Local Fare at Vintage Grocers

box of groceries

Vintage Grocers opened last fall in The Promenade at Westlake, offering a huge choice of groceries and fresh food, with an emphasis on locally sourced items. Those are not limited to fresh ingredients for the cheese or poke bar—Vintage Grocers also sources packaged and non-perishable items from nearby farms and artisans. Some of their local growers will be at the Westlake store this Saturday, April 1, from 11AM to 2PM so you can meet them, learn about how they make their food, and sample their products!

Vintage Grocers truly is a market for the community, by the community

I was amazed to see what you can get at Vintage Grocers that is made locally. My family and I enjoyed a sampling of these products recently so we could share them with you, too.

Breakfast

Trail mix with bowl of oatmeal

I’ve been getting up early during the week, and to make breakfast easy and quick I’ve been whipping up large batches of quinoa oatmeal and freezing it ahead of time. I pop some in the microwave to heat while I’m fixing my coffee and feeding the cat, and when it’s hot I toss some Perfect Balance Trail Mix on top.

trail mix closeup

I love the mixture of flavors from the unusual (for trail mix) ingredients: including pistachios, organic goji berries, cashews, Canadian farm fresh cranberries, walnuts, organic mulberries, Hawaiian macadamia nuts, and more. The company is based in Venice and they use mostly organic foods. There are little cubes of raw cacao that melt in the hot oatmeal and I forget that I’m eating a healthy dish.

Snack

granola bites

I’ll admit it: I don’t have a lot of time or patience when I get hungry and I get the munchies in the middle of the day. I will literally reach for the closest food at hand that is ready to eat. That’s why when I found Lark Ellen Granola (from Ojai!) bites in my Vintage Grocer bundle, I was excited and I knew that I would devour these bites. And I wouldn’t get a stomach ache or feel guilty, because they are made of sprouted seeds and nuts and full of taste. I spent the weekend decluttering, and I was annoyed every time I had to stop to eat because I was on a roll. Once I started grabbing a few chunks of granola bites, though, I could continue and snack at the same time. These are perfect for kids’ (or parents’) lunches!

Dinner

eggs tortillas salsa

We got this adorable little package of Kaliko Farms Eggs and we simply couldn’t wait to try them, but it was dinnertime. Easy solution: eggs for dinner! We have breakfast for dinner at least every two weeks, and in general we consume a lot of eggs, so the whole family was eager to see how much better or different these would taste. Kaliko Farms is based in Malibu and their animals are treated humanely, because “happy, healthy birds will produce top-quality eggs.”

boy eating eggs

The verdict: each kid basically inhaled his eggs with no tortilla or salsa needed. My husband and I opted for taco-style eggs, and we loved them. So there is something to the idea that local, organic eggs from happy birds taste great! Kaliko Farms will be at the event on Saturday, so you can meet the people behind the eggs!

Dessert

Beachy Cream Ice Cream

Since summer is coming and we’re already getting nice warm days and evenings, ice cream is on the menu at our house again! This Beachy Cream Ice Cream from Santa Monica is made of organic ingredients using dairy from a creamery in Marin County. Local farmers’ markets supply the ingredients to make flavorings from scratch.

boy smiling at ice cream

boy eating ice cream

happy boy with ice cream

My husband loves bananas and ice cream, so he definitely enjoyed this banana-flavored ice cream, even more because I topped it with Malibu Honey, from bees that gathered nectar from flowers in the Santa Monica and San Gabriel mountains. And if you’ve ever glanced at this website before, you know I am a big fan of the Santa Monica mountains. I asked him how it tasted together and he said “Good!” (He’s not a man of many words, so I can embellish by adding my own opinion: it’s delicious.)

beachy cream ice cream and malibu honey

This is a small sampling of locally-sourced products you can get at Vintage Grocers. I encourage you to visit their new store in Westlake and see what strikes your fancy. The store is huge and roomy, so you won’t even bump into other shoppers while you are perusing their shelves. You might find a new favorite thing for your pantry.

Hey! What About Mom?!

