Saturday, January 30, 2010

Cowgirl (er...cow hugger?)

In addition to the other lifestyle changes I'm making this year (regular exercise, getting serious about my eating plan), I've decided to go back to my mostly-vegetarian diet. For about 10 years I eschewed all meat except for seafood, could never seem to give up shrimp & lobster, but 6 years ago I started eating chicken again, then beef, and before you knew it I was a full-blown carnivore. I've never felt good about it, though, really prefer to not eat anything with a face. I'm such a huge animal lover that when I actually think about what I'm putting into my mouth it makes me sick, both in my stomach and my heart. This is a personal decision, please don't think I'll be getting up on my soap box trying to convince anyone to join me in my cow-hugging ways! After all, I am still living with a man who considers bacon one of the major groups and would curl up and die without his weekly Bubba Burger! Nor am I going vegan, as much as I admire those who can it would be too difficult for me at this point in my life.

So, starting this week I'm cutting out the meat. No more chicken, beef, pork, etc., and I'm going to limit the amount of seafood as well. I really don't think it'll be a hardship, it's so much easier to be a vegetarian than it was 20 years ago! Back then there was no Boca or Morningstar products, we veggies had to live on tofu, beans and grains. Not all vegetarians are healthy, by the way; after all, there's no meat in bread, cookies, cakes, etc! I definitely overdid the pasta back in the day and with my no white stuff guideline I'm going to have to be really careful in that area.

If anyone has some tasty, healthy vegetarian recipes, please feel free to share! I'll be posting some of my own, starting with this one from Weight Watchers:

Mexican-Style Brown Rice Casserole

POINTS® Value: 6
Servings: 6
Preparation Time: 12 min
Cooking Time: 30 min
Level of Difficulty: Easy

Like a burrito in a bowl, this dish is great for parties. Serve a big salad on the side.

1 spray(s) cooking spray
4 cup(s) cooked brown rice
1 1/4 cup(s) salsa
1 tsp ground cumin
15 oz canned refried beans
10 oz frozen corn kernels, thawed
4 oz canned green chili peppers, mild, diced
1 Tbsp chili powder
10 oz chopped frozen spinach, or collard greens, thawed and set to drain in a strainer over a bowl
3/4 cup(s) low-fat shredded cheddar cheese, divided
2 Tbsp cilantro, fresh, chopped (optional; for garnish)

* Preheat oven to 375ºF. Coat a 2-quart rectangular, round or oval baking dish with cooking spray

* In a large bowl, combine rice, salsa and cumin. Spoon 2 cups of rice mixture into prepared baking dish and spread out to evenly cover bottom of dish.

* In another large bowl, combine refried beans, corn, chili peppers and chili power. Using a rubber spatula, scrape bean mixture on top of rice layer and smooth out top.

* Squeeze out any excess water from spinach or collard greens and then spread on top of bean layer; sprinkle with 6 tablespoons of cheese. Top with remaining rice mixture and smooth out top; sprinkle with remaining cheese.

* Place casserole on a large rimmed baking sheet to catch any spillage. Bake until heated through and cheese is browned and bubbling, about 30 minutes. Sprinkle with cilantro (if desired), cut into 6 pieces and serve.

Notes: * Leftover brown rice works well in this dish. Or save time by picking some up at your local Chinese restaurant.


  1. Hi there, just sharing a link to my recipe for Vegetarian Mexican Rice Soup.

    I love it, you might too!

  2. Fallon, thank you so much for sharing, it looks delicious!