Friday, January 21, 2011

Oh no, my husband needs an intervention!

My husband has had a meat relapse!  I'm not sure exactly when it began, but slowly he has been adding meat back into his diet.  When I first told him that I had made the choice to give up meat (never expecting him to do the same) he said he wanted to give it up with me. As happy as I was to hear that,  I honestly thought it would last about one day and I would hear the sound of bacon cooking for breakfast the next morning; but no, he actually stuck with it and I was indeed impressed! For many months now he as been eating all my veggie meals and complying with the vegetarian lifestyle. He was even bringing tomato and lettuce sandwiches to work as to not be tempted by the endless supply of meat options in the cafeteria in his office building.  I knew that this transition would not be an easy one for him but he seemed to be adapting quite well.

Well, it seems now that my husband needs an intervention! I think I realized this the other night when we order Mexican take out and I got the veggie quesadillas and he came back with steak quesadillas and beef tacos.  I have noticed him slowly eating some meat here and there, usually when we go out to eat because I don't bring any home. Now that I think about it, the last three times we went out to eat, he ordered something with meat. There was the Chinese buffet where I noticed some meat there placed oh so causally next to the noodles and spring roll, the Colombian breakfast that came with ham and sausage anyway so he would have to eat it, and then...the steak quesadillas and beef tacos at Pancheros, where they have a veggie option which is why I ordered from there in the first place.  It seems the meat addict has relapsed and needs an intervention before it's too late! How did I not see this coming? I guess it was going to happen at some point. I must give him credit though; he has lasted so much longer than I thought he would.  He did used to eat meat like a caveman!  Well, hopefully he has satisfied his meat cravings and I can get him back on track.  Maybe he just needs some delicious new vegetarian meals to help him forget all about meat. Maybe we need to stay away from restaurants. Off I go then to find some new veggie recipes to help keep my husband's cravings in check. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Our New Favorite Veggie Meal-Stuffed Green Peppers

One of my favorite veggie meals to make is stuffed green peppers.  This has also become one of my husband's favorite as well.  I came up with this recipe while trying to come up with a substitute for his all time favorite meal, ox tails.  After we were married, I noticed that my husband loved to order ox tails everywhere we went to eat. If they had it, he would order it. But for some reason, he always found something wrong with them. They were never good enough.  So I decided to learn how to make them just the way he like them (the Cuban way with tomato sauce).  Well, after searching many recipes and after many trials, I nailed it! He loved them, and so did I.  This became my signature dish. The process of making this meal is a long one. It takes about 6-8 hours to cook them in the slow cooker to get them just right.  I would make them for him for just about every special occasion, birthday, anniversary, or just because it was date night. Well, I knew that when I decided to give up eating (and cooking) meat, that my husband was going to suffer a great loss for his ox tails.  So I thought about what can I make that can give him the same (well, as close as possible) feeling he gets from his favorite meal. 

I came up with Stuffed Green Peppers.  I know that your probably thinking how can a green pepper substitute a piece of meat.  Well, it's what's in the pepper that tastes so good.  I use the soy veggie crumbles (which is a good substitute for ground beef), brown rice, tomato sauce, onions, garlic, mushrooms, diced green peppers and corn.  Just about all of these ingredients, except for the corn, are used in the ox tail recipe so I figured I could make the flavor similar.  I used the same spices: cumin, oregano, salt, pepper and a little fresh lime juice.  And then there is the best ingredient, red wine.  I slowly cook all these ingredients together and stuffed the peppers, after boiling them for about 5 minutes.  Then put them in a casserole dish and topped with remaining tomato sauce and cover and cook for one hour.  Then I serve them with fried plantains, only because that is what I would serve with the ox tails because my husband loves them. 

The first time I served this to him, I was not sure what to expect.  I noticed he looked unsure about this new meal.  I could tell he wasn't sure he was going to like it. Well, he loved it!! I was so happy. I was surprised when my husband told me that he never thought that he would ever eat a whole green pepper, well he ate two. Success! This just insured me that I can take any meal that we used to love to eat and find a great substitute that we can enjoy just as much.  I am looking forward to creating and discovering more veggie meals for us to enjoy!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Where does a vegetarain go to get fast food?

Over the last few months, I have been extremely busy (surprisingly since I have been unemployed for the last ten months).  With my daughter having a busy high school schedule and my aunt ill in the hospital, I was spending a great amount of time in the car traveling back and forth. This did not leave me with much time to prepare for meals in the day.  I was never at home to eat, always out and about and I found myself eating on the go.  This of course lead to another problem...where does a vegetarian go to get fast food?  I asked myself this question many times while driving around with nowhere in mind to go. I was lost!  I quickly found myself creating meals out of the "sides" menu at each location. This did not exactly make a great meal! An order of fries with a parfait and an iced coffee became my McDonald's meal.  A side of rice and beans with balsamic tomatoes and a side of corn became my Pollo Tropical meal. And for Burger King, well I just went for the fish value meal (since I am still eating fish).  Needless to say, not only are these meals not the best food choices, but not exactly good for my figure! 

As I left each place I would always ask myself  "Why is it so hard to find healthy vegetarian fast food"?  Yes I know that the burger places have a veggie burger option, well just try to order one and see if they have it...they never do.  Then the cashier looks at you as if you are crazy to want to eat a veggie burger! There has to be a better solution.  I can't even order a salad because they are all covered with chicken .  Yes I can remove the chicken, but then they will just have to kill another to replace it...and then I wouldn't be a very good vegetarian.  I would like a meatless salad topped with wonderful veggies and croutons and maybe some nuts.  And not a "side" salad so I have to order three just to make a meal.  I would also love to have a meatless sandwich option, something other than fish and the nonexistent veggie burger. And maybe some sweet potato fries in stead of the usual fries.  Is all this really too much to ask? Maybe the vegetarian community needs to come together and demands that these places offer us something good and healthy to eat! It's not like you must be a vegetarian to eat a meatless meal. Maybe the non-vegetarians will also enjoy other choices on the menu.  Oh, how I long for the day when someone opens a meatless drive through!! Wouldn't that be wonderful?

Monday, January 17, 2011

I'm Back!!

It has been nine months since I last posted a blog (sounds like I'm in confession).  Life has been very busy and I needed to take some time off from many things, including blogging.  I started this blog after being laid off from my job of ten years.  I thought I would have nuch more available time on my hands to start new things, but life seemed to be twice as busy with no job than when I was working.  My daughter started highschool and even before school started, I became her taxi driver and personal assistant.  I found out quickly that highshool students have busy schedules and that means that parents have to make themselves available at a moments notice!

Then in October, my aunt became ill and was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer.  My life suddenly became dedicated to taking care of her.  Between being with my aunt and taking my daughter back and forth bewteen school and where she needed to be, there was no time for any of my activites.  Sadley, my aunt passed away six weeks after she was diagnosed.  It was sad to lose her but it was good knowing she was no longer suffering.  After she passed, life was dedicated to taking care of all her matters.  I never knew just how much is involved with the loss of a family member. It is a very stressful situation!

After all that had been taken care of, I focused on my new career. I had deciced to become a substitute teacher and after many months of waiting for my school district to open the position, I finally got hired! Now I am still waiting for my first call from a school to work.  It has been two weeks, but I have been told that this is a slow time for subs to work.  Well, that at least gives me some time to start blogging again!! The good news is, through out all that I have been through in the last nine months I have still managed to stay away from meat!!!  I wish I could say the same for my husband...