Garden, Graphic Design, Life

Farmers Markets — Eat local!

This post is going to ramble a bit. Consider yourself warned.

I am not a huge fan of summer weather. Maryland summers are humid, hot, sticky, stormy… I am more of a spring and fall weather kinda girl. That being said, summer really is the best season ever. The days are longer, schedules free up, activities are more active… and my favorite… the food! My garden has been doing really well this year. And just like last year, I want to really expand my planting area in the future. I only did a little expansion this year, mainly because I didn’t want to fork over too much cash money.

I’ve got 10 tomato plants, peas, strawberries, green beans, lettuce, peppers… all sorts of goodies. And what I don’t grow in my garden, I have been really enjoying shopping for at local farmers markets! It’s great to eat local foods and to support small businesses and farmers.

I am so lucky that we have a farmers market ON CAMPUS at the University of Maryland. Every Wednesday I walk over and buy delicious, fresh goodies. This week I bought blueberries, raspberries and tomatoes. Did I mention we also have a sustainable food truck!?! I bought a lamb sandwich and fresh lemonade. It was AMAZING. The vendors sell so much yummy stuff (hormone-free meats, fresh-baked pastries, dipping sauces, fresh eggs…). You name it, you can probably find it there — well, as long as it is in season.

As if that wasn’t awesome enough, Howard County offers a traveling farmers market. I’ve only gone once at the beginning of the season, but it too was a great experience. I bought fresh eggs and some yummy greens. Fresh eggs are amazing. I want my own chickens… too bad my dog would probably play with them to death.

I’ve really gotten into eating fresh, organic produce lately so I am going to interrupt my own post to share some awesome blogs I’ve stumbled upon recently and I love. If you are interested at all in eating organic or less processed foods, check out these three awesome blogs: Food Babe, 100 Days of Real Food & Deliciously Organic. I’ve got a whole organic chicken in our crockpot cooking for dinner tonight using a recipe from 100 Days of Real Food. My step sister also has an impressive blog about eating healthy: Fuel My Family. They are all awesome — check ’em out.

Also, don’t worry. I’m not about to turn this into a health food blog. Just figured I’d share since I started rambling about vegetables today 🙂

OK, back to farmers markets.

The real reason I wanted to write this post was to talk about how Dana, my bff, has started selling her baked goods at a farmers market in Laurel! That’s right, Little King’s Confections will be at the Main Street Farmers Market EVERY THURSDAY! I am so proud of her 🙂

Little Kings

Little Kings Farmers Market

Little Kings Confections

Little Kings Confections Market

OK, ramble almost over. See that logo on Dana’s booth? Yup, I designed it. It was really simple to do in Adobe Illustrator. I used the fonts Lavenderia for “Little King’s” and Code Light for “Confections.” The crown was a free clip art that I swapped from black to white. It is adorable 🙂

 

Little Kings Confections logoo

Happy ramblings & happy Friday!

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Recipes

Spicy Taco Soup

What I’m about to share with you is possibly one of the yummiest recipes of all time. That’s right, folks… it’s Spicy Taco Soup time.

I discovered this recipe years ago online and have since altered it to perfection. It is a staple in our house during the colder months and a staple at my mom’s house at Christmas time. It’s also way easy to make and not terribly bad for you. #Winning!

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 lbs Ground beef/chicken/turkey: Use whichever meat you’d like and however much meat you like. I usually use 1.5 lbs because I like my soup to have a lot of meat in it.
  • 32 oz. Beef stock/chicken stock: Depending on whether you choose to make your soup with ground beef or ground bird, grab the corresponding broth to go with it. Also, I liked to get low sodium broth. It doesn’t affect the taste and it is way better for you.
  • 2 cans of petite diced tomatoes: Feel free to use petite diced tomatoes with green chillies or onions in it. Tomatoes must be petite!
  • 1 can of pinto/black beans: I use black beans in my soup and only one can. The original recipe I found online called for two cans of pinto and two cans of black beans. That was way too much for us. Grab low sodium beans if you can.
  • 1 can of sweet yellow corn
  • 1 cup chopped onion: Frozen or fresh works. You can add more if you’d like.
  • 1 cup chopped green/red/yellow peppers: Frozen or fresh works, and any color works! You can add more if you’d like.
  • 2 tbsp Red Pepper flakes
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • HOT SAUCE!!!: Add as much as you can handle 🙂

Directions:

In a frying pan, cook up the meat of your choice with the onions. Drain the grease.

In a large soup pot on medium to high heat, combine tomatoes (do not drain), corn (drain & rinse), beans (drain & rinse), peppers, red pepper flakes, and meat. Add in your broth (Note: I add a whole “box” of broth, but you can add however much you’d like. It will change the consistency of the soup. So, if you like chunky soup, don’t add too much. If you like a soupier soup, add all of it.)

Add hot sauce to taste.

Heat until hot! Serve with shredded cheese and sour cream on top — maybe even a few crushed up tortilla chips! Enjoy!

The best part about this soup is it is easily customizable without totally altering the taste. If you want more meat, add more. If you want less broth, add less. If you love green peppers but hate corn, the recipe will still turn out. I made it last night with three cans of petite tomatoes (total rebel, right?) and no green pepper (I forgot to buy them… oops!), and it was still delicious.

What are your favorite soup recipes? I also make a mean rustic tomato soup. Yummo. No soup beats my parents’ homemade chicken noodle, but Spicy Taco Soup is definitely my next favorite.