Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Use What You Have the Healthy Way

I have recently discovered my love for vegetables and I wanted to share my new, innovative recipe with anyone who is interested. Now, this is kind of a big deal for me since for the past 18 or 19 years of my life I have disliked just about every vegetable except for potatoes and onions. It's difficult to find exciting and healthy meals to eat when you are such a picky eater like I am. So, due to a combination of boredom and inspiration from Bethenny Frankel's natural foods books (refer to my post, Healthy Habits According to Bethenny), I have discovered a way to get my serving of vegetables and actually enjoy them. This recipe is also a great way to use up any extra vegetables you find when cleaning out your fridge. That is why I call it the "Use What You Have Medley".

Basically you use whatever you have in your fridge or whatever you're in the mood for. My favorite vegetables to use include- spinach, asparagus, onions, carrots, tomatoes, and zucchini.
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic
  • cheese for topping- feta, parmesan, shredded mozzarella, etc.
  1. Start by chopping up all of the vegetables in small, bite-sized pieces. This will allow you to cook them faster.
  2. As you are preparing the raw vegetables, drizzle some olive oil on a medium-sized skillet and place it on the stovetop with low heat. This will warm the oil and allow it to melt and cover the pan.
  3. Place all of the chopped vegetables on the skillet and spread them out so they cook evenly. Now you can turn up the stove to medium heat and let the vegetables simmer for about 5 minutes. As they simmer, sprinkle them with salt and add the apple cider vinegar.
  4. After 5 minutes, turn the stove back down to low heat and add the garlic. Cook for about 2 more minutes. It's important to have the stove on low heat when you add the garlic because if it is too hot, it will start to pop and it can burn you (trust me). It's also important to keep mixing the ingredients around so they cook evenly.
  5. Turn the stove off and let the vegetables cool for at least one minute. Sprinkle the cheese on top for an optional topping.
The finished vegetables over penne pasta
You can eat this on its own since it has so much flavor, or you can add it to other foods such as pasta or rice to create an even tastier dish. The absolute key ingredient for me personally is the apple cider vinegar. That is what makes the vegetables so flavorful and it is the main reason why I enjoy them so much. You can alter the amount of vinegar and garlic you use depending on your preferences, but I like using a decent amount because I really love the tastes.

I wanted to post this recipe because it was a breakthrough for me when it comes to healthy eating. I believe that a healthy diet and dancing/exercise go hand in hand by improving your total well-being. You can eat completely organic and natural but sit on the couch all day, or you could spend 5 hours at the gym then go grab McDonald's, but it's not until you utilize both aspects into your life that you are able to reach your top physical fitness level.

And it's not just physical either. I see dancing as a form of exercise and as a form of expression. This helps me stay healthy physically and emotionally. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins, which elevates your mood and makes you feel generally happy. Who doesn't want to feel happy all the time? And, healthy foods such as vegetables give your body more than just good energy. Spinach promots heart health, asparagus is good for detox and cleansing, onions can treat colds, coughs, and asthma, carrots are great for your eyes, tomatoes help fight against cancerous cell formation, and zucchini can act as an anti-inflammatory.

There are many benefits to eating natural foods along with exercise. Your overall well-being depends on these two things. Healthy eating and dancing have such a strong bond because you need to eat healthy in order to perform at your best. As a dancer, your body is your instrument so it is important to feed it the nutritious fuel that it was meant to have. Vegetables are part of a healthy diet, which provide your body with the energy that it needs to be physically fit and active.

Another way to get your serving of vegetables:
My mom made this medley over the weekend for a cookout and this one included potatoes, onions, tomatoes, zucchini, and squash. They were tossed with herbs and spices and set to bake in the oven. Yummy!

1 comment:

Lisa said...

you are getting to be such a wonderful cook!