It’s been a month since resolutions were made. For many of the people around me, new year resolutions are focused on healthier lifestyle habits. Indeed, many of my friends and colleagues started 2014 on a diet. While I over-indulged over the holiday season (who doesn’t?), this year I one of my goals is to stay committed to a regular workout routine. My goal for working out is not a weight loss goal, instead it is a goal to maintain overall health and wellness.
Before our move to Morocco, my workout routine was focused on running. I took up running in 2002 when I ran my first marathon. It was an exhilarating experience. One of my running partners compared marathon running to being pregnant—training takes months, restricts your diet, contains moments of excitement and irritability, and culminates in one day that takes hours to endure but ends in pure exhilaration. In recent years, I decreased my distance running from marathons to half-marathons and 10-mile races. The shorter distance is enough to keep myself committed to a goal and training program without jeopardizing an entire Saturday for running and recovery.
Now, living in Rabat makes running difficult. There isn’t a culture focused on fitness and even though the city is safe, I’m not comfortable running alone. Since our move, I’ve been trying new options for working out, focusing mainly on home workout routines. For me, it is harder to stay committed to home workouts because there isn’t a concrete goal (i.e., a race) that I’m working toward. So, my resolution was to meet the CDC’s recommendations for physical activity for adults by accomplishing 2 hours and 30 minutes of vigorous activity and strength training on 2 or more days per week. In the first month of 2014, I’ve done well. I missed my goal on the week classes started because I had to stay late for orientation and office hours, but I’m on track otherwise.
In addition to my working out, I’ve gone back to my pre-holiday eating routine. No more duck confit or holiday cookies. I’m back to eating a majority vegetable diet and minimizing processed foods. With all this in mind, I’m sharing a recipe for roasted winter vegetables that presents beautifully at a dinner party and feels like a treat for a weeknight dinner. Resolutions or not, this is a recipe for good health.
BALSAMIC ROASTED BEETS AND CARROTS
5-6 medium-sized fresh beets
2 large red onions
2 cloves fresh garlic
¼ cup aged balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
2 tablespoons honey
¼ cup olive oil, divided
juice of ½ a lemon
½ teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ cup fresh flat parsley leaves, roughly chopped
Pre-heat the oven to 400F. Wash and scrub the beets and cut off the tops and roots of the beets. Drizzle a ¼ teaspoon of olive oil on each beet and individually wrap each beet with foil. Place the foil wrapped beets on a cookie sheet and roast in the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour—until the beets are fork tender.
While the beets are roasting, prep the other vegetables. Peel and mince the garlic. Peel the onions and cut them into eighths. Peel the carrots, cut them in half lengthwise, then cut them into 2-3 inch pieces. Place the cut onions and carrots on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and toss with the minced garlic, 1 tablespoon of olive oil , ½ teaspoon of salt, and ¼ teaspoon of freshly ground pepper.
Place the seasoned carrots and onions in the oven for 25-30 minutes. If your oven is large enough and you want to save time, you can put the carrots and onions in with the beets. Alternatively, you can wait until the beets are tender and then place the carrots and onions in the oven.
While everything is in the oven, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, remaining olive oil, honey, thyme, and oregano together. Remove the beets and allow them to cool for 10-15 minutes.
After the beets are cool, remove the foil, peel the beets and quarter the beets (you can cut larger beets into eighths). I recommend doing all of this with a fork and knife so you don’t have to worry about staining your fingers.
Gently toss the roasted carrots, onions, and beets together with the balsamic vinaigrette and fresh lemon juice. Do this gently because the beet juice will coat everything in a vibrant red color, and tossing too vigorously might break apart the vegetables. Salt and pepper to taste and top with freshly chopped parsley.