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Hi there! Thanks for stopping by. I’m pleased to announce that Daily Bites has moved to a bigger and better home! This old one will still remain up for a while as folks get the hang of the transition. 

Come check out my new place here and be sure to update your subscription to the new feed. Hope you drop by the new home soon! Thanks,

Hallie

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Cover Image

It’s rare to come across a cookbook where the recipes, photographs and stories capture such attention and evoke such a desire to get in the kitchen and cook that you simply can’t resist cracking open the book in your every spare moment to ooh-and-ahh over the pages. Deborah Madison’s Local Flavors is one such masterpiece.

The book is an artful combination of recipes and musings illuminating the brilliance of America’s farmers’ markets. Madison aligns the chapters of the book with the seasons, beginning with spring’s plentiful greens and ending with storage foods—foods that keep through the winter. The book jacket sums up Local Flavors perfectly:

“By going behind the scenes to speak with the farmers and producers, Deborah Madison connects readers directly with the people who grow their food. Full-color photographs of gorgeous produce, mouthwatering dishes, and evocative scenes from the markets will entice readers to cook from the  farmers’ market as often as possible.”

I’ve already made a handful of recipes from the book, including Harriet’s Hot Roasted Cauliflower (who knew roasted cauliflower could be so good?) and a variation on the Chickpea Salad with Coriander and Cumin. I’m aching to try the Pea and Spinach Soup with Coconut Milk, but might get to the White Beans with Black Kale and Savoy Cabbage first.

To be honest, I don’t know if there’s a recipe in this book that doesn’t look good. (As I’m flipping through the cookbook now I’ve just come across the Three-Beet Caviar with Endive and Goat Cheese, which really contains no caviar at all. The beets themselves are the caviar, and the photograph is making me swoon.)

With nothing but farmers’ market abundance ahead in the next six or seven months, Local Flavors will be one of my go-to sources for inspiration of what to make with all of the treasures stacked high at the market. There’s nothing more satisfying to me, both physically and spiritually, than taking the gems of the earth—fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, legumes—and transforming them into delicious and nourishing dishes both sweet and savory. Produce itself is inspiring with its vast array of colors, textures and flavors. But I love it when I stumble upon a book like this one that harnesses all of those colors, textures and flavors and heightens them to a new level of deliciousness.

Madison writes in the epilogue of her book,

“We need to use our markets deeply if farmers are to continue to farm and we are to continue to eat well in the deepest sense, being nourished by our immediate landscape and community. How fortunate that meeting this need is one of the most pleasurable obligations we can assign ourselves.”

I couldn’t agree more.

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In other news…

Have you checked out the round up of guiltless gluten-free recipes yet over at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free? The March theme for the “Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten Free” blog carnival inspired some of the best bloggers on the web to come up with creative and delicious gluten-free pleasures made a little bit healthier. I entered Two-Bite Pistachio and Chocolate Chip Cakes. Head on over here to see the 30+ other gluten-free entries!

I also wanted to share some info with you all about an interesting film project I heard about recently. The movie, FRESH, is designed to highlight and celebrate the farmers, thinkers, and business people in America who are changing the face of our food system. FRESH is all about re-inventing the way we eat in this country and emphasizing the importance of small farms, local food, and sustainable agriculture. For more information about this exciting project or to view the trailer, visit the website.

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I feel like such a hypocrite.

Yesterday, the day that I talked all about the common sweet tooth and how to kick it, I myself got a hankering for something sweet that just wouldn’t go away. It hit me after lunch. I tried the water-drinking technique that I mentioned in yesterday’s post. Warning: that trick doesn’t work every time! I mentioned that it works 90% of the time for me…well, today must have fallen in the other 10% because it certainly did nothing to scatter my craving for sweets.

The more I tried not to think about a shard of chocolate or a crumb of a cookie, the worse it got. At about 2 o’clock, I’d had it. I marched up the stairs and pulled out my food processor, determined to make myself a healthy, gluten-free, sugar-free candy bar. Inspired by the Lara Bar concept, I set to work with a few dates and some cashews hoping to eek out a treat that would satisfy my sweet tooth guiltlessly. To my surprise, the result did just that.

After testing one of the candy bars (and enjoying every succulent bite), I was amazed at how similar it tasted to the Cashew Cookie flavored Lara Bar. I’m not a numbers girl, but curiosity sent me to my calculator to do a little price comparison between a homemade “Lara Bar” and a store-bought one. Here’s what I found: at my local grocery store, one bar costs $1.75. One homemade bar comes in at approximately $0.75.  Now how’s that for a deal?! 

You’ll find the recipe for Cashew Candy Bars below. The recipe yields 2 bars, but I will be doubling or tripling this the next time I make them because I want lots on hand! I imagine they would keep for about 5-7 days in the refrigerator, but I doubt they will ever last that long in my house.

I’m sure there are a gazillion variations that a creative cook could make of these, and I’ll definitely be trying out some of them soon. If you happen to whip up a tasty twist on this recipe, be sure to share it here in a comment!

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Cashew Candy Bars – Makes 2

3 tbs. raw cashews (about 1 1/2 oz.)

2 dates, pitted and roughly chopped (about 2 oz.)

Place cashews in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the S-blade. Process until finely ground like a powder. Add dates and process until very finely “pasted” and incorporated into the cashews—about 25-35 seconds.

Divide dough into two equal portions. Shape each into a long, rectangular bar and chill in the refrigerator for 30-40 minutes until firm. Wrap each bar tightly in plastic wrap or store bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to eat.

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Heads Up: on Tuesday, January 19, I will be starting a five-week series of posts called “5 Pantry Essentials.” Every Tuesday for five weeks, I will post a different ingredient that’s an essential staple to stock in your pantry. Posts will cover nutritional highlights, what makes the ingredient so essential, and suggestions for using it. Of course, I will feature a recipe showcasing the ingredient as well.

So stay tuned. You won’t want to miss this exciting series filled with great nutrition info, cooking tips, and tasty recipes!

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Join me for a 4-week workshop beginning at the end of January designed to equip you with the knowledge and skills to start living a happy, healthy life! See details below.

 

 

HEALTHY LIFE WORKSHOP – Learn to live life healthfully! 

Dates: Tuesdays at 7 pm, January 26 – February 16

Location: Hallie’s home in Middleton

Cost: $60 (total for all classes)

In this 4-week class series you will learn the fundamentals of optimal nutrition and become equipped to start living your healthiest life ever! Through interactive lectures and field trips, you will learn:

  • Keys to making positive food choices
  • How to construct the perfect meal
  • Nutrition “bandits” vs. nutrition “all-stars”
  • How to eat sustainably and seasonally
  • Elements of meal planning
  • How to be a pro at reading labels
  • Alternative names for gluten and refined sugar
  • And much more…

For more information or to register, contact Hallie:

608.577.2896

hallie@simply-savory.com

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