Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Going Green(s)

During the month of August, Geoff and I accomplished one of the 28 goals - we spent a month being vegetarian.  We have been trying for a while to limit our meat consumption.  After a month or more of eating very poorly while I was finishing my dissertation writing, we decided August would be a great month to go for it.  The added bonus of August is that it is such a peak time for produce at the local farmers markets so it is much easier not to eat meat.  Tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini and now all of these gorgeous apples:

We found that being vegetarian at home was never a problem.  There are a lot of fantastic recipes out there for delicious, satisfying vegetarian meals.  A few of our favorites recipes are linked to below:

BBQ Bean Burgers - delicious topped with avocado
Mushroom and Spinach Enchiladas - I add a LOT of serrano peppers, but that is just me
Greek Lasagna - double the eggplant
Veggie Chili - the only way I make chili now
Huevos Rancheros - I've made it a few different ways, basically just pile up tortillas, beans, over easy eggs and hot sauce and you can't go wrong in my book
Ratatouille - very easy in the crockpot, top it with feta
Zucchini Fritters Stuffed w/ Goat Cheese - recommended and zucchini supplied by Laurel, they don't need the sauce
Greens Tart with Spelt Crust - the spelt crust will blow you away

The real difficulty, we found, was in eating out.  I had never before noticed how many restaurants have six ways of preparing chicken on their menu and only one vegetarian dish.  When we ate out, it was usually Chinese because there were more options.  We've decided to wait a while before we try going fully vegan for a week - honestly, the idea sort of overwhelms me in terms of finding really great vegan meals (you'll notice that most of the above contain cheese!).

Although it is nice to be able to go out and eat meat at restaurants, we're still eating mostly vegetarian at home with a heavy influence of seafood, some chicken, and occasionally beef or pork.  Since our primary reason for this type of diet is minimizing our ecological footprint, I've been focusing on trying to buy sustainable seafood (I just downloaded the Monterrey Bay Aquariums iPhone app for checking out which seafood are sustainable while on the go).  Additionally, there are a number of local farmers who sell reasonably priced, locally pasture-raised meat so I'm trying to buy most meat there and my milk and cheese from the cows in this barn:

Well, not from the cows, from the people who milk them.

And that brings me to the final addition to my 28 goals list: buy 50% Local.  Mostly, this applies to food, but as much as possible, I would like to patronize local stores, even if it requires a few more stops.  This afternoon, Geoff and I headed to the farmer's market on the grounds of the Pennsylvania Military Museum and came back with 75% of the things on the grocery list - plus some bonus pears.

Notice the tank in between the market stalls.

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