Homemade Grilled Pizza

I am grateful to have the opportunity to do some writing for the wonderful GNOWFGLINS blog! This blog post is my first assignment with Wardeh and her talented team. Please stop by over there and read the post in its entirety and then please leave me a comment!

“On any given day roughly 25% of Americans are eating pizza. That’s a sizable chunk of calories for a single food category. According to one food blogger’s investigation, the ingredient lists of nearly every major pizza chain contain enough chemicals to stock a chemistry lab. Thankfully making pizza at home from scratch is easy and it’s something the whole family can do together. It’s especially fun to use your grill! You’ll not only love the amazing brick oven-crispy-chewy, full-flavored pizza, you’ll also appreciate not heating the kitchen up to 500 degrees in the summer. With these techniques, your grill, and my special Italian pizza dough and sauce recipes (some of which I learned while in Italy) you and your family will be transported across the sea to Naples, the birthplace of pizza.”    read more…..

homemade grilled pizza

homemade grilled pizza

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Sleep Deprivation: Are We Torturing Ourselves?

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torture?

Sleep deprivation is used by government agents around the world as part of prisoner interrogation and torture. The European Convention on Human Rights calls it inhumane and degrading. Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and the Exxon Valdez oil spill were all related to sleep deprivation.  So why do we do it to ourselves voluntarily?

My daughter tells me a lot of the girls on her softball team like to brag about who stayed up the latest. A 4th grade boy in my Sunday School class came in one morning and said, “I stayed up until 3 watching TV!” Another mom I know told me she routinely stays up until at least 2a.m. doing little projects or reading, and then she’ll get up at 6a.m. to start breakfast. And since Facebook puts a time stamp on your posts and I can routinely see friends who have posted well after midnight. This is voluntary sleep deprivation folks!

Food, sleep, physical activity, and stress management are the four big health areas which can make or break our health. Going without sleep is a big form of stress both physically and mentally.  Depression, irritability, temper tantrums, loss of memory, and inability to focus are all signs of sleep deprivation. But so are heart attacks, stroke, diabetes and high blood pressure all related to chronic lack of sleep. Even weight gain is related.

We need to make sleep a priority for ourselves and our children. Sleep is essential for optimal growth in children and teens, but it is also essential for growth in adults. Adults may have stopped growing taller, but we still continue to grow new cells throughout our bodies to repair and replace the ones that have worn out. From 10p.m. to 2a.m. is the peak repair and detoxification time for everyone, children and adults. So don’t think you can stay up until 2a.m. and just sleep in the next day to make up for it – it doesn’t work that way.

How much sleep is enough? It depends on the individual but as a general rule adults need 7 1/2 to 8 1/2 hours each night. Babies and toddlers can sleep up to 12 hours. Children and teens need close to 10 hours, so don’t let your teenager tell you they can stay up late and get up early – they need that extra couple of hours pretty much all the way through college!

How can you get on a good sleep schedule? The number one thing that regulates your sleep cycle is light.  Natural light during the day stimulates your circadian rhythm to get in sync. As evening comes the amount of light should decrease, and that include artificial light. By 9p.m. in the summer and earlier in fall and winter you should dim the lights and close down the computer.  There are computer programs you can get that will automatically dim your computer lights in the evening to reduce the stimulation that light gives your brain that keeps you awake. You can also wear amber-tinted glasses which will do the same thing.

Kids are most at risk with all their technology devices. Their brains desperately need sleep, so make it a hard and fast rule that all devices are turned off completely at bedtime. Don’t put those cell phones next to the bed, put them across the room or in another room completely and turn them off!

Getting some kind of exercise each day will help you feel ready for bed at night. So will avoiding any caffeinated drinks after about 2p.m. Then you can create a sleep environment for each family member that is relaxing, comfortable, quiet and dark. Sleeping in the darkest room possible will help you sleep more deeply and release more melatonin naturally.

Sleep is when we repair. Sleep is when we regenerate tissue. Sleep is when we increase and boost our immune system. Sleep is when we reboot a lot of our body’s processes. Make it a priority starting tonight!

