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I've been blogging over at Our Sleeping Flowers these days. Still me, and still delicious, come join me!

Last weekend I had a couple visits from family members, and at both they brought edible gifts from my father. I ended up with two rounds of daikon cake, and one loaf of the husband's favorite, coconut cake; a sure sign of the coming holiday. I also spent a while talking with my father about traditions and plans for the new year celebration. A few of the recipes will grace this space in the next while, along with a one or two other favorite asian dishes I grew up eating. To get you started, here are some I've previously posted, used by my family every lunar year.

Are you planning celebrations for the year of the rabbit?

diakon cake
coconut cake
pork and ginger potstickers
noodle soup
twisted coconut bao
how to steam rice
five spice powder
almond tofu

chinese new year menu 2010

I realize the juxtaposition it is, promoting local and seasonal foods and at the same time sharing recipes and dishes that require you to shop for ingredients that are only imported. Although I believe in using as many local ingredients as possible, it is just as important to have a variety of culture and tastes in your culinary repertoire. It is unavoidably crippling to be narrow minded, or rather narrow palette-d. I know, we're making up new jargon here.

These recipes are just as much a part of who we are, as are the seasonal, healthy, and even the not so healthy recipes shared here.

My favorite part of our cooking classes are when Dale Allred talks to the participants about Jacob's Cove Farm and why + how they do what they do. They want the people in our community to have real food available to them because they want real food. Food that nourishes not only our bodies and spirit, but our community as well. I hope that his speech from our latest class was recorded in length on livestream (we were having internet difficulties and the feed was going in and out), because it is always moving and inspiring to hear him talk.

Melissa and I believe in what the Allred's are doing, which is why we hope you come out to the farm sometime to meet Dale and see the work they are at every day.

In fact, why don't you come out to the farm this week? It just so happens that this week they are transferring the seedlings that have been growing safely harbored in the farm house for the past number of months to the greenhouses that Dale and his workers have been working on for even longer. There are hundreds of plants in the farmhouse living room that need a new and spacious earthy home, and they have many many more seedlings to plant than just the ones camped there. Come down to the farm any time this week and get your fingernails, knees, and (if you have them) kids, dirty. You are sure to see us there.

Dale will be at the farm Monday through Saturday during daylight hours, come anytime you can and be inspired by his vision and passion. Dale mentioned that the ground is muddy outside the greenhouse but completely covered in plastic inside. It's also warm and sunny inside as well, so you may still want to bring a jacket and some sunscreen (just in case) on a sunny day.

Be a part of it all.

Be a part of your community.

Be a part of bringing Utah real food.

I'm pretty sure I've started something.

Earlier this week I made more fruit and nut bars because all our cherry chocolate ones were gone. I scoured my pantry, dreaming up different variations. chocolate and coconut? what about oatmeal and raisin? or a gingerbread-esque creation? oh! how about using cacao nibs and gogi berries? But I decided to create one with dried pineapple and coconut, a little pina colada bar wrapped in paper and string. my newest flavor of fruit and nut bar, but definitely not the last. I'll get to the others soon enough.

recipe for pina colada fruit and nut bars on zupas today.

happy weekend friends!

p.s. the days are getting longer and the sun has a shorter shadow, have you noticed? i like that.

Is it really already thursday?

I feel as though it was just saturday and I was spending the afternoon with family, preparing for the upcoming week, and anticipating date night. Now we are (practically) at the same place, with a few undetermined plans. All I know is that I'd rather be anywhere than in our freezing basement, and that I will be making definite plans to achieve a big goal come May, maybe June. Which means I will be making more of these for early weekday mornings. Speaking of, I made a new flavor this week, which I will be sharing with you tomorrow.

This soup (yes, another soup recipe! they even have the same background) is one of those simple and quick recipes that uses things we have in our pantry and kitchen stocks 9/10 out of the year. If you don't really fancy things with curry or coconut milk in it, omit the curry powder and use thick cow's milk or cream instead. It's a beautiful, nutritious, and soul warming soup either way. Perfect for the dead of winter and early spring, or even in the fall after your midsummer carrot plantings have begun to thrive. Not that I would know, so far I've killed almost everything I've attempted to grow; but this is a new year!

I have relied on my memory for this recipe, so the exact measurements for things like garlic and curry powder are estimates. Just start with the smaller measurement and add more according to your taste.

What a novel idea.

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We have a handful of on the spot meals that go through our rotation each month and/or season. Included are the recipes we shared at our class the other weekend, along with a few other soups and throw together meals adaptable for the weather and what's best and in season at market. In the winter when we want something comforting and familiar, we make this soup. It's an eastern version of chicken noodle, without the chicken and lots of noodle; which is the best part anyway.

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Thank you to everyone who shared their experiences, ideas, and opinions about what it means or doesn't mean to shop local and/or organic. It's something that's an every errand day choice, and one that we shouldn't worry too much about because ultimately, both are aiming for good things. Your comments got me thinking about other things we do, like how we are more willing to buy for health and taste reasons over anything else. I hope you will think about what your choices mean, and that you educate yourself and make them with intention and knowledge, not simply because it's the norm, or newest trend because guess what? no food trend is really ever a "new" thing. I know that I am always learning, and that's what makes life (and eating) so enjoyable.

