The New Year – The Bloom

My hat’s off to those of you who kept your New Year’s resolutions regarding diet throughout the whole year. As for me, I didn’t go overboard, but I enjoyed every bite, morsel, and crumb of all my favorite holiday foods knowing January and healthier choices were just around the corner. And here we are, well into January and the start of our new year.

Now I know a thing or two about vegetarian food and may share some of your concerns regarding, shall we say, the way it tastes? I was raised vegetarian, and I am pretty familiar with a vegetarian diet. I know for sure two things: I hope I never eat my mother’s lentil/walnut meatloaf again. And I will always have bacon in my home from time to time. On the other hand, beans, nuts, vegetarian soups, salads, fruit, and nearly all kinds of vegetables are foods I am already used to in my diet. Although In N Out is my all-time favorite fast food joint, I can not imagine living off of hamburgers and french fries day in and day out and missing out on the flavors, textures, smells, and colors of eating various whole foods. But I think we can all agree; it has to taste good and not just be good for you.

So I was a little leery when I flipped through the Blue Zones Cookbook, thinking it might be a little heavy on health and light on the yum. But, to my surprise, it has a holistic view of food and recipes worldwide. It’s all for whole foods that include fat, grains and sugar, and legumes, yes carbs, believe it or not. Thanks to the suggestions, I found myself excited and inspired to incorporate a few more changes in our home. The good news is, I was pleasantly surprised by how much variety of foods it suggested eating.  And since I was already planning on incorporating a more holistic and more vegetarian diet, this cookbook came into my hands at the right time.

Looking for winter comfort food, I stumbled on their Minestrone Three Ways soup recipes. Since I’m not very good at following recipes, I combined them into my own. The secret ingredient to this soup is fennel as the base. I had no idea fennel could be the stock in a soup recipe. But, to my wonder, it works well. In the end, I did add some chicken stock and pepper to taste.

Like I said earlier, I’m not so good at following recipes and had enough leftover beans for another meal. So I decided to try meatless tacos. To everyone’s surprise, mostly my kids, meatless tacos taste great. I treated the beans as I would meat. I thoroughly rinsed the beans, added traditional taco seasonings, a splash of water, and let the flavors cook in as you would hamburger meat. Of course, it helped that my family is used to me adding black beans to my taco meat already, so the transition wasn’t too shocking. The beans took on the flavor of the seasonings, and with all the traditional toppings, it turned out great.

The next thing I plan on tackling is some of their dessert recipes; yep, they even have a variety of traditional desserts from around the world; how fun is that.

Visit the Blue Zones website for recipes and information.

To order the cookbook click here

Trudy Wakefield

Trudy and David Wakefield started The Bloom in 2018 to showcase the best parts of Lake County and to provide a local outlet for community events, arts, music, and writing.