An embarrassment of riches…including kohlrabi in the produce box

When Friday rolls around I’m ready to tie up dozens of loose ends. Typically I have places to go and appointments to keep. But not today! I have the entire day to dig in at home — freedom.

Breathing lighter is the only order of the day.

I have had an awareness in my mind for many weeks. Abundance! I’m keenly aware we have more than we need, more than we can use, more than many, if not most,  and certainly more than enough.

Moving into the new year I’ll have more to share on this realization as it is definitely affecting how I feel about future decision-making, but today, it involves food!

Sometimes I’m almost smothered by an embarrassment of riches.

To illustrate that thought I refer to last Saturday.

While up to my neck in baking, the kitchen a glorious mess of chocolate, powdered sugar, and assorted nuts and candies, Jay returned home with our weekly produce box.

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I routinely take a photo of the fruit and veggies we’re provided each week through aptly named Abundant Harvest.  I love revealing the treasure of seasonal colors and discovering what’s been included, often finding a vegetable or two I’ve not previously prepared.

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While the kitchen was a baking mess I was also trying to cram the contents into my average-sized–and FULL–refrigerator, thoroughly confirming–we have so MUCH.

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So while focusing on abundance, it was also a good week to enjoy the successes from a local radio-thon supporting one of my favorite charities.

It’s the back story of Caterina’s Club I so enjoy!

Chef Bruno Serato, owner of the historic, award-winning Anaheim White House Restaurant, has always had a strong philanthropic direction, but in 2005 he took his mother, Caterina, to visit the Boys and Girls Clubs of Anaheim. She noticed a child eating a bag of chips for his dinner, and asked her son to prepare a pasta meal for the child.

They ended up feeding 75 hungry children that night, and that one act sparked a huge endeavor that continues to grow. More than 500,000 meals have been served to date, and each year the operation expands to provide for even more.

My favorite talk radio station, raised $151,119 and 21,375 pounds of pasta/sauce–so far this week.

All of this warm pasta goodness is the result of one woman’s insistence that her son go back into the kitchen and share what they had available! How great is that?

I love this story because it emphasizes the way ordinary individuals can be used for good simply by generously sharing their personal abundance.

So how do I conclude this story? I can’t come up with a smooth transition to an ending, so let’s go back to my abundant box of fruit and vegetables.

I have enjoyed my first tastes of kohlrabi! It is also called a German turnip and I assumed it would be similar in taste to other root vegetables.

Kohlrabi

But after reading that it could be enjoyed raw, I was really intrigued. I sliced it very thin with some added raw red onion, added a little high quality olive oil and sea salt and it was wonderful!

How have I gone my whole life and never enjoyed this alien-looking treat!

And headed into some more weekend baking, although as I told you in my last post, calories don’t count this time of year, I do need to continue to eat well and balanced. I really do feel better when I eat kohlrabi and its friends in abundance, minimizing the treats.

But you do what makes you happiest this time of year! Tis the season to indulge a little, I think. I promise I’m not watching!

Have a wonderful weekend, my friends.

And whatever you’re doing, do breathe lighter.

70 thoughts on “An embarrassment of riches…including kohlrabi in the produce box

  1. I could look at photos of colourful fruit and veg all day long! Amazing that nature produces such beautiful, delicious, and good-for-you treats. It’s almost enough to get me to back away from the sugary goodies. Almost. 😉

    1. Hahaha! I know what you’re talking about, Nancy. I have so many delicious and wonderfully healthy foods right at my fingertips. Another produce box arrived today, too! Beautiful! And yet my kitchen is also full of sugary treats…I think the sugar button has been pushed and it’s going to take a little withdrawal period to normalize. 🙂 At least we’re thinking about it, right? ox

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed the story of Caterina’s Club, Colleen, and I DO hope that over the last 24 hours you’ve been able to get some rest. You’ve had such a huge week. You should be on overload! Now it’s time to catch your breath. ox

      1. Well Sunday night is falling down. I decided to give up doing any more when we discovered, as I wrapped gifts, that we had purchased the wrong items. So here I sit reading and commenting! Thank you Debra. 😉

        1. Oh you’re kidding, Colleen! That’s so frustrating, I am completely sure! No one has extra time to shop for the same gifts twice! I hope Monday brings you some new strategies to get some well-needed rest! Thank you for stopping by…I hope you got just a little refreshment. ox

  2. My parents grew Kohlrabi in the garden many years, but I’ve never tasted it raw. Mom generally cooked it like beets and served it sliced or quartered with a bit of butter. Yum!

