Sunday, September 28, 2008

Vegetarian Week Roundup

Not having eaten meat since last Sunday, I thought I should summarize a few things. First, one of the questions I have been asked the most is what have I been eating this week. Because I still ate eggs and dairy, breakfast and lunch have stayed pretty much the same as always (cereal for breakfast, lots of toast or leftovers for lunch). However, here is a rundown of what I've been having for dinner:

Monday: The ever delectable Zucchini cakes with mushroom ragoût. They're cheap, they're easy, they're fast, and we are definitely making them for Nick's birthday party in a couple of weeks.
Tuesday: Sweet and Sour vegetables over rice, courtesy of Teriyaki Stix. Except I paid for it. It was fine and good and whatnot, but I think it's also the kind of meal that most people assume vegetarianism is all about. I felt like I ordered it because it was the only option, not because it was something I specifically wanted.
Wednesday: Pasta with pesto and feta cheese. My cute mum gave me this recipe (cook pasta of your choice, add 3 tablespoons of pesto and mix in crumbled feta) and insisted I try it for vegetarian week. So I did. It was very tasty, but I think I would add some halved cherry tomatoes next time.
Thursday: Guru's Veggie Curry Bowl, containing, amongst many other tasties, vegan classics tofu and edamame. This was my entire brief flirtation with vegan food, and it was kind of a mixed bag. I liked the edamame a lot, and the tofu was super tasty while it was still crunchy and hot on the outside, but got pretty uninteresting and slimy as soon as it cooled down. I loved all of the vegetables, but was a bit disappointed with the flavour. The vegetables were cooked in a spicy coconut sauce, which sounded really good, but somehow managed to maintain the blandness that some vegetarian dishes have.
Friday: Cheese fondue - and probably a vegetarian slip up. This was at a party, and while I didn't specifically eat any meat, I'm pretty sure there was chicken broth in one of the fondues. I ate it anyway, though.
Saturday: Cheese sammich at the Relief Society broadcast. Nothing too eventful.
Sunday: Vegetables over couscous. Anyone who has ever lived with me knows that this is a total staple of my diet, and there is no way vegetarian week could have happened without it.

Another thing I wondered about before I started this week, was if I was going to notice any obvious difference. Would I feel amazingly healthy, or would I feel crappy due to malnutrition? Would I feel deprived, or would I like it so much that I didn't want to go back? While one week is only so long, I think I can say that what I experienced lies somewhere in between those things. Physically, I felt pretty much the same as usual. Maybe a little more energized than usual, but I could also attribute that to other things, like spending more time at the gym. Other than that, the only difference is really only that I've mostly felt hungry more often.

I haven't felt deprived or like I've been missing out on something I crave at all. A lot of that, I think is that I've been eating foods I enjoy, which isn't really hard, seeing as I just like food. The only times it was harder, was when I wasn't cooking for myself, and couldn't control what food was on offer. At restaurants and parties my options were limited to what was on the menu, and the vegetarian option wasn't always what appealed to me most. At the same time, as the week is over, I don't feel like I'm dying to go out and chomp down a hamburger, and wouldn't mind at all if tomorrow's dinner was a meat free one. My grandmother eats one or two pieces of chocolate every night, and she'll be 95 next month, so perhaps this week's take home lesson should be one of moderation?

Thursday, September 25, 2008


My adventures in vegetarianism so far have been rich and varied. I have basked in the glory that is Zucchini cakes with mushroom ragoût. I have scoured the contents of a food item to see if it contained any meat or animal product (other than eggs or dairy, I am after all a lacto-ovo vegetarian), and I have been faced with the joys of ordering meat-free off the board at a fast food restaurant:

Me: I'd like the "Garden Delight", please.
Restaurant Employee: Oh, we don't have it anymore.
Me: Oh. Well, maybe you should take it off your menu then?
RE: That's not really my job.
Me. .......?

So we ended up going to Teriyaki Stix and having a veggie bowl instead.

I have also enjoyed using such phrases as "We vegetarians need to make sure that we get enough protein", and "as a vegetarian, that offends me". The latter was to friend Brian, who told me that he would have to eat two animals for every one that I abstained from this week. The philistine.

Some of you have wondered why I've decided to do this, and there are a couple of reasons.
1) As mentioned, I always wanted to be a vegetarian when I was a teenager. However, whenever I would tell my mother about my newfound conviction, she would always listen attentively ("that's nice, dear") and then bust out the beef stew or my favourite carnivorous dish for dinner. As a lot of my friends have been vegetarian since then, it's a thought that has crossed my mind off and on for years, and I thought this would be a nice way to pay tribute to my idealistic teenage self.
2) I've been trying to introduce a lot more fruit and vegetables into our diet, and being a vegetarian seemed like a good way to go.
3) As a member of the LDS church, I try to adhere to the teachings of the Word of Wisdom. Mostly we take that to mean no coffee, tea, tobacco or alcohol, but it does undeniably talk about using meat sparingly, and that is something I've been giving some thought lately. To be honest, we're not exactly throwing back vast amounts of steak or anything like that, but most of our dinners do have meat in them, and it would probably benefit us in more ways than one to cut back a bit.
4) I'm just curious to see if I notice any effects after just one week. My mum said I'd notice a big difference in our grocery bill, Tess says that being a vegetarian is so great I might not ever want to go back, and Daisy said that after one week of vegetarian living, her hair started falling out. I'm only on day 4, so I will have to let you know how I feel at the end of the week.

