Steak Fajita Salad

My first time cooking steak on the stove was not a positive experience.  Meat is not something I am comfortable cooking to begin with and I really didn’t want to use the grill without adult supervision.  Even though I am also an adult.  I did a quick search and the most basic directions for cooking steak said, place olive oil in the pan, heat the pan on high, and once it is hot enough cook the steak about 5 minutes on each side.  Well, 5 minutes on high resulted in a smoke filled house.  I turned on the oven fan, opened the front door and a few windows, and turned on a free standing fan.  I burnt that side of the steak.  For the other side, I turned the heat down a bit and it cooked well.  The result was a burnt medium cooked steak.  Good enough.

The steak was a flat iron steak from D&M Cattle, a grass-fed cattle farm that is located in the neighboring township.  The cattle farm is so small that they do not have a website to share, but the beef can be purchased at Strites’.  The cattle are not treated with hormones or antibiotics during their lifetime.  I am happy to eat this meat as I know exactly where it comes from and it is a local farm.

Steak mishap aside, the steak fajita salad turned out pretty decent.  I topped it with cheese and sour cream, but feel free to serve it any way you like.

Steak Fajita Salad

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  • Flat Iron Steak (about 8 oz)
  • 2 bell peppers, sliced
  • Half a tomato, diced
  • One small onion, sliced
  • 3 cups lettuce
  • Marinade Ingredients:
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • ½ tsp black pepper


  1. Whisk the marinade ingredients together.  Reserve 1-2 Tbsp of the mixture and coat the steak with the rest.  Marinate at least 4 hours.
  2. Let the steak sit at room temperature 20 minutes.  Cook the steak to your liking.  Set the steak on a plate.
  3. Heat the same pan on medium heat. Coat the onion and peppers with the remaining marinade. Saute until soft.
  4. Slice the steak. Layer lettuce, the vegetables, and steak on plates. Serve with cheese, sour cream, guacamole or other toppings of your choice.


CSA Week 10 & Semi-Successful Recipes

I picked up the CSA for Week 10 on Tuesday.   This week included eggplant, tomatoes, an onion, bell peppers, donut peaches, and yellow plums.  I have tried eggplant in the past, but I have never developed a taste for it, so I gave all of it to my co-worker.  I am planning on making fajitas with the other vegetables. 20160726_123605

This week was hit or miss in the recipe department.  Since I did not use all of the Hungarian peppers, I did not want them to go to waste.  I mixed 1 cup ricotta, 1/4 cup parmesan, garlic, and oregano.  I then cut the peppers in half, removed the seeds and stuffed the cheese mixture in the peppers.  I baked them at 350F for 30 minutes.  I was afraid that they would be too spicy, but baking them took away a lot of the kick.  I shared them with my co-workers and they were a hit.20160725_112050

Even though it has been well over 90F this month, I have still been craving soup.  I found a recipe that seemed promising.  I adapted it so that I could use the kohlrabi and corn from last week’s CSA.  I also used potatoes from my grandparent’s garden.  My first mistake was not chopping the kohlrabi correctly.  There were some rootier parts that I should have cut off because, even after boiling, they still did not soften up enough.  My second mistake was not cooking the corn long enough.  After boiling, I pureed the potatoes and kohlrabi, added them back into the pot, and then stirred in the corn.  I simmered it for about 12 minutes, but that was not enough.  The corn was still crunchy.  The soup was okay, but it was not delicious.  I added rosemary and garlic, but it definitely needed more flavor.  Maybe sausage or something with a little kick would be good. 20160726_141717

Garlic Dill Pickles with Hungarian Peppers

My grandparents have so many cucumbers right now. I tried to grow some pickling cucumbers but I did not water them as much as they need so they do not look very healthy. I still wanted to make some pickles so I used one from my grandparents’ garden. The dill came from their garden and the garlic came from mine. I also added a Hungarian pepper I bought at the local orchard, Strites’ (I also realized today when I was visiting that it is Strites’ and not Strite’s). The Hungarian peppers were advertised as mildly spicy, but after chopping one and scratching my nose, I think they are a lot spicier than advertised. I hope the pickles do not turn out to be too spicy.  I will update this post in two weeks when the pickles are ready to be eaten.
This recipe is fairly easy.  I adapted my recipe from Refrigerator Garlic Dill Pickles. I only could find one 20 ounce glass jar, so feel free to double or triple this recipe if needed.

Garlic Dill Pickles with Hungarian Peppers



  • 2 cups water
  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • 1/8 cup pickling salt (I used sea salt)
  • 1 large cucumber (about 1 pound)
  • 1 Hungarian pepper
  • 2 heads of dill
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes


  1. Bring the water, vinegar, and salt to a boil so that the salt dissolves.
  2. Slice the cucumber and pepper.
  3. In the bottom of the jar, place one head of dill and two cloves of garlic. Layer the cucumbers and peppers until the jar is almost full. Place the other head of dill and remaining garlic on top. Add the red pepper flakes.
  4. Fill the jar with the vinegar salt water mixture until everything is completely covered. Place the lid on tightly.
  5. Let the jar sit on the counter for 2-3 days and then refrigerate at least two weeks before opening.

CSA Week 9 & Oatmeal Plum Muffins

This week’s CSA from Strite’s included kohlrabi, green beans, sweet corn, a cucumber, nectarines, and yellow plums.  The nectarines aren’t quite ripe enough yet, so I am letting them sit before I eat them.  I gave the cucumber to my co-worker because my grandparent’s garden is exploding with them right now and I kept the kohlrabi to myself.  I have been craving soup for a few weeks now and my plan is to make a creamy chowder out of this Pokémon looking vegetable.  If anyone local is playing Pokémon Go, Strite’s is a Pokestop, so go restock your Pokeballs and pick up some fresh fruit and vegetables while you are there!20160719_123853

Since I received yellow plums this week and the Methley plums last week, I decided to make something for breakfast with them.  These oatmeal plum muffins make a sweet and easy breakfast and they are great served warm.  They also received great reviews from all of my taste testers.  If you use muffin liners and are having trouble with them sticking to the muffin, grease them or brush them with melted butter first and they should not stick.

