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Lunchbox Recipe: Energy Bars

by Elisabeth Hardin from The Practice of Simplicity

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School is in full swing for the Hardin household; certainly bittersweet as we transition from lazy summer days to the fast pace of the school year.  I’m going to be completely honest here and admit that my absolute biggest annoyance with school being in session is packing lunches.  Seriously, I hate it.  I’m a total foodie and I love my kids, so you would think I’d enjoy it, right?  Nope.  Packing real-food lunches and snacks everyday for three kids with COMPLETELY different palates can be downright cumbersome, so needless to say I’m always looking for lunchbox ideas that at least more than one of my children will eat.  Thankfully, a coworker of mine passed along this recipe to me about a year ago, and with a little tweaking to the original recipe, this became a hands-down lunchbox favorite for all three kiddos.

Ingredients:

2 cups pitted dates (located in the produce section at Earth Fare)

2 cups toasted almonds (I like to buy the sliced almonds in the bulk bins at Earth Fare and toast them myself)

1/2 cup nut butter of your choice (I’m pretty fond of the Yum Butter nut butters because they are in a cool pouch that’s easy to portion out.)

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

3-4 tbsp water

1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)

Combine all ingredients, one at a time, in a food processor until blended (will form kind of a ball).  Press into an 8 x 8 pan and refrigerate until firm.  Cut into squares and enjoy!

Simple BrunchWhy wait in line for brunch? 
Non-Alcoholic Mimosas
Why non-alcoholic? Let’s be real folks, it’s the weekend, but that doesn’t mean you have to blow the rest of your day getting the champagne sleepies. It’s the taste that matters anyway, and you’re already relaxed… you’re in your pajamas! The recipe is simple and just takes a few minutes. 
Ingredients:12 oz. Orange Juice12 oz. Sparkling Water¼ tsp. GrenadineIce Cubes1 Orange, sliced into wheels
Directions:We prefer Simply Orange for the orange juice, which we mix with equal parts Poland Springs sparkling water. Next, add 1/4 tsp. of Grenadine, ice and a few slices of orange. Stir well, break out the champagne flutes, and enjoy while you prepare the rest of your awesome brunch!
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The Bestest Eggs Benedict
Don’t be intimidated by Eggs Benedict! That’s how they justify charging so much at brunch places. Aside from the egg poaching, the most difficult part of the dish is the hollandaise sauce, and if you have a blender, even that can be made easier. But for now, here’s the scoop on the traditional method.
Ingredients:2 cups White Vinegar2 ½ tsp. of Salt¼ lb. San Danielle Prosciutto3 Egg Yolks1 tbsp., plus 1 tsp. of fresh Lemon Juice¼ tsp. of Tabasco8 tbsp. of unsalted, melted Butter4 Eggs, cracked into separate bowls4 English Muffins, halved & toastedPaprika or Cayenne for garnish

Directions:1. Bring 16 cups water to a boil in a tall 6-quart saucepan over high heat. Add vinegar and 2 tsp. of Celtic sea salt, lower heat to medium, and bring to a simmer.
2. Using Organic Valley eggs, combine 3 yolks, lemon juice, 4 tsp. warm water, Tabasco, and remaining salt in a blender; turn to medium speed and slowly drizzle in Earth Fare butter to make the hollandaise. Transfer to a bowl; set aside, covered.
 3. Swirl simmering water with a spoon to create a whirlpool. Carefully slide each cracked egg into water; poach until just firm, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer eggs to a paper towel-lined plate. Divide muffin halves between 4 plates; top each half with 4  thin slices of prosciutto and 1 egg. Spoon 2–3 tbsp. sauce over each egg. Sprinkle with paprika or cayenne.   High-res

Simple Brunch
Why wait in line for brunch?

Non-Alcoholic Mimosas

Why non-alcoholic? Let’s be real folks, it’s the weekend, but that doesn’t mean you have to blow the rest of your day getting the champagne sleepies. It’s the taste that matters anyway, and you’re already relaxed… you’re in your pajamas! The recipe is simple and just takes a few minutes.

Ingredients:
12 oz. Orange Juice
12 oz. Sparkling Water
¼ tsp. Grenadine
Ice Cubes
1 Orange, sliced into wheels

Directions:
We prefer Simply Orange for the orange juice, which we mix with equal parts Poland Springs sparkling water. Next, add 1/4 tsp. of Grenadine, ice and a few slices of orange. Stir well, break out the champagne flutes, and enjoy while you prepare the rest of your awesome brunch!

