Cooking for Non-Vegetarians

Hey Everyone!  Sorry for the lack of updates as of recent.  The lovely fella arrived on Monday night so we’ve been hanging out!

Yesterday we went to La Brea Tar Pits because we’re big nerds he had never been.

Getting out of tar would be hard...

Today we he attempted to fix the treadmill in my parent’s house so I can work on my fitness this month (I much prefer treadmills to running outside).  Then started shopping for supplies for Christmas dinner.  This brings me to the title of this post “Cooking for Non-Vegetarians.”  My brother and I are the only vegetarians in the family.  The rest are meat-eating latinos.  Latinos eat A LOT of meat.

My mom hates cooking so my sister and I usually make large holiday meals.  This year I didn’t really want to make meat but I knew I had to because I don’t want to force my lifestyle on anyone else and I don’t want to ruin anyone’s holiday.

So today as we were shopping for a turkey (one of my sister’s friends who is coming doesn’t eat pork so we need a turkey as well), I decided to get a free range turkey.  Yes, it’s a little pricey at about $1.99/lb.  I called my sister asking her what size turkey to get and mentioned that I was getting a free range turkey and she asked “it doesn’t matter, you’re not going to eat it.”

It does matter, doesn’t it?

I feel better cooking a free range turkey, even if I don’t eat it.  This got me thinking about the term free-range.  What does it actually mean? Was it worth the extra few cents per pound?

My reasons for being vegetarian are environmental and human food security based, not necessarily for animal rights reasons.  However, that doesn’t mean that I don’t care about the fair treatment of animals. I think overall I’m glad I bought a free range turkey.  I think one of the best ways we can cause a change is by changing demand.

If you’re a vegetarian, do you cook meat for others?  If you’re not vegetarian, what are your thoughts on free-range/cage-free raising?  Should I have bought the cheaper Butterball or Foster Farms Turkey?


How to Eat a Stealthy Guatemalan Breakfast

Wake up ravenous before anyone else.  Quickly but quietly heat up a pot of black beans from the fridge.  Pull out two eggs and cook them as you please.

Then gather it all together.

If over easy, please make sure your yolk is nice and runny.  It’ll come in handy later.  Plus runny yolks are pretty much the most delicious thing on the planet…

Quickly consume all contents of the plate.

Sop up anything on the plate (i.e. left over runny yolk and beans that your fork failed to pick up but you know much go in your belly) with some bread.  Get into it.  Your fingers should be covered in beans and yolk.

After your plates are wiped clean.  Destroy the evidence (aka put away the food and wash dishes).

Then as people wake up asking what you’d like for breakfast casually say “Oh I’m just not hungry this morning…”

Copenhagen Update

Hey Everyone! Thanks so much for all your great comment about the 12 Days of Christmas Meal!

I’ve been slacking a bit on the food security aspect of this blog.  After all, I’m interested in everything about food; this blog reflects those interests.  Closely tied to food is the environment and climate change.  If you recall, a little over a week ago, I did a post about the UN Convention on Climate Change in Copenhagen.

Well yesterday was the last day of the conference.

World leaders negotiate in the Bella centre in Copenhagen, from

The so-called Copenhagen Accord can be found on the UNFCCC website.  I’ve read a few mixed reviews about it so here’s a little recap of the major outcomes (essentially a summary of the Accord) in case you haven’t heard too much about it.

The Accord consists of 12 main points:

1. The nations agree that climate change is a problem and will work to combat it.

2. The nations agree that cutting global emissions is essential but “social and economic development and poverty eradication are the first and overriding priorities of developing countries and that a low-emission development strategy is indispensable to sustainable development.”  This also includes a cap on global temperature rises.

3. Developed countries will provide “adequate, predictable and sustainable financial resources, technology and capacity-building to support the implementation of adaptation action in developing countries.” Essentially funding for developing countries to reduce GHG emissions without hurting development.

4. Annex I countries (mostly developed nations but see full list here) agree to implement emission targets by 2020.

5.  Non-Annex I countries (mostly developing nations but see full list here) “will implement mitigation actions.”

6. With regard to deforestation, the nations agree to provide incentives such as REDD-plus mechanism to acquire funding in order to prevent deforestation and environmental degradation in developing countries.  I’m a little fuzzy on this one so I’ll direct you to this site I found about REDD-plus if you’re interested.

7. Nations agree to seek a variety of alternatives in reducing GHG emissions (i.e. market based approached).  Those nations with low emissions should be encouraged to maintain low emissions.

8. Nations agree to provide adequate funding to developing nations in accordance with the convention.  Funding will be prioritized to most vulnerable nations and Africa.  Developing countries agree to provide US$100 Billion per year by 2020 for developing countries to meet their climate change needs.  This money will go through the Copenhagen Green Climate Fund.

9. Establishment of a High Level Panel to oversee the financing toward reaching these goals

10. Establishing the Copenhagen Green Climate Fund to “an operating entity of the financial mechanism of the Convention to support projects, programme, policies and other activities in developing countries related to mitigation including REDD-plus, adaptation, capacity-building, technology development and transfer.”

11. Establishment of a Technology Mechanism to speed up technology development and transfer.

12. Calls for an assessment of the Accord in 2015.

Here’s the final closing press briefing.  It’s around 3 minutes:

The conference covered a lot of the topics I was curious about as mentioned in previous post, particularly the question of funding.  $100 billion per year is a ton of money!  I’m happy to see governments being firmer about this issue and taking into consideration development and developing nations.    However, there’s still a long way to go as this accord is NOT legally binding.

