We love The Ecology Center! One of our partners since early on, The Ecology Center is an environmental education center and non-profit located in sunny San Juan Capistrano. At their location, they offer workshops ranging from Fruit Tree Care to Rainwater Harvesting!
Their wonderful instructors also offer monthly classes at our location with a different subject each month. Next Saturday, March 2nd, we are excited to host the Garden Design workshop for all ages! In the workshop, participants will learn how to optimize their patio or garden space for an abundant garden. Sign up for a space today!
Learn more about the work of The Ecology Center and how you can get involved!
This past Tuesday, October 2nd, we had the honor of hosting Dr. Jane Goodall of the Jane Goodall Institute and Roots and Shoots! We are thrilled that over 1,000 guests were able to hear Dr. Goodall’s wisdom at the speaking event in the UC Irvine Pacific Ballrooms. We wanted to share photos from the speaking event and the following VIP reception.
The live broadcast of this event will be available on our website for a limited time! Stay tuned for more details.
Chancellor Drake welcoming Dr. Goodall to the stage.
Dr. Goodall enthralling the crowd.
Dr. Goodall speaking to the audience of over 1,000 guests!
Big thanks and gratitude to our lovely photographers: Alex Abercrombie and Jason Niedle. We also wanted to thank UCI, all the students, staff and faculty that came out to hear Dr. Goodall, Apples & Oranges for filming the speaking event and Orange County Films for streaming the event for us! And of course, a big thank you to all of the guests who joined us. We are so grateful to have such an amazing community helping us make peace real!
Happy Monday! Start off the week with a healthy choice for you and environment with this recipe!
Meat intake doesn’t just affect out bodies; there are environmental consequences. According to Youth and Environment Europe, tropical forests are cleared in order to expand acreage for livestock use. “The burning of the forests contributes 20% of all greenhouse gases, which is more than from transportation. Roughly 1,000 species a year become extinct because of the destruction of the rainforests.
Avocado Mac and Cheese
10 ounces dry elbow macaroni 2 cloves garlic, minced 2 avocados, peeled and pitted 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro Salt and pepper, to taste 2 tablespoons butter 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 1 cup milk 2 cups shredded Pepper Jack cheese Salt and pepper, to taste Fresh avocado chunks, for garnish, if desired
1. Bring water to a boil in a large pot. Salt the water and add in macaroni. Stir and cook until Al Dente, about 8-10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
2. While the pasta is cooking, make the avocado sauce by placing the garlic, avocados, lime juice, cilantro, salt and pepper into a food processor or blender. Process until smooth and creamy. Set aside.
3. To make the cheese sauce, place butter in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat. When butter is melted, whisk in flour to create a paste. Whisk in milk until smooth. Stir with a wooden spoon until the sauce starts to thicken. Add in Pepper Jack cheese and stir until cheese is melted and sauce is creamy.
4. Place macaroni in a large bowl. Pour the avocado sauce over the macaroni and stir until well coated. Add the cheese sauce and stir until macaroni is coated and creamy. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve warm. Garnish with fresh avocado chunks, if desired.
Note-the lime juice keeps the avocado from browning. The mac and cheese is best eaten the first day, but it is still good the second day. The pasta may turn slightly brown, but not bad. If you want a milder flavor, you can use Monterey Jack or White Cheddar Cheese.
Livestrong lists several health benefits of a vegetarian diet including, lower rates of kidney disease as well as slower progression when it already exists. This could be because vegetarians tend to have lower cholesterol levels and appear to consume less protein. In addition plant-derived proteins may stress the kidneys less than animal-derived.
Start off the week healthy with this recipe!
Spiced Lentil Tacos
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup dried brown lentils, rinsed
1 package (2.25 ounce) taco seasoning
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, finely chopped (use half for less heat)
2 teaspoons adobo sauce
8 taco shells
1 1/4 cups shredded lettuce
1 cup chopped tomato
1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat (2 percent) cheddar
Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook onion, garlic and salt until onion begins to soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Add lentils and taco seasoning.
Cook until spices are fragrant and lentils are dry, about 1 minute. Add broth; bring to a boil.
Reduce heat, cover and simmer until lentils are tender, 25 to 30 minutes.
Mix sour cream, chile and adobo sauce in a bowl. Uncover lentils and cook until mixture thickens, 6 to 8 minutes. Mash with a rubber spatula. Spoon 1/4 cup lentil mixture into each taco shell. Top with 2 heaping teaspoons sour cream mixture, lettuce, tomato and cheese.
It’s Monday once again – we hope you enjoy our new meatless recipe! It will be sure to start your week off on a healthy and happy note.
Take a look at International Justice Mission’s campaign for slave-free tomatoes, Recipe for Change. Think about purchasing your tomatoes for this recipe from supermarkets that have joined the Fair Food program to provide only slave-free tomatoes, such as Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods, or shop at your local farmer’s market! You can also join the campaign to bring slave-free tomatoes to your local supermarket. This simple contribution can help to fight human right’s abuses around the world. Learn more from Recipe for Change’s resources.
Arugula, Mozzarella, Tomato on Focaccia
3 large, vine-ripened tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
Focaccia bread, halved horizontally (enough for four sandwiches)
1/2 pound mozzarella, sliced thin (fresh is best)
1 Tbsp. mayonnaise (optional)
In a large bowl or baking dish, combine tomatoes, onion and vinegar and season with pepper and salt. Marinate 30 minutes.
