All About…Radishes!

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Poor radishes are often an afterthought in cooking!  Let’s change that!

Radishes are, to be technical, the bomb.  They add a subtle peppery taste to whatever they are in, plus, they contain a good chunk of vitamin C, vitamin A, and fiber.  They are about one calorie per radish too, and let’s be honest, they’re pretty!

Radishes have been around for quite some time, first seen in New England in the early 1600s, and they are part of the cabbage family, so they are in related to cauliflower, kale, broccoli, and cabbage.  There are a ton of different ways to use them and add them to dishes…let’s look at a few!

One of my favorite breakfasts has to be avocado toast.  I had it at a restaurant once, and they put lemon zest and lemon juice on top.  It was so good!  I added some radishes to up the nutrition profile of my breakfast, and it was quite good, if I do say so myself!

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You can always smash your avocado, or even add some hummus for a bit more protein, but I highly recommend adding the radishes.  They give a nice crunch to the toast, and the little bit of peppery taste is a great contrast to the avocado.

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I used a mandoline to get the thin slices.  Again, always use the hand protector thingamabob.  It’s super useful for keeping all of your fingers right where you want them.

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Not pictured here are the lovely radish greens that are also entirely edible and share the bulb’s peppery taste.  Toss them in a salad or sauté them separately.IMG_2069

Don’t stop there though!  You can roast your radishes with some fresh thyme or rosemary.  Or, you can add them to a salad, or shred them and add them to a cole slaw.  The possibilities are endless!  Comment below and share how you use radishes!

Tips & Tricks for the Farmer’s Market

Shopping at a farmer’s market is a great way to choose healthy products that are locally grown and sourced by farmers and merchants that are passionate and knowledgeable about what they’re providing to consumers.

Farmer’s markets are also a great way to meet and interact with the same people that are producing your food.

Here are some tips and tricks for visiting your local farmer’s market:

Go early: Vendors present all items at once so oftentimes products disappear fast! Plus, there are great people to meet and talk to, both that produce the products you buy and those who are also shopping!

Bring a reusable bag: Bringing your own bag isn’t only good for the environment, it’s a great way to ensure you can carry all of your items easily. Having an insulated bag or cooler is another great way to keep perishable goods fresh while traveling.

Don’t be afraid to try something new: Sometimes root vegetables like carrots and beets can be presented at a farmer’s market whole and with greens still attached. Don’t worry! This helps the vegetables stay fresh for longer. The same goes with products that you haven’t tried before. Just because they may look different or contain an ingredient you’ve never heard of doesn’t mean they won’t be delicious. Chances are there’s a great recipe for whatever you’re about to purchase!

Take a lap: With brightly colored fruits, vegetables, jams and more displayed it is easy to miss something the first time around. Make sure you circle back to all vendor tables to ensure you didn’t skip over something worth buying!

Ask questions: This may seem like a no-brainer, but asking questions is the best way to learn about what you’re buying, how to pick the best item, and where your food was sourced. Learning more about healthy, local foods helps you achieve healthy eating goals!

Take a friend: Farmer’s Markets make the perfect day-date: good company plus lots of great food!

You can find farmer’s markets all over the metro-DC region by doing a simple Google search. Hometown Harvest will host its first Farmer’s Market on Friday, May 20th at the warehouse on Wedgewood Blvd. in Frederick. Don’t have time to stop by? Try having the market delivered!

Find out more online at www.hometownharvest.com!

All About…Spring Garlic!

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Have you ever had spring garlic?  If so, you already know how delicious it is.  If not, let me tell you how delicious it is!!  I’ll start by saying I am absolutely not a morning person.  I basically stay in bed until the absolute last possible second, then rush around to get out of the house on time with coffee and a quick, grab-able breakfast from the fridge that I can eat in the car on my way to work.  It’s always a close call.  HOWEVER!  All of this changed the minute I put spring garlic in my eggs over the weekend.  I now, somehow, manage to drag myself out of bed for the sole purpose of making scrambled eggs before I leave the house.  Now, that’s a total of about 10 minutes, max, but for someone who allows less than a minute at home for breakfast on a typical day, that is quite a feat!  While I could go on and on about how magical this little spring delicacy is, let me first explain what it is.

