Tag Archives: real food

Delicous meals with The Neighborhood Harvest

I have been blogging for many years. In those years I have been contacted by companies to sample their products and write about them. Some have been fun, some have been okay and some not so great. Recently I was contacted by Rebecca from The Neighborhood Harvest about trying some of their locally grown greens and writing a review about them. This one I was really excited about! For complete transparency I received these greens for free, but that will not keep me from writing a completely honest review. The great news about that is I TRULY did REALLY like everything I tried!! If you want to sign up for delivery and use the coupon code COFFEE your $15.00 fee will be waived!!!  Whoop Whoop!!!

So The Neighborhood Harvest is a company that delivers greens to your door in Hampton Roads.

From their website:

“Simply put, we farm the Finest Greens, Lettuces and Herbs for Delivery To Your Door Within A Day of Harvest.

You’re gonna love this service!

Our greenhouse farm is not weather-dependent allowing us to deliver freshly-cut greens year round.  Delivery within a day of harvest yields plants with two-three times more shelf-life than store bought greens.  Yet we are comparably priced.

There is no other source of greens and lettuces that are: 

*Delivered to your door the day after harvest.

*Sustainable, Beyond Organic, Pesticide and GMO free.

*Locally grown in Suffolk, VA reducing your environmental footprint and supporting the local economy.

*The most incredible flavor!”

We received quite a few of their products to check out and I was happy because the things Rebecca sent were not greens we usually eat so on top of checking out their items we were able to try some new things also. Win Win!

We received the following items from The Neighborhood Harvest:

Two heads of Bibb Lettuce

Bibb Lettuce

Bibb Lettuce

Two baby Bok Choy

Babyu Bok Choy- was in the fridge, hence the condensation

Baby Bok Choy- was in the fridge, hence the condensation

Arugula:

Arugula

Arugula

Microgreens:

China Rose Microgreens

China Rose Microgreens

Basil:

Sweet Basil

Sweet Basil

Okay, so here is my assessment of the greens. I really liked the Bibb lettuce. We mixed it with our romaine and made a salad. It was fresh and lasted a week in the plastic container. (it probably would have lasted longer, but we ate it all within a week, it was so good. NONE was wasted!). Mixed with a head of romaine there easily enough lettuce for two salads for Karol, my 17 year old and myself. It was tasty and crisp and very fresh. It had a taste like it was just picked and was clean and didn’t even need to be washed. I was very happy with it.

We added the microgreens to the salad for some variety, but they definitely could have been eaten on their own. I think they would be very tasty in a sandwich! I had never tasted these before, and they had a fresh radish taste. I am not a fan of radishes, but I really liked the way the microgreens tasted. They had that bite that a radish has but it wasn’t too pungent, it was fresh and tasty. We added the greens to the salad, and it was truly delicious!! The greens added a really nice taste to what could otherwise be a boring salad.

Romaine, Bibb lettuce and China Rose microgreens. YUM!

Romaine, Bibb lettuce and China Rose microgreens. YUM!

It was so good y’all!!!  For real!!!

We had a stirfry and used the baby bok choy. It was fresh and tasted so good! When we usually use store bought bok choy I don’t always use the leaves because they are a bit wilted. These leaves weren’t and we used the whole thing (but I forgot to take a picture).

Because I want to be completely transparent I have to say that I tried the arugula and didn’t like it. Not because their arugula was not good, but because I didn’t like the way arugula tasted. So I gave it to my neighbor who loves arugula on the condition she sent me a picture of what she made with it and gave me an honest review of the Arugula, and this is what she said:

The salad my friend made with the arugula

The salad my friend made with the arugula

Her review: “I made a Greek salad with balsamic vinaigrette, feta cheese and black olives. I consider that it was very good and tasted very fresh. I noticed that it was stronger in flavor than my regular arugula so it was maybe a little harder to get used to it but I suppose it’s because it’s more natural. On appearance it looks great I also noticed the leaf was bigger in size, more similar to spinach leaf. I liked also that it seems to last longer, staying dry and crispy without spoiling versus the regular one you get from the supermarket.”

