Tag Archives: the great veggie experiment

The Great Veggie Experiment – Rutabaga!

It’s been a while since I tried a new veggie!  I saw these on sale at the store, so I decided to pick them up.  Rutabaga – which is a member of the cabbage family.  I like root vegetables in general and also the cabbage family (hello broccoli!), so this was a good choice.



Already cut into pieces – for the lazy girl 😀  Makes it less scary, too.

However, I could probably have done a better job of cutting them evenly.



I tend to do best with roasting veggies when trying something new, so that is what I did here.  I set the oven to 400, then did some oil, salt and pepper on these.

Roasted for about 40 minutes, turning once.


They got that yummy golden crust on them (my favorite part of roasting).


The verdict?  These were pretty good.  They have that mild cabbage flavor kind of like cauliflower, but the texture almost of a soft potato.

Roasting was a good choice for this veggie.  While I wouldn’t say I loved it, I now would not turn my nose up if this was in a dish at a restaurant.  I think making a mix of mashed potatoes and rutabaga would be a good side dish, too.

Nutritionally, rutabaga has about half the calories of a potato with approximately 50 calories per 5 ounces.  It also has lots of vitamin C, calcium and iron!


The Great Veggie Experiment – Celery Root

Celery Root – aka celeriac.  Kind of an ugly root vegetable, no?  Now it looks like a root veggie, but really has very little starch, which is interesting.

The tag on the celery root said “Mild aroma and flavor of celery and walnuts with a crisp texture.”  Okay, we’ll see.

First, I peeled it, which was a bit of a pain because it isn’t smooth.

The smell was fresh and almost sweet.  I decided to try a nibble raw.  Please don’t laugh at my face, I was scared.  I really don’t like celery, to be truthful.

(goodness, my freckles have popped out big time with the biking!)

It was fairly bland, kind of like celery and a little sweet.  No walnut flavor to me.  Okay, not bad.

For this, I loosely followed a recipe online to cook it.  Cubed the celery root, then tossed with some macadamia nut oil, salt, pepper and crushed dried rosemary.  I roasted this at 400 for about 20 minutes, then threw some baby carrots in there and cooked for another 20 minutes.

It actually looks good.  It looks like  a potato.

The verdict?  Ewwww!! I hated it.  The celery flavor became very concentrated and strong.  I don’t like celery – what was I thinking?  It had sort of the texture of a potato, but a little more chewy.

I wish it tasted like nuts, but I didn’t get that at all.  Definite miss for me on this one.  Maybe prepared a different way I might like it, but not purchasing this again.  I will be picking out the carrots and saving those and tossing the celery root.

The Great Veggie Experiment – Swiss Chard!

One of my goals this month was to try 2 new veggies.  Well, the month has been getting on and I needed to get to it!  I was at the farmer’s market on Saturday and  saw all these pretty fresh greens.

I know I am in the great internet minority, but kale does not do it for me.  I just don’t like it (sorry Roz!).  I talked with one of the farm ladies about the swiss chard.  It was so colorful that I wanted to give it a try.  She said it would be less bitter than the kale and less tough.

Recommendations were to chop the stems up small and  cook lightly with olive oil and garlic.  Sounds simple.

According to wikipedia, chard is one of the healthiest veggies chock full of vitamins A and C, plus iron (which is why the stems are red – pretty cool).

My recipe:

Serves 1. (John was not interested in the chard)

  • 5 to 6 stems of swiss chard
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil (I used macadamia nut oil)
  • 1/2 clove minced garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste

I chopped up the stems small and did ribbons of the leafy tops.

I am not a huge fan of the garlic, but I don’t mind roasted garlic.  So, we bought a jar of that to use.

You can use fresh if you like.  I like the milder taste of this stuff.  I used 1/4 teaspoon, but use as much as you like – especially if you are not meeting with anyone after eating it 😀

In a large pan, heat the oil and add the garlic over medium to medium high heat.  Cook for a couple minutes and then toss in all the greens.

