Friday, December 14, 2012

Last Week of Meat

My last week of meat.

Yup. I’m doing it. I’ve officially decided to revert back to my vegetarian tastes. However, this time, the plan is to still be able to walk a flight of stairs without having to sit and catch my breath after.

(Anemia is not fun. If it ever asks you out, turn it down.) 

Everyone is pretty supportive of my decision; The Boy doesn’t mind as long as sometimes I’ll eat chicken if he cooks it. That’s okay with me, but eventually that will probably end as well. 

So last week was in fact, my last week of meat. 

In celebration, I began to slowly wean myself off but also enjoy a few final dishes. 

Tuesday night I came home to my mother making shepherd’s pie. The aroma of peppers, onions, and hamburger sautéing in the skillet convinced me I wasn’t going vegetarian that night. The creaminess of the potato topping, the peppery kick, and the refreshing bites of corn convinced me to have a second bowl. 

Thursday night my parents took The Boy and I out for dinner at a local restaurant. It isn’t exactly a Hannah-friendly place, but there are a few dishes I can eat. I went with a warm, spicy bowl of chili. During that, I decided to definitely find some vegetarian chili recipes. 

Today is Friday, my last day. Although, that’s probably not true. I’m so strict with myself as it is, that in the beginning I’m sure a few bites here and there of the old favorites will slip through now and again. Here on out however, I will be steadily watching my intake and working to get it done to none. 

Why? I’m not exactly sure. The whole animal rights thing is a small part of it, I do believe that needs to change, but it’s not the key motivator for me. Really, I just also believe that it is possible to live a healthy (even healthier) life without meat. I guess I’m going vegetarian for the health benefits and my taste buds (they like meat, but they’re pretty content not eating it). 

I haven’t quite made my decision about eggs yet. Those will probably stick around for a while. So technically, with my lactose intolerance I would be called a ovo-vegetarian. 

As I begin my newest food journey I’m going to share one of my best go-to recipes. A vegetarian stir fry. 

In Thai cooking, everywhere you look you’ll see, “Peanut Sauce.” Surprisingly, I’m not such a fan. I’m don’t know why, it sounds exactly like something I’d jump on. It has to be one of the spices they use or something. Just doesn’t go well for me.

The product I didn’t like, the idea… I absolutely loved.

Peanut butter is rather versatile when you get to know how it works. 

It melts when heated (obviously), it solidifies again into a clumpiness if cooled off afterwards. Add a little warm water and get it heated right and keep stirring, now you’ve got yourself a peanut butter sauce.

I found this out when cooking a veggie stir-fry one night. I had zucchini, summer squash, carrots, celery, and bell peppers. I knew this combination would be a perfect canvas for my peanut butter sauce. 

But just peanut butter? That’s not weird enough for me 

I went to the fridge and grabbed what I already knew to be a great complement for the base of my sauce creation - Horseradish Mustard. (Feel free to laugh, gag, or do whatever to gain your composure before reading on.)

Yes, yes, I know, it sounds disgusting. But if you’ve ever had horseradish mustard think about it for a second. You know that nice little kick it’s got to it? It goes EXCEPTIONALLY well with my homemade peanut butter. To be honest, I didn’t think it would either till I tried it on a sandwich.

So here’s the recipe to my not-so-famous-with-anyone-but-me Veggie and Quinoa Stir-Fry.

(*Note - this recipe could probably serve two if you double the serving of quinoa, but I’m kind of a pig when it comes to peanut butter and veggies so I usually finish it off myself)


- 1/4 Cup Quinoa
- 1/2 Cup of water (I tend to add a little extra)
- Pepper to taste
- About two drops of horseradish mustard (if I had to guess, about a teaspoon? Maybe half? I eyeball it)

- 1 Tablespoon over olive oil
- 1 Small or medium zucchini
- 1 Small or medium summer squash
- 1 Medium carrot
- 2 Stalks of celery
- 1 2/3 Cups of sweet corn

- About half a tablespoon of horseradish mustard (or to taste, but don’t overpower the peanut butter)
- 2 Tablespoons (or so) of peanut butter
- A couple teaspoons of honey (optional)


1) Cut all veggies (except corn) into thin slices

2) Boil water, add quinoa, then reduce and simmer (covered) until most of the water is absorbed

3) While quinoa is cooking, heat the oil in a pan, add zucchini, squash, carrots, and celery

Make sure you have a big enough skillet!!
Learned that the hard way.

4) As veggies begin to soften, stir together the sauce ingredients. You may have to add a little but of warm water

5) Once the veggies are fully cooked (celery will still be a little hard, that’s fine), add in the corn. Add in the peanut butter mixture and stir till all veggies are coated and a sauce has formed. You may have to add water.

6) When quinoa is almost done add in the pepper and the horseradish mustard

7) To serve, pour quinoa into a dish and layer the stir-fry on top

I swear it tastes and smells better than it looks!

8) Enjoy :)

I’ve made many variations of this dish. The veggies change and so does the sauce. One of my personal favorites is BBQ sauce and peanut butter, over bell peppers (any color works), an onion, celery, carrots, apple, and pineapple or mango. Sometimes I omit the quinoa and just eat the veggies, I usually make enough so I don’t need a base. 

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