Archive for November, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Xu Bing, Honor and Splendor, 2004, Tobacco Project, tiger skin rug, cigarettes, tobacco, rug

Xu Bing, Honor and Splendor, 2004, building, tiger skin rug, rug, cigarettes, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Tobacco Project

Xu Bing, First Class, 2011, tiger skin rug, cigarettes, tobacco, Tobacco Project, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Virginia

Xu Bing, First Class, 2011, Tobacco Project, tiger skin rug, cigarettes, tobacco, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

Source: Earth911.c0m

How do I dispose of the oil from our fried Thanksgiving turkey?

In my former life I worked in the Water Quality Division of a regulatory agency. My duties included finding sewer overflows and tracking down the source. The running joke in my family was that I spent 6 years in college (this includes a Masters program) to chase poo.  Its sounds funny but this was important work because sewer overflows are a major source of contamination in our waterways.

So what does me chasing poo have to do with a fried Turkey? Well, it takes 3 to 5 gallons of oil to fry a turkey and afterwards this oil must be disposed of. Most of the time our first instinct is to dump the oil, either outside or down the drain. Both of these options can have negative environmental effects. Dumping any amount of cooking oil outside exposes it to the elements, there it can harm wildlife and make its way into waterways. Pouring oil down the drain can cause grease to cling to pipes causing clogs and massive damage to pipes and sewers.

Recycling is the best option for disposing of leftover cooking oil. First drain the oil to remove food particles, then pour the oil into a sealed container. It can then be dropped off at your local recycler. If this is not available in your area, drop the sealed container into the trash can. Its not as “green” as recycling but still a much better option than the drain or backyard.

Source: Earth 911.c0m

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Meatless Monday


I enjoy vegetables, but just the basic veggies that I am familiar with from my childhood. I would love to venture out and try something a little more interesting like asparagus (you have to start small :)) but I wouldn’t know where to begin with selection or preparation.

So when I read that to reduce carbs in my diet I could try mashed cauliflower (another unfamiliar veggie) instead of potatoes I thought I would do a little research. It seems like cauliflower would be a great addition to my Meatless Monday repertoire.

  • Cauliflower, a cruciferous vegetable, is in the same plant family as broccoli, kale, cabbage and collards.
  • Raw cauliflower is firm yet a bit spongy in texture.
  • The milk, sweet, almost nutty flavor of cauliflower is at its best from December through March when it is in season and most plentiful in your local markets.
  • When purchasing cauliflower, look for a clean, creamy white, compact curd in which the bud clusters are not separated. Spotted or dull-colored cauliflower should be avoided, as well as those in which small flowers appear.
  • Cauliflower is an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin K, folate and fiber. It is a very good source of vitamin B5, vitamin B6, omega-3 fatty acids, and manganese. Additionally, it is a good source of potassium, protein, phosphorus, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B3, and magnesium.
  • Cauliflower contains phytonutrients that release odorous sulfur compounds when heated. These odors become stronger with increased cooking time. If you want to minimize odor, retain the vegetable’s crisp texture, and reduce nutrient loss, cook the cauliflower for only a short time.
  • To prepare begin by cutting cauliflower florets into quarters and let sit for at least 5 minutes to enhance its health-promoting benefits. Then to sauté cauliflower, heat 5 TBS of broth (vegetable or chicken) or water in a stainless steel skillet. Once bubbles begin to form add cauliflower florets (cut into quarters) seasoning (of your choice), cover, and sauté for 5 minutes.

Mashed Cauliflower Recipe:

Serves 4

Mashed cauliflower tastes similar to mashed potatoes but with fewer carbs. Top with chopped herbs and grated cheese if you like.


1 medium head cauliflower, trimmed and cut into small florets (about 6 to 7 cups)
1 to 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and ground black pepper to taste


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add cauliflower and cook until very tender, about 10 minutes. Reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid and then drain well and transfer cauliflower to a food processor. Add oil and reserved water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and puree until smooth. (Or, mash cauliflower with a potato masher). Season with salt and pepper and serve.


Per serving: 110 calories (80 from fat), 9g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 330mg sodium, 8g total carbohydrate (3g dietary fiber, 3g sugar), 3g protein

Recipe Source: Whole Foods 

Article Source: 

Photo Source: Leelouz World

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Throwback Tuesday

Since the blog site was down yesterday I didn’t get to publish my Meatless Monday post…so here it is on Throwback Tuesday 🙂

Surviving the holidays with family and friends can be a task for anyone, especially if your eating habits are non-traditional. The author of Choosing Raw  offers tips to help vegetarians and vegans alike, survive the holiday season.

1)      For the main meal (aka Turkey Day), bring a dish that suits your habits, be they vegetarian, vegan, generally health conscious, or raw. Make sure it’s a dish that’s palatable and appealing, and make enough for the table. Never assume that people won’t want to try it; if it’s good, they will! Share the dish with enthusiasm, and cross your fingers that your folks like it. If they do, you may just find them clamoring for more healthy options next year.

