Less Meat!

I tried to go vegetarian once after watching a documentary about meat processing. It only lasted about a week.

There has been a recent movement called “Meatless Mondays.” Despite the name suggesting that this is only happening on Mondays, you can go meatless on any day of the week. There are lots of reasons for cutting the meat including health reasons and environmental reasons. I have come to terms with the fact that I will never be able to go fully vegetarian, but I do think I can pull off at least two days a week without meat to improve my overall health.

Sounds easy, right? It is a little more difficult with my attempts at following the Paleo diet about 75% of the time. So, no veggie pastas, veggie tacos, veggie pizza, or other easy go-to ideas that may immediately come to mind.

Today was my first attempt at being a vegetarian. I personally find it hard to think of a variety of ways to spice up my diet without the proteins I grew up on, so I thought I’d start sharing my attempts at making vegetarian fun and healthy.

My first meal was breakfast and I had a boiled egg and cantaloupe (and coffee of course!)

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For lunch, I used portabello mushroom caps, brushed them with olive oil inside and out, and added a slice of tomato, red onion, and mozzarella fresca. “Fresca” is Spanish for “fresh.” Every ingredient used was fresh, so I’ll call this my Portabello Fresca Pizza. I baked it at 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes.

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Finally, for dinner, I tried a recipe I found on Pinterest for Kale and Butternut Squash Saute. I did not have the dried cranberries, but it still turned out to be pretty good. In past posts I’ve made Butternut Squash and Chicken Curry and Butternut Squash Soup.

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There are lot of types of vegetarians (as I often hear in my students’ speeches). Because of the egg and cheeses used in today’s meals, I’d be considered a lacto-ovo-vegetarian. I found that the most vegetarians have trouble getting enough protein, so I think the egg and cheese is necessary. I also had an apple with peanut butter (more protein) for a snack.

And apparently the term for someone trying to be vegetarian sometimes, like my two days a week, is a flexitarian. So many terms! We’ll see how long this lasts…

Flexi-Lacto-Ovo-Vegetarian signing off.

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The Gina Special

I haven’t had a real food challenge all week thanks to the busy end of the semester craziness. But that is ok. I’ve had plenty of fun making up meals like my paleo crab cakes and asparagus soup and gonig out to eat at places like Doodles.

When I went into the office today, I had a special package hagning on my office door from my sweet friend Gina. She brought me two beautiful butternut squash from her garden. I was immediately inspired and came home to whip something up for the crockpot (and it isn’t even crockpot Wednesday!).

First, I poured coconut milk and red curry paste into the crockpot (leftover from curried chicken and cabbage). I added pickled ginger (leftover from homemade sushi). Finally I added ginger and curry powders.

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Cut the butternut squash and the chicken into bite sized pieces.

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Add the squash and chicken to the crockpot, stir to coat well, and cook on low for 4-6 hours.

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You can serve this over rice, eat it as is, or serve it with a salad. We went with the salad to keep our meal consistent with the Paleo diet. I also liked that the spinach added a little color to the plate. Thanks to Gina for making the Gina special possible!

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Looking for another butternut squash recipe? Check out this cream of butternut squash soup.