Digging In

So, the day that I shared this garden plan with you, I happened to be busy at work lugging picking up supplies, prepping the soil, and planting the darn thing. While I still have some more outdoor chores to tackle (*ahem*flowerbeds*ahem*), I’m ecstatic to have this checked off the list. After all, it can’t grow until it’s in the ground…or, in this case, the raised beds.

The drawing I showed you Monday, of course, got changed a little bit. As with all things, life seems subject to availability, doesn’t it? So, I grabbed 8 (9, although I didn’t end up using the last one; will keep it for next year) bags of organic dirt and some peat moss (as my mother calls it “poor man’s fertilizer” — although I always assumed that’d be manure), then headed out to get plants.

First, I ventured to a local joint, T&J’s, to see what they had. I got a handful of marigolds (wish I’d gotten a second tray, but whatevs) and two types of lettuce, then headed to Lowe’s. I would’ve hit up a couple of other local places, but I was on a time crunch and trying to avoid Memorial Day parades, so this was my last stop. This is where I had to hit the brakes on a couple of the veggies we were hoping for.

So, due to lack of supply, we cut out the peas (we were late planting those, anyway) and added a couple of squash plants and cucumbers (my husband’s new favorite water flavoring). I grabbed six bell pepper plants rather than, um, a ton (two red, two yellow, two green…like a stoplight) and juggled around the arrangements a bit. I also didn’t get any potatoes, but since those wouldn’t be ready until the fall I’m still considering them.

Here’s a pictorial play-by-play of how it all went down. (And feel free to use my example as a guide, but remember that I’m a trial and error type of gardener, so don’t blame me if something goes wrong!)If you already have raised beds, weed ’em. If not, build ’em. (This is the closest to how we did ours, although in hind sight we would have build them taller. Ya live, ya learn.) Yup, those are weeds, not veggies…

Then, rough up the bed and spread that dirt. We add a few bags every year to each bed; this year, we added FOUR bags each.

Oh, and that peat moss. Mix that in.

Sexy Band-Aid, lady.

 



Then, I like to take the plants out of their containers (unless they’re biodegradable) and place them where I may like them in the beds. This way, I can move them around and adjust accordingly BEFORE they’re in the ground. I also try to take into account what the packaging/tags say regarding distance from other plants and so forth.  


Then, dig your spot, plunk the plant in, and cover that business with dirt. I gently tamp it to ensure that any larger stalks are able to stand straight. It’s really pretty self-explanatory and simple.

Pretty cool, huh? So, in each of the four corners, I planted three different types of jalapenos. (Must say with inappropriate accent.) In the middles I planted four marigolds, but kind of wish I’d doubled up on both types of plants to evade cat and bug attacks.

Since the back bed is full sun (but still gets less of that super hot afternoon sunshine with a fence and tall bush/tree thingies behind it), I planted my romaine and “mixed” salad greens on the left, a cucumber in the middle, and two tomato plants (which will take over the planet if given the chance) on the right.

In the front, I planted the three types of sweet bell peppers on the left, some carrot seeds in the middle (hence lookin’ all empty), and the two squash plants on the right. And, in all honesty, I thought I was grabbing a squash and a zucchini, so this pissed me off royally.

I’ll be sure to provide some updates (weekly? Bi-weekly? Monthly? Does anyone caaaaare?? ;-)) to let you know a) how it’s growin’ (see what I did there?) and b) if the neighborhood cats win the battle. You know what I’m saying, right?

Right??

Oh, and it’s SO silly easy to plant plants that, of course, we made a video. I mean, how could you not?

Food Revolution Day — Again

It’s that time again! Rollin’ right around the corner, May 16th is Food Revolution Day (#frd2014), hooray!!

What’s this? Well, simply, it’s a way to engage with food in a public way. This can mean a bunch of things and can be achieved a kazillion ways, but in essence it’s meant to bring attention to the fact that eating responsibly-grown and -raised foods is a) healthier, b) more beneficial to the local economy, and c) way better for the environment. All awesome things. It’s also about learning how to cook from scratch, which tends to be a bit cheaper and healthier for all of us.

(Side note: Clearly, hittin’ up McDonald’s and calling it a day won’t cut it. Sorry!)

Last year, I had high hopes of making an awesome meal, but the fact that Dave was out of town and I was feeling crappy took it down a peg. Luckily, I still found my own way to celebrate — even if in a pretty private way.

