Monday, June 18, 2007

Eating Veggies

Some time back, Sara Foz, I believe, requested I post ideas for vegetarian eating. It feels strange to write a whole post on food (I mean other than restaurant eating!), but I do want to make my readers happy!

Yesterday I was reading Carolyn Mahaney's Feminine Appeal and these words stood out to me. They seemed appropriate for this post:
"First and foremost, we are to recieve our food with thanksgiving. It is God who created and provided food for us in the first place. Shouldn't we at least be grateful? Let us resolve never to eat without offering thanks to our God for His bountiful provision.

"God also wants us to enjoy our good. It is a gift from the one 'Who richly provides us with everything to enjoy'. . . Jesus thoroughly delighted in the gift of food. So let's relish our food in the same way."

When I first became a vegetarian, I did so to make an attempt to be more healthy. However, the dorm food I most enjoyed (cookies, chips, cheese and crackers, desserts of all kinds) were still allowed by my new diet, and I was certainly more unhealthy than before. Later, I went through an eating disorder during the years Josh and I were courting and engaged. Food was the enemy, and I rode a roller coaster of emotions based on how fat or skinny I felt that day (notice I say felt. Rarely do we actually look how we feel! No one else would have guessed I was on cloud nine because I had eaten the EXACT number of calories I'd alloted myself). The Lord has so graciously taken me through that destructive and idolatrous mindset to a freedom where food is concerned. I do not eat meat. But I do attempt to eat a balanced diet of protein, grains, fruit and especially -- veggies! There are so many good things to eat out there that just by trying them, it is easy to keep your diet full of delicious variety!

Typically, Josh and I eat the following meals every week: pasta, mexican (of some variation), beans and rice (usually red), pizza, eggs. Those are easy vegetarian meals we both enjoy. Here is a list of some of my favorite vegetables, and how I like to prepare them. Hope it gives you some ideas!

Avacado: this may be my favorite food. I adore eating them made into fresh guacamole, or just sliced on a sandwich. Last week I tried one on a bagel with some sliced tomato, salt and pepper! WOW! You can also wrap them up in a tortilla (drizzle with ranch dressing), slice them on a salad, or eat them plain! YUM!

Asparagus: grilled is the very best way to eat these things. Also, if you steam it, drizzle lemon juice and butter and eat it as your entree with some bread. Or try it sauteed with other veggies and some pasta (I find it best to half or quarter them).

Artichokes: rounding out the big 3A's for me is this spiky guy. I'll admit -- I just buy the canned hearts. Chop them up, mix them with a little spinach, garlic, light mayo, Parmesan cheese and mozzarella. Bake it until all the cheese is melted. WONDERFUL dip. People ask me all the time for the recipe -- there it is. I also enjoy artichoke hearts as a pizza topping, or in the pasta salad at The Courier Cafe.

Broccoli: I love dips. This broccoli dip can be made with fresh or frozen broc! Chop it finely, add lots of onion (red looks pretty), chopped red pepper (or yellow), fresh garlic, light mayo, light sour cream and cheddar cheese (I buy 2% cheese). The amounts just depend on how much you want to make -- just add enough of everything until it's creamy. Salt and pepper everything, of course.

Carrots: who couldn't like these? Here is a delish pasta recipe: sautee lots of fresh garlic in olive oil, and add sliced carrots (I take the baby ones and halve them long way). About when the pasta water boils, add lots of green olives, mushrooms, and fresh parsley. When the pasta is nearly done, add halved grape tomatoes and pine nuts. Toss the pasta in your olive oil sauce! You can omit any of the ingredients, depending on what you have on hand. Good with tuna, too!

Green Onions: I was a grown up before I realized that you can eat the green part, too. These are a vital ingredient in "Cottage Cheese Stuff" invented by Rhonda Ferguson, which long enjoyed the status of my favorite food. Slice the green scallions, halve grape or cherry tomatoes, and mix into cottage cheese with plenty of garlic salt (secret ingredient) and pepper.

Mushrooms: The food Josh and I equally hold in high esteem. We love to saute a huge pan of them to eat with eggs, roast them in the oven (or grill in foil packets) with red potatoes and onions, put them on pizza, or eat them fresh in salads. I love a "burger" of a portabella top.

