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In this weekly series we have been discussing the benefits of a vegetarian diet including: better health, animal rights, public health, food safety, frugal living, food and water insecurity and the staggeringly huge impact of meat/livestock production to climate change/resource depletion.

The role of (animal) agriculture in climate change

Agriculture, through meat production, is one of the main contributors to the emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs) and thus has a potential impact on climate change. Estimates of the total emissions from agriculture differ according to the system boundaries used for calculations. Most studies attribute 10-35 per cent of all global GHG emissions to agriculture (Denman et al. 2007, EPA 2006, McMichael 2007, Stern 2006). Large differences are mainly based on the exclusion or inclusion of emissions due to deforestation and land use change.

Recent estimates concerning animal agriculture's share of total global GHG emissions range mainly between 10-25 per cent (Steinfeld et al. 2006, Fiala 2008, UNEP 2009, Gill et al. 2010, Barclay 2012), where again the higher figure includes the effects of deforestation and other land use changes and the lower one does not. According to Steinfeld et al. (2006) and McMichael et al. (2007), emissions from livestock constitute nearly 80 per cent of all agricultural emissions.

Types of emissions

In contrast to general trends of GHG emissions, carbon dioxide (CO2) is only a small component of emissions in animal agriculture. The largest share of GHG emissions is from two other gases: methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O). These are not only emitted in large quantities, but are also potent greenhouse gases, with a global warming potential (GWP3) of 25 using a 100-year timeframe for methane and a GWP of 296 for N2O.

To read entire article from UNEP click link above

Macca's Meatless Monday/Meatless Advocates is a solution oriented activist group, with solutions for some of the most pressing issues of our time including: climate change, global food/water insecurity and public health.  Here we don't just talk about the severity of the crisis.  Armed with knowledge about how our actions can contribute we become part of the solution.

I was inspired to create this series by former Beatle and vegetarian advocate Paul McCartney(Macca) who partnered with the Meatless Monday campaign to promote less consumption of meat.  We not only discuss the advantages of a less meat diet; we also do some cooking, share recipes and listen to great Beatle music!

Sweet Potatoes are considered a work horse of our food system.  They are plentiful, economical, delicious and in nutritional studies by the Center for Science in the Public Interest sweet potatoes have the highest nutritional value compared to all vegetables by far.  The sweet potato plant does not tolerate frost and in US is grown primarily in SE southern states and southern California.

Sweet Potatoes have been a lifelong love for me and like many babies they were one of the first solid foods I would eat.  They are versatile for any meal of the day and today I will share some favorite recipes both new and old.
    sweet potato latkes with a vegan sour cream
                                           h/t sweetbeetandgreenbean  
Tonight we are celebrating the third night of Channakah with a new take on an old tradition.  So yummy

    2 lb. sweet potatoes (about 3 medium), peeled and coarsely shredded
    2 to 3 Tbs. minced fresh ginger
    5 scallions, finely chopped
    ⅔ cup all-purpose flour
    ¾ to 1 tsp. sea salt
    1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
    2 large eggs, beaten(organic, free roaming)
    Vegetable oil for frying
    Sour cream or drained yogurt, optional (I use Tofutti)

    Combine sweet potatoes, ginger and scallions, and set aside. Combine flour, salt and pepper in separate bowl. Drain liquid from potatoes, and if needed, place potatoes in dish towel and wring out excess moisture. Return to mixing bowl, and combine slowly with flour mixture. Fold eggs into potato mixture. Line baking sheet with 3 layers of paper towels.
    Heat about 1 cup oil in large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Using 1/4 cup measure, scoop latke batter onto skillet to form cakes about 1/4- to 1/2-inch high and 3 inches round. Flatten with back of spatula, taking care not to crowd skillet.
    Cook until golden brown on one side, about 4 minutes, and turn to cook on second side, about 3 minutes more. Using spatula, transfer latkes to baking sheet lined with layers of paper towel. Keep in 225F oven if serving later, or serve immediately with sour cream or drained yogurt, if desired.
               sweet potato peanut soup
This soup packs a delicious nutritional whallop.

