Warm Fall Squash, Kale, Salad, CSA, Fresh, Fall, Recipe, Vegetarian, Vegan, Dairy Free, Nut free, egg free, organic

What’s In My CSA? Warm Fall Squash, Quinoa, Kale Salad

What’s In My CSA? Fall Squash and Kale Salad Recipe

Food first (because I hate searching for the recipe), Talkie Second (enjoy! It’s lovely and short) :
Warm Fall Squash, Kale, Salad, CSA, Fresh, Fall, Recipe, Vegetarian, Vegan, Dairy Free, Nut free, egg free, organic

Warm Fall Squash, Quinoa, Kale Salad
4 servings (modest), 2 servings (hearty)
Vegan and vegetarian friendly*

Ingredients:
1 small butternut squash
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp dried sage
1 cup vegetable broth
½ cup dry quinoa
Pinch of sea salt
2 cups lacinato (dinosaur) kale
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 Tbsp Raw apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) plus more to spray baking sheet if needed
¼ tsp ground black pepper
Pinch of sea salt
⅓ cup dried cranberries (I prefer unsweetened, many brands pack with excess sugar)
Optional: 1-2 Tbsp toasted pumpkin seeds, slivered almonds

  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF, place top oven rack as high as it will go (unless you are using a convection oven)
  2. Wash butternut squash, peel, and cut into ½” cubes
  3. Spread out butternut squash cubes evenly on lined baking sheet (*Use parchment paper to line baking sheet, or spray with fine mist of olive oil)
  4. Lightly sprinkle with sage and paprika
  5. Roast squash for 30-40 minutes until corners begin to brown (*Small cubes shouldn’t need to be stirred or turned, but if you cut them larger you may want to halfway through)
  6. While squash is roasting, in a medium pot bring vegetable broth to a boil, add quinoa and salt, cover
  7. Cook quinoa for per package instructions, or until broth is gone, stirring every few minutes
  8. Place torn kale leaves into a medium bowl
  9. Make dressing: add dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, EVOO, black pepper and a pinch of salt to a small bowl
  10. Whisk dressing ingredients until well mixed, drizzle over kale leaves
  11. Once squash is roasted, quinoa is cooked, and kale has been marinated, assemble:
  12. In a fresh serving bowl layer quinoa, 1 cup of roasted squash, kale, and cranberries
  13. Mix thoroughly, add salt and pepper to taste
  14. Bonus: top with 1-2 Tablespoons toasted squash seeds, or slivered almonds

Serve Warm

Each season brings out something different in us. This is one of the reasons I highly encourage eating and cooking with what is in-season for your region. Our bodies have different needs based on the weather and temperature, and for this reason I believe some of our cravings are really our body’s request for fulfillment of those nutrients. Fall in Ohio means root vegetables, squash, and dark leafy greens. I want to fill my home with the scent of paprika, cinnamon, and sage. I want foods that will nourish my body, but bring my family and friends together too.

This is what I think about as the air gets crisp and I have to add another layer of clothing in the morning. I love cooking with fall weather foods, but I feel like sometimes they get a bad wrap for being high calorie, food-coma causing dishes. Warm, rich, cool weather foods can be heart-warming and stomach-filling without the guilt and burden of lots of butter and sugar.

A truly vine-ripened butternut squash is unbelievably sweet when roasted in the oven, it can be cubed and added to a side dish or salad like I did here, or pureed with some warmed apples for an amazingly simple soup. Deep orange colored squash carries tons of potassium, magnesium, vitamin A, vitamin C, and fiber. These high antioxidant foods are good for our bodies head to toe – vision to strong bones. Bonus: all that potassium and magnesium helps to prevent pregnancy muscle cramps!

Fall cooking is also incredibly simple, so often it involves a little roasting, which while that may take a few more minutes, fall roasting and spices can fill your house with lovely scents that beat any candle. Personally, taking that time to roast vegetables makes me think about taking more time to slow down myself. Summer can be so busy and hot that I forget to relax. This year especially, as things in my life are changing, chapters are ending and new ones beginning, I have been spending a lot of time thinking about my priorities. What am I being called to and where is my time best spent? Cooking healthy, real, whole foods is something I love and something that is a blessing to my family and a way to share time with friends. Cooking to me creates balance and helps me recharge. Enjoy!