Olives: These surface so often as my favorites. I like them all, but I most commonly eat everyday green spanish olives. I like them on top of a bagel and cream cheese (with tomatoes!), in scrambled eggs, on pizza, and in burritos (black ones). Sometimes we get pizza with double olives!

Peppers: red are bar none superior to the other colors. If you actually eat them, they are well worth the price. Put them in the dip I mentioned earlier, on a grilled cheese sandwich, or just fresh in their glorious sweetness. Piperade is a wonderful sort of sauce to be eaten with poached eggs. Chop up red peppers very small, and heat them with chopped tomato, salt and a little cayenne. Wowzers.

Tomatoes: these are obviously the king daddy for me. I am certain I eat some variety of this vegetable-like fruit every day. I am drawn to sauces, salsas, slices -- whatever! I am so sorry for you if you don't like tomatoes. I cannot help you with that, because I simply cannot imagine it. Here is a great way to use up the big fresh ones from the garden (do you need help with that? It is not really a problem for me, I eat them so much). Cut a big or medium tomato in half, drizzle it with olive oil, salt and pepper (lots of pepper). Roast them slowly in the oven at a lowish temp. I like to toss some pine nuts on top near the end, and eat them with fresh bread. Holy moly. You won't believe how good it is. You won't need anything else for dinner.

This is only a small survey of ideas from my favorite veggies, saying nothing of roasted garlic, veggie lasagna, potato latkes, and sweet pea risotto. The list of ideas are all off the top of my head, I didn't consult a single cookbook. What is your favorite way to eat veggies?


sara said...

Gretchen, Thank you, Thank you, thank you!!!! That is exactly what I needed- just a little help from a friend to inspire me...and I got a lot of great ideas and lists of things for my next shopping trip. Everything sounded good to me. I will try it all!!! :)

Anonymous said...

I agree! Your recipes sound so good. We usually eat our veggies raw and sometimes with dip. I'm partial to Tastefully Simple's Cool 'N Creamy Cucumber dip.

Emily said...

oh gosh darn! I just left the longest comment, and it didn't post!! blurgh!

Ok, anyway, it said that I love veggies most the way that you make them, you just know how to do it to make it seem like the food is something rare and precious. ;)

Steph said...

I've gotten caught up on your blog! It has been too long. I'm late on telling you Happy Anniversary (so sorry about that - we were in TN). We couldn't stop in KY to see you - LONG trip with little boys - but as we drove down I told Elijah "This is where Miss Gretchen lives" so on the way back he told me - I was impressed he remembered!
Guess who is helping in the summer program - I get to start out with the natives while they say their verses. I am in charge of keeping the rest of the kids busy. Plus, it is my goal to have really straight lines from activity to activity. It makes me miss you all the more! Remember all our daycare/s.s. times? I agree with you - how does six years fly by but at the same time feel like a life time ago?
I love your recipes - although I'm not brave yet to make them. I'll have to have you teach me sometime when you are home!

Murray Crew said...

Alright, Miss Gretchen...can I just tell you how much of an encouragement you are to me? Wow - girl, you have a gift. Wish I could hug ya now! I was hopin' maybe I'd see you at Amy M's wedding. Brad and I got a night out - talk about a beautiful event! Miss you, chickadee!
Jen Hen (and the cutie quads)

Elise said...

Hi Gretchen - this is one of your many cousins, (Caitlyn) Elise, your Uncle John's daughter. I've stumbled upon your blog and have been reading back through the entries, out of interest. Isn't it odd to be related to someone and yet hardly know them :)? Anyway, you seem to be a wonderful writer and I hope you are well.

Gretchen said...

Elise! Wow, small world (the web is, I mean). Thanks for reading my blog and leaving a note to say so! Have you been in any good shows lately? Hello Dolly is coming to Louisville and Carol Channing is going to be at opening night. I love that show! Maybe Josh and I will go. :)

Do you have a blog? Stop by again sometime and tell me what you're up to!

Anonymous said...

hey Gret, yum. You do make veggies the best. However, I just finished watching a home video where your baby self is innocently eating halves of McDonalds hamburger. All ketchupy. ;)It was the cutest thing, besides the blurb where Dad is carefully feeding you some unknown substance and then eating bites himself. :) You were such a little bibble, and didn't know that you would never eat meat. :(

Anonymous said...

oops, that last comment was from Anna :)