Leave us a comment and share your best tips for falling asleep and getting a good night’s rest.

RJ sleeping on the floor

Make sleep a priority

Lamb Stew with Rosemary, Garlic and Leeks

Lamb Stew with Rosemary title

Several years ago, I honestly can’t remember how long ago, I bought a little rosemary plant. It grew and grew and grew and occasionally I would remember to transplant it into a bigger pot. Then I decided I needed as much edible landscaping as possible so one of the things I did was to plant that rosemary into the ground by the front door. Now it’s gotten so big it reaches out into the walkway and brushes against you as you pass. It smells so good! But recently my husband commented that he felt like it was going to grab him and not let go , so I decided I had to trim it back. I filled a half-gallon jar with branches and gave them away at last week’s farm foods/raw milk pickup, but still that rosemary reaches out.  That’s where this recipe comes in – anyway to use more rosemary is a good thing!

We love lamb and I have a freezer full of lamb right now, but if you like beef better you can certainly substitute some nice grassfed beef stew meat for the lamb.

Lamb Stew with Rosemary, Garlic and Leeks
Author: 
Recipe type: stew
Cuisine: Mediterranean
 
Fragrant rosemary permeates this comforting stew. Serve it over garlic mashed potatoes for an easy supper.
Ingredients
  • 1½ lbs. lamb stew meat cut into bite-size chunks
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 Tblsp fresh rosemary needles, chopped
  • olive oil
  • 1 large leek, washed and chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 15oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1½ cups beef broth, preferably homemade
  • 20 olives, green or black, pitted and halved
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 Tblsp chopped fresh parsley for garnish, opt.
Instructions
  1. Drizzle the olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat.
  2. Sprinkle the lamb with salt.
  3. When the oil is shimmering add the lamb to the pot and brown it on each side for a few minutes.
  4. Sprinkle in the rosemary and garlic stirring well and cook for another minute.
  5. Add the chopped leek and celery continuing to stir, and cook for two or three minutes until everything is fragrant.
  6. Stir in the tomatoes and broth, reduce the heat and allow the mixture to simmer, covered, until the vegetables and meat are tender.
  7. Stir in the olives and sprinkle with fresh black pepper and cook another ten minutes.
  8. Taste and adjust for salt if needed.
  9. Garnish with chopped parsley and a drizzle of olive oil if desired.

a bumble bee visits my rosemary bush

a bumble bee visits my rosemary bush

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11 Ways to Get Your Energy Back and Restore Your Adrenals

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I’m so thankful for all of the people who have the creative ability, time and energy to put together these fabulous informational online summits I’ve been enjoying lately! The Reversing Diabetes Summit in May, the Grow Your Own Food Summit in early July, and now the Functional Health Summit going on as I write this.  Today’s presentation on natural approaches to adrenal burnout from Dr. Ron Grisanti was one I wished I could have heard about two years ago when I first became aware I was suffering from adrenal fatigue. Knowing what Dr. Grisanti shared would have helped speed my own recovery and also answered a lot of questions about what was going on.

I don’t remember how I first heard about adrenal fatigue or adrenal burnout, but I did find a lot of good advice from Dr. Wilson’s book Adrenal Fatigue: the 21st Century Stress Syndrome. If you are tired all the time but have difficulty falling asleep (night owl), or find yourself getting dizzy when you stand up too quickly, or have a constant craving for salt you might want to look into this further. Dr. Wilson has a quiz on his website that can get you started.  Be sure to ask your doctor if you suspect it for yourself.  In the meantime, anyone can benefit from these 11 tips from Dr. Grisanti to restoring energy and nurturing your adrenals.

1. Remove the stressors in your life – both the internal and external ones. External stressors include the obvious ones like job, finances, relationships, and environmental toxins. Internal stressors might be harder to see and can be things like undiagnosed gluten sensitivity, GI infections, leaky gut, impacted teeth or prescription medication reactions.

2. Go to sleep by 10pm every night. Physically our bodies use the time between 10pm and 2am to repair and detoxify. If you aren’t asleep it can’t happen.

