Must Try: Portabella Mushroom Burger.

Recently, I’ve found myself spending a lot of time with a friend who happens to be a vegetarian. It’s kind of a great thing; I’ve experienced a lot of fantastic (and rather healthy) food I would never have normally tried on my own. I feel inappropriate and/or immoral ordering something for carnivores when we go out to eat, so I end up secretly sneaking to Chic-Fil-A in the mornings for breakfast from time to time still. I’m not quite turned to the other side just yet, but I’ve definitely cut down on my consumption of meat. The Richmond Vegetarian Festival was a blast. Lots of interesting vendors and activists, a variety of musicians and bands, and a huge row of vegan and vegetarian friendly food and drink tents. Not to mention some fabulous hippie-esq clothing I mentally took note of for future shopping ventures.

Okay, back to food.

Fake chicken is tasty, especially with cranberries and goat cheese. However, I’m glad I found out what it’s made out of after I decided I liked it. A while back I tried tofu and absolutely hated it, but after giving it another try a month or so ago, it’s actually pretty legit. I guess it’s all on how you cook it. Also, there’s a place downtown, Sammy T’s, where I tried my first tempeh burger. It was rather salty and had a very interesting texture, but I could have it every now and then as something different.

Additionally, I’ve amped up my servings of vegetables quite a bit over the past few months. One of my favorites is mushrooms, in omelets, on burgers, in stir-fry, everything. So, I went hunting online for an easy, quick meal involving mushrooms. I happened to find one, however, changed quite a few things to make it my own. Here’s what you’ll need and how to make them.

2 portabella mushroom caps
2 kaiser rolls
1 orange bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
1/2 sweet onion
1 container of roasted red peppers, seasoned
1 fresh mozzarella ball, thinly sliced
1 small package of herb chèvre
olive oil
Montreal steak seasoning, for those of us who don’t own each seasoning separately
butter

Slice the onions and peppers into 1 inch slices. Add olive oil and seasoning to pan. Cook onions and peppers until soft, caramelizing the onions, about 7-10 minutes on medium heat. Coat the mushrooms in olive oil, sprinkle salt and pepper, and grill for about 5-7 minutes, or until tender, depending on the size. The longer you cook them, the tougher they will be. Just before the mushrooms are done, slice the kaiser rolls in half, butter, and toast in a pan until golden brown. Add peppers, onions, and roasted red peppers to the bottom, set the mushroom cap on top, place the mozzarella slices above that, and spread the chèvre on the top bun. Give it a minute to let the cheeses melt a bit.

Probably one of the best burgers I’ve ever had. There’s a lot going on, but it tastes fantastic. Only takes about 20 minutes to prepare and cook, and guess what! All your crazy non-meat eating friends can enjoy it with you.

Bon appétit!

Fine, Call Me A Tree Hugger.

Originally, I had started this post because a friend (or frenemy, rather) brought up the idea that reducing my carbon footprint means nothing. I, as one person, am not going to change a single thing. Buying organic toothpaste, recycled paper towels, or a Brita filter will do nothing but cost me more money than if I were to purchase regular merchandise. However, I beg to differ.

  • If every family in the country purchased one package of 100 percent recycled napkins instead of regular, it would save 1 million trees.
  • Last year, the US used over 39 billion (yes, billion) plastic bottles–enough to circle the globe 190 times. Each Brita filter can save up to 300 of those bottles from being tossed in a landfill.
  • By replacing one box of 48 ounce petroleum-based powder laundry detergent with Seventh Generation’s vegetable-based detergent, we could save 96,000 barrels of oil–enough to heat 5,500 houses per year.
  • It takes 75,000 trees to print one run of the New York Times Sunday edition. Read news online.
  • The average grocery shopper uses between 500 and 1,200 plastic bags per year. Buying a couple reusable bags from your grocery store will save those bags from resting in landfills.

Anyway, those are just a few things I can personally do that A) make me feel like I’m making a difference, B) don’t take a lot of effort, and C) show how one person can, in fact, change the world. My goal for next weekend is to actually buy a sorter for my paper, plastic, and aluminum waste that I can keep in my kitchen. My apartment complex does not have a recycling facility, but there is one exactly 4.2 miles away. That is my next step in becoming a little more eco-friendly each day. Not to mention, we keep our townhouse at a whopping 64 degrees, unplug the electronics, and reuse our water glass each night. And perhaps down the road, an environmentally friendly wedding theme will be in the picture. Basically, I want to do good. I want to see others doing good as well. I’ve joined the Green Team at work, and would like to see one established in my neighborhood. To sum it up, at the risk of sounding completely cliché:

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” -Mahatma Gandhi

Cheers To The Next 60 Days.

Starting today, my boyfriend and I will be doing the Insanity workout. Insane, you ask? Yes. In all honesty, I miss being in shape. I used to play soccer, and dance, and snowboard, and… you get the idea. Then college came and went, and the six-pack went with it. Don’t worry, I’m not one of those average girls who complains that she’s so fat blah blah blah. I am of healthy weight, I would just like to tone it up a bit. I’ve heard horror stories about this workout plan, and I’m ready. Well, as soon as today’s headache decides it would like to vacate.

The Boyfriend started this morning, just the fitness test, and said he felt like jello afterwords. I’m a bit nervous because I don’t know what to expect. I spent hours Google-ing whether or not Insanity actually works, and how difficult it truly is, and I’m looking forward to Hell and its results. I’m ready. I’m tired of saying I’m going to go for a run, when in all reality, my run turns into a slight jog, followed by a few minutes of walking, followed by slower walking, and then just ceases to be called a “run” at all. I went to the gym a couple times, mainly to do yoga, but I just couldn’t afford more than the free three day trial. So it’s time. I’m ready. Here we go. Wish me luck.