The Whole Truth: Health and Wellness
Five Feel-Good Things To Do This Week
1) Buy only what you need. It’s simple. The more you buy, the more waste you generate. We live in a culture that thrives on excessive consumption, and as a result, we have become a throwaway society. Advertisements reshape our needs around the latest trends and material possessions, and many of us let what we own define us. This week, try and focus on quality before quantity — and instead of buying whatever you want when you shop – take a moment to think about whether you actually need it. Writing a detailed shopping list of what you need before you hit the store, or just simply being aware of the reasoning behind your purchase decisions, can be a great way to prevent excessive consumption and environmental waste.
2) Feasting for FEAST. Enjoy delicious samples from Chef John Fleer’s award-winning menu at the 4th annual Feasting for FEAST, a local non-profit organization that promotes healthy eating choices and makes them accessible to people of all income levels. Sample a selection of Biltmore Wines, sip a collaborative beer from Oyster House Brewing Company and Riverbend Malt House, and delight in live entertainment by Augusta Wind and Earlene Hooch of LaZoom Comedy Tours.
When: Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014
Where: The Pillar
Address: 46 Haywood Street, Asheville, NC 28801
Times: 6 to 9 p.m.
Details: Visit feast.slowfoodasheville.org
3) Reduce, reuse and recycle your plastic bags. Contrary to the belief that plastic bags are free and easy breezy, throughout the country, millions of dollars of taxpayer money goes to managing plastic bag litter every year. Only a small percentage of plastic bags actually make their way to the proper recyclers because people aren’t aware of the facts, or don’t know how to dispose of them. Did you know that most grocery stores actually encourage their customers to return plastic bags for recycling by providing bins to easily and properly dispose of them? By taking advantage of these provided bins, you’re ensuring that the bags are shipped off and remade into useful things like plastic lumber, crates and pipes; rather than taking up space in landfills and polluting our marine ecosystem. Try reusing plastic bags as trashcan liners or lunch bags, and supply your own reusable bags during checkout.
4) Bee happy. Visit Historic Biltmore Village in Asheville this week for the first annual Vintage Fall Festival featuring the Bee Happy Market. This open-air, vintage, antique, and collectibles market is a great way to support local artisans while creatively updating your home or wardrobe with refurbished and repurposed items. Participating retail merchants will host special sales, and all restaurants with outdoor seating will feature live entertainment starting at 2 p.m.
When: Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014
Where: Historic Biltmore Village
Address: 11 Kitchen Place, Asheville, NC (in the Wells Fargo parking lot)
Times: 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.
Details: Visit historicbiltmorevillage.com and beehappywares.com
5) Avoid bottled water. People drink more and more bottled water every year, in part because it’s convenient, and in part because they think it is somehow safer or better than tap water. Bottled water wastes fossil fuels in production and transport, and rather than being recycled, the majority of empty plastic bottles end up in landfills, lakes, streams, and oceans. This week, invest in a filtering reusable water bottle - from trusted brands like Brita, Camelbak and Bobble — and feel good knowing that you’re saving money, and the environment, next time you’re thirsty on the go.
IN SEASON: Mushrooms
Mushrooms are flavorful, readily available and incredibly versatile — from the meaty texture they add to eggs to the robust flavor they bring to most pasta dishes. Many of us are already familiar with the countless uses of white mushrooms, but take a walk on the wild side with this week’s recipe; combining the smoky flavor of the shiitake with the steak-like texture of the portobello. There is a wide array of edible fungi available at most grocery stores, and you can find a fresh variety of wild mushrooms at local farmers markets and gourmet shops. When shopping, steer clear of spongy or sticky mushrooms and look for those that smell sweet and earthy, with dry, firm, undamaged caps.
Mushroom and Fresh Herb Lasagna
- 12 no-boil lasagna noodles (1/2 lb.)
- 1 qt. milk
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup flour
- About 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- About 1/2 tsp. pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 tablespoons chopped parsley, divided
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves, divided
- About 3 tbsp. olive oil, divided
- 2 medium leeks, sliced into thin rings
- 1 1/2 pounds portabella mushrooms, sliced
- 1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
- 1 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1 cup plus 2 tbsp. coarsely shredded Asiago cheese
- Soften noodles in a pan of very hot water while you prep the other ingredients.
- Make béchamel (white sauce): Bring milk to a simmer in a saucepan and remove from heat. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and cook, stirring, until slightly darkened, 2 minutes. Whisk milk into flour mixture all at once and whisk until smooth. Add 1 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. pepper, and the nutmeg. Sauce should be thick enough to coat a spoon; if it isn't, cook over medium-low heat, stirring, until thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in garlic, 2 tbsp. parsley, and 1/2 tbsp. thyme. Keep covered.
- Preheat oven to 375°. Heat a deep, wide pot over medium-high heat 2 minutes. Swirl in 1 tbsp. oil and add leeks. Cook until tender but not browned, 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Scoop leeks into a bowl and set aside.
- Swirl 2 tbsp. oil into pot. Add mushrooms, season lightly with salt and pepper, and cook over medium heat, covered, until mushrooms are tender and beginning to release juices, about 5 minutes. Uncover and cook until edges start to brown. Stir in leeks and remaining 1/2 tbsp. thyme. Remove from heat.
- Mix Parmesan with Asiago.
- Assemble lasagna: Oil a 9- by 13-in. baking dish. Spread a few spoonfuls of béchamel over bottom. Arrange 3 noodles crosswise in dish, then spoon on about 1/2 cup béchamel, followed by a third of the mushrooms and 1/3 cup cheeses. Repeat layers twice more. Top with a final layer of noodles and béchamel, and sprinkle with remaining cheese.
- Bake lasagna until browned and bubbling, about 45 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tbsp. parsley and let sit at least 15 minutes before slicing.
(recipe via sunset.com)