Monday, September 29, 2008

Meatless Monday Recipe: Hoppin' John

I know somebody has to be wondering how on earth to make Hoppin' John without ham hocks. Here you go. Remember to play blues music or southern church choir music. Practice your southern accents. Look up the southern states on a map and talk about the missionaries there.

2 pkgs frozen black eyed peas or 4 Cups cooked black eyed peas (soaked dried b.e.p. overnight, simmer in the morning for a few hours until tender. Proceed with recipe. I avoid canned b.e.p. just because of the salt content)
3 Cups veggie broth (can use water)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large onion, finely diced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 rib celery, minced
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon butter
1 Teaspoon dried thyme
pinch cayenne pepper
fresh ground black pepper to taste
hot cooked rice (I use brown)

Toppings: chopped tomato
chopped green onions
shredded cheese

Cook black eyed peas in water until tender (15-20minutes) Do not add salt yet as it makes beans tough. Skip this cooking step if you cooked dried peas already. Drain and reserve the liquid

Saute onions, garlic, and celery in olive oil and butter until slightly caramelized (10-15 minutes). Add spices. Stir this mixture into the peas with enough liquid so it can simmer. Simmer 20 minutes, stirring every so often. Salt and pepper to taste.

Serve peas over rice and let everyone pick their own toppings. Pass Tabasco around for those who want it spicy. Serve with corn bread and collard greens.

Collard Greens:

1 bunch of fresh green like collard, kale, mustard greens, turnip greens.

Rinse the greens well. Cut out the tough center rib of each leaf. Roll the leaves up and start slicing so the greens look like ribbons. Stick in a large pot and cover with water and a little salt. Bring to boil and then turn the heat down to a simmer. Cook anywhere from 10 30 minutes until the greens are tender (I prefer mine less tender than really tender. Its a personal preference.

Drain the greens and reserve the liquid for broth for another use. To be really southern, sprinkle you greens with vinegar and a but of Tabasco or hot sauce.

This Week's Menu at Scarehaircare

Ooh! Good idea. I will spare you the non-veggie days, here is the rest of the menu:

Meatless Monday: Hoppin' John over rice, collard greens, cornbread with honey butter
Family Night Treat: Peach Cobbler and vanilla ice cream

Wednesday: Spaghetti with homemade Mushroom Marinara , green salad with chickpeas, tomatoes, olives and feta, crusty bread

Friday: make-your-own-pizzas. Magherita pizza for me (I might throw on some eggplant, too.)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

This Week's Menu--for Heather

Just to show how flexible we are around here (the blog), I thought I'd show what is on the menu at my house this week.
Heather--I saw your comment on the previous post--you can definitely play here!

Monday: Veggie Calzones (I may throw some turkey pepperoni into a couple for the carnivores-maybe not)
Tuesday--canned soup (I work on Tuesday and heating up soup is about all my husband can do with consistent successful results--last week he made gardenburgers and used every skillet I own)
Wednesday--Indian Cashew Chicken--from this month's Cooking Light
Thursday--(the other day I work--so leftovers from Wednesday)
Friday--Black Bean Burgers
Saturday--Pumpkin Waffles and scrambled eggs
Sunday--Cheesy Potato and Cauliflower chowder

Anyone want to share their menu for the week?

Friday, September 26, 2008

Some things to try...

I have been perusing around doing my usual blog reading today and came across this recipe for vegetarian eggplant meatballs. The comments from people that tried it said some of their kids were unaware that it was even meatless, so I thought I would pass it along, but didn't want to infringe on any copyright things, so there is the link instead.
Also, a favorite recipe of ours here that is REALLY easy and vegetarian is Crash Hot Potatoes. I saw in on Pioneer Woman cooks and we all love it. Again with the link.


I'm not big into "fake meat" but I have always loved Gardenburgers. My grocery stopped stocking them, so I'm going to have to look for another place to shop. I have tried making them in the past, and been not incredibly impressed with the results. Last week I wanted to try again.

I found this recipe and they turned out wonderful! They tasted really close to the original. I made a couple of changes to the recipe. I left out the cottage cheese because we didn't have any. I also decreased the amount of mushrooms and added some black beans to make up for it. I doubled the recipe and made 10 patties. Yum.

Keep the recipes coming!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Keep Your Breasts out of My Phish Food

Members of PETA: Certifiably Insane? You be the judge.

"PETA wrote a letter to [Ben & Jerry's] company founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield on Tuesday, telling them cow's milk is hazardous and that milking them is cruel."

As opposed to NOT milking them? Has anyone else had mastitis? :)

Creamy Pasta with Spring Vegetables

8 oz thin fresh asparagus spears
8 oz baby portobello or medium white button mushrooms
1 large red bell pepper
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves, pressed
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
2 Tbsp fresh basil leaves, snipped
8 oz (or 3 cups) uncooked rigatoni pasta
3/4 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Cut all the veggies into bite size pieces (discarding ends of asparagus). Combine all in a bowl and mix with olive oil and mix lightly. Add pressed garlic, salt and pepper and mix well. Pour veggie mixture into a shallow baking pan and bake for 10-12 minutes at 425.

Prepare Pasta according to package and in a separate saucepan simmer whipping cream 6-8 minutes over medium-low heat to thicken slightly, stirring constantly.

Drain pasta and combine with veggies, snipped basil and heated cream. Stir in the Parmesan Cheese.

Serves 4

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Elizabeth's conversion, apostacy, and attempts to come back to the fold

Okay, enough with the religious metaphors.

I grew up in Texas and New Mexico--meat country! We were meat eaters--at least the rest of my family liked meaty things--ham, bacon, sausage, hamburgers, and such. My parents were/are both educators so we didn't have lots of money growing up, and my mom didn't buy lots of fancy stuff. We ate, in my memory at least, the same 5 or 6 meals for dinner.

I never liked anything porcine, and abhorred steak. I didn't do much cooking as a teenager. I don't recollect ever really touching meat. When I went to BYU, I don't know what I ate the first few months. I know I had never heard of scrod before the Y--and never since, come to think of it. I had a lot of intestinal distress that first semester. Looking back on it now, it was probably more nerves than anything. Sometime during that first semester I met a girl who was from the Bay area and she was a vegetarian, and had been for several years.