This year, I’m hoping to celebrate a little more as a family since, well, Hadley eats regular food now and Dave should be home. So, while we may just do one or two of these things, it may help you get your mental juices flowing (ew) if you decide to take part, too. Here are a few ideas I’ve got for our family (there are a ton more to check out here, and I’m sure you could come up with a ton more far better than mine):

Go out for a lovely dinner. I know what you’re thinking: “Isn’t this all about making your own food?” Yes, and I know what you mean. However, we have a handful of kick-arse locavore joints that we’re dying to try out. It’d be nice to have a date night with the hubby and know that the food we’re eating is Besides, we hardly ever get formal dates, so when we do we tend to try new places or old favorites (which, ahem, tend to be slightly more expensive places; we don’t eat out much normally, so we put more value in what we’re eating when it’s locally-grown and well-prepared).

Try something new. I’m thinking it’d be fun to trek out to the Cooperstown Farmers’ Market, buy a new ingredient (plus any other “needs” we might have), then try a new recipe. My meals lately have been pretty one-note, so this might help kick-start me into getting back into the swing of preparing summer-type meals (which tend to be more creative…or to me, at least).

Plant our garden. We’ve already drawn out (literally) a simple plan for our veggies (and one fruit), and one of my biggest issues is usually not planting early enough. Given that our frosts are gone for the season — which they may NOT be, given our crazy weather patterns — this would be the perfect weekend to buy our plants (I don’t think I’m growing anything from seed this year; I’m taking the lazy mama’s way out) and get ’em in the ground.

You may notice that these ideas are ones you really can’t complete in one day…er, at least, not at our house! I tend to look at Food Revolution Day as more of a weekend celebration than a one-day thing, especially since it generally lands on a Friday (a work day). It’s kind of like how some celebrate the whole weekend of Memorial Day, y’know?

So, you’ve got a little over a month. Are you planning on doing anything for FRD? (Or FRD weekend, as it were?) If so, what? I’d love to hear! 

Another Weelicious Treat

I made a yummy muffin from Weelicious back in September, and recently decided to try a different kind. I mostly make them for Hadley (because apparently he’s spoiled…who knew? As my husband recently said, “Well, he eats better than we do” to which I thought, “Huh. We eat well, but that’s probably true.”), but they’re great for grown-ups, too. Whether you need a snack to go with a cup of midday tea or coffee, or a quick breakfast option to send to the sitter, these tasty muffins have just the right amount of sweetness and spice to do the trick. 

Weelicious is a site dedicated to feeding kids of varying ages, although are always seem to be some good family-friendly recipes (read: you don’t need kids to eat this stuff). Let’s just say that this post could pretty much be in the form of a love letter to the mom behind Weelicious — as well as a hope that she doesn’t mind my sharing HER recipe, tweaked (not to be confused with “twerked”) a bit. I’m all about giving credit where credit is due — this isn’t my recipe, it’s just the way that I made it. Here’s the recipe she created that gave me a jumping-off point.

And here’s what I made…


PicMonkey strikes again! (Not perked…by PicMonkey or Weelicious. Just a fan!)

These would be great with walnuts (or almonds, maybe), and I’m always keen on adding some clove and nutmeg to anything apple-laden. We kept it pretty tame for the munchkin since these are essentially his snack/breakfast muffins.

Oh, and full disclosure: For whatever reason, the muffins seemed to stick to the super-cute paper liners that I used. Maybe I didn’t wait long enough for them to cool before digging in (I tried!), or maybe it was just dumb luck, or maybe there’s a fully logical physics-based reason to the issue (I skipped out on Physics, so…yeah…). I’d just suggest a) greasing the pan as advised in the original recipe or b) expect this to happen and accept the inevitable. It seemed better the next day (not completely, but better), so it’s not like all your hard work will end up in the trash along with half of the muffin.

I also found myself (yes, folks) sniffing H’s muffin yesterday. Sniffing it. I have no shame.

A Secret Weapon

For the most part, we lucked out in the “getting your kid to eat” department. While we didn’t try baby-led weaning, we have been pretty strict about the types of foods he eats (mostly whole, real foods — not a lot of processed, but the occasional bread, organic cheddar bunny or graham cracker bunny). It’s also great that he’s at the point where we only have to make one meal (most nights) for the family, vs. ours and something for him.

When he’s not teething or in a growth spurt, KID CAN EAT! So, providing him with high-quality, “real” food makes me ecstatic. And, what’s our number one tool to help with toddler meals?

Not a cookbook.

Not a blender.

Not a routine. Not a book about eating.

Not even a recipe website or blog.

Nope — it’s these. My gray-handled, cheap-o (yet very task specific!) scissors. They’re not kitchen shears (those actually gum up a lot more than these), but they work impeccably and help to turn our feast into *poof* a fast, ready-to-eat baby-with-5+ teeth meal. 


Got an orange? Use me to start peeling the rind, then once it’s peeled, cut up my sections. Way easier to find a possible seed this way, too.

Got some meat which *may or may not* be tough? Eh, child’s play. Snip, snap, and it’s small and tender enough for a youngin’.

Want to make it easier on the sitter so the food’s relatively prepped (poor thing chases toddlers all day, the least you can do is cut stuff up pre-mealtime)? Boom. Perfectly-sized leftovers made into next-day baby lunch.

Do you have a “secret weapon” that you can’t live without? I tell ya, every time these “disappeared” during gift-wrapping season, I did the “fetch-n-mumble.” I could feel myself turning into my mother.

Thanks, Super Scissors!!!

Meat Muffins

We hope you and your family had an awesome Thanksgiving! I didn’t have the meal at my house, but I’ll have some holiday food posts for you in the coming weeks — so stay tuned! But, on with this week’s Foodie Friday…

Hee hee. I can’t stop giggling over that post title. But, yeah, I made some muffins…made of meat. Meat muffins.

Pfthwahahahaha!!!

I’ve made meatloaf and mini-meatloaves plenty, but realized that I hadn’t shared a recipe. Yet, every time I make a loaf, I find a new recipe to try. I finally decided to get on the muffin tin mini-meatloaf bandwagon. While it was generally the same amount of work, it was easier to just shove the mixture into an oiled muffin tin rather than trying to get a loaf to hold its shape on a sheet pan, or split it up into mini-loaves — yeck, math ‘n stuff. 😉

This is also the first time I threw in a carrot and celery…just because.

Mini Meatloaf Muffins

1 lb. ground meat (beef, in this case, but use whatchya got; this was grassfed from, of all places, Australia)
1 egg
1/2 c. oatmeal, uncooked
1/2 – 1 onion, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 celery, trimmed and diced
Salt and pepper
Thyme and/or parsley
Worcestershire sauce
Ketchup

Topping (any measurements you like):
Ketchup
Mustard
Maple syrup (or brown sugar)

Place a few tablespoons of oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Once you can see ripples, add your diced onion, carrot and celery. Season with a bit of salt and allow to soften, 5-7 minutes.

While veggies cook, place meat, oats, egg, seasonings, a squirt of ketchup and Worcestershire sauce in a bowl. Separately, mix topping together.

Add veggies to meat mixture and combine. Don’t overmix.


Fill muffin cups about 2/3 full (no need to smooth in your hands first, unless you want to). Use a spoon to spread topping on each “muffin.”

Bake at 375 for about 20 minutes (more if needed).

Serve with veggies and mashed potatoes (if you’re in a comfort food mood, which we were) or a nice light salad. Add a squirt of fresh ketchup if you like.

These are GREAT for little ones. Hadley adores his for lunch…or anytime, really. If your toddler or child isn’t a fan of veggies, this is a great way to get them to eat some carrots (and the rest of it) since they tend not to notice. But, we’re lucky, and Hadley likes veggies…he just prefers them wrapped in meat better. 😉

What’s YOUR favorite comfort food? A nice, meaty meal? A soup, stew or chili? Or is it all about the dessert?

Muffins for My Muffin

Alternate titles: Don’t Call Me Muffin. Money for Muffin. Muffin But a G-Thang. This could go on and on and on…

I first made this recipe riiiiiight before I returned to school (and started sending Hadley back to his grandma’s house). We hadn’t really dabbled into the world of sending solids along too much beyond baby food-ish stuff before the summer, but he got SO into eating real food, I knew it was time to start sending some along. He’ll eat leftovers, defrosted/heated frozen veggies, cheese sticks…okay, almost everything.

I heard through the grapevine that he really has a thing for these muffins, so I made another batch to freeze-and-pull to keep the little guy happy. It’s good to know he already enjoys “real food.” And hopefully you will, too!

