Category Archives: Fresh food

Fall – in Love with Food

This Word by: Emily Holden

Whenever the seasons change, I get the urge to do something different. Sometimes a change of wardrobe or scenery is enough to fill the void left by the seasonal transition. But this fall, I’m looking for a meaningful and sustainable change that will keep that warm feeling in my tummy year round by rethinking the basics of my day-to-day life, starting with, yes you guessed it…food.

If you are looking for ways to incorporate the new season into your daily activities, why not start with the basics? A change in food may be just what you need. And we at Oh My Pocket Pies are right there with you, searching for happiness from the inside out. George Eliot summed up this craving for seasonal change when she wrote “Delicious autumn!  My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.” Except, these birds know that you don’t need to travel the globe to find love. Step out into your own city to find a new, healthier bond with your food.

Farmer’s markets across Houston offer everything you need to rekindle your passion for food and life. From local produce and fresh cheese to locally roasted coffee and grass-fed beef, these markets have what you need for fresh, flavorful fare. Visit us every other week when we join the friendly folks at the Highland Village Farmer’s Market, selling local foods every Saturday from 9:00 to 1:00 PM . Another great new Houston market on the scene is City Hall Farmer’s Market, open every Wednesday from 10:00 to 2:00 PM. Buying food locally ensures not only that your food will be fresh and flavorful, but also that the money you spend will go directly to local farmers.

Another important part of buying locally is knowing what kinds of fruits and vegetables are in season in your area. Winter squash, beets, broccoli, spinach, blackberries, and pumpkins for example, are in season right now in Texas, which means they will be extra tasty, and you can be sure they are locally grown. Check out this chart to get a better idea of which fruits and veggies to purchase at market. Once you learn what produce is in season, you can incorporate these fruits and veggies into daily meals and family feasts. Savor the flavor of this delicious beet and goat cheese salad, made from locally produced beets, cheese, spinach and nuts.  Make room for winter squash at the Thanksgiving table before serving a delicious pumpkin or blackberry pie.

Why not fall in love with food this season by rethinking your relationship with your groceries? Say goodbye to a tired affair with food and hello to local, seasonal produce. Connect with your environment and find the authentic flavors that your community has to offer – like here at OMPP! This fall we’re cookin’ up Thanksgiving inspired pies for a limited time only. Check out the menu (www.ohmypocketpies.com), and come by before you miss out on your taste of fall, y’all!

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Send us YOUR OMPP pics!

We are working on getting some pictures up of our loyal customers and their pie adventures! We want to see you eating, holding, posing, dancing, etc. with our pies (and burgers), around town and/or at our events!

Have you taken any pictures at an OMPP outing? We want to see them! We just might feature them in one of our blog slide shows; Yes, YOUR shining face will be seen on our blog! This is just one of the fun projects we’re working on, so come be a part of it! Tweet us your Twitpics to @ohmypocketpies, or send your photos to info@ohmypocketpies.com

Hope to see your face soon!

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Filed under Fresh, Fresh food, houston, Houston Food, local houston, Mobile Food Truck, oh my pocket pies, pie

Sustaina-Bowl

With the super bowl right around the corner, we’re all going crazy about who the better team will be – saints or colts?! Or we’re just excited for commercials and high calorie snack food. Staying green around this time of the year may be the last thing you want to worry about while planning your party, but its easier than you may think!

First, we have put together a collaboration of some of the best sustainable and local recipes we could find. A great way to be sustainable for your super bowl party is to “think veggies”. Of course we don’t mean you can only eat veggie trays and crackers. The super bowl deserves some heavy, cheesy snacks – Hey it only comes around once a year! Planet Green has some yummy, filling, veggie recipes for this super bowl like, Baked Potato Skins, Mini Calzones, and Upscale Nachos (these are not your average every day nachos!) Check out those recipes here: http://tinyurl.com/yc5z69u Mother Nature Network also has some delicious sustainable recipes including hearty Vegetarian Chili and flavorful Hummus: http://tinyurl.com/ykshg9m If you just can’t have your super bowl party with out the meat, check out this delicious sounding recipe for Chicken Kebabs with a Yogurt Cilantro Sauce: http://tinyurl.com/ybby86b Use all organic chicken for a perfect party meal. Hungry yet?

Also, keep in mind, “local, local, local”! Make sure you know what veggies are in season in your area and try to use those as main ingredients. Some good veggies this season in Texas include, broccoli, greens, mushrooms, and sweet potatoes! Mmm sweet potato fries with ranch dressing dip – perfect for your party! Use our favorite site for finding your state’s in-season vegetables: http://tinyurl.com/ylkagau If you live in Houston, shop for your fresh vegetables at the Highland Village Farmers Market http:/hvfm.com/

Now, what kind of serving dishes are you using? If you answered styrofoam or plastic, get off our page! – Just kidding, but really…don’t use those! Opt for something more sustainable, like biodegradable or paper plates. These can be torn up and thrown right into your compost, if you have one. If you don’t have a compost, paper plates are still better than styrofoam for numerous reasons such as, styrofoam’s hazardous effects on our health and its inability to biodegrade quickly (see our previous post all about this dangerous plastic). At OMPP we use all biodegradable materials – even down to our cups. Check out http://www.greenhome.com/ where you can order large numbers of sustainable party plates and drink ware for some pretty good prices.

