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Squash-Tastic

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This lovely blossom will be a yummy squash in a couple weeks!

It’s that time of year again when the garden is yielding up more squash than you can shake a stick at. Squash is pretty easy to grow, and produces a lot of food, so it’s a good crop for the novice gardener.  Last year, I was given nearly 50 yellow squash starts for my garden, and as a result, I had an abundance of yellow squash for much of last summer. By the end of summer, I had mastered the art of hiding squash in a number of creative recipes.

  • Sliced thin, lightly salted, and dehydrated into squash chips (a tasty low-carb snack!)
  • Dredged in a mixture of flour, salt and herbs and fried
  • Sautéed in oil with tomatoes, white beans, caramelized onions, garlic, bell pepper, etc.
  • Steamed with broccoli and lightly seasoned with herbs for a side dish with grilled chicken
  • Boiled with potatoes and cauliflower and mashed into “mashed potatoes”
  • Roasted with potatoes, carrots and bell pepper
  • Lightly brushed with olive oil and grilled
  • Julienned into a squash/carrot/radish coleslaw-like salad
  • Chopped into lettuce salad
  • Shredded and in baked into muffins and pancakes
  • Added to soup
  • Mashed and added to spaghetti sauce
  • Lacto-fermented (aka pickled) in brine
  • Peeled into thin strips as a low-carb, grain-free pasta substitute
  • Shredded and mixed into meatloaf and chicken patties

I think the only thing I didn’t do is stuff them, and that was only because I didn’t let them get that big. I also sliced and shredded a bunch for the freezer so we could enjoy squash all year long.

This year’s garden has less squash, but overflows with broccoli instead. I’m sad to say that it is not proving to be nearly as versatile.  I’d be happy to hear your suggestions for using up broccoli or squash in the comments!

Tuesday Tips – Salvaging Leftover Produce

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I like to get my produce through a co-op. It’s fresh, less expensive and there’s always a lot of variety.  The cost is the same each time, which makes budgeting easier, too. The challenge, of course, is that I never know what I’m going to get. Right now I have fennel, beets, kiwi and pears in my fridge – all foods that I would not typically buy. I have several tools that are really helpful for making sure the food doesn’t go to waste.

Supercook.com

Have you seen this handy little tool yet? It allows you to list what ingredients you have on hand, and the site will search for recipes with those ingredients. Even better, you can easily make exclusions like no dairy or no nuts – awesome for those of us with food allergies! The only drawback is that the search engine only seems to search through a handful of recipe sites, and doesn’t look at the numerous blogs that host recipes, like Food Allergies On Ice, for example.

But hey – I just found a recipe through there for beet and fennel soup. Who knew?

Stir-Fry

When I have a bunch of random veggies on hand, it frequently ends up in a stir-fry. As it turns out, the mix of veggies in a stir-fry isn’t nearly as important as the sauce on top. Put a little effort into a decent Chinese-style sauce, and all those veggies will be just wonderful. FYI – Coconut Aminos are an awesome replacement for soy sauce for the soy-free among us.

Soups

My other solution for odds and ends of vegetables is to put it all in a soup. This is one of those frugal things our grandmothers knew how to do, but we seem to have lost the art while in pursuit of the can opener. Well, when you have multiple food allergies, Campbell’s isn’t exactly an option anymore.

The secret to soup is in making a really flavorful broth. Don’t be afraid to use some herbs and spices! And you can throw all sorts of stuff in a soup, from last night’s salad (I saw that on a TV cooking show once)  to that random quarter-cup of broccoli that no one ate for dinner the other day. If you like, put some (or all) of the cooked soup into the blender or food processor to create a thick, cream-like soup.  This also has the advantage of hiding offending vegetables from picky eaters. Not that I would know anything about that, of course.

The different kinds of juices separated into layers making these neat striped popsicles.

If I have a lot of fruit on hand, I’ll run it through the juicer and make popsicles. Apple, carrot and kale is a decent recipe that my kiddo will actually eat if I call it a popsicle! Along the same lines, you could make a smoothie. Just freeze chunks of fruits and veggies and throw them in the blender to make a nice, thick beverage.  Delicious!

So there you go. No more excuses, ok? Go make fruits and veggies taste awesome!

 

 

 

 

Also shared at: frugallysustainable.com

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