Summer 2017

Have a Good Summer — Grow Interest

The Montgomery Zoo
Join a tribe of zoo friends and visitors who are interested in conservation of wildlife, family recreation and educational experiences. Whether you visit for the day with children or join in one of the zoo’s volunteer opportunities, including ZooTeen and Docent programs, the Montgomery Zoo is an all-ages-friendly environment for learning more about animals and their role on earth. Permanent animal habitats, special exhibitions and animal enrichment weekends, as well as regular animal interaction opportunities, make the zoo a lively adventure.

The W.A. Gayle Planetarium
The W.A. Gayle Planetarium is the region’s premier astronomy education facility allowing kids to explore their universe through traditional live star talks and immersive virtual journeys to the far reaches of the cosmos. Explore past the ends of earth at a weekly afternoon showing or the first and third Saturday of each month. Get more information at

Kreher Preserve and Nature Center
The Kreher Preserve and Nature Center has much to offer for all ages, including ongoing environmental education programs and workshops.Thirty hiking trails span more than five miles through various habitats that offer terrain to interest both novice and experienced hikers. Visitors can the preserve’s online interactive trail map or find follow along a self-guided tour. Our favorite part: The nature playground invites children to explore a play space offering a rich, naturalistic experience complete with mounds, ditches, logs, tunnels, fallen trees, boulders and some creative structures including a beaver lodge, tree house and eagle’s nest. Find out more at

Read more in the 2017 Summer issue of LEAN Magazine.

Summer 2016

Fresh Fruit Ice Cream


• 3 small (5 ounce) cans PET evaporated milk
• 1/2 of a 14 ounce can of Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk
• 8 ounces Cool Whip
• 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 3 1/2 to 4 cups peeled, chopped and mashed peaches
(or strawberries or blueberries, see tip below)
• whole milk (approximately 1/2 to 1 cup)

Mix all the ingredients except the milk together, folding in the Cool Whip last. Pour into a 4-quart ice cream machine and add milk to the fill line (If you don’t use all the milk, that’s fine. It can vary depending on your fruit, but don’t overfill your ice cream maker). Freeze following your machine’s instructions.

Tip: If using berries, puree them first and cook them with the sugar for just a few minutes in a saucepan over medium-low heat to let it dissolve in their juices. Save some whole berries to add on top.

Read more in the 2016 Summer issue of LEAN Magazine.

Winter 2016

5 More Things Happy People Do Everyday

Michele Olson gives us some expert advice on a few more things we can do to make the most of life!


1. Honor Your Body: By getting outside—a walk in the park or a short yoga session while listening to some soothing tunes—you are better able to stay in tune with your body.

2. Connect with Nature: The feeling of grass on bare feet or seeing an old, “wise” tree allows us to appreciate how remarkable nature is and how lucky we are to be a part of it.

3. Take Stock: Each day when you make a conscious effort to “arrive” and be present, you have another day to create your world by realizing you’re alive.

4. Relate: Happy people nurture relationships, even if that relationship is with oneself.

5. Catalog Your Goals and Dreams: By writing on a post-it note or by mentally reviewing your day, be sure to congratulate yourself on meeting all of the appointments and expectations you set forth and met for the day.

Read more in the 2016 Winter issue of LEAN Magazine.

Spring 2016

Pursell Farms

LEAN-PursellFarms-Xtra_slide-smallPursell Farms is known for its lovely countryside scenery, its amazing golf course, its new, top-of-the-line Orivis Shooting Grounds (including an Orivs store, a challenging but fun sporting clays course and more), but it is actually a farm too. The resort’s onsite restaurant is served by a sprawling garden, a chicken coop and a rustic barn full of piggies. Chef Andrea Griffin uses the fresh veggies and herbs, eggs and honey (and soon, super-fresh pork!) to delicious effect in dishes at the onsite restaurant. And if she can’t get it from right where she is, she sources it from another nearby farm.

You too can get your hands on the goodness growing at Pursell Farms. Learn how to contact the resident gardener John Wesson hereto find out how to get produce and products directly from Pursell Farms, or look for their booth at The Market at Pepper Place in downtown Birmingham, which opens on April 9 and stays open every Saturday from then through December.

