• Books,  Eating,  How-To Guides,  Local Products

    Find it Local Friday: Minnesota Grown Directory

    Taking a break from spinach today to help announce the release of the 2012 Minnesota Grown Directory. It’s one of my favorite days of the year and a terrific way to kick of the summer growing season. Why is the Minnesota Grown Directory worth a Find it Local Friday of its own? It’s a one-stop shop for answers to all your locavore questions: How can I be a Minnesota Locavore? Listings for 945 sources for locally-grown food and products around the state. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s comprehensive list can help you find whatever your locavore heart desires. How do I eat local on the road? The guidebook is divided by…

  • Eating,  Other Writings

    A Blog-A-Versary

    One year ago today, this little blog began. Oh, what a year it has been. Lots of learning and lots of good food. I started out this month planning big celebrations, giveaways, and hoopla in honor of a year of sharing the locavore life with all of you. But earlier this week I had a change of heart and decided to celebrate in a different way. Every year we mark the start of spring on March 20. It’s a regular, predictable anniversary. Yet when it comes to connecting us with the Earth and another season of growing and eating local food, the date is really arbitrary. We know it’s a…

  • 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,  Eating,  Local Products

    Baked Trout and Sustainable Seafood

    Taking a break from Dark Days Challenge meals this week because I’m still recovering from a fantastic Valentine’s Day meal and there are tons of leftovers in the fridge. The kitchen partner’s baked trout rocked my world last night. We don’t have many options in Minnesota to feed my seafood cravings, but he always finds a way to make a special meal work. As many times as I salivate over that pile of once-frozen shrimp in the meat case, I have serious qualms about eating seafood. A local baked trout is as good as it gets. My concerns about seafood began in 2010 after watching The End of the Line, a documentary examining…

  • Cooking,  Eating,  Local Products

    Dark Days Week 9: Slow-Cooker Split Pea Soup

    It’s Wednesday again, and time for me to make another Dark Days Challenge meal. To be honest, I’m in desperate need of a local meal today. I’ve had a “fallen off the wagon” start to this week and I’m starting to mistrust my determination and will-power when it comes to turning down non-local junk food. So I’m using my Dark Days meal this week as a confessional. Get it all out and get back on track. Confession 1: I had McDonald’s for the first time in over 18 months on Monday. My stomach turns just thinking about it. I was in a bind out in the ‘burbs and needed to…

  • Eating

    Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?

    At the end of last year and after much deliberation, the kitchen partner and I joined a new church a bit closer to our St. Paul home. We’ve been members for just a few weeks and are going through that tough stage where there are lots of friendly faces but still a sense of “we’re-on-the-outside-looking-in.” Thankfully, this church has one of the best (and most fun!) remedies to fix this for us. Each month they hold an event called “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?” and this past weekend the kitchen partner and I attended our first one. The premise is simple:  Each month, people from the church get together for…

  • Eating,  Local Products,  Other Writings

    Dark Days Week 8 Part II: Food and Home

    Yesterday I shared my Dark Days lesson about how my perceptions of local food are changing as I learn about what is available outside of my own foodshed. Today I am posting part 2 of my Dark Days Challenge this week, with some follow-up on my “buy local” shopping event and some more photos of my sister making bratwurst pizza in my mom’s kitchen. Here’s my biggest question: Where are all the farmers? I just don’t understand why, in an agricultural community, there weren’t any products from local farmers on the shelf. My hometown is well-known for potato production. We even have an annual 10K called the “Tater Trot.” The…

  • Cooking,  Eating,  Local Products,  Other Writings

    Top 11 of 2011: The Best of Minnesota Locavore

    Welcome back after a little holiday vacation. My hometown in Wisconsin even squeaked out a White Christmas this weekend. I had an amazing holiday break and hope that you and your family shared the same. I’m fully rested and ready to make the most of the last days of 2011. Rockin’ New Year’s Eve plans anyone?  I thought I’d start the New Year’s count-down early and share the Best of Minnesota Locavore this year. It’s a list of the posts that captured the most views and comments since this little blog began in March. It’s been a phenomenal year full of surprises and new beginnings. All in the name of…

  • Eating,  Other Writings

    The Dark Days Challenge

    Over the past few months, there’s been talk about where Minnesota Locavore is headed, how things could/should be different, what was the best part of the past 6 months, how to know what’s really important to be writing about, etc. Some good, some bad, but all related to a conversation that keeps coming up. Over and over I’ve had friends and readers tell me: “I read the blog all the time. Your posts are great and I love the pictures. But honestly, I wouldn’t cook anything you make. The food is just too weird.” Oh… (pause) Okay… (longer pause) I should probably fix that, huh? Since then I’ve tried to step…