Local Food Date Night

Hi Friends,

Art and I have started a Thursday night “date night” tradition as it is the one night that we are both not scheduled to be working, in class, or couching basketball teams.  Usually we cook dinner, take a walk, and watch a movie.  This weekend marks our one year anniversary so we decided to make date night a bit more special and go out to eat.  Restaurant meals have been few and far between since we are both on a budget so I was quite excited about our little outing.

I’ve written about trying to eat locally produced food in the past and Art has been very cool about supporting this desire. When he suggested the Birchwood Cafe, I was more than willing to make it our date night destination.  Despite the fact that the Birchwood has been using local, real food before it was trendy to do so, I have not eaten there and have heard good things from those who have.  The place was packed at 6pm on a Thursday so we must not have been the only ones who had heard the good buzz.

I ordered the Black Bean and Quinoa Burger.  It was huge and super yummy!  It came topped with apple slices, grilled onion, blue cheese walnut spread and a red beet aioli.  All pleasant flavors.  The bun was fantastic and seedy.  Definitely something I would order again.

Art got the Turkey and Parsnip Stew.  We arranged a trade, I gave him my bottom bun and bite of burger for a bite of the stew.  It was also very tasty!  The sweet potato puree and apple chutney on top were the highlights for me. 

After sharing a piece of unphotographed carrot cake, sipping on some decaf Peace Coffee (with lots of calcium rich cream!), and savoring the diverse crowd, we agreed that the Birchwood Cafe would be worth visiting again.  The menu changes weekly based on what is fresh so we would have a whole new array of yummy chow to choose from.  YAY!



Chocolate Pumpkin Fail

Hi Friends,

I can’t believe that it is Friday already.  I am not complaining but this week has flown by.  I loved reading everyone’s comments about how they keep it local with their food choices.   And I am comforted to know that I am not the Minnesotan who is challenged by the thoughts of eating local food in when it is -40 degrees outside. 

We got new sweets and chocolate in from three different companies at work this week which meant lots of little taste tests.  One has to be able to speak knowledgeably about the product to effectively sell it :)  I can’t find a direct product link, but BT McElrath has some awesome fall truffles currently available.  Yay for local chocolate!

I woke up this morning craving something chocolately and fallsy yet not super sweet and junky.  Enter my lame attempt at chocolate pumpkin yogurt.

I stirred together 1/3 cup plain greek yogurt, 1/3 cup pumpkin and 2 tsp coco powder with a dash of ginger and cinnamon.  I topped the mixture with a small sliced pear from the farmer’s market and some Nature’s Path Optimum Cranberry Ginger cereal.  This wasn’t an awful breakfast but not what I was hoping for.  The coco powder did not mix very well.  Next time I will try using some chocolate protein powder or a spiced hot chocolate mix we carry at work.   

It appears to be another rainy day which is making it hard for me to get motivated to get moving this morning.  booooo! 



Local Love!

Hi Friends,

I realized yesterday that I parked my car last Tuesday evening after coming home from class and did not have to drive it until Sunday morning.  (I did the leave the neighborhood on Saturday but Art drove)  After spending much of the last year commuting at least 40 mins a day plus trips to run errands and what not, I did not think such a thing was possible.  I can now walk to work, the co-op, a drug store, the gym, and have plenty of entertainment options with in blocks.  I love it!

I have been thinking a lot about the importance of “keeping it local” with my food choices as a result of my job and my nutrition class.  Last weekend we shopped at the co-op and farmer’s market for our weekly groceries.  Everything from the farmer’s market was locally produced and we chose local products as much as possible at the co-op.  In a few cases the local choices were more expensive but I tried to offset the cost with coupons and bulk bin items. 

The local economy benefits immensely when you buy products produced in the area.  Your dollars keep the company in business which in turn allows them to keep producing their product and employee people.  The company and their employees then have money to spend.  So not only am I getting fresh produce and animal products, I am also helping people help people.  Double bonus!    

I got a huge wave of midwestern pride from a lovely email Averie shared with some local bloggersWe are an awesome bunch!  I am sure I forgot some.  Sorry!  We most definitely need to have a blogger potluck in near future. 

Question time:  How do you keep it local?  Midwestern readers, how do you eat local in the middle of winter?! 

Ok, time to start thinking about lunch and heading to work.  Rumor has it we are getting some new, locally produced chocolate in today.  Sample time :)



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