Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Upcoming Conferences

There's a couple things happening in the future that I'm keeping my eye one.

1) Real Truth About Health Conference - Free 10 day Conference May 22 -31 in Florida
2) Live Vibrantly Conference this begins May 27th. There looks to be lot's of great speakers such as Dr. Campbell, Victoria Moran, John McDougall, Neil Barnard, Chef AJ and more. Each day you receive a link for the two interviews of the day.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

OATrageous Oatmeals Kindle book is 99 cents right Now!

(UPDATED: This deal is now over) I'm so excited. This book by Kathy Hester has been on my wish list for months. I saw that Amazon has the kindle edition for 99 cents right now. I'm not sure how long it will last so I snatched it up quick.

It is supposed to have oat recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Meal Mentor Podcasts

This week I've been listening to the Meal Mentor Podcasts at I think it's fun to listen to other people's journey to come to plant based eating and how they maintain it in the daily life.

These podcasts are focusing on Lindsay Nixon's Meal Plans, but I think others can learn from these podcasts.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Plant Yourself Podcast

This week I started listening to Plant Yourself podcasts. His very first podcast was Lindsay Nixon and she was talking about her cookbooks and her life journey. I have three of her cookbooks that I picked up at Amazon when the kindle versions were $1.99. Just last week, I got The Happy Herbivore in paperback. It's such a difference having a cookbook on a kindle verses holding a book and looking at pages. I actually saw recipes that I didn't even see when I scanned the kindle version. I eventually plan on getting the ordering the other too in paperback also.

Howard is up to 98 podcasts and had some great and familiar guests. I can't wait to listen to more.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Yum - Cream Of Broccoli Soup

It's been months since I've had a creamy soup. I'm a little under the weather today and I felt like having some soup for dinner today. I ran across a recipe on the Fat Free Vegan website for Ridiculously Easy Cream of Broccoli Soup. 

There are some steps so it's just opening cans and throwing them in a pot. I used broccoli I had in the freezer.  There is some chopping and blending, but the soup came together pretty fast and I loved the flavor. I will definitely keep this recipe in my recipe box to try again.

Sorry I didn't take a picture, but she has a wonderful photo on her Fat Free Vegan website.

I found a bran muffin recipe

Isn't social media wonderful? I was finally able to locate a bran muffin on Facebook. The internet is great but sometimes finding what you want is like finding a needle in a haystack.

 The only problem is that they didn't remember the source of the recipe. I've tried this recipe and it's great. It's a perfect and simple bran muffin.

Bran Muffins

3/4 cup bran (I use wheat bran)
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
6 tbsp non-dairy milk
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
3 tbsp unsweetened applesauce
 /4 tsp pure vanilla extract.

Preheat oven to 350
Grease muffin tin and set aside.
In a mixing bowl whisk bran, flour, baking powder and baking soda.
Add remaining ingredients, stirring just to combine.

Bran batter is thicker than most batters but not dry or floury. Add another 1 -2 tbsp of non-dairy milk if too dry.

Spoon batter into muffin cups and bake 15 minutes or until firm to the touch. or toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Makes 6 - calories 103. 1.1 grams of fat, 20.6 carbs, 6.2 grams of fiber, 8.9 grams of sugar, 3.4 grams of protein

 (if anyone recognizes who this recipe belongs to please credit)

Friday, April 17, 2015

New plant based books coming out

I am excited this week Spring is in the air and there's a feeling of fresh and new life. I feel like there are so many wonderful plant based books just released or going to be released.

Plantpower Way

I was listening to a podcast by Rich Roll earlier this week. I hear about a new book coming out called The Plantpower Way. You can preorder the book before April 28th and get a bunch of bonuses (up to $3000). The new book by Rich Roll and his wife Julie Piatt sounds really interesting. They describe it as a lifestyle guide on the power of plant based eating. The book also includes 120 recipes. Today's its on pre-order at Amazon for $26.46. I think the Amazon prices change hourly or daily. I've just added this to my Amazon wish list.

Plant-Powered Families: Over 100 Kid-Tested, Whole-Foods Vegan Recipes

Another book on my wish list and on pre-order( to be released in May) is a book by Dreena Burton. The title of this cookbook is Plant-Powered Families: Over 100 Kid-Tested, Whole-Foods Vegan Recipes. She shows how your whole family can eat easy, delicious, and healthy on a plant-based diet. This sounds wonderful to me since I'm struggling to get my kids to join me on this journey. Today the pre-order price for a paperback book is $15.45.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Video by Plant-Based Christian.

Plant-based Christian has a new English version youtube channel. The video I watched was titled What I ate today on the Starch Solution. He makes two recipes that look good Easy Breakfast waffles and Rustic Leftover Chili. Both recipes look great. I think he might have a ceramic waffle iron, which is an item on my wish list.

Take a look at his new video.  I really like the look of his food and look forward to future videos.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

New PD Recipes this week!

If you follow a Protective Diet, you'll be happy to hear the new Premium recipes this week. I love to see a new oil free salad dressing especially if it pours on and dresses veggies just like an olive oil. I'm excited to see that the dressing will last for 10 days. Great recipes this week. Check them out if they sound go to you also!

If you are new to Protective Diet, you have to create a login to see her yummy recipes. She has two types of recipes on the site: free and premium. I invite you to create a free login on the Protective Diet site to try her free healthy recipes. I'm confident that you will love them like me plus save money buy eating at home. Click on the Getting Started Video. Protective Diet Education may qualify as a Health Savings Account expense.You may need a pre-existing diagnosis by a physician such as: obesity, hypertension, diabetes etc.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Lentils, lentils, lentils

This week I listened to a podcast in ITunes: Food for thought: Favorite Food: For the Love of Lentils Released Mar 31, 2010.

