Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.

Garlic learning curve


Headed to the oven.

Headed to the oven.

I’m still working through new recipes intended to lower the amount of meat we eat. I’ve rarely prepared the same thing more than once, and to be honest, I’ve probably already forgotten some of the meals, especially those I made at the beginning of this journey a few months ago, that we enjoyed.

I’ve had successes and failures. Sometimes both in the same meal, because, of course, there are two of us here, each with our own opinion, our own likes and dislikes.

For example, this week alone we struggled with the mushroom, brown rice, refried bean burritos and the baked falafel pita with green sauce sandwiches. I loved the burritos, but husband thought the canned enchilada sauce I used over the top was too spicy. On the other hand, he liked the baked falafels, but I thought they were dry, and the raw garlic in the green sauce topping was way too much for me to handle.

But I’m learning. I’m learning that raw garlic is not my thing, though cooked is fine. And that I can stretch my assumptions about what my husband will try.

We’re not truly vegans, nor even vegetarians. We’re just trying to make meat less important in our diet. So once a week or so I cook a meat and potato meal, though never red meat. I enjoy the simplicity of those meals, the feeling of familiarity while preparing them. I enjoy not having to look at the recipe eight or nine times, of just throwing something together.

I guess someday the vegetarian and vegan meals I make will be the same. Familiar. Easy. Tasty. Predictable. But I hope not right away….not the predictable part anyway. It’s a challenge right now, and on good days I’m happy to be puttering in the kitchen. Especially when it works. When it doesn’t, and I’m still hungry after a meal, I long for a simple burger that doesn’t require chopping and sauteing and toasting stuff.

Some people have told me they are amazed at the things I’ve attempted to do. I guess I just don’t know any better. I’m following the recipes, asking people what ingredients are when I don’t recognize them, looking stuff up online. I feel like I’m gaining skills.

It is true, however, that most of the recipes take me a long time to complete. And some of them do seem complicated. There are often recipes inside of recipes. Somewhere within each seems to be a reference to a sauce or toasted something or other that requires another pan and process, the result to be included in the original recipe as an ingredient.

And please. Always have cooked brown rice available in your fridge or you have to start there and add half an hour to the whole event.

But all in all I think we’re doing pretty OK with this change to our diet. I have to say, though, that my hands smell like garlic. All the time.

It’s becoming sort of familiar.

Falafel beginnings

Falafel beginnings

Author: dawnkinster

I'm a long time banker having worked in banks since the age of 17. I took a break when I turned 50 and went back to school. I graduated right when the economy took a turn for the worst and after a year of library work found myself unemployed. I was lucky that my previous bank employer wanted me back. So here I am again, a long time banker. Change is hard.

31 thoughts on “Garlic learning curve

  1. Garlic has so many benefits, but getting used to smelling from it all the time takes getting used to. I applaud your trying so many new recipes- I have gotten in the habit over the years of making things that take very little steps, keeping it simple!


    • I used to be that way too. But I love cookbooks and now most of the time I’m limiting but not always loving the attempts at different things. He knows I would never peel and chop garlic before. Now it’s just about every day.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. HinDawn. I’m new to your blog, in fact just signed up yesterday. I found it when you joined and commented on my blog. 😊
    It thrilled me this morning to read that you are making meat less important in your diet. This happened for me about 7 years ago when I went vegetarian and then a year later vegan. Mostly. I try.
    Because I’m a full time RV’er with a microscopic kitchen, i keep it simple by necessity. Two of my favorite meals are lentil soup and split pea soup. I use a pressure cooker for things like lentils, beans and rice. And yes, after years of making different or new recipes, it becomes easy, just like making meatloaf or pot roast used to be. I find that I enjoy cooking more now too, and I get a kick out of chopping veggies. It helps, being retired!


    Liked by 1 person

  3. I ALWAYS smell like garlic because I LOVE IT, in ANY form!!! I love brown rice……hope you use quinoa too!


  4. Just as healthier meals are more expensive, preparing them takes more time. Before my friend moved away she used to come for dinner most nights and I was much more adventurous with my cooking then. Less so now, when it’s just me. I do cook a large batch of brown rice mixed with quinoa when needed, then vacuum seal it in one cup portions and freeze it, so when needed, it’s readily available.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Dawn, I admire your courage. It’s way easier to recycle the same old tried-and-true recipes than to venture onto the scary road of recipe books, but healthy eating is a worthwhile goal!


