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.