Doodle 3/8/2013
 
 
According to an article published yesterday on Yahoo titled “8 Reasons We Celebrate International Women’s Day” (edited for brevity):

International Women’s Day was first celebrated on March 19, 1911 at a time when women were pressing for their right to work, vote, be trained, hold public office and end discrimination. It wasn’t until 1975, during International Women’s Year, that the United Nations began celebrating International Women’s Day on 8 March. This year’s theme commemorates the fight to end violence against women.

The article above includes an excellent infographic on violence against women. Of course, International Women’s Day is also about celebrating, lifting one another up and cheering the accomplishments made by women everywhere. A fun article published in the Perth, Australia news celebrates women from 10 – 111 and brings a little more “international” to our own review of the day.

20130308-065907.jpg

Source: TheGraphicsFairy.blogspot.com

So what on earth does that have to do with Foodie Friday? (I really like to stretch the themes, don’t I?!)

Simple: it’s cause for celebration, which always involves good food! Today, we challenge you to take a can of preserves (homemade or straight from the shelf) to a female neighbor, invite a young colleague out to lunch, offer a nibble of dark chocolate to the woman you encounter every day who drives you absolutely batty or simply extend the hand of kindness (with or without food in it) to a woman in your life.

Source: TheGraphicsFairy.blogspot.com

Source: TheGraphicsFairy.blogspot.com

 

Here in Arkansas, we are fortunate to have the Women’s Foundation of Arkansas working every day to elevate woman with the belief that an educated woman can lift an entire family out of poverty. Executive director Lynnette Watts once told me that she believes “as women, we should be lifting one another up rather than feeling threatened when another woman succeeds.” Similarly, I think women can be singularly responsible, if they so choose, for the happiness of their household, neighborhood and community. It’s a lofty aspiration, but I’m up for the challenge. Are you?

We’d love to hear how you will reach out to another woman today with a Foodie Friday spin. After all, it’s the ticket to everyone’s heart, right?

Happy International Women’s Day!

Quite the Pair {And a recipe for the Best Meyer Lemon Cake}

Written by Debbie Arnold of Dining With Debbie

Bear with me on this one.

Originally, I intended to offer up some really deep thoughts on the symbolism of The Twelve Days of Christmas. I could do that. Yes, I could. But I changed my mind.

Sandy Hook Elementary happened. The Twelve Days of Christmas just didn’t seem all that important.

Then I wrote this long epistle on school safety and why teachers should NOT, in my very strong opinion, be permitted to carry concealed weapons in the classroom. But it was too soon and too sad. I changed my mind. Again.

I took a walk down to the pond just to clear my head and these fellows showed up. My smile returned, and I knew that I just had to tell you their story.

They are a strange pair. They are what they shouldn’t be. They are fast friends.Two Musketeers. Buddies. Mallard drakes who are totally loyal and bonded to one another.

Sometime last September these two appeared on the pond behind our house. They were there among a dozen or so others – mallards, wood ducks, gadwalls, not sure but a bunch nonetheless. We were excited to see them even though we knew that their stay was only temporary. They would be moving on to feeding grounds in other places. Their brief stay was a gift that we would enjoy while it lasted.

One by one the hens and drakes left with the Canada or snow geese migrating on to the rice fields beyond our pond. Except for these two. They stayed. They shouldn’t have, but they did.

I decided to take a chance with some cracked corn. To my total astonishment, they ate from my hand. These wild creatures took a chance on me. They gave me a precious gift and admitted me into their fellowship.

As the days and weeks passed, I continued to feed them intermittently. We were so often away from home. They didn’t give up on me though. It was if they knew I would return. They expected me to return. But they were not dependent upon me.Only each other.

And still they stayed.

For some time we thought that maybe they couldn’t fly. Or, at least, we thought that the larger one couldn’t. It was obvious that he had been injured. One wing just isn’t right. His right chest wall just doesn’t seem full. Yet, he is the dominant one. The leader. The smaller one fell in line and followed without hesitation.

By now they had names. Frick and Frack. The larger one we called Frack because he was fractured. Handicapped. Frick is his unlikely companion. He’s the healthy one who could easily abandon his sidekick. But he doesn’t.

But they can fly. We’ve seen them. Why, then, are they staying? These two mallard drakes which, by all reason, should not be paired the way they are and should have been long gone.

I think sometimes in life we are given really valuable gifts in small measures. We don’t always recognize or appreciate them at the time they are given.

These two wild creatures have reminded me of the value of loyalty and friendship. And even love.

Of course, I can’t say that they love one another. But I choose to believe that they do.

I also choose to think that I can become the kind of friend that these two odd fellows have shown me that I need to be. A friend who knows appearances aren’t a measure of a person’s value. A friend who can be trusted to be there whatever the circumstances might be. A friend who will lead. And yet, a friend who can follow. A friend who knows that loyalty is golden.

Some might say that I have tamed my duck friends. I think not. I think it is I who has been tamed.

Because you are my friends and because this is one awesome lemon cake, I’ll share.

