Meat-Free May!

This month, I am doing another month-long project: Meat-Free May! As you might guess, this means I will attempt to not eat any meat for the month of May. Other people are doing it too, and have written about why you would do it here. The New York Times also has a great article about how what we eat impacts the planet. And yes, there is also a quiz!

goat
Vegan me a few years ago, visiting an animal sanctuary.

I have a long and twisted diet history, but for the most part, I don’t like eating meat. I don’t care for the flavor and texture of meat as a whole. For a not insignificant portion of my life, I have been vegetarian and sometimes vegan. I am also a minimalist with food choices. What I mean is that the more food choices there are, the more stressed I feel. (I can’t even tell you how stressed I get just looking at a buffet!) I have tried to deal with this by eating the same thing for breakfast and lunch every day. Breakfast is cereal with almond milk and a banana. Lunch is kale salad with oil and vinegar and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

For dinner I will usually eat out about two nights a week, have take-out one night, and cook the rest. Dinner is varied, but usually kid-friendly. If I were single with no kids, I would probably eat the same two things for dinner every other night, like I did through most of my 20s. (If you are interested, these two meals were a flatbread with garlic and vegetables on it, and pasta with oil, garlic, and greens. Now I would probably add a rice and beans to the mix, you know, because I’m so adult.)

For this month, to keep myself accountable, I’ll write how I did every Monday. I assume the weekends will be the problem, as I tend to be out and about with the kids. I also assume I will be eating at least one slice of pizza and one Impossible Burger a week, which is okay by me. Let’s see what happens!

 

 

Minimizing in the kitchen

It’s no secret that I hate cooking. I also hate being in the kitchen in general. So why do I have kitchen appliances that I can’t immediately name and 37 knifes? Why do I have “good plates”? One thing that has made it a little easier for me to be in the kitchen is not having so many appliances and cookware that I will never use. I think I got rid of about four frying pans and six pots of various sizes. At best, each of these was used once a year. What I have left is a very large pot, a small pot, and a frying pan. Here is where I did go out and buy something–a cast iron frying pan. I use it at least two or three times a week, and it seems to be true that things taste better when they are cooked in it.

pan

The pan I bought, which is super heavy. I think the brand name is Lodge.

I also thought about minimizing cooking without sacrificing money or healthiness. I’ve been reading about those industrious people who cook all their food for the week on one specific day a week. I’m the type of person who could eat the same thing several days of the week, and not be bothered by it, so this idea appealed to me on that merit. But I wanted to start small, because the task was so daunting to me. After looking online for the kinds of things that fared well, I went with rice and beans. It took about an hour to cook up, but I made a ton, and we can eat this every day (with other foods added for variety) with hopefully minimal effort.

If anyone is interested, here is the recipe:

3 cups brown rice

1 medium onion

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon garlic paste

1 can black beans

1 cup frozen peas

2 tablespoons vegetable soup mix

Cook the chopped onion in the olive oil and add garlic paste (or chopped garlic). Add water and rice and bring to a boil. Add beans, peas, and soup mix. Cook on simmer for 45 minutes or until water is gone and rice is cooked. The finished product was pretty tasty, and I think pretty healthy too! It’s easy to heat and eat with a salad, an egg, or whatever else you have, because it does seem to go with almost anything. Of course it can always be eaten by itself if you’re in a rush and nothing is around.

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Here is a not-very-appetizing photo, but I’m not a food blogger per se, so I think it’s good enough. And by the way, this was all made and is currently stored in the one large pot I kept, so they is very little clean up.

If you have any very easy, moderately healthy, make-ahead recipes, I would love to hear them!