I went 40 years of my life without either eating lentils or knowing that lentils existed. In the last few months, I've started adding lentils to my pantry and I started searching for recipes using lentils. So far, I tried just two recipes: Chef AJ's red lentil chili & Protective Diet Sloppy Jerrys. I've heard lots of people raving about Chef AJ red lentil chili, but I discovered quickly that I am NOT a fan. Second, I tried the P.D. Slow Cooker Sloppy Jerrys. This recipe is fabulous, so I know I do like lentils.

Types of Lentils

 In Colleen's podcast, I heard that lentils are popular (staple food) all over the world. People in the USA are less familiar with them. (so true!) They are used a lot in Indian Cuisine. They are lens shaped and they come in lots of different varieties. She mentioned just a couple types:
  • French Green Lentils (really holds it shape after cooking, wonderful flavor)
  • Brown Lentils (very common, can hold their shape, wonderful flavor, earthy flavor)
  • Red Lentils (yellowish red, sometimes called yellow lentils, mostly used in dishes where they are soft)
  • Black beluga lentils
I can easily find brown and red lentils at my local grocery stores and Walmart. I found French Green Lentils at a natural food grocery store (4 hrs round trip) in bulk so I picked up a tiny bit to try. The Green lentils are more expensive per pound, so I'll have to decide if they are worth it. Vita-Cost carries lentils, so I can get them shipped to my house also.

Lentils don't need to be soaked overnight like dried beans. Before cooking, you have to rinse them and pick thru (remove stones etc.). Most lentils cook in about 30 minutes and you don't want to cook in too much water/broth (you would be dumping the nutrients down the drain). She doesn't cover the pot completely when cooking.

Lentils are full of nutrition

1 cup of cooked lentils has the following:
  • have 230 calories (less calorie dense than pasta)
  • 90% of daily value of folate (in one cup)
  •  36% of daily percent of iron
  • 35% of daily percent of protein

Ways to use lentils

Recipes/ways to use lentils per Colleen Patrick-Goudreau (I haven't tried any of these). It's amazing to see how versatile lentils are. They are used in recipes from salads, burgers, lentil loafs, to stews.
  1. Sprinkle lentils on a green salad
  2. Brown lentils seasoned with balsamic vinegar and salt
  3. Warm lentil salad (The Vegan Table) can be served over greens or eaten in a pita pocket
  4. Lentil loaf
  5. Dahl
  6. Red lentil and artichoke stew
  7. Cashew and red lentil burgers

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Frugal Tip #3 - Travel with your lunch from home!

If you work out of the house, I would recommend packing your lunch to take with you instead of eating out, ordering in, or running to a fast food restaurant. I found that you can spend a lot of money on a simple sandwiches and drinks for your middle meal.

For example, There is a coffee shop downtown in the city where I work. Sandwiches are almost $7, Panini's are $8, salads are between $6.75-$8. Then add a $2 drink and you are almost close to $10 for lunch. I would take the $10 and buy some really good staples at the store for lunch. I estimate that I probably spend around $3-$4 for lunch each day by taking my own lunch and snacks. Another benefit of making my own food, is that I can control the oil (fat) I eat.

You can get an amazing amount of food at the grocery store for $10

When you shop at the grocery store for lunch, $10 will get you supplies for more than one day. I work 5 days a week, multiply $10 * 5 days and I could spend $50 a week on lunch. I can find creative ways to go grocery shopping and spend less than $50 for the week's lunch supplies.
  • Spinach bag ($2-$3)
  • baby carrots (less than $1.50)
  • radishes ($1)
  • cucumbers ($1)
  • green onions ($1)
  • 5 lbs of red potatoes ($2-$3)
  • a bunch of bananas ($1-$2)
  • whole wheat pasta (usually less then $2 a box)
  • oats (I find these as low as $.70/# in bulk on sale)


The options of what you take for lunch depends on if you have a thermos, cooler, office microwave, or office refrigerator.  I use a personal cooler to carry all my lunch items to work with me each day. I do have access to a microwave. So heating up the dinner from the night before (having a hot lunch), is always an option for me. All of the Protective Diet recipes make multiple servings, so you can make a soup recipe and have lunch for at least three days from one recipe. When I worked in a building without a microwave, I would use my thermos to take hot soup from home.

Cold lunch/snack ideas

Friday, April 10, 2015

Mushrooms the good and the bad

Shiitake Mushroom

The good

I've read many times that mushrooms are very healthy for you and can even help fight cancer.


"Promoters claim that shiitake mushrooms contain several compounds with health benefits. A compound called lentinan is believed to stop or slow tumor growth. Another component, activated hexose-containing compound (also known as 1,3-beta glucan), is also said to reduce tumor activity and lessen the side effects of cancer treatment. The mushrooms also contain the compound eritadenine, which is thought to lower cholesterol by blocking the way cholesterol is absorbed into the bloodstream. "

It seems that they are still doing studies/clinical trials to see if mushrooms are indeed helpful in the fight for cancer. But really, everything above sounds really, really great with mushrooms.

The problem

The bad news is that I can't stand (have a very strong aversion to) mushrooms. I usually just refer to them as fungus. It's a texture thing for me. My husband also has an allergy to mushrooms and we don't include mushrooms in any of our dishes. After reading about mushrooms, I really want to like them, but I just can't.

The problem is that lot's of plant based recipes include mushrooms. I'll find a really great looking marinara or stir-fry recipe and it calls for mushrooms. These are the recipes that I just currently ignore. I read that you can possibly replace mushrooms with eggplant in some recipes.

Here's my question--Can you just leave out the mushrooms or do you have to replace them with something else in a recipe? Are they essential to the dish? I'm going to have to research this in the next coming weeks.

