an eco-friendly evening.

by Janetha on September 27, 2012

in product review,recipes

hey, guys! i took yesterday off from posting because i was busy playing with amanda, kerryne, and her kiddos. (well, after my crazy workout and work, of course.)

i am a member of the dailybuzz healthy living tastemakers program and was recently selected to try out lightlife products and throw a sustainable dinner party.

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i had heard wonderful things about lightlife and i am always looking for ways to become more sustainable and eco-friendly, so i jumped at this opportunity.

i decided to have an eco-friendly evening with my friends full of exercise, eating, and other fun things.

we started the evening off with some eco-friendly exercise. we scored eco-friendly points by using only one car and carpooling to the trailhead of a beautiful hike up mueller park canyon, which is located at the top of 1800 south in bountiful, utah.

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i love how beautiful utah is in the fall! the leaves have changed to so many beautiful colors and the climate is just right. we weren’t able to hike the entire way to elephant rock because it got dark, so we plan to do this hike again on sunday.

we went back to kerryne’s house for our eco-friendly garden party!

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i made sure to pack all the necessities for our dinner in a reusable bag. (i knew all that lululemon shopping was good for something!)

i originally wanted to try lightlife’s new veggie burgers, but i couldn’t find them anywhere in stores. i quickly adjusted the menu to include the lightlife products i could find.

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i picked up the lightlife italian sausages and ground sausage. our dinner took an italian-style turn and it was a total hit!

first, i whipped up a batch of healthy vegetarian sausage stuffed mushrooms.

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makes 8 large or 24 small stuffed mushrooms

ingredients:

  • 8 large or 24 small mushrooms, stems removed
  • 14 oz lightlife gimme lead ground sausage style veggie protein
  • 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 TB plain greek yogurt
  • 2 TB plain cream cheese
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1-2 tsp all purpose seasoning

directions:

  1. preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. place mushrooms on a lined baking sheet.
  3. combine all ingredients except mushrooms.
  4. fill mushrooms with sausage filling, distributing evenly among the mushrooms.
  5. bake for 15-20 minutes, until cheese has melted and sausage is warmed through.

while some of us worked on the mushrooms, others participated in eco-friendly arts and crafts!

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kerryne’s cute kiddos used their creativity to repurpose household items to make some really cool things.

her son made a one-man-band contraption out of a box, tape, and empty bottles and cans. it sounded awesome! kerryne is so excited to have this new instrument at her house permanently!

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and her daughter crafted some binoculars out of a used plastic wrap roll. she’s super crafty! (and super cute, for the record.)

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i am not too crafty, but i do like to cook, so i kept making dinner with amanda’s help. kerryne also got busy in the kitchen by whipping up a batch of healthy cookies.

we used the lightlife italian style veggie protein sausages to whip up an easy spaghetti. i cheated and used bottled sauce. sometimes you gotta!

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i made sure to choose organic ingredients because they are more sustainable and eco-friendly.

i diced the italian links and sauteed them in a skillet before adding the spaghetti sauce.

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for the bed of the sauce, we opted for some local spaghetti squash. this was amanda’s first time with spaghetti squash! she’s a fan.

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well, she’s a fan of eating it. not so much a fan of cutting it!

we also whipped up a salad using organic and/or local veggies including lettuce, cucumbers, beets, bell pepper, carrots, and cabbage.

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it all came together to make a delicious, sustainable, eco-friendly meal.

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we ate it together at the table, reusable water bottles on hand!

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i typically eat meat, as you know, but i honestly think the lightlife sausages tasted better than the real deal—especially the italian links. the texture was a bit different than regular italian sausage, but the flavor was much better and the sausage was not greasy at all due to the fact it contains so little fat.

i know it’s a good idea to eat less meat when and where i can due to the sustainability of a meat-free diet. a quick google search led me to this chart informing me of the energy requirements to produce just a quarter pound of beef:

Burger resources(source)

i do enjoy eating meat and i don’t have any health or ethical issues with eating it, but i do think i should consider the sustainability standpoint of cutting back on meat consumption. something to think about.

this party was initially supposed to be a garden party, but it was rainy, cold, and dark by the time we were ready to eat. instead, we brought the garden inside with another crafty, eco-friendly project.

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flower pens!

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yes, flower pens.

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the real story is that everyone steals our pens at work, so kerryne took matters into her own hands and decided a vase full of pens with flowers attached to them would be sure to stop the pen thieves. it makes sense and now i know why i always see those dumb flower pens at the doctor’s office.

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we will see how long those flower pens last in our office! i’ll tell you you one thing.. those healthy cookies sure didn’t last. they were delicious and nutritious (and there is no recipe to post because kerryne kinda winged it.. sorry, friends. maybe next time.)

i am super stoked that our sustainable “garden” party turned out so well! it is really easy to make a few minor adjustments in your life to incorporate more sustainable, eco-friendly meals, moves, and everything in between. thanks, lightlife, for helping us sharpen our sustainability skills last night! it was a lot of fun.

Qs~

1. what measures do YOU take to be more sustainable and eco-friendly?

2. what are your thoughts on incorporating more/all vegetarian meals into your diet?

xo. janetha g.

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This series is brought to you in partnership with Lightlife, Live long. Travel light. To learn more, click here http://www.lightlife.com. As a part of the DailyBuzz Food Tastemaker program, Lightlife provided me with a stipend and product for sampling.

