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What to eat

It was 2:00, 92 degrees, 1098 percent humidity, and I was in the backyard in my bathing suit pulling weeds. I was in my bathing suit because Owen had told me he wanted to play in the wading pool, and I was pulling weeds because some of them were threatening to eat my children. But the bugs were bugging Owen so he was standing next to me screaming and I was sweating buckets but begging Owen for just two more minutes so I could haul the eight-foot (literally) weed and all its little weedlet-spawn out of the supposed garden, when some man walked up trying to sell me door-to-door meat.

Which, I dunno, I think door-to-door meat is objectively gross. But that may just be because I have been a devoted fish-eating vegetarian for over ten years now. No, I am not actually vegetarian, because yes, I do eat fish about four times a year. But the meat guy walked up talking about steak and he was nice enough but I was miserable to start with and then I told him we were vegetarian, every last one of us, and then he started talking to me about chicken and turkey. And when I affirmed that we were really quite firmly vegetarian, he told me he had something in his truck that would change my mind.

And I don't know if you know this about me, because I try to suppress my true nature and be a nice person, but if I want to show you up as a fool and make you feel bad about yourself, I have the quite unfortunate ability of being able to do that to anyone in two minutes or less. Which is how the nice enough but misguided meat man ended up running away from me in fear. I didn't say I was proud of it, but there it is.

Because no, other than some occasional fish to make it easier for my extended family to have me over, I do not eat animals, and I don't want to, and I am entirely happy with that, and I eat extremely well and deliciously, thankyouverymuch.

So, here are some things I have eaten lately, completely devoid of dead things (unless you count eggs in that, in which case I see your point but continue to eat eggs) and are delicious and that I would happily feed to anyone, even the door-to-door meat man.

Really Good Vegetarian Meatloaf: We had this tonight, and it made a shit-ton of food, and it was nearly gone. It was really, really good. I am serving this the next time we have guests good. I used all fresh herbs (just happened to have them) and minced garlic (from the jar) rather than dried and added some leftover mushrooms and way too much wasabi sauce, and it was entirely delicious.

Pasta with Baby Broccoli and Beans: Have you tried baby broccoli? It is like broccoli-lite, all the flavor, none of the bitterness or denseness. Was lovely with the sun-dried tomatoes, and the fava beans were good but a bit dry and we decided next time we would try cannelini or butter beans.

7-layer Meatless Tortilla Pie: This needs half as many tortillas and a can of jalapenos and maybe some salsa poured on top, but so easy to tweak to your personal taste, also is delicious and I made it at lunchtime and stuck it in the fridge and then threw it in the oven when we got home from the pool while the kids were in the bath and it totally worked.


Connie's Zucchini "Crab" Cakes
: These are mis-named, probably trying to appease the carnivores out there, since they taste nothing like crab. But screw that, they are totally yummy, totally easy, and also totally great for throwing in the fridge when you have the chance to make them and then throwing in the oven when you have the chance to eat.

So, take that, door-to-door meat guy who does not understand the definition of "vegetarian." And also, what are you eating lately? No meat, please. No, not even chicken.

Comments (12)

I just saw a recipe for zucchini spaghetti that piqued my interest. You use the zucchini as the pasta noodles, saute the vegetables you want (mushrooms, broccoli, artichokes and bell pepper were used). You add your favorite spaghetti herbs/spices and something I never thought of before...salad dressing. It was Kraft Italian roasted red pepper. You saute everything with the salad dressing until it is your desired consistency and put it over the cooked zucchini. I am going to try it this week!
Also, stuffed portobello mushrooms are a standby favorite.

We have been eating anything that does not require turning on the oven (it is far too hot here in the middle of the country). Which usually means cereal or a salad usually consisting of tomatoes, cucumbers and balsamic vinegar, but we have branched out and put zucchini and summer squash in it.

These sound really good to me! Where are you finding the baby broccoli? Fresh or frozen?

