Double the fun in the kitchen!
Recently, we talked with author Susan Wolfe about how she and partner Louie Greenberg have embraced Meat Free Monday as part of their Good4All Experience:
G4A: Was Meat Free Monday a new practice for you?
Susan: Yes! While we have cut down on our consumption of red meat in recent years, making a conscious decision to go plant-based one day a week was new for us. With the abundance of fruits and vegetables available at weekend Farmers’ Markets, we are enjoying a new Sunday outing each week, and with a little advance planning, we are ready to cook come Monday!
G4A: What inspired you to try it?
Susan: One of the positives of the pandemic has been the increased amount of time spent at home, which we have tried to put to good use. Combined with the uncontrollable wildfires we’ve witnessed in the West — beginning months earlier than our usual wildfire season, and sadly, ongoing — we are all too aware of the heavy toll that human behavior is taking on our planet. There’s a beautiful short film, narrated by Paul McCartney, on the Good4All website that got me to thinking about the role of animal agriculture in caring for our planet, and what we could do to offset the negative impacts. Cutting down on dairy, meat, and eggs is a great option to help reduce our carbon footprint and lower the negative effects our diet has on the environment. And having less fat can also lower the risk of many diseases, including heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, and several types of cancer.
G4A: How did you involve your partner?
Susan: Louie loves gadgets, so for us, it was all about the spiralizer! He’s also a bit of a ham, so convincing him that he could do his own “cooking show” was a win-win” — I got a great dinner and he got to channel his inner Julia Child!
G4A: In addition to Meat Free Monday, what other “positive pivots” are your embracing?
Susan: Not that the pandemic is all we think about, but… persuaded by the health care experts, and being of a certain age, we signed up and got flu shots together. Another aspect of the pandemic that has been really challenging for me is social isolation, so three mornings a week, four girlfriends and I take a four-mile hike together. With five of us in the group, even if someone is not able to make it, there are enough of us that no one is walking alone. Finally, I was inspired by a friend who, years ago, told me that before she gets out of bed each morning, she decides who she is going to do something nice for that day. It seems like such a simple thing to do, but I’ve only just begun this practice, which I’m surprised to say has really enhanced my spirit. Whether I phone a senior citizen who the pandemic has rendered a shut-in in her independent living community or place a “just because I love you” card under Louie’s pillow or let someone with just a few grocery items go ahead of me in the supermarket line, it feels good to do something nice for someone else, especially when they least expect it!
G4A: Circling back to Meat Free Monday, any advice for someone just trying it?
Susan: Have a few “go-to” recipes. Soups are a good choice this time of year, and super easy. Do it WITH a friend or partner! Double the fun! And definitely invest in a spiralizer!
Zucchini Noodles With Enhanced Sauce
(Use your favorite bottled marinara sauce. Louie loves Rao’s)
- 1tbsp olive oil
- ½ cup chopped onion
- 4 cloves garlic
- Large tomato, chopped
- Tbsp each fresh chopped basil, rosemary, and oregano
- 20 chopped kalamata olives
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms (optional)
- Chili flakes (optional)
- Bottle of your favorite Marinara sauce
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Spiralized zucchini from 3 small or two medium zucchinis
- Dribble olive oil over the bottom of a medium-sized pot.
- Add ½ cup chopped onion, 4 cloves chopped garlic.
- Saute 4 to 6 minutes, until golden brown. Add salt and pepper.
- Add chopped tomato to pot on the stovetop.
- Season with more salt and pepper.
- Add freshly chopped Italian seasonings from the garden – basil, rosemary, oregano, saving some to finish the dish
- Saute 10-15 minutes.
- Add 20 chopped Kalamata olives, Add mushrooms (optional), and 2 cups of sauce. Reduce heat and cover, cooking slowly for 30 to 45 minutes.
- Add another cup of sauce.
- Cook another 5 minutes or so, on low heat.
- Mix in spiralized zucchini. Heat through, about 2-3 minutes, serve and garnish with fresh Italian spices. Sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan cheese and chili flakes as desired.
About Susan Wolfe
Susan Wolfe, an award-winning author and community leader, is a creative content developer and author of nine published books. After a career in print and television news reporting, she now focuses on helping busy people harness their signature stories. With a genuine interest in people and how they live their lives, she effectively elicits compelling recollections and experiences, driving the process by which her clients – ranging from company founders to university presidents – produce and publish their legacies. www.susanwolfestoryguide.com