Center Cut Squash

The salmon filet was leftover from a Bento box I ordered for dinner one night.

The vegetable is the Center Cut Squash that arrived in the CSA box. It was the first time I had this veggie. The squash tastes almost like citrus and is juicy and tastes green.

How it was cooked:

I cut the squash in half the long way. Brushed with olive oil. Cooked at 350 degrees in the oven for 40 minutes or so.

Alas, I’ve stopped buying the CSA box because there’s too much food in it to use within five days.

Now that fall’s coming I will be buying individual vegetables like spaghetti squash.

Recipes to follow for Bok Choy plus vegan snacks.

Beet Salad

The word for beets in Italian is barbabietole.

The beets were in the CSA box with the other vegetables I used to make the prior meals.

This beet salad was for dinner one night. The heirloom tomatoes came from the box of organic tomatoes I bought.

To roast beets you cut off the top and bottom. You roast them at 400 degrees for 45 minutes in the oven.

I let the beets cool a bit after taking them out of the oven. Then I used a knife to cut around in a circle to remove the hard skin.

I used the onion that was in the CSA box too.

Eggplant Sandwich

This is my version of an eggplant-and-mozzarella “sandwich” you’d find in an Italian food shop.

The Italian eggplant arrived in the CSA box. I cut it into “coins” brushed each coin with EVOO and grilled them on the stove.

The oven I bought last Labor Day has a fifth burner that has a grill pan you can use above the oval burner.

I used the grill pan on the fifth burner to grill the eggplant coins for about 7 to 9 minutes or so. I didn’t keep track of the time. I viewed the coins to see when they were golden brown. I turned each coin over halfway through.

The mozzarella I used alternating with the eggplant to make a sandwich was the Galbani fresh mozzarella that comes sliced.

Again I don’t like to have a lot of cheese because doing so can elevate your LDL or “bad” cholesterol.

Bok Choy Joy

This is the first time I’ve cooked and eaten Bok choy. The vegetable was part of the CSA box I bought for this week’s dinners.

I used one head of Bok choy and could’ve used 2 heads. The recipe is tasty and I will feature it in a coming blog entry in the future.

With a ton of tasty vegetables on offer year-round I say: ditch the meat. Produce sold in-season is cheaper.

Colorful veggies are happy food. Feel-good greens can give you benefits instead of reaching for vitamins.

A lot of people take vitamins and that is their choice. I stopped taking supplements years ago.

In my estimation I think the decision comes down to what each of us as an individual needs to nourish our bodies.

Which might be different from the advice an expert peddles to the masses.

However I do adhere to some guidelines and I’ll talk about these guidelines in the future.

Caprese Salad

The Caprese salad above I had for dinner one night.

You’re not supposed to eat cheese. I read somewhere that the production of cheese contributes to greenhouse gas emissions.

I don’t have cheese often and it’s because having a lot of cheese can elevate your LDL–the bad cholesterol in your body.

I would like to publish a cookbook one day. It wouldn’t be a vegan cookbook.

There are ethical reasons for being a vegan.

Whatever eating plan a person adheres I stand by my life motto: No Judgments.

In one way I have done something differently: I rarely eat chicken and fish anymore. I usually have scallops for seafood and often shrimp.

More often than not I cook vegetables for dinner.

Simply reducing your reliance on food like meat that contributes to greenhouse gas emissions will go a long way in promoting self-health and the health of the planet.

I’m not going to sit around judging what people do though.

I have no desire to be an eco-cop policing people or an enviro-vigilante.

Human beings are doing the best we can with what we were given.

Even the buzzword “plant-based” should be enough of a change to make.

The blog entry coming up features another vegetable dinner that I used CSA box produce to cook.

This Week’s Food

For $12.99 I bought the tomatoes in the box below:

For $29.99 I bought a CSA box of organic vegetables as follows:

Jalapeno Peppers

Orange Carrots

Red Beets

Roma Tomatoes

Russian Banana Fingerling Potatoes

Sweet Onions

Baby Green Bok Choy

Italian Eggplant

I used the CSA box food plus bought heads of Boston lettuce to make a salad for dinner to start off the week.

The Bok choy I’ll have for lunch on Tuesday.

Photos are to follow of the meals I created with the food.

2020 SNAP Challenge

In 2018 and 2019 the Beyond Hunger organization hosted SNAP challenges.

A person who was well-off was challenged to use the customary SNAP benefit to buy food for one week.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is commonly called by its former name: food stamps.

