Going vegetarian…. temporarily

Over the holidays, my husband and I indulged in lots of good food: turkey, chipolatas (mini pork and beef sausages), roast ham, French Canadian cipate with chicken, beef and pork, beef skillet and lots of delicious cheese. Notice how meat-and-protein-heavy our holiday eating was? Yes, we ate fruit (mainly our morning smoothies), and yes, we ate vegetables (pretty much just potatoes, which don’t really count as vegetables, and brussel sprouts), but because we weren’t in our regular working routine, our eating times, what we ate and how much we ate was all over the place. And boy, did we feel it. So as of January 2nd, I decided that we were going vegetarian, temporarily, to let our digestive systems and wallet get back on track, (meat can be expensive!). We weren’t doing a full out cleanse, like a juice cleanse or going gluten-free, we were just eliminating meat from our diet for a while and eating a whole lot more vegetables and fiber in general.

The first dish I made for us was with our new slow cooker, a Christmas gift from my sister-in-law Kate. We were having my brother-in-law Aidan and his wife Erica, along with their son (our nephew) Noah over. Erica has gone vegetarian again, so the meal had to vegetarian anyway. Perfect opportunity to make Vegetable Goulash, from Gina Steele’s The Slow Cooker cookbook, also a gift from Kate. ย 

Vegetable Goulash
*From The Slow Cooker cookbook by Gina Steele, pg. 105

Served with Greek salad and fresh, crusty bread

1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and cut into wedges
2-4 garlic cloves
3 celery sticks, trimmed and sliced
3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
1 small butternut squash, or 2 acorn squash, peeled and diced
300g / 10 oz new potatoes, scrubbed
225g / 8 oz cauliflower florets
1 tbsp hot paprika
1 tbsp flour
410g / 14.5 oz can cannellini beans, drained
600 mL / 1 pint tomato juice
150 mL / 1/4 pint vegetable stock
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 – 1 tsp caraway seeds
salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Preheat slow cooker on high. Heat oil in a frying pan and sautรฉ the onion, garlic and celery for 3 minutes. Add the remaining vegetables, sprinkle in the paprika and flour and continue to sautรฉ for 5 more minutes. Place in the cooking pot and stir in the beans.

2. Blend the tomato juice with the stock and bring to the boil [in a small saucepan]. Stir in the dried thyme, caraway seeds, and seasoning, then pour over the vegetables in the pot. Cover, reduce the temperature to low and cook for 6 to 8 hours [I cooked it for 7 hours, and next time, will cook for 6 hours).

*Serves 4 people

My friend Michelle from high school, who is now a holistic nutritionist in Toronto, has two websites devoted to healthy eating: You Decide Your Health and The Eat More Veg Movement. Early into 2013, Michelle wrote a post called New Year, New Everything, about cleaning up your eating, how holiday indulgence makes us feel horrible, and how getting back on track is totally worth it. Michelle also spoke about feeling withdrawl as the toxins of indulgence leave your body: I certainly felt that my first back at school and my first day in three weeks with no Pepsi – I got a migraine headache!

While on the topic of eating more veg, I received some delicious Tyrells snacks to try in the mail this week. Unfortunately, I didn’t get multiples, so I can’t do a giveaway.
Swanky and delicious!
And while on the topic of food not giving us the blahs, I made these Skinny Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies today, from my new favourite food blog.

These are incredibly rich and gooey, and you’ll definitely need to eat them with a glass of milk or cup of tea, and the best part is that they’re relatively sin-free!

The final recipe is for Scone-base pizza. While this isn’t necessarily vegetarian, because you can add whatever toppings you like, we made a vegetarian version a few times. This is also a quicker homemade pizza for weekday dinners. Although the theme of this post is vegetarian, the photo I chose for this post has a wee bit of ham in it, (it’s the best photo I’ve got).
Scone-base Pizza

350g plain flour
75g butter, softened
180 mL milk
75g cheddar cheese
2 mozzarella balls
tomato sauce
toppings of your choice

1. Preheat your oven to 180’C/350’F.

2. Sift the flour into a large bowl; cut the butter into cubes and add it to the flour. Using your fingers, rub the flour and butter together to eventually form a crumb-like consistency.

3. Form a well in the centre of this mixture, and pour the milk in the well. Using a spoon, slowly mix the ingredients together until a dough starts to form. Turn this out onto a floured surface, and work the dough until just mixed together. The less you work the dough, the better consistency with your scone base you’ll get.

4. Roll out the dough to form your base: the thinner you roll it, the crispier your crust will be. I roll it to about 1 cm thick. Transfer to a baking dish tray, and spoon the tomato sauce over top. You can put as much or as little sauce as you like. I make my own chunky vegetable sauce of brocoli, peppers, courgette/zuchini, grated carrots, onions, mushrooms and garlic. Add any toppings you wish.

5. Slice the mozzarella balls and place over top your toppings, then finish with grated cheddar cheese. Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until your crust is brown. Slice and serve!

*Makes one large pizza of about 8 slices

I made this for my dinner last night, and it was fantastic!

What are your favourite vegetarian dishes?
Did you change your diet after your holiday indulgence?
Next post: Using yoga philosophies for my running (practice). Happy Superbowl Sunday everyone!

7 thoughts on “Going vegetarian…. temporarily

  1. Those brownies look absolutely delicious! I've gone quite a while without meat before, but it was mainly because I was poor and couldn't afford it. I pretty much lived off sweet potatoes…

  2. The brownies are amaaaaaaaaaazing! If I have any left over (or if I make another recipe), I will bring you some Saturday.

    We went through a poor period, where our favourite meal with falafel (99p for the mix) and oven chips with salad and humus. Cheap and delicious, but we got fat!

  3. Wait, first did you say scone-base pizza?!? You know how I feel about scones! ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Second, I received a crock pot for Christmas but I haven't pulled it out yet! I think that I'm intimidated. This recipe looks great.

  4. I was hoping you'd see this post, the pizza is amazing! We had for dinner again tonight.

    Good luck with the crock pot, it's pretty easy. You just do the little prep you need to do, then put it all in the pot, select Low or High, and cook!

  5. That slow-cooker veggie stew looks so hearty and warm! Might have to make it on Sunday, as it's supposed to snow storm here. The brownies would be a perfect dessert, too ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Pingback: 2013: The Year that Was | I Eat Therefore I Run

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