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In this weekly series we have been discussing the benefits of a vegetarian/vegan diet including:better health, public health, food safety, animal rights, frugal living, global food crisis and  the immense contribution of meat/livestock production to climate change/resource depletioin

A prius driver who consumes a meat based diet actually contributes more to global warming than a Hummer driver who eats low on the food chain.
The evidence is strong.  It's not simply that meat is a contributor to global warming , it's that it's a major contributor.  Larger by a significant margin than the transportation sector.  One of the reasons is methane
"Refusing meat is the single most effective thing you can do to reduce your carbon footprint"
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/McCartney music!

Looks like a good chance that China will be joining the Meatless Monday campaign!

Tonight is the First Night of Passover and I'm here to tell you that yes, it is possible to have a vegetarian/vegan Passover Seder. With the help of Vegetarian Times I've put together an entire Passover menu that would also serve well for Easter dinner. As I've written before I have a very large extended family that eventually gets around to celebrating almost every holiday. It's joyous but also exhausting so I try to keep things simple and healthy.

        Kosher for Passover

A great way to keep the kids entertained while you're preparing for the holiday. Just provide some matzoh, candies, cookies, pretzels etc. with some icing or peanut/almond butter to use for glue and let the kids get creative!
       Artichoke leek soup with pesto
A perfect start for a lovely spring holiday be it Passover or Easter. Add more broth or water as needed for desired consistency.  Serves 6

    2 Tbs. olive oil
    2 medium leeks, white parts chopped (2 cups)
    9 cloves garlic, peeled
    2 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth
    2 9.9-oz. jars water-packed artichoke hearts, rinsed and drained (2 cups) or 1 10-oz. pkg. frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
    2 medium boiling potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces (¾ cup)
    6 fresh thyme sprigs
    2 tsp. lemon juice
    6 Tbs. prepared basil pesto

1. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add leeks and garlic, and sauté 5 minutes, or until leeks are softened and translucent. Add broth, artichokes, potatoes, thyme, and 2 cups water; cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; season with salt and pepper, if desired; and simmer, partially covered, 20 to 25 minutes, or until potatoes and garlic are very tender.
2. Remove thyme sprigs, and strip remaining thyme leaves into soup pot. Transfer soup to blender or food processor or use immersion blender, and blend until smooth. Return to pot and stir in lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Ladle soup into bowls, and garnish each serving with 1 Tbs. prepared pesto.
       Quinoa and Greens Pie
Also called Peter Rabbit Pie, from Vegetarian Times.  This is a favorite of mine, it's great for a brunch or for a special Easter or Passover dinner because it's non gluten.

    1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
    1 large bunch chicory (1 to 1 1/4 lb.), cut into bite-sized pieces (bottom 1 1/2 inches of hard stems removed) or use mustard greens, collards, watercress or arugula.

    1 head romaine lettuce, shredded
    3 Tbs. olive oil, divided
    2 medium onions, thinly sliced (2 cups)
    2 green onions, thinly sliced (1/4 cup)
    1/4 cup chopped fresh dill (optional)
    1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese, preferably Greek (1 oz.)
    1/4 cup grated aged goat cheese or Swiss cheese (1 oz.) (I use 1/2 cup feta and no goat cheese because I am a feta fanatic.)
    3 eggs, lightly beaten

1. Place quinoa in small saucepan, and toast over medium heat 2 to 3 minutes, or until almost dry. Add 1 cup water, and season with salt, if desired. Cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, covered, 15 minutes. Remove from heat, and transfer to large bowl.
2. Heat large pot over medium heat. Add chicory or other greens, and cook 3 to 5 minutes, or until wilted, stirring frequently or tossing with tongs. Add romaine, and wilt 1 to 2 minutes more. Transfer greens to strainer, and squeeze out excess moisture. Transfer to cutting board, and chop into small pieces. Stir greens into quinoa.
3. Preheat oven to 350°F. Heat 1 Tbs. oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions, and sauté 10 minutes, or until browned. Add cooked onions, green onions, dill, feta cheese, and goat cheese to quinoa mixture. Stir in eggs; season with salt and pepper, if desired.
4. Pour 1 Tbs. oil into 9-inch pie pan, and place in oven. Heat 5 minutes, or until oil is hot. Swirl oil to coat bottom of pan, then spread quinoa mixture in pan with spatula. Bake 20 minutes. Drizzle pie with remaining 1 Tbs. oil, and bake 20 to 30 minutes more, or until golden brown.
      carrot, blueberry, sunflower seed salad
So simple and colorful. Use amounts of ingredients to your liking and enjoy!

Grate carrots, toast some sunflower seeds, and toss with blueberries, olive oil, lemon juice and plenty of black pepper. Sweet, sour, crunchy, soft.
     Chocolate Mousse Cake
This MOCHA CHOCOLATE MOUSSE CAKE takes the cake! Fabulous and perfect for either Passover or Easter. For Easter you might want to add some pastel jordan almonds on top for decoration. So pretty. Serves 12
This dessert puffs like a soufflé when baked, then settles to become a rich, mousse-like cake. When slicing, use a knife dipped in hot water and then wiped dry. The heated blade will glide smoothly through the cake without sticking.

    9 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
    ¾ cup light coconut milk
    1 Tbs. instant espresso powder
    1 Tbs. vanilla extract
    5 room temperature eggs
    6 Tbs. organic cane sugar
    ¼ cup almond flour
    1 Tbs. confectioners’ sugar, for sprinkling

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray. Wrap bottom and sides of pan in foil. Grind chocolate to coarse meal in food processor.
2. Bring coconut milk to a boil in saucepan. Remove from heat, and stir in espresso powder. Pour over chocolate in food processor, and pulse until smooth. Add vanilla, and pulse until combined. Transfer chocolate mixture to bowl.
3. Beat eggs and sugar with electric mixer on high speed 5 minutes, or until doubled in volume. Fold eggs, then almond flour into chocolate mixture.
4. Pour batter into prepared pan. Set pan inside roasting pan, and fill roasting pan with 1 inch of hot water. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, or until dry crust forms on top but center is still slightly wobbly. Remove pan from water, and cool on wire rack. Refrigerate 2 hours, or overnight to set. Unmold, and sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar.

"All Things Must Pass"  George Harrison

"Here Comes The Sun"  The Beatles

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

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