Election Philly Cheese Steak: I’m an Imperfect Vegan and I ate Beef and That’s OKAY – Dr. Plastic Picker

Election Philly Cheese Steak: I’m an Imperfect Vegan and I ate Beef and That’s OKAY

| Posted in Our Tween/Teen, Vegan Dreams - Less plastic, More plants, More Fiber

Spices that make up the Philly Cheesesteak Sirloin Rub

Novemeber 8, 2020

by drplasticpicker

We watched President-Elect Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris yesterday as a family. We made it an event. Before the actual speech and dinner, we had been inspired by real friends on my personal Facebook that suggested Philly Cheesesteak and Arizona Ice Tea in celebration of the swing states that brought the electoral collage home. The entire day had been happy with smiles and CNN playing in the background. Everyone seemed to be smiling, even the political pundits. Trump has really aged Jake Tapper. We were low on kitchen staples anyway so needed to go to a grocer.

Mr. Plastic Picker and I debated Costco, Vons and Sprouts. Costco we nixed as we were worried about the Saturday afternoon crowds plus we actually shop there a lot less in general. My mom had noted as I had noted, that the Costco fruit and vegetables don’t seem as fresh as they used to? My mom had an entire bag of flour riddled with biscuit beetles and I had a a bag of bagles actually go moldy within the day as well. We’ve had to return entire watermelons or just landfill them after buying them at Costco. That has never happened with other stores. I just think there is no way to keep produce as fresh when it’s such a large operation? Costco is great for durable and non-perishable staples. In the end it was our weekly debate, our local grocer Vons versus the organic local grocer Sprouts which is literally 2 blocks from our house. Mr. Plastic Picker always wants to go to Vons, because they have the popcorn he likes and he still buys some plastic encased food. We are certainly not-plastic free. I wanted to make Philly Cheesesteak in honor of Philadelphia pushing the count over to Biden’s side, and Mr. Plastic Picker assured me that no way was Sprouts going to have beef sirloan or the bread I needed for Philly Cheesesteak. Plus we were thinking of buying Arizona Iced Tea is honor of Arizona, and he said they don’t have bottled drinks which was not true.

Since Mr. Plastic Picker is in charge of the kids’ education and the cars, and I am in charge of our family’s joruney to save the earth and in charge of myself – we went to Sprouts. We bought everything we needed and came home with much less plastic than if we had gone to Vons. Plus the last time we went to Vons last weekend, it did not feel as safe from COVID-19 than at Sprouts. Sprouts in our neighborhood is doing a fantastic job in sterilizing everything and ensuring social distancing.

I am always amazed at the amount of real food we come home with from Sprouts for an amazing low price. Yesterday’s bill was around $150 and we bought it all home in our reusable bags. It included 5 lb of all purpose flour, and 5 lb of whole wheat flour which was on sale. Head of organic cauliflower. Bok choy as I’m trying to incorporate different vegetables. Bag of shrimp on sale off $10! Always Beyond Sausage, and 2 vegan meat substitutes. The Beyond Beef was sold out! See there is money to be made in the Green Revolution. We bought bag of small grapefruits which turns out to be actually really sweet and got a thumbs up from our daughter. I bought 1 pound bag of rolled oats, dried banana chips and non-GMO vanilla granola. I bought a small bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips. This was all from the bulk grocer aisle. Even if it’s in pre-packaged plastic bags due to COVID-19, it’s still a lot less plastic than prepared foods and if I bought the same from Vons. We also bought a bunch of banans, organic apples, organic black berries that our daughter wanted and loaves of french bread and bagels. When we were sorting things into the trunk of my CMAX Energy Hybrid that brought us there all on electricity that had been powered by our solar panels, I reminded Mr. Plastic Picker that we came home with so much food. Real food is real fiber and nutrients and a lot less plastic.

Oh, and I did find what I needed for the Philly Cheesesteaks. We didn’t find the Arizona iced tea. Since this was for fun and to make the election night (albeit several days late) memorable for the kids, I wasn’t welded to the idea of having to have Arizona Iced Tea. I just wanted to make something special for them. I found four long rolls that could work as the bread for the Philly Cheesesteak, bought green peppers, and bought beef for the first time in over a year. There is beef tucked in a small corner of Sprouts. I bought just 1 lb as that is all we needed.

When we got home that afternoon, we put the groceries away. I took a nap, still processing all the emotions over the election win. At about 415pm, it was time to start cooking. This is the recipe I used with my modifications in paranthesis.

Allrecipe’s Philly Steak Sandwhich https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/36621/philly-steak-sandwich/?printview


Ingredient Checklist

  • 1 pound beef sirloin, cut into thin 2 inch strips
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon dried marjoram (oregano works too)
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, julienned
  • 3 ounces Swiss cheese, thinly sliced
  • 4 hoagie rolls, split lengthwise (I used similar sized rolls I just found at Sprouts)


Instructions Checklist

  • Step 1Place the beef in a large bowl. In a small bowl, mix together salt, pepper, paprika, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, thyme, marjoram and basil. Sprinkle over beef. (Mr. Plastic Picker tenderized the beef which in hindsight was really a good idea, and I wish I had sliced it even thinner)
  • Step 2Heat half of the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Saute beef to desired doneness, and remove from pan. Heat the remaining oil in the skillet, and saute the onion and green pepper.
  • Step 3Preheat oven on broiler setting.
  • Step 4Divide the meat between the bottoms of 4 rolls, layer with onion and green pepper, then top with sliced cheese. Place on cookie sheet, and broil until cheese is melted. Cover with tops of rolls, and serve. (We were so impatient to eat that we skipped this step! It was still delicious and the kids raved about it, but Joe Biden was starting his speech and the kids were hungry).

