Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Cookie Dough Bites and BBQ Tempeh Sloppy Joes

Tonight I'm making:
 BBQ Tempeh Sloppy Joes  from

Note: 12-28-13 - We made these, and we used those whole wheat sandwich thins that kind of seem to taste like cardboard....that might have influenced my opinion, and I may not have had the best bbq sauce, but I don't think I'll be making this one again...

And I hope I'll have time soon to also make her:

Note: 12-28-13 - I haven't had time to make these yet, but my sister did and she said they reminded her of oatmeal cookie bites, so I'll have to try them, and maybe change their name.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Carmelized Onion Gravy

Caramelized Onion Gravy

- 1 large onion, finely diced
- 1 Tb. minced garlic
- Optional: 1 cup diced mushrooms
3 1/2 cups vegetable stock
1/2 tsp. oregano
- 1/2 tsp. thyme
- 1/8 tsp. salt

- fresh cracked pepper
- 2 Tbsp. flour + 3 Tbsp. water

- 2 Tbsp. vegan margarine

1. Finely dice the onion, garlic (and mushrooms if using) 
2. In a skillet over medium heat melt margarine 
3. Add veggies, herbs, salt and pepper until onions are caramelized (about 10 min.)
4. Add stock and bring to a boil, simmer for about 12 min.
5. In a small bowl, whisk together flour and water. Add to skillet and stir.
5. Return to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer 2-3 minutes until slightly thickened.

I got my idea from this Mushroom Gravy on The Garden Grazer

Apple Butternut Squash Casserole

Apple Butternut Squash Casserole

- 6 cups mashed cooked butternut squash (or sweet potato)
- 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 3 Tb. melted margarine
- 1/3 cup pure maple syrup (or honey)\
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 Tb. ground flax seed (stirred into 3 Tb. water until egg white consistency)
- 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

- 2 Tb. Turbinado sugar (or packed dark brown sugar)
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- 1 Tb. whole wheat pastry flour
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 Tb. melted vegan margarine (or olive oil)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Mix all casserole ingredients together in a bowl, then spread in lightly oiled 13X9 casserole dish.
3. Mix all topping ingredients in a small bowl and sprinkle on top of casserole.
4. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees F for 25 min. or just until golden.

Maple Apple Crisp

Maple Apple Crisp


- 8 apples, peeled, cored, and sliced thin
- 1/3 c. lemon juice
- 1 Tb. honey or brown sugar
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 2 c. quick rolled oats
- 1.5 c. finely chopped walnuts
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
- 1 tsp. stevia (1 Tb. brown sugar)
- 1/2 c. pure maple syrup (or honey)
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract

1. Combine topping ingredients in a bowl, then combine filling ingredients in a separate bowl.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, Lightly spray a 13x9 casserole dish and spread out apples evenly.
3. Then spread topping evenly to cover the apples, and Bake at 350 degrees for 45 min. 

Savory Veggie Stuffing

Pic from

Savory Veggie Stuffing

Modified from THIS recipe


  • 10 cups 1/2 inch bread cubes from 1 lb firm whole wheat or other sandwich bread
  • 2 Tbsp vegan margarine
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp minced fresh garlic 
  • 10 oz. (about 3 1/2 cups) diced portabella mushrooms
  • 1 large finely chopped onion
  • 1 large finely chopped carrot
  • 2 cups finely chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh parsley or 3 Tb. dry parsley
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dill
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • Optional: 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
  • 2 - 3 cups vegetable stock 


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Oil a large shallow casserole dish
  2. Toast bread cubes in a large baking sheet in the oven until golden brown. Set aside in a large bowl
  3. Turn oven down to 350 degrees F
  4. Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Sauté onions, garlic, and celery until soft
  5. Using a rubber spatula, transfer the veggie mixture to the bowl of bread crumbs
  6. Add parsley, rosemary, oregano, dill, thyme, optional salt, and pepper
  7. Optional: Drizzle 1 Tbsp olive oil into the mixture
  8. Stir until until everything is well mixed
  9. Add 2 cups vegetable stock, and stir until it is absorbed. Add more stock as needed so that the mixture is moist and clumping together, but not soggy
  10. Bake at 350 degrees F in a covered shallow casserole or baking dish for 25 minutes
  11. Optional: Uncover and bake another 15 minutes to form a crusty top

