Sparkly & Slimming….a Weight Loss Blog

Samantha's journey to slim down, while remaining sparkly!

Summer Update: Sunsets, Salads and Soul Searching


I can’t believe it’s been a month since I last posted! I always take these mini-breaks without meaning to – I’m just so easily distracted once I’m on the computer that I end up with 37 half written blog entries. 🙂

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The face of someone who KNOWS she needs to blog more….haha.

So June –> July has been a bit of a blur….BBQs, aimless drives, cocktails with friends, soul-searching, perfect weddings,  sleeping late and SO MANY VEGETABLES! Oh man, I am REALLY happy I chose to get a CSA this summer.  My friend Steph posted this a few weeks ago and it’s become my mantra:

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When you realize that you need the same care and feeding you would give to a plant things became a little more clear. Have you had enough water? Nutrients? Sunshine? If not – make it happen.

Let’s discuss the amazing bounty I’ve been receiving every Thursday from Picadilly Farms in NH since early  June. Since last time I have tried a bunch of things that I can’t recall ever having (and I’m not a fussy eater).

  • Loved: Boy choy (especially in stir-fry), radishes (raw or cooked these are awesome!), turnips, carrots (I used to hate them, now I love them!), leeks, fennel (roasted or raw, mmmm), golden beets and kohlrabi (stir-fryed or raw in a salad)
  • Mezzo Mezzo: Red Russian kale (sweeter than regular kale but not something I would buy on my own, mustard greens, senposai (collard-type) greens.
  • Not my thang: Kale (I just can’t – I have tried it 52,000 ways and I don’t like it), sorrel (lemony bitter green), swiss chard (I tried it twice – stir-fryed and braised then decided to pass it along to a colleague at work who eats healthy), garlic scapes (I love garlic but these were not for me) and dill (just not a flavor I like).

Other things I have LOVED but were not new to me – spinach, arugula, green beans, sugar peas, snap peas, zucchini, summer squash, scallions, basil, cilantro, tiny strawberries and romaine lettuce.

This week new to me I have patty pan squash (I just love saying that name!), daikon, pickling cucumbers and Japanese eggplant! I haven’t tried them yet so I will report back once I do!

Since I love pictures here is two pretty collages featuring some of the fabulousness. See if you can spot the tiny stow-away I found when washing spinach. 😉

Veggie Collage

Veggie Collage 2

I highly recommend doing a CSA to get out of your food comfort zone – it’s amazing to me how many things weren’t on my radar before and now will become Samantha staples (like carrots , fennel and radishes!).

There is something special about this summer – it hasn’t been anything I can put my finger on but I feel different – more excited, more open to new adventures and more appreciative of the beauty around me. I have been making a point to admire the sunset each night and I have some gorgeous photos to show for it….

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again – sunrises and sunsets are two of the most powerful things in nature to witness. No matter how good or bad a day is, it will end. ❤

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I’ve also been doing a ton of soul-searching and while I find myself writing a lot there isn’t much I want to share publicly. Let’s just say I’m finding being in my thirties very liberating. Suddenly all these things I had hoped I’d be by this age are a reality.I don’t have to apologize for how I feel (or don’t feel) or for the things I want (or don’t want). I credit Danielle LaPorte for opening me up to these changes. It’s amazing reading daily blips of “truth” and inspiration from someone as no-bullshit as me! I think the next 6 months of my 32nd year will be filled with more risks, more reward and less hesitation. Life is too short to be anything less than ridiculously happy.

Truthbombs

Truthbombs – a few of my favs!

 

I had coffee with my friend Tiana on Saturday. We met in 7th grade and were friends all through middle/high school and then went our separate ways. However thanks to the magic of Facebook we reconnected and chat often. Yesterday was the first time we have seen each other in 14 years and it was like nothing had changed. A quick coffee date extended almost two hours and I can’t wait to spend more time with her soon!  I’m so thankful for friends like her who get me in a way I don’t have to explain. 🙂

 

stars

Here’s to another 8 weeks of summer-amazingness! Cheers, friends!

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Veggie Challenge Accepted!


As I mentioned in my last post I have joined a CSA for the summer/fall and I am just now realizing the veggie throw-down I will be involved in for the next 23 weeks! LOL.

This week I was able to find uses for the whole basket but I had to get creative and I thought I should share some of the ways I’ve incorporate more veggies in my life.

But first let’s talk about the veggies. So three of the five things I have never had before (bok choy, radishes and Red Russian kale). Bok Choy really has no flavor on its own raw (it’s crunchy and sort of like celery) but stir-fried it is DELICIOUS. Radishes are slightly peppery and remind me of a mushroom – I like them raw in salads or cooked in stir-fry and Red Russian kale is significantly sweeter than regular dino kale (which I do not enjoy!). I am an arugula addict and spinach lover so those were easy to find uses for!

