Tuesday, April 21, 2009

How green is your diet?

Photo taken from here

Take this short test below.

These are my results:
I’ve saved 420 animals thanks to my vegetarian diet.
If I stick to it, I will save over 15,680 more animals from dying and 184,800 pounds of CO2 emissions
from polluting the Earth during my lifetime.

Happy earth day people! I know I know, earth day’s still tomorrow (at least in my time zone). For those of you who don’t know, according to our friend Wikipedia, Earth day is a day designed to inspire awareness and appreciation for the earth’s environment. It was founded by peace activist John McConnell in 1969 partly to generate awareness on overpopulation.

Anyway, if you’d like to celebrate earth day in your safe bubble, why not go vegan? For the day, for
the week, for 3 weeks! Slowly adapt to 1 vegan meal a day, to 2 meals, to 3, to meriendas. Get ideas from here, here, and here.

These are the reasons why veganism = environmentalism without mentioning
animal cruelty, as quoted in the UN Food and Agriculture Organization 2006 Report by Vegan Outreach.
  1. The livestock sector is a major player in climate change, responsible for 18% of greenhouse gas emissions measured in CO2 equivalent. This is higher than emissions of transportation vehicles.
  2. Livestock is responsible for 64% of anthropogenic ammonia emissions (read: POOP and URINE) which contribute to acid rain and acidification of ecosystems.
  3. Livestock accounts for over 8% of global human water use, mostly for irrigation of feedcrops. It is probably the largest sectoral source of water pollution. The major sources of pollution are from animal wastes, antibiotics and hormones, chemicals from tanneries, fertilizers and pesticides, used for feedcrops, and sediments from eroded pastures.
  4. 70% of previous forested land in the Amazon is occupied by pastures and feedcrops cover a large part of the remainder, all for livestock production.
  5. The livestock industry is the leading player in the reduction of biodiversity since it is a major driver of deforestation, land degradation, pollution, climate change, overfishing, sedimentation of coastal areas and facilitation of invasions by alien species.
A vegan diet requires 300 gallons of water per day while a meat-eating diet requires more than 4,200 gallons of water per day, says this site.

A 2006 University of Chicago study found that a person switching from the average American diet to a vegan diet would reduce CO2 emissions by 1,485 kg per year.

Something to think about, guys :)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

A cookie with a twist: Chocolate, PB&J Cookies

Here are some cookies I made yesterday before heading off to a potluck get-together with my missionary girls from Rizal missions. Been hanging around the kitchen during my spare time (when do I not hang around the kitchen?) and wanted to make cookies... Not typical oatmeal / chocolate chip cookies, but something different. So I did some research in my cookbook library and found "You Got Peanut Butter in my Chocolate Cookies" from Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan by Dreena Burton.

I love that Dreena Burton's cookie recipes don't use specialty egg replacers including flax meal and tofu (I think?). Instead, she uses liquid sweeteners such as maple syrup to help with the binding. Well I don't live in maple syrup country... I'm not a honey-eating vegan and I try as much as possible not to use the fake HFCS crap. I got an AHA! moment when I was daydreaming of a PB&J sandwich and thought that perhaps jam could stand in for the syrup.

If you've got Dreena's Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan cookbook, head on over to page 215. I used all purpose flour instead of the barley / spelt and 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp strawberry jam for the maple syrup and agave nectar. As jams are usually chunky, I recommend sticking all the liquid ingredients in your trusty food processor and give it a good pulse til everything's nice and non-lumpy. After mixing the ingredients all together you may notice that the dough's a bit stiff; I added 1 tsp oil apart from the 1/4 cup called for in the recipe.

You won't notice the jam flavor much but it's in the background. The cookies were nice and chewy :)

Curious about the recipe? Let me know if you want a copy.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Pililla Eats

As mentioned in my previous post, I spent Holy Thursday and Easter morning doing missionary work in Pililla, Rizal, a rural poor town about 50km north of Makati. Before I start talking about some of the local food I just wanted to share this picture.

St Mary Magdalene Parish Church in Pililla is 425-years old and made of stone. It’s been preserved and restored amazingly well and I’m sorry I didn’t get to take a snapshot of it. But this is a photo of the Virgin Mary in the Church’s courtyard. It’s a pretty huge statue, probably 6 ft tall or so? The church takes care of 4 dogs and I found this scene after having dinner with my co-missionaries and parish priest. The dogs really know whom to seek for shelter!

Anyway, here’s some local food I came across in the Church parking lot.

I love love love peanuts, especially local ones. Planter has nothing on Pinoy roasted garlic peanuts, and I’m not talking about the junky MSG-laden nuts too! A 1-1.5 oz bag of roasted garlic peanuts was P10 or 21 US cents which was a nice distraction from falling asleep during Christ’s 7 Last Words (sorry Jesus). When I take the bus home from my real job (okay I’ve done it twice only) I love buying the same paper bag full of joy. Yum yum.

