Real Food in the San Fernando Valley – Where is it? Meetup June 24, 2013 Healthy Happy Hour!

Sheila and I decided to organize meetups to find out where to find real food in the San Fernando Valley. Our first one is Monday June 24, 2013, a Health Happy Hour at Whole Foods Market in Tarzana at 6pm. We’re planning future meetups at Juicy Ladies Organic Bar and Cafe, the Humble Bee Bakery and Cafe, and whatever places the meetup group recommends. This is a great way to discover new places to find real food and meet new people!

Come join Sheila and Maggie in their exploration of where to find real food in the San Fernando Valley, whether in restaurants, stores, farms, or farmers markets. One day after shopping we wanted to find a place to eat lunch and we didn’t want to settle for the usual restaurant fair because we cook at home and use real, whole, and usually organic foods. We looked around the shopping area and could think of only one place where we could get the kind of food that we want to eat and we had already eaten there a few days before. We realized that we needed to investigate and have decided to form this meetup group to invite others with the same interest to join us. We have already identified a few places, but we know that there must be much more, please join us and let us know where you find real food in the San Fernando Valley and sometimes the greater Los Angeles area.

Real Food San Fernando Valley – Gluten-Free Pesto Pasta

Wheat free, gluten free rice spaghetti from Whole Foods Market, Tarzana

Wheat Free, Gluten Free Pesto Pasta

For lunch, thought I could use some carbs, so I remembered I had bought wheat free, gluten free rice spaghetti from Whole Foods. Now what to do with that – went to my garden and got a bunch of basil, a handful of cherry tomatoes. I put the basil in the food processor, with lots of garlic and raw sunflower seeds, didn’t have pine nuts so substituted, and olive oil blended, then added fresh Parmesan cheese, gluten free from Follow your Heart. Love that store in Canoga Park. Drizzled it on top of the pasta. Oh and of course I love my spices so added red chile peppers.

Real Food San Fernando Valley – Beet Greens, USDA SuperTracker, USDA Food-A-Pedia

BeetGreensNutritionListWhile taking a free online nutrition class with Vanderbilt University, I learned about a free application from the USDA called the SuperTracker and it’s used to track your food and physical activity. I used the SuperTracker from May 1 through May 25, 2013 and entered everything I ate on those days. From the Nutrient Report, I learned that I wasn’t getting the daily recommended targets of vitamins and minerals.

When I realized I wasn’t getting enough calcium, I used Google to search “high calcium foods” and learned that I could easily get the daily recommended target with cheese, but cheese also has a lot of empty calories. Spinach has lots of calcium with no empty calories, so I adjusted my diet to replace the cheese with spinach.

Daily recommended target for potassium was very difficult to achieve until I used Google to learn that beet greens are an excellent source of potassium, as well as calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, vitamins A, B6, B12, E, K, Thiamin and Riboflavin.

The nutrition information in the picture came from the Food-A-Pedia on the SuperTracker site. You can compare nutrition information for two foods side by side which I found really helpful for making better food choices.

The information is not exact, for example, there is no choice for cooking beet greens with olive oil, so I chose margarine, but it’s close enough to provide me with a very useful guideline.

Knowing how much nutrition is in 1 cup of cooked beet greens has made them a new favorite with me. The leaves are more tender than kale, and like kale, they take on the flavor of whatever you cook them with. I usually cook them with onions, garlic, and other seasonings.

What are your favorite greens and how do you like to cook them? I bought these organic beet greens this morning at Encino Farmers Market from Rancho Cortez Farms. Muy delicioso!!

Beet Greens 015

mmmmmm beet greens…. gives me potassium, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, vitamins A, B6, B12, E, K, thiamin and riboflavin.

Nutrition, Health, and Lifestyle: Issues and Insights
USDA SuperTracker
USDA Food-A-Pedia
Encino Farmers Market
Rancho Cortez Farms

Real Food San Fernando Valley – Shopping Organic at Encino Farmers Market Sunday Morning

EncinoFM-6-2-13Got up early this morning to buy organic vegetables and fruit at Encino Farmers Market. First stopped by the credit union to get some cash for the farmers.

