T: Tomatoes

I woke up one day and I was all grown up.

Married, house, three kids, a Labrador retriever and I was eating things like onions, peppers and tomatoes. And LOVING THEM. Some recipes just aren’t the same without them. Sometimes I just start cooking onions until I decide what I’m going to make because I pretty much know it’s going to start there.

Ask my Dad about the time he served me stroganoff with itty bitty little pieces of mushroom. Just ask him. He will tell you I am a different and certainly more adventurous eater today (although I still don’t like mushrooms…but I won’t pick them out and I’ll try them occasionally).

Saying things like: “You know what I would LOVE as a treat? Vermicelli noodles! Or roasted butternut squash!”

My husband just looked at me and said: “Our versions of a ‘treat’ are very different.”

So. Tomatoes. You’re wondering what all this has to do with tomatoes? I probably didn’t eat a tomato and LIKE it until I was in my twenties…late twenties. And that’s just a shame. All the bruschetta I missed…the sandwiches…SALSA. Oh MAN. The homemade salsa! Or even just the pop of flavour that fresh, ripe, juicy cherry tomatoes can add to a salad. Or summer beefsteak tomatoes with a little salt and pepper. I always thought my Mom was crazy just eating a tomato, but I get it now, Mom. I get it. YUM.fresh tomatoes

What’s so great about a tomato? Well, not just the versatility. The nutrition in a tomato is awesome. These days you hear a lot about lycopene. It’s a fantastic antioxidant that can aid in cancer prevention, especially regarding prostate cancer.

Note: lycopene is fat soluble, so a little oil will help your body digest this antioxidant. Hello caprese salad! And cooking tomatoes actually INCREASES the bioavailability of lycopene. So tomato paste, for example, is very rich in lycopene. WIN-WIN.

So pizza sauce? Make your own! Here’s my recipe…couldn’t be easier:20150529_173637

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of no salt added diced tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 sweet onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • pinch salt and pepper

In a saucepan, over medium heat, saute the onion and garlic in the oil until onions are soft. Add all other ingredients and bring to a simmer. Cook for about five minutes. Blend. Now you can make pizza! Easy, right?

Want another easy recipe? Here’s one for bruschetta…and bonus, it’s better if made ahead of time:20150529_173703

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 fresh summer tomatoes (you can also use a basket of sweet cherry tomatoes), diced
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tsp dried basil

Yup. Seriously, that’s it. Mix ingredients together. Add more basil if you would like, the tomatoes and onion should really be coated in green flecks. Enjoy! So simple and so delicious!

That’s the best part about tomatoes. The simplicity. What good is a BLT without the T? Which by the way, you know what’s equally as good? An ALT…with avocado. *drool*

So grown up or not, tomatoes should make their way in to your menu. Eat them raw or cooked, you’re getting some serious benefits.

Go ahead. Add tomatoes to your list for the farmer’s market.

Don’t you feel more grown up already?