Summertime? Must be Grilling Time!

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you see the words summer and food? I don’t know about you, but I immediately picture backyard grilling: kids running around in the grass, bugs swarming, warm weather, great people, and even better food. This summer Middlebury Foods has got your grilling needs covered.

While burgers usually steal the summer grilling show, Smith Family Farms Italian sausage links are here to up your hot dog game. The recipe below also offers ideas on super easy grilled vegetable toppings for your new and improved hot dogs.

Ingredients:

  • 4 (4 ounce) Smith Family Farm hot Italian sausage links
  • 1 red bell pepper, halved and seeded
  • 1 small onion, peeled and cut in half crosswise
  • 3 teaspoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 hotdog buns or sandwich rolls

Instructions:

  1. Preheat an outdoor grill for medium heat. Lightly oil grate, and set 4 inches from the heat.
  2. Pierce the sausages in a few places with a fork, and set aside. Slice off the bottoms of the onion halves so they will sit flat on the grill. Brush the bell pepper and onion halves with 2 teaspoons of olive oil.
  3. Place the sausages, onions, and peppers on the preheated grill. Cook and turn the sausages until well browned and juices run clear. Cook vegetables until tender and peppers are slightly charred. Remove vegetables and sausages from the grill.
  4. Place the peppers in a paper bag, close, and cool slightly. Remove and discard the charred skin from the peppers; slice peppers into strips. Slice the onion halves. Place salt and pepper to taste, and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a bowl. Add the peppers and onions, and toss until evenly coated.
  5. Brush a little olive oil on the buns or rolls and toast them quickly to give a little crunch.
  6. To serve, place sausages in sandwich rolls, and top with the pepper and onion mixture.
  7. Tip: Aluminum foil can be used to keep food moist, cook it evenly, and make clean-up easier.

Recipe inspired by: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/143146/festival-style-grilled-italian-sausage-sandwiches/?internalSource=hn_carousel%2002_Grilled%20Italian%20Sausage%20Sandwiches&referringId=16549&referringContentType=recipe%20hub&referringPosition=carousel%2002

But what would a big backyard grill be without some refreshing fruit or salad? This month’s fruit bag features pears, so here’s a recipe for a grilled pear salad with mesclun greens for the grilling fanatic in all of us.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinaigrette (check out this recipe to make your own: )
  • 1/2 cup Pecans, coarsely chopped
  • 3 pears, ripe but firm, cored and cut into 6 slices each
  • 2 tablespoons Olive oil
  • 1 package (5 to 7 ounces) mesclun salad mix
  • 1/2 cup Feta or goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1/3 cup Golden raisins

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Toast nuts for 5-7 minutes. Cool.
  2. Brush prepared pear slices with olive oil. Prepare grill to medium heat.
  3. When grill is hot, place sliced pears on to grill rack and grill each side for 2 - 4 minute.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, combine salad greens, cheese, raisins and balsamic vinaigrette. Gently toss all together.
  5. Place salad on each plate and arrange 3 grilled pear slices around salads. Serve.

Recipe inspired by: http://www.marzettikitchens.com/kitchens/recipes/detail/412/grilled-pear-salad-recipe

Get out, enjoy the warm weather, and eat some good food with good people!

We know you are just counting down the minutes as you wait for May 5th and 7th to pick up your Midd Foods order, so we decided to pick out some cool activities in and around Addison county to pass the time more quickly! And what’s even more exciting than simply cool learning, eating, and community building events: many of them are free!

You can find tons of things to do this weekend on the online Addison Independent Calendar (http://www.addisonindependent.com/201412calendar) and the family and kid focused mini-bury calendar (http://www.minibury.com/calendar/). We chose some of our top picks from these calendars for this upcoming weekend, many of them food related (duh), and all of them kid friendly events for you and your kid on school break!

