Mixed household, mixed meals

perfect avoMeat-eaters and vegetarians can live in one household.  In harmony.  No kidding. Yes, there are distinct differences in how and what we eat, but that is not what brought us together and it will not be the things that tears us apart.  The toilet seat and toilet paper roll placement may, though.

If you are not sure how to cook for everyone without cooking separate meals every time, let us tell you, it gets easier.  There is always room on the grill for plant-based goodness and the omni’s choices from the meat department.  Compromise and planning make all the difference.

Breakfast is the easiest meal of the day.  Most weekdays we don’t get to eat together and do our own thing.  V prefers oats and fruit or a smoothie while FM opts for egg sandwiches or savory egg muffins.  Of course, we both go for coffee and water.

We don’t get to dine together for weekday lunch, either, but both tend to have sandwiches, fruit, some kind of veggie side.  The sides are always vegan – pasta, potato, or veggie salad are in heavy rotation, but sometimes our inner elementary aged kids choose Ants on a Log.  The sandwiches are filled with meat and cheese for FM and V chooses salad fixings, hummus,  or nut butter with fruit or jelly.

Dinner may be the meal that trips you up, but it does not have to be.  Longtime favorite meals can be tweaked to suit all preferences and it’s easier than you may think.

On Taco (or TexMex) Tuesday, we keep the rice and beans vegan and all the toppings (salsa, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and avocado) are perfect for everyone.  We use the same tortillas, taco shells, or bowls of salad mix and make our bowls, tacos, or burritos to our tastes.  FM adds ground chicken or beef, cheese, and sour cream while V may add vegan cheese and cashew sour cream.

On Spaghetti Wednesday on Thursday (RIP Hershel), the pasta and sauce are vegan and FM will add the animal protein of his choice – or not if he’s feeling like a trip to the veg side that day.  Most of the time, V will have a mix of sauteed vegetables ready to add to the pasta or enjoy on the side.  A mix of eggplant, zucchini, mushrooms, onions, and spinach with garlic makes for a filling, hearty side or veggie portion of a pasta bowl.  We both like our garlic bread, so V makes garlic butter with Earth Balance to top slices Italian bread or Texas Toast.

Steakhouse night is another easy one.  While FM enjoys his stead, V enjoys grilled portabella mushrooms.  We both round out our meals with mashed or baked potatoes, steamed broccoli, and side salads.

Dessert and snacks are usually vegan.  Did you know that most Marie Callender fruit pies are accidentally vegan?  The blueberry is especially yummy with Nada Moo Vanilla…Ahhh.  Sometimes FM gets to try his with Nada Moo, but V does not always share.

We hope that this helps give you ideas for making that mixed household work at mealtime.  Those examples do not take more time to cook and no one feels left out in the cold.  Except FM when V won’t share the Nada Moo.  If you would like to see more meal ideas, just let us know.




What we’ve been up to

20160206_164726_HDRSo, how is everyone?  We’re still here, cooking and eating ourselves happy.  By that, we don’t mean gorging, but eating what we love and experimenting on making thing healthier.

FM is still all about the meat; V is still rocking her plants like a boss.

There are new pictures and reviews in the works, so stay tuned.  We picked up a new kitchen toy and will share about the adventures of it and the Instant Pot.  V loves her IP, but the new toy already has love from both of us.

Please excuse us.  We’re writing this in the early hours before FM leaves for work.  One or both of us may be undercaffeinated.

Charleston Bakery and Delicatessen

The Vegetarian has a love of Jewish delis thanks to the gone but not forgotten Harold’s Cutting Board.  Fat Man hadn’t really tried one, but fell in love with the idea of one thanks to profiles on Travel Channel and Food Network.  We gave Charleston Bakery and Delicatessen four tries before deciding for sure if it was one to keep on our ‘to visit’ list.  


I’m giving Charleston Bakery and Deli a 3c.    I really wasn’t expecting a lot since we’ve been here before, although it has been a while since our last visit.   We arrived a little before 4:30 in the afternoon.   As we were walking up I noticed on the door it said lunch lasted until 5 pm and said to the Vegetarian “Good it’s still lunch time.   Wonder what they serve differently for dinner anyway?”   I mean it’s a deli and bakery, I’m not expecting a full blown meat and three meal for dinner.  I’ll come back to this point in a little bit.

Let me tell you about the rest of our visit first.   When you enter the cafe there are huge order boards across the top of the counter for you to view the menu.   It all looks and sounds pretty good.