First I made some simple salads and since I LOVE a fried egg I topped them with eggs from the egg share (holy yolk porn!) – they were AMAZING eggs. So creamy and delicious – the 6 were gone in 3 days. LOL!

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Fried egg from Wingate Farms with green onion, salt and pepper. PERFECTION!

Simple salad - spinach from the farm topped with balsamic onions, raw onion and tomatoes. No dressing needed!

Simple salad – spinach from the farm topped with balsamic onions, raw onion and tomatoes. No dressing needed!

When in doubt – salad is king. I’m a huge fan of mixing raw and cooked ingredients – next week I’ll include a bit about the “Samantha Kitchen Sink Salad” mentality. I couldn’t deal with the bok choy raw so I decided stir-fry was the perfect vehicle. I made it for my family one night and it was a huge hit:

Brown rice with stirfry (mushrooms, peppers, onions, baby corn and bok choy)

Brown rice with stirfry (mushrooms, peppers, onions, baby corn and bok choy)

Then last night I was standing at the fridge deciding what to make for lunch looking puzzled (like that commercial where the kid and his dad both look into the fridge waiting for food to appear) and I realized I still had a TON of veggies left (2 bok choys, that weird kale and some spinach). When in doubt: USE THE WOK! This is my fabulous creation (please note the action shot – THAT IS STEAM! Haha). I never, ever thought I would be someone who could feel full eating a plate of veggies – but this was my lunch two days in a row and it was delicious (and the folks around me were JEALOUS!).

 

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I wasn’t so sure I’d like kale stir-fryed because I don’t care for it as chips or a salad (I always feel like it rivals lawn clippings) but I really love it stirfryed! It adds a nice bite to lunch.

This week I have a whole new basket of greens: Spinach, lettuce mix, head lettuce (red leaf and “Red Tide”), salad turnips, “French Breakfast” radishes, scallions, sorrel, arugula and “Red Rain” mustard greens. I asked Facebook friends what I should do with turnips and my pal Amy recommended this: Turnip Rosti given it sounds amazing AND I got scallions I will have to try it!

I’m loving the summer challenge of using more vegetables in my life – summer is synonymous with cocktails and ice cream so it’s verrrry easy to fall off the wagon and into a sundae. This year I will definitely balance my treats with greens. 🙂

 

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Community Supported AWESOMENESS!


Last summer my BFF Jewels (who lives in NYC) joined a CSA and spent the summer experimenting with awesome veggies. I was jealous – I needed to join the CSA club. So, this year I did my research early and found a farm in Winchester, NH called Picadilly Farm that offered everything I was looking for in a CSA – organic, close by and run by an awesome crew.  I love supporting an organization run “grass roots” by amazing people. So for the next 23 weeks I will be blogging about the fantastic bounty I receive and the crazy recipes I concoct. I’ve decided to dub this series “The CSA Files”. 🙂

  •  What is a CSA exactly? When you become a member of a CSA, you’re purchasing a “share” of vegetables from a regional farmer. Weekly or bi-weekly, from June until October you receive a box filled with the harvest of the week.
  • What’s included? You know the line “He had me at hello?” well Jenny, Bruce and the crew had me at arugula. I am obsessed (as you well know) so looking through this sample menu had me hooked in just a few sentences!
  • How does it work? I go to a house a few towns away every Thursday afternoon and pick up a GIANT box of veggies and a carton of farm fresh eggs (from Wingate Farms) – enjoy then the next week I get to do it all over again! So rad!

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This is the epitome of technology meets old school – I get an email every Thursday from Jenny with the weeks crops then I pick up my good in a garage in a cute little neighborhood – LOL!

Yesterday I picked up spinach, baby bok choy, red radishes, arugula and “Red Russian” kale – plus amazing brown eggs! (Brown eggs are local eggs and local eggs are fresh!)

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I already know the arugula and spinach will be mixed together for a kickass salad base. But, I’ve never eaten bok choy or radishes and I have no clue what to do with “Red Russian” kale!

A quick Google tells me I should stir fry bok choy or use it in a dumpling (mmm), use “Red Russian” kale for sauteing with pecans to bring our their sweetness and serve radishes either sliced raw or braised with shallots. Sweet! I’m psyched to try new recipes – it’s like my own personalized “Chopped” Veggies”. 🙂

Any suggestions for favorite dishes I could make with these? I’d love to hear them!  Stay tuned next week to see what I make!

 

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