- Cut up 4-6 washed peaches into bite sized pieces (about 4 cups)
- Add a big handful of chopped cilantro or mint (about 3/4 cup)
- Add about 3 oz. feta cheese, crumbled (about 1 cup)
- Squeeze in one juicy lime (3-4 Tablespoons) and toss.
Eat healthier is always at the top of my list of New Year’s resolutions. For me that means eating less flour and sugar, drinking plenty of water and eating lots more vegetables. Sound familiar? Every January I start off full of good intentions and every year I do a little bit better. When I think about how I eat now compared with years past, there is no contest. There are so many more organic and local options that eating healthy is easier now. Always making sure we have celery, carrots, lettuce and other salad fixings in the refrigerator, leftover greens and some bags of vegetables in the freezer is a sure way to insure I should have no excuses.
Jicama, watermelon radishes and cabbage are easy to find in January and add crunch and volume to cold weather salads. Seaweeds like arame and hiziki can be tossed with julienned carrots and onions and topped with a sesame vinaigrette. Thinly cut and massaged kale or a bag of arugula is an easy way to add a green salad to your diet any time of year or simply sauté that same kale, arugula, cabbage, watermelon radish or watercress with garlic or onions for a warm dish. Costco sells a prepared bagged kale salad ready to eat. All you have to do is dress it. The classic winter salad, the Waldorf (apples, celery, walnuts), is usually made with mayo and too creamy for my taste. Same thing with celery root remoulade but substituting a combination of yogurt and mustard for the mayo or using a vinaigrette solves that problem in both cases.
Root vegetables (beets, carrots, parsnips, squash and rutabagas) last a long time (most in the fridge, squash on the counter) and are easy to roast. Leftovers make a great base for salads or poached eggs or can be added to healthy up or substitute for your breakfast potatoes. I often make extra when roasting sweet potatoes for supper so I have some left over for breakfast or lunch that week. Making extra veggies, whatever way you are preparing them, will provide you the means for making healthy meals for a couple of days ahead.
Another way to up your winter vitamins and minerals is to get in a green smoothie. Just toss some greens in your blender alongside an avocado, some frozen fruit and/or yogurt, kefir or nut milk, perhaps upping the protein with nuts or seeds, and you can have a nutritious liquid meal in minutes.
Eating better can be the easy part of our New Year plans. Keeping your refrigerator and freezer stocked with vegetables can help that happen.
Thanks for all of your supportive feedback throughout the year. I enjoy writing this blog and so appreciate that you read it. In case you missed some of the posts, here is a reminder of 10 easy recipes from the past year that can be made with ingredients available right now. Included are links to soups, salads, vegetables and a couple of sweets that you told me you enjoyed as well as to the artists whose pots are used in the photos. I hope you will try the recipes (if you haven’t already), keep reading and responding to A Good Dish, continue buying and using handmade pottery and have a wonderful winter full of new stories, adventures, cooking and eating. Happy New Year!
Fall is apple season and right now bins of fresh crisp red, green and yellow apples are ours to buy – the markets are full of them. When you have more than you can eat out of hand, cooking apples is a way to intensify and diversify their flavor. Making applesauce is the simplest means by which to transform apples to another level and doing so will generate wonderfully sweet aromas in your kitchen. Homemade applesauce tastes great served with pork, chicken, potato pancakes, with walnuts, pumpkin and chia seeds or on its own. It can be tailored to your own preferences for spice and consistency and is much more flavorful than the generally bland jarred varieties. You can substitute some applesauce for part of the butter in a muffin or cake recipe and it supplies a healthy amount of fiber, always a positive. I make it because I love to eat it and it is one of the easiest things I know how to cook.
There is almost nothing to it except cutting up the apples. We like to eat applesauce made with the skins (which also adds lovely color) but if you don’t, all you have to do is put it through a food mill after cooking or peel the apples before cutting (although the peels add color and flavor). I usually buy the 2 bags for $5 of sometimes bruised and sometimes perfect apples that one of the farmers at our market offers but any variety you like will work. Just cut up an assortment of apples (composting the cores), add 1/2 cup of water to get things cooking, toss in a cinnamon stick, sprinkle liberally with cinnamon, cover and simmer until mushy (about 20-30 minutes), stirring occasionally. Really – that is it!
If you like ginger or cardamom or nutmeg, add some. If you like the consistency thinner, add more water or a little apple juice or cider. If you have a ripe pear, plum or a handful of cranberries or raspberries, toss them in to cook along with the apples. Apples and cinnamon together are sweet enough that I never add sugar of any kind. The finished applesauce keeps for weeks in a covered glass jar in the refrigerator or you can process it in a water bath like jam and keep it on a shelf until summer. If you make it now, I’ll bet it will be gone long before we even get to winter!