Cook for several minutes folding the greens around with tongs until they are lightly wilted.  I removed the leafy parts first, which just picked right up with the tongs, and left the stem parts in for another couple minutes to soften them up a bit.

Then onto a plate.

I love how these kept their color!  Sometimes I wish that I actually liked eating veggies as much as I like the idea of eating veggies because they are pretty.

The verdict?  Not bad.  They were not really bitter (yay!) and seemed to have a milder flavor than sauteed spinach, plus they did not get as slimy as sauteed spinach.  The texture is somewhat chewy, but less chewy than kale.  I probably will not add chard to my veggie rotation very often, but I certainly wouldn’t turn my nose up at it if offered to me.

The Great Veggie Experiment – Caramelized Onions

Okay, first off – I am going to say right here and now that I do not like onions for the most part.  If they are raw and on my plate, I pick them off.  I use a fork, too, since I don’t want the onion smell on my hands.  I won’t eat big chunks of onion in soups or stews.  I do, however, like onions that are caramelized, but only in thin strips.  I also will eat fried onion strings as well (of course they are fried, who wouldn’t like them).  Caramelized onions are a very different animal than regular onions.  The onion flavor is really mild and there is the addition of the caramelization that occurs given them a different flavor.  They are really easy to make.  They just take a little bit of time.

I used 2 big Vidalia onions here.  I think yellows or Vidalias are the best.  Have not tried red onions as I dislike that kind the most!

Peel the onions and use a knife or mandolin to cut very fine slices of onion. The thinner the slices, the faster they caramelize.

In a large saute pan, put in 2 tablespoons of butter and a drizzle of liquid oil).

Turn the heat to medium high and add in the onions.

After a few minutes, I like to add a pinch or two of salt. This helps to draw moisture out of the onions.

Cook for a while over medium high heat, stirring occasionally until the water cooks out of the onion.

Once the water cooks out, the onions will start to become translucent and take on some color:

Now you have to pay more attention to the onions and do a little heat management.  Stir the onions frequently and if they look like they are really sticking to the pan, lower the heat to medium.

Keep cooking and stirring:

You want a nice chocolately color to the onions when they are done.  If you happen to have some red wine on hand, add a few splashes for some extra flavor.  We don’t drink wine, so none available!

Onions nicely caramelized.

They shrunk down quite a bit, too.  Those 2 big onions gave about this much:

I use these mostly as a condiment for things like my omelet last night:

Or top a burger with them:

Since it takes about 30-40 minutes to do these, I will make a lot and freeze the rest.  Then I can just scrape out some onions for a topper and reheat them.  Works like a charm!

So, still a raw onion hater, but I will eat these!

The Great Veggie Experiment – Patty Pan Squash

Mid summer means lots of different kinds of squash!  At the farmer’s market, I decided to get some patty pan squash.  It looks like a sunflower, doesn’t it?

Also called scalloped squash or cibleme.  This squash is a good source of vitamins A and C, plus magnesium and niacin.

1 cup of squash has about 20 calories.

I actually am not a huge fan of squashes as I think the texture is too soft for me, but these looked so cute!  I decided to give them a crust and pan saute the slices.

I made thin 1/3 inch slices of the squash:

Then I made the dredging station.  I used 2/3 cup of Uncle Sam cereal ground up mixed with salt and pepper.  The other bowl contained egg whites:

I dipped each slice in the egg, then the cereal:

Then I put them in a preheated skillet with a couple tsp of coconut oil.  I really should have used a bigger pan.

Cooked for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown and delicious!

Then removed to a cooling rack.

The verdict?  Pretty good!  The outside was crispy from the cereal and the inside was soft.  The squash flavor was pretty delicate, so I was glad not to season the coating with anything.

Not sure I would necessarily buy one again, but it was fun to try!

