Vegetarianism is a new thing for me… I haven’t eaten meat since May 23rd, to be exact. Several factors went into my decision to go “veg”:
1. General health, weight loss and disease prevention. No meat= no animal fat, less cholesterol, lowered risk of heart disease, and less fat on me. Lots of veggies= lots of fiber, antioxidants, and a reduced risk of cancer. Considering my family history of cancer and particularly my mom’s recent battle with cancer (she kicked cancer’s tookus, btw), any act of prevention is worth the perceived inconvenience or sacrifice. And I’ve lost six or seven pounds in the past 2 months, a definite bonus (or primary motivating factor, if I’m honest).
2. The meat industry in the US will do anything to those chickens and cows to make more MONEY. And their profit comes at a high cost to consumers, including food-borne illness (resulting in ~5,000 deaths per year); consumption of chemicals, steroids and hormones; and harm to our environment. I’m really not against the principle of eating animals, but the conditions in which factory-farmed animals are raised are pretty yucky. If chickens were allowed to run around and act like chickens, I might still eat them!
So. Thats why I’m a vegetarian. It hasn’t been bad. There were a few rough weeks while I was at camp this summer where I really just wanted to eat some chicken strips. And I did eat too many potatoes and too many sweets overall… Camp fare is pretty limited in options.
Now that I’m home from camp, fresh fruits and veggies abound, and I’ve gotten to balance out my diet. Tonight, Mom gave me the charge of fixing dinner, and I opted for a Greek menu: spanikopita, patates fournou, and a Greek salad. See the recipes and notes below.
- Patates fournou , roasted lemon-garlic potatoes: I followed this recipe and it filled an 8×8 pan (not 11×14 as the recipe says). And I lessened the olive oil to just a drizzle to coat the potatoes and lessened the water from 2.5 C to 1 C. They were delicious and tender!
- Spanikopita, spinach pie: Don’t let the amount of spinach or the phyllo dough intimidate you. Add another drizzle of olive oil after cooking the onions/garlic and fill the skillet with spinach, cook it down, and add a bit more at a time. It definitely takes more than 2 minutes, and it (miraculously?) all fits! And be generous with the phyllo dough. It comes pre-made and frozen. Thaw it out ahead of time and layer more than four sheets on the bottom and top (its so delectably flaky… you want more!) And with the left-overs, I’m going to make baklava!
- Greek salad, yum! Using olive oil and not plain cooking oil would add a good dimension to the dressing.
Yummy colorful salad!
The potato dish had a long cooking time, so I started it first, then worked on the spanikopita while it cooked. Once they were both in the oven, I threw together the salad with Mom’s help chopping. I am definitely an “Aunt Neva”-style cook (check out cousin Melissa’s blog for more on that), and there were quite a few components to this meal, so clean-up took a good while for me. It was delicious and worth the time! Mom and Dad were both pleased (and they didn’t even miss the meat!)