it’s not too late for tomatoes!

It may be WAY late in the season for tomatoes, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy them through the cold, winter months.  Many tomatoes are grown in hot houses, and while they may not be nearly as delicious as fresh-from-the vine tomatoes in the summer, they’re still excellent to cook and bake with.  When tomatoes aren’t in season, I tend to rely on the pints of cherry tomatoes for salads and canned tomatoes for everything else.  You can also buy Roma tomatoes and roast them yourself for better flavor!

-Tomatoes get their red color from the antioxidant lycopene. Tomatoes can come in other colors, including yellow, orange, green and even purpley-brown.

-Lycopene is found in higher concentrations in processed tomato products, such as canned tomatoes and sauces and ketchup.

-Tomatoes are a fruit because it, along with its seeds, is the berry of a flowering plant.  Other vegetables fall into this category, including eggplant, bell peppers and squash.

-Tomatoes are high in potassium, Vitamin C and Vitamin A. A medium tomato only has 22 calories.

-Most tomatoes are harvested while green and allowed to ripen with artificial ethylene gas while being transported to the store, which turns their skins red but doesn’t develop flavor. Always try to get your tomatoes locally!

-When eaten with sources of healthy fat (like avocados or olive oil), the carotenoids in tomatoes are better absorbed in the body.

-Choose tomatoes that are bright red, heavy for their size and shiny. Store on the counter to preserve texture and flavor. Do not store in the refrigerator until cut.

-Maximize tomatoes’ flavor by chopping fresh tomatoes for pastas and sauces. In the winter months when fresh tomatoes aren’t available or as good, rely on good quality canned tomatoes to make sauces, or roast Roma tomatoes to concentrate their flavors.

-For a unique and healthy breakfast, cut the top off a tomato and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Crack an egg into the hollowed-out tomato and cook until the egg is set.  Add salt, pepper and torn basil or parmesan cheese for flavor.


I’m FINISHED!  (Except for that giant test I have to take at the end of the summer, but close enough.)

Last Saturday, myself and a handful of my classmates walked across the stage to receive our diplomas after FOUR LONG YEARS of academia. It’s crazy to think that it really took four years to get another bachelor’s degree (?!?!), and that it’s come and gone already. In some ways, it felt like an eternity; in others, I blinked.

IMG_0083 IMG_0147 IMG_0149 (1) IMG_0151 IMG_0153

Mom and Andrew’s grandma joined us for the event at school.  The ceremony was 2 1/2 hours long and by the end, all I could think about was how thirsty I was!  A HUGE thank you to my mother, who did the most loving thing anyone could have at that moment – she got me some water. She also got yellow roses, my favorite 🙂  It felt like such a fuss over something I didn’t think was ‘that big of a deal,’ but in the end, it was nice.  These last four years were – hands down – the hardest of both mine and Andrew’s lives.  This calls for a celebration!

IMG_0168 IMG_0172 IMG_0174 IMG_0206 IMG_0210 IMG_0212 IMG_0214 IMG_0232

After the ceremony, we headed back to East Aurora to join friends for lunch at our local Mexican place, where I got my celebratory post-semester margarita. It still doesn’t feel quite ‘real’ that I’ve graduated (again, it might be the big test looming), but each day it feels like a bit of the weight lifts off my shoulders.

What’s next?  Well, Andrew and I are about to head off on a much-needed vacation, and then I’ll be back and ready to spend some quality time on the yard, teach cycle classes at the YMCA, sit on the porch to read…and study.