Productivity. This has been the word of the week. Allison has wrapped up her finals FOR GOOD. That means she is officially on Winter-Break-Mode. Woooooooooooo! Her productive late nights studying by the light of our Christmas tree have paid off, or so we’re both hoping as we await for her final grades to be posted…*cue scary-uncertain-piano music* (but she’s a smart cookie, her grades are gonna be stellar).
We’ve also been productively maintaining the cleanliness of our little apartment. It’s amazing what two busy girls can do to this place, and mainly what two busy-hungry-always-cooking girls can do to this kitchen (seriously could use two sinks in this place — maybe we drop that in the suggestion box in the apartment office).
And as school is wrapped up and as the apartment is scrubbed and pampered, there’s now another area of our lives where some productivity could be used… Christmas shopping.
Peering under our Christmas tree, we see only three gifts: a tissue-papered wrapped present for our momma, a metallic bag with left-over yellow tissue paper for Ash and a Peanuts Movie decorated bag for another gift for Ash (and now that I think about it, where did that Peanuts bag come from? Neither of us have seen the movie…). The stocking for Allison has a few lumps, signifying some lil’ goodies, but the remaining space on our Christmas tree skirt just screams that we’re slacking this year.
Most years we nail this, and we do this Christmas gifting stuff really well. This year, our wallets are extremely stressed and even our coin purses are a bit dusty. Sadly, during the past couple of months we’ve collected some stresses and majority of those have been financial stresses. All the car issues we’ve been having –tickets, hits on the highway, new tires, etc. — has really wiped us out. Yet, we’re eager (SO EAGER) to get each other the best of the best as we usually try to, but we can’t help but feel the days creep closer to Christmas and our time and money not being present to help our holiday shopping productivity.
Thus, we’ve been brainstorming some new gift ideas, ones that are less expensive but are simply just as wonderful. And it seems that our gifting-brainstorming arises when we’re being productive in our kitchen. Lately, when we have a cutting board and veggies to chop, we’ll blab about cutesy gift ideas for momma that we can bet she’ll love and that are under $15 — we wish we could share with you all what these may be, but Mom is quite the fan of the blog (love you, Mom!) and we can’t ruin a surprise! And as we were getting our carrots from Steadfast Farm all washed up to be glazed, we had a few brilliant ideas for our family’s White Elephant game this year! (And we should probably try gettin’ those in the next couple of days…where’s that To-Do list pen at…).
Have you ever had one of those moments when you bite into something and realize that everything in life is going to be just fine? Or those moments when you sink your teeth into a vegetable and realize you should have been eating it this way for years? Folks, this happened to us.
We had a handful of mandarins and a bundle of carrots in our Steadfast Farm CSA box, and we decided to put the two orange-y fellas together. The carrots in their full and beautiful length as they are left un-chopped, are cooked in a sweet and tangy simmering sauce. The sauce consists of mandarin juice, honey, ginger, and salt and pepper. It bubbled up perfectly in the skillet and cooked these carrots to the perfect melt-in-your-mouth bite in under 20 minutes.
WHY EAT THAT: Carrots
We know carrots typically as being orange but they can be found in purple, white, yellow, and red. They all are packed with beta carotene which is a strong red-orange pigment that gives carrots their bright color and it’s also a powerful antioxidant. Carrots are also rich in fiber, Vitamin A and C. Fiber helps to add bulk to our stool and helps to eliminate constipation, Vitamin A helps with our eye health, and Vitamin C helps to stimulate the activity of our white blood cells to keep our immune system strong. Eat carrots fresh, steamed, roasted, or glazed in a mandarin sauce!
These carrots will be the perfect side dish to your holiday table spread and you and you’re loved ones will hopefully discover that your carrots should always be cooked in this tangy manner.
1 bundle of fresh carrots
2 tbsp olive oil
2-3 tbsp honey
3 mandarins, juiced (may substitute for oranges/tangelos)
1 tsp grated or ground ginger
sea salt + black pepper
1. Wash carrots and trim the tops if they still have their greens attached (save the greens for garnish).
2. In a large skillet over medium heat, drizzle olive oil and let heat-up.
3. In a small bowl, mix together the honey, orange juice, grated/ground ginger, a pinch of sea salt and black pepper.
4. Add the carrots to the skillet and drizzle with bowl mixture.
5. Bring the liquid to a boil and reduce to a low simmer, about medium-low heat.
6. Cook the carrots covered for about 12-15 minutes or until they are fork-tender.
7. Taste for flavor! Add more sea salt if needed or add a pinch of cayenne pepper if you’re looking for a kick.
8. Enjoy as a side dish to your holiday meal or to your weeknight dinner.
9. Store left over carrots in an airtight container in the fridge for about 1 week.
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2. Carrots Nutrition and Good Health Part 2 bodily functions. World Carrot Museum. 2015. Web.
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4. Sies H., Stahl W. Vitamins E and C, beta-carotene, and other carotenoids as antioxidants. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Dec 1995, Vol 62:6, 1315S-1321S.