Monday, December 8, 2014

Eat your Veggies!

Being a new mom has dramatically cut into my free time. Big surprise. Every teenager alive has heard this warning from their parents as a psychological birth control. A mallet beating against the anvil of hormones telling them to get naked. Well, teenager or not, it's not a lie. Baby NEEDS me---constantly.

I actually want to hold him all the time, but I eventually DO have to put him down to do things like, you know, bath my stinky parts and maybe feed my calorie-burning inferno, milk-making body. (By the way, TMI: it impossible to NOT feel like a dairy cow while pumping.)

I digress.

My point is that with limited, baby nap times of about 20 minutes during the day, I need quick, nutritious meals that will help me keep up milk production and feel half-way alive. Cue the veggies, please!

We know the benefits. We've been knocked over the head by campaign after campaign touting the cancer-fighting, super hero phytochemicals: chlorophyll, beta-carotene, various amino acids that make up B vitamins, mono-saturated fats, tannins, antioxidants, etc. Of course, to benefit from these chemicals, we actually have to eat them, and prepare them for maximum absorption. Most people think the most healthful way to eat veggies is in their raw state, which is not necessarily always true.

It is good to eat some this way, but flash cooking them, either by blanching or sauteing, denatures many nutrients, making them easier to absorb. If you want to know which ones, take a nutrition class. I loved the one I took at UNT and learned that balance and temperance is the key to a healthful diet and state of being.

Also at UNT, I took a class entitled Stress Reduction Through Movement. Doesn't that sound happy? We actually covered some nutrition information as well. For information regarding overall health and well-being, I recommend the acronym NEWSTART. Click the link. Your adrenal glands will thank you.

Okay, enough diatribe. Onward to the recipe!

I've realized since being with my husband, that many people are intimidated by the thought of cooking vegetables. No, they don't taste like cupcakes and often, many people overcook them, resulting in mushy, nearly tasteless, wanna-be baby food. To those people, or to the seasoned cook searching for a quick, healthy recipe, I give you Stoven Veggies!

The concept is broad and can involve countless permutations and ingredients. This is one example.

Stoven Veggies

You'll need:
1 large russet potato, diced 
2-3 Tbs olive oil
1-2 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
3 large leaves of kale or 2 handfuls of fresh spinach
2 small radishes or 1 small beet, diced
pinch of salt
pinch of pepper
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/3 cup shredded smoked mozzerella or 1/3 cup shredded parmesan (I'm a cheese hound, so I do both)
Optional: a few stems of fresh parsley
1.)Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. 
2.) In a small cast-iron or anodized aluminum pan (I have this one), heat the garlic in the oil, on medium heat until tender.   
3.) Add potatoes and agitate until all pieces are coated in oil.
4.) Add radishes or beet pieces. Repeat motion. Saute until pieces are slightly tender.
5.) Add greens and toss.
6.) Add seasonings. Toss.
7.) Add cheese and place on center rack in the oven. Serve hot when cheese has melted and slightly browns.

This is a very versatile recipe. Basically, you need : oil base, starch, greens, seasonings, and cheese. Mix, heat, serve. Prep time should not exceed 10 minutes, neither should cook time. Happy sauteing!

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