Monday, March 19, 2007

Vegetable Snob

O.K. I admit it, I'm a vegetable snob! I've learned how to cook and prepare more vegetables in the last year than in my entire life. I eat more vegetables in one day than most people eat in a week, including vegetarians! But I haven't forgotten what it was like when it wasn't easy to include them in my diet.

Because I'm a snob, I don't count lettuce or tomatoes when they're part of a small salad of just lettuce and tomato. Plain steamed broccoli is acceptable when that's all you know, but I encourage you to expand your horizons! So how do I include a wide variety of vegetables in my everyday diet?

Most vegetables cook very quickly, it's the washing and preparing that takes more time, that's why I always cook extra. Alot of vegetables can be eaten raw, which makes them perfect for salads, instead of lettuce, for instance, it's very trendy lately to use brussel spouts (raw and sliced thin) in salads at many gourmet resturants.

I could go on and on (and I will another time) about ways to increase your daily vegetable consumption, but for now I want to share a conversation I had with a friend the other day.

She was frustrated about not being able to follow through with cooking and preparing vegetables that she buys, with good intention, at the store, and finds that they (veggies) go bad before she has the energy to get to them. And getting her kids to eat them is also difficult.

So my suggestions were, first, pick one (hopefully one you haven't tried before) to focus on, and learn how to cook or prepare it, and do it often (at least 3 x a week) until you can do it effortlessly and without having to look at a recipe or instructions. Then it becomes part of your repetoire, and at that time move on to another, doing the same exact thing until that becomes effortless. Consistancy and practice is the way to increase your skill and knowledge about cooking.

Next I asked her what was currently in her fridge, right now. She listed the veggies and some of them included, broccoli and carrots (she had others but I started with these). I suggested that she make a broccoli and carrot salad for her kids and this is how she might do it.

First chose your veggies. My salad staples are cabbage, green and red, carrot, broccoli, green onion, red bell pepper, jalapeno, red onion to start, I add more variety when I have others (spinach, mushrooms, bean sprouts, beets, jicama etc.) So we were starting with broccoli and carrot. I use a vegetable peeler to shave my carrot into ribbons, I also do this with the stalk of the broccoli! After peeling off the first layer, it creates these beautiful bright green ribbons of broccloi stalk (hardly noticible to kids!). Then add something sweet, like fruit. Raisins (golden), cranberries, dates, etc., or fresh, grapes, pineapple, fuji apple etc.. Kids like sweet (so do adults). Then "dress" it simply with good quality mayonaise. From this point you can make it your own by using part mayo and part yogurt or sour cream and then add to that. My other suggestion was to add peanut butter and honey to the mayo/yogurt dressing.

So as I was making my usual broccoli salad today I decided that I better try my "made-up recipe"! So here's what I came up with;

Broccoli salad w/ peanut butter dressing (makes 1 Tracy size serving)

shredded broccoli stalks w/finely chopped florets (4 oz,)
shredded carrot (4 oz.)
shredded red cabbage (4 oz.optional)
green grapes (4-6 oz., if using dried fruit, 2 tbl.)

Dressing (about 250 cal.)

1 tbl. mayo
1 tbl. peanut butter (good quality, natural)
1 tbl. plain yogurt (or 2)
1 tsp. honey
splash of apple cider vinegar
S & P (don't forget to taste for seasoning!)

I think ,for adults, adding a crushed garlic clove would also be fine in the dressing. If adding garlic I think this dressing could be appropiate for a more "Asian" style of salad, possible ingerdients might be, finely shredded cabbage (you can buy it already shredded), carrot, green onion, red bell pepper, cilantro, pineapple, etc.. Also switching out the apple cider vinegar for rice wine vinegar and a splash of soy sauce.

Other things you can add would be chopped bacon (real bacon = 60 cal. slice) or chicken. And switching out the fresh or dried fruit with some of the suggestions above.

Enjoy, and feel free to share your suggestions with me!

Monday AM weight 126.4
7:45am KB snatch


coffee w/cream, cocoa 140 cal.
steel cut oats w/almonds and milk 275 cal.
broccoli salad w/grapes and peanut butter dressing 470 cal.
chocolate sucker 70 cal.
10 Fritos corn chips w/home made guacamole 160 + 150 cal.
lg chili pepper soup w/black beans, spaghetti squash and chicken (5oz.) 620 cal.

Total calories 1885

Today was a good day.


Catherine Imes said...

Good Post.

Vegetables have always been a problem for me. Aside from Salad (I do like raw Spinach, romaine, ect in salads), I can't eat most of them without gagging (including Broccoli). It's a mental issue I'm sure...

Fortunately, a friend turned me onto Vitamix. So, I can now drink them ( I know some will be repulsed). I throw broccoli, kale, and other stuff into the expensive blender along with 1/4 apple and some lime and find I can consume them.

I hope someday to be able to actually eat them, but right now drinking them will have to suffice.


Tracy said...

Cate, Excellent! Love it! I'll have to invest in one, great idea!

I don't care what repulses anyone! If it's good and heathly for me, too bad for them.

What about butternut squash? Also roasting vegetables, I think, makes them totally different.

Anyway, thanks for the comments.

Catherine Imes said...

I like Red, Green, Peppers roasted. Butternut squash is palatable, but I don't enjoy it.