Coastal Alabama Farmers & Fishermens Market


Located in Foley, Alabama

Ain’t it awful? convenience food that is... Try the Recipe of the Week: Summer Vegetable Stir Fry with Pasta

Ain’t it awful?


Something interesting with a disturbing purpose is going on with refrigerators.  Have you looked at new refrigerators lately?  Do so and you will see that all new refrigerators come with an expanded freezer section and a smaller refrigeration section.  Have you noticed that grocery stores are adding more freezer space?  Also, have you noticed that grocery stores are stocking less frozen produce like fruit and vegetables and are stocking more frozen ready-made meals and frozen meal packages?  Refrigerators are changing in order to hold stacks of frozen ready-made meals purchased from grocery stores that are expanding their inventory of frozen meals.


The Norman Rockwell scene of an All-American family having dinner together is all changed.  Mother, Father, Sister, Brother come into the kitchen, pick out what they want for supper from the freezer, microwave it, and sit down for their particularly selected meal, often straight from the package rather than from a plate.  I’m not making up some fantasy, it’s real.  The worst part of all this is what’s on the back of the packages from which they are having their supper.  (Do you know how weird that felt writing that last sentence?  “package from which they are having their supper”) What are the ingredients in the frozen, microwaveable meal?  First, more and more evidence is calling into question what happens to food when it is microwaved, especially meat.  Occasionally, I use a microwave to heat water for my afternoon tea, but microwave food?  No way.  Second, take a look at the ingredients of a microwaveable meal and try to decipher what those chemicals are for.  In addition to the list of indecipherable chemicals, somewhere in the list of ingredients is the nefarious Monosodium Glutamate or one of its dozen or so aliases.  Of course, what’s messing on the ingredient list are the herbicides, pesticides, and glyphosate that are contained in the food.  They’re there, just not listed.


Wait, you say.  Health food companies also make frozen, microwaveable meals and you are right.  But, the price is higher and it’s still not a family sitting down for supper.  Eating like that you can’t have a conversation, “Daddy, would you pass me the locally, sustainably grown potatoes, please?”  Okay, maybe not realistic, but you get my point.


An argument can also be made that the trend towards single unit frozen foods mirrors the trend to people remaining single longer and towards many couples without children who prefer not to cook extensively.  I concede to all arguments, but what I don’t concede is the dangers inherent with the practice of eating microwaved food and eating food that is highly processed. 


Many health problems are being linked to microwaved foods, if only anecdotally.  A true empirical study could not be ethically conducted.  However, collected information is starting to accumulate that food cell changes that occur during heating by way of microwave does something to food that is probably not good for us.


I joke that people my age start all conversations with “Ain’t it awful?” and proceed to complain about health, politics, and society in general.  Around our house, if one of us starts complaining about something the other one will say sardonically, “Ain’t it awful?”  It brings a halt to the complaining and we both have another laugh over our continuing joke.  As I wrote earlier about the changing meal time structure, I wondered if I were coming across as some old man that yells at kids to get off his lawn in an “Ain’t it awful?’ kind of lamenting for the good old days.  However, my memory is not failing and I don’t have rose colored rearview mirrors.  I know and remember that the good old days were not all that good.  However, some things need to be preserved, like healthy food, safe meals, and [throat clearing for effect] meal times.  By the way, I don’t yell at kids to get off my lawn.  As a kid, I played on too many lawns and helped wear out too many base paths to yell at some kid playing on my lawn.


Of course, I do have a freezer section to my refrigerator.  I just checked and right now, it contains lima beans and purple hull peas that I bought at Coastal Alabama Farmers and Fishermens Market, a chicken from NatureNine Farms at the Market, meat from George Family Farms at the Market, trigger fish from Shrimp to Go, and shrimp patties from J&K Farms at the Market.  And, ice packs for aches and pains, but that’s another blog.  No frozen dinners to microwave, just good food from vendors at the Market.


In following some advice that I read somewhere, and subsequently wrote in another blog entry, in our kitchen, we have six hand thrown pottery bowls and three handmade baskets for storing fresh food in a manner that is always visual and always calling to us, “Here we are, good, fresh food to be eaten!”  Confession:  there’s a bag of corn chips in one of the baskets next to fresh tomatoes and zucchini.  Okay, so I don’t eat perfect all the time, I do snack on corn chips occasionally.  Next week’s blog is the 18/21 rule.


Obviously the point I’m concluding with is that fresh food, nutritious food, safe food, and a variety of food can be found at Coastal Alabama Farmers and Fishermens Market, Forland Family Market, and Shrimp to Go.  We can eat fresh, not microwave, not worry about ingredients, and we can sit down with family and friends and enjoy great food.  Just one more good reason to go to the Market.  See you at the Market.


Recipe of the Week:  Summer Vegetable Stir Fry with Pasta




Pasta (I use rotini a lot for dishes like this one)

Italian seasoning blend (I use Cantanzaro Herbs from Savory Spice Shop)

Olive Oil

1 medium yellow onion cut in bite-sized chunks (various vendors)

1 zucchini cut in bite-sized chunks (various vendors)

1 red bell pepper cut in bite-sized chunks (various vendors)

1 carrot cut in bite-size chunks (Forland Family Market)

6-10 grape tomatoes, quartered (Forland Family Market)

Basil leaves (from a plant I purchased from a vendor)

Sea salt

Red pepper flakes

Balsamic vinegar

Can of Garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed (I use Eden’s Organics)

Farmers’ Cheese, ½ inch cubes (Forland Family Market)




  1. Cook pasta in boiling salted water until al dente.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, dice vegetables.
  3. Drain pasta, splash with a little olive oil, stir, and set aside.
  4. Over medium heat, heat a large pan and add olive and seasoning blend.  Stir until olive oil starts to take on the coloration of the seasoning blend.
  5. Add onions and sprinkle lightly with sea salt.  Cook until translucent.
  6. Add carrots and cook until bright orange.
  7. Add bell pepper and zucchini.  Sprinkle lightly again with sea salt.  Cook until warmed.  You still want the vegetables to have a slight crunch to them.
  8. Add pepper flakes to taste and stir until thoroughly mixed.
  9. Remove from heat.
  10. In a pasta bowl, layer with pasta, add in order – stir fry vegetables, tomatoes, garbanzo beans, basil, and cheese. [All amounts are subject to the eyeball test.  Put in the amount that looks right to you.]
  11. Splash with balsamic vinegar.


Enjoy as a main dish or as a side dish.  I like this dish as my entire meal along with a glass of wine.


See you at the Market.


Bob Zeanah

Author of No Anchor (published November 2015)

Available online from Amazon or Barnes and Noble or Books a Million

Author of Work to Do (published July 2014)

Available online from Amazon or Barnes & Noble or Books a Million

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Magnolia Springs AL  36555

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