First CSA of the Year – and why you should use a CSA

I haven’t posted in a while, but I just HAD to share with you all my little haul from the first CSA of the year.

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I went with a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) from Eagle Creek Farms.

In case you have never heard of a CSA and do not know how it works, this is a basic description.

Prior to the start of the growing season, you sign up for the CSA – either a half share (which is what I did – designed to feed 2-3 people) or a full share, or any combination of these.  What you will need will depend very much on how many veggies you eat and how big your family is.

The farmers then start growing their crops based on the number of people who have signed up for a CSA.

Basically, you are providing the funds up front to enable the farmer to buy the necessary seeds and to pay for the labour needed to bring that crop to harvest.  Essentially you are buying shares in the crops that they will be harvesting in the future, and come time when they are ripe, you get a share of those crops, usually in a weekly or bi-weekly delivery, depending on the particular CSA you signed up for.

BTW did you know that there are CSA’s for everything from fresh veggies (the kind I signed up for) through to fruit ones.  There are even CSA’s for grass-fed meat, dairy produce (raw dairy included in areas where it is legal), eggs and grains (if you eat them)….  google CSA [your local area] to find ones local to you!   Obviously not all of these CSA’s may be seasonal, but many are.  There are also Winter CSA shares that you can buy that rely on stored root veggies and the few winter crops that can be grown (seasonality depends on location).

And some CSA’s include non-perishable items like fermented veggies or preserves.  The one I use includes the occasional bunch of flowers which is always nice to receive.  The bunch I collected today is in my bedroom where I can enjoy if without the cats destroying it!

So the downside of a CSA?

There is some risk with this – crops can and do fail.  But it is very unusual for a farmer who offers a CSA to only grow one crop.  And if one fails (for example the carrot harvest), others are likely to make up for it.  They also often carry out subsequent plantings of seeds, so that if one crop fails, a later one may succeed and provide a good harvest.

In addition, often you do not get much choice as you get what is ripe and ready to harvest when you go to the pick-up point.  (very few CSA’s deliver to your house, although some do.  The ones I have seen local to me all have pick-up/drop-off points at various farmers markets around the city).  Some do offer a limited choice – the one I use does.  It works on the simple method of “take one item from each bin”, and where there is a choice, the bin will contain one or more items that you can choose from.  If you are strict AIP, you will almost certainly receive some items you cannot eat yourself….  but then again, you may also be able to trade or gift them with someone (a neighbour, a friend or a family member)

Also, because this is a seasonal thing, you are only going to receive those veggies that are actually in season and ripe at the time.  This means in early summer you get a TON of greens, but in the fall/autumn you will get a TON of roots – plan accordingly!  We cannot cheat Mother Nature!

So if there are risks involved, why should you sign up for a CSA?

Well first of all, it is supporting local farmers.  Usually, the produce you will be receiving will be either organic, or grown in a sustainable fashion, but either way, it is locally grown, and you can bet that it is always in season.  And then there is the chance to go to the farmers market/collection point and actually MEET your farmer…

And these veggies are so fresh because they were picked if not that morning, probably the day before. Some of them may even be still “living” and have the roots intact or still planted in a pot! (Winter CSA’s are often different here, as they often involved stored veggies.)  And then when you add in the fact that you do not always know what you are going to be receiving, there is the element of surprise.

And it is FUN – you get to try veggies that you never knew would exist!  You can experiment!

As I said, today was the first CSA collection of the season (a week late because of the rain, hail and other bad weather we have been having in the Calgary region these last few weeks).  So I headed to Northland Mall to their Farmers Market to pick up my half-share.

For me, a half share works perfectly – for the most part I feed just myself due to my dietary issues,.  But I do like to share my bounty with my 2 wonderful housemates, so having a little bit extra works well.  I also eat far more veggies than the average person so a 2-3 person share probably means a 1-2 person share when it includes me!

