8.08.2010

a few answers & dinner*





I hope this post will help answer some of the questions you all had regarding becoming a vegan.  I will first say that the way you do it doesn't matter as much as just doing it.  I usually jump into something new feet first and I realize that everyone is not like me.  So as Steve pointed out, it might be best if I gave suggestions on how to make small changes to your diets.  Since I don't seem to know how to make small changes,  I looked around on the Internet and found lots of people who do know how.  Go here to Veg Cooking and click on Vegetarian Starter Kit.  They will send you or you can download a booklet on how to get started becoming a vegetarian/vegan for free.  That website has thousands of recipes and even a 2 week sample menu and  tons of other information.

I think that the hardest part is making up your mind to do it.  After that, it is easy.  The food is so simple,  good and inexpensive.  We spend about $50 a week on food, excluding all the beer and wine my husband needs to be able to live with me.   I will admit that it takes more time to eat this way.  And by that I mean eating fresh.  Fresh foods have to be chopped and beans need to be slow simmered.  You can buy pre-chopped and canned beans and I do occasionally, but for the most part I try to eat foods that are as minimally processed as possible.  The way I look at is for every minute I spend prepping my food I'm adding a minute to my health.

Your taste buds will begin to change and dislike heavily salted/processed foods.  Speaking of taste buds, my husband pointed out to me that when switching from steak to tofu our taste buds have to adjust.  If you take a steak or piece of chicken and cook it without any seasoning whatsoever, it really does not taste that good.   But yet, as awful as it tastes, our taste buds still recognize the flavor of meat.  When you switch to tofu our taste buds go on a search mission looking for familiarity and they don't find it.  So we assume we hate it.  Give your taste buds a chance.  Remind yourself that you are comparing a piece of dead flesh to a piece of organically grown soybeans.  Which would you rather have in your mouth?  And by the way, when shopping for soy products always choose organic.  You do not want to eat GMO soybeans or other soybeans that have been sprayed with pesticides.  Keep thinking fresh, clean food while shopping.

While you are on this new adventure, don't be discouraged.  Instead of worrying so much about doing it right or whether or not you will be getting the proper nutrients, take a moment and examine the diet you consume right now.  How healthy is it?  How healthy are you?  These are questions only you can answer.    I'd really like to hear from you if you are going to try to become vegan or vegetarian.  I will answer any questions you have as honestly as possible.

Last night my good friend Sarah and I got together for dinner, she made the dessert, and it was delicious but I forgot to take a picture of it.  This menu is a good example of how you can serve vegan food and not have guests missing meat.  I do not eat like this everyday.  My everyday food is much simpler to prepare.  I just thought I'd show you that you can entertain and be vegan and eat well.

Grapes with Green Olive Tapenade and Crackers
White Gazpacho in Shot Glasses
Mushroom Risotto Cakes with Sun dried Tomato Vinaigrette on Baby Lettuces
Peach-Blueberry Pie
Prosecco

We had our appetizer in the rose garden and then went inside for our dinner.  We ate pie on the porch with the mosquito's.  The tapenade was purchased from Trader Joes.  All the recipes follow.


Once you've made the Risotto, then chill it and then form it into patties, dredge each patty in flour then a little water and then bread crumbs.  Transfer to a hot skillet and fry until golden brown in about 2 T of canola oil.  Place on top of bed of lettuce and drizzle with your favorite vinaigrette.







 




 





 


*no animals were harmed in the making of this food

23 comments:

  1. All this I could ,would and wish I had eaten.

    Yum.

    Nice evening.

    xo Jane

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  2. Janet -

    Yum! So many flavors!
    Meatless Mondays reinstated in our home starting tomorrow. It may lead to Meatless Wednesdays, Fridays and so on!
    Thank you for all the tips, menu ideas and information.

    Adrienne

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  3. I have been reeling from the former post... the terribly cruel things that happen in our world send me into shock...I cannot watch those videos...I know they exist. I am a coward, I would lay awake for hours at night if I did.
    I applaud your vegan ways...I am not a vegan...maybe someday.
    I eat lots of fresh veggies and fruit and nuts too...but have farm raised organic local chicken and beef and sometimes lamb....

    Please do not judge me harshly Janet.

    I am working on smaller portions of meats and poultry and adding more and more veggies...

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  4. Applause! Wonderful post. Maybe if every reader would come up with and post one vegan or vegetarian recipe, we'll all some some new favorite meatless meals.

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  5. steve - excellent idea. everyone post one of your favorite vegetarian/vegan recipes!

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  6. I don´t remember having any difficulties leaving the meat away from my diet. We switched rapidly to salads, ate large portions in the beginning and everything is fine.

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  7. It seems that every where I turn I am hit with the realization that I need to change. Another fav blog: http://fabulousfluffstuff.blogspot.com/
    just posted about eating raw.

    I followed a vegetarian lifestyle for a month earlier this year and I felt great.