 Do you like mushrooms?  If you do, good for you. I'm envious.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Ultimate summit for plant-based living (April 23-26th)

Check out the UCD Integrative Medicine blog. They are going to have a ultimate summit for plant based living April 23-26. Plant based baking will be one of their many topics (also they mention cooking gluten free). It's 100% complimentary so I signed up to reserve my spot. I can't wait to see who they have for speakers. I'm all about learning new things.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Sleep and Foods that Promote Sleep

I think we all know all important sleep is. As soon as you don't get enough of it, you quickly realize its value. Sleep deprivation is actually a torturing technique, which I bet works very well!

Sleep for a New Mom

I feel like the first year with each of my babies I was sleep deprived. I couldn't cope or concentrate on many things. I felt moody and often felt like eating more. A couple hours sleep at a time felt like torture. All I could think about was the next nap I might be able to sneak in. I think that's why I value my sleep so much now.

The healing power of sleep

I love the feeling of waking up refreshed and clear headed. Ready to face the challenges of the new day head on. I don't regularly think about what amazing things have happened to my body between the time I put my head on my pillow and my alarm rang. The body is made to be able to heal itself. Check out this article on What Happens When You Sleep.

I have a real live example in my life right now. My dad is struggling with Eczema right now. He is itchy all night, which is affecting his sleep. He can't sleep because he's itchy but if he could sleep it would heal his eczema. (a twisted ugly circle).

My Kids

I try to get my kids in bed at the same time every night. Allowing them to stay up later isn't really helping them, but hurting them for the next day. Their little bodies run on full throttle all day, and they don't like stopping to recharge their batteries. They are both in the 5-12 year range where 9-11 hours a night is recommended. I'm happy to say that most days they are falling in that range. Winter seems easy since it's dark at 5:30, but as summer approaches the days are longer. They don't like to go to bed when the sun is still out. They are losing precious play hours.

Foods that Help you sleep (*Protective Diet allowed foods)

  • Almonds
  • Bananas *
  • Chamomile Tea *
  • Flax seeds
  • Honey
  • Milk and dairy products
  • Potatoes *
  • Turkey
  • Whole Wheat Bread Products (*)
I find that I eat quite a few of the items on the list that promote or help you sleep. I have a pattern of drinking chamomile tea in the evening when I relax. I do sometimes add flax seeds to my morning oatmeal. Eating bananas and potatoes are almost a daily ritual. Plus, I include whole wheat bread products into my diet a couple times a week.

Sleep was one of the things I struggled with before I switched to eating healthier. I was resorting to taking Melatonin or PM drugs so I could relax and go to sleep. I no longer have to rely on anything to get a good night sleep.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Time Saving Tip -Peeling Carrots like a Pro

Check out this blog post by Eat the Love: Peeling Carrots: I've Been Doing it All Wrong!
There's actually a video about saving time peeling carrots.

To be honest, this is how I often peel carrots. Although I do find myself leaning over the garbage can holding the carrot with one hand occasionally when I'm in a hurry. LOL! I wanted to share this quick tip in case you are looking for time saving tips for prepping vegetables like carrots.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Getting Started on a tight budget

If money is a problem with getting started on a healthy diet, I would say try to get started very simply.


Pick out a simple breakfast that you would like to eat for a couple days. I think that oats would be the cheapest way to start. You can either pick up steel cut oats or old fashioned oats. I get my in bulk if they are on sale. Grape Nuts or a simple grain cereal like Puffed Rice or Kamut Puffs could also work. These have no sugar or salt added. I found both Puffed Rice and Kamut Puffs at Vita-Cost and Amazon. You will also want to pick up a plant-based milk. I use soy milk. I usually add some type of fruit to my cereal. I think bananas are a fairly inexpensive fruit to include. I keep frozen fruit in the freezer also to increase


Lunches can be as simple as a green salad. Salads don't  need to be complicated. They can be as simple as spinach , a starch (cooked brown rice, baked potato) or beans, and dressing. When I first started out I was trying to buy lots of stuff to add to my salad, but over time I realized that you don't have to get very complicated. During the winter, when veggies are more expensive, I make uncomplicated salads. If I want more than just spinach and romaine, I put in cabbage, carrots, celery and/or radishes. I like these items since they are relatively inexpensive and last for a while in my fridge.

Salad Dressing
Salad Dressing is so important and may end up being a challenge. I don't think there are any healthy bottled dressings, at least not at my stores. The Protective Diet website has some great recipes for salad dressings. Jane Esselstyn has a simple dressing I heard about in a video a while back. She calls it the 321 Salad Dressing. 3 TB balsamic vinegar, 2 TB Mustard (your choice), 1 TB maple syrup. Before I found the PD dressings and Jane's dressing I was just tossing my salad with a little bit of balsamic or rice vinegar.


I usually take fruit for a snack: apples, oranges, or bananas. Baked Potatoes are a great filling non-fruit snack to switch it up. Raw veggies are very easy to transport.


Dinner is always my most expensive meal. I usually make dinner meals that have multiple servings so I can have left overs.
  • Pasta - Some easy less expensive dinners would be whole wheat pasta, no oil pasta sauce w/ veggies on the side. You can always add some of your greens (spinach or kale) to your pasta sauce.
  • Tacos/Burritos -Another idea might to have a taco night with no oil home made corn tortilla shells, re-fried beans and veggies on top (lettuce, tomato, jalapenos, etc.) 
  • Potatoes or Rice - I find potato and rice meals are usually filling and satisfying. I loved making baked potatoes and adding toppings such as salsa, green onions, cilantro, and beans. I use black beans in my favorite quick bean bowls (salsa, green onions, cilantro, jalapeno, corn, etc.)
I hope you can find your path to getting started no matter your budget.

Friday, April 3, 2015

I'm reading 'Food Over Medicine' by Pamela Popper this weekend!