Right now John says lettuces, cabbage and Brussel sprouts are in the ground and getting bigger, and he just planted beets, onions and arugula from seed, so they’ll be sprouting soon. “We’ve recently doubled the size of the garden, so we’ll have plenty to look at in a few weeks, and our chickens are laying about four dozen eggs a day, so that’s great,” he said. And of the 10 pigs at Pursell Farms, at least two of them will be ready for harvest and the plate in the summer.

Read more in the 2016 Spring issue of LEAN Magazine.

Fall 2015

Fresh Off The Farm

LEAN-Oysters-Xtra_small-slideAlabama currently has 12 oyster farms, most of which are family owned and operated. Look for their products on menus at restaurants around the state and enjoy a dozen (or two!) on the half shell.

Murder Point

Point Aux Pins

Isle of Dauphin

Read more in the 2015 Fall issue of LEAN Magazine, page 8.

Summer 2015

So What’s the Difference?

LEANXtra-Summer2015_slide-smallMany people suffer from wheat allergies and/or gluten sensitivity and thus avoid gluten, but these conditions are not synonymous with Celiac disease. Celiac is an auto immune disorder, and when people diagnosed with Celiac ingest gluten, their bodies’ immune systems attack their small intestines, targeting the small fingerlike projections on the lining (called villi) that help to absorb nutrients from food. When they are damaged, nutrients are not properly absorbed during digestion, leading to a host of other health issues, each with their own symptoms. The only treatment is going gluten-free for life. When people with Celiac remove gluten from their diet, their small intestine can heal, and many of the secondary health problems can, over time, get better. Think you or a loved one might have Celiac? Visit to find out more.

Read more in the 2015 Summer issue of LEAN Magazine, page 19.

Spring 2015

OK Bicycle Shop

LEAN_Bicycle-IMG_1191Stop in this bar/restaurant that’s suffering from an identity crisis in the best way possible. Serving dishes with south-of-the-border flavors as well as sushi, it’s the perfect place to fuel up for or wind down from your exploration of Mobile. If you remembered to pack a second stomach, go for the duck nachos, a mountain of tender smoked duck, fresh pico de gallo, cheese and crispy tortilla chips that’s more than enough for two. Wash it all down with a pineapple-jalapeno margarita.

Read more in the 2015 Spring issue of LEAN Magazine, page 26.

Lap’s Grocery & Grill

LEAN-Laps_IMG_0135Situated on the causeway running beside the bay, this casual spot excels at seafood, making delicious use of area’s access to fresh, local shrimp, fish, oysters and crabs. If you’re not in the mood for that, you can’t go wrong with a big bowl of this eatery’s comforting red beans and rice topped with spiced-just-right Conecuh sausage and crawfish tails.

Read more in the 2015 Spring issue of LEAN Magazine, page 26.

Three Georges

LEAN_3Georges-IMG_0167Satisfy your sweet tooth with a visit to this cute candy shop downtown that’s been serving up sugary delights for 95 years. Homemade fudge and chocolate indulgences like ripe apples smothered in chocolate are just the beginning. It also offers baked goods, nuts and other candy. Try it all, but don’t miss the Heavenly Hash.

Read more in the 2015 Spring issue of LEAN Magazine, page 26.

Oh Gross!

LEAN-FreshAirCamps_slide-smallThese days, it’s seriously hard to find anything worth having that’s free—especially when it comes to kids. But Fresh Air Family finds a way to make getting in the outdoors priceless.

Does your child like to be GROSSED OUT? Working with Fresh Air Family, both the Birmingham Botanical Gardens and the Alabama Wildlife Federation are offering summer camps to help kids learn about the world that surrounds them, all in the form of bugs, reptiles, stinky plants and more! Visit for dates and more information.

Winter 2015

So Much More to Love

LEANxtra_Winter2015-holidaygiftsCheck out our extended Lean Loves Holiday Gift Guide featuring an abundance of Alabama-made items that will suit everyone on your list.

And check the new LEAN Loves page on the site monthly to find all kinds of amazing things made by Alabama hands.

Fired Up

LEANxtra-FIRE_WINTER15If our article on Wind Creek’s soothing spa got you excited about a visit to this new property, read our editor’s impressions of FIRE, Wind Creek’s fine dining option that sources local ingredients to create dishes that are sustainable and satisfying.

Read more in the 2015 Winter issue of LEAN Magazine, page 39.