Saturday, November 23, 2013

John's Favorite Green Smoothie

Most people are surprised when I tell them what John eats/drinks. They tell me that in a few years all he'll eat is macaroni and cheese, chicken nuggets and french fries. I absolutely (and respectfully) disagree. I feel we have a wonderful opportunity to train John's taste buds now so that he can taste the natural goodness and flavors of real food and learn to love them. And he does! This is one of his favorite smoothies. He often drinks 8-10 ounces in one sitting. (And John had just woken up in these pictures from a nap cut short by teething pain. Those darn molars! When are they just going to get here and stop hurting my little boy and keeping us all from sleeping!? Well, at lease John has his green smoothie to console him)

John's Green Smoothie
Serves 2-3

- 1 apple, cored and quartered
- 2 large carrots, chopped into 2 inch pieces (or 8-10 baby carrots)
- 2 stalks celery, chopped into 2 inch pieces
- 1/2 (or a whole) lemon, rind cut off or peeled
- 1/2 a banana
- 1 cup pineapple (fresh or frozen) 
- 1/2 cup strawberries (fresh or frozen)
- 3 large handfuls organic spinach (3-4 packed cups)
- 1 Tb honey
- 2 Tb ground flax seed
- 1 1/2 cups water

1. Thoroughly wash all veggies and fruits.
2. Blend all ingredients in a high-powered blender (Vitamix, Blendtec, Ninja, etc.)

- Drink this in a glass jar with a bendy straw. it's just the best way. Really. It is.
- In the summer, I like to use all frozen fruit (except apple and lemon). Sometimes we freeze our own, sometimes we buy it frozen.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

So tell me...What DO you eat?

The other day, when we were at a social event (I had eaten beforehand), someone noticed I wasn't eating the fried chicken finger, wings, pizza covered in cheese and meat, iceberg salad with pink tomatoes and cheese, and cookies made with sugar, butter, white flour and eggs. She asked me if she could make me a plate, and I politely declined which led into a discussion of my food choices. "So tell me...What do you eat?" was her question. I wanted to reply, "Well, sit down. How much time do you have?" It's a tough question, one that isn't easy to come a with a succinct comprehensible response. It's a little easier to explain what I don't eat than what I do eat.

Dairy - never
Fast Foods - not if I can help it
Processed Foods - not usually
Meat and Eggs - Very seldom and with certain criteria

Whenever I say the word vegan, I know many equate this to mean "hippie." Although I do some similar things to all out 'vegans,' I believe that God put animals here for our use, and that we should treat them kindly and well and use them when we need to and with prudence and thanksgiving. This is the health code I am trying to live by according to how I feel the Lord is leading me to understand it for my own life and circumstance: The Word of Wisdom 

I like to call myself a "NUTRITARIAN." I try to eat food for it's nutritional content instead of  "just because it tastes good." I eat a lot of the things most people I know eat, I just try to make them from scratch using different ingredients like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds. I make pizza, burgers, soups, chili and a whole lot of salads. I eat cereal, fruit/veggie juice. I snack on energy bites and air popped popcorn. Very occasionally, maybe twice a month I'll eat a free range, organic, well fed, well treated piece of meat or an egg of similar background that we can find at our local farmers market. I drink smoothies and shakes. Sometimes, when the situation makes it necessary, I will deviate from my normal diet, but I try to get back into the swing of it as soon as I can.

And then there are a couple things that I do that most people don't, and that many people might even think is a bit crazy. I sprout, plant and grow wheatgrass and then I juice it and drink it. It isn't easy, but yes I drink it. (and Seth and John drink it too! :)  "Wheatgrass juice is an effective healer because it contains chlorophyll, all minerals known to man, and vitamins A, B-complex, C, E, and K. Wheatgrass is extremely rich in protein, and contains 17 amino acids, the building blocks of protein."