Yeah! My library was able to get me a copy of Food Over Medicine by Pamela Popper and Glen Merzer. I thought this book was new since Amazon has a release date of December 2014, but I didn't look to see that there were other editions previously published. The edition that I picked up from the library is a hard covered book published in 2013.

My first thoughts

At first, I was a little confused because it doesn't read like a typical book (with paragraphs). It's basically Pamela Popper (PP) and Glen Merzer (GM) conversing back and forth about topics. The book does still contain chapters. I'm currently on Chapter 2 called the Program. I've already gotten used to the back and forth conversation and it really works.

How long is the book?

The book is 240 pages long with 8 chapters.

What's special with this book?

I like the Wellness Forum's eating plan diaphragm. It tells you what is mandatory to take in ( water.), what a majority of your portion should be, a substantial portion, 2 servings a day, 1 serving a day, and what to eat minimally. I don't think I've seen this chart before online.

In the middle of the book, there are 32 pages (25 recipes) of colored photos and recipes. The recipes are by Chef Del Sroufe. I took a peek at the recipes when I first picked up the book. There are color photos for each of the recipes.There are a couple recipes that I'd like to try.
  1. Black Bean Chili
  2. Barbecue Sauce
  3. Stir Fry Pasta with Vegetables

What's the best quote so far in the book?

"What are the best foods to make the staples of your diet? Whole grains, legumes, and starchy vegetables. More broadly, I tell people to make the staples of their diet the four food groups, which are whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables."

I plan on working on this book over the weekend. The next two chapters sound very interesting:  Diseases and the Foods that bring them on and Success Stories. I always love to read about success stories, don't you? What books are you reading this weekend?

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Protective Diet - This week's recipe: Pickled Pepper Rings

Each week, Julie from Protective Diet posts premium recipes for the premium subscribers. This week's recipe is Pickled Pepper Rings. She has included both a recipe and a video for making this salad/sandwich garnish. I'm not sure if I'm up to the challenge of pickled pepper rings, but it's fun to see that there is an option. Check it out at Protective Diet if this is something you'd be interested in.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

I found the Ultimate Resource Guide

Today I found the Ultimate Resource Guide for Plant Based Eating. It has a section for favorite websites, books, and free recipes. It looks like a great compilation of resources.

Check out the books on their list that I've read
  • The Starch Solution –I read a library copy.
  • Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Cookbook. -I read a library copy and decided a needed a copy of my own.
  • The China Study-- I  read a library copy.
  • The Happy Herbivore cookbooks –I bought the kindle version of three of her books.
 Check out the books on their list that are on my wish list
  • The Forks Over Knives Plan - I only read the original Forks Over Knives book from the library. 
  • The Vegiterranean Diet 
  • Let Them Eat Vegan
There are a lot of great websites listed. I haven't visited Plant-Powered Kitchen or One Green Planet, so I hope to check these websites out later this week.

Rice Milk

Rice Milk is a dairy alternative. You can buy rice milk from the store or make it on your own at home. So far, I've only ever made it at home. It's very easy to make and very inexpensive. You don't have to pre-soak the rice like I've seen for some homemade nut milks. I've found simple recipes on-line that use only two ingredients: rice and water.

How much does the recipe cost?

I believe it cost me less than 50 cents to make somewhere between 2- 3 cups of rice milk. (Sometimes I make is stronger or weaker (by one cup of water), depending on what recipe I'm using it in. I buy my rice online either at Vita-Cost or Amazon.

How long does it take and what tools do I need? 

If I had a high speed blender, this process wouldn't take very long. I don't have a high speed blender, so it probably takes me about 10 minutes to pull of the blender, measure, blend and strain.You can either use a nut bag or a paint strainer. I picked up a one gallon paint strainer that I use(as shown above). I store my rice milk in a glass container in the fridge.

How do I use rice milk?

On the Protective Diet website, Julie often lists the option to use unsweetened soy milk or rice milk. I use rice milk whenever I can to save costs. I make it ahead and store it in the fridge until it's time to use in my recipe. You will need to shake it up as it tends to settle in the jar. I sometimes use it with oatmeal, but not very often.

Where do I find recipes to make rice milk?

Protective Diet has both a written recipe and a video for making rice milk. She starts with dry rice.
Don't Waste the Crumbs has a rice milk video that starts with cooked rice. I've only tried the Protective Diet recipe so far and it's worked for me.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Weekend Research: Food Over Medicine Interview

Food Over Medicine: The Conversation That Could Save Your LifeElena Wilkins (Vegalicious). This is an interesting interview about Pam Popper's book Food Over Medicine. This book was just released in December and I have it on my wish list but haven't read it yet.

What I like about the interview

I found this interview to be very enjoyable. It was like a casual conversation between two friends. I like to listen to Pam Popper's ideas/messages about nutrition, supplements, and taking care of our bodies. I mostly like her way of thinking that we need to get more people over to eating healthy. I think she said either in this video or another video that we can get really sick people to do just about anything. It's the other people she would also like to encourage. The people that are going to get sick that just don't know it yet.

Pam Popper's Message

I liked her attitude that people need to just start eating plant based and we can't require them to be all or nothing. I think she said if salt helps get your broccoli down, eat it with salt and if you need to wean yourself of meat products to get going, then try her method of tapering off meat. Also, if you are at a party, eat the cake. We can't be offering a way of life that looks horrible to others because who would want to try it. She knows eating this way will help people feel better, get off their medicines, and have a better quality of life.

I looked up this book at Amazon. It appears the book also contains recipes by Chef Del Sroufe (author of the bestselling Forks Over Knives The Cookbook).

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Today I start my search for the perfect bran mufin

Why a healthy bran muffin?