2)      Plan ahead. Thanksgiving isn’t just aboutTurkey time; oftentimes, it means a weekend of travel and staying with relatives, or simply hours spent away from home. Make sure to bring snacks that suit you in addition to your contribution to the main meal. I never make day trips or overnights without Larabars or Pure bars, apples or bananas, a bag of baby carrots, an avocado or two, bottled juices and coconut water, and some homemade raw trail mix.

3)      If you’ll be staying with relatives who don’t eat the way you do for the weekend, never ever hesitate to call ahead and make grocery requests. This may sound pushy, but it’s not; most of the time, non-vegans (or non-healthy eaters) are nervous about having a vegan or vegetarian in the house, and they’re actually hoping that someone will tell them what to have on hand and what to make. You’ll save your host dollars of wasted grocery money and needless stress if you very politely say, “Hey, by the way, I’m not sure if you know/remember, but I’m a vegan. I don’t want you to stress about feeding me! If you don’t mind factoring me into the grocery shopping, I’d be really happy to split the cost. And I could give you just a few things to have around that I love eating.”

Or, simply make a grocery trip on your way to the destination in question, and show up with tons of food that you can enjoy and share with the fam.

4)      Know your limits. All of us have dietary preferences that are non-negotiable, and ones that aren’t. Holidays are a good time to familiarize yourself with the difference. I know some people who eat mostly vegan, but are willing to make concessions if a side dish has a touch of butter or cream; I know vegetarians who eat a tiny slice of turkey on turkey day. I have mixed feelings about these concessions, but I’ll admit that I have a few of my own. I always bring an all raw dish to parties and holiday meals, but if there’s a cooked vegan dish (especially one that a family or friend made with me in mind), I’ll certainly give it a try. Best case scenario? It’s tasty and healthy. Worst? I give the person who made it some joy by tasting. As long as it’s vegan, I can live with the fact that it’s not raw. I’m also happy to throw food combining to the wind, if necessary, as long as what I eat is vegan and not too difficult to digest.

5)      If you’re dining out, plan ahead! Most restaurants will be packed to the gills and not happy about making unforeseen substitutions on turkey day. Make sure to call the restaurant at least a week in advance if you know you’ll want something that’s not on the Thanksgiving pre-fixe menu. Request something simple, like a plate of whichever veggies the chef already plans on serving, along with a small salad and a baked yam. Be firm, but try to work with the restaurant manager to find a hassle free option.

I have one final tip, and it is by far the most crucial:

Bring a good attitude to the table.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about raw and vegan dining at holidays or with family, it’s this: don’t arrive on the defensive. If you come to the dinner table tense, self-protective, and ready for an argument, you can be sure that an argument will find you. It won’t take long for family members—especially those that are wary of veganism in the first place—to sniff out your unease and challenge you. Yes, this is immature, and yes, they should refrain, but mark my words: it will happen. And when it does, you’re likely to become argumentative, self-righteous, or hurt.

The solution? Show up with an open mind. Regardless of whom you’re eating with and what their habits are, try to abandon any pre-conceived certainty that you’ll be called upon to defend your eating habits. Instead, assume that you’re going to enjoy a harmonious meal. Think to yourself: I love my lifestyle. I respect it. And anyone who sees how happy it makes me is going to respect it, too. Instead of preparing all sorts of retorts to snide comments—or worse, arming yourself with health statistics and studies to rattle off to anyone who challenges you—prepare enthusiastic and friendly comments. Some of my favorites:

“Why vegan? Well, compassion plays a big part. But I really love how wonderful and healthy eating vegan and raw makes me feel!”

“Oh, I know it sounds limiting, but it’s not! There are so many great things you can make with vegetables, legumes, grains, and fruits. I love being in my kitchen.”

“Miss things? No, not really! I’m so focused on how much I love plant based foods that I never think about some of the things I used to enjoy.”

“One bite of turkey? Seriously, no thanks. I’m really enjoying my [insert name of vegan main course here]. But thanks–hope it’s good.”

I hope this helps someone have a happier, stress free holiday!

Wordless Wednesday

Favorite Food Alternatives

In my post yesterday I mentioned all the things that I have had to eliminate from my diet (like pizza and cream cheese).  Well today my co-worker Jennifer opened my eyes to all the things I COULD have like dairy-free cheese. I thought it would be great if we could swap our favorite food alternatives! So if you’re vegan, gluten free, vegetarian, have a diet restriction or just plain don’t like an item, share your alternative.  Post a comment completing the following statement, I don’t eat _______ I eat _________ instead.

Meatless Monday

I LOVE pizza. The only thing better than pizza is pizza with extra cheese. However, since I’m nursing I have had to eliminate dairy from my diet, which includes cheese. So let’s have a collective moment of silence for my extra cheese pizza…….

I’ve heard lots of suggestions for satisfying my pizza cravings, eat pepperoni as a snack, eat spaghetti (last time I checked pizza and spaghetti tasted different) and the most bizarre of them all; eat the pizza without the cheese. I have seen people order pizza sans the cheese but I am not one of them. So when looking for Meatless Monday recipes for today I came across this recipe for  fruit pizza. I thought wow I’ll try this, definitely not an extra cheese pizza but looks delicious nonetheless. That’s until I realized the frosting included cream CHEESE. I still can’t have it but I thought I’d share it anyway….