And if you'd like to know more about what I eat, just keep reading! :)

Friday, November 15, 2013

Coconut Cauliflower Curry Soup

Today, I set out to create a delicious masterpiece, using whatever we had in our fridge and pantry that would be hearty enough for my husband, and soft enough for Baby John to chew. I love that he can eat what we eat now!! We are believers in supporting local farming, and love to buy produce from our farmer's market. This past weekend, Seth bought an enormous cauliflower for $2! I feel bad that the farmer didn't get his fare shake...but that is the price he offered Seth because a 2 inch part of it got a little frozen.  We're not worried about that; at least it didn't get picked when it wasn't ripe and get shipped over thousands of bumpy miles losing flavor and using up too much fossil fuel. It is such a beautiful cauliflower, it's orange! Did you know there are like a whole bunch of different varieties of cauliflower. Seriously, go to your local farmer's market and check them out. After you taste it, you will never want to pay $5 for a tasteless/bitter white knobbly thing from the grocery store again! And when you look at the ingredients, you may be a bit overwhelmed, but don't be, it only means more nutrients and extra deliciousness. I believe in symphonies of flavor, and I think tonight we are going to enjoy one.
Coconut Cauliflower Curry Soup
Serves 10-12
- 2 diced onions, (optional to saute or not)
- 6 cups veggie stock (or water)
- 1 can coconut milk (use light for lower fat)
- 2 cups soy milk (I like to use organic)
- 8 cups chopped cauliflower
- 3 diced sweet potatoes
- 2.5 cups diced tomatoes (fresh or canned)
- 3 cans chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
- 2/3 cups red lentils
- 1 Tb natural peanut butter
- 1 tsp. minced ginger
- 2 Tb. minced garlic
- 3 tsp. cumin
- 2 Tb. curry
- 1/4 tsp. garam masala
- 2 tsp. coriander
- 3 tsp. oregano
- 1/4 tsp. cayenne
- 2 Tb. nutritional yeast
- 1.5 cups frozen peas (or 1 can) - optional
- salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
- fresh basil or spinach for garnish

Optional: Saute onion in your large pot ( I used my stock pot because this make a ton of soup! Hooray for freezer meals!)
1. Combine all ingredients in a large pot and simmer until sweet potatoes are soft.
2. Garnish with basil or spinach (chiffonade) and serve with hot crusty whole grain bread or whole wheat naan.

- You could bake or roast your sweet potatoes beforehand to really speed up the process! Then you would just be waiting for your cauliflower to cook until it's soft.
- You could also do this in a crockpot. I think Low heat for 6-8 hours would cook the potatoes. Let me know if you try it. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Pear Pecan Salad with Creamy Balsamic Dressing

We got a crate of pears from Costco, trying to add more variety of fruits to our normal ones we always eat. They were getting a bit mushy, as you can tell from my photos... try making this salad before your pears are this soft. But, mushy or not, I needed to find a way to use these pears, and here it is! Unfortunately, I forgot to add the red onion to the salad before we ate it!! It was buried in the overstuffed cave that is my fridge. That was what was missing, so don't skip it! This salad is gourmet.

The night we ate this salad, I had also made a huge pot of soup and worked an 8 hour shift for my job while trying to care for a clingy baby who isn't happy that I'm weaning him. I know it may have been a bit crazy and overdoing it, but I had all this food in my kitchen that needed to be used! And I wanted to create a delicious and nutritious meal for my family. Then, right before Seth came home, I talked with someone who was quite angry. I let their anger rub off on me. Then I was telling Seth how this person took their anger out on me, and during dinner I took my anger out on him. I was exhausted and over stretched, and I behaved inexcusably. I am ashamed of it.

You know that phrase, "What your kids really want for dinner is you." That works with husbands too I think. And "When Mama is happy, everybody is happy." It works the other way around as well, "When Mama is unhappy, everybody is unhappy."  I am sure that Seth would have preferred a happy, loving wife who's glad to see him, who speaks a comforting word, and eat peanut butter sandwiches, apples and popcorn for dinner than a grumpy, overextended, resentful wife who's worked too hard preparing a gourmet meal that we eat in a stony silence. Even John, though 15 months old can tell when Mama ain't happy.

Let that be a lesson to me. I am going to try to be more balanced in my expectations for myself, and therefore help myself be less overwhelmed. Even though I want to prepare excellent meals for my family, help with our income, talk with people that I love on the phone, I need to keep my priorities straight and slow down. So, on a day that you aren't overbooked, try this gourmet pear salad and serve it up with heaping spoonfuls of love.