The most recent challenge allocated participants to use $31.22 per person per week for 7 days total.

That comes out to about $4.46 per person per day.

Some rules apply:

The food cannot be bought at big box retailer like Costco or Sam’s Club.

You can use your own condiments and spices.

In most regards other than these two rules you must make do on $31.22 as one person for 7 days.

I’m not going to be able to meet this standard for a number of reasons:

First I have groceries ordered from FreshDirect which doesn’t accept SNAP benefits for payment.

Second the standard is impossible to live up to when you want to eat healthful food.

As it is for my lunch at my job I spend about $5.00 per day on food from a deli counter at a market.

This food is often a half-pound of beet salad or a Sicilian tomato-and-0nion salad or a container of soup.

The point is that people in America are going hungry.

I order 2 $5 donations–$10 total–with my groceries order so that the NY Common Pantry can give 4 pantry meals each to two people.

I have been “buying” this donation with my groceries since the start of June.

FreshDirect employees package the food and help deliver the boxes to people in need in New York City.

This as a humanitarian response to the food insecurity individuals started to face during the COVID-19 outbreak.

As a modified version of the SNAP challenge I’m going to photograph and document in the blog how I spent $29.99–$30 dollars in effect–on food this week.

The fact is–regardless of anyone’s political persuasion–we cannot continue to rob Americans living in poverty of their right to have enough money to buy food.

That people go hungry is a crime.

Again–giving every American a Universal Basic Income of $1,000 per month–would go a long way in terms of food justice.

Andrew Yang–who dropped out of the Democratic race for president–was my choice because his policy platform included a Universal Basic Income.

August Salad Days

My goal is to return to having a salad for lunch at least three days and ideally four days a week.

In the heat a salad can’t be beat as a great no-cook choice for lunch or dinner.

The key to liking your leafy greens is to toss in a ton of extras for texture.

A salad chock full of crunch tastes better too.

I buy Boston lettuce.

Salad toppings:

diced onions

diced carrots

blueberries or raspberries

chickpeas

olives

cashews (you can use walnuts or almonds)

Other extras:

peppers

avocado

feta cheese

hard-boiled egg slices

mushrooms

corn

My preferred dressing is olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

When it’s hot you should turn on the air conditioner if you have one.

It can be hard to get the motivation to cook or to compose a salad when you’re living indoors.

It can be hard to exercise or to do a lot of things when your joy has tanked.

My take is that it might help to use the “if/then” technique.

Link an activity to the time of day you’re going to do it as in:

If it’s 2:00 on a Sunday I’ll exercise. If it’s noon on a day I’m off I’ll make a salad.

Years ago I used to show up to the gym regular like clockwork between 5:00 and 7:00 p.m. every Sunday without fail.

Of course this might be harder to accomplish when you have no energy.

Anxiety and depression have been on the rise in the time of the pandemic.

This is no joke. That’s why cutting yourself a break is warranted.

This is why making a salad when you can’t cook is perfectly fine.

I find that holding myself accountable to my readers enables me to practice what I preach.

The choir keeps me going.

Living Lively

Haile Thomas is the 19-year old author and motivational speaker of this book.

Per her Amazon sales page:

At 16 she was the youngest to graduate from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition as a Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. 

Her empowering guide offers 80 recipes plus exercise pages you can write in to activate your power.

She talks about 7 Points of Power:

Wellness

World perspective

Media and societal influences

Thoughts and mindset

Education

Relationships

Creativity and community

In keeping with the 8 Dimensions of Wellness on the homepage of this blog Haile Thomas breaks down Wellness into:

Spiritual wellness

Emotional / mental wellness

Physical wellness

Intellectual wellness

Environmental wellness

Social wellness

Financial wellness

I’m a 55-year old Generation X woman who is not in the target market for this Generation Z author’s book.

Yet I’ve bought this book which was just released this week in the market.

I’m keen to see whether the recipes feature healthful snacks that can replace chips and pretzels.

In my own life the only snack I’ve been having lately is a jar of Petit Pot chocolate pudding twice a week.

I’ve fallen down on eating fruit though I’ve been having a banana. And I have organic cherries that are in season right now.

When I make a salad I mix in blueberries or raspberries with olives chick peas carrots and cashews.

I’m not a big fan of fruit.

Yet I try my best to have 2 servings of fruit every day. An organic navel orange for breakfast. And a different serving of fruit for a snack in the afternoon.

I’m excited to start reading Living Lively. My take is that reading it could benefit individuals of all ages and stages of life.