I stopped eating meat as of January 1.
At first, it started as a kind of a lark–I thought I’d do it just for the month of January, and see if I could do it. But then February rolled around, and I am still not eating meat.
This is not my first foray into meatlessness. Eight or so years ago, bfore I got pregnant, I was a vegetarian for about a year and a half. I should also say that I am still eating fish, which technically makes me a Pesco-Vegetarian, and in some people’s eyes, no vegetarian at all. The thing is, I could maybe give up bacon, but don’t ask me to give up sushi.
My reasons for doing this are not complex. I don’t belong to PETA. I don’t think it’s inherantly wrong to eat meat. I haven’t been a big red meat eater for some time, now (I feel like it doesn’t really agree with me), so I’m mostly giving up chicken. I’m doing it in an attempt to eat a more healthy diet, with more vegetables and alternate sources of protein. This also leads to eating less processed foods, like lunch meat.
Still, it presents a few interesting challenges. First of all, I’m not a fan of tofu. It’s bland, and it seems like no matter how I cook it, it’s still bland. That’s not to say I don’t eat it, because I do, but I don’t think I’ve ever said “mmmm! that was some tasty tofu!” Many of the meat alternatives that are made from tofu are similarly bad, like the “turkey” and the “bacon.” Second, I live with a small carnivore, whose favorite food is bacon. And pepperoni pizza. The good news there, is that he’s still young enough that I can trick him with meatless alternatives, “chicken” nuggets, veggie ground round, veggie burgers, etc. In fact, just the other night he said to me “mmmmm! this is a good hamburger!” when in fact, he was eating an Yves Veggie Burger.
So, it’s an interesting challenge, but it looks like I might be up for it for a little while longer…
One of my favorite lazy recipes, vegetarian or not, is Vegetarian Chili. I don’t even measurements for this recipe, just some guidelines, that’s how lazy it is. Basically, throw everything into a crock pot, turn it on, and let it do its thing for about 6 hours on low. In my house, this equates to throwing everything in before I leave the house in the monring, and letting it stew away until I get home around 3:30 or 4.
- 1 large (28 oz) can of chopped tomatoes
- 1-2 cans (15 oz) of beans (kidney, pinto, or black, or some combination thereof)
- 1 Onion, chopped
- 3 Cloves garlic, minced
- 1-2 bell peppers (any colour, although green is probably the prettiest for this recipe, but red will make it sweeter),
- chopped into 1 cm squares
- 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, chopped fine (maybe not if you have kids)
- Spices: chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 can of tomato paste
- In a medium frying pan, heat a little oil and butter. Add the onion and saute on med-low heat for about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and give it another couple of minutes.
- Transfer the words to the crock pot.
- Drain and rinse the beans and add them. Do not drain the tomatoes, and add them.
- Add the peppers and spices.
- Turn on low and cook for 6 hours. Add the tomato paste at the end as needed to thicken, and let it cook for another half hour or so.
- Serve in bowls, topped with sour cream and grated cheese. You can make cornbread to accompany if you like.
Cornbread (Better Homes and Gardens)
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 2-4 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 1/4 cup oil
Add ons: I sometimes add in grated cheddar cheese, minced scallions, or you could put in tiny pieces of jalapeno.
- In a bowl, stir together the dry ingredients.
- In a seperate bowl, beat the eggs, milk and oil together.
- Add wet to dry and mix until just incorporated.
- Pour into a greased 9x9x2 square pan and bake at 425 degrees for 20-25 minutes.