This half share cost me $355, which I paid for back in March, and is designed to feed 2-3 people each week…  I figured that I would most likely spend more than $355 over the 16 weeks that this CSA will run – it only works out at around $22 a week.  I don’t know about you, but I normally spend FAR more than $22 a week on fresh produce!  And that is just for myself….  as the half-share I bought is designed to feed 2-3 people, I will have some leftover to share with my 2 housemates to earn myself a little bit of good-will (goodness knows I NEED it! – I OWE them a bundle for their boundless and freely given support)

And if all else fails, I will ferment, dry, freeze or otherwise preserve the veggies before they go bad.

So what did I get in my first CSA share (bear in mind, this is early in the season and only designed to feed 2-3 people for 1 week – this is a half-share, a full-share gets double this amount):

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Now this is a TON of nutrient dense greens!

At the back, we have a bunch of flowers (there was a choice of 2 different bunches – a welcome non-edible addition that made my heart sing!).  And also a small potted basil plant.

Then working from the far left-hand corner in a clockwise direction, I received:

  • a large bag of pea shoots
  • a small bag of lambs quarters greens
  • horseradish greens (with itty, bitty baby horseradish roots attached)
  • garlic scrapes
  • cilantro
  • purple kale (this was a HUGE bunch!)

Lots of greens as you can see, which is hardly surprising seeing that this is very early in the growing season in Calgary.  This is what I mean when I say that you have very little control or choice because you are getting what is ready and seasonal at the time of collection.  And at this point in the growing season, in Calgary, that means greens.

But I seriously LOVE greens, so all is good in my world!

For what it is worth, I could choose between the garlic scrapes and a single bulb of young garlic (I chose garlic scrapes simply because I have never eaten them and am always open to new fthings), and between the kale and collard greens (I went with the kale because it was a bigger bunch!)

There are some very new items here – some I have never eaten but am excited to try.  I have never had lambs quarters, horseradish greens or garlic scrapes.

I will need to test out the pea-shoots, but I suspect that they will be OK – I ate a few on the bus on the way home (they just looked so fresh, tasty and appetizing!) and I have had no reaction to them 5 hours later.

The flowers and the basil plant (small, but he will grow!) were a welcome surprise.

After collecting these, I went for a walk around the market and bought myself a few other bits:

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At the back – organic strawberries

Then clockwise from the far left:

  • organic arugula
  • the cutest, freshest radishes (I plan to use both the greens and the radishes)
  • some of the most flavourful blueberries I have ever tasted
  • a huge bag of wondefully ripe cherries

These last purchases cost me less than $20, so I am one happy bunny….

So that is my farmers market haul…

total costs:

  • CSA share (divided between 16 weeks) – $22
  • extra items – $17:50 (the stuff in the second picture)

Not bad as all of this will be shared beween 3 people!

So will anyone tell me that eating local is not affordable try visiting your local farmers

Basic Mixed Salad With Balsamic Vinaigrette (AIP)

I realized that I have never posted about the basic salad that I eat with almost every single meal that I make…

This recipe is 100% AIP with a balsamic vinaigrette dressing.

You can vary the salad ingredients to include anything that you like to have in your salad – no need to stick to the vegetables that I have suggested here – I often vary them depending on what I have available and what is seasonal.

These ingredients are just a suggestion.

To make this recipe low-fodmap, simply omit the green onions and don’t use the suggestion of garlic in the vinaigrette dressing.

The vinaigrette cannot be made low histamine as given, but you could replace the balsamic vinegar with fresh lemon juice.

This recipe keeps well in the fridge for several days – just add the balsamic vinaigrette as needed.  I often make a big batch of salad, and store the dressing in a jar in the fridge.  I will serve myself a portion of salad as needed and then drizzle over a little dressing, toss it and eat it.

Basic Mixed Salad

serves 4-6


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  • ½ head romaine lettuce – chopped
  • ½ head green or red leaf lettuce – chopped
  • 1 small daikon radish – peeled and grated
  • 3 large carrots – peeled and grated
  • 4 green onions – chopped (omit this if low-FODMAP)
  • ½ english cucumber – chopped
  • Balsamic vinaigrette (recipe below)

This recipe is very simple to make.  Peel the daikon and carrots and grate them into a bowl (you could also chop or julienne them if you prefer).  Chop the 2 types of lettuce, the onions and the cucumber.

Place all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.  I find that my hands are the best tool to do this as it does not bruise the salad greens/lettuce.

