Tag Archives: cheese

Veggie Enchiladas

As an ode to the fact that at this moment I’m in Bahia de Los Angeles in Baja, Mexico, here’s a recipe for enchiladas! And make extra! I ate my two and wanted more. They were so delicious!

Vegetable Enchiladas

For sauce

  • 1 clove Garlic, minced
  • 1/2 small Yellow Onion, chopped (as small as possible)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Chili Powder
  • A couple shakes each: dried oregano, dried basil leaves, cayenne pepper, paprika, cumin
  • 1/4 cup Tomato Sauce
  • 1/4 cup Salsa
  • 3 tbsp. Water

For enchilada:

  • 2 Whole Wheat Tortillas
  • Organic Mexican Cheese
  • Veggies, chopped (I used bell pepper and onion but that’s all I had)

Cook the sauce first by sauteing the garlic and onion until the onion is just starting to brown. Add the tomato sauce, salsa, and water and turn heat to a simmer. Add all of the spices and let simmer for at least 5 minutes (the longer the better). Meanwhile, saute the vegetables you will be using in your enchilada. Place them in the tortillas and roll up. Place them into a pan (fold side down). Top with the sauce and bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes (or until heated through). Top with cheese and bake until it melts (about 2 minutes).

ECO-BENEFITS

  1. Using vegetables allows you to cut back on the amount of cheese you need to get a great flavor (same with all of the spices). Plus you can get spices and vegetables organic.
  2. Because this doesn’t call for specific vegetables, you can pick those that you can find local and in season.
  3. The sauce gives the same heartiness to the enchilada that you get with meat enchiladas without the meat! I recommend making it with extra chili powder if you can handle it! And topping it with organic local avocado can help cut back on the heat from the chili powder if you can’t.
  4. Whole wheat tortillas take less processing than their refined flour counterparts.
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Tostada

I’m going to start out by telling you a little about my Louisiana–>New Orleans trip: there’s definitely a reason it’s said that they are the masters of fried food… and believe me I ate a lot of it :). I figured I could treat myself with Cafe du Monde beignets since I do normally eat healthy (my mom and I have since made a pact to eat only salads for a couple of days just to counter-act the grease and not-so-healthy foods we ate while in New Orleans). Basically we ate, walked, and did all of the normal touristy things 🙂 (I have a ton of pictures to prove it). Sadly, we did not make it to the coast because most people we asked about it said that most of the beaches would be closed and that you can see everything better on the TV anyways. Even in New Orleans, however, the devastation of the oil spill has started to have its effects. We may have been there one of the last weeks that we could still have seafood at all (for awhile at least). Many restaurants had stopped serving seafood dishes (and in a town that is known for its seafood this will have effects on other things such as tourism). The people in New Orleans are still waiting to find out if the oil will travel into their town, but the effects have definitely already spread. My mom and I had a great time there though! Here are some pictures from our trip:

Char-Broiled Oysters from Dragos->theres a reason it's a New Orleans institution. I actually have a cookbook with the recipe so I'll green it up and post it someday.

I'm pretty sure if you're in New Orleans you HAVE to get a beignet and a chickory cafe au lait from Cafe du Monde. We got them twice!!

There's still a lot of work to be done from Hurricane Katrina. Only ~380,000 of the million people that used to be in New Orleans are back.

I loved this quilt! It shows some of the all-time jazz musicians.

We tried to be healthier with this vegetarian pasta... but because we were in New Orleans where there's such a strong French influence, the delicious sauce was super buttery.

A 100 year old shrimp creole recipe. Sooo good. And how pretty is that kale leaf? I've never seen kale those colors.

 

No trip to New Orleans is complete without bread pudding!

 

This ad is actually in Nashville but I find it so funny and you should eat mor chikin than beef if you want to be "greener" so it was appropriate :).

Since we’ll be eating salads, I decided to spice it up by making a tostada in a tribute to the south-of-the- border country I will be in soon (I’m going to be researching whale sharks in Baja, Mexico for the end of July).

Tostada

Makes 2 Servings

  • 2 Whole Wheat Tortillas
  • 1 can Black Beans, warmed
  • 1 Tomato, chopped
  • Romaine Lettuce, shredded
  • A dollop of low-fat Plain Greek Yogurt per tostada
  • A dollop of Homemade Guacamole per tostada (see recipe below)
  • Shredded organic Mexican Cheese
  • optional, top with more Cilantro

Fry the whole wheat tortillas in EVOO until crispy and hard. Top with beans, shredded lettuce, guacamole, plain greek yogurt (or sour cream), cheese, and tomato.