I love bran muffins. What started me on bran muffins you ask? Well I think it was in the early 90's that either McDonald's or Dunkin Donuts had a bran muffin. They are my comfort food. They are heavy and filling and satisfying to me. I love to eat a heavy, filling muffin for breakfast. I also recently watched a PBS episode of Martha Stewart making these delicious bran muffins.This sparked my taste buds again, but of course, her recipe calls for eggs and buttermilk.

Does the muffin recipe that I'm looking for exist?

So today I start my search for the perfect bran muffin recipe. Does it exist? I don't know. It may not even be possible without it turning into a brick. These are the criteria that I would consider in the perfect muffin:
  • contains wheat or oat bran (I would prefer wheat as I have a huge bag of Bob's Red Mill Wheat Bran)
  • no white all purpose flour
  • no oil
  • vegan (no milk or egg)
  • no corn syrup
  • no white sugar
On top of that, it would be great if they were delicious, but that might be asking too much. LOL.

Sometimes searching on the internet for a recipe is like searching for a needle in the haystack. It's there, but you can't see it. If a recipe doesn't exist, I might have to be creative and take a couple recipes and experiment in the kitchen.

If you run across such a recipe in the future, can you share it with me? Thanks!

Frugal Tip #2 - Make your own Buns and Soft Pocket Bread

I love saving money!

I save a lot of money by making things at home instead of buying them already made. One example is bread. On the list of P.D. approved recipe ingredients is Amazon Ezekiel Bread made by Food for Life. If you click on that link you will find that one loaf of bread costs $17.50. Ok, so that's just a crazy price. I did however find Ezekiel bread in the frozen section of a Natural Food grocery market that is a 4 hours round trip for me. It was somewhere between $4-5 a loaf. But, I couldn't bring myself to pick up a loaf for that price.

What are my options?

I know some people don't bake or have a fear of baking. That's not the case for me. I bake regularly and have made homemade bread for the last few years for my family in the bread machine I received as a wedding gift from my mother-in-law. Homemade bread doesn't scare me, but making my own buns and pocket bread did. I found two recipes at Protective Diet, that use whole wheat flour, as options. I was very skeptical that this could work. I tried my first batch of pocket bread back in January and I was hooked. It was easy & tasted great!

How much does the recipe cost?

The basic ingredients for the Protective Diet Burger Buns and Soft Pocket Bread are exactly the same. I've calculated that my cost for the ingredients is $1.25. This doesn't take into account my time to make the buns/pockets are the cost of energy. The soft pocket bread makes either 8 regular ($.15)/each or 12 mini ($.10/each). The burger bun recipe yields 6 buns ($.20/each). Since these recipe are part of her premium recipes collection. You do have to have subscribe to the site see the recipes and the video.

How long do they take?

Burger Buns: Prep Time 20 minutes, Inactive Time: 60 minutes, Bake Time: 11 minutes
Soft Pocket Bread: Prep Time: 20 minutes, Cook Time: 10 minutes: Ready in: 1 hr and 30 minutes

How do I store them?

After my buns/soft bread is cooked, I put them in freezer bags and put in the freezer. When I need a pocket/bun I just remove the quantity I need. I either leave out to defrost or toast it up to eat.

What tools do I need?

  1. Baking Pan(s)
  2. Silicon Mat(s)/ parchment paper
  3. Measuring Spoons/Cups to measure ingredients
  4. Small and large bowl
  5. Fork for mixing
  6. Rolling pin
  7. Oven for baking

Why do these bread recipes appeal to me?

  • I think this is a great option since I know that the bread buns/pockets have healthy ingredients, no preservatives, only the ingredients that I am adding. 
  • I can make the bread buns/pockets up on the weekend and save them in the freezer for later use. 
  • They are easy for me to make. I don't find the skill level to be difficult with lots of steps and I don't dread making the buns.
  • I'm using ingredients that I always have on hand in my pantry. I always have whole wheat, white whole wheat, and whole wheat pastry flour stocked up.
  • If I went to the store to buy buns for $1.25, the quality would be very low. So I think I'm getting great tasting buns for a very nice price.

I hope you might consider making your own bread products at home to save money each month. I haven't found an actual loaf of bread recipe that meets my standards: whole wheat flour, vegan (no dairy, honey), no oil. etc, but I'm always on the search. If I find one, I'll be sure to post.

If you are new to Protective Diet, you have to create a login to see her yummy recipes. She has two types of recipes on the site: free and premium. I invite you to create a free login on the Protective Diet site to try her free healthy recipes. I'm confident that you will love them like me plus save money buy eating at home. Click on the Getting Started Video. Protective Diet Education may qualify as a Health Savings Account expense.You may need a pre-existing diagnosis by a physician such as: obesity, hypertension, diabetes etc.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Frugal Tip #1-Save money, make your own corn tortillas

I love saving money!

I save a lot of money by making things at home instead of buying them already made. One example is corn tortillas. I picked up 4 lbs of Instant Masa Corn flour at the grocery store for about $3. I can't tell you how many times I've made tortillas in the last couple month and I still have a little bit of flour left in my bag. The other ingredients for corn tortillas are water and salt. You might want to consider making your own corn tortillas at home to save money each month.

How long do they take?

Tortillas don't take very long to make especially if you follow the recipe at Protective Diet. A different tortilla recipe I found online has you leave the mixture to rest, but this recipe doesn't. This Protective Diet Premium recipe is perfect when you want to save time. She estimates 15 min prep time and 15 minute cook time.

Do I need a press?

No, you don't even need a tortilla press to get started. I have a cast iron tortilla press that I picked up from Amazon to quickly press out the tortilla shells.Check out the two videos that explains how to make hand-pressed corn tortillas. My first time I watched the video and printed my recipe. It was so exciting to make fresh corn tortillas by myself. Since this recipe is part of her premium recipes. You do have to have subscribe.

