I put my co-op loot to work, y’all.

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Tomorrow makes two weeks since my mom and I visited Ashley in Dallas and helped with her co-op shopping/distributing day.  We each put in $10 for our own shares and came home with a load of produce.  I would say that the fun started once I got home, but that’s not true.  The fun started when we got in Ashley’s car and headed to the Dallas Farmer’s Market District first thing Tuesday morning.  I genuinely enjoyed the whole experience.  But I love to cook and really love to eat, so the fun simply continued.  These are some of the dishes we created with our co-op stash:

*  beautiful, flavorful, fresh salads with leaf lettuce, grape tomatoes, and cucumber, along with other toppings we added that weren’t from the co-op  (We had several of these and they did not disappoint.)
*  roasted broccoli
*  roasted red potatoes
*  roasted broccoli, red potatoes, & red bell pepper combined  (I should add that roasted vegetables are pretty much the favorite way to cook & eat vegetables in this house.)
*  grilled corn on the cob with garlic and parmesan  (amazing!)
*  jalapeño poppers  (It’s hard to go wrong when you add bacon, cream cheese, and cheddar cheese to something.  These got devoured very quickly.  And these are also the reason I am now sad that I didn’t plant jalapeño peppers in my garden this spring.)
*  fresh squeezed lemonade  (Just water, lemons, and sugar, made by following instructions on my sister’s food blog.  DELICIOUS.  Not too tart.  It was summery perfection in a glass.)
*  BLTs made using leaf lettuce – and that was done tonight … thirteen days after I brought this leaf lettuce home.  It was still beautiful, green, and lovely.
*  Granny Smith apples as a snack with peanut butter & honey

Unfortunately, our green bell pepper went bad before we got around to using it.  Our second red bell pepper had a bad spot, so I chopped that right off and threw the rest of it into our “bag of tricks” in the freezer.  When we boil chicken for any reason, we throw some frozen onion, pepper, and celery scraps in the pot for extra flavor.  I think we’ve only used one of our co-op onions so far, so we have a few left.

This co-op experience has been a thing of beauty.  I realized that freshly squeezed lemonade can be delicious if done right and can have me reaching for the pitcher to pour a second glass instead of making ugly faces.  My sister learned that even though she doesn’t usually like bell peppers, roasted red peppers are actually sweet and delicious.  She even started seeking them out on the roasting pan and by the time we were both full, the only thing left was a small scattering of potatoes.  I discovered that even though I have an aversion to mayonnaise in general, when whipped up into a mixture with some garlic and parmesan cheese and spread on an ear of corn before grilling, it makes for the best corn I’ve ever eaten.  Bring on the mayo.  We realized that even though we are usually drawn toward spinach leaves when we make salads, it’s hard to top leaf lettuce.

I am very envious that Ashley gets a fresh co-op stash of goodies tomorrow morning.  I am amazed that we still have a few items left that are still in good shape.  I am definitely working toward getting a co-op started here.  The wheels are steadily turning and this thing is going to become a reality.  It’s too great of an opportunity to let fall away.  It’s only a matter of time.

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