Quick Pickled Jalapenos

The pepper plants have been prolific this year! Far too many to eat at once. So I started making pickled jalapenos to preserve the harvest. Don’t be thrown off by the sugar in this recipe. It is just enough to cut through the bite of the vinegar and turn these jalapenos into an addictive condiment.

10-15 jalapenos
2 garlic cloves
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup water
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt

Thinly slice the jalapenos and garlic and place in a mason jar. You can also leave the garlic whole if you prefer.

Combine vinegar, water, sugar and salt in a small sauce pot. Bring to a boil and simmer until sugar and salt have dissolved.

Pour the brine into the mason jar with jalapenos and garlic.

Place lid on jar. Let pickles cool at room temperature and then store in the refrigerator.

Creamy Butternut Squash Soup with Ginger & Turmeric

Serves 6-8 (makes about 2 quarts of soup)

2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 medium onion, diced
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
2″ knob of fresh ginger, peeled & chopped
2″ piece of fresh turmeric, peeled & chopped
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, chopped
1 quart chicken or veg broth
1/2 cup coconut milk
Salt to taste

1. Heat coconut oil in a medium sized stock pot. Add onion and saute, on medium high heat, until translucent.
2. Add garlic, ginger and turmeric. Saute for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant.
3. Add butternut squash and broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for about 45 minutes, or until the squash is falling apart.
4. Remove soup from heat and let cool. Transfer soup to blender and puree until smooth (or use an immersion blender to puree the soup in the pot).
5. Stir in the coconut milk and season to taste with salt.
6. Serve with a squeeze of fresh lime juice, fresh cilantro and pumpkin seeds. And an extra drizzle of coconut milk for more creaminess if desired.

Negative Ions for Positive Vibes

If you can’t hit the beach to soak up the negative ions, then bring the negative ions into your home!

Certain natural environments, like mountains and beachs, contain an abundance of negative ions. When we breathe in these negative ions and they enter our blood stream they produce biochemical reactions that are said to help relieve stress, increase serotonin production (the “feel good” hormone), boost the immune system, clean the lungs and neutralize free radicals. They also help purify the air of allergens, germs and dust.

Himalayan Salt Lamps are a convenient way of bringing these health benefits into your home as the salt particles contain negative ions. And I am particularly loving these miniature plug-ins right now. Not only do they double as night lights, but they give off the most enchanting glow.

Washable Bamboo Paper Towels

I feel like I’m on a secret mission to find the most common items. Like paper towels. Stores are sold out within an hour of opening, and online stocks seems to be non-existent. At least for the moment. Going back to my eco-friendly tree-hugger roots, I’m reminded that paper towels really aren’t a necessity. They are a luxury. Buy hand towels! Or alternatives like these reusable bamboo paper towels, which I just ordered.

Natural Food & Wellness Markets

Whether you are just in town for a visit, newly relocated, or have been here for years, it’s always good to know where the natural food & wellness markets are. So here ya go:

For Goodness Sake (locally owned)
118 Bonita Beach Road

The Fresh Market
27251 Bay Landing Drive

Summer Day Market & Cafe (locally owned)
1069 N Collier Blvd

Food & Thought (locally owned)
2132 Tamiami Trail North

Lucky’s Market
3815 Tamiami Trail E
6424 Naples Blvd, Suite 601

Oakes Farms Market (locally owned)
2205 Davis Blvd

Oakes Farms Market- Seed to Table (locally owned)
4835 Immokalee Rd

Nature’s Garden (locally owned)
2089 Tamiami Trail North

Sprouts Farmers Market
Logan Landings
2224 Logan Blvd

The Fresh Market
4121 Tamiami Trail N
12628 Tamiami Trail E

Trader Joes
10600 Tamiami Trail N

Whole Foods Market
9101 Strada Place

Spicy Cilantro Kale Pesto

Here is a fun twist on the classic basil pesto. Serve this spicy cilantro kale pesto as an accompaniment to grilled meats and vegetables or spread generously on warm crusty bread. I used cotija cheese, which is a salty dry cheese similar to parmesan. Feel free to use parmesan if you can’t find cotija.

1 bunch kale, stems removed & leaves chopped (about 4 cups, packed)
1 bunch cilantro, chopped (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup grated cotija cheese
2-3 cloves garlic
1 jalapeno, seeded
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Place the kale, cilantro, seeds, cheese, garlic and jalapeno in a food processor.

Start processing the mixture. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until it has all been incorporated.

Continue processing until the pesto has reached the desired consistency.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Fall is for Farmers Markets

If you are from one of the northern states, like me, then you are probably used to farmers market season kicking off around May and reaching its peak during the heart of summer. 

But summer in southwest Florida means crop-withering heat and field-drenching rains.  So farmers typically lay down their tools and brush the dirt of their shoes for a couple months, until temperatures start to cool down.  While some of the markets may operate year-round, the majority of freshly harvested seasonal produce won’t start making its debut until the first signs of fall.

