clean plate club members

Submerged in the OLD list of “10 things you didn’t know about me”  was the statement,

I am not a fan of cauliflowercauliflower

Because I am a smarty pants and know it is ultra good for you, I buy one head a month, steam, smash, freeze then hide in spaghetti sauce, pasta sauce, taco filling etc.  No one is the wiser, I can’t taste it and we get the benefits here and there.

Benefits?  What benefits you ask?

reduces cancer risks, can even kill some cancer stem cells, improves detoxification, balances hormones, has impressive amounts of vitamin C, vitamin K, and beta-carotene, fights inflammation, also has rich supplies of calcium and selenium and cauliflower keeps our immune systems running smoothly  

My new list of 10 things you didn’t know about me, NO LONGER contains the blurb about cauliflower.

Thanks to Sam Turnbull and her blog, you too, can whip up this beauty.

Last night was life-changing.  I ate HALF A CAULIFLOWER!  Honestly, because I was a little bit of a piggie, I may have taken more than half.

Here’s the quick version:  take apart a cauliflower, mix up some oil, nutritional yeast, Roasted-Cauliflower-05garlic and chili powder, mix, bake at 450* until tender and toasty brown.

Serve with an AMAZING Maple Syrup Mustard dipping sauce (she gives you that dip recipe, along with several others.)  Zowie, is it simple…. maple syrup, mustard, lemon juice, garlic power….  blend.  done.

Say grace and then grab some napkins these will “sell” quickly.

Serve hot, warm or cold…dip those little puppies (no, not real puppies) in that amazing dipping sauce and before you know it….

enough chatter!

Here are two snapshots that will tell you everything you NEED to know.


Now, may I gently suggest you make these tonight?  You and your family are worthy of excellent nutrition.   Heck, you don’t even need to explain all the benefits.  Just bake them, serve with dipping sauce and put on a table everyone can reach.

Clean Plate Club members all around!

In this together, friends.

Chat soon.

PS.    Dig deeper and learn oodles more benefits of cauliflower from Dr. Mercola.

smarty pants cheese, please

Raise your hand if you have ever stood in a grocery store and cried.

I have.

When you have to give up meat (yes that means chicken, too), sugar, dairy and gluten it can and does seem slightly overwhelming.

20180207_173730-1_resizedToday’s topic is  PIZZA.  yum.  Ooey, gooey, stringy, flavorful pizza.  Caramelized onions, mushrooms galore, hot out of the oven, dripping with goodness.  A bit salty, a hint of sweet, that robust sauce….. overwhelmingly one of the top comfort foods around.

When that age-old question pops up, as it inevitably does, “What’s for dinner?”  you don’t have to do much to sell the suggestion of pizza.

To begin with, let’s talk a tiny bit about dairy first.

It doesn’t matter if you are giving up dairy products for the upcoming season of Lent, cannot tolerate lactose, are vegan or because you have educated yourself and know that dairy promotes cancer…….giving up the satisfying comfort of cheese is tricky.

(Side note here:  We all know any human over five years of age has no lactase in their body.  Lactase is the enzyme necessary to digest dairy products.)

Hang on one minute, yes, I promise to get to the good stuff……pizza.

First, please indulge me to give one quick homeschool lesson?    We all know Dr. Neal Barnard is one smart cookie.  I will be brief and with his help,  remind you why it is so DANG hard to give up dairy.

Skip reading the next paragraph if you are already a smarty pants and don’t need to be reminded of this stuff.

Cheese has casein as an unusual protein.  Casein fragments are called casomorphins – that is casein derived morphine-like compounds.  And they attach to the same brain receptors that heroin and other narcotics attach to.  In other words, dairy protein has opiate molecules built right in.

Light bulb moment coming up…………………………………………………………………………..

SO THAT’S WHY I WAS CRYING IN THE GROCERY STORE!  I was addicted to cheese/dairy products.

If you are a smart cookie and want to be even smarter, may I gently suggest to head over and do a little reading on what Dr. Barnard has to say about cheese?

20180207_180019-1_resizedToday, I am writing this with one person in mind.  She doesn’t need to give up dairy for any reason other than she chooses to.  She is an intelligent, talented, athletic and beautiful, vegan teenager.  Her hard-working, creative, beautiful mother and I have been friends since we were teenagers.

Over the last five years, I have spent a lot of money, time and effort trying and taste testing products, recipes etc.  I have thrown away more than I care to remember.  So, when a recipe or product turns out to be heaven-sent and amazing…………….instead of just sharing with people who laugh at me, roll their eyes, make fun of me, or stare at me with disbelief,  I decided to share with someone who would jump up and down and use jazz hands to share her happiness.  (sometimes, you just gotta play to the right audience)

Who knows?  Maybe this talented, budding rock star will one day write and sing about dairy-free pizza?20180207_180019-1_resized

I think we all agree teenagers are hard to impress.  I have made it my mission to secretly, share recipes, restaurants and ideas with my friend.  The mission is simple.  Help my friend win “Mom of the year” award.

