Things that go bump in the night.

Or – the bag of doom!

Say you live in the country. Say you live in a farming community. Say you’re not safe anymore. Because – IT’S THAT TIME again.

You are an innocent homeowner. You’re in the back yard playing with your dog. You hear a car door shut, then the faint chime of the front door. You can’t get around the house quickly because, you’re in the way, way back yard. Then, you hear it. It starts out softly, then reaches an uber high decibel range that makes the dog howl. Maniacal laughter peels out from your front yard. That car door slams and next, you hear tires squealing and gears a bangin’ as they tear out of your yard. You round the corner of the house just in time to catch a glimpse of the perpetrators. What have they done? What possessed them to act like this? Timidly, you approach the porch. No bodies are visible, no burning effigies, nothing. Then, you see that bag. That huge bag from the Bass Pro Shop. Oh no! Could it be? No, no, no, please not this early! You peek inside. Well, that’s that. It’s full. Full to the top. You are a victim of a drive-by squashing. It ain’t purty.

yellow squash and zucchini

The bag-o-doom!

It’s not safe to leave the front porch unprotected anymore. I need to hire a full time guard. I can’t have this, this bag of doom showing up again! You see, I have 16 squash plants of my own. Everyone, EVERYONE, always plants too much squash. It’s an illness.

Just know this – I saw you leave. I know who you are. I saw what you did. I will get my revenge. And it will be sweet. Sweet, like the 12 loaves of zucchini bread I see in my immediate future.

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Meatless Monday

Or – Vegetarians get no respect!

I need to channel my inner Rodney Dangerfield. We don’t get no respect, I tell ya, no respect. I just picked up this flyer from my local BJ’s Wholesale Club.

meatless is not meat less

You Keep Using That Word, I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means

Meatless Meal Solutions. I thought – Great! Coupons I can use! Then, I gave the coupons a look. Salmon, Tilapia, Clams. Not items that you would find on a vegetarian’s table for meatless Monday, or any other day.

How many times have you spotted a Meatless Monday recipe only to find that it includes fish, shrimp, or even chicken? Meatless – how complicated can this one word be? Turns out, it’s complicated.

The Merriam – Webster online dictionary defines meat as – “animal tissue considered especially as food”. But, also as – “flesh of a mammal as opposed to fowl or fish”. They also define fish as – “an aquatic animal”. Under fowl we have – “a bird of any kind” and “meat of fowls used as food”.

Confused? Me, too. Animal tissue, flesh, meat. I’m fairly sure that none of those words fit in with the concept of “meatless”.

So, until we get this whole meatless thing defined, be careful what you buy or eat. What you think is meatless, might not be without meat after all.

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Cheese. Betrayed by the cheese. And rennet.

I made a recipe that I got from Giada. It was listed as a vegetarian dish. Mine didn’t turn out quite like hers, so I went back to the site to read the reviews and see what I did wrong. A couple of reviews down, I saw this – “You do realise that parmesan cheese is not veggie-friendly in that it contains rennet! I suggest that you use a veggie alternative hard cheese if you really want to make it veggie-friendly.

Whoosh! Just like that, all the air went out of my lungs. Rennet. Cow’s stomach. That certainly isn’t vegetarian. I have messed up. Messed up big time. See, I use parmesan cheese. A lot. I’ve used it in my recipes that I have shared with you. My vegetarian recipes.

Please accept my apologies. I am still learning. I shall endeavor to do better in the future.

I have gone back over the recipes and changed the forbidden cheeses to vegetarian approved varieties. There is a rainbow. There are many cheeses that are made with microbial or vegetable rennets. I’ll list some, that are taken right from the manufacturer’s websites. You can also look for the kosher label. If it’s kosher, it’s good for us veg heads, too.

What kind of rennet is used to make Cabot cheeses?
Cabot uses a microbial-based enzyme to manufacture all of our award-winning cheeses with the exception of our Processed American Cheese slices. The microbial-based enzyme coagulates the milk into curds and whey. It is approved for vegetarians and also allows our cheeses to pass kosher certification. Our Processed American Cheese slices are sourced from plants that Cabot does not own, so we cannot guarantee that they are made with microbial enzymes. Cabot Cheese

Is Tillamook Cheese vegetarian-friendly? Most of our cheeses are made with a vegetable-based rennet that’s kosher-certified, halal-certified, and vegetarian-friendly. Three of our cheeses – Vintage White Medium Cheddar, Vintage White Sharp Cheddar, and Vintage White Extra Sharp Cheddar – are made with a traditional animal-based rennet . The traditional rennet helps develop the unique flavor in these three cheeses. Tillamook cheese

Is Organic Valley cheese made with animal or vegetarian rennet/enzymes?

Most cheese production uses the enzyme rennet to coagulate milk into curd. Organic Valley uses “microbial enzymes” for most all of their cheeses instead of animal rennet. Using microbial enzymes allows us to serve the strict needs of vegetarians. Microbial enzymes are produced by a controlled fermentation process.

We do use a lipase enzyme derived from animals in creating the flavor profile for our Blue Cheese Crumbles, Kickapoo Blue Cheese Wheel/Wedges and the Romano in our Italian Blend Shredded Cheese; and we use animal rennet in our 3 Vermont Cheddar cheeses for coagulation. Use of these enzymes derived from animals makes Blue Cheese Crumbles, Kickapoo Blue Cheese Wheel/Wedges, Italian Blend Shredded Cheese, and Medium, Sharp, and Extra-Sharp Vermont Cheddar our six non-vegetarian cheeses.                      Organic Valley Cheese

What is the source of the enzymes in your cheeses?

Rennets (enzymes) are added when making cheese to thicken the mixture to form the curds. These milk-clotting enzymes originate in microbial (synthetic) and animal sources. The manufacturing process of most varieties of cheese (all cured or ripened cheeses) involves enzyme coagulation.

Most Sargento shredded and sliced cheeses and all of our refrigerated natural cheese snacks are made with non-animal rennets. The only Sargento natural cheeses that may contain animal enzymes are those that contain Romano, Asiago, or Jarlsberg cheeses. Those include: Artisan Blends Shredded Parmesan & Romano Cheese, Shredded 6 Cheese Italian Cheese, Shredded Reduced Fat 4 Cheese Italian Cheese, and Deli Style Sliced Jarlsberg Cheese. The cheese dip in our non-refrigerated MooTown Snacks, Cheese Dip & Cracker Sticks, Cheese Dip & Pretzel Sticks, and Cheese Dip & Crackers, is made with beef rennet.  Sargento cheese

Organic Valley says that many of their cheeses contain no animal rennet. You have to look at each variety to be sure.

A cheesy website with tons of rennet free cheeses listed!        

My lesson has been learned. I thought I was a conscientious  label reader. Turns out, I wasn’t. You can bet that I will be flipping over all my packages and reading the labels from now on!

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I guess it’s been a bad year for poblano peppers in Central Florida. They’ve been hard to find. I miss them. We didn’t plant any because they were so plentiful last year. They were everywhere. Not this year. So, when I saw these beauties at Target, my heart skipped a beat! They are huge! Perfect for stuffing. And stuff these babies, I will. There’s been a shake up in the menu plan for this week. Thursday’s lima beans have been tossed and replaced with stuffed poblanos. Recipe and pictures to come!

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