The recipe is pretty much this one, which I made pretty much to the T (two versions, one with applesauce that I admittedly used a tad too much of, and the other with blueberries), adding an extra sprinkling of cinnamon to the top before mixing them in. So, please know that this recipe isn’t one of my “started with this recipe, made it my own” recipes; I’m literally passing along 100 Days of Real Food’s recipe, which I know comes out nummy. 🙂 

Fruit, Nut, or Berry (or whatever you want them to be) Whole-Wheat Muffins

Serves: Makes 12 Muffins

Ingredients
  • 1½ cups whole-wheat flour (I used organic white whole-wheat flour)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup oil (I used coconut oil; melt it in the microwave first, then measure)
  • ¾ cup orange juice or apple juice (I used organic apple juice)
  • About 1 cup of total filling (berries, fruit, nuts, etc. – see below for details)
  • Muffin/Cupcake liners (I used silicone muffin trays, so I didn’t need these)

Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl with a fork or whisk mix the flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg.


  3. Make a well (hole) in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the eggs, honey, vanilla, oil and orange juice. Mix the dry and wet ingredients together – do not overmix.

    For those who may not know what coconut oil looks like (melted), here it is…with some flour in it.


  4. Now here is the fun part. If you are in a hurry just add 1 cup of blueberries, mashed up banana & nuts, or other filling of your choice. If you have 5 or 10 minutes extra (and some anxious helpers) do not add anything to the muffin batter before continuing with the next step.
  5. Line a muffin pan with liners and fill ⅔ to ¾ of the way full with batter. If you didn’t already add your filling, sprinkle 1 – 2 teaspoons of whatever you would like (from the list below or from your own creation) onto the top of each raw muffin in the pan. Then gently mix each one with a fork or spoon.
    Here are some options to consider for the fillings:
    – blueberries
    – diced strawberries
    – peeled and diced pears
    – applesauce
    – either diced or mashed up bananas and chopped walnuts
    – raisins and chopped pecans (I add an extra pinch of cinnamon to the muffins with this filling)
    – grated carrot and chopped walnuts
    – orange or lemon zest (only add ¼ to ½ teaspoon of zest per individual muffin)
    – a mix of dried fruit bits
    – jelly

  6. After the filling has been mixed into each muffin slide the tray into the warm oven and bake for 10 – 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Serve warm or at room temperature and freeze some for a later date.  

    Like I said, I used a bit too much applesauce (only use a teaspoon or even less) and I think the fact that the blueberries were frozen this time made them look a bit different (although they’re just as tasty). It could be one of my ingredients, but I’ve found that these do best stored in a freezer bag in the fridge (or freezer) until you need them.

    I’m particularly pleased that there are only two tablespoons of sweetener — and a naturally-produced one, at that! (You could also use maple syrup, I’m sure. Mmm. I might have done that the first time, actually.)

    Here some eye candy I took after our first batch to end for today…

    Side note: Today’s World Animal Day. For some ideas on how to celebrate, check out the Green Child Magazine article I wrote for the occasion.

Sweet Potato Chili

Okay, okay. I know what you’re thinking. Meg, it’s boiling outside and you’re making chili? Well, sure. Some people enjoy spicy stuff when it’s hot! I’m not usually one of those people, but when I tasted this recipe, I didn’t give a nugget what the temp outside was, if ya know what I’m sayin’.


We’re still doing pretty well with our M-F no-meat challenge, and while I made a veggie chili awhile back which used bulgur wheat, I wasn’t a fan. I guess I don’t NEED the meat texture, be it from real meat or something that’s trying hard to resemble meat. This, however, is worth sharing. It’s got some heat but has definite sweetness. And throw in whatever you want – I suggest a handful of frozen corn, which occurred to me after the fact. 


Sweet Potato Chili
(Serves about 6-8; I doubled the couple of recipes I worked from)
Olive oil
2 sweet potatoes, diced (with or without skin, just scrub them)
1 lg. onion, diced
2-3 carrots, peeled and diced
2 ribs of celery, diced
1 red pepper, diced
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 28 oz. can black beans
1 15 oz. can kidney beans
Salt ‘n pepper
1 tsp. oregano
1/2 – 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 tbsp. cumin
2 tbsp. chili powder
1-2 tsp. cayenne pepper 
3+/- cups vegetable stock

Chop it all up! In a large pot, heat 2 tbsp. olive oil over medium and add first 6 ingredients, cooking for 8 minutes or until onion is soft (stir occasionally). Add spices and stock and cook for 20-30 minutes. Add the canned items and allow to cook for 10 more minutes, give or take.



Serve with avocado, cheese, plain yogurt and lime (or whatever you have on hand – be creative!). As with most recipes, taste – if you need more spice, add more; just don’t add too much since you can’t take it out once it’s in there! Enjoy!! We sure did. (And still are!)