Katie’s Healthy Fruit Pizza


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) softened butter (if you forget to set it out, roll it with a rolling pin to soften)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour (Traditional whole wheat flour is hard red wheat; if that’s all you have, I wouldn’t go with more than half whole wheat, half white flour.  I tried this, and it tastes “healthy” and is quite crumbly.  You also may want to increase the butter to a full cup with traditional whole wheat flour.)

Cream butter and sugar.  Stir in flour and finish by hand.  It might be very crumbly and you’ll think it will never come together, but persevere.  You can also go shy on the flour.

healthy fruit pizza recipe

Add  a little more butter if necessary, but it really can look like the photo above and still come together like this when you use your hands:

100% whole wheat fruit pizza dough recipe

Once the dough comes together when you squeeze it, begin to press a handful at a time into a buttered pan.  Mine happens to be a heart, but a small cookie sheet or even a 9×13 glass dish should work too!


Aim for a thickness of about 1/4″.  Bake in a 350-degree oven for 15-20 minutes.  As soon as you see brown on the edges, it’s done!


Watch the edges; they can brown quickly!  Now for the fun part.  While the cookie crust cools, make the “frosting”.


  • about 3/4 cups yogurt cheese or cream cheese, softened
  • less than 1/4 cup powdered sugar, like so:


I just sprinkle some sugar on and taste to make sure the frosting isn’t too tart. 

Turn on your beaters and watch the frosting consistency appear before your eyes:



Spread on top of your cooled “crust”:


and finish with a variety of fresh fruit, including:

  • kiwi
  • bananas
  • strawberries
  • peaches
  • berries of any kind
  • and more…whatever is in season and/or on sale
  • for example, at Christmastime, it’s beautiful with kiwi, dried cranberries OR pomegranate seeds, pineapple, and/or banana


Source: Kitchen Stewardship

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Wordless Wednesday


A special thanks to Dr. Kathryn Haag for submitting this photo for Wordless Wednesday!


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Tips for Going Vegan On A Tight Budget

When Savvy Vegetarian was posed the question “Can two people go vegan with only $299 a month?” here are the tips they gave in response……

  • Buy all your food as close as possible to it’s natural, unprocessed state. Frozen or canned veg and fruit is sometimes an exception, but go for fresh whenever possible.
  • For protein, focus on beans, lentils and split peas, with whole grains, nuts and seeds in small amounts.
  • Eat whole grains such as brown rice, barley, buckwheat, millet, oats rather than store bought breads – way cheaper and more nutritious.
  • Buy dried beans or lentils, cook them in big batches, and freeze what you don’t use for future meals. Most big grocery stores have some bulk foods, and you can also find what you need in the grocery aisles.
  • If you can afford to, and have the time, you can make your own yeast bread, pizza, pancakes, quick breads, muffins, or cookies, much cheaper and better than store bought. However, compared to a bowl of brown rice, any of those are much more expensive for the ingredients and energy used to cook them.
  • Choose fresh fruit and vegetables over prepared convenience foods. Focus on buying the lowest cost and in-season items. For example, fresh spinach is sometimes pricey, but cabbage never is. Carrots, celery, peppers, potatoes, parsley, bananas, apples, oranges are usually the most reasonably priced. Other fruit and vegetables may be low cost when it’s in season and plentiful, e.g, avocados, asparagus, grapes, mangos, strawberries, peaches.
  • Make sure you eat something green everyday, even if it’s just parsley in your soup. Also something yellow, orange or red. And something raw.
  • With an inexpensive coffee grinder, you can grind your own spices.
  • Instead of expensive veggie spreads, use vegetable oil in your baking, have a small amount of nut butter or hummus on your toast..
  • Skip soy based dairy substitutes. They’re expensive, high in calories, and loaded with ingredients nobody should eat (read labels).
  • If you can get to a farmer’s market, you might be able to find fresh local produce at reasonable prices. Sometimes not.
  • You can save significant amounts buying in bulk or stocking up on sale items, but you have to plan carefully to take advantage of it.
  • If you can find a food buying club in your area, it’s a good way to get bulk or case lot foods cheaper, and split them with others in the group.
  • Buy bulk herbs and make your own teas. There’s good nutrition in herbal teas!
  • If you can, grow some of your own food. You don’t need fancy equipment, and seeds are still relatively cheap, especially if you can get them in bulk.

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Movie Night

It’s the weekend and if you’re planning to settle in with a warm blanket and a good movie check out these Eco-themed films….. (click on the title to view the trailer for each film).



Children of Men

The Road


Soylent Green


The Day the Earth Stood Still

An Inconvenient Truth

The Day After Tomorrow

Madagascar: Escape to Africa

Happy Feet

Mad Max

Ice Age: The Meltdown

Erin Brockovich

Fern Gully: The Last Rainforest

I’m not a movie buff so I have to admit I haven’t seen many of these films but I did enjoy The Day After Tomorrow and Happy Feet. Have you seen any of these movies…which do you suggest?