Friday, February 5, 2010

Barnes and NoideawhatI'mdoing

It's supposed to snow
like the second coming and instead of being at home snuggled with my herd of cats, I visit one of my favorite places on earth: Barnes and Noble. Since I am relatively clueless on vegetarian cooking (geez, even my salads have meat!), I figure I'd buy a vegetarian cookbook to start me on my way. I head to the clearance section, and find one or two...nice. I'm a sucker for pretty photos. And yet, I think that they've got to have a million more, right? The sad thing about my life is that I'm NEVER satisfied with just one or two choices. I'm a totally out of the box kinda girl. Give me a million choices so I can manipulate it however I want when I want how I want. (kinda like pumpkin carving don't you think?).

And yet, sometimes we have to be careful about what we ask for in life. I go to the cooking section and see a chair, set about two feet back, facing an eight foot wall of cookbooks. What happened to the poor soul who needed to sit down because she was so overwhelmed by the flood of information before her? Oh, I know! She's me! Do you KNOW how many veggie vegan wear a mumu while gettin' your earthy crunchy groove on books there are? I sit in the chair. Okay, maybe not sit exactly. More like, fall back glassy eyed while trying to catch my breath and look for a means to escape. Too much. Too soon. I need bite sized portions...not the whole save the world go green history of evolution. I make a run for the magazine section.

And find....pretty much nothing. So, eight million books on veggieism....but no magazines? No Chickenette Soy Like Vegetation Soup for the Soul Snippets? I vaguely remember a magazine someone once mentioned...Vegetarian Times. Surely that? Nope. Nothing. Nada. I shuffle left and right. Peel back issues until I find VegNews with a smiling picture of Alicia Silverstone...which, despite her whole crooked speech thing, is vaguely reassuring since she has to die for glowing skin and is eating a THAT's my kind of food! But that's the cover. I glance through it. Why are all the ads showing all these older ladies wearing bright colored mumus, flowers everywhere, all looking like they're about to give you a pat on the head and call you a good girl if you just eat your soy patty? Sigh. Beggars can't be choosers. I grab the magazine, head back to the clearance section, and buy the book with the prettiest pictures. If I eat all this stuff, will I look like the plump flower hat lady? Or Alicia Silverstone?

Alicia may your Kind Diet truly be kind to me!

Children of the Quorn

Okay, armed with my new resolution to find meat substitutes, I head to my local Food Lion for a quick trip before the snow sets in. It's been redesigned not to long ago, so it has a farmer's market style and a hip new pricey little organic section. I'm thinking there's got to be a ton of meat substitute stuff in there, right? Lot's of soy happiness that's got to taste better than cardboard, right? I felt....lost. Standing there, mouth gaping open, recognizing very little. I shuffle back to the meat section, thinking maybe by the ground beef or turkey there'd be a miraculously tasty little tofu concoction. Nothing. But it's not like I could look for long as the back aisle has become a new version of the bumper cars. Little old ladies jousting each other for the last loaf of bread and gallon of milk while macho men snag Doritos and beanie weenies and talk about the big game. A major snow storm and the Super Bowl is not the time to peruse at any grocery store. I keep getting bumped further down the aisles.

Still nothing.

I feel....frustrated. Confused. Hopelessly inept. I make it to the bread aisle and at least grab some whole wheat bagel thins for what I'm hoping will be sloppy Joe's for dinner. I zig zag ten aisles around shoppers growing grumpier by the minute (did someone say they saw a few snowflakes in the parking lot? Heavens, hurry!). Finally, I'm back to the refrigerated organics. Chik n' stuff. Rice Dreams. Soy Milk. No hormones. Healthy right? I can at least mix it until it tastes "normal," right? I scan one last time...and the heavens open....

QUORN! quorn?

