Running out of ideas for all of those veggies?

Lots of friends here in our town participate in a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program.  These programs provide the user with a box/bag of produce from a local farmer on a regular basis.  Some programs are monthly and others are more often.  This is determined by the farmer(s) providing the produce.  The one in our community is through Bountiful Harvest.  CSA Programs can be found in lots of communities throughout the country.  Look around, and you can probably find one where you live.

Its a great way to support the local economy and farmers.  Its also a great way to have lots of fresh, local produce at home.  However, for every person that I know participating in the program in our town, I have heard the following, "I have a lot of (fill in the blank) and don't know what to do with it."  Or, "I've run out of ideas for (blank),"  Its a good problem to have, but a common one.

I have one idea for those people looking for new ways to prepare lots of fruits, vegetables and healthy meals.  The Food Matters Cookbook by Mark Bittman has become a staple in our kitchen over the past few years.  My friend Emilie gave me this as a birthday gift, and it is something I use weekly!

This book is awesome for lots of reasons.

First, recipes are basic and call for lots of common/simple ingredients.  This is a plus because simple makes my life easier.  In the case of this book, simple doesn't sacrifice flavor.  It is amazing how well matched ingredients work together creating dynamic flavors.

Next, if you don't have one ingredients, most recipes contain variations.  If you don't like an ingredient or flavor, no worries.  There are many times a variation that can be adjusted for just about anyone.  This is particularly great for vegetarian diners.

Finally, the book is organized and indexed in a way to search for recipes based on ingredients.  So you have an abundance of carrots.  Look up the ingredient and you are in business - carrot gnocchi here you come!

I have had great luck with this book.  My husband loves the meals I prepare.  And the desserts are even great.  Mark Bittman has a very practical approach to healthy eating that is balanced and teaches you to rethink your meals.  And you don't have to participate in a CSA to use this book.  If you are gardening this summer for the first time and have lots of fresh vegetables, this is a great idea.  Or, if you are just trying to eat healthier at home.

One last plug for this book, meals are EASY.  I work out of town a lot and need something easy to prepare when I get home or with the little time that I have at home.  This cookbook won't disappoint and will quickly become a staple in your home.  I'm sure of it.  Give something new a try at dinner.  You'll find that vegetables fly off the table with a little creative help!