Friday Finds

Hi everyone,

I hope your weekend is going well.  It was a sunny but COLD day here.  And I had to stand out in the cold during Isaac’s GAA practice this morning. Brrr!  Also – don’t be fooled by the green grass – it’s astroturf.  Friday Finds is one day late due to my previous post about my vegetable delivery. A shorter list of links from around the web this week, because I included my menu plan as well.

Parenting & Motherhood

Do you ever feel like you are “dating” for mom friends?  A good article about making friends when the main thing you have in common is your kids.

A few of my friends announced their pregnancies in the past month. Some were a few weeks along, and others were almost halfway through. I firmly believe that every woman should make her own decision about when she announces her pregnancy, but I thought this author put into words the isolation that many women feel in the first trimester.  (And no, I’m not pregnant.)

Expat Life

3 American habits I lost when I moved to Finland.  Made me laugh.  BTW – Matador Network is a great site for travel writing and expat articles.

Why Do the Brits Drive on the Left?  Learning to drive on the other side of the road was one of the most difficult things about living here.

Menu Plan for Upcoming Week:

Also, a few of you asked, so here is the Menu Plan for this week, based on the delivery we got yesterday. The only additional vegetables I had to buy were mixed leaf salad and 2 leeks.

Saturday:  Beetroot, Jerusalem Artichoke, and Skirt Steak Salad, with Parsnip Cakes. Brad has been wanting to make something out of his new cookbook, The Irish Beef Book, and we had plenty of beets and Jerusalem artichokes leftover from last week’s box.  The Parsnip Cakes (from The Country Cooking of Ireland) are basically mashed parsnips, dredged in egg and breadcrumbs, and fried.  By FAR the best way to get rid of parsnips.

Sunday:  Bacon-wrapped dates and rutabaga oven fries.  (The chipotle mayo in this recipe is so good!) A bit eclectic, yes – but trying to get rid of a few bits and bobs over the weekend.

Monday:  Pasta with peas, pine nuts, and garlic, from Jerusalem, by Yotam Ottolenghi.  I don’t own this cookbook (yet), but I found this recipe here. I usually reduce the amount of garlic for the kids, but this is a recipe where almost everything can be kept on hand.

Tuesday:  Ham, leek, and barley casserole from BBC Good Food.  I’ll be substituting kale for savoy cabbage. New recipe for us, but in general, recipes from BBC Good Food turn out well.

Wednesday:  Smoky Cauliflower Frittata from Plenty, also by Ottolenghi. Plenty is another great vegetarian cookbook, especially if you are willing to try new flavors.

Thursday:  Baked potatoes or leftovers.

Friday: Pizza.  Every Friday night is pizza night at our house.

If you like this addition, let me know.  I’ll think about posting it more frequently. In the meantime, if I try a recipe and like it, I will usually pin it to my What to Eat for Dinner board on Pinterest.

Have a great weekend!

 x Rheagan

Why I’m (mostly) Vegetarian

Let me just start this post by saying that I love meat – beef, poultry, pork, lamb, wild game – I’ll try pretty much anything.  I was born and raised in West Texas, and I’ll be the first person to tell you that a really good grass-fed ribeye is AMAZING.  But in the past 5 years, we have dramatically reduced the amount of meat that we eat on a regular basis.  It started when we lived in Austin.  Brad and I were both in graduate school, and money was tight (2 in graduate school + 2 young kids = no money), so meat was something we ate less and less of.    We also subscribed to a CSA farm share.  There’s nothing like staring a giant box of kale, tomatoes and squash (that you have already paid for) to prompt you to eat more vegetables!

Now days, we eat meat maybe 1-2 times a week.  We subscribe to a vegetable delivery service here (the closest Ireland gets to a CSA), and participate in Meatless Monday. We have kept up the habit for 3 main reasons:

Eating less meat is better for your body

Meat is a calorie-dense food.  It is higher in fat and cholesterol, and depending on the type of meat you buy, it can have plenty of hormones in it as well.  Reducing the amount of meat you consume reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, and some types of cancer.

Eating less meat is better for the environment

There are plenty of arguments around the the issue of meat consumption and environmental impact. Meat production, in general, uses more water, produces more greenhouse gases, and uses more fuel than farming.  For example, it takes approximately 1850 gallons (7000L) of water to produce 1 pound (500g) of beef compared to 39 gallons (148L) of water to produce a pound (500g) of vegetables.

Eating less meat is better for your wallet

It is no secret that meat costs more than vegetables, grains, legumes, and nearly everything else at the grocery store. Food prices here in Ireland are about 30-40% higher than in the US.  Personally, I prefer to spend money on quality ingredients – organic vegetables, cheese, good pasta, etc, rather than eat ground beef (“beef mince” here in Ireland) every night, just for the sake of eating meat.

This post isn’t really about trying to convince you to give up meat entirely.  Like I mentioned above, I really like meat!  What I am trying to convince you to do is to give Meatless Monday a try.  It is an easy, no-commitment way to work more vegetables into your diet.  Choose a vegetarian meal for one day a week.  Today is Monday, and my Twitter and Instagram feeds are full of #meatlessmonday hashtags. Vegetarian meals do not have to be boring salads!  There are loads of pasta dishes, casseroles, gratins, soups and stews, etc that make a great meal without the meat.  The picture above was a winter vegetable pot pie that I made for tonight’s dinner.

Bon Appetit!

PS – For those that are curious, yes the kids eat a vegetarian diet along with us.  In fact, one of our kids doesn’t care for meat at all.  I’ll write a post next week about the ways we have encouraged our kids to eat (or at least try) more vegetables.