- March Campaign 2014
- March 4th, 2014
For the past several years, the St. Peter community has joined together to raise food and monetary donations for the St. Peter Area Food Shelf as part of Minnesota FoodShare’s March Campaign. Last year we joined together with the Twin City area co-ops to raise over 100,000 pounds/dollars in donations and we are excited to keep this partnership alive this year. With all food and money donated in St. Peter staying right here at the St. Peter Area Food Shelf, this is our chance to give where we live. Last year, St. Peter rallied to raise over 3000 pounds/dollars during the March Campaign.
Help us reach our goal of 3500 pounds/dollars.
- The Chimayo
- February 18th, 2014
Did you notice the new sandwich in the deli, the Chimayo? It’s only here for a limited time, so be sure to try it while it lasts (until the end of this week).
The deli staff is busy creating…and competing. Every 2 weeks, three deli staff have the opportunity to wow their co-workers with creative and delicious sandwich ideas. The winning staff member will have their sandwich featured on the sandwich board for two weeks. Then it is up to you…the most popular sandwiches will find themselves a permanent home in the deli.
This week’s creation is brought to you by Erik Foutch – the Chimayo. Erik describes it as “a wonderful way to warm up this winter.”
It all starts with the turkey. You can’t have a great turkey sandwich without great turkey. And you can’t have great turkey without well cared for and humanely raised turkeys. Wow, was that too many turkeys in two sentences?
The turkey used in the deli is raised in Cannon Falls with Ferndale Market, the way turkeys should be raised – on pasture, in flocks, and without any hormones or antibiotics. After frolicking in the fields for a few months, we receive the whole turkey breasts here at the Co-op. They are un-pressed and un-processed when they arrive. The turkey breasts are then brined in a sugar-salt solution overnight, giving the turkey time to develop that juicy, delicious flavor. The next day, they are roasted to perfection, ready for slicing and sandwiches. All that pasture-frolicking sure leads to a delicious sandwich in the end!
For more information on Ferndale Market Turkey, visit their website: http://ferndalemarketonline.com/
- Whipped Coconut Oil
- January 30th, 2014
By Statcie Eckerdt, Wellness Manager
Coconut oil is a favorite product of many Co-op customers and staff members. We take it as a supplement, cook with it, and use it for body and hair care. Even though we love it, during the winter months, it can just be too much work. Common complaints are “the coconut oil is hard to get out of the jar!” or “it is too much work.” If you find yourself facing these annoying problems, keep on reading.
After searching for a clean, whipped, coconut oil product, I realized that the best product may be one made at home. This is so easy, fun, and worth the little bit of effort required. All you need is extra virgin coconut oil (organic is always the best policy and unrefined is recommended) and an electric mixer.
- Scoop the solid coconut oil into a mixing bowl.
- Mix on high speed with the wire whisk attachment for 5-7 minutes, until whipped into a light airy cream. If it starts to melt during the whipping, you may put it in the fridge for a few minutes to firm it up, and then continue whipping. You do not want the coconut oil to turn into liquid.
- Store in a glass jar, or a Talenti Gellato container (it is a great size, safe in the bathroom, and has a wide mouth for easy access to your dreamy whipped coconut oil!) at room temperature or in the fridge if starts to melt. It should stay soft even in colder temperatures.
Add-ins can be fun and beneficial as well! Try whipping these up with 1 cup coconut oil:
- 1 tsp. Argan Oil: extra hydration to soften your face, body, and hair. Argan oil is rich in vitamin E and can also lighten scars and uneven skin tone.
- 1 tsp. Jojoba Oil: great to prevent moisture loss, soothe irritated skin, and for dry and mature skin. Jojoba oil is closest to our skin’s natural sebum.
- 1 tsp. Rosehip Seed Oil: for symptoms of Psoriasis, Eczema and Dermatitis; it also protects your skin from the stressors (like the sun and pollution) that cause wrinkles and protects your hair and scalp from itchy dryness.
Essential Oil: add a few to several drops, to your liking or needs – here are a few suggestions:
- Tea Tree is excellent in coconut oil for an acne oil wash: rub onto face/body, allow to rest for 5 minutes, wipe with a steamy washcloth, done!
- Lavender can be used for most troubled skin types, also for relaxation.
- Peppermint is stimulating, good for nausea and headaches, and feels great on tired feet!
- The list goes on, you can do your own research or come into the Co-op and we can help find the right essential oil for you!
