Mom to the Left

I'm a mom who tends to live just to the "left" of most of the people around me here in Indiana.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Vegetarian Discussion

It's that time of year again when the topic of vegetarianism comes up again in our family. Now that the cold winter is behind us (for the most part) we are more inclined to want to get away from meat. Intellectually we are all behind it (okay, maybe except for the 11yo and the 6yo). The problem is much more pragmatic.

You see, I am Busy. Yes, that's Busy with a capital B. When I was working full time back in February and March, I didn't even set foot in a grocery store. There was no time. Dinner was left up to the hubby and the delivery man. Now that I'm back to subbing, I have a little more time for luxuries like grocery shopping...but not much. I have time to shop, barely. I don't have time for clipping coupons, meal planning, and list writing. So in between my many other errands, I stop by the grocery store, grab a cart and weave in and out of the aisles throwing things into the cart.

At this point it is all muscle memory and habit. I can come up with meat-based meals on the spot without a list because I've done that for years. When I am in the grocery store, I can see frozen chicken breasts or ground beef on sale and immediately 4-5 recipes pop into my head and almost simultaneously so do the other needed ingredients and where I can find them in the store. My mental store of vegetarian recipes is much more limited. I mean, I can do Boca Burgers and Mac and Cheese and I'm about spent. Now I'm sure people could comment to this post and say "you could try ...(insert whatever favorite veggie recipe)". I know that there are lots of other vegetarian options and I have cookbooks at home to help me. The point is, they aren't in my head. To get to them I have to sit down with the cookbooks ahead of time, plan my meals, list the ingredients, check what we already have at home, and then shop. That becomes real Work that takes Time.

My husband is getting irritated with me. He has gone back to eating strictly vegetarian a week ago and I keep making meat for dinner. Last night it was frozen chicken breasts in one of those meal in a box kits. You know the kind, put chicken, stuffing mix and seasoning in one pan, cover with a can of sauce and pop in the oven. Five minutes prep, 30 minutes cooking in the oven, and dinner is served. He frowned. He stopped on his way home from work and bought a frozen organic spinach and feta pizza for himself.

I've told him he is welcome to make dinner himself if he doesn't like what I'm making. Right now this is what I have. I'd like to be able to run through the grocery store and pick out vegetarian meal items (preferably a week's worth at a time) the way I can with meat-based items, but I'm not there yet. Sigh.

Maybe I need to watch Fast Food Nation again. That would probably jolt me into action.

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  • At 10:44 AM, Blogger LaReinaCobre said…

    I can totally sympathize with that. Generally when we eat unplanned veggie dinners at home, they are of the pasta, pizza, or homemade burritos pizza variety. When I was a kid, my mom (a SAHM) would makes lots of beans and rice. We were used to eating beans and rice, so no complaints from us.

  • At 11:00 AM, Blogger jfield said…

    I do a lot of variations on pasta and on beans and rice. The kids have a longish school commute and after school lessons three days a week so I am limited to what is fast. I make Indian style beans and rice one day then make whole wheat pasta (that way I don't feel like I have to have some sort of extra protein every time) and then make some sort of Mexican beans and rice burritos. Then I make fried rice or some sort of Chinese style stir fry or fried rice with the extra rice (I use a rice cooker and keep the rice in the fridge). I generally use Trader Joes and by precut and prewashed vegetables to save time.

    Usually I finish out the week with a soup or casserole that we can make on the weekend. I'm lucky though that my kids are great eaters and eat big vegetarian lunches at school every day that I don't have to cook too.

  • At 1:26 AM, Blogger Will Shetterly said…

    If you're fond of the kits, just use something other than meat: beans, tofu, seitan, mock chicken, tempe— And if you want meat and your husband doesn't, fry yours and add it to your pasta or whatever at the end of the process rather than the beginning.

  • At 11:51 AM, Blogger Michael M. said…

    My wife and infant son (by default) are vegetarians, but my daughter and I are not. Since my wife loves cooking (and is great at it) we adopted the policy that whatever she is nice to fix, we will be nice enough to eat!

    A staple has been veggie beans (gotta have the protein) and they can gussy up many dishes (salads, etc.). Also the veggie crumbles (aka MLS, or Meat Like Substance) are easy replacements for meat-based meals in tacos, lasagne, etc. without having to remember veggie specific recipes. Just a thought.

    Nice blog by the way!


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