When I tell people I've become a vegetarian, I usually get one of three responses:
1) "Oh, I could never do that. I love meat. Love it. I wish I could be eating a steak right now. Mmm..." (Okay...What exactly is your point? Are you trying to be offensive, funny, or what?)
2) "You'd better make sure you get enough protein!" (I mentioned this comment in my previous post; I think this obsession with protein, and the belief that vegetarians will have a hard time getting enough of it, is basically a myth.)
3) "What do you eat?!"
Well, here are some answers to that third question.
Last week I made banana cranberry muffins. I sort of made up my own recipe, because I had two bananas that were going a bit brownish, but two didn't seem like enough for a muffin recipe, so I also defrosted and added some pumpkin puree I had frozen back in the fall. I used whole wheat flour and lots of oats (I love oats!), and ground flaxseed blended with water and a little oil where usual muffin recipes would use eggs and melted butter. Then some of the usual: sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, etc. I threw in some cranberries from my freezer and baked them in the new muffin pan I got for $1.00 from Burnless Bakeware. (Find out how you can get your bakeware here!) They turned out beautifully and tasted delicious.
I love making cold bean salad. In this picture I tossed kidney beans with garbanzo beans and added chopped green peppers and onions, but this salad is also amazing with celery and any other vegetables you might want to add. For a dressing I use a mix of balsamic vinaigrette, red wine vinegar, and olive oil with sugar, salt, pepper, crushed rosemary, and dried parsley. You can mix it up a little by using apple cider vinegar instead of red wine, or by adding cumin for a slightly spicy dressing.
For a warm bean dish, try adding corn and sliced veggies and simmering with some water and spices (I like cumin, ground chipotle, chili powder, etc.) and serving over brown rice or quinoa. This is great with diced tomatoes, too, and broccoli or spinach on the side.
I've also eaten these Gardenburgers several times in recent weeks, while Nathan eats a beef hamburger from the freezer. We both enjoy our burgers on toasted whole wheat buns, while he has his with cheese and BBQ sauce and I like mine with sliced tomato, cucumber, and onion, lots of fresh spinach leaves, and ketchup.
Last night I made Red Kidney Bean Curry from Smitten Kitchen, and served it over Trader Joe's whole wheat couscous. I altered the recipe a bit because I didn't have any fresh ginger or cilantro on hand (sad!), and I used way less olive oil than called for, but mmm, this recipe is good. Nathan even ate four whole bites (okay, under wifely duress), which is a lot for a guy who tends to gag on all things that grow in or above the ground.
And finally, here's my latest creation: this morning I made pumpkin muffins with carob chips. I used this wonderful recipe (with my own thawed pumpkin puree from the freezer instead of canned, and less 1/3 cup of the sugar called for and 1/6 cup of the oil called for) and thought the muffins turned out delicious. The recipe explains how to blend flaxseed with your wet ingredients, so if you're interested in baking with flaxseed as an alternative to eggs, go check out the link. It's a great way to get your omega-3's! These muffins are really moist. My only complaint is that the wheat flavor is stronger than the pumpkin; I'll make these again sometime with more pumpkin puree.
Well, there you have it - a few of the foods that have been on my table lately.