Friday, December 28, 2012

Merry Christmas and Eat your veggies!

Well.  Here we are a couple days after Christmas, and I'm on here trying to decide what to use my limited amount of time to write about while my parents watch my kids.  Hmmm.  I've had several topics running through my head that I considered blogging about lately.  1) Eating vegetables,  2) Community  or 3) Christmas.   The one I really want to write about it community, but it's kind of deep, at least for me, and I'm not sure I can delve into that right now.  So as usual, I think I'm just going to write about food.  I'm shallow and obsessed.  So I'll combine 1 and 3 somehow.

Since the beginning of the year, when I decided to make war on sugar and vegetable oil (in our home at least, you can only do so much), we have been eating a lot more vegetables and trying new things, and new ways to cook things.  We 'experiment' a lot .  Having said that, I think I always come back around to my all time favorite way to cook most vegetables is just to roast them.  Pretty much any veggie is fantastic roasted, and you can combine them and make little dressings for them to switch things up a little.  Even if you are a beginner, you can roast vegetables.  Just cut them up, throw on some olive oil, salt, pepper, and roast at any range of temperatures until they are done to your liking.  My normal go-to is 400 degrees for about 30 or 40 minutes depending on how small I chop up the veggies.   Green beans, asparagus (although this only needs a couple minutes, or it will be mushy and nasty), beets, potatoes, sweet potatoes, butternut squash (or any kind for that matter), parsnips, brussels sprouts, carrots, cauliflower even.  You can play around with them and add other herbs or spices, or fruit even.  For Christmas dinner this year, I found a recipe (Southern Living) that added cranberries at the end and tossed the veggies in a couple Tablespoons of molasses.

I also made this kale and mustard green gratin out of Bon Appetit (I clearly get too many cooking magazines) that was so good that I actually ate the leftovers for lunch two days in a row and still loved it.  Veggies can be so good if you cook them the right way, it is a shame that people don't eat them very often.  I mean, it's tragic really.  If people would eat a plate full of vegetables then they would be able to eat things like this:

And you could eat the crispy fried fat right off of the top and not feel guilty about it in the least (although, if you eat more than 3 pieces, it's like having too much cake, you start to feel a little sick because it's so rich.  Not that I know that from experience or anything).

And then you can eat things like this Buche de Noel...

...with it's tasty little meringue mushrooms to make it look legitimately log-like, and the chocolate and cream icing, and the kahlua syrup on the inside.  And I must confess here:  I purchased granulated sugar for the dessert.  I honestly did feel guilty about that.  This was the first granulated sugar purchase in all of 2012, and I bought the smallest bag they make so that I wouldn't be tempted to use it on other stuff. I was afraid my other sugar wouldn't work for the meringue.  So I just ate extra veggies to make up for it.  I somehow convinced myself that the mustard greens were absorbing all of the poison from the sugar so that it was just passing right through my body.  I think I believed it on Christmas day, but when I ate the leftover dessert the day after I wasn't as convinced.  But since that day happened to fall on Wednesday, which is the day I usually poison myself anyway with Dr. Pepper, I just lumped it all together.