Vegetarianism – Just around the Corner

foodincMy two older children and I sat down and watched Food, Inc. a couple of weeks ago.  I thought it would be interesting to watch, and they both reported having no interest in this type of Friday night movie activity, but I must say as soon as it started, they were drawn in.

The result of our movie viewing?  I now have a vegetarian daughter, and a son (meat hound that he is) that now takes pause before eating a bite of chicken or a burger.  It makes me not want to ever buy a Purdue or Tyson chicken pack or any meat, for that matter, that is not organic and grass fed.  The documentary was certainly an eye opener, and the representation that it makes of how our agriculture culture caters to a low cost mass production food system doesn’t bode well for our health, or the health of the animals that we eat.  The conditions that these animals are raised under are horrific.

So with that, I think I have the push to buy those more expensive organic meat brands, but probably less often.  Plus, I need to consider this whole new world of vegetarianism.  Nothing would suit me more than turning my entire backyard into a vegetable garden; I just know that is too big a task for me to undertake at the moment.  Last Sunday evening I prepared a meal of Butternut squash and Kale risotto (very delicious – and I will share the recipe, but thought given that it is more of a fall type dish that I would wait until then), black beans, and grilled maple sweet potatoes.  My daughter was in heaven, and remarked that she wanted every meal to be this way.

So, I will share a very simple Bobby Flay recipe that my kids love, and if you have any good vegetarian recipes, please share!

Maple – Glazed Grilled Sweet Potatoes

4 large sweet potatoes (do not peel)

3/4 cup pure maple syrup (I didn’t use this much)

1 T ancho powder (I also used chipolte pepper powder)


1/4 cup mild vegetable oil, such as canola

1.  Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water.  Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat and simmer the potatoes until soft but not mushy (you should still feel resistance when you stick a small knife through the center), 25 to 35 minutes.

2.  Have ready a bowl of cold water.  Drain the potatoes, put them in the cold water, and set aside until cool enough to handle.  Peel the potatoes and quarter each one lengthwise.  (The potatoes can be cooked a few hours in advance, covered and set aside at room temperature.  Don’t cut them until you’re ready to grill).

3.  Heat your grill to high.

4.  Whisk together the maple syrup, ancho powder, and salt to taste in a small bowl.  Brush the potatoes with oil.  Grill until golden, about 3 minutes.  Brush with the maple glaze and continue grilling, brushing often with the glaze, until the potatoes are glazed, lightly charred, and heated through, about 3 minutes more.

Serves 4, From Bobby Flay’s Boy Gets Grill


  • Kathleen Says:
    4-23-2010 10:57:00

    I started watching Food Inc. last night and was also horrified by what I saw. My nine and 12 year old daughters soon joined me and were also sucked in. (My 12 year old says she’s going to run for president when she grows up so she can stop all these practices of big corporations that are so bad for the animals and the poor people). I’ve never been an organic proponent (my father has an ag business that sells fertilizer, pesticides, etc., and I never saw anything wrong with using pesticides). But I have to say, I think it’s time to start looking for grass-fed beef and quit driving through McDonalds for a quick dinner for my kids on those nights we’re running from one activity to the next. And the farmers market — well, I can’t wait until that opens. I’m only halfway through the show, but I expect to be fully shocked by the rest of it as well.

  • Sharon Says:
    4-24-2010 07:53:35

    I’ve started asking where my meat comes from and paying more attention to what foods I buy. Those sweet potatoes are a must-try for my family.

  • Catherine Says:
    4-24-2010 08:47:21

    Readers should remember that it is not an all or nothing proposition. Americans, as a whole, eat far too much meat. Start by eliminating meat from your diet one or two days a week.

    Huge agribusiness farming is not sustainable and is polluting our lands and waters. Patronize farmers markets and get seasonal, local produce in your supermarket.

    If you must eat fast food, go to Chipotle. They are moving toward going 100% organic with their meat purchases. I believe all their pork is organic, most of their beef and 60% of their chicken. They cook everything on site, so it is fresh and they use local produce whenever possible.

    A favorite vegetarian meal at our house is ravioli (frozen) with butternut squash in browned butter. I put a little cinnamon and either fresh sage or thyme in the pan with the squash. If you have mushrooms or spinach, you can add them to the mix and eliminate the cinnamon and use your favorite herbs or spices.

  • Cindy L. Says:
    4-27-2010 08:38:10

    Luckily, I’ve been “into” this movement for years, back when it was a hippie thing and no one was paying close attention. (And I was not even a hippie — just always a health nut and interested in environmental issues.) My husband and I eat fish and a strong plant-based diet — no meat or poultry. Eating fish gives us the protein and EFAs we need. We’ve lost weight, feel better, and our medical “test scores” are very good. We’re in our mid-fifties and don’t need any prescription drugs.

    Because I’ve been a reporter/writer for years, I’ve had many opportunities to research this issue on deeper levels. And so, when my son was a baby and I had read about all those hormones and weird antibiotics that were in most commercial dairy products, I immediately started buying certified organic. I haven’t looked back since.

    There are tons of good plant-based cookbooks out there, and stores like Trader Joe’s make it easy if you don’t cook much. I love how this way of eating makes us more creative, too.

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