Valiant attempts at healthy eating…

Poor Jeremy would be happy if he lived in a house that regularly served macaroni and cheese, spaghetti with meat sauce, ravioli (preferably canned), chicken, beef, and pizza with lots of gooey cheese. Instead he’s got me, his vegan mother. Yesterday I had a craving for kale chips with nutritional yeast and a sprinkle of smoked paprika. We’re not just worlds apart when it comes to food, I’m pretty sure we’re in entirely different galaxies.

But I try, which is why I made fettuccine alfredo this evening. The description claimed it was rich, creamy, and luxurious. Her husband asked for it for Valentine’s Day and she ate her first batch over the stove, loving it too much to grab a bowl and sit. The ingredients were ones I already had in the pantry (I even found a lemon tucked away in the back of the crisper) and I bought cracked black pepper fettuccine noodles to make our dinner even more decadent.

I boiled the cauliflower while carefully measuring the rest of the ingredients into the blender. At this point I got a message from my friend Lenny. I told zir what I was making and cheerfully said it smelled good. Then I added the cauliflower and turned on the blender. It made a glorping sound. I was reasonably sure it wasn’t supposed to do that.

The next ten minutes were spent mashing down cauliflower and hoping for the best. After a while the florets disappeared, which was good. Except my sauce had turned into a paste, which wasn’t. It was thick enough to spread as the worst, saddest frosting ever and it was gritty. That was my “screw it” moment. I dumped in half a jar of roasted red peppers, most of the liquid from said jar, a whole teaspoon of the hottest hot sauce I’ve found (it laughs at sriracha sauce), and more coconut milk. The sauce finally stopped glorping and started whirring.

That sauce ate a box and a half of noodles before it started looking like a pasta dish instead of a really bizarre soup and it filled three good sized storage containers. I stuffed two of them in the freezer. There’s no way Jeremy would touch it in any galaxy. I’m going to be eating this for well over a month.

Jeremy called two hours ago to say he’s on his way home and to ask if he could bring home a free kitten. He even held the kitten up to the phone so I could hear its plaintive mews. He’s not getting a kitten. We already have three cats.

I do, however, have chocolate peanut butter pudding cups waiting in the freezer as a surprise. They’re made with tofu, ground flaxseeds, and agave nectar. Just don’t tell him because they are really good and he’ll never know. Meanwhile, I’ve found a recipe for stuffed pasta shells that calls for tofu instead of ricotta cheese. What could go wrong with that?

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16 thoughts on “Valiant attempts at healthy eating…

  1. Those veggie chips are so highly processed I wouldn’t even consider what’s in them veggies anymore. Agave nectar isn’t good for those of us with diabetes, or at risk for it.

    The thing is, I have to limit my diet, and without an ability to safely eat dairy, grain, soy, and lectins without suffering gastrointestinal issues (from extreme bloating to bowel issues), I would turn to a vegetarian or vegan issue, no problem. So I pretty much am left to eating fruits, veggies, lean meats, eggs. I try to follow a paleo/caveman diet. I don’t have many non-animal sources where I know I am receiving adequate amounts of amino acids, even from food-combos; soy, grains, and dairy are usual alternatives, but all suck on my stomach. I know broccoli, spinach, and dark greens can give me partials, but would I get enough on a vegan or ovo-vegetarian diet? Doubt it. Maybe in my next life I will have another chance to be human, and my dietary system will be more suitable and able to sustain itself as a vegan. Till then, I fear the nutritional gaps would outweigh the benefits for me. Maybe in my next lifetime 😉

    • I make my own kale chips with fresh kale, nutritional yeast, a bit of oil, garlic, hot sauce, paprika, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper. They’re so good.

      That’s crummy about your food issues. There are other grains that I don’t know if you’ve tried like quinoa and teff (an African grain) but have no idea if they’d help or not. Lentils are a handy legume that are a good source of fiber too. Even if you’re not vegetarian, fiber’s important, although fruit and veggies will help there.

      • Sorry, didn’t know your chips were homemade. The commercial processed stuff I abstain from 😀

        I eat a high fat, low carb, moderate protein diet mostly with chicken and fish supplying my protein, olive and coconut oils for my fats, and even though the bulk of my food are from veggies, most of my calories are from fats. I looked into going with supplying eggs, mushrooms, vegetable protein, nuts, seeds, and greens, but the majority of protein for most vegetarians and vegans also came from grains and lentils, two major no-nos. Unfortunately, most grains that even lack gluten (e.g. oats, even Cheerios aren’t safe for me) are still processed on equipment used to also process gluten-filled grains, so cross contamination is a HUGE risk I can’t take. Lentils unfortunately are extremely hard on my stomach.

        Fiber is as much a curse on my stomach as it could be a blessing, so I have to be careful with eating it without overestimate too much in one setting.

        Eating paleo has eliminated most if my health problems. Yes, I would love to evolve to a meatless diet, because I know I would get adequate amounts of fats and calories without having to worry about going high carb. However, I am afraid I wouldn’t get an adequate amount of complete essential amino acids, not the minimal 10% needed from my diet for adequate function, from even a vegetarian diet, given my health issues. I don’t want protein supplements because food stamps won’t cover them and cash, for now, is still inadequate.

      • Makes sense. I’m lucky that (so far) I haven’t suffered from any food allergies or intolerance. One of my sisters has a shellfish allergy but if I do, chances are I’ll never know. I don’t think I’ve ever had shellfish.

      • I don’t eat anything live (like oysters) or killed specifically for me (like lobsters, once you kill them their stomach acid starts destroying themselves). Violates certain Buddhist precepts for lay people.

  2. Right before he came home from Orlando, Kris announced (on Facebook) that he was going to being eating meat again after 15 years of being a very casual vegetarian. I don’t question it because he has had major food issues for the past few years due to medications. I just want him to eat something!

    • Yeah, eating something’s definitely better than eating nothing. Jeremy grew up being a vegetarian and was easily the most adamant kid against eating meat, to the point of telling other family members off for eating meat. We went camping with one of his friends a few years ago and as soon as we got back, Jeremy announced he was going to eat meat and has ever since.

  3. I trick my (meat-eating) friend into an occasional healthy meal with tofu tacos. It apparently tastes even better than beef or chicken to him, which I suspect is partly due to a more even texture (no icky bits like meat often has), and that the tofu easily absorbs all the spices. It’s very quick and ridiculously easy to make, which is good because I am a terrible cook and very short attention span…

    I’m not vegan so I do add cheese and sour cream but neither are necessary. Could make avocado-mash (guacamole, if you wish to get fancy) instead of the sour cream and just leave out the cheese.

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