I don't think it had ever occurred to me to not eat meat, but when the concept was presented, it just made good sense religiously, economically, environmentally, and physically; and from that time, until I was 31, I was a vegetarian (ovo-lacto--I tried vegan for about a year, but it was too hard). I had a boyfriend who was Indian, and a devout/orthodox vegetarian, so that worked out well. We were together for about 4 years so I learned to cook a lot of vegetarian food. I was completely happy in my vegetarian life. There used to be a place in Provo called Govinda's and I ate there weekly. And Bombay House, too. I miss those days. :)

Every now and then, very, very rarely, I'd get a craving for meat, and I'd skulk myself to a good burger joint and get something to go, and eat flesh on some back road where I hopefully wouldn't be 'caught'. I met my husband as a veg and he married me as a veg. He'd dated other social work hippie types so he was used to vegetarians, and Portland is chock full of them.

When I was 31 we got pregnant. It hadn't occurred to me to not continue vegetarianism. But then I started reading all those What to Expect/What to Eat books and I got nervous. I worried I would be hurting our baby by not getting enough protein.

So, I bought some boneless, skinless chicken breasts. I honestly had never bought raw flesh before this. I read in my Better Homes and Gardens cookbook what to do. But I was so worried that I would under-cook them and get some dread disease, that basically I made chicken jerky. It was soo dry. I laugh thinking about it because I'm still pretty neurotic. Whenever I eat really juicy chicken and think it is so much better than my typical's sad, really--I get scared I'm going to be salmonella-ized. I've never cooked a roast. I have bought one whole chicken in my life--it's probably cheaper to go that route than buying boneless/skinless.

Ever since, we eat meat a few times a week. A 2.5-3 lb bag of frozen chicken breasts lasts easily a week. Tonight I made spaghetti sauce with turkey sausage. My husband is just happy I feed him so he doesn't fuss about meat or no meat. But he prefers to have meat than go back to vegetarian all the time. My older daughter acts like I'm depriving her if there isn't meat in dinner, but my 5 year old prefers the vegetarian stuff. I don't ever buy anything made from pigs. If I had money I'd go back to organic dairy/eggs/flesh.

I'd like my goal to be making my meat go even further. I think that would be more harmony-inducing than going 100% meat-free. I could just go back to not eating meat myself, but that is a pain. But, as I'm thinking aloud (so to speak), I could just not eat the meat in the dish, giving it to the carnivores... which could make the meat go a little further?? Hmmm.....

Right now, my goal is also to try to lower my grocery bill by about $10 a week.

So, that's me, and how I'm connected to the blog.

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

In prep for Pizza Friday (or whatever day you make pizza at your house), here is my fave quick pizza dough and topping ideas.

Whole-Wheat Pizza Dough
(from This is a great resource site so check it out. I love the magazine!)
Makes Makes 1-12 ounce or 1 pound dough
To make 12 ounces dough:

¾ cup whole-wheat flour
¾ cup all-purpose flour
1 package quick-rising yeast (2 ¼ teaspoons), such as Fleischmann's RapidRise
¾ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon sugar
½-⅔ cup hot water (120-130°F)
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

To make 1 pound dough:

1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 package quick-rising yeast (2 ¼ teaspoons), such as Fleischmann's RapidRise
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon sugar
¾ cup hot water (120-130°F)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1. Combine whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, yeast, salt and sugar in a food processor; pulse to mix. Combine hot water and oil in a measuring cup. With the motor running, gradually pour in enough of the hot liquid until the mixture forms a sticky ball. The dough should be quite soft. If it seems dry, add 1 to 2 tablespoons warm water; if too sticky, add 1 to 2 tablespoons flour. Process until the dough forms a ball, then process for 1 minute to knead.

2. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. Coat a sheet of plastic wrap with cooking spray and place it, sprayed-side down, over the dough. Let the dough rest for 10 to 20 minutes before rolling.

3. Place a pizza stone or inverted baking sheet on the lowest oven rack;preheat oven to 500°F or highest setting. Roll and top the pizza as desired(we suggest a 13-inch circle) and bake the pizza until the bottom is crisp and golden, 10 to 14 minutes. Serve immediately.

Whole-Wheat Pizza Dough Tips
Store in a plastic bag coated with cooking spray in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Bring to room temperature before using.

Per 12 ounces: 766 calories; 12 g fat (2 g sat, 8 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 142 g carbohydrate; 26 g protein; 16 g fiber; 1,882 mg sodium.Per 1 pound: 1,032 calories; 18 g fat (3 g sat, 12 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 189 g carbohydrate; 33 g protein; 21 g fiber; 2,509 mg sodium.
Whole-Wheat Pizza Dough Nutrition Information Cont.

Toppings ideas from Scarehaircare:

White pizza: olive oil, mozzarella cheese, mushrooms and broccoli (yes, broccoli. Mmmmmm!)

Veggie pizza: light Alfredo sauce (make your own). Artichoke hearts, red onion, zucchini, roasted red peppers, mushrooms

Taco pizza: salsa mixed with sour cream, pinto or black beans, diced tomatoes, green peppers,pepper jack cheese

BBQ pizza: bbq sauce, red onion, cilantro, pinto beans, zucchini, fresh tomato slices, corn, cheddar/mozz mix

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Minestrone Soup

I have only ever had canned minestrone, and then only a few times, but my husband loves it so I decided to try my hand at making up my own recipe for it. This is what we are having for dinner tonight. It turned out great (I think, as well as my son #1 who is my picky, non veggie eating son), and has lots of veggies in it. I hope you'll try it out and let me know what you think.