    1. I am looking forward to trying kohlrabi in ways other than raw, Nancy. I am going to look forward to trying it in new ways. I might think about growing it some fall, simply because it’s such an interesting looking vegetable. 🙂

  3. AirportsMadeSimple

    Beautiful veggies! Yes, need help with that “Breathing Lighter” stuff…:) Have a wonderful, joyful, and safe weekend my friend!

    1. This is a crazy time for people staying home, but how crazy is it if traveling? I heard today about O’Hare making arrangements for travelers who need to “sleep over” due to all the weather delays. I hope you are warm and safe this weekend. Thank you so much for stopping by, and we all need reminders to keep breathing lighter. Me, too! 🙂

      1. AirportsMadeSimple

        It is so crazy. I try to avoid all airports during the holidays and stay warm and tucked in to my house with family! Take care and have a wonderful, peaceful season. D

  4. It is wonderful to hear about the good will of the season. Your veggies look great and now you have me wondering what the heck kohlrabi is called in Swedish…..

  5. dandyknife

    “Food for thought” in this entry. It often disturbs me that my partner and I and three small pets just barely fit into our one and-a-half storey postwar house, originally built for more like six people. When did we North Americans accumulate so much stuff???

    1. I don’t know the answer to your query, but I echo the observation! We have entirely too much stuff, and the whole idea of downsizing is overwhelming to me. I think when we were younger we didn’t give much thought to this and now we’re buried under “stuff” we definitely no longer need. I suppose it’s good we are at least considering how we got to this point and taking some measures not to compound acquiring any more than necessary in the future. 🙂 Thank you for sharing your thoughts, too!

  6. Although kohlrabi is abundant here I am also never quite sure what to do with it, so I avoid it… now I think I’ll try just what you did and make a salad next time I see some! I have been “indulging” already, but have promised myself a fruit and salad day next week with no snacks. Cookies and cakes are just too good to miss out on at this time of year. We certainly do have more than enough though, and that is something I will think about in the new year too. Enjoy the rest of that great box of veggies and have a lovely weekend Debra!

    1. I am going to try roasting the kohlrabi next time, Cathy. It is so mild and I’m happy that I’ve recently been introduced. 🙂 I’m indulging, too, and once that sugar button gets pushed it’s hard to turn it off. Oh well, it’s only once a year that we seem to have some of the traditional favorites we all find irresistible. I live in an area where there are so many restaurants and places where food is quite literally wasted. It’s then so difficult to hear stories of children who are hungry–a problem not easily solved, I know. But hearing stories from places like Caterina’s Club delight me and I was eager to share. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. ox

  7. What a lovely story at this time of year…! And kohlrabi… It’s not a Black Friday clearance item from Kohl’s? I know. Dumb joke… 🙂 But your story did make me reflect on how much me and my two kids throw away each…day.

    1. I’m chuckling, Koji! Kohl’s. Funny I never made the connection, but it’s a good one!:-) We work very hard not to be wasteful, and even with all that effort sometimes it’s just impossible to eat everything before it begins to turn! It helps to have a tortoise, rabbit and a worm composting bin. I feel much less guilty when I can’t prepare the vegetables quickly enough. Hope you’re enjoying your weekend, my friend.

  8. Just the reality that you are still receiving fresh produce boxes is enough to turn me green with envy, Debra, but I admire your determined mien in enjoying the abundance of what is before you. You are using it, feeding your body and soul, and not wasting it, for which you are to be commended. I know what you mean about abundance, however, and often marvel, myself, at how much we have and pray for those who don’t and what I can do to help, so, how inspiring it was to read of ” . . . one woman’s insistence that her son go back into the kitchen and share what they had available! ” What a fabulous lesson.

    1. I have NO excuse for not eating a healthy diet, Penny. There is an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables within arm’s reach at all times. It’s amazing to me how much it is taken for granted by so many. Our produce isn’t expensive, either, since it doesn’t travel far. I know we should appreciate that, and I’m afraid at times I bore (or irritate) some of my friends who really don’t enjoy their fruit and veggies! I’m always trying to change that! LOL!

      Caterina’s Club just warms my heart. Following the radio-thon and stories from the recipient families as well as hearing the humble beginnings of the charity and all they did on their own before receiving any additional funding is such a reminder that small acts of kindness can often be multiplied! I’m really pleased you enjoyed the story behind the charity, Penny. Be warm, my friend!

