Category Archives: The Vegetarian Adventure

The Vegetarian Adventures, Part 7

It has been much too long since a Vegetarian Adventure post. Almost a month. I haven’t given up on things, but I did get thrown off for a little while.

First, I was planning on making some kind of veggie medley with pasta in an attempt to use up a variety of things. But then most of the veggies went bad, so that didn’t work out. So that pushed things back a bit. At least one time, I didn’t feel up to making a vegetarian meal after work and ate something easier or meatier. (Not to imply that vegetarian meals aren’t easy). The veggie medley got pushed from one week onto the next week, and that’s when the veggies went bad. Oops. So that covers the first two weeks I missed.

Then, last week we cheated a little bit. Whole Foods had a pre-made three-course vegetarian dinner for two as it’s special for the day. The meal was Mediterranean or Greek. It started with a variety of appetizers including hummus and 2 other things. Then it was a mixed salad followed by spanakopita.

I hated this meal. The hummus was good with the naan. The salad was average. And the spanakopita was inedible (to me). It was essential a big mush of spinach in every bite with a little bit of phyllo dough to trick me into eating each bite. I don’t dislike spinach, but I don’t want a huge mouthful of mush in every bite. Greatly disliked. I ate half of it begrudgingly (because it cost almost as much as eating out) and then gave up on it. The only plus side is I didn’t eat anything else the rest of the night. Eating spinach mush–the way to kill my appetite apparently.

This week, I made a very tasty frittata. Whole Foods redeemed itself with the recipe. I didn’t think frittata counted, as it is made with eggs, which I associate with chickens. But, the girlfriend informed me that the egg is considered an animal byproduct and therefore counts for vegetarian but not vegan. (I feel like vegetarians are cheating a little bit here, but I’ll gladly join in).

After checking this out, turns out that eggs are not fertilized and will therefore never be a chicken. Which makes it comparable to milk, according to what I read. Plus it’s also utilizing the eggs instead of having them go to waste.

Ruling…vegetarian!! This is good news for me. Opens up a lot of possibilities I didn’t think were available. Hello cheesy omelette with hash browns! Things just got a lot easier.

Anyways, the frittata was super easy to make. Threw zucchini and red onions in a pan with olive oil, added the eggs after a little bit. Topped it with goat cheese, parsley and some red pepper flakes. Broiled it briefly, and then yum!

I remembered to take a picture halfway through eating it....I was hungry, okay....I'm sorry.

Anyways, delicious and nutritious. Tastes just like chicken! (Sorry, Fern Gully reference. Couldn’t be avoided). Simple, filling. Just the kind of meals I need. Could be a lot more of these in the future.

I will also try to keep the Vegetarian Adventures more frequently updated, more in line with weekly posts. Sorry for the hiatus, should be able to keep up better. Especially with all the egg options now!

 

 

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The Vegetarian Adventure, Part 6

I got a delivery from my grandparents this week. They live on a little 40 acre farm and keep up their own garden. Every now and then, they ‘ll send down a bunch of produce with my parents for me. Not being much of a veggie person, I didn’t always know how to incorporate most of the stuff into my meals. (Except for the homemade maple syrup, which is delicious!) This time around, I got 4 kohlrabi, some squash, zucchini, cucumbers, a lot of small (grape?) tomatoes, and 2 jars of homemade applesauce (yes!).

Seeing as how we had failed to use kohlrabi about 3 weeks ago, I decided to try to incorporate it into this weeks vegetarian adventure. I found a recipe through google for kohlrabi and squash empanadas. Plus, it utilized the rest of my ginger before it went bad–always a plus.

Making it was fairly ¬†easy. Just chopped everything up and cooked it in the pan. I bought filio dough, which I thought would be an equivalent for the pie crust. Not quite what I expected. Less dough-like, so I couldn’t really fold them up and crimp the edges. I ended up just rolling them up, and folding the edges in, essentially making them hot pockets.

Looks good. Tastes kind of bland.

They turned out okay but they didn’t have much flavor. I’ll take the blame for that one, probably could have added more seasoning. Plus I forgot to buy scallions, so that might have helped too. Using pie crust might have helped too, but I don’t really know if it would have made a difference. We had cantaloupe (also from the grandparents) and watermelon on the side as well.

The vegetarian adventure has been surprisingly easy. I haven’t even noticed the lack of meat once a week. Might eventually bump it up to twice a week.

The Vegetarian Adventures, Part 5

This week was a disaster. Ish. I decided to make a butternut squash gnocchi with a creamy cashew/rosemary/garlic sauce off of the blog Hamburger Eats Me. Things started off poorly right away.

