It's high summer in North America, and here in Michigan we are beginning to reap the bounty. This spring, I decided to cede some of the real estate in our backyard flower border to Ken's ambitions for vegetables. We put in several broccoli plants, sweet peppers, a hot pepper, flat parsley, chives, basil. In containers on the deck, we have tomatoes, rosemary, zucchini and cucumber.
The broccoli bore beautifully. I harvested 6 good-sized bunches, freezing most of them. Tonight's dinner featured some of the flavors from our own garden. As cooking women have discovered for centuries, there's something especially satisfying about preparing a meal from food you've grown yourself. I oven-roasted the broccoli, seasoned with garlic, chili powder and grill seasoning --- tossed with a generous dose of olive oil.
Our main course was boneless pork chops. I pan-grilled them with some chopped rosemary and grill seasoning. Finishing it off was a rice pilaf cooked with a little shallot I had left over and more of the rosemary.
After a meal like that, I find myself wishing that I cooked more often ... but just like everyone else, I'm often too tired and hungry after work to feel like preparing a meal --- even a 30-minute meal seems too daunting. Yet I know that cooking from fresh ingredients is much better for me. Especially on my diet, I can control what I'm eating ... I know exactly how much salt is in the dish, I know every ingredient.
We are also lucky enough to live about a mile from our city's farmer's market. It would be easy for me to run up there on a Saturday morning and stock up on the freshest stuff. I'm hankering right now for sweet corn ... and you know that's better when you eat it soon after picking.
Discovered a lovely summer refresher, purely by accident. Last Sunday, one of the deacons was doing the coffee hour at church, and when he couldn't find the usual Lipton to make iced tea, he improvised and used the Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime that he found at hand. Wow. I never knew it could be so good icy cold, but the mint and chamomile is soooo delightful. I'm making it for myself at home. And I take a mug to work with me to sip on all day.
Now that I'm feeling better, I'm getting back into exercising again. Right now, I'm walking 30 minutes every morning on the treadmill. I bop away to the tunes on my iPod and watch the Today show. Just that little exercise every day has really boosted my energy and spirits.