I like to consider myself a green work-in-progress. I’m far from being the most earth-conscious person out there, but I make real effort to think about my actions and how they impact our planet (little fact: I lead our green team at work!). My dear friend Cullen, the poster child of “green”, always says that it’s not about being perfect – it’s about making small, sustainable changes. Do I throw away banana peels that I should be composting? Yes. Do I sometimes use paper towels when I could use a cloth? Yes. But over the past few years, I’ve made a number of changes to my daily habits: recycling (you might be thinking “DUH”, but without recycling collection at my apartment, it wasn’t a given), opting for reusable containers instead of plastic baggies whenever possible (and reusing baggies – this week alone, I’ve used the same baggie for crackers three times), switching to cloth napkins (which I LOVE), using wool dryer balls instead of chemical-laden dryer sheets (I purchased a set of four at TJ maxx for $16, and they work great), leaving a set of silverware at my desk at work instead of using disposable plastic cutlery, and always carrying my water bottle, even when traveling through airports (green and saves money!)
None of these changes is going to save the world or even shrink my carbon footprint (at least not significantly), but they do add up. And done over a period of time, they really haven’t felt difficult. So I’d encourage you to think about one or two changes you can make to your daily habits, starting today!
OK, stepping off my soapbox now.
In honor of Earth Day, I thought I would share a veggie-filled, satisfying, healthy (and vegan) recipe I made a couple of Sundays ago for Peanut Soba Noodles. I had planned to make this meal for Matt and Tim at my place, but it was such a nice evening that we decided to enjoy it on their patio instead. To make things easier, I made the sauce beforehand and brought it over along with the main ingredients, which we prepared at Matt and Tim’s.
Cooked the soba noodles, and brought it all together with the peanut sauce. Topped with cliantro, peanuts, lime, and sriracha, and enjoyed outdoors on their lovely patio. (and with chopsticks that say “happy wife, happy life”…)
For the sauce:
1/2 cup peanut butter (I used unsalted crunchy)
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp ginger (~1-2 inch knob), minced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp honey
~1/2-1 tsp cayenne
warm water (~1/3 cup)
For the main dish:
1 package soba or rice noodles
1 package extra-firm tofu, drained, pressed, and cut into ~3/4 in. cubes
1 large bok choy (or 3-4 baby bok choys, if you can find it), sliced thin
2 large peppers, any color (red, yellow, orange), sliced thin
1-1 1/2 cups shredded carrots (just eyeball it)
~2 tbsp coconut oil
1. Combine the sauce ingredients into a medium sized bowl and whisk together until combined. Add warm water as needed to thin the sauce to a desired consistency.
2. Pan-fry the tofu in ~1 tbsp coconut oil for 3-4 minutes per side until brown.
3. In a separate skillet or wok, heat the remaining 1 tbsp coconut oil and saute the veggies for ~3-4 minutes until tender but not soft.
4. Cook noodles according to package directions.
5. Add the tofu to the veggies and add sauce, stirring to combine. Carefully fold noodles into veggie mixture until the noodles have been coated in the peanut sauce.
6. Top noodle bowls with cilantro, peanuts, lime, and sriracha, as desired.
Enjoy with chopsticks and good friends!
How do you celebrate Earth Day? Got any “green” tips?