If you are new to Protective Diet, you have to create a login to see her yummy recipes. She has two types of recipes on the site: free and premium. I invite you to create a free login on the Protective Diet site to try her free healthy recipes. I'm confident that you will love them like me plus save money buy eating at home. Click on the Getting Started Video. Protective Diet Education may qualify as a Health Savings Account expense.You may need a pre-existing diagnosis by a physician such as: obesity, hypertension, diabetes etc.

Winter Seasonal Vinyasa to Start the Morning

This morning I started my day with a Winter Seasonal Vinyasa video by Melina Meza. She's a yoga instructor at Gaiam. Here's the description of the video as they describe it " The winter season in Ayurveda is associated with the dosha-uneven energy pattern called Kapha, which is composed of the elements Earth and Water and which promotes stability in our body and mind."

Even though it's supposed to be Spring, I felt like this was a perfect yoga practice to start my Friday with. I feel at peace and not rushed to get the morning going. She has a wonderful soothing voice during the practice. I have this one included in my favorites and usually do it once a week.

I was only able to squeeze in 20 of the 37 minutes, but it was perfect for me.

Let's start the day!
Kapha imbalance during December through February, such as weight gain or depression, the main intention behind this winter seasonal vinyasa practice is to help raise your core temperature and metabolism and increase circulation with dynamic, invigorating, rhythmic, sequences. This practice with Melina Meza includes sun salutation variations, back bends to open the front of your spine, forward bends to stimulate the backside of your torso, and inversions to promote blood circulation to the brain. - See more at:
Kapha imbalance during December through February, such as weight gain or depression, the main intention behind this winter seasonal vinyasa practice is to help raise your core temperature and metabolism and increase circulation with dynamic, invigorating, rhythmic, sequences. This practice with Melina Meza includes sun salutation variations, back bends to open the front of your spine, forward bends to stimulate the backside of your torso, and inversions to promote blood circulation to the brain. - See more at:

Thursday, March 26, 2015

$1.99 Kindle books at Amazon

I admit that I'm a recipe hoarder/collector. I like to collect physical cookbooks, kindle cookbooks, and online recipes. I was checking out Amazon today and I saw that there are a couple plant-based books at Amazon right now for $1.99 for the Kindle version. Amazon prices change all the time so I'm not sure how long these will last.

Three plant-based Kindle books for $1.99 at Amazon!

I found the two cookbooks listed below by Lindsay Nixon. Lindsay's recipes are plant-based with no oil. She does use nuts, avocado, dried fruit, peanut butter, coconut and some other ingredients in her recipes that don't qualify under a Protective Diet. Many times I can either alter the ingredients (leave them out), replace them (like replace the coconut with more fruit), or just don't use that recipe. I think that for $1.99 even if you found a couple recipes that you love, it will be worth the price of the book.
 T. Collin Campbell's follow-up book to the China Study. This one isn't a cookbook, but I picked it up to continue on my learning about a whole food, plant based diet. I plan on diving into this book this weekend. Yeah!

House Mayo Recipe

I stopped eating mayo this summer when I started reading food labels. Most packaged mayos contain soybean oil and I'm trying to avoid that product. At first, I didn't think I could eat a healthier version of mayo, but I found a House Mayo Recipe on the Protective Diet website.

It's actually a super easy recipe to whip up. I used  my blender and it took my less than 5 minutes from start to finish, including finding my ingredients. There are two recipes on the website for mayo. I picked this one because it has vinegar in it to help it to stay fresh in the fridge longer. That part is important to me. I don't use a lot of mayo or keep mayo on hand at all times, but I am going to use it in a different recipe later today. I'll keep my mayo in the fridge in a glass canning jar.

If you are new to Protective Diet, you have to create a login to see Julie Marie's yummy plant based healthy recipes. She has two types of recipes on the site: free and premium. I invite you to create a free login on the Protective Diet site to try her free healthy recipes. I'm confident that you will love them like me plus save money buy eating at home. Click on the Getting Started Video. Protective Diet Education may qualify as a Health Savings Account expense.You may need a pre-existing diagnosis by a physician such as: obesity, hypertension, diabetes etc.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Tools for a Protective Diet

I have to admit that you will need more tools to cook healthy than to eat freezer meals or canned soups. Over the last 9 months, I've been gradually adding more items to my kitchen to help me prepare meals.

Here's some of the things I've purchased that I think you'll need
  • 2 Silicon Baking Mats (Buy these right away...these are very important when not cooking with oil) and 2 baking pans
  • Sharp knives for chopping
  • Storage containers (I like the 4 cup glass bowls with plastic lids for soups and salads for lunch. I find I need more containers now that I did before for storing food.)
  • Blender - One day I'll get a high speed blender, but so far I have a Ninja Mega Kitchen System
  • Silicon muffin liners (a silicon muffin or ceramic pan would work also, but these were a lot cheaper).
  • Mixing Bowls
  • Measuring spoons and cups 
  • Rolling Pin
  • Pots and pans for cooking soups/onions, etc.
These are not essential but I like to have
  • Instant Pot (pressure cooker for making rice, vegetable broth, etc.) 
  • Cutting board
  • 1 Gallon paint strainer (I picked this up just recently to make Rice Milk).
  • Cast Iron tortilla press (this was only $20 at Amazon. I used my points and have already recouped my cost by not buying premade corn tortilla shells since January.)
  • Food processor
  • Flour sack towels (for wrapping and storing your herbs and green onions)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Protective Diet Education - Teleclass every Tuesday

Tuesday Live Teleclass at 8pm CT.

When you join Protective Diet Premium Recipes you also get access to Protective Diet Education which includes Tuesday weekly teleclasses and 74 archive teleclass videos (all an hour long). This week's class is Oven tips.