The last thing we used was the sweet basil. I used it to make one of my favorite summer meals, caprese panini.

before grilling

before grilling

After grilling with the yummy salad:

Best. Dinner. Ever.

Best. Dinner. Ever.

Now I will say that the basil from The Neighborhood Harvest, while tasty, did not have as much flavor as the basil I grow in my backyard. Not sure if that is because it is grown hydroponically, or not, but while it was good, it could be more flavorful.

Overall I was very very pleased with the greens I tried, and my friend Yancel was pleased with the arugula. The cost is awesome: a large weekly box which is only $16.00!! Here is a description of what is in a large box:

This box option is perfect for subscribers who like a changing variety in their weekly delivery.  We bring you different flavors each week depending on what is growing best!

Feeds 3 – 4 people.Details:

– 1 Large clamshell of Mesclun Mix

– 1 Large clamshell of Rotating Green #1

– 1 Large clamshell of Rotating Green #2

– 1 Tray of Microgreens

A medium box is $12.00 and a small box is $10.00. For more information you should definitely check them out at The Neighborhood Harvest.

There is a one time $15.00 fee to set up your account but you can use your own cooler on the front porch and then the cost is just for the greens you order. There is a $2.00 delivery fee for any orders under $10.00.

Their delivery area is quite large:

“What areas do you deliver to?
Currently we deliver to most of north and east Virginia Beach as well as areas around the farm in Suffolk.  These areas include Towne Center area, Kings Grant, Little Neck, Northhampton Blvd to Shore Dr, Shore Dr at Northhampton to the Oceanfront, Oceanfront to Laskin to Great Neck corridor; Suffolk city, north Suffolk and Western Branch. If you are unsure if you are in our delivery area, please give us a call or email, or complete a customer profile using the Sign Up button on the homepage and we will contact you asap.”

So my advice for you if you are a local to Hampton Roads is the The Neighborhood Harvest is a great way to get delicious, fresh, safely grown greens, herbs and microgreens delivered to your home for your family’s eating pleasure!!!
I know I will be ordering from them!

 

Creamy Quinoa Chicken Broccoli Casserole

So, I have a secret to share….a bit of a confession to make…..

Ready for it???

I am the person who doesn’t let my food touch on my plate.  Whew, there I said it out loud.  **weight lifted off my shoulders**

Yes, I am THAT person.  I separate my food on my plate.  Nothing touches, AND I really don’t like mixing flavors, for example I don’t like sweet and sour, fruit with meat, sweet AND savory. I like my flavors to be separate.

However there is always an exception, right??  Well I do have an exception.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE casseroles!!  Chicken and dumplings, Minnesota hot dish, stews, chicken broccoli and rice, pot pie, shepherd’s pie, now those foods feed my soul y’all……not even joking!  But, they are less than healthy at times.  So I do my best to recreate these super yummy dishes in a more healthy version.

Today I am sharing one with you.  I absolutely adore the Cheesy chicken rice broccoli casserole, but white rice, cream of chicken soup, and lots of cheese is not so friendly to my waistline! So instead I found and tweaked a recipe to make it healthier.  I now want to introduce you to:

Picture used from myutensilcrock.com

Picture used from myutensilcrock.com

Creamy Quinoa Chicken Broccoli Casserole

Ingredients:
2 cups natural chicken broth (I use organic chicken base, and mix with water)
1 cup almond milk (Can use fat free milk instead if no lactose issues)
1 tsp of poultry seasoning
½ cup almond flour (If you don’t have gluten issues, you can use white whole wheat)
2 cups of water, divided
1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
1 pound of boneless chicken breasts
3 cups of fresh broccoli florets
Sea salt and pepper to taste

(optional: 1/2 cup shredded organic cheese)

Directions:
1) Sauce: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and grease a 9×13 baking dish. Bring the chicken broth and 1/2 cup of almond milk to a low boil in a saucepan. Whisk the other 1/2 cup almond milk with the poultry seasoning and flour; add the mixture to the boiling liquid and whisk until a smooth creamy sauce forms. Do not add to quickly because it can get quite lumpy.

