• Cooking,  Farm Visits,  Local Products

    Maple Syrup Season at Sippl’s Sugarbush

    No one has complained more than me about this miserable spring we’ve had, but there’s one group of people around Wisconsin and Minnesota that can’t get enough of this weather. Maple sugarers around the area are having a bumper year compared to the warm temperatures and dismal maple syrup season of 2012. Last weekend we headed back home to Wisconsin to take part in a long tradition in my husband’s family. The thick maple forests around the area where we grew up are some of the best maple syrup producing areas in the state. His uncles, cousins and friends can all be found strapping on snowshoes to haul buckets and steel…

  • Cooking

    Pumpkin Maple Cake

    Wait…is it Friday already? The weeks continue to whiz by here. We’re enjoying this gorgeous fall weather and some of our favorite foods (baked squash, applesauce, pumpkin pie) while running in between this and that. This weekend is jammed with one of our big volunteer events of the year: From 9 p.m. to Midnight tonight Greg and I will be setting up for the Minnesota Walk Now for Autism Speaks at the Mall of America. This is our 4th year participating in the walk. Together he and I have raised nearly $1000 for autism research and advocacy through this event. Then tomorrow morning we’ll be back at the Mall by 6 a.m.…

  • Cooking,  Local Products

    Honey Maple Ham Steak with Roasted Asparagus

    A Monday night story… It’s date night and I’m running 20 minutes behind leaving work. I’m responsible for dinner and there’s only a few things from the farmers’ market in the fridge. I pound on the steering wheel and yell a rainbow of inappropriate things as I inch up to the bumper in front of me. Some days I think road construction was invented for slow and traumatic torture. Screw road construction and tough days. Not going to let it ruin my date night. In 30 minutes I’m going to have a gorgeous local meal on the table. Maybe even enough time to fix my frizzy pony tail into something.…

  • Cooking,  Local Products

    Dark Days Week 11: Maple Sugar Candy

    It feels like I have been planned this week’s Dark Days Challenge for an eternity! During week ll-12, all participants were challenged to create Valentine’s Day Sweets using SOLE (sustainable, organic, local, ethical) ingredients. Not an easy task when you start cutting out chocolate! As soon as I saw the challenge in my inbox, I knew I had to make maple sugar candy. The kitchen partner’s family has been in the maple syrup business for as long as I’ve known him. Growing up he’d strap on snow shoes and wade through the deep snow collecting buckets full of sap to bring back to the ‘sap shack’ for cooking. We’re fortunate…

  • Cooking

    Strawberry Maple Cream Tart

    Finally made it out to the strawberry patch this weekend to treat myself to three flats of ripe red berries.  Although the season has been slow to start, the strawberries we picked were large, juicy, and sweet.  If you haven’t been out to the patch, it’s not too late. Many pick-your-own sites waited out the last week’s cool temps and rain to start picking. Most of our berries found their way to the freezer for this winter. 25 bags in total. It’s the easiest way to prepare a local smoothie (or daiquiri) in mid-February.  Freezing strawberries is simple: thoroughly wash, remove tops, slice in half and pack in quart bags.…

  • Cooking,  Locavore on the Road,  Locavore Q & A

    Locavore on the Road: Little House on the Prairie

    Few things are as well-known in Minnesota history as Laura Ingalls Wilder and her dugout home in Walnut Grove. Last weekend our road trip through Southwest Minnesota brought us along Highway 14 to The Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in downtown Walnut Grove. We were the only people wandering the grounds on a quiet Saturday morning. The perfect time for extra photos and lingering over the exhibits. The kitchen partner and I have spent this spring re-reading the Little House series, reliving our childhood through titles like Little House in the Big Woods and On the Banks of Plum Creek. As a child I completely missed how food winds through the series, just like…

  • Locavore Q & A,  Other Writings

    150 Ways to Eat More Local Food

    This is it. This is the year to live better. To eat and grow local wherever you live. Need an idea to get started today? Want to try something new in the garden or the kitchen? Take the challenge to try 1 or all 150. Either way you’ll be living closer to the locavore lifestyle. Use an old road map and a protractor to draw 100, 200, and 500 mile circles around your city. Choose ingredients based on these lines to define your locavore diet. Compost. Read about 10 locavores online. You’re more likely to stick with a local lifestyle if you know you’re in good company. Join your local…

  • Local Products

    A Locavore Christmas: A Minnesota Gift Guide Round-Up

    5 days left to go before Christmas. Are you ready? This morning I’m finishing up the last of my shopping. One final exchange and one d.i.y. project. If you’re still looking for that last-minute perfect holiday gift–or if you’re just getting started on your shopping–I’m recommending you check out these locavore gift guides. They’re from some of my favorite blogs and Minnesota-grown websites. Tons of ideas to help you wrap up the last of your holiday buying! The Splendid Table’s Lynne Rossetto Kasper recommends local, Minnesota-made artisan chocolates for Christmas. If cookbooks are on your list, I recommend you check out Simple Good and Tasty’s 2012 Cookbook Round-Up for some of…

  • 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…