Last week I posted about eating clean. While a strong driving factor for me is being able to fit into those pieces sitting in my closet that simply no longer zip up, I have recently come across many articles about the things that are hiding in our food. Things that NO ONE should be eating. So, I'm going back to basics...even the source of 'natural flavoring' is disturbing. If you've got a strong stomach, you might want to click here. I found this comprehensive list while searching for a castoreum link, but knowledge is power, so I'm giving you a little more 'food' for thought.
I am inspired by the clean eating of the Mediterranean diet. This way of eating, while spawning multiple 'diet' books and the offshoot Sonoma Diet, it is really just a common sense approach to food. Know what goes into it and make it good using real ingredients. It stresses enjoying your food and the combination of vegetables, fruit, whole grains, olive oil, seafood, and wine and has resulted in a 50+% lowering of early death rates in people who have adopted this way of eating for 10 years. This is how I tend to eat normally, but recently, I have not been as diligent as I should be when it comes to avoiding processed foods. And that has been my downfall. Those from the Mediterranean, naturally, have the European mindset that a meal is a celebration and that healthy relationship with food is something that Americans tend to lack. I suppose that has contributed to my downward spiral - when you are living alone, it can be difficult to motivate yourself to get in the kitchen and start cooking when you can simply microwave something instead. And good luck in trying to say healthy when you are putting shit into your body.
|Kirk Douglas, Sophia Loren, and an unnamed woman enjoying dinner in a photo from Life Magazine in 1958.|
On Saturday, I carved out about an hour and a half and made myself a pot of Minestrone. Below is my modified version of the recipe found in The Sonoma Diet. I highly recommend picking this book up!
-2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
-1 tablespoon minced garlic
-1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
-1 large onion, chopped
-1 cup celery, chopped
-1 cup carrots, chopped
-3 cups baby spinach
-2 14-ounce cans basil, garlic, and oregano diced tomatoes
-2 14-ounce cans white beans
-6 cups organic vegetable broth
-1/2 cup orzo pasta
-salt and pepper to taste
-sprinkling of Parmesan cheese
1. Place extra-virgin olive oil, onion, and garlic in a large pot. Cook over medium-low heat until the onions are soft, approximately 4 minutes.
2. Add carrots, celery, and Italian seasoning. Cook for 10 minutes until carrots start to soften.
3. Add tomatoes with juice and drained beans. Cook 10 minutes.
4. Add vegetable stock. Bring to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes.
5. Stir in orzo. Cook 15 minutes, or until the pasta is cooked through.
6. Add the spinach. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
7. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan.
Note: This makes A LOT of soup. Also, by cooking the orzo in the soup, it thickens up and becomes more like a stew than a soup, but you can always add more stock if you want to thin it out a little. Although I love this with the orzo, I may try making this with pearl barley next time to give it a little more chew. This has become my go-to soup, especially in the winter. If you try this one out, which would be my suggestion, please tell me what you think.
Happy cooking, Kittens!