What does the Stomach Say?

Right now, the answer is “blech”, or one of its variant forms.  I don’t even want to drink my coffee, and now its two hours old and probably freezing and this is just– well, pretty much a travesty.

But since its my own fault I can’t really complain– I can just gripe a little, explain, and get on to the sort of good part.

I might’ve mentioned this before, but: my bestie and I are going to New Orleans in April to celebrate our own awesomeness/my birthday and mostly because we can.  SUPER excited.  Most of our conversations somehow make it back to NOLA these days, and inevitably end with both of us squeeing into a text message.  And I know I COULD go through an entire four-day stint in Louisiana and not eat any meat, but…

….that just doesn’t seem right to me.

And so, after many months now of proud veg livin’, I’m breaking down and starting on the road to meat eating.  (Temporarily.)  This morning was foray one, which is why my stomach is grumbling, but I have a month and a half so I THINK I can make it happen.  Especially because my stomach is usually a trooper.

Ready for the fun part?

Even though I’ll still be eating mostly meatless, this leaves room for me to post recipes with meat.  YES!  MEAT!

And it also means I can eat corned beef on St Patricks day.  (Which is AWESOME.)

Sound off in the comments!  Veg folk, have you ever had a reason to bring meat back?  Veg and non alike, what would you be craving if you were in my shoes?


Meatless Family: in which Mama and I Meet the Sandwich Gods

True story: I sent my mother a link to this sandwich last Monday.  Her reply was to yell at me for making her hungry, and then continue to bitch about how good it looked (first world problems if I’ve ever heard them) through half of dinner that night.

Egg in the Basket Grilled Cheese

Yes, that is a Bon Temps Hawks pint glass in the background. Buy yourself one and fill it up with Sam Adam’s Cold Snap and you too can be as cool as I am.

I think she was mostly disappointed that she saw it on her break (by which time she was already hungry) and then was sadly disappointed by the food available to her on said break (because, airport). Hell, she was better off than me, though– I had to make do with almonds and my own tears of food-lust.

Naturally we had a clear choice for this week’s installment of my family’s meatless foray– which is, pretty understandably, going better without my dad’s company at dinner (sorry, dad!).  When I floated the idea of actually making these for Monday, for example, mama countered with “well, we’ll have to save some for when he gets home from work!” Not a problem, mama.  He’ll just eat a burger when he gets home, because that’s his go-to and he’ll be happier than a pig in shit.

She didn’t disagree.



The only disappointing thing about these sandwiches is that asparagus isn’t in season yet, and the only stalks we could find were thick and woody-looking.  But roasting them helps soften them up a little, and also makes them delicious and that is all I think you should ever do with asparagus.  Except for maybe grilling them.  Or putting them on pizzas or in pastas or frittatas or — okay basically, just eat asparagus all the time.

Its good for you.

Getting my fry-on.

Getting my fry-on.

Interesting fact: January 20th, the night we actually ate this, is apparently National Cheese Lovers Day.  Seems appropriate.

Check out the recipe for yourself at Cooking Stoned.  Trust me, you’ll never want to eat anything else as long as you live.

Possibly Veg Runner Problems? Iron? Protein? Halp.

Okay, so normally a week in my veg-happy life has me feeling like I can pretty much conquer the universe by SHEER FORCE OF WILL.  GR.

I really hope someone gets this reference.

I really hope someone gets this reference.  But seriously: best fuel.

One of the reasons I went veg in the first place is because I quite honestly wasn’t really doing the “food” thing in any sort of healthy way, i.e. I wasn’t eating anywhere near what I needed to actually live/have energy.  Opting for just veg meant I could eat more volume and get more nutrients without completely overloading myself on calories (all you people who have kicked EDs, y’all know what I’m talking about– it’s so hard to break the mindset).  In turn that meant I gained weight back, yes, but I was also able to kick the exercise thing into higher gear– running, for example, took way off once I switched to full veg.

