Tag Archive: Carrots

  1. Grilled Cheese with Roasted Carrots + Carrot Green Pesto


    Grilled Cheese with Roasted Carrots + Carrot Green Pesto from Happyolks.com

    What’s a paraben? Shaun asked me last week as he began to sort through the footage from the Sprout shoot. I’m about as low-tech as it gets in the beauty and skincare realm (yeah, I use coconut oil as shaving cream) but I know that parabens are not welcome in my bathroom. I thought about how to explain and realized that, actually, I have NO idea what a paraben actually is.  My response: I know it’s bad for our health and the environment and that’s why we should use the natural stuff, and, err, stuff like yeah, it’s just bad.

    So, in my own deficient understanding to the nasties of mainstream hair de-frizzifiers and face creams, I thought, hmm… I bet there are a lot of people who feel the same way about the “new” language about food that dangles from posters and is tagged on egg cartons throughout the grocery store. I sorta have a hunch that most people hear and see and recognize trending terms without knowing what they truly, fully mean. There is so much vernacular thrown around these days in the movement toward greater food consciousness and I think can get pretty intimidating for the layperson who is trying to figure out what is “healthy.”

    So here’s the skinny… I’ve compiled a baker’s dozen of popular labels/terms to help you navigate the supermarket, and to combat any misperception you may find in dialogue with family and friends. Oh, and it’s kinda a long list. Totally geeked-out over this. I don’t expect you to read through the whole thing; maybe  poke around, pick a term, and take it with you knowing this post will be here to help on an as-need basis.

    Grilled Cheese with Roasted Carrots + Carrot Green Pesto from Happyolks.comGrilled Cheese with Roasted Carrots + Carrot Green Pesto from Happyolks.com

    Fair Trade: Products that bear a Fair Trade logo come from farmers and workers who are justly compensated. Fair Trade USA, the most popular organization to label goods like sugar, coffee, bananas, grains, etc. helps farmers in developing countries build sustainable businesses that positively influence their communities. Fair Trade labeling indicates that the product has been grown, harvested, and produced within a disadvantaged international community that is taking ownership of the free market. Check out these sick videos to learn more here, and here, as well as this NY Times article that critiques the practice.

    All Natural: Marketing ploy, all the way. The FDA actually has no definition for what “natural” actually means, so companies are free to label things “natural” as long as they don’t contain synthetic substances. Let’s compare a box of Cheerios to say, a sweet potato. Which one is actually natural? Well, the FDA says both. You shouldn’t buy into that logic. Food labeling expert Urvashi Rangan says, “the natural claim is one of the most vague and misleading green claims that we see out on the marketplace.” Check out this 90 sec clip featuring Marion Nestle on the “All-Natural” scam.

    Cage-Free: Unfortunately, this label conjures a vision of chickens dancing about in an open green pasture eating worms and loving life when, in reality, cage-free just designates that chickens were not raised in high-density battery cages. According to Good.is, “By U.S. Department of Agriculture standards, hens that lay certified organic eggs must be given access to the outdoors. But even for this more-stringent label, there are no specifications on time and duration of outdoor access. Some “organic” producers might get their birds outside once or twice in the animals’ lives. It’s a misleading practice that goes against everything that “cage-free” and “organic” ideals were created to represent.”

    GMO / Non-GMO: A genetically modified organism (GMO) or genetically engineered organism (GEO) is an organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques. These techniques, generally known as recombinant DNA technology, use DNA molecules from different sources, which are combined into one molecule to create a new set of genes that enhance desired traits such as increased resistance to herbicides, cold extreme temperatures, pests, disease, and drought. Right now, the FDA does not regulate or label GE incidence in food so where you see a Non-GMO label, it has been verified through a third-party audit. Check out this mega James Bond-esque video that explains more, and find out more about the push to label GE foods from the “Just Label It” campaign.