What do you love about fall? Where does it help you recharge and create balance in your life? Let me know what you think about the recipe, comment below.

Be Local,
Simply Jess

 

Walt Churchill's Market, Simply Jess, Toledo Ohio, Food, Market, Fresh, Local , Organic, housemade, Produce, Desserts, Meat, Cheese, Craft Beer, Chef, Farm Fresh

Walt Churchill’s Markets – Local, Fresh, & Community

Be Local is the philosophy of Walt Churchill’s Market. This month in particular Walt Churchill’s is highlighting all of the local produce they carry in addition to unmatched number of local goods they offer throughout the store. Here at Simply Jess we teamed up with Walt Churchill’s to show you all of the awesome local shopping these stores offer.

Walt Churchill's Market, Simply Jess, Toledo Ohio, Food, Market, Fresh, Local , Organic, housemade, Produce, Desserts, Meat, Cheese, Craft Beer, Chef, Farm Fresh

I talk a lot about shopping at the farmer’s markets mostly because: it’s wonderful, you can get the large majority of your shopping done there, and the money you spend in groceries goes directly to the source, the farmer who grew it. For many people though, getting to the farmer’s market between 8a-2p Saturday can be a challenge. It’s not feasible for everyone. This is one reason why I appreciate Walt Churchill’s (WCM). With more flexible hours, and the fact that they are open 7 days a week, WCM offers shoppers a way to buy local produce and goods at a locally owned store. Personally, the Maumee location can be on my way home from work, and with the compact market style store, it makes it easy to pick up things I need on my way home.

Since 1917 the Churchill’s traditions of quality, value, and customer service has never changed. The locations of Churchill stores around town have been very fluid, but the family has never stopped serving its country, its region, or the people who live here. Today, these core values are alive and well in Perrysburg and Maumee, Ohio with the Walt Churchill’s Market stores. I was recently given the opportunity to find out more about WCM, way more than I ever thought. All of the employees are so welcoming and helpful every-time I visit one of their locations as a customer, but this time was above and beyond. I was impressed by the amount of autonomy and growth opportunities employees are given, in turn you can see their investment in the company just by how they serve their customers. From a chef who is a 40+ year veteran of the industry who will assist you in what you are making and walk you around the store to find all you need, to the pastry artists who work in the bakery; a guest can have full trust in what they are buying.

Walt Churchill's Market, Simply Jess, Toledo Ohio, Food, Market, Fresh, Local , Organic, housemade, Produce, Desserts, Meat, Cheese, Craft Beer, Chef, Farm Fresh

Before the chefs, and the cakes, Churchill’s has been focused on selling locally grown produce since the 1930’s. Today, Walt Churchill’s Markets work directly with four trusted, local farms to supply a large portion of the seasonal produce. These farms, while not the only local produce they offer, have shown exceptional quality and reliability giving consumers the chance to buy local, seasonally fresh foods in the convenience of a fully stocked grocery store. Steven’s Gardens, Riehm Farms, Ryans Farm, and MacQueen’s orchard keep the produce department bursting with brightly colored foods picked from their fields as recently as 24 hours ago. The farms share many of the family values and longstanding history that the Churchill’s stores have cultivated over the past 100 years. Established farms are well known and reputable amongst their community, sharing the same customer service practices as the Churchill’s family.

Walt Churchill's Market, Simply Jess, Toledo Ohio, Food, Market, Fresh, Local , Organic, housemade, Produce, Desserts, Meat, Cheese, Craft Beer, Chef, Farm Fresh

This season you can find Steven’s Gardens providing WCM ripe summer zucchini, roma tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, and eggplant. Riehm Farms has brought their delightful, colorful cherry and grape tomatoes, kale, and some of the best cantaloupe I’ve had in years. Ryans Farm has some picturesque sweet corn and MacQueens Orchard brings peaches, and (soon) early apples.