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At this stage, the salad can be stored in a covered bowl or storage container in the fridge for a few days.   But like all raw/fresh ingredients, it is better if you serve it fresh.

Just before serving, toss with the balsamic vinaigrette (recipe below) and serve at once.

In the picture below, I served this salad with a simple grilled burger and a large dollop of guacamole.

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Basic Balsamic Vinaigrette

makes ¼ cup (enough for a salad for 4-6 people)

balsamicvinagrette

This dressing is the epitomy of simplicity.

All you do is add the balsamic vinegar to a small glass jar.  Add the olive oil and season to taste with sea salt.

Shake well and use to dress your salads immediately before serving.

It can be kept in the fridge for several days, but will need to be allowed to come up to room temperature before mixing as the olive oil may solidify.

This recipe can be varied by adding garlic (do not add this if low-FODMAP) or fresh or dried herbs.  I like to add fresh thyme and oregano.  If adding fresh herbs use right away.

You could also replace the balsamic vinegar with any vinegar of your choice or even any citrus juice.  To make this recipe low histamine, I recommend freshly squeezed lemon juice in place of the balsamic vinegar.

The extra virgin olive oil can also be replaced with any oil that you prefer as well.  Nut and seed oils are not AIP, but avocado oil is and makes a delicious vinagrette.

Homemade Mixed Berry Fruit Rollups

salixisme:

Posting from the archives… This was first posted on June 3rd last year (2014)

Originally posted on salixisme:

These are the perfect treat to give your kids, and actually, I like them myself when I fancy a sweet treat. So much better for you than candy!

They are so easy to make, and much cheaper than buying the over-priced fruit leather at the grocery store that often contain additional sugar, colourings and other additives.

Because you are making them yourself, you can control exactly what goes into them.

This recipe is easiest made in a dehydrator, but you could use the oven set at it’s lowest temperature.

Homemade Mixed Berry Fruit Rollups

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  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 2 cups mixed berries (I used an organic frozen brand that contains strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries).  Fresh berries would work too.

Puree the berries and banana in a food processor.  You don’t need to thaw the berries first – I just pureed them frozen.

Spread the puree out on a sheet of parchment paper…

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Sensitive Children and the Adult Child in the Abusive Narcissistic Home

salixisme:

I was so this child! It is frightening how your childhood can affect your thoughts, actions and relationships in your later life!

This is something I have learned in a treatment program I have just completed – Life-traps…. one of the biggest problems there is. The theory is that this is learned behaviour that helps you survive childhood trauma or threats… and then you keep repeating that behaviour over and over and over again even into adulthood because that is all you know. And it does not necessarily work well once you are an adult.
I am slowly working my way through this with lots and lots of therapy… and I am getting there. I am getting to be healthy and I hope eventually that I will be able to have a healthy relationship.

Hug your children close, they are precious and should always be loved…

Originally posted on SITE FOR CREATIVE SOLUTIONS:

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In a home affected with an abusive narcissistic parent emotions are repressed and become twisted.  Rules are built on shame, guilt, or fear.  Feelings are often not shared and when they are expressed, it is done in a judgmental manner placing blame on one another.  The narcissistic parent is self-involved and feels no empathy for their children.  They are incapable of mirroring real love and try to get their children to fulfill their unmet dependency needs.  The narcissistic parent’s unresolved drives for attention and caretaking takes center stage as the child’s early developmental needs are ignored and denied.  The self-involved parent shames the child for having desires and makes them feel guilty.  All of the family attention and energy is focused on the demands of the narcissist.

Sensitive children growing up in abusive narcissistic homes build their personalities based on what they have to do to survive.  Many of these children…

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A Colouring Book For Children

I have written in the past about colouring books for adults, but I wanted to share with you this post that I have found about an innovative, new colouring book aimed at children.

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Created by a Swedish Mom, this colouring book is loosely based on Disney’s Princesses.  But instead of conforming to the “normal” gender stereotypes where the female characters are beautiful and the male characters are strong and heroic, she decided to take a new approach.

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These Princesses are all strong, “kick-ass” females.

The artwork is fun and modern, and the message is one of empowerment and gender equality.

