Butterflies and Kelp Noodles – A Day of New Things

IMG_0621IMG_0620prd_018968When I signed up to help plant lupines with The Nature Conservancy at the Rome Sand Plains at the end of last week, the forecast seemed a little iffy; I was really thinking we’d get rained out.  (Good thing it wasn’t today – the forecast is calling for floods).  But thankfully, yesterday was the first sunshiney day Upstate New York has seen in quite a while – sadly enough for the middle of June.  So rather than heading over to the science building to read more about lead, I joined my biology professor, another student from my project, and about 15 other volunteers in planting lupines to help sustain the frosted elfin butterfly population in this unique ecosystem. Not the prettiest of the butterflies, but still a cute little guy!
My project partner and I helped one of the women from the Nature Conservancy pick up trash down by a small pond that people party near.  The plains are often used by ATV-riders, who kick up the sand to make banks to ride on, shoot clay pigeons, and leave beer cans everywhere.  In just a couple hours, we were able to clean up two bags of trash while the others planted about 100 lupine plants!  It was a very successul, fun morning, and I met some very sweet, diverse people.  In September, they are going back to clean up more trash and check on the lupines, and I plan on joining them again.
When I got back to campus, I found that the Gold Mine kelp noodles and RAW Protein Powder I ordered from Amazon had arrived in the mail, so my day of trying out new things continued into my dinner preparations!  IMG_0624
While waiting for soil samples to be analyzed, I looked around for some good Asian-inspired kelp noodle sauce recipes that I had the ingredients for.  It seemed like I had a pieces of all of them, so I decided to combine and make my own!  When I first opened the noodles, I was pretty nervous.  They looked and tasted like plastic; I told my boyfriend that it was like eating a rubber band, and he laughed at me for eating them anyways. Before using them, I rinsed them really well with warm water, and then let them soak while I was making the sauce.  I grabbed whatever pieces of recipes I had, and threw them all in the food processor.  I am not big on actually measuring ingredients, but rather eyeballing what I think will taste good/be enough for me, so my recipe went something like:

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  • almond butter
  • coconut oil
  • fresh ginger
  • tamari
  • water
  • sesame seeds
  • raw honey
  • lemon juice

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I originally didn’t add any honey, but when I tasted it, there was a bitter taste that I didn’t like.  I mixed in a bit of raw honey, and the problem was solved! Once I drained the noodles, I mixed in the sauce, some chopped bell peppers, carrots, some bean sprouts, and leftover Almond Parmesan cheese from my Mac n’ Cheese recipe, and had a yummy, filling, kelp noodle dinner!

I went online to see about ordering more noodles in bulk, but after reading the Amazon reviews I was directed to a video that showed how kelp noodles are not as raw, natural, or safe as people think they are.  I decided to do some hunting today on my own and found that I’m even more confused now; Sea Tangle’s FAQs seemed to put my worries to rest, but how do I know that they’re being honest about how they produce their noodles?  Why do they look, taste, and smell like plastic before you do something with them?  I am a little bit skeptical to finish the pack that I have and to buy more, but…they were so good!

Note: The picture of the flowering lupines is courtesy of the Nature Conservancy’s website and is not mine.  The rest are!