I have to confess that I cheated.
I went to a friend's house for lunch and I had forgot to tell her what I was doing. She made a delicious chicken pot pie and I didn't want to be rude.
We attended a pancake dinner and I did eat the two little pieces of bacon on the side of my plate.
I ate meatballs at my grandmother's house.
I don't feel too bad since my intention was never to become a vegetarian long term. There are really two components of this.
Lately we have been growing more and more conscious about the food we eat and where it comes from. We are very concerned about the use of pesticides and hormones as well as the humane treatment of animals.We started buying local meat a little while ago. Looking at the pictures of the cute furry cows on the farm's website was difficult, but I had to come to the conclusion that if I don't want to know where it comes from then I shouldn't be eating it... as hard as that is.
As you may know, we now have some chickens and were making plans to raise more hens for eggs. During my research process, I have become more aware of large scale poultry farming practices. There is a great, yet disturbing description in Trauma Farm by Brian Brett (which I will review in more detail once I finish reading it.) Another good source is here. Sourcing chicks, we have also discovered that most people sell chicks straight-run or un-sexed. This means that you will get a combination of hens and roos (roosters.) But, we don't want roosters! One lady told me to "put them in the freezer." At first, this was appalling. Why? I eat chicken, so what is the problem with this? I've had to do a lot of soul searching on this point. At first I thought that I would have to give up chicken all together, but I don't really want to do that. Over time I have come to accept the idea of raising some chickens to eat. I know that I can't kill them myself...or gut them...or pluck them. But, I am ok with it happening here and being a part of the process. I actually feel that this will be a good lesson in life for my children. From chick to chicken, to death and appreciation for what this animal has given us.
While I was still trying to resolve all of this in my head, I felt hypocritical consuming meat. I'm ok with it now, but I have absolutely resolved never to buy chicken from a grocery store or a restaurant ever again.
#2 Cut Down and Expand Horizons
In my previous post, I mentioned Mark Bittman's TED talk. This inspired me to do more research into the amount of meat that we consume. I am convinced that there is a need for people to cut down. I know that many people do not want to completely cut meat out of their diet's because of nutritional concerns and also because its an important ingredient in many of our favorite dishes. (I can't imagine giving up prosciutto!) For health, for economics, and for the environment, I am making the shift to thinking about veggies as main course. Taking a month off from cooking meat gave me the opportunity to experiment and explore alternatives in the kitchen. With a new bank of vegetarian staples, I feel confident that I can meet my family's nutritional needs with less meat per week.
I saved money! and I have also lost 8 pounds!
So, as I reintroduce meat in to my menu planning, it will be very limited and always organic (which is easier to afford in small quantities.)
In the future, I hope to share my favorite recipes. In the meantime, here are just a few of my best discoveries of the month.
World's Best Lasagna
This is not a vegetarian recipe, but I substituted in Veggie Ground Round. It was terrific!
Homemade Bean Burger
I had some issues with this recipe just due to my lack of technology(food processor.) I had to add the tomato juice in order for this to work in my blender. Then it was too mushy, so I also added wheat germ, oat bran, and nutritional yeast to thicken it up. It was very tasty. I'd probably include way more garlic next time... but I love my garlic.
Quinoa Chili (best find!!)
This is absolutely delicious! That's all I have to say about that.
An old favorite that I rediscovered just last night is my Mom's Yummy Yummy Mac and Cheese. It combines roasted zucchini, red bell pepper, and sweet potato with a simple white sauce mixed up with cheddar and cream cheeses, mustard powder, thyme, salt&pepper. Add this to prepared whole wheat pasta (fusilli or macaroni is good) in a casserole dish, top with a combo of fresh bread crumbs, melted butter and fresh grated parm. Cook in the oven until gold and bubbly. Totally yummy!
I love to hear your comments. What's your favorite meat-free recipe?