  6. We applaud that you are trying different recipes. Mommy would be scared to experiment making new foods.


  7. You are making good use of your retirement time, Dawn — cooking, camping, photography, etc.


  8. I love garlic. But raw garlic is a bit much, and the lingering smell of garlic in the house after cooking with a lot of it gets very stale very fast. I usually turn on the stovetop fan before the garlic goes into the whatever, and leave it on until it has stopped steaming from being cooked.
    Chopping it–you need a good garlic press! Slice the top & bottom off a clove, pop it into the press, squeeze, pull out the skin with a sharp knife tip. Hardly any handling of the raw garlic.

    Liked by 1 person

    • If you don’t already have one, just about any garlic press will do. But be sure that it comes with some little plastic gizmo or attached little gizmo for quickly clearing out the holes after pressing the garlic. Kinda like this.


      • Cool. Did not know there was such a thing. What part of that cleans the holes? Do they come with instruction manuals? 🙂


        • See the little black prongs that you can barely see sticking up on the top half of that image? That will be a full surface of those prongs that exactly matches the holes, so with this one you can just fllp the handle around to clean out the holes. (Mine comes with a separate small plastic thing that’s the same thing as the black ones here. Means I have to keep track of it & keep it with the press.)

          So my process is:
          Pop a clove into the press.
          Press. (Might need to be forceful.) Garlic squirts out the little holes, so be sure to be aiming it at whatever it’s going into.
          With knife, scrape off whatever’s left on the outside and add to the pot.
          Open the press, use the tip of the knife to pull out the skin.

          Sometimes I also chop off the ends of the clove, remove any skin that comes off easily, and then press it.

          Another garlic trick: Trim off the ends, whack it with something–usually breaks it loose from the skin and then you have a mostly whole garlic clove with no skin for those recipes that need it to be bigger. There must be short videos somewhere on removing skin from garlic. Like this–
 (has text and quick short videos for the full experience.

          AND if you need a bunch of whole cloves, like to spread on your garlic pizza (yum!), here’s a nice trick, too: (Don’t need 2 big bowls, could also use a jar or anything hard that will contain the garlic while you shake.)

          Welcome to the world of garlic! 😉

          Liked by 1 person

        • Also P.S. You should be able to get a garlic press just about anywhere. They all have their custom shapes and maybe bells and whistles, but I just care that it has a hole-cleaning device. They all should work fine.


  9. We love garlic but I much prefer to use the minced that is already cut up and the powder than to have to deal with the fresh garlic. If I am using the fresh I like to take it and the onion and glaze them in a little butter in a frying pan. I think that makes the flavor really come out. I agree eating healthier is more expensive but in the long run, I think it is worth it. Getting my husband off of always wanting potatoes was one of my biggest challenges. We do meatless meals sometimes and it really is easy to do. I am glad the weather is getting a bit cooler because then soups are a good thing and we both love soup. Our meal of choice is chicken but we do eat pork and beef but the chicken is more than anything else.


  10. oops I mean our meat of choice not our meal of choice.


  11. Wow Ellen! I had found the trick about whacking the garlic with something…I use the side of the knife, to get the skin off easier. But I agree a garlic press (with hole cleaner) would be a good Christmas present……hint hint husband…..

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I’ve really enjoyed this journey you’re going on. We started leaving meat out of a lot of our means just because it was such a hassle to deal with. We eat meat pretty regularly now that we’ve switched to cutting out most wheat instead, but we try to lean more heavily on veggies than meats. Still, once you enter a new-to-you food world, you start learning all kids of things. I learned how much I loved sweet potatoes as “noodles” in all kinds of dishes. The spiralizer opened a door for us! Oh, and this is my favorite garlic press. Works great, and is easy-peasy to clean!


    • You’ve cut out wheat??

      Thanks for the garlic press link. I’ll go check it out. Seriously, no sense waiting to see if I get it for Christmas…he probably doesn’t want to encourage me in this vegan/vegetarian adventure.

      Liked by 1 person

      • We have cut it waaaay back at home. I can link you to some good research on vegan vs. carbs vs. wheat. Seemed like a good idea to eat less of it, so we eat it very sparingly at home, and try to save it for something really tasty when we eat out.
        Garlic is good in all kinds of things. That press will come in handy even if you use it to make spaghetti and meatballs 😉


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