Inspiration, and a little meal prep story!

21 Feb

Well, kids (and adults). For the first time in a very long time, I feel amazingly inspired about the future with relation to my career. For the past few years, I’ve gone through the motions and done my best to “keep on keeping on” in my current career. But, to be honest, I hate it. Yep, that’s right – I hate it. And, I do know that hate is a strong word. Trust me, I’ve considered the appropriateness of using that term for description for quite some time. And, I assure you there is no proper alternative here. Now that we’re clear on me hating my job, let’s continue, shall we? When I started at Integrative Nutrition, I really felt like it was more exploring a personal passion and developing my nutrition / cooking hobby a bit. But, I tell you what – it’s so much more than that! I am now amazingly certain that this (nutrition and health counseling) is without a doubt what I want to do (and AM going to do) for the rest of my career. The more I learn, the more I think of just how my knowledge and passion can help others. From children to parents to retirees. There are just so many people who could improve their lives through better understanding a holistic approach to nutrition and health! And, for those of you who may believe in synchronicity, here’s a great example/story for you. Yesterday, I was at the Chiropractor. He asked me how things have been going for me and what’s new. At first, I went with the easy “all is well, life is good” answer. Then, a light bulb went off – I should really tell him about Integrative Nutrition! So, I did. I told him about the school, my program, and what I hope to do with it. And his reply was a marvelous “sign” that I’m on the right path. He immediately, without missing a beat, replied:  “I keep thinking that I should really integrate nutrition into my practice for my patients. It’s part of everything we do. Be sure to keep me posted on your progress. Perhaps you can help me!” What? Yes, of course! What a great idea. I could partner with my Chiropractor to help his existing patients to enhance their therapies by altering their nutritional choices. Look at that! OPPORTUNITY!!! 🙂

Thanks for listening to that rant. I’ve already said this to Mr. Military Man about 100 times. I think if I get all, “OMG! This is so awesome. I’m going to be the best Health Coach ever!” he is going to fall over. So, it’s all for you now little blog readers. Thanks for your virtual support. 😉

On to other, more scrumptious things! Mr. Military Man and I have been busy in the kitchen. As I dive into new dietary theories each week, I find that it really sparks my creativity in the kitchen. Totally awesome!

Let’s start here:

Grilled eggplant with feta crumbles, sauteed kale with smoke paprika, and pearl barley! 

This ended up being so delicious! The star of our dinner, the grilled eggplant with feta crumbles is 100% inspired by my favorite restaurant in Annapolis, MD – Level! It’s a marvelous little small plates lounge that emphasize buying from local farmers throughout the region. On their current menu? Grilled Japanese Eggplant with Sea Salt and Feta. It is….the. best. thing. I’ve. ever. eaten. And, yes, that is indeed taking into account chocolate chip cookies straight out of the oven. You may be skeptical, but it really is A-MAZING! So…back to the point. When we were at the co-op on Saturday morning, we found an eggplant (not Japanese though – womp, womp – apparently these are grown nowhere near NW FL) calling our names. We also found a great feta in the cheese case. Wah-lah!

So, here’s the dinner breakdown (it’s like a preparation story rather than a recipe – enjoy!)

Eggplant: We cut the eggplant in half lengthwise, then cut each half into 1″ strips. We heated up our Cuisinart grill, brushed the strips with some EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) and grilled ’em for a couple minutes. When they came off, we sprinkled with some sea salt. Then, when we plated them, we simply crumbled feta over the top.

Kale: For the kale, I heated about 1 cup of H2O and .5 cup of veggie broth in a saucepan, then threw in a handful of kale leaves. After they shriveled down just enough to be cooked, I scooped out the kale and jarred up the leftover liquid to be used later (it’s a great way to take advantage of the nutrients from the kale that fell off into the water during cooking). When plated, I sprinkled with smoked paprika.

Barley: Then, there was pearl barley. I must come clean and admit that I had never before had barley in my entire life. Yep, it’s true. In fact, I wasn’t really even sure what it looked like. But, on Saturday, at the co-op, I took a stroll through the bulk aisle and examined all of the beautiful grain choices – black basmati rice, amaranth, wheat berries – and decided that barley looked and sounded pretty spiffy. Home it went with us, and cooked it was for dinner. Super easy to prepare. I just rinsed it, then put 2 parts H2O to one part barley. Bring to boil, then reduce, put on lid, and simmer for about 30 minutes. The results? A grain that is chewy like rice with the texture of steel cut oats. Mr. Military Man and I both agree that it is super delicious and will be appearing on our table much more often.

Here’s the result of all that blabbing. Healthy meal, incorporating new, fresh, whole food ingredients? Definitely CHECK! 🙂

Well, it’s off to that job that I don’t care for (remember the hate from earlier?!?!?!) and some yoga this afternoon. Happy Fat Tuesday to those of you who care!

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