Sometime in February of 2013 I stopped eating meat at home and then lent came and I said, "Well,let's do this for realzies. No meat for lent." and when lent was over I stuck with a "buy no meat from the grocery store" rule and that's pretty much been my life with a few exceptions. If someone cooked meat for me, I ate it. I ordered it at restaurants. I'm working on doing more vegetarian restaurant choices and I think I've settled that my ultimate goal is to only buy animal products that are from animals who are locally raised/slaughtered. Right now, that's the answer that best balances animal stewardship, love for my global neighbors, and care for my own body and budget. It's not a perfect answer, but it's the answer that I'm aiming for right now.
It really hasn't been that hard. The hardest part is just discovering new favorites. I had to throw out almost of all my "old stand-bys" that were the quick and easy things to make that I always had the ingredients for.
That said, I have found a few new favorites that I've made a few times:
Roasted beets+arugula+goat cheese. I typically either put it into a grilled cheese sandwich or I make a salad (add some kind of vinaigrette - typically red wine)
Black Bean & Quinoa Casserole: If you touch your eye after chopping the jalapenos, turn the stove top off before you run screaming in agony to the bathroom to flush your eye out. You're going to be a minute.
Vegetables+beans+tomatoes+veg stock+leafy greens+rice Soup: With the number of snow days we've had this winter I can't count the number of of "pantry soups" I've made for friends and neighbors as we once again hunkered down and spent a snow day grad school style: reading, reading, reading. While the "what's in the cupboards and fridge" versions always turned out well -this recipe in particular was amazing: Slow-Cooker Squash Stew (Follow the recipe to a T. Delish!)
Things with Lentils: Lentil and Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie. My favorite vegan who has been veganing for a long time stopped by and shared this meal with me. She approved, so I feel like that means it was yum.
Vegetables/greens+cheese+eggs quiche or frittata: Roast your own beets and save the greens - they are HEAVENLY in this beet greens quiche. A sweet potato and some peppers/onions cooked in a skillet and then with some scrambled eggs poured over top, topped with some greens and maybe a little cheese makes a great brunch when your grad school self casually rolls out of bed at 10 because you imagine that you have the freedom to do such things. (You don't, if you're wondering.)
Fancy Fruits: And by fancy fruits I mean mango. Love it sliced up with some red onion and tomato with a vinaigrette. For an entree featuring mango - this simple beans and rice variation is yum!
Have a favorite veg dish that you like to make? Do share! I'm still building up my recipe stash. I prefer to stay away from overly-processed veg options.
*I made a turkey on Thanksgiving and there was that one time I was inexplicably CRAVING hotdogs with sandwich relish the way my grandfather made them so I bought some Oscar-Meyer all beef bun length franks at the grocery store, and then I sat in the grocery store parking lot for four hours waiting on AAA who fixed the problem in 15 minutes. So, I think the universe got me back for that.