Food grade essential oils make delicious lip balms or flavor whipped oil used for supplementation. It can also be added when oil- pulling, a technique used for teeth whitening and cleansing your gums: take 1-2 tsp extra virgin coconut oil, add a few drops of clove or peppermint oil, swish for 20 minutes, spit into the garbage (to avoid a clogged sink), rinse with warm water, and brush.
Have fun whipping up your own coconut oil creations! Package them in a pretty jar with a ribbon for a gift to yourself or a friend!
For more information visit:
- Goat Week
- January 21st, 2014
Feel like trying before buying? Drop in this Saturday (1/25/2014) for a sample of goat meat in Filo dough and Rochdale Farms cheddar goat cheese.
The Co-op now carries goat meat in a variety of cuts – stew meat, ground, and shoulder roast, available in the meat freezer. Though goat meat has been a staple meat product throughout much of the world for centuries, it is just catching on here in the United States. Goat is a red meat, but is leaner than beef, pork, and chicken with fewer calories, lower fat content, and lower cholesterol.
We are lucky to have a local supplier of goat (and lamb) meat – Shepard Song Farm, located in Downing, WI. All of their animals are raised on pasture and grass fed throughout the year, spending 90 – 100% of their life on pasture (with appropriate shelters for weather protection). Further, pasture land is pesticide free and the animals have are never fed grain or animal byproduct and don’t receive hormones or antibiotics. Life on the pasture leads to higher quality meat, just as it does with other meat animals. It also lends to a better life for the animals, where they are able to fulfil their natural tendencies to graze and frolic. More information on their farming practices and background information on goat and lamb, visit their website at http://www.shepherdsongfarm.com.
So I have it, now how do I cook it?
The key to cooking it is low and slow – because if its lower fat content, it can more easily dry out and become tough than other types of meat. Further, it is best cooked rare to medium, overcooking is a common mistake which makes the meat lose some of its flavor and delicious texture.
Goat can be easily substituted for beef in your favorite recipes, such as spaghetti bolognaise or a hearty stir-fry. It can also be slowly simmered in stew, is great with a wide variety of spices and herbs, and can stand on its own with some very simple seasoning.
Here is one recipe to try (borrowed from Heavy Table):
Talmatie’s Curried Goat Stew
2 lbs lean goat meat cut up in about 1-2 inch pieces
½ onion, chopped (set one tbsp aside)
¼ c fresh cilantro, chopped
4-5 garlic cloves, crushed
2-3 fresh, red chili peppers
1 ½ tbsp garam masala
½ tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp salt or to taste
2 tbsp vegetable oil
¼ tsp fenugreek seeds
3 tbsp yellow curry powder
A pinch of cumin seeds
2-3 cups chicken stock or to taste
¼ tsp ground cumin
1. Prepare the goat meat by trimming off fat and tendons, and then pressure-cooking the meat for 10 minutes. The meat should be in the water; this will create a milder flavor and more tender meat.
2. Drain the meat, and mix well with the onion, cilantro, garlic, peppers, garam masala, turmeric, and salt. Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
3. Once the meat has marinated, begin the next step. Heat the oil in a large non-stick pan or Dutch oven to medium, and then add the cumin and fenugreek seeds and roast until golden brown.
4. Add the remaining one tablespoon of onion and cook until golden – the spices will turn almost black, but that’s okay.
5. Add the curry powder and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly so that it doesn’t burn.
6. Add the goat meat mixture. Raise the heat to high for a few minutes to get the mixture cooking, and then reduce it to medium for about 15 minutes.
7. Add the stock, and simmer gently for 30 to 40 minutes or until the meat is tender.
8. Stir in the ground cumin and serve over basmati rice.
Other Goat Goodies
Goat milk, cheese, and yogurt – all available at the Co-op! With a lower lactose content, these can often be enjoyed by those who are lactose intolerant!
- Member-Owner Appreciation Days
- January 10th, 2014
- The Skinny on Winter Skin
- January 6th, 2014
By Klea Brewton-Fitzgerald and Stacie Eckerdt
Our skin takes a beating at this time of year – whether male or female, young or old. With beyond freezing temperatures outside and the dry, stuffy winter air inside, our skin can turns itchy and dry. Here are some tips to support your skin from our wellness staff.
Think Inside Out
Drink plenty of water to hydrate your skin – it is easy to get dehydrated in winter without realizing it. Ideally consume water at room temperature or warmer; if you do get dehydrated, add an electrolyte product, such as Vega Sport Electrolyte or ConcenTrace Minerals, to water to help your body absorb it. Be careful though, if you consume too much salt, you may throw salt content off balance which can cause dehydration, so it is important to pay attention to what your body is telling you. Also, go easy on caffeinated beverages which are natural diuretics that can dry out skin. Get your liquids with pure water, pure fruit & vegetable juices, or herbal teas.
