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On Sunday I wrapped up my 40+ days of vegetarianism with some french toast and bacon, but I thought I ought to do a wrap up of sorts.

Over the course of this year’s experiment I got a lot of questions about it from people, mostly the real vegetarians in my life, so while I don’t really have any new photos for this post, I do have a Vegetarian Q&A.

Q: Did you miss meat?

A: Yes and no. No, in that I never at any point was craving meat, as in “man, I need a burger,” but I did miss it when substitutions were less tasty to me. Like my attempt at making falafel was less successful than my ability to make chicken gyros, or when my substitution of veggie stock in risotto made for a very odd tasting meal. But in other cases, the vegetarian option was just as good or better (like restaurant-made falafel). I also missed meat when some restaurants had a limited/poor selection of vegetarian options (Ri-Ras, I’m looking at you!)

Q: Did you feel better/healthier?

A: I didn’t feel better, or less sluggish or anything physically, but mentally I did feel that I was introducing better food choices into my world.

Q: What was the hardest part?

A: Cooking without a doubt. I’m not a great and/or particularly enthusiastic cook to begin with, so there’s that. But mostly when I started this whole thing I didn’t have a much of a vegetarian cooking repertoire. So there was a big shift in having to change the way I grocery shop, and find recipes, and trying out 2-3 new recipes a week, with mixed results.  Though I wouldn’t say my repertoire is huge now (I had more failures than successes methinks), but I do have more options, as well as an ever expanding Pinterest board of recipes to try and an expanding feed-reader full of vegetarian cooking blogs, so I expect that to continue to grow. I did find that when all else fails, make a pizza.

Q: What was the best part?

A: Discovering new foods. I’m particularly a fan of quinoa now, which I’d never had before, and I forgot how much I like spinach. I like veggie-burgers. And I’m surprised at the number of recipes that called for parsley, which I had always thought of more as a garnish, but no more!  It also made me look beyond the same old some old at the grocery store and on menus. I could still expand my range of vegetables though.

Q: Would you consider staying a vegetarian/doing it again?

A: I don’t think that I will permanently be a vegetarian, I like keeping my options open, and for me, it’s about health more than any moral imperative. But I would like to continue to incorporate more vegetarian eating into my diet going forward.

Q: Any favorite recipes?

A: Yep! Here’s a few I’m definitely be making again (or already have):

There’s also a few improvisations, like the aforementioned pizzas and some veggie masala that was quite tasty.

There you have it!

 

 

 

 

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The light in the evening is coming back in spades theses day, for which this California transplant is grateful. It makes me feel so much for active and productive in the evenings, which is great, because it’s been a busy week and it’s going to be a busy spring.

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Because with all the bright happy sunniness of spring comes new responsibility – probably a day a late and a dollar short, but I’ve started thinking about all the stuff I need to do to get  vegetable garden in the ground this year, not to mention spring cleaning, repainting the peeling deck, and all that sewing I want to do as soon as it starts getting warmer.

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But for today, I’m taking it easy (as much as that’s possible on a work day) and not worrying about all the work that’s to come.

Deep breaths, and one day at a time.

All photos of Barley Herb Salad from Martha Stewart Living. Which is totally delicious, especially if you add extra mustard.

Tabouleh

Spinach Basil Pesto

(to borrow from Soulemama)
Right Now I’m…

  • nearly a month into this Lent thing and trying out a new recipe or two a week;
  • two buttons bands away from finishing up a new design sample;
  • into running again, signed up for a 5k and everything;
  • enjoying the increasing hours of daylight;
  • loving the unseasonably warm March weather we’re having; and
  • obsessing over a new music find: darlingside

What are you up to?

Mr. Cleaver and I tried quinoa for the first time this morning, we used the Warm and Nutty Cinnamon Quinoa Recipe from Chef MD’s Big Book of Culinary Medicine via 101 Cookbooks and it was definitely tasty and filling. I’m looking forward to trying quinoa in more savory and salad dishes too.

In other news, it looks like spring is finally making it’s way to Maine!

While I failed at my last cookie baking attempt, I’ve had a bit more luck in the vegetarian cooking department. First off I wanted to thank everyone for their recipe suggestions, I’m still looking through some of the ones posted last week, but there are several I can’t wait to try – keep ’em coming!

Two things I’ve learned quickly, chickpeas (and beans in general) are my veggie-cooking friends and that taking pictures of food in my kitchen lighting at night is less than ideal.

Also, not specifically related to the vegetarian-eating thing, but banana and nutella on toast may be my new favorite breakfast.

Recipes used this week:

  • Chilaquiles vegetarianos! (first photo). I’d definitely make this one again. It was delicious, it reheated well and I’m a sucker for avocados.
  • Baked falafel (second photo). This one I’m a little less enthused by, the falafel seemed  bit too mushy, but it could be because I under baked it or that I’m just more used to the fried version.

Also made (not-photograghed) Chana Masala, which I improvised with a bunch of veggies, chickpeas and a jar of Masala sauce from Trader Joes.

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Another spring and another Lent is upon us already!

In the past I’ve given up jeans, non-cash forms of payment, television,  and pants.

This year I’m doing something a bit more traditional and giving up meat (with the usual fish on Fridays exeception, because Mr. Cleaver really likes seafood).

Yep – I’m going vegetarian!

crocheted dinosaurs

Crocheted Dinosaurs by PlanetJune on Flickr!

It’s a veggiesaurus Lex, veggiesaurus! -Jurassic Park

I tend to pick my Lent challenges months in advance and my decision to go veggie is part of the reason I declared 2012 a Year in Food/conscious eating.(The other is that I have high hopes for an edible garden this year).

One of my greatest conscious eating successes so far this year has been the daily addition of fruit, but veggies, particularly those outside the “intro veggie” range (peas, broccoli, lettuce, etc.), are harder for me, so what better way to to expand and explore than to go vegetarian.

All-in I’m pretty excited about the whole thing. (In any case, it’ll be warmer than giving up pants).

I’ve started a folder (and a Pinterest Board) of some recipes I’m going to try, but if you have some favorite recipe links or  vegetarian cooking blogs to share, I’d love to check them out. So fill up the comments with suggestions!