Being Christ’s Hands and Spinach Alfredo Lasagna Recipe

Medicine Lake, Jasper, Alberta

I have been the recipient of many acts of kindness. The body of Christ has ministered to me in more ways than I can count. When I was expecting a child dear friends took me shopping for brand new clothes, others cleaned my bathroom, and one got down on her knees and gave me a home pedicure. When I was caring for a newborn, the members of Jesus’ precious church dropped off delicious casseroles, gifted soft handmade blankets and cuddled the welcomed infant. In times of financial need, distress, or grief we have experienced hugs, discreet monetary gifts, visits, gifts of garden vegetables and hand-me-down clothing.

In Philippians 4:10-20, Paul thanks the Philippian church for their part in his ministry. They ministered to him in a spiritual way by meeting his physical needs. Today I’m sharing a recipe that my pastor’s wife gave me after she made this for our family when my first child was born. It has become my go-to recipe when I wanted to give someone a meal.

Spinach Alfredo Lasagna

1 box lasagna noodles
1 lb bulk pork sausage (or use spicy)
1 package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
1 jar (450 ml) pre-made Alfredo sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 egg
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 container (450 ml) ricotta cheese (or cottage cheese works too)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 tsp Herbes de Provence herb mix (or substitute Italian Seasoning herb mix)

Soak the noodles in hot water for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, in a skillet, brown the sausage. Drain noodles; set aside. Drain sausage; add spinach, Alfredo sauce, salt and pepper. In a bowl, combine the egg and cheddar, ricotta and Parmesan cheeses; mix well. In an ungreased 13-in. by 9-in. baking dish, layer a third of the sausage mixture, noodles and cheese mixture. Repeat layers twice. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and Herbes de Provence. Cover and bake at 350° for 45 minutes. Let stand for 15 minutes before cutting. Yield: 8-10 servings. Freezes well before or after cooking.

 

In times of change, grief or need we feel the gentle touch of the Savior through the members of His church. How can you be Christ’s hands today?

Eating the Rainbow!

The other day I received my biweekly Organic Box. I had ordered the rainbow!

Red strawberries

(no orange this week)

Yellow tomatoes on the vine

Green Zebra Tomatoes

Green broccoli

Blue Russian Potatoes

Purple Carrots

For a while we had an app for my daughter that played a game with veggies and fruit… you had to match them up by colors and find all the colors of the rainbow. I’m sure we all know the benefits of eating more fruits and vegetables, and looking to eat a variety of colors and types. It’s always fun to try new things, though! Have you ever had a purple carrot? The outer layers are deep purple but the heart is orange.

The other day I made some friends a “purple roast” with “purple” Blue Russian potatoes, beets, red onions and purple carrots. Mmmm!

God has been so good to us to give us such a variety of textures, tastes and beautiful colors in our food.

If you’d like to try out some of these colorful vegetables, you can save a little and get $20 off your first $50 box by using this voucher code: ORGANICJOY. 

Meg

Disclosure: I am a part of the Organic Box Ambassador program. I joined because we enjoy being customers and love the fresh and healthy food they provide. I am not paid for my participation, however, I do receive food credits.

5 Ways to $ave when you Order from the Organic Box

As the song goes, “Little by little, inch by inch! By the yard it’s hard; by the inch, it’s a cinch!” Little choices add up, and you reap what you faithfully sow.  One thing try to do to serve my family is to save money whenever I can (within reason). There are many reasons why we keep getting the Organic Box. The main ones are just that the food is so good and we eat so much healthier and feel better when we’re getting fresh produce delivered regularly. But sometimes it’s easy to have “sticker shock” if you compare supermarket non-organic prices to individual prices in the Organic Box catalogue.

Today I want to share with you some ways that I try to scrimp and save, even while still getting the very best produce we have ever bought in Edmonton.

#1 Shop the Deals

Every week, the good folks at the Organic Box have a link you can access to “DEALS.” (Cue happy thoughts!) Here is a link to the current ones. Every week there are deals on produce, frozen/refrigerated items, grocery, bulk and special sales. Last week, I got nectarines, Red Sangre potatoes (see below), Green Zebra tomatoes, broccoli, Coconut Bliss ice cream bars, Gold Forest Grains whole wheat flour and dairy-free “cheese” all on sale.

#2 Buy Bulk

When you choose your box for the week, you can also look at their “Bulk Cases” category. These are usually add-ons to the regular order for the week. They have bulk that is more for restaurants (20.5 L of Maple Syrup, anyone?), and sizes that sound like what my family can use. At the rate my son goes through yogurt, sometimes it’s nice to get a 2 kg tub of it than to buy several littler containers.

Once there was a mom who doesn’t own a juicer who bought 25 lbs of organic juicing carrots. True story! It seemed like a good idea at the time! We used them for salads, ate them raw, cooked them in stews and soups (including carrot soup–my poor kids!). Then we also tried to give some away to friends. But we enjoyed all those organic carrots for much cheaper than if we had bought them 3 lbs at a time!

