leafy greens

Get Those Veggies In!

In these dog days of summer (what does that even mean?), homecooking can be difficult--to say the least. Who wants to turn on the stove or oven in this heat?

"The world is my sauna right now."

-Khrysti Smyth (my pal)

Well, to get the right nutrition, sometimes you have to do it--even when you don't want to. Here's something we whipped up last night that was fast, easy, healthy --and only needed a little "hot prep" to make it happen.

You'll need:

1) several small summer squash and/or zucchini

2) fresh dark leafy greens of choice (we used kale)

3) some olive oil or coconut oil for sautee

PREP: Chop up or slice the squash and zucchini. Tear up the greens into bite sized pieces (or chop with a knife) and put them in a pan with several teaspoons of oil. Saute over medium to low heat.

4) boxed Gardenburgers (you can make these homemade, sure. We don't have time for that right now in our lives. Boxed will do.) I prefer soy-free ones--I am not a fan of "fake meat" products.

5) a few slices of Ezekial bread--(I'll write a blog post on each of these foods and why they are good ones to choose)

6) fixins' (i.e. organic ketchup, sliced onion, sliced fresh tomato, lettuce)

PREP: Brown the Gardenburgers in a pan over med/low heat with a wee bit of oil. Toast your bread.

COMBINE: the fresh veggie sautee (a sprinkle of salt makes these killer!) and the burgers---add whatever else might make this quick summer dinner enjoyable and FUN!

Silencing Your Inner Critic, Seasonal Eating and Veggie Gumbo--OH MY!

When I began posting this recipe I thought, "people aren't going to want to eat this in the summer! It's hot! Post a recipe that's about fresh, raw veggies to promote the idea of eating with the seasons!" Those limiting thoughts. Those negative self-defeating patterns. MY GOODNESS, how persistent (and detrimental) they can be!

Then I thought to myself, "self, you are being judgmental and critical. Stop it. Gumbo is eaten in places where people are hot almost every day of their gosh darn lives. I can teach people about eating with the seasons AND post a hot recipe. Both can happen."

See how easy that was?


This post is about silencing your inner critic, eating with the seasons (as a dietary theory) AND making easy and amazing vegetarian gumbo.

Ready, Set, GO!

Silence Your Inner Critic:

This is an easy concept but it's difficult to practice. Basically, my suggestion is the next time you have a limiting thought or a negative self-defeating pattern rears its ugly head---notice it (you can see me using my spiritual practice here) and replace it with a positive one. Literally change the way you're talking to yourself.

Catching yourself doing it is the key to changing it. It's like 90% of the work. That's why I speak about mindfulness so much because it's the THING that's the difference between knowing what to do, or what you want to do and actually DOING it. If you're not aware of what you're thinking or how you're talking to yourself, you can't change the inner dialogue to be less critical of yourself. 

How can you become more mindful? You have to just do it. You have to press pause long enough to catch the things you're thinking and saying and doing. People struggle with this because they run like robots most of the time. 

Once you notice that you've said something critical, re-word it to be more inspiring, empowering or more supportive. See my example above. 

Eat with the Seasons:

Also a fairly simple idea, but often difficult to practice. The goal is to focus your daily diet around what is growing locally around you and in abundance at a specific time of year. For example, since our summer was a bit delayed here in Boston this year, the Farmer's Market is selling a lot of veggies plants and leafy greens--the best their crops can do right now. In the coming months, there will be an abundance of veggies like tomatoes, zucchini, peaches, etc. As the summer ends and fall approaches, you'll see tons of squashes, apples and root vegetables like carrots. Your body may naturally crave the foods that are aligned with the growing seasons---as the weather warms, you will crave light, crunchy water-filled fruits and veggies. As the weather cools in the fall, you will crave rich, warm soups, stews, etc. This theory is awesome and I follow it as much as I can. The biggest bummer for me is finding leafy greens once they disappear from the summer fields of Massachusetts. The ones shipped from Cali just don't do it for me because by the time they arrive, they're pretty wilted and worn out.

If you live in Boston, however, and you have 45 degree weather in mid-June, warm vegetarian gumbo sounds absolutely perfect.

So, here you go! I snagged this recipe from a magazine and don't remember which one so I hope I don't get found out. 

Vegetarian Gumbo

Buy this: 

1/2 cup sunflower or coconut oil

1/3 cup flour

1 small onion, chopped (1 cup)

1 green bell pepper, chopped (1 cup)

3 stalks celery, chopped (1 cup)

1 28-oz can diced tomatoes

2 cups fresh or frozen green beans

3 carrots, sliced (2 cups)

1 parsnip, diced (1 cup)

1 cup fresh or frozen sliced okra

1 Tbs. ground cumin

1 Tbs. paprika

1 Tbs. dried oregano

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Do this:

1) Stir together oil and flour in heavy-bottomed pot until smooth. Cook over high heat for 10 minutes or until roux turns a dark caramel color, stirring constantly.

2) Add onion, bell pepper, and celery and cook 5 minutes, or until vegetables are softened. Add remaining ingredients a 4 cups of water. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook 40 minutes or until carrots are tender. Serve over rice, quinoa or millet.

Serves 8

Here, the rich dark roux of a Louisiana style gumbo is laced with okra, parsnips, carrots and green beans, but feel free to substitute any vegetables you choose (good opportunity to use what's growing in season...)

Simple, fast and it makes plenty of leftovers.


;) Silence the inner critic, cook what's around you (when you can) and make food that is healthy and leaves leftovers for later when the pace of your week picks up.