    Grilled Cheese with Roasted Carrots + Carrot Green Pesto from Happyolks.comGrilled Cheese with Roasted Carrots + Carrot Green Pesto from Happyolks.com

    Gluten-Free: Gluten is a protein that results when the proteins gliadin and glutenin join together with starch in the seed of grass-related grains such as wheat, rye, barley, durum, graham, semolina, spelt, farro, and kamut. Products labeled “gluten-free” mean it does not contain any gluten and is made with alternative grains such as rice, buckwheat, quinoa, sorghum, millet, and teff, or no grains at all. Gluten tends to cause inflammation in the gut that many people are sensitive to. In extreme cases where there is total gluten intolerance, a person may have Celiac Disease. The US Dept. of Health and Human Services estimates that 1 in 22 are affected. Check in with Gluten Free Girl for an amazing list of resources and further reading.

    rBST: Recombinant bovine growth hormone (also known as rBGH) is a genetically engineered drug produced by the Monsanto Corporation. It’s injected into dairy cows to induce them to increase milk production. About 1 in 5 US cows are given this hormone since it was approved by the FDA in 1993. rBST is linked to increased occurrence of mastitis a “persistent, inflammatory reaction of the udder tissue” and can cause hormonal disturbances in humans who consume the milk from treated cows. Check out this short interview with Dr. Jenny Pompilio of the Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility to hear a more in depth explanation.

    BPA / BPA-Free: Bisphenol-A is a plastic and resin ingredient used to line metal food and drink cans, and it’s a main building block for polycarbonate (PC) plastics. Even at low doses, Bisphenol A has been linked to cancer, birth defects, miscarriages, obesity, and insulin resistance, which can lead to Type II diabetes. Refer to the Environmental Working Group report on BPA for more information. Look for cans labeled BPA-free like Eden Organics and re-usable water bottles made of steel like Klean Kanteen.

    Grilled Cheese with Roasted Carrots + Carrot Green Pesto from Happyolks.comGrilled Cheese with Roasted Carrots + Carrot Green Pesto from Happyolks.com

    Organic: The USDA Organic label means produce and other ingredients are grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms, or ionizing radiation. Animals that produce meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products do not take antibiotics or growth hormones. The USDA National Organic Program (NOP) defines organic as follows: “[crops] are produced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations. Before a product can be labeled “organic,” a Government-approved certifier inspects the farm where the food is grown to make sure the farmer is following all the rules necessary to meet USDA organic standards.” USDA certification is often arduous and expensive, meaning small farms that adhere to organic standards sometimes cannot afford to follow one or a few of the USDA’s arbitrary guidelines. Talk to your farmers at the farmers market and ask about their practices.

    Pasteurized: I think most people know what this means, but I put it on the list only because when I first moved to San Diego I was grocery shopping and overheard a few college kids debating what pasteurized meant in the dairy aisle. A girl about my age proclaimed, “pasteurized means they get to walk around in a pasture and eat grass.” No, I’m not joking. She really said that. Pasteurization is actually the process of heating food to a set temperature for a set amount of time and cooling it to slow spoilage and reduce microbial growth in the food.

    Wild Caught / Sustainably Farmed: You’ll find labels like this at the seafood counter. Wild Caught may seem pretty self explanatory,  but turns out that the modes of “catch in the wild” can be pretty brutal. In some cases fishing methods such as dynamiting reefs, high-seas bottom-trawling, and drift nets are used in the open ocean. On the bright side,  “wild-caught can also encompass more desirable lower-impact techniques, such as hand-lines, divers, or the use of pots or traps” according to the Huffington Post. Because of over-harvesting and pollution, a new technique of fish-farming is booming. Farmed fish generally gets a bad rap (and for good reason, some farms feed their salmon corn… um, yeah?) but Seafood Watch has done the hard work for you in compiling updated lists of what seafood is best for the environment and your health. Check out their super-awesome smartphone App or print a nifty guide tailored to your region and stick it in your wallet.

    CSA / Local: Local is relative to the distance between food producers and consumers. “Local” labeling often identifies when certain products are grown, or produced within an 100-mile radius of purchase. Traditionally, Community Supported Agriculture programs require membership to a certain farm where individuals buy a share of the farm at the beginning of the growing season to “provide farmers with up-front capital to grown and manage the farm in exchange for weekly delivery of fresh, seasonal produce.” Today, farms also collaborate with local co-operatives where consumers can find seasonal goods within a supermarket-like setting. See more on the changing nature of the CSA via NPR.

    Grilled Cheese with Roasted Carrots + Carrot Green Pesto from Happyolks.comThis recipe was created for the Wisconsin Cheese Council and their quirky-cute “Grilled Cheese Academy.” Check out the video how-to of this sandwich and the creations of Sara Forte / Sprouted Kitchen and Ashley Rodriguez / Not Without Salt here. Shaun shot the footage, which as then edited by an outside party. **We were compensated for the creation of this recipe, which, is a mega-helpful contribution to the post-grad piggy bank.

