Thursday, January 24, 2013

Healthy Breakfast Cookies

Healthy Breakfast Cookies

2 mashed bananas
1/4 cup applesauce (unsweetened)
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/3 cup raisins
2 cups quick oats

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet.
Combine the ingredients in the order they appear above. Mix until well combined. Drop cookies onto baking sheet and press down slightly with fingers, if desired. (Cookies will not spread). Bake for 15 minutes.

(This recipe makes approximately 18 (1 1/2 inch) cookies.)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Couscous & Black Beans

Our church often lets out later than the norm, so by the time we get home, someone is usually starving. Black beans and couscous is the perfect meal to give them since it is so quick to prepare.

I serve it with chopped tomatoes and onions and sometimes avocado slices. Last night I did not have any ripe avocado so we bought some prepared guacamole. This was a huge hit with my guys and they have requested that we have it again often.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Creamy Alfredo Sauce

This recipe had surprising reviews from my family. My youngest, who is a bit picky, loved this Alfredo sauce and requested more. My oldest is a good eater who eats just about anything and this was no exception. There's not many things that my husband does not like to eat but, unfortunately, this was one of them. The Alfredo sauce is made from a bag of frozen corn and has a very slight sweet taste to it which my husband did not care for. Since the rest of us love it, he encouraged me to continue making it but to please have an extra jar of spaghetti sauce on hand when I do.

The boys liked it so much that when asked what they wanted for lunch for Friday School (our homeschool group), they asked for this dish; so I was up and preparing Alfredo Sauce at 7:30 am last Friday!  I hope you enjoy the recipe - let the corn thaw slightly so it won't sound like a machine gun going off when you process it.  Ask me how I know.

Creamy Alfredo Sauce

1 - 16oz bag of frozen corn
1/4 cup soy milk (or other plant-based milk)
3 tablespoons of nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon basil
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
dash of pepper

In a blender or food processor, blend the corn with the milk - add more milk to get a creamy consistency but remember, the corn will thaw while heating and this will add more moisture.  Add the remaining seasonings and process.  Pour the mixture into a saucepan and heat thoroughly, stirring frequently, approximately 10 minutes.  Mix with or pour over your favorite pasta.

Source:  The Plant Experience

Saturday, January 5, 2013


The last time I had meat was on Tuesday, the day that my family gathered together in Tennessee to celebrate a belated Christmas. I don't believe that three days makes me a vegetarian but it is my desire and has been for many years.

To be more specific, my goal is to be a vegan but even the word "vegan" has certain connotations to it that does not fully described my intentions. I want to cut out all fats from my diet except for those that are found naturally in food such as avocado and nuts (And even those in moderation).

So far the word that I have found that best describes my plans is "plant-based" and for me The guidelines outlined in The McDougall program suit me best. I always feel like I should point out that Dr. McDougall is a medical doctor!

In a (big) nutshell my way of eating is this: No meat, no dairy, no oils, limit or eliminate salt & sugar, plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, grains, Whole-wheat pasta, nuts and seeds.

All of this is the big plan and as you can well imagine, adopting this lifestyle after 46 years of eating what most people would call a typical American diet, this isn't the easiest thing to do in the beginning. As a matter of fact, I have had a lot of "beginnings"

Keeping a Record

I love the idea of keeping a journal. I love brand-new books with blank pages just waiting to be filled in. I used to buy them regularly until it became obvious that I was not using them, I think I just love the idea of keeping or having one more than actually doing it.

At the beginning of the week, my friend Holly posted a picture on her Twitter account of a calendar page, much like the one you see below. She had written some notes from her personal Bible study from that morning. As I looked at that, I don't blasted I needed something more on that level. A place to jot quick notes and not feel pressured to fill-in pages and pages with how I was feeling and what happened that day, because I did feel that pressure.

So, I went to Dollar Tree and picked up a calendar. It has been great. It has been much easier for me to pick up the calendar and record a few thoughts, jot down a prayer request or write down a question I'm praying about. Yesterday's question was, "Can you throwaway cake?"

