Friday, September 3, 2010

Hungry & Harvesting

We've let things go a bit this summer.  We relaxed our budget and our nutrition considerably.  We found ourselves searching out pizza, pancakes, ice cream, huge portion sizes, and other indulgences...mostly out of laziness and carelessness.  It might have been easy and fun, but we didn't feel good with the results.  Our biggest struggle is portion control and late-night we keep telling each other that we are soooo hungry; however, I think we were just accustomed to over-eating. 

September 1 was the date that we gave ourselves to get back on track - a little extra structure in our lives will help us to feel better and lose those extra pounds we tend to carry. 

We eat very little meat in our home, for a variety of reasons.  During the times that we go almost completely vegetarian, I love to seek out new recipes to keep things exciting.  I turn toward Mediterranean and Middle Eastern flavors for most of my vegetarian dishes.  These cuisines offer bold flavors and many vegetarian options for main dishes.

Here is a peek at the dinners our family will be enjoying next week:
  • Baked Spinach Kofta with Hummus and Pitas
  • Black Eyed Pea Gumbo
  • Collards Stuffed with Red Beans and Rice
  • Curried Eggplant, Lentil, and Quinoa Burgers
Planning our family's menus help me to save time and money.  I buy the ingredients we need for the week; knowing what we will be eating helps me to prevent waste.  When we have ingredients lurking in the fridge and daring us to cook with them, I like to add them to my stand-by blank canvases:
  • Quinoa
  • Polenta
  • Quiche
  • Pizza
  • Enchiladas
  • Pasta, pasta, pasta!
These are simple to whip up on a weeknight when I don't feel like cooking or when I really need to find a quick use for a veggie that is turning bad.  Keeping my pantry stocked with quinoa, cornmeal, eggs, flour, yeast, tortillas, pasta, and canned tomatoes allows me to have many simple meals right at my fingertips.

Confession: I ignored our garden for awhile.  During the hot and humid weeks when I really couldn't play outside with the kids, I never even glanced at our garden.  Once I tamed the weeds and the humidity broke, I was excited to see the beautiful vegetables growing.  We lost most of our collards to some buggy invaders, but our butternut squash, eggplant, cabbage, and onions are doing great!  Last night I harvested 8 squash and still have many more waiting for me.  (It sounds so much better to say "harvested," don't you think?)  Our "harvest" is spread across my kitchen counters right now and I am so excited to dig in.  The squash will wait a few weeks.  When it is ready, then I will be armed with lots of fabulous Fall recipes and freezing methods. 

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