Layer tomatoes, mozzarella, onions and arugula on the Focaccia half. Spread some mayonnaise on the top half of the Focaccia if desired. Press top half over the bottom, hold together with a couple of tooth picks.
3 cups finely chopped red bell pepper (about 2 medium)
2 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced (about 3 cups)
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
12 cooked lasagna noodles
3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 375°.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add white onion; sauté 5 minutes or until tender. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute or until golden. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, sugar, 1/8 teaspoon black pepper, crushed red pepper, and tomatoes. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 15 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Remove from heat; stir in basil and oregano. Cool.
Combine ricotta, Parmigiano-Reggiano, tofu, egg, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a food processor; process for 10 seconds or until blended. Stir in green onions. Set aside.
Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add bell pepper, zucchini, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt to pan; sauté 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender and liquid evaporates. Remove from heat; stir in parsley and remaining 1/8 teaspoon black pepper.
Spread 1/2 cup tomato mixture in the bottom of a 13 x 9–inch baking dish coated with cooking spray; top with 3 noodles. Spread 3/4 cup tomato mixture over noodles; top with 1 cup tofu mixture and 1 cup zucchini mixture. Repeat layers twice, ending with noodles. Spread remaining 3/4 cup tomato mixture over top. Bake at 375° for 35 minutes or until bubbly; top with mozzarella cheese. Bake an additional 5 minutes or until cheese melts. Let stand 10 minutes.
For this week, we decided to satisfy your sweet tooth and provide a healthy, vegan dessert. Although most desserts do not contain meat anyway, this dessert is different from other treats in that it is healthier and better for the environment.
1 cup whole almonds
1 1/2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup oat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup light oil, such as safflower or canola
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup apple juice
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup chocolate chips, preferably bittersweet
2 tablespoons raspberry preserves
1. Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 350F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray or line with parchment paper.
2. Process almonds in a blender in 2 batches until finely ground. Transfer to a large bowl and add whole-wheat flour, oat flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk oil, maple syrup, apple juice, almond and vanilla extracts in a medium bowl.
3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients; stir to combine. Use your hands to knead the dough together; add 1 to 2 tablespoons additional apple juice if the mixture is too crumbly.
4. Form level tablespoonfuls of dough into balls and place on the prepared baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Gently flatten each ball into a disk, then make an indentation in the center using your thumb or a small spoon. Place a few chocolate chips in each indentation, then cover with 1/4 teaspoon preserves.
5. Bake the cookies, one batch at a time, until golden around the edges, 15 to 17 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
It’s time to begin the week with our Meatless Monday recipe and statistic!
It takes about 12,000 gallons of water to produce a pound of meat while it only takes 565 gallons of water to produce a pound of potatoes, wheat, corn, and rice. Why not try reducing your water consumption by consuming this delicious recipe?
Jeweled Brown Rice with Orange Zest and Mint
2 cups brown basmati rice, rinsed (if you can, soak the rice for up to 8 hours)
2 small yellow onions or shallots
2 medium carrots
Zest of 1 organic orange
Ghee or coconut oil
½ Tbsp. cumin seeds
½ tsp. turmeric
4 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
½ cup mixed dried fruit (dates, apricots, raisins)
1 tsp. sea salt
½ cup packed mint leaves
½ cup packed chives
1 small pomegranate
½ cup nuts (almonds, pistachios)
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
1 lemon, cut into wedges, for serving
In a small glass of hot water (3-4 Tbsp.), add a pinch of saffron and let steep into a “tea” while you prepare the other ingredients.
Dice onion. Grate carrots. Slice off the outer edge of the orange rind, removing as little white pith as possible. Then slice into matchstick-sized strips. Set aside.
Heat a knob of ghee or coconut oil in a pot. Add cumin seeds and cook until fragrant, 1 minute, then add turmeric, bay leaves, and the cinnamon stick, stir to coat with oil and fry for another minute until fragrant. Next add onion, carrots, orange rind, and dried fruit. Cook until the onion softens, about 5 minutes.
Drain rice and add it to the pot with 4 cups of water, the saffron “tea,” and salt. Cover with a lid, bring to a boil, reduce to simmer for 45 minutes, or until the water has evaporated.
While the rice is cooking, wash and chop the herbs. Remove the seeds from the pomegranate. Gently roast the nuts in a dry skillet until fragrant and golden.
When the rice is finished cooking, remove form heat. Scoop rice out onto a baking sheet to cool slightly and to prevent the grains from sticking together. After a few minutes, sprinkle with herbs, nuts, and pomegranate seeds. Fold to incorporate. Season to taste (you will likely need to add more salt at this stage).
Serve rice with a drizzle of good olive oil and lemon wedge. Although the lemon may seem like an afterthought, it is an essential element of the dish, rounding out the flavours and adding a zesty kick. Enjoy!
Americans consume 8 ounces of meat per day, on average, which is about 45% more than the USDA recommends. By cutting meat out of your diet just one day a week, you will be closer to eating the recommended amount of meat, and will be less at risk for certain preventable chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer and obesity.
This week’s vegetarian minestrone soup is healthy and delicious – give it a try!
Vegetarian Minestrone Soup
4 cups vegetable broth
4 cups diced tomatoes
1 tbsp. chopped fresh basil
1/2 tsp. oregano
2 carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
3 zucchini, chopped
1 cup green beans, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups macaroni pasta
In a large pot, combine all the ingredients except the pasta. Simmer over low heat for at least one hour, or until the vegetables are tender.
Add the pasta and bring to a low simmer. Cook for another 20 minutes, or until pasta is done cooking.