Versatile and Tasty: Ropa Vieja (Instant Pot & Slow Cooker Versions)

Ropa Vieja is one of my favorite items on a local Mexican restaurant menu. I almost always have it in a salad in a tortilla bowl.  So of course I had to figure out how to replicate it at home.

I have tortilla bowl molds and make them for lunch salads all the time. Although you don’t need them, use this method here.

Now to up my game with some tasty ropa vieja. Continue reading

Dinner Menu: Spicy Lime Cilantro Chicken w/Mexican Rice

It’s been unseasonably warm here after our early snow in September, so grilling is on the menu.

On the board:

  1. Spicy Lime Cilantro Chicken
  2. Mexican Rice Medley
  3. Green Beans
  4. Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies (recipe here)

Spicy Lime Cilantro Chicken:

  • 4 boneless chicken breasts
  • ½ cup lime juice
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • ¼ cup sliced pickled jalapenos and juice

 Place ingredients in a zip-lock bag and marinate 1 hour or overnight.  Broil or grill for 15 minutes, turning every 5 minutes, until breasts are cooked to 165 degrees. Continue reading

Guest Post: Climate Solutions Documentaries

From LivingLightlyTV.com

Here are a few documentaries that provide insight into achievable climate solutions.

Carbon Nation is one of my favorites, highlighting a cornucopia of innovations and people from all walks of life employing them.

carbon nation is a documentary movie about climate change SOLUTIONS. Even if you doubt the severity of the impact of climate change or just don’t buy it at all, this is still a compelling and relevant film that illustrates how SOLUTIONS to climate change also address other social, economic and national security issues. You’ll meet a host of entertaining and endearing characters along the way.

  • carbon nation is an optimistic, solutions-based, non-preachy, non-partisan, big tent film that shows tackling climate change boosts the economy, increases national & energy security and promotes health & a clean environment.
  • Public opinion is sliding the wrong way – far fewer people are concerned about climate change than even a year ago. We’ve made carbon nation to give a majority of people an entertaining, informed and pragmatic primer about why it’s incredibly smart to be a part of the new, low-carbon economy: it’s good business.
  • carbon nation’s optimism and pragmatism are appealing across the political spectrum. While other good films have been about problems, blame and guilt, carbon nation is a film that celebrates solutions, inspiration and action.

On their website they have a lot of resources and a half-dozen or so videos of interesting folks, doing interesting things. I recommend A Thousand Beating Hearts part of the Carbon Cowboys series (click here for all their videos).

 

Next up is a new documentary Kiss The Ground which continues the ideas of soil regeneration and carbon sequestration. It’s on Netflix at the moment.

Kiss the Ground is a full-length documentary narrated by Woody Harrelson that sheds light on an alternative approach to farming called “regenerative agriculture” that has the potential to balance our climate, replenish our vast water supplies, and feed the world.

And again there many resources on their Kiss the Ground website here.

 

And the granddaddy of all documentaries, An Inconvenient Truth

An Inconvenient Truth makes the compelling case that global warming is real, man-made, and its effects will be cataclysmic if we don’t act now. Gore presents a wide array of facts and information in a thoughtful and compelling way: often humorous, frequently emotional, and always fascinating. In the end, An Inconvenient Truth accomplishes what all great films should: it leaves the viewer shaken, involved and inspired.

The first hour is a real downer (as in, we are seeing everything projected twenty years ago manifesting at a faster rate then scientists expected). But the last thirty minutes outlines accessible ways to address climate change and how quickly those changes can make a difference and reverse the effects of our current dilemma. It’s available on DVD, rent from Amazon and it plays occasionally on IFC and BBCAmerica.

There is also a sequel and it’s a bit darker because of course, we are at a tipping point. And it details how to take political and social actions.

That should get you started and provide you with a lot of hope for our ability to affect change. If we start today.

Instant Pot: Beef and Barley Soup

 

JeffreyW makes mouths water with this photo of his Beef and Barley Soup (with bonus Foccacia recipe here)

For the stovetop version, click here.

It has been unseasonably warm here, but I still wanted soup. Checked the freezer and I had a cross-rib roast, that would do since there was not a secret stash of chuck roast tucked away. All the other ingredients were handy, so Beef and Barley soup was it.

I added a potato, diced small, just because.

Beef & Barley Vegetable Soup

  • olive oil
  • 1 lb chuck, cut into small cubes
  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • 2 tsp crushed garlic
  • 14 oz of tomatoes (fresh or canned)
  • 8 cups of water (or water and vegetable broth**)
  • 12 oz sliced carrots (frozen ok)
  • 12 oz green beans (frozen ok)
  • 3 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1/2 cup barley
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp salt (more as desired)
  • 2 bay leaves (remove before serving)

large saucepan

Heat oil in the instant pot on the sauté setting. Sauté onions for 1 minute, add beef and brown on all sides, add garlic and sauté for 1 minute making sure not to burn the garlic. Add remaining ingredients.  Set the pot to Soup/Stew setting and cook for 35 to 40 minutes, until barley is tender.  Use natural release method.

Serve with biscuits or cornbread.

**For vegetable broth,  I blend the tomatoes, and an additional 6 oz of carrots, 6 oz of green beans, 2 stalks of the celery, 1 cup water into a smooth puree, to make a hearty base for the soup.  I like the hearty stock.

Yum.

It’s soup season, so here are a few more: Tomato Soup and Grilled CheeseChicken Tortilla Soup, and Minestrone with Tiny Meatballs


 

Farming To Save The Planet

Here’s some information on cattle and soil regeneration.

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Climate Solutions: Soil Regeneration and Carbon Sequestration

Climate Solutions: Soil Regeneration and Carbon Sequestration (stockpile)

I’m going through my resources, and as I sort, I thought I’d share. This group of links is about carbon sequestration solutions.

A friend of mine likes me to stay in the loop, so he sends me a lot of fresh info. He recently sent me this article about cattle and climate change. I’ve been very interested in what is often called holistic farming to regenerate soil and sequester carbon. Ruminants can play a vital role in this. This has some solid science behind it.

A conversation with rangeland ecologist Richard Teague, PhD, analyzing the role that adaptive multi-paddock cattle grazing plays in sequestering carbon.

They put it into permanent pasture and managed it using regenerative multi-paddock grazing with dairy cattle. Within three or four years they recorded substantial improvements. After five years they had enormous increases in soil carbon—up to eight tons of carbon per hectare per year. In areas where you can grow crops throughout the year, like in the southern half of the States, if you make sure there’s vegetative cover of the soil, a living root in the ground year-round and you practice regenerative grazing using multiple paddocks with adequate recovery, you will get extraordinarily rapid results. In our more arid areas in Texas, we find we need about 10 years to get substantive soil functional improvement. When we went up to Canada, we worked with people who had started 20 or 30 years ago, and they had moved ahead remarkably. Over those long time periods, the soil had been measured every second or third year, and in the best cases, within four or five years, there was a noticeable increase in soil carbon and surface water infiltration. In those northern areas, after 14 years now, there is still no decrease in the upward trajectory of the soil carbon.

 

Climate Solutions: Soil Regeneration and Carbon Sequestration

…They put it into permanent pasture and managed it using regenerative (click here to read more)