Serves 4-6
Pear Pecan Salad
- 2 heads Romaine, washed and chopped
- 3 large handfuls organic spinach, washed and torn
- 1 cup cauliflower, washed and chopped (or shredded carrots)
- 1/3 cup craisins (or raisins)
- 2 Tb. raw pumpkin seeds (or sunflower seeds)
- 1/2 cup raw pecans, chopped
- 1/4 cup red onion, diced or sliced
- 1 cup whole wheat croutons (this is a good recipe, I just don't use the cheese)
- 1 avocado, diced
- 2 slightly firm pears, diced or sliced
- 2 Tb. lemon juice
1. Combine all ingredients except pear, avocado, and lemon juice in a large salad bowl.
2. Drizzle lemon juice over pear and avocado and then add them to the salad.

Tip: If you want to have left overs (this is a pretty large salad), then keep pear, avocado, croutons and onion separate to be added to individual salads.

Creamy Balsamic Dressing
- 1/2 cup Balsamic Vinaigrette (You can make your own or use store bought)
- 2 Tb. Veganaise or light mayonnaise
- 2 Tb. lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp. dry stevia or 1 Tb. sugar
1. Combine all ingredients in a dressing cruise (or other container), and pour over salad unless you plan on leftovers. If you want leftovers, dress individual salads.

 Tip: Serve with a warm grain dish (rice, quinoa, couscous, etc.) to make it a meal

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Quinoa Vegetable Salad with Lemon Basil Dressing

You've got to try this Quinoa Vegetable Salad with Lemon Basil Dressing from! It is really fabulous. I like it warm and cold, so it is not only an excellent addition to dinner, but a great left over option for lunch! has a lot of amazing vegetarian recipes, and I'm excited to try more out from her site!

Monday, November 11, 2013


I'm excited to try a lot of these 10 delicious quinoa recipes! Quinoa is like a million time better for you than rice. In my book, it's a super food. Try it out!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Bodacious Broccoli Salad

Excellent, Admirable, Attractive. Yes, that is the definition of bodacious, and I thought these were the most appropriate words for my newest creation.

Broccoli. Do you also have difficulty spelling this word? I always struggle to remember whether there are two c's or two l's... Sometimes I also struggle finding a way to like raw broccoli... but never fear! Bodacious Broccoli Salad is here! You will love it, and for many more reasons than the fact that it is absolutely delicious.

"Broccoli is an excellent source of vitamins K, C, and A, as well as folic acid and fiber." What a combo! "And It is also a very good source of phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, and the vitamins B6 and E. It also contains glucosinolates, phytochemicals with tremendous anticancereffects and the carotenoid lutein" that also shows "anticancer effects" and "may also be helpful in preventing the development of age related macular degeneration..."

Broccoli has also been identified in helping prevent/decrease breast cancer, prostate cancer, cervical cancer gastric cancer, gastritis, esophagitis, and acid indigestion. It also helps with liver detoxification. My source is one of my favorite food reference books: The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods. Seth and I like to get this out sometimes when we're eating and learn about what we're eating. It's so informative!

Are you convinced yet? Did you know that Costco sells pre-washed and chopped 5 pound bags of broccoli for $5? Can't get any easier than that. We have eaten all 5 lbs. of it in 5 days, and John has eaten at least a pound of that! He loves broccoli! Seriously, I'm not kidding. My 15 month old may consider brocolli his favorite food. He gets upset if we don't feed it to him fast enough. Obviously, he can't chew well enough for Bodacious Broccoli salad, but he is head over heels for cooked broccoli, and soon he'll have the pleasure of enjoying this delicious salad with us. Happy broccoli eating!
Bodacious Broccoli Salad
Serves 4


- 6 c. raw broccoli, washed and chopped into 1 inch. pieces
- 1/2 c. craisins
- 1 small apple, diced
- 1 can chickpeas/garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 c. veganaise or light mayonnaise
- 1/4 c. lemon juice
- 2 Tb. apple cider vinegar
- 2 tsp. dry stevia (or 3 Tb. sugar)

1/4 c. red onion, dice, for garnish
- 1/2 c. raw pecans, chopped (or your favorite nut: cashews, walnuts, etc.)

