Hello everyone! Sorry for the extended delay between posts. I’ve been keeping busy! I spent some free time working on a maze commission, and this past week just got away from me a little bit. Plus, my birthday was a few days ago (I’m now 41), so I’ve been taking stock on a few things and thinking about this upcoming year. I’ll share more about that in my next post.
This post, however, is about food. I share regularly about what I’m eating, and I’ll let you in on a little blogging secret: bloggers only share the good stuff. I’m totally guilty of this. If I make a phenomenal, healthy meal, it’ll end up on this blog. Most meals don’t – not because they’re unhealthy, but because they’re typical. Routine. Boring. I make a lot of salads, and steam a lot of vegetables. It’s not thrilling to me, so I don’t put it on here, because that’s my #1 criteria for a good blog post: it has to inspire me, and if it does, I’ll share it with the world.
I recently documented the cooking of a healthy meal, with the intentions of sharing it right here. But the dish was a flop. A failure. And, even worse, I made a vat of it – enough for five meals worth. I don’t like wasting food, so I ate it five times. It didn’t get any better. I focused on the fact that it was healthy, and full of good stuff my body needs, and that once it was gone, I would never have to eat it again.
I’m going to share what I made here. It’s a reminder to myself that completely winging a recipe sometimes backfires, and that sharing myself on this site means sharing everything.
This recipe includes seven different vegetables. See? Healthy! Four of them (carrots, parsnips, rutabaga, and beets) were in a frozen mixture.
Can you read that price tag? $10.49! Yup, this was the most expensive bag of frozen vegetables I’ve ever purchased. But I liked the idea of supporting local farms, since so many mass produced frozen veggies come from different countries or even continents!
Those went into a big skillet first for some saute action. After a while, I added more vegetables. First, a store-bought container of fresh celery, onion, and carrot (known as a mirepoix mix and often used as a foundation for soup)…
…and a container of spiralized sweet potatoes, which I attacked with a pair of scissors so they were in smaller pieces.
Everything got cooked in a little bit of olive oil, and it took a long time, because I had almost four pounds (and nearly $20 worth) of vegetables in the pan. Finally, it was done, and I looked for something to add some flavor. I used some orange-flavored balsamic vinegar. Big mistake. I thought the orange part would be subtle, but it was definitely big and bold and completely overpowering. I ate a big bowl of it, and decided the dish was too sweet. Ugh.
But I had so much left! I filled three containers for upcoming lunches, layering it over cabbage. I thought, over time, the veggies would soften the cabbage underneath. That didn’t happen.
I also added a drizzle of Russian salad dressing, to see if I could balance out the orange flavor, but I didn’t use enough. It hardly made a dent.
I ate those containers for lunch, not really enjoying it any of those three days, and I still had leftovers. So one of those evenings I decided to finish it off, but not without messing with it first. I took what was left, and put it back in a skillet, along with a pouch of dal, which is an Indian dish made from lentils and spices.
I also sliced up a piece of savory baked tofu to add some protein. Why didn’t I think of this days ago? This was the only palatable version of this dish. I wouldn’t go crazy and say I’d make it again, but at least it didn’t make me wince. Even JJ was attracted to the smell!
After five meals, I was finally done with this mess. And I’m proud to report that I wasn’t deterred from making another vat of vegetables! I did it again, shortly thereafter, and the results were delicious. I didn’t photograph my process, but I do have a couple pictures of the end result.
It’s one package of fresh, cubed butternut squash, an onion, a zucchini, and a yellow squash, all sautéed together in some butter, and with some zip sauce (a bottled steak sauce that’s very flavorful but also very salty, so use it wisely!). For protein, I cut up two Trader Joe’s frozen chili lime chicken burger patties, and added those in, too. On top is a sprinkle of fried jalapeños – just like the fried onions that go on green bean casserole, but jalapeños. I usually put them on salads, but they added a great kick here.
I made enough of this for three meals worth, and eat time I ate it, I thought to myself, “Wow, I gotta make this again!”
Keep it up, David!
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