Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Fat Tuesday

Happy Fat Tuesday, everyone! When I was a kid, I always had the hardest time deciding what to give up for Lent, so much so that I usually didn't give up anything because I couldn't come up with any good ideas. Similarly, when I had to go to confession, I would get stressed out and draw a complete blank when it came to listing my sins, so I'd resort to inventing some so I could at least have something to cop to, other than the usual "fighting with my sisters" and "not honoring my parents," which seemed so standard and boring. Anyways, I'm allergic to chocolate and I'm not much of a candy-eater, so giving those things up for Lent would be pointless. One year in college, I gave up the elevator in my dorm (hey, I lived on the 4th floor- it was a sacrifice!). I've also tried doing the reverse, instead of giving something up, doing something positive, like going running every day or volunteering twice a week, but I never managed to keep it going for all 40 days.

After years of being a Lenten slacker, I decided to go hardcore last year, and my roommate MJ and I gave up alcohol and did the South Beach diet. Limited carbs and no alcohol for 40 days? Not fun. AT ALL. I won't make that mistake again. This year, I'm going vegetarian. Well, I'm planning to eat fish and seafood but no poultry, red meat, or the other white meat. I plan to return to my omnivorous ways after Easter, but I figure this will be a good way to force me to add some healthy variety to my diet. If anyone has any recommendations for websites with vegetarian recipes, let me know.


brigita said...

I would think the easiest option would be using soy-based meat replacements in your usual recipes (quorn makes *great* chicken analogs), and while I've never really poked around the site much, The Post Punk Kitchen might be a good/fun source for ideas.

Best of luck and feel free to drop me a line if you have any questions. :)

PS: I love me some veggie bangers & mash on days like today. Get Boca's dinner sausages (Italian, smoked, or brats) and serve over mashers with some veggie gravy and a side of wilted spinach.

Veggie gravy: SauteƩ one onion in olive oil until translucent. Add a cup of veggie broth (Knorr boullion is cheap and easy), a bay leaf, some thyme, some soy sauce, gravy starter, and a tablespoon or so of whole wheat flour.

Most (if not all) of these ingredients aren't 100% required and flexible (ie Bragg's Aminos instead of soy, although what's the liklihood of one having the former over the latter...)

Or you could always pick up some cheap powdered gravy mix at the drugstore or dollar store--I have more luck finding vegetarian versions there than in regular groceries. :)

eileen's liver said...

Without meat, I suspect your diet will now be 87% alcohol. It doesn't like good for me.

eileen's liver said...

i mean look good

eileen said...

Thanks, Birgita, for the tips. I always forget about that whole universe of soy products.

And hey, liver, I'm glad you proofread and correct your errors, because you know my brain has a love/hate relationship with typos.

Tricia said...

I can't imagine going carb/alcohol free for 40 days!! The one time I gave up beer for that long, I ate a lot more sugar and carby snacks.

No website sugestions, but as a foodie omnivore who doesn't like to eat meat more than a few times a week, here are a few suggestions:

- Go global (examples to follow)
- Tahini is your friend: hummus and falafel (unless you're allergic to sesame seeds, then stay away!!)
- Substitute tofu for chicken in Thai curries (so much easier to make than I every thought possible with a good jar of curry paste) and Chinese stir-fries; check out Jeff's szechuan stir-fry and "freeze and squeeze" tofu instructions (www.jeff.sorrentino.name)
- Every tried quinoa? It's a grain (or seed; I've heard both) that's full of protein and a blank canvas for flavor additions. Some combos I like: zuchini, cherry tomatoes, feta, black olives, basil and balsamic vingar; roasted butternut squash and garlic with rosemary and feta
- Beans, beans, beans; here's an easy one: through a few diced bell peppers and onion in a pot with a jar of salsa and can or two of beans; cook for a while (30 minutes? more?), then when ready to serve (plain or w/ rice) add a bunch of cilantro
- Eggs: souffles, quiches, frittatas, omlettes, etc...
- Through nuts and seeds in salads for a little extra protein

Okay; more info than you probably wanted, but I get a little carried away when I talk about food. : )

eileen said...

Thanks, Tricia! Very helpful.