You can find this happiness-on-a-stick anywhere in the country but it was especially wonderful in Pililla as we trudged through one of the 3 processions we attended. The tindero didn’t skimp on the brown sugar, thank God. I think it was also P10 for 2 saba bananas.

This cart is owned by a man I like to call Green Mango Guy. His cart is attached to his bike so he can pedal wherever he pleases, peddling his awesome green mangoes.

You can tell he’s a skilled green mango connoisseur – he knows where to cut in the right places and how to carve out the skin.

He lays each green mango in a plastic bag on egg crates for easy display to the salivating customers. I recommend getting the green mango that almost looks yellow / ripe.

Didn’t I say he was an expert? He isn’t like us regular folk who cut out mango skin piece by piece. He carves out the skin in one piece, which looks very octopi-like.

This is one thing you won’t find anywhere else, I tell you. Green Mango Guy makes his own ultimate green mango topping: chili salt. He pounds rock salt with sili labuyo / bird’s eye chili until the chili goodness melts into the salt. He then sieves off the chili, leaving this perfectly orange-hued spicy salt (the other topping option was bagoong or fermented salted shrimp paste that smells like the death of the ocean).
The perfect merienda: ripe-ish green mango topped with chili salt. Bliss for only P7 or 15 US cents. I miss this already!

I love love love Green Mango Guy’s chili salt. I think other variations that would work well with green mango are
[1] salt + chili + sugar, and
[2] salt + chili + fried garlic

Monday, April 6, 2009

Overdue post about stuff I've made + out for Holy Thursday - Easter

Wow, seems like it's been awhile since I've blogged... Hmm, I reckon it's been 2 weeks? And 5 weeks since I've talked about actual food! Truth be told I've been busy with actual baking, actual work (i.e. my real job), and catching up on my favorite shows. I've been watching marathons of The Office, which is my absolute favorite TV comedy. I can watch that show all day everyday and not get bored... My new favorite obsession is True Blood. Well I love the Dracula legend and anything that stems from it.

I am also currently watching The Godfather for the very first time. I got around to readind the book end of last year and I loooove Mario Puzo. Been pining to watch the movies and am glad I'm finally watching them.

Anyway, on with the food.

My last food-related blog was about indoor grilling which I utilized in making this dish -- a toasted couscous salad with chickpeas, zucchini and bell peppers. This was my second time to make couscous, I love it! It's easy to make and people who look and eat it are easily impressed, since who in this country makes couscous in their home? I was going to make a separate blog post about this but I've been lazy -- I mean, busy watching my shows. It basically has toasted cooked couscous, chickpeas (canned), lemon zest, caramelized shallots, basil chiffonade, and grilled zucchini and peppers. The dressing is just lemon juice, olive oil, grated raw garlic, and salt and pepper.

This is a picture of the first savory dish I sold back in mid-February. It's a farfalle and black bean salad with yellow peppers and tomatoes, with a mango-cilantro vinaigrette. A big hit! Wish I took a more appealing photo...

Vanilla cupcakes with lime buttercream. Remember how I would sometimes bake a cake to get rid of excess frosting? Well I do the same (getting rid of frosting) by baking mini cupcakes. Again vanilla is a perfect neutral flavor to any kind of frosting (usually).

Err... This is a vanilla cupcake with chocolate buttercream. Unfortunatley it looks like crap on a cupcake, hence the attempt to make them look more festive with the nonpareils. What do you think -- fail?

I'm a so-so fan of chocolate chip cookies. However I am a big fan of coconut chocolate chip cookies. Here they're made extra-coconutty with virgin coconut oil and muscovado sugar. Heaven.

New favorite cupcake -- the banoffee cupcake. Essentially, a banana cupcake topped with coffee buttercream and encrusted with homemade toffee bits.

Random cupcake porn -- red velvet cupcakes and carrot cake cupcakes.

And, favorite cupcake #2 -- banana cupcakes with peanut buttercream!


Last year during Holy Week I did some missionary work in Tingloy Island in Batangas. This year it's not a whole week but rather Thursday to Sunday, and not in Tingloy but somewhere in Rizal. I am going to miss the Tingloy kids :( But, I hear they switched to Rizal because it's easier to reach via car while with Tingloy one has to take the bus to the Batangas deck then take a wooden banca to Tingloy. Apparently some parents are still too queasy to let their "little girls" ride a boat to a different island. It was an amazing experience, am hoping this time it'll be amazing as well. I'm planning to subsist on canned chickpeas, cereal, soymilk, and bananas.

For the record, I'm no saint... I mean, I try my best to be a good person -- being vegan is definitely a part of it. I am not super religious, but it's Holy Week and I'm Catholic, so I look at it as an opportunity to do some sacrifice and spend time with my poor countrymen. Wish me luck!
Related Posts with Thumbnails