½ Cup Butter (or Olive Oil if you live healthier than I do)
½ to 1 tsp dried basil (more or less to your tastes) Fresh would work also
½ to 1 tsp Italian seasoning (more or less to your tastes)
1 med to large onion
2 stalks celery
2 medium sized carrots
One small zucchini (like you get at the grocery store)
2-3 cloves minced garlic
1 can of diced Italian style tomatoes (do NOT drain it)
Four cups diced potatoes
6 to 8 cups of broth (I used chicken, but veggie broth would be lovely)
1 15oz can green beans (drained)
1 15oz can peas (drained)
1 15oz can kidney beans (drained and rinsed)
1 15oz can Great Northern beans (or other similar bean of your choice, drained and rinsed)
1 to 1 ½ cups of small macaroni shells
1 6oz can of tomato paste

In a large stock or soup pot heat butter or olive oil. Chop the onion, carrots and celery finely and add it to the pot, along with the spices and sauté until the onions begin to become translucent. Add the minced garlic and sauté a little longer. Add the can of tomatoes (including the juices) and the zucchini and stir. Let simmer over medium heat while you dice the potatoes (I peeled them, but you could leave the peels on). Add the potatoes to the pot and then 6 cups of the broth. Cook, stirring occasionally over medium to medium high heat for about 5 minutes, until the potatoes begin to soften but are not fully cooked. Add the cans of drained green beans, peas, kidney and great northern beans. If you think you will need more broth for cooking the macaroni noodles, now is the time to add it (I used 8 cups total when I did this, but if you use fewer or smaller veggies it may not need that much) Bring the soup to a boil and add the macaroni shells, stirring. Reduce the heat to just over medium and stir in the can of tomato paste. Cook until the macaroni noodles are soft, making sure that the potatoes are also cooked through. Enjoy!
You can serve this soup with a little Parmesan or Romano cheese grated on top. This makes a huge pot of soup. It will feed my family of 7 not including the baby at least twice. You could cut the recipe in half, but you would have to use only half a can of the veggies and beans, or just use one kind of each. Of course you can use different kinds of veggies or leave out those that you don’t like. I chopped up the celery, carrots and zucchini with a food processor so that they were fairly fine, and my pickiest eater (who hates most veggies) loved the soup.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Veggie Casserole

My zucchini haters will eat this and like the dish. It's a good mix of veggies.

Veggie Casserole

5 C Zucchini, leave skin on and grate
1/2 Diced onion
1 C shredded carrots
2 cans of cream soup (mushroom, chicken, broccoli, or celery)
1/2 C milk
2 C cooked rice
1 C shredded cheese

Cook zucchini, onion, and carrots in water until crisp tender (3-5 minutes). Combine soups, milk and stir in vegetables and rice. Put in casserole dish and top with cheese. Back at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.

What type of vegetarian are you?

These definitions come from

1. Pescatarian - The word “pescatarian” is occasionally used to describe those who abstain from eating all meat and animal flesh with the exception of fish. Although the word is not commonly used, more and more people are adopting this kind of diet, usually for health reasons or as a stepping stone to a fully vegetarian diet.

2. Flexitarian/semi-vegitarian - You don’t have to be vegetarian to love vegetarian food! “Flexitarian” is a term recently coined to describe those who eat a mostly vegetarian diet, but occasionally eat meat.

3. Vegetarian (lacto-ovo vegetarian) - When most people think of vegetarians, they think of lacto-ovo-vegetarians. People who do not eat beef, pork, poultry, fish, shellfish or animal flesh of any kind, but do eat eggs and dairy products are lacto-ovo vegetarians (“lacto” comes from the Latin for milk, and “ovo” for egg).
Lacto-vegetarian - is used to describe a vegetarian who does not eat eggs, but does eat dairy products.
Ovo-vegetarian - refers to people who do not eat meat or dairy products but do eat eggs.

4. Vegan - Vegans do not eat meat of any kind and also do not eat eggs, dairy products, or processed foods containing these or other animal-derived ingredients such as gelatin. Many vegans also refrain from eating foods that are made using animal products that may not contain animal products in the finished process, such as sugar and some wines. There is some debate as to whether certain foods, such as honey, fit into a vegan diet.

5. Raw Vegan/raw food diet - A raw vegan diet consists of unprocessed vegan foods that have not been heated above 115 degrees Fahrenheit (46 degrees Celsius). “Raw foodists” believe that foods cooked above this temperature have lost a significant amount of their nutritional value and are harmful to the body.

6. Macrobiotic - The macrobiotic diet, revered by some for its healthy and healing qualities, includes unprocessed vegan foods, such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and allows the occasional consumption of fish. Sugar and refined oils are avoided. Perhaps the most unique qualifier of the macrobiotic diet is its emphasis on the consumption of Asian vegetables, such as daikon, and sea vegetables, such as seaweed.

Huh. I'm a Flexitarian. Well, if you want to get all techie about it, I am a

Saturday, September 20, 2008

How We Change

People who read my blog know that Saturday is most likely going to have a Psychiatric Saturday post.

I decided to post the topic here today instead, because I think it fits nicely with what some folks are trying to do.

"The Stages of Change Model was originally developed in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s by James Prochaska and Carlo DiClemente at the University of Rhode Island when they were studying how smokers were able to give up their habits or addiction. The SCM model has been applied to a broad range of behaviors including weight loss, injury prevention, overcoming alcohol, and drug problems among others. The idea behind the SCM is that behavior change does not happen in one step. Rather, people tend to progress through different stages on their way to successful change. Also, each of us progresses through the stages at our own rate." Follow this link to find out about all the stages, and then come back to the rest of the post.

I use these stages with people all the time because the concept is just so simple to understand, and helps explain why we have difficulty making changes. If a person came across this blog, and the immediate thought was "Not eat meat?! Are you nuts??!", that person probably would be in precontemplation. But, if they were a friend of Millie's and thought it sounded interesting, they'd be in contemplation. Perhaps you had really high cholesterol, and your doctor told you to make some dietary changes or you'll likely have a heart attack in the next year, that might move you from precontemplation up to preparation or action. As Millie (just as an example) looks through her pantry and decides this may be too hard, too demanding of her time, the benefits don't seem high enough, etc., maintenance wavers and she might slip/fall off the veg-wagon/relapse! But, the good news is that we just re-enter the cycle, and get back on track to maintenance.

The average number of times it takes a smoker to give up cigarettes for good is about 7 serious attempts. I have fallen off the exercise wagon 70 times 7, I swear. I wonder if most people considering vegetarianism, in whatever form, tend to decide they're done, and then never look back.