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This colouring book is not just for girls though.  The creator hopes that it will be enjoyed by girls, boys and even adults.

And the best bit is that it is free to download from her website!

 

Only 1 More Day To Go – Autoimmune Wellness Bundle

There is only one more day left on this fantastic offer…. so if you have not yet taken a look and have not bought your bundle do so NOW!

This fantastic deal is only available until May 25th, 2015, but it is one that you simply do not want to miss…

AIPbundle1

Over 40 AIP resources, coupons and deals for only $39 (Total value is $500+)

Included in this bundle:

15 AIP Cookbooks and Meal Plans (total value $188)

15 Lifestyle and Exercise Guides (total value $207)

15 Beyond the Basics e-books (total value $136)

9 Brand-new e-books

Best of AIP Cookbook, exclusive to this bundle!

26 Discount Codes for AIP-friendly vendors and products

It doesn’t matter if you are new to the AIP lifestyle or if you are an “old-hand” – there is something in this bundle for everyone.

If you are not familiar with e-book bundles, they typically include an assortment of related e-books as well as discount codes, all for a huge discount and sold for a limited time. This is the very first bundle to focus on exclusively autoimmune protocol-friendly resources. And it contains every single one that you will need.

Click here to view more details

But what ever you do, don’t delay as this bundle is only available until midnight on the 25th May 2015…

You know you will regret it if you don’t take advantage of this amazing deal!

The Autoimmune Wellness Bundle – Fantastic Resource!

I am really excited to share this amazing deal with you – A bundle of Autoimmune (AIP) ebooks and other resources.

This fantastic deal is only available until May 25th, 2015, but it is one that you simply do not want to miss…

AIPbundle1

Over 40 AIP resources, coupons and deals for only $39 (Total value is $500+)

Included in this bundle:

  • 15 AIP Cookbooks and Meal Plans (total value $188)
  • 15 Lifestyle and Exercise Guides (total value $207)
  • 15 Beyond the Basics e-books (total value $136)
  • 9 Brand-new e-books
  • Best of AIP Cookbook, exclusive to this bundle!
  • 26 Discount Codes for AIP-friendly vendors and products

It doesn’t matter if you are new to the AIP lifestyle or if you are an “old-hand” – there is something in this bundle for everyone.

If you are not familiar with e-book bundles, they typically include an assortment of related e-books as well as discount codes, all for a huge discount and sold for a limited time. This is the very first bundle to focus on exclusively autoimmune protocol-friendly resources. And it contains every single one that you will need.

Click here to view more details

But what ever you do, don’t delay as this bundle is only available until midnight on the 25th May 2015…

You know you will regret it if you don’t take advantage of this amazing deal!

Spousal Abuse – what it really looks like..

I do not know if I will regret making this public, but I feel it needs to be said. *WARNING* This may be a trigger for some people who have been subjected to abuse… It also contains sexually explicit language, so please do not read if you are likely to be offended or triggered.

#1. I used to dread Iain coming home from work in case he was in a bad mood. Something bad happening at work would mean that I was in for a bad night. The day I lost my job I texted him apologizing, and I was so scared that he would be mad at me. And I hated “report card day” because I knew that if the girls had brought home a “bad” report card I was in for a bad night…walking on eggshells did not describe how I felt.

#2. He controlled every aspect of the finances – my paycheque was paid into the joint bank account. He paid all the bills and controlled every aspect of the finances. He did allow me to put 30% of my pay into a savings account to cover my taxes, but I was not allowed to spend any money without consulting him first. He even took all of the compensation money I was awarded from a car accident (That should have been used for treatment/therapy) and used it as the downpayment on the house that he refused to have my name put on the deeds/mortgage…. He also denigrated me and “put me down” for my part-time job that did not earn enough money for his likings.  I have no idea of how much the bills were – he would not allow me to know.

#3 He totally isolated me from all of my family (And even separated me from my first born daughter – not his child). He would not allow me friends… He “punished” me physically for “friending” people on facebook and other social networking sites that he had not approved first.