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Ellen September 27, 2012 at 7:09 pm

Funny, I am one of those vegetarians who isn’t terribly into meat subs, but those Italian sausages are a total guilty pleasure. My mom, a non-veg told me she liked them better than real sausage too! Good stuff.

Kerryne September 27, 2012 at 7:13 pm

Dinner was AH-MAZING (thank you my chef friend) and as always I love being with my favorite peeps! Thanks for a fun eco friendly night, and yeah… that “instrument” that I was so excited to have at school, found its way back home :/

Iris Lee September 27, 2012 at 8:11 pm

Awesome idea for a get-together! I’ve seen Lightlife products at the store before but never tried them – now I will! And good point about questioning the sustainability (and now just the ethical and health issues) surrounding meat… something I will think about now too!

purelylori September 27, 2012 at 8:44 pm

well since Gary studied environmental science for underground and now works in solar/wind power, at our household we try our best to do what we can when we can. even if it is small, it will add up :)

Sam @ Better With Sprinkles September 27, 2012 at 9:05 pm

I appreciate the idea of eating less meat – and I have flirted with it vegetarianism and it’s various forms. What I’ve figured out is that my body works well off of a high protein diet, which is a lot more difficult if you don’t eat meat. I try to eat organic when I can, but I’m going to continue to eat meat.

That being said, I do like the occasional bout of faux-meat and those sausages sound tasty!

Tamara September 28, 2012 at 8:00 am

Sam basically summed up my own thoughts on the matter, thanks Sam!

I agree, those sausages look great. So do the stuffed mushrooms… great idea, J! xoxo

Giselle@ahealthyhappyhome September 27, 2012 at 9:22 pm

Yum! That entire dinner looks so good! I always plan a meatless meal for Monday’s but end up eating at least three a week. Although the hubby eats beef those three days I eat meatless.

Stephanie September 27, 2012 at 9:45 pm

I’m really picky about my meat products. I make sure that I choose grass-fed, pasture-raised, and organic when possible, both for the health benefits and the environmental impact. I tried the no meat thing but found it to be way too difficult since I can’t eat gluten.

Julie September 27, 2012 at 10:32 pm

I’ve been meaning to try lightlife. Thanks for the info!

Tracey September 28, 2012 at 5:12 am

Did you run the nutritional info on the batch of stuffed mushrooms? Bet they are pretty low cal:)

Michelle @ Eat Move Balance September 28, 2012 at 5:55 am

Like you, I eat meat. However, I do try and buy quality meats from reputable sources, and we eat many vegetarian/vegan dishes as well. I like to think its all about balance! Not to go overboard on any one thing–at least this seems to be what works best for me. :)

Lauren September 28, 2012 at 6:03 am

I’ve seen lightlife products all throughout my store but I don’t think I’ve ever tried them. It’s so good to know that they are tasty though because the idea of fake sausage never sat well with me.

Hope you have a great weekend lady!

The Delicate Place (@misathemeb) September 28, 2012 at 7:45 am

literally had the hardest spaghetti squash the other night. it took about 30mins to crack it open with some expletives. i like the idea of vegetarian meals but vegan meals (with the exception of raw desserts) are hard for me to like as much since the non-raw options are so legume/grain focused. but that’s just my personal preference!

i do lots of eco friendly things…short showers, reusable water bottle, compost my produce odds/ends, eat my juice pulp! use reusable grocery bags every time i shop etc.

Lauren @ Oatmeal after Spinning September 28, 2012 at 8:36 am

I just mentioned this in my post the other day- but I’m not a big fan of meat subs, because most contain tons of crap. BUT- I did find a brand (Field Roast) that I LOVE. I haven’t looked at the ingredients on Light Life foods in a while, I’ll have to check ’em out.
You gals are so cute! And I love the theme of this post, because I’m a big ol’ tree hugger. Have you seen Forks Over Knives? It has spawned a BIG change in my household- with even bigger changes coming soon. I am STOKED.

Janetha September 28, 2012 at 10:22 am

That is one that is on my list to watch!

Shaunna@mamas13minutemile September 28, 2012 at 9:04 am

My family so needs to eat more veggie based meals but I always resort to pasta. I need to take time to do more research! :) Your meal looked incredible!

Nicole C September 28, 2012 at 10:07 am

I work for a renewable energy company so I help everyday to in the advancement of the solar world here in sunny Vegas. We do anything from residential, school building, hotels and 20+MW solar field. Little Fallon, Nevda is now the only green energy producing city in the US from a field we installed this year.

Plus, I recycle everything at home..it’s almost annoying. Those handy dandy contigo bottles have been my new best friend with the Fitmixer bootcamp going on.

No, no vegetarian anything for me. I am still trying to come to terms with eating one sinlge veggie on a regular basis.

Erica September 28, 2012 at 11:10 am

How fun! You girls are so darn cute. I am loving spaghetti squash right now. I like that you did sustainable arts and crafts too. I always use a BPA reusable water bottle and resusable shopping bags

Annette@FitnessPerks September 28, 2012 at 12:02 pm

Oooh those veggie sausages do look really yummy!! What a fun evening all together :)

Katie @ Talk Less, Say More September 28, 2012 at 1:05 pm

Already being vegetarian I’m ALL about the vegetarian diet ;) but I don’t often incorporate much “fake meat” products. I’m not necessarily anti them but if they taste good and aren’t full of a lot of processed ingredients, then I’m A-ok with it.

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