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Living Green can mean many things and I am far from being an expert. I’m just a suburbanite trying to do a little better for my part as a steward of this earth. These posts are just simple ideas I try to incorporate. Many of you probably do much more. I’d love to hear your ideas. One of the best things we can do is to eat less meat.

The enviornment is not the only reason to reduce our meat. I became a vegan years ago because I wanted to live healthier. I have not stuck with it as diligently the last few years though, but as I get older, I more readily see the results in my joints, sinuses, etc. of a bad diet. The day after having cheese, my allergies are going to make me suffer. However, I do eat more vegetarian / vegan meals than I do ones with meat. By at least reducing my intake, I’m contributing to the solution rather than the problem.

From her article, “The Environmental Impact of Raising Meat,” Cheri Pesto writes, “It’s a very personal and gut choice to become vegan or vegetarian, I don’t expect anyone to make such a commitment without a great deal of thought. However, doing so is one of the most significant lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your carbon footprint.”

The capitalist in me will attest that it’s also a great idea for reducing the budget. I’ve got a few dozen meals that I’m particularly fond of and that get cycled into my menus. I also like trying new ones and new products. This last year I “discovered” Forbidden Black Rice. I don’t know where it’s been before now, but this is a new favorite that everyone can love!

Legend says that this ancient grain was once eaten exclusively by the Emperors–it was “forbidden” for anyone else to eat. Tell that to your skeptical children. Today, it is readily available (I buy mine in the bulk at the health food store). It has a delicious nutty taste, soft texture, and you can’t beat the beautiful rich deep purple color. It looks incredible on a plate! High in nutritional value, it is also rich in iron. It cooks like other rice, but in about 30 minutes.

Try it with a sweet and sour stir-fry or with beans in a barbeque vegetarian wrap. Here’s the recipe I made this week for dinner:

Almond Rice Loaf

2 C. raw, unsalted almonds
1 pound tofu (in a pinch I have substituted cream of mushroom soup)
2 C. cooked black rice (brown rice is also delicious)
1 finely chopped onion
3 Tb. Tamari (or Braggs Liquid Aminos)
2 Tb. tahini (I used almond butter because it’s what I had on hand)
3 cloves garlic, pressed
1 tsp. sage
1 tsp. thyme
½ tsp. celery seeds
Dash cayenne pepper

Blend almonds until coarsely ground. In a mixing bowl, combine with crumbled tofu. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.

Bake in oiled loaf pan at 350º for 45 min. Let sit for 10-15 minutes. Invert and serve with Carrot Sauce that you made in the time it takes for the loaf to sit.

Carrot Sauce

1 Tb. oil
3 Tb. flour (whole wheat works great)
1 ½ C. fresh carrot juice
1 Tb. Dijon-style mustard
¼ tsp sea salt (or a squirt of Braggs Liquid Aminos)
1 Tb. fresh dill weed

In a small saucepan, heat oil, add the flour and cook about a minute. Slowly stir in the carrot juice. When well blended and thick, add remaining ingredients. Serve immediately. I served the Almond Rice Loaf with a side of steamed broccoli. It was a delicious meal and meat free.

These recipes come from my Arrowhead Mills Cookbook. I wore it out, took it to the copier to have drilled, and now I keep it inside a binder. It is well loved.

Don’t be afraid to try new things, new ingredients, new recipes, and new places to shop. Think of it as an adventure that also helps the earth. Involve your children from shopping to serving, and enjoy.