I got to the end of this post and realized there are no pictures of me in it, so here’s a selfie with an Apricot Lane avocado.

woman holding avocado

It looked so good and it was perfectly ripe after sitting in a basket for a few days so I put it on a salad. Bonus! These avocados will be at the store next week!

ripe avocado cut in half
salad topped with avocado
Head on down to Vintage Grocers (and come this weekend to meet with local growers!) to see for yourself!

Vintage Grocers Meet the Growers flyer
Special thanks to Vintage Grocers for sponsoring this post. All opinions are our own.

The Rose Run in Griffith Park – Raise Money To Support Cancer Research

My friend Jessica, aka Burbank Mom, lost her mother to breast cancer several years ago. She is one of those rare people who took her grief and turned into something hopeful, namely, an annual road race in her mother’s memory called The Rose Run. Proceeds from the events are for cancer research.

This year the Rose Run comes to Griffith Park. What a lovely place to do something healthy for yourself in the memory of one so loved, and to benefit someone in need. Cancer is a disease that touches almost everyone in some way. Your donation or your participation in the run is a testament to your concern and love for family members or friends affected by cancer.

2015LAPostcard2The Rose Run
Sunday October 4th
Griffith Park
7:30am
Online registration closes September 29th at midnight. Race day registration will be available. All proceeds from the October 4th event will go to The Disney Family Cancer Center at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center in Burbank. So far the Rose Run events have raised over $75,000 to benefit cancer research and support efforts. Go, Jessica!

A Pot of Lunch: Quinoa and Red Beans Recipe

IMG_6676Early this year I went through a diet overhaul. I had to find out what was giving me stomachaches and adjust what I eat accordingly. After a 90-day elimination diet which eliminated just about everything that gives a person a reason for living, my loose conclusion is: gluten and dairy.

I KNOW.

During the diet the only grain I could eat was quinoa, so quinoa and I got to be very good friends (here is my Pinterest board devoted to it). I found this wonderful recipe on Food Network and I tried it, omitting the ingredients that were on my suspected food allergy list at the time: garlic, cayenne pepper, and cheese. I found it wonderfully filling, which was the best part about it because I was having trouble satisfying my hunger on such a strict diet. I would make a pot of this dish and it would last me several days.

Once the diet was done, I added back the omitted ingredients without incident (except the cheese), and then I started changing up what I put into it, and now I have my tried and true method. The only problem is that my husband likes it too, so sometimes the one big pot shrinks far faster than I would like!

Quinoa and Red Bean One Pot Lunch:

Ingredients
Olive oil
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
3 tbsp chopped onion (any kind)
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tbsp tomato paste
pinch cayenne pepper
salt and pepper
1 cup quinoa (uncooked)
2 cups water
2 cans dark red kidney beans, rinsed
4 large kale leaves, chopped or torn into bite-sized pieces
1 cup chopped cooked chicken

Instructions
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add peppers, onions and celery and saute until vegetables soften. Add the mushrooms, garlic, tomato paste, cayenne and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring often, until the tomato paste is evenly distributed and garlic and mushrooms cook a little bit. Stir in the quinoa, water and beans. Bring to a simmer and cook, covered but with the lid open a little tiny bit, stirring often, until the quinoa is cooked through, about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in kale. Cover and let sit for a few minutes until kale is wilted. Stir in chicken for more protein.

A note about tomato paste: I buy the tiny can, use 2 tbsp for one pot of this recipe, then measure out 1 tbsp of the leftover tomato paste into ice cube trays, one cube at a time until it’s gone. Then I freeze it, and pop the cubes of frozen paste out into a ziptop bag and keep it in the freezer. When I am ready to make another batch, I take out two cubes and let them defrost while I chop the vegetables. It takes a little longer to cook into the veggies when it’s cold like that but it still works just fine. This way I don’t waste a whole can of tomato paste for one meal.

You can eat this hot or cold, as a side dish or as your meal. When I have big containers of this dish in the fridge, I am more likely to eat healthy and skip the 3pm snack attack!

 

IMG_6677

I use kale because I have a lot of it.

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I have a lot of it because look at my garden! (This was in the summer. It looks different now but the kale is still growing!)