Good simple food!
Summer has finally arrived here in Ontario! I love summer for the warm weather but more than that for the abundance of amazing foods. In my world there is nothing better than getting up Saturday morning and heading to our local market.
One vendor at the market last year took to calling me 21 as it seemed 3 weeks out of the month my total would come to $21 dollars. I am not good at math so it was just a fluke not me counting in my head – I promise. Sure I would pick up my staple items each week but I always managed to pick up a few delicious looking other things and always made it to $21 dollars.
You might be wondering what products I would buy that would feed a family of 3 all our vegetables for a whole week on $21. So here are a few:
Carrots: I LOVE tri-coloured carrots. We eat them raw but my absolute favorite thing is to roast them in the oven. Clean them, no I don’t peel them (really no need), sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Roast in a 375F oven on a flat cookie sheet for 1 hour. The natural sugars in the carrots will caramelize and make them like candy.
Beets: I will say it again I LOVE beets. Sure I don’t love that they turn my hands red or yellow but the flavor is amazing. Beets provide a unique source of phytonutrients called betalains. Beets provide us with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxification support.
I wash my beets and place them in a pot of cold salted water, bring to a boil and simmer until beets are tender (usually about half an hour) Rinse with cold water and peel. I like to peel when they are warm but you can wait until totally cool. I also recommend wearing rubber gloves as not to stain your hands. My favorite salad with beets is arugula, shaved red onion, beets and crumbled goat cheese. Simple dressing of oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.
Lettuce: Do I love lettuce – not really but we eat a ton of salad in our house so this is a staple item for me. We try our best to limit our gluten intake and during the summer months we love lettuce wraps. These are so simple to make and can be changed to suit your tastes or what you have on hand. We love tuna salad or egg salad, fresh sliced vegetables with leftover meat from the night before. Really this is one you can be super creative with. The lettuce acts as a perfect vehicle for your favorite filling. I pack the lettuce separately from the fillings and allow my daughter and husband to fill and eat at lunch time, leaving the lettuce nice and fresh. One quick note on lettuce from the market: As I do with all the items I purchase but lettuce especially, I wash and bag the lettuce right away. Making sure to dry it thoroughly before I bag it. I cut some of it into ready-made salad and leave some nice big leaves for wraps. Makes my life easier through the week!
Each week, we pick different foods based on look, smell, price and what each of us is in the mood for. I love the look on my 7 years olds face when she sees a fruit or vegetable she has to have. If I had a dollar for every time she asked for green beans with garlic (she even likes to eat them for BREAKFAST) – Kids!
We love going to the market and purchasing the freshest of ingredients and this really is the first step in my meal planning for the week. It allows us to focus on healthy fresh foods that taste amazing. I encourage you to take your kids to a local market and explore what’s growing in your community.
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