I was really hoping door-to-door meat and the door-to-door meat man were euphemisms for something. You know, like a dishwasher. But then there was all this talk about food and now I think some dude really walked into your backyard and hit you up for meat, in a totally non-sexual way.

Which, honestly, is a little disappointing.

I'm going to go to the liquor store now to get a vegetarian sandwich: avocado, sprouts, tomato, cucumber, lettuce, honey mustard, and cheese. Is cheese cheating? If it's not, I'm pretty sure the bacon I ask them to put on it is. (Sorry, I'm not actually a vegetarian, but I think you knew that.)

He had something in your truck that was going to change your mind?

What?

I'm mad at him on your behalf. And I'm not a vegetarian.

But we've been eating like vegetarians lately. We've been doing a ton of stir fry. A cup of veggie broth with 2 tablespoons soy sauce and 1 tablespoon of sesame oil, set aside, minced garlic and ginger (I use fresh) cooked for a minute with veggie oil, add whatever veggies you want, stir fry them for a minute, add the sauce, cover, and cook until the veggies are fork tender. We had a recipe that called for jicama along with snow peas, a zucchini, carrots, a red pepper and we were all "whuck?" about the jicama. But tried it. AND. It was SO good. My boys both love the baby corn. Sometimes we throw in brocolli or cauliflower or squash or mushrooms. And last night - we threw in red pepper flakes. YUM. We eat it over brown rice or rice noodles (we are gluten free). For the non-vegs, some stir-fried chicken, beef or shrimp goes quite nicely in it - but the fact that my boys scarf it up without? BONUS.

"I have something in the truck that will change your mind" - is this like "the little lady really doesn't know anything"? What a patronising prat. HOW DARE HE try and change your mind. Personally, I'd complain to the company. The correct response to "actually, I'm a vegetarian" should be "I'm very sorry to have bothered you, please have a nice day" and gone. Rant over. Sorry :) Recipes? Erm, all mine have dead animals in so I won't waste your time!

It sounds like the guy deserved it as he wasn't accepting of the fact you didn't want to buy any meat. Some of those recipes sound really good. My husband and I have talked about trying the vegetarian diet. Last night we had a pasta salad full of vegetables.

Zucchini gratin. Sliced 5 zucchini very thinly. In a separate bowl, mix 1 1/4 c whayever cheese (I used havarti), 1 c cream, 1 egg, salt and pepper. Throw the whole thing in a baking dish (I used 11 x 7) and cook uncovered for about 30 minutes. Delish. Hot and cold. If you're being healthy, you could halve the cream and cheese and it would still be good. Next time I'm adding potatoes and basil.

Thanks for posting these! I miss your food entries; I would always get an idea or two from you.
I also love the “crab cakes” but I call them zuc pancakes ;) I guess not a pancake either but very yummy with salsa!
One of my go-to's lately is cabbage! Random I know, but I like to prep it the night before with lime juice or lemon juice and garlic and use a base for salads. Not sure that is too kid friendly though….

We recently tried this meal my husband heard about on NPR. Anna Boiardi (of the Chef Boyardee clan) told a beautiful story about it. Our kids, 5 & 8, love this stuff. I use much less salt than she calls for and less olive oil. It's so quick and simple. The second time we made it, we put in fresh tomato and it was amazing! The broccoli and cheese turns into a lovely, green flecked coating. It's light and fresh. Good stuff.
For carnivores, you can also add grilled chicken.

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Leaving-Home-Penne-Rigate-with-Broccoli-365089

So sorry to hear about your grandparents. But happy birthday to Mia! Hope this week is less eventful in the Cactus-Fish house.

On your recommendation I have made the "really good vegetarian meatloaf", and it was in fact, REALLY good. Although my husband disputes whether you can call a lentil/vegetable based loaf "meatloaf". We then got into a philosophical discussion about it all. In the end, I said, shut up and eat your dinner. Which he did. And had seconds.

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