Protein: Shopping in your kitchen

Before I decided to become a vegetarian, getting enough protein was a major concern. I've done Weight Watchers' Points plan before and since I didn't eat enough lean meat, and couldn't eat half the foods I normally did, the new diet would give me headaches. It felt like a pair of big ice tongs were squeezing the sides of my head. Sure, I lost some weight, but I was miserable. Which is better, skinny or happy?

Only after I found out how much protein I actually needed, and that I could get enough without eating meat, did I decide going veggie was a possibility for me. Those links on the sidebar about protein - they're all mine. I wanted them close by for future reference.

Since I'm between the ages of nineteen and forty-nine, I need 45 grams of protein a day. The challenge now is eating enough protein-rich foods to meet that requirement. I decided to look around my kitchen and see how much protein I had hanging around.

First the cereals: I have five kinds. Here's the amount of protein for each.

Kellogg's Corn Flakes = 2 grams per 1 cup serving
Total Whole Grain = 2 grams per 3/4 cup serving
Rice Chex = 2 grams per 1 cup serving
Kellogg's Raisin Bran = 5 grams per 1 cup serving
Post Grape-Nuts = 6 grams per 1/2 cup serving

I was happy to see that Grape-Nuts, a.k.a. Colon Blow or "Avoid the middle man and just pour it in the toilet," did so well for protein and fiber (7 grams). I do put sugar on it, but I figure it's better to eat it with some sugar than not eat it at all.

In the freezer I found, along with all the frozen meat I'll have to figure out what to do with, a bag of shelled walnuts and some single-serving bags of sweet peas. Here's the breakdown for those:

Diamond Shelled Walnuts = 5 grams per 1/4 cup serving
Birds Eye Steamfresh Singles - Sweet Peas: 5 grams per bag

That's pretty good. Buy more peas. Nuts are a little fatty (20 grams), but it's good fat, right? We're supposed to have more good fat than bad fat, aren't we?

I also found some Umpqua vanilla ice cream in there but sadly, the package had been manhandled to the point that the protein gram statistics were no longer visible. It's probably just as well.

Moving on to the refrigerator:

Small curd lowfat cottage cheese (2% milkfat): 14 grams per 1/2 cup. YOW!
Whole dill pickles: NO protein. But at least they're also fat, sugar, carb and calorie free. What are they good for? Putting on your peanut butter sandwiches. You heard it here, girls.
Applesauce: No protein.
Gold-n-Soft spread: No protein there either.
1% lowfat milk: 11 grams per 1 cup
Large eggs: 6 grams per egg, but they provide 71% of your daily cholesterol limit, so I'll probably eat one a day, if that.

Looks like we're sticking with dairy. Now that I've gone veggie, I find myself craving lots of milk.

This post is long enough (some might say "too long") so we'll save my cupboards for another time.

Thanks for humoring me during my protein search. Happy Eating!

Friday, September 19, 2008

French Pasta Salad

I originally posted this on my blog this past summer. I'm pulling it out again because it truly was great for packable lunches.

Adapted from Moosewood Daily Special cookbook
Serves: 10

My notes: Moosewood is notorious for big servings so I increased the overall servings(original cal/serving was 509) You still get a good size serving. Note that I used the high fiber pasta. The original recipe called for toasted hazelnuts which I omitted after deciding that it didn’t need it. (Don't get me wrong, they would taste great, but I was trying to lighten the recipe.) The red peppers are roasted in the original recipe but I like the crunch of the fresh. I also added the tomatoes and mushrooms. This would be a great “toss in the entire garden” recipe. Great reviews from family and my running trainer. Wonderful main dish for those nights it is too hot to cook too much. Leftovers pack well for lunch.

14 ounces Ronzoni Smart Taste Penne Rigate (1 box)
3 Cups green beans, stemmed and cut crosswise
2 teaspoons minced fresh tarragon
1 Tablespoon minced fresh basil
1 large shallot, minced
1/4 Cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 Cup red wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
1 large red pepper, julienned
1/4 Cup italian parsley, chopped
8 ounces button mushroom, quartered
1 Cup cherry tomato, halved
1 Tablespoon capers, drained
1/2 Cup chevre cheese

Cook pasta according to directions. Add green beans during the last 3 minutes of cooking. Drain and rinse in cold water to cool immediately. Drain again.Whisk together oil, vinegar, tarragon, basil, shallot, Dijon, salt and pepper.Toss pasta and beans with dijon vinaigrette and the rest of the veggies. Serve at room temp or slightly chilled.Cal: 216; Fat: 8g; Fiber: 6g; Protein: 7g; Sodium: 270 mg; Calcium: 231 mg; Carb: 36 g

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Broccoli Stuffed Shells

I got this recipe in an email from Flylady today. I am not good at keeping up with Flylady at all. I generally delete, delete, delete the emails. I chanced to actually read this one that has a week's worth of dinner recipes and saw that there was a vegetarian recipe. So I thought I would post it here. It looks good to me!

Broccoli Stuffed Shells
Serves 6

24 Jumbo Shells -- uncooked
1 10-ounce package frozen chopped broccoli -- thawed
1 cup part-skim Ricotta cheese
1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1 tablespoon onion, chopped fine
1 28 oz jar spaghetti sauce
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and freshly ground black pepper -- to taste

Prepare pasta according to package directions; drain. Combine
broccoli, Ricotta cheese, Swiss cheese, onion, oregano, basil, salt
and pepper. Stir together until well blended. Pour about 1 cup
spaghetti sauce over bottom of 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan. Spoon 1
round tablespoon of cheese mixture into each shell and place open-side
up in an even layer in the pan. Pour remaining spaghetti sauce over
and around shells. Cover pan with foil. Bake at 375 for about 25
minutes until heated through, and serve.

Hummus = Yummus

However, I was disappointed to find that while chickpeas = protein, the commercially-prepared hummus I bought at WinCo today had only one freaking gram of it. To the Protein Queen, this was quite distressing. I might as well have bought a Snickers bar to snack on.

Maybe it's all the other stuff in the hummus - high fructose corn syrup is always high on my list of "yeah, gimme some more of that" ingredients - but I was really hoping that the hummus would have more protein in it than the pita chips I bought to eat it with. Heck, I've got cereal made with refined white flour here that has more protein than this hummus, which I think was made with actual chickpeas.

