Friday, March 27, 2015

Veggie Fire Cracker Wrap

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This week’s recipe comes to us again from professional chef, Matt C.  This one looks a bit more involved than last week’s recipe, but I’m ready to give it a go!  I’m sure it’ll taste great!

Makes 4
  • 4 12” tomato tortillas
  • 4 pieces tom Yum Roast Tofu, cut in half lengthwise (recipe below)
  • 4 cups Fire Cracker Slaw (recipe below)
  • 1/2 cup (loosely packed) fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 cup (loosely packed) fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup (loosely packed) fresh mint leaves
  • 4 tablespoons of dressing, reserved from the slaw
  • 1/2 cup roasted peanuts
Mix the herbs together. For each wrap; place the wrap on the board, place equal portions of slaw in the center, then top with two pieces of tofu, followed by the herbs. Drizzle the herbs with the dressing and sprinkle with peanuts. Roll the wrap tightly and served, cut in half.

Tom Yum Roasted Tofu
Makes 4 servings
  • 6 tablespoons Tom Yum paste
  • 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound firm tofu, rinsed, patted dry, and sliced 1/2 inch thick
Preheat the oven to 375°F. In a bowl whisk together the paste, vinegar and oil. Cut the tofu into 4 slabs and gently rub each side with enough of the marinade to evenly coat them. Arrange the tofu in a single layer in a small baking dish. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Turn the tofu over and continue to bake until firm and browned on the edges, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Fire Cracker Slaw
Makes 6 servings
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon oriental sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon garlic-chili paste
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt plus more for seasoning
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups thinly sliced Napa cabbage
  • 3 cups carrots, peeled, julienned
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 1 medium yellow bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 3 green onions, very thinly sliced
Whisk first 6 ingredients in medium bowl to blend and then season with salt and pepper.
Mix cabbage, carrots, peppers and green onions in large bowl. Toss with enough dressing to coat and then season with salt and pepper. Reserve the remaining dressing for later. (This can be made up to 3 hours ahead. Cover; chill.)

Sunday, March 22, 2015

6 questions I’d like to ask the candidates

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Everyone has issues that he or she hopes the candidates will address. IMG_20150322_154242_493 I’m hoping that the candidates for President/Senate/Congress can put down their single smart phones (with only one email address), drop the snowballs, and stop decorating their offices “Downton Abbey” style long enough to answer my questions.
  1. What is your plan to move the U.S. economy toward a sustainable energy supply that decreases our carbon footprint significantly?
  2. How do you plan to work with other nations, particularly India and China, to decrease the global use of non-renewable energy?
  3. How do you plan to support and encourage U.S. industry to innovate to become a world supplier of green energy technology?
  4. Now that we’re in the middle of what scientists consider to be the 6th global extinction event, what’s your plan for protecting global biodiversity?
  5. What is your “national water strategy”, including maintaining supplies of freshwater in the U.S. and abroad, and dealing with refugees from areas affected by sea level rise or drought conditions?
  6. Are you actually planning to support the crazy idea of drilling for oil off the southern U.S. Atlantic coast, particularly off the coast of Virginia?

Friday, March 20, 2015

Arugula Salad with Manchego, Dates, Apples, and Caramelized Walnuts

Today’s meat-free Friday recipe comes to us from professional chef, Matt C.  I can’t wait to try it!


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Yield: Makes 6 to 8 servings


  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup walnut oil
  • 3 tablespoons Champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 8 cups arugula
  • 2 Red Delicious or Fuji apples, unpeeled, cored, thinly sliced
  • 6 ounces Spanish Manchego cheese or sharp white cheddar cheese, shaved
  • 1 1/2 cups pitted dates, sliced
  • 1 cup Caramelized Walnuts
  • 4 large shallots, minced


  1. Boil balsamic vinegar in small saucepan over medium-high heat until syrupy and reduced to 1/4 cup, about 4 minutes.
  2. Whisk oil and Champagne vinegar in bowl. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 4 hours ahead. Keep at room temperature. Rewarm balsamic syrup before using. Rewhisk vinaigrette before using.)
  3. Toss arugula, apples, half of cheese, dates, walnuts, and shallots in large bowl with enough vinaigrette to coat. Season salad with salt and pepper.
  4. Mound salad in center of each plate. Drizzle balsamic syrup around salads. Sprinkle remaining cheese atop salads.


