when it doesn’t work.

I have a passion for fresh food.  If you’ve been reading my blog, this is not news to you.  This summer I’ve been working on making dishes that are fresh, healthy, and delicious.  I believe that so many people think healthy food is too “hardcore” for them, but I so believe that we can all make healthy choices that fit in with our individual lifestyle.

This summer I’ve been experimenting some.  I’ve learned a few things.

1.  Evidently I think I’m more creative than I am.  I start out with nothing, thinking I can whip something up with no direction.  Doesn’t work.  Hardly ever.

2.  Just because you see the chefs on tv throw ingredients together and make it work, doesn’t mean you can.  And by you I mean me.

3.  I need recipes.

Last night I decided to pull all of our CSA vegetables that we had laying around that were about to go bad and make one big vegetable dinner with them.  FAIL.  A lack of a plan was my first problem, followed by lack of a recipe, and clearly no desire to eat edible food.

I started with this.

Tommy came in and saw the disaster about to take place.  This is how our conversation went.

T:  “what you making?”

L:  “i’m using all of these vegetables that are about to go bad.  it’s vegetarian night.”

T:  “oh, ok… what stuff are you going to make with them?”

L:  “i’m just going to wing it.”

T:  [long pause]  “are you putting all of it in one pot?”

L:  “no, of course i’m not putting all of it in one pot.  i want to make something good.”

Then I thought, “well, there goes my plan.”  Seriously I was going to put it all in one pot.  Good thing I didn’t because the 2 vegetables I put in the same pot didn’t turn out so good.  I mean we ate them, but it just tasted like cooked squash and cooked tomatoes.  Nothing special.  I struggle sometimes.

So here’s my thing…  when I fail at making a healthy dinner that people will eat I get discouraged and want to throw in the towel.  After all, what good does it do to make something that no one [including myself] likes and then we fill up on ice cream or cereal or something before we go to bed?  No good.
But I’m reminding myself  to allow room for grace in this process.  To allow room for mistakes and growth.  For without them, how will I learn?  So maybe last night my family didn’t eat a delicious dinner.  But tonight it was better [not perfect, or close to it, but better], and maybe tomorrow will be even better.

Here’s a quick recap of my failures, followed by a recipe that I hope you find helpful.

Failure #1

I read somewhere that someone used instant potato flakes as a breading for eggplant, and I thought I’d give it a try.  Apparently the box of instant potatoes that I just happened to have since I never use instant potatoes wasn’t so much flakes as rather large hard pieces.

Doesn’t look too bread-y, does it?  Anyway, they burned, so it’s a moot point [moo/moot, Seinfeld anyone?].

See that bowl up there in the top of the picture?  That, my friends, is failure #2.  I thought if I put squash and tomatoes in a pot in the oven for 30 minutes they would magically become one delicious dish.  Wrong.  They tasted exactly the same- like squash and like tomatoes.  Maybe if I’d had the sense to put them on a baking sheet things would have gone differently, who knows.

While last night had several failures there was also one success [well, 2 if you count mashed potatoes which are pretty hard to mess up].  Zucchini spears.  The only hope my dinner had was the presence of a Pioneer Woman recipe.  She is my hero, and when I saw her post this zucchini recipe the other day, I knew I had to try it.  You can find the recipe on her site here.  Her pictures are gorgeous, her narrative witty, and her food delicious, so if I were you I’d skip on over there now and forget this blog.

photo via 

So is anyone else with me on this?  Anybody have struggles with getting healthy dinners prepared that you actually enjoy?  Tell me I’m not alone. 

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