Hopefully, we're checking labels and making sure we know what we're buying before we bring it home. I'm sure this is obvious to everyone else, and personally I've checked more labels just in the last week than I probably have my entire adult life, but I trusted this hummus. As a new vegetarian, I put my heart in its little hands, and look what happened.

My dear friend Elasticwaistband Lady tried her hand at making homemade hummus not too long ago. Her experience is linked-to in our "Recipes" portion of the sidebar.

A little linky for you

Have you ever read this lady's blog? She set herself a goal to use her crockpot every day for a year. Some of her recipes, by her own admission, haven't been so hot; but others turn out pretty fantastic.
This morning, she had a recipe for a lentil stew, and that seems to fit our needs perfectly--vegetarian, and crockpot-able! This has Sunday dinner written all over it. For the less adventurous, 'garam masala' is sort of like curry. I suppose if you were in a pinch you could use curry powder, or, you could go here and make your own Moroccan spice blend, and that would give an even better flavor, I think.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Veggie Quesadillas

Its me, the non-contributing contributor...I thought I might contribute something.

We love these and they are especially great on an evening when you need a quick dinner. Excuse my recipe...its not actually written anywhere (learned it from a friend) and so I don't have exact measurements. Its a prime example of how I cook.

Veggie Quesadillas

1 can drained/rinsed black beans
a bunch of frozen corn (however much you like)
1 medium zucchini, chopped
a good amount of salsa (whatever you have)
cheese, shredded (our favorite part)
whole wheat tortillas (we just like 'em better...use what you want)

mix the first 4 ingredients together in a bowl. place a skillet on medium heat and spray with cooking spray. place a tortilla in the pan, spoon some of the mixture onto half of the tortilla, sprinkle cheese over the mixture and fold the tortilla over. You can do a whole tortilla and use a second tortilla to cover it, but I find for the sake of flipping...half is better. heat until cheese melts.

Please remember I only feed 3 people in my household...and one of those eats only enough to not die. That said, we usually end up with leftovers.

My kids think they are vegetarians if they eat one tiny broccoli floret.

When people hear that I cook vegetarian two to three times a week, I usually get incredulous stares. “Your kids really will eat like that?” Yes they do. This was not an overnight decision. If I had sprung it on them all at once there would have been mutiny. Some days I still get a few grumbles.

Wednesdays at our house became “Spaghetti Wednesdays”, a nod to the east coast Prince Spaghetti Day (can anyone remember that commercial? Go find it on Youtube). Homemade meatless spaghetti sauce. The kids and Mr. Wonderful missed the Bolognese sauce I used to make , but they got used to it after a few weeks.

The next meatless day became Monday. Why Monday? I learned very quickly not to mess with the traditional meat-and-potatoes Sunday dinner. By Monday, I look forward to a vegetarian meal. Besides, if Monday’s dinner is a bust, there is still Family Home Evening Treat to look forward to. The only one who complains on this day is my carnivore Firstborn. He claims his 15 year old body needs more protein. When I point out the protein in the meal (legumes, grains, and certain veggies) he usually stops grumbling, at least vocally. And he eats. At my house you eat what is on the table or you starve.

Sometimes I’ll add a third meatless meal on Friday or Saturday. Pizzas on homemade whole grain crust are great meatless meal – how many kids usually prefer cheese pizza? I leave this day as optional. Since we make our own pizza, I leave the choice of topping up to each family member, making sure that I provide lots of veggie toppings and just one meat choice (usually turkey pepperoni.)

There you have it. An easy way to get started: turn your first veggie night into a learning experience. Try an ethnic vegetarian dish. Play some music from that country. Learn a few words. Tell you kids that they might serve a mission there someday (I get a few eyerolls with that one but I persevere). Start a family night tradition.

Jop Chai
Pull out your chopsticks. Find Korea on a map. Put together music and language for a family night.
Serves 4-6
Adapted from Moosewood Simple Suppers
My changes and additions in italics

4 ounces bean thread noodles
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1 1/2 Cups thinly sliced onion - I like to use half white onion and half green onions
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups thinly sliced green cabbage or coleslaw mix (napa cabbage or bok choy work well, too)
1 Cup thinly sliced red bell pepper
8 oz. sliced mushrooms
1 can stirfry baby corn , drained

8 ounces veggie crumbles (I make an omelet using 1 egg per person. Finish the omelet and slice thin like the veggies. Sometimes I use tofu instead. Yes, my kids eat tofu - but that's another story)

¼ Cup low sodium soy sauce
3 Tablespoons rice vinegar or cider vinegar
½ Cup water
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil

Soak bean thread noodles in hot tap water to cover until softened, about 15-20 minutes. When soft, drain and cut into more easily eaten lengths, 4-5”. Toss with a little oil to keep from clumping.

While noodles are soaking, heat oil in large pan or wok, add the onions and garlic, and sauté for about 2 minutes. Add the cabbage and sauté for a couple of minutes. Stir in the peppers and continue to sauté until crisp-tender (add the mushrooms here). Add the veggie crumbles (or egg, and stirfry baby corn) and cook for another minute or two. Combine the sauce ingredients and add them to the vegetables. Add the drained noodles and cook for 2 to 3 more minutes, until noodles have absorbed most of the sauce. Serve hot.

Recipe: Southwestern Corn Chowder

I have no grand plans of turning into a vegetarian, but I do like the idea of incorporating more and more meatless meals into my family's dinners. Here is a recipe that we have had twice now. DH and I love it.

Southwestern Corn Chowder (from Martha Stewart Everyday Food)
1 T butter
1 scallion, thinly sliced, white and green parts separated
1 medium carrot, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1/2 t chili powder
1/2 t oregano
coarse salt and ground pepper
1 baking potato, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 package (10 oz) frozen corn kernels
1 can (14.5 oz) reduced sodium chicken (or veggie) broth
1 cup milk

1. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add white part of scallion, carrot, chili powder and oregano; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally until scallion is soft, about 2 minutes. Add potato, corn, broth and milk.

2. Bring to a boil over medium-high, and reduce to a simmer. Cook until potato is easily pierced with the tip of a knife, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in the green part of the scallion, and season with salt and pepper. Serves two.