    Here is a vegetarian recipe I have been making for a couple years, Cooking Light Black Bean Quesadilla :
    http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/recipefinder.dyn?action=displayRecipe&recipe_id=592357

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  8. Great post. Beautiful photos, and the menu sounds fantastic. Can't wait to try those cakes!

    Julie

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  9. I've read that many vegetables are more nutritious when cooked rather than eaten raw. I've heard that this is especially true for carrots and tomatoes. Your thoughts?

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  10. That dinner looks delicious.

    Kepp going J- loving the blog these days more than ever.

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  11. I bought the Clean Food cookbook last year but have only made a few things so far. I remember you liked the sweet potato and black bean burritos. Any other favorites? Thanks! :)

    Linda S.

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  12. Great post Janet! I also hope that everyone JUST STOPS immediately eating meat. Once you discover the wonderful and endless choices of meatless meals...you'll wonder why you didn't stop sooner. Besides animal cruelty, I was/am extremely concerned with all the artificial filth that is injected into meat products. I, for one, love it that you are posting about this, explaining it in an honest and open way and providing great resources ~
    I think it's a fabulous idea to swap recipes!

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  13. thanks cricket - i'll def check it out. i know you have good taste!

    anon - i've heard that cooking tomatoes releases the lycopene but i'm not sure about carrots.

    ff - thanks

    linda - we've been eating the heirloom tomato salad like mad. pg 106

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  14. sarah - yes, that is my wish too. once you do stop eating meat you wonder what all the fuss was about. thanks for the support.

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  15. I will be trying a couple days meatless. I really need to clean up my diet. My little one doesn't like meat anyway. The part I struggle with for her is protein intake, I don't think she gets enough being a very picky 4 year old. I do think I would miss eating meat if I didn't have it at all.

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  16. Yes I am inspired to change Janet and am adapting receipes ... slowly.
    I wish I could 'just stop' immediently. I do envy those who can. So my comment is a cautionary one for those with digestive problems who must exercise care when changing diet.
    Food has dominated my life for 25yrs,I live with IBS. After years of fine tuning my food intake and lifestyle it is under control but there are MANY foods I cannot eat and meat happens to be tolerable and easily digestable for my system. Without this form of protein I loose weight rapidly and can't absorb nutrients.
    So any massive change like adopting a vegetarian lifestyle must be carefully researched for some people with health issues.
    Even after several weeks of consuming less meat I have warning bells ringing so I am treading carefully. Cold turkey is not an option for me.
    I love animals with all my heart. Once upon a time we ran some free range chickens who were fed the best organic grain money could buy. When the girls ceased laying (all had names) we could not bring ourselves to ring their necks as other folk did so they lived out their lives in the lap of luxury till they keeled over from old age.
    I am bereft when a family pet dies and donate yearly to animal welfare.
    I guess my point is a person can adore and respect animals but circumstances beyond their control derail their best intentions to be a total vegan/vegetarian.
    Now on a lighter note, Janet I'd love you to see the mess I create in the kitchen with my attempts at vege dishes!
    A great tip given me to make easy scumptious pumpkin soup is to oven bake/roast
    pumpkin, onion and sweet potato with a little oil. (instead of boiling in water).
    When well cooked puree with stock, S&P to taste. Delicious.
    xx

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  17. This is great, dear Janet, you have found so many inspiration to share in your own lifestyle... I knew there were so much you could stil share with us.
    I have to confess that I was a veg during 9 years but then I was needing something more, craving for fish... and then craving for meat. I started just because meat was getting kind of discusting to me...
    Well, this is what happened to me.
    cariños,
    maria cecilia

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  18. Anne-Marie - I simply cut a pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds, put half a cup of water in each half and microwave it approx 15 mins. Then just scoop the flesh out. Easy.

    Janet - we could send our recipes to you and you could maybe post the ones you think are good. Do they have to be vegan or is vegetarian ok too?

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  19. Mentioned you on my blog and actioned a meatless dinner in your Honour xxxx

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  20. Ditching Carnism is as hard as you make it. I didn't think of what I would be losing, but rather what good I was doing.
    What needs to be grasped is that it is NOT just about not eating meat, but rather having a different outlook on the big picture. The life and diet of the animal killed for it's flesh, the abuse it encounters while being transported to be killed and the sadistic abuse of humans once it is there.
    I cannot be a part of something so awful. I grew up eating animal flesh (that's what it really is) and I think if I were to have it in my stomach today I would physically get ill. Watch the trailer Janet referenced and check out the Vegetarian Times website, loads of great info.

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  21. Oh my, that sounds delicious! As I said in the comments below, I am a vegetarian, but would love to become a vegan. I'm always so interested to hear what vegans eat, because I want to start collecting recipes!

    xoxo

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  22. amy - i love the way you tell it like it is!

    marygrace - you are at the right place. i'm going to be posting exactly what i eat on an everyday basis. and other bloggers are going to share their favorite recipes too.

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kindness is never out of style.