Thursday, March 31, 2011

Early Spring Farmer's Market and Healthier Eating

The last two days have been gorgeous spring days and yesterday was the perfect day to stop by the Wednesday Santa Monica farmer's market. We've been going consistently for the last few weeks but yesterday truly felt like the beginning of spring with a transition to more of the spring / summer fruits and produce. Artichokes have been really plentiful the last few weeks (too bad I don't really know how to cook with them) and there have been more and more stands with strawberries and tomatoes, my two harbingers for warmer weather.
We've been inspired to eat a little lighter, particularly with the nicer weather, so we stopped by Lemonade in Venice for lunch. I like the nice array of salads and vegetables from the salad bar; we split three market sides (split into double portions) and a soup for a tasty and healthy lunch. One of the salads inspired me to make a simple but delicious arugula, apple pear and pecorino romano salad with a light white balsamic vinaigrette dressing for dinner at home.
I've also been trying to get out of my cooking rut and have been trying some new, relatively healthy, comfort-food based recipes using farmer's market vegetables. I made a spinach and gouda quinoa dish last week based on this recipe which was full of hearty crunch and flavor, and a cauliflower and chicken sausage casserole based on this recipe (only change was steaming the cauliflower first in order to save washing a pot). It was really savory and tasty, although probably best as a side dish as opposed to a main course. Tonight's dinner: shrimp and grits and roasted brussels sprouts with bacon.
Hard to make casseroles photogenic
Cauliflower and chicken sausage casserole in tomato sauce
Today has been downright hot, in the seventies / eighties, even in Santa Monica. It was a perfect day for a bike ride to a yoga class (love the Lulululemon No Limit Tank for this weather). The warm weather feels very energizing, I love doing yoga when it's hot outside (unlike running outside, where I prefer cooler weather). It's easier to get deeper into poses and the twists and series feel particularly cleansing. I'm so much more lethargic and lazy in class when it's cold. S. and I hit up a reinvigorating yoga class with Kourtney at Yogahop , followed up by lunch at R+D Kitchen. I'm really looking forward to hitting up Brock's class at Yogis Anonymous tomorrow, while the weather is still warm.

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