Ally edit: This is the first blog post from one of my dearest friends and best people I know, Marissa Hewko. She's going to be writing about her food love, cooking, lifestyle, dogs, love, loss, everything. I'm so very proud she's joined our story. end Ally edit.
Like everyone in the world, my husband Johnathon was born a vegetarian. The thing is, he stayed that way…like, never-had-a-hamburger-vegetarian. When we first started dating, I’d force-feed him bites of my carnitas and laugh at him when he said bacon smelled gross. When we got married, I was working at a restaurant, meaning evenings were spent at work, not at home. Which left Johnathon on his own for dinner. I’d usually scarf down some faulty plate the chefs made that night and he would create some weird can of beans atop lettuce with salsa on it and call it a burrito bowl.
When I got a new job with “normal” hours, we began to have dinners together nightly. This created two issues; one: I felt guilty for making meals that contained meat in them because I knew it did not correlate with my husband’s ideals, and two: I was way too lazy to make a veg dish for him and a meat dish for me. So that’s how it happened. We both became vegetarians. I would mostly make cop-out vegetarian dishes like pasta, or tofu stir-fry, things that had zero thought involved. Somewhere along the way, between watching documentaries and blood test results, we decided to take animal product completely out of our diet. That’s when the passion for cooking came flooding in; crazy, obsessive, creative, passion.
I didn’t want to just make a pizza with fake vegan mozzarella topped with tofurkey, or resort to just throwing a bunch of vegetables in the oven with olive oil and calling it dinner (not that there’s anything wrong with that). It wasn’t just about cutting animal out of our diet, it was about putting better, whole, unprocessed foods in our bodies. I had to be innovative and be willing to put thought into every night’s meals and plan them in advance.
It takes effort, but the resulting food is worth it, and most of all, it makes me HAPPY. If I don’t cook for a week, I get depressed - the combination of healthy fuel and expanding my creativity makes me feel fulfilled. It doesn't hurt that my husband does all the dishes every night, and it really doesn't hurt that he's more than happy to eat everything.
Every Sunday, I pick out meals for the week, gaining inspiration from various vegan food blogs and finding the accidentally vegan recipes in cookbooks I already own. I try not to make the same thing twice in a month, mostly because I get bored eating the same thing all the time and cooking the same thing all the time. I make a grocery list, and shop on Sunday for the entire week. Johnathon says whenever he looks at our shopping card, he doesn’t see a single thing that looks delicious, but then magically, he’s licking his plate every night. That’s the thing with cooking with whole ingredients, they don’t look like much until you transform them, that’s when their beauty comes out.
I look forward to every night that I get to spend with my husband in the kitchen and eating together at the dining room table…and curled up on the couch on lazy evenings. Our kitchen is small so we are forced to be in close contact, sneaking tush squeezes. During dinner we get to talk about our day, vent, rejoice, kiss and be thankful for the little family we have.
I hope you enjoy my food ideas, and feel free to contact me with questions or high fives.
The pictured foodgasm is an amazing vegan enchilada casserole, recipe coming soon.