    1 tablespoon vegetable oil
    1 large onion, chopped
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger root
    1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
    1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1 pinch ground cloves
    3 medium tomatoes, chopped
    1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
    1 carrot, peeled and chopped
    4 1/2 cups water
    1 teaspoon salt
    1/4 cup chopped, unsalted dry-roasted peanuts
    1 pinch cayenne pepper
    2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
    1 bunch chopped fresh cilantro

    Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Saute the onion 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Mix in the garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, and cloves. Stir in the tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and carrot, and continue to cook and stir about 5 minutes.
    Pour water into the saucepan, and season the mixture with salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes.
    Remove the soup mixture from heat. In a food processor or blender, blend the soup and peanuts until almost smooth. Season with cayenne pepper. Return to the saucepan. Whisk in the peanut butter, and cook until heated through. Serve warm topped with fresh cilantro.  Garnish with peanuts
        Sweet potato hummus
A new approach to hummus with sweet potatoes and so good!

3 cups peeled, diced, and steamed sweet potato (yams are fine, as are frozen and microwaved sweet potatoes)
1/3 cup roasted tahini
2 tablespoons olive oil
Juice of half a lemon
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon salt

Blend the sweet potatoes while they are very hot. Add in the tahini and blend. Add in the olive oil and blend. Add the remaining ingredients and blend well. Refrigerate until cool.
       Sweet potato rosti
Here a modern take on the Swiss traditional breakfast using the sweets instead of white potatoes.  So good for weekend breakfast, brunch or a light dinner with scrambled tofu or eggs.  Really delish with the Bourbon Maple Syrup recipe below.

3 or 4 sweet potatoes (about 1 3/4 lbs)
2 Tbs plus 2 Tbs butter (I use Earth Balance)

Peel the sweet potatoes, then use a box grater to grate them into a large bowl.  Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large frying pan or skillet (10" to 12" in diameter) over medium heat.  While the butter is melting, sprinkle a little salt over the grated sweet potatoes and use your hands or a large spoon to mix it in.  Once the butter has melted, grab a handful of the grated sweet potato, squeeze out as much water as possible, and press into the skillet.  Repeat with the remainder of the sweet potato, pressing each handful into the skillet to make one large, pancake-looking rosti (about 1/2" thick or so). Raise the heat just a touch and fry until crispy and golden-brown on the bottom, about 25 minutes or so. Be very gentle using a spatula to lift the rosti a little to check for doneness, and make sure the rosti is crispy and "holding together" before you try to flip it over.

To flip, invert a large plate (at least as big as the rosti) over the rosti and hold it down with one hand, grab the skillet handle with your other hand, then carefully and confidently turn the skillet upside down so that the rosti drops down onto the plate. Slowly lift the skillet, making sure the entire rosti is now on the plate--the browned side will be visible now.  Place the skillet back on the stove and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter.  When the butter has melted, gently slide the rosti into the skillet, uncooked side down, and fry for another 25 minutes or so until crispy and golden brown on that side.  You can remove the fully-cooked rosti from the skillet using the same plate-flip method.  Use a knife to cut into wedges, and drizzle with Cinnamon-Bourbon Maple Syrup.

Cinnamon-Bourbon Maple Syrup

3/4 cup real maple syrup
1 tsp Bourbon
1" piece of stick cinnamon

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan, cover and simmer over low heat for about 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Can do this while the second side of the sweet potato rosti is cooking.  This syrup is tasty over pancakes, waffles, stirred into oatmeal, or any other way you use regular maple syrup.  You don't really taste the bourbon, but rather it helps tone down the sweetness of the maple syrup while adding earthy flavor notes.  Store any leftovers in a covered container in the frig.
       Sweet Potato & Black Bean Enchiladas
                             h/t Vegetarian Times and sassylime
It doesn't get much better than this.  Can be made one day ahead and perfect for potluck.


    1 15-oz. can tomato sauce
    1 ¾ cups low-sodium vegetable broth
    1 tsp. ancho chile powder
    1 tsp. chili powder
    1 tsp. garlic powder
    1 tsp. onion powder
    1 tsp. dried oregano
    ½ tsp. chipotle chile powder


    1 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
    1 small onion, diced (1 cup)
    1 ½ lb. sweet potatoes, peeled and diced (3 cups)
    1 15-oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
    1 16-oz. jar prepared medium salsa
    2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp.)
    1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, drained and minced
    1 15-oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
    1 12-oz. round queso fresco, divided


    extra virgin olive oil, for brushing baking dish
    16 6-inch corn tortillas, warmed
    2 limes, cut into wedges
    1 avocado, sliced
    ½ cup sour cream, for garnish or non dairy sour cream
    Cilantro sprigs, for garnish, optional

1. To make Sauce: Bring all ingredients to a simmer in saucepan over medium heat. Whisk to combine, then remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

2. To make Filling: Heat oil in separate saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, and sauté 3 to 5 minutes, or until soft. Add sweet potatoes, tomatoes, salsa, garlic, chipotle chile, and 1/2 cup water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 30 to 40 minutes, or until sweet potatoes are soft. Mash mixture with potato masher until combined. Add black beans, and cook 5 minutes. Stir in half of queso fresco, and remove from heat.

