Ah, Sunday, the day that we (usually) have it pretty easy. We go to the gym, maybe shop (if we didn't Saturday) and then, sky's the limit. As a general rule, we do not "plan" Sunday activities. Sundays are quite literally "fun" days, or "lazy" days, or "chill at home" days, or "go do whatever we feel like" days. It is a small, but important part of our routine. A day where there is freedom from schedules, from "have to dos" and most of all, it's our day of rest and respite. Most Sundays you can find us close to home; playing outside, riding our bikes to and from a local park, playing in the river or at a forested hiking spot.
Sustainability Spotlight: Our world just keeps on getting busier and louder and more "go, go, go." In that crazy world, we are often rushing from place-to-place and the space between those places likely requires at least a car here in the suburbs. Even in the city, it is likely you might be able to utilize public transit, but it is rare where that public transit currently utilizes true eco-alternative energy sources (i.e. - renewable vs. non-renewable). In the United States, it is the "norm" for gasoline (your car, the buses, and the trains) or coal-powered or natural gas powered (your electric cars, electric buses and electric trains) transit. Heretofore, the U.S. hasn't seemed that committed to addressing their contributions to climate change as evidenced by national commitments to financing for infrastructure needed to advance the goals of greenhouse gas pollution.
However, on 2/19/2021, I got a glimmer of hope. Our current political leadership (like them as a whole or not; this isn't a political post) re-signed the "Paris Agreement." "The Paris Agreement is a legally binding international treaty on climate change...Its goal is to limit global warming...(and) to achieve this long-term (goal), countries aim to reach global peaking of greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible to achieve a climate neutral world by mid-century." https://unfccc.int/process-and-meetings/the-paris-agreement/the-paris-agreement.com
By signing the agreement, we as a nation (along with 196 other countries, including the second largest emitter of greenhouse gases to the U.S., China) have agreed to committing our economy and actions to reaching net zero emissions by no later than 2050. What does "net zero emissions" mean? It doesn't mean that we have no emissions (though that would be something in a span of ~30 years wouldn't it?). "Net zero" means that we limit the emissions we have going forward while also counterbalancing the current pollution levels by removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere (sometimes call carbon sequestration).
Carbon sequestration can be achieved through methods such as restoring forests (not just in rural areas or in national forests, I'm talking about urban forests too!) There are also other methods like direct air capture and storage (DACS) technology (often this means that former mining sites where we have extracted a resource and has open caverns or spaces underground is "back-filled" with greenhouse gases directly from a manufacturing operation in lieu of emitting to the open air in stacks. Find more information on this method via a current example HERE).
How can we, as individuals help with our goals for net zero emissions? We can simply choose our "Sofa" day. Even though our family usually utilizes this day on Sunday, it doesn't have to be Sunday; many of you might not have 9-5; M-F schedules. This goal still applies to you, just sub the day you have of the week available. "Sofa" day is were we limit our travel and a day where we commit to enjoying nature, or each other's company. Leave the car in the garage, driveway or street. Stay off public transit. Get out and bike, get out and walk. Do low emission activities that will help decrease your personal footprint and contributions to the emissions. You might even gain a mental clarity you were missing as a bonus.
Oh, and definitely make these nachos on one of your Sofa days; they are easy and definitely delicious! I have fed them to many a carnivore who ate them happily; the texture, base flavors, and look of these nachos makes them a clear and easy choice as a comfort food option to "go vegan."
Tortilla chips (we like Tostidos Scoops b/c they fill up with delicious ingredients for a great bite)
1 can pinto beans (rinsed & drained)
1 package seitan chorizo crumbles (I used No Evil)
6-8 mushrooms chopped (I like Shitake, but any literally work)
1 tbsp avocado oil
1 tsp each of the following seasonings:
chipotle chili powder (or just chili powder if you can't find chipotle)
1/2 cup chipotle sauce
2 cups pico de gallo (or you can chop tomatoes, red onion & jalapeno individually)
1 bell pepper (diced)
1 large (or two small) cans sliced black olives
3-4 green onions (diced)
1 handful cilantro (chopped)
1 avocado (chopped) - Optional, but worth it!
1.25 cups water
1 cup cashews
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 can tomato sauce (4 oz)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp corriander
1/4 tsp tumeric
2 tsp agave syrup
1 tbsp white miso
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
On a parchment-lined jelly roll pan, layer tortilla chips in a single (but very crowded) layer. Top with pinto beans and slide the pan into the oven to toast for ~12-15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large cast iron pat heated over medium-high heat, add avocado oil and swirl. Once it shimmers, add seitan chorizo and saute for ~5 minutes until starting to brown. Add more oil if the pan becomes dry and add mushrooms. Saute another ~5 minutes. Next, add all seasonings salt through chili powder and stir until fragrant. Once mushrooms are browned, stir in chipotle sauce, remove from heat, and set pan aside.
Now, add all ingredients in the Nacho Sauce above to a high-speed blender. Blend on high until completely smooth (Vitamix = 1 minute; others may take 5-6 minutes and require scraping down of the sides of your blender).
Time to layer! On your toasted chips & beans layer as follows (all evenly): "Meat" (seitan & mushrooms), nacho sauce, bell pepper, pico de gallo, black olives, green onions, cilantro & avocado.
Serve directly from the pan with napkins and just use your hands (Sundays are for limited clean up too ; ).
With love & hope for a better future for all of us - Jamie