Just wanted to share this with you like Holly shared it with me. It has made a good little difference in my life this week.  Do you keep a record of your days?

Friday, January 4, 2013

Friday Felicities

Friday Felicities is all about things that make you happy and was started by my friend Nattie. She knew the value of counting your blessings.  Nattie has been a resident of heaven since 2007.  I miss her a lot.

Things That Make Me Happy:

  • "a tender, Tennessee Christmas is the only Christmas for me."  Did I happen to mention how happy I was that our family was able to reschedule our Christmas on New Year's day?  :)
  • healthy foods that make me feel good
  • feeling well enough to prepare said healthy foods
  • my new iPhone5!
  • my BFF
  • the boys have their first basketball game tonight - it's a fun time of the year.
  • we're pretty excited about the BCS bowl Monday night - we need a win because my boys will be very disappointed if we don't!!  ;)
What makes YOU happy?

Thursday, January 3, 2013

This and That Thursday

So, it's Thursday and the weekend is near. Hallelujah! This and That Thursday is the perfect way to share with you little tidbits of my day and events from the past week.

New Years eve on Monday was our 2nd Christmas Eve. I spent the day wrapping a few more presents, cooking food for our family gathering and putting together goodie boxes for my brothers-in-law.

We had our "Tennessee Christmas" on New Year's Day. Once upon a time, four little girls and their parents opened Christmas presents in that living room that seemed quite large at the time. Tuesday morning, if I counted correctly, We numbered 21.

Wednesday, on my way to the doctors office to get my blood work done, I was pulled over for speeding. I was so very thankful that he decided to give me a warning.

Which brings us to Thursday. We started school again and it went a little slow for a while but we are easing our way back into it. The boys have basketball practice this afternoon and tomorrow night they have their first basketball game of the season.

I hear tales that we will take the Christmas tree down on Saturday and put away all our Christmas decorations. I suppose that is a good day to do things like that but right now? I could really see myself laying in bed all day, snoozing under a warm blanket.

So, what has your week been like?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Good Plant-Based Food

I don't plan to post every meal that I fix but tonight's food was especially good, my guys raved over it and it was very satisfying.

Two of the dishes came from Everyday Happy Herbivore cookbook: Pinquita Beans (baked beans with a Mexican twist) and Dijon Broccoli & Rice Casserole. I highly recommend the Happy Herbivore cookbooks. You can find some of her recipes on her website. I added LoriM's Cornbread and some orange slices for a complete meal.

LoriM’s Cornbread (oil free)

1 cup self-rising cornmeal mix
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or other flour)
1 can creamed corn
1/4-1/2 cup soy milk (or rice milk) to batter consistency

Wipe the inside of a seasoned 9″ cast iron skillet with a paper towel moistened with vegetable oil (in lieu of a fat free spray). Mix the four ingredients, and bake at 400° F for about 25 minutes until brown. Serves 4. Doubles well, but bake in a larger pan.

Source: The McDougall Discussion Board

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

No Roll Enchiladas

No-Roll Enchiladas

Another family favorite!  This one came from The Fat Free Vegan

1 large bell pepper (red or green)
1 large onion
1 can refried beans (or homemade)
1 can enchilada sauce (or homemade)
1 cup salsa (homemade or otherwise, as spicy as you want)
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained (or other beans to your liking)
tortillas (any kind, but corn tortillas work well)
cooking spray
optional: 1 medium tomato

Preheat the oven to 350 (F). Dice the onion, pepper, and tomato (if using). (You may at this point sauté the onion and pepper in a non-stick skillet to soften, if you want.) Spray the bottom of a casserole dish with cooking spray and lay down a tortilla (if your tortillas are smaller than your casserole, you can layer them — but be sure the bottom of the dish is covered or it’ll stick like crazy).

