Social Media

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Dinner at Home

The move into our new house can best be described as fractured. We closed on the house on the Thursday before memorial day weekend. The highlight of the day was the electrical utility worker backing into my parked car while he chatted on his mobile - the first time I ever parked in my new driveway. The final walk through (my first time in the house) was otherwise uneventful and we drove the hobbled Fit to the lawyers office. The signing of papers was long and boring, and the grumbling in my tummy did not help my patience. Dealing with insurance companies and making sure the Fit was safe to drive ate up our allotted time for lunch. There was some hold up in the communication between the loan office and the lawyers office, and we sat for an hour waiting for final clearance to be passed down to issue checks to the sellers and us. I was not pleased. Eventually we gave up, said we would come back later to pick up the checks, and we raced to find something to eat. Jamie and I killed some Moe's Burritos; I even ate all the complementary chips with my burrito and started in on Jamie's chips.

Officially homeowners, Jamie dropped me off at our friends' apartment so I could finish up the lesson plans I created for my summer trip. Jamie graciously brought the Fit to the autobody shop and procured a rental vehicle. After loading up the rental, we drove to our new house for a celebratory champagne toast with friends. Jamie and I fell asleep that night on an air mattress is an empty house, that we owned.

The next morning, Jamie whisked me to the Valdosta airport, which is even smaller than expected. I flew to Atlanta and then on to Raleigh for Broadreach summer staff training. After a week of learning about the other trip leaders, role playing possible trip scenarios, playing games, and finding out about my students and trip itinerary, I flew back to the tiny Valdosta airport. Jamie picked me up with an exuberant little Gnasher pup and we did some house shopping and went out to dinner. This night we fell asleep in a house full of unpacked boxes, but we slept on our own bed (my first time in a real bed in almost a month!)!

The following morning, Jamie's alarm starting complaining at 5:00am. I grudgingly climbed out of bed and drove Jamie to his squadron. He was on his way to N. Georgia for a week of SERE training. I spent the week unpacking boxes, teaching yoga classes, reading about Thailand, and resuming my "Clean" cleanse to get my digestive tract back on track after eating lots of unhealthy (SYSCO) food at Broadreach training. The "Clean" program requires smoothies to be consumed for breakfast and dinner; solid food is only prescribed for lunch, and I usually just have a salad and some almonds.

The point of all this, is that when Jamie got home last night we had technically owned our house for 2 weeks, but I had not cooked dinner in the house once yet and we had not eaten dinner together in our new dining room at all. So, it was a big event! Our very first dinner together in our new home needed to be healthy, filling, and delicious. I decided to try a recipe for veggie pasta that I had seen in "Natural Health" magazine that would allow me to stay pretty close to the regulations of the "Clean" program, which outlaws gluten, soy, corn, sugar, nightshades, dairy, and other things. There were some tomatoes in the recipe, but of the foods eliminated in the clean programs, tomatoes seem to be less toxic to my body than others (dairy is the worst). Now, when I say veggie pasta, that is a bit deceptive, the "pasta" is actually very thinly sliced zucchini and carrots. In the magazine picture, it really looked like multi-colored spaghetti. I think mine ended up looking like just a pile of cooked vegetables, but it did taste pretty good.

Olive Oil
Salt  & Pepper
Freshly Dried basil, thyme, oregano (from the neighbors garden)
Broccoli Florets
Jalapeno pepper (from neighbors garden)
2 yellow zucchini (neighbor!)
1 green zucchini (neighbor!)
2 Carrots
1 Red Pepper
Baby bella mushroom
1 can diced tomatoes

Wash all veggies. Cut the ends off of asparagus and cut into 1 inch pieces, before submerging in boiling water until just soft. Remove soft asparagus with a slotted spoon and drop into a bowl of ice water. Cook broccoli florets in an identical manner.

Slice carrots and zucchini into the thinnest strips your cutting ability allows. Mine ended up a bit thicker than they should of been, which diminished their "spaghettiness." Submerge in boiling water until limp when picked up by the middle and then plunge into a bowl of ice water.

Dice garlic and onion and saute with olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Sprinkle in salt, pepper, and herbs. Clean and cut mushrooms into bite-sized pieces and add them to the pan. Cut the red pepper and jalapeno pepper and add to pan. Finally, add the can of tomatoes to the pan. Continue to cook over medium heat  until liquid from tomatoes comes to a boil, then lower heat and cover to keep warm.

In a separate pan, saute zucchini, carrots, asparagus, and broccoli with olive oil. Serve the zucchini, carrots, broccoli, and asparagus first and arrange on the plate as if pasta. I used tongs to grasp the veggies and arrange them on the plates. As you can see mine didn't really look like pasta, but it was close.

Use a ladle to heap the tomato and veggie mixture on top of the zucchini and carrot "pasta."  Here it ends up looking like a giant pile of veggies, but with a little more skill it could certainly look like a veggie pasta with multi-colored noodles. 

Since it was our first dinner at home together, I actually set the table. Our table looks rather small in our new, large dining area. We have so much more space in our new house - all of our things look a little dwarfed. 

This recipe was a great first dinner in our new home. It was relatively quick and simple, but most importantly it was made up of all healthy, whole ingredients, with several even being super local (next door). I did have fun preparing it, even if it did not look magazine perfect. I feel happy and contented to have set the tone for many wholesome meals to come! I am excited to start producing more and more food in my own yard and finding creative ways to prepare them. 

Coming up... many adventures in owning our own home (yard and home projects), but first a summer teaching in Thailand!