The Best Meyer Lemon Cake

Serves 8 – 10

1 Tablespoon unsalted butter, plus 8 Tablespoons melted
1/2 cup whole blanched almonds
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon fine salt
1 1/3 cups plus 2 Tablespoons sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk at room temperature
2 Tablespoons lemon extract
zest and juice of 2 Meyer lemons

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease a 8 1/2” x 4 1/2 “ x 2 3/4” loaf pan, a Bundt or tube pan with 1 Tablespoon of butter. Lightly flour (I always use Wondra.). Tap out excess. Set aside.

Grind the almonds in a food processor until very fire; set aside. Do not overgrind or you will end up with almond butter.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

Put the remaining butter in a large mixing bowl; add 1 cup of the sugar. Mix on low speed until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating just long enough to incorporate. Add the flour mixture and milk in alternating batches; mix well scraping sides as you do.

Add the lemon extract. Fold in the ground almonds and lemon zest.

Pour into prepared pan and bake for about 60-65 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool in the pan on a cooling rack.

Combine the remaining sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Do not boil.

Brush the glaze over the hot cake. The excess will be absorbed as the cake cools. Once the cake has absorbed all of the lemon mixture, turn it out onto a cooling rack and allow to cool completely.

Once it is completely cool, wrap in plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for 24 hours before serving.

If you don’t have Meyer lemons readily available, use regular lemons. I also add an extra 2 Tablespoons of regular lemon juice to the batter because we like ours with more tartness.

Adapted from Saveur.com

Why I Write News (Or, This Week’s Missed Opportunity)

Why I Write News (Or, This Week’s Missed Opportunity)
By Christie Ison
fancypantsfoodie.com

Well, that’s what I get for sitting on a story.

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen this tweet from me in February about the 80’s favorite Mr. Dunderbak’s coming back to McCain Mall. Details had come from the owner via Facebook, so I immediately started courting him for a phone interview. He was nervous about saying too much before the lease was squared away and declined.

About a month ago, he finally sent me his phone number. I was sick, then busy, etc. etc. Today, I finally did the interview, only to find that Arkansas Business ran their own story today. Bleh. It may just be food news, but by golly, I hate getting scooped. Especially when I had the info five months ago or so.

Lesson learned, for myself and other bloggers: If you happen across the info on a really great, timely story, it’s worth the effort to write a news-based article. Work to confirm it, just like a good journalist. Then write.the.post. It earns credibility for yourself and for blogging as a profession/hobby/whatever. Writing it before anyone else does — even better.

“But my blog is just recipes,” you might say. Or crafts, or stories about your family. What good does a news-style piece do in your blog? I’ve found the the occasional timely news-style story brings readers in hordes, readers who stick around and read my more casual ramblings. You can do the same with news items that relate, even loosely, to your blog’s emphasis.

My most well-read blog post, which still gets search engine pings every day, is a poorly-written one on Alton Brown and his kooky entrance (and departure, repeat) into the world of Twitter. Is this directly related to my blog mission of local food and resources, and what you can take away to use at home? Not really. But I’m a big fan (or at least, now, a devoted gawker), as are a good many of my readers, actual and potential. News brings readers.

I’ve done several other, more mission-appropriate news stories, too, putting on a more formal journalism hat than my usual silly blogger one. Having a journalism degree puts me at a bit of advantage here, but it’s not a requirement. Learn some basic skills (interviewing, using quotes, inverted pyramid or news feature style, how to properly quote/summarize/rehash other news sources, etc.) and go to town.

As I enter what I believe to be the next phase of my blog, I wonder what to do with these news-type stories. Should I focus exclusively on local, feature-style food stories? Must they all include a recipe? Is there even a place for news-type articles anymore?

For the time being, I’m going to keep writing news. And I won’t wait.

P.S. I’m still running the story, and it’s gonna rock.

You can read Christie’s piece on Mr. Dunderbak’s here.

 

Don’t let the Arkansas Women Bloggers Unplugged Conference be a missed opportunity! Click here to learn more and register today! Early bird pricing ends July 31st!

Farmers’ Market Shopping 101

Written by ARWB Founder The Park Wife

Farmers Market season is upon us with many markets already open while others must wait until late June or July before farmers’ fields are productive. Four years ago, I started and ran two farmers markets – coordinating with the towns, recruiting vendors, connecting with customers and devising eccentric activities that keep the customers returning to the market even after their shopping was done.   With four market seasons under my belt and my time on the Arkansas Farmers’ Market Board, I have garnered a little wisdom (and a lot of farmer friends) and want to share a few tips with you that can enhance your farmers marketing experience.

Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food. Spend a few minutes chatting it up at your local farmers’ market! It takes tremendous dedication to both science and art (not to mention dirty feet and nails)  to turn out beautiful produce on a small farm, and the time you spend inquiring about the results of that dedication will yield both useful information and infectious enthusiasm.

