I never imagined that would happen to me. I used to run and hide in other rooms when people started to swap recipes.
Then I discovered the joys of being a vegetarian.
I actually enjoy, plan, and grocery shop for specific recipes! I have been sharing them with friends and family, as they have been doing the same.
It’s just plain weird, I tell you!
Here’s the only way I can tell you how it happened…..after moving back home with my parents in 2006 following a divorce, my mom got really into eating healthier and healthier. (We’ve always been pretty healthy, though…I remember discovering pop tarts for the first time…IN COLLEGE!) When we were young she used to hand grind all her grain and we were all vegetarians. 🙂 So, it wasn’t far from her personality to do this again. She subscribed to the Clean Eating magazine after purchasing the wonderful cookbook, Eat-Clean Diet by Tosca Reno. She started cooking food that not only tasted amazing, but also was so super good for you. I came into the kitchen to help. I also read a bit about the amount of antibiotics that are pumped into non-organic chicken (of which I ate tons of at the time…it was about the only meat, besides sushi, that I did consume.) So, I made an easy switch to being a vegetarian.
I do not miss meat at all. Really. I still will eat sushi, however, and I know I cannot go vegan. But, as I am digging myself deeper into this world of vegetarianism, I am falling in love with cooking and eating all over again.
I love to cook now. When I realized this, I wondered why, but then I remembered how disgusted I got cutting up raw meat for dishes. I used to have to have others do that part, even! For me, this has been the easiest transition.
Granted at first, I was a cheesetarian. I basically just added more cheese to my diet. I don’t recommend that. LOL, but it tasted really good! Now, I am discovering the joys of cooking tofu (you can cook it a lot easier than I realized and then freeze it! I use it in everything now, and it thaws out and tastes great….but this was an experiment I had to learn as well.) I also just heard of the benefits of miso, which I love the taste of, and need to check out another protein source called, tempeh.
For now, I must share the recipe I cooked last night, Sweet Potato Fritters with Pinto Beans:
4 servings, 2 fritters & 1/2 cup beans each
Total Time: 45 minutes
1 large sweet potato (about 1 pound)
3 tablespoons canola oil, divided
1 medium onion, chopped
2 large poblano peppers or small green bell peppers, chopped
1 15-ounce can pinto beans, rinsed
1 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika (see Note), divided
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
3/4 cup fine yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup water
4 lime wedges for garnish
Preheat oven to 425°F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.
Prick sweet potato in several places with a fork. Microwave on High until just cooked through, 7 to 10 minutes. (Alternatively, place in a baking dish and bake at 425ºF until tender all the way to the center, about 1 hour.) Set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 4 to 6 minutes. Set aside 1/2 cup of the mixture. Add beans, 1/2 teaspoon paprika and 1/4 teaspoon salt to the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through, about 2 minutes. Cover and set aside.
Whisk cornmeal, flour, baking powder, the remaining 3/4 teaspoon paprika and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Peel the sweet potato and mash in a large bowl with a fork. Stir in the reserved onion-pepper mixture, egg and water. Add the cornmeal mixture and stir until just combined.
Form the sweet potato mixture into eight 3-inch oval fritters, using a generous 1/4 cup for each. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook 4 fritters until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining fritters and oil.
Bake the fritters until puffed and firm to the touch, 8 to 10 minutes. Serve the fritters with the reserved bean mixture and lime wedges, if desired.
Tips & Notes
Note: Look for smoked paprika in large supermarkets with other spices and at tienda.com.
Per serving: 380 calories; 14 g fat ( 1 g sat , 7 g mono ); 53 mg cholesterol; 57 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 10 g protein; 10 g fiber; 664 mg sodium; 780 mg potassium.
Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (279% daily value), Vitamin C (110% dv), Folate (23% dv), Potassium (22% dv).
Carbohydrate Servings: 3
Exchanges: 3 1/2 starch, 1 vegetable, 1 lean meat, 2 fat
And for dessert….
This recipe is probably the BEST cookie recipe ever. 🙂 When I discovered these, regular chocolate chip cookies disappeared from my craving list. Besides being actually GOOD for you (amazing, a cookie can be good for you) these simply MELT in your mouth. These are something that my mother introduced me to, via her Clean Eating cookbook and magazine. I suggest you try them out….they are divine!
Clean Eating says, “Six ingredients, two steps and 20 minutes is all you’ll need to whip together two dozen of our no-flour, dairy-free, low-sugar cookies.”
Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Clean Eating Magazine, March/April 2010
(Makes 24 Cookies)
1 cup unsalted almond butter, stirred well
3/4 cup Sucanat
1 large egg
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
3 oz dark chocolate (70% cocoa or greater), broken into small pieces
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a medium bowl. stir together the first 5 ingredients until blended. Stir in chocolate. Drop the dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes. Remove to a wire rack and let cool for 15 more minutes.
Nutrients per cookie: Calories: 110, Total Fat: 8g, Sat. Fat: 1.5g, Carbs: 10g, Fiber: 1g, Sugars: 3g, Protein: 2g, Sodium: 55mg, Cholesterol: 10mg
Cleaning Eating Nutritional Bonus: “While dark chocolate contains potent antioxidants, think twice before enjoying it with milk. Researchers have found that the bittersweet treat’s free-radical fighters may bind with the protein in milk, interfering with antioxidant absorption and possibly negating any associated health benefits.”