I’ve recently started cutting out meat. Not entirely. But many of my meals are meatless now, or contain less meat. Why? Well, a few reasons. The original one is my niece is a vegetarian. Not one of those pushing evangelizing vegetarians… she just doesn’t eat meat. If you ask why, she’ll answer your questions, but she doesn’t push her opinion. She just lives her life, and does amazing things like running 40km in the Alps non-stop. This sortof makes you wonder if there isn’t something to the reputed health benefits of vegetarianism.
Another reason is I’m becoming more aware of the poor conditions on big farms. Not just for the animals, but for the people too. This makes me think, maybe I should get to know the farmers producing my food. So this summer I’ve been eating local produce.
The thing that put it over the edge though, was the chickens. National Geographic did a spread a while ago about these chickens in the UK that had been adopted from factory egg farms. Instead of being made into soup, they began long and (eventually) healthy lives as free range chickens. In one of the pictures a chicken was shown wearing a sweater. Because it had. no. feathers. No feathers. Were they all plucked out by another chicken? Was it because the chicken was nutritionally depleted from power laying that it couldn’t grow feathers? If that’s the case, how much nutrition is actually in that pale yellow egg…
I started buying my eggs locally too.
My egg lady is Alyson McNish. She’s great. I like her. I’ve met the chickens. They have a cute little house that you would totally love to live in. Their yard is huge. They just run around being their own free chicken selves. And the eggs are amazing. Dark yolks, amazing texture, hard shells… (that’s because the chickens are well fed.) When we do buy beef we get it from her too. The cows are happy. The beef is good and not loaded up with hormones and naturally aged, not sprayed with a bunch of chemicals. If you live in the Brockville area you can find her phone number here…
While she was away on holidays I ran out of eggs. I had to buy them somewhere else. The farm where I buy my veggies also sells eggs. Not their eggs, but local eggs. I could buy the eggs from there.. maybe. The conversation went like this.
me: where are your eggs from
her: name of the farm…
her: they’re free range.
me: have you actually met the chickens?
me: um, how much are they?
Thankfully Alyson was only gone for a little while.
So, not eating alot of meat. If I cut out meat all together I become the most annoying dinner guest in the world. The gluten-free vegetarian.
You might have one of these in your life. If you do, I’ve come to the rescue. I have a fast easy recipe that you’ll love, and your gluten-free vegetarian will love, and you probably have the ingredients for in your house right now. I actually keep the ingredients on hand for the “hey we’re stopping by for lunch” emails that I occasionally get.
Cheater Chili Soup
1 can beans (black beans or kidney beans or…) drained and rinsed
1 can diced tomatoes
4 cups broth (and don’t sneak here, if you’re serving a real vegetarian, get vegetable broth)
2 Tablespoons chili powder (or to taste)
1 onion thinly sliced
1 bell pepper thinly sliced
other vegetables you think might be good in this (but not carrots. Carrots would not be good in this.)
1 can tomato sauce to thicken
tortilla chips to garnish
fresh chopped cilantro to garnish
Put all ingredients in a pot. Cook until hot. If you added veggies, cook until veggies are tender.
Or if you want, you can put the whole mess in the crock pot.
The best part about this easy recipe is you can add more to it if it turns out that you’re going to have more guests than you anticipated, or if everyone loves it so much that they eat more than you think they will.
I’ve linked up with Alicia at Confessions of a Snowflake for her Weight Loss Wednesday recipe swap. Her Weightloss Wednesday (actually everything on her blog) is very encouraging. You should check it out.