Friday – Saturday, April 28th – 30th:

Vermont Maple Festival: This outdoors festival hosts a carnival, tons of maple flavored treats, maple tastings, pancake meals, local vendors, and tons of other activities. Check out the schedule of events to plan your trip (http://vtmaplefestival.org/schedule-of-events/4388748). St. Albans might be a slight drive, but the Maple festival makes a great all-day or half-day excursion.

image from: http://www.samessenger.com/maple-fest-video/

image from: http://www.samessenger.com/maple-fest-video/

Friday, April 28th :

Rummage and bake sale in Salisbury: Friday, April 28, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., Salisbury Congregational Church. The Salisbury Contact Nancy Galvin at 352-4375 to make donations of good quality, clean items or baked goods. Continues Saturday.

Table of Grace free meal in Vergennes. Friday, April 28, 5:30-6:30 p.m., Vergennes Congregational Church. The menu will include roast pork, potatoes, applesauce, vegetable and dessert. Come and bring your friends. Free.

Stargazing open house in Middlebury: Friday, April 28, 9-10:30 p.m., Middlebury College Observatory, McCardell Bicentennial Hall. The Observatory and Middlebury Physics host a stargazing open house, weather permitting.  See Jupiter in the evening, and view a variety of interesting stars, star clusters, and nebulae through the Observatory’s telescopes. Observatory open house nights are free and open to the public if the sky is expected to be mostly clear. Please check the Observatory web site at http://go.middlebury.edu/observatory/ or call the Observatory at 443-2266 after 7 p.m. on the evening of the event for weather status.

Image from: http://www.middlebury.edu/media/view/478262/original/observatory14_news.jpg

Image from: http://www.middlebury.edu/media/view/478262/original/observatory14_news.jpg

Saturday, April 29th:

Free backyard composting workshop in Middlebury: Saturday, April 29, 1:30 p.m., Addison County Solid Waste Management District, District Transfer Station, 1223 Route 7 South, Middlebury. Workshop will cover the basics of backyard composting, and will have both an indoor presentation and an outdoor demonstration component. Each participant will receive a voucher for a half-priced Soil Saver Composter ($23, orig. $45) or a half-priced Green Cone Solar Digester ($63, orig. $125). To register, visit AddisonCountyRecycles.org, or call 802-388-2333. For questions, call and ask for Jaclyn Hochreiter.

Sunday, April 30th:

All-you-can-eat public breakfast in Vergennes: Sunday, April 30, 7:30-10 a.m., Masonic Lodge. Only $8 for Eggs, Bacon, Sausage, Pancakes, Blueberry Pancakes, French Toast, Home Fries, Waffles, Corned Beef Hash, Sausage, Gravy and Biscuits, Juice, Coffee and Tea. Proceeds from the breakfast are used to support various local community needs and organizations. Everyone is welcome.

Sunday Grill Community Lunch: The newest food program of Charter House Coalition is the Sunday Grill from 2:00 - 3:00pm. The program was launched as a partnership of Charter House Coalition and the Middlebury College Rugby Team. Guests enjoy a fresh grilled item, along with fruit, salad and a delicious dessert.

Image from: https://www.groupon.co.uk/deals/best-western-royal-clifton-hotel-spa-non-accommodation-1

Image from: https://www.groupon.co.uk/deals/best-western-royal-clifton-hotel-spa-non-accommodation-1

Easter Breakfast and Egg Dying You MUST Try

Spring is finally here, and just in time for Easter! Here’s a few ideas (all egg-centric!) that can up your Easter morning breakfast and change the way you dye your eggs.

Does your Easter Sunday consist of a yummy breakfast and an egg dying session? I know mine often did. If you don’t waste perfectly good eggs you could use on Easter morning by dying them, try this technique to keep the eggshells perfectly intact while still being able to have eggs for breakfast!

See this super clear step by step process: http://www.wikihow.com/Blow-Out-Eggs

And…if you are looking for some ways to take your Easter egg creativity to the next level (and keeps things from getting so messy) Mommy-ish has some incredible ideas—think no more stained hands, a way to use up your extra nail-polish and more: http://www.mommyish.com/2014/04/07/easter-egg-ideas/

Sneak peak:

Easter Breakfast Casserol

Once you have all your eggs separated from their shells you are ready to start cooking! This casserole uses at lot of Midd Foods ingredients and is perfect to feed the whole family (and extended family) – just make more pans for a larger crowd.

