Who doesn’t love a good before and after picture?

May 8, 2013 at 8:30 am


This is my first post for the Local Beet Chicago and I am so pumped to have a hand in helping connect fellow Chicagoians to local green goodness. I have some fun posts in store for you and loads of un-fussy recipes.

Saturday is my favorite day of the week. Not because I get to sleep in – I have two kids under the age of five that squashed that dream years ago, not because I don’t work – I am more exhausted after a Saturday than another other day of the week because I cram so much into weekends.

Saturday is my favorite day of the week because my weekly produce delivery arrives. I order two boxes a week to feed my hungry family of four, and for the past few months, I have been ordering from Irv & Shelly’s Fresh Picks. Cracking open my heavy gray bin and unwrapping my goods when they arrive is reminiscent of what a five year old feels on Christmas morning.






I order two boxes a week, a family box and either a cleanse box or whatever the monthly special is, this week I went for the rainbow box. These are the goodies found in each this week:

Family Box

  • 2 bags carrots
  • 1 head broccoli
  • Romaine lettuce
  • 2 jars tomato puree
  • 2 bulbs garlic
  • Italian parsley
  • 2 red peppers
  • Baby kale
  • 3 lemons
  • Salad mix
  • Baby leeks
  • Fennel

Rainbow box

  • Cauliflower
  • Yukon gold potatoes
  • 1 bag carrots
  • Portabella mushrooms
  • 2 limes
  • Grapefruit
  • Bananas
  • Strawberries
  • Red beets
  • Chard
  • Red leaf lettuce

This might seem like A LOT of produce, but we eat a lot of plants! Also, I waste nothing – I will share some tips in future posts on how to minimize food waste and put it to work (hint: think beyond the smelly compost bin). I think you’re really going to love it.

My produce box is the cornerstone of my meal plan for the week. I use the word ‘plan’ loosely, more like a simple ‘un-plan’. My un-plan starts with organic produce. In addition to my box, I usually go to the grocery store once a week for a big shop to stock up on avocados, a few bunches of bananas, rice, beans, dairy free milk, gluten-free bread and pastas, etc. The other trips to the grocery store are usually on my way home from work filling in items we are out of. We are constantly running out of apples, bananas and kale.

My meal plan for the week involves spending some quality time in the kitchen. A few hours and our family’s meals for the week are done. Approximately 2.5 hours after my produce arrived on Saturday, my fridge was stocked with ready to eat foods that we will use to whip up breakfasts, lunches and dinners for the rest of the week.





What I made in about 2.5 hours:

  • Roasted broccoli with garlic
  • Broccoli stems for smoothies
  • Roasted cauliflower with garlic
  • Leek, garlic and tomato sauce
  • Roasted potatoes
  • Two heads of roasted garlic (I used some to make roasted garlic hummus)
  • Spicy carrot ginger soup
  • Carrot ginger miso salad dressing
  • Carrot sticks for snacks
  • Roasted fennel
  • Roasted beets
  • Cauliflower soup
  • Red pepper and portobella stir fry (after marinating for an hour in balsamic vinegar, red wine and steak spice)
  • All the greens were washed and air dried, used for salads, smoothies and stirred into pasta

In addition to the produce box items I made a big batch of jasmine rice and a pot full of black beans. Having a refrigerator full of cooked food is like having a fast-food restaurant in your kitchen. No greasy takeout required, and it will be ready in 10 minutes or less.

To learn more about my minimalist approach to meal planning and for tons of easy plant-based and gluten-free recipes, visit my site –  Barefoot Essence.

I am excited to deliver awesome recipes to you through The Local Beet, using ingredients I find at Chicago’s awesome farmer’s markets and the gems I receive in my produce delivery.

In the comments below, please tell me the one food item you recently got in your produce delivery or at the market that you have NO idea what to do with.