weekdayvegetarians

Love to eat? So do we!

Month: June, 2012

Chili and corn bread.

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First off, let me apologize if you read my Tuesday Treats on my Good to the Last Crumb on Facebook. This recipe is so good I want to share it here too so I am doubling up on my posts.

Every Christmas, my husband buys a litre of eggnog thinking that he is going to like it… he never does. I do the same thing with corn bread. I always think I am going to like it. I ate it in Bobby Flay’s restaurant and it left me unimpressed. I come across recipes for it often and always give it a go, but inevitably, I end up unhappy and, again, unimpressed. I just can’t see the big deal. So, when I decided to make a pot of vegetarian chili, I decided I needed to make something on the side and naturally I thought of corn bread. So I did a search and found tonnes of recipes all slightly similar with a few things different in all of them, some added cheese, some added broccoli and one added green onions. Well, in our house adding onion to anything makes it an instantly better dish, so I decided to, once again, give corn bread a whirl. This recipe is so easy (it only makes 6 muffins) and so quick and so delicious that my mind as been changed about corn bread. We added some extra toppings to our chili too to make it extra delicious (sour cream, cheddar cheese and cilantro) and had a dinner perfect for cool spring nights!

Vegetarian Chili

A bit of olive oil
1 sweet onion, chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic, sliced
3-4 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
1-2 stalks of celery, chopped
1 red pepper, deseeded and chopped
1-1 1/2 large can(s) of diced tomatoes (no salt added)
1 large can red kidney beans, drained and thoroughly rinsed (no salt or organic)
1 large can pinto beans, drained and thoroughly rinsed (no salt or organic)
1 T chili powder
1 t cumin
1 t coriander
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Fry the onion until it is translucent. Add the garlic, carrot and celery and fry until soft, turning down the heat as necessary to avoid burning. Add the red pepper and fry until starting to soften – we like our vegetables a bit crunchy still. Add the tomatoes (juice and all), beans and spices and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat to a simmer, cover and allow to simmer until the chili is coked through and the flavours have melded. If you need to add water or more juice from tomatoes, do so. We like our chili thick and crunchy, but not too thick or too crunchy, so adjust it as you see fit and to your tastes.

Please click here for the recipe for the corn bread courtesy of Martha Stewart.

If you’re also not a corn bread fan, these may be the muffins that change your mind! Enjoy!!!

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Sources.

A lot of the things we eat are the things we have always eaten. And a lot of the things online for vegetarian options are similar to what we have been eating. Mexican food is a very popular vegetarian flavouring as is Middle Eastern flavours. My husband and I sometimes make lists of the food we like to eat (and we know the children will like) because I get into slumps. Well, three weeks of curries, falafels, quesadillas and tacos (our list), and it seemed like I was out of ideas and just tired of eating the same things. I should also mention that I meal plan. I figure out at the beginning of the week what we are going to eat for most of the week. With two children and a pretty busy life, I can’t waste time going to the grocery store every night just for something I forgot so I try to get most of it on my grocery shopping day. I have the luxury of grocery shopping during the week because I am still at home with my son. I actually refuse (unless it’s life or death) to go shopping on the weekends because I fear for my life when I’m out. If I have to go to Costco on a Saturday, it’s common that my husband thinks I have been kidnapped because I’ve been gone so long and I usually only return with the one item we needed because my nerves for dodging carts going this way and that, can only take so much. I’m getting a bit off topic. What I’m trying to say is that I needed to make and eat something different than what we had been eating. So here is our list of what we are eating this week:

  • Monday – Grilled vegetables, Rice, Tzatziki and Tomato, Cucumber and Feta Salad
  • Tuesday – Lasagna (with a pureed vegetable sauce because I’m tired of my things getting picked out)
  • Wednesday – Veggie Burgers with Pan Roasted Mini Potatoes and Spinach Salad
  • Thursday – Soba Noodles with Sugar Snap Peas and a Peanut and Mint Sauce (no. 38 from Republic in NYC).
  • Friday – Vegetarian Chilli
  • Saturday – Chicken Wings (from this organic, local meat farmer), Asian Coleslaw and Naan bread
  • Sunday – Father’s day brunch with Bacon (also from Beretta farms), Banana Waffles, Hashbrowns, Eggs Benedict, Fruit Salad and Virgin Mojitos

But don’t for one second think I just sat down and said I would make this without putting a lot of thought into it. I want to take this opportunity to share with you a few of my commonly used resources. These are blogs, or cookbooks or magazines or websites that I consult often. Even if you just get one idea from them and never return again, hopefully these sources will get you thinking differently about what you’re preparing or they’ll get you putting in an ingredient you hadn’t thought of before. However, as with anything found online – use your discretion! I often change things in recipes or in the directions based on how I do them. For cooking this usually ends up okay, with baking it is sometimes hit or miss. Also, check out your favourite restaurants and see what they’re putting in your favourite dishes to encourage you too! Almost anything can be found online and if you use some creativity you can try to recreate restaurant dishes at home. Happy cooking!

