Monday, October 6, 2014

Meatless Monday: Broccoli-Almond Sweet-and-Sour Tofu

How are you doing with Meatless Mondays? Have you tried something new you've enjoyed? Have you surprised yourself or others with something you didn't think would be as tasty as it was? 

In keeping with Meatless Mondays, here is another recipe from Jerol Kennedy, supplied by the Humane Society and adapted from a recipe by Lauren Ulm of Vegan Yum Yum.

Broccoli-Almond Sweet-and-Sour Tofu  SERVES 4

Nutritional info per serving:
Calories: 490
Fat: 26 g
Fiber: 13 g
Protein: 7 g
Carbs: 50 g
Sodium: 613 mg


1-2 cups steamed broccoli
1/4 - 1/2 cup sliced almonds
Steamed rice

3 1/2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon tamari
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 teaspoon molasses
1/4 teaspoon ginger powder
1/2 teaspoon salt (omit if sodium is a concern)
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch plus 2 tablespoons water

1 tub extra-firm tofu, pressed
1/4 cup peanut or canola oil (use less if fat is a concern)
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 teaspoons cornstarch, plus 4 teaspoons soy or almond milk (or water), mixed
Sesame seeds for garnish


1. Slice the tofu into triangles or small cubes. Smaller pieces are better for this recipe.

2. Toss the tofu with the cornstarch-and-milk/water mixture until coated. Then toss the pieces in the 1/4 cup of cornstarch until each piece is coated and dry, adding more cornstarch if needed.

3. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet or wok.

4. While the oil is heating, mix the sauce ingredients, except for the cornstarch mixture, in a small sauce pan and whisk over medium heat until the sugar and salt dissolve. Then add the cornstarch mixture and whisk until the sauce thickens.

5. Watch the sauce so it doesn't thicken too much and burn. When the sauce is thick enough to stick to food rather than puddle below it, turn off the heat and set the sauce aside.

6. Place the tofu in the hot oil, being careful not to burn yourself. (Don't crowd the tofu pieces together or they will stick to each other, so fry them in batches if needed.) Fry for 3-5 minutes until golden on the bottom, then gently turn and brown the other side.

7. When the tofu is almost done frying, scatter the sliced almonds on top so they fall into the oil. As soon as the nuts start to turn color, take the pan off the heat and very carefully drain the oil into a heat-proof container to re-use or dispose of properly. Almonds taste burned before they look burned, so don't let them sit in the oil too long.

8. Transfer the tofu and almonds to a large bowl and add the steamed broccoli. Toss the mixture with the sweet-and-sour sauce, and serve it over rice.

Slightly adapted from a recipe by Lauren Ulm of Vegan Yum Yum

Get this recipe from a friend? Sign up for your own recipe of the week.

Friday, October 3, 2014

UUs Join in Supporting GMO Labeling Effort

- By Dale Luckwitz

I am an environmental researcher and writer for a company that makes certified organic mattresses. Our company founder is an advocate for safer chemicals and products and is a featured speaker at various events -- he was invited to testify at a Congressional subcommittee hearing on the need for changes to the outdated Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the law that regulates what chemicals can be used in our products.

As a result I work with many environmental, business and advocacy groups. Recently, we partnered with Just Label It, an organization advocating labeling GMOs to guarantee a consumer's right to choose. 

Anyway, in partnering with Just Label It, I was browsing through the other business and organization partners, and guess who I saw? A group called the Unitarian Universalist Ministry for Earth! Looks like we're in great company!

If you're interested like many other UUs in supporting choice regarding GMOs, sign the online petition at, where you can also gather information. The right to know what is in our foods has gathered support from supporters across political lines, and even people who don't take issue with GMOs can support allowing consumers to make their own informed choices.

 As a side note, the mattresses my company makes do not use GMO cotton as they are certified to the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS).
GOTS does not permit GMO cotton. If you purchase clothing or other textiles that has the GOTS label (above), you know you are not getting GMO cotton.

Likewise, food with the USDA Organic label also cannot contain GMOs.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Concerned About Climate Change? Part Two

- By Jerol Kennedy

My last article on climate change reviewed the Green Sanctuary Team’s exercise,“Where am I on the Climate Change Continuum of the American Public” (see the Beacon article, Jan. 2014 for full information) in which the overwhelming majority (86%) of the congregation who responded reported being “Alarmed” about climate change.

The report issued in 2006 by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) 2002 statistics warned that the livestock sector represents 14.5% of global human induced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. From 2002 to 2009 the weight of livestock products worldwide increased by 12% WHICH yielded a proportional increase in GHG emissions. When the lifecycle and supply chain (for example) are factored in, livestock related deforestation and farmed fish, which is up to half the annual catch of marine organisms, were not counted in the 2002 FAO report, the direct and indirect influences raises the percentage to least 51% of annual worldwide GHG emissions. (Livestock and Climate Change, world watch November/December 2009

Percentage carbon dioxide attributable to livestock undercounted or overlooked in the 14.5.% figure are the following:
  • Respiration by livestock         13.7
  • Overlooked land use                  4.2
  • Undercounted methane            7.9
Other four categories (too long to go into considering the limits of this article – see text in referenced article)
  • Misallocated in current GHG inventories 4.7

Wonderful veggie picture courtesy of Be Well Barron County,
the website for Barron County, WI

“Shifting from a red meat and dairy to a plant based diet just one day a week reduces greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to driving about one thousand miles less per year” (Animal Agriculture One of the Largest Contributors to Global Warming, UN Body Reaffirms) (2013//09/FAO climate change).

Meatless Mondays is an easy, healthy, and delicious way to help mitigate climate change. Consuming meat analogs such as soy and seitan (wheat gluten) and dairy analogs such as soy cheese, milk and ice cream is an attractive alternative as these products taste similar, aare easier to cook and healthier. (You can also make your own cheese and dairy,” Artisan Vegan Cheese by Miyoko Skinner).

A plant based diet has the added benefit of alleviating the global water crisis as the enormous amount of water used for livestock production would be freed up.

Reducing animal products would have a quick reduction of GHG and also reverse the ongoing world food and water crisis. The use of fossil fuels must be reduced also to be sure, but tjat takes time to build the infrastructure, a lot of time, and we don’t have a lot of time. A plant based diet in addition to the development of renewable energy, has an immediate impact and can start right now with the food choices we make.

Meatless Monday
This information brings us to an initiative we would like to start at our church, joining with a global campaign to eliminating animal products from our diets for just one day a week. This would make  an enormous difference  in our carbon footprint/on climate change.

Below are some websites to help us along in doing this needed action.

Addendum: It is to be noted that the statistics in this article may not be precise due to the unavoidable changing conditions in what is being measured. But, they are the best possible within our current abilities.
The word “meat” in this article also includes fish and poultry.

Jerol Kennedy
Green Sanctuary Planning Team