I added cumin and cayenne, and adjusted the ingredients to feed my whole family (this only serves two). I also added some cream in at the end the last time I made it (only because I happened to have an open carton -- something I don't usually keep on hand but was left over from another recipe). I served the soup with cornbread and a green salad.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Well. I'm glad I'm still eating fish. Otherwise this article could be a tad alarming.

Interesting stats about alcohol and drug use, as well.

I thought I had cornered the market on the phrase "going veggie." :)

Monday, September 15, 2008

A Lazy Woman's Strategy for Feeding The Part-Vegetarian Family

Yes, I was once vegetarian too; now I am only half the days of the week. However, one of my daughters is a full-time vegetarian.

And once I flipped through food magazines and great cookbooks and made beautiful meals. I still love the family dinner, but I don't love the planning and creating time anymore. I'm all about dinner on the table at 6:00 night after night after night, so someone can help with the dishes and everyone can do their homework. Perhaps after a few years of rest I'll be interested in cooking again--right now we just need to eat.

Despite my avowed non-interest in preparing food, I've managed to get a lot of split dinners on the table for the last three years. My daughter went veggie at age 11 (ovo-lacto). I had been telling her to wait until she goes to college to become vegetarian, like her father and I did, but once she was taller than me the "stunt your growth" lie wasn't very effective. Though it was typical for us to happily have two or more vegetarian dinners a week, the entire family didn't want to be pulled into meatlessness because of one preteen. Hence the split meals: dinners that have a vegetarian and meat version at the same table.

For example, after church today we had pulao rice (a sort of saffron rice) [rice recipe] in the rice cooker, with an approximately indian tomato curry garnished with hard-boiled eggs [tomato curry recipe], and some rewarmed chicken leftovers. Served with some green salad and carrot sticks, each person in the family made his or her own plate, though I do expect the younger ones to have a taste of everything. And that simple meal, with pretensions to ethnicity, is considered a fancy one in my current reign of culinary laziness.

Here are some other split meals. I'm sure you've already done some of these, and I'd love to hear what other ones you've done that I haven't thought of.

Tacos--tacos are a natural meal for the vegetarian/meat loving family. Put out the beans and meat in separate bowls, along with the bowls for cheese, lettuce, and salsa, and let everyone assemble their own. imo, watermelon is always a good accompaniment to tacos.

Spaghetti--we went through a phase where one kid wanted spaghetti every night. Once a week is really over my limit. I bought frozen meatballs and cooked a few each time to supplement the meat-eaters, and provided scrambled eggs for the vegetarians. Hey, scrambled eggs with marinara sauce is really good. A couple times I was caught skipping the pasta. I love it with green beans and a green salad. Isn't it almost blue lake season?

Chili Dogs. I've got to have them every month or two. I don't make my chili--remember I'm lazy--I just keep a few commercially canned cans of vegetarian chili in the pantry. The young meat-hungry purist child wants a dog and a bun and wouldn't allow even ketchup--the vegetarian happily fills her bun with chili and tops it with cheese. I'm somewhere in the middle, with chopped onion and pickle relish.

Stir-fry. Remember how in all the recipes have you cook the meat, set it aside, stir fry the vegetables, and then return the meat to the pan? Stir fry for a split family means the meat and vegetables each get their own pan, then maybe a small third pan for a little stir-fried egg or tofu. I love it when I can splurge on commercial vegetarian spring rolls or pot stickers as a side, or follow up with family-pleasing fortune cookies from a box.

Pumpkin pancakes. I love pumpkin pancakes. The easiest way is with a whole-wheat pancake mix--you just make it as usual and throw in a couple spoonfuls of canned cooked pumpkin and a dash of cinnamon. Fancier ways are to make the pancakes from scratch, and to throw in mashed winter squash leftover from dinner two nights before. I like to microwave a couple frozen sausage patties to serve with the pancakes. It helps throw off the non-vegetarians who are keeping score.

Hawaiian haystacks, a nostalgic delight. I did something with cream of mushroom soup and curry powder as the sauce, and offered the cooked chicken separately. No one but you will realize, it's just another form of taco bar.

Vegetarian Soups of all sorts, serve with baked chicken or pork chop--from today or from leftovers--as an optional side. They say the meat-eaters only need a serving the size of a deck of cards anyway, and they don't mean an Uno deck. Add some whole wheat rolls and milk (we're not vegan) and we're all covered.

And finally, keep some gardenburgers in the freezer. For those days when someone just has to have broiled red snapper, or aunt lucy's casserole spam delight.

Recipe: Approximately Indian Tomato Curry

Everyone needs a couple pantry meals, and this is one of mine. The hard part is finding 'onion seed' kalonji, mustard seed, and fenugreek seed so you can buy it and have it ready in the cupboard.

Hard boil six eggs. Peel, halve, and set aside.

Into a large mixing bowl mix:
One 28-ounce can of diced tomatoes
2 tsp chopped fresh ginger root.
2 tsp crushed garlic
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin

Set aside.

Put the following spices into a small bowl together, so you can stir-fry them together:
1 tsp "onion seed" aka kalonji or seeds of Nigella Sativa
1 tsp mustard seed
1 tsp fenugreek seed
couple dashes of dried red chili pepper

Heat 1/4 cup of oil in the pan. Or only 1 tablespoon, if you are determined to prepare food that is low-fat. Add the seed mixture, and stir fry about one minute.

Add the tomato mixture to the oil-and-seeds. Stir-fry about three minutes, then lower the heat and simmer with the lid ajar, for about seven minutes.

Remove from heat. Garnish with eggs.
For fancy and extra tasty, sprinkle lemon juice into tomatos at the end, and serve with chopped cilantro.

I usually serve this with Pulao Rice.

Recipe: Pulao Rice

This is a rice cooker recipe. My rice cooker knows when to stop cooking, and then just keeps the rice hot until I'm ready for it. My friend taught me I could leave it in finished-cooking-keeping-warm mode 24 hours, as long as the bottom of the bowl has a good untouched layer of rice in it. Sometimes that comes in handy.

Yes, I use real saffron. No turmeric in this recipe. I got a big ole 1-ounce jar at Costco, so now I might as well use it as hoard it.

