Something old, something new

At the first of the year, I vowed to move my diet away from processed and non-organic foods and toward more real and organic items.  I'm nine months into the change and if I had to grade myself on my progress, I'd have to admittedly give myself a solid "C."  Sometimes I think I'm doing good/above average and sometimes I feel like a complete failure.  I applaud myself for being more conscious of the things that I buy - I no longer fall victim to the buy one, get one free schemes at the grocery store because most of those items are not suitable to a real food lifestyle.  My biggest problem was/is that my pantry was already so full when I started the challenge and being the frugal gal that I am, I didn't want to just toss it all out and start fresh.  I had the attitude that I would work my way through it and slowly replace my pantry staples with suitable things.  But can you believe that nearly nine months later I am STILL eating my way through most of those items?! 

I'm starting to see organic items take the place of my most frequently used items like diced tomatoes, beans and olive oils.  I've stopped buying sugar, white flour and other baking supplies that used to populate my shopping lists.  I've started purchasing local meats from Windy Hill Farm and organic produce from Simply Fresh. But I'm in a quandary as to what to do with the non-local/organic meats in my freezer and processed items still in my pantry - at the rate that I'm going, I'm still going to be eating processed food items in the year 2037.  I have half a mind to pull everything out and segregate it into a box and anytime I need to prepare food for someone other than myself, I'll use those items. 

I've also been challenging myself to try new things and it was back in March that I took this challenge to try quinoa.  I tried a cold salad recipe that incorporated feta cheese and fresh cherries - two things that I absolutely love on their own but it was not a hit when combined with the quinoa.  I ended up picking out and only eating the fruit and cheese so I tabled the quinoa challenge for awhile but was determined not to give up. 

And then I found this recipe in a Martha Stewart magazine for Quinoa and Spinach Pilaf and it instantly made a quinoa lover out of me.  I loved the simplicity and the savory flavors.  The recipe made alot more than what I consider four servings, so I portioned it up for the freezer, which made me love it even more!

Quinoa and Spinach Pilaf
Serves 4
recipe from Martha Stewart

Printable Recipe

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 finely chopped small yellow onion
1 minced clove garlic
1 cup rinsed quinoa
1 1/4 cups water
5 cups baby spinach (5 ounces)
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest

In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium. Add onion and garlic; cook until soft, about 4 minutes. Add quinoa and cook 1 minute. Add water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until water is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Stir in spinach and lemon zest, then season with salt and pepper.



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