- 1.5 c. rice (white or brown)

1. Cook rice in a rice cooker with sufficient water.
2.Combine all ingredients (except garnishes)in a bowl
3. Serve over warm rice and top with garnishes

1. If you have leftovers, keep the onions and nuts separate from each other and from the salad or the nuts will get soggy, and the onion will overpower everything.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Potato Lentiladas

Potato Lentiladas

- 3/4 c. green lentils
- 1 Tb. minced garlic
- 2 c. water
(Cook the above 3 ingredients beforehand in rice cooker)
- 2 diced baked potatoes (bake on a previous day)
- Opt. a sauteed onion or bell pepper or both
- Opt. 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1 14 oz. can or 1 c. fresh corn
- 2 cups hummus +extra for garnish (make your own or buy at the store)This replaces the cheese 
- 1 Tb. lemon or lime juice
- 1/4 c. bunch chopped cilantro (or substitute fresh parsley or 2 Tb. dried parsley)
- 2 cups salsa
- fresh cracked pepper

Enchilada wraps:
- 30 corn (or whole wheat) tortillas (buy at Aldi)
- 3 c. enchilada sauce
- Opt. top with sauteed onion

- 2 diced avocados
- 1 head shredded lettuce
1. Combine all the filling ingredients in a bowl.
2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
3. Dip both sides of a corn tortilla in enchilada sauce; then fill center with some filling (however big you want them); place seam side down in a lightly oiled casserole dish; repeat until all the filling is gone.
4. Pour left over enchilada sauce over the top.
5. Bake at 375(covered with foil) for 30 min  or until heated through.
6. Serve over lettuce and garnish with avocado and extra hummus.

- This is a really big undertaking, but it makes a ton! You can make extra freezer meals, and it's great to have for days when there's no time to make dinner. Just pop frozen lentiladas into a 375 degree oven for 45-60 min until heated through, and enjoy!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Skinnytaste Crockpot Applesauce

I'm making this crockpot applesauce (from tomorrow. I'm going to make a triple batch. Yum! My house is going to smell great!


  • 8 medium apples (Use a combination of Golden Delicious, Honey Crisp, Fuji, Gala, etc.)
  • 1 strips of lemon peel - use a vegetable peeler
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 3 inch cinnamon stick
  • 5 tsp light brown sugar (unpacked) - or agave


Peel, core, and slice the apples. Place them in the slow cooker. Add the cinnamon stick, lemon peel and brown sugar. Set crock pot to low and cook for 6 hours. Stir apples occasionally, apples will slowly become a delicious applesauce.  Remove cinnamon stick and use an immersion blender to blend until smooth or if you prefer a chunky sauce, leave sauce intact.

Makes 3 cups.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Red Enchilada Sauce (or turn it into Enchilada Soup)

If you look on the label of a can or jar of enchilada sauce, you may be dismayed as to what you find in it. Never fear! A better recipe is here!

Red Enchilada Sauce

- 1 diced onion
- 1 bell pepper (any color)
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- fresh cracked pepper
- 1 Tb. chile powder
- 2 tsp. cumin
- 2 tsp. coriander
- 1.5 Tb. minced garlic
- 2.5 Tb. agave or honey
- 1 c. water
- 1 28 oz. can tomato sauce 
- Opt. 2 diced tomatoes or 1 14 oz. can diced tomato
- 1 4 oz. can diced green chilies

1. Saute (in 1 Tb. water or oil) onion, bell pepper and salt until onion is translucent
2. Add all other ingredients and simmer for 20 min. Puree if desired.

