Squirrel Upside Down

pssst...can you find the squirrel?

Whenever it snows, my older daughter begins telling everybody what to do. "You can't walk here. Only step there." She wants to preserve the pristine look of gently rolling white.

The other day, as I walked to my secret spot, I understood her urgency in this matter. Every step I took felt like a violation. I so wanted an invisible footprint. Similarly, sometimes, when I lie under the pine tree, I imagine what it would be like to melt into the ivy in total camouflage, with my presence creating only negligible impact.

Of course, this is impossible, both in my yard and in the world in general. For instance, as an American, my "footprint" is rather large compared to what the world can support. As I recall from Radical Simplicity, there are about 4.5 acres for each person alive... that's what it takes to support a life. But the average American footprint is 24 acres. In other words, I am far from being a world chameleon. You might say I'm wearing red neon in the forest.

Still, one way I'm learning to live a little lighter is through my food choices. Some of us do other things like drive a gas-economical car. But food's my thing. It's one small way I'm trying to leave a little snow patch pristine, so to speak.

So here's an earth-light recipe. With the king-of-chameleon as its highlight: tofu. Tofu is bland, yes. That's its star quality. Because it melts into the background, it simply absorbs all the other flavors and showcases them. This makes it a great choice for dishes with rich or spicy flavors.

Tofu Joes 2

Tofu Joes

Saute in olive oil 'til light brown:

-onion, chopped

Add & saute briefly:

- 2 garlic, minced
- 1 to 1 1/2 TB chili powder
- 1/2 tsp cumin powder
- 1/4 tsp fennel seed
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- optional dash red pepper flakes

Add & simmer about 10 minutes:

- 2 TB shoyu or soy sauce
- 1 package firm or extra firm tofu, mashed
- 1/2 jar of spaghetti sauce
- 1/2 green bell pepper, chopped


- pour of olive oil
- salt & pepper to taste
- chopped cilantro

Serve on wheat buns slathered in olive oil (raw olive oil is always good for us!). Add a side of fried potatoes and something green.

About tofu: HIgh in protein, calcium and iron. Can help control cholesterol.

Squirrel Chameleon photo and Tofu Joes photo by L.L. Barkat.

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Blogger Andrea said...

Mmmm. We make mean tofu tacos. I'll have to post my recipe sometime.

8:43 AM  
Blogger Llama Momma said...

Great visual analogy, and so true.

We try to do meatless meals at least a few times a week -- for health as well as a "lighter" footprint. The old classic, "More with Less" cookbook sits on my shelf to remind me how just much grain it takes to produce the meat I enjoy so much. And while it's hard for me to imagine going "meatless," I try to limit our consumption.

This looks like a great recipe! Thanks for sharing.

9:20 AM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Andrea... yes, I like to use tofu in tacos too. Would love to see your recipe!

Llama... so tell us... how much grain does it take? I used to know these stats but have since forgotten. I like the title of that cookbook!

10:47 AM  
Blogger angela said...

OH, thanks for the recipe!! Must try.

4:28 PM  
Anonymous The Artist said...

Love your food, please come over and cook for me.

Here is a link http://www.theecovillage.com.au/index.php
to the Ecovillage I discussed on my site and will give you answers to your questions. It includes a great video.

I do feel this is the beginning of a new way of living.

5:26 PM  
Blogger Llama Momma said...

Well, the cookbook is old (my mother used to cook from it). So, back in the 70s, the average american consumed 5 times more grain than a person in the rest of the world, and most of that was to support meat production.

Check out an excerpt of the book here...the first page lists good stats:


I love this cookbook for its simplicity and economy. It also has great nutrition information.

6:31 PM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Llama... that is truly amazing (I went and perused the first chapter). How can we live with such knowledge?

6:45 PM  
Blogger Llama Momma said...

"How can we live with such knowledge?"

Yes. And more importantly, how will we choose to live with such knowledge?

7:34 PM  
Blogger Christianne said...

Hey Laura, this is a great post! Very beautifully written with rich imagery and a light touch on the diction. I know, I know, my writer/editor side's kicking in here for a comment . . . I hope you won't feel that's a cop-out for a comment, but it's what moved me most about the post!

Oh, and yes, I DO see that fast-moving squirrel!

9:39 PM  
Blogger bluemountainmama said...

yum! i wander if i could get away with that with my hubby......i might just have to try!

2:21 PM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Christianne... thanks! I don't mind hearing from all sides of you. :)

Blue... if you think that the soft texture might be a problem, just add the peppers at the very end, to leave a little crunch in the mix. I know my spouse has preferred crunchy things and also things with chunks. Everybody's got their texture preferences, I guess.

3:33 PM  
Anonymous This Eclectic Life said...

I enjoy your posts, and just linked this one in my "Link Love." I look forward to reading more!

9:17 AM  

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