Tag Archives: red bell pepper

Hawaiian Stir-fry

Ok. I officially realize that I’ve been making a lot of vegan recipes lately and I also realize that all of you out there are not vegan. For that reason, I’m going to make a conscious effort to make some vegetarian, fish, and even some meat recipes for your reading pleasure. This, however, is not one of them because I had not realized how much vegan goodness I’d been cooking up until this recipe. I promise I’ll do better from now on.

I was having a craving for pineapple when I came across a recipe for a pineapple stir-fry. I redid the recipe to fit what I had in my refrigerator (why make a whole trip to the store if you don’t need to) and it totally warped my view on how pineapple should be used in cooking. I’ve always been one of those “pineapple is better by itself or in a dessert than as a savory ingredient” types of people and I was definitely put in my place with this. Maybe it’ll change your view too?

Hawaiian Stir-Fry

Serves 2

  • 1/2 cup Quinoa
  • 1/2 cup Macadamia Nuts
  • 2 tbsp. Tamari Soy Sauce
  • 1/3 of a Pineapple, cored and cut into 1/2 inch chunks
  • 1/2 Red Bell Pepper, chopped
  • 1 Scallion, white and green part chopped
  • 1 clove Garlic, minced
  • 1/2 inch Ginger, minced
  • Cayenne, to taste
  • Mint, to taste, chopped

Boil 1 cup of water and then add quinoa, turning down the heat and covering. Let simmer for ~10 minutes or until all of the water has been soaked up. Set quinoa aside. Place the macadamia nuts in a pan that has NOT been oiled. Toast them to a golden brown. In a bag, marinate the pineapple chunks in the tamari. In a separate pan, saute the red bell pepper, garlic, and finger in oil until tender. Add the scallions and let brown a little. Add the pineapple and saute until just turning brown. Mix in the cayenne. Add the macadamia nuts and mint to heat/reheat and mix in. Place the mix over the quinoa and you’re finished! (I topped mine with some chia seeds too).

ECO-BENEFITS

  1. Quinoa is a quick-cooking grain. It cooks much quicker than rice and is grown with less water. Because of that it is a great “greener” alternative to rice.
  2. Getting the veggies local and organic can cut back on food-miles and the use of no pesticides helps protect our land and waterways.
  3. Nuts are a great source of protein that help us avoid heavy foodprint proteins such as meat and fish.
  4. Vegan! Though I promise I’m not going to make everything vegan because that wouldn’t teach you anything about how to go greener with the food you’re always eating (unless you are vegan).

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

Things That Make Me Happy

Things that make me happy:

  • My roommates and I having late night crazy singing parties.
  • Roadtrips
  • Cooking
  • The environment
  • The ability to spread the things I’ve learned with others.
  • Days that all of these things come together.

Today was one of these days. My roommate, L, and two of my best friends, K and B, decided to go on an adventure to the home of the split pea soup. And after getting hopped up on sugar at a local Danish town, we stayed up late singing Eminem and Brandy You’re a Fine Girl. Tomorrow, I am in a sustainable cooking competition at my school. I hope to show everyone at the competition everything I’ve been learning through this project. I’ll let you guys know how it goes, but here is the recipe I’ll be using:

Thai Veggie Pasta with a Peanut Dressing

  • Whole buckwheat soba noodles
  • Red Bell Pepper, cut in skinny strips
  • Carrot (the SECRET ingredient), cut in skinny strips
  • Broccoli, cut into small florets
  • Cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • Green onion, chopped
  • Zucchini, cut in skinny strips
  • Peanut Butter
  • Sriracha
  • Maple Syrup
  • Sesame Seed Oil
  • Soy Sauce
  • Ginger
  • Ground coriander
  • Roughly chopped parsley, toasted sesame seeds, and grated carrot to top

Ok. I know there are a lot of ingredients, but they’re all local, organic, and seasonal. If these aren’t in season where you are, pretty much any vegetables can be used. Saute the vegetables in extra virgin olive oil while covered. Meanwhile cook the soba noodles per instructions. Mix the remaining ingredients (minus the parsley, sesame seeds, and grated carrot)–>I didn’t put portions for anything because if you like things spicy, you’ll want more sriracha, or if you like things sweet, more maple syrup (make sure to get 100% maple syrup). When the noodles are finished, mix in the veggies and the peanut sauce and top with the parsley, sesame seeds, and grated carrot. I recommend using a little less sesame seed oil than you might think because my first test was a little too peanuty and lessening the amount of sesame seed oil seemed to fix this problem.

Eco-Benefits

  1. It’s a vegan recipe! Check out Why Going Vegan is Like Riding a Bicycle to understand why this is awesome.
  2. All of the ingredients are local, in season, and organic. I’ve raved about these things in almost every post.
  3. Soba noodles take less time to cook so you’re using less fossil fuels! And covering the vegetables while you saute them cooks them faster as well!

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).

The Cost of Oil

I know we’ve all realized the price of gas these days. I know that when the price of gas started getting towards $5 a gallon we freaked out and pushed for new modes of transport, “greener” fuels, and new technologies. I also realize that when the price per gallon started to decline, people stopped their eco-push. When the price was more manageable, people once again hopped into their SUVs and put their hybrids into the garage.

Let me tell you why the cost of gas is not the only factor that should be determining how hard we push for eco-friendly variations in fuel and technology… oil has a really large cost that cannot be seen by looking at the price at the pump.

