Tuesday, February 26, 2013


I grew up in a steak and potatoes household.
But it was also a meatballs and spaghetti, chicken and rice, ham on Easter, roast on Sundays, hotdogs in the summer household.
And by that I mean, we ate meat. And we ate a lot of it.
We ate it with every meal.
And now Travis and I eat it with almost every meal. While learning to cook, it never occurred to me that I should learn how to cook meals without meat.

 I think the primary thing that people know about Mormons these days, is that we don't drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes, or drink coffee or tea (except herbal tea.)
This doctrine comes from a revelation often referred to as "The Word of Wisdom."
The crazy thing is, though, that's not all the Word of Wisdom directs us to do.

A lot of people, including members of the LDS church, may not realize that the Word of Wisdom also encourages us to eat fruit in its season, to eat a lot of grains (it should be the "staff of life" it says), and to only eat meat in times of winter, cold, or famine.

I've reread this several times lately, trying to decide if it means what I think.
Or rather, trying to convince myself that it doesn't mean what I fear.
I think I have to be a vegetarian in the summer.

But summer is the time of hotdogs and burgers on the grill! Of teriyaki shish-kabobs! Of meaty hobo dinners cooked on a camp fire!

I don't know how to make meat free meals (at all. I've got like three in my entire repertoire), but this spring - starting in... May sometime, I guess, Travis and I are going to try to be meat free (at least 5 days a week.)
That being said, we will still eat fish and seafood - because I'm pretty sure that doesn't count, and since I love meat and am not against it for moral reasons, recipes that call for chicken broth, eggs, or a few bacon slices, etc are not necessarily out the window.

But please, leave me comments and links to your favorite meat free or seafood recipes.
I'm trying to build up my stack of meatless meals that are satisfying and filling.
It's not long.

So far that list consists of:
Bean soup (which is too hot for summer.)
This other bacon bean soup, which actually has meat in it.
Quinoa Taco Salad
And Wild rice casserole with the chicken replaced by mushrooms. As you can see, this list needs work.

Hopefully, this will help our family eat better, feel healthier, spend less money on groceries, and be better at following the commandments.

What do you think of our goal?

Do you have any advice for first-time vegetarians?

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Casey said...

Funny you're posting about this. Jayson has been requesting meatless meals for awhile because his line of work has completely turned him off from eating it. (He worked on human cadavers, and now works with heart muscle and mouse tissue. Bleh.) So, anytime I made a meal, he would come home and eat a little of it and stop. He couldn't stomach it. So, I started looking into meatless meals, too! And now my life has changed!! I grew up in a family where it wasn't called a meal if it didn't have meat. We ate tons of meat, like your family it sounds like. But I'm amazed at how much I'm loving not eating it. Plus, I've read some books recently that says your chance of developing cancer drops like crazy when you cut meat out of your diet / eat in sparingly.

This is my "Meatless" board on pinterest:

I am making the Black Bean Burgers for the Iron Chef cookoff on Friday. They are DELICIOUS. I'd recommend looking up "Budget Bytes" on Pinterest, too. I get a ton of my meatless meals from her.

I've also realized that I can pretty much make any recipe I normally would, but substitute some kind of fancy bean when it calls for meat. So, chicken pasta, I turn it into pasta with white beans or something. It's delicious, and you still get a complete protein! (grain + bean) Ok, I'll get off my soapbox!

GOOD LUCK!! I fully support you. hahaha

Sara said...

I recommend checking out this website. http://www.thefresh20.com/vegetarian/ I use it, but get the classic meal recipes. It is awesome, and even though you pay for the recipes I have found we save money on our grocery bill since I know exactly how much I need of each ingredient. Overall I like the variety of meals and they give me new ideas.

Aimee said...

Good luck, we ate vegetarian for 2 weeks, but for us that meant no chicken broth too. But not vegan still.

Anyway, during that time I posted a few vegetarian recipes on my blog, here are my 4 favorites:

Black Bean Soup http://lmld.org/2013/01/11/black-bean-soup/

Vegetarian Egg Rolls http://lmld.org/2012/11/18/vegetarian-eggrolls/

Eggplant Parmesan

Baked Egg in a Baked Potato

Mexican Stuffed Squash

I don't like mushrooms, but the hubs does and I recommend eating lots of those. But also salads are so good, pasta salad, lettuce salad, spinach salad, fruit salad, you name it. Just add lots of veggies or tortilla strips or croutons or cheese to your salad to make them less boring. Also, stuffed peppers. I linked you to my stuffed squash recipe, but I love stuffed peppers more.

Good luck! Hope you'll share some of your recipes with us when you get down to it.

Lana said...

It also says "eat meat sparingly." While this is revelation from the Lord, you also have to remember the time period. It came to the saints in a time when there was no refrigeration or really sanitary/healthful/safe way to eat meat when it was hot outside.
I really believe in "everything in its proper season" and I think that extends to more than just what we eat, also the things we do/think. Moderation. BUT marthastewart.com has a bunch of vegetarian recipes. And if you replace your meat with veggies in a way that tastes meaty(grill them, season them with Worcestershire, make veggie burger patties, etc.) you wont miss them. We did a month last year of no meat. It was hard at first but we ended up loving it. We try to do 2-3 meals a week without meat or with fish instead. Just remember you wont get much "fresh" fish in the summer, if that bothers you. Eat a lot more beans and quinoa. Again. Martha has the answers. Though her new book "Meatless" doesn't seem to have very many good recipes, just strange ones.

