Happy Birthday to Earth Day this April 22! Today, more than 1 billion people participate in Earth Day activities, making it the largest civic observance in the world. Here some ideas for you to get in on the action and celebrate the bounty of Mother Earth and help preserve her for future generations!
Invite friends for an Earth Dad salad bar. Start with an array of different types of lettuce in all shades of green – Spinach, Romaine, Iceberg, Arugula, Butterhead, and Endive. Add some sliced organic fruits and veggies in the rest of the colors of the rainbow – red radishes or tomatoes, orange carrots or orange slices, yellow bell peppers, blueberries, purple asparagus, and even some deep purple carrots! Toss it all together with some homemade dressings and top with sunflower seeds or raisins. Finish off the clean and healthy fare with a trip to the park to clean up any trash or weed the community garden.
Celebrate with a “Strolling Salad” Picnic
Prepare individual servings of nature’s bounty prepped ahead of time. Use recycled paper cups (earth-friendly) and start by covering the bottom of the cup with dressing. Add celery sticks, carrots of different colors, cherry tomatoes, and jicama – and its veggies and dip in an easy-to- eat container! You could also write Earth Day sayings or quotes on the cups. We’ll start you off… “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.” – Native American Proverb. Or “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.”– John Muir. Or how about “He that plants trees loves others beside himself.” – Thomas Fuller. Take these with you on a walk around your neighborhood, enjoy the fresh air, and pick up any stray bottles or cans for recycling.
Plant a Tree
You can plant a tree in celebration or in honor of a loved one in a designated US National Forest in your honoree’s name. Check it out at www.alivingtribute.org. For just $9.99, it’s a perfect idea – giving back to Mother Earth for Earth Day.
Take a trip to the local nursery and pick out your favorite organic seeds. You can also get some organic “starter” plants that you simply replant. If you don’t have much yard space, use colorful planters or you can build or buy a raised garden bed (your home store will have the kit or supplies you need). Or opt for a small herb garden on your kitchen counter…and you can celebrate Earth Day all summer long!
Have you ever had raw honey? Or Bok Choy? Why not take a trip to the Farmer’s Market, pick up a few things you’ve never tried before, and have a tasting party with the family. You might just find your new favorite.
Head to the Local Orchard
At many local orchards, you can pick your own produce. Tree crops like apples, peaches and pears or row crops like carrots and eggplant give a whole new meaning to the “produce aisle.” Get up with the singing birds, head to the orchard and plan an Earth Day feast, incorporating as many picked fruits and veggies from the orchard as possible. Best part? You’ll know exactly where your feast came from.
Make your Own Jam
Choose your favorite fruits, or pick them from the orchard and get smashing! Try substituting locally bought honey for the sugar and use the finished product for toast, added to dessert recipes, and in your PB&J. While you’re making the jam, play some cool Earth Day tunes like Joni Mitchell’s Big Yellow Taxi, Marvin Gaye’s Mercy Mercy Me (the Ecology), Neil Young’s Mother Earth (Natural Anthem) or Woodie Guthrie’s This Land is Your Land and call it an Earth Day Jam session. Don’t forget to share the bounty.
There are many ways to celebrate the largest civic observance in the world. Eat organically, share with friends, plant a tree or garden, and try new produce And remember, the best way to celebrate Earth Day is to be a good steward of Mother Earth all year long.
Start your celebration menu with these wholesome salads from California Almonds…perfect for Earth Day and every day.
Makes 4 servings
This seasonal salad can take advantage of any colorful combination of vegetables from the summer farmers market. Try different colored tomatoes, beans and corn, add in steamed potatoes, or try red onion or baby garlic instead of shallot.
1/2 pound fresh wax beans or green beans, trimmed
2 medium ears fresh corn, with corn cut from cob and cobs discarded
1/3 cup fresh shelled peas
1/2 cup halved grape tomatoes or teardrop tomatoes
4 medium radishes, trimmed and sliced thinly
1 tablespoon minced shallot
Spicy Almonds (recipe below)
1 ounce feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup prepared red wine or balsamic vinaigrette
1 1/2 cups fresh salad greens such as arugula or watercress
1. Fill a medium saucepan with 2 inches of water, and place a steamer insert inside. Bring to a boil, and add beans. Steam, covered, for 3 minutes, then add corn and peas, and steam 2 minutes more, or until beans are tender-crisp. Let cool.
2. Combine in a large bowl with tomatoes, radishes, shallots, almonds, and feta. Dress with prepared vinaigrette and serve on salad greens.
Spicy Almonds Recipe
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Heat 1 tablespoon unsalted butter in a small skillet. As butter melts, stir in 1/8 teaspoon chili powder and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Stir in 1/4 cup roughly chopped almonds. Spread almonds on a baking sheet lined with foil, and bake 10 to 15 minutes, until fragrant. Let cool before placing on salad.
Makes 2 servings
Created by Amie Valpone
A perfect mix with the flavor of coconut to give it a fresh twist for spring and summer.
1 cup radishes, sliced into 1/4 inch slices
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted*
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups loosely packed baby spinach
2 tablespoons whole natural almonds
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
*Extra-virgin olive oil can be used instead of coconut oil.
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine radishes with olive oil; gently toss. Transfer radishes to a baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until radishes are tender.
3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine balsamic vinegar, coconut oil, lemon juice and zest, sea salt, and pepper; whisk to combine and set aside.
4. Remove radishes from the oven; set aside to cool for 1 minute.
5. In a large mixing bowl, combine baby spinach with whole almonds, roasted radishes, and basil. Drizzle with dressing and gently toss to combine. Transfer salad to two serving dishes. Serve at room temperature or chilled.
Makes 3 servings
Plump grapes, a sprinkle of sliced almonds, cilantro, and spritz of lime juice give this salad a refreshing bent. A wonderful take-along to any picnic or backyard get-together.
1 1/2 cups halved green grapes
1 1/2 cups halved red grapes
1 cup cilantro leaves, chopped finely
1 tablespoon lime juice (the juice of about 1/2 of a lime)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Sliced almonds, toasted
1. Place halved grapes and cilantro into a medium-sized mixing bowl.
2. In a separate small bowl, whisk lime juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper until combined. Pour lime juice mixture over grape mixture and stir gently. Just before serving, top with toasted sliced almonds and toss gently to combine. Serve cold.