Wednesday, March 18, 2015



What’s 12369?  That’s the phone number you’re supposed to call to report environmental noncompliance in China.  I learned it by watching “Under the Dome,” a Chinese documentary about China’s air pollution and energy industry.  It’s a little tough to keep up with the subtitles, but it’s worth watching this 1 hour and 45 minute film.  The Chinese government blocked the film on the internet in China, but lucky you! here it is:

impressionist pandaSo why spend almost two hours learning about pollution in China?  Because China is the most populous nation in the world with a huge and growing economy.  The country’s main source of power is coal.  Not only is China a player in global warming and other air pollution issues, the country also has a large impact on wildlife issues, like elephant poaching.

Just like every other country in the world, they’re trying to balance economic growth and environmental health.  Just like every other country in the world, politics, money, human nature, and even corruption influence how these two goals are achieved.  Since China is so big, we really should be paying attention.  The Washington Post recently ran an article by Simon Denyer that provided a nice summary of the issue.  A little bedtime reading for the greenmomsters . 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

10 tips for starting seeds indoors

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IIMG_20150312_162558_698 (1)t’s the first warm weather we’ve seen in a while, so all the vegetarian greenmomsters are looking longingly at their gardens.  We know there are some veggies that we should plant directly into the ground (lettuce, kale, spinach, etc), but what’s the best way to start plants indoors?  Here are my top 10 tips, gathered from the sources below.

  1. Make sure your plants have enough light!  Buy grow-lights.  Without the right amount of light, your sprouts will get long and “leggy” and die immediately upon going outside.  Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.
  2. Start with small containers.  Make sure you start your seeds in small containers – open flats, market packs, individual small pots (no larger than 2-3 inches in diameter), or even modified milk cartons (reduce, reuse, recycle!)
  3. Use seed starting mix and potting soil.  I mix them together.  Don’t just dig soil out of your garden – it will clump and damage the veggie plant roots.
  4. Make sure your plants have enough light!  14 – 16 hours daily!  Keep the lights very close to the plants, if there is no natural light.  If you have natural light, just supplement with grow lights.
  5. Some seeds should start earlier than others, so follow a seed starting schedule (unless you’re like me, and hate schedules – I like surprises!)
  6. Keep that soil warm!  Seeds will germinate between 65 degrees F and 80 degrees F, but I find that soil temperature in the high 70s works well for most seedlings.  Don’t try to plant okra early or in pots – be patient and wait until your garden soil is good and warm, then just sow directly into the soil.
  7. Keep soil moist, not wet.  Check the moisture daily.
  8. Light, light, light!
  9. Be sure to thin the seedlings if many are coming up in one pot.  Choose the most hardy-looking and gently remove the other seedlings.  Do this early (before they get tangled) to avoid damaging the plants.
  10. Gradually expose the plants to the outdoors.  About 1 week before you’re ready to plant, start cutting back on the watering and place the seedlings outdoors for about 1 hour per day (gradually increasing).  This procedure will keep the plants from being shocked by 24 hour exposure to your garden’s outdoor conditions. this is called “hardening off” the seedlings.

Prepare to enjoy your delicious veggies throughout the spring, summer, and fall!


Gardener’s Supply Company.  (2015, 3/12)  How To Start Seeds, A Comprehensive Guide to Seed Starting.  Retrieved from

Organic Gardening (2015, 3/12). Starting Seeds Indoors, Earlier Fruits and Flowers Plus Endless Variety.  Retrieved from,0

Friday, March 13, 2015

When life hands you lemons….. make lemon pasta!

Super-easy, super-delicious.  This recipe works well for a hot dish at dinner or a cold dish for lunch leftovers.  It's adapted from one I saw on the Today Show (photo from wikipedia)

2/3 cup olive oil
2/3 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 lb farfalle pasta
1/3 cup basil
3/4 cup pine nuts or slivered almonds

1)  Cook pasta until it's al dente.
2)  Mix together olive oil, parmesan cheese, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and basil.
3)  Pour liquid over pasta and toss with pine nuts or almonds.


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Sunday, March 8, 2015

30 ways to help the lemurs!

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DSC_0014Lemurs are incredible creatures that are only found in Madagascar.  I’ve written about both the lemurs and a terrific movie about these fascinating primates. 

If you’re like me, you often want to help with conservation efforts, but feel frustrated that you don’t have enough information regarding charitable organizations and their work.  Well, now there’s an organization that makes things simple.  The Lemur Conservation Network has done the research for you!  From the Network’s website:

“The Lemur Conservation Network unites organizations who are working to save Madagascar’s lemurs from extinction with people who want to support the cause. It is a funding guide for individuals—and potential donors—who want to learn more about lemurs and support lemur conservation, and a resource for organizations who want to promote their work in lemur conservation.”

You can go to this site and choose the organization you’d like to support, confident that your money will be used wisely to save these wonderful creatures and their habitat.  Check it out today!