I read more and more about the advantages of eating meatless. Yes, there are environmental benefits, which are important to me, but the health benefits are very impressive!  It's the main reason I am drawn more to a vegetarian diet. Our daughter is a strict vegetarian and her husband and daughter are not. They've worked out a system that works well for them so that they're all happy with what they eat. Fortunate for me, Richard is happy eating vegetarian for the most part so I don't have to cook two meals! He likes his occasional hot dog or burger, but rarely requests a 'meat' meal.

I'm convinced that the reason is the delicious meat-free meals we cook and eat.  We just don't miss meat!  The dish we had last night is a great example.  Pasta is Richard's favorite food and making a meatless pasta dish is quite easy.  Pasta is pretty much a blank slate and takes well to almost any ingredients  you have on hand to add to it. 

Last week I cooked up a large batch of garbanzo beans and froze some. I thawed out the frozen chick peas to use in the pasta dish. Last summer I made and froze a lot of fresh pesto and I also thawed a jar of this out to use in the dish.  Sweet red peppers were on sale this week so I chopped one up along with an onion and about 8 baby bella mushrooms.  I sauteed the mushrooms and veggies, and then added the beans and about 1/4 c. pesto along with 1/2 c. of the pasta water.  Rigatoni was my pasta of choice and it was perfect for this dish. The 'sauce' clung to the pasta tubes.  The beans and mushrooms gave the pasta a hearty flavor.  We didn't miss the meat and it was healthier for us!

We have a good friend who is at a clinic for cancer treatment.  This clinic is out of the country and this is what the doctor at the clinic has to say:

God gave us an immune system to fight invaders and disease - if it is strong it will ward off all diseases.  Second, the American diet tends to cause people to be acidic and an acid environment supports and promotes disease.  It is better to be alkali.  An Alkaline environment kills disease.  So vegetables and fresh fruits promote and alkaline environment.  He wants his patients to be on a vegetarian diet.

I thought this was interesting information and it could (?) be why one of the benefits mentioned of a diet high is fruits and vegetables reduces cancer risk.

So, that is my story for today. We're happy to see more signs of spring every day. I love the sound of frogs in the springtime. The grass is beginning to green up and many trees and bushes have begun to bud. My lilac is looking like it will be full of blossoms this year along with the forsythia. I can't wait!




In 1976, when I was pregnant with our first child, a friend of mine and her husband came to our house to cook dinner for us. My friend has met her husband in the Peace Corps.  He was born in Pakistan and moved here from Bahrain if I remember correctly. He wanted to cook a dish from his country and it just happened that I was overdue to deliver our daughter and was happy to have someone do the cooking for us.  Just hours after eating this dish I went into labor and delivered Leah the next day! 

Dahl is a curried lentil dish. It has curry powder, turmeric, and lots of garlic in it. The lentils are cooked into a sort of mushy consistency, making them easy to scoop up with the chapatis. Chapatis are like whole wheat tortillas. They're very easy to make and not only delicious, but good for you! I also made a side dish of raita to compliment the spicy curry dish.  Raita is just grated cucumber, yogurt, lemon, salt, green onions, and toasted and ground cumin.

To eat this dish, just tear a small piece of the chapati off and use it to scoop up some of the dahl and a bit of the raita. It's a very easy dish to make and a healthy choice to add to your menu!  The picture above does not do the dish justice. It does have a deep green, golden color from the curry and turmeric powders. We've made this dish many times since that first time over 35 years ago!! It's a perfect meatless dish!



I like Middle Eastern foods, especially falafel served in a pita. We don't have it often, but I've always wanted to be able to make it but the recipes always sound so difficult. Recently, I saw a cooking show that featured falafel and it looked easy enough that I decided to try it for this week's Meatless Monday dish.  I'm so glad I did!

I started by cooking my own chick peas from dry beans. They are so much better than canned, but you could also used canned if you don't want to take the time to cook them.  They do take quite a while to cook. The mixture is filled with spices and herbs, lemon juice, and sauteed red pepper and onion.  Once the dough has chilled to set up a bit, it's dropped into hot oil and you make it into little football shapes something like a fritter.  It's then place in a pita pocket or I used flat bread, along with a tahini yogurt sauce, cucumber slices and lettuce.  Eat it like a burrito, rolled up with the ingredients inside the bread.

My daughter is a vegetarian and she likes falafel, too, so after we had our dinner, I made a fresh batch for her, made up a falafel roll for her and took it to her.  Later she called and said I now have a standing order for one if I should make it again! I'm sure I'll make it again. It turned out really great, and was not hard to do.  Garbanzo beans are full of wonderful goodness and nutrients and by keeping the oil at the right temperature there is very little absorbed into the fritters so it's also a very healthy meal. Here are a few pictures of what they look like!
Making the little flalfels using two tablespoons to form little football shapes called quinelles

After deep frying...golden brown and crispy

Don't start fying until the oil is at 375 degrees, and don't let it drop below 350 to keep the oil from soaking into the falafel

Wheat flat bread with flax, two lettuce leaves, yogurt tahini sauce, cucumber slices, falafel all rolled up like a burrito. Healthy, vegetarian, and so delicious!!



One of my favorite foods is falafel. I've always wanted to try making it so tomorrow, for Meatless Monday, I will be making it for the first time. Today, I cooked a bag of garbanzo beans to use. Cooking your own chick peas, also known as garbanzo beans, is easy to do. You can soak them overnight and cook them the next day, or if you have plenty of time around the house, you can eliminate the soaking.

Here is what I do. I chop a large onion and add a 1 pound bag of dry beans to a large stock pot and over them with water, plus about 3 more quarts of water. Bring them to a full boil, then turn down on low and simmer for about 4-5 hours. Add lots of water because it does boil off and you don't want them to get dry. Also, the broth you get from cooking these is soooo delicious. You will want to use this instead of chicken broth from now on! It's really flavorful and so good for you. It doesn't have the fat that homemade chicken broth does. Cook the beans, checking periodically for water level, keeping them covered in water in a covered pot, until they are nice a tender.

One bag will make a large amount. I'm having a mug of the beans with a little S & P and a drip of rice wine vinegar...so delicious and good for you! Tomorrow I will attempt falafel and I'll be sure to post the results along with a picture!



One of my favorite cookbooks is More With Less cookbook. The recipes are healthy and use ingredients that are both economical and items most kitchens have on hand. After being vegetarians for many years, when we started eating fish products, I found this recipe and gave it a try.  We liked it a lot, but I hadn't made it for a long time.

Fish was on sale last week at the grocery to I put this on our week's menu. It is such a delicious dish. Soup is comfort food, no matter what recipe you use. This is not a 'fishy' tasting dish at all. The fish taste is very light and the other vegetables compliment it so well. It's perfect for a cool evening with a couple of biscuits on the side.

Here is the recipe if you would like to try it:

Serves 5-6
In large saucepan or dutch oven saute:
1 T. oil
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 c. chopped onion
1/2 c. chopped green pepper

1/2 lb. mushrooms, sliced
2 c. cooked tomatoes
3/4 c. tomato paste (small can)
1 c. chicken broth
1 Tb. lemon juice
1 small bay leaf
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. sugar
3/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
Cook u ncovered 20 minutes.  Add:

1- 1 1/2 lbs. flounder or other white fish, cut into large pieces

Cook 10-15 minutes, or until fish flakes easily.  Serve over rice.
(I had 2 c. left over rice from last night's dinner, and just added it to the stew)