Monday, January 31, 2011

veggie love

The kid likes cauliflower! Really likes it. I made it on Sunday night along with Tomato and Cinnamon Chickpeas and garlic bread. As I was prepping it I thought to myself 'he's not going to eat this. Maybe if we pretend it is something weird or icky, like monkey brains he'll be in to it.' Then he came in to the kitchen and asked 'what's that?!' I told him and he asked to try some. And then some more.

Tonight we made veggie pizza faces (credit Highlights High Five magazine). He ate most of the raw veggies while making the faces and REALLY wanted to eat raw pizza dough, but I managed to convince him otherwise. Christian Cheese Garlic Cheddar = delicious pizza yumminess.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

winner, winner tempeh dinner!

This week's surprise hit was tonight's dinner of 'Tempeh Helper' featuring a *cheese* sauce made from nutritional yeast. The recipe came from Isa Chandra Moskowitz's Appetite for Reduction.
Everyone enjoyed this one, even the little person, who has previously spat out tempeh.

We are doing really well in keeping on track. We did go out to eat last week, to our favorite Mexican restaurant - Pepe Delgados. We were able to stay true with Veggie Things (picture burritos as big as your face loaded with rice, black beans, fried potatoes and peppers, topped with fantastic hot sauce) without sour cream or cheese. I have to say it was wildly satisfying, even without the diary. And somehow I didn't quite feel as guilty for eating over half of it.

We got our co-op order this week, so we're set with delicious cheese from Wagon Creek Creamery and mushrooms from OM Gardens. The kid snacking on some golden oysters, below

Here's this week's dinner menu:
Saturday - Tempeh Helper, carrots and celery, salad
Sunday - 'Caesar' Salad, Mushroom Barley, cheese bread
Monday - Lentil Bolognese, salad
Tuesday - Carrot Coconut Milk Soup, garlic sesame toast
Wednesday - Chickpea Salad, fruit and jicama
Thursday - Minted Yogurt Soup, bread, salad
Friday - Butternut Coconut Rice, Blackened Tofu, greens

Monday, January 17, 2011

week 1 - Operation VEGE-LOCA

Well, we started our adventure yesterday. So far, so good. Here's what is on deck for this week's dinner menu:



BBQ tofu






Veggies and fruit


Enchilada casserole

Sweet potato ‘fries’


Tempeh tacos




Asparagus quiche


Generally speaking lunch is the previous night's dinner leftovers. And breakfast varies with whatever the little person demands (yogurt with fruit or granola, PBJ toast, eggs, oatmeal, etc). Speaking of little person tastes, we've discovered the kid LOVES nuts and seeds - yippee! It's particularly funny to watch him pry open pistachios.

This weekend I made the following for consuming throughout the week: wheat bread, trail mix, yogurt, fig bars, banana cashew balls, granola, ketchup, cocoa oat cookies.

Unfortunately this resulted in our kitchen becoming a disaster. But the fridge is well stocked!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

21 days, no meat and as much local dairy and produce we can get our hands on

I recently realized I spend a lot of time on food – thinking/planning, preparing it, eating it. The latter probably takes the least amount of time (I need learn to slow down and savor). And most of what we try to do at our house in regards to sustainability is food related, some of which has been documented on this blog. Perhaps this is because it is the easiest and cheapest…well, in some respects.

After watching the documentary Food, Inc. we tried to ‘go local’ on all of the meat we prepared and ate at home, but that got expensive. And being that I am working part time we just don’t have it in our budget to buy all the meat that we *want* locally. Soooo, that led us to the decision to go mostly vegetarian. Which we’ve successfully accomplished over the past few months (excepting holiday celebrations), only eating meat once or twice a week (and only from local and sustainable sources). Our son loves meat, in fact when pregnant with him I would dream of salami sandwiches, chicken fried steak, and bacon. Our son’s love of meat has held me back from trying a total vegetarian diet (Though, he didn’t eat meat at all until he was over a year old and fully in the finger foods stage – jarred baby food ‘meats’ = bleh). We’ve never been a short order cook type household and have generally always fed him what we are eating. We’ve recently had a strengthening in our philosophy of ‘kids will eat what you provide for them’; and by modeling the desired behavior (eating yummy veggie dishes) ourselves we can help motivate him to eat what we’re eating.

I was a vegetarian of varying degrees for over 10 years, so our switch to meat only once or twice a week has not been a big transition for me. Cheese and other dairy products were always an integral part of my vegetarian diet mainly for their easy supply of protein and calcium. Unfortunately they carry with them a lot of fat, calories, and cholesterol. Lately for whatever reason I’ve been drawn to veganism and strangely enough so has my husband. But we love dairy in our house, and I mean LOVE so it’s probably unreasonable to ever go that far.

Another side of the eat/shop local philosophy that appeals to us is the positive effects it has on our local community. Money stays here instead of going to large corporations located elsewhere; we get to know more people in our community (farmers, fellow patrons); and for the most part less fossil fuels are used in our acquisition of products.

There is a ton of research out there to suggest that a diet high in plants and low in animal products has many desirable effects on health – lower cholesterol, lower risk of heart disease, lower body weight, etc. Given these health benefits and above mentioned factors we’ve decided to embark on a 21 day challenge to our diets, starting this Sunday, January 16. We’re calling it OPERATION: VEGE-LOCA. Here are the parameters:

· Absolutely no meat (fish included)

· Only dairy/eggs from local (within our state) farms with sustainable and humane practices

· No ‘faux meats’ other than tofu, tempeh, TVP, and seitan (no Morningstar Farms, Quorn, Boca, etc)

· As much locally grown produce as possible (being that it’s the dead of winter and we have limited tolerance for greens in our household this will be extra challenging)

· Homemade and whole staples as much as possible (bread, pasta, grains, etc)

We’re fortunate enough to belong to a food cooperative with monthly ordering and for the past few months we’ve also been enjoying a weekly delivery from a local farm with wonderful eggs and goat’s milk – yay! We’ve also been successfully turning said milk in to yogurt and cheese – double yay! Our town’s farmers market is closed for the winter, but one is available within a short drive with ample selection.

Since we live in Oklahoma, a relatively unfriendly place to those of the vegan/vegetarian persuasion, this will mean very little eating out. There's a handful of restaurants in our town that have quality vegetarian offerings. And since we’ll be limited to only local dairy this will probably mean no cheese when eating out.

I have a tendency to want to prove things, so here are some initial hypothesizes (not sure how we’ll prove/disprove all of them):

· We will lose weight (except for the boy – he gets to drink a lot more milk than we do, and he eats ALL THE TIME)

· We will save money on grocery bills and eating out expenses

· We will have more energy

· We will help our local community and meet new people

We’ll be posting our successes and failures, random thoughts, etc throughout the process. We aim to post at least once a week, hopefully more. So check back if you’d like.

In case you’re interested here are some of our inspirations for this experiment:

Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz

Home Cheese Making: Recipes for 75 Delicious Cheeses by Ricki Carroll

Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer by Novella Carpenter

The Urban Homestead (Expanded & Revised Edition) by Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen