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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm a new vegetarian and so are my husband, our two daughters (in high school), our son and his girlfriend (both college students) - so six of us in all! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"><br><br>
I decided to make the change to vegetarianism for the health benefits and more importantly, to put my kids on a path of life long healthy living. Lead by example as they say. My family and I gave up meat 6 months ago but I am struggling at finding meals my family will love to eat.<br><br>
My husband and I both come from serious carnivorous families (hunters, fishermen etc) and this has been a life altering change. We have always eaten healthy; organic vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains, local eggs, avoided fast foods etc. but all of our meals included meat or really they centered on meat and I used to be an <i>excellent</i> cook! People raved about my food, requested my food, asked for recipes and the holidays? No one could touch my holiday feasts lol.<br><br>
Now? Omg I feel I can't cook anything right! Since we stopped eating meat, all my old reliable dinners are gone. I've tried vegetarian recipes for Italian food, Thia, Indian, Moroccan, Chinese, Vietnamese, on and on. Nothing tastes like MY food yet. I can cook vegetarian Mexican cuisine (thank goodness or we'd starve lol - just kidding) but seriously, I can't seem to find my groove.<br><br>
Everyday it's wake up and search the web for vegetarian recipes that are hearty, filling and nutritionally complete. Don't get me wrong, my family are all troopers and are willing to give just about anything a go and they're honest in their opinions; "Good but not great" - "I really like that one" or the dreaded "please never make that again" lol but it's been hard on me as the primary cook. It seems I should have a list of great "go to" meals worked out by now but I don't.<br><br>
Even now all the veggies at the store still look like side dishes to me and not a main course. I can't look at a squash and have 2 or 3 recipe ideas pop up. I literally have to search out a way to make a complete meal. Despite my uncertainty I do manage to make sure my kids have healthy balanced meals but it's SO different and takes much more time and forethought (for every meal). It's like learning to cook all over again and it feels a little overwhelming at times. While we don't miss meat (weird but we really don't), we DO miss the comfort of familiar foods and flavors and I miss my competency in providing meals my family <i>loves</i> to eat.<br><br>
Is this normal? Does it take a while to get comfortable cooking? Any advice or shared experiences would be greatly welcomed.<br><br>
Thanks!<br><br>
Nikki
 

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Hi Nikki,<br><br>
One good trick is simply to 'veganize' regular meals.<br><br>
Mince based meals are easiest; Chili Non Carne, Spaghetti Bolognaise, Shepherds Pie, etc ...<br><br>
The forums recipe section is loaded with good ideas (and some of mine as well!), have you tried looking for ideas there?<br><br>
Kudos to your family for doing this 'en-masse' and welcome to the forum btw <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">
 

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An idea!<br><br>
Why not post some of your families favourite pre-enlightenment meals here and let us see if we can help you veganise those from there?
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Clueless Git</strong> <a href="/forum/post/3097417"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
An idea!<br><br>
Why not post some of your families favourite pre-enlightenment meals here and let us see if <b>we can help you veganise</b> those from there?</div>
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Excellent idea. I'd love to help.<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/grin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":D">
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you guys!<br><br>
I feel a little strange discussing meat here but the problem with 'vegetizing' my old food is that it was all whole meat en mass. Whole roasted chickens, roasted tri-tips, fish, chops, steaks, hams, etc... So flavors/spices were....meaty? Well, geared toward meat anyway. (Hope I didn't gross anybody out!)<br><br>
I never made casseroles, chili's, or one pot style dinners per se. I didn't even make lasagna. I think that's why our adjustment to the new diet has been challenging. It's not just cutting out meat, (that was actually <i>really</i> easy) it's the challenge of a whole new way of cooking and eating and textures have been a big hurdle. Everything is soft now (for the most part anyway) and nothing is familiar or comforting. Tastes, textures, spices...all new and although I am enjoying it, I'm honestly not mouth watering, crazy craving anything I've made so far. It's good but never great. Since this will be my food for the rest of my life, I'm seriously hoping I can find some 'to die for' recipes lol.<br><br>
I guess I was just curious as to everyone's adjustment period. Are you confident cooks now? Do recipes spring to mind easily? Are you really, truly loving your food? How long did it take?<br><br>
And I would <span style="text-decoration:underline;">love</span> it if you could share a couple of your 'go to' dinner foods, you know the weekly dinner staple, something you eat really regularly. I'd I also love to hear about your absolute favorite veggie meal. The one that makes <i>you</i> drool lol.<br><br>
Thanks so much!!<br><br>
Nikki
 

