Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Earth Day 2008--we only have ONE planet

To celebrate Earth Day, Mixed Race America wants to promote the idea of one planet (and perhaps many races, although we can, perhaps for today, talk about the "human" race, in the sense that really it only took one race of people, humans, to change the atmosphere and climate on our planet to dangerous levels that will impact other races (or more accurately species: amphibians, other mammals, birds, fish, insects, etc...).

So, what can we do? I think this is always the issue--our problems seem so ENORMOUS so how can we, as individuals, make a difference?

Well, for starters, you can check out this website that describes the process of Climate Change and Global Warming and talks about Carbon Footprints and Carbon Offsets and also has a tab on "What you can do"--meaning, what you can do about climate change (like recycling, using less water in your showers, conserving energy and electricity, driving less). So go to the blog "How Stuff Works" and read about climate change, which is their theme for Earth Day 2008.

And for the meat-eaters/omnivores out there, you can try to reduce the amount of meat (or fish) you eat by 20%. I recently listened to an NPR story that talked about the amount of energy that is used to produce a pound of beef and pork. In addition to the very unsanitary (and unsavory) practices (and labor conditions) used to support beef/pork/chicken farms, the amount of energy used to ship grain to feed these animals and then to ship these animals around the world to feed humans is part of what contributes to climate change.

Now, I'm not advocating for wholesale vegetarianism. I am a dyed-in-the-wool meat eater. But I also recognize the problems of my omnivorous consumption--and I'm trying to do something about it. One small thing? To try to eat 2 dinners a week meat-free. Breakfast is pretty easy to do if you eat yogurt and granola. So really, it's just lunch and dinner that seem to be the trick to reducing meat eating.

Let me start us all off by including a link to The Food Network website--if you type in "vegetarian" in the search box, you will find over two-hundred recipes for some yummy vegetarian meals.

Finally, let me include my own very simple recipe for pasta primavera:

1 lb pasta (I like to use farfalle, but any pasta will do)

1-2 tbsp. of olive oil

3-4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 medium onion, diced

[now the rest is up for your improvisation and/or whatever you have leftover in your vegetable bin, but here are some recommendations]

2-3 tbsp sun dried tomatoes

1-2 medium tomatoes (depending on how "tomatoe-y" you like your pasta)--diced

2-3 zuchini or yellow squash, diced

3-4 carrots, peeled and diced small

a bunch of spinach, torn into bite-size pieces

1 ear of fresh corn or 1/2 C. canned corn

(optional): fresh basil

1 tsp. dried basil or oregeno

salt & pepper to taste

1/4 C. of parmesean or romano or asiago cheese (or combo)

Put water in stockpot to boil for the pasta. Heat olive oil in large sautee pan or wok. Add garlic and cook for 1 min., stirring so as not to burn. Add chopped onion and sautee about 5 minutes or until just translucent. Add carrots and continue to sautee another 5 minutes. Then add squash, tomatoes, corn spinach, and whatever other vegetables you want (beans are good, like chickpeas or navy beans, broccoli is good, as are green beans, but potatoes are not recommended, although if you would like to add them, you should par-boil or microwave). Add more olive oil if needed, the herbs, and salt and pepper to taste.

After the pasta is al dente (or mushy according to your tastes), strain and toss with vegetable mix. Add cheese and serve with bread and salad. YUMMY!

[April 23--Wed: A friend of mine sent me a link to a recipe that is about the polar opposite of this pasta primavera recipe, and although I cannot endorse this based on health issues (because one SHOULD NOT eat a stick of butter), the carnivore in me is ashamed to admit that this sandwich does look good! So check out this omnivore's delight at "The Pioneer Woman Cooks"--the sandwich is called "Marlboro Man's Favorite Sandwich"--need I say more?!]

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