Lastly, anytime you’re throwing a party, consider local and/or organic beer and liquor. One of our favorite local Texas beers is Saint Arnold: Learn more about them and their brewery http://www.saintarnold.com/ We found this blog: http://tinyurl.com/8grvj3 with a great guide of a few organic liquors.

As planning any party can be stressful, we hope our tips can help you to plan the perfect super bowl party this year. Your friends will be GREEN with envy (…sorry, had to)! Wishing everyone a happy, healthy, safe, sustaina-bowl 2010!


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Filed under biodegradable, Fresh, Fresh food, Go Green, Go Local, Green, Healthy food, houston, Houston Food, Local, local houston, oh my pocket pies, organic, sustainable

As American as Apple Pie!

When you think of classic American food, pie is probably at the top of the list. We took a fun look into the history of the American pie and its travel and transformation over time.

Historians recorded that the first resemblance of pie can be dated back to the ancient Egyptians during the Neolithic period around 9500 BC. by way of galettes, which are essentially rustic free-form pies. They made these pie-like treats using oat, wheat, rye, and barley, then filled them with honey and baked the dish over hot coals. This baking tradition got passed on to the Greeks, who are believed to have invented pie pastry. The pies during this period were made by a flour-water paste encasing meat. The Romans, of course, then updated these recipes to make a pie similar to cheesecake, which was often used as an offering to their gods.

The Oxford English Dictionary traces the first use of the word “pie” as it relates to food to 1303. Research shows that the word became well known and popular by 1362. As shown, the first pies were not made in America. Best put by The Oxford Companion to Food, “If the basic concept of a pie is taken to mean a mixture of ingredients encased and cooked in pastry, then proto-pies were made in the classical world and pies certainly figured in early Arab cookery.” Basically, pie has been around for thousands of years, and ain’t goin’ anywhere!

The first medieval pies in a similar form that we know today, called “coffins” (meaning basket or box), were savory meatpies with tall straight-sided crusts sealed on all sides. The following is a recipe from a medieval cookbook for making a small pie, called a Tarte: Take fyne floure and a cursey of fayre water and a dysche of swete butter and a lyttle saffron, and the yolckes of two egges and make it thynne and as tender as ye maye (History of Pie). Sounds just like Betty Crocker!

More current day American pie baking began with the colonists. As a favorite dish of the English, the settlers began baking pies for practical reasons, especially in the harsh and primitive conditions that they endured. Pie crust had less ingredients than bread, and did not need a brick oven to bake. Mostly, pies had a lot of filling ingredients  that could stretch meals among more people (Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America).

What’s with the apple pie? The original recipe for apple pie was also brought to America by the settlers, but showed some variation from the English apple pie – the settlers were free from the rules of English pie! Apple pie became an American symbol when America became the world’s largest apple producing nation. Apple recipes were on the rise, and people couldn’t get enough of that pie!

The Pie King?: James Buchanan Brady (1856-1917), known as Diamond Jim Brady, was a legendary ladies man and “pie man” as well. One dinner, Brady was wheeled a huge pie, of which an unclothed dancer spoon fed to him. Other dancers quickly emerged and tended to the other guests’ pie needs. Brady was often known to finish lunch with an array of pies (not slices, but whole pies). He would begin his meal six inches from the table, quitting only when his stomach rubbed uncomfortably against the edge.

We think Diamond Jim Brady would most likely be the winner of our Pie Day (see below post) pie eating contest this Saturday! Come find out who becomes the new PIE KING or QUEEN!

For more pie history information and fun facts vistit:

foodtimeline.org

WhatsCookingAmerica.net

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OMPP Hosts National Pie Day!

WHO BETTER TO HOST PIE DAY?: This public celebration of pie will be hosted by Oh My! Pocket Pies in coalition with House of Pies, Katz Coffee, Dacapo’s Pastry Café, Gallery M Squared, Little Miss Cupcake, and more.

WHAT IN TARNATION IS IT?: This family-friendly celebration serves to honor the great American pie, and has scheduled entertainment for all ages! A pie and coffee pairing will showcase samples of Katz various coffees and Oh my! Pocket Pies dessert pies; three hungry contestants will compete for prizes in the House of Pies pie eating contest beginning at 1 pm; local vibraphonist, Harry Sheppard, will perform classic pieces on his magical xylophone; kids can compete for prizes in a pie drawing contest (parents, pick up an entry sheet at Gallery M Squared prior to the event or on event day!); Little Miss Cupcake will be on-site offering special pie-flavored cupcakes made just for National Pie Day!