Servings: 10

Ingredients

  • 1lb bacon
  • 8 eggs
  • ¼ cup diced onions
  • ¼ cup diced green bell peppers
  • 3 cups shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • ~ 3-4 shredded red potatoes or 1 shredded white potato (or 16 oz thawed hash browns)
  • 2 cups of milk

note: feel free to change up the vegetables that this recipe suggests – you can get creative!

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 7x11 inch casserole dish.
  2. Fry the bacon in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat until evenly browned, about 10 minutes. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Crumble.
  3. In a large bowl beat together eggs and milk. Mix in cheese, bacon, onion and green pepper. Stir in the thawed hash browns. Pour mixture into prepared casserole.
  4. Cover with aluminum foil and bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 30 minutes until eggs have set.

Start the egg dying party while you are waiting for the casserole to cook! Serve the casserole with a fresh fruit salad from your Midd Foods fruit bag, and you are ready to go.

Kale Yeah!

Kale can be a tricky vegetable to cook to everyone’s taste. But we gathered together some foolproof ways to make sure everyone at the table gets their kale and loves it too!

Kale Chips

A great intro to Kale, and a Midd Foods team FAVORITE. If you are craving some potato chips, try salty/crunchy snack instead! (And it is so easy!!)

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch of kale
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of pepper or to your taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). 
  2. Remove the leaves from the thick stems (with scissors or just with your hands) and tear into bite size pieces. Wash and dry the kale. Drizzle kale with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Mix the pieces with your hands so the olive oil, salt, and pepper are evenly spread.
  3. Bake until the edges brown but are not burnt, 10 to 15 minutes.

Inspired by: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/176957/baked-kale-chips/

Butternut Squash and Kale Quesadillas

Combine a Midd Foods seasonal staple like butternut squash with cheese and a tortilla; even the biggest kale skeptics will have a hard time turning this meal down.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 whole Butternut Squash, Peeled, Seeded, And Diced.
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • Black Pepper To Taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon Chili Powder (more To Taste)
  • 1 bunch Kale, Leaves Torn, Stalks Discarded
  • 8 whole Small (fajita Sized) Flour Tortillas
  • Extra Butter For Frying
  • 2-1/2 cups Monterey Jack Cheese (or try Cabot Sharp Cheddar!), Grated (more If Needed)
  •  (Optional) chopped onions, Sour Cream, For Serving
  • Cilantro, For Serving, Pico De Gallo (diced tomatoes, onions, lemon juice, and cilantro), Salsa, Avocado Slices For Serving

Instructions

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon butter and olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add squash and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and chili powder. Cook for several minutes, turning gently with a spatula, until squash is deep golden brown and tender (but not falling apart.) Remove to a plate and set aside.
  2. In the same skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of butter over medium-high heat and add in the kale. Toss it around with tongs and cook it for 3 to 4 minutes. Add in the cooked squash and gently toss together. Set aside. 
  3. In a separate skillet, melt additional butter and lightly brown both sides of the 8 tortillas. Build the quesadillas one by one by adding a layer of cheese topped with a layer of the squash/kale mixture, topped with a second tortilla. You'll have four quesadillas when you're done.
  4. Brown each quesadilla on both sides, adding more butter to the pan to make sure tortillas are nice and golden and yummy.
  5. When the cheese is melted, remove each quesadilla from the skillet and cut it into four wedges. Serve with sour cream, cilantro, pico de gallo, salsa, avocado...or any sides you'd like! 

(Note: The butternut squash/kale mixture is also great tossed with a little pasta and olive oil, and topped with Parmesan shavings!)

Recipe from: http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/butternut-squash-kale-quesadillas/

Chicken and Kale Hand Pies with Cheddar Crust

Looking for a special dinner that might take a little more time? Still not quite sure what to do with your kale? Here’s a great way to sneak in some kale into you or your kids’ meal!

