mewinningpotato

Idaho Potato Tour Recap

This post is sponsored by Idaho Potatoes, but all opinions are mine! Photos are courtesy of @jpollackphoto of J. Pollack Photography.

Last month I had the pleasure of joining the 2016 Idaho Potatoes Harvest Tour. I had never been to Idaho and was looking forward to the tour for months! The folks at the Idaho Potato commission are such wonderful people and the trip was so great, I can’t wait to share my experience with you. I learned so much about how potatoes are processed. The tour took us through all the stages of the potato harvest. From the farm, to the factory, to the plate!

potato donut holes with boysenberry sauce

At the end of the tour I even got to try potato donut holes, which let me tell you are pretty amazing! But let’s start with the harvest and our visit to Hoff farm.

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The Hoff Family Farm was our first stop on the tour, which makes sense since this is where the potatoes are grown.

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After digging up some spuds in the field, we were treated to a home-cooked meal in the hangar area.

Danielle on the plane

Yes, this is a farm with planes. And a hangar. And guess who got to take a ride in one of those planes? I tied for the biggest potato to get unearthed that day and the prize was a ride on the plane that James Hoff actually built himself. It was scary, but super fun.

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Our next stop on the tour was at the Wada Farms fresh potato packing facility, where we witnessed tons of Idaho potatoes being washed, sorted, inspected and packed. It was quite a production!

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I’ve ever seen this many potatoes in one place at one time. There are roughly 13 billion pounds of potatoes harvested in Idaho each year — that’s A LOT of potatoes, folks! I loved learning that high school kids are let out of school during potato season to help with the harvest.

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We also toured two processing plants — Lamb Weston and Idahoan Foods.

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Lamb Weston is a frozen potato processing plant. This is the factory that produces McDonald’s french fries and Alexia Frozen Potatoes. We got to test taste, of course.

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The Idahoan plant is a dehydrated potatoes facility where we had to get suited up in safety gear to get inside. Although I’m not a fan of dehydrated potatoes generally, it was fascinating to learn how they are made. No pictures were allowed, but I wish you could see the paper thin strips of dehydrated potatoes coming off the machines…you would never guess that is how boxed mashed potatoes were made!

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Our final stop before heading to the Tetons was the the Idaho Potato Museum to learn some history of the famous Idaho spud. It was pretty cool to visit a museum dedicated to all things potato!
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Along the way we saw some pretty beautiful Idaho landscapes.

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Our last night was spent at the breathtakingly beautiful Teton Springs and Linn Canyon Ranch for some rest and relaxation before heading home. This is where I had my first encounter with those delicious potato donut holes.

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I have always been a fan of potatoes. In fact, French fries lead the list of my all-time favorite foods. I’m so grateful I’m able go on these harvest tours and learn how the food we eat is grown and processed. It makes such a huge difference in how you feel about the food you’re eating after speaking and learning from the people who are actually producing it.

Thank you to the Idaho Potato Commission for this wonderful experience! And now, for some potato making inspiration, check out a few of my favorite recipes:

[Tweet “Love potatoes? Me too! Check out this photo tour of #Idahopotatoes + some cooking inspiration!]

Healthy Italian Skillet Potatoes

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Roasted Herb Potatoes

Roasted Potatoes with Fresh Herbs

Roasted Cauliflower and Potato Salad

Roasted Cauliflower and Potato Salad

Zesty Asian Style Potato Salad

Zesty Potato Salad

Creamy Potato Corn Chowder

potato and corn chowder

Pumpkin Pistachio Energy Balls

No bake Pumpkin Pistachio Energy Bites are a tasty bite of pumpkin pie flavor. The perfect healthy snack for anytime!

I haven’t tested a new energy ball recipe in a while. These Pumpkin Pistachio Energy Balls reflect what I’ve been up to these days and what’s on my mind food-wise.

It’s full-on pumpkin season, so there’s that. I also visited the Wonderful Pistachio company last month and I’ve been itching to make something delicious with pistachios.

Normally you would think of using walnuts or pecans with pumpkin, so I was excited to see how pistachios would taste. Let me tell you, these little guys are delicious. They literally taste like little bites of pumpkin pie. They’re super moist with just the right amount of pumpkin and spice. This batch only made 9 balls and they are going pretty quickly over here!

Moist and delicious no bake Pumpkin Pistachio Energy balls are a tasty bite of pumpkin pie in every bite! The perfect healthy snack for anytime!

I’d like to think these little bites are healthy, too. I never use added sugar in my energy balls, just Medjool dates for the base. They’re super simple to make, you can whip these up in less than 15 minutes. I think it took me longer to clean my food processor than it did to make these pumpkin bites. I used pistachios inside the dough and coated on top. Pistachios are full of  good fats and fiber. In fact, 90% of the fat in pistachios is the healthy kind. 

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Pumpkin itself is healthy, too. It’s full of the antioxidant beta carotene, as well as fiber and minerals. Am I selling you yet that these sinfully delicious snacks are healthy? I hope so!