There are many reasons to shop the local markets.  The produce has often been grown using organic or sustainable methods and harvested within 24 hours.  As the fruits and vegetables are allowed to reach peak maturity, they are more nutritious than their grocery store counterparts.  The same is true of dairy, eggs & meats that are raised locally, as most animals are pasture-raised and treated humanely.

Farmer’s Markets have more to offer than just “meat and potatoes” though.  They are also great places to find artisanal & locally made baked goods, prepared foods, honeys & jams, crafts, jewelry and more.  Every trip is an adventure, and an opportunity to connect with your community and support local businesses.

Golden Gate Community Market
Year-Round, Saturdays 9am-2pm
4701 Golden Gate Parkway, Naples
Golden Gate Community Center

Golden Gate Community Market
Year-Round, Sundays 9am-2pm11725 Collier Blvd, Naples
Next to Sunshine Ace Hardware

Government Complex Farmer’s Market
Year-Round, Fridays 11am-2pm
3315 Tamiami Trail East, Naples
Bottom deck of parking garage across from the Courthouse

Immokalee Market
October to May, Sunday-Saturday, sunrise-sunset
424 New Market Road East, Immokalee

Koreshan Farmer’s Market
Year-Round, Sunday 8am-1pm
3800 Corkscrew Road, Estero
$1 park entry fee to Koreshan State Historic Site

Local Roots Farmers Markets
October-April, Saturdays 8am-12pm
26795 S Bay Drive, Bonita Springs
The Promenade Shopping Center parking lot

Marco Island Farmers Market
November-April, Wednesdays 7:30am-1pm
901 Park Avenue, Marco Island
Veterans Community Park

The Market at Goodlette-Frank
November to May, Saturdays 8am-1pm 
June to October 4th Saturdays 8am-1pm
6000 Goodlette Road North, Naples

NCH Farmers Markets
Tuesdays 10am-1pm
Second Tuesday of the month, North Naples:  11190 Health Park Blvd, Naples
Third Tuesday of the month, Central Campus: 2157 Pine Ridge Road, Naples
Fourth Tuesday of the month, Downtown Baker Hospital: 350 7th Street N, Naples

Pine Ridge Road Farmers Market
October-August, Sundays 9am-1pm
3370 Pine Ridge Road, Naples

St. John Farmers Market
October-May, Fridays 9am-2pm
625 111th Avenue N, Naples
St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church

St. Paul’s Farmers Market
November-April, Saturdays 8am-12pm
3901 Davis Blvd, Naples
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church

Sugden Park Plaza
October-April, Sundays 9am-2pm
4270 Tamiami Trail E, Naples

Third Street Farmers Market
Saturdays 7:30-11:30 a.m.November-April, Third Street S b/t Broad Street & 13th Ave S
May-November, Parking lot behind Tommy Bahamas

Vanderbilt Farmers Market
June-October, Saturdays 8am-12pm,
November-May, Saturdays 8am-1pm
Galleria Shoppes at Vanderbilt Beach Rd, Naples

CLICK HERE for a downloadable list.

Local Joe – Coffee Shops Around Town

Bad Ass Coffee – 1307 3rd Street S, Naples FL

Bean to Cup Coffee Gallery – 3248 Bayshore Drive, Naples FL

Coffee Bar 239 – 960 Immokalee Road, Naples FL

Downtown Coffee & Wine Company, 27546 Old 41 Road, Bonita Springs FL

Fit & Fuel Café – 819 Vanderbilt Beach Road, Naples FL

Hello Coffee – 15495 Tamiami Trail North, Unit 106, Naples FL

Kunjani Craft Coffee & Gallery – 780 Seagate Drive, Naples FL

The Brick Coffee & Bar – 531 5th Avenue S, Naples FL

The Coffee Snob – 13660 Bonita Beach Road E, Bonita Springs FL

Boat Clubs in Southwest Florida

Love being out on the water, but don’t love the investment that is required to own your own boat?  Then consider joining one of SWFL’s boat clubs!  It’s a carefree way to enjoy the Paradise Coast and Gulf of Mexico.   All the maintenance is taken care of, and the boats are cleaned & gased up for you.  So all you have to do is show up, hop on and take off!  Cruise through the mangroves with the dolphins, anchor along the coastline for a dip, or head out into the Gulf to fish.

Baywater Boat Club, Bonita Springs

Freedom Boat Club, Fort Myers, Bonita Springs, Naples, Marco Island

Southwest Florida Boat Club, Marco Island

Mango Mania!

Did you know there are over 290 varieties of mango?

Although not native to the state, Florida is the largest producer in the U.S. of this tropical fruit.  Mango season runs May through October in the Sunshine State.

Gone for the summer?  Visit www.tropicalacressfarms.com to have mangoes shipped to you!

1 cup plain yogurt
1 cup ripe mango
½ cup milk or orange juice
1-2 tablespoons of honey

Combine ingredients in a blender.  Blend until smooth.
Serves 2.