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Ode to Vegetables by the 4 Week Vegetarian

So my husband and I have had a successful first week as vegetarians, with no alcohol and minimal refined sugars.  It certainly has given me a new appreciation of fruits and vegetables and has encouraged us to be experimental.  I have discovered celeriac, otherwise known as celery root – not the prettiest before you peel it, but has the texture similar to cauliflower or potato when you cook it, with just the faintest taste of celery; it paired nicely with mushrooms in a delicious lasagne.

Beans, lentils, sweet potatoes, mushrooms and tofu have become our friends …the closest things to meat in texture and are very filling.  I have to say that I want to buy up a variety of vegetables when I go to the market, as I envision making different meals out of them, but then discipline myself to only buy what I will most likely make within the next few days, so as to have them at their freshest.  So lucky to live in California where I can pick fresh fruit and vegetables from my garden, or my friends’ gardens in addition to sourcing from the farmer’s markets.  Our thanks to our friends Carol and Kerry for sharing some buttery avocados from their tree before they moved out of town.

At this point I can’t say that I don’t miss a nice chicken breast, ground turkey, a salmon filet or a good steak, but I am enjoying most of my meals (there has been one not so delightful dish along the way – don’t add hard boiled eggs to sauteed mushrooms and soy chorizo, better to scramble a raw egg with them : ), but one bad dish out of a week’s worth isn’t so bad).  My biggest surprise is that I haven’t been overwhelmed with sweet cravings – dried and fresh fruit and nuts have filled those cravings.

My mother-in-law is enjoying our vegetarian adventures from the sidelines; always checking in to hear about each day’s menu and appreciative of samples to try, alongside her carnivore delights : ).   She hasn’t fully jumped on our band wagon.

This week’s breakfasts consisted of a lot of fruit, a couple days of overnight oats with plain yogurt (soy yogurt for me and dairy version for my husband), chia seeds, a splash of vanilla and a drizzle of honey; cereal with plain almond milk; Quinoa hot cereal with dried apricots; and one of my new favorite weekend breakfasts – sweet potato and almond flour waffles with berry, tangerine and apple compote and pecans on top.

The main entrees that I prepared that served for lunches and dinners were: my favorite curried sweet potato soup ; celeriac, leek and mushroom lasagne; yummy vegetarian chili chocked full of vegetables and beans with a hint of orange and a little soy chorizo to give the texture and illusion of meat; and delicious lentil soup that was bulked up even more with bulgur to really satisfy and fill us.

Oh my vegetarian friends and clients…my repertoire is expanding, call me for your next event!