GGB Tutorial & Vegetarianism

I’m so happy to be back home in Houston!  I liked hearing the country music playing in the airport when I landed.  My work trip was good from a learning perspective, but I had my fill of fish, fried stuff, and hotels.  I do have to say, the people in Louisiana are extremely friendly.  They are really so nice, social and laid back; it is different than anywhere else I’ve been.  But unfortunately the swamps and unhealthy diet make that state low on my list of places to live someday.

I was happy to get home around noon today, and to spend some time with David since he was off too.  Of course, I was itching to cook since I hadn’t in awhile.  Plus I was craving GREEN and some sort of lean protein that did not come from the ocean.  I mentioned a few posts ago that one of my favorite go-to meals is “a Grain, a Green, a Bean” (GGB).  I heard this saying at the No Meat Athlete blog, a vegan/running blog that I check out every once in awhile.  Here is my take on it.

First start cooking a grain.  My favorites are millet, quinoa or brown rice for this dish, but any grain would do.  While it’s cooking, I make some black bean burgers from this recipe.  I follow the recipe, but add lots of spice (David likes it this way!).  Remember to rinse your beans – there is lots of added salt in canned beans.

Throw all the ingredients in a bowl and add some Cayenne Pepper (or other pepper spice) and Red Pepper Flakes.  The recipe calls for whole wheat flour, but for gluten free, you could probably use brown rice flour (I might try this sometime).


Then mash with a fork (requires some elbow grease); leave some beans whole though, don’t mash too much.  Remove any hardware (rings) and form into patties.  1 can of beans will yield 3 patties with this recipe.

In the meantime, heat up a skillet and spray it with oil.  I absolutely love this Misto oil sprayer – we have it filled with olive oil, but you can put any oil in it you want.  It is great and a healthy way to spray!  It’s available at a lot of cooking stores.

Put the patties in a skillet on med-hi heat and flip once and you’re done!  I generally do a double batch (6) and freeze the excess patties so I have them for lunches.

While those are cooking, slice up any vegetables in the fridge and wash your salad greens.  For this one, we had arugula, cucumbers, and tomatoes (fresh from the CSA share).  On top of that, I add the grain (millet toasted with coconut oil then cooked in this case) and pile it high with the black bean burger.  I threw on some toasted pumpkin seeds for garnish; some other good toppings might be sunflower seeds, goat cheese, feta, sun dried tomatoes…  I circle the outside of the salad with some Texas Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar, and then chow down on a delish meal.

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In other news, during my work trip I started reading “Eating Animals” by Jonathan Foer, thanks to David’s kindle.  It is pretty eye opening so far; I will be posting more about it in the future.  It is definitely not as rosy as the last book I read (The Dirty Life about the CSA farmers).  It explores more ethical issues of eating and delves into mass production of meat.  I did find it particularly interesting that he brings up the issue of being a selective omnivore – something I wrestle with often.  Right now I eat a heavily plant-based diet, and eat meat occasionally, preferably when I know about the source it comes from.  I can’t lie that I get bacon cravings every once in awhile, but when I do, I go down the street to Revival Market where they label the local farm that each piece of meat comes from, so I at least feel comfortable that the animals might be treated more humanely than they would in a factory farm, the meat wasn’t flown thousands of miles, and I’m supporting local.

The only problem with this, as Froer notes, is:

“Attempting to be a selective omnivore is a much heavier blow to table fellowship than vegetarianism.  Imagine an acquaintance invites you to dinner.  You could say, “I’d love to come.  And just so you know, I’m vegetarian.” You could also say “I’d love to come.  But I only eat meat that is produced by family farmers.”  Then what do you do?”

I felt this way at business meetings this week – should I just say I’m a vegetarian so they will at least provide veggie choices, or do I be quiet so I won’t be labeled too picky?  Will co-workers think of me differently if I say I’m a vegetarian, and am I lying if I occasionally eat meat?  What will my parents think?  I talked to David about this and he reassured me that first of all he was supportive of what I chose, and furthermore that he didn’t think it would affect any friendships or work relationships if I did say I was vegetarian.  He said that I shouldn’t feel guilty about saying I’m vegetarian, then occasionally eating fish or meat when there are limited options or when I want to have it.  He told me – who cares, they won’t think of you any differently, and we’re pretty laid back about most things, so having one thing you feel strongly about isn’t a big deal.  Phew, sigh of relief.  I know at this point after being the “I’m easy, I’ll eat anything” girl most of my life, I’m not quite ready to jump cold turkey to an all-or-nothing diet of any type, but I figure small steps in the right direction will support what I believe in.  I was also reassured when I recently heard from one of my college friends was eating a similar mainly vegan, gluten free diet.  I didn’t feel so alone in my dietary choices, and realized that maybe this is less controversial than I make it out to be.

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