mostly plants

We’ve seemed to reach our semi-annual desire for Great Changes.  At Christmas, it was our reworking of routines and general organization.  Here in Spring-Almost-Summer both Devo and I have our minds on road trips and camping, and food.

I haven’t been doing a great job of feeding my family recently.  One Sunday I was griping to Devo (it truly was a gripe) about my dismal meal planning and pantry stocking of late.  He kindly began to offer ideas on how to be more efficient (you know, meal planning and scheduled shopping).  I interrupted him with a hand in the air.

I don’t really want to talk about the details right now.  I just want to do some self-bashing. 

I almost gasped as the words that came out of my mouth reached my ears.  Self-bashing, what a ghastly, ugly, damaging past-time.  Of course I know when I’m participating in self-bashing.  But to have the truth of the matter come, unedited, out of my mouth without warning – it was sobering to see that nasty habit in the light.

I’m taking a tighter rein on my self-talk.  Again.  Weird how it starts out so innocuously and spirals so quickly down to loathing and despair.  Trippy.

But back to food.


I took a look through the documents on my computer this weekend, searching for previous meal plans for inspiration.  I found that we basically don’t eat anything that we ate eight years ago.  Or five years ago.  Even three years ago only has about half the meals to be what we would eat now.

Our eating style has changed so drastically that we have basically started from scratch.  Started back at basics with plants.

Eat food.  Not too much.  Mostly plants. -Michael Pollan

I’ve been vegetarian since I was 17 (Hong Kong chicken flu and Mad Cow disease in one year helped with that decision), and Devo converted around the time we were married.  During the gestational years, we did both eat some fish, but it seems that that has phased out.  (I am planning, however, to have some Alaskan salmon when we visit my dad in Anchorage this summer.)  The kids are vegetarians.

Dairy has slowly left our refrigerator.  A bit of Tillamook cheddar and parmiggiano reggiano.  Occasionally a tub of Greek yogurt.  Mayo is gone for good.

“Vegemeat”, long a staple food in my life and heart, was eliminated first for budgeting purposes and now because we are soy-free at home.

We eliminated soy at home last fall, due to concerns about endocrine disruption in our children and myself.  It has made a difference, I might add.  But I mourn the loss of soy milk and tofu (not to mention that it’s in just about everything).  And vegemeat.

And now, the most recent challenge is to move away from relying so heavily on breads.  Sandwiches and burritos have been the core of our meal repertoire.  But when I buy bread, it gets eaten for at least two, if not three meals a day.  Too much.

We’re sick of corn tortillas, and I can’t in good conscience have us eat so many white flour tortillas any longer.  My body rebels.  There are some good whole wheat tortillas, but they are worth their weight in gold and we eat a lot of food around here.

Which leaves us with Mostly Plants.  


For a long time, I have cooked under the following formula ::

One legume, one grain, one green vegetable, one yellow vegetable.  

It’s a wonderful way to start learning how to make meals that are not based around a main dairy, meat, or vegemeat item.  Tossed salads, grain salads, bean bowls, fried rice, pasta with vegetables, sandwiches, burritos/tacos.  All of these are great ways to use the vegetables that are on sale and in season at the grocery store/farmer’s market or that come in the farm box.

But I seem to have reached a point of stagnation.  With the elimination of soy and moving away from breads, I’m left without the foundations of our staple meals.  Also, this year has matured our family so that there are more apparent food preferences and aversions.  Our policy is that everyone must eat, without complaining, a modest helping of whatever is served.  But as main cook, I must say that I prefer a table full of enthusiasm and second helpings over grim endurance.

All of which means, it’s time for a change!


I’ve cancelled our farm box for the time being so that I can do some picking and choosing of my own at the grocery store.

I’ve signed us up for 30 Day Vegan.

Devo and I are seriously considering investing in our first juicer.  Recommendations?

I have planted 12 tomatoes, six cucumbers, way too much squash (Mom, you have to promise to help eat it), and seven bell peppers.

I’ve reworked and updated my perpetual grocery list.

I am trying hard to develop a manageable and tasty meal plan.

