Herb and Plow CSA: Week 11

Swiss Chard is one of the multitude of ground candy coming to Herb and Plow CSA shareholders.

Swiss Chard is one of the multitude of ground candy coming to Herb and Plow CSA shareholders.

I’ve recently moved home to Michigan due to unforeseen circumstances. The weather here has ranged from blistering hot to hokey toot get out the slippers and the sweatshirts. That may not seem weird at the changing of the seasons, but it is weird when it’s happening in the same day.

Despite the radical weather that mimics the falling rain at Herb and Plow Farms, the CSA’s here are equally abundant with their enticing seasonal fare. This week, I’m sharing a family favorite of ours (Spaghetti Squash Casserole), a forgiving Kale/Swiss Chard recipe, a quick Sweet and Sour Swiss Chard, and a One bowl vegan apple gingerbread cake. May the calories not go to waist.

Spaghetti Squash Casserole

1 spaghetti squash (about 8 inches long)

2 T. butter

1 cup chopped onion

2 medium cloves minced garlic

½ pound fresh, sliced mushrooms

½ t. oregano

1 t. basil

Dash of thyme

Salt and pepper to taste

2 medium chopped tomatoes

1 c. cottage or ricotta cheese (I like the cottage best)

1 c. grated mozzarella

1 cup fine bread crumbs (Italian style is a staple)

¼ c fresh chopped parsley

Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Halve the squash, scoop out the seeds. Bake face-down on oiled sheet until easily pierced by a fork about 30 minutes. (Placing the halves on parchment paper before baking will make your clean-up SO much easier)

Let stand until cool enough to handle, then scoop out pulp and place in large bowl. Meanwhile, heat butter and sauté onions, garlic, and mushrooms with herbs, salt, and pepper. When onions are soft, add tomatoes and continue to cook until most of the liquid evaporates. Stir this mixture into squash pulp with remaining ingredients except Parmesan. Spread into buttered 2-quart casserole. Top with Parmesan. Bake uncovered, 30-40 minutes. (Makes 4-6 servings)

Savory Kale/Swiss Chard

(NOTE from contributor Nancy Brubaker: “A tasty side dish that can be tucked into wrap-type sandwiches. “Refried beans, shredded cheese and kale in a whole-wheat, homemade chapatti is a favorite combination at our house. Swiss Chard can be used interchangeably with Kale to help use up the plentiful greens.”)

1 thinly sliced onion

In a large frypan sauté in 1-2 T. olive oil over medium heat until brown and crisp, not just soft. Remove to a serving dish

1 large bunch fresh kale, collards, or Swiss chard

Stack leaves, roll together and slice about ¼”/5 mm thick. Sauté in the frypan for 1 minute. Add several Tablespoons water ¼ t. salt to taste. Add cover, reduce heat and steam until tender. Add water as needed. Kale and collards cook in 10-15 minutes, Swiss chard a bit faster. When the greens are tender, drain in a colander. Return onions to pan and heat to sizzling!

1 T. Tomato paste

Add and stir. When this mixture is hot, return the greens to the pan. Mix, heat through, and serve.

Sweet and Sour Swiss Chard

(NOTE from contributor Alison Froese-Stoddard, Winnipeg, Manitoba: “The first year we bought a share of an organic co-op garden we were astounded by the quality and sheer quantity of greens we received. We had to find ways to eat several pounds of lettuce, kale, and Swiss chard every week! This recipe became a quick favorite.” Side note: It’s easy to see why after tasting this dish.

1 lb Swiss chard

Rinse, pat dry, and remove stems. Chop stems diagonally into small pieces. Stack leaves, roll up, and slice in 1-inch strips; keep separate from stems. Set aside.

1 medium diced onion

In deep frypan sauté in 2 t. olive oil over medium heat until softened, about 5 minutes.

¼ cup dried cranberries or raisins (diced apple chunks will work too)

2 cloves minced garlic

3 T. white or cider vinegar

1 ½ t. sugar

Salt and pepper to taste

Add along with chard stems, cover and cook for 8 minutes. Place chopped leaves on top of the mixture (DO NOT STIR IN), cover and cook another 2 minutes. Remove from heat, stir, and serve.

1 Bowl Apple Gingerbread Cake

Prep time 25 mins

Cook time 35 mins

Total time 1 hour

A hearty, 1-bowl vegan apple cake infused with gingerbread flavors and rolled oats. A healthier cake perfect for holiday gatherings and cozy afternoons alongside tea.