Fruits and vegetables with high water content are especially important to consume in the winter. In addition to providing more moisture, they help you digest food and also cleanse your system. Add vitamin A and vitamin E rich foods to your diet, such as green leafy vegetables, sweet potatoes, squash, avocado, and mango.
Our lips suffer through the winter, sometimes worse than the rest of us. Using a lip balm that contains vitamin E can help to soothe your chapped lips. Red Palm Oil is naturally high in these vitamins and is great for cooking and baking – you can find it in the grocery aisle, with the oils, or in Wellness. Alaffia also makes Red Palm lip balm -check out http://www.coconutresearchcenter.org/article%20red%20palm%20oil.htm for more information on red palm oil. Also, always make sure the red palm oil you purchase is Orangutan safe.
Fruits and veggies are just a start to helping your dry and itching skin. A diet rich in fatty acids found in salmon, fish, avocado, olive oil, nuts, soya/tofu, or omega supplements is also helpful this time of year. Evening primrose oil supplements are also great for skin.
While humidifiers are great on their own to add moisture to the indoor environment, adding your favorite essential oils to the filter leads to some extra aromatherapy and, of course, a great smelling house.
Overall Hands and Body
The products you use in summer may not be as effective in colder months when your skin needs more nourishment. Milky, rather than foaming cleansers, will help your body retain moisture. Soaps with sulfates can strip your body of naturally protective oils, so it is best to avoid these. Zum Bar goat milk soaps (available in “cut your own size”), as well as the Acure Ultra Hydrating Body Wash, are wonderful in the winter! Avoid moisturizers with petroleum that can block you skin from making its own oils, adding to your dry skin woes. Natural oils or an oil-based moisturizer supports your skin – Jojoba oil is the closest to the skin’s natural sebum (natural protective oils) and isn’t greasy. Coconut oil, sesame oil, shea butter, cocoa butter, or a combination of these also work well. For extra nourishment, both rosemary and lavender can be added to these oils. When deciding between creams or lotions, remember that creams aren’t as greasy and hold moisture really well while lotions absorb more quickly. If you like the fast absorption power of lotions, try to avoid lotions that contain alcohol, which increases absorption, but also causes dryness.
Apply moisturizers often, especially right after washing. When your hands or body are damp, moisture gets sealed in when oils or other moisturizers are applied. It is a good idea to use warm rather than hot water for washing and bathing and take short baths and showers as hot water strips oils from your skin. You can also add sea salt or oils to your bath to help protect your skin. Severely dry hands or feet may be helped by applying a thick moisturizer before bed and covering your hands or feet with cotton gloves or socks while you sleep. Worker Bee, Alaffia, and Skin Salvy make the perfect products for hands and feet!
Our wellness aisle’s staff favorites:
Africa’s Secret Skin Cream
Growing Blue Flowers products
Naked Beauty Lotions and Soaps
Nubian Heritage products
Shikai Borage Therapy Dry Skin Lotion
Dr. Bronner’s Coconut Oil (in aisle 1)
www.thedailygreen.com › LIVING GREEN
Quinessence Aromatherapy Ltd 1997 – 2012.
Emilie Davidson Hoyt, “Top Tips for Dry Winter Skin”, 1/16/2013,www. Huffington Post.com
- Holiday Hors d’oeuvres
- December 20th, 2013
Whether you’re throwing a feast for Christmas or a New Year’s get together, your party is sure to improve with great Hors d’oeuvres. They can be simple or complex; a starter, the meal, or dessert.
Impress your holiday guests with a cheese board or a theme-based assortment of cheeses. Serve as part of a larger buffet or by itself as an appetizer course. Jim and Malia, of the Co-op’s cheese department, have prepared four possibilities for cheese boards destined to impress. Feel free to change any of the selections, accompaniments, or make your own original board from the Co-op’s wide selection of find cheeses. Remember, you can always try new cheeses at the Co-op before you buy them!
Minnesota Cheese Board
Display the following cheese on individual cutting boards (to prevent the flavors from blending). Accompany with an assortment of crackers and all will pair well with sausages.
- Jeff’s Select Gouda: Caves of Fairbault; Fairbault, MN
- St. Pete’s Select Blue: Caves of Fairlbault; Fairbault, MN
- Stickney Hills Dairy Chevre (goat), Plain or Garlic and Herb: Stickney Hill Dairy; Kimball, MN
- Sunny Road 2-Year Aged Cheddar: Morning Star Farm, Cokato, MN
Colorful Holiday Cheese Board
An eye-pleasing display of flavorful cheeses. Arrange them with fresh and dried fruits and nuts.