Frankly, I shared my faux bacon recipe and she could quite honestly skate through the year with that one delicious recipe alone.  I know this pizza/cheese brilliant recipe secret will just add extra credit.

Tap, Tap, Tap…….can I have your attention, please?  Please join me in saluting this one brilliant, beautiful vegan teenager!  I raise my slice of pizza in your honor!  You, my dear, have figured out this healthy “thang” way before many adults.  Rock on future clean plate club member! 20180207_182008-1_resized

Okay, here is the secret.  Go buy Fuss-Free Vegan by Sam Turnbull.  Just do it.  I am so fuss free vegangrateful that Santa was smart enough to give this to me.  This one book will make your life so much tastier, your teenagers will vote you Mom of the year and your guests will thank you a million times over.  She has an amazing recipe for “Life Changing Mozzarella”.  I stuck 5 gold stars on that one page alone!  Gather your ingredients:  tapioca starch, green olive juice, nutritional yeast, cashews, salt and water and let’s make a pizza.

If you don’t have a teenager to impress, I gotta say, Mr. Right gave it two thumbs up, with his mouth full and we were both clean plate club members.  So get out there and find someone to share a pizza with.

Pizza equals HAPPY!

May you make, serve, share and devour the best dairy-free pizza of your life!!!!

In this together, friends.

Chat soon.




Brilliant Sunday Supper

Last night, the rains started, it cooled way down and seemed like the perfect Sunday evening for comfort food.  You know?  The warm feel of soup in your belly.  The blend of flavors in a well planned out sandwich……oh baby, so good.

Wait.  I will explain what I made, then I will share a picture or two.

The soup.

Hang on to your cute beanie. This savory soup is Sunday dinner, Easy Peasy.

20170917_143546_resizedCut up some beautiful (homegrown if you have them) potatoes and a couple of leeks (remember to wash the dickens out of those leeks).  Drizzle with olive oil and S & P.  Roast at 425*for 50 minutes.  Next put them into the Blend-tec with some vegetable broth.  We’re blending, we’re blending………………  and we are done.  That was easy.20170917_172055-1_resized







The Sammy.

20170917_170912-1_resizedCaramelize an onion.  Roast a red pepper (then put into a zippy bag and take off the brunt outer skin).  Also, have in the lineup and ready to go:

Tapenade, fresh pesto & shred some beautiful Fontina cheese.  Assemble and grill.

Say Grace and just like that, A brilliant Sunday supper is toasty and ready to enjoy. 20170917_172332-1_resized

I ask you, who would not be grateful and find comfort in this beautiful meal?

We need to cook like this for our families/ourselves more often.  We are all worthy of simple, satisfying food layered with love.

I gotta say, the flavor of that combination was brilliant.

Hope you enjoyed a savory Sunday meal, certainly a lovely way to begin the week.  Or might I suggest this meal as a solution to what to have tonight?

In this together, friends.

Just sharing the goodness.

Chat soon.



garbage broth

I keep a plastic bag in the freezer.  Whenever I have 2 mushrooms left over or the stems of some cleaned bok choy, half a carrot, 1/4 onion, extra green beans and on the list goes, I toss into the bag.   Until the bag is packed full, I just keep adding to it.  You know?  One tomato left in the basket, 2 stalks of broccoli…. and so it goes.

To be honest, I am learning that not everyone cooks.  So if you don’t have a “garbage bag” full of bits and pieces, odds and ends, you can always use fresh.

I like the idea of truth telling.  I am getting brave.

I prepare dinner at least 26 or so times a month.       Mr. Right and I are worth excellent home made food.  It is my privilege to prepare and cook delicious meals that are without chemicals, additives and dyes.  Our health is vital and of value to us.

I do have other hobbies and an actual job, so I do appreciate a smart cooking short cut.   I actually mean, I don’t cook 28 days a month.  More like 12 to 15 days.  I always make two or three sides/meals worth at a time.  For example today, I made 3 cups of broth for our Risotto tonight. Then I froze two packages, 3 cups each for another time.

20160915_103520-1_resizedTo make the broth, I use a large stock pot.   I added one chopped onion (save the skin and ends for the broth) 4 cloves garlic, one stalk of celery, a splash of peanut oil and I cook until soft and it all browns a bit.  Next, I added the entire bag of “garbage” from my freezer and the ends of the onion, celery and carrot from what I am simmering.  Added 9 cups of filtered water.  I toss in 2 Bay leaves, 6 peppercorns, oodles of fresh herbs from our garden and some real salt.