Walt Churchill's Market, Simply Jess, Toledo Ohio, Food, Market, Fresh, Local , Organic, housemade, Produce, Desserts, Meat, Cheese, Craft Beer, Chef, Farm Fresh Through the relationships with these farms, Walt Churchill’s Market is able to provide customers with numerous other fresh options. Gourmet in-house made: smoothies, juices, and salads can be found in the produce department as an excellent option for those looking for fresh, easy, healthy options. It gives Chef Bill the ability to cook and prepare natural food meals, fresh each day for customers to pick up without sacrificing taste or nutritional value. Access to these local foods means Mr. Rick Warziniak of Warzy’s Subs and Grinders can make his well know sandwiches right in store utilizing bread baked fresh each day by Churchill’s, and Thumann’s all natural, nitrate free deli meats.

Walt Churchill's Market, Simply Jess, Toledo Ohio, Food, Market, Fresh, Local , Organic, housemade, Produce, Desserts, Meat, Cheese, Craft Beer, Chef, Farm Fresh

Every aisle has a local option; coffee, tortilla chips and salsa, organic grass-fed dairy, Killer Brownies, cheese, and chicken to name a few (the list is very long). WCM also makes many items within the market stores themselves. Fresh baked bread, cakes and pastries, juices, peanut and almond butter, salad dressings, and brats all made in store. Beyond these, WCM prides themselves in top quality meats, cheeses, and conventional shelf products. This list is far from exhaustive, I guess you’ll just have to check out a store and see for yourself. Not sure what is local, housemade, or meets special dietary needs? Just ask.

From how community art decorates the stores, to the small start-up business that is able to get their product on the shelf, and the farm that can now share their family pride with a wider audience, the Churchill’s tradition of living with your community lives strong still today. I get excited walking through the store finding my favorite flowers that I can only find at the farmer’s market right here in a store. Or all of the small-batch businesses who have a place to grow, introducing their work to more customers. It was a tasty, and refreshing experience to see a store in this manner. It really makes me appreciate the local food market here in Toledo.

Be Local
Simply,
Jess

Balance Pan Asian Grille, Simply Jess, Toledo, Ohio, Fresh, Local, Healthy, Clean, Fast, Causal, Dining

Balance Pan Asian Grille

A Fresh Take on Toledo

Balance Pan-Asian Grille – you’ve heard of them, driven past a store, or even stopped in. You see them around town at events like Zoo-To-Do, Barefoot at the Beach, and Jam City. Maybe you’ve seen the Bubble Tea cart at food truck congregations in Toledo. But do you know Balance? Natural, handmade, ethical, clean, fresh, and local. That is Balance.

Balance Pan Asian Grille, Simply Jess, Toledo, Ohio, Fresh, Local, Healthy, Clean, Fast, Causal, Dining

Balance was born in 2010 as a creative restaurant concept formed by two University of Toledo grads. Both PK and HoChan were raised here in NW Ohio, and started their college education at Bowling Green State University. As college was wrapping up for these two entrepreneurs, they took a friendship and formulated a business partnership. They very much liked the idea and convenience of fast-casual dining, but not the guilt-ridden, poor quality side you usually get with said convenience. They wanted to open the type of place where good quality food tastes great and gives the customer choices; to create food that adds a personal aspect of what you would want to eat yourself and food you can feel confident serving your family.

Balance Pan Asian Grille, Simply Jess, Toledo, Ohio, Fresh, Local, Healthy, Clean, Fast, Causal, Dining

This is how “Balance” came into play. Proteins, fats, carbohydrates forming proper nutrition and options for great tasting, nutrient dense foods. PK and HoChan felt that healthy-Asian food was a bit of an untapped market here in the Toledo area. HoChan comes from a family of restaurant owners, and grew up learning many of the ins and outs of the industry. But developing a place that would need to carry such a large amount of fresh produce and free range, ethically sourced foods was going to be a challenge. The guys studied food trends of the West Coast and took into account age-focused beverage trends, like bubble tea. After much searching, the they were able to find a reasonable location for their new venture. You can only imagine how easy this was: two twenty-something college graduates, facing the business real estate market of a near-fatally wounded, post-ICU economy in 2010….. Oh yeah, no problem.