Don’t underestimate the value of buying in bulk!

#3 Use the Value-Added feature

Organic Box has one feature that I love that is that its boxes are slightly flexible. Even though the regular box is supposed to be worth $55, there is a little bit of wiggle room. If you have $53 worth of items in your box, but you pick something that is 5.99 to add to it, they will still let you! Each type of box has a predetermined amount of value added. You can see it all on this page. I usually get the Local First Box, and it comes with $5 of wiggle room. Penny pinching!

#4 Buy Local

One reason I get the Local First Box is that I care about supporting our local Alberta farmers. But another reason is that it costs less to ship produce that was raised nearby. So I can get a little more of it for the price than if I got something from Mexico. I love to try new foods, and we have loved some of the variety of foods we have gotten to taste (fennel, Jerusalem artichoke, starfruit, to name a few!). But if I’m just trying to get the most bang for my buck, buying local will help!

#5 Share & Save

Finally, one other way to save is by sharing with your friends how much you love the Organic Box! There is now a feature for anyone who gets a box where they can share a code for their friend to get $20 off. In exchange, you also get $20 off your next box. Win-win!

So if you’d like to try it out, you can save a little and get $20 off your first $50 order by using this coupon code: ORGANICJOY. 

Thank you for listening!

Meg

 

Disclosure: I am a part of the Organic Box Ambassador program. I joined because we enjoy being customers and love the fresh and healthy food they provide. I am not paid for my participation, however, I do receive food credits.

Fresh Strawberries!

The other day one of my friends was mentioning that she bought organic strawberries from one of our local stores here in Edmonton, and they were moldy the very next day. I’ve had similar experiences with organic lettuce or other produce when I buy them from a big box store.

On May 17 I received a delivery from the Organic Box… it had strawberries in it. That weekend was busy with some parties and activities at church. On Monday when I finally pulled out those strawberries to wash and serve them to my kids, they looked like this.

Sweet Organic Strawberries from the Organic Box

These had been in my fridge for a five days and I didn’t have to throw any out or cut off any blemishes. They were very sweet and delicious, too! I think besides the Organic Box, the freshest place to get strawberries in Edmonton is from a farm later in the season!

The Organic Box has lots of great, fresh fruits and vegetables available as well as grocery, meat, bakery and freezer items. If you’d like to try it out, you can get $20 off your first $50 order (that’s up to 40% savings) by using this coupon code: ORGANICJOY.

Disclosure: I am a part of the Organic Box Ambassador program. I joined because we enjoy being customers and love the fresh and healthy food they provide. I am not paid for my participation, however, I do receive food credits.

Fiddleheads! a special spring blessing

I play and teach violin. But I also eat fiddleheads. Fiddlehead ferns, that is!

I first became acquainted with fiddleheads when I was in grade one. We lived in a little neighbourhood on the side of a hill in Edmundston, NB. My best friend and I would tromp through the few streets exploring. I would always get tan lines on my feet wearing little sailor shoes. One day in the spring I met a neighborhood girl who said she would take me to pick fiddleheads behind her house. She told me a yarn that you had to pick them and then throw away the curled up stem and keep the stalk! Naïvely, I believed her and proudly took a bucketful of useless stalks home to mom!

When I was a teenager in Gaspésie, every spring we would look forward to eating fiddlehead ferns. I think some folks in our church would bring them in. I remember one time going out into some wilder back-country and seeing the baby ferns just starting to poke up through the spring snow, and always close to a stream. My mom, the best cook in the world, would sautée them up and add a bit of soft white margarine and just a touch of vinegar.

Since we’ve been in Edmonton, I thought that eating fiddlehead ferns would be a thing of the past. My family has enjoyed obtaining fresh produce from The Organic Box for over 3 years now, off and on. What a joy it was one spring to discover some fiddleheads in my online box order!

Since I introduced them to my husband, he is now a fan, and even let me send some leftovers in his lunch the other day. When my Sweet Boy was born two years ago, a kind friend brought us a meal made with some farmer’s market produce. One side was fiddlehead ferns with corn and some sweet peppers. It was something like this recipe, but with corn, too. I’m glad Sweet Boy devoured the two fiddleheads I put on his plate last week :). He doesn’t always eat his greens so readily! I’m hoping to make serving fiddleheads an annual tradition—one of the many special blessings of spring!

This year the Organic Box is again offering fiddleheads which are sourced from BC and in a category called “wildcraft.” If you would like to try them out, be sure to check out Health Canada’s safe cooking recommendations.

The Organic Box The Organic Box has lots of other great, fresh fruits and vegetables available. If you’d like to try it out, you can get $20 off your first $50 order (that’s up to 40% savings on your first order) by using this coupon code: ORGANICJOY.

Fiddleheads photo credit: Wikimedia Commons/Ɱ (Licensed CC BY-SA 4.0)