    1. Kohlrabi is a surprising little vegetable! I didn’t have high expectations, but I enjoyed it very much! As for waste…you need a tortoise, rabbit and worm bin. Hahaha! The three have bailed me out a few times when we have been slackers. 🙂

    1. I just love the story of Caterina’s Club, too, Charlie. Because my radio station supports the charity and puts on the yearly radio-thon I am regularly introduced to the stories. The children primarily come from the families living in motels in the area of the restaurant, which happens to be right “next door” to Disneyland–such contrasting environments! It always impresses me when I see people take bold steps to make a difference in the lives of others without concerning themselves with the enormity of the problem and growing discouraged. Thank you for stopping by, my friend. I know you’re very busy, and hope your sister and family arrived–that’s a long flight with an infant. Even a sleeping one. 🙂 ox

    1. I am so glad you enjoyed the story behind Caterina’s Club! I, too, just warm at the thought. And it really reminds me that if we’re just attentive to the needs right under our own noses sometimes our efforts can grow to make quite an impact. It pleases me to share this story. Thank you so much for your kind response. 🙂

  9. Well, I have definitely been the one to indulge lately, Deb! You don’t want to know how many salted caramels I’ve eaten, nor the number of cookies.. and I haven’t even baked many of my own, lol! I’d love to see what you’re baking! I rarely have kohlrabi, it’s not something I’d think to buy and I don’t think it’s been on the menu often. I’ll have to check it out the next time I’m looking for new veggie recipes:)xx

    1. I think it’s hard to turn away from the delightful goodies and sweets that come with this season. Your salted caramels would be irresistible, but I always say I need to be careful not to eat too much of the inventory. It takes too long to bake! I shared a photo of some of my very simple cookies in a brief post a time or two ago…but my “food photography” is sorely inferior. I so admire how you not only create beautiful edibles, but you also showcase them so nicely. Now vegetables I photograph frequently! And kohlrabi is an interesting new vegetable–new to me. It was delicious uncooked; now I’ll try roasted!

    1. I’m not a vegetarian, Tom, but I would say we don’t eat much meat. There are just too many wonderful fruits and vegetables to choose from, and the older I get, I think the better I feel eating from a wide variety of produce options! Our produce box is a weekly treasure trove! I’m glad you appreciated it’s beauty 🙂

  10. Hi Debra, your box of goodies is superb! The baking sounds very tempting too, we do live in abundance in the developed world, but how wonderful to hear about Bruno and his mother feeding underprivileged children, we must all live with our eyes open to need … I love reading about these good things, it helps me to breathe lighter! We got back this afternoon and have spent all our time int he vegetable garden weeding, harvesting and generally restoring order after a fortnight away … so it is greens beans, new potatoes, broccoli etc for dinner tonight 🙂 Yum!!

    1. Your summer garden sounds wonderful, Christine. I have yet to grow a really superb fall or winter garden, and so I’m already thinking about what to grow next spring! And that’s not for months yet! LOL! Yes, Bruno and his family are just amazing people. They started very small and with just a few families under their span of care, yet it has grown to such a large operation that he has attracted all kinds of attention. We may go through times when money is tight and we need to be very careful, but I have never experienced not being able to feed my family, and that we can live with so much waste and yet not be caring for others is very disturbing. People who dedicate their lives to helping others always inspire me to be more aware. I know you feel the same way. I’m glad you’re home safe and sound, my friend. Your time away seemed so lovely!

  11. Debra, reading this just before Christmas, the embarrassment of rices idea resonates so much. Life is very expensive here and budgeting for a big festival can be a little depressing. But we have so much when we open the fridge and look. I shall remember your post all the way through Christmas. Thank you!

    1. I do understand how hard it is for a family to just live today, Kate. I see it with my own children! In California, housing expenses are sky high and a disproportionate burden compared to income. As well, the number of homeless individuals and families is rapidly increasing. More and more children are living out of motels because their families cannot afford the first and last month’s payment required to rent an apartment or home. I think it’s just abominable that I live in the heart of such agricultural bounty and yet families still go to bed hungry. It makes me both very grateful for what I can routinely expect as more than enough, and also gives me strong desire to be willing to help where I can be of assistance. It’s a complicated issue for everyone, I know. Because they do it so well, I always enjoy highlighting Caterina’s Club. It is such a reminder of what can come from one person’s simple generosity. I am always glad to have you stop by when you can, Kate. Thank you.