Monday, September 22, 2008

A quick update

So: I have knitted all but two rows of my blanket, and would have finished it well on time if I hadn't decided to spend all of Saturday painting the stairwell (Caution: Not a decision to be taken lightly). I've been so busy lately that I barely even know my own name, but plan a more detailed update tomorrow night. For now, it will have to be sufficient to let you know that this week I am living out my teenage ambition of being a vegetarian. So far, so good.

Friday, September 19, 2008

A Knitting Update

As of last night: 20.5 inches. This should mean that I have another 3.5 inches to go until I've finished the main blanket part, but on closer examination, it turns out that my blanket is 23" wide, which means that it only needs to be 23" long. So I only have another 2.5 inches to go. Yay! I am getting a little bit nervous about finishing it by Sunday, though. We're going out with friends tonight, and painting the stairwell tomorrow, so that does not leave a lot of knitting time between now and then. I've vaguely considering bringing my knitting out with me tonight, but am honestly not prepared to cross the boundary of knitting at restaurants and movie theaters. So, we'll see.

Before and After

As promised, (now that I've found the cord!) some before and after photos of the raspberry bushes. As you can see, they were unabashedly heading for world dominance before I spent an hour ripping them out. Not that they didn't put up a fight, though - I still have a 4 inch scratch on my arm from them.
Now they look a lot more manageable, albeit somewhat scraggly. I'll blame that on it being autumn, and expect greater things next summer.

And because I couldn't have done it without them, I am including this glamour shot of my new gardening gloves and shears. Which I will call secateurs, because that is how I was brought up.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A little bit of this and that

Hooray, I'm back on track again! It finally stopped raining, I had some time, and so I got to spend some time in my garden at long last. It wasn't quite as harmonious as today's photo (nor were my hands as manly), with a lot more weeding than planting, but still a good afternoon's work. There's a ton to do, but I did get a good start. First I pulled out the bulbs so they could dry and be replanted, then I turned my attention to the raspberry bushes, which were a bit of a nightmare. They had been allowed to grow pretty wild before we moved in, then we neglected them sorely while we were moving in and painting and whatnot. So I pulled out about 2/3 of them, based on the theory that a few good plants will yield as much fruit as a lot of crowded and scrawny ones. At least that's what I read before I started, so I guess we will see what happens in the spring. It does at least look a lot tidier, and just as soon as I can find the camera cord, I will post some before and after photos so you can see for yourself. I still want to plant some bulbs for the spring and figure out some way of storing all of the pots and soil for the winter, but I am quite pleased with how things turned out.

Well, for this week's thrilling installment, I have decided to try to complete an entire knitting project in a week. Thrilling reading, I know. But it's something I enjoy doing, and so I want to try to challenge myself a bit. I'm working on a baby blanket for a friend's son who will be showing up sometime in October. There was already going to be somewhat of a race against the clock seeing as he'll be born in October, so I thought I would try to see if I could do it in half the time I'd planned on. So far, so good. I'm working on a 24x24 inch square, and am about 13 inches in, which is quite good seeing as I started on Sunday afternoon. I'm not sure if I'll finish the square and the hood and the edging by Sunday, but I'm going to give it a try. I'll get some photos for you so you can marvel at my greatness :)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Come again another day

In perfect accordance with Murphy's Law, it has been raining ever since I decided to spend the week in the garden, so I have had to content myself so far with some research and preparation. has informed of some of the things that need be done in my "zone" (Oh yeah, I'm all hip with the lingo!) at this time of year, and has caught me up on how to prune my raspberry bushes. We also took a trip to the fabulous CAL Ranch Store to acquire my very own gardening gloves and pruning shears. I don't think I've ever owned gardening equipment before (beyond a watering can, truth be told), so we certainly are moving up in the world.
Anyway, it looks like tomorrow will be sunny, so I'll try to accomplish something then. Please breathe easily until you hear from me again.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Two not so great weeks.

So obviously my blog has been having a hard time lately. Life has somehow gotten insanely busy, and I've been having a hard time managing my new balancing act. I am back in school as of last week (Yay! Finally!), and thus seem to find myself spending every waking moment with my head in a book, and suffering massive guilt every time I do something unrelated to school. This has resulted in the messiest house and the saddest blog ever, but I will not be beaten! Somehow, in all of this madness, I have to learn how to find a balance between taking classes and keeping the rest of my life on an even keel. So watch in wonder and awe as I attempt the unattemptable and balance the every day life of a 28 year-old woman!

The last time I posted I was working on making a photo book. For various reasons, ( being one of them) I didn't finish that. I realize now that trying to create a decent wedding book and paint my living room, and go back to school all in one week was perhaps, a little ambitious. The same thing can be said for the following week of sewing that I didn't even post about. Sad times.

Which brings me to this week's dilemma: Now that I'm down to 50 weeks, rather than 52 weeks, do I count the weeks where I didn't complete anything as finished projects, or do I add two "penalty" weeks to the end? I haven't quite decided yet, but I will let you know where I end up.

Now for the resurrection of my blog: This week I am going to be doing some autumn gardening. I've always had this sneaking suspicion that you're supposed to do things in your garden around this time of year, and this week I am going to do them. Pictures of our current sad state of affairs to follow, along with the things I will be doing.