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

 

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

The Flying Joe, Simply Jess Blog, Toledo, Ohio, Perrysburg, Coffee Shop, Small Business, Local, Natural, Vegan , Vegetarian, Specialty, Organic, John and Becky Ohm

The Flying Joe: Serving Coffee, Community, and Country

I was strolling out of The Flying Joe at Levis Commons last week thinking: Welcome summer! Hot days, and cold drinks. I think about visiting my favorite coffee shops more when I need to take refuge from the frigid Ohio winters; visiting with friends over something nice and hot. But what about brunch on a beautiful sunny Saturday morning? Or an ice-cold treat made just for me? Those are just two of the reasons I made the stop by The Flying Joe that morning. From the very best locally sourced ingredients to the friendly, kind baristas The Flying Joe is the perfect place to stop when you want to sip hot chocolate while looking at christmas lights, and the perfect place to enjoy a sunny brunch and a Frozen Joe.

The Flying Joe, Simply Jess Blog, Toledo, Ohio, Perrysburg, Coffee Shop, Small Business, Local, Natural, Vegan , Vegetarian, Specialty, Organic, John and Becky Ohm

Becky and John Ohm, both United States Air Force pilots who pine for the dreamy-romantic 1940s culture of air travel, opened The Flying Joe (FJ) during the initial expansion of Levis Commons in order to put their love of service to country and community into new life. The shop opened in 2007 and was well received by the people of Perrysburg. The drinks were good and the prices competed with the nearby Starbucks. Yes, they built small business coffee shop near one of the busiest Starbucks in the area. To me, that screams volumes about the passion and commitment the Ohms’ have to their venture. Now, nearly ten years later The Flying Joe continues to serve the people of Perrysburg, caring for the customer with a newfound care for what they are eating and drinking.

The Flying Joe, Simply Jess Blog, Toledo, Ohio, Perrysburg, Coffee Shop, Small Business, Local, Natural, Vegan , Vegetarian, Specialty, Organic, John and Becky Ohm

While sitting down with the lovely manager of the FJ, Bri, gave me the full scope of the tremendous changes made in how they care for and serve their customers. While offering many of the beloved favorites, the FJ turned their focus to the ingredients going into their food and drinks. The FJ uses as many locally sourced, organic, and simple ingredients they can reasonably obtain. Coffee at the FJ is from regional coffee roasters such as Actual Coffee (roasted right in Toledo), and Populace Coffee (roasted in Bay City, MI). Serving all locally made or housemade baked goods was a natural move for the shop; from Holey Toledo Doughnuts, and All Crumbs Bakery to local raw honey and Toledo-made apparel. The dairy products served are sourced from the Hartzier Family Dairy Farm in Wooster Ohio, where milk is taken from all grass-fed cows, who have not been exposed to harmful chemicals and pesticides. After Restaurant Week Toledo 2015, the FJ began offering lunch to patrons, making all of their own sauces for the sandwiches they serve.

The Flying Joe, Simply Jess Blog, Toledo, Ohio, Perrysburg, Coffee Shop, Small Business, Local, Natural, Vegan , Vegetarian, Specialty, Organic, John and Becky Ohm

Serving brunch gave the Flying Joe a way to meet the needs of their customers in a whole new way. Upon the decision to offer brunch, the Joe needed a proper cook to prepare the type of food they wanted to serve. They placed a want ad stating they were looking for someone to fulfill this role and along comes a letter from Debbie. A food lover, a world traveler, a dabbling (but never professional) cook, Debbie’s letter expressed her desire to cook for the Flying Joe. Her personality and passion were so evident in her correspondence that it became an easy decision to bring Debbie into the FJ family.

The Flying Joe, Simply Jess Blog, Toledo, Ohio, Perrysburg, Coffee Shop, Small Business, Local, Natural, Vegan , Vegetarian, Specialty, Organic, John and Becky Ohm
Seasonally Fresh Brunch Parfait – Vegetarian and Vegan Option

The presentation is a good as the taste. With traditional choices such as a variety of quiche, baked oatmeal, salads, and a weekly parfait, brunch also incorporates an elegant and rustic flare offering vegetarian/vegan options as well. Every week the most seasonally available choices are used to build the brunch menu. Hand selected produce from the Perrysburg Farmers Market, fresh local dairy, and fine, imported spices and goods from around the globe are fused together to bring an unmatched meal. This past week I had the chance to order the special menu item of the week: Farmer Mark’s French Radish Breakfast-Gone-Wild. [Now let me just say, I do not like radishes, I trade them out every time I get them in my CSA bag, I olive oil roast the heck out of them if i have to keep them, or I just give them away! Anyway, back to Farmer Mark’s Wild Radishes:] Debbie took a traditional French breakfast made with fresh local radishes, a ball of Burrata Mozzarella drizzled with good extra virgin olive oil, part of whole grain baguette, a side of French butter, Marcona almonds, and flakes of Sal de Mer (French Mediterranean sea salt). Honest to Betsy, It Was Delicious! I kid you not! This dish was full of great flavor, so smooth, not bitter. The combination of the lettuce, olive oil, salt, and yes, the radish, made a simple set of ingredients come to life and was full of flavor. And that Burrata Mozzarella. Fantastic! It spread on the baguette like butter. A vegetarian option on the brunch menu that pleases all palates.

The Flying Joe, Simply Jess Blog, Toledo, Ohio, Perrysburg, Coffee Shop, Small Business, Local, Natural, Vegan , Vegetarian, Specialty, Organic, John and Becky Ohm

We also ordered the parfait, and with rhubarb and strawberries in season, they happened to be the ideal choice. Now was my husband’s turn: despises yogurt and nuts (in the homemade granola). Well, he too was very pleasantly surprised! And ate the whole thing. Sweet, tart, fresh, and filling. The toasty, crunchy homemade granola, the creamy Greek yogurt, layered with the completely local strawberry-rhubarb compote, drizzled with Turkish honey, made for the perfect combination for this gourmet parfait. I don’t expect him to start eating yogurt at home, but it’s quite a compliment when he says he would order it again and practically licks the glass clean. Every dish that came out of the FJ kitchen was lovely, had a beautiful presentation; from quiche to baked oatmeal, the portions were generous.

The Flying Joe, Simply Jess Blog, Toledo, Ohio, Perrysburg, Coffee Shop, Small Business, Local, Natural, Vegan , Vegetarian, Specialty, Organic, John and Becky Ohm

One thing I always appreciate when I walk into the Flying Joe is the unpretentious, unassuming, welcoming atmosphere the baristas cultivate. While sitting down with Bri, it was immediately like talking to a friend I had know for years. Whether you are stumbling in for the first time hunting down some Holey Toledough Doughnuts, or just want to try something new, the staff is very warm and friendly and work with you to build you your ideal drink. Their focus is to serve you well both with kindness, and what’s going into your body. The coffee connoisseur has a good variety of coffees and brewing methods to choose from. The Nitro Cold Brew is great for the hot summer weather. With an impressive assortment of teas and non coffee beverages, the FJ is not just for the coffee lover. Fresh, local juices, and organic smoothies, plus one fan-TASTIC hot chocolate! Stop in. Eat brunch. Try a new drink. Know that you are being cared for body and tastebuds. Be Local.

Simply,

Jess

Be sure to visit The Flying Joe and Simply Jess on Facebook for the most current information.
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