3. To assemble Enchiladas: Preheat oven to 350ºF. Brush 13- x 9-inch baking dish with oil. Spread 1/2 cup Sauce in bottom of dish. Fill tortillas with Filling. Roll, and pack close together seam-side down in baking dish. Top with remaining Sauce and queso fresco. Bake 15 minutes.

4. Adjust oven to broil. Broil Enchiladas 5 minutes, or until cheese is browned and bubbly. Let rest 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with lime wedges, avocado slices, sour cream, and cilantro sprigs, if using.
       Sweet Potato, Kale and White Bean Soup
                                    Thanks Martha Stewart
This time of year a big bowl of this soup with some crunchy bread makes a fine satisfying dinner.  Serves 6

    1/2 cup dried cannellini beans
    2 sprigs fresh rosemary
    1 small onion cut into quarters
    1 head garlic
    1/2 cup tubetti (small tube-shaped pasta)
    1 tablespoons olive oil
    2 small leeks rinsed, white and light-green parts cut in half lengthwise and thinly sliced
    1 sweet potato peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
    1 bunch kale (3/4 pound)
    6 cups vegetable Stock
    1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

    Place beans in a large bowl, and cover with water. Let soak overnight, and drain.
    Cut a 7-inch square of cheesecloth. Place 1 rosemary sprig at one end, and roll, enclosing sprig; secure with kitchen twine. Place beans, wrapped rosemary, onion, and 6 cups water in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to a simmer, and cook until beans are just tender, about 25 minutes. Drain beans in a colander. Discard onion and rosemary; set beans aside.
    Heat oven to 425 degrees. Wrap garlic in aluminum foil. Cook until soft, about 40 minutes. Remove garlic from oven, and allow to cool. Slice garlic in half crosswise, and squeeze, removing cloves; set cloves aside.
    Bring a large stockpot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add tubetti, and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a colander, drain, and set aside.
    Place a 6-quart low-sided saucepan over medium heat. Add olive oil; heat until oil is hot but not smoking. Add leeks, remaining sprig rosemary, and roasted garlic cloves. Cook until leeks become translucent. Add sweet potato; cook, stirring until the potato pieces just begin to soften, about 8 minutes.
    Add kale; cook until kale begins to wilt, about 4 minutes. Add stock; cook until potato pieces are tender, about 10 minutes. Add reserved beans, pasta, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper. Cook until heated through, about 5 minutes. Divide among six plates; serve.
        Halloween banana sweet potato muffins
Great for breakfast, dessert or my fave with afternoon tea.  So healthy too!

    1 cup barley flour
    1 cup brown rice flour
    1 tablespoon baking powder
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice mix or make your own (recipe below
    1 tablespoon flax meal (found in health food stores and many markets)
    1 tablespoon arrowroot
    1 tablespoon cornstarch
    1 banana
    1/2 cup sweet potato puree or 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
    1/2 cup maple syrup
    2 tablespoon molasses
    3 tablespoons brown sugar
    1 cup candied ginger, chopped

These muffins are a great way to use up leftover cooked sweet potatoes or pumpkins.

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a muffin tin with a light layer of grease or nonstick cooking spray.

Whisk the barley flour, brown rice flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pumpkin pie spice together in a medium bowl.

Whisk the flax meal and arrowroot or cornstarch together in a small bowl. Add 3 tablespoons of water and mix well.

Add the mashed banana, sweet potato or pumpkin puree, maple syrup and brown sugar to the small bowl with the flax meal mixture. Whisk until thoroughly combined, taking care not to leave any chunks.

Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, mixing until well combined. Spoon the batter into the muffin tins until they are 3/4 of the way full.

Press the candied ginger onto the tops of each muffin. Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until the toothpick comes out dry when inserted into each muffin. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix

Stir together 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon, 2 teaspoons ground ginger, and 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg.
If using to sprinkle on toast or french toast add 2 tablespoons sugar.

"Sweet Georgia Brown"  The Beatles with Tony Sheridan  One of the first Beatles recordings.  They played backup to Sheridan and were called The Beats

"This Never Happened Before"   Paul McCartney

What have you all been cooking?   Please share your recipes and fave Beatle music here!

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