Me + Cooking = Fail 6


A friend emailed last night asking for some advice about vegetarian recipes. She asked me because GG has been vegetarian all his life, and Curly decided to forego meat last year. When GG and I got married I bought a couple of vegetarian books. Now this was in the 70s, so times and knowledge have definitely changed. Back then I bought Diet for a Small Planet by Frances Moore Lappe, and my favorite, Laurel’s Kitchen. (I see they updated it in 1986.) Of course, in the past 30+ years, a lot more has been learned about vegetarianism, and new recipes have come out as well. Most foods such as nuts are incomplete proteins, in other words they provide certain amino acids but not all, so you have to do a bit of a juggling act to replace the nutrients meat would have provided. For instance, (if I remember correctly) peanut butter sandwich using natural peanut butter, whole wheat bread along with a glass of milk can be almost the same nutritionally as a steak. It’s all in the bonding of the amino acids each item provides. We recently discovered quinoa which is a complete protein — so you can eat it and it’ll give you the proteins you need in a meatless diet.

It’s also a bit of a juggling act around here–besides GG’s and Curly’s vegetarianism, we also have to remember that GG and Guitar Hero are lactose intolerant–so they can’t have milk or cheese products, and just to make things really interesting, we have to consider GG’s diabetes and my Hashimoto’s Disease  (thyroid disease) which means I need to stay away from any soya products. So our food choices when meal planning are…challenging. Challenges that I doubt my friend is having to worry about in her search for meatless choices.

Anyway, back to her email — I do have a half dozen cookbooks around but currently they’re in Curly’s bedroom. (When he decided to become vegetarian, I handed them to him and told him he’d need to read them and use them for his own self-preservation.) You see, asking me about recipes is … well, I’ve often not-so-jokingly mentioned here and on Twitter that I judge when dinner’s done by when the smoke alarm goes off so around here, my kitchen philosophy is “make it yourself or starve.” (I really should amend the MIYoS motto to “and then clean up when you’re done” because at the end of the day once four people have finished making their own meals, my kitchen looks like a bomb’s gone off.)

So I thought I’d throw it out to you — got any favorite meatless recipes or recipe books that you can recommend?


6 thoughts on “Me + Cooking = Fail

  • Kat Lively

    My favorite vegetarian cookbook is The Grit Cookbook (it’s on Amazon.com) It is the cookbook of The Grit restaurant in Athens, GA, one of my fave places to eat. Bear in mind it’s not a diet cookbook – you’ll use butter and oil, but the food is sooo good.

    • Leah

      Oooh, The Grit has some really good-looking recipes. (you can use Amazon’s “Look Inside” feature to get a sneak peek at some of the recipes.) What’s most heartening is that I actually have most of that stuff in my cupboards or fridge which is always a huge plus. I think I’ll be buying that book myself. Thanks, Kat!

  • Allie

    I like minestrone in the crock pot. I also do black bean chili in the crock pot. I’ve been vegetarian for about 15 years. My husband is not, and so he just waits until something I cook is done (we probably eat one meal together per week, since we have wildly different schedules) and adds grilled chicken to his portion of whatever we are eating. 🙂

    My favorite cookbooks are:
    Student’s Vegetarian Cookbook by Carole Raymond
    How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman
    Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker by Robin Robertson
    How It All Vegan! by Sarah Kramer and Tanya Barnard
    Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and 2 more authors
    Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and another author

    Many vegetarian and vegan cookbooks also allow for lots of substitutions and have suggestions and alternatives for gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, etc. A few are heavy on the soy, so they’d want to flip through and check out the recipes to look for that if they want to avoid that (I do this because I do NOT like tofu).

    • Leah

      Allie, I do what your hubby does — just throw some meat in after my hubby’s cooked the vegetables/whatever. (I love my George Foreman grill for that — it makes my cooking and clean-up such a breeze.) GG and Curly both like soy so we do have it in the house for them, I just have to avoid it like the plague — so they cook it separately from the veggies etc so there’s no spill-over.

      As I’m writing that, I’m realizing WHY we’re going through so many pots and pans every meal. It’s like we’re a restaurant! I’m going to look at those cookbooks now — the cookies and cupcake ones automatically caught my eye even though I’m shouldn’t…

  • Erin

    Thanks Leah! This was very helpful. I love meat, I love food, I make a damn good Lamb chop. My body however has decided to revolt and the only thing I can boil it down to is meat. I thought just red, till the Roast Chicken I made last night tried to fly out of my stomach- alien style 🙂
    Thank you everyone for your recommendations.

    • Leah

      Erin — that makes me think maybe you have something going on with your gallbladder perhaps. (Not a doctor of course so I’m probably totally off base) But eating less meat is healthy for you anyway. And some of the vegetarian recipes I have make me forget it’s meatless and I can’t claim any sort of deprival.

      Hope you figure it out soon!

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