I said in my last post that I’d try to share a few things I’ve done in the first few days of my Vegetarian Experiment to make things work in this typically omnivorous household. When I started trying to eat this way, it was the end of the month. I wasn’t going to be able to go grocery shopping for a few days, so I had to work with what we had in the house. That meant leftovers, and a few stray vegetables.
The first few days I mostly ate eggs and toast, or oatmeal for breakfast. Lunch was a PB&J sandwich, or another egg-something. Dinner had to be leftovers, which consisted of tuna casserole (I called myself a pescetarian at that meal!), and leftover chili (which had hamburger in it…sorry, but I was hungry!).
At one dinner, I made a yummy skillet meal that used up all the stray veggies in my fridge (carrots, a zucchini, green onion, and some cabbage). Before I added the hamburger for the rest of the family, I scooped out a bowl for myself. This is one thing I think I’m going to be doing a lot to keep my meals meat free. Admittedly, this meal was made with beef flavored Top Ramen, which isn’t the healthiest thing in the world (and obviously not vegetarian), but DARN IT!, Ramen is good. And I bought Oriental flavor (which IS vegetarian) for the next time I make it.
The day after I made the skillet meal, I was able to go grocery shopping. Would you like to see my produce haul? It’s pretty fantastic!
Here are my veggies: carrots (whole and shredded), celery, green onions, avocado, spring salad mix, romaine lettuce, red bell peppers, portabella mushrooms, green beans, alfalfa-broccoli sprouts, Brussels sprouts, white potatoes, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, and yellow squash.
And the fruit: apples, pears, kiwis, tiny oranges, bananas, lemons, limes, and blueberries.
Along with the produce, I bought (or replenished) lots of staples: canned and dry beans, quinoa, tortillas, white and brown rice, breads, cheese, eggs, etc, etc, etc. And what have I been doing with all of these wonderful groceries?
For lunch one day, I made myself some Crunchy Black Bean Tacos. They were so delicious, and I don’t usually like black beans! The seasoning was perfect, and it would be very easy to swap out the filling with some other combinations. I added some sour cream and taco sauce, and served it with what my sister likes to call a BAS, a Big Ass Salad.
Eggs have become a big part of my breakfast menu. I know I shouldn’t eat a ton of them, but they are an easy source of protein, and they keep me full longer than oatmeal or cereal. So, until I can get some protein powder for smoothies, eggs will probably be my go-to breakfast food. Here is a fried egg on a whole wheat english muffin, smeared with some mashed avocado and topped with some hot sauce.
A few years ago, at a crafting retreat with my sisters and some friends, we had wraps for lunch one day that were absolutely delicious. I never made them after the retreat, although I always vowed I would. Well, this Experiment seemed like the perfect time to do it! I threw broccoli, cauliflower, green onion, shredded carrot, sprouts, and red bell pepper into the food processor and gave it a whirl. I kept going until everything was chopped pretty small. I put some in a tortilla with some ranch dressing, and it was just as good as I remembered. I had the same thing for lunch today, except I added black beans, taco sauce, and shredded cheddar. I also plan to cook this a bit and add it to some quinoa for a quick “fried rice” type lunch.
And the last picture I have are some Baked Egg Rolls I made for dinner last night. The fuller tray has chicken (for the rest of the family), and the less full tray is only vegetables. Everyone loved these, and five of us finished off all of them (the youngest didn’t eat any, and the oldest had FIVE!). I have a few wrappers left, which I hope to use to attempt to make some southwestern style egg rolls. I’ll let you know how it goes. 😉 I served these with white rice and soy sauce, because the hubby doesn’t like brown rice. Eventually I will make brown rice for all of us (the kids like it) and make him a separate pot of white.
So, there are my first few days as a vegetarian, in pictures. Some other points of the last few days that don’t have photos to go with them:
-For breakfast this morning I made a smoothie with vanilla Greek yogurt, a banana, peanut butter, oatmeal, coconut oil, cocoa powder, and agave syrup. I usually prefer fruit smoothies with spinach added, but I didn’t have spinach, or much frozen fruit. I will rectify that situation soon!
-For dinner tonight we picked up a few to-go lasagna dinners from a local fundraiser (send those kids to outdoor camp!). They had a vegetarian option, which was, unfortunately, just regular lasagna with no meat. It was good, but I wish they would’ve added some spinach or other vegetables to it.
My daughter kept asking me “Why did you get a vegetarian one?”, since I haven’t really talked to anyone in my family about my Experiment. I brushed her off, but I suppose at some point I will have to explain my choices to them. But…that’s another post.
-I have been rockin’ the water drinking this week. At least 64+ ounces of water a day, plus sometimes a Crystal Light Pure Lemonade in the evenings. Because, let’s face it, sometimes water gets boring.
I know drink mixes probably aren’t the best thing, but I feel a little better because this brand doesn’t have all of the artificial stuff in it. As for flavors, the Lemonade is very good. The Grape is yummy, too, but I didn’t really like the Mixed Berry (my kids drank it, though). I haven’t seen the other two flavors at my store, but I will keep an eye out for them.
I still have a soda everyday. I just really, really love Dr. Pepper. I can’t help it. I feel like, though, that I am doing so many healthy things for my body right now (eating healthier, running, drinking tons more water, cutting out 95% of other sweets), that a bottle of soda everyday isn’t going to kill me (especially since a month ago I was drinking up to three bottles a day). I figure, once the real training kicks in, for the half marathon I want to do at the end of summer, the desire for the soda may just naturally go away. And if not, I’m okay with that too.
-I realized I’ve been doing great with the vegetable eating, but not so great with the fruit. I’ve never been a big fruit eater anyway, a banana here or there, but not much else. I think smoothies will be my biggest go-to for fruit consumption, once I get the freezer restocked.
-I also made Hummus for a snack. My youngest daughter told me it “hurt her” when she taste-tested, although I’m still not quite sure what that means. To be fair, she was tasting it straight from the food processor, and it wasn’t real great that way. Once I sprinkled black pepper and drizzled olive oil on it, it was much better. My oldest daughter even had some after she was finished with her dinner.
So, there it is. My first week as a “vegetarian.” Sorry if it’s a bit overwhelming! I know I shared a lot, but…there was a lot to share!
See you later! I’m headed to bed now. 🙂