Roasted Vegetables

I love vegetables. Just about any way they can be served, I’m gonna be happy. But roasted veggies are especially nice, because the high heat brings out the flavors, especially in the sweeter ones.

roasted-vegetablesPlus, it’s easy! I roast mine at 425. The timing depends on the vegetable itself and the size of the pieces you’re roasting. Whole, medium sized beets need at least 45 minutes but something softer and smaller, like brussel sprouts, might be done in as little as 20 minutes. If you’re not sure how long your veggies will take, set your timer for 15 minutes. When time’s up, poke with a fork. Too hard? Keep cooking. Reset for 10 minutes & then poke again. Keep setting your timer so that you remember to check.

After you’ve done this a time or two you’ll get a feel for how long different veggies take and how the size of your pieces affects cooking time. If you’re going to make a mix of veggies in one baking dish, cut denser veggies smaller & leave softer ones a little bigger. This way they’ll be done at the same time.

Beets can be peeled & cut to cook with other vegetables, but red ones might bleed out onto lighter colored veggies. If you plan to cook beets by themselves you can actually roast them with their skins on, which makes peeling so much easier than raw. I rinse my beets, place them in a glass baking dish with a little puddle of water in the bottom & drizzle a tiny bit of olive oil over them. I tightly cover the dish with foil. A tight seal on most roasting vegetables isn’t essential, but for beets it is. You want to create enough steam to cook this dense vegetable, and the steam also helps the skin separate. Wait at least 40 minutes (don’t peek before 40!) to test your beets for doneness. If you’re worried about them burning on the bottoms just give the pan a little shake to roll the beets a bit. To test, poke with a fork. I like mine to allow a fork to easily penetrate, but not be too soft.

When the beets are done, take them out of the oven, and if time allows, secure the foil over the tight and let them cool. This makes the skins super easy to remove. If you don’t have time for this, no problem, cool with the foil off.

To remove the skins, use a kitchen towel. Sometimes the beets stain, so you may want to use an old one. Place the beet in the center of the towel, pick it up and rub the skin off. It should fall away pretty easily. I’ve found red beets to give up the skins more easily than the gold.

I use a glass baking dish and fill the bottom with a single layer of cut vegetables, generously drizzling olive oil & a sprinkle of coarse sea salt before covering with foil. Then I place in the oven, set the timer & do a little clean up while waiting for them to be done.

Helping You Eat

MichelleI had a puzzling conversation with a friend last week that snapped the work I’ve been doing with my food workshop into focus.

What she told me, in essence, was that her child had chronic digestive issues as well as a litany of other ailments, including asthma and eczema, some of which were requiring increasing medication, and she had her own set of health issues. She told me that she was sure that food sensitivities were at the root of many, if not all of these problems.

Then she told me “I know I should change our diet, but I just can’t.”

I’ll admit, I was flabbergasted, at first. You know that the things you’re putting into your own and your child’s body are causing long-term harm, but you “just can’t” stop? Are you addicted? Do you have not have access to alternatives? Do you not care?

But the more I thought about it, I realized that the answer was simpler. She didn’t mean “I can’t change”, she meant “I don’t know how to change, I don’t know where to start and I can’t figure out how to figure it out.”

Now that, I get. I’ve had my share of obstacles in my life where I simply didn’t know where or how to start solving a problem, didn’t know what the first step was, and that’s where the process ended. I saw the problem in front of me like a huge, smooth wall stretching out to the horizon in both directions. My eyes glazed over, I shrugged, turned around and walked the other way.

But for this particular problem, the one that she has, the one that so many of my friends and neighbors have, I do know how to to change, I do know where to start. I faced this exact problem myself:  My family and I suffered from one health ailment after another, the most serious being that my pancreas stopped producing essential enzymes, my husband suffered from colitis, and my son experienced debilitating and terrifying digestive issues. I spent literally years researching and experimenting, trying to learn new ways of feeding myself and my family, knowing that whatever I came up with, I’d have to figure out a way to make it work every single day of the rest of my life.

And because I’d been through it myself, I can help my friend make the change she wants in her life, if she really wants it, that can lead to better health not only for her, but for her children as they grow up. Helping people to live happier, healthier lives? That’s a fine mission for life.

So that’s what I’ll be doing here and in my workshops: sharing ideas, recipes, news and thoughts that can help people change the way they eat to create the kind of healthy lives that we all want.

I hope you’ll come along for the ride. If you have ideas you want to share, please let me know. If you have questions you want answered, same same.

Thanks for reading. Now, let’s get started.