This is my last post for 2016! So I am closing out this year with these cheesy, crazy yummy Spinach and Feta Enchiladas. Assemble in advance for easy entertaining, or throw them together to make any dinner just that much more special. Healthful and delicious. And kinda vogue too, don’t you think?
So, before I talk food, I have some randoms ramblings about this year first. So, if you care, read on and be my guest. If you don’t care (and I would not blame you in the slightest), just scroll on down.
Oof, 2016. You are making it real hard.
I want to say 2016 was good. It was my Ironman year after all. And that was epic. But man, not even considering losing Princess Leia, 2016 threw a lot at us. High highs and low lows. A couple really low ones in fact. Personally. So 2016, don’t let that door hit you in the ass. I feel that too.
Do you do resolutions? I do resolutions. Generally I do well on them too. But there are those couple resolutions that reappear on the list. Every. Damn. Year. Lose weight, drink less. Stop making excuses and missing workouts. Love more, sacrifice more for my family. Spend more time doing things that bring me peace – paddleboard, exercise, walk on the beach, paint.
….and watch sunrises. As often as possible. That is a favorite thing.
And a couple other little things I need to work on, but I’ll keep those to myself. ?
So, shift in topic here a little – I know I am all over the place on this blog all the time with eating habits and ramblings and such. This year I even went kinda vegan on you too. I explained why here and there.
…Well, the more vegan I got, and learned, the less vegan I felt.
See, Vegan (with the capital “V”) is a philosophy larger than just not consuming animal products. It is the notion that animals are not to be exploited in any way. And I do mean ANY way. For example, anything with down feathers is forbidden. This I agree with, because most down is from China where the feathers are just ripped right off the birds. No animal products in skincare – I agree with that too, and the products I use are vegan. Okay, good so far…
But there are some things I just do not have a problem with. Like shearing sheep for wool, if done humanely, is something I have zero issue with. It’s a hair cut. Honey – I do not have a problem with honey. Remember how a bee colony moved into my backyard compost bin? The service that relocated the colony to a local nursery (note: RELOCATE, not exterminate!), collects honey from relocated colonies like the one I had. This is a guy that protects bees, and he gave me honey. I love that honey! And I do not see taking an egg from a chicken as unfair to the chicken. But a Vegan would say that we have no right to that honey because it belongs to the bees and the egg to the chicken and the wool to the sheep. It crosses the line of applying personhood to an animal or insect that has not the capacity for it. Lower animals feel pain, stress, instinct, but not emotion and certainly not ownership in a human sense. Higher mammals, like pigs, different story. No animals should ever suffer pain or stress or be prevented from performing instinctual behaviors and social interaction or deprived of territory. But they are not people. And I do think there can be a symbiotic relationship …like backyard chickens, kept and cared for and loved as pets, providing eggs for a family.
And so with that, the Vegan and I would have to part ways.
Internet groups, facebook. The more I read and got into discussions with randoms on the internet, trying to educate myself, the more I saw a lot of nastiness. Judgement. Everywhere. Strangers telling a girl she needs to dump her boyfriend because he won’t become a vegan with her. Ummm, just no. I still cook meat a couple times a week for my family, because they are not vegan. A Vegan would say that then there is no way I can be a vegan myself, because then I am still contributing to the problem.
And, sadly, on that they would be right. Truth, I acknowledge. But I am not going to create angst and argument in my home. Because that won’t win anyone over. I will just do my best to live by example, and know that in their own time, each in my family will see their own light.
So, here it is. I am vegetarian, yes. Have been on and off for years, and this year solid since May. An ethical vegetarian, for the animals and environment. But I am not a vegan. I am Okay with eggs from happy pastured chickens. I am Okay with honey. I am Okay with a wool sweater knit by my mother. I will probably be Okay eating a fish if my husband catches it himself so I know no sea turtles or dolphins or such were harmed in that process. And I am kinda-sorta Okay with some cheese, made without animal-derived enzymes like rennet and lipase, with milk from a grass-fed cow that doesn’t have her calves taken away at birth to become veal every year …and limited because beef is one of the biggest contributors of greenhouse gases….
I am …a Picky Vegetarian.
So that is settled. And that’s my term for it.
So you see, 2016, you weren’t all bad. I became a Picky Vegetarian. And I did an Ironman. All those hours working out, that was a lot of time to think. And think. And think and think. And one thing that happens during that is you self-evaluate. Acknowledge who you really are. Fears, failings, strengths, gifts, and all. So, in that process, I managed to figure at least a couple big things out. And now I can work on them in 2017. Yayyy personal growth. ?
Thank you, 2016. For that.
Okay, Spinach and Feta Enchiladas, how the hell did I come up with THIS. Is this like some crazy Greek-Mexican fusion thing?? …So, quite simply, I had spinach and feta enchiladas at a local restaurant, loved the idea of the dish, went home and made my own. Score.
Enchiladas are verrrry easy to make. And like lasagna and stuff, they reheat really well the next day too with a quick zap in the microwave. I made a pretty straightforward filling with the spinach and feta, with additional cheese and some bite of onion. For the enchilada sauce, I used my Roasted Tomatillo Salsa which is ridiculously easy to make (put stuff in oven, then pulse in the processor. Simple.) Then I topped with a buttload of cheese.
Note: a neat thing about the internet is that you can search and find a local farm that makes artisanal cheeses and treats their cows humanely. Just saying.
Now, one key trick to enchiladas is to toast the tortillas first. There are different ways to do this, and most often they are fried. But I just use olive oil in a mister, and give them a little toast in a pan. This step is important though because otherwise, the tortillas just rip when you assemble the enchiladas. So, just a quick little toast on the stove top makes it so they keep their integrity to become an actual enchilada.
So that’s it folks! Delicious Spinach and Feta Enchiladas for something new to try, and cheers to the New Year. …Goodbye 2016. It was sure something.
Spinach and Feta Enchiladas
- 1 10 oz boxes frozen chopped spinach, thawed and water squeezed out
- 1 4 oz pkg feta cheese
- 1/4 cup very finely diced onion
- 3 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese divided
- 1 prepared recipe Roasted Tomatillo Salsa
- 1/4 cup vegetable stock
- kosher salt
- fresh cracked pepper
- 16 white corn tortillas
- extra virgin olive oil in a mister or cooking spray
- 1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro
- 1 avocado pitted and sliced
- In a bowl, combine the spinach, feta, onion, and 1 cup Monterey Jack cheese. Add a couple pinches kosher salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Add the vegetable stock to the salsa. Set aside.
- Heat a nonstick pan on medium-high heat. Spray the pan with oil. Add a tortilla, and cook until lightly toasted on the bottom side. Spray the top side with oil, flip, and lightly cook the other side. Repeat for the rest of the tortillas.
- To assemble, lay out tortillas on a large board. Top each with spinach filling and roll up. Place enchiladas in a 13x9 baking dish, sprayed with oil. Pour the Roast Tomatillo Salsa over the enchiladas. Top with the remaining cheese.
- Bake at 400F until heated through and golden on top (15-20 minutes). Serve 2-3 enchiladas per person, topped with cilantro and avocado slices. Yields: 6-8 servings.
Leave me a comment and let me know what you think! Otherwise, I’m just talking to myself here.