seasonal eating: winter vegetables

I'm so lucky to live in the Northwest where our mild winter means that you can buy/grow fresh vegetables almost all year round. Next year we're hoping to build planter boxes with cold frames foir the backyard so we can start a year-round garden, so this year I'm really trying to eat vegetables that are in season. Hopefully, eating this way will give us an idea of which winter veggies we like to eat and should therefore try to grow.

Before now, I honestly had never thought to pick up a beet or parsnip at the grocery store. Joe and I love veggies, but we were pretty limited in what we'd eat every week. Tons of spinach and tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, and broccoli, but really not much else. When I went online to find a list of seasonal vegetables in the Northwest, I was surprised to find that I had tried so few of them before. For a list of seasonal vegetables grown in the Northwest, look here.

My first experiment was with beets. I tried these beet chips and Joe and I both really loved them. We actually had these with hummus on a football Saturday, which I found a little unusual since game food is usually all cheesy, fatty goodness. But, honestly, these were easy and tasted so good! I think we ate a whole bunch of beets (like 4 or 5) in one sitting.

Next up came kale. Kale is a green and as such I figured it would probably taste about like a leaf (you all tasted them as kids, don't lie). I usually mix a few cups of spinach into our marinara sauce whenever we have spaghetti/lasagna/etc., so this time I substituted kale for the spinach and waited with trepidation. I am very devoted to my marinara and I was having visions of leafy-bitter, inedible sauce. But when our pasta was sauced and served, I was pleasantly surprised. The flavor of the kale wasn't overpowering at all. It paired really nicely with the acidity of the tomatoes and since its one of the sturdier greens, it held its shape in the sauce instead of melting away like spinach usually does.

Two for two. I call this success.

This week, Joe and I have a challenge going to see who can eat two servings of fruits or veggies with every meal. Even breakfast. It's intense, but it's giving me some good motivation to try out some more winter veggie recipes. Here's what we'll be trying this week:

Stuffed Acorn Squash w/ Quinoa & Leeks

Now I have to get to the grocery store and pick me up some delicious winter veg!

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