———————————————————————-

The Bestest Eggs Benedict

Don’t be intimidated by Eggs Benedict! That’s how they justify charging so much at brunch places. Aside from the egg poaching, the most difficult part of the dish is the hollandaise sauce, and if you have a blender, even that can be made easier. But for now, here’s the scoop on the traditional method.

Ingredients:
2 cups White Vinegar
2 ½ tsp. of Salt
¼ lb. San Danielle Prosciutto
3 Egg Yolks
1 tbsp., plus 1 tsp. of fresh Lemon Juice
¼ tsp. of Tabasco
8 tbsp. of unsalted, melted Butter
4 Eggs, cracked into separate bowls
4 English Muffins, halved & toasted
Paprika or Cayenne for garnish

Directions:
1. Bring 16 cups water to a boil in a tall 6-quart saucepan over high heat. Add vinegar and 2 tsp. of Celtic sea salt, lower heat to medium, and bring to a simmer.

2. Using Organic Valley eggs, combine 3 yolks, lemon juice, 4 tsp. warm water, Tabasco, and remaining salt in a blender; turn to medium speed and slowly drizzle in Earth Fare butter to make the hollandaise. Transfer to a bowl; set aside, covered.

3. Swirl simmering water with a spoon to create a whirlpool. Carefully slide each cracked egg into water; poach until just firm, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer eggs to a paper towel-lined plate. Divide muffin halves between 4 plates; top each half with 4  thin slices of prosciutto and 1 egg. Spoon 2–3 tbsp. sauce over each egg. Sprinkle with paprika or cayenne.

Easy Stir-Fried Tofu
Recipe by Bridget from My So-Called (Mommy) Life

Ingredients
1 Block Firm or Extra Firm Tofu
3 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast
2 Tbsp Flour
1 tsp Garlic Powder
½ tsp Salt
2 Tbsp Olive Oil or Oil of Choice

Directions
1. Drain and press tofu. Cut into 1 inch cubes.
2. In a medium bowl, combine the nutritional yeast, flour, garlic powder, and salt. Toss in tofu and stir until evenly coated.
3. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add in the oil. Swirl the pan, and when the oil is shimmering and hot, carefully add in the tofu cubes. Cook 5-7 minutes, flipping with a spatula every few minutes until all sides are golden brown and crispy.
4. Add the stir-fried tofu in with your favorite stir-fried vegetables, serve on top of rice accompanied by soy sauce, toss in a taco or with pasta, or eat it simply by itself (it’s very kid friendly and a fantastic toddler finger food!).

For the story behind this recipe and more, visit My So-Called (Mommy) Life.

Sauerkraut and MeatballsA Gluten Free Family Favorite!Recipe by Jennifer from The Sprouted Life
Ingredients: 2lbs grass-fed ground beef 1lb ground pork 1 jar sauerkraut 1 cup white rice (we recommend Lundberg Organic Basmati) ½-1 cup water or beef broth salt & pepper to taste
Instructions: Combine ground beef, ground pork, one cup of rice and a pinch of salt & pepper.
Layer bottom of a heavy dutch oven with sauerkraut.
Roll handful-sized meatballs and layer the bottom of the pan, then add another layer of sauerkraut and add in remaining meatballs.
Top with remaining sauerkraut.
Pour about a cup of water or beef broth in the pan (this varies a little with how much liquid was in the jar of sauerkraut).

Cover and cook on stove at medium/medium high heat for about an hour. It will be simmering pretty well - be sure to check it halfway through to make sure there is enough liquid in the pan for the rice to absorb.

For the story behind this recipe and more, visit The Sprouted Life.   High-res

Sauerkraut and Meatballs
A Gluten Free Family Favorite!
Recipe by Jennifer from The Sprouted Life

Ingredients:
2lbs grass-fed ground beef
1lb ground pork
1 jar sauerkraut
1 cup white rice (we recommend Lundberg Organic Basmati)
½-1 cup water or beef broth
salt & pepper to taste

Instructions:
Combine ground beef, ground pork, one cup of rice and a pinch of salt & pepper.

Layer bottom of a heavy dutch oven with sauerkraut.