Ingredients

  • Flaky Pie Dough (homemade or store-bought)
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 leek (white and light-green parts only), halved lengthwise, cut crosswise 1/4 inch thick, and rinsed well (You can also substitute this for ¼ of an onion)
  • 1 small bunch kale, tough stems removed, coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup cooked chicken, torn into bite-size pieces (about 5 ounces)
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Divide dough in half. On a floured sheet of parchment paper, roll out one half to a 14-inch round. With a knife or biscuit cutter, cut out six 4 1/4-inch circles (rerolling dough once if necessary) and transfer, on parchment, to a baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough, cutting out six (larger) 4 1/2-inch rounds. Chill rounds on sheet until ready to use.

  2. In a large skillet, melt butter over medium-high. Add leek and cook, stirring, until soft, 3 minutes. Add kale and thyme, season with salt and pepper, and cook until kale wilts, 3 minutes. Sprinkle flour over mixture and stir to combine. Add broth and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring often, until mixture thickens, 2 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl, season with salt and pepper, and stir in chicken. Let cool slightly.

  3. Place a heaping 1/4 cup chicken mixture on each of the smaller dough rounds, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Brush edges with egg and top with larger dough rounds; using fingers, press edges firmly to seal. Cut a small vent in each pie. Bake until browned and crisp, 30 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through. Let cool slightly on sheets on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

recipe from: http://www.marthastewart.com/331750/chicken-and-kale-hand-pies-with-cheddar

Next Level Grilled Cheese

For anyone looking to make their classic grilled cheese more nutritious (or simply more delicious!) try out these tasty sammies. With our addition of Cabot Mild and Sharp Cheddar Cheese as well as Cabot Butter you can get every main ingredient for these sandwiches from Middlebury Foods!

Apple, onion, and Sharp Cheddar Grilled Cheese

There's no specific serving size for this recipe, so just make as many sandwiches you want with whichever proportions taste good to you!

Ingredients

  • Bread (Try whole wheat or 10 grain from Vermont Bread Co.)
  • Apple slices
  • Sharp White Cheddar, grated
  • Onion, thinly sliced
  • Dijon Musard
  • a little Butter (you can use Cabot!)and/or Olive Oil for grilling

Instructions

  1. Spread 2 pieces of bread with Dijon mustard. Sprinkle with a little cheese, top with apples and onions. Sprinkle with black pepper, if you like, and top with more cheese. Top with remaining piece of bread.
  2. Heat a dab of butter and a glug of olive oil in a sauté pan or griddle over medium heat. Carefully transfer the sandwich(es)
  3. (optional) to the pan and put something heavy (I use a stack of frying pans, a foil-wrapped brick would work, too) on top to help press them down and make them extra crunchy. Alternatively, cook the sandwiches in a panini press.
  4. Cook until the bottom piece of bread is golden and toasty, then flip and cook the other side until golden and the cheese is completely melted. Cut in half and serve.
inspired by http://www.strawberryplum.com/apple-onion-sharp-cheddar-grilled-cheese-sandwich/grilled-cheese-sandwich-with-apples-on-pumpernickel/

inspired by http://www.strawberryplum.com/apple-onion-sharp-cheddar-grilled-cheese-sandwich/grilled-cheese-sandwich-with-apples-on-pumpernickel/

Broccoli, Onion, and Any Cheddar Grilled Cheese

Ingredients

  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 large head of broccoli, chopped well (if you don't want to use the stems, you need to get more florets)
  • butter (you can use Cabot!)
  • 6 slices cheddar cheese (you can use any variety of cheddar)
  • 1 garlic clove, diced
  • salt and pepper
  • 6 slices fresh bread (try white or potato from Vermont Bread Co.)

