Monthly Archives: April, 2012
The dishes needed washing. There were two huge stacks – one by the sink and another over by the stove. One downside to cooking from scratch.
“All we had was salmon and spinach,” my husband said.
“But the teriyaki marinade* was homemade, remember?” Plus, during lunch, I’d been experimenting with homemade pasta sauce.
The dishes sat overnight. Today, evaluating the mess, I realized the entire kitchen needed attention – countertops, floors, fridge – along with the dining room, family room, and bathrooms.
I’ve never been obsessed with cleaning, but even this mess was grating on me.
On the other hand, it was 60 degrees and sunny outside. And I’ve been waiting for this weather since November.
But then again my parents were coming to visit later in the week, so I knew I really should tidy up.
I wasted 20 minutes debating, which included a phone consultation with my husband:
Him: You should definitely rollerblade – the weather is great.
Me: But I was going to wash all those dishes.
Him: Well, on second thought . . .
And an internal argument over the merits of what it means to be a person who writes about mindful living:
Me: A Zen Master of Cleaning would emphasize the importance of living an “uncluttered” life.
Me: But fresh air and exercise will balance out your day.
In the end I decided to blade. The President’s Challenge is underway and I committed to participating on this very blog . . . so you know . . . rollerblading is part of my job.
*Teriyaki Sauce from The Maker’s Diet: 1 T fresh, grated ginger; 3 cloves garlic, mashed; 1 T toasted sesame oil; 1 T rice vinegar; 1 T raw honey; ½ cup of soy sauce. Whisk together.
Baked pita chips, hummus, organic raisins, lemon pepper tuna…United Airlines to the rescue!
Seriously, I am sitting here on a plane munching away, so grateful that the airline serves a snack box called the “Right Bite.”
When I woke up this morning, I had a plan. I was going to swing by a center to drop off a car load of items, run by the UPS store to ship a package, drop the dog off at the kennel, pack for my trip, then pick up my husband from work. But somehow I got behind. Way behind.
Not only did I forget to bring apples and trail mix for the plane ride, I forgot to eat breakfast. And lunch. When I flopped down in my seat, I was sweating and breathless (we nearly missed the flight) and very hungry. I flipped through the food options and knew I would be able to get my body back in synch with the Right Bite instead of having to resort to “snacks” full of empty calories and sugar.
I’m glad big companies are becoming more sensitive to offering healthier food choices. I keep reading the debates about replacing sodas and candy in school vending machines with healthier alternatives. The other day I was doing some freelance editorial work for a large newspaper. The building included a cafeteria – mostly pizzas and burgers and fries, but I found a vegetarian station. And I noticed an announcement that they would be having a “sustainable foods” day, offering locally grown meats and produce.
I’m not sure if these actions are coming from consumer demand or a greater awareness on the company’s part (or both), but I’m thankful for the trend.
The carrots I hold in my hand are fresh from a local garden. They’re dirty and have wild bushy green tops. I wash and peel the carrots then pick up the knife. I have a long way to go until I can maneuver this utensil like those chefs on the Food Network, but I’m getting better. Faster.
I cut the carrots, chop the onion, dice the celery, slice the mushrooms and throw everything into a skillet with water. While the veggies are steam sautéing I boil tri-colored pasta in a medium pot and steam spinach in a small one. I add tomatoes and tomato sauce to the skillet. When the pasta and spinach are ready I add those too, along with garlic and oregano.
My husband, Ron, wanders in the kitchen.
“What’s for dinner?” he asks.
“Italian Skillet Casserole,” I say.
He leans over my shoulder and investigates the simmering dish on the stovetop.
“Almost all veggies,” I point out.
Cooking healthier foods has been challenging in certain ways, but one thing I completely forgot about when I started this new path is that my husband can’t stand vegetables. He’ll eat certain items (broccoli or beans or salad) because he knows they’re good for him, but he would prefer them as a side dish, not the main dish.
But it just so happens that his company is having a Vegetable Challenge this summer.
So perfect timing.
I scoop out the meal into two bowls, light some candles, and sit down.
It’s delicious, and I look at Ron to see what he thinks. He’s pushing a piece of onion, a hunk of tomato, and a mushroom slice to the side. “I can eat them when they’re small, but these big pieces…” he shakes his head.
“You need to retrain your taste buds,” I suggest softly.
He’s a good sport so he takes a huge spoonful, onion chunks and all, and gives it a go. He likes it. This truly is one of the tastier dishes I’ve made, and when I’m done I push my bowl aside and lean back in the chair.
“Hey, what’s that?” Ron says, peering into my bowl.
“Nothing,” I say.
“Uh-huh,” Ron nods, smirking.
Okay, okay. So I really do consider myself a vegetable lover, but I’ve always struggled with cooked carrots. There is small pile of them left. I guess we both have some retraining to work through.
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (14 ounce) can cannellini beans (1-1/2 cups) drained, do not rinse
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons chicken broth
Salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 whole lemon, freshly squeezed juice
1 cup arugula, chopped
1 piece red pepper strip (optional)
8 pieces WASA Multigrain Crispbread
Heat olive oil in a 10 inch skillet. Add rosemary sprig and garlic. Sauté until garlic is yellow.
Add rained beans and cook an additional minute or until beans are heated through. Discard rosemary sprig.
Place mixture in food processor with chicken broth. Process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Spread each crispbread with 1 tablespoon of bean mixture. Sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon of fresh lemon juice. Top with 1 tablespoon of chopped arugula. Sprinkle with additional ¼ teaspoon of fresh lemon juice.
TIP: Great for entertaining. Leftover spread may be stored in refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Nutritional Value Per Serving