Spread a layer of refried beans on the top of the tortilla(s) — you may want to heat the beans first to make them spread more easily. Pour half of the salsa and half of the onions over the beans. Put another tortilla on top of this layer. Layer the black beans, green pepper, tomato (if using), and the rest of the salsa and onion on top of the tortilla(s). Put another tortilla on the top (your casserole should be pretty full by now). Pour the can of enchilada sauce over the whole thing and bake, covered, for about 35-45 minutes or until it’s hot and bubbly all the way through. Serve with vegan sour cream or all by itself. This freezes extremely well.

Of course, you can fiddle with this and add or take away ingredients. It’s a little different every time I make it, since I layer things differently. Experiment and enjoy!

Cocoa Banana Treats

From Forks Over Knives

Mix together in a food processor or blender:

  • 1/3 cup maple syrup or agave nectar
  • 1/3 cup plant-based milk
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 ripe bananas.

Pour into a bowl and add 2 or 3 cups rolled oats. (The original recipe called for 2 cups but mine wouldn't hold together until I'd added another cup.)

Pour some Grapenuts into a shallow bowl.

Scoop out cocoa-banana-oat mixture a spoonful at a time and shape it into a ball, then cover in Grapenuts. Put balls on a baking tray and put in the freezer. When they're frozen transfer to freezer containers or bags.

Black Bean & Salsa Soup

Black Bean & Salsa Soup

This one is easy-peasy and so delicious.  I double and sometimes triple it when I make it for the family.

1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 cup salsa
1½ cups vegetable broth
½ tsp cumin
a dash of hot sauce
15 ounces black beans, drained and rinsed

Place 1 cup beans, salsa, broth and cumin in a blender and puree until smooth. Transfer to a medium saucepan and add remaining ingredients except chips. Stir to combine and heat thoroughly over low. Once warmed, serve and garnish with broken chips.

Source:  Happy Herbivore

“Redeemed” Potato Soup

“Redeemed” Potato Soup

This is going into our Tried and True file. It was very tasty and filling

6 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (2 1/2 lbs.)
2 medium onions, diced
2 carrots, thinly sliced
2 celery ribs, thinly sliced
1 quart vegetable broth (or one 16-ounce can broth and 2 cups water)
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Garnish: fresh celery leaves

Combine first seven ingredients in a 4 1/2-quart slow cooker. Cook, covered, on high 3 hours or until vegetables are tender. Take out several cups of the soup (make sure to get some of the broth with your potato/veggie mixture); blend completely in a blender; return to crockpot. Or, alternately, use an immersion blender right in the crockpot, and whizz soup to desired consistency. Eat immediately, or soup will hold on low for a couple hours. Garnish, if desired, when serving.

NOTES: Don’t blend potatoes and veggies in the food processor; the high speed of the food processor makes the potatoes gummy.

If you have an older crockpot, it might not cook the potatoes well in the above time. (Older crockpots cook at a lower temperature and often have a difficult time softening hard root vegetables.) If your crockpot is pre-2003, you can precook the potatoes for 10 minutes on the stovetop, and continue with the recipe.

From the McDougall Discussion board

Pasta and Vegetables with White Sauce

Pasta and Vegetables with White Sauce

Use any vegetables you like instead of the broccoli and cauliflower. You can make this a Ridiculously Easy recipe by using frozen vegetables (see notes below).

1 pound whole wheat rotini pasta (or gluten-free pasta)
1 1/2 cup cooked chickpeas (or 1 can, rinsed and drained)
1 head broccoli (about 1 pound), cut into small florets and stems reserved for another use
1 head cauliflower (about 1 pound), cut into florets
2 cups plain unsweetened soy milk (or other non-dairy milk)
6 cloves garlic, peeled and pressed
1 tablespoon dried basil
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or to taste)
generous grating of black pepper
5 tablespoons nutritional yeast
2 teaspoons cornstarch or potato starch
1 1/2 teaspoons salt or salt-free seasoning (or to taste)


Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and cook the pasta according to instructions on package. About a minute before it’s done, add the chickpeas and cook briefly to heat them through. When the pasta is al dente, scoop out and set aside a cup of the cooking water. Then drain the pasta well and return to the pot or a large serving bowl.

