Asian Vegetable Stir-Fry

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“Did you ever stop to taste a carrot? Not just eat it, but taste it? You can’t taste the beauty and energy of the earth in a Twinkie.” ~Astrid Alauda

I am very excited to post my first recipe on my new blog! This recipe came about one night when I was craving “something Asian” and I had a fridge FULL of veggies- literally. I had to think up a way to use a lot of different vegetables while still making a tasty dish. I was actually surprised at the end result. It was really easy to make and tasted better than I expected…after all, it is all vegetables! This meal is low-calorie, and high in vitamin A, C and calcium. If you are a meat-eater, you could customize this and add some cooked chicken breast to the mixture.

The most time-consuming part is the prep work…so if you have a helper- get your cutting boards and knives out and go to town!

Asian Vegetable Stir-Fry (serves 4)

Ingredients

 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 Tbsp. fresh ginger root, peeled and minced

1 1/2 cup of yellow onion, diced

1 medium carrot, peeled and sliced very thinly

1 red bell pepper, diced

2 zucchini, halved and coined (half-coins)

1/3 lb. shitake mushrooms (stems removed), sliced

1 stalk/bunch bok choy (leaves and stems), sliced and chopped

2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

2 Tbsp. reduced sodium soy sauce

1 1/2 tsp. sesame seeds, toasted

kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

1. After prepping all the vegetables, if you haven’t already done so, toast the sesame seeds. Heat a large non-stick pan over med. heat. Add sesame seeds. Shake pan and stir occasionally. Seeds are toasted when there is a “toasted aroma” and when the seeds are a light golden color. Allow to cool on a plate and set aside.

2. In the large non-stick pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic, ginger, and onion and saute until onion is soft and translucent.

3. Add carrot, red bell pepper, zucchini, and mushrooms. Saute until all veggies are tender and soft.

4. Add bok choy to pan. (Note: your pan may seem really full at this point- don’t worry- the bok choy cooks down a lot!) Stir and mix in with other veggies, saute a few more minutes until white stem pieces are tender and leaves are wilted.

5. Add soy sauce. Season with salt and pepper (about 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/8 tsp pepper.) Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.

6. Serve over warm brown rice. Makes approximately 4 1-cup servings.

Nutritional Information (per 1 cup serving)

Calories: 161

Total Fat: 8.4g

Cholesterol: 0mg

Sodium: 632.4mg

Total Carbohydrates: 18.7g

Dietary Fiber: 4.5g

Sugars: 7.5g

Protein: 6.5g

*Note: This does not include brown rice.

Nutrient Summary per Meal

(1 cup veggie mixture, 1 1/4 cup brown rice, and additional 1 tsp. red. sodium soy sauce)

Calories: 377

Total Fat: 9g

Cholesterol: 0mg

Sodium: 829mg

Potassium: 775mg

Total Carbohydrates: 64g

Dietary Fiber: 7g

Sugars: 7g

Protein: 11g

Vitamin A: 48%

Vitamin C: 84%

Calcium: 26%

Iron: 8%

Enjoy!!

 

Flexitarianism- Our Way

“High-tech tomatoes. Mysterious milk. Supersquash. Are we supposed to eat this stuff? Or is it going to eat us?” ~Annita Manning

So…what is a flexitarian exactly? Generally speaking, a flexitarian is someone who eats mostly plants, but also eats meat a couple times a week. However, our diet is just a little more specific than that…

I have often in my life contemplated vegetarianism. I’ve known that it is better for the environment and that if I made the switch I would generally eat a lot healthier. But like many Americans, I didn’t want to think about what I was eating and I never took the time to do research.

Last September it all changed. I finally watched the movie “Food, Inc.” that I had heard about so much. In fact, I watched it 3 times. The movie revealed the facts about the industries behind the food in our country. It opened my eyes, and it changed me. I then started reading books and doing more and more research on my own. I was convinced that I had to make a change to the way I was eating- for the health of me and my family and for our environment.

I decided that it was not vegetarianism that I needed, although that is a good option. We just needed to start voting with our dollars. We needed to support the farmers that we believe in and eat food only when we know where it’s come from and what exactly is in it!

Here’s how we changed:

1. First of all, we eat locally and support our local farmers. I had already been going to our local farmer’s market each week and buying most of our produce there, so I continued that. By supporting local farmers we are helping our local economy and we also get to talk directly to the person who has grown or raised our food. Also, we can be confident that we are helping the environment. For example, we no longer eat blueberries that have been carried on a truck all the way from California to Florida. We eat blueberries when they are in season here in Florida and that have traveled at most 20 miles.

2. We eat local and free-range meat. Luckily, at our local farmer’s market they sell meat! We buy fish that has been locally caught, we get organic and free-range chicken and eggs, as well as grass-fed  and free-range beef, and organic free-range pork! We can still have all of our meat only it is better for us and the environment. No hormones. No antibiotics. No corn-fed beef. No chickens kept in darkness. We can also visit these farms whenever we want to and see the way these animals are treated and kept.

3. We eat organic food whenever possible or when it is not possible to get something local. We don’t want to eat pesticides and hormones and GMO’s created in a lab. We want natural.

4. We stay away from processed foods, or as Michael Pollan would call them, “food-like substances.” Now yes, some of the things we eat have been processed but we go for the minimally processed items and organic items. This by itself has really cut down on our consumption of junk food.  And of course we don’t eat anything with ingredients that we can’t pronounce.

5. When we eat out- we eat vegetarian or pescetarian. Most people and restaurants do not hold our same conviction about free-range meat. So to be safe, when we haven’t bought the meat ourselves, we avoid it all together. We do however eat seafood- as long as it is not farm-raised or a fish that is being over-fished.

The most common question I get about our lifestyle is about the cost. Here’s the truth, overall, it is a bit more expensive to eat this way- but not as much as you would think. Our produce is much cheaper to buy at the farmer’s marker than at the grocery store, but meat however, is more expensive. But keep in mind, we only eat meat a couple times a week. Before we made the switch we would eat meat for lunch and dinner-everyday. Now we eat meat about 2-3 times a week total. And as you know meat is always the most expensive thing on the grocery bill. Things like milk, eggs, and yogurt are more expensive. But- we also save money when we eat out- eggplant parmesan is less expensive than a steak dinner! So it really does balance out.

This is the gist of how we eat. Overall since we have made the switch we feel great. We have both lost weight, we have more energy and we are eating foods that we never have before- like kale and eggplant! If you want more details or more on the “why” feel free to ask me and I’d be more than happy to talk to you about it!

I also urge you to do your own research and get informed. Know what you eat because as they say “you are what you eat!” When it comes to food for your family- ignorance is not bliss. Here are some recommended places for you to start:

– “Food, Inc.”- a film on the food industries in our country. (if you have Netflix, this is on watch instantly!)

– “Food Rules,” An Eater’s Manual- book by Michael Pollan

– “Green Living,” The E Magazine Handbook for Living Lightly on the Earth- by the editors of E magazine