- Sage Derby (and English-style cheddar)
- Carmont Brie with Herbs
- Maple Leaf White Cheddar with Cranberries
- Havarti with Dill
The Blue Board
Serve with fresh, ripe pears and an artisan baguette or ciabatta bread.
- Amablu Gorgonzola
- Saga Blue/Brie
- LaCoccinelle Roquefort Papillon
The Dessert Board
Creamy cheeses with a hint of sweetness are a fabulous ending to a holiday party. Accompany these with slightly sweet crackers such as Nairn’s Oat or Belgium Butter Crisp Wafer Cookies. Add a fine old port wine to top off the night.
- Stickney Hill Goat Cheese with Honey
- White Stilton with Mango and Ginger
- Chevre au Chocolat
Slow Cooker Bacon Jam
This recipe, suggested by our Meat Buyer Tom (adapted from marthastewart.com), doubles as a great appetizer or gifting idea. This savory jam is great served with bread.
Prep Time: 30 minutes; Total Time: 4 hours; Yield: 3 cups
- 1 1/2 lbs. slice bacon, cut crosswise into 1 inch pieces
- 2 medium yellow onions, diced small
- 3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
- 1/2 cup cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
– 3/4 cub brewed coffee (or, as Tom suggests, bourbon whiskey)
- In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until fat is rendered and bacon lightly browned (about 20 minutes). Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels to drain. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the fat (reserve the rest); add onions and garlic. Cook until onions are translucent. Add vinegar, brown sugar, maple syrup, and coffee (or bourbon) and bring to a boil, stirring and scraping up browned bits from the skillet, about 2 minutes. Add bacon and stir to combine.
- Transfer mixture to a 6-quart slow cooker and cook on high, uncovered, until liquid is syrupy, 3.5 – 4 hours. Transfer to a food processor, pulse until coarsely chopped. Let cool, then refrigerate in an airtight container; store up to 4 weeks.
Recommended by Jim, our cheese buyer, as a great appetizer or for a sweet treat.
Yield: 32 appetizers
- 2 puff pastry sheets
- 2 8 oz. Brie wheels
- 1/2 cup blackberry preserves
- 2 tsp. chopped rosemary
- beaten egg, as needed
- On a floured surface, roll out the puff pastry sheets into 12 in. x 12 in. sheets; cut each sheet into 16 equal squares.
- Slice each Brie wheel into 16 equal pieces.
- In a bowl, combine blackberry preserves and rosemary
- Place 1 piece of Brie and a scant teaspoon of the jam mix into the center of a puff pastry. Brush the edges with a beaten egg, fold corners to the center, press well to seal and brush the bundle with egg. Bake at 400 for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
Prairie Breeze Cheese Ball
Also recommended by Jim, our cheese buyer. Can’t be bothered to make your own cheese ball? The deli has ready-made cheese balls available and they are delicious (pictured here). Cheese balls are a great served with fresh bread or your favorite cracker.
- 8 oz. Quark cheese
- 3/4 cup Prairie Breeze cheese, shredded (about 4 oz.)
- 1 cup Pasture Pride Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded (about 4 oz.)
- 1 tablespoon dried onions
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
- finely snipped parsley or pecans for garnish
Place cheeses in a mixing bowl and let stand until softened. Add onion and Worcestershire Sauce and blend at a medium speed until fluffy, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl. Let stand in the refrigerator until you can form a ball. Shape in a ball or log, roll in parsley or chopped nuts. Cover and chill for 2 hours or until firm.
Crostini with Gorgonzola, Caramelized Onions, and Fig Jam
Rob, our Front End Manager , loves this appetizer with freshly baked baguettes, right here from the Co-op.
- 1 cup dried Black Mission figs (about 6 ounces)
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 2 cups water
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- Dash of salt
To prepare jam, remove stems from figs. Place figs and juice in a food processor; process until figs are coarsely chopped. Place fig mixture, 2 cups water, syrup, and dash of salt in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 25 minutes or until thick. Cool completely.
- Cooking spray
- 2 cups vertically sliced yellow onion
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup water (optional)
To prepare onions, heat a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium heat. Add onion, vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon thyme, and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cover and cook 5 minutes. Uncover and cook 20 minutes or until onion is deep golden brown, stirring occasionally. While onion cooks, add 1/2 cup water, 1/4 cup at a time, to keep onion from sticking to pan.
