September 4: Butternut Squash Mac ‘n Cheez

One of the easiest, fastest kid meals to make is homemade mac n’ cheese. I have it down to a one pot process, adding in frozen vegetables with the noodles at the end, and everyone is happy. I’ve made it using vegan butter and soy milk, but still using some cheddar cheese. This is one of those dishes on all the vegan menus that everyone tries to recreate.

This version got rave reviews, and gave me a way to incorporate the butternut squash we had on hand. I followed the recipe closely except I didn’t have onion and garlic powder, and used soy milk instead of almond milk.

The cheese sauce was delicious, and I think I could eat that part all alone. The butternut squash was delicious, and everything would have been great except I over-cooked the macaroni noodles a bit. It still worked, but just got a little congealed.

Results: the adults and one kid loved it. The picky eater would not try it. Maybe it was the smell of nutritional yeast that alerted her, but she knew there were secret ingredients in that sauce and she refused to try it. Despite the fact that her favorite thing to order at one of her preferred restaurants, Paradox Café, is their fake bacon garlic Mac n Cheese. Although that item did apparently win a Vegan Iron Chef competition, all I can say is holy garlic!

I think this one is a keeper despite being much harder than my usual method, it was also healthier and tastier.

Here is the recipe from Oh she glows, a great place to find vegan recipes.



September 3: Easy vegan fried rice

We always order a stir fried rice when we get Thai food. Traditionally, it uses fish sauce, and egg. I’ve played around in the past with making my own version, but decided to use a recipe this time.

I’m not going to lie- it took me a lot longer. The tofu was the best part, baked and then marinated, and then stir fried. Surprisingly, there were no fats or oils used in this recipe.

You may be wondering why I don’t post photos with these. Well, reason number one is that I am not great at photographing food. Reason number 2 is that my food does not always look that great. I’ll work on this, but until then, click on the link below and you can see the very appealing photos with the recipe.

Shortcut used on this recipe: Frozen mixed vegetables instead of fresh. Family’s impressions: Overall, they really liked it. My daughter was quite pleased there were no onions. I think I might try it again, this time without burning some of the tofu in the pan.

I got this recipe from Minimalist Baker, who promises “simple, delicious recipes that require 10 ingredients or less, one bowl, or 30 minutes or less to prepare”. Somehow this took me an hour, two pots, a bowl and a cookie sheet. I do love her concept, photos and recipes, so I will try to step things up on my end.

Get the recipe for Easy Vegan Fried Rice



About our website’s name

We decided to use the name “Eat Less Meat” as a way to encourage all people to try a more plant-based lifestyle, to take whatever steps they were able to take at this point. It was important to make this name more inclusive to everyone. When I went to register the website name, the version without hyphens was already registered. By who?

Applegate Natural and Organic Meats. Why would they want the name They must be afraid someone will actually encourage this. It is not like any vegetarian industries have registered for (which is available by the way).

I checked out their website, and on the surface, appreciate that they are encouraging people to think about how their animals were raised, and go away from factory farms. I found the wording in their mission a bit odd, in that it never mentions the word “animals”.

At Applegate our mission is to Change the Meat We Eat.
By that we mean making good meat – the kind that’s raised humanely without antibiotics and hormones – accessible to as many people as possible. To achieve this evolution, we put our resources toward the people we think have the most potential to change our food system – eaters, farmers and innovators. Our work involves educating people about the important issues that impact their food, addressing the challenges faced by new farmers, and supporting big ideas that can improve the way good meat is raised, produced and distributed.

So, Applegate is trying to do better, and steer people away from those nasty factory farms and make them feel all good about humane treatment, and farmers. Oh, but wait… what is this? In May 2015, Hormel (producers of SPAM and all sorts of unnatural foods) acquired Applegate. I guess $775 million dollars will help Hormel sell both their processed food to people who don’t care, and also funnel in sales for people who think they are avoiding those nasty factory farms. Pretty disgusting if you ask me.

September 2- Matt Moore’s Enchiladas from Engine 2

Have you heard about the Engine 2 diet? It was created by Rip Esselstyn, a NY firefighter, professional tri-athlete, with a family tree of renowned physicians including his father, grandfather and great grandfather. Check out his website for his story and recipes.

I was interested in trying their version of enchiladas, especially since it is similar to the way I make my enchiladas. None of that tedious rolling corn tortillas (and having them crack open), I layer corn tortillas with enchilada sauce, beans, potatoes and spinach.

Matt’s version uses hash browns which I found intriguing. However, in the end I used tater tots which we had on hand, baked them and ripped them apart so they would be like hash browns. I believe those tater tots are the only oil in the recipe. No one missed the cheese. I did substitute a can of black beans for the mushrooms since I had just used mushrooms the day before, that added some protein as well.

I thought it turned out pretty good, except the can of sauce I used was a bit thin. If you make it, use as much sauce as they ask. This one was pretty popular with the family, we’ll make it again.

Matt Moore’s Enchilada Recipe

September 1: Mushroom “Makhani” (aka vegan Butter Chicken)

Our whole family loves Indian food. I’ve been working on making more Indian recipes since there are many naturally vegan and vegetarian dishes.

My repertoire for now includes palak paneer (with tofu instead of paneer), aloo gobi and chana masala. I love how the palak used a huge amount of spinach.

I looked up a substitute for butter chicken on one of my favorite vegan Indian websites

I’ve made some really delicous food from her recipes and they are not overly complicated. Although in general, Indian food is a little intensive with all the chopping and amount of spices. Once you get all the spices you are set.

This recipe was not too difficult, and I followed it exactly except I used red pepper instead of green and did not get fenugreek leaves. My cashew paste went a bit awry, turning into more of a chopped cashew since I did not have a good way to grind it. It was still tasty!

It went over pretty well with the family- the kid who doesn’t like mushrooms and onions devoured it. It had just a slightly bitter taste to me, but I think making the cashew into a paste would have helped that. We’ll definitely try more from Holy Cow Vegan.

Holy Cow Vegan’s Mushroom Makhani recipe