Monthly Archives: June 2014

foodie b’eat: I successfully completed the $20 Challenge at the Farmer’s Market

My friend, Nikki Miller-Ka of Nik Snacks blog, has a $20 challenge cooking show that airs on the City of Winston-Salem’s cable channel. Nikki shops the Dixie Classic farmer’s market and finds the best produce, meat along with other items to make a complete meal for $20 (she can use “staples” from her pantry, like vinegar, flour, seasonings, etc). She challenged ME to do the same at any market I choose. Challenge accepted! So last weekend, I hit my Kernersville Farmer’s Market (located in downtown KVegas) with the hopes of finding some wonderful items to make a glorious meal that my hubby and kidlets would gobble up and never forget.


Our local market is steadily growing. It has PLENTY of jam and bread but the produce is making its way in and though it’s still not as colorful as some markets who have been going for a while, it’s definitely a great place to get some seasonal items for your table. This weekend it was full of squash, squash, zucchini, squash, beets, greens and squash. Oh and green beans, and jam and bread and eggs and meat from…Rebel Ridge Farm.


Love me some Rebel Ridge. The eggs are fabulous and farmer, Bob, has all natural chicken and lamb as well. Now, I hardly ever buy a whole roast chicken. I just don’t enjoy making it. Plus I want an “all-natural, unfooled around with” chicken and they are usually SO expensive and it’s hard to spend the money on ONE chicken. But Rebel Ridge’s chicken was $12 and I’m okay with that. Plus they told me at the market that his chicken was fantastic so I thought I’d give it a try.
Price: 12.00

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Across the way, I bought some green beans from this nice man. And I didn’t write the farm down, but his green beans were perfect.
Price: $2

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At the Crews table, I bought a .50 Texas Sweet Onion.


Next table over, I purchased 2 lbs. of baby red potatoes from James Lawson.
Price $1.00


I also purchased some just cut, romaine lettuce and tasted some delicious roasted beets. I’d purchase beets if I weren’t the only one to eat them. I really like them on a salad with spicy pimento cheese. Try it.  🙂
Price: $3


And from my friend, Laura Devonmille, of Simplicity Homestead, I bought some radishes. She’s got way more than that. And zucchinis as big as clubs. And jam and bread!
Price: $1.50


There, that’s $20! I decided to make a roast chicken with green beans and caramelized onions and roasted potatoes. Kind of boring and pretty much a cinch. But ask my mr. foodie how often I make a roast chicken and you’ll find out that in my house, this is “special.” And it really was. The chicken was succulent and, unlike mass produced chicken, the Rebel Ridge Farm chicken’s skin was light, thin and crispy and the meat was tender and juicy (though I could’ve cut back the time…lesson learned).


I ended up saving the romaine for another meal and used the leftover green beans, onions AND the potatoes for a future salad along with the rest of the chicken that I pulled off the bone. Kind of like nicoise..yum!


So now I challenge YOU to make a meal with the major components being purchased from your local farmer’s market for $20. Are you up to it? What are your “foodie finds” at farmer’s markets?

$20 Farmer’s Market  Roast Chicken with Potatoes & Green Beans w/caramelized onions

1 whole chicken
Herbs (I used lavender, rosemary, thyme)
Olive oil or butter

Rinse chicken and pat dry, generously salt and pepper the inside and out, under skin, etc., drizzle with olive oil and top with herbs.

Halve or quarter to make even in size and drizzle with olive oil and seasonings. Place in the pan with the chicken.

Roast at 375 for 1 hour, then raise the temperature to 400 and cook an additional 15 minutes until done. If you’re chicken is smaller, adjust time accordingly.

Green beans with caramelized onions
Trim green beans if needed, slice onions into thin strips. Add butter or oil to pan and saute onions slowly until caramelized. Meanwhile in a pot of boiling water, blanch your green beans for a few minutes, then remove, drain and add to the onions. Saute until they are tender crisp.


If you have leftovers, simply place your beans, remaining chicken and potatoes in a single container. When ready warm (or don’t) and top onto salad greens of your choice with a light vinaigrette, preferably one with a little lemon. And add some bacon while you’re at it–Lunch!







Why Support Dates Make A Difference and Eat for a Cause (Updated)

Please note! We have changed the date for EAT FOR A CAUSE to August 18 a t 6:00 pm. We hope we see you!! 

My foodie adventures have led Mr. foodie and me to all sorts of faces and places. And presently, we’re diving into a new (additional) path. A little background…something we’ve always enjoyed with our kidlets is “date night.” You know, Daddy/daughter; Mommy/son, Daddy/son, Mommy/daughter. And they see us go on dates once or twice a month. They also enjoy the “difference” it makes in our relationships. So my daughter and Mr. foodie were talking about their fun date nights and she mentioned her school should do a “date night” so that all her friends could come and the school would “raise money.” Thus, an idea was born.

So here we are, months and months later and we recently founded Dates Make A Difference. Quite simply, it’s a fundraising model for schools that incorporate chef-inspired culinary “date nights”, introducing the school’s students and their family members to chefs, food purveyors, growers while enjoying some family time. The school sells tickets to the event and a portion of the proceeds go to the schools AND the culinary artists that are providing the evening’s deliciousness. The students and their family member(s) walk away with wonderful memories and the knowledge that they’ve helped “make a difference” for themselves as well as a school project or need. The cool thing is, once the school jumps on board to have a DMD event, the students get to collaborate on the project…and it will always be something that will be of lasting impact to that school. As it turns out, policy is being created that’s eliminating certain fundraisers that many schools have relied on for years and years…bye-bye candies, cookies, brownies and other junk food. So we hope this becomes a viable alternative to the loss of those fundraisers.

Our kick-off event is called “Eat for a Cause.” It’s a five-course, farm-to-fork dinner on August 18 at the Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts in Winston-Salem. We’ve partnered with Second Harvest Food Bank of NWNC’s Triad Community Kitchen, Executive Chef Jeff Bacon and four other top Triad chefs for a wonderful evening of dinnertainment…and the proceeds go to DMD and Triad Community Kitchen. The chefs who are collaborating with Chef Bacon are about as good as it gets:

Chef Tim Grandinetti, Spring House Restaurant, Kitchen & Bar
Chef Kevin Reddick, Artisan Restaurant
Chef Tim Thompson, Marisol Restaurant
Chef Chris Blackburn, Josephine’s Bistro/Lindley Park Filling Station

These chefs were hand selected for our first event because we know they have a passion for the community, local farms and well, they are awesome fun! At Eat for a Cause, you’ll see these chefs, chef-ing, learn more about them and we’ll be able to first-hand share our vision for Dates Make A Difference.

So what’s next? We need your help to get the word out! As readers of my blog , you have been VERY supportive…you subscribe, you LIKE, you share. I really appreciate that. Now we have an opportunity to do something really impactful. To help schools raise money, introduce their students and their families to local business owners who are contributing to the sustainability of our community and we ALL really are trying to MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

To learn more about Dates Make A Difference and our mission, click here! And click here to learn more about Eat for a Cause.

Read enough and you’re ready to RSVP to our event? Click here for tickets.

If you know of a school (public or private) that could use Dates Make A Difference, please let us know in the comments or email us at

As always, foodies! We appreciate your support.

Mark and Kristi