3. Avoid coffee and other caffeinated beverages. Caffeine stimulates your adrenals, and if they are already taxed then caffeine can push them off the cliff.

4. Keep your glycemic load low. Look up the Glycemic Index and try to choose most of your foods from the list of those at 50 or lower on the glycemic scale. A Paleo-style diet is recommended.

5. Minimize TV and computer use – especially after 8pm.

6. Exercise as much as you can tolerate, but don’t over do it. And certainly don’t do long-duration cardio workouts like distance running which can actually harm your adrenals. Instead do HIIT exercises (High Intensity Interval Training) and resistance training as well as yoga or tai chi.

7. Stop multi-tasking. Doing everything all at once and living a fast-paced lifestyle creates cumulative stress on your adrenals. Slow it down and concentrate on one thing at a time. Consider using meditation or HeartMath technology.

8. Don’t skip breakfast. Take time the night before to plan your breakfast the next morning so you won’t be too rushed to eat. Half of an avocado and a scrambled eggs with some fermented salsa will give you lots of healthy fats and protein plus antioxidants and probiotics for a great start. Check out the Breakfast Recipes here on this site using the links on the right side of this page.

9. Don’t eat sugar. This is a time for serious recovery, so be serious with your diet. Sugar only adds to your stress by causing inflammation throughout your body.

10. Use a high quality sea salt and use it liberally (unless you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure). The adrenals use a lot of salt.

11. Balance your carb/protein/fat intake. Most people eat too many of the wrong kinds of carbs and not enough of the right kinds of fat. Again, a Paleo diet is recommended.

Again, your doctor can test you for adrenal fatigue through blood tests, cortisol tests and other specific tests. He can also help you determine if you might have food allergies, heavy metal toxicity or other issues that could be causing your fatigue.

Restoring your adrenals to optimum health is one of the longest health journeys you can take – because it takes a long time to wear them down in the first place and you can’t undo years, maybe decades, of abuse in just a few weeks. Don’t give up hope – and try out these suggestions. Pin this article for later, or Tweet it to share with friends using the media buttons at the top of the page. Leave us a comment and let me know what you have found to be the most helpful thing in your recovery journey!

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Tomato Basil Soup

tomato basil soup title

 I hope your summer garden is giving you an abundance of basil, because you will definitely want to make this soup! It is easy enough for a fast weeknight supper (we like it along with grilled cheese sandwiches), but delicious enough for a special meal. Don’t try to substitute dried basil, the flavor just won’t be the same. If you are lucky enough to have a surplus of fresh tomatoes you can use those instead of using the canned tomatoes called for in the recipe. Just use about 3 lbs. of fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped; and add about 20 minutes to the cooking time to let them break down well enough before blending.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Tomato Basil Soup
Author: 
Recipe type: soup
Cuisine: Italian
 
Aromatic fresh basil is used in abundance to make this delicious but simple soup.
Ingredients
  • 3 Tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon of butter
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 cups of chicken broth
  • 1½ teaspoons of sea salt
  • 1 28oz can of whole tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 15 oz can of whole tomatoes, undrained
  • 1-2 teaspoons raw honey
  • 1 cup of fresh basil leaves (about 1 large handful) plus more for garnish
Instructions
  1. Heat the oil and butter in a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Add the garlic and cook only about 30 seconds, stirring constantly.
  3. Stir in the tomatoes and salt and cook one minute.
  4. Pour in the chicken broth and stir well.
  5. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer about 20 minutes.
  6. Roughly chop the fresh basil and stir into the soup.
  7. Place the soup in a blender, one half of it at a time, and puree until smooth, or use an immersion blender and puree directly in the pot.
  8. Taste for salt, and serve garnished with more slivered basil if desired.