If you are unable to watch at that time, they are always recorded and added to the archive section. If you are able to join along, you are able to learn and chat along with others all over the world. You can ask your questions on the topic in the chat box that she can answer for you during the class.

You'll find she has lots of great tips to help you save money and keep your fridge, freezer and pantry stocked. My favorite topics to date were'Beans, Beans, Beans.', Protective Diet spices, and PD Staples are stocked.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Keep track of what you eat!

 My Food Journal

I found it helpful to write down what I eat each day especially since I'm very new to a Protective Diet. I find that it makes me more accountable for what I'm putting in my mouth. I bought myself a spiral fat book on February 6th to keep right in my purse. Each day has a dedicated page.

I make three columns on each sheet
  • food/drink
  • was it PD
  • count of vegetables/fruit
 For example, February 17th was Fat Tuesday and I can see that I slipped. This was my journal for that day:

  • Tea
  • Oats        
  • SoyMilk
  • Frozen berries                                    1
  • Cooked apples                                    1
  • Paczki (bad)              NO
  • Mixed vegetables                               1
  • Potatoes
  • Tea
  • Spinach/Romaine Salad with Veg     2
  • Sloppy Jerries                                    1
  • Whole wheat P.D. Burger Bun
  • Tea


I come from a Polish heritage and Fat Tuesday is the day for Paczki's. This is a pastry similar to a doughnut that my grandma would spend hours making and then cooked them in oil. The traditional reason for making pączki was to use up all the lard, sugar, eggs and fruit in the house, because their consumption was forbidden by Catholic fasting practices during Lent. My non-polish mother tried to learn how to make them from my grandmother, but they were a lot of work. It was a special treasure if grandma sent some to us that day.

A co-worker/friend brings them into work each year for our entire team. In my head a little voice said  "it is something I indulge in only once a year". On one hand, I almost felt like I was letting down my deceased Polish grandma looking down at me from heaven and my co-worker if I didn't eat it. On the other hand, I was letting down my body if I did eat it. It was a strange mental struggle. Yes, I joined in on that Fat Tuesday celebration and yes I wrote it down in my food journal. I did select and eat one Paczki that morning from the deli box, although I felt horribly guilty afterward. Now that I look at that page, I feel bad that I wasn't strong enough to just say "No thank you".

Focusing on the good

On  the other hand, when I look at my journal page, I can see a rough number of fruits and vegetables that I consumed on that Tuesday. In previous years in winter, the number of fresh fruits and vegetables consumed would have been maybe zero or one. When you are consuming meat, cheese, and dairy your grocery bill is expensive$$ and you don't have money left over for the fresh fruits and vegetables section. I avoided that section like a plague. If I bought anything during the winter it might have been a tomato, iceburg lettuce, a bag of oranges or a couple apples. Since last May, I always have spinach, kale, romaine/mixed greens and other colors in my fridge. I calculated that I probably ate 6 that day which is just amazing to me. It is definitely cheaper to buy these fresh items in the summer, plus they taste better in the summer, but it's now a special treat for me to eat the rainbow all year.

Each day is a new food challenge so that's why I record my food journal for me. Do you use a food journal? Does it help you stay accountable?

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Kale is the bomb!!

My first adventure with kale

It's a little embarrassing to admit that I had never purchased kale before the Summer of 2014. At first, I played it very safe. I made kale smoothies hiding it with sugar and frozen fruit. I got a little adventurous with kale chips, but then I read an article about kale being bad if you had thyroid problems. I was having my thyroid tested so I pretty much gave up kale. I decided that Spinach would be safer. After getting the results that my thyroid was normal and joining Protective Diet, I'm happy to report that I'm eating kale again.

Trying kale a second time

This time, I'm find that I like kale in different recipes. For example, I now eat and enjoy kale for breakfast. It makes for a quick and different breakfast when I need a change from oats. I always have cooked potatoes on hand. I heat up the potatoes in the oven while I shower. I then chop up my potatoes into little pieces and mix up my kale and Protective Diet Daily Dressing in a bowl. It's a warm tasty treat for a Michigan winter morning.

Keeping cooked potatoes always on hand

This is a trick I learned either in December or January. I cook up 5-6 potatoes at a time in my Instant Pot; then store them in my fridge. I'm able to add them to salads  to bulk them up or just have them handy for a snack. (I just eat them cold at my desk or on my commute home.) Potatoes are so economical to buy, easy to find at my local grocery stores and easy to add to my diet. Potatoes are often on sale, so I pick up the bag that is on sale that week. I've gone thru a lot of potatoes since the beginning of the year. I haven't kept track of the number of pounds, but I know it has been a lot.

Free Live WebCast - Fundamentals of a Protective Diet

Research, Research, Research

I listen to Chef AJ's Teleclasses whenever I get a chance. It gives me an opportunity to continually learn while I'm working in the kitchen or driving. I listen to other teleclasses even for diets I'm not interested in like Paleo, Mediterranean, Engine 2 Diet, Macrobiotic, Grain Brain, Natural and Organic, Atkins, Juice detox diets and the Raw Rood diet. I don't like living in a bubble. Listen to all sides. Listen to what others believe and teach. I think it's important to have lots of information in your toolbox to make good decisions.

I figured out by researching that there are patterns to the diets above. Lot's of the diets above are plant based where each are developed with just a different twist.Some diets have actual doctors with research that you can look up, but others do not. I honestly knew very little about most of the diets a year and a half ago. Atkins was the no bread diet in my mind. I knew there were vegetarians but I didn't really hear about starch plant based diets. I don't ever see my research stopping. I am continuing to learn something new each day.

Julie talks with Chef AJ

One week Chef AJ had Julie Marie from Protective Diet. This webcast took place on December 15, 2014. So sometime after that I listened to the teleclass and got interested in learning more about her Protective Diet.

