Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Neighborhood Gardens

Since I got Duncan the dastardly dachshund, I walk a lot.  It's common for us to take three walks a day, meandering through our neighborhood greeting dogs and children and squirrels and crows.  I've always loved walking, and I do my best thinking while on the move.  If Ben and I need to discuss something serious, we walk or drive, using the physical momentum to propel us forward in decision making.

Our neighborhood isn't great, but it isn't horrid either.  We live in the city and as a city community it has all the usual characters, from the homeless to the conscientious home owner.  The streets around my four-plex are filled with apartments and town homes, but just a few streets west there are neatly kept single family dwellings, the new money that came into the 'hood during the housing boom.

Something that stands out about my neighborhood is that we love dogs and we love gardens.  As fall turns to winter and I walk these same streets again and again trying to tire out my 11 month old puppy, I'm amazed by the variety of gardens, in parking areas and in pots, in side yards and in the small strip of grass bordering the street.  We love growing things to admire and provide food for the table.

In Seattle we're blessed with year-round produce from our gardens, community-supported agriculture (CSA) and farmer's markets.  I've planted my winter kale in the tiny plot dug out under the fuse box below the kitchen window.  I don't grow much because I don't have the space, but what my garden does produce is a wonderful supplement to my CSA.  On Thursday nights when I've used the last vestige of green food and am eagerly awaiting my Friday morning delivery, I can go to my garden and gather a bit of kale for a pasta dinner or stir-fry.  I feel closer to the food, and judging by the number of small gardens and potted plants in my neighborhood, I'm not alone.

What does your garden grow?

Friday, November 4, 2011

Do you eat beans with your pasta?

I love beans, don't you?  I know they cause gas but the more you eat them, the more accustomed your digestive tract will become and the less gas you will have.

Pasta e fagioli is a traditional Italian dish translating to pasta and beans.  It's one of the simplest dishes you can prepare, full of fiber, and is a nice vegetarian meal for meatless Monday. 

The last couple of weeks have been a blur of activity with promoting classes and giving talks and of course, networking.  Seeing patients is, hands down, my favorite part of running FoodWise Nutrition but you don't get patients unless you get to know other providers.  Last week I attended 4 networking events and this week three events and boy am I tired of talking about myself!

Given all my running around, meals have been quick affairs.  Often I'll have time around lunch but not dinner so I'll prepare a quick meal in the middle of the day that Ben and I will then eat again for dinner.  One of those meals is pasta and beans.

My pasta e fagioli is made up of rice pasta, blanched zucchini, cannellini  beans and a 10 minute tomato sauce.

What do you use in your pasta e fagioli?