Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Searching for a cooking solution


So since living in Mexico City I’ve been trying different recipes and I haven’t found my groove yet with my vegetarian meals. I did the crockpot for a while, but too many of the recipes had cream of mushroom soup in it and it got a little old. Furthermore, I think the crockpot is good for tenderizing meat, but it tends to make vegetables soggy.

Jacob got me an app called iCookbook with excellent pictures. I tried a few of the recipes, but none of them even came close to hitting the spot. It didn’t help there were really no reviews so how was I supposed to know if they were any good? The pictures always look good.

My next venture has been Emeals. Jacob has graciously started doing all the grocery shopping because carrying groceries home is too much for me at this point (past my due date.) Emeals is a great idea. It creates a week’s worth of meals using coupons and provides a ready-made grocery list. You can choose the grocery store you want, and you can choose the type of plan you want. It would be ideal, but here’s the thing…I chose the vegetarian plan and it seems very clear to me the person who makes the lists is definitely NOT a vegetarian.

*Begin Gripe*

The recipes so far have been disappointing. For example: one of the recipes this last week was “Potato wedges.” Sliced potatoes served with some onions. That is not going to be appealing to anyone looking for a healthy dinner. Another one, though I suppose it was tasty enough, was just a fruit salad…for the main course. I just can’t imagine actually serving my family that for dinner.

The most amusing thing is that so many of the recipes include fake meat. Meatless sausage, meatless chicken, and so on. First of all that stuff is not for sale here in Mexico. Second of all, it just seems so clear that a meat-loving person is coming up with these recipes, a meat-loving person who is too lazy to find out how most vegetarians get their protein (such as tofu, nuts and seeds, whole grains, beans and lentils, dairy). Furthermore it doesn’t acknowledge the fact that many (most?) vegetarians actually don’t like the taste of meat and that’s why they are vegetarians. Hence fake sausage will be unappealing. Vegetarians may be that way purely for the animal cruelty aspect, while still longing for the taste of meat, but that’s kind of presumptuous to assume in their recipes.

Also, many of the recipes use “egg substitute.” Perhaps they are trying to please the vegan customers (if so they should call their plan vegan and not vegetarian), but I googled “why use egg substitute” and the reason is mostly because eggs are high in cholesterol. But most vegetarians do not have high cholesterol; in fact they probably need more in their diets, so eggs are an excellent source of protein for them.

Then there is the final problem of how to cook for both Jacob and I. Fish is normally a good middle ground for us, but I have been trying to only eat fish a couple times per week at the most since being pregnant. Plus Mexico City’s fish doesn’t always look too appealing. This recipe book, Dave's Anabolic Cookbook has recipes for bodybuilders. I’ve been making recipes from here for Jacob for breakfast and my vegetarian dinners at night. Still looking for the right balance there too. It’s not always easy anyway since Jacob sleeps during the day so when I make him breakfast it’s really my dinnertime anyway.

So, I will keep using Emeals until my subscription runs out. Until then, my search for a satisfactory solution to cooking vegetarian continues…


Adespain said...

So I have a few ideas. We have gone more and more vegetarian over the last month. I have found some great recipes. When I asked Jordon how he felt about it- he hadn't even noticed. Then again, he is the easiest person in the world to cook for, and will even eat things I make that I won't eat. He doesn't HAVE to have a large piece of meat on his plate.
So I have mentioned skinnytaste before and I know you looked at it- she does do lots of meats but the vegetarian stuff I have tried is really yummy. Tonight, actually, we'll be trying her blackbean burgers. Another site I like is Oh She Glows. She has a naughty enchilada casserole that I've tweaked that we love. Also, some quinoa dishes. We have an amazing library that has a HUGE selection of cookbooks of all types. Currently I have two cookbooks checked out that I am really enjoying- Eat, Drink and Be Vegan and Let them Eat Vegan! by the same author. We've really enjoyed the food from these books. The second one being my favorite thus far. Also, The Stone Soup has lots of meatless options. She really loves beans. Thus far, none of these have used any meat substitutes- although if Jacob really misses the meat, then maybe for his portion you could throw some in. One of the authors says she never tries to mimic meat! And you know how I love food, Kalli, these all taste great. I still love the taste of meat, but I also love these recipes. They taste great and are so good for our health and that just tastes good on a whole different level. Oh, and even though the books are vegan, I just adjust as necessary since I don't have a problem using dairy. Whew!

Jacob and Kalli Hiller said...

Maybe that is the solution. I just need to buy some cookbooks. So far I have just done online recipes. I will look and see if your favorites have apps on the iPad.

Adespain said...

The Stone Soup is another site-not a book. I found the books first, but I remembered her saying something in the intro and just checked and she does have a site:
I haven't used her site though, I've been enjoying the books. When I have to take them back, I may look more at her site. So an example of an idea for you:

take a look at that recipe. I didn't put pasta in it, nor make it into a casserole. Instead I used it more like filling. I had it without tortillas and a little bit of cheese (I'm lactose intolerant now) and plenty of guacamole and romaine- my boys also had it with cheese, guacamole, lettuce, but also in a tortilla. I was thinking for you guys- there is already cooked turkey sausage crumbles that I buy for when Jordon requests biscuits and gravy- so you don't have to even deal with the raw stuff- you could just throw it in the pan after you have taken out what you want for you- and then he has meat! And honestly, this recipe was so good no one missed or even noticed that there wasn't any meat and also served it that night to another family.
I don't know, just an idea. Maybe you don't like that kind of food- I think another key is to find recipe creators/bloggers that you trust to have good recipes and have similar tastes- or you know how to tweak it to your tastes.
I love figuring this kind of stuff out. Sorry if I am talking too much. You can tell me to stop.

Lauren said...

Oh cool! Way to go Veg! I like the ideas from your friend and I am going to look at those books too. If you have evernote on your ipad I can share some great vegetarian recipes with you. We are meat minimalists and only have meat once a week so I cook vegetarian often.
One tip I like is to do a filling soup each week with some good bread or a salad to compliment it. I have a variety of tasty, filling recipes I have found in books and from veg friends in evernote that I am always adding to. I hope you have it! Let me know!

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