Cook/simmer for 1 hour.

Strain through a sieve.  Cool.

I package into freezer bags, 3 cup portions.  Take up less space, freeze flat, then store like books in your freezer.  20160915_122720-1_resized

Hey, 3 cups is the exact amount I need to make an amazing mushroom Risotto tonight for supper!

While that is cooking, I already had the cutting board  & knives out.  So I chopped some mushrooms and tossed it with some vegetables and put it all into the slow cooker.  Creamy dreamy mushroom soup headed our way.  20160915_113414-1_resized

The dehydrator is filled with sage today.  I wish I could make this post have a scratch n sniff option.  Our home smells so earthy, savory…. just lovely. 20160912_112906-1_resized

In this together,

Here’s to our good health and wellness.

Love to hear what’s cooking in your neck of the woods.




pulled pork sammies

It was a three, paper napkin kind of lunch.

Messy, sloppy and drippy good.  You know what I am talking about.  You take that first bite, a little sauce drips into your hand and then drips down near your wrist, as you are reaching for a napkin, you try and catch it all of a sudden it drips a bit down your forearm.  Then you lick your finger and try and clean up all while trying to take that next bite.  haha20160730_132131_resized

Boy Howdy, the flavor was dancing (with jazz hands) and the texture was spot on.

You all know how I love to make something on Friday to have ready for weekend lunches?  Well, this hit the spot and then some.  Easy to put together and actually tastes a touch better the next day.

One of the pickles about eating the way we do, we can’t just drive through a place and grab something to eat.  However, being honest here, we enjoy a quick made lunch full of flavor and goodness like the next family.

So once home from morning grocery shopping, we unloaded and then sat for a minute or two with a really great lunch. It went together lickity split and it was sumptuous and filling at the same time.

I won’t go into all the reasons why we don’t eat meat in our home.  If you want to have an intelligent chat, I would love to do that sometime.  One reason; I have to keep my system ph balanced and meat products rise the acid levels and we all know that elevated acid levels cause sickness, inflammation and arthritis to name a few.  Actually, it’s been about 25 years since we have eaten pork in our home.

Oh, I get it that not everyone thinks this is the way to eat.  Actually, I wanted to write this down to save it for me.  A gentle reminder what goodness I create now and then.

Needless to say we no longer put air quotes around the word pulled “pork” sammies.  No one in our family asks, “is this really pork”?

Okay, Dana over at Minimalist Baker, rocked our lunch on Saturday.

She is a gem to share her creations and boy howdy did she deliver!  Who would have guess that cooked lentils, some smashed and shredded carrots and onions and spices and BBQ sauce would deliver an amazing, mouth-watering, messy creation?

I make our own BBQ sauce, but you certainly can use store-bought.  Also, I just looked at her pictures and realized, she used purple cabbage and I used green.  So, apparently, you can make substitutions and it still ends up as a glorious lunch.

I used toasted buns (I must say the texture of the crunch was the perfect addition, don’t skip this delightful layer of crunch.)  I sliced the cabbage nice and thin and made a quick slaw.  Then I sliced Walla Walla sweet onions for an added punch of flavor. 20160730_131822-1_resized

The flavor was deep and rich.  The texture was great.  It was “stringy” like you would expect in a pulled pork sammy.  We were both clean plate club members.

Update:  We had the same lunch two days in a row.  Such flavor, we both cleaned our plates once again.  The really good news?  We have enough in the freezer to have one more fast food, spur of the moment lunch.  Yum-tastic.

Next time you invite a non meat-eater over for a casual lunch or BBQ, might I suggest you offer up something this spectacular?  Or just maybe, remember you and your family are worthy of a beautifully made meal that is both beautiful and nutritious.20160730_131937_resized

Quick, say Grace and pass the napkins!


my golden ticket

Everyday for oh, say, 30 some years, I would have an afternoon coffee and a little cookie, a piece of biscotti, an almond thin,  just a little something, something to go with my coffee.

I had to give that all up.  Yes, including how I made my coffee.  Good bye daily lattes.  I gave away 17 bottles of coffee syrups.   The daily cookie had to be deleted as well.   Somehow during all those years, the tiny piece of cookie was mixed up in my brain as comfort food.

3.3 years ago, in every part of my life I had to give up something.

I think I had oatmeal almost every morning of my life for about 45 years.   I have even ordered oatmeal at  3 different Four Season Restaurants.  I have ordered it in more states than I can remember.  I have eaten it with every topping imaginable.  My favorite.  Goodbye.

To say that I had an anger issue about all this would be an understatement.

