It’s Been a Long Winter:  Marinated Veggies

It’s Been a Long Winter: Marinated Veggies

The other day I asked my husband if he wanted spaghetti squash, butternut squash or cabbage as a side dish.  He looked at me with the look of “If I eat another winter squash…”  Yeah, it has been a long brutal winter here in Indiana (and yes, I am aware that Indiana’s winters don’t even compare to many places…I have visited Alaska), but that being said, we are all more than ready for spring.  I am so ready for sun on my face as I plant my little garden and my kids are so ready to just play outside and dig in the dirt. I am also ready for the food variety that increases in the spring and summer months.  So in celebration of a warm up that appears to be on the way…I set aside my “in season, on sale” winter squashes and decided to do a quick marinade on some yummy veggies to toss on the grill.  Unfortunately that “warm up” did not happen last night and I was grilling outside in 20 degrees and a brisk wind…but oh, well…dinner was yummy.  I served the grilled vegetables with grilled chicken and some fresh strawberries.

This is my go to, when I want a quick grilled vegetable medley. This combination is sliced zucchini, peppers and onions (I usually add in portabella mushrooms, but I didn’t have any on hand)…tossed in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, worcestershire sauce and some spices.

today’s dish used:

We love Penzey’s spices and the Chicago Steak Seasoning is mainly used on meats…but I have found that just a little bit of it, is a perfect compliment to grilled vegetables.  Also, a note on Balsamic Vinegar…we keep two types at all times in our pantry.  We use the EarthFare Organic or Bionaturae Organic for most of our marinades but then we also keep a bottle of 18 year aged balsamic from Artisano’s (a cute little oil & vinegar place here in Indy).  We use the Artisano’s mainly for salad dressing and fresh applications. Our “marinade” balsamic…is still really really good…and would be great on salads also, it’s just not as thick or sweet as the oil we buy specifically for salads.

Here are my beautiful veggies marinating before being tossed on the grill!  Here’s to hoping that spring is coming soon.


simple summer ratatouille

simple summer ratatouille

i have been a horrible blogger.  between a much needed mini-vacation to the beach/dunes in michigan, shooting weddings, a large pile of design work, canning a ton of peaches (in the 95 degree heat), house & land closings and now packing for our first move to temporary housing…i have been a little busy.  never fear, my husband and i have still been cooking a ton and trying to keep healthy, nourishing meals in front of our family during this busy season of our lives.  so, my little blog has suffered a bit, but i do have a bunch of recipes to share (i just need to find the time to share them).

here is a family favorite side dish.  our csa share last week was just screaming for me to make ratatouille from it.  i had these amazing onions, a huge bunch of fresh basil, a few varieties of japanese eggplant, zucchini and yellow squash!  i know this is nowhere near how traditional french ratatouille is made, but this is easy, quick and still has amazing flavor! the only main items used in this dish that were not fresh from our csa were the crushed tomatoes & garlic cloves.  that makes me happy!

the picture is right before the ratatouille went into the oven.


side note: a lot of ratatouille recipes include red or yellow bell peppers in them.  i think that they would make a wonderful addition.  i just didn’t have any.


simple summer ratatouille
Recipe Type: side dish
Author: the sprouted life
simple side dish, with a wonderful array of flavors!
  • 2 japanese eggplants (i peeled mine)
  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 2 medium yellow squash
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 1 can of organic crushed tomatoes
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • handful of basil
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • sea salt to taste
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • parchment paper
  1. peel eggplant if you want (this is not necessary) and then trim ends off of the eggplant, zucchini and yellow squash
  2. slice the vegetables thinly, using a mandolin or knife (mine were between 1/16th and 1/8th in thickness)
  3. set vegetables aside
  4. in a food processor or vita-mix puree the canned tomatoes, basil and garlic
  5. layer a thin layer of sliced onions on the bottom of a baking dish
  6. pour tomato mixture on top of the onions and spread evenly
  7. starting on the outside, begin layering the eggplant, zucchini & yellow squash into the tomato sauce all the way around the pan
  8. drizzle with olive oil
  9. sprinkle with sea salt & ground black pepper
  10. cut parchment paper to fit baking dish
  11. cover loosely with parchment paper and bake at 375 for approx. 1 hour
  12. vegetables should be fully cooked, but not mushy.

items used in this recipe:

shared on: food renegade

wilted arugula with toasted pecans {sweetened with honey}

wilted arugula with toasted pecans {sweetened with honey}

we have loved our csa share (community supported agriculture) and are getting ours from {farm indy} this year.

this year is our first year and i am pretty certain we will never go back.  we used to just try and make regular trips to the farmers market on saturdays, but honestly because i work in the world of photography, summer weekends are pretty hit or miss with weddings, so we never were consistent. so the ease of picking up a big box full of fresh delights each week…is amazing!

i love the challenge that i am encountering with a variety of local vegetables that i wouldn’t have necessarily picked.  though we can customize out box, i am trying to stretch myself and not always cook with the same veggies.  with my first box came creations such as wilted arugula, roasted kohlrabi and radishes & turnip au gratin (all three of which will be repeated in our home). Did you know that roasted radish is really good? i had no idea.

here is a quick picture of our first share (i didn’t include the huge bag of mixed salad greens – which happen to be the best salad greens we have ever eaten)

 did i say i love my csa?

so my first creation was slightly sweet, wilted arugula with toasted pecans, topped with raw cheese.  i like arugula in salad, but i knew that it can be pretty bitter and wasn’t sure how my little boys would do with it.  that is where the honey came in.  i figured adding a little sweetness to help balance the bitter may convince a 17-month old and 3-year old that this was good.  it actually worked, though i did have to give a long, drawn out explanation to my 3-year old about the sweet, honey sauce i made to convince him to try it.

next time, i will cut off the stems on my arugula.  it was a little tough and the stems were definitely bitterer.  I may also cut the pieces as they were pretty big bites.


wilted arugula with toasted pecans {sweetened with honey}
Recipe Type: side dish
Author: the sprouted life
  • 1 large bunch fresh arugula
  • ½ c. pecans
  • 2-3 Tbsp. olive oil or coconut oil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2-3 Tbsp. honey
  • pinch of unrefined sea salt
  1. on medium-low heat toast pecans until light brown in oil of choice
  2. when pecans begin to brown, add in finely chopped garlic & sauté for about a minute
  3. stir in honey & arugula until evenly coated.
  4. heat on low until arugula is fully wilted (just takes a few minutes)
  5. add sea salt to taste
  6. serve immediately and top with raw shredded cheese (feta would be good too)