Thanks and a little more running

Happy Memorial Day!  A big thank you to all who have served and our going to serve our great country.

I have to work today (not complaining, though, seriously), but it still feels kind of like a holiday, you know?  My gym is closed today, so no strength workout.  That means brekkie a little sooner 😀

After letting breakfast settle, John and I went to the track for a run.  Feeling optimistic here:

I figured I would let my leg be the judge.  For the first mile, I was concerned about even doing 1.5 miles.  My left leg is fatigued.  But, I kept going.  It was strangely smoky out, too.  I think someone was burning brush.  I thought that was slowing John down, because he only passed me a couple times.  It never dawned on me that I might actually be going faster than I did the other day (duh).

After 10 laps, I was actually running okay still, although my leg was tired.  I talked to my body.  Heart said “Doing fine, this is slower than normal cardio anyway”.  Right leg said, “Doing fine, as long as you don’t ask me to carry the load of the left leg.”  Left leg said “Geez, Lori, I am pretty tired, but I will give it my best shot.”  So, I kept going for the final 2 laps.  My gait was starting to look a little funny by the end and I pep talked my way through the last lap with “Come on leg, you can do it!” “Just a little more.” “Don’t give up!”  John said he heard something, but didn’t know what I was saying.  Probably a good thing.

Anyway – I did 3 miles!  In 34:45.  That’s only about 5 minutes off my normal pace, so I couldn’t be more pleased.  I am almost back.  Or like John says, I am in the general vicinity.

Post workout drink:

Got to work and it was busy, surprisingly.  I kind of had that mental expectation that it would be a slow holiday and got a shocker.  Oops!  Does that ever happen to you?

Lunch break!

John made these wheat rolls for the picnic on Saturday and they are perfect for a little egg salad sammie.

And fresh blueberries at a good price.  It’s about picking season!  I can’t wait to get the first 4 pound bucket of blueberries again so I can be in an antioxidant coma with blue teeth soon…..

One thing about living on the main road in town, we don’t have to drive anywhere to see the Memorial Day parade as it comes right in front of our house!  It’s kind of nice. This is the view from our porch:

A bazillion emergency vehicles, which they love to do around here:

And then the little league teams that throw candy:

Very short parade (small town), but cute.  John made lattes when it was over:

and I had a bar:

Regarding what I was saying yesterday, 105 is *not* my goal weight.  I just wanted to clear that up.  That was what I was told it should be when I had lost weight in my 20s.  I was so bummed that I still had 45 pounds to go (when I actually looked pretty good), that it seemed insurmountable.  So I gained more :D.  Now my goal is actually 135, which is quite a bit more reasonable, and truthfully, there really is no reason I shouldn’t shoot for it at 5’2″.  That way I can keep my muscles and my curves (and my food).

Dinner time!  John threw a couple of ears of corn on the grill in the husks.  So good.  I love grilled corn.  It adds a little extra sumthin sumthin to it.

This is how Pixie spent the holiday:

She just barely opened her eye as if to warn me not to disturb her LOL!

Evening snack:

Plus we are going out for a coffee.  😀  I am paying the piper for the run earlier (this is my new favorite saying).  I have no strength in my leg left because I used it all up.  Oooops.  Guess tomorrow will be an easier day.  I’ll recap May and set new June goals tomorrow.

Question:  How did you spend Memorial Day?

The Great Veggie Experiment: Beets!

So I finally got around to trying the beets.  I bought them at the farmer’s market, and that particular vendor had 3 different kinds of beets:  The regular red beets, target beets, and white beets.  Since I wasn’t really a fan of the possibility of stains, I chose the white beets.  She also said they were the sweetest and people ate them like apples (??)

Here is my little beet:

I went ahead and peeled it, just for cleanliness sake.   I decided to lick the beet to taste test:

It was fairly nondescript and slightly sweet.  Then I sliced it in half.  Look how pretty the concentric rings are:

I diced the beet up and ate a cube raw.  It was crunchy and kind of sweet, so I had high hopes that I would like it roasted.