That was the biggest thing: once I went veg I actually had energy, so feeling lightheaded (which was an all-too-frequent thing and it was incredibly unhealthy and a little bit scary sometimes) became a thing of the past, which was great.  I can’t even remember the last time I was doing something and had to stop because my head felt like a balloon–

— oh wait, it was this morning at the gym.

Since it was a time-crunch day I was only planning on doing 3 miles, but once I hit about 2.5 I got hit with a wave and I felt like I was going to go down like a tree in the woods.  And it got a little better as the morning went on– by eight I was pretty okay, because I’d shoveled in some nuts and a little fruit– but the wooze was back again by nine and so far has kept on in and out.

I’m at a loss as to why, though.  I had my usual (filling) pre-gym breakfast, so I’m eliminating a blood sugar issue; I’ve been eating my leafy greens and my grains and my alternative proteins and filling out my macronutrient profiles like a champ.  No loss in volume, and no considerable increase in exertion.

Huh?  Any runners or veg folks out there who have experienced something similar have any advice to share?  

Friday Favorites – 17 January

I really, really love Fridays.

The past two weeks have been pretty madcap at work, which is I guess good for the company I work for (busy weeks = lots of $$) but very, very bad for my energy levels.  I’ve come home from work pretty much beat every night (hi, negative impact on social life, good to see you there) and then spent weekends recuperating.  Its made me into something of a granny.  Needless to say, I am not a fan.

But I am a fan of Fridays, because on Fridays I can usually sneak out a little bit early and get a jump start on my weekend– which is awesome, no matter what I have planned for Saturday and Sunday.  What better way to celebrate the best day of the work week than by sharing things I’ve been loving this week with you?

Hence: Friday Favorites, aka the things that topped my week.

Not being in a polar vortex anymore.



I don’t even care that it’s raining and generally gross out. I’m just happy I can open the trunk of my car again because the entire thing isn’t frozen. And that my windshield wipers can actually work instead of making it halfway across the glass and slowing down like the little engine that really wanted to but was too cold to try any harder.

JD McPherson

JDMP - FF 1.14.14

I popped JD into my Pandora today; the next thing that came up was Chuck Berry.  Ray Charles joined the party not long after.  If this is how my morning starts, I’m pretty sure its going to be an alright day.

I’m already pretty in love with classic rockabilly, so I really shouldn’t be at all surprised that I have unequivocally found my new music love interest in JD McPherson.  But this is pretty much perfect for my mood this month. I was listening to it at the gym the other day, and not only was it a pretty excellent motivator (damn that swing beat and its ability to make me want to move!) but it made me want to a) go home and bake something while doing the Charleston around my kitchen and b) take up swing dancing.

If you’re not on board with me yet, just go listen to North Side Gal and trust me, you’ll get it.

Vacation Planning

NOLA - FF 1.14.14

If I’m being honest, this could actually be the sole contents of my FFaves from now until April.  I wish you could see how excited I am about this.  I have been prone to spontaneous bursts of solo-dancing when thinking about this.

This April, my friend S and I are going on a friend vacation to New Orleans.  This will be the first vacation I’ve taken in probably five years, and let’s just say it has been a long time coming.  I’m not going to say too much about it right now (because this post would probably double in length and be severely less interesting) but just know that planning vacations is awesome and we’re staying at the #1 rated B&B in NOLA and they have zebra carpets and you should be jealous.

Tofu Shirataki

These guys are NOODLE GODS

These guys are NOODLE GODS

I don’t know who came up with this stuff and why they’ve been keeping it from me for so long, but I just want to give a shout out to Hungry Girl for bringing it into my life.  I think I already mentioned that I’m part Italian, so pasta has always been a big part of things– but I hate eating it because Reasons.  And that makes me a sad panda.