Balance Pan Asian Grille, Simply Jess, Toledo, Ohio, Fresh, Local, Healthy, Clean, Fast, Causal, Dining

Maumee, Ohio would be the first home to Balance Pan Asian Grille. With knowledge that the Arrowhead Park-Premier Business Park area would be more of a lunch stop, PK and HoChan built a menu that was based on whole foods. Although this requires a lot of preparation to take unprepared meats, grains, and produce and create them into desirable dishes by lunchtime, they were up for the challenge. As popularity grew for the new restaurant thanks mostly to word of mouth, and partially to PKs social media/IT genius, Balance underwent a major evolutionary period thanks to feedback from customers and the business perceptions of PK and HoChan. This is when Balance introduced the signature menu of today the Build-a-Bowl and Snack menu. They found what worked!

Balance Pan Asian Grille, Simply Jess, Toledo, Ohio, Fresh, Local, Healthy, Clean, Fast, Causal, Dining

Through the Build-a-Bowl and Snack menu, Balance was able to have signature meal options, involving the whole food practices they valued, and also created options and flexibility for their customers. Whether you want a whole meal, or a quick healthy snack to tide you over, or if you wanted both, the new concept also gave HoChan the option to play with seasonal options in order to keep things interesting and creative. With a very loosely similar concept to Chipotle, Balance now gives patrons the option to pick your protein, starch, and sauce, as well as pick and choose what veggies they want, or do not want included. Because every dish is made to order and sauce is always served on the side, customers can be sure that they are getting the exact meal they want. There are plenty of customer-favorite ideas as well if so many choices is an overwhelming concept, but the customer service at Balance allows new visitors to be walked through the menu.

Balance Pan Asian Grille, Simply Jess, Toledo, Ohio, Fresh, Local, Healthy, Clean, Fast, Causal, Dining

The very flexible, interchangeable menu, and the impeccable quality gave Balance the boost they needed to continue to grow. Now with three locations Maumee (at Dussel and Ford), Sylvania/Toledo (at Central and Holland-Sylvania), and the newest in Perrysburg (N. Dixie Highway and Eckel Junction) Balance now has the options to serve most of the Toledo area population. This growth has also provided new creative opportunities for their menu. I must say, I was pretty blown away by their new seasonal taco menu for summer 2016! From refreshing to a flavorful, spicy kick these west-coast taco truck style tacos are the makings of a perfect summer dinner (or lunch, your choice). HoChan was also very proud to say that all of their Balance-made sauces are vegan friendly and many are gluten-free (all of their sauces are made from scratch, within the company). Because meals are made as soon as you order, Balance is able to accommodate most food allergies, and dietary restrictions with ease. Ordering is easy too – In store or Online here.

Balance Pan Asian Grille, Simply Jess, Toledo, Ohio, Fresh, Local, Healthy, Clean, Fast, Causal, Dining, Food

One aspect I love about Balance is the community involvement. From participating in many charitable events, to sourcing as much seasonally fresh, local produce as they possibly can, it’s important for a business to be a invested into their community as they want their community investing in them. Together, PK and HoChan are working with other chefs, farms, and organizations to “make it delicious in Toledo.” It was so cool to me to see pictures from one of the CSA farms in Toledo showing PK and HoChan around the fields in which their food is coming from. It’s a mutual investment. These guys are showing us another aspect of “It Matters Where You Make It,” and they are making it in Toledo!

Check out Balance Pan Asian Grille on Facebook, live Tweet in restaurant (@Balancegrille), and follow the Simply Jess Blog (Facebook, @JCiesler on Instagram and Twitter) for more food pictures and updates on events!

Be Local.
Simply Jess