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Falafels! And remember you can still fry stuff for texture/crunch. I felt the same way you did and my husband is still a meat eater. He's been great and making more meat-less choices, but I take pride in fixing delicious things and meat was so easy to work with (I thought). We had chili and soups and lasagna a lot before though.<br><br>
One thing to keep in mind is that meat alone doesn't have much of a taste so use your same seasonings you used in meat dishes in the vegan ones - all you'll be missing is the texture which you can get used to or find something to replace it. My go to snacks and meals are chips and salsa, anything with hummus - especially falafels!, oreos (I try to mix it up, but oreos are quick when you want to satisfy the sweet tooth - easy recipes is about 15 oreos crunched up, 1 bag of white chocolate chips, melt chips and pour on top of oreos, let harden, break up into bark), spaghetti, mac n 'cheese', vegan chili, veggie lasagna. Just made a spur of the moment creation with whole wheat elbow macaroni, pasta sauce, almond milk, kale, balsamic vinegar. It was amazing! Otherwise - we go out for salad, cheeseless pizza, out to our fave vegan restaurant, etc lol<br><br>
You'll find your groove though. I was in despair for quite a while and then realized it's an amazing and fun challenge. Just don't be hard on yourself!<br><br>
Also try pinterest.com and search 'vegan' and you'll get all kinds of foods popping up. Good luck and welcome (even though I've only been on the boards a few days myself)
 

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Also - wanted to add the book <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=veggieboards.com-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2F30-Day-Vegan-Challenge-Ultimate-Compassionately%2Fdp%2F0345526171%2Fref%3Dsr_1_1%3Fie%3DUTF8%26qid%3D1328809110%26sr%3D8-1" target="_blank">30 Day Vegan Challenge</a> helped me soooo much with learning about the 'new' foods - like what types of tofu to use for what...
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Binx</strong> <a href="/forum/post/3098337"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Falafels!</div>
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I had heard of them but never tried them. After a quick google search, those look really tasty! I'll try them this week for sure (I love chickpeas). Yum!<br><br>
Thanks for your kind words, ideas and support. At first I was SO excited by planning and cooking all these new meals but now I just wished I could look in the fridge and 'see' exactly what I'm going to make for dinner...or even lunch. Six months of trying new recipes from around the world, (thank goodness for the internet) and I'm honestly kind of homesick for....well I guess I'm homesick for a delicious meal I know how to make lol. One I don't have to plan out, follow directions for and hope my family likes. I know I just need to find some new comfort foods we can enjoy and hey, maybe it'll be falafels! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/grin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":D">
 

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I bought the cook book Enemy of the Steak and it has great recipes for meat free meals that are hardy and filling. But for replacing meat in a familiar way, there are mock meats on the market that are satisfying. They might make the adjustment period easier for you. For me, it was easy because I love pasta and soup more than anything and those are easy to go veg with. Adding lentils, brown rice, beans, and veggie broth to things gave meals the weight and temperature that meat had before. You'll find your way. I was always a happy cook and when I went veggie I searched for 'weird' foods or methods to experiment with. My advice is to not try to recreate the past, make wild creations from recipes that seem strange, and have fun learning a whole new style!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>be_it</strong> <a href="/forum/post/3098755"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
I bought the cook book Enemy of the Steak and it has great recipes for meat free meals that are hardy and filling.</div>
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Ooh, I'll definitely check that out. Thanks!<br><br>
I am having fun. Exploration of food is something I would dabble with but I would never have dived into to this degree without going vegetarian. It's been an adventure so far.<br><br>
I have tried many of the vegetable protein products and they're not bad at all and some are even darn tasty. We don't eat them too often because they're pricey and come in tiny little packages. Our family of six needs several boxes just for dinner. Good for a sudden burger craving though. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>MsNikki</strong> <a href="/forum/post/3099363"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Ooh, I'll definitely check that out. Thanks!<br><br>
I am having fun. Exploration of food is something I would dabble with but I would never have dived into to this degree without going vegetarian. It's been an adventure so far.<br><br>
I have tried many of the vegetable protein products and they're not bad at all and some are even darn tasty. We don't eat them too often because they're pricey and come in tiny little packages. Our family of six needs several boxes just for dinner<b>. Good for a sudden burger craving though</b>. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"></div>
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I love burgers and have just bought the following book, <i><b>The Best Veggie Burgers on the Planet from the Book Depository</b></i>. It has some great ideas for making delicious burgers.<br><br>
I don't think it's always easy on a daily basis to come up with tasty, healthy vegetarian meals. It does require some serious thinking and stocking up.<br><br>
We get veggie burgers in the supermarkets and I must say that they really are delicious but very expensive. Ok for an occasionnal meal but not something that I purchase often.<br><br>
Let us know how you're getting on.
 
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