New Year, new beginnings, lot’s of resolution and strength the first few days or weeks anyway but as sparkling clean January rolls into hearts and chocolates February, life returns to normal turning ambition as cold as the frost on the fences and roofs. Good news is keeping nutrition mojo flying high is easier than ever for savvy local shoppers. Score exercise as well as the best produce going at your seasonal farmers market. My preference is in Walnut Creek on Saturday at Kaiser Shadelands from 9 to 1. Convenient time and day to get what I need for weekend entertaining or stocking up for the following week with tons of close parking to dash in and out when it’s raining. Developing the of habit of shopping farmers markets has benefits ranging beyond getting the best tasting, freshest produce you can buy. When you pull yourself out of that warm bed, you are inadvertently lengthening your day making it easier to get all those weekend projects started and finished while making it to all those games.
By mid February the gym is not as crowded, my gym anyway, allowing a quick cup of morning tea before flying off to claim my square on the padded floor and the e-mails I receive for vegetable recipes slack off considerably.
One of my resolutions this year is to work a little harder at keeping the interest up in the buying, cooking and consuming, of fruits and vegetables.
Studies continuously show that eating a diet containing lots of plant based foods helps with health problems across the board as well as maintaining good health and energy levels.
With all that energy you garner taking up a walking program or gym routine you tone up not only your muscles, but your mind, heart and lungs as well. Within a week or two, your legs and arms take on this toned, firm feeling when you or someone else rubs them, feeling your long lost muscles asserting themselves, reflecting brighter eyes and clearer skin gazing back at you from your mirror in the morning.
New feelings of sparkle and energy will draw you to new interests, or possibly new interests to you as well. Perhaps you’ll be extending your walk to a hike in the hills or possibly a run. Maybe a long term fitness goal like a cancer walk or run is in the future. Exhilarating bike rides with a great farmers’ market snack break on a blanket somewhere semi private with a beneficial friend or loved one is definitely a positive side effect. The possibilities are truly endless. Did I mention the effects of a healthier you on your sex life? Mmmm, have I gotten the wheels turning, maybe squeaking just a bit??
Make the time. You and your family will appreciate it. They say that it only takes 30 days to make or break a routine.
Bottom line is that it is not a month long thing. It is a life change and gradually it will become of part of you, making you, your family and the planet happier adding a spring to your step and a swagger to the flip of your shiny hair.
Wow, all this from seasonal, local vegetables and a walk? Where do I sign up.....
This is a lovely, incredibly sexy salad that showcases amazing winter citrus with equally amazing winter beets. Feel free to choose yellow or golden beets, Chioggia or wonderful old red. A combo is stellar. Serve salad with nice crusty bread as a foil for the goat cheese in the salad. Rub a little beet juice on lips for an irresistibly tasty, kissable mouth.
Roasted Beet and Orange Salad
4 medium sized beets
1 Cara Cara orange
1 blood orange
1 navel orange
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
¼ cup crumbled chevre or feta
3 cups assorted salad greens
Salt and pepper to taste
Wash beets and remove stem end and root tail. Rub with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place in baking dish, cover and roast at 350 for about 45 minutes to an hour until beets are easily pierced with a knife. Let cool until you can easily handle them. Peel, quarter and slice the quarters about ¼ inch thick.
Peel and slice the oranges. Place greens in a bowl. Toss in the beets, oranges and goat cheese. Drizzle remaining olive oil and rice vinegar over. Season with salt and pepper and gently toss to mix all.
Winter Squash, Root Vegetable, Lentil and Brown Rice Pilaf
This is a great side dish served alongside poultry, fish or meat but is also a fantastic vegetarian main course served with a nice winter greens or cabbage salad.
3 cups cubed winter squash
3 cups cubed root vegetables
1 cup cooked lentils
1 cup cooked brown basmati rice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup vegetable stock
¼ chopped fresh herbs
Salt and pepper to taste
Sauté vegetables in olive oil until soft and caramelized, about 10 minutes. Add lentils, rice and vegetable stock and simmer for about 10 minutes until stock is cooked into the vegetables, lentils and rice. Add chopped herbs and season with salt and pepper. Serves 6.