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.

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