Halloween is approaching and all the "classic" horror films, songs, and candies are around every corner. Leaves fall in the waning light filtering green-gold, bright orange and fiery reds across the lawn. As we pad over the sidewalks taking in the last bits of cooling air, crunching resounds under our feet while ghost, witch and bat decorations dance in the wind. Pumpkins stare back with goofy grins, pointy fangs, and evil smiles. They have the flicker of promise for Halloween night when they will light up the night to draw beasts, princesses, ghouls and superheroes to collect their tricks or treats.
Honestly, I love Halloween; it's probably my favorite holiday out of the year if for no other reason than the sheer excitement humans have over letting imagination fly on darkened wings. You can be anything on Halloween - social confines don't exist for this one special night, and everyone can simply be; without judgement, without constructs, and without constraints.
Sustainability Spotlight: Being without pre-conceived constructs and constraints is one of the issues that prevents sustainability (and vegan approaches to food / diet) from truly being embraced. Think about it - it's "cool" to be vegan every once and a while, right? When you have a party and pull out that amazing recipe and it's just one of the options on the table, it's acceptable. Go fully vegan, that's when there are "opinions." The unsolicited "I could never go fully vegan, I don't know how you do it!" or the "Are your kids vegan too?" (with the underlying, that's not "healthy" for them eye roll before I've even answered).
Same with sustainability - the it's easier approach vs. the plan ahead approach, or the make it important approach. Humans are conditioned (as social creatures) to try and fit in, and when society is built upon ideals and one type of approach to, or interacting with, the environment; most give up because it is difficult to go against the grain of that approach. We are, quite simply, in a negative feedback loop.
The good news is that there are pockets of change, and it's happening every day! The younger generation(s) are making it a priority to push cultural change; in many ways. The benefit is that the rest of the world and our society will be pushed into making those cultural changes as well - for the better sustainability of the planet. Moving our society in more favorable spheres for sustainability will not only be the current a "Halloween-like" approach - once in a while removal of the shackles of society. Instead, the new approach will break them - every day, and then remove them altogether from the equation.
So this spotlight is to take every day as a Sustainability "Halloween;" and definitely enjoy the real deal. Me? I'm going to make this Classic Chicken(less) Noodle Soup, brew some of my Hot Wassail, and then take my kids around the neighborhood enjoying the ability for us all to be whomever we wish to be with no notions of how we "should" be. And that, is the best part of All Hallows Eve and the idea of Sustainability "Halloween."
1 tbsp vegan butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 Spanish onion (chopped)
1 carrot (diced - peel on)
2 stalks celery (sliced and diced)
3 cloves of garlic (grated)
2x1-in peeled and grated fresh ginger
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp Hot Madras curry powder
1 cup broken angel hair pasta
4 cups vegetable stock (not broth, you want stock)
2 tsp refined coconut oil
1 lemon (juiced)
1 large handful chopped parsley
1 can chickpeas (rinsed & drained)
1-2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
1 large handful spinach
salt & pepper (to taste)
Heat 5-qt Dutch oven over medium-high heat; add vegan butter and oil and swirl to coat.
Once the butter begins to bubble, add onion through celery with a sprinkle of salt and saute ~5-7 minutes or until starting to turn golden.
Next, add garlic and ginger an saute ~30 seconds or until fragrant; next add turmeric and powder and another sprinkle of salt and some black pepper; stir to meld flavors.
Now, add pasta and stock to the oven and stir to incorporate flavors; bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and cover the oven; simmer for ~10-12 minutes (or until pasta is mostly done).
Remove lid and stir in coconut oil through spinach with another sprinkle of salt and pepper to finish (~2 minutes or until spinach is wilted).
Turn off heat and ladle into bowls; serve with some additional parsley (if desired)
With love and hope for a better future for all of us - Jamie