My pal and neighbor Justine (with whom I bonded over our love of bacon not so long ago) asked what a diet of vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds (and beans! I forgot to say beans!) looks like on the dinner table.
The short answer is this: it looks a lot like salad.
I've always been a salad lover, and it happens to be one of the few meals I do well. My kids will also eat salad, though they're finicky about what kind of lettuce (the CRUNCHY kind) and what kind of dressing (ranch for Patrick, balsamic vinaigrette for Gus. I pick my battles, and salad dressing isn't a mountain I'm willing to die on. Yet.) So for now, we make the boys pasta or soup or fajitas or chicken fingers (baby steps) in addition to what we're having, so they can try it. If they dig it, great. If not, no big deal. I figure the more I expose them to new things, the more likely we are to hit on whole-food dishes they like (sweet potato "fries" with black bean dip, for example) and slowly (sneakily) transform their diet. If you've met boys, any boys, you'll probably agree the slow and steady strategy is for the best.
I also have an edge in this endeavor because Larry's easy. He'll eat pretty much anything as long as it tastes good, and he likes the whole foods concept. If he wasn't on board, he'd cook something else (as he has done nearly every day of our marriage before now.) He's always been the head chef at our house, not to mention one who has been accommodating my dietary whims with grace and good humor for 17 years. So I'm pumped to be able to cook for him for a change--and have the food not suck! Winning.
Okay. So dinner-worthy salads.
The one pictured above was from two nights ago. It's a (slight) variation on the Garden Kale Salad from an awesome blog that I'm obsessed with called This Rawsome Vegan Life. The author is young and brilliant and inspring, and her recipes are simple and easy once you gather up all the ingredients. I'm trying to stock my kitchen with commonly called for items (nutritional yeast, coconut oil, almond milk, walnuts, miso, tamari, garlic etc.) so I don't have to start every culinary adventure at the grocery store. It's coming together.
This is the Super Simple Vinaigrette Gus loves - and kind of our staple (though I'm branching out lately, like a woman possessed).
1/3 C olive oil
1/3 C vegetable oil
1/3 C balsamic vinegar (or any vinegar you like)
1/4 C dijon mustard (or any mustard you like)
A couple shakes of salt and pepper and oh my god, I can't believer I have the audacity to blog about food.
It's ridiculous. And I want you to know that I know that it's ridiculous. And I fully expect people to point and laugh and say she's telling us how to make salads! And dressings! As if it's a "discovery". HOW ADORABLE. But, maybe it will inspire one non-cook like myself to explore a little. As I told Larry last night, putting whole foods together doesn't feel like cooking to me--and that's why I like it.
Cooking is stressful.
Cooking is impending failure if a recipe isn't followed to the letter.
Cooking is heat and timers and sauces bubbling over.
Cooking is potentially poisoning your family with salmonella!
Cooking is having to figure out how to make everything look good.
Working with whole foods, on the other hand, is flexible, fun, serendipitous, and almost impossible to screw up. (Not to mention the best possible thing you can do for your health.) And every meal looks beautiful because the ingredients are beautiful. It's like having a big bowl of Christy Turlingtons. Just try to make it look ugly.
So, this is where I'm at. Having fun. I hope it's not a turn off, because tomorrow I'm going to introduce you to the newest member of our family, Mr. Spiral Vegetable Slicer.
He's kind of a big deal.