Weekends

Weekends are always hard when you’re on a diet of any kind. For us, weekends are the time to catch up with friends and often have get-togethers that involve plenty of food. This President’s day weekend was no exception. For starters, I worked a long shift on Saturday, and when you work long hours, you come home with a killer appetite. After working a busy brunch shift at my restaurant (God, not eating meat is hard at breakfast- Mmm Bacon!), I came home and scoured the apartment for anything that could be consumed in the next 10 minutes. After thoroughly cleaning out the pantry, I finally came to the only conclusion I could. We had just enough food to make a sandwich.

Sandwiches have a special place in my heart. The late, great Warren Zevon said it best when he was explaining how you have to relish (See what I did there?) every living moment, “Enjoy every sandwich.” Oh, and I do! Sandwiches can be pretty bland, and why would anyone want to eat bland food. From early on, I remember making sandwiches of Dagwood proportion. Mayo (in our house it was always Miracle Whip), Ham, and cheese are just a start. As a kid,pickles, mustard, bacon, cheddar, swiss, tomatoes, and lettuce were great additions. If I could find it, I’d add the mother of all cheeses-provolone. As an adult I’ve found new favorites. Sriracha sauce and stone ground mustard are my new favorite condiments and no sandwich is complete without a little cilantro and red onion.

Dagwood

It's not a sandwich unless you have to unhinge your jaw.

So as I feverishly dug through my fridge with an appetite what would have made Wimpy blush. I was hell bent on feeding my craving with the best sandwich I could make. As of late, I’ve made pretty good sandwiches sans meat. But today would not be that day. There were slim pickings in the refrigerator. No Cheese!! After one bite of a sandwich consisting of some soggy lettuce, wimpy onion, mayo, mustard, pickles and pepperoncinis, I knew it was missing something. Peppered Ham. So I broke down. After several days without meat, I broke my streak with the best tasting pepper ham I’d ever had. No one ever said this new lifestyle was going to be easy. I know I won’t be perfect. And today that delicious ham was my downfall. But when the sandwich is lacking, the sandwich is lacking.

That would not be the only thing lacking this last weekend. Mostly is was my resolve. I lacked the resolve to stay meatless when I went to a fundraiser showcasing 20 different restaurants’ favorite soups. (How does one really turn down free Chicken-N-Dumplings?) Nor did I have the resolve to tell my friends that I wasn’t eating meat when they cooked me a delicious spaghetti dinner.

But I’m not discouraged. For the 9 possible meals over the weekend, I refrained from meat 6 times. We made a delicious vegetarian meal with our friends Luke and Jenna on Sunday night! I cooked a Moroccan stew that was dynamite and will be staying in our recipe book for years to come.

Here’s the link. Enjoy!!


The Start

I’ve always fancied myself an adventurous cook. It’s no surprise, I love to eat and I love to eat well! Simple things just don’t appeal to me. Food needs lots of flavor to really enjoy it. And so, my cooking style has always mimicked what my appetite desired. And my appetite often desires MEAT!

My top 5 meals.

Tacos-They’re easy and the endless combination of toppings is certainly a draw.
Fried Chicken-So good. And the best is Popeye’s.
Grilled Steak-What can you say. My eyes always dart to the section of the menu with the largest serving. Porterhouse? Bring it!
Lasagna-The combination of flavors that meld to well together when slow cooked.

And my all time, number one, must have regularly dish…

Za, PizZa that is.

Admit it. You want it, too!

What’s not to love about pizza. In all likelihood I could survive on pizza alone. I’ve never grown tired of it and it’s unlikely I ever will. I once counted a streak of 13 consecutive days in which I had pizza pie for at least one meal.

The only way, in my book, to eat pizza is piled high with chicken, bacon, pepperoni and sausage. Deep dish is preferred.

Having said this, I come to my point. I’ve lived my life up to this point, consuming large quantities of meat. When I was young, I think I needed it more and that was alright. But growing older (and hopefully wiser) I’m realizing that from a conscience standpoint on health, the environment, and my general well-being, I need to cut back on this consumption.

I’ll talk about my reasons for cutting back more in later blogs. For now, I want to concentrate on one thing: MY GOAL.

This blog is my desperate attempt at decreasing my appetite for meat. It won’t be hard. I literally crave red meat, and those top 5 dishes don’t go far without animal. But I’m motivated & I have a loving wife who encourages and supports me and whatever concoction I make for dinner. And while I plan to fall of the wagon ever so often. My goal, for now, is not to cut out meat entirely, but to explore a lifestyle where I don’t feel the need to cook meat every meal.

Asparagus on pizza? Hmmm...

I hope you’ll join me. Or at least me amused by my journey. I plan to post the recipes that I’m exploring and hopefully we’ll both find some real gems of dinners that have all that flavor I look for.

Cheers for now!