2) Assembly: In a large bowl, mix the sauce from step one, one cup water, and quinoa, and stir to combine. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Dice the chicken and mix it into the quinoa mixture. Sprinkle with more poultry seasoning if you like. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes.

3) Broccoli: While the casserole is in the oven, place the broccoli in boiling water for 1 minute until it turns bright green and then run under the cold water to blanch it. Set aside.

4) Bake: Remove the casserole from the oven, check the mixture by stirring it around in the pan, and if needed, bake for an additional 10-15 minutes to get the right consistency. When the quinoa and chicken are cooked and the sauce is thickened, add the broccoli, shredded cheese, and a little bit of water (up to one cup) until the consistency is creamy and smooth and you can stir up easily in the pan. The amount of water will depend on how thick you want the sauce to be.  I don’t always need to add any more water.

This was truly a delightfully yummy dish.  You could change it up to make it vegan by removing chicken and chicken broth, and adding in more veggies, or tofu in place of chicken.

Chicken broth base I used:  (I bought it at Harris Teeter)

chickenbase

We switched to “Real Food”

I have struggled with my weight for many many years! I have written blogs about it, complained about it, and had finally given in and decided to accept it when something amazing happened to me.

A couple of years ago, Karol and I went to see Jillian Michaels.  Going was kind of a fluke.  We love Jillian Michaels, and to be honest I had no idea she was doing a speaking tour.  I happened to stumble upon the information on Facebook, and checked out the price of tickets.

The night came and we went to see the amazing Jillian Michaels.  The first hour she talked about food and the second hour she talked about living a full life without “shoulds” and guilt, etc.  I have spent years in therapy, that stuff I knew. But the food stuff that I should have known, had eluded me somehow. That night we chose to make some changes to the foods we were purchasing and consuming.  We switched to “Real Food”.

I was a bit worried about switching to organic because of the price of organic food.  Which is really stupid, by the way.  Why is it that food which requires less chemicals, less spraying, less feed, etc be more expensive??  It should actually be cheaper because the crops require “less” care essentially. I have written about my huge grocery bills. Switching to an organic diet was daunting to say the least.  I was worried about the cost, and how I was going to afford to feed my family of 5 and not break the bank.  But Karol and I were committed to eating better.  No more pesticides, hormones, antibiotics and other nastiness in our food. However, the cost of switching really concerned me.

So we entered the Real Food genre slowly.  Just purchasing the food we were making for ourselves.  The interesting thing was the first week we purchased all organic for ourselves we reduced our grocery bill by almost $100.00!!!

Photo courtesy of Blue Planet Green living

Photo courtesy of Blue Planet Green Living

So we ventured out farther into the organic realm and purchased organic meats and dairy.  I have to say that the milk was the hardest for me.  Spending $6.00 a gallon almost gave me a heart attack, but I figured it was the right thing for my family, so I just took a deep breath and put it in the cart.  Two of them…..  The most interesting thing is, my boys like the organic foods.  They say they taste better!!!

We bought organic peanut butter, organic crackers, cereal, creamer, etc.  It has been an interesting transition.  The second week we bought organics, the grocery bill was a bit higher than the first week, but we had cat litter, cat food, and some cleaning supplies, so it was not all food.  Actually we put the animals on organic food as well.  The cats eat an organic cat food, and the dog gets organic grain free food.  He no longer has an itchy skin problem!

I am excited to keep going and see how healthy we can get!! No more chemicals, hormones, or antibiotics for my family!!