The Answer is Always Now – Day 7

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One week ago, I woke up with the realization that I had gotten into some lazy eating habits, and it needed to change.  When?  Now.  

That evening, I sat down in front of my computer and decided that for one week, I would share every food choice I made – good or bad.  And overall, it’s been pretty good.  So here’s the last day of that week:  Day 7.

As per usual, breakfast:

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This probably looks familiar, except this banana wasn’t quite as pretty as the ones earlier in the week.  The Quinoa Oatmeal is still pretty rockin’.

Lunch was good today.  When I had dinner with the rents last night, Mom sent me home some vegetarian chili she had made.  It was chock full of beans and zucchini, and it was quite, quite yummy.  She also gave me a piece of cornbread to go with it.

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I went to the cafeteria to microwave the chili, and as soon as I got back to my desk, I heard from the other side of the cubical wall “What smells so good?”  Yep, that’s my lunch!

Now, as you’ve probably realized over the past few days, I typically have some type of snack mid-afternoon.  Today, I really didn’t get hungry.  I had an apple ready to go if I need it, but it is currently residing in my refrigerator.  Hmmm….this might explain why I was so hungry for dinner…

I stopped at Krieger’s Market on my way home from work to pick up a couple of things – I wanted a good steak (they always have grass-fed Ohio beef) and since it looked so good, I got some Swiss Chard as well.

I had sweet potatoes and onions at home, so I picked up some carrots as well, and roasted them all together with some garlic cloves.

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With that, I sauteed the Swiss Chard with garlic and crushed red pepper flakes, and cooked the strip steak on the grill pan on the oven.  It’s a bit warmer today than it has been, but I just did not want to go outside to grill!  I seasoned the steak with olive oil, salt and pepper, and got it a perfect medium rare.  If there’s one thing I can do, it’s cook a steak.  (If I do say so myself!)

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Short version of the rest of my night – I ate, I took a bath, I ran the dishwasher, I blogged.  Done!  One week of total food sharing.

So what, if anything, have I learned this week?  A few things:

  • Don’t be lazy.  It doesn’t take that much more time and energy to have good, real food.  Take the pizza place off speed dial.
  • I am not the kind of person who can have “just a little bit” of junk food, then go right back to healthy eating.  If I have one 16 oz Pepsi, I’ll want a whole 2-liter (although my recurring Pepsi addition is probably worthy of it’s own post).  If I eat a candy bar at work because I’m starving in the afternoon and didn’t plan well enough to have a good snack, I’ll go home and order pizza for dinner that night, then want a greasy cafeteria egg sandwich in the morning.
  • I sleep better when I eat good food.  I don’t think I really realized this before, but just after New Year’s (after the holiday season and my bad eating habits) I was having a hard time falling asleep, or I’d fall asleep, but wake up in the middle of the night and be up for hours. This week?  I fell asleep quickly, slept soundly and woke up refreshed – every night.
  • I don’t want to eat crappy food!  I really, truly believe in eating real, minimally processed local food whenever possible.  But if I really believe that, I have to live it.  I’m not quite where I would like to be, but I’m getting there.

So there you go.  A worthwhile week of food – now I just have to keep it going!

Pizza with Garlicky Mixed Greens

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I love the farmers market, and I’m lucky enough to have a fantastic year-round market ten minutes from my house.  (Woo Countryside!) One of my farmers market issues is overbuying greens.  (As I typed that, this is what I heard in my head:  Hi, my name is Melissa and I buy too many greens…Hi, Melissa!)

They always look so beautiful and so tasty, and and I end up coming home with bags like this:

Left to right:  Swiss chard and collard greens, baby swiss chard, spinach

Left to right: Swiss chard and collard greens, baby Swiss chard, spinach

I recently read the book An Everlasting Meal, by Tamar Adlar.  Not a traditional cookbook, but a fantastic book about cooking and food – I highly recommend it.  The author is passionate about eating well, but also eating responsibly and not wasting.  One of the things she suggests is to cook veggies, like greens, as soon as you get home from the market.

Typically, I use a little bit of greens right away, then rest get all wilty in the fridge while I forget about them for a couple of days.  This time, I got home from the market and started cooking. And boy, am I glad I did!

I took all three bags of greens, removed the big, tough-looking stems and gave the leaves a quick chop.

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I got out my only pot that I thought would hold all the greens – a heavy enamel dutch oven-style pot.  I covered the bottom of the pot with olive oil, turned the heat on medium-low and added six cloves of garlic, sliced.

Once the garlic started to turn just slightly golden brown, I turned up the heat.  I added all the greens (it took several handfuls to transfer them to the pot), salt, pepper and a good amount of red pepper flakes. I like ’em spicy.

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Because the pot was so full, I very carefully stirred the greens around until they were all coated in the garlicky oil.  I let them go for a few more minutes, stirring a couple of times, until they cooked down to a beautifully dark green pile in the bottom of the pot.

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Yum!  Yum, yum, yum.  The smell of the garlic, the lovely dark green color with bits of red Swiss chard stems poking out here and there….awesome.

Now, these are fabulous as is – immediately after cooking, or reheated a day or two later.  But I wanted to try something different.  And I just happened to have some freshly made pizza dough in the fridge.

My favorite pizza dough recipe comes from the book Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast by Ken Forkish.  It’s easy, it’s consistently good, and it make an awesome thin crust pizza.

After I stretched out the pizza dough, I added a generous amount of the cooked greens (and garlic pieces).

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I kept it simple.  On top of the greens, I added sliced fresh mozzarella and some shredded asiago cheese, just because I happened to have it on hand.  I topped it with a few shakes of red pepper flakes and popped it in the oven at 500 degrees until the crust got brown and the cheese got bubbly. I preheated the oven with my pizza stone inside to help get the bottom crust all crispy.

Before cooking...

Before cooking…

...after cooking!

…after cooking!

Pizza may, in fact, be the perfect food. And this pizza was damn near perfect, if I do say so myself (and I do!).

Do you have any tricks or tips for using all your produce before it starts wilting?  Or do you have the willpower not to buy three large bags of greens at one time?  Or both?