Seasonal Spotlight: Beets


beet sweet potato recipeOur family has made a commitment to source our produce from local farms with organic growing methods.  We invested in a share from a local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program and buy the rest of our produce from local farms at farmers markets.  This has given us a chance to try foods that we don’t usually buy, and I have loved finding ways to prepare them and learn about them (follow on instagram @kfamilygoessustainable)

Our most recent CSA basket contained two varieties of beets, Chiogga beets and candy-stripe heirloom beets (pictured).  People tend to have a love/hate relationship with beets, and I’ve always fallen more on the hate side, but I wanted to give these freshly grown beets a chance.  They didn’t disappoint.  I paired them with sweet potatoes, bacon, and the greens from the beet leaves (see recipe below) and the flavors were a perfect marriage of sweet and salty.

Besides their unique taste and bold color, beets pack a powerhouse of nutrition.

Beets are jam packed with vitamins and minerals including vitamin C, magnesium, iron, copper, and phosphorus. They also contain carotenoids, lutein, glycine, betaine, and beneficial flavonoids.  With all of these nutrients, beets have been known to be beneficial for the heart, prevent certain cancers, stimulate liver and gall bladder function, prevent respiratory problems, prevent cataracts, be an aphrodisiac, and increase energy levels.

Beets are worth trying, especially if you find them freshly picked from your local farmer. Note: Beets are also be used as a dye, so they could turn your hands or counters red. 

Beet and Sweet Potato Sauté


  • 3-4 small to medium beets or 2 larger ones, peeled and cubed with greens
  • 2 small to medium or 1 large sweet potato, cubed
  • 4 slices bacon


  1. Cook bacon on stove top in large sauté pan (I use my cast iron skillet).  Set bacon aside.
  2. Use the bacon fat to sauté the beets and sweet potatoes.  Cook until beets and sweet potatoes are cooked through.
  3. Add beet greens and chopped bacon to your beet/sweet potato mixture.  Cook until everything is warm and greens are cooked down.
  4. Remove from heat and enjoy!

Perfect as a side dish. Try cooking an egg on top for a delicious breakfast!

What are your favorite recipes using beets? Please share on our facebook page.

Joelle Kurczodyna, NTP
@kfamilygoessustainable on Instagram

Homemade Pesto

Pesto RecipeOne of my goals this summer is to keep up with harvesting, so that I reap all of the benefits of our small, backyard garden. We planted quite a bit of basil and it is already big enough to harvest. I have learned that the more leaves you pick, the more they grow. You can harvest it many times - learn more about growing and harvesting basil.

What is the best way to use an abundance of basil? Make pesto, of course!

An awesome benefit to cooking with herbs is that you get an abundance of the green vegetable color profile in a different way than your typical salad or broccoli side dish.  Pesto is a delicious topping for chicken, fish, spaghetti squash, or spiralated zucchini.

This is a quick and easy pesto sauce, using ingredients that you probably have on hand. Make double or even bigger batches when basil is plentiful. The pesto freezes well and I love having the fresh garden taste during the winter. Freeze in ice cube or small muffin cups. Once frozen, empty them into another container and keep in the freezer until needed.

Simple Pesto

Yield: ½ cup pesto


  • 1 cup of packed basil leaves
  • ¼ cup of walnuts (pine nuts, cashews, or another kind of nut works well too)
  • 1-2 chipped garlic cloves
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  •  Salt and pepper to taste


In a food processor combine basil, walnuts and spices until blended thoroughly. Pour in olive oil and blend again until mixture has reached desired consistency.

Store in refrigerator for up to one week or freeze for later use.


Article by: Joelle Kurczodyna, NTP

Creating a Healthier Thanksgiving Menu

thanksgiving collage copyThanksgiving is just around the corner, the one day of the year when notching your belt one hole too big is not only acceptable but generally encouraged. On such a day, is it possible to stick to a menu that consists of all real, unprocessed, nourishing foods?   Absolutely!


Here are several variations of the typical thanksgiving fare that include only real food, unprocessed ingredients! As you begin planning your menu this year, try subbing out or adding one or more of these delicious recipes to your Thanksgiving feast! You may be surprised that by doing so, you’ll actually feel good after feasting, instead of the standard post thanksgiving lethargy and stomach ache. Enjoy!


The Bird:

Easy Roasted Turkey with Sage Butter

Butterflied Turkey Recipe (with tutorial)



Sausage, Apple and Cranberry Stuffing

Paleo Comfort Foods - Stuffing


Green Bean Casserole:

Paleo Green Bean Casserole


Sweet Potato Casserole:

Sweet Potato Casserole

Roasted Garlic and Butternut Squash Mash



3 Ingredient Cranberry Sauce


Other Sides:

Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Bacon

Butternut Squash Risotto

Cauliflower "Mashed Potatoes"



Pumpkin Bars

Pumpkin Pie

Apple Crisp

Homemade Pumpkin Puree and Amazing Pumpkin Bars

Tis the season for pumpkin everything! However, before you pick up that can of pumpkin puree, maybe it’s the year to make your own! I know that the canned stuff may seem simpler but really, making your own is not hard, you get way more bang for your buck, and it tastes WAY better! So how do you do it?


