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Please begin with an informative title:

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, global food crisis and the staggeringly huge contribution of meat/livestock production to climate change/resource depletion (pdf)


. 64 Billion livestock bred each year

. Livestock outweight wildlife 8:1

. Livestock consume 6X megafauna

. Humanity consumes 12% of appropiated Net Primary Consumption NPP--Livestock consumes 58% NPP

. Livestock provide 17% of our calorie intake (fish 1%)
If we ate a plant based diet, we would have a 50% surplus of grain (UNEP,2005)

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.

You must enter an Intro for your Diary Entry between 300 and 1150 characters long (that's approximately 50-175 words without any html or formatting markup).

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!

In the six years I have been on this site, there seems to have been a sea change in peoples consciousness in acceptance of the reality of climate change. There are many more diaries on the environment and many are going to the rec list! In the comments, I see immense concern about our future and the generations to follow. Many are understanding that we all have a role to play in mitigating this serious crisis and are seeking ways to influence a positive outcome.  And as eminent climate scientist James Hansen has said: the most effective action we as individuals can take to reduce our carbon emissions is to greatly reduce or eliminate our consumption of meat.

But, how to go about it? It's different for everyone. For me, I've been vegetarian for many years and after finding out about the huge carbon footprint of dairy products about two years ago, I decided to go vegan. I needed to find out how to start without a great disruption to my time challenged life. It was much easier than I expected. It was all about recipes and products.

Others may just be starting out and want to provide some structure to their decision. They are wondering should they eliminate meat one day a week? Two or three? Become vegetarian or maybe even vegan? What to do?

        Listen to Graham Hill, founder of Treehugger, talk about how he became a 'Weekday Vegetarian'

Today I will share some recipes and products I used in my transition to veganism. It's strange but after so many years of going meatless, I didn't add faux meat products to my diet until I became vegan. It didn't seen necessary as in addition to protein from legumes, beans, grains etc. I could also get a good deal of protein from dairy products. But, in becoming vegan I wanted to replace the protein in my diet from dairy so began to try some faux meat produsts. Wow! Many of them are very good! And it changed my cooking because I could use some traditional recipes and just sub a faux meat product for the meat in most recipes. So let's get started with the food!
I know, looks pretty simple to most people but, I hadn't had a hot dog for many years until I went vegan and decided to try a meatless variety. My fave brand is Field Roast Brand, which has a grain rather then a soy base and is so good. Much better than I remember a regular hot dog ever tasting.
      Potato Salad
What's a hot dog without potato salad? This was easy. All I did was sub delicious vegenaise for regular mayo. And I like even better..who knew?

3 lbs red potatoes
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1/2 cup red onion, chopped
1/4 dill pickle, chopped
1/2 cup vegenaise
1/4 cup soy creamer (may omit just use more veganaise)
2 tbs white wine vinegar (I use apple cider vinegar)
1 tbs Dijon mustard
1 tbs prepared yellow mustard
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1 tbs thyme leaves, chopped
1/2 tsp ground celery seed
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp salt

Boil the potatoes until you can press the tip of a knife through with some resistance. Drain, submerge in cold water and cool until they can be handled. Roughly peel, then cube the potatoes. I just tore off the skin that came off easily so, maybe half of the skin remained. Gently stir in the onion, celery and pickle.

Mix the remaining (dressing) ingredients and gently fold into the potatoes, stirring to distribute the dressing. Refrigerate until needed. They were better the next day, so give the flavors some time to blend.
        Vegan Pizza
I was kind of concerned about pizza, because gotta have pizza right? I also had to feed my cheese addiction.  But, there are ways around it and I haven't missed cheese at all. What I did here was use a bakery made dough(which I purchase at my market), spread some marinara sauce, added some of the Tofu ricotta (recipe below) and my fave toppings; roasted red peppers, artichokes, basil leaves, olives and bake.


1 pd firm tofu (pressed)
2 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic minced
1/4 tbsp salt
1/8 cup nutritional yeast flakes ( you can double if you want a stronger nutty flavor )
handfull of basil leaves chopped fine (ten leaves or so)
dash of black pepper

In a large bowl, mush the tofu up with your hands or use a fork, till it's crumbly.

Add lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper and basil. Mush with hands again, this time you want it to get very mushy so squeeze through your fingers and mush until it reaches the consistency of ricotta cheese. May take 2-5 minutes.