Mycoprotein great for burgers and sloppy Joes. YES! Sloppy Joes! There is a God and he makes Europe! From....what? what's a mycoprotein? Some fungi that grows in the company's back yard? Fine. Okay. Let's face many years have I been pouring saturated fats into my thighs? Can't be worse than that, can it? Live life on the edge! I run to the checkout, buy my goodies, and rush home.

My son looks at me like there's lobsters growing out of my ears. And yet, to his credit, we open the microwave heated (it's already cooked! Heavenly!) package of Quorn and see....ground beef? Looks like ground beef. Smells kinda like it. FEELS like it. We taste it.


How do they do that? Whatever a mycoprotein is I'm loving it! MY FIFTEEN YEAR OLD LOVES IT! In it goes into the heating pan of sloppy Joe sauce then onto my healthy whole wheat buns that will hopefully keep the fat off my buns! My hubby, Jack, comes home...tries it...has NO idea that it's not meat! Oh Quorn how do I love thee, let me count the ways! There is hope for this baffled little veggie newbie!

Now, YOU go to the store and buy some Quorn....I'm going to do a little Googling and learn what my meaty little mycoproteins are. Children of the Quorn, unite!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Back on (a new) Track

I could go back...change the dates and times...and catch up on all the days that I missed. But I don't want to do that because I always prefer to keep things honest in my life. The idea of this blog was to create a little bit of Halloween every day for a year. Now, I do still plan on continuing that! However, the wonderful thing about creating something is that it is yours to change, to tweak, to grow or shrink as much as you want. Keeping this blog to just the daily Halloween doesn't somehow feel right to me. I want more.

To give you a brief update of what has happened in this month's absence, I was doing quite well keeping up with things until I got word that there were, shall we say, considerations of making changes that could shut down my son's Governor's school that he attends. Now, I don't have much in life. The Pumpkin Lady has become a mostly seasonal gig, so I'm always trying to make ends meet. I don't own a home. Retirement? Funny. And I probably owe way more on my car than it's worth. The only thing I have to give my son (besides love) is an education. That's it. It's all I have to give and maybe all I will ever have. But that will be enough. So when I hear that any locality, state, or otherwise may take that from him? Well, let's just say that I get a little hot under the collar. So, our days have been spent educating and lobbying for our schools. The good news? The school will stay open for at least another year. The bad news? A lot of painful budget cuts will be our work is not yet done. So, there's still busy days ahead! I apologize for my absence...but not my reason for being absent!

And on a final all of you who were there when we adopted our kittens this past fall...they are wonderful, funny, and bring more joy to our lives than we could have imagined. They are loved dearly and spoiled rotten! Never could I imagine ever letting go of them...or ever letting anyone harm them in any way. I am VERY passionate about my pets and animal welfare. However, what I've really learned about my life is that I am one big hypocrite. I would never allow anyone to hurt my animals ever....and yet every week I spend money at the grocery store, buying meat that is shipped in from factory farms. I've heard somewhat about the cruelty of what goes on in the animal farming industry. But I've never really seen it. Out of sight, out of mind as they say. Now don't get me wrong...there are some amazing farmers that do grow animals for the food industry that allow the animals to be free range, well cared for, and hormone free. I applaud you for leading the way. However, I'm positive that's NOT where my money has been going.

If you want to see for yourself, there are videos on the net. But please be warned, they are graphic, and horrible, and you will never be the same (check out - don't say I didn't warn you!). And need to see that footage. Again, I would NEVER allow anyone to ever harm any animal in my care...and yet, I have been supporting animal abuse and cruelty every week through how I spend my grocery dollars. But those days are over. I have no idea how to change my household to a vegetarian/vegan diet....but so help me God I will.

So, in the days ahead, my forays into a healthier lifestyle will also be added to this blog. If you really want Halloween horror, check out that site I mentioned. If you want a good laugh, keep reading this blog in the days ahead as I blunder about the changes that will and need to be made. And if you have any advice...I'm totally open to it! Recipes? Send them! Great ideas? Let's hear them. Here's to better days ahead for all creatures great and small!