Saturday, April 24, 2010

Make Every Day Earth Day

Not to get all Al Gore on you, but seriously people. I hope you spent your earth day doing things to reduce your impact on the environment. Excuse me while I hop up on my soap box for a minute. 
Some of the easiest things you can do:

Philadelphia makes it so easy to recycle. They pick up once a week on your regular trash day. You don't need to sort, everything can go in one bin. And you can use any old container you have laying around, as long as it's clearly labeled for recycling. The city does have restrictions on what it will and won't take, so check out the list here to make sure you're recycling properly. The city also just started a program with Recycling Rewards where you can earn points for stuff just by recycling. Learn more about it here. 
*side rant* Are you listening South Philly? Stop being so self-entitled as to think that it's perfectly OK to just throw your trash on the ground where ever you are. I've lost count of how many times I've seen a kid buy a popsicle from a corner store, leave the store, throw the wrapper on the ground and not break his stride as he walks down the street. Really? And the adults are just as bad. Whatever happened to Woodsy Owl? Why doesn't anyone down here give a hoot?? *end rant*

Reusable shopping bags come in all forms, including ones that squish down into cute little pockets that fit on your keychain. Keep extras in your car so you don't forget when you go to the store. And don't just use them at the grocery store, take them to the mall or other retail locations too. And stop requesting bags for purchases that don't need it, like a small basket, or lip gloss, and especially don't ask for a plastic bag for your reusable bag (I wish I was kidding about this one, but it happens lots). And if you do take a plastic bag, make sure you're recycling or reusing them!

One way is to eat less meat. I can't preach about being a vegetarian, because I'm not anymore, but I only consume meat about 2 times a week, and I never eat any red meat or pork products. My friend Maura posted a link on environmental reasons to go vegetarian, and it's pretty good advice. Even cutting out meat 1 or 2 days a week can make a big impact. And while you're at it, try to eat seasonally and locally. You food will taste better, and shorter shipping distances means less carbon dioxide emitted. That's a win win if you ask me. 
Speaking of eating, let's get back to the food, and what I ate for earth day. (This is a food blog, when I'm not getting all environmentally righteous). I did reuse the icing leftover from the bake sale to make some pretty delicious cupcakes (Vanilla agave with rosewater buttercream and an Irish Coffee Cupcake- I'm sure you'll hear about them soon). But I wanna talk to you about my lunch. 
My dear friend Maggie used to be my snack master. I'd stop by for breakfast, lunch and dinner at her place, and she'd fill me with delicious vegetarian snacks. Then she moved to Albuquerque. [Insert sad panda face]. But back when she would fill my belly with the goodness, my favorite recipe was for a vegan chicken salad. And so for those of you that are thinking about reducing your meat consumption this is a pretty great recipe. 
Even for someone who was a vegetarian for many years, I don't often cook with tofu. (Well, I don't often cook at all, I usually leave that to Ken...) This is a really simple recipe though, and answers that question, "What the heck do I do with this big block of firm tofu?" (I didn't think ahead enough to take pics of anything other than the final product. Sorry!)

Vegan Chicken Salad
1 Container of firm or extra firm tofu
Fresh Dill
Chives or Green onions
Salt and Pepper
Sandwich fixins of your choice

Open the tofu and drain the water from the container. Keep tofu in container, place in a freezer bag/wrap in plastic wrap, and leave in freezer over night. (Freezing the tofu changes the texture. This is a very important step, so don't skip it!) The next day, take tofu out and allow to thaw. Once it's thawed you'll need to drain the remaining water. Take out of the container, wrap in paper towels and place on a plate. Place another plate on top of the tofu, and something to weigh it down (2 cans work well). Let sit like that for 20-30 minutes. After it's drained, crumble the tofu into a large bowl. Add the vegenaise to taste (I used about a 1/4 cup) and stir. 
From here on out, it's very easy to personalize. I add about 5-6 sprigs of fresh dill (and added more later, because I love the dill), a handful of chopped chives, two stalks of chopped celery, salt, pepper and some Herbs de Provence. I also chopped up some bread and butter pickles and tossed them in, but I'm weird like that. Mix it all together, and keep playing with it till you like the flavor. If you have time to let it sit you should, as I think it tastes better when all the flavors get a chance to come together, but if you can't wait, slap it in a pita and call it a day. It's also great on multi-grain bread or on top of leafy greens or on a spoon straight out of the bowl. 
This earth day sandwich consisted of toasted multi-grain bread with several hearty spoonfuls of "chicken" salad, spring mix lettuce, extra bread and butter pickles, and sliced avocados sprinkled with salt. Super yum!! And a pretty delicious way to be eco-responsible. WIN!


  1. Great post my socially responsible sweetie! That sandwich looks delicious ( I used to use vegenaise all the time!!) and looove the idea of adding avocado. Def can't wait to fix myself one of these!

    Side note: I love the idea of cutting back on the meat thing. I used to be a vegetarian, but never ate as healthy as I should have. Cutting back is a great way to find a compromise for those not able or not willing to completely change their lifestyle (love those shades of gray!)

  2. hey! my favorite sammich is famous!!

  3. Thanks Mer! It's true, most people can handle gray much easier than black and white... remember when we bonded over veggie burgers at my luau? Seems like an eternity!

    Maggs- your favorite sammich deserves all kinds of awards and accolades. FACT.