Meatless Monday: It’s a movement to go meatless once a week in an effort to reduce our carbon footprint. In addition to reducing our carbon footprint, having a day without meat is just good for ya!

Ever since my vegan week, I’ve been vegetarian. I did have meat once, 1 meatball. I’m not really calling myself a vegetarian though, I’m using the term ‘flexitarian.’ Which I heard somewhere, by someone, but I have no idea when, who or where. I’m not saying I’m a vegetarian because the reality is, if someone has invited me over for dinner, and the only thing on the table is meat, I will eat it. I don’t think it’ll kill me, or even harm me those rare time.

With 3 exceptions: pate, liver, and escargot. Ok, is escargot considered a meat? It is a snail, which is like an animal, a slimy slithery, disgusting ‘animal’ that oozes silver goop from it’s butt. Agh, how do people eat those? You, NASTY!

I will not eat those 3 things, no matter who I am dining with.

Obviously I love salad. And goat cheese. And avocado. But did you also know I LOVE cornmeal? I love it in pie crust, in cake, in LOTS of things!

Have you ever had the sweet corn tamale cakes from The Cheesecake Factory? TO-DIE-FOR! No literally, they may kill you. Don’t look at the nutrition information, that alone may do you in. My mission: to use those as my inspiration and create a healthier version. And I did. These are perfect for a Meatless Monday meal! You get tons of flavor and some veggies and protein too. Both are essential in your daily food requirements.

I served these as a side dish along with carne asada (for my meat loving family) and a salad with cilantro dressing. They would make a great appetizer, or shoot, even breakfast because they are kinda like a pancake. They are DELICIOUS!!!!!

Corn Cakes

Makes about 20 medium cakes: serves 6 as a side dish or appetizer

2 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed

1 cup flour

1/2 cup cornmeal

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp kosher salt

1 tbsp sugar

2 eggs, lightly beaten

2 tbsp non fat milk

Avocado and Goat Cheese Salsa (RECIPE FOLLOWS)

Preheat oven to 200 degrees F.

*This is to keep the cooked cakes warm while you continue cooking the rest.

Dump 2 cups of thawed corn into a food processor, and pulse several times, until the corn is slightly pureed but still chunky (almost like the consistency of canned creamed corn, some chunks, but mostly pureed).

Transfer the corn to a large bowl.

Add flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, salt and pepper to the corn. And mix just until incorporated.

Add the lightly beaten eggs and milk, and stir just to combine.

Place a large skillet over medium heat. And spray with nonstick spray.

*you can fry these, well, pan fry them. By adding a thin layer of oil to the hot pan and continuing with the instructions.

Plop one heaping tablespoon at a time of the batter into the hot skillet. Cooking in batches of 5 or 6 to avoid overcrowding in the pan, cook the cakes 1 to 2 minutes per side, until golden brown.

*They cook quickly!

Place cooked cakes on the cookie sheet and in the oven to keep warm while cooking the remaining corn cakes. Serve warm topped with a heap of Avocado and Goat Cheese Salsa.

Avocado and Goat Cheese Salsa

Makes about 2 cups

1 large tomato, chopped

2 tbsp chopped cilantro

1/3 cup white onion, chopped (about 1/2 of a small onion)

1 garlic clove, minced

juice from 1/2 a lime

salt and pepper to taste

1 avocado, pitted and diced (use more avocado is you like more)

3 ounces goat cheese, crumbled

Place all of the ingredients (except the avocado and goat cheese) in a bowl, and mix. Refrigerate in an airtight container until ready to serve, can be made up to 2 days ahead.

Just before serving, add the avocado and goat cheese , and mix gently so you don’t mash the avocado and goat cheese too much.

Take a big honkin bite!