The Pumpkin in the Vegetarian Diet

Pumpkins are native to the Americas, with seeds going back 9,000 years discovered in Mexico. They were a versatile item, used not only for food and medicine, but as containers when hollowed out and dried. They were one of the foods that the early European settlers, thanks to the natives who showed them the way, were able to survive on, given their nutrient content and the fact that they kept well, without rotting, for many months (having grown them myself, I can attest to this fact!). This is the main reason the pumpkin is so closely identified with the Fall harvest and with Thanksgiving.

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Nuts in the Vegetarian Diet

Nuts and seeds are a major source of protein in the vegetarian diet, as well as a very good source of most of the B vitamins, the antioxidant vitamin E, and many of the major and trace minerals, such as copper, iron, manganese, and zinc.

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Recipe: Black Bean & Corn Salsa

This is a recipe I came up with recently after cleaning out my kitchen cupboards and refrigerator. I still have no idea why I had creamed corn in my cupboard – I won’t touch the stuff, so what on earth did I buy it for? Did it end up in my grocery cart by accident somehow? I once got home with Chinese Five Spice seasoning that had not been on my shopping list – it must have rolled into my area of the belt from the person ahead of me in line at the cashier. Those little dividers don’t quite go across the whole belt.

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Recipe: Grilled Asparagus Linguine with Mushroom Vinaigrette

I confess, I’m not much of an Asian foodie.

Nothing against Asian culture, people, or their food…I just didn’t grow up eating it, so I never developed a taste for it. On the rare occasion Mom made some sort of vegetarian meat-replacement Asian recipe it usually involved sweet-and-sour sauce, which I cannot stand to this day.

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Recipe: Grilled Stuffed Eggplant

Who says the only thing a barbecue grill is good for is meat?

Of course, if you don’t have a barbecue grill (or find it too much of a hassle), this recipe can be prepared using the broiler in your oven with no harm done.

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Dairy and Eggs in the Vegetarian Diet

While strict vegetarians consume no animal flesh or products, lacto-ovo vegetarians do drink milk and eat cheese, eggs and butter while avoiding animal flesh.

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Recipe: Cuban Black Beans & Rice

When I was a kid in Florida, my father was occasionally called on to be a guest preacher at various churches throughout the state. Florida has a large Cuban population, and for some reason he was in demand at their churches, where he would often preach through an interpreter. While my younger brother and I loathed sitting in church (we could recite Dad’s two sermons backwards and forwards), we always looked forward to visiting those churches and were especially well-behaved because of the huge potluck lunches afterward – with all the black beans and rice you could eat!

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Recipe: Patatas Caliente con Mayonesa Ajo

This tapas recipe comes from Spain’s Catalan region. Have plenty of chilled lemonade, sangria, agua fresca, or horchata available to douse the flames – these little spuds are smokin’ hot!

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Recipe: Cool Summer Spaghetti with Fresh Tomato Sauce

Spaghetti is easy to fix, but it’s hotter than blue blazes out there and the last thing you need is a steaming plate of pasta and tomato sauce. Whatever will you do?

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Protein in the Vegetarian Diet

Protein builds tissue. The word itself comes from the Greek word proteios which means ‘first quality.’ It is the foremost important nutrient your body uses to literally build and maintain itself – muscles, bones, tendons, regulatory functions; you name it, you can bet that protein is involved.

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