Nutrition Facts

Per Serving:641 calories; protein 35.3g 71% DV; carbohydrates 39.5g 13% DV; fat 38.4g 59% DV; cholesterol 95.5mg 32% DV; sodium 717.3mg 29% DV.

Please click on their original link to give them credit https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/36621/philly-steak-sandwich/?printview

And this is our Philly Cheesesteak Sandwhich!!! Despite my not cutting the beef as thin as I would have liked, and skipping the last step completely – it was the best meal that I have ever made for my kids. Our tween daughter was especially shocked.

This is what they ate. Now I realize that it did need to have the cheese melted in the oven. But it was really delicious and tasted very fresh actually. That’s Mr. Plastic Picker’s skinny legs in the back. We are Asian. We don’t wear shoes in the house. I actually think most people don’t wear shoes in the house these days and it has nothing to do with your ethnicity.

We saved a lot by cooking the Philly Steak Sandwhich at home. The extra ingredients we needed were about $15 dollars and that is mostly the sirloin which was $10. It was fresh and filling, and the kids had about 1.5 sandwhiches each. They ate all the onions and green peppers. One of the local sandwhich shops here sells the same sandwhich for $6 and at our local subway (which is where we usually get the same type of sandwhich) it is $10 a sandwhich. So at home it cost be $15 versus anywhere from $25 to $40. Also because we slowed down the process of our food by cooking and savoring it as a family, I think we eat less. The calories content is about the same, 500 calories for a serving. That was our main meal of the day. There was no plastic, and usually when we’ve ordered it from Subways in the past our kids end up getting the larger portion and eat more.

Anyway, so we are an environmentalist family that ate beef yesterday! It was a once in a year thing. We are imperfect flexitarians, vegetarians, sometimes vegan (our lunch was vegan!), and always plant based. We ate the delicious beef because we eat generally sustainable because we are truly worried about the earth, but with Joe Biden’s election we felt a small sense of hope. We are certainly not going back to our wasteful former plastic filled lives, but I now know that we have more help. It’s okay to let up a little bit and to be imperfect – even in our environmental journey. This entire thing was never going to work if it was one family going vegan or one person going zero-waste. It really will only work if all of us just eat less meat, and make less waste.

I was so happy last night after that wonderful dinner and watching the speeches from President-Elect Joe Biden and our first woman and woman of color Vice-President Elect Kamala Harris. That historic first last night took me a while to process as well. I had been so focused on the earth part. If we meet the climate goals that Joe Biden has set out and with China’s renewed commitments, we just might get this planet saved in the next decade. I rewatched the Biden’s campaigns climate video, and looked again at Project Drawndown’s website. I know how much we as a family have done, and just an relieved that we can get back on track. But the Kamala Harris part, I didn’t realize until I looked at our daughter. The glass ceiling was shattered last night. A woman is now Vice-President elect. Educating girls is one of the most important ways to combat climate change, so the election of a BIPOC woman as vice-president probably did more to push girl’s education than anything in the last decade.

Looking at my daughter last night as she was well into another book series Mr. Plastic Picker had ordered on amazon.com for – I realized I never fully saw her as a future person of power. I saw her in my image, as a professional woman but maybe a pediatrician. A pediatrician can be an influential person, but so can a President. “Do you want to be President?” I asked her truly curious last night. She looked up, my daughter. She is laser focused. Captain of her safety patrol two years ago. Won the highest honor and a scholarship when she graduated from Elementary School (I didn’t even think she was in the running). Student body government and commissioner of communications. She is dedicated to her Girl Scout journey. I have underestimated her. Me, a pediatrician and a girl-advocate, I underestimate my own child. I once told her I didn’t want her doing too many chores at home so that she could concentrate on her studies. She had wanted to take on an additional project. She looked at me and said, “Mommy. I get straight As – every trimester.” And then the other day when I was worried about a borderline grade on her brothers (which flipped to an A- thank goodness!), I asked them both if they needed me to help them on motivate them more. My daughter looked at me with her beautiful visage but tween eye roll, “Mommy, I’m pretty self-directed already.” And yes, indeed she is.

One of her awards.

I really think I would love to live in the White House! I could help with the President’s children! I could compost and garden, and litter pick around the Potomac! We already have a house in Virginia, so when the President gets irritated at me (her mother) who provides free babysitting who is a pediatrician – I can just head over there until the President cools off. I’m super excited. So many possibilities!!!

This is Dr. Plastic Picker signing off! Thanks for visiting my off-beat world and the thoughts that course through my brain. We won’t be eating beef regularly in our house, but the spice mix from the Philly Steak Sandwhich recipe I think I could use as a mushroom and tofu rub! I’ll let you know

Dr. Plastic Picker’s Mushroom/Tofu Rub for FAUX PHILLY STEAK SANDWHICH

  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon dried marjoram (oregano works too)
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil

Did I just invent something? LOL. No. just reimaged someone else’s recipe who probably reimagined it from someone else as well.

For all the little and big girls out there, Dr. Plastic Picker just donated $150 which was triple matched at Rainforest Trust to result in $450. It goes to the campaign to Save Wester Africa’s last Intact Rainforest in Liberia. This is in honor of all the little girls and for Vice-President Kamala Harris. 125 acres preserved and 37,500 mature rainforest trees! Let’s do this!!!

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