Oatmeal Plum Muffins

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 2 cups oatmeal
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 banana
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 5.3 oz container of vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2-3 Tbsp honey
  • 4-6 plums, chopped (should be ~1 cup)


  1. Preheat oven to 325 and line a baking pan with aluminum foil.  Spread the oatmeal on the pan and sprinkle with the cinnamon.  Bake for 5 minutes.  Set aside to cool.  Turn the oven up to 350.
  2. Combine the banana, eggs, yogurt, baking powder and honey in a bowl and mix on low with an electric mixer.
  3. Add the cooled oatmeal to a blender and pulse until it is smooth.  Stir the oatmeal into the liquid ingredients.
  4. Stir in the chopped plums. Spoon the mixture into a muffin tin. Bake for 25 minutes.  Enjoy!

Salmon and Swiss Chard Rice Bowl

Remember the Swiss chard from last week’s CSA? I almost forgot about it, too. Luckily it was still good, minus a few scraps, and I was able to make this delicious dish. I adapted my recipe from this Asian Salmon Bowl with Lime Drizzle. Because it is so hot out, I made my salmon on the stove instead of the oven. The combination of garlic, maple syrup, and soy sauce is just amazing and the salmon goes great with the Swiss chard and rice.
This recipe makes a quick and easy lunch for one, but you can easily adapt it to serve more.

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Salmon and Swiss Chard Rice Bowl

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • ¼ cup brown rice
  • 1 salmon filet
  • ½ bunch of Swiss chard
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes


  1. Prepare the rice according to directions.
  2. While the rice is cooking, chop the Swiss chard. Warm a pan to medium heat and add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the Swiss chard and sauté 10-15 minutes.
  3. Prepare the glaze for the salmon by whisking together the garlic, soy sauce, maple syrup, lime juice, and red pepper flakes.
  4. Heat another pan to medium or medium-low heat and add the remaining tablespoon of oil. Coat the salmon with the sauce on one side and place that side down in the pan. Cook for 3-5 minutes while coating the other side of the salmon with the sauce. Flip and cook an additional 3-5 minutes. Drizzle sauce on the salmon while it cooks.
  5. In a bowl, combine the rice, Swiss chard, and salmon. If you have any remaining sauce, you can sprinkle more on top. Enjoy!

CSA Week 8

Who gets a sinus infection in the middle of July?  I do, apparently.  I have been using eye drops, nasal spray and breathe-rite strips, drinking Echinacea tea with honey, taking hot showers, and taking medicine.  I have even ordered a humidifier.  I am starting to feel a little better, but it was not a pretty sight for a few days.

What is a pretty sight is this week’s CSA.  This week’s CSA contained sweet corn, zucchini, Methley plums, blueberries, fennel, and spring onions. 20160712_121654-1

I have a plan for the fennel, so hopefully once I have recovered 100%, I will post that recipe. My grandfather’s garden is full of zucchini, so I gave my co-worker both zucchinis from the CSA.  The plums are sweet and juicy even though they are little.

Since I haven’t been feeling well, I have been keeping my diet fairly simple, but I have still managed to eat well.

One tasty recipe you can make with sweet corn is called Elotes.  There are different variations, but I like mine with mayonnaise, chili powder, and Parmesan cheese.  It can be a little messy, but it is very delicious.20160711_105145

Last week, I helped my grandparents with their senior Bichon, Bitsy.  To thank me, my grandfather made my Nona’s recipe of beets and potatoes.  It is served cold and sprinkled with parsley.  It is one of my favorite beet dishes.  The beets, potatoes, and parsley all came from his garden.20160712_134830

My garden is doing well.  I have a few cucumbers and a cantaloupe growing.  I realized with this week’s CSA that the fennel in my garden still has a lot of growing to do.  Right now, it is just a little sprig.  The tomatoes have not been liking the heat so what is growing is still green, but hopefully soon, I will have some fresh red tomatoes.

Sweet Corn Festival at Strite’s Orchard

On Saturday, July 9th, Strite’s Orchard held a Sweet Corn Festival.  There were a lot of activities for kids such as face painting and a hay ride.  They had food from Official BBQ and Burgers which is a handmade BBQ joint in Harrisburg (try the pulled pork sandwiches and fries, you will not be disappointed).  Strite’s also had the grand opening of their Hershey’s Ice Cream Shack. 2016070995103053

I went with my sister and we walked up to where you can pick your own blueberries and raspberries before heading back down to the market.  It was busy and very hot and humid, so we did not stay too long.  My sister worked at Strite’s before going away to college and we chatted with her old co-workers.  One asked me how the CSA was going and I told her it was great.  I did admit that I gave my leftover kale to my co-worker’s bearded dragon and she joked that she would add that to next week’s newsletter.2016070995103619

I would have liked to try the fried corn, but my sister had plans to visit friends and we had to go.  On the way out, we stopped for an ice cream cone.  I had a cone of what was called Playdough.  It’s like the classic cookie dough ice cream except it was bright yellow and the chunks of cookie dough were blue or pink.  It was probably not the healthiest choice, but it was fun to try. 2016070995102424

Local festivals are always fun and if there are any in your area, please go and support local businesses.  You might discover something new.