Homemade Guacamole

  • 1 Avocado
  • 1 big clove Garlic, minced
  • 1/3 Red Onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. Lime Juice
  • 1 tbsp. Cholula (or other Mexican hot sauce)
  • Sea Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • Cilantro, chopped, to taste (I like a lot!)
  • 1/2 Tomato, chopped

Mix all ingredients together with a fork until blended and the correct texture.

ECO-BENEFITS

  1. Organic veggies! Local if you can find them. Most farmers markets have tomatoes and lettuce year round 🙂 (though in summer while they’re in season you can get them from local growers not using hot-houses). But make sure you get the Hass avocados while they’re in season during summer!
  2. Whole wheat tortillas have less energy consumption than refined bleached white flour tortillas.
  3. Beans are an awesome source of plant protein so you can avoid animal proteins for a meal :).
  4. Organic cheese means organic produce for the cow! Same as when you eat organic this means no pesticides entering water systems!
  5. I used Plain Greek Yogurt instead of Sour Cream due to the amount of protein found in greek yogurt! Super good for you!

Leftover Fish Tacoritos

So… I know I’ve given you guys a delicious fish taco recipe already but let’s be honest: it was not the healthiest of fish taco recipes. And though this is a blog about being more eco-friendly in the way you eat, I’ve begun to realize that doing so is pretty linked with eating healthier. Plus, this fish recipe is for a tacorito… not a taco.

Here’s a little backstory: my mom is an amazing cook and we made dinner together the other night. Shrimp and a delicious fruit salad (see recipe below). Between the two of us, however, we could not finish off the shrimp. The next day for lunch I came up with these bad boys. Super easy yet super addicting and delicious. I call them a tacorito because with so much yummins inside of the tortilla, they were too large to be a taco but too small to be a burrito. Here’s what I did:

Shrimp Tacorito

  • Whole Wheat Tortilla
  • Leftover Shrimp–>3-4 per taco (ours had been marinated in bourbon, teriyaki, maple syrup, dijon mustard, and chili powder)
  • Any Salsa or Pico de Gallo you have sitting around
  • 1/4 Bell Pepper per taco (any color) chopped
  • Shredded Cabbage
  • 1 tsp. per taco Cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 avocado per taco, sliced
  • optional: Organic Shredded Cheese

Place some EVOO in a medium pan and saute the bell pepper until just warm–>keep it crunchy for a good texture! At the same time, in a different part of the pan heat up the shrimp. When warm, take out with a slotted spatula leaving the EVOO over some heat. Place the tortilla in pan. Top with cheese (if used) until just melty and then add the shrimp, bell pepper, and salsa. Take off heat and top with all other ingredients. Fold it up for a delicious tacorito!

ECO-BENEFITS

  1. It’s a great and easy way to use up leftover ingredients. One of the worst eco-faux paus is letting good food go to waste!
  2. Check this out for which shrimp is most sustainable because some are best choice for sustainable fish eating and some are avoid.
  3. Seasonal vegetables are convenient to buy locally and organically because they’re everywhere! (It’s bell pepper season).
  4. You can use any fish in this recipe for a filling leftover lunch or dinner.

Fruit Salad

(Recipe courtesy of my mom)

  • Cantalope balls
  • Watermelon balls (you can use any melon)
  • Simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water in the microwave for 3 minutes)
  • Mint, chopped

Place the mint in the hot simple sugar and let steep. Place in the refrigerator until cold. Pour through a fine strainer to get rid of the mint leaves. Place melon balls in the infused simple syrup.

ECO-BENEFITS

  1. Melons are all in season in summer!
  2. You only need a few ingredients which means less packaging which means greater sustainability!

Eggs

So… I’ve talked about how animal proteins are worse for you than vegetable proteins. I know you know this. Therefore, when I do talk about animal protein I’m going to tell you how to keep them more eco-friendly for those days that you just want eggs.

