• Cooking

    Dark Days Challenge Wrap Up

    It’s hard to believe, but this will be my last Dark Days Challenge post for the winter. How quickly did that go? For our last meal, all participants were asked to seek out a SOLE (sustainable, organic, local, ethical) breakfast. Easy pea-sy lemon squeezy. We’ve been doing local breakfast around this place for quite some time. Lately I’ve been into combining all of my favorite breakfast foods into a sandwich. The kitchen partner makes two of his special Whole Grain Milling pancakes between which I slam a local fried egg, a slice of cheese, and either breakfast sausage or bacon. Then I lightly drizzle it in maple syrup. Just because…

  • Cooking

    Dark Days Challenge: Honey Shortbread with Strawberries

    Happy 2nd Day of Spring!  At least now the season will match the warm weather we’ve had. There’s only one more week left of the Dark Days Challenge, a fitting change since my mom reported their rhubarb popped up this week. The dark winter days are on the way out. Before we all know it the farmer’s market will be full of goodies and we’ll be in the brightest days of local eating. Today I thought I’d try my hand at one more entirely local dessert. The maple sugar candies from earlier in the challenge was my only sweet-tooth item posted during the challenge, so this time something fruity was…

  • Cooking

    Dark Days Challenge: You know you need spring when…

    You know you need spring when… …you check the seedlings every three hours to see if anything new cropped up. …you start to drool at the asparagus recipes in Food Network Magazine. …you stop wearing socks. That’s it. No more. I’m done with them until October. …you create the most random Dark Days dinner ever. Literally the strangest thing I’ve ever made: Introducing nacho grilled cheese. It’s what happens when I’d rather be outside enjoying the warm weather than in the kitchen combined with a total lack of fresh produce. I am really running low on the new local ideas for the month of March. So low, that for dinner last…

  • Cooking,  Local Products

    Dark Days Challenge: Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms

    I tried to look up which week of the Dark Days Challenge we are on this week (15? 16?) and was tickled pink with how fast this winter has gone by. Yesterday was near 60°F and today I posted the 2012 garden plans on 20Food.net. I think we’ve turned the corner towards spring. Even though I didn’t have fresh veggies for my local meal this week, I wanted a  SOLE meal that had just a hint of spring. Answer: a spinach stuffed mushroom, carefully baked with parmesan. Spinach and wild mushrooms are two of the best things we have to look forward to in the coming months. If you’re not already…

  • Cooking,  Eating

    Dark Days Challenge – with or without bacon

    We’re starting the last month of the Dark Days Challenge tomorrow. Winter has come and gone so quickly. For this week of the challenge, all participants were encouraged to make a completely vegetarian meal–tricky for some of us who have relied heavily on local meats to make it through. I’ve had the vegetarian challenge date on my calendar since mid-January with the idea of trying a broccoli cheddar version of the Cream of Carrot Soup I made in week 7 of the challenge. We have bags and bags of frozen broccoli left from last fall and it’s time to start eating down the storage before the fresh veggies arrive. Fast…

  • Cooking

    Dark Days Challenge Week 7 & Loose Ends

    Every 6 months or so my company sets an entirely new schedule for clients, one from January to June, one for the summer vacation season and one from September to year-end.  I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with the schedule resets. On the up-side it helps work feel less stagnant and gives me a chance to plan a bit around the seasons.  It’s a total bummer though that each time we get a new schedule, I have what I describe as fish-out-of-water-insomnia. Each time my schedule gets stuffed in the blender, pulsed a few times and spit back out, for the first month or so I have a really hard…

  • Cooking,  Local Products

    Dark Days Challenge Week 5 & All That Dairy

    We’re 5 weeks into the Dark Days of Winter Eat Local Challenge and I’m starting to see some trends in the way I eat. First, I am hopelessly, desperately, overly, and unabashedly devoted to local dairy. Veggies, beef, nah. For the most part, I could live with out them during the Dark Days. But ask me to give up cheese, sour cream, and my morning glass of milk and I might not make it. This is tough for someone who’s trying to figure out the meaning of SOLE (sustainable, organic, local, ethical) ingredients in my meal. Dairy isn’t exactly kind to the environment. My darling dairy products come from cows.…

  • Cooking

    Dark Days Challenge Week 4

    Between finishing up the pre-Christmas things and wrapping up work (I’m on vacation Dec. 23 to Jan 2…wahoo!), this week has been all about my early Christmas present: The kitchen partner and I have saved for a new computer since early May, religiously putting aside a chunk of our paychecks and any extra spending cash. It’s pretty amazing compared to my tiny work-issued MacBook I have tried to run a blog from. I now have Photoshop and Dreamweaver, tools all the cool kids in the blogging world have. Can I please be in the club now? Yeah, right. It was only after installing them that I realized I have no…

  • Cooking,  Local Products

    Dark Days Challenge-Week #3

    First weeks of Dark Days of Winter Local Eating Challenge were a cakewalk. I tried a new recipe, had some decent photos, cruised through the post. Week 2-3, less of a go. I started reviewing some of the recipes and posts from the EAST recap (each week there will be a recap of the recipes other bloggers are making on Not Dabbling in Normal) and became discouraged. The “rules” of the Dark Days Challenge are to prepare and eat one entirely SOLE (sustainable, organic, local, and ethical) meal per week. Although Minnesota Locavore was born with the ‘L’ in mind, it seems adding the S-O and E is going to…