What I Expected

I had to work friday night, so I was counting on getting home around my usual 9:30. I had the girlfriend start soaking the cashews and baking the butternut squash in hopes that the more time-consuming steps would be done by the time I got home. Naturally, I got stuck at work longer than I expected, but the squash didn’t sit out for too long.

I chose the recipe, first because it looked tasty, but also because it seemed very doable. Turns out, it was more over my head than I expected. The biggest issue was the lack of concrete measurements. I don’t typically stick right to the measurements anyways, and I have no problem winging it. Not being much of a cooking expert, a definition of soft and smooth versus dry and sticky still seemed pretty obvious. Turns out, it destroyed me. I was reduced to adding the flour a tablespoon at a time. I was terrified of crossing into the dry and sticky realm. After carefully adding numerous spoonfuls of flour and not noticing much difference, I decided to just go for it. It was already pretty late and I was getting impatient.

The next step involves rolling the dough into a tube. So I’m thinking, “Oh, dough. Like cookie dough. Piece of cake to roll.” Not so much. I grabbed a handful to roll it, and it ran through my hands like oatmeal. Awesome. Back to fearfully adding flour. After who knows how many spoonfuls, the dough seemed a little bit stickier (which I was starting to think was more ideal) and was becoming a lighter color. So I tried again. Still pretty oatmeal like. Great.

By now, I’m just hoping to eat by 11. And I am not happy. It was a billion degrees in my closet of a kitchen. I was hungry. And I was sick of being scared of the flour. So I dumped a bunch in, stirred, and still couldn’t determine if it was dry and sticky or smooth and soft. (Clearly, I’m a cooking prodigy). Instead of rolling the dough into a tube, I scooped some up with a spoon, and threw it into the boiling water. Rinse, repeat. And the gnocchi didn’t actually turn out too bad.

The sauce was pretty straight forward. It was pretty dry at the end, so I added a little bit of water. The lack of measurements led to me winging the spices, and I’m pretty sure I woefully underestimated the amount needed. It was pretty bland.

What I Got

The sauce was a little bit paste-like as well, but the gnocchi weren’t terrible. As a meal (in terms of edibility), it wasn’t too bad. But the making of it was a disaster. Also, the lighting in my kitchen sucks for pictures. We’ll see how next week goes.

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The Vegetarian Adventure, Part 4

Week 3 of The Adventures of Shane in Veggie Land. Which is confusing with it being Part 4 up above. Might have to change that up.

This week, went with a bell pepper stir fry from “flavorfull” again. Branching out next week. We decided to go with this recipe because it claimed to be very easy, we like peppers a lot, and we had basil to use up. (We refers to me and the girlfriend, in case you’re new to this. I’m not just crazy like that.) I had to buy a lot of the ingredients like soy sauce, rice vinegar, and coconut oil, but they’re the kind of things that won’t go bad and can be used in a lot of different stuff.

Things didn’t start out well. Every time we’re having a meal involving rice, I forget that it takes about an hour to cook. So we were pretty hungry when I decide to start cooking, aaaaand then remembered the rice. I used the time the rice was cooking to cut everything up and get it ready to cook, however, and it worked out pretty well. Until a burning smell started to fill the apartment.

Turns out, I forgot to turn the heat down on the rice enough. So it wasn’t so much simmering and still full-on boiling. The water ran out and we had a bit of a burned rice issue, but I managed to save most of it. Just threw some more water in and put the heat at the correct temp. I still hate cooking rice.

The rest of the meal was really easy. Just a matter of putting stuff in at the right time and keeping an eye on the temperature (haven’t quite fine tuned my control of the gas stove yet). I’ve cooked quite a bit over the last year, but I’ve found that I’m really enjoying the cooking part of this blog. I’m learning new stuff every week, especially with these vegetarian meals. Useful stuff.

Yummy

Everything turned out great. Very tasty. My only problem with it–not that filling. I had to eat a some walnuts and banana chips before I left for work to try to hold me over. This has been a lot easier than I expected. Might have to get crazy soon and step away from the bell peppers.

UPDATE: Almost forgot! I had never had ginger before this (that I know of). Turns out–I ****ing LOVE ginger.

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The Vegetarian Adventures, Part 3

First of all, pictures! Since I was unable to post it last week, here’s my epic fail of a curry.

The Epic Fail of a Curry. Notice the lack of curry-ness

Moving on then. It’s week 2 of the vegetarian adventures. I actually found a lot of different recipes this week, with a little help from my tweeps (twitter-peeps). I ended up using two recipes off of a great blog at flavorfullblog.blogspot.com. The first was a spicy orzo-stuffed pepper. Pretty easy to make, very tasty, no problems. I did, however, have a hard time shaking the feeling that some italian sausage mixed in there would have made them great. Sorry, it’s in my blood. I’m working on it. This takes time. The breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese helped me survive the lack of meat.