Fundamentals of a Protective Diet

Then I watched the free video Free Live WebCast - Fundamentals of a Protective Diet. This is a great start for anyone to learn about this new way of eating. Julie Marie's PD diet is a plant based starch based diet.She talks about why this diet removes such as include nuts, fats, sugar, food additives, etc. You do eat lot's of whole foods (wonderful fruits, vegetables, beans) and  whole grains (brown rice, whole grain pasta, whole wheat). You are eating foods to help protective your body from diseases and toxic chemicals. She also covers how her life style differs from other plant based diets.This is a not a change for a short period of time, this is a way of life.

How has a PD Lifestyle affected me? I lost all that baby weight!

Even if you are not interested in a plant based diet, I invite you to listen to this video to learn more about why I eat this way. Each of us are on our own path and no one can make you do something you don't want to do. I just want to share with you a life style that I found earlier this year that has made dramatic changes in my life. I wish I had found this way of eating years ago!!
  • I have lost weight without even trying. This has never happened before!! 
  • My husband keeps telling me I look sexy. He said just the other day that I look just like when he met me in 1991. This makes me feel very good to hear.
  • My skin looks AMAZING (the best in 40 years). 
  • I sleep every night like I never have before, plus I am NOT starving myself; even though my mother thinks I must be ("since I'm so skinny").
  • I now fall on the lower end of the weight/height chart. I'm finally right where I'm supposed to be. I fit in the clothes I did before I had babies and I feel wonderful!

Friday's in Lent, what a challenge they were

I grew up Catholic and every year during lent we had the hardest time trying to find meatless dishes. My mom was like 'what are we going to eat?'. 

Really for her there are only two options: eggs or fish. You have to have the main meat or meat fill in (eggs or fish) and then the side dishes. It was a horrible challenge we dreaded each year.

Now I  think, "OMG!, there are so many meatless options for Lent, what where we thinking all those years?"

In fact, I had this conversation with my mom again last week. I said "Mom, there are so many options!", but I don't think she takes me seriously. Where would she get her protein?

I think Fridays in Lent are a perfect time for my family (yes mom, that includes you) to try healthy vegan dishes.

Some simple ideas to start with:
  • chowders/soups
  •  meatless pasta dishes
  • salads
  • stir-fry
Some more complex dishes might be some bean dishes such as:

To begin looking for recipes, sign up for a login at the Protective Diet website. You can search for recipes by name or ingredients or just go up to the top and select All Recipes. All recipes lets you look for recipes by category. My first time on the site I went directly to Soup and Stew since that's my comfort food. I make soups all year long. Probably because I find soups go a long way. I cook on one day and eat for many. If I'm over three meals on a dish, I usually freeze the left overs for another day.

I no longer find meatless Fridays in Lent a challenge.

Friday, March 20, 2015

It's the first day of Spring, Yeah!

Yeah! It's the first day of Spring


Here in Michigan, that means that we will be getting less snow soon. It was actually above freezing today. It was supposed to get to 50, but only made it in the 40s. I had high hopes of finally walking outside, but it's also dreary and raining. We still even have snow on the ground and 30 inches of ice on our lake.

I have to admit. . . I've been thinking about my garden already, though. We usually put plants in the ground after June 1st. This year, I plan on having more herbs. In the fall, I brought my parsley and mint inside. I've been able to keep them alive thru the winter. It's so fun having herbs on hand to use in fall and winter dishes. This year I want to get rosemary, oregano, dill, and basil plants. I also need a couple more parsley plants since lots of recipes on the Protective Diet site call for parsley.

Last year we had good luck with green beans, carrots, radishes and zucchini. Our tomatoes, squash, cauliflower, potatoes and cauliflower did not do very well.

My Favorite vegetable is zucchini

I never had too many. I never got sick of eating zucchini. I used my zucchini from my garden, my mom's garden, from the farmer's market and from the store. I experimented with lots of different recipes last year. I put some grated in the freezer, but I ran out way before November. So this year, I need to plant more and find new recipes that will qualify under a Protective Diet.

I might even be a little bit adventurous and try spinach, beets or lettuce. Do you have a garden? What do you grow?

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Oats, Oats, Oats

I've always loved oats. In fact, if I had oats as a child they were a special treat. I wasn't raised eating oatmeal in the morning. My mom doesn't like oatmeal, thus we never tried oatmeal. I was probably 12 when I first tried oatmeal at my grandma's house. I really liked it there, so I went home and told my mom. She bought us a package and made it really thick and gross. I never ate oatmeal again at home.

After leaving home, I ate oatmeal occasionally. It was usually the pre-flavored oatmeal in the little packages. It was probably only 3 years ago that I first tried steel cut oats and realized I really like those also.

It amazes me that oats are so healthy and taste so good. I read an article on talking about all the health benefits below and much more.
  • Good source of copper, biotin, vitamin B1, magnesium, dietary fiber, chromium, zinc, and protein.Lower Cholesterol Levels
  • High Fiber
  • Enhanced Immune Response to Infection
  • Stabilize Blood Sugar
  • Health promoting activity equal to or even higher than that of fruit and vegetables
Yes, it maybe a little boring, but I eat oats almost every day. If oats are on sale, I pick up 4lbs+ from the bulk food section.

Here's some ways I eat my oats:
  • Steel Cut oats (cooked on stove or Instant Pot) with frozen fruit (usually blueberries)
  • Cooked Old Fashioned oats with frozen blueberries, frozen mixed fruit or bananas (sometimes I add some vanilla)
  • Homemade Granola
  • Cooked Old Fashioned oats with baked apples (or applesauce), cinnamon and nutmeg
  • Soaked Overnight oats with chia seeds and soymilk. In the morning, I add banana slices or frozen fruit.
  • Chocolate Bird Seed P.D. Premium Recipe

Do you eat oats? How do you eat your oats?