Instructions

  1. Heat a medium skillet over medium/high heat, with a bit of butter tossed in. Add onions and garlic and saute for minute. Add broccoli bits and mix around, stirring frequently. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until broccoli is tender and bright green. Remove from heat, move contents to a bowl and set aside.
  2. Wipe out skillet and put back on stove. Heat on low heat. Butter 3 slices of bread, and set them in the skillet butter side down. Add a slice of cheese to the bread (in the skillet), then add 1/3 of the broccoli mixture on top, then a second slice of cheese. Butter another slice of bread and set on top of the sandwich, butter side up. Repeat for remaining sandwiches.
  3. Once you have all the sandwiches in the skillet and assembled, turn heat up to medium (high heat will cause the bread to burn before the cheese melts) and let cook for 3-4 minutes or until golden brown. Cook another 3-4 minutes on the other side or until golden brown.
  4. Remove sandwiches from skillet, cut in half, serve hot.
Inpired by http://domesticsuperhero.com/broccoli-cheddar-grilled-cheese/

Inpired by http://domesticsuperhero.com/broccoli-cheddar-grilled-cheese/

Community Leader Spotlight: Laura Brace

If I learned one thing from speaking with Laura Brace, it was that she is a powerful force for change. Twenty-five years ago, Laura began her work as a nutrition assistant for Porter Medical center, and over the next eight years she moved around trying her hand at nearly every position in the kitchen, until 2000 when she took on her current title as the Director of Nutrition Services. Wanting to make sure she had all the tools to take on her new position, Laura completed a culinary arts program from the Hannaford Career Center, but she didn’t stop there. Over the years, she has become a certified master gardener through the UVM Extension, completed a family herbalist program through the New England Academy of Herbalism, as well certification as a Certified Dietary Manager and Certified Food Protection Professional through the University of North Dakota. Along with her vast acquired knowledge, Laura’s can-do attitude has enabled her to bring the food programs at Porter Hospital to new heights.

A large portion of Laura’s efforts to make the hospital healthier and more sustainable comes from her desire to support Addison County. Laura has transitioned much of Porter’s food for its staff and patients to locally sourced food. Porter currently serves over 100 different local and sustainable products! She has also allotted much of her time to making the food she serves healthier. Porter, along with UVM Medical Center and several other surrounding hospitals and medical centers, joined the Healthy Food in Healthcare program to utilize the buying power of these organizations to support food that is environmentally sustainable, nutritious, and supportive of producers that treat workers with human dignity and justice. She also partnered Porter with Middlebury Community Gardens. This organization is an organic gardening program that offers plots of land on Porter’s grounds for members to grow their own organic food and form a stronger sense of community around their food. She also works with many other programs such as Vermont Fresh Network, Farm to Plate, HFHC Vermont Working Group, and ACORN that all work to improve health and/or sustainability in Vermont.

Middlebury Foods was actually lucky enough to be introduced to Laura through her work in ACORN when one of our managers, Charlie Mitchell, presented about Middlebury Foods at an ACORN meeting. With her incredible enthusiasm, Laura worked with us to set up a delivery at Porter Hospital for the hospital employees and has endlessly campaigned for Middlebury Foods to help spread the word. Laura orders from us herself and had an endless supply of incredible recipes that she makes with her Midd Foods orders. Two of the meals she has cooked form her Midd Foods orders have been the “My Heart Beets for You” fettuccini special from last month with a garlic butter, pepper, and lemon juice, and a broccoli salad with bacon and cheddar cheese. I would continue with her various recipes, but she had way too many delicious ones to cover them all.

However, while I was speaking with Laura, I could not help but wonder what drove her to, and how she managed to, achieve all of these huge milestones: tirelessly supporting the community, steering Porter towards healthier and more sustainable food, getting the schooling she needed to do her job the best she could, and the list goes on. One of the main reasons she attributes to Porter’s administration’s strong support of her endeavors. Porter works to help Laura implement many of her new ideas and experiments, but even beyond that, Laura grew up with a food-focused family. She was actually born in Porter (!) and grew up in Bristol where her mother always cooked large family dinners and grew food in their garden. These strong ties to food along with the community and family bonds that can come out of good food are part of what still drives Laura today. As someone once told her, “food is medicine,” and Laura absolutely does her part to make sure that the people in Porter and Addison County have access to this medicine.

Acorn Squash Recipes: Pancakes and Veggie Burgers!

Roasted Acorn Squash and Shallot Pancakes

Try cooking these savory acorn squash and shallot pancakes for “Briner” (breakfast for dinner)!  Not only would children enjoy pancakes at the dinner table, but the acorn squash is a delicious way to spice up a traditional meal. These roasted acorn squash pancakes are the perfect mix of sweet and savory. Is it breakfast? Is it dinner? Who cares; It's delicious!