Roll handful-sized meatballs and layer the bottom of the pan, then add another layer of sauerkraut and add in remaining meatballs.

Top with remaining sauerkraut.

Pour about a cup of water or beef broth in the pan (this varies a little with how much liquid was in the jar of sauerkraut).

Cover and cook on stove at medium/medium high heat for about an hour. It will be simmering pretty well - be sure to check it halfway through to make sure there is enough liquid in the pan for the rice to absorb.

For the story behind this recipe and more, visit The Sprouted Life.

Apple Barbecue SauceRecipe by Paula from A Simple Home Cook
Ingredients: 1-2 firm, tart apples (Granny Smith) 2 softer, sweet apples (Golden Delicious) ¾ cup water 1-2 Tbsp. unsalted butter 1 small onion, minced or diced* ½ cup ketchup ½ cup honey 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce 1 Tbsp. sorghum or 1 tsp. molasses* or 3 Tbsp. brown sugar ¼-1/2 cup cider vinegar 1 tsp. ground mustard 1 tsp. paprika ¼ tsp. garlic powder ½ tsp. cinnamon salt, to taste
Instructions: 1. Peel and chop apples into desired size chunks. 2. Place apples in a pan with ¼ cup of water and boil covered until apples are soft. 3. Remove cooked apples from pan and set aside. 4. Melt butter in the pan and sauté onions until tender. 5. Add apples back into the pan. 6. Mash apples with a potato masher until desired consistency is achieved. (The softer apples should mash easier and more completely.) 7. Add ketchup, honey, Worcestershire, and sorghum or molasses or brown sugar.* 8. Add ¼ cup of vinegar. Taste and add more vinegar if needed. It usually takes about ½ cup to achieve the right balance, but the sweetness of the apples, etc. influence how much is needed. 9. Add mustard, paprika, cinnamon and salt to taste. 10. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes over medium heat. Mixture will thicken. Add more water if it becomes too thick. 11. Serve over chicken or pork.
*If using molasses instead of sorghum or brown sugar, note that black strap molasses can be very strong. Always start with a smaller amount and add more if needed.

*Dried onions may be substituted for fresh. Just add the butter to the apples while they are cooking, then add the onions. There is no need to remove the apples.
For the story behind this recipe and more, visit A Simple Home Cook.   High-res

Apple Barbecue Sauce
Recipe by Paula from A Simple Home Cook

Ingredients:
1-2 firm, tart apples (Granny Smith)
2 softer, sweet apples (Golden Delicious)
¾ cup water
1-2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 small onion, minced or diced*
½ cup ketchup
½ cup honey
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp. sorghum or 1 tsp. molasses* or 3 Tbsp. brown sugar
¼-1/2 cup cider vinegar
1 tsp. ground mustard
1 tsp. paprika
¼ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. cinnamon
salt, to taste

Instructions:
1. Peel and chop apples into desired size chunks.
2. Place apples in a pan with ¼ cup of water and boil covered until apples are soft.
3. Remove cooked apples from pan and set aside.
4. Melt butter in the pan and sauté onions until tender.
5. Add apples back into the pan.
6. Mash apples with a potato masher until desired consistency is achieved. (The softer apples should mash easier and more completely.)
7. Add ketchup, honey, Worcestershire, and sorghum or molasses or brown sugar.*
8. Add ¼ cup of vinegar. Taste and add more vinegar if needed. It usually takes about ½ cup to achieve the right balance, but the sweetness of the apples, etc. influence how much is needed.
9. Add mustard, paprika, cinnamon and salt to taste.
10. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes over medium heat. Mixture will thicken. Add more water if it becomes too thick.
11. Serve over chicken or pork.

*If using molasses instead of sorghum or brown sugar, note that black strap molasses can be very strong. Always start with a smaller amount and add more if needed.

*Dried onions may be substituted for fresh. Just add the butter to the apples while they are cooking, then add the onions. There is no need to remove the apples.

For the story behind this recipe and more, visit A Simple Home Cook.