Into the rice cooker put:
1.5 cups basmati rice
3 cups water
2 Tablespoons of butter
3 green cardamons
2 cloves
3 peppercorns
and a pinch of SAFFRON

Turn the rice cooker on. Assuming it has keep-warm-after-cooking mode, come back to eat whenever you like, sometime in the next 1-25 hours. But pick out the cloves and peppercorns and cardamons when you open the pot--you don't want your kid biting into that.

Excellent with Tomato Curry.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Vegetable Stock

You can buy vegetable broth to replace chicken or beef broth in your recipes, but since I'm cheap, I will probably make my own. has an excellent vegetable stock tutorial.

If it looks too complicated, you're basically throwing chopped veggies in a pot and boiling them in water, then straining the broth and freezing it for future use. This can be used as a base for soups or main dishes. The nice thing about making it yourself is you can flavor it the way you like it.

I love Honeybaked Ham's split pea soup, so one day when I was feeling all food-storagey, I bought a package of split peas without having the slightest idea of how to make the soup. They've been in my cupboard for a while, waiting for me to go buy ham hocks - what are ham hocks? - or a bone-in ham (my recipe called for ham hocks or a meaty ham bone). Now that I'm going meatless, I'm going to try it without the ham. Since the recipe also calls for chicken broth, I'm going to try the veggie broth instead and let you know how it goes.

Has anyone else done this?

Garden Vegetable Calzones

Everyday I ask my girls what they want for dinner. This is their first request!

Garden Vegetable Calzones

8 fresh mushrooms, sliced (3/4 cup)
1 small zucchini, halved and thinly sliced (3/4 cup)
1/2 red or yellow bell pepper, coarsly chopped (1/2 cup)
1/4 cup sliced green onions
1/4 tsp garlic salt
1/4 tsp dried basil leaves
1 (10 oz) can Pillsbury refrigerated pizza crust (comes in a can like biscuits)
4 oz (1 cup) shredded mozzarella or provolone cheese
1 egg white, beaten

Heat oven to 425 and spray cookie sheet with nonstick spray.

In bowl, combine all the veggies and sprinkle with garlic and basil. Mix well.

Unroll the dough; placed on sprayed cookie sheet. Roll dough into 14-inch square and cut into 4 7 inch squares. (This is what the recipe says, but I just cut off some dough and roll it out and I make about 8 calzones with this (2 each because they want TWO)). Place 1/4 cup cheese on half of each square; spread to within 1/2 inch of edge. Top each with 1/4 vegetable mixture. (I don't measure all this out. A little of this-a little of that.

Fold dough in half over filling; press edges firmly with fork to seal. Brush each with beaten egg white (for browning-makes them prettier). Cut 2 or 3 slits in the top of each for steam to escape.

Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.

We serve marinara or pizza sauce on the side for dipping.

Recipe for Cheese Soup

First a disclaimer that this soup is not necessarily super low in fat, but its good and warms me up when its cold in the winter.

Cheese Soup

1/2 cup finely chopped onion
4 Tbs butter or margarine
1/2 cup flour
4 cups milk
4 cups chicken broth or Vegetable broth
1/2 cup finely diced carrots
1/2 cup finely diced celery
Dash each salt and paprika
1 cup grated medium or sharp cheddar cheese

Cook onion in butter till tender. Blend in flour. Add remaining ingredients except cheese. cook and stir till thickened and bubbly. Reduce heat. Add cheese. Stir to melt. Simmer 15 minutes. Serves 8

When my sister gave me this recipe it called for American cheese, but I have never made it that way. I always just used cheddar, so that is the way I am sending it on to you. Also, I tend to put a little bit more of the veggies in this soup. Closer to 3/4 cup. It won't hurt anything and it will be better for you!

Questions? Contact Us.

Leave a comment here, and consider us emailed.

I'll delete the comment afterwards, if you don't.

One of my rules--there may be more later

Because I have posting power, I'm going to use it right now. Last night, instead of getting to sleep, I was thinking about this blog. And worrying. If we're going to talk about food, about who eats what, about what is really best for us, somebody is going to get her little feelers hurt. You know I'm right. "I nursed my children until they were 3." "We only use natural toys in our home (wooden-no plastic)." "Homeschooling is the only way to ensure a proper education for our children." "I have 3 years of food storage under my bed." "A woman who truly loves her children would never work outside the home." "We don't let our children play with non-members."

"Blogging on Sunday breaks one of the Big Ten."
We all have things we're passionate about and that isn't a bad thing. We don't all have to be passionate about the same things, or expect everyone to share our passions. Further, assuming you're a Mormon you've heard the concept of loving your neighbor. One good way to love your neighbor in the context of this blog is to encourage one another, but in the kindest, gentlest, most loving of ways. We all love our families and want to do what is best for them, but we all have different ideas about what 'best' is. Just as if you were being a 'member missionary' you wouldn't walk up to a complete stranger, and tell them they're deluded and they need to join the True Church right now, you wouldn't tell a complete stranger on this blog that how she feeds her family is wrong.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

You don't have to do it all at once

You know how when you ask your 3 year old whether she'd rather have 20 pennies or two dimes, and she'll take the pennies every time?

I was a vegetarian for a long time, from 18-30 years old. Now, I eat mostly poultry. It's very rare that I'll eat red meat, and it's mostly cooked not by me--think Sunday dinner at Mom's house.
I'm willing to cook meat for my family, but not very much. About half the menus for dinner during the week have meat (usually boneless, skinless chicken breasts, or ground turkey). My 5 year old wouldn't care if she never ate flesh again. Unfortunately, my 8 year old feels mistreated without it. My husband is so grateful I gave up strictly vegetarian cooking he doesn't fuss either way.

I have no compelling interest in making anyone give up meat altogether. But, if we can work together to help each other find ways to eat less, that is a good thing to my way of thinking. And that is where the penny analogy comes in. The trick for cutting down meat in your house, if you're not going to give it up altogether, is make a dish look like it has a lot. If you normally use 4 breasts in a recipe, just use 2, and chop them super-small, or shred it. When serving the dish to carnivorous family members, 'plate' their serving with lots of meat on top, so they can see that there is plenty there.

What other ways have readers found to pull one over on their family members? :)

3 recipes

Yea for Millie for starting this new blog! Because my real blog is private, I thought I'd post a few recipes here that I have posted previously that are meat-free.
The first one is funky; 'funky' here means you might not want to tell people what it really is.