Prep Time15 min Total Time1 hr 30 min Servings 8

Ingredients

  • 1 medium-sized acorn squash
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 pinch coarse salt
  • 1 large brown egg
  • 1 tablespoon chives, for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons whipped cream, for garnish (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup, for drizzling
  • 1/3 oil, divided (for frying the pancakes)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Cut the acorn squash in half (root to stem) and place on a baking sheet, cut sides up. Score each squash and season with a pinch of coarse salt. Pour about 1/4 cup water in the pan. Roast for 1 hour. (or longer if needed).
  2. Once cooked, scoop out the acorn squash flesh and transfer to a food processor. Pulse until nice and smooth. This should yield about 2 cups of squash puree.
  3. Melt the butter over medium-high heat in a small sauté pan. Add the minced shallots and sauté until tender and browned, 5 minutes.
  4. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  5. Add the squash puree, egg and sautéed shallots. Mix to thoroughly combine.
  6. Heat a tbsp. or two of oil in a small griddle or sauté pan. Scoop out about 1/4 cup of pancake mixture and cook until lightly browned on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Keep adding more oil between pancakes as needed.
  7. Stack and serve with chopped chives, whipped cream and maple syrup

Acorn Squash Veggie Burgers

Try these delicious and healthy Acorn Squash Veggie Burgers for your next meal.  They work well with a side of glazed Brussel sprouts or roasted broccoli.  They can be eaten with or without a bun and are perfect for anytime of the year.  Not only can these burgers last a week in the fridge, but they will also last in the freezer for longer storage. This recipe is a great way to create a dinner that is not only delicious and healthy but will last a long time. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1 acorn squash
  • 1 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup red onion (diced)
  • 1 cup pistacios (pieces)
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • sea salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Cut squash in half and remove the seeds. Brush the squash with oil and place face down on a lined baking sheet.
  3. Bake for about 45 minutes. You can tell it's done when you can easily press a fork through the flesh.
  4. Remove from oven.
  5. Remove skin.
  6. Put squash in a colander for 20 minutes, with a bowl underneath, to let excess water drip off as it cools.
  7. After the squash is mostly cooled, mix all ingredients in a dry bowl.
  8. Form into patties about a quarter cup at a time, place on a baking sheet, and put in oven to bake for 30-35 minutes. Flip them halfway through.
  9. Remove and serve.

Healthy Living in the 802!

This past week over here at Midd Foods we read up on health and found a few articles and resources that you all might find interesting.

First we looked at eating healthy (of course!), and while we post several healthy recipes a month, we thought it would be cool to point out a few places that you can always go for healthy inspiration!

The Eating Well website offers loads of information, but we found the Healthy Cooking portion to be extremely helpful. Have you ever wondered what nutrients you are actually getting from that head of broccoli in your Essentials Bag? This website has nutrition facts on almost every veggie and fruit that Midd Foods sells along with information on when each fruit and vegetable is in season. The site also has tons of recipes that offer little ways to eat more nutritious meals. Check it out:

http://www.eatingwell.com/healthy_cooking/healthy_food_guide

If you are in need of a little weeknight cooking inspiration, here are ten inexpensive meals (most of which use a many Midd Foods ingredients!) that are quick to whip up:

http://www.foodnetwork.com/healthy/photos/10-healthy-dinners-for-about-10

#8 Beefy Stuffed Sweet Potatoes: YUM!

#8 Beefy Stuffed Sweet Potatoes: YUM!

But of course healthy eating is only one part of healthy living, staying active is also an important part of keeping up a healthy lifestyle.

