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Archive for October, 2006

It’s International Vegetarian Day! Hard to believe that I became a vegetarian only a few short months ago. It seems like something I’ve been doing all my life. It is no more difficult to make myself a meal than it was before. I don’t miss meat, hardly. (Every now and then, I do drive by a KFC and feel a twang of sadness for the 11 herbs and spices.) I don’t miss it, because I have found great alternatives. TVP – textured vegetable protein, made from soy, is a great example. I’ve also found a host of vegetarian soy and wheat-based products that mimic the texture and consistency of meat almost perfectly – and without the nasty animal fat!

It’s not hard at all to make sure I’m getting enough protein. I am not much of a breakfast person, so I usually have a smoothie in the morning. Here’s my usual:

Breakfast Smoothie

  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 cup of soy milk
  • 1/3 pkg of silken tofu
  • 1 tbsp of flax seed oil
  • 2 tbsp fibre
  • 1 cup or so of fruit – I usually buy frozen berries or a fruit salad mix

Blend in a blender until very smooth and enjoy!

So as you can see, I’m getting protein right off the bat in the mornings. Good, right?

Then, for lunch of supper, I have more protein, in the form of legumes, or tofu, or sometimes seafood. (Yep, I’m still eating seafood, occasionally. Maybe one day I’ll give that up too. Baby steps.)  So it’s good. I feel great, I don’t get bored, and it’s not any harder than cooking with anything else – in fact, it’s a bit faster to prepare meals, because meat takes so long to cook.

So, here’s another recipe, I made this one last night. Delicious! I love Mexican food, love it love it. Mind you, this one, I made up.

Mexican-ish Stuffed Peppers

  • 4 large bell peppers (green or red, whatever you want)
  • 1 jalapeno pepper
  • 2 medium onions
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tomatos
  • 2 cups of beans (I used black beans, but feel free to experiment)
  • 1 pkg of ground meat alternative (I suppose if you are a carnivore, you could substitute real ground meat here, but I’m not advocating that, especially not on International Vegetarian Day!)
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • chili powder
  • cumin
  • cilantro
  • black pepper – use the stuff you have to grind yourself
  • 1 cup of shredded cheese – use a mix, like cheddar and monteray jack and mozzarella

Directions:

  1. Clean all your veggies. No brainer, I know.
  2. Chop up the onion and fry it up a bit in a large skillet with some olive oil at medium heat. Don’t sautee the onion until it’s totally clear before you add other ingredients – they will be overdone if you do.
  3. Chop up the jalapeno pepper into tiny little itty bitty pieces, and add it to the onion. Please handle jalapenos carefully – they can burn your hands, like happened to me last night. Wear gloves if you can, it really makes a difference. Wash your hands thoroughly – as well as the cutting board – before moving on.
  4. Chop up tomatos and press garlic. Add to the onion-jalapeno mix.
  5. Add beans and meat alternative. You will probably need to add a bit more olive oil at this point.
  6. Add chili powder and cumin and salt, to taste.
  7. Add cilantro, however much you want, but a fair amount or you won’t be able to taste it through the other spices.
  8. Add about a 1/2 cup of water and reduce heat. Simmer until the spices and water have formed something of a sauce.
  9. While everything else is simmering, cut the tops off your bell peppers – make them into lids, not just straight across. Use a small paring knife to cut downward into the top of the pepper as it stands upright – not a large knife cutting into the pepper on its side on the cutting board. Pull on the stem, and the core with all the seeds will come out. Cut off the core and clean out any remaining seeds. Clean out any remaining bits of the core form the inside, you know how it grows down the sides.
  10. Preheat your oven to 400 F.
  11. Once the stuffing mixture is ready,take a spoon and stuff your peppers. Leave about 1/2 an inch at the top for the cheese! Replace the cute little bell pepper lids, place the peppers on a cookie sheet, and bake for about 25-30 minutes. They should be softened but still sturdy.
  12. Once they are finished, they will be juicy inside. Poke the bottom with a fork to drain the fluid out so it’s not messy on the plate.
  13. Serve (a side dish of rice would be nice, or maybe a salad) and enjoy!

I hope you like ’em! If you try them out, let me know what you think!

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