Monday, June 8, 2009

How To Cook Everything

Today was uncomfortably warm. I live on the second and third floor of my apartment building, and it gets pretty stuffy in here. So, I figured the logical thing to do would be to crank my oven up to 450 degrees and roast some veggies.

To be honest, I wasn't thinking when I found a recipe for stuffed tomatoes in Mark Bittman's How To Cook Everything Vegetarian. I just saw a delicious and easy way to use up a tomato and teeny zucchini that's been hanging out in my fridge for far too long.

This book was a gift from my thoughtful boyfriend. He has the regular edition and I often leaf through it while he makes me breakfast on the weekends. There's a lot in there, and I'm pretty sure the title is no exaggeration. What I like about these books is that the recipes are more just basic guidelines for preparation. It practically begs you to be creative with your meal, and also helps you figure out how to use all sorts of pantry items.

With the whole weight loss and maintenance process, I can't stress how important it is to communicate with friends, family and significant others what your plan is. Today I was reading a post over at 344 Pounds and it reminded me of how lucky I am to have such a strong support system. It makes having a healthy lifestyle that much easier because you feel like everyone is in it with you.

The cookbook is just an example of the support I get from my boyfriend, who also leads a healthy and active lifestyle. He also helped me muster up the courage to get on a bicycle and ride around the city this summer. Throughout all of this I have found so many sources of inspiration. I can't even begin to list them all. My sister-in-law Jess was right there with me on PeerTrainer when I decided to change my life in 2007. My dad got on board and successfully got his Type II Diabetes under control through diet and exercise. My mom lost the twenty pounds she put on after we kids left home (sorry!) and looks younger than any 50-year-old mama I know. My sister-in-law Sue lost 60? 70? 80? lbs and inspires me every day with her status updates about spinning classes and workouts on Facebook. When I started all of this, a few of my co-workers would eat salads with me in the lunchroom instead of going out for fast food. I also correspond with countless flickr contacts who were or are in the same boat as me and find so much motivation in their successes.

I could probably go on and on. But I think what it boils down to is that constant communication of our successes (and failures!) creates accountability.

At any rate, today I used my new cookbook to make a delicious dinner. I stuffed the tomato with couscous, fresh basil, and a little parmesan cheese. Then I stuffed the zucchini with couscous, mushrooms, olives, and goat cheese with a little sriracha sauce in place of the harissa Mark Bittman recommended. I took some creative liberty with the recipe and made it my own. I look forward to using this book again and again. Hopefully it will inspire me to learn to trust myself in the kitchen.

Next time I roast vegetables, however, I'll make sure my air conditioner is installed.


Anonymous said...

You're exactly right - having a support system is key. Making sure that the people in your life are aware of the changes you're making and putting your foot down about not forcing certain foods upon you is difficult but necessary. It's still a process for me, as my family does NOT like to eat healthy, but I'm getting there.

Jenelle said...

I found that talking about it a lot got the message across about how serious I was. Eventually I'm sure your good habits will rub off on them in some way, even if it's a tiny change.

Also: I still haven't gotten that coconut milk ice cream. I was sidetracked by the neopolitan SOy Delicious bars (only 90 calories apiece!). This weekend I will pick up the coconut stuff, for sure.

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