I store my no bake energy balls in the freezer (I like them to be super cold), but you can also keep them in the fridge. I think these Pumpkin Pistachio Energy Balls would be lovely as a morning or afternoon snack with a warm mug of tea. They’re also Nourish-friendly, which is an added bonus!

Here’s how I made them:

Pumpkin Pistachio Energy Balls

Yield: 9 balls

Pumpkin Pistachio Energy Balls

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup raw pistachio pieces
  • 1/4 cup raw cashew pieces
  • 10 Medjool dates
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • pinch sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Place 1/4 cup pistachios in the food processor and ground until resembles coarse sand. Remove from bowl and set aside. Then add cashews and remaining 1/4 cup pistachios into the food processor and process until well ground. Add dates and remaining ingredients. Process until well combined and smooth. Taste for flavor and adjust as needed. Roll into balls (warning, dough will be sticky) and place each ball into the bowl of pistachios, coating fully. Store in freezer or fridge. Makes 9 good size balls.
http://foodconfidence.com/2016/10/06/no-bake-pumpkin-pistachio-energy-balls/

Moist and delicious no bake Pumpkin Pistachio Energy balls are a tasty bite of pumpkin pie in every bite! The perfect healthy snack for anytime!

The Best Fall Salad Recipe Roundup

The best way to celebrate the flavors and variety of the fall harvest is with a delicious fall salad!  

he best way to celebrate the flavors and variety of the fall harvest is with a delicious fall salad!

 

Salads may seem like only a summer thing, but not so fast! I’m here to convince you that salads can be enjoyed all year long. Say hello to fall salads with butternut squash, apples, cranberries, nuts and other delicious flavors that give salad a delicious autumn twist.


Roasted Cauliflower and Potato Salad

This fall salad is the perfect use for roasted cauliflower and potatoes, two of my favorite veggies to roast. I roasted them pretty simply with just olive oil, salt and pepper. The flavor combo is simple, yet amazing!

cauliflower_salad

Radicchio Salad with Green Olives & Parmesan

I love this simple yet grown up salad with green olives and bitter radicchio lettuce from The Kitchn. It’s the type of salad you can whip up so easily that you end up eating it several days per week!

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Cinnamon Apple Quinoa Salad

Make a batch of Kristina’s Cinnamon Apple Quinoa Salad to eat during the week for a quick and healthy lunch. This grain salad made with quinoa, apples, tart cherries, spinach and feta is so tasty you don’t eat realize how healthy it is! Serve on a bed of baby spinach for some crunch!

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Cauliflower Salad with Fennel & Green Apple

Who says a delicious and satisfying salad needs lettuce?  My hearty sliced cauliflower salad is a tasty mix of tangy flavor. It’s crunchy with a slight hint of licorice from the fennel. The green apple brings a little sweet and the pomegranate adds a shot of antioxidants (plus a gorgeous color!)

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Apple Pecan and Feta Salad

Here’s a beautiful fall salad from Jessica in the Kitchen.  Crisp apples, crunchy pecans, sweet cranberries and deliciously-tart feta cheese is gently mixed mixed with a lovely honey-apple dressing. I love the the combination of sweet and tart.

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Lentil Salad with Kale, Tomatoes, Almonds in a Lemon Vinaigrette

Lentils add protein, fiber and texture to any salad! My favorite Trader Joe’s pre-steamed lentils make it into many a salad at our house. This simple kale salad by my dietitian pal, E.A. Stewart (aka The Spicy RD) is a perfect side dish on a busy weeknight.

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Smoky Kale Salad with Egg

I created this delicious and super simple smoky kale salad with egg for a quick weekday lunch. I love the flavor from the smoked paprika and the kale is super filling. I was able to whip it up pretty easily using ingredients I had on hand. I love sprinkling all of my salads with pumpkin seeds, don’t you?

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Autumn Chopped Salad

This autumn-inspired salad from Iowa Girl Eats highlights all of my favorite fall flavors…pears, apples, roasted peanuts, and dried cranberries. A feast for the eyes, and the stomach! Isn’t it a beauty?

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Warm Roasted Butternut Squash Salad

If you love the idea of a warm salad, try this delicious butternut squash salad from Minimalist Baker. This fall salad is a perfect side dish for autumn gatherings or as a satisfying lunch for work. Yum!

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Vegetarian Fall Harvest Salad

This fall salad is Alex’s take on Panera’s Orchard Harvest salad. I love the combo of crisp apples, honeyed pecans, creamy goat cheese and cider dressing. Quinoa was added for extra protein and fiber as well as a large bed of mache lettuce blend. I could eat this gorgeous salad every day! 

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Shredded Collard Salad with Apple

I am a serious Belgian endive lover! I add chopped endive to almost every salad I make (and of course a bit of creamy avocado is a must). Green apples add a nice tart crunch and the dressing is about as addictive as it gets. It’s an Asian-inspired vinaigrette that is super easy to whip up.  I think it’s the perfect complement to the collards and will soon become your go-to.

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Autumn Couscous Salad

This fall salad from Foodie Crush has some amazing flavor from the apple juice, sage, and fennel (and it only gets better the longer the flavors have time to meld together). I love the addition of chewy Israeli couscous, too! This one is a must-try!

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