Saturday, March 24, 2012

Citizen's Co-op Sunday Market

Ever since moving to Gainesville, my priorities have shifted from "being more" to doing more for my fellow man.  It may sound corny to those of you that have yet to experience Gainesville, but the culture of this city is deeply rooted in humanity.  That being the case, you would probably expect to find several businesses littering the streets that directly reflect Gainesville's principle of community.  As a 10 year resident of this tree city, I can certainly attest to the fact that such places do exist. Among my favorite 352 destinations is Citizen's Co-op.

The Co-op is a full service grocery store and as the website reads it is "owned and operated by and for the benefit of membership and the larger community."  This little treasure located on South Main Street, next door to the Civic Media Center offers Gainesville's citizens a great selection of locally grown produce and locally produced products...soaps, sauerkraut, fresh organic eggs and local goat cheese just to name a few.  My favorite Co-op guilty pleasure is the G'ville Sweets Caramels.
 Unlike the Co-op that Hank joins in King of the Hill, at Citizen's you need not be a member to shop...though membership does afford you a 5% discount at checkout.
 The best thing about this thriving and beautiful market is how it serves the local community by providing whole natural delicious foods while serving as a store front for local food artists to present their jams, cheeses, breads, stocks and sweets to Gainesville locals.  

The Sunday Local Market, located in the Co-op's cozy Courtyard, is a small weekly outdoor bazaar where vendors set up and sell...everything from vintage Pyrex to handmade pot scrubbers, home-made jams to mullet roe and fresh shrimp.  The Local Sunday Market runs from 2-5pm every Sunday and usually includes live performances by local musicians and some very yummy local fare.
If you do plan to come down, make sure to bring some cash and a reusable satchel to stash all your fantastic finds.

So wisen up and come down to the Sunday market for some spectacular local produce from Siembra and Swallowtail Farms, Illegal Jam from Stephanie and some fine Vine Bread from Dean and Teresa (not me)...and the occasional soup or hot dish by yours truly.  

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Start the Morning with a Ve-Green Monster!

I had a really fun time with my husband's cousin a few weekends ago.  Kim is a young, attractive newlywed just brimming with enthusiasm and joy.  While we were sitting down to dine at one of our favorite Japanese restaurants, she told me about a blog she follows called  I was immediately intrigued by the name and concept.  Also, one particular recipe that Kim mentioned sounded especially interesting.  The recipe is very simply called  "Green Monster" and it's essentially just a banana and protein shake with raw spinach.  As someone who adores simplicity, I made a few modifications to the recipe and resolved to try it out the following morning. 

 By eliminating the yogurt and substituting with some probiotic powder, I made the recipe vegan friendly and lactose-free.  Next, I subbed in almond butter for peanut.  During a holistic conference in Miami 15 years ago, I learned that peanuts affect the body's detoxification process by inhibiting liver function.  Since encountering this information, I've decided to scale down on my peanut butter intake(just in case).  Finally, I added some raw organic oats to the blender to increase fiber and add a little texture to the mix. Raw oats are also said to bind to bile acids and remove toxins from the body.

I recommend having this for breakfast when you're pressed for time.  The protein satiates your appetite, while the probiotic powder gets your system in order.  Also, the raw spinach is loaded with vitamins A, K, E, C and B6Spinach has a mild flavor, is only 7 calories a cup and is a excellent source of Folate, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Copper and Manganese.

Finally, this shake will rock your socks kids ask for it as a dessert. Hope you enjoy this recipe!

                                                           Ve-Green Monster

1 cup of ice
1.5 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
2 cups of raw organic spinach
2 tbsp almond butter  or peanut butter
2 tsp probiotic powder
1/4 cup raw organic oats
1 large banana
2 tbsp flax seed meal
2 heaping tbsp hemp powder protein 
2 tsp agave nectar 

*Makes 3-4 8 oz servings.

1. Pour ingredients into the blender, set blender to crush ice mode and pulse for 15 sec.  Change blender setting to stir and blend for 60 sec or until smooth. Pour and enjoy!

 *Please be responsible by sourcing your food from local farms, whenever possible.