What happened? One day I am in shorts and a T-shirt and the next I am in my wool L.L. Bean farm coat, which I have been secretly longing to wear again. I got the coat off eBay last year and absolutely love it. I also love the fact that it is 60 years old and was made when life was a little simpler.
Simpler times – doesn’t that sound nice? Everything is so complicated and fast paced. It takes effort just trying to “unplug.” Having lived in both centuries, I realize that we do have more choices with technology now, but I also think life was pretty crazy during the simpler times as well. It might have more to do with expectations, choices, or circumstances, than the actual era we are living in. And besides we are not rolling the clock back to the first Full House or Leave it to Beaver, either. So we have to figure it out for today.
Good things take time and often take time to plan. It is the same with living a healthy life. Living a healthy life takes a little planning and a little work and then with each small intentional step we build, maintain, and increase our health and our family’s health.
But those small steps can seem like big ones, especially in our minds, when the pressure of life is pressing in upon us: laundry, mowing the lawn, soccer practice, school activities, church, connecting with children or parents, doctor appointments, the list can stretch for miles.
I know that it is easier to eat the “organic” (or nonorganic) version of a health bar, a bag of chips, a pre-frozen meal or some snack foods than it is to make a meal from scratch. Processed foods are just more convenient and quite honestly just easier. And we often console ourselves with, “well at least it is organic.”
And, yes organic processed foods are better options, but what if we could make cooking with fresh fruits and vegetables more of a priority? What would be the benefit? A slower pace of life would be one, at least at that moment when we are preparing and cooking dinner or preparing lunches for the next day. Even if the kiddos wolf it down in five minutes or less. Anther benefit is that eating more fruit and vegetables in their minimally processed forms can lead to weight loss, lower blood pressure and an overall increase in vitality.
Maybe the side benefits to cooking are worth the extra steps in planning and preparing. Hmmm?
Featured Recipe: Stir-Fry Mushrooms & Bell Pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil 3 green onions, slice 3 garlic cloves, minced 1 bell pepper, deseeded and diced 1 package mushrooms, sliced 1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine 2 -3 tablespoons soy sauce 1-2 teaspoons sesame seeds
1. Heat oil until hot. Stir fry onions (1 minute), then garlic (20 seconds). Then add the pepper and mushrooms. Stir-fry until it becomes a bit soft, (about 2 minutes).
2. Add the wine and soy sauce and continue to stir for 2 minutes.
3. When done, remove from heat and add the sesame seeds mixing it all together, and serve.
Know Your Produce: Kiwi Berries
Brought from Asia to the United States in the 1800s, the kiwi berry packs a big nutritional punch as the most nutrient-dense of all major fruits. Not just good for you, kiwi berries are delicious! Each variety has a unique flavor and color and their smooth skins make them the perfect snack. They can be eaten fresh, in salads, salsas, dessert sauces, ice cream and sorbets. Their tropical tastes pair well with orange, honey, and chocolate.
Kiwi berries should be allowed to ripen at room temperature. When they are ready to be enjoyed, the berries will turn a dark green color and feel slightly soft to the touch. Unlike most fruits, they are not ready to eat until they look slightly wrinkled and soft. Once they are ripe, store them in the refrigerator for up to two weeks or eat immediately. Let them come back up to room temperature before eating.