If you don’t believe me, just check out this Times article and read some about the devastation happening in the Gulf of Mexico. The devastation is worse than anticipated. This oil spill is the largest oil disaster ever.

Oil also has a large carbon footprint which makes it a factor in the climate change.

This site talks of other effects oil can have on the environment… and let me tell you… none of them are good.

So… what are we supposed to do?

  1. Push for change. Our votes elected the government representatives. Let’s tell them what we would like them to accomplish.
  2. When you’re driving, try running all of your errands at once. This allows you to get your errands done quicker, and you use less gas!
  3. Carpool.
  4. When you’re cooking, use one appliance. Try not to grill one thing, bake another, and boil a third. If you’re going to boil things, boil them all (you can even reuse the water that way). And if the oven or grill are on, it’s less cost for you to use that for everything!
  5. In the upcoming summer months, invest in a screen door and keep your door open. Or (if you’re in a humid place), try only turning on your AC when you’re at home–>there’s no use paying for unused air conditioning.

As I’ve told you all, one of my goals for this blog is to teach myself about “greener” eating. Therefore, I’ve been researching a ton. I’ve learned so many interesting things that I hadn’t even thought about (that I promise I’ll share with you). For instance, did you know that “The average American diet creates 2.8 tons of CO2 emissions each year per person, which has now surpassed the 2.2 tons generated by American driving” (Go Green Get Lean, Kate Geagan). This includes the “production, transport, processing, packaging, storage, and preparation” (Geagan) of our foods. That’s CRAZY! 2.8 TONS of CO2 per person just for eating! “The amount of fossil fuel going into our food choices has outstripped the actual amount of energy in the food itself” (Geagan).

Well, today I’m giving you a couple of recipes that will hopefully get your diet to a “greener” level.

  • For today, each of these recipes are going to be using local, organic produce –> if you do not have a local farmers market or food co-op to find these at, check out Whole Foods (they have signs telling where your produce is coming from–> get something coming from the closest location if you are not in a produce-farming location).
  • If you would like to have meat in your dish, try buying lower on the food-chain. This is an easy way to tell which meat has more energy going into it–> more on that in another blog post.
  • Each of these recipes is going to use one appliance. It saves energy!
  • Take a hint from Kate Geagan’s Go Green Get Lean: Use the acronym L.E.A.N: Is the food local or global? (Local is greener), Energy used to bring it to your plate? (This includes transport, processing, packaging, and temperature food must be kept at–> having to use your refrigerator v. freezer), Animal or Plant? (Plants are the greener choice), Necessary? (Is it critical for you to eat this for your health?–> i.e. If you refuse to eat soy/tofu/nuts, you’ll probably need some sort of animal product in your diet to get enough protein).

Bulgar with Sun-dried Tomato, Feta, and Kalamata Olives

  • Find the original recipe here
  • I’ve cut it down since I’m just one person.
  • 1/4 cup bulgar wheat (find in the bulk section of your local supermarket–>cuts down on packaging!)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives, sliced (take it out or buy pitted)
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled  (if you want this recipe to be vegan you can withhold this ingredient)
  • 1/4 shallot, minced
  • 1/2 bunch of parsley, minced (I love this flavor and found it locally grown so I added extra. You can add less if you don’t love parsley)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar (the recipe called for red wine vinegar but I had a local balsamic vinegar at my hands that I lovvvve)
  • juice of 1/4 lemon (add zest for extra lemony goodness)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Bring the water to a boil, add the bulgar and cover (turn down to a simmer) for 30 minutes. Combine the sun-dried tomatoes, kalamata olives, parsley, shallot, and feta in one bowl. Whisk together the remaining ingredients in a separate bowl. Drain the water from the bulgar and pat dry. Add the sun-dried tomato mixture and cover with the liquid dressing. Stir it all together and you have a delicious lunch!

Local Produce Stir-Fry

  • This year I became involved in a movement called “Food Not Bombs”. It’s an all-vegan group that cooks for local houseless people (or whoever would like to eat for free). The local farmers market donates all of their extra produce at the end of their Sunday market and we use it to cook for these persons.
  • One thing this has taught me is how easy it is to make a delicious veggie stir-fry regardless of the greens given to you.
  • All you need is some veggies, a little bit of extra-virgin olive oil, and a pan with a top to help steam and cook the veggies.
  • My newest love is this map from epicurious that tells you (by location) the seasonal produce in your area.
  • My stir-fry was an asparagus, mushroom, cauliflower, sugar snap pea, kale, red bell pepper stir-fry but you will find different local produce wherever you go.
  • I added some extra flavor with a kick of cayenne and some cumin and paprika, but that is up to you.
  • I also used soy sauce instead of salt for this dish. It gives it a little extra liquid and I think the flavor adds to the dish nicely.

I’m telling you this dish is idiot-proof. Turn on some heat, coat the pan with your EVOO, and then put in your veggies (time for cooking varies on how hard your veggies are and how little they have been cut so put in your hardest and largest veggies first–> add the others after those have cooked for a while), place the lid over your pan to help steam the veggies and VOILA, deliciousness.

Throw together some locally grown, organic, in-season veggies for a quick easy DELICIOUS dinner!

If you’d like some added protein, I suggest adding some peanuts to this dish (but make sure to cook them for a little as well). YUMMY!

Lessons Learned

  • Food is adding to climate change more than driving! This is due to the production, transportation, processing, packaging, storage, and preparation of the food.
  • There are ways to make better choices!
  • Use the acronym L.E.A.N when choosing your foods.