    Grilled Carrot + Carrot Green Pesto + Asiago Grilled Cheese 

    • 1 bunch farmers carrots, greens attached
    • 1/2 – 3/4 cup shaved asiago (rBST free!)
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • juice of 1 lemon
    • 2 cloves garlic
    • salt/pepper to taste
    • 4-6 1/2″ slices of sourdough boule
    • Butter, ghee, or olive oil for the pan/bread

    Preheat the oven for 450.’ Remove the greens from the carrots and reserve for later use. Place on a heavy baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Cook for 20 minutes until they just begin to brown and blister. For the carrot top pesto, place washed greens in the basin of a food processor with the blade attachment. Combine olive oil, garlic, and the juice of one lemon. Blitz until smooth, adding a little olive oil if it feels too “pulp-y.” Shave the cheese super thin, set aside.

    Warm a shallow, heavy pan over medium heat while you prepare the sandwiches. Butter one side of each slice of bread. Lay flat and layer with cheese, then pesto, then 4-5 grilled carrots. It’s okay if the stems stick out. Finish with another layer of cheese, if desired, and the other slice of bread. Place in the pan and grill on each side for 2-4 minutes until browned as you prefer. Cut in half. Repeat. Enjoy.

    Grilled Cheese with Roasted Carrots + Carrot Green Pesto from Happyolks.com

  2. Guest Post from “The First Mess”


    I had the pleasure of meeting Laura through her blog over the summer and was instantly captivated by her honesty, authenticity, and food philosophy. There is a light about her too, the kind you gravitate to, the light that makes your heart feel full. I’d like to call her a friend in real life, one day. At her blog, The First Mess, Laura shares seasonal recipes that are accessible, and full of gratitude. When she sent over the writing, recipe, and gorgeous photos for today’s guest post, I had to resist an urge to make a second trip to Whole Foods for the day and pick up some dill for this recipe. This is the kind of thing I could eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Thank you, Laura, for sharing your passion and light in this space…

    keep reading…


  3. Real Life


    Afternoon walks are my new thing. For about an hour each day, the dog and I take to the streets to stretch our legs and quiet the mind.  One foot in front of the other; exhale. The simple act of unplugging to appreciate a bit of late sun with my curious friend has been such a tonic as of late.  On most walks, I have a strict “no-thinking” policy. We over-thinkers need a break from time to time. No thinking, just being. When I pass walkers now in the car, I feel solidarity with them – sort of the way my dad feels when he spots another mini cooper on the road: I’m with you, I get you, keep walking woman!

    Things have been exceptionally busy this month and for that I really can’t complain. A full plate of work and opportunity for growth is a gift, and I try not to take it for granted.  I spend all day writing for other institutions and publications, so Happyolks is getting a bit of the short end these days. It’s okay. This is real life. We’re trying to strike the balance. The walks help; I highly recommend it (smile).

    A few months ago we agreed to do a guest post for The Ravenous Couple, which you can find the recipe for the above photos on their site this Friday.  They’re getting married! Love, light, and good ju ju to them.

    Take a walk today; leave your thinking cap at home. Unless, of course, you live in the Midwest. In that case. Dance around your air-conditioned room to this video.

  4. Traits From Dad


    Although we would like to believe that many of our better qualities have been independently developed through time, growth, and experience; I think that our parent’s unconscious role-modeling profoundly influences (for better or worse) how we decide to live out our own lives. From the day we enter the world we are watching, observing, and absorbing information from our surroundings and constructing our own sense of self and character. The in-between moments, the day-to-day transactions and behaviors of our closest human contacts, our parents, were (and for many of us, still are) making a mark on our own disposition and decision making.

    This can be a scary thought for parents and adult children alike. No, you are not your mother or father. But his and/or her tremendous qualities and frustrating blind-spots have forced a response to change or emulate. The older I get, the more realizations I have about how my behaviors have been shaped by family. In lieu of Sunday’s passed celebration of Dads, here is my public thank you to my own, whose traits I am happy to share.

