Monday, January 25, 2010

Still Veggin'

It has been since August 24th that I decided that I need to eat meat sparingly. I haven't changed my mind. I am not much of a fad person. In the first three months, I ate meat maybe twice. My children hardly noticed the fact that our dishes were meatless only commenting after 4 weeks of eating vegetarian, "when we were going to start eating vegetarian?". They really didn't miss it that much, well, except the teenage boy. If you missed the post about why I chose this new way of eating, go back to this post here to read a little more.

The first month was a little challenging only for the recipe creation issue. I didn't at all miss the meat, I just needed to adjust how I cooked. After all, meat seems to be a meals focal point. I mean, read a recipe and it will usually have a meat listed in the recipe title itself. I needed to find a way to make the entrees I liked and remove the meat part of the recipe. I found that because I had to think outside the box, options expanded. I was thinking of new combinations, more flavor, more spice. I found out that I really liked this new way of eating. If you think about it, meat doesn't have that much flavor. It is really how we flavor it that creates the dish. So, you just substitute it with something else and add in the same flavor. It works, mostly. I fell in love with this new way of life and won't go back. We decided after a few months that we would have meat dishes once a week. I don't care if we eat meat at a party once in a while or my kids eat it when they are away from home, but in my home, meat dishes are usually once a week at most. I feel good about this and more importantly, my body feels good about this. I still have muscles, I still get plenty of protein. It just feels right to me.

We eat lots of beans, lots of grains, probably a little too much cheese but so far, no gained weight so I think we are OK. Here is a yummy little dish I cooked up a few weeks ago that just hit that Asian spot. It is a Thai Peanut Pasta with fresh julienned veggies. I have found that the smaller you cut up the veggies, the better they are received. (or better they are to hide) . Keeping your veggies fresh is key. So many people over cook the veggies until they are void of any flavor, texture or nutrients. Keep them as natural to the original state as possible. I love to lightly saute or roast if I must cook them. In this recipe, they are mostly just straight from the fridge. Crisp and flavorful.

Thai Peanut Pasta

Cook package of linguine noodles according to "al dente" directions.

Saute in some olive oil:

1/2 julienned red bell pepper
1/2 julienned yellow or orange pepper
1/2 red onion, julienned

Create the Sauce:

1/2 C. brown sugar
1/2 C. soy sauce
1/2 C. hoison sauce
4 T. white wine vinegar
2 tsp. sesame oil
4 cloves minced garlic
2 T. natural smooth peanut butter
Dash of cayenne pepper or Thai Chili paste.

Heat all in sauce pan and whisk until smooth and heated.

Julienne in very fine strips about 1 1/2 inches in length:

fresh cucumber
fresh carrots

chop fresh cilantro and peanuts as desired.

To assemble, toss pasta in pan with peppers and onions and pour on sauce as desired. Heat and toss to coat. Add noodles to plate and top with fresh veggies, cilantro and peanuts. Eat immediately.


The Laytons said...

Yum! Can't wait to try it! So happy to have a "veggie" dish! By the way, there is a block for the 5k in the gila valley - it's

Keep it coming!

Cassie said...

I have really been enjoying reading your blog! I share the same views on food and I also insist on feeding my family very healthfully. We have also cut way down our our meat consumption, but I still find myself cooking chicken at least twice a week. Can you break down your weekly meals for me? How many days of chicken, fish, and vegetarian? I know you already said only 1 day of meat, but are you including chicken with that? Thanks so much! Please continue sharing all of your wonderful info!

Shari Goodman said...

I count any beef or chicken as a meat day and fish can be whenever. I don't eat much fish but need to eat more. I usually cook chicken or beef on Sunday but even so, it isn't a huge part of the meal. The other days are vegetarian with lots of beans for protein.
This week we had things like Greek Orzo pasta, Lentil Soup, Green Corn Enchiladas, Brocolli Salad and Paninnis and for the meat we had chicken mango tacos. All of those recipes are on this blog.