Welcome to Busy Women Mealtime Makeover! Whether you are one of the lovely busy ladies participating in the makeover or just interested in taking your meals up a notch – girl, do I have some rockin’ recipes for you! From now until June 1st, I’ll be featuring twelve new delicious makeover-friendly recipes. This week, we are focusing on eating more spring foods. (And if you want to join in and get the entire makeover PDF complete with meal plans, shopping lists and recipes, videos and photos of me cooking, weekly emails with additional recipes and kitchen tips and tricks and access to our online forum, you can totally start a few days late – click here and sign up!)
Stacey, you are busy, right? Tell me why you care about healthy eating?
When I was growing up, my mom came home from work and cooked a huge meal every night. Most of it was traditional Southern fare and we fried our meat and vegetables in a cast-iron skillet. When I had my own family, I wanted to honor the tradition of a family supper every night and the homegrown flavor of food we raised ourselves, but in the interest of good health, I knew I had to cook in a slightly different way.
We eat family meals every night, and I’m still a good Southern girl and cook plenty of collards and okra, but I’ve adjusted not only my cooking style but also the amount of food I serve each night.
We raise our own garden every year, and I supplement our small garden with fresh veggies from a local CSA in our area, Tumbling Shoals Farm. Every week, we are surprised with some of our regular staples, like lettuce, onions and tomatoes, and some newer things we were not necessarily familiar with, like fennel, hot peppers, and rainbow chard. I was also introduced to a new, much better side, of beets.
Though we grow our own vegetables, the only way I’d ever eaten beets was from a can. I liked them but they weren’t my favorite. After getting a dirt-covered bunch of fresh beets in my weekly vegetable box last year, I was a little perplexed by what I was supposed to do with them.
I checked out the CSA’s amazing database of recipes, and I discovered roasted beets. I tried the following recipe, and the only thing I changed was that I used fresh goat cheese rather than feta. Either way is delicious. This has become my favorite summertime salad, and the best part is it’s hearty enough for a meal, without being too heavy, and super quick and easy—it’s the best of all worlds.
I want to establish strong ties to our food, both in how we grow it and in how we share it with one another, and learning to make food that is tasty and good for my family has been a great way to do that.
I often hear people say that cooking takes too much time, that the drive-thru is so much easier. But healthy eating is really much simpler than most people realize and so much more satisfying. When we eat whole foods in their natural state, it doesn’t get much easier or more delicious than that. Pluck a few warm tomatoes from the vine, tear some fresh spinach, lettuce or arugula into bite-sized pieces, sprinkle on some sliced cucumber and tender green onions, and a handful of nuts and cheese, and you have a meal in just a couple of minutes. Spring and summer are the best times to experiment with all of the wonderfully fresh produce that’s available, and in taking the time to choose fresh foods, prepare them together and share them with those we love, we are also creating memories to last a lifetime.
Satisfying Beet Salad
1 bunch beets: boil or roast, then cool and remove skins
½ medium-sized onion: slice thin
½ c. walnuts: toast slightly (more if you like walnuts)
1 bunch arugula: wash, pat dry and tear into bite-sized pieces
Add your favorite vinaigrette and mix gently. Allow flavors to blend, then sprinkle generously with Feta cheese and fresh black pepper before serving.
Stacey Libbert is a writer, teacher, running coach and mother of two in the mountains of North Carolina. She enjoys gardening, trail running, living a creative, natural life and writing about her adventures at Running Monologue. You can also find her on Facebook at Running Monologue or Solid Ground Health Coaching.
**Check out all the Busy Women Mealtime Makeover recipes by clicking here.**