Vegetarian Mushroom Bourguignon

Vegetarian Mushroom Bourguignon

There is something sensuous in the winter about a stew with red wine that simmers well before dinner time. It wafts from the kitchen and throughout your home and builds anticipation for a hearty warm meal.

This vegetarian bourguignon made with mushrooms instead of beef achieves great heights on a cold winter day. While the red wine in this dish deepens the flavor, the chef may want to sip while this lovely dish is simmering.

Servings: 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds mushrooms (mixed types of available) – cut into chunks

  • 8 ounces of pearl onions (when I don’t have pearl onions, I cut up other onions or shallots)

  • 2 leeks (white and light green part) diced

  • 2-3 carrots sliced 

  • 3 garlic cloves

  • 6-7 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste

  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 

  • 1 cup dry red wine

  • 2 cups vegetable broth/stock

  • 1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce 

  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme 

  • 1 bay leaf 

  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika (optional) 

  • Salt and pepper to taste

Assorted Mushrooms Image
Red Wine Image
Instructions:

Step 1: In a large pot add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and then the mushrooms and pearl onions. Cook them until they are browning on one side, about 3-5 minutes. No need to stir, then turn them to the other side for some browning about 3 minutes more. Remove from the pot and place on a plate and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  

Step 2:  Add another tablespoon of olive oil to the pot and cook the carrots, leeks,  and the garlic for about 5 minutes until they begin to soften and release their flavor.  

Step 3:  Add the tomato paste and flour and stir for about a 1 minute. Then add in the red wine, vegetable broth, tamari or soy sauce, thyme, bay leaf, and smoked paprika (optional). Stir and scrap any of the brown pieces from the bottom of the pot.  

Step 4:  Add the mushrooms and pearl onions back into the pot and bring to a simmer.  Cover the pot partly and put on a low heat until all is tender and the sauce is fabulous! This can be at least 30 minutes but 1 hour is better.  Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. 

Serve with sweet potato chunks, mashed potatoes, or polenta.  Crusty bread is a must! 

Lorie Buckingham Home Chef

OPL Founder & Wayfinder Lorie Buckingham Shares a Favorite Recipe

OPL Plant-rich Recipes

Eating more fruits and vegetables is good for you and the planet.  Find more delicious OPL-recommended plant-rich recipes here.

Pasta with Cheese, Herbs and Lemon

Pasta with Cheese, Herbs and Lemon

This recipe is a lovely adult version of pasta and cheese. Herbs and lemon combined with the parmesan cheese and pasta is a simple yet elegant meal. It is easy to make, so it is a weekday go-to-favorite!

Servings: 2

Ingredients:

  • 6 oz angel hair or other thin pasta
  • 2-3 tablespoons of fresh herbs chopped; choose from what you have such as basil, thyme, parsley, sage, rosemary, or others)  If using dried herbs reduce the amount to a teaspoon.
  • 2 garlic cloves sliced
  • ⅓ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 lemon; grate the lemon zest and add to the parmesan cheese; juice the lemon removing seeds)
  • Olive oil 
Spaghetti pasta
Instructions:

Step 1:  Bring a large pot of water with a generous amount of salt to a boil. Add pasta and cook at a rolling boil for 4-5 minutes.

Step 2:  In a large skillet, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and heat on medium. Add the garlic and herbs and cook gently for a couple of minutes to release the fragrance.  Take the skillet off heat until pasta is ready. 

Step 3:  Keep ½ cup of the pasta water and put aside.  Then drain the pasta and using tongs place the pasta in the skillet with the garlic and herbs.  Turn on heat and toss pasta with herbs for 1-2 minutes. Add the ½ cup pasta water and the lemon juice.  Toss the pasta some more.  Turn off the heat.

Step 4:  Add the parmesan cheese and lemon zest to the pasta. (Note: you can retain some for topping the pasta before serving.) Toss the pasta with the cheese and zest until evenly combined. Add salt and pepper to taste; usually very little is needed. 

Step 5:  Using the tongs, evenly divide the pasta into two plates and top with parmesan

Sam Shane Image

Recipe compliments of Home Chef and OPL Community member Sam Shane

 

OPL Plant-rich Recipes

Eating more fruits and vegetables is good for you and the planet.  Find more delicious OPL-recommended plant-rich recipes here.

Copycat Famous Levain Bakery Chocolate Chip Cookie

Copycat Famous Levain Bakery Chocolate Chip Cookie

Copycat Famous Levain Bakery Chocolate Chip Cookies are the perfect homemade treat to make your kitchen smell delicious and to put smiles on all the faces in your home. The secret is the combination of butterscotch and chocolate chips in the recipe.

Total Time: 45 minutes (includes cooling time)

Yield: 12 servings

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup cold butter cut into small cubes
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup butterscotch chips
  • 2 cups walnuts roughly chopped
Chocolate Chip Cookie Ingredients

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 410 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together cold cubed butter, sugar, and brown sugar for about 4 minutes or until creamy. 

Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each one. 

Add vanilla. 

Stir in flours, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt. 

Mix until combined to avoid overmixing. 

Stir in chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, and walnuts.  

