Tara, my 14 year old decided almost three months ago that she would no longer eat meat. Nothing really ethical about it (although she is an animal lover), but more so that she just lost the desire to eat meat.
I did not feel that I had any right to deny her request. Many dinners already included one main dish for my mother and I, and something different for Tara. I had no way of knowing if this was a whim that would last only a week, or something more long term. I can only applaud her for wanting to eat healthier. She really does have a pretty healthy diet, once I convinced her that a 280 calorie McDs Sweet Tea every day was not a good idea. A treat a day or two a week is fine. She does not drink soda, rarely eats candy, does not like cake. She has learned that dark chocolate is best for us, and will limit her intake of that to a small piece from time to time!
Tara loves her carbs! She can make a meal out of beans and rice (with cheese – therefore the lacto in the vegetarianism). She also loves rice – both white and brown, as well as couscous. Before her decision to not eat meat, her meal choices many times included ground beef or a good old chuck roast. She would also eat chicken thighs or legs, not being a big fan of white meat. So you see, her meat choices weren’t always the most healthy! She would probably kill me if she read this, but she could chow down on a good chuck roast with gravy!!
We discussed the fact that if she was not going to eat meat, we had to make sure that she still got enough protein. I’m not sure if we are doing a perfect job of that yet, but we are still learning. I have successfully made her dishes using Veggie “ground beef” such as LightLife SmartGround®, she even likes their “bacon”, which I do not understand.
I am glad that she chose to include the “ovo” in her vegetarianism as well. Being able to serve her eggs opens up many options. We don’t over do them. Usually two mornings a week she will have a Spinach/Mushroom/Cheese omelet to start her day. She also likes hard boiled eggs, but only eats the whites! Win-Win! The dog enjoys the yolk from time to time!
Shortly after her decision to go vegetarian, we were in South Philly near a great Whole Foods store. They have a huge selection of foods on their salad and hot foods bar. She choose one that included cubed tofu and really liked it. I finally bought some the other day, and have sauteed it with a little soy sauce, and she mixed with rice and a veggie. This morning I sauteed some up with a little olive oil and find myself snacking on it! It actually is pretty good.
Tara’s healthier eating style has helped me get back on track too. If you know me, you know I need to lose some serious weight. I had been on track during the summer, but fell off track when helping my mom with her recovery from surgery. All planning went out the window. My biggest downfall has been not planning my food for the days I work. I would wind up making bad choices in the things I would purchase for breakfast and lunch. Since the beginning of the year I have packed all my food every day. I cut out the very bad (320 cal per bottle) Lipton Brisk Ice tea (it was only 84 cents and last all day!) and now bring a bottle of water or may splurge on a 0 calorie bottle of Vitamin Water.
We both found that we LOVE LOVE LOVE Chobani Greek yogurt. Whether for breakfast, with my lunch, or as a night time snack, it is very satisfying! Now my quest each week will be to find the store that has the best price on Chobani! My Walgreens is supposed to have to varieties in the cooler, but I have not seen them there yet!
This is getting very long! I hope to prepare some new vegetarian dishes for which I found recipes yesterday. I made a pot of soup last night that my mom and I enjoyed. I found the recipe Savvy Vegetarian. I’m now following her on Twitter and Facebook! I think I will be visiting this site often!
CANNELLINI BEAN AND CAULIFLOWER SOUP
I enjoyed the soup. I loved using cauliflower. You don’t often think of it as a soup ingredient unless it is in a fat laden cream of cauliflower and cheese!
As I prepared, it could have used a bit more seasoning. My dried herbs should probably be replaced, and I did not have fresh parsley or basil. I also do not salt much when I cook, as Tara likes things very salty (she is working on that) and Mom likes things lightly salted! The recipe includes directions for stovetop, pressure cooker or crockpot. I did mine on the stove.
Total Prep & Cook Time: 25 min
Nutrition Data, 177g Serving: 144 cal, 4 g fat, 1g saturated fat, 34 cal from fat, 22g carb, 195mg sodium, 7g fiber, 4g sugars, 7g protein, low Cholesterol, high in Vit A, C, K, Copper, Manganese. Estimated glycemic load 8
1 1/2 cups cooked cannellini or Navy beans (1 can)
4 c water or bean cooking liquid
1 bay leaf
1 unsalted vegetable bouillon cube
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves fresh garlic, peeled, stemmed and minced
2 cups chopped cauliflower (1 small head)
2 stalks celery, trimmed and sliced thin
2 small carrots, peeled and sliced thin
1 tsp dried basil leaf
1/2 tsp dried thyme leaf
1/2 cup unsalted crushed tomatoes OR 2 Tbsp tomato paste
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
2 Tbsp minced fresh parsley or basil leaves
If using canned beans, drain and rinse
Heat the beans with water or bean broth, veggie bouillon cube, and bay leaf
Heat the oil on low in a heavy bottomed soup pan or pressure cooker
Prep the veggies
Stir fry the garlic in oil for 2 minutes
Add the veggies, and stir fry 2 minutes on med/high heat
Stir in the basil and thyme
Pressure Cooker: Add 1 cup hot water, lock cover, bring up to high pressure, reduce heat, set timer for 3 minutes
Use quick pressure release, add soup stock and beans to the pot, along with tomato sauce or tomato paste
Add 1/4 tsp salt or to taste & fresh ground black pepper to taste, heat for 5 minutes, add minced parsley and serve
Stove Top: Add soup stock and beans to the vegetables, bring to a boil, cover and simmer 15 – 20 minutes until the veggies are tender
Add the tomato sauce or tomato paste, salt and pepper to taste and continue cooking another 5 minutes
Add the minced parsley and serve
Crockpot: After stir-frying the veggies, add all ingredients to crockpot, cover, set heat to low, cook for 4 hours
Add salt & pepper to taste and minced parsley or basil
Stay tuned for more recipes as I adventure into vegetarianism!!! If any of you have any vegetarian recipes that have worked for your family, I would love to see them!
Thanks A-Latte for stopping by!