Linguine with Basil-Pea Cream
This comes from Cooking Light with a few modifications, not the least of which is the fact that I leave the word Pea out of the title when talking to certain family members.
3 TBS butter, divided
1/2 cup chopped leek
1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth, divided (or vegetable broth, of course)
20 oz frozen green peas
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1 TBS extravirgin olive oil
2 (8oz) packages slices mushrooms
2 minced garlic cloves
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
6 cups hot cooked linguine, about 12 oz uncooked pasta
Melt 1 TBS butter in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add leek and cook 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in 3/4 cup broth and peas; bring to a boil. Partially cover, reduce heat, add basil leaves, and simmer 5 minutes. Place pea mixture and remaining broth
and oil in a blender. Process until very very smooth (you don't want anyone to notice the peas, remember?).
Melt 2 TBS butter in pan over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and garlic; saute 6 minutes or until mushrooms are tender. Stir in pea mixture and salt and pepper. Serve over cooked linguine. Garnish with additional fresh basil, if you desire. I think this recipe is better substituting about a half-cup of half and half for some of the broth.

The next recipe is also from Cooking Light. It's cooked in a crockpot. What's a Mo cooking site without a crockpot recipe? Am I right, or am I right?

Enchilada casserole:
  • 3 tablespoons diced green chiles, divided
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained (I also add a can of pinto beans)
  • 1 (11-ounce) can corn with red and green peppers, drained
  • 1 (10-ounce) can enchilada sauce
  • 1/2 cup egg substitute
  • 1 (8 1/2 ounce) package corn muffin mix
  • 2 tablespoons chopped bottled roasted red bell peppers
  • 1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded reduced-fat Mexican blend or cheddar cheese
  • 6 tablespoons low-fat sour cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons thinly sliced fresh cilantro

1. Place 2 tablespoons green chiles and next 6 ingredients (through enchilada sauce) in a 3 1/2-quart electric slow cooker; stir well. Cover with lid; cook on low-heat setting 4 hours.

2. Combine remaining 1 tablespoon green chiles, egg substitute, muffin mix, and roasted bell peppers in a bowl. Spoon batter evenly over bean mixture in slow cooker. Cover and cook 1 hour or until corn bread is done.

3. Sprinkle cheese over corn bread. Cover and cook 5 minutes or until cheese melts. Top each serving with sour cream; sprinkle with cilantro.

Finally, because we're moving into Fall, here is one of my favorite cool weather soups:
Thai-Style Pumpkin Soup

2 (16 oz) cans fat-free low salt chicken stock/good quality vegetable stock
2 (15 oz) cans pumpkin
1 (12oz) mango nectar
1/4 cup chunky peanut butter
2 TBS rice vinegar
1 1/2 TBS minced green onion
1 tsp grated peeled fresh ginger
1/2 tsp grated orange rind
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 small garlic clove, crushed
cilantro for garnish
Combine first 3 ingredients in a large Dutch over, bring to a boil.
Cover, reduce heat and simmer about 10 minutes.
Combine 1 cup of the soup with the peanut butter in a blender and process until smooth. Return mixture to pan. Stir in vinegar and next 5 ingredients and cook three minutes until thoroughly heated. Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with cilantro.
This is a low fat recipe if you use low fat peanut butter. If you can tolerate a little more fat in your diet, substitute 1 cup of broth for 1 cup of light coconut milk. You'll feel even more Thai if you do it this way.

The Lone Veggie

"Meat, and the world meats with you. Veg, and you veg alone."

More than one bloggy sister has mentioned that she's thought about becoming a vegetarian, or cutting out most meat, but hasn't because her husband or family won't. What to do?

Try it by yourself first.

To some people, going veggie seems to be a black-or-white, all-or-nothing, cut-all-ties-with-normal-life proposition. The new vegetarian must throw out beloved family recipes and buy cookbooks with weird ingredients and shop at gross-smelling health food stores and learn to cook new foods (or learn to cook, period) and force-feed her children and start obsessing over tofu and TVP and EVOO, and buy robes and oils and get new veggie friends. I'm here to tell you that I am way too lazy and cheap to take on anything like this.

The trick, as with anything else in life, is to stop worrying and start doing.

The other trick, as with genealogy (you like how I snuck that in there?), is to start with yourself.

For me, it started at the drive-through. It was a busy Wednesday night - Cub Scouts, soccer, Mutual - and we ran to KFC for a quick dinner. From my son Brennan's example, I knew that if I really looked at the drive-through menu, I could find plenty of veggie-friendly food: cole slaw, baked beans, mac & cheese, corn on the cob, biscuits, and my personal favorite, mashed potatoes and gravy. Lots of choices there, all of which would make me happy and full without involving meat (is it actually possible?). I had the potatoes and the cole slaw and enjoyed them. It was weird and new, but I loved how I felt afterward.

The rest of my family had chicken meals, and while I did ogle those lovely golden nuggets of chickeny joy once or twice, my lack-of-chicken status didn't make me feel deprived. Avoiding meat from this day forward was my choice, and I knew why I made it. It's important to know the "whys" of your decision. Otherwise, sticking to your plan will seem silly when faced with tempation. "Now, WHY am I not eating bacon again?"

If you've decided that going veggie is your course, take it one small step at a time. Buy a new veggie cookbook, research vegetarianism and nutrition online, read that nasty but very effective article Elizabeth-W posted about mad cow disease, stock your kitchen with more fruit and vegetables, check food labels for protein grams (you'll need to know how much you're getting from non-meat foods), hard-boil some eggs... many, many ways to start. Cut out the meat a little at a time, or jump in and go for it all at once - but give yourself room for messing up.

A word of caution: If you're going to go veggie alone, it's best to do it sweetly and peacefully. The goal is to keep your husband happy enough that maybe someday, he'll want to try your new lifestyle with you. Believe that as much crap as you give your husband about his meat-eating, it will come back to you in dump truck loads. When you're on a date with your sweet darling spouse and he orders a wonderful meaty entree, make no snide remarks. Give no raunchy statistics about "what's probably in that burger." Accept his freedom to choose, and be sweet about it.