Saturday, September 15, 2012

updates from my kitchen...

       If you've known me a while, or have been following my blog from the beginning, then you know that for about a year before I got pregnant with Noah I was a vegetarian. It all started when we moved into an apartment right up the road from a chicken thing I knew the chicken trucks were stalking me all over the state no matter where I was...there they would be, white feathers flying in the air all around my car. Then I did a little too much research regarding chicken meat and factories, and that was it. No chicken for this lady. Not too long after that it turned into no meat at all....I was insanely healthy during this period of time, and in great shape!! But when I got pregnant with Noah it was like flipping a switch and I instantly needed a bacon cheeseburger... so, whattayagonnado?! During my pregnancy and ever since had Noah, I've been a carnivore again. (I still couldn't bring myself to eat Tyson chicken products,however, they are HORRIBLE regarding steroids and ethical treatment of the animals.) 
        Well, two weeks ago I was getting my cardio on at the local Gold's gym in the Cardio Cinema room and they had a documentary call Forks over Knives was all about the benefits of a vegetarian diet. I was sold. I'm an easy sell. Although, I didn't quit eating meat again immediately, I pretty much resolved myself to it right then. {GRAPHIC DETAIL WARNING} Earlier this week I grabbed two hard boiled eggs to eat for a quick breakfast, cracked one open, sprinkled my salt...took a bite and then thought about what it was I was actually biting into, and I almost puked right in the middle of my kitchen....and that was that. No more meat for this chick! I'm not a bleeding heart that thinks it is wrong to eat animals. I actually think that true hunting is a very organic and natural thing. But I do take issue with injecting a bunch of steroids and chemicals into animals to make the pieces of meat swollen and over sized so that they can charge more for it. I take issue with chickens being inhumanely raised and held before they're killed. There is nothing appetizing about a chicken be so full of steroids that it can't even support it's own weight to stand up. Or, having birds (chickens and turkeys) beaks removed so they don't accidentally peck each other to death from being squeezed  together and over-packed into such small cages where they don't even have room to move. These things I am bothered by, and these things are not natural to me. It's also very psychological for me, I've learned too much and thought too much about it and I can't eat the meat anymore without having mental images of flesh and muscle tissue running through my brain. 
      Luckily I have a ton of vegetarian foods and meals handy from a few years back, and I'm loving finding new recipes and foods to experiment with on Pinterest! Here is an awesome recipe I found that was, no lie, pot-licking good!!

Yummy Pea and Asparagus Risotto

This recipe is for Golden Mushroom, Pea and Asparagus Risotto...the recipe is here ...and it's actually vegan, too! I don't like mushrooms so I left them out, but the rest was soooo good, and easy to make! I ate most of it out of the pot before it even made it to a plate!
I also have been using a new food that I'd never eaten before until this month...spaghetti squash!! My Paw Paw does Weight Watchers and when he made spaghetti for Sunday dinner a few weeks ago he cooked one to eat his meat sauce over as an alternative to wasting carbs and calories on spaghetti noodles. Y'all, it was SO good! So, I went right out this Monday and bought two of my own to cook!

I cooked the right one first, and it made 3 large servings!

I didn't want to get too fancy with my first try, so I stuck to what I knew I liked and planned on cooking one of the squash to eat with some spaghetti sauce on top. There are a couple of options on how to cook the squash. You are really supposed to puncture it and bake it in the oven in a little bit of water, but I microwaved mine which seemed just as effective. I sliced it longitudinally, removed the pulp, wrapped each half in saran wrap, and put it in a dish and microwaved it for about 13 minutes. Then after it cooled enough to handle I scraped the meat out of it. I poured about 1/2 cup of spaghetti sauce on it right out of the jar, some salt and pepper and then topped it with a Quorn herb chikin cutlet. The Quorn products are my favorite faux meat options, they seriously taste just like the real thing. I think they're better than Morning Star by case you were wondering!

my meal

While I was cooking all of this Noah was "helping" by going through all of the cabinets that we didn't child-lock her out of, and making a mess. 

my foot is on the paper plate, because I can get into the paper plate cabinet, and they are fun to throw like frisbees...
As a side note...
She's super talkative these days. Some of her favorite words are: 

"Bubba"- this is what she calls Momo, and she exclaims it every time she sees or hears him
"Uh-Oh"- she really just thinks this is fun to say, she doesn't use it appropriately all the time, and often she will purposely do something wrong in order to get the opportunity to say it. Like dropping things on purpose for me to pick up....this is not my favorite game.
"Mama"- Her daddy is definitely the one who gets the most smiles and laughs from her, but when she is tired, or sick, or wants to snuggle she cries out for me...and that melts my heart! I get more quality hugs and nuzzles than anyone else!
"More" and "All Done"- So, we taught her these two so that we could distinguish why she was fussing in her high chair...was she fussing for more food, or because she wanted to get down? Well let me tell you, that 99% of the time she wants more food, and now all we hear, everywhere, very loudly is "MOOOORREEE!!!!"
"Please"- We have begun working on manners words due to the overuse of the demand for "more". I didn't want my little angel in public screaming and demanding MOOOORRRE if there wasn't a "please" following it! What's absolutely precious about this is that she can't make the "pl" sound yet so it's the most heart warming "puuuhhh". In fact, I think the number one phrase in our house these days is "Moooore, puuuhh!" How can you say no to that??
"Paw Paw"- This is my grandfather, her great-grandfather, and by far one of her favorite people. I also think it's fun for her to say!

Oh hey mom, nope I'm not doing annnyytthhiinng mischievous!! (shout out to Dee Dee for the big bow)

in her Gamecock bloomers and bow, requesting the camera from me...

Anyway, that's what my kitchen is like these days! It's a combination of my vegetarian cooking laboratory and Noah's play room. I can't wait to get her a little kitchen of her own, maybe Santa will bring her one! I'm making sure that she is always eating healthy, too. Most nights she'll share my dinner with me. This Monday she ate asparagus, and Tuesday she had feta cheese and spinach leaves on home made (not by me) wheat bread. She's an awesome eater! Heck, she eats better than her daddy!! If any of you are interested in learning more about a vegetarian diet, and lifestyle I highly suggest Forks over Knives, also I'm always looking to swap good recipes and products! I hope you are all enjoying your weekend, Peace and Love, Layne

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