My Favorite Wonder Fruit/Veggie: The Amazing Tomato!

I could sing the praises of tomatoes until I’m blue in the face, to be honest. Fresh off the vine, canned, baked, sauteed, stewed, raw–it doesn’t matter. Tomatoes are my best friend ever (no offence to my human best friends. But I can’t realistically sustain myself on your flesh. You don’t reproduce fast enough). It doesn’t hurt that they are loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, and other nutritional goodies.  That website has a good overview of everything, plus a long list of resources if you’re curious about looking into the studies themselves.

Here are a few of the many ways I like to eat my delicious red (and yellow and orange!) treasures:

  • Diced up and sauteed with olive oil and pepper over pasta. I don’t even need a real sauce, usually–a whole small tomato per serving of pasta is usually about perfect.
  • As hot soup with a hot sandwich. Tomato soup is perfect with grilled cheese, grilled ham and cheese, grilled turkey and cheese, Reubens, and so on. I make it myself sometimes, but usually I just go for the canned version with the least additives and no HFCS. Remember the rule of thumb: If you can pronounce everything on the label, and know what it does for the food, you’re usually alright.
  • Sliced, drizzled with olive oil and cracked pepper, with some mozzarella. One of my favorites to take for lunches, this is wonderful with some of the lower-acid heirloom tomatoes, since you’re eating them straight!
  • In just a big pile of sauteed veggies. I often will pull out a pan and, for dinner, saute up a pile of frozen veggies. I almost always add tomatoes to this instead of any sort of stir-fry sauce. Depending on the veggies, I top it with some cheese and serve it with sourdough bread, if the supermarket recently had any on their day-old rack.
  • Stuffed with ricotta and italian breadcrumbs. One of my favorite ways! I discovered the recipe by trial-and-error, so I’ll have to make them again before I can post it (The horror!), but you hollow out the tomatoes, reserve what flesh you take out (I toss most of the seeds usually), and mix it together with ricotta and some italian breadcrumbs in a food processor (I used a manual one. I don’t know if that makes a difference). Bake until the skins start bursting. Top with a white cheese (I used mozzarella. I really like mozzarella.) and serve! Magnificent.
  • Canned Diced, mixed with Velveeta. Okay, this isn’t remotely healthy, but I’ll be darned if it isn’t the most delicious party dip in existence!
  • With Cucumber and hummus on a sandwich. My favorite sandwich, of which I eat three or four a week, is this one. Sometimes I add sliced turkey, or spinach, or something, but most often not. Red Pepper Hummus (or garlic, or lemon, or whatever else strikes your fancy), topped with thinly sliced cucumbers and tomatoes, on a good whole-grain bread, with a spot of italian dressing. It’s delicious, quick, and easy!

I go through four or five tomatoes a week, usually, and perhaps my tooth enamel won’t thank me for it, but I can’t bring myself to remotely regret the deliciousness. What are some ways I’ve missed, to use tomatoes?

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Rome Wasn’t Cleaned In A Day…?

I will be the first to admit that occasionally, I’m kind of a slob. My single-teenage-girl’s bedroom was almost always messier than my two-adolescent-brother’s shared bedroom ever was. I’m not dirty, exactly, I just don’t like putting stuff away, when the floor is so much closer!

However, when I moved into an actual apartment for the first time, with a kitchen and laundry room and separate bed-and-living rooms, with my own private bathroom and a whole real pantry, I felt kind of like hot stuff. And I kept most of that mess clean.

…For all of a week.

For me, the urge to have things tidy and orderly is passing, and while I occasionally go on spring-cleaning-scale rampages, in the meantime the mess can start to get out of hand. So, as part of my New-Month’s-Resolutions (I’m aware it’s past mid-month anyway), I’m going to work on cleaning again. It’s not as if I have an excuse. School dosen’t start for another 5 weeks, and since I only work 6 hours a day on average, it’s not like I don’t have time.

The biggest issue for me, is breaking it into manageable chunks. I don’t like working for hours on end, only to realize that i’ve technically only crossed one thing off my list. It’s a little bit of a mind-trick, but when you put: “Sort Clothes, Wash/Dry Clothes, and Fold/Hang-up Clothes” on your list, instead of “Do Laundry”, you feel a little better being able to check off the steps, showing progress, instead of having to wait three hours to check one little box.

Everyone has a lot of the same basic tasks. Laundry, Cleaning, Preparing for upcoming events and obligations, and so on. I just mentioned how I like to break down laundry, but my mother goes a step further: She makes a grid of check boxes for five loads of wash, dry, and put-away, that way she can track her progress throughout the day as she slogs through piles of my brother’s football jerseys and dad’s three changes of clothes for work, relaxing, and chores.

Speaking of chores, there’s plenty of other things that can be broken down into parts. Cleaning can break down, not only into categories like “pick up papers” and “sweep/vacuum”, but even further down into “clean sink, clean toilet, mop floor, replenish toilet paper” for a bathroom.

Writing down all the single steps to a task helps keep me on track when I’m not really wanting to clean, and it helps keep me focused when I go on cleaning rampages, because otherwise I’d have half the house clean–in tiny spots that get quickly overwhelmed!

I think, when I get home today, I will sort, launder, and put away the backlog of clothes I have waiting for me, before putting my muffin mixes in order, gathering my spices into one spot, and stacking my canned soup so I can wash the counter, do a sinkful of dishes, and wipe out the microwave. That’s nine whole things I can accomplish tonight!