Sandwiches

Main-Course Salads

Casseroles

Kid-Friendly Vegetarian

Classics for Vegetarian Cooking

Chilli, Soups and Stews

Lasagna and Pasta

Epicurious

Food & Drink Magazine

Whole Foods Market

“You’re vegetarian? You can have the fish.”

How I Fell in Love with a Fish! TED Talk

A lot of our friends and family have encouraged us since we have become Weekday Vegetarians. In fact, a weekly class I go to (where our host provides breakfast) now makes a meat option and a vegetarian option. People who have us over for dinner often make a vegetarian main to help us have a meat-free option. It’s really great and really humbling to see how people have embraced this healthier lifestyle for us.

Every now and then, people say a comment that makes us laugh every time we hear it.

“You’re a vegetarian, you can have the fish.”

Whether we are out at restaurants or at someone’s house, people treat fish like it isn’t meat. I have had a waitress show me the fish and seafood section of a menu after hearing I was a vegetarian. It’s as if fish marketers have left the impression that it’s not a living thing… so it’s okay to be eaten by vegetarians.

However, given that we occasionally eat meat on weekends, it doesn’t offend us, but I could see how, if you are a full time vegetarian it might be a bit frustrating.

I have attached a link to another TED Talk– this one is very interesting and eye opening. I suggest you watch it, whether or not you’re a fish/seafood eater or a vegetarian. It will definitely open your eyes to the misconceptions of what we are eating and the large food companies perversions of the natural order of things, namely the food chain and how mass, intensive food production is creating flavorless food and destroying our earth. It will also encourage you to think of different ways to encourage local, organic and therefore healthy and tasty food options – like Farmer’s markets or organic grocery stores. I hope it is food for thought!

Quesadillas!

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Mexican food, or rather Canadianized Mexican food, is a favourite in our house. At any given time we have 3 or 4 avocados ripening and a bunch of cilantro waiting to be made in to a delicious, refreshing guacamole, black bean salad or simply spread on to a tortilla instead of mayo. We have integrated “taco night” as a staple in our weekly meal plans, but after 4 weeks of tacos, you want a change. So what are your options? Burritos, or fajitas, or quesadillas! Quesadillas are kind of like pizzas with a bottom and top crust. Well, that’s how I sold it to my recently-picky son. Last night I made them with cut up tofu, zucchini, onions and yellow bell peppers. I fried those up and then added some chili powder, turmeric, oregano, cumin and cilantro (dried). I put my tofu mix on top of a tortilla covered with cheese, put more cheese and another tortilla and then baked the whole thing until the cheese was melty. We then cut it up into 8 slices and added salsa, sour cream and guacamole. The kids LOVED it. And as long as my son couldn’t see the green from the zucchini skin, he was good. I also made a plain cheese quesadilla and little D had no problem with that one. Serve this with a black bean salad and you’ve got yourself a delicious, homemade dinner in about 10 minutes.

We recently tried the Yves “Ground Meat” and let me tell you, it has quickly moved to the number 1 slot for vegetarian substitutes. I know some people are opposed to being vegetarian and then eating things that simulate meat… BUT, with a 4 year old and a 2 year old, sometimes you have to keep things familiar, and this product does that. I fact, we had tacos one night with my brother-in-law and I asked him what meat he thought we were eating (it was a Sunday, so he thought it was meat) and he said turkey because it wasn’t greasy. Once he finished eating his tacos, I told him he hadn’t eaten an ounce of meat and he was shocked and I think pleasantly surprised.

If you haven’t eaten tacos in a while, try them, and try making your own taco seasoning too. Because we like tacos so much, we used to buy the seasoning packs a lot but then realized there was a lot of crap inside that wasn’t necessary, so I started making my own – each time it’s different, but cooking is easy like that, it can be delicious but a little different every time.

Homemade Taco Seasoning

1 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. turmeric
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. dried cilantro
Spice, if you like it.

If I make this for meat, I put the spices in about a cup of water and add the mixture to the fried meat, allowing the water to evaporate from the meat, flavouring it all the while. If I am making this for the Yves “Ground Meat,” I don’t add the water because it does something to the structure of the product and makes it mushy.

Buen apetito!

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