Our search for a healthier lifestyle got kicked up a notch last week when Fellow Traveler received notice from her doctor that her cholesterol levels were waaaaay too high, and that she was headed for bypass country in another decade or so if things didn't change.
Because our dietary needs are sometimes so different -- I need lots of fiber; she can't eat very much of it; I like lots of vegetables and fruits; she can't always eat them comfortably -- trying to work up menus for the two of us can constitute a culinary minefield. But we both have family and personal medical histories that are moving us in a more vegetarian direction, even though it's a real challenge.
I'm generally not a real fan of meat analogues -- in my experience, the more that a product tries to replicate meat, the worse it tastes -- but today we had BLT's with Morningstar Farms fake bacon and some sliced avocado, on Amish dill bread, and they were very good. Even though the bakn, or ba-con, or whatever it calls itself, looks damned scary in the package, like something a little kid extruded through a Play-Doh machine -- keep an open mind, and you'll find it surprisingly edible, even if you're like me and prefer your bacon on the chewy, not crispy, side. I think it would be good to add to dishes that generally have a smoked meat in them, like pea soup or red beans and rice, to add a familiar smoky flavor.
We also got out the charcoal grill last night and made grilled Mediterranean pizzas -- the little Bobolis with herbed soy feta, baby spinach, marinated fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and olives; grilled zucchini and eggplant that had first been marinated in olive oil, balsamic vinegar and Greek herb mix; and grilled peaches for dessert. Apart from the complicating factor of a vigorous thunderstorm rolling through the area just as the pizzas were ready to go in the grill -- this was a great meal. We used a wood-chip pan in the grill, so the food absorbed a nice, smoky but not overpowering flavor. And we learned that it is worth the fuss of preparing the charcoal to grill vegetables and vegetable entrees.
Of course, as I'm typing this, I have the hugest craving for a big ol' half a barbecued chicken, or a steak, or Greek shish kabobs...but we're serious about eating lower on the food chain, so we figure if we have to do it we're going to do it with a little ingenuity and panache. It's the best revenge.