Welcome to my new blog! This blog is going to be very different from my other blog, Inanities, which focuses on frustrations and observational humor. I’ve always been interested in healthy eating, ever since I realized at the tender age of 13 that I didn’t want to eat animals anymore. Back in the day, there weren’t a whole lot of options for non-meat-eaters, but I managed. My guilty pleasure has always been cheese – on everything! Moving to California was a life-saver for me because there were so many fresh, healthy options there. There were even restaurants where I could order something other than a salad! Eventually, the world caught up with me, or so I like to think, and it is much easier to be a non-meat-eater than ever.
Several years ago (and I’m sure this is directly linked to my thyroid surgery, although the medical community doesn’t necessarily concur), I started getting sick almost every time I ate, and it was suggested to me by my sister that I might have a gluten intolerance. Because I just wanted to feel better, I immediately stopped eating bread, pasta, cereal, cake, cookies… For a hard-core carb addict, this was the equivalent of a smoker deciding to go cold turkey overnight. While I didn’t experience heavy-duty withdrawal symptoms, it wasn’t fun either. But I soon realized that the incidents of me being sick went from almost every day to maybe once or twice a week. But what was making me sick those other times?
Another realization hit me earlier this year. When I was pressed for time, I was buying frozen meals. They all said gluten-free, and very likely that was true. However, frozen is not the same as fresh and preservative-free. Plus I needed to lose weight and decided to go on a regimen that consisted of as much fresh food as possible. And soon, things began to change. Not only did the getting sick stop, but for the first time in years, my weight actually started going down, instead of spiraling up. It’s been a little over 7 months now, and I can honestly say that there has been a noticeable change for the better in how I feel and look.
Recently, there was an opportunity by a company called Backyard Produce (http://www.byproduce.com/) (on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/byproduce) to blog in exchange for trying their food delivery service. They are an online farmers market that was started in order to bring fresh, healthy, local and organically grown produce directly to people’s homes. They’re currently located in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. They offer different sizes of baskets, based on your needs, plus you can either get a Variety Basket with their most popular items, or you can customize by ordering exactly what you want.They deliver once a week and their products include local produce, cheeses, and baked goods. What’s not to like? Giving up trips to the grocery store, trying to find decent produce at affordable prices? Of course I wanted to try this!
I got my delivery several days ago. It contained an interesting variety of foods: Green beans, red potatoes, green peppers, Romaine lettuce, Muscadine grapes, and an acorn squash. All very fresh and very delicious.
I decided that I’d start with a recipe that would incorporate the potatoes, peppers, green beans, and lettuce by making a potato salad. I found a recipe called Potato Salad with Green Beans, Artichokes, Red Peppers & Olives on the Fine Cooking website (http://www.finecooking.com/recipes/potato-salad-green-beans-artichokes-red-peppers-olives.aspx). I modified the recipe a great deal since I never follow recipes exactly, but it turned out beautifully, anyway.
I didn’t have artichokes, scallions, roasted red peppers, or goat cheese. I used the green pepper in place of the red peppers. I skipped the cheese and artichokes completely, but would love to use them next time. I used onion flakes in place of the scallions. And, instead of salt and pepper, I used Mrs. Dash seasoning and a salt-alternative product called Organic Dulse Granules (a good source of iodine).
For the dressing, I also added garlic powder, because I pretty much add garlic powder to everything that might be improved by a hint of garlic. I don’t measure when I cook (I do when I bake, however), so it would be hard for me to tell you how much I use when I change things. As my grandmother used to say, take a pinch of this, and a handful of that. Do what tastes good.
It was delicious, if I do say so myself. I’m thrilled with how well it turned out, and I do believe it’s a pretty healthy version of potato salad. I’ll be making the acorn squash next, as soon as I get up the nerve to try to cut it in half! And I’ll sprinkle some peeled Muscadine grapes around it. I’ve found some delicious-looking recipes for acorn squash, so I’m looking forward to modifying or combining them to make something delicious as well.
Copyright Nancy Machlis Rechtman, all rights reserved