Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Celebrities doing green stuff --

Manager of Photography

There was an interesting interview about a week ago in Green Sports Blog about Stephen Piscotty, St. Louis Cardinals outfielder -- and ecowarrior!  Check it out.  Lots of interesting information here from this Stanford grad. (photo from GreenSportsBlog)  If you aren't following GreenSportsBlog and you like sports and green stuff, you need to jump on board!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Pasta with leeks and broccoli rabe

Another recipe from my new cookbook, Food52 Vegan, 60 Vegetable-Driven Recipes for Any Kitchen, by Gena Hamshaw.  Tasty, and this one's really easy!  I doubled this recipe for a family of 5.


For the sauce:
  • 1 tblsp olive oil
  • 2 large shallots
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped (I used 2 tblsp jar garlic)
  • 8 oz. silken tofu
  • 3 tblsp nutritional yeast (I forgot this and it turned out OK anyway)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup water, or as needed
  • pepper
For the pasta and vegetables:
  • 8 oz. orecchiette
  • 2 tblsp olive oil
  • 2 large leeks, chopped and rinsed
  • 2 bunches of broccoli rabe, stemmed and chopped (I had to use frozen, because fresh wasn't available)
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped (again, I'm lazy.  I used 1 tblsp jar garlic)
  • 1 tblsp lemon juice
  • 2 tblps chopped chives
  1. To make the sauce -- heat the olive oil and add shallots.  Cook for 2-3 minutes.  Add the garlic and saute for another couple of minutes.  Pour this mixture into a food processor or blender and add tofu, yeast, salt, nutmeg, and lemon juice and blend until smooth.  Add water if it's too thick.  Season with pepper.
  2. Cook pasta until al dente.  
  3. In a skillet, saute the leeks in the oil until lightly golden.  Add broccoli rabe and saute until tender.  Add garlic and lemon juice and saute for another couple of minutes.  
  4. Toss the pasta with the leek mixture and the sauce.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Water and Wall

Water and Wall is a great restaurant in Arlington VA, owned by one of my neighbors.  I thought of this restaurant's name when I was reading the Washington Post the other day.  Two articles in the A section got me thinking about our nation's fiscal priorities.  One article, Despite cost, GOP ready to fund wall by Mike DeBonis discusses the funding of the proposed border wall with Mexico.  The cost of the wall is estimated between $8 and $10 billion, and when we asked Mexico to pay, they basically told us to pound sand. Thus, if it happens, the U.S. taxpayers will be footing the bill.  Funding isn't the only issue with the proposed wall; these structures also cause major environmental impacts, as explained in BioScience and the BBC.  The U.S. border with Mexico already has large areas that are fenced, and these areas have given us a taste of the environmental impacts to come.

The second article discussed the issue of aging infrastructure and lead contaminated drinking water in towns across the U.S.  (Lead-tainted water in Louisiana a harbinger for other U.S. Towns, by Brady Dennis).  Just as we saw in Flint, MI, the article states that, "Nationwide, an estimated 6 million or more lead pipes remain in use by more than 11,000 community water systems serving as many as 22 million Americans. While some cities, such as Lansing, Mich., and Madison, Wis., have replaced all their aging lead pipes, doing so is an expensive and time-consuming undertaking — and one many communities simply cannot afford."  The article states that the price tag to replace all pipes could be as high as $30 billion.  

I'd be interested in your feedback.  To prevent the damage that lead poisoning causes, including brain damage, should the federal government get involved? Are you concerned about environmental damage from a proposed border wall?  Should we fund one, both, neither?  Where should our resources go and why?  

Friday, January 6, 2017

Jamaican Jerk Chili

This Christmas my son gave me a great cookbook -- Food 52 Vegan, 60 Vegetable-Driven Recipes for Any Kitchen by Gena Hamshaw.  This week's recipe, Jamaican Jerk Chili, was the first recipe I tried -- very delicious!


  • 2 tblsp coconut oil (this gives a great flavor!)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 poblano chile, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (or 2 tblsp jar garlic)
  • 1 1/4 cup quinoa, rinsed well
  • 1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes, preferably fire-roasted
  • 3 cups cooked kidney beans (I just used beans from a can)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tblsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 2 1/2 to 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 small avocado, chopped for garnish
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (we skipped this item, because it's not available in winter)
  1. Heat the coconut oil in a large pot.  Add onion, bell pepper, and poblano pepper and saute until onion is soft (about 8 minutes).  Add garlic and saute a little longer.
  2. Stir in the quinoa, tomatoes, kidney beans, salt, chili powder, cinnamon, thyme, nutmeg, allspice, and broth.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, and simmer until the quinoa is tender and most of the broth is gone (about 25 minutes)
  3. Garnish with avocado and cilantro.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Bootylicious flies, slime mold beetles, and famous people

Beyonce's bootylicious fly (credit:  livescience.com)

Every species known to science is named using a taxonomic framework.  Scientists organize and name species to avoid the confusion that sometimes comes from common names.  Just think about the big tan cats that we call puma, cougar, or mountain lions -- their scientific name is Puma concolor.  Scientists sometimes name a species after someone as an honor to that person.  According to an article in the Washington Post today, two Cornell University  entomologists named a slime-mold beetle Agathidium bushi after President Bush.  And now President Obama has a fish!  Fittingly, Tosanoides obama is a small fish found in deep water corals in the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in the President's home state of Hawaii.

This newly named species puts our presidents in fine company -- David Bowie, Johnny Cash, Angelina Jolie, Bono, and Shakira all have species named after them.  Check out CBS' list.  I'm still waiting for the greenmomster species......

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Another reason to love hockey!

Madison Ice Hockey

It's all hockey, all the time at our house.  The Madison HS Warhawks are undefeated so far this season and we love to rock the red with the Caps!  But here's another reason to love hockey -- the NHL has been named by GreenSportsBlog the greenest sports league of 2016!  Check out the details.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Time for Christmas balls

It's Christmas time, so of course, we're thinking about Schweddy balls!  OK, they're not Schweddy balls, but I just discovered dryer balls that make your laundry routine a little more green! Just add a little essential oil, pop these balls into your dryer, and cut down on all of the chemicals and waste associated with dryer sheets.  From BogBerry! (nope, they didn't pay me for this plug -- I was just happy with my purchase)