What’s Growin’ (and later Cookin’) in NWA?

If you’re interested in attempting to keep it local when cooking, some useful sites containing seasonal produce charts and info. may come in handy to you. I find them helpful in meal planning for the coming week and knowing how much cash I wanna take with me to the Farmers’ Market. Here are some links that I’ve found useful:

http://www.pickyourown.org/ARharvestcalendar.htm

http://realfoodlittlerock.blogspot.com/p/seasonal-foods.html

http://www.foodgeeks.com/seasonal?state_id=4

http://www.rogersfarmersmarket.com/produce-calendar/

I’ve been getting lots of delicious greens such as kale, rainbow chard, spring mix, arugula, and spinach. I’m also seeing asparagus, green onions, leeks, garlic, radishes, and some carrots and sweet potatoes (although minimal). This is a great time to get your herbs too! I got this beautiful rainbow chard from the Dripping Springs Garden at the Fayetteville Farmers’ Market last weekend!

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Some helpful search engines for recipes other than the wonderful Google include:

http://www.tastespotting.com

http://foodgawker.com

Here is additional information regarding the area’s Farmer’s Market times:

Bentonville:

Saturdays 7:00AM-1:00PM (April 27th-October 26th)

Site for details: http://www.downtownbentonville.org/events/farmers-market/

Fayetteville:

Square

Saturdays 7:00AM-2:00PM (April 6th-November 23rd)

Tuesdays/Thursdays 7:00-1:00PM

Botanical Gardens

Saturdays 7:00-12:00PM

Wednesdays 4:00-7:00PM

Please see Fayetteville Farmers Market Calendar of Events: http://www.fayettevillefarmersmarket.org/calendar-of-events/

Rogers: 

Downtown

Wednesdays/Saturdays 7:00AM-1:00PM

Site for details: http://www.rogersfarmersmarket.com

Springdale:

Jones Center

Tuesdays/Thursdays/Saturdays 7:00AM-1:00PM

Shiloh Square – Downtown

Mondays 4:00PM-7:00PM

Saturdays 7:00AM-1:00PM

Site for Details: http://www.springdalefarmersmarket.org

Please feel free to add any additional information in the comments!!

Farewell Adoption Posts, Presenting……..

We had so much fun sharing our adoption journey with everyone and so appreciate everyone’s support along the way! What a cathartic and thrilling experience it was. When we started the adoption process over a year ago, I pondered the thought of starting a blog, but was hesitant for several reasons. However, my primary concern was regarding the sharing of very intimate and personal stories pertaining to my children.  I did not want to violate their trust in me or our relationship in any way. So, I held off.  I decided to create a blog that could temporarily be used as a way to communicate the details of our adoption process with friends and family as well as those interested in adoption. However, my long-term goal was to eventually transition the blog’s topic onto another important, but less private topic such as…..drum roll……boom, boom, boom……FOOD! Come on, we all love it! This’ll be fun!

Since the birth of my first son and having family histories of heart disease, food allergies, and other chronic illnesses, my husband and I decided to just simply try something different.  What started as a casual transition to this “something different” (i.e., a vegetarian based diet) led us down a 6-year journey of pescetarianism, albeit water critters are a special occasion meal. It wasn’t about joining forces against all meat eaters (meat is numma num) or removing meat for moral reasons such as animal cruelty (although sad), we just felt the path we were taking was not one that would end well for us. Whether you agree with the removal of meat from the diet or not, it has driven us to better understand food. Ya know, that stuff we put into our bodies all day long. It helped us glean a better appreciation for food preparation, food quality, and most importantly to us, it’s source. It forced us to stop eating fast food and it feels good to declare we haven’t “eaten” (I admit we have partaken in use of the facilities a time or two) at many of the popular Fast Food chains in over 4 years. We discovered the real sustainability issues related to food’s mass production/consumption and the consequences of GMO’s.  We realized that there’s a whole community out there that cares about the future of our children. A community that encompasses people of all ethnic, religious, and political backgrounds that wants to leave behind a healthy place for the next generation.  Through this change in lifestyle, I also had to learn how to slow down, plan ahead, and ultimately learn how to actually cook. I wasn’t the greatest and am still learning each day. We also discovered that by cutting out even a little meat, we saved money. We saved even more by going local. Later, a romantic trip to Italy pushed us further into foodism and opened our eyes to a country where there is no such thing as “local” food, it just IS local. Each region takes pride in it’s flavor, and that is where I began to see how food is not just food. It’s culture; it’s family; it’s friends; it’s our health; and it’s our community.

