wheeled shopping basket: awesome.

When I go to the grocery store, I disdain the shopping carts. I’ve never liked the darn things, with their giant baskets and sticky wheels. I’m part of a two-person household, I tell myself; we don’t need that much food anyway. I usually have a couple of reusable bags, so I just put my groceries in the bag and tote the bag around on my shoulder. I like to think of it as good exercise.

90% of the time, however, after I’ve picked up a ten-pound bag of cat food, a gallon of milk, and a half-gallon of orange juice, and the bag straps are cutting into my shoulder, it occurs to me that I’ve been an idiot once again and I should have just gotten a cart. But the carts are always outside and who wants to go outside to get a cart after assembling a haul of groceries?

Anyway, that was the situation I found myself in at Giant the other day — I was wandering the isles, populating my reusable bag, and my shoulder was aching from the cans of pineapple and the two(!) bags of flour that I’d somehow decided I needed… when a stack of shopping baskets caught my eye. Shopping baskets with wheels. And tall pull handles.

I immediately took a load off my aching shoulder.

a basket cart!

It’s such a piece of brilliance. A shopping basket with wheels! Perfect for those of us who don’t feel like maneuvering a huge shopping cart around the store. I was so happy. I tugged the basket along behind me, like a helpful little puppy, and picked up a gallon of milk on my way back to the registers. Just becase I could.

summer CSA, final weeks

The air is colder, the tree branches are bare, and the CSA summer/fall season has come to an end. So it goes.

When I showed up to the CSA last week, it was already dark (nightfall at 5pm! another sign of the season). However, the llamas (and one of the sheep) were still out and looking determinedly cute. Two boys were busily feeding them grass. I do so enjoy hand-feeding llamas. They’re so happy when they’re fed.

llama at night

llama and moon

Last week’s penultimate CSA pickup included: kale, a head of cabbage, three broccoli crowns, three types of apples (eighteen total), white potatoes, carrots, a head of garlic, an acorn squash, and the usual eggs and bread (Great Harvest Swedish Rye).

summer CSA, week 23

As I recall, we roasted the broccoli, made the kale into chips, made the cabbage into soup, and made glazed carrots. We’ve been steadily eating apples (one a day) for the past few weeks now. The squash and potatoes are still sitting around, but those can sit for ages.

And then this week was the last CSA pickup. It was sad to say goodbye to the farm for the season! I’ll miss the friendly people and the cute animals. As an extra special thank-you from the farm, the pickup this week included a bag of kettle corn from Cacoctin Popcorn.

summer CSA, week 23

The rest of the pickup: a half gallon of apple cider from Baugher’s Orchard, sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts, mushrooms, apples (Fuji and Ida Red), onions, broccoli crowns, a pound of spinach, and the usual eggs and bread (Great Harvest sesame).

…And that’s it for the year! It’s a bittersweet time, but at least we can look forward to Thanksgiving and the holidays. I’m already brimming over with recipes for baked goods.

leftover quiche custard: a tasty dilemma

What to do if you’ve made two quiches (with spinach, diced ham, and Swiss cheese), but still have over two cups of quiche custard left unused, as well as a block of leftover cheese and some extra diced ham… and you don’t feel like making yet another quiche?

2 quiches

One solution: Make a savory bread pudding. Saute some chopped kale with the extra diced ham. Then shred the rest of the cheese, and cut most of a loaf of white bread into cubes. Grease a baking dish with a bit of butter. Layer the bottom with bread cubes, sprinkle kale/ham saute on top, sprinkle with shredded cheese. Repeat two more times, ending with a cheese layer. Beat three more eggs into your leftover custard, then pour into the pan, soaking the bread cubes evenly. If you feel like it, dust the top generously with grated Parmesan. Bake at 350F until the pudding is bubbling and slightly browned on top.

Serve and eat! Try not to fight over the crunchy edge pieces.

savory bread pudding

summer (fall) CSA, week 22

As if to mock my whining last week, yesterday was beautiful and sunny, with just a nip of autumn cold. Perfect CSA pickup weather.

summer CSA, week 22

That’s spinach in the bag, along with mushrooms, brussels sprouts, eggs, 6 apples, a head of garlic, 6 Bosc pears, onions, 3 broccoli crowns, red potatoes, and a head of cauliflower. For this week’s bread I opted for sesame (I was too late for sourdough).

It was nice to see the animals out as I was walking back to my car. The llamas were grazing peacefully, the sheep were sitting off to one side, and the chickens were all over the place. One had even hopped up on the fence as if to emphasize the point that it was only staying in the pen because it wanted to. It could easily have made it out (which probably explains the chickens I see wandering around sometimes).

sunset chicken

One of the working shares mentioned in passing that the Glenwood Library farmer’s market on Saturdays was done for the year, so Breezy Willow would have more to sell at the farm. Panicked, I checked online and found that although many of the local markets are done, the markets at East Columbia (Thursdays) and Oakland Mills (Sundays) will be open for at least another couple of weeks. Thank goodness. I would like to stock up on local apples and squash for the winter. There are only two more weeks left in the CSA… harvest season is coming to an end.

On a related note, people who prefer to pick their own fall vegetables should note that the last day to go to Larriland Farm is this coming Sunday.