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Is 2020 the Craziest Year Ever?

Is 2020 the craziest year ever? How are you holding up? I'll be honest, this year has been very difficult and super beautiful and great all at the same time. One constant thing has been the quality of our meals.

If you are what you eat, and you eat well; you will live well. No matter what society throws at you.

We are entering into my favorite three months of food season here in Santa Barbara. Here's a few things I have been cooking with what has been coming off Farmers Market Tables and out of my home garden.

I am still running Market Forager deliveries on Tuesdays so if you don't want to deal with the heat at Farmers Market this week go place an order for a Market Forager bag! They have been EPIC this summer. I have been trying to provide a variety of 10-12 different items in the bag.

Grilled Rosemary Chicken in Pita

Lemon-Garlic-Rosemary Marinated Chicken Thigh Meat with Hummus, Garden Tomato, Garden Cucumbers, Red Onion, Green Oak Lettuce (Roots Farm) and Pita. A refreshing way to dinner when it's 100 degrees outside.

This was dinner on the first night of the short little Honeymoon that Kim and I took to Pine Mountain Camp Ground. Which, by the way... we made a short video to give a tour of Pine Mountain Camp Ground if you want to check it out. I encourage you to get up there and check it out if you haven't before. It's amazing and it's under threat of being logged right now (which hopefully is stopped)

We also started a website dedicated to our family and our travels together. It's called West & Relaxation Travel and it has a blog associated with it as well (although no posts yet but the idea was to get the kids writing too) so if you like travel, maybe jump over there and check that out and give us a follow...

The idea behind that page is to give information about different spots around the world that we travel to. When we go camping we really like to book "the best site" in the campground if we can. But rarely can you tell which sites those are from the 2D maps on the websites. So we are going to put up these funny little videos that show the sites we visit in more detail. We also hope that page will inspire its followers to get out and LIVE!!!

ALSO.... We thought that with home school and all.. a website would be a cool way to give the kids some life skills and make in fun. Geography, photography, creative writing, web design, photo editing, construction and mechanics and solar (as they have helped build our camper).

The educational opportunities packed into West & Relaxation Travel are endless and we are stoked to share the journey!

Here's the view from atop Reyes Peak.

Sorry... back to the food in this post..

Roasted Winter Squashes

It's Winter Squash season and different varieties of these guys will be showing up in my CSA offerings throughout the season. These are great as a snack or as a side dish for a dinner protein. They can be mashed and fed to your kids or can be sliced up (after they are roasted like you see here) added to salads with other root vegetables for sweetness and texture.


We do this thing at our house every Sunday that we call "Big Sunday Breakfast" and the idea is that on Sunday we go a little out of our way to make something that we wouldn't normally make during the week. And, more importantly we eat together.

During the week it's a free for all of bagels, yogurt, toast and cereal. Everyone eats at different times and everyone eats different things. But Sunday is different and I love this tradition that we started 4 years ago.

Chicken-Apple Sausage Gravy (and Biscuits)

Available right now in my store page is Chicken Apple Sausage. They are linked and frozen in 1# packs. What can you do if you want to use link sausage as fresh sausage, like you see here? Score the casing along the length of the sausage and peel it out of the casing.

I sauté that sausage with onions and butter and add some flour and then some milk and it will look like this.

We made a quick little buttermilk biscuit.

And we had ourselves a nice little Sunday breakfast. I alternated back and forth between this savory biscuit shown here and biscuits and a mixed berry compote I had leftover from Kim and I's wedding cake the previous week.

Stewed Cherry Tomatoes with Olives & Capers

This is just a great little item to have in the fridge. Eat it on toast, eat it in pasta, eat it with chicken, fish, or on a flatbread!! Grab some fresh basil from the garden to finish. Add some goat cheese if you are feeling saucy.

Finally, I leave you with a recent photo of a bed of flowers in my home garden. The garden is my happy place and I am exploring opportunities in professional gardening to expand my services into your landscapes. I will always support the farmers market because I can't grow everything but the garden is a source of stress relief and education for me and my family. If you don't have an active vegetable garden, I would like to help you make one. I am currently taking online classes to get some credentials but I wanted to officially announce this intention. I am excited to expand my knowledge base and ability to offer different services to my clients. I hope that the trust I have built over time as a small business owner will serve me well in my new (and seemingly constantly changing) endeavors.

Along these lines I would also like to announce that I made the decision to leave Pure Joy and I am back on my own as an un-contracted Private Chef. I am no longer under a no-compete clause and I am fully available to cater your small scale needs. I am also (currently in my first week of a four week contract) doing some consulting for Noemi Pizza Romana on upper State St. (former home of Pizza Guru). They have a really good thing going and I am hoping to give them some recipes and give their staff some training to get their place running smoothly. But the intention is there with them. They make a great dough that is fermented for 96 hours and digests really nice and they did extensive training with the guru of Roman Style Pizza in the United States.

Thanks for reading!

Justin West

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