 A huge benefit of farmers’ markets is your ability to look the farmer in the eye and ask anything you want about how the food was grown. That’s a rare opportunity in our supermarket culture. Do it!  Ask about a food you don’t recognize, how to cook it, and whether it’s coming in or heading out of season. Find out what the farmer expects to bring to market next week so you can start to plan ahead. Learn all you can about the farmer’s growing practices, and make sure you know who you’re buying from. And, sweet strawberry, make sure you are buying from a real farmer, not a peddler who went to a warehouse or south of the border and bought a truck load of produce to sell.

Know Your Seasons: If someone is selling watermelons in May in Arkansas, you can bet that they did not grow them locally. Check out the Arkansas crop harvest calendar.  http://www.pickyourown.org/ARharvestcalendar.htm

The Early Bird Gets the Worm, or Best Tomatoes: The season’s first blueberries and finest tomatoes will disappear within the first hour that the market is open, so if you’ve got your heart set on something in particular, it pays to wake up early. Hopefully the market you frequent will serve coffee.

Go Big: If it is in season, buy as much as you can! You’ll enjoy the best flavors and the best prices when you buy a lot of whatever is at its harvest peak. How to use it all up? Try new recipes with favorite vegetables or learn the lost art of preserving food. Freezing, canning, and drying are just some of the ways you can save seasonal tastes you find at the farmers market for later in the year.

Try Something New Each Week. A benefit of farmers’ markets, as compared to CSAs, is the increased ability to stay within your comfort zone if you so choose. But if you are lucky enough to visit a farmers’ market with a selection of unusual produce, why not try one new food each time you visit? At best, maybe you’ll discover a new love. At worst, you will know better next time.

BYOB -Bring your own bag, and maybe a cooler. Yea hippie chics, that reusable canvas tote is good for the earth and it helps the farmers out by not cutting into their already slim profit margins. You are also being kind to yourself, because those el cheapo plastic bags are no way to carry cantaloupes and a dozen ears of corn in one hand, yes, I have seen them bust resulting in bruised produce and embarrassed foodies. If your market sells eggs, cheese, or meat, bring a cooler. The only thing worse than passing up a dozen beautiful eggs because you’re not prepared to bring them home is bringing them home anyway and they ruin.

 And, my favorite-
Volunteer at the Market! By volunteering at the market not only do you get a better understanding of the workings of a farmers market and farm-to-market relationships, but you also enjoy an opportunity to spend some time outside volunteering for a good cause. By volunteering at the market, you reduce the substantial workload faced by the market manager. A good market manager makes a market, help them do their job, they usually are doing it for free. It will make your local market stronger and you may also earn some free fruit, vegetables or other food as many vendors will leave goods they don’t want to take home with market volunteers and management.

Celebrate your market and your local farmers.   Buy fresh, buy local and buy in season.

The Park Wife

Blueberry Banana Oatmeal Bake {Foodie Friday}

Blueberry Banana Oatmeal Bake {Foodie Friday}
Written by Ashten Adamson at Barefoot ‘N Running

I don’t know about you, but I tend to be pretty wishy-washy with my breakfast habits. It’s not something I’m proud of, but at least I’m aware of it. Since breakfast is the most important meal of the day and starts your metabolism, I’ve been making conscious effort to eat breakfast every morning.

I’m sure you’re wondering why this is a problem. But I like to get up and lounge around drinking coffee before I want to eat breakfast. Are you like that, too? This is a problem for me because I’m living a very active lifestyle. I’m currently training for my second 10K, and I take yoga three times a week. And I have my hopes set on the St. Jude’s Half-marathon in December. So I need a good, healthy breakfast that keeps me full.

Enter Blueberry Banana Oatmeal Bake, a recipe I adapted from Fit Foodie Finds.

What you will need:

2 bananas
1 pint of fresh blueberries (or 1 C. frozen blueberries)
2 C. Old Fashioned Oats
1 egg, beaten
2 C. almond milk (I used original but I’m sure Vanilla would be delicious)
¼ C. honey
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon of chia seeds
A few shakes of cinnamon
A splash of vanilla

In the bottom of a baking dish, slice the bananas and for a nice layer. Add half of the pint of blueberries on top of the bananas.

In a separate bowl, mix oats, baking powder, chia seeds and cinnamon. Add almond milk, honey, vanilla and the beaten egg.

Pour oat mixture on top of bananas and blueberries. Top the oats with the remaining fresh blueberries.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 – 35 minutes. The top should be nice and toasty brown, and there should be very little liquid in the center.

Spoon out a nice portion and top with your favorite nut butter, Greek yogurt, honey or all three.

 

The possibilities for a breakfast dish like this are endless. It would also be nice dish to serve at a brunch because it can be made in large batches.

You can use whatever ingredients you have on hand, and I feel quite positive that it will be delicious. And trust me, it’s the perfect breakfast to fuel a long day.

 

A tribute to running, eating, graduate school woes, healthy living and story-telling, Ashten writes a slice of life blog at Barefoot ‘N Running. You will find eclectic posts and a conversational writing style that will draw you into her crazy life.