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

             

According to a new study the secret to happiness can be found on your plate.

It’s a new research finding likely to be protested by 5-year-olds everywhere: People who eat more vegetables and fruits are significantly happier than those who eschew such foods.

Dartmouth University’s Daniel Blanchflower looked at the eating habits of 80,000 British citizens. He, alongside two British researchers, saw that mental well being — satisfaction with one’s life on a scale of one to 10 — rose alongside each serving of produce consumed daily.

Those who consumed eight or more servings of vegetables daily rated themselves 0.27 points happier, on average, than those who had no servings to speak of. The effect was strongest for those who ate seven servings of produce daily. After that, grabbing a handful of carrots doesn’t seem to have much of an effect.

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 who partnered with the Meatless Monday campaign to promote less consumption of meat.  We not only discuss the benefits of a less meat diet; we also do some cooking, share recipes and listen to great Beatle music!

Today I'm sharing recipes for those who have made New Years Resolutions to be healthier, look better and to live your values by eating Earth friendly foods.  This is the way I eat all the time because feeling good, looking good and being kind to the only planet we have makes me happy.
       kale salad w/coconut & sesame oil
KALE SALAD with TOASTED COCONUT and SESAME OIL
Where has this salad been all my life?   This is a warm salad served over rice.  How dynamite is that?   h/t to Heidi Swanson & Shutterbean   Serves 4

    1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
    2 tablespoons shoyu, tamari or soy sauce
    3 1/2 cups shredded lacinato kale (ribs removed)
    1 1/2 cup unsweetened large flake coconut
    2 cups cooked brown rice

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together the oils with the shoyu.  In a large bowl, toss the kale and coconut with about two-thirds of the dressing.

Spread the kale evenly across two baking sheets and bake until the coconut is nice and golden and the kale is wilted, tossing once or twice along the way about 12-18 minutes.

Remove from oven and transfer the kale mixture to a medium bowl. Take a taste of the mixture and if it needs more dressing add some and toss. Place the brown rice on a serving platter and top with the tossed kale. Serve warm.
          2X 101 Cookbooks Lentil Soups IMG_8843
COCONUT RED LENTIL SOUP
This is a knock out good soup. So soothing. If you've never tried red lentils do yourself a favor they are so delicious and cook super fast.  Serves 6 h/t Heidi Swanson

    1 cup / 7 oz / 200g yellow split peas
    1 cup 7 oz / 200g red split lentils (masoor dal)
    7 cups / 1.6 liters water
    1 medium carrot, cut into 1/2-inch dice
    2 tablespoons fresh peeled and minced ginger
    2 tablespoons curry powder (your favorite)
    2 tablespoons olive oil or coconut oil
    8 green onions (scallions), thinly sliced
    1/3 cup / 1.5 oz / 45g golden raisins
    1/3 / 80 ml cup tomato paste
    1 14-ounce can coconut milk
    2 teaspoons fine grain sea salt
    one small handful cilantro, chopped

    cooked brown rice or farro, for serving (optional)

Give the split peas and lentils a good rinse - until they no longer put off murky water. Place them in an extra-large soup pot, cover with the water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and add the carrot and 1/4 of the ginger. Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the split peas are soft.

In the meantime, in a small dry skillet or saucepan over low heat, toast the curry powder until it is quite fragrant. Be careful though, you don't want to burn the curry powder, just toast it. Set aside. Place the oil in a pan over medium heat, add half of the green onions, the remaining ginger, and raisins. Saute for two minutes stirring constantly, then add the tomato paste and saute for another minute or two more.

Add the toasted curry powder to the tomato paste mixture, mix well, and then add this to the simmering soup along with the coconut milk and salt. Simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes or so. The texture should thicken up, but you can play around with the consistency if you like by adding more water, a bit at a time, if you like. Or simmer longer for a thicker consistency. The thicker this soup got, the more I liked it.

garnish with the cilantro and remaining scallions
       Vegan Caesar Saladus Maximus
VEGAN CAESAR SALAD
A healthy, earth friendly caesar salad.  This is yummy.  Serves 2  h/t Marni Molina La Vegan Loca

    3 tablespoons organic Dijon mustard
    3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
    2 tablespoons almond meal (found in most healthy food stores also trader joes)
    3 cloves garlic, rough chopped
    ¼ cup water (plus more if needed)
    3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
    2 tablespoons soy sauce
    1 large head of romaine lettuce, cleaned and chopped or torn into pieces
    croutons (optional – see below)

    Throw the mustard, yeast, almond meal, garlic, water, lemon juice and soy sauce into a food processor or blender and process ‘til smooth. Add additional water if desired.
    Drizzle onto prepared lettuce, add croutons if desired, and nosh.
        Vegan Fat-Free Chunky Spaghetti Sauce
FAT FREE CHUNKY SPAGHETTI SAUCE
This is really delicious and will be a keeper.  Serves 10 1/2 cup servings  h/t Marni Molina La Vegan Loca

    1 medium onion, chopped
    1/4 cup water
    1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
    1 14.5 ounce can artichoke hearts in water, drained and chopped
    1 cup water
    1 6-ounce can tomato paste
    2 TBSP capers, drained
    2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
    1 head Fat-Free Roasted Garlic (see recipe below)
    2 TBSP balsamic reduction (see recipe below)  or balsamic vinegar if you don't have any reduced, just know the flavor won't be as intense
    2 teaspoons dried oregano
    salt and pepper to taste

    In a 3-quart saucepan, cook chopped onion in 1/4 cup of water over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally 'til onion is tender, about 5 minutes.
    Stir in diced tomatoes, chopped artichoke hearts, 1 cup of water, tomato paste, capers, and brown sugar and mix well. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 15-20 minutes.
    While the sauce is simmering, use the back of a spoon and mash the cloves of one head of Fat-Free Roasted Garlic (see below) with the skins removed with the balsamic reduction in a small bowl, making a paste. When the sauce has only a few minutes left to cook, stir paste in to incorporate. Serve over hot, al-dente pasta (preferably whole wheat).

