Tuesday, January 8, 2013

New Year; New Habits

     First thing I knew I had to do for myself was set some ground rules. Eating vegetarian twice a week sounds great, but it's wishy-washy and I knew I'd find myself wiggling out of it as time went on. So instead I promised myself that Mondays and Wednesdays would be my two days a week. It's harder to say "I'll do that tomorrow" when you've stated "I'll do that today". Mondays and Wednesdays are also my days off work, so I can more easily control the temptations around me. Bacon is just everywhere at work! I also promised I'd avoid dinners that were simple heat and eats. I'll save those for nights I'm in a true hurry or feeling sick. It just feels like cheating to grab a meal off the shelf now when I'd previously been making meals from scratch.

     Admittedly, I am a bit intimidated by vegetarian cooking. It seems so foreign for some reason. Maybe it's all the training that dinner is a protein, vegetable, and starch. Take away the proteins I'm familiar with and the only dinners I can immediately think of are mac&cheese and spaghetti. Those two for a year may be a dream come true for my daughter, but they aren't what I have in mind and are more of a treat food than health food. Never-the-less I am determined to make it work. Somehow.

     Breakfast and lunch on that first Wednesday of the new year were easy; dinner was another story completely. I work out with my trainer on Wednesdays and after the gym I went to the mall to do some last minute birthday shopping. After doing more shopping for myself than for the person I was supposed to be shopping for, I check my phone and realize that time is running out! The school bus was coming in two hours, I'm across town from my grocery store, I have nothing in the fridge except tuna casserole, and I have yet to figure out what to make! On the drive to the store I wracked my brain for a single healthy idea. All I could think of was veggie burgers. But that goes against my second rule and I couldn't just give up on the first day! I needed help fast.

     After parking the car I pull out my phone and do a search for vegetarian dinner ideas. After ten minutes of searching I had come across lots of dishes that would never make it past my daughter's lips. Portabella burgers? Brussels sprouts? Grilled eggplant? I don't think either of us were ready for that sort of meal. After more searching I finally, finally, find something easy, vegetarian, appealing, and healthy... veggie risottoI breeze through shopping, alter the recipe to include asparagus and baby bella mushrooms, and head home reasonably sure that I picked a winner. 

     Having never made a risotto before I was pleased with how easy it was. Maybe a bit more attention needy than my standard fare, but only because it needed constant stirring. In my opinion the end result came out perfectly. Good balance of flavors, not over or under cooked, full of vegetables, and even better looking than the online picture:


     Big thumbs up from me. My daughter on the other hand was unimpressed. "Too many green things", she says. So we made a deal, if she finished her one bowl without further complaint she wouldn't have to help me eat the leftovers and she could have a cookie for dessert. Worked like a charm. As she munched away on her cookie I did dare to ask for a rating from her. She gives this dish a thumb half down, so not among the worst dishes I've made her eat, but not something she wants to see again either. Oh well, can't win them all. And maybe this was a bit ambitious for 7 year old. I happily finished this dish off over the following days while she ate away at that tuna casserole I made for New Years Eve.


  1. Hi Tori! I am easing myself into making more vegetarian meals for the same reasons you are. I have found it easier than I thought it would be after some trial and error! Two websites that have been helpful to me are http://budgetbytes.blogspot.com/ and surprisingly Martha Stewart has some veg recipes that are great if you need any ideas. Like this great lentil soup http://www.marthastewart.com/335377/15-minute-lentil-soup?center=0&gallery=275389&slide=285359. Also, Martha Stewart's website has some great freeze ahead meals so you can make it on the weekends freeze it and then thaw it during the day then just bake it in the oven when you want dinner. Very simple and easy. Crockpot recipes are great for busy moms. This blog has fantastic recipes http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/ or this blog http://www.slowcookerfromscratch.com/.

    Do you like tofu or tempeh? Kids actually really like it if it is made well. A blog with recipes for tofu and tempeh (and desserts) is http://www.loveveggiesandyoga.com/recipes/tofu.

    If you need any specific recipes, I am sure I have some. I collect recipes and follow food blogs if you need anything just let me know.

    Cheers to your commitment to your health this new year. Looking forward to reading all your posts!


    1. Wow! Thanks for all the sites to check out! These will certainly help take the scariness out of dinner planning :)