Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Vegging Out

Our new diet requires us to eat a lot of vegetables. Suffice it to say that I am not a big fan of them. Never have been. But, since both of us agreed to really give the diet a shot, I have been trying to eat more of them.

Before the diet, our vegetable selection included green beans, broccoli, spinach, onions, corn and potatoes. We sparingly ate celery, eggplant, peas and carrots. In other words, a very limited variety. But things have changed around here.

After falling in love with the local farmers' market, we have been expanding our veggie horizons. In addition to those listed above, we also now eat asparagus, sweet potatoes, squash (summer, acorn and spaghetti varieties), zucchini, cucumbers and the like. I'm still working up the nerve to try turnips and collard greens. I have no idea how to cook those or artichokes. But I'll figure it out.

Tonight we tried butter beans, the lima bean's younger, sweeter sister. They turned out really well. My grandmother would have been proud of me since those were always a staple on her table. Of course, I cooked them with olive oil and chicken broth instead of lard and a ham hock so they didn't taste quite as good as I remembered.

Later this week we're trying okra. The only way I've ever had okra is fried and that method is definitely not on the diet. I pulled up one of my favorite cooking sites, allrecipes, and found a recipe for Indian okra (as in the country of India, not the Native American people). I'm going to pair it with a fabulous cucumber/yogurt dip that our friend David shared with us and spicy baked chicken breasts. I sure hope it turns out well; otherwise, okra will be relegated back to its status as a side dish for barbecue or a gumbo ingredient.

Even after trying all of these new-found vegetables I'm still not thrilled with them, but I know that they are good for us. And we're teaching our kids to be healthy eaters. With any luck, they'll grow up to be the dorks who choose to eat the traditional cafeteria food (rather than pizza, hamburgers and tacos) when they go off to college.

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