Add olive oil, stir with fork. Add nutritional yeast and combine all ingredients well. Use a fork now, because the oil will make it sticky. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
This is even more simple. Use crust and marinara same as above then add Daiya vegan cheese which is awesome. Daiya comes shredded and in block form, Mozz, Cheddar, Jack etc.
        Caesar salad
I was worried about Caesar Salad; another food I thought I couldn't live without. But, I've tried a lot of vegan Caesar Dressing recipes and liked most of them. This is one of my own that I make often.  Sorry I've never measured ingredients but I think you will get the idea. This makes dressing for 2 servings.

capers (about 1-2 teaspoons) mashed with fork
about 5-6 oil cured calamata olives, pitted and diced small (could also use nicoise)
olive oil (about 1/4 cup)
lemon juice from 1 lemon (about 1 tablespoon) or more to taste
lemon zest  (about 1/2 teaspoon)
1 large garlic clove, minced fine or mashed
about 2 teaspoons nutritional yeast
Veganaise (about 1/3 cup)
ground pepper to taste

Gardein Chipotle Lime Chickin strips..prepare according to package directions, slice and serve over salad if desired (optional and delish!)

Mix all together add to torn romaine and homemade croutons.
          Sicilian Chickpeas with Escarole and Caramelized Onions
Must have some greens in a green diary and this is more like the way I usually cook. Adapted from Jack Bishop  

        1 large escarole (or endive) (about 1 1/2 pounds)
        1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
        2 medium onions, halved and thinly sliced
        2 teaspoons sugar
        1/4 cup dark raisins
        Salt and freshly ground black pepper
        3 cups drained Basic Chickpeas (recipe below), plus 1/3 cup cooking liquid reserved OR 3 cups canned chickpeas with 1/3 cup canning liquid reserved

    1. To Prep the Escarole: Discard any tough leaves. Trim and discard the core and any tough stems. Wash the leaves in a large bowl of cold water. Tear the leaves into large pieces, and set aside.

    2. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large sauté pan. Add the onions and cook, stirring often, until golden, about 15 minutes. Stir in the sugar, and continue cooking until the onions are golden brown, about 5 minutes.

    3. Add the raisins and escarole. Cook, turning the escarole occasionally, until the leaves are tender, about 6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

    4. Stir in the chickpeas and their liquid. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the flavors have blended, about 3 minutes. Adjust the seasonings, and serve immediately.

    Basic Chickpeas
I make my chickpeas like this and keep them on hand for salads etc.

    Makes about 6 1/2 cups

        1 pound dried chickpeas (2 1/2 cups)
        3 large garlic cloves
        2 bay leaves

    1. Place the chickpeas in a large bowl, and add enough cold water to cover them by several inches. Soak them for at least 8 hours or overnight. (Or, bring the chickpeas and water to a boil in a large saucepan, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 2 minutes. Then, turn off the heat, cover and set aside for 1 hour.)

    2. Drain the chickpeas, and transfer them to a large saucepan. Add enough cold water to cover them by several inches. Add the garlic and bay leaves, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the chickpeas are still a little firm, tender but not falling apart, 35 to 60 minutes, depending on the freshness of the chickpeas and how long they were soaked.

    3. Add salt to taste, turn off the heat, and let the chickpeas cool in their cooking liquid. (The cooled chickpeas and cooking liquid may be poured into a large airtight container and refrigerated for up to 3 days. Or, divide the cooled beans and cooking liquid among several smaller airtight containers, and freeze for up to several months. Thaw before using.)

    4. Reserve 1/3 cup of the cooking liquid and set aside before draining the chickpeas. Discard the garlic and bay leaves. Use the chickpeas and cooking liquid in recipes or season as desired.
       Vegan Blueberry Banana Bread
I love to bake, and when I became vegan I was most concerned about cakes, pies, breads etc.!  I've been baking most of my life and I have to say that vegan baking has been a delicious revelation.  This is one of the yummiest banana breads I've ever tasted and the healthiest!  It has zero refined sugar, zero dairy, and zero oils -- and, if you wanted, this could be made with gluten-free flour as well. So it's just about as guilt-free as you can possibly get for a sweet bread. Thanks Treehugger!

3 large over-ripe bananas
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/3 cup of your choice of soymilk, almond milk, or apple sauce -- whichever flavor you prefer
1/2 cup agave nectar
2 cups whole wheat flour or use gluten free
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups blueberries or use 1 cup to taste

optional: add 1/2 to 1 cup of your fave nuts such as waluts, hazelnuts etc. just make sure they are, unsalted, raw and coarsely chopped.

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Coat a 9x5 inch loaf pan with a light layer of cooking oil.

2. If using soy or almond milk, add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to it and let it stand until it curdles. About 1 minute. Skip this step if using apple sauce.

3. In a large bowl, mash up the bananas until smooth (but don't be afraid to leave some chunks -- these make a sweet surprise in a slice of bread). Add lemon juice, the curdled milk substitute or apple sauce, and agave nectar. Stir to combine.

4. In another bowl, add flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, and stir to combine.

5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and stir until combined and everything is moistened.

6. Toss in your blueberries and gently stir until evenly mixed.

7. Bake for 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely in the pan before transferring to a plate.

"You Can't Do That"  The Beatles "everybody's green, cause I'm the one who won your heart"

"Cry, Baby, Cry   The Beatles

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

Extended (Optional)

Originally posted to Meatless Advocates Meetup on Mon Apr 15, 2013 at 03:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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