Author: Minimalist Baker



  • 2 flax eggs (2 Tbsp flaxseed meal + 5 Tbsp water)
  • 1/4 cup organic cane sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 3 T. molasses
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup grape seed oil (or sub canola, olive or melted coconut with varied results)
  • 1 1/4 cup grated apple, loosely packed (~3 apples, a mix of sweet + tart)
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk (sub up to 1/2 cup with water)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats


  • 1/2 cup vegan cream cheese, softened (such as Tofutti or Trader Joe’s brand)
  • 1/3 cup vegan butter, softened (such as Earth Balance | butter sticks are best, not the spreadable tub)
  • 2 1/2 – 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour (this is optional for thickening | alternatively sub more powdered sugar)
  • 1 cup chopped pecans for topping (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F and butter two round cake pans, or an 8×8 baking dish. Add flour to coat, then shake out excess and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, prepare flax eggs by mixing flaxseed and water and let rest.
  3. Core apples (no need to peel) and grate. I recommend a mix of finely grated, and coarsely grated. Place grated apple on a clean dish towel and gently squeeze to remove about half of the juice. Set aside. (P.S. you should totally drink that apple juice.)
  4. To the flax egg, add sugars, molasses, oil, vanilla, almond milk, grated apples, and whisk.
  5. Set a sifter over something to catch fall out and add dry ingredients in this order: 1 cup whole wheat flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, ginger, cinnamon, remaining 1/2 cup whole wheat flour. Stir gently with a spoon, then sift over wet ingredients and stir to combine, being careful not to over mix).
  6. Lastly, add oats and stir again to combine, being careful not to over mix. The batter should be thick but pourable. If it appears too thick, add a bit more almond milk to thin and stir.
  7. Pour batter into prepared cake pan(s). If you’re dividing between two pans, it may look like there’s not enough batter but there is! Spread it in an even layer and it will rise while baking.
  8. Bake for about 30-35 minutes if using 2 round cake pans, or about 40-50 minutes for an 8×8. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean and the edges should be visibly browned. Remove from oven and set out on counter to cool completely.
  9. While the cake is cooling, prepare frosting. To the same mixing bowl (rinsed clean), add softened cream cheese, softened butter and beat or whisk vigorously to combine. Then add powdered sugar in 1/2 cup increments until thick and spreadable.
  10. Add flour at the end to thicken (optional – or just more powdered sugar). You want this frosting to be pretty thick so it won’t slide off the cake, so keep adding flour and/or powdered sugar until it reaches the right consistency.
  11. Once the cake is completely cooled, add 1/3 of the frosting to the top of the bottom layer and spread into an even layer. Then add the top layer of cake and frost generously with remaining frosting, coating sides last. Add crushed pecans on the edges (optional), slice and serve.
  12. The cake should be stored covered in the fridge for optimal freshness, and should keep for 3-4 days. Move to the freezer after that, and thaw at room temp before serving.


*Nutrition information is a rough estimate for 1 of 10 slices with a generous amount of frosting and pecans.
* Recipe adapted from my Vegan Gluten Free Apple Muffins

* Frosting recipe from my Gluten Free Zucchini Cake

Change and Progress: Learning to Birth Risks

The transition that I’m going through right now has left me devoid of any tools I’d formerly acquired. I’ve been given a child’s toy box filled with ancient lessons, many of which I’d discarded in favor of happier memories to be created.

I am not upset with the choices I’ve made to arrive in the womb of my birth, but that womb has been long absent, my ties severed and rewoven with the intention of a more beautiful tapestry. That has, indeed, been the result of an unending compromise of spirits bound by strength, embattled by power, and a fierce defense against those who attempt to stifle the sacred vow of compassion between the hearts.

My terror of losing whom I’ve worked so hard for many years to become fades and sharpens in focus depending on the moment. At times I feel the liberation from the blossoming fields into fruition while, to the contrary, I also feel the drought that loss affords when one is used to abundance.

I am a refugee from poverty where I’ve lived for so long. But I also know that my shirt sleeves that are pushed up around my elbows are no stranger to fighting injustice in the trenches of a dismissive society.

I re-post this as a reminder that my rebirth has moved into another stage of labor, a thinning of the membrane that, when pressed firmly enough, will erupt with inspiration, creativity, warmth, and everything else I know myself to be with an even more stellar position in the world beyond the stars.

At your leisure, may you enjoy this article as much as I needed to be reminded that the process is working. I am okay. I will be okay.

Mare Martell

Change and Progress: Learning to Birth Risks.

I am gestating in the womb of change and progress.

I am developing the skills and strength to become reborn in my own image without the yoke of false hope, without the bearing of bloody lies, without the praise for being different tainted with shame. The strings and ropes that moored me to the shore are severed with my clear consent. I am no longer anchored at the pier of someone else’s demands and lack of mercy. What is no longer necessary for my survival is falling away rapidly, some of which is regret.

I Regret that I didn’t realize sooner what was occurring. I Regret that my need to hope that things would improve could not be sated by the harmful actions of others. Regret that I saw the omens, realized the map, and ignored my compass.

But there will…

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Not as it appears

Peace on Earth Love Thy Neighbor

Peace on Earth
Love Thy Neighbor

You are merely a distraction

meant as a detraction

from the deep dissatisfaction

of a dying way of life.

The marionette strings you’re dancing

are pulled by those amassing

obscene amounts of financing

with your divisive strife

You are the sleight of hand

given up as sacrificial lamb

with back-room deals grandstand

back-stabbed by Judas’ knife

I am not to judge your place

or spit into your unwitting face

as you spout you’re in god’s holy grace

while playing at Lot’s wife

I hope that what you’re saved from

in total and in sum

bring you to a better place to rest your bum

with a small bit of advice

Matthew 22:36-40,

and although it may feel a tad bit warty,

is what Jesus said while commandment sortie,

Commanded not once, but twice.

