Saturday, December 12, 2009

My Week Would Not Be the Same...

without a cherished visit to Old Hook Farm in Emerson. I pass a packed parking lot of a nearby Shop-Rite supermarket on the way here, and it saddens me to think of all the wonderment those people are missing. Surely many (if not most) of their carts are filled with over-processed food.

A tree Charlie Brown would be proud of. I love the birdbath next to it. I adore watching the birds at my feeder, which I like to call the bird buffet. Unfortunately, so does my neighbor's cat. At least they have their freedom. Others do not.

I pass her as I enter the farm. Isn't she lovely?

I love these. Grill and have with a green salad with roasted red peppers. With their meaty texture, these are nice as a burger alternative as well.

I'm not such a bagged salad fan, especially when I can buy this. Lately, I like to pair red leaf lettuce with apples and walnuts. Add a roll, and call it lunch.

It's multi-functional: food and art.

Inspiration everywhere you look. Note the New Jersey farmer as an endangered species poster in the backdrop. It's hard to believe it's called the Garden State at all.

Try roasting the carrots, making carrot ginger soup, or carrot raisin salad (I use the reduced fat mayo from Trader Joe's, which is vegan).

Old Hook Farm offers many vegan products, including these mock bacon bits, which I haven't tried. I think for a Superbowl party or other gathering, it might be fun to make potato skins with vegan cheddar cheese and these bits. The grated vegan cheese I have had, and goes nicely on cheeseless veggie pizza, or on my spaghetti nights. Pass the garlic bread, please.

Vegan gnocchi! Pricey at $6.59, but at an Italian restaurant, it would be double, and almost certainly not vegan. Saute in garlic and add your favorite tomato sauce and fresh basil. Angela at My Year Without Spending gave fantastic non-consumer gift ideas for the holiday, including an herb garden. I love this idea! Check out the one she received.

Exit through greenhouse, and view the lovely holiday fare. You don't always have to buy. You can take it in visually and enjoy.

This fairy is lost in a book, as I often am.

Speaking of books, in Neil Gaiman's deliciously charming and creepy Coraline, a novel for all ages, young Coraline returned from a harrowing ordeal with fresh, inspired perspective on all that she had been missing.

She declared, "The sky had never seemed so sky, the world never seemed so world."

Look at the world around you, and be in awe at all the beauty it has to offer - everywhere.

Find a local farm near you.

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