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If you’ve seen spring garlic, you know that it looks a lot like scallions, aka green onions.  So what exactly is it?  Well, it’s young garlic that has not yet developed a bulb, and it is usually pulled out of the ground early, in spring, if the garlic crops look crowded.  Removing the young garlic plants allows the ones still in the ground to develop into big ole garlic bulbs that we all know and love.   Now, if you are wondering how these differ from garlic scapes, the difference is simply that the spring garlic is the actual garlic plant, whereas scapes are the flowers, essentially, that grow from the actual garlic plant.  Similar tastes, but different things.
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What does spring garlic taste like?  Mmmm, a little bit of heaven, if I’m being honest.  It is a milder flavor than a garlic bulb, but still potent.  I used maybe a tablespoon in my scrambled eggs (though I put more on top because they are so delicious that I want them all!), and the flavor was noticeable but not overwhelming.  I did not feel like I would knock someone over with my garlic breath after eating them, but you know, brush your teeth anyway.
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So why should you eat it?  First of all, as mentioned more than necessary, it is delicious!  Nutritionally, too, spring garlic has all of the health benefits that regular garlic has, but it’s a bit easier to eat raw than regular garlic (see above re: brushing your teeth), and when eaten raw, you get the most health benefits, particularly in the allicin, a compound found in garlic that is thought to have anti-inflammatory properties.  Basically, all signs point to eating more spring garlic!
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How can you enjoy this spring treat?  Well, my favorite way is in my eggs, chopped up and mixed in with scrambled eggs.  I found one tablespoon of chopped spring garlic was perfect for two eggs.
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You could also easily add it to salads or a sandwich or make pesto out of it.  Share your favorite way to eat it below!

All About…Rainbow Carrots!

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Did you happen to get rainbow carrots in your bag this week?  Were you intrigued as to how they differ from the traditional orange carrots we all know and love?  Well, brace yourself, because this factoid might blow your mind: orange carrots are newer to the produce scene than the other colored ones.  In fact, the first kind of carrots, the original gangsters of the carrot game, if you will, were purple and white!  What??!  Yes.  Mind. Blown.  The orange ones, and other colors, came about due to a big ole mixing of seeds.  How interesting!

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Another interesting tidbit of information is that the different colors have different nutritional benefits.  For example, purple carrots are high in anthocyanin, a compound I wrote about previously in my post about blood oranges.  Red carrots are higher in beta carotene and lycopene, both of which are important for healthy vision.

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Not only are these carrots packed with nutrients, but they are also an real treat to eat!  One of my favorite ways to eat them is to cut them into thin sticks, then roast them at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes.  They come out tasting like sweet potato fries, but with nowhere near the calories and carbohydrate count that sweet potatoes have.  Not that sweet potatoes aren’t worth it, they are!  But when you want something a little lighter, these are a great option.

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Don’t let the colors throw you though!  You can use these in any way that you would use orange carrots.  Chop them up for a soup or salad, thinly slice for a sandwich.  The possibilities are endless!

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How do you like to enjoy rainbow carrots?

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5 Things You Can Do With Time You Save Not Grocery Shopping!

According to a report by the Time Use Institute, the average length of a grocery shopping trip is 41 minutes.

41 minutes in the store – not making a list, loading family in the car, driving from home, or any of the other things you have to do just to get to the front door. Worse yet, Saturday and Sunday, the most common grocery shopping days of the week, average 45 minutes per trip. Accounting for pre and post grocery activities, that’s an estimated hour per trip. A once per week trip adds up to 52 hours a year. That’s more time than a week’s vacation!

