Monday, July 4, 2011

Week One: Success!

A day after our vegetarian adventure began, I left town for the weekend while Nathan stayed behind. I'm not sure what he ate over the weekend, but I definitely succumbed to a cheeseburger during the road trip. I felt some guilt as I might be letting my partner down, but I'm only human and those small town cafes make it so hard to resist. Back home, we've been trying out new recipes and looking at ways to get more protein, especially for Nathan. Using a recipe from Buy Bulk Whey, we made a banana bread with about 20 grams of protein per slice. (Our powder has more grams of protein than the one on the site, so it measures differently.) It didn't turn out too badly, either. The house smelled amazing and the bread tasted ok. I think I'll add zucchini and chopped nuts to the mix next time and cook it in muffin tins for better portability. Nathan has been topping slices with peanut butter for a protein packed snack.
Not the best picture, but I have since made one with pecans for my grandpa and he loved it.

I have to say, I am LOVING trying out new recipes and eating fresh, yummy food. It's almost like a step back into my pre-family days, before I married my carnivore. I really have to hand it to him, he is really invested in this. Making things I love and having him enjoy them too has been great.

Some other "new" recipes we've tried out this week:
Black Bean Quinoa Tacos (high-five to my husband for sticking to these at the July 4th BBQ)

Almond Garlic Pasta (Had my doubts, but it was delicious.)

And a Leftovers Smoothie. That's what happens when you have extra's chopped in the kitchen. This one is strawberry, fresh mint, lemon, and greek yogurt. Yum :)

We enjoyed spending the week with my youngest sister, Regan. She was a good sport and didn't complain about being along for the ride. Lily doesn't seem to notice any changes, but she did help me put together a lasagna. Regan said the pseudo-beef we used in it tasted like sausage, so I guess it was a winner.

Onto week two. As I write this, I'm trying to throw together a menu and list. Wish me luck!

Friday, July 1, 2011

A Meatless Month

As we were driving home on our first ever road trip as a family of four (more on that later), my husband told me he thought we should try eating vegan for awhile. If you know Nathan, you've probably abandoned the computer and are instead scanning the skies for flying pigs. Myself, I just laughed it off and kept driving. This is the man who grumbles if I cook anything less than a pound of meat for dinner. The guy who consumes said meat and still finishes off a few protein shakes a day. As he continued to talk about FDA standards and other related things, I half way listened (still couldn't tell you what his argument was, really) and then, with a start, I realized he was serious.

It's a day later and I'm still pretty baffled, but I love both my husband and a good challenge so I'm game. Since today is the 1st, what better day to start? We are challenging ourselves to stick to it for the month. Maybe we'll like it, maybe we'll hate it, but I think you have to try something for a few weeks before you really know. I don't think it will be too drastic of a change for Lily and myself, but I think Nathan's world is about to be rocked. We compromised on an ovo-lacto vegetarian diet and I started in on meal plans and shopping lists. I quickly realized meal planning was completely different and there was next to nothing in my usual recipes that would work. I found a few sites that help with meal planning and purchased a membership with E-mealz. You choose a diet and even grocery store, if you want, and they give you a meal plan shopping list. Even if you aren't on a special diet, I think it's a pretty great tool and can seriously cut down on your planning time. While I like the simplicity of their meals and lists, I do wish there were a way to add or delete meals from the plan. Grocery shopping also took a bit longer and made me wish I was back at the Central Market I visited last week in Plano. Oh, the produce! It was gorgeous. E-mealz is tailored to your cooking style and experience, though, so I didn't have to search for a bunch of gourmet ingredients I was unfamiliar with. (I chose "good without a cookbook" for my cooking experience.)

Here's our meal from Night One:

The recipe is one from the meal planning site and includes ingredients I probably would have never thought to put together, but it was actually really good and simple. Potatoes, sweet potato, carrot, apple, onion, garlic, canned tomato, cinnamon, meatless sausage, and some other herbs and spices over brown rice. They call it "Skillet Veggie Sausage."

One night's not hard, but we'll see how the month goes. If you have any tips, hints, or recipes, I would love to hear them! I'm especially interested in eating out on a vegetarian diet. We like to go out at least once a week usually, but besides Jason's Deli I don't know what might be good.