Meat vs. The Environment

In all honesty, we didn’t choose to be vegan because of the animal rights or affects on the environment, it was a health-based choice. BUT. Since choosing to stop eating meat or dairy, both Brian and I have started to realize how our diet choices have positive impacts on the environment that we never knew about. There are a lot of hidden negative impacts that our lifestyles have on the environment, like the amount of water it takes to make our clothing, but it turns out one of the worst things you can do for our environment is eat meat. It is absolutely INCREDIBLE how much water is required to produce a single pound of beef. Just think logically about what it takes to keep a cow alive, let alone millions of cows to support our meat intake.

Read this.

It’s one thing to vote for a candidate who will make decisions in favor of our environment, but it’s even better to live a lifestyle that makes an actual impact. Even “meatless mondays” make a difference, and it’s a good place to start. Honestly, you won’t miss meat after awhile. There’s plenty of other delicious food in the world.

Other stuff you can do:

  • stop using ziplocs. instead, use mason jars, tupperware, or reusable bags
  • no more paper towels. get some cheap cotton towels and toss the dirty towels in with your laundry when you do a load.
  • compost. even if you don’t have a composting service, start a bin on the counter and you’ll be amazed how much waste you have each week. seeing it add up will help you subconsciously be better about not wasting food.
  • get a tiny trash can and a giant recycling bin. use compost bags for your tiny trash can to reduce plastic in the landfill, and paper bags for recycling.
  • use bar soap instead of liquid. bar soap requires far far less packaging and doesn’t use as much water or produce CO2 like the processing of liquid soap.
  • watch documentaries. maybe one of them will have enough of an impact to change your mind and inspire you to make a lifestyle shift. the more you know, ya know?

 

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Vegan Creamy Pasta

Creamy stuff is so so hard to replicate without dairy, so when we first tried this creamy pasta dish, we stared at each other in shock as we shoveled it into our mouths, repeating over and over how good it was. It’s super easy and quick, and one of those recipes that I think even dairy lovers would enjoy. It’s not trying to be dairy or cheese, it’s very much it’s own type of creamy sauce, but it’s perfect.

  • 1C raw cashews – TJ is the cheapest by weight
  • 1-2 C water (if your food processor is 7C or smaller, start with less water first)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • lots of cracked black pepper
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • whatever other spices sound good to you! Seriously, it’s forgiving

Start with just the cashews and water in the food processor until creamy (1-2 minutes for us). Add the spices in the little top hole while it’s still running. Once it’s really creamy, stick your finger in to taste and see what else it needs. If I’m going for tangy or cheesy, I’ll add nutritional yeast, miso, and apple cider vinegar. It’s also good with thyme, sage, and oregano. The sauce should be fairly runny, not super thick. It thickens up really quickly as it’s heated, so if you’re adding it to pasta or warming it up at all, you want to start with a runnier consistency.

We like pouring the sauce over a bowl of pasta and adding some roasted veggies for a one-bowl meal. Our favorites are roasted brussels sprouts, sauteed mushrooms and onions, or broccoli.

I promise, you’re going to take one taste of this sauce and immediately try to figure out what else you can put it on. I made a weird version of potato leek gratin in the dutch oven this week, and it wasn’t the worst thing. The sauce was great, the potatoes could’ve used a little more flavor, and the leeks basically caramelized into nothing at the bottom of the pan, but there was some potential. I’ll work on that next and hopefully figure out a good version. Until then, I’m going to keep pouring this sauce on EVERYTHING.

PS: when you’re eating it and inevitably thinking oh wow this is thick and heavy and must have a lot of calories….. NO!!!! That’s the best part! It’s just nuts and water!!! Ugh so good. Now go eat some more of it to wash away your guilt.

**recipe idea credit to Anna Pippus who posts the best recipes in her stories!

Vegan Collard Greens – Southern Style

Up until this past week, I would’ve read the title of this post and immediately written it off because there couldn’t be any possible way you could replace the deliciously smoky fatty bacon and pork that belong in collard greens. I can now confirm that vegan collard greens are possible and just as delicious as the meaty version. We made our own stock, but I honestly think you could get away with a strong bouillon version and be just fine.

Stock – simmer for at least an hour

  • 1-2 pieces of Kombu
  • couple dashes of soy sauce
  • 2 carrots, 2 celery stalks, 1 large onion – roughly chopped
  • 2 leeks – greens only
  • 2 bay leaves
  • parsley and thyme (fresh or dried)
  • 12 ish oz of dried mushrooms – shiitake work well
  • enough water to cover by an inch

Prep

  • couple glugs of olive oil
  • 1 sweet onion – roughly chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic – minced
  • the reconstituted mushrooms pulled out of the stock and chopped up
  • soy sauce
  • miso
  • smoke powder
  • smoked paprika
  • salt
  • pepper
  • collard greens – 1 huge bunch or 2 small

Sautee all that deliciousness above til its smoky and soft. Add the stock, simmer for 20 minutes. Add the chopped collard greens, cover, and simmer for about 45 minutes or til the greens are soft.
Add the soy sauce, smoke powder, and smoked paprika to taste. We upped the soy sauce and salt quite a bit since I think that’s one of the key seasonings that you typically get from meat.

We served ours with cornbread and some mashed potatoes and it was heavenly. Very very pleasantly surprised with how this turned out!

 

**Two posts in one day?!?!? Unheard of. We’ve been on a roll lately and I don’t want to forget any of these recipes! I write them down and then immediately lose the scrap of paper, so that doesn’t work. I need my own cookbook.