Separate dough into large balls and place on a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  They will definitely be bigger than you think! 

You should fit 4 large cookie dough balls for extra large cookies. 

Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown on the top. 

Let rest on cooling rack for at least 15 minutes to set.  

Sarah Biddle Image

Recipe compliments of Home Chef Sarah Biddle and OPL Community Member

OPL Plant-rich Recipes

Eating more fruits and vegetables is good for you and the planet.  Find more delicious OPL-recommended plant-rich recipes here.

What Future Do You Choose?

What Future Do You Choose?

This is a pivotal moment when we can make a difference for our future. As global citizens we change our focus and act differently.

We live in exciting and scary times. It is impossible to avoid the fact that we have been on a path that is not sustainable. Ours is a high-pressure world where people are experiencing stress, anxiety, and health issues at growing rates.  While daunting, this is a pivotal moment when we can make a difference for our future. We can see ourselves as global citizens, change our focus, and act differently.  We know that it is worth it because this is a beautiful planet and life is precious.

Biodiversity is decreasing while the pollution of our air, land, and water continues.

Much has been written and reported on the harm we have already unleashed on the planet and our lives.  Climate changes are impacting people around the world with fires, flooding, crop failures, dangerous air quality, and extreme heat. Coral reefs are dying at increasing speeds while plastic is piling up in our waterways. The stripping of trees continues to reduce our green canopy of the needed coverage to absorb CO2 and create oxygen. Food supplies are at risk and we have many wasteful processes while many do not have access to nourishing food and clean water.  

To avoid the worst of climate change two dates are essential to keep in mind: 2030 and 2050. By 2050 we must have stopped emitting more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than the planet can naturally absorb through ecosystems. To achieve this, we must reduce our footprint by 50% by 2030. 

 The time is now, this decade we need to make a difference for our future.

In the book, The Future We Choose: Surviving the Climate Crisis, Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac share that we must switch our focus. This is so simple but so powerful. In their words: “You can do it. You can switch your focus, and you will be stunned by the impact such a shift can create. You don’t need to have all the answers, and you certainly don’t need to hide from the truth, nor should you. When you are faced with hard realities, look at them with clarity, but also know that you are incredibly lucky to be alive at a time when you can make a transformative difference to the future of all life on earth.”#1  They have captured for me, both the scale of the situation and the fact that we can make a difference.  

The Future We Choose
Tom Rivett-Carnac Ted Talk

Tom Rivett-Carnac is the co-founder of Global Optimism, a group focused on social and environmental change to survive the climate crisis.

Tom Rivett-Carnac shares his personal views on how we can shift our mindset to fight climate change. Credit: npr.org.

It’s time to shift our focus to see ourselves as a global citizens – not as consumers.

We have been trained to see ourselves as consumers – purchasing, using, and throwing away. We know it traps us, but it is deep in us and hard to shake. Additionally, companies have gotten even better at targeting us with effective marketing that seems to know you. Companies have so much information about our buying patterns, locations, friends, and likes and dislikes that they grab our attention and secure our purchase.

“Every year more than $550 billion is spent on advertising in a world of consumption and fast consumerism. What is more, billions of products are intentionally designed to become obsolete, fueling more economic growth as we strive to replace them.

Single-use plastics are the epitome of that, but obsolescence – the process of becoming outdated and discarded is designed into almost all consumer goods.”#2 

Instead of focusing on being a global citizen, it is easy to be distracted by the barrage of marketing and to fall into the cycle of buying and creating waste. This occurs even when it is not better for people or the planet. Waste creation in the United States is a big problem. While only 4% of the global population lives in the United States, they account for 12% of the waste. We can change the cycle of resource extraction, short-time use, and toss. 

It is time to step back and reclaim your life.
To define what is a good life and a life well-lived.

We are not alone in this journey as more and more individuals, governments, and companies make positive changes. In this journey, One Planet Life is striving to be the trusted source, a quiet place (away from noisy commercialism) for you to learn about the environment and choose actions that are good for you and the planet. We will gain inspiration from around the world.

For example, Costa Rica uses 100% clean energy; the entire city of Seoul, Korea composts; B-corporations with positive environmental impact, companies moving to clean energy, and organizations that protect and regenerate nature.  Over the months and years to come, we will build up the knowledge resources, insights, and apps for you to make decisions, take actions, and see the positive impact.  

We are stubbornly optimistic that together we can make positive changes that are good for people and the talent. We believe that little changes add up over time, so it is okay to start small. We have a long way to go, but it is a journey well worth it. It is our future.

Sources:

#1 page 41 of The Future We Choose by Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac

#2 page 110 of The Future We Choose by Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac

Let’s Start Really Thinking About Our Trash

Let’s Start Really Thinking About Our Trash

In the United States, we throw a lot of things into the trash without giving much thought to where our garbage goes after it gets picked up from our curb. Let’s take a deeper look at the waste system in the US and gain a better understanding of how it works.

Let’s start by thinking about, what is trash?

It’s important to note that we’re talking about trash that comes from homes and businesses, not industrial waste. Loosely, trash is everything that ends up in a landfill, but what types of things actually get thrown away?

