Posts Tagged ‘vegetables’

What to do with produce before it goes bad

There are few things I hate more than buying a bunch of fruits and vegetables  and finding them pushed into the back of the refrigerator 2 weeks later rotting and turning to mush.  Many of my most well-intentioned eating plans have ended just that way.  Here are a few tips for keeping up with your produce.

1.  Know what’s in season and plan meals accordingly.

You’re going to go to the grocery store in summer and see tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers dirt cheap in the summer.  Make sure you plan your meals to include lots of these ingredients.  This is the time to have homemade salsa, cold pasta salads, black bean salad (see yesterday’s post), and other such creations.  Likewise, you’re going to see winter squash, sweet potatoes and other root vegetables later in the summer.  If you match your meals to the seasons, you will lessen the risk that what looks good in the grocery store has no use at home.  As an added bonus, changing your meals with the seasons builds variety into your diet.

2.  Hang a list on your refrigerator of the produce you bought and what you plan to do with it.

A magnetic pad with a couple suggestions might keep you from forgetting that there’s a quart of strawberries in the bottom drawer.  As an added bonus, the kids might remember to eat some too.

The green sheet is my plan for the fridge. Now I’ll be reminded of what produce I need to eat.

3.  Have a few go-to recipes that use up lots of ingredients.

The other night, we made pasta and sauteed vegetables for the simple reason that we needed to use up lots of produce.  I had peppers, yellow squash, zucchini, mushrooms, onions and broccoli that were all looking a little rough.  We sliced off the ugly parts, ran the remainder through the slicing blade on the food processor, and ended up with a butt-load of vegetables for sauteeing.  The keys to making it good are don’t overcook them and be generous with the seasoning.  I seasoned ours with garlic powder, salt, pepper, an Italian blend, and a few drops of hot sauce.  Also, I sauteed in red wine instead of oil.  It made for a good Sunday lunch and a couple of good lunches at work too. When I ran out of pasta, I spooned the reheated mixture into pita bread.

For fruit, try a smoothie.  The key to a good smoothie is a banana–it makes it creamy.  Whenever a banana starts to turn brown in my house, we peel it and put in a plastic bag in the fridge.  For your smoothie, add whatever fruit you have on hand.  The other night we used a half bag of frozen mixed berries, cantaloupe, pineapple, a half an orange my son didn’t want to finish, and enough soy milk (or fruit juice) to cover it in the blender.  I froze the leftovers and ate them for breakfast.  It was like having ice cream for breakfast.  All our fruit goes into the freezer when it starts to get mushy or overripe.  It makes a great smoothie that way.

Off to the Farmers Market!

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Eat Pizza and Feel Good About It

Mothers, do you know that feeling you get when you make a delicious and nutritious dinner?  That feeling that makes you feel like the love child of Mother Theresa, Benjamin Franklin  and Martha Stewart?  Contrast that to the feeling you get when you’ve given your kids crap that you know you shouldn’t and you start saying things to yourself like “one night’s not going to kill them” or “for pete’s sake, I can’t do everything perfect”?

Put this on the schedule for Friday night.  You won’t have leftover food or regret.  Vegetable Pizza!

This is not my pizza. I got the picture from http://www.celestopea.com/Pizza-Recipe.htm. It looks like my pizza.

I know, I know.  I should take my own pictures!  My pizza was prettier anyway.  My pizza had more color.  Orange carrots, red and green bell peppers, black olives, green broccoli. It was gorgeous.  I could have worn it to work it was so impressive.  And, my pizza was a super easy, veganish delight.

Roll out a couple of tubes of refrigerated pizza dough or make a batch of your own if you’re so inclined.  (If your homemade dough recipe is easy, please share it with me.  I look for dough recipes online, but I’m just not sure about them.  I’d love to have one that I know a normal person makes.  That does, of course, assume that you’re a normal person…) I lay one crust on top of the other because they get flimsy under the weight of all my vegetables.

For the sauce, mix one packet of Ranch seasoning (vegan-ish–I’m sure there are some milk solids in there or something) with 1/2 c of veganaise and 1/2 cup of Tofutti sour cream.   Sprinkle the sauce with 1 cup of grated Follow Your Heart Mozzerella cheese.

It's about $4 for 10 oz., but you can make it last for a while.

Here’s a tip about vegan cheese:  it doesn’t taste like the real thing.  Don’t expect it to.  Don’t eat it plain and then whine that it’s not good.  Cook with it.  It melts fine and tastes creamy.  On this pizza, it’s perfect.

Now, the fun part.  Chop up every vegetable you have in your house that looks pretty, tastes good, or cooks nicely.  Definitely include carrots, bell peppers of any variety, broccoli, and black olives.  Your pizza has to be gorgeous or you’ve failed.  But, look around your kitchen for mushrooms, banana peppers, artichokes, tomatoes, pineapple, spinach, or whatever else.  You really can’t mess it up.  If it tastes good with ranch dressing, it’ll taste good on this pizza.

Next time I make it, I’ll take a picture of it to show you.  And, judging from the way my family scarfed it down Monday night, I’ll be making it again real soon.  Here’s the recipe in a pdf so you can make it too:  Vegetable Pizza

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