Farm to Patio


School is {almost} out and the long days of summer stretch ahead of us.  It’s the perfect time for getting together with friends and family and enjoying a barbecue or patio party.  Maybe you have a CSA or enjoy visiting one of our many area farmer’s markets and want to serve seasonal dishes with the amazing ingredients grown right here in our area.  Here are three fantastic ways to use some of the ingredients I found at the local farmer’s markets.  Enjoy!



Strawberry Rhubarb Cocktails (or mocktails)




2 cups Rhubarb, washed and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces

1 cup Strawberries, washed and hulled

3/4 cup Honey

1 cup Water


Tequila or Vodka (or Club Soda for mocktails)

2 Limes

Add rhubarb, strawberries, honey and water to a small saucepan and bring to a bowl.  Lower heat to low and simmer for 10-12 minutes.  Using a large spoon or potato masher smash the fruit a bit and stir during simmering.  Remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes.  Pour contents of saucepan through a mesh sieve or strainer pushing on the fruit to get all of the liquid out and set aside.  The remaining fruit makes a great jam and will keep in a airtight container in the fridge or freezer.  Allow fruit syrup to cool.  Mix the cocktails by adding the cooled fruit syrup, spirits or club soda and a squeeze of lime over ice.  A cool and refreshing way to enjoy rhubarb perfect for backyard summer evenings.





Arugula, Berry & Blue Cheese Quinoa Salad




1 cup Quinoa, rinsed well

2 cups Water

1 cup fresh Arugula, washed and air-dried

1/2 cup Strawberries, washed, hulled & sliced

1/2 cup Cherries, washed pitted and quartered

1/2 cup Blue Cheese, crumbled

2 tsp Balsamic Vinegar

1 tsp Dijon Mustard

1 Lime

2 tsp Honey

Salt & Pepper

Add the quinoa and water to a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.  Allow to cool for a few minutes then stir a few times.  Put cooked quinoa in the fridge till cold.  Whisk vinegar, mustard, juice from the lime, honey and salt and pepper together to make a dressing.  Toss the cold cooked quinoa, dressing, arugula, strawberries, cherries and blue cheese together till combined.  Serve cold.  A perfect salad for any patio party!




Balsamic Strawberry Glazed Kebobs


1/2 lb boneless skinless Chicken Breast, cut into cubes

1 small Zucchini, washed, pealed & sliced

1 small orange Bell Pepper, washed and cut into chunks

1 cup Grape Tomatos, washed

1 Lime

Salt & Pepper

1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar

1/4 cup Strawberries, washed, hulled & sliced

In a small saucepan add the strawberries and vinegar and reduce over medium low heat for 5-10 minutes (till thick and cranberry colored).  Squeeze the lime over the chicken and sprinkle with salt & pepper.  Skewer the chicken and vegetables.  This recipe works great with all vegetables too for a vegetarian version.  Drizzle, spread the kebobs with the strawberry balsamic reduction.  Grill until the meat is cooked through (about 3-4 minutes on each side).  Serve warm.  The perfect light and healthy addition to any barbecue.



*I still have room in this Saturday’s cooking class for ages 5-12, Farmer’s Market Fun.  Click HERE for more info!


Tara is mom to two energetic daughters Bianca and Iyla. Passionate about inspiring others to cook healthy, delicious and allergy-friendly food, she owns Yummy Sprout, which provides healthy culinary adventures through classes and more. Check out Tara has been featured in the Wisconsin State Journal and on Channel 3 WISC-TV on topics including “making your own baby food”, “cooking with kids” and “packing healthy school lunches”. She adores living in Madison and all it has to offer family life. Her favorite ways to spend time include messing up her kitchen while recipe testing, running, yoga, writing, painting, traveling and reading books with her girls.



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