Stuffed Vegetarian Peppers

To go along with the stuffed peppers, I made caprese skewers. We had a bunch of small tomatoes from my grandparent’s garden to use up (I don’t know what kind of tomato. Bigger than grape. Smaller than the ones that go on sandwiches. Sorry for the lack of help. [The girlfriend believes they’re cherry tomatoes. But she doesn’t know tomatoes either. UPDATE: Google image seems to corroborate the cherry tomato claim.])

It was a little more time consuming than I expected. This caused me to let the balsamic vinegar cool too much, and it went kind of molasses on me. Whoops. The mozzarella was good though. Not sure I was a huge fan of the basil/balsamic vinegar combo though. Something just seemed a little too strong.

Oooo pretty!

And for bonus points, I just realized I didn’t eat any meat at all today. This is unprecedented. I feel kind of weird. Then again, I ate a donut and half a cinnamon roll. But I think I deserve credit for that as well. I resisted the urge to eat 1-5 more donuts. No easy feat with my sweet tooth.

Overall, very successful second vegetarian meal. Might go eat a cookie to reward myself. Baby steps.

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The Vegetarian Adventure: Part 2

Or “Where the Fates Force Me to Go Vegetarian”¬† (or “Epic Fail of a Curry”)

If you missed the first part of “The Vegetarian Adventure”, it’s right here.

I’m not going to lie. Wasn’t going to do the vegetarian thing this week. It wasn’t a total cop-out though. (I swear!) I looked up a bunch of vegetarian recipes and even found some potential dishes. Quick shoutout to healthyeatingstartshere.com for some great advice on vegetarian eating. The girlfriend also found a couple recipes for us to try. We decided to put off some of them until after moving day (Sunday). Trying to avoid keeping food around the house.

Anyways, we picked out our meals for the week at Whole Foods based on what was on sale. Initially, we were planning on making an all-veggie curry. Pretty simple; a nice easy start to the weekly veggie meal. But then…we decided we wanted some chicken in the curry. So the vegetarian meal was pushed back to next week.

Fast forward three days. I cut up all the veggies for the curry, get the potatoes cooking, and I’m all set to dice the chicken. About this time, I realize that I forgot to get the rice cooking. Since the rice takes an hour and the girlfriend was leaving before then, I make the executive decision to leave out the rice. Things are already going downhill.

Back to the chicken. We bought thighs this week, because they were on sale. (Usually, we get boneless breasts). So I wasn’t that familiar with the chicken. But something seemed a little off right away. I smelled it, and it was just a little funky–smelling a little bit like eggs. On top of that, the underside of the thighs seemed a little discolored and they were kind of sticky. So (insert favorite curse word, e.g., ****sticks). I tossed the chicken.

Now normally, I’d shrug it off as nothing and eat something else. This week was a perfect storm. No backup food due to moving day. For some reason I cut the veggies first and got the potatoes cooking, the opposite of what I usually do (forcing me to stick with the meal). The chicken goes bad in only THREE days in the fridge. And all of this during the week where I said I’d be starting a weekly vegetarian meal, and then backed out of it. Coincidence? I’m not so sure.

Oh, and then I discovered that I didn’t have any cream for the curry either. Epic fail of a curry.

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The Vegetarian Adventure, Part 1

I am a meat eater. My family, big meat eaters. In fact, my extended family actively avoids any green foods, possibly at a subconscious level. My mom discovered that if she brought a green-colored salad, and this could be a jello salad or pure sugary goodness with green food coloring, to a family gathering–wouldn’t get touched.

Now, I’m not as bad as my extended family. Lettuce on a burger, sure. And I will occasionally eat a salad…or a few chunks of broccoli…or yeah. So, not actually much green food getting eaten here. Seriously thinking it might be a subconscious thing. But I do try to work veggies into my meals. I eat a lot of peppers and onions, and a few other things here and there. (Which I can’t really think of, so that’s a bad sign).

But last week, I’m eating at Panera with the girlfriend and enjoying The Onion and the following exchange occurred:

Girlfriend: “So we should try to work in a vegetarian meal each week.”
Me (with increasing dread): “…Should we?”
Girlfriend: “I think it sounds like a good idea, don’t you?”
Me (suppressing feelings of panic): “Yeah, I suppose so.”

And then I took a large bite of my turkey sandwich (For reals). All kidding aside though, I know I need to increase my vegetable intake and decrease the amount of meat I eat. It’s healthier for me and better for the environment at the same time. Unless I find a vegetable that tastes like a cookie, I’m going to have to face my subconscious fear of green food. And it looks like this is the week. Check back for updates throughout the week.

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