The Central Vermont chamber of commerce has several amazing day hikes listed for the area. Most of these are better suited for warmer weather when the snow has melted, but from the weather the past two weeks, it looks like the snow might not stick around too much longer. So if you are looking for some hiking inspiration this website has some great ones:

https://www.centralvt.com/visiting-playing/outdoor-activities/hiking/

But while the snow sticks around a little bit longer, here are 8 ways to stay active when it is still cold and snowy (make sure to check out numbers 7 and 8):

http://www.active.com/fitness/articles/8-ways-to-keep-fit-outside-the-gym-this-winter

And while you are staying active, checkout which songs a Brunel University Professor thinks will improve your workout!

http://www.nbcnews.com/better/diet-fitness/ultimate-2017-workout-playlist-according-science-n712101

Sunset Rock view off of Lincoln Gap Road

Sunset Rock view off of Lincoln Gap Road

Community Leader Spotlight: Brad Bedard

Brad bedard.jpg

Brad Bedard was born and raised in Bristol, Vermont. A proud Navy veteran, Brad served three years on a destroyer during the Vietnam War. Aside from these three years and a couple in California, Brad has lived a vast majority of his life in Bristol. Now a retiree, Brad continues to serve his country and community as the Service Officer at the Bristol American Legion Post 19 where he helps fellow veterans get the benefits they have earned.

Over the past few years, Brad has been an incredible supporter of Middlebury Foods. Brad has not only been a customer of Middlebury Foods for about two years now, but he also serves as one of our strong community partners. When Brad began ordering from us, we had not opened up the Bristol pickup site yet, and he originally commuted to Vergennes to retrieve his orders. But back in the fall of 2015, when we opened another pickup site in Bristol, Brad was key in making our new site a success. He helped us create a relationship with the Bristol American Legion, who has allowed us to use their facilities. Brad avidly posted and shared for Middlebury Foods on Facebook (and still does!) to help us get a stronger foothold in our new location.

What are this Midd Food veteran’s top picks? We found he keeps it simple. Brad told us that his current favorite items are the beef patties. He loves to bake or fry up some potatoes to make burgers and fries, but he keeps a balanced diet and also particularly likes making steamed broccoli. However, all in all, he truly enjoys all the vegetables and the meats he orders. Brad relies on Midd Foods for most of his shopping and really likes how the bag options have developed over the past months and years. He told us that he rarely has to go to the grocery store any more!

Amazing community leaders like Brad are a huge part of what makes Middlebury Foods thrive. We send huge thank yous to Brad and Legion Post 19 for helping make Middlebury Foods a more integrated part of the Bristol Community.

Valentines Day: Featuring Beets and Crafts

Super Bowl Sunday just passed, but you don’t get a breather because now it’s time for Valentines Day! Here are some crafty and delicious ideas to try out.

Food Ideas

Valentines Day falls on a Tuesday this year. We know week day nights can be extremely busy, so why not hold out until the weekend when you have your “My Heart Beets for You Fettuccini.” What better meal could you serve as the main Valentines Day course other than pink pasta? You can serve this pasta with many different types of sauces, but here are a few suggestions for you (they are all super quick and easy!):

Pesto Sauce

Simply order our Sweet Basil Pesto, and after cooking and draining the pasta, mix in the pesto with the pasta!

Garlic Brown Butter Sauce

Combine the butter and garlic in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook the butter until it melts, the foam subsides and it begins to turn a golden brown color, about 3 minutes. (Note: The butter will begin to smell slightly nutty as it browns.)

Remove the garlic brown butter sauce from the heat and stir in the pepper. Pour the sauce over the pasta, lightly tossing so the noodles are thoroughly coated. Garnish with Parmesan cheese, chopped chives and a sprinkle of salt. Serve immediately.

http://blog.kitchenaid.com/homemade-pink-beet-pasta-recipe/

Want to add some protein to this dish? Grilled, baked, or pan seared chicken breasts go perfectly with both of these sauces.

Dark Chocolate Banana Bread

If you are looking for something to do with your over-ripe bananas, banana bread is always a great go-to option. Here is a healthier chocolate banana bread option to top off your dinner (and eat the next morning), especially if you feel like you have eaten way too many sweets already on the 14th.

Arts and Crafts

Have you run out of your creative juices for valentines this year? Don’t lose hope! We have a great mix of ideas that will help you and your kids get some last minute inspiration.

Check out this link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/27/easy-valentines-day-crafts-for-kids_n_6518196.html

(We think # 1 and #11 are particularly cute and easy!)