    Dad, I’m so glad you’ve rubbed off on me over the past twenty-one plus years. Your love, encouragement, and support have meant more than words can truly express. Thank you for consistently modeling patience, leadership, and how to ride the waves of change as they come in and out of life. You’ve helped shape me to be a fearless opportunity seeker,  showed me how (and how not) to work with challenging colleagues, and at the end of the day laugh it all off over a game of Liars Dice and an oatmeal rasin cookie. When my handwriting gets wonky I practice the curly-cue technique, and I always lean forward and try to “chi it” while running downhill. And like you, I also receive great satisfaction from fixing things, getting my hands dirty, and being the first one up in the morning.

    But seriously, Dad. You’ve been a role model through your intentions and actions, but also by just being yourself. Without trying, your fearless and adventurous nature has helped fuel my own fire for travel and exploration in the world. As a child, watching you pack on a dime and jet around Asia, Europe, and South America for work encouraged me to not fear the diversity and grandiosity of the planet, but to take it by the reigns. You planted a seed, without knowing it perhaps, that would later grow into a confidence* that I was meant to travel and explore without fear. Thank you for sharing this quality with me. In every sense of the phrase, it has given me the world.

    * … so, looks like really it was your fault that I trekked Vietnam by myself (wink wink)

    Happy Father’s Day, Dad. I’m proud to be your girl.

    My dad loves pea soup. I can’t say I’ve ever been a fan, but then again I’ve only encountered it in shades of grey thanks to my grandma’s copious post-Easter ham bone batches. Time for a remodel. I used a homemade mineral and marrow broth as the base, and added fresh spring peas from the market, a squeeze of lemon, garlic, and a little salt and pepper to make this a bright and nutritious alternative. Don’t hesitate to use quality, grass-fed animal bones in your broth, take note from Rebecca Katz: “Beef bones are filled with collagen and minerals the body uses to build connective tissues, such as calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus,” making them ideal substances to expedite the natural healing process from a range of abuses from exercise to chemotherapy.  This recipe can be easily made vegetarian, omit the bones, but increase healthy fats with more olive oil when sautéing the peas or adding avocado while blending.

    Pea Soup, featuring Mineral and Marrow Broth adapted from Rebecca Katz


    • 1 large beef shank with bone and marrow
    • 1 large stalk of celery,
    • 6 large carrots
    • 2-3 sweet onions
    • 3-4 red potatoes
    • 1 large head of fennel
    • 1 bunch of Italian parsley
    • 5 cloves of garlic
    • 1 strip of kombu seaweed
    • 2 Tbs juniper berries
    • 1 Tbs peppercorns
    • 1-2 bay leaves

    Roughly chop all ingredients, leaving on the peels and skins. In a large stockpot, combine all ingredients. Fill the pot to two inches below the rim with water, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, remove lid, and let simmer for 2-3 hours. The longer the simmer, the more flavor and minerals the broth will develop. As water evaporates, add about two cups, and allow to simmer for another hour.

    Strain stock into a large bowl or glass storage container using a large colander – it would be helpful to have an extra set of hands, as the transitions are heavy and quite hot!

    As the broth rests, prepare:

    • 3-4 cups of fresh peas, shelled from the pod (frozen is okay too)
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • salt/pepper
    • 1 Tbs olive oil
    • 1 lemon

    In a small saucepan simmer garlic and olive oil for a minute over medium heat before adding the peas. Stir until just tender and still bright green. Add a Tsp of salt (or Herbamere) and pepper at the last moment. In a blender, combine half of the peas and 3 cups of the hot broth. Blend for 2-3 minutes until pureed. Pour into a large serving bowl straight from the blender, or through a fine mesh sieve to ditch the pulp (I’m a pulp person, but to each her own). Repeat process with the second half of the peas. Add a cup of plain broth to the mixture, then squeeze in the juice of one lemon. Take a taste test. What does it need? More salt? A little red pepper? A quick hit of apple cider vinegar? Use your gut, and serve as you like. Mark Bittman says a few crusty garlic croutons wouldn’t hurt, just sayin’.

Let's get in Touch

I wish I could make coffee dates with you all. In the meantime, feel free to drop me a line with questions, comments, concerns, or just to say Hi. I like that. There is nothing more uplifting than an email from a a fresh contact or kindred spirit.

I can be reached through this contact form and at happyolks [at] gmail [dot] com.