Other ideas for serving: try this sauce on spaghetti squash, polenta, baked potato, rice, or other cooked grains.

Fat-Free Roasted Garlic

    1 or 2 heads of garlic, cloves separated but paper left in tact
    non-stick cooking spray (like canola or olive oil)
    salt and pepper to taste

    Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
    Spread your garlic cloves out on a 1/4-sheet baking pan covered with foil. Lightly spray them with cooking spray and season them as desired, shaking the pan to evenly distribute it all.
    Cook in the oven until cloves are roasted, but still soft, about 20 minutes. Keep an eye on them and do not let them get hard or over-roasted

Balsamic Syrup
This is awesome.  You will thank me and become addicted

    2 cups balsamic vinegar

    Put the balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan over medium-low heat and bring to a boil. As soon as it boils, reduce the heat so it simmers, gently. Continue simmering until the liquid has reduced to 1/2 - 1/3 its original volume. Keep an eye on it. Don't let it bubble up in the pan or boil again. You may need to reduce the heat a few more times as the volume drops. When done, it should be thick and syrupy. This may take 20-30 minutes.
    Allow the syrup to cool in the pan (it'll thicken even more as it cools) and store in a clean jar. Label it and your syrup will keep indefinitely.
        Arugula, Clementine, and Jicama Salad w/ Balsamic Reduction
ARUGULA, CLEMENTINE and JICAMA SALAD with BALSAMIC REDUCTION
Delish combo.  May sub. regular orange sections for clementines.  Serves 2 h/t Marni Molini

    2 cups arugula
    1 clementine, peeled and segmented with each segment sliced in half length-wise and seeds removed
    1 medium jicama, peeled
    2 tablespoons balsamic reduction
    salt and pepper to taste

     Layer the ingredients as listed and drizzle with balsamic reduction. Season with salt and pepper to taste and enjoy.  Simple!
        Otsu
BLACK SESAME OTSU
One of my all time fave recipes. Serves 4   h/t Heidi Swanson  

    1 teaspoon pine nuts
    1 teaspoon sunflower seeds
    1/2 cup / 2 oz / 60 g black sesame seeds (or use white if you don't have black)
    1 1/2 tablespoons natural cane sugar
    1 1/2 tablespoons shoyu, tamari, or soy sauce
    1 1/2 teaspoons mirin
    Scant 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
    2 tablespoons brown rice vinegar
    1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    Fine-grain sea salt
    12 ounces / 340 g soba noodles
    12 ounces / 340 g extra-firm tofu
    Extra-virgin olive oil
    1 bunch green onions, white and light green parts, thinly sliced

Toast the pine nuts and sunflower seeds in a large skillet over medium heat until golden, shaking the pan regularly. Add the sesame seeds to the pan and toast for a minute or so. It's hard to tell when they are toasted; look closely and use your nose. Remove from the heat as soon as you smell a hint of toasted sesame; if you let them go much beyond that, you'll start smelling burned sesame - not good. Transfer to a mortar and pestle and crush the mixture; the texture should be like black sand. Alternatively, you can use a food processor. Stir in the sugar, shoyu, mirin, sesame oil, brown rice vinegar, and cayenne pepper. Taste and adjust if needed.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt generously, add the soba, and cook according to the package instructions until tender. Drain, reserving some of the noodle cooking water, and rinse under cold running water.

While the noodles are cooking, drain the tofu, pat it dry, and cut into matchstick shapes. Season the tofu with a pinch of salt, toss with a small amount of oil, and cook in a large skillet over medium-high heat for a few minutes, tossing every couple minutes, until the pieces are browned on all sides.

Reserve a heaping tablespoon of the sesame paste, then thin the rest with 1/3 cup / 80 ml of the hot noodle water. In a large mixing bowl, combine the soba, half of the green onions, and the black sesame paste. Toss until well combined. Add the tofu and toss again gently. Serve topped with a tiny dollop of the reserved sesame paste and the remaining green onions.
      carrot oatmeal cookies
CARROT OATMEAL COOKIES
What more could you want?  I'm even sharing some healthy, earth friendly cookies!  These are so healthy you could have them for breakfast...yum yum
h/t Heidi Swanson

    1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or unbleached all-purpose flour)
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    scant 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
    1 cup rolled oats
    2/3 cup chopped walnuts
    1 cup shredded carrots
    1/2 cup real maple syrup, room temperature
    1/2 cup unrefined (fragrant) coconut oil, warmed until just melted
    1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

Preheat oven to 375F degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and oats. Add the nuts and carrots. In a separate smaller bowl use a whisk to combine the maple syrup, coconut oil, and ginger. Add this to the flour mixture and stir until just combined.

Drop onto prepared baking sheets, one level tablespoonful at a time, leaving about 2 inches between each cookie. Bake in the top 1/3 of the oven for 10 - 12 minutes or until the cookies are golden on top and bottom.

Makes about 2 1/2 dozen cookies.

"Do You Want To Know A Secret?   The Beatles

"I'll Follow The Sun"   The Beatles

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

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