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Your Homeowners Association Doesn’t Want You to Read These Two Books

In an ideal world my family and I would be living on five to ten acres with room for one or two of each kind of fruit-bearing tree or bush that could possibly grow in this climate. I’d have a large vegetable garden plus another for herbs and flowers. In reality we live in a little neighborhood in suburbia on a 1/5 acre lot with neighbors on both sides. Our location seems ideal for a small family; less than half and hour drive to Disney or the beaches. We’ve managed to make connections with many farmers, farmer’s markets and local food producers.  Probably a lot of you reading this are city dwellers too. You might also be dreaming of a little homestead someday – gardens, orchards, chickens, bees, a few goats…

But until the winning lottery ticket comes your way you might think it is all just a nice day dream. Here are a few books that might just change your mind. When you finish reading you might just be tempted to start ripping out the shrubbery and digging up the front lawn!

skip the flowers and go for the edibles

skip the flowers and go for the edibles

The Edible Front Yard: The Mow-less, Grow-more Plan for a Beautiful, Bountiful Garden by Ivette Soler

Ivette Soler asks the questions, “Why must the front yard be useless, boring, outdated lawn adorned by a few shade trees and perhaps some lackluster shrubbery?” She answers, “Wherever lawn can thrive ….so too can herbs, fruits, and vegetables.” She spends the rest of her book going into detail about just how beautiful and delicious your front yard can become. Every page is filled with colorful photographs to vividly illustrate each idea. The book covers curb-appeal so your yard won’t be the neighborhood eyesore. It covers color palettes, design and planning, and how-to sections covering irrigation, garden beds, checklists for budget, climate, and even building codes. She gives plant suggestions (listed alphabetically with growing and eating instructions) on how to replace standard shrubs and annuals with stunning, showy edibles placed everywhere from the foundation to walkways and flowerbeds.

Urban Homesteading: Heirloom Skills for Sustainable Living by Rachel Kaplan with K. Ruby Blume

The authors build a substantial, comprehensive case for why everyone should participate somehow in community outreach, neighborhood building and giving back to the earth. The book is heavy with photos, how-to lists, and real world examples. It’s one thing to read a description of how to reuse discarded construction materials; it’s another thing entirely to see and husband and wife whose yard is now beautifully landscaped entirely from scavenged items and hear about what worked and what didn’t.  The topics in this book run the entire gamut of self-sufficiency from clothing and textiles to gardens and livestock to alternate energy sources and building your own home with found materials. Each section comes with a timetable of ready-made goals so you can check your progress over six month, a year and farther out to the ultimate goals of a zero waste/closed-loop existence. Visit their website here.

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Rosemary-Garlic Grilled Chicken

rosemary with title

Everyone at our house loves this grilled chicken recipe! It was one of the first main dish recipes my son learned to make, I think he was 10 or 11 the first time he made it. All you do is mix up the rosemary and garlic with some plain yogurt and a little lemon, then rub some of the mixture underneath the skin of the chicken and let it marinate for a little while, and then grill it. Double the rosemary garlic yogurt mixture and save some for the next day, it makes a great spread on sandwiches made with leftover chicken.

For an easy side dish just make skewers from alternating chunks of cherry tomatoes, bell pepper, zucchini, eggplant and onion brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper. Grill the skewers during the last ten minutes of the chicken grill time.

Rosemary-Garlic Grilled Chicken
Author: 
Recipe type: grilled
Cuisine: Mediterranean
 
Fragrant herbs are rubbed under the skin and the chicken marinates and is then grilled for a delicious real food dinner. Grill skewers of summer vegetables alongside for your side dish.
Ingredients
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 Tablespoons plain whole milk yogurt, or plain full fat Greek style yogurt
  • zest and 1 Tablespoon of juice from a fresh lemon
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 5-6 lbs of bone-in chicken pieces (thighs and legs are especially good)
  • additional sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Instructions
  1. Combine all of the ingredients, except for the chicken and additional salt and pepper, in a medium bowl.
  2. Loosen the skin on the chicken pieces and rub the rosemary mixture evenly over the chicken and underneath the skin.
  3. Place the seasoned chicken in a covered container and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.
  4. Preheat your grill or prepare coals for grilling and oil the grill rack.
  5. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and sprinkle the pieces with salt and pepper.
  6. Place the chicken, skin side down, on the prepared grill.
  7. Grill for about 25 minutes, turning occasionally until done.
  8. Chicken is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 180 degrees for bone-in chicken.