While the pasta is cooking, steam the vegetables until just tender. Add them to the pasta.

While the pasta and the vegetables are cooking, make the sauce: combine in a medium saucepan the soy milk. garlic, herbs, and pepper. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, reduce heat to low, and cook, stirring frequently, for about 3 minutes or until pasta is done. Add 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water and the nutritional yeast. Stir the starch into 1/4 cup of cool water and add it to the sauce, stirring well. Increase heat and cook until the sauce boils and thickens slightly. Check seasonings and add salt to taste.

Pour the sauce over the pasta and vegetables and stir gently to coat. If the pasta needs more moisture, add a little of the reserved pasta water. Sprinkle with extra red pepper flakes if desired and serve immediately.
The pasta absorbs the sauce as it sits, so keep the reserved pasta water to add moisture when reheating leftovers.  To make this a Ridiculously Easy recipe, use two 12-16 ounce packages of frozen vegetables. I like to use combinations such as California blend or Italian blend. The easiest way to do this is to use extra water when cooking the pasta and add the vegetables to the pasta water about 4 minutes before the pasta is due to be ready (according to package directions). After the water returns to a boil, cook the pasta and vegetables about 4 more minutes or until pasta is al dente, adding the chickpeas near the end. Drain well and proceed with Step 3.

Make a zestier version by stirring in some kalamata olives, sun-dried tomatoes, toasted pine nuts, or roasted red peppers when you add the sauce.

Preparation time: 10 minute(s) | Cooking time: 30 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 8
Nutrition (per serving): 374 calories, 36 calories from fat, 4.3g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 115.5mg sodium (without salt), 935mg potassium, 71.5g carbohydrates, 15.9g fiber, 8.2g sugar, 19.9g protein,

Creamy Avocado Pasta

Creamy Avocado Pasta

This delicious Creamy Avocado Pasta can be on your table in 15 minutes.

6 ounces pasta, we used whole wheat spaghetti
1 large ripe Avocado, pitted and peel removed
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. Bring water to a boil in a medium sized pot. Salt the water and add in your pasta, reduce heat to medium, and cook until Al Dente, about 8-10 minutes.

2. While the pasta is cooking, make the sauce by placing the avocado, garlic, lime juice, cilantro, salt and pepper into a food processor or blender. Process until smooth and creamy

3. When pasta is done cooking, drain and place pasta into a large bowl. Add the sauce to the pasta and toss until pasta is well coated. Season with additional salt and pepper, if desired. Serve immediately. Note: This pasta dish is best eaten the day it is made.

Source:  Two Peas & Their Pod

Mexican Cabbage

Mexican Cabbage

I found this letter on Dr. McDougall's newsletter but the creator is Lindsay S. Nixon from the Happy Herbivore. We like to eat this served with tortilla chips, as mentioned below, as well as guacamole (or avocado slices) and salsa.

1 small sweet onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 medium head of cabbage, chopped into thin strips
8-ounce can tomato sauce
4-ounce can green chilies (minced)
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 c frozen corn, thawed
salt and pepper to taste
1 c black beans
baked corn chips (optional)

Line a medium pan with water and cook onion and garlic over high heat until translucent. Add cabbage, tomato sauce, chilies, tomato paste and spices. Reduce heat to medium and cook until cabbage is tender, about 10 minutes. Turn off heat and stir in corn until evenly distributed. Taste, adjust seasonings as needed. Mix in beans before serving and top with crumbled corn chips if desired.

Happy New Year!!

A brand new year - don't you love it?  I never do well with resolutions, especially with posting them in public - hahaha!  Like anyone else though, I do think about the things that I would like to work on and change in the following year and I have a whole long mental list of them.

I saw this image on Middle Places and thought this wold be the perfect goal for the year to come. If I didn't accomplish the first weight loss goal or my resolution to get organized, I will be ahead of the game if I seek the Lord daily and keep His commands.

Praying you all will have the best year of your life.
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