Heading to Mars!

Martian Sunset by Mare Martell 2015 15X30 Acrylic on Board FOR SALE!

Martian Sunset by Mare Martell 2015
Acrylic on Board

The InSight mission to Mars is coming up on March 04, 2016 as a way to monitor and learn more about the surface of the planet. My husband Ben and I, he moreso than I, share a love for the space program and the many discoveries that are found. If you’d like to participate in a “trip to Mars”, send me all your money follow the link below to join others that believe in the power of exploration as well.

The deadline for signing up to have your name sent to mars is September 8th, 2015, so hop to it gumball! Here is the link to do that, RIGHT HERE! and below is a link to the picture of my “boarding pass.”


Herb and Plow CSA: The Continuing Saga! HOORAY!

Glazed Beets

Glazed Beets

What a wild time of things! Despite the catastrophic weather conditions causing such a delay, I am looking forward to digging back into the ground candy that we’d become accustomed to during the early part of the year, aren’t you? Although I’m aware that some were getting overwhelmed with the abundance that came their way, I discovered many were distributing their unused portions among friends, neighbors, and less fortunate humans furthering the blessings of the tasty goods.

Today I’m sharing a couple recipes from other CSA’s around the country that will help get things back in order in your soon to be filled with bounty kitchens. May the food that passes your lips bring you excellent health, good fortune, and a slimmer waist line (It that is indeed your goal). Eat hearty, my friends!

Glazed Beets

Chicken stock or water

Salt, to taste

Red, Chiogga, or Golden beets, sliced

2 T. Butter or olive oil

In a deep skillet, add about 1-1/2 inch of water or chicken stock and salt to taste. Add sliced beets. Add 3 T. of butter or olive oil to the skillet. Simmer at medium high heat until all the liquid is gone. Serve immediately.

NOTE: The liquid absorbs the flavor, the beets absorb the liquid and the butter/oil, which will float to the top and glaze the beets. Add any of these ingredients to further the flavor of the beets: fresh ginger, soy sauce, garlic, onions, or fresh herbs.

Recipe by Bill Brammer III of San Diego, CA

Kale Potato Soup

1 large bunch of kale (chopped) Steam and set aside (If you cook it with the potatoes the flavor will be extremely strong overpowering the dish. Trust me)

1 T. Butter

1 Large chopped onion

1 clove minced garlic (I like 3-4 cloves but I REALLY like garlic)

Melt butter in a soup pot. Add onion and sauté until golden. Add garlic and sauté another minute. (NOTE: For stronger onion/garlic flavor, add these two later in the cooking process)

2 Large diced potatoes

2 c. hot water or broth

Add, bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are soft. Remove half of the cooked potatoes; puree the rest with the cooking liquid and return to the soup pot. Return reserved potatoes and steamed kale to soup pot. (Puree everything if a smooth texture is desired).

3 Cups water or broth

½ teaspoon salt or to taste

Pepper to taste

Add along with additional hot water or milk to preferred consistency. Heat gently until hot and serve. (NOTE: If you’re an omnivore a package of sliced cocktail beef weinies, makes this dish spread about a bit farther)

Italicized notations are from me, Mare Martell, while the recipes are from the cookbooks:

Harnish, Marie. “Autumn Soups.” Simply in Season. Scottdale: Herald, 2005. N. pag. Print.

Sochacki, Julie, and Jason Houston. One United Harvest: Creative Recipes from America’s Community Supported Farms. Kearney, NE: Morris Cook, 2005. Print.

Inspired by Joel

I’m sure you’ve read some authors that really stick in your craw. Artists of the written word that cause you to think, cause you to get pissed, cause you, most of all, to feel that sense of uncomfortable that comes from a raw, exposed nerve. There are several of these talented people that float through my reader. Some I am avid fans of, others I take out in the dark of the moon and peruse with witchy thoughts abiding because they require, by default a place where the blood of their story can mingle with mine.

Joys of Joel is one of those artists for me. Joel lives in the Philippines. I’ve never met the person, but when I read the words, like those of Shawn L. Bird, E.I. Wong (really funny in a twisted way HAHA!), and UP!:::urban po’E.Tree(s), I am moved to places I’ve visited but, perhaps, took for granted.

In the latest poem (at this writing) by Joys of Joel, they write: Don’t wait for me; Ours is not a love story. (Find it HERE), I am compelled to remember lost loves of my own. I am to take that path rarely traveled. I mean, what’s done is done, right? Or what’s over is completed. But. It reminded me of a poem I wrote a while back which also reflected on a powerful moment in my life when I realized I’d just made a massive mistake. I knew I’d never again see that person though I treasured every moment I spent with them. It was my fault.

I’m re-sharing this “These Are My People” poem because of that line. You can find it here: The End.