 

rosemary garlic grilled chicken

Rosemary Garlic Grilled Chicken

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Red, White and Blue Potato Salad

red white blue potato flag title image

Hot sunshine on the back of my neck. The smell of peaches and cantaloup in the fruit bowl on the table. Fragrant gardenia blossoms in a vase. Watermelon, baked beans, grilled hamburgers and my mom’s homemade potato salad. The sound of the diving board followed by a splash.  All of these mean summer to me. And when it comes to that potato salad no one makes it better than mom!

red white blue potato close up

Whenever we gather for family cookouts we always need potato salad. Make a big bowl full and hope for leftovers for lunch the next day. Bring it to your next summer gathering because it’s easy and tastes even better when you make it ahead of time.

red white blue potato line

I love the look of the multi-colored potatoes in this recipe, but if you can’t find them you can use new potatoes of any color. Red Finn and Red Thumb are two varieties that actually have rosy colored flesh. Purple Peruvian has a striking blue flesh all the way through that intensifies when cooked. Yukon Gold is creamy colored. The standard red-skinned potatoes are also delicious.

red white blue potato salad horizontal

*a note about mayonnaise: the very best mayo to use is a homemade (and fermented) one such as this recipe or this one.  If you aren’t making your own then please read the labels on the store brands and buy one made from safflower, sunflower, coconut or maybe grapeseed oil. Just avoid the ones made with GMO soy, corn and canola.

Red, White and Blue Potato Salad
Author: 
Recipe type: side dish
Cuisine: American
 
Grammy (my mom) makes the best potato salad. Simple to make and great for cookouts and potluck.
Ingredients
  • 3 lbs new potatoes or fingerling potatoes, multi-colored
  • 3 eggs, preferably from pasture-raised hens
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 4 green onions, or half of a sweet onion
  • 1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp dried dill
  • ½ - ¾ cup mayonnaise, plus more as needed
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Scrub the potatoes, cutting large potatoes in half, and place them in a pot and cover with filtered water.
  2. Bring the water to a boil and cook the potatoes until they are just tender, about 10-15 minutes depending on the size of the potatoes.
  3. In a separate smaller pan, cover the eggs with cool water and bring to a boil, cook for 10 minutes.
  4. Drain the cooked potatoes into a colander and allow them to cool until able to be handled.
  5. Drain the boiled eggs and peel the shells off.
  6. Finely chop the celery and green onions (or sweet onion) and place into a large bowl.
  7. When the potatoes and eggs are cool enough to touch, chop the potatoes into bite-size chunks and place them in the bowl.
  8. Sprinkle sea salt over the chopped potatoes.
  9. Chop the eggs and put them in the bowl with the potatoes and vegetables sprinkling again with the sea salt.
  10. Crumble the dried dill over the top of the potatoes and eggs.
  11. Gently toss to mix the potatoes with the rest of the vegetables, but do NOT add the mustard or mayonnaise yet.
  12. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until time to serve.
  13. Just before serving time stir in the mayonnaise, mustard and additional salt plus freshly ground pepper, tasting to adjust for enough salt.
  14. Some people like creamy potato salad, others like it more dry, so add mayonnaise to your taste.

  red white blue potato salad square

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4 Ideas for Growing Your Own Food – Plus Register for the Grow Your Own Food Summit!

Sunshine and warm temps, the first day of summer – it’s gardening season! I live in central Florida which means it’s gardening season pretty much all of the time, the trick is knowing what to plant that will take the 90+ degree temps and almost daily rains. When the rest of the U.S. is planting tomatoes, peppers and peas we are planting Seminole pumpkin and field peas. But no matter where you live – city or country, north or south – you can have a garden of some kind. Make eating locally a personal thing; try some of these ideas to get started growing your own food. Then use the link at the bottom to register for the Grown Your Own Food Summit that’s coming in July.