Product packaging is the largest category, making up 30% of all of the garbage in the US.  The EPA estimates product packaging to be in use for less than a year by the consumer — it is rarely valuable to the consumer once the product has been opened. The second-largest category is durable goods, things like furniture and appliances, which are in use for three years or more, followed by non-durable goods like newspapers and clothing, expected to be in use for less than three years. Food waste comes in next at 14.9% of all items landfilled, and yard waste is 13.3%; with the “Other” category making up the final 1.5%, consisting of rubber, leather and textiles; metals; wood; glass; and other materials.

These categories make up the total material solid waste (MSW) sent to landfill in the United States, for a total of 267.8 million tons yearly, and 52.1% of all of the items discarded in American households (as opposed to recycling, composting, or combustion). However, a bulk of the items sent to landfills can be either repurposed and recycled (durable and non-durable goods) or composted (food). This results in a linear consumption of goods, rather than a cyclical one.

Now that we understand what goes into landfills, let’s take a look at how trash gets there in the first place.

In the United States, waste collection is a government service, although outsourcing waste management to private companies as a cost-saving measure is becoming increasingly common as local governments face budget challenges. Although most households pay for trash collection at their curb, those in rural communities or those that don’t pay for trash collection can take their trash to a transfer station themselves.

Whether it is hauled there by an individual or in a garbage truck, transfer stations are temporary facilities for the processing of waste, which is then compacted and taken to a materials recovery facility.

There are two types of materials recovery facilities. A clean facility sorts recyclable materials already separated from garbage in the household into a mixed paper stream and a mixed container stream for glass, aluminum, and plastic. Dirty facilities first use technologies such as magnets and shredders to sort out recyclable materials from the incoming waste, and can recover between 5 and 45% of incoming materials, although it is important to note that materials that are recovered through this process are at an increased risk of contamination.

Once the waste has been sorted, the non-recyclable materials will go to one of three places: an incinerator, an anaerobic digestion facility, or a landfill.

Incinerators process 12.8% of all of the MSW in the United States. These plants have combustion chambers that are an astounding 1800 degrees Fahrenheit, which will turn organic materials into ash and reduce the volume of the original waste by 95%. Though this seems like an easy way to reduce the amount of trash that gets sent to landfill, incinerators have fallen out of favor due to higher operating costs and the rescinding of tax credits for the process that previously existed. There are also questions about the safety of the emissions from incinerators, and the level of effort to safely dispose of the fly ash that is produced from burning the trash.

Anaerobic digestion facilities use microorganisms to break down biodegradable materials and turn them into biogas, which reduces the emissions of landfill gas into the air and can also be used as a source of renewable energy. In the United States, anaerobic digestion is mostly used on farms to reduce the nitrogen run-off from manure; however because of its ability to turn waste into a resource, the process has received increasing attention in recent years.

Let’s look at the waste disposal method that people are most familiar with: landfills.

Landfills layer waste in a large hole, which can be up to 500 feet deep.  The various layers enable waste to safely decompose and minimize its effect on the environment. 

The first layer is at the bottom, made from compacted clay with high-density plastic on top. This layer keeps liquid from leaking out of the landfill into the ground around it. Next comes the drainage system, which collects liquids called leachate from decomposing waste, and sends them to a water processing facility. Next, we have the gas collection system. Decomposing waste produces methane, which is a large contributor to global warming. The gas collection system pipes methane to treatment areas, and then on to plants that will turn it into electricity or other forms of energy. 

Finally comes the trash itself, which is compacted and placed into the landfill in “cells”, with layers of dirt between to combat odors and unwanted pests. When the landfill eventually becomes full, it is capped with another plastic liner and two feet of soil. Vegetation is planted on top, and then the landfill is monitored for 30 years to make sure there isn’t any detrimental effect to the environment.

After learning about how landfills work, you might be thinking that this sounds like a smart and efficient way to deal with the waste we produce in the United States, but there is a big problem: at the rate we produce waste, we might simply run out of space in landfills to put all of our trash!

There are 2,000 active landfills in the United States, which might reach their capacity as early as 2036.

Some areas have already reached their landfill capacity and ship their garbage over state lines to other landfills.

Furthermore, despite the drainage and gas collection systems that are designed to minimize a landfill’s impact on the environment, greenhouse gas emissions from landfills are a significant contributor to climate change. In fact, landfills are the third-largest producer of methane emissions in the United States.

So what can be done to solve this problem? We can fall back on the old phrase we learned in elementary school: reduce, reuse, and recycle. 

On a personal level, we can reduce the amount of garbage that goes into landfills by avoiding single-use products and purchasing items made of sustainable materials. We can also be more diligent about our recycling practices. As mentioned earlier, some say that a majority of the items that end up in landfills are recyclable. 

However, on a societal level, major changes are needed. For example, investing more resources into developing our trash incineration practices as countries like Sweden have done, and incentivizing recycling (the price of plastic is so low that it simply isn’t worth it to recycle).  Both solutions address this problem on a larger scale.

The waste system in the United States is vast and far-reaching, so the next time you’re taking your trash can out to the curb, take a moment to think about what happens next in its journey.

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