Thursday, July 7, 2011 Eating Healthy Takes Time (and a little money)

Yesterday I promised my husband two healthy meals - and I delivered, of course.

Wednesday is Farmers Market day in Darien, 11-6 in the lot behind the firehouse, across from Goodwives Shopping Center. But I began my shopping at Stop & Shop across the street. We all know how our trips to the Farmers Market can quickly get out of control budget wise. So I wandered aimlessly around the produce department, as usual, until it hit me. I was going to recreate the veggie melt that my husband missed so much from his days back at Tumbleweeds.

Tumbleweeds was a bar in Bridgeport, that closed before I even met my husband 16 years ago, but it was home to him for a rough period in his life so, even though I have little understanding of bar culture, I tried my best to bring back the feeling of home away from home.

I crammed my basket full of veggies - I figured I'd make a salad for lunch and the veggie melt for dinner. So I bought celery and broccoli and sweet peppers and Swiss cheese and a portobello mushroom cap and corn (20 cents each, how could I resist?) and an onion and...I think that was everything. Oh, and the wheat pita. 21 bucks and change...not too bad.

Then I wandered across the street to the Farmers Market. They key to the market for me is first wandering around all the booths to find what I'm going to buy and from whom I am going to buy it. I have my favorite farmers and I like to spread the money around. So I ended up buying a tomato and a cuke from one guy for $1.95, a squash and some green beans from another woman for 95 cents, a couple carrots from another booth for 50 cents and then a quart of cherries for 5 bucks.

I don't think I've ever gotten out of the Farmers Market that cheap!

So, I get home and start to prep the salad. I had half a head of iceberg that I trimmed up and I added some lettuce from my garden to give it some color. I sliced up the cuke, some pepper, threw in some carrot ribbons, tomato, celery. I made pasta and dressed it with an onion, arugula and basil concoction - this salad probably took me a good 45 minutes to make! (This is why I'm not Food Network Competition material.) It was damn tasty, though! Worth the effort, and our bodies needed the veggies after the holiday weekend.

Dinner might not have taken as long - I really should time what I'm doing, but I'm usually too busy cooking to take pictures, never mind keeping score. I prepped all my veggies separately - putting each one into its own bowl. Little bits of broccoli, sliced peppers and onions, squash circles, mushroom chunks and corn off the cob.

I cooked all the veggies separately but in the same pan - putting the cooked ones into a big bowl and tossing them all together at the end. The pitas I bought were ridiculously thin, like tissue paper - I guess that's how they're low calorie, there's nothing to them. So I carefully opened them up and scooped the hot veggies inside. Then I stuffed them with slices of Swiss and carefully transferred them to my pizza stone in the hot oven for about 5 minutes to melt the cheese.

Hard to eat because of the pita, but a fork and knife managed to get the cheesy chunks of veggies into my mouth. I don't think I nailed the taste my husband was looking for, but I did manage to make us a nice healthy dinner.

Two healthy meals in a row! WTF? It's a good thing we polished off a bag of Swedish Fish for dessert...

By the way - Check out the article I wrote for CT Bites about Dinner on a Stick Night!



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