(BTDubs, my iPhone pics are only worth their salt if I don’t upsize them…so, this is whatchya get today. Sorry…but have a great weekend! ;-))

Soup-A-Dee-Doop

I’ve found that the easiest way to navigate around this whole weekly vegetarian thing is to make the occasional pot o’ soup. For guidance, I search the internet and pull out our Moosewood Restaurant cookbook, and occasionally a few other cookbooks, but as with most recipes I end up using them for a bit of knowledge (how long to soak beans) and then wing it for the final product. At its worse, this can make for a bland recipe. (Which always gets me so down. Why should it? At least we get won’t go hungry.) At its best, you get this simple, tasty soup. And, as always, play with the ingredients! Wouldn’t sweet potatoes be good in this??

Black Bean Soup
– 1/2 lb. dried black beans (this is half the bag; soak overnight)
– 1 small onion, diced
– 2-3 stalks of celery, diced
– 2-3 carrots, diced
– 1/4 to 1/2 green pepper, diced (use any pepper in any amount; I’m not a huge green pepper person, but this is what we had on-hand)
– one quart low-sodium vegetable stock (or homemade)
– 1-2 tbsp. each of cumin, chili powder
– 1/4 – 1/2 tsp. each salt, pepper and red pepper flakes (if you have jalapenos lying around, use one! Can’t wait for summer…)
– 1 lime, zest and juice
– for garnish (optional, but greatly improves the effect): avocado slices, plain yogurt, feta cheese, additional sprinkling of salt/pepper/red pepper/lime

Combine the first seven ingredients in a pot and start a-boilin’. When it has reached a boil, turn the heat down to allow the soup to simmer for around 30-45 minutes (until the beans have softened). Once they have softened, add the salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and zest and juice of lime (if you add the salt earlier, it interferes with the cooking of the beans) and allow the flavors to come together, cooking for another 10-15 minutes (or longer, if you wish). You can eat it as-is, or use an immersion blender to make a smooth soup (we ate as-is).

This also happened to be the night that we discovered that our 10-month-old is a huge fan of avocado. I hope his adventuresome spirit continues well into the future (and not just with cuisine)!

Quick Quiche

It was one of those nights. You know what I mean. Low (and I mean low) on groceries and in the middle of a hell of a week with more of it to come. Yeah, one of those.

The hubs was asking what he could do to help, so instead of saying “nothing” and running around like a bitter idiot trying not to stress him out, I asked him to head to the grocery store. By the time he got back, I hoped, I’d have dinner ready and the baby fed and bathed. And, dude, it totally happened like that. Score!

My directions for this recipe aren’t very specific because, well, I was ALMOST out of milk (I would’ve used 1/4 – 1/2 cup more if I’d had it) and was winging it 100%. Oh, and we were so starved by the time we sat down to eat (after the baby was down, well into the new Office episode), I didn’t take pictures. Let’s pretend it looked something like this picture on the left, shall we?

Actually, it kinda sorta did (sans the pretty little parsley). I cooked mine for around 35 minutes (when the directions I was using as a guide suggested 45+), and it came out a tad darker than I’d have liked. I like my quiche softer, but it was still tasty enough to write about on the ol’ blog! So, okay, here’s the vague recipe:

(Relatively) Quick Quiche

Thaw your frozen pie crust for 10 minutes and turn the oven on to 400° (this was demanded by my pie crust’s instructions; do what yours tells you and all will be fine). While this is pre-heating, mix together 4 (or 5) eggs with about 1 cup of milk (or half-and-half, or cream, it ain’t no thang). To this mixture, sprinkle in a couple of dashes of paprika, nutmeg, and a grinding of pepper. Also grate yourself about one cup (more if you like) of sharp cheddar cheese; again, use whatever cheese you like, this is just what we had lying around. Prick the crust and bake it on a baking sheet (you’ll see why) for 10 minutes.

Decide what else you’d like in your quiche. In my case, to make it faster, I had already thawed out some asparagus I froze back in the day (you can use broccoli, too…or get creative! Way faster and easier if it’s already cooked, to an extent). If you want the taste of onion, you’ll want to saute some, but I just chopped up a few scallions, instead.

When the crust is ready, layer in half of the cheese, then your green veggies and onion, then the rest of your cheese and pour your wet mixture on top. This was a vegetarian option, so if you want meat, feel free to use your fingers to pull apart a few slices of deli ham, or go nuts and cook off some bacon. Seriously, we didn’t even notice the lack of meat, ’twas that yummy.