Honore said...

Hi Becky!

I've been reading your blog for over a year and I think it's wonderful!

I follow Martha Stewart on Pinterest and she has a board called "Meatless Meal Ideas" and has some good recipes on there!

Jamie Oliver's recipe for Moroccan fish stew is pretty great. I de-thaw frozen shrimp and use frozen peas or green beans which keeps it economical!

I've also made these Baja shrimp tacos before. They're light and perfect for summer:

The pico de gallo is yummy with the shrimp tacos:

There are some other veggie friendly recipes on the Goop website including:
http://www.goop.com/recipes/dinner/eggplant-parm **I've tried this one, it's pretty yummy!

Baked potatoes are another yummy option especially if you have leftovers that you want to use; you can use them as toppings and I'm sure your sons would get a kick out of picking their own toppings!

Emily Susan Kim said...

I like your thinking! Meat in moderation - from the Word of Wisdom stand point and health stand point - makes sense. But it's. so. hard. Can't wait to see what you come up with!

Came across your blog and love it!

pcflamingo said...

I cannot STAND the smell of fish cooking indoors. ICK ICK ICK. But I love fish. What to do? What to do?

I love the flavored chunky lime mango salsas or peach salsas they have now. So you just glop some of that on top of a serving of some random white fish (snapper, rock fish, whatever wild-caught white fish you can find at the grocery store) and sauté away. Totally covers the fish and disguises the smell!

I will sometimes augment the salsa with additional chunked up peaches or pears because the "chunky" on the label of the salsa jar is really a LIE. It's not very chunky.

Lauren said...

Quiche! Vegetarian and so good. Also, it's very easy to change it up by using different types of filling.

Unknown said...

Hi Becky,

Tough challenge for you guys, it seems!

I can recommend 2 websites which have proved to be a great source for all sorts of recipes:


On this website you can browse recipes by ingredients (amazing feature imho, depending on what you have in the fridge) and create a binder with favorite recipes!

The other one, which you surely know of, is:

Not only does she post absolutely terrific recipes, but she also has a little boy called Jacob who you can watch help in the kitchen on her flickr account ;)

Hope this helps.

Best regards from Gibraltar,
Nadia x

Bonnie said...

My husband and I decided the same thing after reading the Word of Wisdom carefully a couple years ago. And I truly believe we feel better (and are blessed, as cheesy as that sounds) when we spend the summer months without (much) meat. We don't make a huge deal about it, so if we're going out to eat for a special occasion, or eating at someone's house, or having people over, we'll often eat meat, but we seriously have had so much fun trying to go meatless.

Like you say, fish is great. While it may be nice to try and adapt some of your current recipes to be meatless, I recommend finding some truly vegetarian recipes - that way you don't have anything to compare it to. Eating meatless can be really delicious, but it's different.

I'm too lazy to look the links right now, but we have great recipes for Pasta with cashew and tomato sauces, Thai stirfry, Bean burritos, and about a gazillion great soups.

Make sure you're still getting enough iron (the first summer we tried this I was pregnant, and we ended up taking a break from going meatless after I spent about a month straight craving a big hamburger). Also, if you make sure you get protein through nuts, eggs or beans, your meals will be just as filling as meaty ones (and you'll stay full long enough).

Sorry for the novel! I kind of love this topic and would be happy to discuss further.

Polly said...

Make pizza with veggies on it. We eat a lot less meat then when you were little and we eat fish at least once a week. We also eat much smaller portions of meat then we used to. Good luck.

madamelinae said...

I recommend Italian cuisine! Check out the IPhone app giallozafferano, the website to this is by far my favorite but for some strange reason only the app has an English version..
Good luck!

Angela said...

This is one of my hubs' and I favorites! It's my (healthier) take on Stuffed Shells!



The Kims said...

This is so crazy! I don't even know you, but I read your blog a fair amount and I just have to tell you that my husband pointed out this very thing to me the other day and were like...wha?

So, we've been trying to eat more fish, which is fine because we love fish.

But we grew up in the same kind of meat eating house hold as you and it also never occurred to me until just recently that you could me a meal without meat.

And so, that was pointless and didn't help you out at all except to say, "hey! I feel ya."

tammy said...

I am going vegan. It has been a slow transition and my kids probably won't be full vegan but I have read books and watched so many documentaries really feel like it is the right step for me. It will probably take me some time to be 100% but I will do it for health reasons and then the extra reasons to do it are just an added bonus. I have some great recipes for you. I will forward you some. I studied the WOW too and was amazed when I read it again. It has been a while. It is pretty clear when it talks about meat. I think it is interesting when it says "And it is pleasing to me that they should not be used..." That line is the thing that really helped push me towards it. I think that eggs will be the hardest thing for me. Anyways, here is another long comment for you.

tammy said...

BYW, I am reading the book The Veganist. It is pretty great.