Sun Smart

LEAN-SunSafety_slideIt may be cold outside, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get burned. With summer’s raging heat still months away, now is the time to enjoy Alabama’s outdoor areas in bundled-up comfort. But just because it’s chilly, doesn’t mean you can’t get burned. Remember the basics of sun safety anytime you venture outside.

Enjoy Alabama’s outdoors!Read more in the 2015 Winter issue of LEAN Magazine, page 8.

Fall 2014

Go Wild

LEANXtra-VenisonRecipes_slideWanna learn more about preparing wild game? Stacy Lyn Harris is the expert, so check out her 10 Tips on Cooking Venison.

Fishing for Good Food
In our feature about cooking wild game and foraged foods, Stacy Lyn Harris shares a recipe for trout, but did you know you can catch trout right here in Alabama? The Sipsey Fork below Smith Lake Dam has been stocked with rainbow trout for decades, and in late August, another 1,800 were added to the cool waters. Watch a video of the release here, and read our article on trout fishing in this secluded spot in last fall’s issue here.

Read more in the 2014 Fall issue of LEAN Magazine, page 8.

Superior Suds

LEANXtra-Soaps_slideIn our fall issue, we share how (and why) to make your own soap, but if you’re not a do-it-yourselfer, check out these two Alabama-based companies making some sweetly scented soaps with skin-soothing, all-natural ingredients: Naturally Rad and Freedom Soap Co.

Naturally Rad was also featured in LEAN online. Check out that article called Nature Knows Best.

Read more in the 2014 Fall issue of LEAN Magazine, page 14.

Summer 2014

Follow That Truck!

LEANXtra-GoodtoGo_slide-Summer2014The Good to Go food truck is a mobile kitchen on a mission! Chef Paul and his culinary team at Wind Creek Hospitality outline the good they hope to cook up in three specific points: promote the region’s culinary excellence and locally produced food, help in distributing food to families where there is a critical need, and offer a taste of Wind Creek’s award-winning cuisine at fun events across Alabama.

Wanna stay on top of everything cool Wind Creek Hospitality’s “Good to Go” Food Truck is doing and everywhere its going? Check out their Facebook page for updates and announcements throughout the summer,

Read more in the 2014 Summer issue of LEAN Magazine, page 26.

Cooking Classes for Kids

LEANXtra-CookingwKids_slide-Summer2014Sign your mini-chefs up for one of these cooking classes or camps to hone their kitchen skills even further.

Sur La Table, Birmingham
This kitchen-supply store at The Summit offers two different cooking classes for kids and teens this summer, one called “Science in the Kitchen” and one called “Baking Around the World.” Find dates and more details at

Thyme to Cook, Madison
Thyme to Cook is an interactive, hands-on cooking school that offers a summer culinary camp for kids and teens. They’ll learn new skills, explore creativity in the kitchen, eat food they have cooked (their lunch) and have fun with new friends. Find dates and details at

Auburn University Montgomery, Montgomery
AUM’s department of Continuing Education offers a wide range of youth programs every summer, including a cooking camp and one session focused on baking and decorating delicious cupcakes. Find dates and more details at

Read more in the 2014 Summer issue of LEAN Magazine, page 22.

U’Pick ‘Em!

LEANXtra-Watermelons_slide-Summer2014Alabama has plenty of farms with u-pick operations and some that include melon patches.

Glenn Acres Farm, Anniston, 256-237-0054

Gypsy Ranch, Altoona, 256-840-4994

Sweet Pick’ins Farm, Dadeville, 334-707-8220

Blue Moon Farm, Grand Bay, 251-865-0252

NOTE: Dates and availability of produce can change, so always call before you go.

Read more in the 2014 Summer issue of LEAN Magazine, page 18.

Southern Makers 2014

Surrounded by innovative artists, every inch of the Union Station Train Shed had something fresh, tasty, creative and colorful to see at the 2014 event.

SMakers-2014-The event coordinators assembled an impressive group of Alabama makers including Alabama Chanin founder Natalie Chanin, letterpress artist Amos Paul Kennedy, Tasia Malakaisis of Belle Chevre fromagerie, Back Forty Beer, Chef David Bancroft, Chef Wesley True, Wickles Pickles, Hues Jewelry, Zanko Socks, Naturally Rad soaps and lotions, metal worker John Phillips, Whippoorwhill Vineyards and many, many more.

We’ve posted a few photos in a LEAN Facebook album so you can check it out and make plans to be there in 2015!