As a long-time vegetarian, I’ve always been aware of eating healthy. Until the last couple years; however, I was content to use my kitchen as a receptacle for frozen dinners and a storage location for my microwave. I led a busy life, and I used that to explain why I never cooked.
After the divorce, I began to find a new found respect for the kitchen. I was surprised to find that it was the room I was most excited about once I had my own space again. I almost didn’t recognize myself as I began to collect recipes and cookbooks, wander through farmer’s markets, and enjoy Sunday mornings in the kitchen with NPR on the radio.
I discovered that it felt good to cook, to spend time preparing healthy and nourishing food. I enjoyed sharing food and recipes with others, especially when I could help to introduce them to vegetarian cooking or a new way of eating. My health improved and my weight stabilized as I replaced prepared foods with fresh.
My life is still busy, and I’m no Martha Stewart, but now I prepare most foods from scratch. Below is a flexible recipe for one of my favorite salads. It got its name because I made it for a special someone on his birthday this past year:)
1 bag baby spinach
1/2 red onion, sliced
4 oz mushrooms, sliced
1 cucumber, sliced
1/2 grilled asparagus, cut into 1″ pieces (optional)
4 tbsp feta cheese
2 tbsp walnut pieces
4 tbsp pomegranate seeds
1 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
alt and pepper, to taste
Blend dressing ingredients in blender until smooth. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.
This recipe is easy to adapt to your preferences and what you have on hand. Some additional add-in ideas: marinated and baked tofu slices, artichoke hearts, Portobello slices marinated in port, or chicken strips. To make it vegan, replace the feta with diced, high quality black olives.