Bonjour brothers and sisters! I hope that this Wednesday finds you well! I started my day with my typical run; however, I incorporated five minutes of body-scanning based mindfulness meditation into the end of my typical dynamic stretching warm-up.
I’ve been attempting to meditate every day. I’m calling it: Serene September, a meditation challenge.I’m three-for-three so far, and I believe I am already reaping some benefits. At the beginning of Tuesday’s tempo run some typical negative thoughts bubbled up in my consciousness (like: “UGH this is HARD” or “I have HOW many miles left!?”). Surprisingly, I found that I was easily able to let those thoughts go and find my flow. I had a great workout. I’m going to keep with my practice and see if I cant observe other benefits as we slide through September.
I’m excited to share another Wellness Wednesday recipe post with you this week! I haven’t written a recipe in a while, but I hope I can make it up to you with this delicious dish. Today we’ll be putting together a roasted vegetable ratatouille with quinoa and chickpeas. I’m putting a smoky spin on a traditional Provençale dish. The recipe is a great way to celebrate the flavors of end-of-summer produce. This dinner also happens to be totally vegan, and gluten free. I wasn’t setting out to make this meal meatless, things just kind of came together that way. I predict that you could serve this dish to any confirmed carnivore and they wouldn’t complain about the lack of animal protein. Are you ready to get cooking?
Gather your cast of characters. We will need:
2 Bell peppers
1 Yellow onion
3 Garlic cloves
4 Roma tomatoes
Salt, Pepper, Olive oil
½ tsp each: thyme, basil, oregano
First we are going to roast our red bell peppers. Set the peppers right underneath a high broiler. Roast them for three to five minutes on each side. You want the skin to blacken, so it’s OK if you space out for a while and forget to check on them. Let these beauties feel the burn!
While the peppers are roasting, start breaking down the rest of the vegetables. Slice the eggplant into one-inch cubes.
Collect your eggplant cubes in a bowl, drizzle them with two tablespoons of olive oil.
Add salt and pepper, then mix everything together.
Those peppers probably could stand to be turned over by now, go check on them and then let’s focus on our tomatoes. Cut the tomatoes in half and arrange them on a foil-lined baking sheet.
Have I ever told you about the easiest way to chop onions? This technique is GREAT. I used to think that chopping onions was a time-consuming, eye-watering, pain-in-the-ass. Then I realized I that I was doing it wrong. The correct (and totally simple) way to chop onions is laid out in my favorite holy text: Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.”
Start by halving your onion lengthwise, and cutting off the top. Remove the skin, but LEAVE THE ROOT ATTACHED! The root helps hold everything together. Slice parallel lines of longitude extending almost all the way (but not quite) to the root.Now rotate the onion 90 degrees and cut latitude lines, perpendicular to the first slices. As the incisions intersect the onion will fall apart into so many perfectly-diced pieces. That wasn’t hard, now, was it? Cooking is fun!
Now is probably a good time to check on your veggies, and give them a quick turn. Those peppers look perfectly blackened and blistered! Remove the peppers from the oven. Add them to the same bowl you mixed up the eggplant in (you don’t even have to wash it, I won’t tell).Cover the bowl with plastic wrap to trap the steam. Let the peppers stew in their own steam for about five minutes. Your pot is probably pre-heated. Film the bottom with roughly two tablespoons of olive oil, then add the onions and garlic.
Add salt, pepper, and the herbs to the alliums. Cook until the onions begin to turn translucent.
Scrape out the seeds and slice the peppers into strips.
Do the hokey-pokey, turn yourself about, then dice the roasted red peppers.
The onions and garlic are probably perfect. Slice the summer squash into half-moons and add it to the alliums. I’m not including a picture of slicing the zucchini because I trust that you, my gentle readers, are clever enough to figure out how to do that on your own. Also because I am a space cadet and forgot to TAKE a picture of the process. Cook the mixture over medium heat for a few minutes until the zucchini begins to soften.
Remove your lusciously roasted, beautifully blackened vegetables from the oven.
Ratatouille is a delicious vegetable dish, full of fresh flavors and phytonutrients. However, this little runner requires some carbohydrates and protein along with every meal. While my ratatouille reduced, I decided to throw together a quick-and-easy combination of quinoa and chickpeas to round out my dinner.
One serving of quinoa (1/4 cup) has 7 grams of protein and 32 grams of high quality carbohydrates. Adding 1/2 cup of garbanzo beans to the party brings along another 7 grams of protein, and 22 grams of carbohydrates (and 6 grams of fiber). Both of these foods are naturally high in iron and antioxidants. The grain/legume combo is a great way to pack in the protein if you are a plant-based person.
After my quinoa cooked, and my ratatouille reduced, I assembled my delicious dinner. This recipe made enough ratatouille for two servings (but could easily be scaled up) The giant salad on the side is optional. The religious iconography is necessary. Happy cooking campers! Have a delicious week!