Bake the quiche (it’s officially a quiche, yay!) on the baking sheet (it catches overspill in case the thing decides to vomit in your oven…and it may) for 35-45 minutes or until it reaches the consistency you prefer (no longer jiggly). Take it out of the oven and allow it to rest/set up for 30 minutes (ours appeared ready to eat once we took it out of the oven, though, so this IS actually kind of a quick meal…if you don’t follow directions…wink, wink).

Eat as is or pair with a simple side salad. (And wine. I can’t have wine, still. So, yeah. Drink wine…for me.) We had a couple humongous pieces, plus enough to gobble a quick bite down before heading to the theater for a show the next night — two dinners in one? Score!

Why I’m Not a Vegetarian

I’ve read a couple of articles and blog posts about vegetarianism lately, which got my juices flowing (ew. Visual.) and my thoughts drifting back to our eating habits. I’ve talked about my thought process on this before, from flexitarianism to partaking in Meatless Monday (and a follow-up) to my first ever post about our thoughts on Food, Inc.

Our hearts are torn. We’re passionate animal lovers. We live in a relatively rural area with tons of active hunters, and we’re not altogether crazy about it. Our area’s biggest job provider is a gun factory. (Let’s just say the governor’s abrupt push-through gun control act has plenty of folks up in arms…pardon the pun…around our surrounding towns.) Yet, I’m in favor of gun control insomuch as semi-automatics are simply unnecessary for any non-military purpose and the concept that our forefathers were dealing with muskets when they worked on the Constitution seems telling. So, sure, I’m a bit of a hippie.

So, why am I still a dang meat eater?

I don’t crave it. I don’t demand I eat it with every meal. I’m not “carnivorous.” But, I am stubborn. And a tad lazy.

One thing I’ve learned about myself, especially thanks to the awesome self-analysis offered by doing this blog, is that I can only change if it’s gradual. I’m not able to maintain a gung-ho, all-at-once life change, especially if it’s one that involves an immense learning curve and lots o’ planning. Exhibit A. Yeah, that didn’t work out so well.

I gave up coffee while pregnant (and still abstain), but I wasn’t addicted beforehand. Not that I’m addicted to meat, but it’s definitely a lifestyle. Definitely.

I’m Irish-American. We were raised with meat ‘n potatoes. The only time we didn’t have meat at the dinner table was Friday during Lent or when we’d have the rare pancake for dinner (although sometimes we’d have bacon…sometimes not). It was practically taboo NOT to have meat on our plates. Spaghetti must contain its accompanying meatballs, after all.

Not that it was a bad way to grow up. However, as we’ve learned more about the state of slaughterhouses and the food system in America, it’s difficult to eat without considering not only where the food started (and how it was treated), but what it might be doing to our bodies. As it is, I can no longer eat Taco Bell or McDonald’s without getting sick in some way.

The meat we do consume is, at its very basic, not given hormones and hopefully humanely treated. My number one priority, above it being organic, is how it was treated. If I had my way, all of our meat and poultry would be grassfed (not given a “vegetarian diet” which could include genetically-modified corn), lovingly cared for, humanely killed, and organic. It seems an easier feat to achieve in Europe (even with its Mad Cow and what not) than America, which is insane. Oh, and don’t get me started on seafood; that’s impossible to track and it’s a challenge to find anything to feed the family. A Mediterranean diet is harder to grasp than you’d think.

So, it stands; we’re omnivores. We eat less meat than most, but I still feel like a slave to my routine. I’d love to find still more *simple* vegetarian recipes to try to push out my meat-based meals. (And not the hippie kinds. Ones that I can give to the hubs without him thinking a second thought. Ones that blend in with our relatively traditional usual fare.) I’d also hate to be that daughter or DIL who throws a wrench into the works at family gatherings and stuff.

I don’t foresee this always being the way. After all; we’ve got a kid. And, if I know kids, and if he’s anything like this, he’ll be a motivator. If he takes after us, he’ll be an animal lover, too (he’s already nuts about his kitties and the doggies he gets to see at his grandma/sitter’s everyday). I can just see the day when he makes the correlation between what we’re eating…and the fact that it once moved.

Why is it that I can see changing for him, but in the meantime feel like it’s too daunting a task? The things we do for those adorable dimples. Maybe we should start our “slow and steady” race sooner rather than later. Oh, and if we ever take this route, I foresee practicing lacto-ovo vegetarianism — one that involves consuming eggs, milk and honey (as long as they’re collected humanely…not sure if there’s a honey standard, LOL) but no meat, poultry or seafood.

Baby steps, though. Hadley-sized steps.