Crispy bacon and roasted asparagus with baked eggs in simplebites.net

For the love of Asparagus (Recipe Round Up)

There is a light at the end of the Winter tunnel! Spring is just around the corner and I couldn’t be more excited. Never mind that there are snowflake flurries whirling just outside my window as I write this, I am still dreaming of blossoms, and sunshine, and Spring produce finally making its appearance.

As one of the first fresh Spring vegetables to make its appearance in the farmer’s market, asparagus is also one of my favorite Spring produce items. It’s a burst of much anticipated green after the long winter.

Asparagus is delicious even at its simplest, lightly steamed, grilled, or sauteed, and eaten plain. Yet it is also a versatile vegetable that adds a lot of nutrition and flavor to soups, tarts, pizzas, and more! You can even can it to enjoy long after spring ends.

Here’s a round-up of some of our favorite Simple Bites recipes for Asparagus. Also, check out this post for tips on selecting the best asparagus and instructions for how to trim it.

[Read more…]

pomegranate love on www.simplebites.net

For the love of the pomegranate (recipe round-up and tips)

Were it not for the arrival of the vibrant pomegranate in winter, I might never temporarily release my affections for summer berries.

Fortunately, this fruit is bright and juicy, like my long lost raspberries and strawberries, and almost as versatile. It certainly has a spot in my refrigerator drawer and brings a welcome crunch and a pop of color to drab winter foods.

I don’t buy into all the health claims (we know who was behind those studies, don’t we) and I don’t drink POM frequently, due to the high sugar content, but I love, love sprinkling the fruit’s arils (seeds) onto salads and sides.

Here are a few of my favorite recipes featuring pomegranate.

[Read more…]

Spring harvest: what we’re making with our maple syrup

Maple taffy on the snow on simplebites.net

On the edge of our lawn, beyond the garden, and before the forest, tower two immense maple trees. They frame the yard and boldly announce the changing of each season by the coming and going of their lush plumage.

These maples shade us on sweltering July afternoons and have always been my favorite view, admired from the back patio with a coffee in hand. All summer long the boys swing from a tire swing I hung for them ages ago way up in the branches, and the two trees provide resilient anchors for Danny’s slack line.

This week, those maples became infinitely more valuable to our property when, for the first time ever, we tapped into their veins of sweet sap.

The whole experience has been an exhilarating one for me. I guess I didn’t expect our first attempt to be a success. Honestly, urban homesteading has a huge learning curve to it, and we have the gardening disasters and midnight chicken horror stories to prove it.

So, doubtful, I hammered in the first tap, and then the cool sap sprayed my face, tasting sweet on my lips. My stomach flip-flopped in anticipation. Noah hung a bucket under the tap, and the lyrical drip-drip of the sap dancing on the bottom of the bucket began.

“Listen, mom.” he said, “It’s like the forest is making music.”

This. This was spring harvest; one more ingredient we were sourcing from our backyard. I don’t know why I had let my reservations get the better of me.

[Read more…]

What we learned about making maple syrup

making maple syrup at home on simplebites.net

Written by Danny.

Every year it seems like we get one step closer to being a modern version of the little house in the big woods. Our first spring here we constructed a compost pile and fire pit, and foraged for wild ramps from the woods.Β  The next year was chickens (semi-failed attempt). Last year it was raised beds, rain barrels and chickens (successfully).

This year, we tapped the maple trees, and it is the sweetest thing going. Although campfires and homemade marshmallows are hard to beat, I think that the kids are infinitely more excited about making maple syrup. Maybe a little too much so.

Let’s just say that I’m glad they had the sweet/delicious/sticky/awesome syrup AFTER they wielded the power drill and hammer.

[Read more…]

Eat Well, Spend Less: A personal Q&A with 7 bloggers behind the series

mini tourtiere hand pies

My homesteader upbringing instilled in me a lifelong love of cooking from scratch, and this passion I feel privileged to, in turn, share with you here on Simple Bites.

Making many of my own foods such as preserves, soups, and condiments, instead of relying on the options provided by companies to feed my family, is a conscious choice and one that I feel is the absolute best for my family’s health. It’s not always easy to choose homemade pantry staples over grocery store convenience, but I take small steps and pick up speed as I gain experience.

It’s a journey away from processed foods and back to natural, simple ingredients. I know why I can my own food, I understand the importance of healthy food culture, and I’m happy to roll up my sleeves and put in some hours in the kitchen to benefit my family – and save some coin in the process.

We all know that no two kitchens, budgets, and dietary needs are alike, and so the fabulous food blogging mothers behind our Eat Well, Spend Less series have come together to share a handful of different perspectives on a series of questions related to EWSL.

Naturally, my question was on the subject of scratch cooking, and these girls gave some great answers. Hit the jump to read them all.

[Read more…]