My husband is an avid hold the veggies (HTV) enthusiast. He is a self proclaimed veggie hater that refuses to dabble in anything other than what he has already established as delicious. Now, as you can imagine, this presents a conflict of interest. I, a self proclaimed veggie enthusiast, cannot understand where this bright man’s thought process comes from. On many occasions he has eaten a select few vegetables that I have prepared, and liked them. However, he has yet to make peace with the spinach leaf. So after six years, I have decided to take my victories where I can get them. After all, he was playing the McDonald’s Monopoly game when we first met, and now has not visited a fast-food restaurant like that in years. Sigh, how far we’ve come….
I must admit that my husband, Adam, is absolutely brilliant. He’s a medical student that excels each day in all of his endeavors. He is a technical genius, and to him I credit for this website. He is a talented drummer that can jump into any song, even if he has never played it before. He is loving, kind, and usually puts up with my shenanigans with a smile. However, he is yet to excel in the cooking department while steering clear of all known kitchen appliances. That is where I come in. Although he sees the benefits in vegetables, he simply cannot bring himself to eat them. So now when I hear him say, “hold the vegetables,” I slyly think, “Alright, I’ll HIDE the vegetables (HTV)! That’s right, I sneakily add a dash of health to his seemingly vitamin-free meals – and I am proud of it. After all, I want him around for a long time.
I will let you in on my strategies, although they vary with each recipe. Take for instance, a classic New Orleans gumbo. To pay homage to our recent New Orleans trip, I wanted to bring that NOLA flavor back home – and what better way than with the iconic Gumbo. I have listed the recipe under the Recipes tab. You may also click here to view it. For those of you unfamiliar with gumbo, it is a spicy Cajun dish thinner than stew but thicker than a soup. It is traditionally made with andouille sausage and some form of protein, such as shrimp, chicken, and crawfish.
To transform this rich dish into a nutritious meal, I doubled the vegetables, cut in half the fatty meat, and then did a really sneaky thing by adding (well-disguised, of course) spinach- or as I like to call it, Adam’s nemesis. This is a simple way to double the disease-fighting phytochemicals, while maintaining flavor and deliciousness. I know, I know… It’s never a good thing to fool your loved one- but when you care about your loved one more than anything else in this world, I believe it’s a worthy cause. Besides, I’m onto his little ploy to sneak ice cream in the middle of the day!
Now if you’re questioning whether or not my transformed HTV Gumbo went over well, let me tell you – Adam loved it! He raved about it for days! Thus, once again proving I have struck a vegtastic gold mine here. I am looking forward to sharing this and many other HTV recipes and stories with you. I am happy to answer all of your questions (that is, if I live to tell now that my secret is out), so please feel free to email me or comment below.
Happy eating! (wink!)
Bryee Shepard, MS, RD