I also roasted some chopped parsnips with this.  Tossed in a little coconut oil with salt and pepper and roasted until caramely looking:

The verdict?  Nope.  There was a taste after cooking that was not there raw.  I can’t describe it, but it was somewhat pungently sweet.  I really had hoped I would like these, but it was not to be.  I ended up picking out the parsnips and eating them LOL!

I might try some raw if they presented on a plate to me, but otherwise I’ll pass.

The Great Veggie Experiment: Parsnips!

At the farmer’s market, we purchased some parsnips.  They look kind of like carrots, only more pale.  Actually, they are related to carrots, so that makes sense.  It is considered a winter vegetable because it actually needs to have some frost temperatures to fully develop the roots.  So it’s season is winter time and early spring.

Parsnips are often substituted for potatoes when they aren’t available.

Parsnips are rich in potassium and fiber!  Our first attempt at cooking was just simple pan sauteeing in coconut oil.  I was really pleased at how tasty the parsnips are!  They have a texture like a really firm potato and taste kind of like carrot, but not as sweet.  I also noted both times we cooked these that they caramelize really easily (ie burn).

We made this recipe last night:

Maple glazed parsnips:

  • 2 cups of chopped parsnips (2 or 3 medium size ones)
  • 1 tablespoon of maple syrup
  • 1.5 teaspoons of butter
  • 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts or pecans

You can either roast the parsnips in a 400 degree oven on a sprayed cookie sheet for 20-30 minutes, or you can pan saute with cooking spray.  Either way will do to cook the parsnips.

In a small fry pan, toast the walnuts until golden brown.  Add the butter and the maple syrup and stir to combine.  Mix with the parsnips and serve.  Serves 2 to 3.  Easy and really tasty!

GVE = success this time!  I am keeping parsnips in the rotation.

The Great Veggie Experiment: Batata!

I try to look closely at the small baskets in the produce section to find unique veggies and found a sign for batatas – or Mexican sweet potato:


It looked pretty harmless and if potato is in the name, I know it is likely a safe bet for me 😀  I thought it looked a good bit like a small yam.  Apparently these are quite common in the Caribbean.

I was very surprised to see that the flesh was white when I peeled it.


I just assumed it would be orange.  Note that it started to brown up when exposed to the air, which was interesting.  It smelled like a sweet potato, though.  I chopped it up and stirfried it with some chicken, broccoli, teriyaki sauce and serrano peppers.


The pieces of batata were firm and had a texture fairly potato-like, but the flavor was sweeter and almost tasted like chestnuts.  Should have roasted it on the open fire, no?

I liked the small size of this.  Perfect for a single serving.  I would try this again – I think it would make excellent fries!

The Great Veggie Experiment: Taro Root!

Haven’t done a GVE in a while!  I actually got the Taro Root a couple weeks ago, but just used it last night.  Good thing it is a root veggie and will keep well.


Taro root (also known as arrow root)  is used a lot in Oceanic cultures.  I also did not know that it is the basis of poi, eaten widely in Hawaii.   It has about 120 calories for 3.5 ounces (cooked) and 5 grams of fiber.   Good source of vitamin C, E, B, and manganese as well.

I decided to try making baked fries out of it since John was up for trying it, too!

Peeled and sliced (which was hard, like a sweet potato)


Sliced raw taro root

Sliced raw taro root

I drizzled with olive and and salt and pepper, then roasted at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes.  That may have been a bit overlong, but the look good!

Taro Fries

Taro Fries

These fries were thick and chewy.  An interesting texture, not light and fluffy like regular potatoes.  They had a good flavor, mild and yummy dipped in ketchup!  I would definitely get these again.  I have a feeling that deep frying these would be awesome 😀

Might be interesting to try cubed up in soups or stews.