meatless mondays

imitation is the sincerest form of flattery
--charles caleb colton

©from maggie's farm 2011
from maggie's farm explores faux meats

oh meat,  please don't get us wrong.  we love you, meat.  we love you,  meat.  we love you so much that according to the u.s. department of agriculture,  americans consume, on average, over 227 pounds of meat a year.   and we do that because we love it.  it tastes good.  with few exceptions, most of us love a great burger, a delicious steak, a home-cooked meatloaf, or a luscious smoky brisket.  and believe me when i tell you, there is little chance that we'll be converting to vegetarianism anytime soon.  a certain farmer in our home loves to borrow a quote from our favorite local barbecue joint,

image courtesy of
but please don't misunderstand my carnivorous enthusiasm for any form of judgement on those who abstain. if you have adopted a vegetarian, or vegan diet, we applaud you.  we know you are feeling great because of it, and your skin is clear and shiny and your hair bounces, and so do you.  we envy this in you.  we see the positive effects your diet has on your health, so though meat will always have a place in our heart, and likely on our plate, we've moved to a primarily vegetable-based diet,  and the place that meat has on our plate has grown smaller, and less frequent over the past few years. 

©from maggie's farm 2011
some people choose to go 'meatless' on monday for health reasons, some for environmental reasons, some because it tastes good to eat a fresh, wholesome vegetarian meal, and some choose monday to atone for the gluttony of the weekend.  we like monday because it gives us an opportunity to establish a healthy habit with which we can begin our week, making the likelihood of incorporating other healthy habits greater.  well, that and the atoning-for-gluttony thing.

©from maggie's farm 2011
we use a three-prong attack for assuring that our meatless monday will be both delicious, and nutritious.  eggs, pasta, and faux meat. you already know that we do a lot of eggs and pasta up here, because we have a lot of fresh, seasonal veggies that we are lucky enough to transport from garden to plate in short order, but when we have a hankering for something meaty, we use faux meats as a healthy alternative.  meat substitutes come in many forms, and from many brands.   some are better than others, and as you can see, there are differing opinions about all of them.  check out the links, try a few products, and decide which works best for you.  we like a 'mycoprotein' substitute made primarily from a mushroom-like compound, which happens to be meat-free, soy-free, low in fat, and high in protein and dietary fiber.  and it tastes good, which is important for us.  if it doesn't taste good, we really don't care how healthy it is.  it's gotta taste good.  we're tough customers. here's one of our favorite ways to use quorn  our favorite meat substitute--

©from maggie's farm 2011
summer veggie tetrazzini

about 4 cups, combined, prepared seasonal vegetables of your choice--we used
1/2 cup chopped mixed orange, yellow, and red bell peppers
2 cups steamed broccoli
1/2 cup fresh garden peas, steamed
1 cup halved fresh cherry tomatoes
fresh herbs, chopped--we used oregano
1 bag (about 4 servings) of your favorite meat substitute--we used quorn
your favorite pasta (about 4 servings, prepared)--to further the healthy benefits, we use 100% whole grain pasta

for sauce:
1 pint vegetable broth or stock, either purchased or homemade
8 oz vegan cream cheese substitute, or regular cream cheese if you prefer
2 T nutritional yeast
salt and pepper, to taste

  ©from maggie's farm 2011
to prepare sauce:
in a medium saucepan, bring stock to a simmer.  whisk in nutritional yeast until dissolved.  add cream cheese or substitute, whisking until all is well blended.  correct seasonings.

to prepare casserole
toss together pasta with prepared vegetables.  pour sauce over and lightly toss to combine.  cover with aluminum foil, and bake in 350 degree oven for 45 minutes.  uncover to lightly brown, about 5 minutes longer.  remove from oven and allow to cool 10 minutes prior to serving.  serves 6-8.

  ©from maggie's farm 2011
and if you're interested in learning more about habit-making, habit-breaking, and tips for ensuring your success, let me share with you an interesting article-- 18 Tricks to Make New Habits Stick.

superfoods we used
besides tomatoes, and whole grain pasta that we've discussed in previous posts, we used:

muscle enhancer
a little-known protein source, quorn is a great substitute if you're looking to add variety to your diet with non animal protein.  composed of a compound similar to mushroom protein, mycoprotein. it is a high quality protein without animal fat. quorn is also lower in calories than chicken and turkey, and  you can buy it ground, in chunks, cutlets, and some pretty darned good prepared cutlets.  find it at specialty markets, or through the website linked above, and aim for 6 ounces a day if you're tired of soy.

bone builder
a former president may hate this cruciferous all-star, but one cup of broccoli contains a hearty dose of calcium, as well as manganese, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and iron.  and that's in addition to its high concentration of vitamins-including a, c, and k, and the phytonutrient sulforaphane, which studies at johns hopkins university suggest has powerful anticancer properties.  also try cauliflower, kale, brussels sprouts, or cabbage, for variation, as all possess many of the same nutritional qualities.  broccoli also helps reduce excess estrogen levels in the body, thanks to its indole 3-carbinol content. if you've never been a fan, try it roasted.  that's what made a convert of us.

©from maggie's farm 2011
here's to a happy, healthy, and productive week,
see you on wednesday--

1 comment:

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