- 1/2 cup (4 ounces) Gorgonzola cheese, softened
- 24 (1/2-inch-thick) slices diagonally cut French bread baguette, toasted (about 12 ounces)
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
Spread 1 teaspoon cheese over each baguette slice. Top each slice with about 1 teaspoon onion mixture and 1 teaspoon jam. Sprinkle evenly with thyme leaves.
The Best Spinach-Artichoke Dip…Ever
Becca, our Education and Outreach Coordinator, loves this dip! It’s a little more involved than your standard spinach-artichoke recipe, but the extra effort is definitely worth it. This is great served with a baguette, pita chips, or your favorite cracker. This recipe is adapted from thepioneerwoman.com.
Prep Time: 5 min; Cook Time: 25 min; Servings: 16
- 3 Tablespoons Butter
- 4 Tablespoons Garlic, Minced
- 1 bag Spinach (5 – 8 ounces, depending on how spinach-y you like it)
- Salt And Pepper, to taste
- 2 cans Artichoke Hearts, Rinsed And Drained
- 3 Tablespoons Butter (additional)
- 3 Tablespoons Flour
- 1-1/2 cup Whole Milk (more If Needed)
- 8 Ounces Softened Cream Cheese
- 1/2 cup Crumbled Feta
- 1/2 cup Grated Parmesan
- 3/4 cups Grated Pepper Jack Cheese
- 1/4 teaspoon Cayenne
- Extra Grated Pepper Jack
- Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and cook for a couple of minutes. Crank up the heat a bit and throw in the spinach. Stir around and cook for a couple of minutes until the spinach wilts. Remove the spinach from the skillet and put it in a small strainer. Squeeze the excess juice back into the skillet. Set the spinach aside.
- Throw in the artichokes and cook over medium high heat for several minutes, until liquid is cooked off and artichokes start to get a little color. Remove the artichokes.
- In the same skillet or a different pot, melt 3 additional tablespoons of butter and whisk in 3 tablespoons of flour until it makes a paste. Cook over medium-low heat for a minute or two, then pour in milk. Stir and cook until slightly thickened; splash in more milk if needed.
- Add cream cheese, feta, Parmesan, pepper jack, and cayenne and stir until cheese are melted and sauce is smooth. Chop artichokes and spinach and add to the sauce. Stir to combine.
- Pour into buttered baking dish. Top with extra grated pepper jack and bake at 375 for 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly. You can also make this ahead of time and bake just before serving.
- Homemade Gifting Ideas
- December 13th, 2013
We’re talking Homemade for the Holidays. Homemade doesn’t have to be limited to the meal – homemade gifts are a great way to show someone you care, without breaking the bank. And what better gift than the gift of food? Or wellness items? Or body care? Here are just a few ideas.
2 Cups rolled oats
1 1/2 cups nuts/seeds (almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds…)
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup honey OR maple syrup 1/4 tsp. cinnamon 1 tsp. salt 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract 1/4 cup dried fruit (I like cranberries)
- 1. Combine oats and nuts/seeds, mix
- 2. Add oil and honey/syrup, coat evenly
- 3. Add cinnamon, salt, and vanilla, stir to coat
- 4. Spread mixture on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Add fruit for the last 10 minutes. It should smell toasty, watch for burning near the end.
- 5. Allow to cool. Put into mason /glass jars (any size) and decorate! The mix should last up to 10 days in an airtight container.
Cookie Mix in a Jar
Your favorite recipe layers nicely into a mason jar (wide mouth jars are easier to fill).
The Best Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix (courtesy of Erica Idso-Weisz)
3 cups nonfat dry milk powder 2 cups powdered sugar 2 cups cocoa powder, dutch-process or natural 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips or finely chopped white chocolate 1/4 tsp. salt
You can do this one of two ways:
- 1. Whisk together all ingredients in a large bowl. Working in two (or more) batches, depending on the size of your food processor, pulse the ingredients in a food processor until the chocolate is finely ground. Put into your gifting jar, ready for mixing.
- OR Layer the ingredients into your gifting jar and give the above instructions.
- 2. To make hot cocoa, put 1/3 cup (or to taste) of the cocoa mix in a mug and stir in 1 cup of hot milk. Top with whipped cream or miniature marshmallows, if desired.
Lavender Bath Salts
Bath salts are great for relaxing in the tub after a long day. You can make as much or as little as you want with a wide variety of scents!
Try mixing coarse sea salt (found in the bulk aisle) with dried flowers, such as lavender or hibiscus (also the bulk aisle), or essential oils. Our wellness staff can give you many hints and recipes for great bath salts or other gifting ideas.
The possibilities for home made git ideas are endless. Not into homemaking? We have lots of great general merchandise for the youngsters and the young at heart.