Baked Oatmeal Cups by Bridget from My So-Called (Mommy) Life
Ingredients 2 1/2 Cups Rolled Oats 2 Tbsp Ground Flaxseed 1/2 tsp Salt 1/3 Cup Natural Peanut Butter (or nut butter of choice) 1 Cup Unsweetened Almond, Coconut, or milk of choice 2/3 Cup Unsweetened Applesauce 2 Tbsp Coconut Oil 1/4 Cup Pure Maple Syrup 1 tsp Vanilla Extract 1/3 Cup Mini Chocolate Chips or Raisins 1/3 Cup Unsweetened Coconut Flakes

Directions 1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease (or put down cupcake liners) a 12 muffin baking tin. 2. In a large bowl, mix together all the ingredients until well combined. Spoon batter evenly into the muffin pan (should be enough batter to fill each 12 spots most of the way up). 3. Bake at 375 degrees for 17-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Eat immediately, or store refrigerated. Muffins can also be frozen, and thawed individually when ready to eat. They can be served hot or cold, with additional syrup on top.
For the story behind this recipe and more, visit My So-Called (Mommy) Life.   High-res

Baked Oatmeal Cups
by Bridget from My So-Called (Mommy) Life

Ingredients
2 1/2 Cups Rolled Oats
2 Tbsp Ground Flaxseed
1/2 tsp Salt
1/3 Cup Natural Peanut Butter (or nut butter of choice)
1 Cup Unsweetened Almond, Coconut, or milk of choice
2/3 Cup Unsweetened Applesauce
2 Tbsp Coconut Oil
1/4 Cup Pure Maple Syrup
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/3 Cup Mini Chocolate Chips or Raisins
1/3 Cup Unsweetened Coconut Flakes

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease (or put down cupcake liners) a 12 muffin baking tin.
2. In a large bowl, mix together all the ingredients until well combined. Spoon batter evenly into the muffin pan (should be enough batter to fill each 12 spots most of the way up).
3. Bake at 375 degrees for 17-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Eat immediately, or store refrigerated. Muffins can also be frozen, and thawed individually when ready to eat. They can be served hot or cold, with additional syrup on top.

For the story behind this recipe and more, visit My So-Called (Mommy) Life.

Back to School Granola Bars2 cups brown rice puffed cereal (unsweetened)2 cups old fashioned oats1/4 cup roasted almonds, chopped1/4 cup roasted sunflower seeds2 tbsp. sesame seeds1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped1/2 cup dried cranberries1/2 cup peanut butter, smooth (may substitute w/ almond butter or sunflower butter for allergies)1/2 cup local honey1 tsp. vanilla extract1 cup chocolate chips (optional)Combine cereal, oats, nuts, seeds, and dried fruit in a large mixing bowl.Heat the peanut butter, honey and vanilla in a small sauce pan until warm. (Do not boil)Pour the peanut butter mixture over the cereal mixture. Mix while still warm. (Use hands as they are the best tool for this mixing job!)Once ingredients are mixed, pour into a 9x13 pan lined with parchment paper. (May use cooking spray in place of parchment paper)Press the mixture down firmly into bottom of pan. If desired, sprinkle the chocolate chips on top and press them down firmly into the mixture.Cover with plastic wrap, Cool completely.Once cooled, cut into 24 bars. Wrap individually and store in fridge. Lasts up to 1 week!   High-res

Back to School Granola Bars

2 cups brown rice puffed cereal (unsweetened)
2 cups old fashioned oats
1/4 cup roasted almonds, chopped
1/4 cup roasted sunflower seeds
2 tbsp. sesame seeds
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup peanut butter, smooth (may substitute w/ almond butter or sunflower butter for allergies)
1/2 cup local honey
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips (optional)

Combine cereal, oats, nuts, seeds, and dried fruit in a large mixing bowl.
Heat the peanut butter, honey and vanilla in a small sauce pan until warm. (Do not boil)
Pour the peanut butter mixture over the cereal mixture. Mix while still warm. (Use hands as they are the best tool for this mixing job!)
Once ingredients are mixed, pour into a 9x13 pan lined with parchment paper. (May use cooking spray in place of parchment paper)
Press the mixture down firmly into bottom of pan. 
If desired, sprinkle the chocolate chips on top and press them down firmly into the mixture.
Cover with plastic wrap, Cool completely.
Once cooled, cut into 24 bars. Wrap individually and store in fridge. Lasts up to 1 week!