    1. The best part of your comment is that you are such a storyteller I could see you on a ten mile run or NOT! I think you’re capable of just about anything! LOL! But I know you place value on people doing the right thing to care for the needs of others–in particular hungry children. I love this particular charity, Caterina’s Club, because of its very humble beginnings. It has grown from a very simple small family operation to now include major corporate sponsors because it has been so effective. I’m glad I could share it with you, Jim.

  12. I love this! Yes we have an over abundance with so many things just in general much less during the Holidays! I also did really like the title as well! I Love this time because I love to give so it is a perfect season ans time to give to all those that have less and even those that have plenty! Merry Christmas dear wonderful friend! Love Deb

    1. I get so happy every time I see your name in the comment section, Deb. Thank you! I think Christmas is a natural time of year to share, and I know you do, too! I hope I can see you at least once this coming year! You didn’t move clear across the country…just a little too far for a quick bite of lunch. LOL! Hugs!

  13. How nice to get a produce box this time of year. If I were to receive one here, about the only local crop available would be snow and I have plenty in my own garden, that you very much. And what a great assortment of veggies, too. Like you, I’ve not tried kohlrabi in any way, unless some restaurant snuck some into my food. It’s not like I have ever said, “No kohlrabi, please,” when I order. No matter. Now you’ve piqued my curiosity and psychic powers. I foresee kohlrabi in my future. I do hope I enjoy it. I’d hate to be the one to say, “No kohlrabi, please,” when dining out with friends. 🙂

    1. I can’t imagine you wouldn’t like kohlrabi, John. It’s quite good and I don’t know why it’s such an oddity. It looks to me like it must be grown like potatoes or turnips. I need to learn more! It was a bit insensitive to show a produce box to someone living in the midwest–I didn’t even think about it at the time, which is even MORE insensitive! THe one thing you can be sure of, though, is that you are probably eating California produce most of your winter. So we are probably eating the same things! Our food supply is very abundant here, and relatively inexpensive because we don’t have the shipping fees–or at least that’s how I understand it. Consequently, though, I think people tend to be a little cavalier about the abundance, and waste is a big issue–and I find that really troubling. I wish you lived closer and I could share!! I might even enjoy visiting your snow…just not daily. 🙂

  14. I never heard of kohlrabi before. The name of it sounds weird as the way it looks. 😀 Some times, if you have abundance in your fridge let me know. I’ll be very willing to raid it for you. 😀 With some made up vegetable or not. Ahihihi

    1. I remember my grandfather liked kohlrabi, Rommel, otherwise I wouldn’t have known about it myself! It was very good. I wish you were closer and I could share my produce with you–or anything else for that matter. Sometimes I find that I waste food because we get busy and aren’t home. I just hate being wasteful!

      1. Tsk tsk tsk.that’s one of my pet peeves. Actually, probably my most. I learned that after seeing a village where people where so deprived of food and are struggling “to the bones” to hunt and find food to eat.

        1. No, I really do understand that! I am very conscientious about such things and waste little. But there are times when we can only eat so much and in an age when there is more given to us sometimes than we even ask for…that’s more or less my point. We have TOO much, and sometimes that’s another burden entirely. I am very active in several church and community organizations that at least attempt to address hunger in the United States and overseas. I’m proud of those organizations and the good work they do. Now it is insane how much food is thrown away at our local restaurants…that’s an entirely different problem, but waste is never acceptable. I agree with you!

  15. Super post, Debra. Yes, very many of us in the West have a superabundance of riches compared with so much of the world, so thanks for reminding us to be more aware and more thankful. DH and I eat a great deal of fruit and vegetables, though I shop for it, rather than getting a veggie box. We always feel the better for it and soon notice if we eat too much of the wrong stuff.

    1. I’m glad you were able to catch this recent post, Perpetua, because I love sharing about Caterina’s Club. I’ve mentioned it previously, but every year at this time when my radio station raises money for them I get enthusiastic. I love stories of ordinary individuals addressing a need or problem at the most basic level–as in this case, simply feeding the children pasta, and then it grew into a much larger operation. I try never to be wasteful, but of course, there are times I am. And it’s those times in particular when I realize that we have so much–too much sometimes!

  16. I’d like to recommend my favourite way of eating kohl Rabi Debra, in a Thai style coleslaw with carrots, onions and well whatever else you have – the dressing is made of the juice of a lime, a tablespoon of either soy sauce or fish sauce, a teaspoon of palm sugar and a chopped green chilli and a few coriander leaves if you want or have them. I literally eat bowls of the stuff over winter!
    and I know what you mean about too much – we talk about this all the time, the whole thing of selling more and buying more is repugnant. OK better not get me started in on that one !!!

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