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Friday, 22 February 2008

Get your veggies in your guts

When I was at my parent’s house last week, my mother dug through the top shelves of the wardrobe and produced the family photo albums.

We sat a poured over the old pictures while she asked again and again … “do you remember that dress? that car? that chest of drawers? old Mrs Whatsit?”

The answer to nearly all her questions was no. Somehow, I don’t remember much of my childhood except for my friends and the odd (in more ways than one) boyfriend.

What I do remember is what I ate when I lived at home.

I remember hot porridge on a cold winter’s morning served with brown sugar and the cream from the top of the milk bottle.

I remember that I didn’t like sandwiches for lunch so I used to have crunchy nut yogurt and cornflakes instead.

My afternoon snack was a pint of milk.

Dinner was always meat and three veggies. The meat was sausages, chops, roast beef, and other cuts of red meat, and the veggies were always potatoes with two other vegetables chosen from peas, carrots, corn, beans, cabbage, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, and pumpkin. Except for the Sunday roast, all vegetables were boiled. If we had a salad it was chopped iceberg lettuce with carrot and tomatoes.

Mr KatieP was subsequently shackled to a wife who hated vegetables. I had a deep abiding suspicion of all things produce related and basically stopped eating them completely when I left home. Mr KatieP gradually convinced me to try new and interesting vegetables prepared without a pot of boiling water in sight. I will never forget the first time I ate eggplant smothered in olive oil and grilled on the BBQ. Oh my god – how could this be a vegetable?

In the past three years I have worked hard at eating more vegetables, at first because of their low fat/calorie content (bye bye olive oil soaked eggplant) and then later for their taste and nutrients. Now I am on my special training diet I am committed to eating at least 3 cups of vegetables a day. The point of this rather long winded post is to share some “get more veggies in your guts” tips.

  • Anything can go in an omelet or scrambled eggs. Throw onions, mushrooms, capsicum, zucchini, cherry tomatoes into a non-stick pan with a little spray oil until they are softened. Then add the whole egg/egg whites
  • Vegetables can be added to pancakes without altering the taste. The trick is to cut them up very small or grate them. I have had pancakes with mushrooms, grated pumpkin (use a food processor or your arms will fall off), and grated zucchini
  • Roast brussel sprouts in the oven. Cut an “x” in the base of the sprout to make it cook evenly all the way through. Yum
  • Use the potato peeler to make thin slices of raw veggies for a salad
  • Try a veggie roast up – put onions, sweet potato, capsicum, zucchini, eggplant, etc. on baking paper, spray lightly with oil and add some herbs and spices (I am loving rosemary at the moment) and cook in a hot oven. Try letting them get a little black around the edges.
  • Bean sprouts, alfalfa sprouts should be added to every salad and sandwich
  • Spinach is a wonder food. I always used baby spinach leaves instead of lettuce in a salad as it has more nutritional value. Real grown up spinach doesn’t taste so good raw (it is much cheaper than the babies), but it is one of those vegetables you can add to lots of cooked things, including eggs, casseroles and soups. Try cooking some spinach on the stove in a small pot and stir in some cottage cheese. Creamed spinach.
  • Use cottage cheese as a topping or a side for your vegetables – think of it as sour cream
  • Beetroot is my friend
  • Eat the skin as much as possible – I can’t think of a vegetable I take the skin off - a bit of dirt never hurt anyone (of course you can wash them first if you aren’t hardcore!)
  • You don’t need fancy marinades or dressings. I sometimes use a small amount of soy sauce and always have balsamic vinegar as salad dressing

I could go on for hours but this post is long enough. Eat your veggies folks – even if you think you don’t like them. I am testament to the fact that a vegetablephobic can be rehabilitated!

PS: I still love porridge, milk, and yoghurt with cereal

PPS: I still hate cauliflower!


  1. I love my veggies.

    I am a big fan of muesli, yoghurt (the real stuff, not the sugar laced skii rubbish) and fresh fruit - I get grumpy if I miss out in the morning.

    If I fall out of that breakfast habit I instantly start gaining weight too.

  2. Like you, we had the same sort of dinner every night too... my mum boiled veges till they were almost DEAD... can you imagine cabbage boiled for half and hour!!! So yep, I hate veges too.... well most of them! I love cauliflower! Interesting post Katie..... don't ya just LOVE it when the old's bring out the photo albums??? God Save Me if my mother ever does, shes got boxes of the bloody things! Have a neat day mate.

  3. Nothing makes cauliflower good. nothing.

    I regularly have a big roast up of veges - and then toss them in a big bowl of spinach - the heat from the veges wilts the baby spinach and it's delish!

    I too come from the world of boiled veges with chops - aarrgg. It wasn't until I moved out of home I discovered the alternative.

  4. Too Funny - My mum is exactly the same. Every time I phone her she is like "Oh you remember so and so who's sisters boyfriend you were in grade three with; Well! She's pregnant and she works as a flight attendant blah blah blah" bores me to tears. and while I am a bit younger than you I too had the meat and three vege scenario most nights. Luckily it didn't make me hate veges though!Although I am much more adventurous now.
    I've got another one for you -grated zucchini and carrot go brilliantly in Spag Bol mince and in Sang Choi Bau!

  5. Funny how childhood memories are so focused on and around food. And GOD! Boiled-to-death veggies! Thankfully, we don't have to put up with that now...