Then we get to the counter…

Strike 1: At the counter we’re told that lunch stopped at 3pm and they are only offering a very limited menu until dinner starts at 5pm. Now, mind you, the door sign says lunch lasts until 5 pm not 3pm.  Not a major strike in my case because they at least are still offering what I was going to order (a Ruben).  I’ll let the V. tell you herself about how she felt about this given what she was planning to order and I do believe for her this should be a huge strike.

V:  Yeah.  I was not happy to hear about the very limited menu.  The menu board included a few salads that appealed to me and could also be made as wraps.  NO salads were available.  None.  But, the server let us see a copy of the dinner menu and there was one salad on it.  But I could not order it because it wasn’t time for dinner service.

Strike 2:  The meal.  First thing was when I noticed the price jumped up by at least $2 from the price on their board.   The price on the board was already a little high I thought given this is a counter service deli and not a sit down restaurant.  The cashier later explained that this HUGE focal point of an order board was out-dated by about 4 years in response to a different question from the V.  I mean who is going to let something like this get out-dated by that much time.  I’ll let you marinate on that for a while as I’m describing my meal.

V:  For the record, the menu board over the counter mentioned smoked tofu as an addition for $2.  Guess what?  No smoked tofu or any tofu was available.  I ordered the Tomato Pie because it was supposed to be different and I could hopefully eat the crust and some of the tomatoes.  I knew there was a big chance that it wasn’t vegan, but I was hungry and had to eat something.

FM:  As I mentioned earlier I ordered a Reuben which came with a side.  I chose potato salad.  For my drink, I asked for a french press coffee while thinking to myself that better be one damn good cup of coffee for $5.00.  What can I say, I really wanted, no needed, a coffee and from previous visits I knew I didn’t like any of the coffees that they usually offer on the coffee bar and it looked like the bar wasn’t set up anyway.


My impression of the meal.   The Reuben was ok.   The sandwich itself was smaller than any other Reuben I’ve had but it was piled pretty high with meat so that made up for the size.   The bread was not impressive and tasted like it was toasted and not grilled.    The potato salad was bland and had no salt.   I was a pleased by the coffee.  I was given a full french press of coffee and it was decent tasting.

V: The coffee was honestly the best part of the meal.  The $5 French Press served two giants cups of Joe.  And by the way, there are no non-dairy milk options offered here, so black coffee, iced tea, or a bottled drink are the only plant-based options.


FM:  I also split a knish with the V.   I’ve never had one before so I can’t judge it against any previous experience.  I will say that it tasted pretty bland and undercooked.  I loaded up my half with the mustard that was served with it and the hot sauce that was on the table.

V:  This was a disappointing knish.  I regretted the order with the first bite.  I don’t know if FM will try another thanks to this experience.


FM:  In addition to my meal, I tried a bite of the V’s tomato pie.  Given that I’ve had other tomato pies I can judge this against previous experience and all of the tomato pies I’ve had were pretty good.  Some were better than others but all were good.  I was looking forward to trying CBD’s tomato pie because they serve it deep dish style – very deep dish..  and there are two things I love about that thought:  deep dish pie and tomato.    I thought about ordering this myself but didn’t because hey it’s not meat and it can’t fill you up if it doesn’t contain meat.  I mean everyone knows that.   My impression of CBD’s tomato pie was that it was ok – not the best but not bad.  The crust wasn’t great and tomatoes are out of season right now.   If tomatoes were in season and the crust was just a little bit better it would probably be pretty dang good.

V:  Like with the knish, the crust was underdone.  The pie itself wasn’t heated as well as it could have been before serving, but that’s what made it easier for me to avoid the dairy.  The cheese wasn’t melted at all.


FM:  Strike 3: Value for the price.   I feel CBD’s pricing is a little high for counter service.  Others may feel differently but this is my review and for my review it matters what I think.

I almost forgot to come back to this….I mentioned dinner earlier.   As I said, you wouldn’t necessarily expect a meat and three meal from a deli. We got to take a look at the dinner menu.  Well guess what.  This counter service deli is serving what looks like a fancy smancy menu for dinner.  That’s about all I’m going to say about that.

V: If you eat a strict vegan plan, do not stop here for food.  Even the bagels have an egg wash unless you call a day before and order six to a dozen and specify no egg wash. Breakfast options are also very limited unless eggs and dairy ar a part of your menu.

I give CBD a 2.  If I was an egg or dairy eater, my review may have been a little higher. Maybe.

Yes, we were both somewhat disappointed in our experience at CBD.  And that’s all I’m going to say about that.