With the revolution of online grocery shopping that time can be curtailed to nearly zero. Online retailers provide you with fixed (or custom) bags of assorted fruits and vegetables that can be accompanied by meats, eggs, dairy, canned goods, cake in a jar (yes, that’s a real thing), and most all essentials you grab at the physical store each week. Items can even be set up on a recurring basis, the “set it and forget it” mentality! Best yet, it’s delivered to your doorstep.

Spend 52 hours doing something fun and rewarding. Here are 5 ways to reuse your grocery shopping hours:

  1. Tour a museum. Or 30!
  2. Staycation! Take a personal time out. And there’s always vacation. Bora Bora anyone?
  3. Learn a new language. Rosetta Stone offers core classes that only take 30 minutes each!
  4. Give Back. Here are 25 Ways to Volunteer.
  5. Spend time with family.

Save time, stress, money, gas, and a whole lot of headache by ordering your groceries online. Hometown Harvest offers a free membership & hassle-free service in the greater metro DC region with local products (including cake in a jar) and a commitment to healthy eating. Learn more and get discounts on your order by visiting www.hometownharvest.com.

All About…Tangelos!

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So…did anyone else think a tangelo was a musical instrument when they first heard of it?  No?  Just me?  Well, fruit lovers rejoice, because it is not, in fact, an instrument, but instead is a juicy orangey piece of fruit!  It’s actually a hybrid fruit, a cross between a tangerine and a pomelo (similar to grapefruit), hence the name.  Is your mind blown yet?  Mine sort of was!

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These juicy citrus hybrids are a great nutritional choice, in addition to being a tasty one, with one tangelo giving you 100% of your daily recommended vitamin C and 80% of folate, all for only about 70 calories. Sweet!  (Literally.)

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You can slice them up and eat them like an orange, or you can segment them and put them in a salad, or you can just enjoy them as they are.  They aren’t terribly difficult to peel, and they are a great snack to throw in your bag before you leave your house for the day.
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If eating them raw isn’t your thing, you can still enjoy the flavor by baking with them.  Muffins, scones, cakes…the flavor would be lovely!  Or, you can add them to a smoothie for a little citrus kick, or preserve the flavor by canning some jam or marmalade.
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They are so easy to grab and go!  I love having a snack that is healthy and requires zero at-home prep!
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Have you enjoyed your tangelos this season?

Spring Into Success! 5 Golden Rules for Accomplishing your Healthy Eating Goals.

Living a healthy lifestyle can be a challenge. Busy work schedules, extracurricular activities, our social lives, family, pets, school, exercise…..the list goes on. Nearly everything affects our ability to set healthy eating goals and stay on track. Follow the 5 Golden Rules for Success so you can choose the right food and accomplish your goals!


1. Set goals that motivate you. Make sure your goals are important to you and there is value in achieving them. To make sure your goal is motivational, write down why it’s important to you. 

Example Goal: I will eat healthier this Spring!

2. Make your goals SMART. SMART is a common acronym but often underused. Goals should be:

  • Specific: clear and well defined
  • Measurable: precise times and dates to meet this goal
  • Attainable: set goals that aren’t too easy or too hard. Be realistic!
  • Relevant: Keep goals aligned with the direction of your life
  • Time Bound: set a deadline! Know when you can celebrate a success

Example Goal: I will include locally-sourced fruits and vegetables each week in my grocery delivery.

3. Write goals down. This makes a goal real and tangible. Goal statements have power!

4. Make an action plan. Don’t only focus on the outcome but on the steps along the way. Free action plan templates are available!

5. Stick with it! Build in reminders and make time to review your goals


Don’t know where to start? Including portions of fruits in vegetables in your shopping cart is easy if you have your groceries delivered! Choose pre-selected bags of locally-sourced produce, ranging from 6-17 servings, that can be delivered on a recurring basis. This takes the hassle out of making a grocery list and ensures you choose the right produce every time you get groceries. By starting small, you can gradually incorporate other organic and locally-grown meats, dairy, breads and more to your online grocery cart.