Homemade Pumpkin Puree


                1 Pie Pumpkin (That’s it!)


                Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Stab pumpkin 7-8 times with sharp knife all over the skins surface. Place whole pumpkin on glass dish is the oven and let cook for an hour. Once cooked, cut in half and let cool. Once cooled, remove seeds (reserve for roasting) and scoop flesh into a bowl. Puree using an immersion blender, food processor, or blender. Store in mason jar until ready to use. Pumpkin puree also freezes and thaws well for later use.

Once you have that delicious homemade pumpkin puree, I always make these delicious pumpkin bars. The thing about this recipe is that it only seems to work with the real homemade stuff; canned pumpkin does not result in nearly the same delicious flavor and texture.

Amazing Pumpkin Bars


                2/3 cup of coconut flour (available at most health food stores)

                ½ tsp Sea Salt

                1 tsp Baking soda

                1 tsp Cinnamon

                8 Eggs

                2 cups Fresh Pureed Pumpkin

                2/3 cup of Honey (raw) or Maple Syrup (Grade B) -or a combination of the two

                ½ cup Coconut Oil, melted

                1 cups Chocolate Chips


                Mix together coconut flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon. Add eggs, pumpkin, honey/maple syrup, and melted coconut oil and mix until well blended (I use my immersion blender for this). Stir in chocolate chips. Pour into a 9x13 greased baking dish. Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes until cooked through. Cool, serve, enjoy! This is a crowd favorite but also freezes well and can be made into muffins instead of bars (just lessen cooking time to 15-20 minutes).


Adapted from this recipe:


Author: Joelle Kurczodyna, NTP

Beef and Veggie Crockpot Chili

This fall, soups and chili have been staples for us. They are a great way to sneak in tons of extra veggies and are a super nourishing, comfort food that everyone loves. Plus they make great leftovers! This recipe is especially convenient because if using grass fed beef, you can just throw it right into the crock pot thawed or frozen and it cooks beautifully.  The vegetables and spices are very flexible in this recipe.  Mushrooms, squash, or sweet potatoes are great additions. If you like it spicy, add more spices or jalapeno.  If you are serving a crowd or want more leftovers, doubling this recipe is the way to go!

veggie chili

Beef and Veggie Crockpot Chili

Serves: 4


                1 pound grass fed ground beef

                1-15 oz can of tomato sauce

                1-15 oz can of diced tomatoes

                1-2 Green Peppers, chopped

                1-2 Onions, Chopped

                1-2 diced, zucchini

                4 Carrots

                1 Tbsp Chili Powder

                1 Tbsp Cumin

                1 Tbsp Unsweetened Cocoa

                ½ tsp Oregano

                ½ tsp Cinnamon

                Salt and Pepper to Taste




Mix beef, tomatoes, tomato sauce, veggies, and spices in crock pot. Cook on low for 7-8 hours or high for 4. Top with optional cheese and avocado.


Author: Joelle Kurczodyna, NTP

Fiesta Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

It is finally starting to feel like fall and with it comes some of my favorite foods!  This is the only time of the year when beautiful orange winter squashes and sweet potatoes are in abundance.  We got our first round of sweet potatoes in our crop share basket this week so I wanted to try doing something different with them.  I love how versatile sweet potatoes.  Some of our favorite ways to eat them are mashed, as fries, cubed, hash browned, and baked.  However, I wanted to try something that would be more filling as an entree instead of just a side dish.  That's how these fiesta stuff sweet potatoes were born.  Maybe you can tell from the Italian Stuffed Pepper recipe, butstuffed sweet potatoes 002 a common meal at our house are stuffing whatever vegetable is in season with whatever meat you have and it is always surprisingly delicious.  Besides sweet potatoes and peppers, zucchini, acorn squash, and butternut squash are some of our favorite things to eat this way. 

On to the recipe.  This is very easy to prep ahead and reheat and depending on the type of meat and spices you use can be adapted to your family's style. 

Fiesta Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Yield: 8 - 1/2 sweet potato portions

Serves: 4-8


  • 4 large sweet potatoes
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 diced onion
  • Spinach or other green
  • Seasonings to taste (for a Mexican flair, I used chili powder, garlic, and little cumin)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Avocado and cilantro (as a topping)

What to do:

Bake sweet potatoes at 400 for 1 hr.  While potatoes are cooking, brown ground beef and add onion once beef is almost cooked through.  Add in desired spices and greens until the greens are cooked down and the taste is to your liking.  Once the sweet potatoes are done, slice in half length wise and using a fork push the flesh of the sweet potato down as much as you can.  Scoop a healthy amount of the beef mixture onto the sweet potato.  Return to oven (or reheat later) at 350 for 10 minutes.  Top with avocado and cilantro when serving.