Use small spaces: I stuck a small raised bed, only 4 feet long and 2 feet wide, in a spot off the back patio. It’s just the right size for a couple of pepper plants or a small variety of herbs.  One year I filled the whole thing with arugula and enjoyed fresh salads all spring.

fennel

fennel, sage and thyme in a small garden bed

 

Plant in a bag:  Don’t have time or money to build a garden bed? I got this idea from Mother Earth News. Use a bag of garden compost purchased from a garden center and place it where you want your garden to be. Use a screwdriver to poke a few holes on the side that touches the ground, then cut open the top side and stick in one or two plants. Add some mulch around the top.

 Pot Gardens: Simplest of all is the pot of herbs on the porch. Small pots of herbs can grow anywhere there is enough sun. Larger pots can hold heads of lettuce, tomato plants or add a trellis and grow a few zucchini vertically.

kale planter

kale in a planter on the front porch

Raised beds: My first raised bed was made from discarded cinder blocks. Since I made that first one I’ve also used concrete edgers from the garden center, and the more traditional redwood planks. No matter what you use just be sure it won’t leach strange chemicals into your garden soil. Fill your raised bed with the soil mix outlined in the Square Foot Garden book – easy to find at nearly every library.

Whatever your space or experience level I hope you will take some time this summer to get a garden going at your house! For even more inspiration be sure to register for the Grow Your Own Food Summit happening in July. It’s free to register and free to listen each day, or purchase the talks you like most to keep as part of your reference library.

Also visit the Well Fed Family Amazon store where we have chosen dozens of great books full of ideas to make eating local something that happens in your own yard.

BlogBanner_600x150_SaveMySeatgrow food summit

click here to register for the Grow Your Own Food Summit

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leeks and squash randle farms

Sauteed Squash with Leeks

Amy and I are visiting mom and dad in east central Alabama; it’s time for our annual Cousins’ Camp. The kids have been looking forward to this for months – and so have the grownups because who doesn’t love to spend a week swimming in the lake, water skiing, hiking in the woods and just relaxing in the hammock?!

This week of Cousins’ Camp always signals the beginning of summer to me and some of the things that make it feel that way aren’t the sunshine or swimming. It’s the scent of the freshly cut gardenia blossoms from the front yard filling mason jar vases around the house. It’s the first peaches and cantaloupe of the season ripe and fragrant gracing bowls and baskets in the kitchen. It’s also the abundance of fresh vegetables from the local farm markets. I especially love the summer squashes mom gets from her CSA.

squash and leeks with feta and basil

Sauteed squash and leeks with feta and basil

The CSA is with Randle Farms on the outskirts of Auburn, AL. The 200+ acre family-run farm grows blueberries, blackberries and other fruits; seasonal vegetables; and they raise sheep, cattle, pigs and chickens which are rotated on the green pastures and used to improve soil fertility all over the farm as well as provide meat, eggs and dairy for farm customers.

This week we are feasting on Zephyr Squash, onions and leeks. This morning I’m dicing up some onion and a small squash and sauteeing them in a little bacon grease for about ten minutes, then frying an egg over easy and serving it on top of the sauteed vegetables for an easy Paleo breakfast. Mom likes to halve the squashes lengthwise, steam them and top them with some grassfed butter and sea salt.  Here’s another recipe that uses both squash and the leeks from the CSA box together with fresh summer herbs.

Sauteed Squash with Leeks
Recipe type: side dish
Cuisine: seasonal vegetables
 
tender squash and leeks sauteed with fresh herbs and topped with feta
Ingredients
  • 2 Tblsp organic butter from grassfed cows
  • 1 Tblsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cups cubed summer squash
  • 2 cups sliced leeks (well washed)
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 oz sheep's milk feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 Tblsp chopped fresh basil
Instructions
  1. Melt the butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat for 20-30 seconds.
  2. Add the squash and leeks to the pan and saute 5-10 minutes until tender and slightly caramelized.
  3. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Transfer the vegetables to a serving platter and sprinkle with the fresh basil and crumble feta and serve warm.

leeks and squash randle farms

Randle Farms leeks and zephyr squash

Some links may be monetized. This blog is for informational purposes. We’ve shared this recipe with Wellness Wednesdays, so visit them and check out all the other recipes there, too.