Archive for January, 2010

Vegan Whoopie Pies

Posted in Food and Recipes on January 27th, 2010 by Lacey – Comments Off
whoopie pies

Whoopie pies! So delicious. Sorry for the crappy picture...I will take a better one next time I make these.

Earlier this week, we had a bake sale to raise money for Haiti earthquake relief. The bake sale was a huge success, raising $1100 for Partners in Health which is then going to be matched by the company I work for, the matched money going to the Red Cross.  Cool, eh?

For this bake sale, I baked vegan whoopie pies, recipe courtesy of Hannah Kaminski. Why whoopie pies? Well, why not?! I was organizing the bake sale so I knew no one else would be bringing them and hey–who doesn’t like the sound of whoopie pies. This recipe and the accompanying video were so good that my whoopie pies turned out PERFECT. I also took the time to invest in the correct tools–a cookie scoop (like a mini ice cream scooper–to get all the cookies the same size), a reusable pastry bag for the icing/filling, and an oven thermometer because our oven runs hot (by 50 degrees I now know). Anyways, the whoopie pies received really good reviews and people never suspected they were *gasp* NOT EATING SOMETHING WITH EGGS AND MILK.

As a relevant tangent, I made little table tents for the bake sale out of cardboard cereal boxes I had stacked up waiting to get taken to the recycling center and then I put paper samples I had in my stash in the middle for the actual label. Trying to liven up what probably would have just been an impersonal post-it note that, likely, would have just been thrown away in the end. We recycled all the tents, don’t worry.

I’ll have a rant about that another time, but I would just like to say that vegan food is so misunderstood.

The Ethics of Being an Environmentalist Vegan; “Eco-friendly?”

Posted in Being Green on January 23rd, 2010 by Lacey – Comments Off

Part I: I’ve really been struggling a lot lately with priorities. Namely, is it more important to be an environmentalist or to be a vegan? I am starting to think it’s impossible to be both without some level of give. For example, if you are a vegan, you don’t consume animal products on any level–your clothing, housewares, or food. That means you’ll likely choose an artificial material as a substitute (for let’s say, shoes or a belt) which is, most likely, derived from oil (not a renewable resource). In the couple of months that I’ve been avoiding all animal products both in food and in lifestyle, I’m having a hard time reconciling the fact that even though I didn’t kill an animal, I’m probably creating more of an environmental impact (negatively) by wearing or using this whateveritis.  From here on out–I’ll just be doing the best I can, probably buying anything leather first as a seconhand item, and then as a firsthand purchase if I am out of alternatives.

I know there are alternatives to this choice and if I just try harder, I’m sure I can make it work. But what I’m thinking is that as busy as I am and being middle class–I simply can’t afford it.  Also, I did this as an experiment because people are very sensitive about the label “vegan.” Meaning–vegan is not just the way you eat. So, I’m calling myself a vegetarian who doesn’t eat dairy/eggs. There ya go.

I’ve decided that my focus, instead of being vegan, needs to be my consumption of renewable resources.  Say what you will, but animals are technically a renewable resource, and my personal ethical beliefs are that animals are beneath humans on the food chain and that they can lead very nice lives in certain circumstances before being consumed. That doesn’t mean I’m going to start eating animals, but I’m going to be open to ethically-produced animal products, such as leather.

We are happy to serve you

We are happy to serve you ceramic mug

Part II: Here’s a story I found amusing this week: a coworker was showing me her new Copco To Go Cup, which touts itself as “eco friendly” because it’s reusable and you’re not throwing away a similar-looking coffee cup every day.  Now–this cup is BPA-free but is still plastic. A better alternative might be the I Am Not a Paper Cup, the Eco Coffee Cup with double porcelain walls and a silicone exterior (serious coffee business there!), or the single-walled porcelain Eco Cup.  I’d love to test run all these since I’m a regular coffee drinker, so we’ll see what can be arranged.  But honestly–if you recycle your #5 plastic lid (Starbucks lids were #5 last I checked), your paper cup is renewable. So in certain circumstances, I think throwing away or recycling your coffee beverage is just fine. Better than throwing away a plastic cup–or even recycling it!

My point though: just consider what might be “eco-friendly.” It’s such a hot thing right now that people are calling all kinds of stuff eco-friendly.  I don’t consider something eco-friendly just because you can reuse it–we should all be reusing things as a regular habit of life. I do consider something eco-friendly if it is made of eco-friendly materials (such as porcelain which is, essentially, made from mud), can be reused, and then can be recycled after you’re done with it.

To close, I just had to share this adorable NYC-esque ceramic cup.  Want!

Ruggles Green

Posted in Being Green on January 15th, 2010 by Lacey – 2 Comments
Spicy Fish Tacos

Spicy Fish Tacos: not vegan, but lovely nonetheless

My companions and I ate at Ruggles Green this week and I thought that since it’s Houston’s first (and only) “certified green restaurant” that I needed to check it out and write about it here.

So, what exactly is a “certified green restaurant”? According to the certificate, Ruggles Green does not use styrofoam (yay!), recycles extensively, and does some other stuff–like compost their coffee grounds, energy-efficient lighting, use of “green” building materials (bamboo was used in their dining booths), and non-toxic paint on the walls.

Nutburger

Veggie nut burger: hemp protein, sauteed vegetables, pecans, almonds, macro greens and fresh mozzarella, lettuce, tomato, and red onion served on a whole wheat bun. Served with sweet potato fries.

The dining area is long and narrow. When you walk into the restaurant, you order at the front, take a number, and your food is delivered to your table. I, myself, like this setup because I can’t imagine a server trying to navigate such a narrow dining area with a huge tray full of food. Also, if you only have an hour or so to eat lunch, cutting out the service can save some time.

The restaurant is in the Montrose area of town, which is part boho, part yuppie. This place was more “wine bar” than “burrito” if you know what I mean, but I felt that the menu was reasonably priced, especially for the large portions.

Speaking of the menu–there weren’t any vegan options I could identify, but I just left the cheese off my burger and was fine. There were also a couple of decent-looking vegetarian and raw options, and the staff seemed pretty vegetarian/vegan/raw-friendly. They seemed unfazed when I asked for them to leave the cheese and whatever else dairy off my sandwich.

2 of my companions ordered the Naturewell Natural Beef Burger, another had Spicy Fish Tacos, and I had the Ruggles Green Veggie Nut Burger. Mmmmm…nut burger.

Overall this place was great–it had a good vibe and has a children’s menu, so I suspect they like kids (even though we didn’t see any). I’ll definitely be returning, probably when/if our parents come to town.

2010: The Year of the Plastic Bag

Posted in Being Green on January 10th, 2010 by Lacey – 10 Comments

thankyouthankyou bagOr maybe the year of the non-use of the plastic bag, I should say. Or something.

Last year, my husband and I switched to canvas/recycled plastic grocery bags. They really are great–they hold more, you can wash them when they get dirty, and they’re really durable.  Probably the only downside is that sometimes they’re easy to leave in the car or back at the house, and you really have to make an effort to remember to bring them with you. We leave them by our back door in a basket so we pass them on our way in and out. That helps usually.

My point: I’d like to just stop using all types of plastic bags. Produce bags, ziploc bags, takeout bags. I can’t rule out garbage bags yet but who knows. If anyone out there has eliminated or cut down on plastic in your life, I wanna know how-be sure to comment!

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