I’m on the lookout for new complete-meal recipes.  I enjoy cooking from whatever I’ve got, but it’s time to find and plan for full meals.  Preferably ones that everyone loves.  Or almost everyone.


Might I just say that eating with a conscience these days is a very very hard thing to do?  Eat in season, buy locally, buy organic, avoid cans, stay in budget, eat a balanced and healthy diet.  Just those criteria alone can leave us with hardly anything to eat.

I call for new criteria to eating with a conscience : use your brain! don’t get hung up on getting it all right!  eat well!

Anyone have a plant-based, fresh, simple and easy meal to share?



7 thoughts on “mostly plants

  1. Quinoa-Black Bean Salad is a current favorite: 1 c dry quinoa (cooked with 2 c vegetable stock or water + McKay’s chicken seasoning), 1.5 c black beans, 1 red pepper, 3-6 green onions, 1 bunch cilantro, juice of 1 lemon or lime, 1 tsp cumin, olive oil, salt, pepper to taste. We sometimes add feta. Similar idea but more Medditerranean is Couscous-Garbanzo Salad. 1 c whole wheat couscous, 1.5 c garbanzos, 1-2 tomatoes, 1/2 cucumber, 3-6 green onions, 1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, juice of 1 lemon, 1-2 cloves garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper to taste. Both are great served over a bed of spinach or other greens.

    My meal planning has been at a stall for the last 6 months. I just can’t seen to commit. Any chance you’d be willing to share your various iterations from over the years? I need some inspiration!

  2. We are right there too, mama!! Whole wheat tortillas, brown rice and black beans, avocado like crazy, salsa… me some hummus in a pita with cucumber and tomato or red pepper and just a tad of feta….we juice apple/spinach/carrot once or twice a week….lots of fresh apple and carrot snacks….soups have been fun, curry with coconut milk base, oven bake {roasted sweet potatoes, mushrooms, zucchini, potatoes} fried rice, sushi, pizza {have you heard about the cauliflower alfredo sauce???? it’s revolutionary!!}

    No more negative self-talk, girl. You are tooooooo amazing for that. =)

  3. We have to talk sometime soon! I made a yummy Spanish “Rice” with quinoa recently- would be good as a rice bowl with pintos, Limey avocado, cilantro, crunchy tortilla strips,etc.

    I often struggle with what to fix with food restrictions/challenges-and there’s just TWO of us! It’s getting into summer but I still love soups and have some yummy recipes to share.

    Love you, Karen

    Sent from my iPhone

  4. Um, we have eaten take out or at my parents for uh…5 days running if that tells you where I’m at with meal planning. The end of the school year is exhausting! I have 3-4 evening commitments each week! Blah. But your post now has me seriously worried about your visit this summer. We are going to have to do some talking. What are the dates, exactly?

  5. Leilani, A hearty welcome to the club!

    A question: what changes did you notice with less soy. I am not overly concerned we don’t consume much soy but you piqued my curiosity. I’m well aware of the issue but also know that asian cultures have consumed natural and fermented soy for ages without apparent adverse affects so we take a moderate approach. but I’m curious what you’ve noticed….

    as for a recipe. One immediately came to mind and the first commenter is very simliar to my idea
    Quinoa/chick pea salad:

    4 cups cooked quinoa
    2-3 cups of cooked beans
    chopped red onion
    fresh parsley (plenty)
    toasted almonds (plenty also)
    dried cranberries
    wilted fresh spinach or just cooked broccoli
    fresh squeezed OJ
    fresh pepper
    miso (you could omit this because of soy)
    orange zest
    touch of sesame oil
    rice vinegar

    This is a supper I regularly whip up when I want to make something on auto-pilot. It also prepares fast because quinoa is quick and you can use canned beans if you need.

    It’s very fresh tasting and my family loves it. Devours it actually. This serves our family of 5 with a wee bit left for Celine’s breakfast. YOu might be able get by with 1/2 the recipe.

    And no self bashing allowed Love. A little whining from time to time is ok. Beating up on ourselves – not ok.


  6. Pingback: updates | spinning in my teacup

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s