Example Goal: Learn more about getting my groceries delivered!

HH Takeaway: Write your goals for the week and your grocery list on the same piece of paper! You’ll be able to choose healthier options for delivery!  

All About…Turmeric!

IMG_1924You’ve probably heard of turmeric in the context of foods that fight inflammation, but maybe you haven’t decided how exactly you will use it, since biting into a hunk of it doesn’t seem terribly appetizing. Let’s look a little further into this interesting, inflammation-fighting root!

Turmeric gets its health benefit from the naturally occurring cucumin compound, which is thought to help reduce inflammation in the body. Some studies suggest it may even help reduce the incidence of heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer. Clearly, this powerful little root is worth trying. But how?

If you’ve eaten or cooked Indian food before, you’ve probably eaten turmeric, or used it in its powder form. The fresh stuff, though, is worth trying, and it’s actually quite easy to use.

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Once you receive your order from HH, take the turmeric and use a spoon to scrape off the brown, paper-like exterior. This is one of my favorite ways to peel fresh ginger, and it works wonderfully with turmeric as well. This way, you won’t slice off too much of the root, and you’ll just get the papery outside. Jackpot!

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A popular use for turmeric is turmeric tea, sometimes called “golden milk” for the rich yellow hue the turmeric lends to the tea. It tastes a little like a chai latte, but just a touch spicier.  You can use grated fresh turmeric for this one, along with ginger, black pepper, cardamom, almond milk, and whatever else you might like!

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If tea isn’t your thing, simply toss a small piece into your blender with your morning smoothie. All of the anti-inflammatory benefits in a milder medium!

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Just look at that color! I love when healthy food is also photogenic!

Have you ever cooked with fresh turmeric before?  Any favorite recipes?  Share your thoughts below!

All About…Blood Oranges!

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Sometimes during the winter, I find myself daydreaming about freshly picked strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, peaches…all that yummy spring and summer produce that I can’t get enough of! However, I often forget about winter’s produce gift to all of us: citrus! Fresh, delicious, clean, fragrant citrus! I love all the varieties of oranges, but especially blood oranges. Let’s have a little chat and get to know blood oranges a little better.

The name might give you pause-“blood” oranges-but the name is actually a reference to the deep red hue of the orange flesh, which comes from anthocyanins, a compound that helps prevent cancer and eye disease. The redder the orange, the more anthocyanins there are, so enjoy these beauties at the peak of their freshness, which goes through about May.  Look at that beautiful color!

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Nutritionally, these oranges are a great choice. Just one blood orange will give you the daily recommended amount of vitamin C, as well as some folate and fiber, for approximately 80 calories. They’re also sweeter-tasting, and less acidic than regular oranges. Basically, adding these to your cart is an instant win for flavor and nutrition!

Thinly sliced, these look like stained glass almost!  So beautiful!

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To use blood oranges, you can eat them just as they are-peel and enjoy the sweet juicy segments! You can also use them for baking, if you enjoy baking, in muffins, bread, or scone form. You could also make your favorite orange chicken recipe with these, for a sweeter and different flavor. Add them to a salad for a pop of sweetness–pairing them with beets and pistachios is one of my favorite salads. Add a little quinoa, available from HH, for some protein, and you have a healthy and satisfying lunch for yourself.  Or, if you are looking to spice up a traditional recipe, why not try them in sangria?  Perfect for this lovely spring weather we have been having!

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Given the short season for blood oranges, you could preserve the yummy flavor by canning marmalade or jam. You could simply adapt your favorite recipes to include blood oranges, using them in place of regular oranges. This is one of my favorite ways to preserve produce that has a short season.

What’s your favorite way to use blood oranges? Comment below and share with everyone!