close   X

8/16/12blog post

the happy box

It was about 5 pm on Friday…we were eagerly waiting for our Happy Box delivery. The kids were keeping an eye on the front stoop. Was last week’s Happy Box picked up yet and do we have a new box of goodies waiting for us? Then, the van pulled into the driveway. We all ran to the door! What is in our Happy Box for this week??

Why am I so excited about this Happy Box?? Earlier this summer, I decided we needed to participate in a community supported agriculture program (CSA). After my Wednesday night run with my running group, I was reminded about the local Fulton Farm’s CSA program. Duh…this is in our hometown! We need to eat more fresh produce in our own home. (The 2010 Dietary Guidelines recommend to increase vegetable and fruit intake. A variety of vegetables in our diet, especially dark-green and red and orange vegetables and beans and peas help to protect our health. It is recommended to eat 2.5 cups fruits and vegetables a day (per the American Cancer Society. ) Alex and I also feel we need to make our boys understand better the need to support our farmers.

This past Friday, we received several types of lettuces, greens, green garlic, green onions, roma tomatoes, beets, mango, bananas, fresh dill, zucchini, radishes and red potatoes. What and where to start first? Matthew and Edward were excited to help wash the lettuces. I got out the salad spinner. Patrick later came by and participated, too. Edward is on the step stool with Matthew sitting on the counter – they help soak and spin the lettuces; Patrick stands nearby with the plastic bag and damp paper towel. Next, root veggies! We had some carrots and radishes left from the previous week’s box. So, Edward and I washed, peeled and cut up the veggies. I gave Edward a dull butter knife and small cutting board and watched him as he tried to cut up his vegetables. He now knows these vegetables by name. I had to Google how to store the greens and dill!

Here are some helpful hints I learned:

Fresh lettuces: soak these as they still may have dirt amongst the leaves. We soak them 2 times and spin them. If you don’t have a spinner, I have blotted them dry with clean towels. Store them in a plastic bag with a slightly damp paper towel to keep them fresh (keeps for up to 1 week). The kids are enjoying eating these with salad dressings. They add cheese and croutons…at least they are eating darker green lettuces!

Fresh greens: I have learned to not wash them UNTIL I plan to cook them. Store them in a plastic bag with a slightly damp paper towel for freshness (keeps for up to 1 week). Wash when ready to use. The boys have tried sunflower and mustard greens. “eeww!!” was the response. I will keep you posted on future kale and green recipes. My dietitian friends suggest we try kale chips!

Radishes: store these in a plastic bag WITHOUT the damp paper towel (keeps for 5-7 days). When ready to eat, wash off the dirt. I did show the boys how to make a radish rose – science in the kitchen! Check out under Beets how we roasted the radishes. Also, Alex and I made a red potato and radish salad (see recipe below in recipe section) I have been making since my dietetic internship days (please note this is a higher fat option and eat in moderation).

Beets: if you plan on keeping the beet greens, cut off the beets and store the greens in a plastic bag with the slightly damp paper towel for later use (keeps up to 2 days). Store the beet roots in another bag (use within 7-10 days). We roasted these with carrots, onions, radishes. Wash, peel, and cut your root veggies into medium pieces (I didn’t peel the beet; I just cut off any blemishes) and cover with olive oil. Add salt and pepper. Roast in a baking dish with foil or lid on at 450 degrees stirring every 20 min. Once the vegetables are soft to touch, the dish is done. When beets cook, they caramelize, adding sweetness to the entire dish. The kids tried this and were surprised at the sweetness.

Fresh dill: sprinkle with water and wrap in a paper towel and keep in a plastic bag (can keep for 1-2 weeks). Also, we may try the freezer method which can keep for 2 months. I used the fresh dill in the red potato and radish salad we made – yummy!

Mango: once it ripens on the counter, store in the refrigerator and use within 2 days. I decided to make mango salsa. The kids tried it…we will keep making it and they will keep trying it. (see recipe for Mango salsa in the recipe section below!)

Every week, we enjoy the new finds, figuring out what is what and what to then do with it. Even with the first box, the kids learned about new fruits and vegetables already. In our house, the boys know they have to have a taste before they give us their opinion. I tell them that it takes up to 8-10 tastes before they may start liking a new food. They laugh at me since they know I prefer to not eat brussel sprouts…but, I know we may receive those this fall and so I will try them along with the kids. It is fun to see that the kids all of sudden may take to a new fruit or vegetable. (Matthew really enjoys grilled orange peppers now!) We subscribe to the smallest, standard box. Please refer to the link below for the program and box types. The Happy Box even delivers to several communities around Dayton, coming from Miami County.

Would such a box bring happiness into your home??


Recipe: Red Potato and Radish Salad


¼ tsp dried dill (or 1 Tbsp fresh dill, roughly cut) ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1/8 tsp black pepper 2 # red potatoes
¼ cup red wine vinegar 1 cup diced radishes
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard 6 cut green onions
½ tsp salt ¼ cup flat leaf parsley, roughly cut
1 clove garlic, minced ¼ cup lite mayonnaise and ¼ cup lite sour cream (stir these together)

Dressing: Mix the following: dill, black pepper, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, garlic and then gradually beat in extra virgin olive oil. Set aside.

Boil the red potatoes (scrubbed and not peeled). Drain and dice.

Pour the dressing over the warm potatoes. Stir. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.

After 2 hours, mix into the potatoes: green onions, radishes, flat leaf parsley. Fold in the mayonnaise and sour cream. Refrigerate for 3 hours. If you decide to bring to a picnic, I recommend bringing a larger bowl filled with ice and immerse the bowl of salad in it. Ice around the bowl will keep it chilled.


Nutrition information: (per ½ cup serving) 221 calories, 24g carbohydrate, 3 grams protein, 13 grams fat, 1 g fiber

Recipe: Mango Salsa


2 ripe peeled, pitted and sliced mangoes 3Tbsp roughly cut cilantro
½ cup diced medium purple onion 3 Tbsp lime juice
½ of a minced jalapeno (add seeds for extra heat) Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup English cucumber, peeled, diced  

Directions: Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve with baked chips or even over grilled chicken. Enjoy!

Nutrition information: (per ¼ cup serving) 23 calories, 6 grams of carbohydrate, 0 g protein, 0 g fat, 0.6 g fiber