I’ve been really longing eggs. There’s no way else to put it. And although I tried to put it off, the craving struck at midnight while I was finally trying to write my 8-10 page paper (luckily only the rough draft is due tomorrow). So… as a way to put off writing just a little bit longer (and as a hope that maybe my writers block would go away), I made myself a rosemary egg salad burrito. I’m definitely going to spare you the pictures (it wasn’t pretty–>and I didn’t want to wake up my roommate who had finished her paper just to get my camera) but it taught me a lesson (and it was pretty darn good)–> sometimes you can’t put off a craving because it’ll just get worse and worse and you’ll end up with a rosemary egg salad burrito. So… like I said: here are some ways to “green” up your eggs for the times you get those cravings–>and so you don’t put them off until it’s too late. (And I’ll even add my recipe at the bottom of this post after the ‘real’ recipes just in case someone out there is dying to try it… or just really gutsy.

  • LOCAL AND ORGANIC!!!!! Especially in the case of animal proteins these are two key words you should follow! Head to the local farmers market. The eggs are so delicious too! You really don’t know what you’ve been missing.
  • Organic eggs mean that the chicken hatching them has been fed a solely organic diet (and I know you know by now the environmental benefits of organic produce… no chemical fertilizers, etc.)–>if your organic eggs are flying from far away in the world, however, it’s probably better to settle for non-organic or else you’ll be part in the waste of a lot of fossil fuel.
  • Get cardboard egg cartons instead of the styrofoam ones. Styrofoam is not biodegradable!
  • Add extra vegetables to animal protein dishes so that less animal protein goes a long way.
  • Cut back on animal products. You can definitely still eat them, eat a little less than you regularly eat. If you used to eat 5 eggs a week, eat 2 or 3.
  • And good news: of animals, chickens are one of the greenest “in terms of manure waste and inputs” (Go Green Get Lean-Kate Geagan). Thank goodness we don’t get eggs from cows!

Here are some egg recipes for your tasting pleasure:

Veggie Frittata (w/ extra veggies)

  • 1/4 Onion, chopped
  • About a cup of any Vegetables you would like: I used Broccoli, Red Bell Pepper, and Zucchini.
  • 2 Eggs
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • optional: Organic Cheese

Saute the onions until transparent and then add the other vegetables. Cook until tender. Meanwhile, beat the eggs with salt and pepper. If you want cheese add it to the eggs and beat again. When the vegetables are tender, cook them until almost dry and then pour eggs over the top and cook through. Flip over and finish cooking.

Curried Eggs

  • 2 eggs, hard-boiled and quartered
  • Coconut milk (I added a little too much but I love coconut so add to taste)
  • 1/4 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp. fresh ginger, chopped
  • ~6 almonds, chopped
  • A dash of turmeric, cayenne, and coriander
  • Curry powder
  • 1 Tomato, diced
  • 1 cup Wild Rice, cooked

Saute the onion until transparent and then add the ginger, garlic, almonds, turmeric cayenne, and coriander. Add a little bit of water so it’s a little bit pasty.  Pour in coconut milk and then add tomatoes and eggs. Place on top of wild rice.

(It tasted good. Just forgive the picture)

Finally: What you’ve been waiting for: The Rosemary Egg Salad Burrito

  • A hard-boiled ORGANIC egg, cut into cubes
  • 1/2 sprig of organic Rosemary, chopped
  • Paprika
  • A squirt of Mustard
  • A spoonful of Vegenaise
  • A tiny squeeze of Lemon Juice
  • Cabbage, chopped
  • A Whole Wheat Tortilla

Mix the egg, rosemary, paprika, mustard, Vegenaise, and lemon juice in a bowl. Place on whole wheat tortilla and top with cabbage. Don’t judge me. The craving hit and I raided the fridge and it tasted darn good. 🙂

“Green” Pizza

So I have this great childhood memory of Friday night’s being pizza night. For my family, that normally meant Stuffed Crust from Pizza Hut. Now that I’m older, when my pizza craving kicks in, there’s still not much I can do to control it. So… here’s a couple of ways to “green” your pizza:

  1. If you’re definitely not going to cook your pizza yourself (which is obviously the best bet), use a local delivery service. They’ll use less gas than you will because they clump together trips in a more eco-friendly manner (though they do it for economic reasons)–>UNLESS you can bike or walk to your local pizza shop (then no gas is being used for transport).
  2. If you are making your own pizza (although I realize this is repetitive and I’ve pretty much beat this idea into you by now) buy local, organic, in season ingredients. ESPECIALLY for the cheese (unless you’re using vegan “cheese”–>which of course is better because as I’ve stated the less animal products used the better) you have to buy organic. It’s the only way that you’ll know that the cows are not treated with hormones, etc. Local dairy is fresher and logs less food miles.
  3. Try pizza without cheese. Instead, add things like adding extra herbs or veggies in lieu of cheese–>or at least add less cheese (triple cheese pizza may be delicious, but really fresh veggies can make pizza yummy too!).
  4. If you do have cheese on your pizza definitely skip the meat products–>or else you’ll be doubling up on the animal products (which is a big no no in the “green” world).
  5. Try using flatbreads such as pita, naan, or tortilla instead of the pizza dough. This allows the pizza to cook way quicker and it allows YOU to save on your utility bills.
  6. Crust from whole grains! Even if you aren’t down to switch your pizza to flatbread-style (or if you are) an easy way to be eco-friendly is using whole grains. They require a lot less processing. And they’re healthier for you!
  7. Make your own sauce! This cuts back on packaging waste and I think homemade sauces are way tastier too! (If you do use a sauce that’s premade, I recommend trying one in a glass jar–>that way you have an extra cup when you’re done with it! And, at least for my clumsy self, these are always needed!)

So… since I know I’ve been craving pizza, here are a couple of recipes that you will love! and they might even inspire the pizza-maker in you as well.

While we’re on the subject, check out Whole-Wheat or Bust!’s Veggie Naan Pizza. Yummy!

“Green” Green Pizza

  • Homemade Pesto (I made mine from this recipe). You could sub out the cheese (to make this vegan) by using breadcrumbs instead (–>it’ll give the same texture and there will be no animal byproduct!)
  • Swiss Chard (only leaves)
  • Arugula (only leaves)
  • Cherry Tomatoes, sliced
  • Zucchini, sliced
  • Dried Oregano
  • Optional: Goat Cheese
  • Some form of flatbread (I used a whole wheat tortilla)

Preheat the oven to 450 (while oven preheats, bake the zucchini–>cover with aluminum foil). Meanwhile, saute the chard and the arugula until darker green and a little wilted. Top the flatbread with pesto, wilted greens, tomatoes, and the zucchini once out of the oven. If you’re adding the goat cheese (it was a delicious addition), do so now. Place the pizza in the oven until the tortilla (or other flatbread is toasted and the toppings are hot). Top with the dried oregano. I’m not much of a bragger but holy moly it was SO good. Nom nom nom. For sure.

Classic-Style Flatbread Pizza (with extra veggies and less cheese)

  • Some flatbread (I used whole wheat naan)
  • Pizza sauce (here‘s a good recipe for homemade–>I was bad and used a bottle of jarred pizza sauce that I had on hand).
  • Organic cheese (I used a really delicious Mexican blend)
  • Artichoke Heart (Trader Joe’s has a frozen variety that are really tasty if you don’t like the normal canned type)
  • Broccoli, cut into little florets
  • Red Bell Pepper, cut into thin strips
  • Garlic, chopped
  • Optional: top with Parmesan

Alright. Like I said… sometimes I’m just in the mood for pizza. And as delicious as the Green Pizza is, it won’t end your craving like real tomato pizza sauce will. I topped the flatbread with the tomato sauce. I sauteed all of the veggies together before adding them to the top of the pizza. I then filled in the gaps with cheese (if you’re like me and you want a cheesy pizza–>try using less). Place in a preheated 450 oven until the cheese melts and the vegetables are hot. This pizza works with any veggies. I just used what I had on hand.

The earth we abuse and the living things we kill will, in the end, take their revenge; for in exploiting their presence we are diminishing our future.  ~Marya Mannes

Hot-house Vegetables

So let me be the first person to tell you that a) I’m not perfect and b) I made a mistake.

Many of the recipes I have shared with you guys so far have included tomatoes. My recent research has led me to realize that tomatoes are often grown in hot-houses because they are a summer fruit craved all year round (and people stopped putting up with green tomatoes “ripened” by chemicals that had no taste). Greenhouses and hothouses are different things. Greenhouses are a great way to grow your fruits and veggies using glass to trap heat in. A hothouse is a heated greenhouse. Therefore, tomatoes and other hothouse-grown produce are energy intensive. Temperature, ventilation, humidity, light, water and carbon dioxide are all kept at prime levels. This leads to delicious produce that can be eaten year-round and may even be locally grown, however, some environmental hazards come from the production of this produce.