Thankfully, I got my brain working again and figured out how to have my coffee once again.  (thank heavens for coconut cream).  Yesterday, I had a Butterscotch latte  (think butter and maple syrup and espresso).   I even have learned how to have an iced caramel latte.

20160426_171527Treats have been a bit tricky.  I used to bake batch after batch of Biscotti.  I wrapped it beautifully and gave it as gifts.  I gave it away to co-workers.  I gave it to neighbors.  I even sold some to a coffee stand for a while.  I loved Biscotti so much, I wanted to marry it.  Really!

Once I figured out, it wasn’t the chocolate bits that I liked or the drizzled frosting on top or the poppy seeds…..I adored the cookie part.  Just a crisp piece of cookie that I could dip now and then.   I knew I could figure this out.

So here I am 7 or 8 batches later…….remember my rules,  I can’t use sugar or dairy & it has to be gluten free. 20160426_164248-1

I tried “Swerve”.  No thank you.  I tried maple syrup, nope that wasn’t it.  I tried coconut sugar, again, not what I was looking for.  I tried Wax Orchard’s fruit sweet (I love this product, it just didn’t work in the biscotti).  I tried agave nectar, nope not the golden ticket.   I don’t use any artificial sweeteners of any kind.

Wait did I just type golden????

Honey.  I have fallen in love with Raw Honey and it has been my saving grace. Raw Honey has helped me heal and quite honestly saved my sanity.  My Golden Ticket!!

Daily medicine more manageable with a 1/2 teaspoon of raw honey.   Making my own Almond Milk, yes, you guessed it with raw honey.  Salad Dressing and treats, coffee drinks and the list goes on and on.

So here you go.  I am sharing my recipe.  By all means make it your own.

Here’s to comfort food that brings no guilt.

Here’s to our good health!

In this together, friend. 20160427_093752-1

Honey Almond Biscotti

1/2 cup butter (I used Earth Balance) 

3/4 cup raw honey

2 fresh eggs

1 teaspoon real vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon real almond extract

3.5 cups flour ( I used Better Batter Flour) 

1/2 teaspoon baking powder (no aluminum) 

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda 

3/4 cup raw sliced almonds

(You can add up to 1 cup of dried fruit or other goodies if you want)

Beat the butter until light.  Gradually add raw honey, eggs, vanilla and almond extract.  Beat until smooth.  Combine flour, baking power, baking soda and salt.  Add to honey mixture.  Stir in almonds. 

Shape dough into two 10X13X1 inch logs and place on a silpat covered cookie sheet.  Bake at 350* for 25 minutes. Remove, cool 5 minutes.  Reduce heat in oven to 275* 

Cut each log into 1/2 inch slices and arrange on baking sheet.  Bake 20 minutes or until crisp.  Cool on a wire rack.  Store in a air tight container. 

Make coffee (or tea).  Sit down, feet up and enjoy a piece.  Pure comfort.  (and no guilt for me)

more soup please

Yesterday, it hit 60 in our neck of the woods.  While warming up, I still want it to be winter.  I am not done basking in soup and sweater weather. 

If you are looking for a home air fragrance that makes your mouth water, may I suggest simmering sweet potato, onion and garlic…lots of garlic (use double the amount suggested) because those ingredients combined makes your house smell like a home.  So warm and cozy and fragrant.  20160209_102105-1


This soup sounded good right away and then turned out a hundred times better than I had anticipated.  I love how the broccoli is roasted and then put on the soup at the very last possible moment. 

(Instead of the cheesy broccoli soup we all recall with broccoli being blended beyond recognition.)

Let’s be honest, sometimes when recipes is billed as “dairy free” sometimes the results are less than stellar.  I am happy to report this is not the case.  You won’t even have to mention that it is dairy free.  Yes, Virginia, that good.  


The sweet potato is what gives this soup it’s glorious color and velvet texture.  The nutritional yeast is what brings the cheese flavor.  I have NO IDEA what the dill pickle juice offers, and yet, it is a “quite can’t put your finger on ” flavor, that I for one am glad is there.  The fresh cracked pepper does indeed bring something to this party.  


As a dairy free soup, I must say it is one of the best ones I have made.  Silky velvet texture with just the right amount of tang.  The color is saturated and just what I was needing from a “cheese” soup. 

Once again, The Vegan8 has outdone herself.  Gosh, that gal can cook and create.  Mr. Right said last night, “every recipe we try from her is outstanding.”


Mr. Right enjoyed as his first course.  I chose to have as the main dish.  We both were very happy clean bowl club members.  A little bit of lefties for one more serving.

In need of some comfort in the form of food, glorious food?  Here’s a lovely bowl of soup!20160209_174655-1  

In this together.  Here’s to our health and wellness!