Mary Lou Shaw is a former physician, current homesteader, who has seen the consequences of unhealthy eating firsthand. These experiences have shown her the difference that good eating habits can make. And the easiest way to eat healthy? Grow your own ingredients. While processed foods put people at risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease, farming, gardening, and eating food that only travels yards to the table promotes a return to a healthy lifestyle where you are directly involved in the creation of your meals and assured of their quality. In her book Growing Local Food, Dr. Shaw discusses her personal change to homegrown ingredients, and how she’s found success on the farm and in the garden, from planting seeds to food preservation. In her book are dozens of original recipes to browse, too—like the one below—a great place to start searching for uses for your fresh ingredients. Healthy eating has to begin somewhere. Whether on an acre of land or in a garden box, it could begin with you.
• 1 onion
• 2 to 3 cloves garlic
• 2 medium-sized Gold Yukon potatoes
• 2 medium-sized sweet potatoes
• 1/2 quart of home-canned tomatoes or one can of chunk-size tomatoes
• 1/2 cup chunky peanut butter (increase up to one cup to taste)
• 2 teaspoons of salt (adjust to taste)
• 1 tablespoon chipotle sauce (adjust to taste)
1. Cover bottom of large sauce pan with olive oil.
2. Dice onion and sauté in hot oil until translucent.
3. Add diced garlic to onions and sauté briefly.
4. Cut peeled potatoes in approximately one-inch cubes and add to pan. Brown them briefly on all sides.
5. Add just enough water to cover these ingredients, then bring the water to a boil. Turn the heat down to a simmer for about forty minutes, or until the potatoes can be easily pierced with a fork.
6. Allow the water to remain in the pot while you mash the potato mixture with a potato masher or an electric blender-wand. Allow some small chunks to remain.
7. Mash in the tomatoes and peanut butter.
8. Add salt and chipotle sauce. Cook on low heat for 1/2 hour, and then adjust seasoning to taste.
Reprinted with permission from Growing Local Food by Mary Lou Shaw, published by Carlisle Press, 2012.