Monday, April 29, 2013

Before the Bravery

a.) Is this a dude or a lady?
b.) It's so strange I just HAD to use it.
Gotta love royalty-free images.
c.) SERIOUSLY, though! Transgender, maybe?
If so, rock on!
It takes a lot to make a huge change in your life, and something that's insanely personal -- in this case, FOOD -- can be a tad daunting. We have recently made the flexitarian switcheroo, meaning that we eat some (not much) meat on weekends, but are fully vegetarian during the weekdays.

And, guess what. It's actually sticking.

It could be that our bodies are feeling less "heavy" after our weekday meals. It could be that we're not eating anything particularly unusual or out of our comfort zone. It could be that we're not doing it "right" -- I'm not forcing tofu or veggie burgers onto the hubby (although I have both in my fridge...biding my time!). It could just be that I've figured out a comfortable way to manage our weekday meals in a familiar way.

I'm going with that last thought. Yeah. I've figured out a kind of equation for our dinners that help me get through the week without feeling like "Ugh, I can't wait to eat meeeeaaaat this weekend!!!" Actually, I feel incredibly guilty and tend to cook only one type of meat to last the weekend (our other meals are meat-free or a leftover of that item). Yet, I'm still a bit of a scaredy cat (hence the title -- ain't feelin' brave yet!) when it comes to cooking outside of my comfort zone.

Breakfast is easy -- we're "eat this everyday" sort of people. Dave, toast and tea. Me, cereal or toast. (We eat a ton more on weekends.) Why is it that we're so comfortable eating the same breakfast everyday, but we MUST have a different dinner? People are weird, folks!

Lunch can be challenging, but we're doin' it. Sometimes it's a leftover from the night before (yyyesss!!!). Other times, it's a continuation of my usual snack-like lunches (which I started back when I was pregnant) -- usually a combination of the following: organic cheese stick, apple/banana, tortilla chips (GMO-free corn, yay!) maybe with hummus, a handful of peanuts, a granola bar (non-GMO, organic), PBJ sandwich (natural, few ingredient (ie "real food") bread, organic PB & J, and this is if no leftovers are available), and when I remember it, carrot sticks. Oh, and whole milk organic vanilla yogurt (we can't go plain yet) with berries and maybe a few dark chocolate chips for a morning snack. It does the trick for my still-nursing, still-pretty-hungry body. The hubs usually figures out his own much smaller meatless meal.

Dinner is the road bump and could very well be a deal breaker. But, here's my strategy lately:
- One night, pasta with marinara sauce and a green salad. (Somehow, it's often Monday nights. Hello, "Antiques Roadshow"!!)
- One night, pasta with garlic, oil, parmesan cheese, veggies and seasoning and a green salad.
- One night, frozen all-natural pizza and a salad.
- One night, "breakfast for dinner." (Pancakes, french toast, or eggs (probably more of an omelet with some veggies) and toast, maybe some sweet potato hash browns.)
- One night, homemade soup and salad or grilled cheese. (I'm into the sammy...Dave's into the salad. What can I say? I married a salad guy.)
- One night, just one big ar$e salad. Gotta give into the temptation, I suppose.

Sure, there are other things we eat and I've been trying to come up with one new recipe each week (or so, depending on how busy we are), but these are the recipes that I have in my back pocket for those nights that I don't feel like makin' ANYTHING. The big thing that I've noticed is that if you plan a lot more when you're shopping, not only does it make your food stretch longer (and lessen your waste), you'll at least have a mental picture of the meals you'll make. When you've got a big ol' question mark on your forehead, you're more apt to revert to your old ways, no matter what your life choices may be.

Last week, I made a couple of bunches of on-sale asparagus help us through a couple of omelets (I even asked Dave this weekend if he wanted meat in his and he said he didn't care one way or the other...of course, I left it out) and some sides. When it reached the point of "crap, it's gonna go bad in 5 minutes", I parboiled what was left and threw it in a freezer bag. Now, I've got a quick quiche dinner in the back of my head with a frozen organic pie crust, the asparagus, some onions, cheese, eggs and a bit o' milk when the need arises. It feels good to have an extra ace up my sleeve. Very good.

I also threw together some broccoli cheddar soup that was pretty darn good that served several dinners AND lunches. Use whatchya got! Odds are, it'll be tasty. The same goes for the excess carrots I had a couple of weeks ago -- soup, there it is.

Oh, and I know it's not the *healthiest* thing in the world (and I can't list how many horrible things are probably in it), but we have discovered a couple of vegetarian items on our local Chinese menu that help on those nights that I REALLY can't cook. Say, like last week when I went to the theater to get all covered in paint only to arrive home wicked late to a husband who had more work to do (for his job), a baby in a fowl mood (hungry/tired, lots to do), and a front door knob that picked the perfect moment to fall off in my hand. You know. That kind of night. Broccoli with garlic sauce and veggie lo mein (or was it chow mein...) to the rescue. (Sometimes some Buddhist delight thrown in for good measure.)

I'm sure as time goes on, and as I discover the subtle nuances of tofu, I'll share some more recipes that are actually unique and yummy, but until then, we're all in this together! Sometimes you need some easy fixes to get you out of a bind.


  1. Good for you, Meg! And with summer coming, you'll have more veggie choices to work with on any given day - especially after some farmer's market inspiration.

  2. Thanks so much for the positivity, Bob! Can't wait to get the garden growin' and visit our local farmers. The baby and I will have to meet up with you at the Clinton one this summer, if you're up for it. :-)

  3. Have you done much with portabella mushrooms? One lady from our office who was vegetarian used to enjoy cooking with them and they can be an option for a weeknight dinner - grilled during summertime, even. I am not brave enough to cook with them and kinda prefer the smaller 'shrooms anyway, but I know she liked them and used them pretty regularly.

    1. We have some sitting in the fridge, but Dave hates mushrooms. We'll see if he'll be a convert. ;-) (I, on the other hand, LOVE them!)

  4. I really love this idea! I was a vegetarian for 3 years back in highschool and my first year in undergrad! It was just so hard once I was in college on a meal plan to stick with it. I don't eat a lot of meat now, like you mentioned, but I love the idea of purposefully not eating it during the week... maybe we could try this a few days a week and see how it works?!


    1. P.s. Your comments on that pic had me LOLing at my desk! Ha!!

    2. I say 'go for it!', Shannon!! I'm soooo not good at the whole "going cold turkey, all at once" method for doing, well, anything. Baby steps are better than doing nothing at all! :-)

      Aww, I'm always happy to elicit an LOL!!! :-) Woohoo!

      Thanks for reading, BTW!