Veggie Month has arrived at the Exacting household! I had created a challenge to use up all the meat in the freezer and then prepare only vegetarian meals for a month. The meat lasted two weeks longer than anticipated because we don’t eat meat every day, I worked some extra evening shifts at work (so couldn’t cook at home those nights), AND we received the gift of a chicken! Say what? A family friend gave us a local, free range chicken that he personally raised and butchered. If we had left it in the freezer until our veggie month was over, I was concerned that (a) I’d give in to a craving for roast chicken mid-month, or (b) it would sit there like a “prize” for finishing the meat-free month. So it was summarily eaten up, and Veggie Month began June 1.
Since we’re creating the challenge, we are setting our own rules (which allow for one exception):
- All meals will be prepared from scratch as usual
- All meals will be new-to-us recipes. We always ate some veg meals anyway, but will not use our old stand-bys for the month. We are using 2 cookbooks: Vegetarian Times Complete Cookbook, and Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian
- No wrangling extra opportunities to eat out
- Meals will not be made from processed meat substitutes like veggie hot dogs, TVP or tofu
- No meal skipping and filling up on peanuts, popcorn, etc.
- No meat purchases whatsoever during the month, not even if our favourite sausages go on sale June 29 and we plan to eat them later 🙂
- No exceptions for vacation – we’ll be in Toronto for 4 days, but TO has wonderful veggie restaurants like Magic Oven and Fresh, as well as falafels and samosas for sale everywhere!
- The exception – we will eat meat if it is served to us as the main course in someone else’s home. I expect to have 3 meals at my parents’ place over the month. 27 meat-free dinners out of 30 this month is good enough!
I should note that we are not vegan and are in fact enthusiastic dairy consumers, and we will continue to eat eggs.
Here is the meal plan for the first week-and-a-bit:
I have cold cereal or oatmeal with raisins for breakfast, and then I have toast or a muffin when I get to work, both washed down with copious amounts of coffee. Rom has crumpets or English muffins with jam, and yogurt.
I have all my lunches in the staff room at work, and I alternate among big salads with cheese and nuts, avocado sandwiches, hummus and pita bread, and soup. Once in a while I bring rice & beans. I bring raw veg to chomp on, and a cup of yogurt every day. Rom has bread, cheese, raisins, fruit, and occasional lunch items catered into his office, like pizza or pita sandwiches.
Oranges, apples, bananas and nuts are the usual. Rom has ice cream most nights and I chip away at a bag of candy over the course of a week.
None, except at restaurants or someone else’s house
June 1: Falafel Sloppy Joes. Very easy weeknight supper. You mix a 180 g / 6 oz package of falafel mix (which has all real food ingredients) with a can of chopped stewed tomatoes (up to 796 ml / 28 oz) and chilli powder to taste, and spoon onto buns. Serves 4, quite heartily. In the future I will make my own falafel because this was way too salty. Otherwise, it was a hit!
June 2: Leftover falafel buns for lunch. Corn Fritters for dinner. Rom made a variation from the Bittman book that does not use eggs, baking powder or flour – just cornmeal, corn, cheese and milk. I was entirely convinced this would never work, but it was edible. Served with refried beans.
June 3: We have eggs for lunch every Sunday, and had them with leftover corn fritters, toast and vegetables. For dinner my mom served ham and scalloped potatoes. And rhubarb pie, swoon!
June 4: Today Rom is making a Dal with Mung Beans, Coconut, Apples, Mint and Lime.
June 5: Leftover Dal
June 6: I am working the evening shift so I will bring a bagged “supper” instead of a brown bag lunch (see lunch list, above). Since I will be actually having lunch at home before work, on my own, I will probably have my favourite lazy thing which is cheese toast made in the toaster oven.
June 7: Rom is making Mushroom Fritters. With eggs, baking powder and flour this time. Not sure what will be served with them.
June 8: More Mushroom Fritters.
June 9: We already have 3 meals backlogged this week because of the meal at my parents’ place, extra leftovers, and my work schedule. So, we have a choice of 3: Pizza with Potatoes and Garlic, Nut Lentil Loaf, or Couscous with Artichokes.
That covers our launch and first full week. I’m sure this is totally unattainable for folks with kids because we have unlimited time for food prep, and don’t have to worry about children’s palates.
If you are curious about any of the recipes, I will post by request – if they turn out!
I know I won’t miss meat at all for the first week or so. Maybe it will kick in later?
Additional info: I use the Diet Power software program which allows you to track the calories and nutrients in all your food over time. So I will be able to check if all of my nutrition needs are met this month, and adjust accordingly. I don’t take any supplements.