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Healthy Eating is Easy in the Fall

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1Healthy Eating is Easy in the Fall Empty Healthy Eating is Easy in the Fall on 5th November 2009, 6:03 pm

My favorite seasons are spring and fall. I love the changes in the air. I love spring for its anticipatory energy of birth and renewal, but I love fall just as much for the wonderful pungency I inhale with every breath. Healthy eating is easy in the fall because of the abundance offered by a garden harvest. The fragrance of rich soil sliding into hibernation fills me with a sense of lassitude and comfort. The harvest of squashes, eggplants, potatoes, and other delicious gifts from Mother Nature make my mouth water in anticipation.

In keeping with the season, I like to serve ratatouille. If you've never taken the time to try this dish, I recommend you do so now. It is overflowing with healthy eating high-level nutrition for your family as well as being delicious. Following is my recipe:

Olive oil (enough to cover bottom of a large frying pan
2 onions, peeled, cut in about ½-inch pieces
1 clove of garlic, crushed
2 bell peppers, one red, one green, seeded, cut in about ½-inch pieces
3 or 4 zucchini, cut into 1-inch thick rounds
1 small eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes
4 tomatoes, peeled, seeded, cut into eighths
¼ teaspoon of thyme*
¼ teaspoon of oregano*
1 bay leaf*
½ cup of chopped parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup of grated Parmesan cheese

Heat oil in heavy skillet; sauté onions and garlic gently until they become translucent (about 2 minutes). Add peppers; sauté a few more minutes. Add zucchini, eggplant and tomatoes (adding a little more oil, if necessary); cook about 5 more minutes. Add thyme and oregano. Simmer very gently on a low flame, uncovered, 30 to 40 minutes, until all vegetables are just tender. Add salt and pepper. Stir often; do not scorch. Add chopped parsley and top with Parmesan cheese. Place under a broiler for 2 minutes or until cheese is melted and browned around the edges. May be served hot or cold.

*These herbs may be omitted, or added lightly to taste.

Note: Other vegetables may be added. I often use carrots and potatoes in the mix. Also to make it a complete meal, you can add 1-inch chunks tofu or serve ratatouille as a side dish with meat.
This is a very healthy recipe because it contains so many vegetables, which release their juices that turn into a delicious vegetable gravy during cooking. The gentle sautéing also enhances some of the phytochemicals, such as lycopene in the tomatoes.

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