Makes about 6 cups

- You can freeze this in smaller portions to be used later
- Add a can of corn, a can of any kind of beans and a half a cup of rice to make into Red Enchilada Soup. Serve with avocados, cilantro and lettuce for garnish

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Apple Butter that's "Good for what ails ya"

My husband's Papa/father, Robert Bruce Wagner (John's middle name is Robert after his Grandpa), passed away more than 10 years ago. I never had a chance to meet him in this life, although I expect Baby John got to know him before he came to us. Seth has told me that his Papa used to say that something was, "good for what ails ya." I thought of that as I put this homemade apple butter in pint jars. Usually apple butter has 1-2 cups of sugar in it, and this only has an 1/8 cup of honey, no sugar. This apple butter is good for what ails ya! And Eddy's had pick your own Blushing Golden and Suncrisp apples now. Our favorites! All the more reason to go apple picking in the gorgeous autumn and make lots of delicious things out of apples. Enjoy!
 Apple Butter that's "Good for what ails ya"

- 10 unpeeled apples (washed, cored, and cliced into 8ths)
- 1/8 c. apple cider vinegar
- 1/8 c. honey
- pinch of sea salt
- 1 Tb. cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. cloves
- 1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1. Put all ingredients into a crock pot, and cook on low over night (at least 8 hours, up to 12)
2. Blend with an immersion blender (or ladle carefully into an immersion blender

Seriously, how easy is that!?

- Toast a slice of whole wheat/multi-grain bread, slather on a nice coat of natural nut butter of your choice, and then top with apple butter for a deliciously healthy snack!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Fresh Tomato Soup from Your Garden

Since our tomato plants really started producing, we've been enjoying delicious fresh tomato soup. One of my past favorite lunches was a grilled cheese sandwich with tomato soup (from a can - concentrate). I can tell you right now that this recipe is 10 times better than what you can get out of a can! And I don't eat butter or cheese any more, but I do eat hummus, and it is delicious. Instead of making a grilled cheese sandwich, make a much healthier, grilled hummus panini (add any veggies you like, mushrooms, onions, spinach, bell peppers, artichokes, etc) and enjoy it with your amazing tomato soup!

How to Make Fresh Tomato Soup

- I think this recipe calls for too much salt, so use vegetable salt and/or decrease the amount "to taste"
- I also add 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast to add some B Vitamins (especially for those who are vegan, this is important because it is one of the only sources of B12 not found in animal products), and it has a nice nutty, "cheesy" flavor
- Sometimes I add a red bell pepper
- Really, don't add the sugar until the very end, and add "to taste"
- If you don't have tomatoes in your garden, buy some from your local farmer's market. You can half the recipe if you don't want to buy that much.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Ways to Use Canned Food

Coconut Curried Peanut Soup
-2 14-ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
-2 14-ounce cans diced tomatoes
-1 14-ounce can light coconut milk
-1 cup vegetable stock or water
-1 sweet potato, cubed (approximately 1 cup) (You can use any kind of potato, If you have no potatoes you can serve the soup over instant mashed potatoes or rice)
-1 diced onion (You can substitute 1/4 c. minced dried or diced dehydrated onions)
-1/2 cup red lentils, drained and rinsed
-1 tablespoon curry powder
-1/4 cup natural peanut butter
-1/2/ to 3/4 teaspoon garam masala (depending on how spicy you like it)
-1 teaspoon cumin
-1 tablespoon minced or pureed ginger
-3 teaspoons minced garlic
-sweetener to taste (organic sugar or stevia)
-dash of cinnamon
- 1 tsp. salt

Optional Garnishes: diced avocado, chopped cilantro, chopped peanuts,

Combine all ingredients in a Crock-Pot and set on high for about a half an hour, and then switch to low for an additional 3 to 4 hours. Serve and pass garnishes at the table.

Tip: You can add a half a pound of any kind of diced meat you like if you don't want it to be vegetarian.

-1 14-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
-1 14-ounce can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
-1 14-ounce can chickpeas/garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
-1 14-ounce can corn
-3 14-ounce cans fire-roasted tomatoes in juice or diced tomatoes
-1 diced onion (You can substitute 1 c. diced dehydrated onions)
-2 large carrots finely diced
-1 stalk celery, finely diced
-3 teaspoons minced garlic
-2  tablespoons chili powder
-2 teaspoons oregano
-1 teaspoon cumin
-1 teaspoon basil
-3 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce
-1 tsp soy sauce
-2 cups vegetable stock
-1/2 teaspoon organic sugar
-salt and pepper to taste

Optional toppings: diced avocado, chopped cilantro, sliced black olives (14 oz can)

1. Lightly spray large stockpot with cooking spray and place over medium-high heat.
2. Saute onion, celery, and carrots until celery is softened and onion is slightly browned. Add spices and saute for approximately 1 minute until spices are aromatic.
3. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 to 45 minutes to allow flavors to meld.
1. Combine all ingredients in a Crock-Pot and set on high for about a half an hour, and then switch to low for an additional 3 to 4 hours.