#4 . He forced me to take part in swinging even when I was not willing – he said I was the “bait” to attract couples because “he liked variety in his cunts”. He also raped and sexually abused me several times and once when he took me to an orgy/gangbang and I did not want to participate, he said that he would have me gang-raped by every man there.

#5. I think this is one of the worst parts… he made me feel totally worthless. that no one else would want me. I was a piece of shit in his eyes. He was VERY controlling, and even now continues to maintain that control by not allowing me to see the girls… he uses (and abuses) them by preventing any contact with me, their mother. He also attempts to maintain control by refusing to allow me access to my possessions – most of my clothes and other possessions are still in the house that I have no access to…

#6. I was far too scared to leave him… I simply could not do it. The fact that he had once said to me that he could take me up to the mountains and kill me and no one would ever find my body left me totally terrified. He once kept me locked up in the bathroom because he suspected I was going to leave him. he beat me, abused me and tortured me during that time. I found a pen and wrote on the wall that I was scared that he would kill me. He has reported me to the police and had me arrested and charged under false pretenses. I am terrified that I will run into him inadvertently in a grocery store or mall and he will call the police and say I have breached the mutual restraining order…

Even now, when I am separate from him I am scared of him. If the doorbell rings, I jump out of my skin, imagining that this the police comming to arrest me again on another false charge from him. I am scared to go to the grocery store in case he is there (he shops at the grocery store nearest to my house even though there are several others closer to where he lives. I do not drive so have no choice but to shop at that store…) I live in fear on a daily basis. I am terrified that I will run into him somewhere and then he will report me for non-compliance to the restraining order… He is vindictive, nasty and totally amoral.

Would you even know if you were being abused?
YOURTANGO.COM|BY EDEN STRONG

When Failure Is a Learning Experience

I know I said that I was not going to be posting for the next couple of weeks due to my treatment program, but I came across something that made me feel compelled to post.

notfail

All of us have experienced failure at some time in our lives…  we have done badly at a test in school.  We have failed driving tests.  We did not get the job that we applied for.  We did badly in job evaluations.  Our relationship bombed out on us and the “love of our life” rejected us…  We cheated on our diet and felt bad as a result.

And for those of us with drug or alcohol addiction problems, we may have relapsed or failed to maintain our sobriety.

What I want to highlight in this post that is failing to achieve something is not the end of the world…  it is a learning experience.  When you fail to meet your expectations or those of your peers, it is not a total failure on your part.  It is a vital part of your growth and development as a human being.

Everyone fails at some points in our lives – it is a part of being human – of being fallible… none of us are perfect!

And if you set yourself up for nothing less than perfection, you are setting yourself up to fail. And that is going to lead to more problems in the future.

If you refuse to learn from a set-back, then that is a failure on your part (but I what I would go on to say is that it is not a failure per-say, but a failure to LEARN)…  if you embrace your mistakes, learn from them, they can become valuable learning tools that can be vital to your growth and development as a well-rounded, successful human being.

So embrace your failures.  Learn to say “Yes I F**Ked up, but I am a better person because of it…”  and learn to love yourself.

Be gentle with yourself.

Never be afraid to F.A.I.L – as that is your opportunity to learn.  Your First Attempt In Learning.

And never be afraid to dream big and shoot for the stars!
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Have You Been a Victim of Gaslighting?

salixisme:

This is a fascinating read… and I ticked YES to all of the 15 signs that I was a victim of gaslighting in my most recent relationship.

Originally posted on Becky's Kaleidoscope:

What is Gaslighting?

Gaslighting is a form of emotional and psychological abuse through the use of manipulative comments and behaviour.
Rome visit, June 2008 - 57
The term Gaslighting is used to describe manipulative behaviour, which is meant to make the victim doubt themselves, to a degree where they no longer know, how they feel or what they believe and may even wonder, if they have gone crazy.

The name comes from the 1944 movie Gaslight, where the husband is out to get his wife’s jewellery, by having her considered mentally insane. The way he goes about this, is by making the gas lights flicker on and off. When his wife reacts to it, he tells her she’s imagining it. That she’s crazy.

“Gaslighting is the systematic attempt by one person to erode another’s reality. This is done by telling them that what they are experiencing isn’t so – and, the gradual giving up…

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