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Abrazos! xox Penny

Monday, December 13, 2010

Peace a Spoonful at a Time

We have been Meatless Monday-ing for some time now. I actually post all meatless recipes but for the sake of being part of a campaign, we are thrilled to officially dedicate every Monday as "Meatless Monday". There are lots of other folks doing this as well and so I thought you might like an update on how this seed of change has blossomed.

New stats reveal:
Nearly one-third of Americans are now aware of the Meatless Monday movement. That’s remarkable news, considering that just two years ago, national awareness was half that. A number of less-meatatarian approaches have sprung up in that same time as well, including weekday vegetarian, The Flexitarian Diet, daytime vegan, and the “meat as treat” Mark Bittman approach.

Overall, we are eating less meat. According to USDA projections, annual consumption of red meat and poultry will fall from over 221 pounds per person in 2004-2007 to less than 206 pounds in 2012. Beef consumption, in particular, is on the down-and-out: It’s declined nearly 20 percent since 1985. That’s good news for our arteries, since we’re now eating 20 pounds less of the saturated stuff a year. But our preference for poultry is growing: Chicken consumption increased by nearly 30 pounds a year over the same time period and you would be shocked at the saturated fat/body burden content in chicken, but that's for another post!.

There are many reasons why people choose to eat less meat or eat none at all. In this season of peace, consider this: Do no harm. Let peace grace your plate.

Here is a wonderful, warming soup for this cold snap. One spoonful at a time, it is sure to bring peace into your day. Happy Monday!

Lentil-Orzo Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped onions (in 1/4-inch pieces)
1 cup chopped carrot (in 1/4-inch pieces)
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup lentils
4 cups water
1/2 cup orzo pasta (I use whole wheat orzo)
1 (14.5-ounce) can crushed tomatoes (Eden Organic...BPA safe!)
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomato (Eden Organic...BPA safe!)
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup nonfat plain yogurt or non-dairy yogurt (optional)
2 tablespoons chopped parsley.

Heat oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots and celery to the pot and cook, stirring, until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the lentils and the water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, and cover, leaving the lid slightly ajar. Simmer the lentils for 20 minutes; return to a boil and add the orzo. Cook 10 minutes longer.

Stir in the tomatoes, basil, oregano, pepper flakes, sherry vinegar and salt, and simmer soup another 5 to 7 minutes, or until the lentils are tender.

Top each bowl with a dollop of yogurt and the parsley. Makes 4 servings.

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