So, here we are after an adoption discussing food. It’s another passion of mine, so I wanna share it ! My hope is to document the use of local, seasonal foods in everyday cooking for a family of four. This has interested me for quite some time, especially the particulars of time management in the kitchen and food affordability. This makes me laugh out loud at myself because I’m a person of right-brain dominance who struggles to stay on task and can be a disorganized disaster in the kitchen if I don’t plan ahead. However, I want to show that even I can do it!! I want to be authentic and not just show you all my moments of glory in the kitchen, haha! Hope I can live up to that statement, could be quite embarrassing. I also want to share my experiences as a novice gardener, ventures to Farmers’ Markets,  busy-mother friendly recipes, trips to local restaurants, and maybe even accounts of experiences at local farms in the area. My primary goal is to try to cook with what’s in season around these parts, hence, my blog’s name Seasonal Surroundings!! Although my switch in topic was abrupt, it is my hope that you will continue this journey with me anyway!! Maybe we can all learn something new together!!

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“I Want…….”

When thinking of living in a society seemingly centered around materialism and “stuff” that we all just have to have, I’m reminded of myself when I was a child. Following a Teddy Ruxpin or Easy-Bake Oven commercial, I’d promptly turn to my parents and shout, “I want that!” Interestingly enough, the prices of my wants and my increase in age had a positive correlation. Now as a parent, I’d like to think I’ve turned a new leaf, but I still get disgusted with myself when I justify in my own mind need for any more things. We talk about this issue with Crawford as we don’t want his life and identity to be governed by the stuff of this world, but the “I want” still sometimes prevails just as it does with Dustin and me.  But lately, “I want” has taken on a different meaning in this house. It represents a freeing of sorts. Roman’s freeing to assert himself through communication, and it’s a beautiful thing to see unfold. Roman gets so tickled with himself every time he hears a new word or phrase leave his mouth. If you’ve ever experienced Apraxia of Speech or know someone who has, you can understand how challenging producing even a single vowel can be. Roman is a bright little boy and is highly motivated to communicate. Only now, he has something to say and his words are honored! He has been working hard at building his expressive vocabulary and has recently begun using more phrases such as, help me please, up me please, love you too, I go home, eat snack please. So, we felt he was ready to start adding to this.  We gave him a very high-tech piece of equipment to assist him in his communicative efforts. Check it out:

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My art teacher sister, Alexis, would be so proud of my renderings. This very cost-effective and highly durable communication system (accepting orders now) provides Roman with a way to retrieve and organize his words.  He’s been saying, “I want nack/snack” for about a week now pretty clearly, BUT yesterday was an extra joyful day for us!  He generalized “I want” on the way to the park and said, “I want wing/swing!”  This was huge.  Tears streamed down my face. Moments like this make all the hard, more challenging moments so worth it. And one day later, he is saying, “I want more cracker please.” Can you say language explosion?! He is also identifying himself by name and is answering “How are you?” with “good”. The word bank is expanding big time.  Here is the ever expanding list: I, want, up, more, cracker, milk, apple, banana, car, boon/balloon, yellow, blue, green, mama, papa, bwa-bwa, kick, ball, go, hot, cold, open, close, no, yeah, hi, bye, good, my, turn, Roman, hello, down, ball, water, on, off, boon/spoon, eye, no/nose, mouth, eeping/sleeping, tain/train, bubble mumih/music….and more that I’m sure I’m forgetting.

We’re still trying to take things easy and are staying home most of the time with a few visitors here and there.  He went on his first big family outing to my parents for Easter for a few hours and did so well. We also went to our first dinner on the patio at US Pizza where mama preordered before the big guy arrived so that it would be ready when he got there, and yes, he loves pizza now – yay! It’s quite the balancing act when you have another little one who has places to be such as Crawford’s soccer games twice a week. Each child has different needs, and I feel both parents should be present for both. So, we’ve also been making trips out to the soccer fields, and Roman is learning to cheer for his big brother. It’s so sweet to hear, “kick that ball!”  We’re just trying to let Roman lead the way and show us what he can and can’t tolerate.  We just have to be prepared to leave any one place as soon as possible if things go awry.  But for now, we’re still trying to chill here at the house a majority of the time.

He’s slowly getting to know his gama and gampa along with Aunties and Uncles. He’s truly adjusting beautifully.  We’re so grateful for this!  Here are some more recent pictures:

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Crawford is also fulfilling the role of big brother beautifully! He is becoming a teacher and encourager. So sweet to see! Often times, what bwa-bwa does, Roman does!

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Man, am I thankful for such an awesome father. He’s been helping us juggle our schedules and allowing us to maintain as much of a routine with both Roman and Crawford as possible while also just being an amazing dad and Grandfather.  My boys will KNOW him and for that, I’m so very thankful! They will see a shining example of what a good man is and does at an early age.

Here’s my father talking fishing with Crawford. Crawford is beside-himself-ready to go fishing with his Grandpa when the weather gets nicer.

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Here are some more pics from Easter!

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Hope to be posting more with some possible video soon!  Enjoy this beautiful weather everyone!