Today is my 37th birthday.
I'm writing this from the cozy corner of a hotel room overlooking Niagara Falls, so I think it's fair to say that my day, and year, is off to a good start. There also happens to be a new Le Creuset baking dish tucked into a my overnight bag from a quick trip across the border last night, so I consider myself extra fortunate this morning. There won't be a birthday cake today, much to my kids' dismay, but that's okay. Rob and Jackson both have birthdays later this month, so there's lots of time for sweet celebration treats. I've purposely decided to forgo my confections in lieu of something much better: good heath.
This year, I'm giving myself the gift of a healthy lifestyle for my birthday. I have a physical scheduled for next week, I'm walking close to an hour a day, I'm cutting out sugar for the month of January, and possibly even longer, I'm reducing my meat consumption and increasing my vegetable intake, and generally I'm getting myself in good working order. There are a few aches and pains in my young body that probably shouldn't be there - Rob often jokes that he wants to see my real birth certificate since he's almost a decade older and feels better than I do - and while this lifestyle change may seem motivated by the whole "new year, new you" message that's being pushed by every magazine at every check-out counter, it's honestly not. In fact, it's much simpler than that: I just want to feel better.
So, because it's my birthday, I'm also passing on this gift to you, by offering you a copy of the book you see above. It's a new title - Meatless - released by the editors of Martha Stewart Living magazine, and it boasts a bounty of beautifully photographed recipes that are simple, family-friendly and, yes, meatless.
In case you're slightly skeptical, I made a Brussels sprouts and lemon skillet pizza from the book last week that the kids devoured. Imagine soft pizza dough pressed into a cast-iron pan, and topped with shredded mozzarella, shaved Parmesan, torn Brussels sprouts leaves that have been gently tossed with silky olive oil, fragrant lemon zest, salt and pepper, and topped with just a little more cheese. Thrown in the oven and baked until the greens are crisp and the crust is browned, the dish was a hit with everyone, including Jackson. At least until he discovered the green garnish was in fact his least favourite vegetable.
The kind folks over at Random House Canada have a copy of Meatless just for you. Leave a comment letting me know what changes to your health, if any, you hope to make this year. I'll draw a name on Sunday and your copy will be sent out to you next week, when the book officially publishes.
Update: Congratulations to Jennifer C! You are the lucky winner of the book giveaway.