Saturday, March 29, 2014

A New Obsession with Fresh Veggies

I admit that it probably took a bit too long for Howard and me to get to this point, but lately we've been pretty obsessed with fresh veggies! When we first got married, it was difficult to stick to having fresh vegetables with every meal because we were still at that stage when we would buy groceries and then end up throwing some of it away because it got old in the refrigerator. We've had to say goodbye to meat that might have smelled a bit suspicious and fruits and vegetables that got wet or just turned into mush. When I talked to other people who had either just gotten married or moved out to live on their own, I heard that the same thing happened to them as well. I guess it really takes some time and practice fully understanding what is required in running a household efficiently. 

That's why a lot of the times our veggies for dinner were in the form of frozen vegetables. I used to think that they weren't that great, but I read that they're pretty gosh darn healthy too! There is still a lot of nutrition packed into veggies that are frozen. Just to make sure that I was right in saying that, I Googled it for the umpteenth time and read this because I don't want to make things up and post it on my blog, haha. It's interesting to think that sometimes the nutrient level can be even higher since the fruits and veggies are picked at their peak and frozen whereas fresh ones need to travel long distances. It really did help that they were just ready for me in the freezer to either stir fry with some Cajun seasoning without needing any prep. 

But times have changed as of late. Though I definitely wouldn't turn down some Cajun peas, carrots, and corn (yes, I have to pick out the lima beans!), I've started craving fresh veggies! It started with all of the roasting we've been doing lately. The flavors become so distinct and robust when tossed in the oven. But this past week, I tried something a little different.

I needed fresh spinach for a recipe. When I was in Pathmark, I was going to pick up a 12 oz package of baby spinach that was on sale. But then I saw that there was a  16 oz package of regular spinach that was the same price if not a little bit cheaper because there was a manager's special coupon stuck on the front of it for $1 off. I know that there are manager's specials when the store needs the product to sell because of a nearing sell by or expiration date. If there was a way for us to stock up on meat to keep in an extra freezer, I would definitely take advantage of that as that's what many couponers do. But I didn't know they did it in the produce section too! It was fine because I knew I'd be using at least half of it that night, and in the worst case scenario, if we didn't use the rest of it, no money would have been lost. 

Well, we definitely did use the rest of it! After making the first recipe where the spinach was mixed with the pasta and thrown in the oven, I knew I would use the rest of it in another pasta dish. I just made a simple meat sauce for ravioli and slowly added spinach in since it really looks like a lot before it is cooked down! 

It definitely made the dish. I typically dislike meat sauce. I remember my mom used to take the time to roll meatballs even though it clearly took so much more time, but I have yet to make meatballs at my apartment! But putting the spinach with it made each bite really tasty. I love how it becomes really soft so there's no fear of choking! Howard and I are definitely going to do the whole spinach in pasta thing again.

Yesterday I did errands and knew I'd get back home not wanting to take the time to cook a big meal, so I picked up some baby spinach this time so that we could have salad. We devoured the whole bag and got that iron feeling on our teeth, but nowadays I don't mind it as much because I know that means we're making healthier choices! I'm really excited that over the past few weeks, all I've been craving is protein and fresh veggies. Here's to a healthier 2014 and beyond!

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