Good thing I got there early because it was already busy when I arrived about 8:30 am (they open at 8am).

Everything in this picture cost me $20. I bought three bunches of kale (two types), four fuji apples, two yellow onions, two heirloom tomatoes, one bunch of beets with tops attached (I love the greens more than the beets, but I eat both), 1 bunch each of thyme, oregano, and rosemary and a box of blueberries. All organic, no need to worry about pesticides which is a big relief for me because I have three little birds that I share most of this with and they are very sensitive to pesticides.

Encino Farmers Market

Givens Farms
Maggie’s Farms
Ha’s Apple Farm
Rancho Cortez Farms

Real Food San Fernando Valley – Spinach, Tomato, Garlic, Jalapeño

Spinach Tomato Jalepeno Garlic LogoFinding no greens in the fridge, this morning I went to the Westfield Topanga Farmers Market and found there was none – at least I couldn’t find it. Decided to go tomorrow to Encino Farmers Market. Meanwhile, I still needed some greens for today so I went to my local Vons on Topanga Canyon Blvd near Roscoe and picked up some organic baby spinach, organic nectarines and organic fuji apples. For lunch I made the dish you see here with the spinach, an organic heirloom tomato (from Whole Foods Woodland Hills), a jalapeño pepper, two tablespoons of minced garlic, all cooked in olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon organic chicken bullion for about 5 minutes and sprinkled with a tablespoon of fresh squeezed lemon juice. Delicious and nutritious! I love eating spinach because it helps me get the calcium, potassium, and Vitamin A I need. Eating organic means no pesticides!

Topanga Westfield CFM
Encino Farmers Market
Whole Foods Woodland Hills

Real Food San Fernando Valley – Salmon with Harvest Grains

Salmon-Harvest-Grains-logoDoesn’t my lunch look beautiful, tasty, mouth watering? After a pretty hard workout today, I knew I needed something well balanced and a good source of protein. So I looked in my fridge and immediately grabbed the wild salmon I bought last weekend at Encino Farmers market.

I love my omegas! Fresh wild caught salmon from Dry Docks, I bought the belly part, it has more Omega 3s (healthy fats). Dry Docks always has fresh, good looking fish and it’s usually my first stop on Sunday morning after the Aquatic class I teach at the YMCA West Valley. I used organic greens from my patio garden and some from Encino Farmers Market.  So that’s my Rosemary Salmon with greens and a blend of Couscous, Orzo, baby garbanzo beans and Red Quinoa.  Got my fill of protein, fiber and of course healthy fats.

Susan Rigali and the Humble Bee Bakery and Cafe

On the NW corner of Saticoy & Louise

On the NW corner of Saticoy & Louise, where healthy becomes delicious!

DOWNLOAD MP3 – HUMBLE BEE LOVE, Susan Rigali interview (31.18 MB)

DOWNLOAD MP3 – Humble Bee Love song (2.61 MB)

Sheila and Maggie interviewed Susan Rigali of the Humble Bee Bakery and Cafe. The conversation took place at her home and garden venue in Reseda under a huge shade tree, with the scent of jasmine and orange blossoms in the air. We learned that Susan is an inventor, activist, chef, mother, grandmother, business owner/operator. She works consciously to avoid creating trash for the landfills and tries to purchase products without plastic wrappers and bags, she uses only organic ingredients at the restaurant, everything is made from scratch. She is conscious of the energy used to move food from farm to fork and makes every effort to use local food products. Susan uses a solar oven for some events and even showed us a small solar oven system mounted on a Chinese taxi bike that she invented herself. After Sheila’s Real Food Meditation reading is our conversation with Susan and following that you can hear Humble Bee Love, a song with lyrics by Maggie and inspired by our interview with Susan – We hope you enjoy!
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