Today is World Vegetarian Day and October is Vegetarian Awareness Month. I haven't written much about this on my blog, but I've been a vegetarian for nearly 20 years. I started at 12 years old. Some day, when I have more time, I will post the story about how I became a vegetarian. For today, I'll share some veggie and fruit related photos, recipe tidbits and a few thoughts on being a vegetarian.
The brussels sprouts are ready in our garden! I've eaten a few meals of them in the past week and have treasured them. My favorite way to prepare brussels sprouts is the quick, simple and delicious recipe: Golden Crusted Brussels Sprouts. The only beef I have with them is that awkward "s".
If you have been reading my blog through the past month or two, you know that I was gifted a ton of tomatoes and have been preserving them in various ways. My favorite way to deal with large tomatoes was roasting them. I became more casual with the recipe with each batch. The best combination I found was a tray full of tomato wedges, a generous drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of salt, a few handfuls of chopped herbs and some peeled garlic cloves. I set the oven at 250 degrees F and put the tray in to roast. I knew they were done when they had collapsed and started to taste really rich. The last tray of these has gone through the oven and now I move on to finding ways to use them until the tomato plants are ready to yield fruit again next year.
Fall also puts me in the mood for apple crisp. I've become pretty casual with that recipe, too. I peel, chop and cook up some apples with a bit of sugar and water in a sauce pan until they get softened up. Then, I spread the fruit out in a pan. If I feel like it, I add some frozen blueberries or raspberries. My crumble mixture usually consists of a stick of softened butter and 3/4 cup of each flour, brown sugar and oats. My secret ingredient is to chop up a few cubes of crystallized ginger and incorporate that into the crumble. You have to mix the crumble with your hands to get it nicely mixed up and then you spread it out over the fruit. That all bakes in a 350 degree F oven until the top starts to brown. For me, the baking time is usually around 45 minutes. I give you permission to eat this for breakfast, if you wish. My friend Jamie would also tell you that you should eat it with vanilla ice cream.
People sometimes feel bad for me when I tell them that I am a vegetarian. They think that I am missing out and that my diet limits me. I completely disagree! I don't feel like I am missing a thing. In fact, I think my diet is probably more adventurous and varied because I am a vegetarian. For the past 2o years I have had to think beyond hamburgers and hot dogs. I try new grains and new protein options. I make sure I get iron by eating countless variations of leafy greens. I find new recipes inspired by vegetables I'd like to try. Never once have I thought that I might start to eat meat again or that my life would be better if I did. I don't mean to say that I think everyone must become a vegetarian (although there is the argument that vegetarianism is a kinder diet for your health, animals and the environment), but it makes sense for me.