The NoMeatPoWeek challenge wrap-up

I decided to participate in NoMeatPoWeek, a challenge by the League of Maternal Justice, BlogHersAct Canada, and Green Mom Finds to go without meat for five days (Monday, Jan. 28 through Friday, Feb. 1).

Over the years I’ve been an on-again/off-again vegetarian and more recently a flexitarian (meaning I consume far less meat than the average American, but I still eat it), but lately meat has become more of a regular fixture in our meals. I think that in part it has been due to my laziness.

Cooking for me goes in waves. One week I’ll be totally gung-ho about cooking and try all new (often vegetarian) recipes and then the next few weeks I’ll feel totally burnt out on cooking and just make some old stand-by recipes, regardless if they include meat or not.

Because I’ve been in a rut again lately, I suggested to Jody that maybe Rachael Ray’s 365: No Repeats cookbook might bring me some inspiration, so he bought it for me. Now a LOT of the recipes in there include meat, but I found some vegetarian ones and found others that I was able to convert to vegetarian by simply removing the meat or by adding in a meat substitute like my beloved Quorn chik’n tenders. And I love that the recipes are all things you can make in 30 minutes or less, because I don’t know about you, but I don’t have that much time to devote to making dinner.

So what did we have for dinner all week?
Monday – Artichoke and Walnut Pesto Pasta (I substituted pumpkin seeds and pine nuts because I’m allergic to walnuts) – from Rachael Ray’s (RR’s) cookbook
Tuesday – Chik’n tenders (Quorn), corn and black bean Stoup (stew/soup) – adapted from RR’s cookbook Wednesday – Spinach salad and Veggie fritters – from RR’s cookbook
Thursday (Jody was gone skiing and I was too lazy too cook) – Cheese pizza from Little Caesar’s
Friday – Spinach salad and pizza again, but of the veggie variety (that Jody brought back from his ski trip)

The challenge was only through Friday technically, but I also stayed veggie over the weekend.
Saturday – Delicious veggie enchiladas out with some friends
Sunday – Spinach artichoke calzones – also from RR’s cookbook – they took longer than 30 minutes to make, but they were pretty darn good and I have leftovers for lunch this week.

It wasn’t hard for me to go five (seven) days without meat. I didn’t clue Jody in on the challenge (oops), so he still ate meat while at work and on his work skiing trip this past week, but he was fine eating the vegetarian dinners I prepared (he used to be a vegetarian for 7 years). The kids ate vegetarian throughout the week as well, with the exception of having a few slices of Applegate Farms roasted turkey deli meat two of the days.

All in all, I think we did fairly well. I enjoyed finding some new vegetarian recipes and hope to keep up on the eating mostly vegetarian kick. I’m looking forward to reading how others did with this challenge and hopefully picking up some new recipes from them as well. If any of the four recipes that I mentioned above (from Rachael Ray’s cookbook) appeal to you, let me know and I can try to get them typed out to share with you.

If you are a meat-eater, did you give the challenge a go? If you didn’t, would you consider trying it for a week, a couple days or a day? It’s really not as hard as one might think.

Green Tip of the Week #11 – Cleaning front loaders

Front-loading washing machineThanks to Julie from ChezArtz for this great tip regarding cleaning front-loading washing machines without using bleach.

The manufacturer’s instructions on many front loaders recommend periodically running a “Tub Clean” cycle (i.e. running the washer with no clothes in it) with bleach to keep the drum smelling fresh. Try substituting white vinegar instead and keep a little dioxin out of the environment. I’ve been doing this weekly for two months now (and I wash 2-3 loads of cloth diapers per week) and the tub is just as clean and fresh with vinegar as it was with the weekly wash down with bleach!

Julie says she fills the “bleach cup” in her front-loader all the way with vinegar, which is about half a cup. She also reminds folks to leave the door of their front-loader open or it will “get funky fast!!!”

Great suggestion, Julie! I’m all in favor of keeping bleach out of the environment. Thanks!

Have any green tips you’ve recently learned? Please email them to me and I may include your tip with a link to your site or blog in a future post. 🙂