The cooler weather has brought us greens . . . Kale and spinach in abundance! It’s a good thing Mick’s growing kale this year as we’re sharing our harvest with a new housemate – His birthday present, a bearded dragon named Moe. He’s cute (as far as reptiles go). He always looks like he’s smiling. And when I go down to turn off his light at night and interrupt his sleep, he slowly opens his eye (just one) and when he see’s it’s me he closes it again and goes back to sleep. I think we’ve bonded (as far as that’s possible)!
Anyway, I came upon this recipe that’s loaded with spinach and a few of my other favorites – ricotta and Parmesan cheese and garlic! I’m always looking for easy lunchbox ideas for Mick, the kind with plenty of leftovers for myself! These Spinach Cakes are perfect. I doubled the recipe first time out and also made them for a cooking class . . . they were a hit all the way around! Total thumbs up . . . and they’re delicious served warm or cold.
I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting this past week. Our Seattle-like weather, days on end of overcast skies with gentle drizzle can cause me to do that. With it being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I got to thinking. A lot of the things that people shared with me when I was in treatment for breast cancer, have been words that have served me well in so many ways in the 16 years that have followed. Their words and stories I carried with me (and still do), like a child holds onto a tiny caterpillar that he takes with him every where, not ever wanting to let go of the magical find. They gave me hope of getting to the other side. And I so wanted to get to the other side.
Breast cancer survivors, cancer survivors, are very brave people. Full of courage, each day, facing the challenges before them . . . . sometimes with gusto, sometimes quietly, but always with great strength. I think one of the most powerful things that was shared with me, was something my beautiful friend Frannie wrote to me in a card. Perhaps it’s a quote from someone, I’m not sure, but it goes like this . . . . Sometimes courage doesn’t roar. Sometimes courage is that quiet voice at the end of the day saying, “I will try again tomorrow.”
I think, we are all survivors of something, and most probably we become survivors of many things. What life seems to keep teaching me is, it’s the people in our lives who can see the light for us when things are foggy, who make all the difference. Their words bring comfort and hope and when there are no words, their willingness to walk the journey with us, to be present, is enough. I like that we can be a light for each other . . . . Like a flock of geese, we take turns at the front of the V and shelter each other from the winds. I think this is what keeps things bearable.
So I’m way off the topic of greens though my hope is you’re weaving them into your days, and often. They’re filled with antioxidants and phytochemicals for combating not only cancers but heart disease, high blood pressure and many other various health concerns. Most people I’ve come across, shy away from greens simply because they’re not sure what to do with them. Snipping a few kale leaves into a salad along with your romaine is a great place to start. Sauteed in a bit of olive oil with a sprinkle of kosher salt is also good or perhaps added to your vegetable soup. You could try these spinach cakes . . . . definitely double the recipe if you do, you’ll be glad!
Oh and one last thought . . . as we left Karen’s house from violin lessons this afternoon I said to Mick, “What’s changed Mick, do you notice anything different?” He replied with a smile, “The sun’s out mom, doesn’t it feel good!”
12 cups spinach, finely chopped
1/2 cup part skim ricotta cheese
1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
2 large eggs
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2. Finely chop spinach OR pulse spinach in batches in a food processor until finely chopped and transfer to a bowl.
3. To the spinach, add the ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, eggs, garlic, salt and pepper and stir to combine.
4. Spray 8 muffin pan cups with non-stick spray and fill the cups with the spinach mixture. They will be rather full.
5. Bake the spinach cakes until set, about 20 minutes. Allow the spinach cakes to stand in the muffin tin for 5 minutes and then loosen the edges with a knife. Gently remove the cakes from the pan onto a cutting board or parchment paper. Serve warm Or cold (they’re delicious either way)!
Recipe gently adapted from, eatingwell.com, Parmesan Spinach Cakes
The original recipe suggests using mature spinach for it’s sturdy texture and flavor.