Simple Shrimp Salad Recipe by Paula from A Simple Home Cook
Ingredients: 1 lb. cooked shrimp, peeled, cleaned, and roughly chopped ¼ cup Greek yogurt ¼ cup mayonnaise 2 tsp. Old Bay seasoning (to taste) 1 Tbsp. lemon juice (to taste) 1 small sweet onion, minced 1 Tbsp. tarragon or dill, roughly chopped (to taste)
Instructions: 1. Combine yogurt, mayonnaise, Old Bay, and lemon juice in a small bowl. 2. Combine shrimp, onion and herbs in a larger bowl. 3. Stir in enough dressing to coat all of the shrimp. 4. Chill in the refrigerator before serving for better flavor. 5. Serve on lettuce bed, in a lettuce wrap or boat, on a bun, in a wrap, or on crackers.

Note: Celery, pineapple, and mango could all be additions to the salad.
For the story behind this recipe and more, visit A Simple Home Cook.   High-res

Simple Shrimp Salad
Recipe by Paula from A Simple Home Cook

Ingredients:
1 lb. cooked shrimp, peeled, cleaned, and roughly chopped
¼ cup Greek yogurt
¼ cup mayonnaise
2 tsp. Old Bay seasoning (to taste)
1 Tbsp. lemon juice (to taste)
1 small sweet onion, minced
1 Tbsp. tarragon or dill, roughly chopped (to taste)

Instructions:
1. Combine yogurt, mayonnaise, Old Bay, and lemon juice in a small bowl.
2. Combine shrimp, onion and herbs in a larger bowl.
3. Stir in enough dressing to coat all of the shrimp.
4. Chill in the refrigerator before serving for better flavor.
5. Serve on lettuce bed, in a lettuce wrap or boat, on a bun, in a wrap, or on crackers.

Note: Celery, pineapple, and mango could all be additions to the salad.

For the story behind this recipe and more, visit A Simple Home Cook.

Grilled Lobster Tails Recipe by Paula from A Simple Home Cook
Ingredients: 3 to 4 oz lobster tails ½ cup butter, clarified skewers salted boiling water
Instructions:1. If using frozen lobster tails, defrost them in the refrigerator overnight.
2. If using wooden skewers, soak them in water for an hour before preparing the lobster.
3. Rinse lobster tails, if desired.
4. Use kitchen shears to cut down the middle of the underneath side of the tail.
5. Run the skewer down the center to the end of the lobster tail. This makes them easier to handle and prevents them from curling.
6. Place the lobster in salted boiling water for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. If lobster tail is 5 – 6 oz., increase time in water to 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. (The lobster tails will not/should not be completely cooked).
7. With tails on their uncut top side, separate the split underside enough to pour clarified butter in each of the shells.
8. Keeping the split sides up, place the lobster tails on a grill over medium heat.
9. Grill for about 2 minutes until the lobster meat is mostly opaque.
10. Turn over to place the split side down on the grill for 30 to 60 seconds until lobster meat is opaque and the internal temperature is 145 degrees when measured with an instant read thermometer. DO NOT OVER COOK!
11. Serve with remaining (or additional) clarified butter.

 
For the story behind this recipe and more, visit A Simple Home Cook.   High-res

Grilled Lobster Tails
Recipe by Paula from A Simple Home Cook

Ingredients:
3 to 4 oz lobster tails
½ cup butter, clarified
skewers
salted boiling water

Instructions:
1. If using frozen lobster tails, defrost them in the refrigerator overnight.

2. If using wooden skewers, soak them in water for an hour before preparing the lobster.

3. Rinse lobster tails, if desired.

4. Use kitchen shears to cut down the middle of the underneath side of the tail.

5. Run the skewer down the center to the end of the lobster tail. This makes them easier to handle and prevents them from curling.

6. Place the lobster in salted boiling water for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. If lobster tail is 5 – 6 oz., increase time in water to 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. (The lobster tails will not/should not be completely cooked).

7. With tails on their uncut top side, separate the split underside enough to pour clarified butter in each of the shells.

8. Keeping the split sides up, place the lobster tails on a grill over medium heat.

9. Grill for about 2 minutes until the lobster meat is mostly opaque.

10. Turn over to place the split side down on the grill for 30 to 60 seconds until lobster meat is opaque and the internal temperature is 145 degrees when measured with an instant read thermometer. DO NOT OVER COOK!

11. Serve with remaining (or additional) clarified butter.

 

For the story behind this recipe and more, visit A Simple Home Cook.