Enter Tofu Shirataki into my life: way fewer calories, way less guilt, and the added bonus of some (if not a lot of) protein.  I’m making a puttanesca sauce tonight to celebrate just how excited I am.

(Puttanesca is totally the party girl of Italian sauces.  Don’t even joke.)

This wine stopper.

I don’t even drink wine, but I want it just in case I ever decide to.

In other news: happy birthday, papabear!

Meatless Family: Pasta alla Primavera

It worked, at least on my mother; Meatless Monday is officially in effect in my house.


The qualifier for meals without meat on the homestead are usually a) substantial stomach-filler from other things like starch and b) suitable alternative protein.  This usually means I am stuck making my family quiche and serving potatoes on the side.  This is, admittedly, a pretty dismal lot in life.

But tonight its just me and the mamabear for dinner, since the sister is out at work and the dad is staying late; we can eat our early dinner in peace and fortify it for the ravenous father later in the evening.


We’ve both been in a fresh-kick, my mother and I, so she picked up some eggplant and zucchini and, oddly, some out-of-season grape tomatoes this week at the store.  Turning them into a primavera was my idea, largely based in my current lust for springtime.  And that’s the beauty of primavera; it translates to spring pasta, so if the flavors and feelings are evoked you’re pretty much home free.



Even if it is still winter, you can still have the pasta of spring.  Just don’t go outside, because the snow has a nasty way of shattering the illusion.

Pasta alla Primavera | NGL

Pasta alla Primavera


  • 1 pound angel hair pasta
  • 4 garlic cloves, roasted
  • 1 medium eggplant, peeled and cut to half-inch cubes
  • 2 zucchini, cut to half-inch cubes
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 cup broccoli rabe, chopped fairly small
  • 4 oz baby bella mushrooms, quartered
  • zest of one lemon
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • basil or parsley, fresh if you have it available
  1. Bring a large pot of water with a pinch of salt to a boil. Angel hair will take 4 minutes to reach al dente.  Drop pasta accordingly.
  2. Heat about 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium until just shimmering. Squeeze your pre-roasted garlic cloves into the pan, then when that starts to get fragrant add the rest of the cubed vegetables. Let them cook about three to four minutes, then add the rabe plus a quarter to a half cup of pasta water and cover.
  3. After about two or three minutes, uncover and add the tomatoes and mushrooms, along with the lemon zest. Cook about two minutes longer. Add spice to taste, then toss with the pasta and grated cheese, adding more pasta water or oil as needed.

The Sad but True Story of B’s Veg Bowls

I really, really love to cook.  I do.  I love to cook by myself, I love to cook for other people (because I am secretly your nonna in disguise).  I just love being in kitchens and throwing ingredients together into fabulous combinations.

Since I stopped eating meat last September, I’ve been pretty much on my own for making meals– which is fine.  I’m a-okay with cooking my own food of my own devices.  But the sad truth is that because I work a nine-to-five and have to squeeze in making my own dinner before my mom takes over the kitchen to make dinner for the rest of my family, I’m in a position of get in-get out-get fed.  Which means nine days out of ten I’m throwing vegetables into a pan, tossing them with some quinoa and some kind of protein, and chowing down on delicious sadness.

Case in point: Sunday dinner.

Case in point: Sunday dinner.

Not that there’s anything wrong with bowls of vegetables and quinoa.  They’re delicious.  Try it sometime if you don’t believe me.  Vegetables are awesome when they get to shout out their own flavor profiles.

But one of my New Year’s goals is hopefully going to fix my little food rut.  Once a week I want to make it a priority to cook one meal that doesn’t involve pillaging the contents of the vegetable drawer in a manic culinary frenzy.

So I coerced my mom (also known as: asked) if we could do Family Meatless Monday.  That way I get one guaranteed evening of cooking something “legitimate” per week, and I get to enlighten my family about the fact that hey, veg dishes are tasty too.

Snarky backlash from my father is to be expected.  Y’all should be excited to hear about it.