christmas eve-eve... where's the beef?

     One of my resolutions for two thousand eleven is to enjoy more healthy meals that provide proteins other than meat. I recently read that the heart muscle is very stressed when you are consuming red meat. This is because the blood rushes to your digestive system in order to aid in breaking down these difficult proteins. My nephew has endured two kidney transplants in his young life. He is limited on the amount of meat protein he can consume. It is also hard on the kidneys. Now, don't get me wrong... I am still an omnivore, but a little change is good.
     When I was a kid, it was not uncommon to have three different veggies with a meal. Since my grandfather grew them, they did not need dressing up. The flavors were incredible! I am going to try very hard to go back to my quasi-vegetarian 'roots,' in terms of eating. Some foreign cultures consider meat to be a side dish, instead of the main course.
     Ten long years ago, moving to Georgia, we were blessed to become friends with Chelsea and Joe. Since that time, they, along with their four kids, have become our Georgia family. On December twenty-third, we went to their home for our annual Christmas celebration. It was a brisk wintry week and some gourmet comfort food was in order. We decided to keep the meal light, omit a heavy meat dish and concentrate on dessert. We settled on two kinds of risotto, a Caesar salad and sourdough baguettes with a goat cheese and honey spread.
     I made my favorite, Porcini Mushroom risotto with porcinis, button mushrooms, red wine, beef stock,shallot and fresh lemon thyme. Chelsea made one with sweetcorn and cream, topped with fresh, diced tomatoes and shaved Parmesan.
     Dessert was decadent, but simple. Chelsea, being the amazing baker that I am not, made lemon drop cookies, pistachio balls, peanut butter espresso cups and homemade peppermint marshmallows to go into steaming mugs of hot cocoa. 
     My husband wanted to know where the meat was. Joe probably wondered the same, but didn't speak up. The entire crowd was completely satisfied and happy. No one went to bed hungry. I really needed someone to count how many time 'Mmmmm" could be heard.
     With all these things in mind, I am glad I really love vegetables. There are only one or two that I am not fond of. Many of my favorite recipes are sans meat.  In my quest to live healthier, I hope to inspire others to make tiny little changes in the way you eat... baby steps, one day at a time. If I discover a particularly fabulous dish, I will be certain to share. My posts for tomato pie, taco soup and marie's hummus are in the archives. Check 'em out. In the meantime, a risotto recipe is soon to follow! Keep an eye out for it... here.
     Happy New Year! Eat healthy!

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