2021 - The Year of the Fruit and Vegetable

Welcome to 2021!

Phew! We made it through 2020. We all deserve a big pat on the back for making the best out of what was not the best of years.

It’s all because of the coronavirus, of course. I see the virus as that party guest who’s overstayed their welcome and doesn’t get the hint that it’s time to go home. We can’t send it back, but, as the saying goes….when the world hands you lemons, eat them.

Well, maybe not eat lemons but maybe eat oranges, strawberries, carrots or any other fruits or veggies.

Why? Because the UN has declared 2021 to be the year of the fruit and vegetable.

Which I think is brilliant.

Not only because fruits and veggies are good for us (which they are) but because it’s a great excuse not to diet. Going on a diet in 2021 would be like sticking your hand into a hot fire pit to retrieve your cell phone which you just dropped. Don’t go there.

Let me explain.

We’re all packing around a few extra pandemic pounds. If you aren’t, then you’re a rock star in my mind. I personally find eating a few extra pieces of chocolate, or sweets of any kind, makes living in a socially isolated cave somewhat bearable.

Since we’re heading into a 3rd wave (thanks mutated virus) we’re basically going to be living a re-do from last year. Which means the Covid-19 pounds aren’t going anywhere fast.

So instead of going on a rigorous diet, I suggest munching on carrot sticks, apples and eat salads and veggies with meals.

Even better, grow your own vegetables in a garden or pot on the patio. I recently read a gardening newsletter suggesting it’s time to decide what veggies to grow and to buy your seeds now. Growing veggies is a fantastic way to be engaged in eating a healthier diet (notice I didn’t say - going on a diet!). You’ll have more energy, feel better about yourself and hopefully stabilize those Covid-19 pounds.

To get you started with eating fruits and veggies I’ve included a minestrone soup filled with, you guessed it, veggies.  Enjoy!

Minestrone Soup

Minestrone Soup

Serves 6

1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 stalk celery, diced small
1 large carrot, peeled, diced small
2 bay leaves
1 - 14 oz can tomatoes chopped
1 - 14 oz can tomato sauce
5 cups water
1 small zucchini, diced
1 cup shredded cabbage
1 cup macaroni
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Salt and pepper to taste



Heat oil in a medium skillet. When hot, sauté onions and garlic about 6 minutes. Add parsley, thyme, celery, carrots and sauté about 4 more minutes. Add canned tomatoes, bay leaf, tomato sauce, water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, mash 1/2 of the beans. Add the mashed and whole beans to the tomato mixture along with the zucchini and cabbage. Simmer another 30 minutes. Add pasta and cook 10 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve and pass cheese.