Pass optional toppings at the table. Serve with,or on top of,  mashed potatoes or cornbread.

Tip: You can add a half a pound of any kind of diced meat you like if you don't want it to be vegetarian.

Simple Taco Soup
(modified from

  • 1 envelope taco seasoning
  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • 1 can (16 ounces) mild chili beans, undrained
  • 1 can (15-1/4 ounces) whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 can (15-1/4 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) stewed tomatoes
  • 2 cans (14.5 ounces) diced tomato 
  • 1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilies, optional
  • Optional: 1 envelope ranch salad dressing mix
  • Optional: 1 pound ground meat
  • In a pot, cook meat over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Add taco seasoning and mix well. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes or until heated through, stirring occasionally. Yield: 6-8 servings (about 2 quarts).

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Health - Provident Living on the Mormon Channel

I just listened to this:

on the Mormon Channel.  I have to listen to this episode again to be sure, but I really think I agree with everything they said! That is pretty amazing when it comes to people talking about health.

Seriously, you'll want to listen to it too! It's so awesome! I have some serious goals for sleeping better (going to bed before 10:00pm), de-stressing and not over working (more yoga, relaxation and moderate exercise), writing down what I am thankful for every day, and drinking more water (paying attention and drinking some whenever I am thirsty).

I am thankful for the good that technology can bring into my life if I use it the right way. I am thankful for the people who work so hard to give us helpful things to listen to on the Mormon Channel. I am thankful for my calling in my ward as Provident Living Specialist.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Nutty for No-Bake Energy Bites!

So, our friends/neighbors, Beth and Bob Winder introduced us to No-Bake Energy Bites. I am sorry to say that it has taken me this long to try and make them, and they are so easy and delicious! I looked them up on line and found a million recipes for them. They are very versatile. This is my rendition of them.

Taking care of John all day and working often as well makes me hard pressed to have time to eat 7 meals a day, Usually I try to fit in 4, 3 is not enough. But when I am in between meals, I often just need a boost. Something that is not full of high-fructose corn syrup, sugar, oil and preservatives...Something healthy and filling and hearty with a whole bunch of calories. This is an excellent answer! Just don't eat too many! - Good luck with that.

No-Bake Energy Bites

- 1/3 Honey or Agave
- 2/3 - 3/4 c. natural nut butter (peanut, almond, etc.)
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 1 c. oats
- 1/2 c. ground flax seed
- 1 c. unsweetened coconut
- 1/3 c. vegan mini-chocolate chips
- 1/4 c. finely chopped raw nuts (walnuts, almonds, pecans, etc.)
- 1/8-1-4 c.ground chia seeds
- 1/4 c. raisins or craisins
- 2 TB. sunflower seeds
- 1/4 tsp. cinnamon

1. Add all the gooey ingredients and stir.
2. Add all the rest and stir until mixed.
3. Chill in fridge for 30 min.(if you can wait that long!)
4. Roll into balls and enjoy!
5. Place in a tupperware in layers separated with parchment paper.
6. Store in the freezer.

- As long as you have oats, honey/agave, vanilla, flax and nut butter, basically all the other ingredients can be switched out with other ones. Be creative!
- If adding more dry ingredients, add more nut butter 1 TB at a time.
- Instead of chocolate chips, use a Tablespoon of cocoa powder.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Shaker Square Farmer's Market

Today we had such a fun family outing! We went, for the first time (that is tragic since we've been here 5 years!), to Shaker Square Farmer's Market. It was everything I had hoped and more! It is from 8:00am-12:00pm every Saturday. They even go indoors in the winter and sell meat (that has been free-range and humanely grown) and eggs, syrup, honey, bread, and whatever produce they have available.

