Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day!

I hope everyone had the chance to celebrate Earth Day in some small (or big) way!

I'm fortunate to work in the environmental field, following a passion of mine and fostering stewardship ideals in others. Today I worked with a group of high schoolers as we potted approximately 300 native saplings, previously rescued by volunteers from a mow-zone last fall.

The before photo!
Directly after rescuing these saplings from a mow-zone in a Wissahickon meadow last fall, we heeled them in during their dormancy. Heeling plants in involves digging a ditch for the bare roots, covering the roots with wood chips, propping the saplings up with a wooden board, and protecting the plants in a makeshift green house with white tarp placed above the rib in the photo. Amazingly, we only had a handful of casualties over the winter.

We had approximately 20 volunteers working for about an hour and a half to pot these guys, taking care not to cover the root flare, to stand the saplings up straight in the pot, and tamp the soil down correctly. We even experimented with two different types of soil.

The after photo!When these native trees grow large enough to withstand deer browsing, they'll be planted in the Wissahickon Valley Park. This group is made up of tulip poplars, sweet birch, and sweet gum.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Field Roast: A Go-To Package of Goodness

I recently discovered Field Roast products at my Whole Foods, which left me wondering why I didn't pick them up sooner. I am IN LOVE with their Smoked Apple Sage Sausage. IN LOVE. My favorite way to eat it is super simple, too. It's become my go to meal on a weeknight where I want something quick and delicious.

First, I lightly pan fry the sliced sausage until it's crispy. I set the sausage aside on a plate. In the same pan, I quickly steam a bunch of kale. I toss the kale with lemon juice, salt, pepper, and a little Earth Balance. I put the kale in a serving dish, top it with the sausage, and squeeze a little more lemon juice on top. So simple and so, so good.
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I recently tried the Celebration Roast, which was also very good. For this meal, I sliced and lightly pan fried the roast. I plated it with some creamy mashed potatoes with fresh parsley and garlic, and steamed kale (topped with s, p, Earth Balance, and lemon juice). It was VERY good. Next time I'll think about making a gravy to go on top, but it really didn't need it.

My local WF carries the Celebration Roast, Smoked Apple Sage Sausage, Mexican Chipotle Sausage, Italian Sausage, and some deli cuts. I've only tried the first two. I guess I should remedy that!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Belgian Cafe and Family!

I have family in town this week, visiting from Connecticut. On Monday I thought it would be a good idea to meet near the Art Museum and afterward walk over to the Belgian Cafe in the Fairmount/Spring Garden neighborhood. The restaurant has a good selection of vegan and non- items, so I figured that it would be a crowd pleaser.

On my way to meeting up with the fam, I traipsed through the lovely azalea garden behind the art museum. My goodness, we've had some lovely weather this week. Seeing a bunch of folks laying out on the grass reminded me of my Krishna lunch days on the University of Florida campus. Ah nostalgia. Ah Krishna dressing.

Back to the present time and place. Look at these (assuredly non-native) pretties:

Obligatory "running up the steps" shot.

Obligatory "posing with Rocky" shot.

On to the food.

DocDufresne and I shared:

Frites (with smokey homemade ketchup)

spicy BBQ Seitan Wings

Vegan Burger

Vegan Reuben

Belgian beer:
Brasserie Dupont Avec les Bons Voeux

Lambic Framboise (Raspberry- yum, yum, yum, says the non-beer drinker)

It was so nice to eat outside on a pleasant day, especially in the company of great family! I wish we could get together more often!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Recent Cares4Pets Photoshoots

As you may have read a while ago, I'm helping out with a 2011 Cares4Pets calendar, which showcases happy Cares4Pets dogs and cats in their loving adoptive homes. I'm currently 1/3 of my way through the photo shoots. The calendar will be available starting late summer/early fall, with all proceeds going directly to the rescue, rehabilitation, and rehoming of lucky dogs and cats in the Philadelphia area.

Recently I had the pleasure of photographing Thorn, a beautiful dog, previously known as "Comet," one of Cares4Pets' "Christmas Puppies," and Nobbles, a friendly cat who is clearly in love with his humans.
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More photos of happy pets and happy families to come soon!