There was a tenseness in the air last night as we sat down to dine. As I spooned food onto our plates, I swallowed against the lump of self-doubt lodged in my throat. Blair eyed his plate suspiciously. It was a do or die moment.
Let me explain. Years ago we discovered a "Beef Taco Bake" recipe on the side of a Campbell's tomato soup can. With a few adjustments - soy crumbles for beef, whole what tortillas for flour ones, and plain salsa for chunky because Blair was in his "I won't eat anything with chunks in it" stage - the recipe became a staple in our home. Gooey and satisfying, we shoved the tomato-cheesy-floury goodness down our throats at least once a week. It's quite possibly one of Blair's favorite meals.
Which is why he was... concerned... when I decided to tinker with it. You'd think he'd be used to it. Since saying "I do" at the alter almost 15 years ago, the man has had to watch all beef, chicken, pork, and most fish vanish from my cooking repetoire along with white flour products, anything with "partially hydrogenated" on the label, and lima beans (the smell grosses me out).
Now he stands helpless as I harp on the dangers of casein protein and banish cheese from the house. (It's not that bad - he eats whatever he wants. But since I do most of the cooking, there's a definite "Dena edge" to the majority of our meals.) I decided to overhaul the Taco Bake recipe yet again, substiting Ezekiel sprouted whole grain tortillas, Galaxy Nutrtional Vegan Rice Cheddar Cheese for Kraft cheddar, and hemp milk for skim. Honestly, I expected disaster. I suspected the whole grain would dry out the dish and I'd been warned vegan cheese doesn't melt.
Which is why it was a glorious surprise to find the new recipe tasted wonderful! The cheese was melty and perfect and the dish as a whole was more filling than usual. The ultimate compliment came from Blair after dinner when he said he "wouldn't mind eating more of those sprouted things."
The way to a man's heart is through his stomach? Maybe. But there might be some veggie shreds and biblical bread involved along the way.