We bought tomatoes (ours aren't ripe yet because we planted late), romaine, green and red lettuce, a leek, 2 beautiful bunches of kale, cauliflower, cucumber (ours will be ready in a week though! I'm excited!), corn, green beans, whole wheat pita bread, and apples. All food we normally buy that is over priced and not very flavorful. I loved it!
-And it's great that you can buy small amounts or large amounts of whatever you want.
-And it's fun to see all the people there doing their part to help their bodies, local farming and the earth in general.
-Going to the farmer's market helped me feel less pressure to grow more things in my already overwhelming garden this year, because they have it all there!
I was so sad we bought a whole bunch of onions at Dave's last week...not next time! The onions were gorgeous at the farmer's market.
-And I'm not the best organic gardener yet. These people are experts!
-And the produce hasn't been covered in nasty wax (to preserve it for shipping and sitting in the grocery store) that we have to work so hard to get off.
-We used to do City Fresh - a co-op where you pay the week before and go pick up the produce they have available once a week. The problem is, we would always get so much kohl-rabi, bok-choy, and banana peppers. I did not know what on earth to do with these things! I have since learned that City Fresh gets their produce from what the Farmer's Market on Saturday couldn't sell. No wonder! I prefer choosing my own that the farmer's market. Yay! (But City Fresh is still better than eating romaine lettuce from LA, California that has come all the way across the country and is already turning bad...)

Here are the links to find out more about our Market.
Shaker Square Farmer's Market
What's In Season in Ohio
Farmer's Market Recipes
10 Reasons to Eat Local
  1. Fresh Flavors and Taste - the produce is even better than whole foods! We at some lettuce, tomato and leeks that we bought today, and it was like I had never tasted these delicious foods before!
  2. Healthy Lifestyle
  3. "Just Picked" Nutrient-Dense Produce - this food has not been shipped all the way across the country, or the world!, to get to us. It was grown right here near us. And so much of it is organic! And it's less money than whole foods even! We filled our fridge, and only spent $40.
  4. Local bakers, food purveyors, and artists
  5. Support small farms - I would much rather put money in their pockets than the huge companies that are promoting the ruin the environment.
  6. Fresh pesticide-free flowers
  7. Seasonal eating* - One of my goals is to eat more food in season. It is much more natural and healthy.
  8. Connecting with your farmer, the source of your food - it was cool to see the people who grew these things, and to see the pride they take in their product. 
  9. Local acclimatized nursery plants
  10. Pasture-raised eggs and meat - If we do eat meat, I would much rather buy it from these people who care for their animals. And you know that it's fresh and healthy, and didn't sit on a truck for days, or in a fridge for weeks or months.
As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we have a health code called, The Word of Wisdom in one of our scriptures called the Doctrine and Covenants. It helps us know what we should not put in our bodies, and I've found that people usually emphasize that part. But there is so much more to be learned from the Word of Wisdom about what we should put in our bodies.
10 And again, verily I say unto you, all wholesome aherbs God hath ordained for the constitution, nature, and use of man—
 11 Every herb in the season thereof*, and every fruit in the season thereof*; all these to be used with aprudence and bthanksgiving.
 12 Yea, aflesh also of bbeasts and of the fowls of the air, I, the Lord, have ordained for the use of man with thanksgiving; nevertheless they are to be used csparingly;
 13 And it is pleasing unto me that they should not be aused, only in times of winter, or of cold, or bfamine.
 14 All agrain is ordained for the use of man and of beasts, to be the staff of life, not only for man but for the beasts of the field, and the fowls of heaven, and all wild animals that run or creep on the earth;
 15 And athese hath God made for the use of man only in times of famine and excess of hunger.
 16 All grain is good for the afood of man; as also the bfruit of the vine; that which yieldeth fruit, whether in the ground or above the ground—

And if we do all these things, the Lord gives us marvelous promises: 
 18 And all saints who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience to the commandments, ashall receive bhealth in their navel and marrow to their bones;
 19 And shall afind bwisdom and great ctreasures of dknowledge, even hidden treasures;
 20 And shall arun and not be bweary, and shall walk and not faint.
 21 And I, the Lord, give unto them a promise, that the adestroying angel shall bpass by them, as the children of Israel, and not slay them. Amen.

And I could sure use these blessings! Couldn't we all? 
I believe in farmer's markets. And this awesome farmer's market at Shaker Square is going to become part of our Saturday Routine. We will buy whatever we can that we need there, and only buy the rest at other stores. 
Find a farmer's market near you!