So… the question comes down to whether you’re willing to put up with canned tomatoes (which are canned at peak season but include packaging and have lost some nutrients)… or should you buy tomatoes that have been flown from all around (since produce is always in season somewhere)… the third choice is to continue buying the locally grown tomatoes because at least they’re fresh produce (meaning they keep their nutrients) and you’ll be supporting your local economy.

Here’s what I’ve come up with: we can only do what we can. There will always be some environmental costs to our eating (and I love food too much to stop eating). That’s the price we have to pay due to overpopulation and the industrialization of our food industry. Therefore, what we can do is to continue to ask questions about where our food is coming from. Just because our meals can’t be completely “green” doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t continue to try to eat in a more eco-friendly fashion… it just means that we can’t be upset if we have to buy an out of season tomato every now and then. Every little bit counts.

I’m sure that this won’t be the only time I have to apologize for making a mistake. I am not, however, going to stop using tomatoes in recipes. They are very good for you and summer is coming soon! Further, now that I realize the implications of the tomato, I will do what I can to extra “greenify” the recipes they are in.

Here are a few recipes that I love that don’t include the tomato. I hope they can hold you over until the brilliant summer months that I call tomato season.

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

  • 1/2 cup of oats
  • 1/2 cup vanilla soy milk
  • 1/2 cup organic canned pumpkin
  • cinnamon
  • pumpkin pie spice
  • agave nectar
  • golden raisins
  • coconut butter (not necessary)

So I have been feeling under the weather and have not been really stoked on eating anything. Therefore, I made one of those comfort-foods that you can eat regardless of how you feel sort of things. I microwaved the oats, pumpkin, and vanilla soy milk together for about 2 and 1/2 minutes. Then I added the cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, agave, and raisins. I topped it with coconut butter (which like L says is like crack) but it was more for aesthetic beauty than for flavor. It was a great home feeling pick me up! (It is kind of a hybrid between two recipes from Whole Wheat or Bust!).

Comfort food for when you're sickly. Mmm. Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal.

Two things about this breakfast:

  1. I used canned pumpkin because pumpkins are obviously not in season. If you find canned pumpkin at this time of year stock up!  When I was looking for it a while ago it took me 3 different shopping trips to find it! Or, stock up when it’s in season in fall.
  2. I realize I’ve talked about the perils of the packaged food. I am, however, human, and as I’ve stated, you can’t be 100% green all of the time. I used organic pumpkin, and the rest of the ingredients were things that I had lying around. Just do your best.

Veggie Omelet

  • 2 eggs
  • Any cheese you have lying around
  • Any veggies you want… I used:
  1. Asparagus
  2. Red bell pepper
  3. Cauliflower
  4. Sugar snap pea
  5. Parsley

So I used some of the leftover veggies from last nights stir-fry to make this delicious lunch omelet. I cooked them up with a little bit of olive oil and when they were done I placed the eggs into the leftover oil in the pan. I cooked the egg until it stopped being liquid on the sides before I added the cheese and veggies. Then I cooked until all of the egg was no longer liquid.

  1. Yay for leftover meals!
  2. I know what I’ve said about animal products. But again, I’m not perfect and since I don’t eat meat eggs and cheese make for good protein.

Leftover veggies made into a delicious omelet.

Lessons Learned

  • Don’t trust anyone’s word as 100% correct. I do my fair share of research and do the best I can to help you “green” up your diet, but I make mistakes.
  • Always ask questions. Most produce departments (or other departments depending on what you’re making) have a person who can answer.
  • Do research! I know I’ve learned a lot and I’m having a great time doing it!
  • An easy recipe to follow is to buy locally. There may be times (like with the tomato) that this may include some energy intensive process, however, more often than not this is going to be the easiest way to “green” up your produce. In times that it is not, at least you’re getting fresh produce that is normally in peak season (when all produce tastes better and includes all of its nutrients).
  • Even though canned and frozen produce increase transportation and packaging, they’re still better than not eating produce. Plus, much packaging is recyclable which can help offset the eco-costs of producing this packaging.

If anyone is out there and curious about anything in particular, let me know! I’d love to hear from you! And you’re all always welcome to question my statements. Like I said, I’m not always right. I do my research but I make mistakes like anyone else.

This site will help you find local food in your area.

And… as an addition to yesterday’s post, check out this site to get your carbon foodprint (it’s a very limited version but still fun).