My next question is who will control the Copenhagen Green Climate Fund?  I haven’t really seen anything about this.  Anyone else seen anything about this?

This seems like a new power angle that could be very interesting.

Did anything stand out for you at Copenhagen?

Is the Copenhagen Accord enough?

The next meeting with be in a year in Mexico City.  Do think we’ll get something legally binding in Mexico?

Food Buzz 24, 24, 24: 12 hungry guests + 12 course meal = 24 great things!

I was so excited when Food Buzz chose me to be part of their 24, 24, 24 this month!  So for my meal, I decided to make a 12 course vegetarian meal inspired by the 12 Days of Christmas!  I invited a bunch of friends over and as soon as I got back to Los Angeles on Thursday I started preparing.

Keeping in line with my December Recipe Challenge, this meal was entirely vegetarian and tried to include any many vegetables as possible, while still tasting delicious!  I tried out new recipes and made up a few of my own!

Here’s how the evening went:

Thanks to the help of my wonderful sister, I set up the table to reflect the holiday spirit! Complete with decorative menus!

Then after the guests arrived, the first two courses were standing appetizers wine we all mingled.

12 Drummers Drumming: Vegetarian Drumsticks

Talia obviously is one of those 12 drummers!

11 Pipers Piping: Cheesy Puff Pipes

Tim knows how to work that pipe!

Then we were ready to sit down to dinner…

10 Lords A-leaping:  Leaping Lentil Salad

I wore many hats… cook, waitress, eater…

9 Ladies Dancing: Flamenco Favas

8 Maids A-Milking: Creamy Artichoke Soup

7 Swans A-Swimming: Spaghetti Swimming in a Special Sauce

6 Geese A-Laying: Quiche

5 Golden Rings: Pineapple Ring Salad

4 Calling Birds: Cauliflower Gratin

3 French Hens: Savory Crepe

2 Turtle Doves: Turtle Clusters

Of course no meal is without at least one mishap!  My caramel turned out a little bit too hard…

We all had a good laugh 🙂  Still tasted good and if you broke a tooth, you were in a house full of dentists!

A Partridge in a Pear Tree: Pears in Red Wine

A 12 course meal for 12 people made entirely by me!  I can’t believe I pulled that off!  That was definitely the ultimate recipe challenge!

It was a ton of work but totally worth it!  Thanks Food Buzz for this great opportunity!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Groceries Galore

I love grocery stores.  I often to go the store just to walk around.  Yesterday I actually had a purpose.  So I spent the entire day running around grocery stores and it was great!

Stop #1: Vallarta, Latino grocery store.  Cheap produce!  Woo!  I missed these latino grocery stores! (There was an entire cooler filled with lard!  I should have taken a picture of it!)

Stop #2: Costco.  I fully intended on getting a frozen yogurt (I’m obsessed) but there were so many samples that I was sweeted out by the time I left!

Stop #3: Vons.  Few extra things I couldn’t find elsewhere…

Whilst at Vons I found this treat!

I love anything pumpkin flavored so I had to get it.  It was delicious as expected.

Today is another busy day!  Getting ready for my big event!  Woo!

Are you a fan of grocery stores? or do you like to get out quick?

Catching Up

Hey all!  I hope you’re all doing well!  I’m home and it’s 73 degrees out!  Yesterday when I got home I was so tired!  So I was in bed by 9:30pm!  But before I jumped into bed, I managed to consumer this:

Guatemalan sweet bread.  My house generally has two things: some sort of Guatemalan bread and a ton of bananas.

Case in point… Yes, we are half monkey…

This morning I was up by 6:00am (time change and early to bed did it I guess).  I lounged around (aka watched trash TV like The Sex and the City E! True Hollywood Story) and by the time everyone left for work, I took over the living room and did Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred!  It was intense!  I’m going to try to do it 4-5 times a week the whole time I’m home.  Anyone else want to try this with me?

Then I took a shower and made a tasty lunch! Sandwich and Salad:

1 Boca Burger, half on the sandwich and half on the salad.  The sandwich has about a tablespoon of hummus as my condiment, a bunch of spinach and few tomato slices.

My salad had romaine, tomato, half a boca burger and a bit of BBQ sauce as dressing.


Now I’m off to get ready for my super secret event/post that is taking place tomorrow night!  Here’s a hint:

Have a great day!

Using My Leftovers: FAIL

I had a final, extremely frustrating last meeting with my group for land use.  Luckily my roommate picked me up so I didn’t’ have to walk home (20 degrees out!  Brrr!)

Instead of being a good kid and coming home and eating the rest of my leftovers (aka a potato and 8 carrots), stopped by Shortstop Deli to get a fantastic sandwich.

I got a veggie packed sandwich on ciabatta with seitan.  It was delicious!

I needed this after an extremely long day.

How off to pack and get ready to leave!  Are you traveling anywhere this holiday season?

Have a great night!

Videos You Have to See

Hey everyone!  Sorry about the lack of updates.  I’m wrapping up the semester and going home tomorrow!  Since I haven’t had time to do a whole lot of cooking, I thought I’d post a few videos that every person needs to have seen because they’re hilarious.

What’s your favorite YouTube video?

Also, head over to Karin‘s blog to see her most recent December Recipe Challenge post! Italian Veggie Bulgur!

I’m also excited to share my exciting post on December 20th!  But until then, I have a land use plan to finish!

Have a great day!