I want to help you learn and experience new things, so I am doing a small giveaway in honor of the upcoming holiday. Chinese New Year is in two weeks, and I want one of my readers to try some of my favorite asian snacks. Really, I wish you all could try them, but I am only choosing one reader to win a small care package with a taste of each. check out today's zupas post about my favorite asian snacks (to see if you even really want to enter) then leave a comment here by next friday!

{to enter}

a few things:
- you have one week to enter. this giveaway closes friday, january 28th whenever i close the comments.
- winner will be chosen at random + announced at the bottom of this post.
- please leave a reliable e-mail for me to contact you. if there is no e-mail to contact you with, i pick again = you lose = sad day.
- anonymous comments don't count.
- i can only send to those in the USofA, sorry.

surprise! I picked two winners!

Well, husband picked them to be exact. He's good at that, I never know what numbers he will choose, makes it suspenseful + exciting; like a csa pick-up.

congratulations you two, you should have gotten an email from me.


a summer cabbage from a local farmer

I love to support local businesses. In our cooking class, Melissa and I use local foods as much as we can not only because we love that it builds and unifies our community, but in many cases the foods tend to taste better too. I am also a firm believer about eating foods grown without the use of unnatural means, not just organic, but chemical free. In both cases, I want to do what is right, for me, for my family, for optimum health, my community, the earth.

There is a question that is by no means a new question, and maybe you have even thought about it yourself. Maybe you're even rolling your eyes at my mentioning of it at all. which is more important? organic or local?

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The weekend's class went so well, it was completely full (sorry again to everyone that had to stand up in the back!) and although we were having oven, internet, and organization difficulties, everything was made, shared, and devoured. The theme was comfort foods, and Melissa and I shared recipes that we use all the time, quite literally tried and true.

I am sure you have seen this recipe on the blog in more than one form. With spinach and garbanzo beans, roasted tomatoes, and now with hardy winter greens and some tomatoes I dried over the summer. Actually, they're tomatoes I dehydrated at the start of autumn, the most beautiful heirloom tomatoes you ever did see from Jacob's Cove, to be exact. Their lives were prolonged after being sliced, dried, and then packed to be kept frozen. But alas, all good things come to an end and at the start of this week, we are officially out of tomatoes.

summer come soon...

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I love how everything has an opposite. Opposition creates a balance, which is why it makes sense to eat cool crisp greens, cucumbers, and peaches in the summer, and hearty warm soups filled with luxuriously creamy squash and root vegetables paired with warming spices in the winter. There's even a science to it all, but we won't get into that. Let's just say that eating seasonally isn't simply delicious, but a necessity. Balance is essential for a happy life, and who doesn't want to be happier?

A few things I love about the opposition in winter is that to offset the brash and almost hostile weather, we have things that are delicate and comforting to balance it out. Like melt on your fingertip snowflakes, softly knit scarves/gloves/everything, creamy and warming soups, flirtatiously sweet pears, cuddles, holding hands, sharing a blanket, sharing a mug.

what do you like about winter?

a few things for your weekend:

learn a few quirky things about pears and bake some molasses pear bread, recipe on zupas today.

go to brunch at communal, then come or tune in to our seasonal foods class at Jacob's Cove Farm tomorrow!

pop some corn, grab an extra large blanket (or a small one to induce immediate cuddles), and watch an epic movie (or if you're like us, a tele series).

above all, have a lovely and harmonious weekend.

Melissa and I are teaching a cooking class this saturday, sharing tried and true comfort foods that will cheer you up during these cold and icy winter days.

come warm your soul and feed your belly.

Comfort Foods for Every Day
saturday, january 15th 11:30 to 1:30 p.m. at Jacob's Cove Farm

demonstrations include:
The Easiest Winter Veggie Soup
Mom's Homemade Cornbread
Creamed Polenta with Braised Winter Greens and Summer Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Root Vegetable Gratin over a Bed of Greens

We will be streaming live (and for free!) through livestream.com again, and you can even watch it on your iphone or itouch through their mobile app, how awesome is that?


How was your holiday? I hope you enjoyed every moment. I have to admit that we would have had a horrible time traveling back to our beloved Rockies if it weren't for kung fu panda, larabars, fruit leather (one for each tiny hand), mini oranges, and oreos. yes. oreos. Sweet baby Jane traveled much better during the day rather than in the evening (let's not talk about it), thanks to back to back viewings of her favorite movie and a reclined chair for naptime. It's always bittersweet coming back home, I think road trips help with the sweetness.

Have you made any new year resolutions? Over the past couple years I have come to the conclusion that instead of making big new goals every year I am more likely to achieve a handful of short term goals that I work on for a few months, then re-evaluate and keep on keepin'. My current list includes one relating to my vanity, another with my spirituality. One to increase my talents, and another my intellect. Some others include other people, which are the most fun. And of course, there's one about food. It's something that started years ago, and will continue on since it's one of those lifetime kind of goals, but that's for another day.

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