WHEN IT’S GOING DOWN: Saturday, January 23, 2010
12 to 2 p.m.

WHERE’S THE PIE?: 335 West 19th Street, in the Historic Houston Heights shopping district

CONTACT US: For more information, or to get involved in Pie Day, please contact Joanna at info@ohmypocketpies.com or (281) 902-9820.

ALL FOR PIE AND PIE FOR ALL!: Admission for National Pie Day is free and open to all ages. OMPP will be open, serving a full lunch menu during the event. Little Miss Cupcake will also be selling traditional flavored cupcakes to all!

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Filed under biodegradable, Fresh, Fresh food, Go Green, Go Local, Green, Healthy food, houston, Houston Food, Independent, Local, local houston, Mobile Food Truck, oh my pocket pies, sustainable

Pie Season

With the Holiday season approaching, how can you stay organic without breaking the bank? What we like to call Pie Season, can be an expensive time for groceries. Your family wants to eat, and you want to feed them good, fresh, organic food.

A good go-to rule for buying organic is to focus mostly on the dairy, meat, and eggs in your groceries. Livestock are often fed pesticide-ridden, genetically modified corn feed, shot with extra hormones and antibiotics; all of which end up in our supermarket meat, dairy, and eggs. These elements cannot be removed from the products, whereas most of the pesticide residue found on produce can be washed away. Therefore, do not worry as much about all organic produce — focus on the meat of the issue!

When buying produce, however, you can take into consideration a few things about those non-organic veggies. Produce that takes a long time to grow, will be higher in pesticide content. The more sugar a fruit or veggie has, the more pesticides are used to ward off insects. The Environmental Workers Union gives us a list of some produce with higher pesticide levels (you might want to opt organic for these “dirty dozen”): Apples, bell peppers, celery, cherries, grapes (imported), nectarines, peaches, pears, potatoes, red raspberries, spinach, and strawberries.

What else can you do to cut organic corners? 1) Print coupons: http://www.stonyfield.com/ and http://www.organicvalley.coop/ provide coupons and special offers for their products. 2) Portion control: Remember that the recommended portion size for meat is 3 ounces. Balance that with some veggies and whole grains for a full meal. 3) Try alternative proteins: Add other sources of protein to your diet such as beans, or tofu. You do not have to eat meat every day to get in your protein. 4) Generic organic: Most supermarkets have generic organic brands such as Safeway’s O Organics line, H-E-B’s Central Market Organic selections. 5) Bulk shop: Buy all of your non-perishables in bulk. Things like rice, canned soup and vegetables, dried fruits and nuts are all much cheaper in bulk. Organic brown rice in bulk is 99 cents per pound.

Find more tips and information at http://www.prevention.com/budgetorganic/

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GO LOCAL! Wait, what does that mean?

These days, we are hearing more and more talk about “going local” – But what does it really mean? One of the most understandable ways to explain going, or buying, local is to take a look at our produce. According to localharvest.org , “most produce in the US is picked 4 to 7 days before being placed on supermarket shelves, and is shipped for an average of 1500 miles before being sold.” That means, those big ripe, red, ripened-on-the-vine tomatoes you just bought, were cut off the plant far before they were ready!

Not only is taste affected by the distances fruits and veggies travel, but trucking and shipping to bring us our produce takes a toll on the environment. The shipping burns huge amounts of gas, and releases global warming pollution that also affects our health. We buy hybrid cars and cut down on our own driving, but when it comes to food, it is easy to forget that it has traveled farther than us to get to the grocery store!  

So you want to go local? Where to begin: Produce is the easiest place to start. Growing your own fruits and veggies can be fun, delicious, and not to mention beneficial to the environment! Sustainable Table offers tips and links to starting your own at home garden http://www.sustainabletable.org/issues/growyourown/

But, if you don’t have much faith in your wilted green thumb for your only produce source, local farmers markets are a great place to go for tasty veggies, and to support local farms. The Local Harvest website provides an easy search for finding farmers markets near you http://www.localharvest.org/  With a search made that easy, now what’s your excuse?

Lastly, another resource that makes buying locally grown produce easy as Pocket-Pie is the Natural Resources Defense Council website http://www.nrdc.org/health/foodmiles/?gclid=CISLo7uPxZQCFQQrFQodpkZgFw  Here you can enter your location and time of year, and they will tell you what produce can be grown in your area. This way, you can shop at your local grocery store with a mindful of local produce knowledge. You know those strawberries in December aren’t from Texas – and you don’t want ’em!

Now, with all this help…how could you not go local?? And remember, the easiest way for all you Houstonians to go local – Stop by Oh My Pocket Pies where we serve only the freshest food made from all local ingredients!
See our Webpage to learn more: http://www.ohmypocketpies.com
Follow us on Twitter for specials, updates, and interesting information: http://twitter.com/OhMyPocketPies

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