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.




time to sparkle

Time to clean the chandelier.

Go get your umbrella.  I’ll wait. 

I’m still waiting.  Geesh, this is taking forever.  Already gone through two songs.

Oh hi.  you’re back.  Good.

Let’s get started.

Turn off the light.  The crystals or glass clean so much easier when cold.  20171018_135808_resized

Hang that umbrella on the chandelier.  It will catch dust, cobwebs, more dust that you blow off with a hair dryer or spray with a can of air.  It will also catch any drips of magic elixir that may sprinkle down.   (Seriously, you do not want this to turn into an all day long project and have to wash your bed linens, too?  Well?  Of course not.)

Next, mix up the magic elixir.

2 cups warm water, 1/2 cup rubbing alcohol and 2 Tablespoons of the dishwasher spot remover 

You will need a soft cloth and a ladder/step stool.

Um, I am pretty sure you know what to do.  Stand there for several minutes while the blood drains out of your arms and wash each little beautiful crystal.   Are your arms tingling?  Good.  That’s a sign you are doing it right!

Your goal is to change every single dusty, film covered, sad crystal drop into a beautiful sparkle of a gem.

Put on your sunnies, ’cause you’re going to need ’em! 20171018_141746-1_resized

Wow!  So sparkly.  So pretty.

Put away the ladder, toss the soft cloth into your laundry pile,  and wash the container you put the elixir in.

Take the umbrella outdoors and open and close a few times.  The neighbors will think you are a bit silly.  Wave and give them a jaunty salute!  Howdy Neighbor!!

Now wasn’t that easy peasy?

Just sharing the goodness.

In this together, friend.

chat soon.

P.S.  Be a lamb and share a smarty pants cleaning tip!  Love to hear your secret.














tomato round up, yeehaw

20170913_132317-1_resizedThis year, the first weekend in May,  we planted 2 tomato plants.  The varieties were Early Girl and Big Boy.  One we purchased and the other was a free start!

Boy Howdy did we have a good year!  Gorgeous color, amazingly rich, bold flavor.  These beauties made some of the best sauce to come down the pike.

Sad side note:  Because of the wildfires in Canada and Eastern Washington and wind,  our tomatoes had a light covering of ash.  While good for the soil, we did rinse them off before bringing them inside.


Once ripe, we ate fresh tomatoes almost daily.

20170907_180035_resizedOne older neighbor wanted one, plump, beautiful tomato to enjoy.

We gave away 3 bags full along with fresh picked Basil.  (I save those small gift bags through the year, then use them to nestle fresh picked produce in to share with the neighbors. So much cuter than filling a used grocery bag.)20170919_172531-1_resized

Then I kept track of how many pounds we picked & brought inside for us to process and use.  Are you ready?  Hold onto your cowgirl hats!

We had a grand total of 27.4 pounds!  That was from just 2 plants!!!!!

After I make yard sauce, which I use as a base for other sauces (rough chop a pan full of tomatoes, onion, and basil, sometimes Rosemary… olive oil, S & P, roast for 50 minutes on 425*, plop in Blend-Tec and push the button)


or spaghetti sauce, I freeze the bags flat.  I can stack the frozen packages book style, save oodles of space in the freezer and can easily see what each package contains.



Our evening temperatures are dipping into and below the 50* mark.  That means our on the vine tomatoes will not ripen any longer.

We do have a couple left ……………

I spy with my little eye………………something green.   I have a wonderful feeling that Fried Green Tomatoes will be making a debut on our plates in the very near future! 20170921_112458-1_resized

We are so grateful to have grown such a beautiful, lush, prolific garden with enough bounty to eat, share, process and freeze for later.

Already planning on what to plant next year and where.  Yes indeed, we will be rotating where we plant things.  We will nourish and feed our soil this winter.

How did you do?  Did you have extraordinary success this year?  I would love to hear how your harvest turned out this year and share any tips/tricks or common sense ideas you figured out from this season.

In this together, friends. Happy Harvest.

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.



friends share zucchini

When we were young, my mother would constantly remind us to choose our friends wisely.   “If you hang around sailors, you are going to swear like a sailor”.

cracker jacksOnce a month, our parents would go out to dinner.  The babysitter would give us each a box of Cracker Jack’s.   The boy on the box was the only sailor I really “knew”. He had a dog and gave away a surprise.  He didn’t seem that harmful.

Enter a new friend I made a few years back.  She is Greek.  Thus my curiosity in Greek cooking and dishes and customs has increased 10 fold.

Is it any wonder that lately I am drawn to Greek recipes like a dog to a dripping ice cream cone?

I made so many Greek Green Beans last year, even I got a bit tired of that dish.  For a time, I added Spanakopita to the lineup. Awww, my love affair with Filo Dough is alive and well, people.


A couple of days ago, a neighbor graciously shared some zucchini with us.  Goodness, it’s that season of an over abundance of that vegetable.  Everyone is “blessing” anyone they know or don’t know with that vegetable.   I will admit to not planting any in my garden.  I had a sneaky suspicion that someone would have an extra one or two they would share.

You know?…………it’s been ages since I rustled up some Zucchini Fritters.  Sounds really lovely for a nice summer dinner.  Slice up some cucumbers and tomatoes and onions………we were off and running.

I went to look up my recipe……….wait, what’s this?

Greek Zucchini Fritters?  Yes, please!

20170810_123041-1_resized_1Google can most certainly help you with a recipe.

Would you like two 20170810_182808-1_resized_2secret tricks to beautiful fritters?

Shred the zucchini, salt with some Rosemary salt and let it drain for a couple of hours. Then squeeze out all the moisture you can.  Go heavy on the dill.  No, add a bit more.  Okay, a touch more.  Ha, that’s about right.  Wait, maybe another sprig or two.  Geesh, you already have the cutting board & knife out on the counter.

You will need:

2-pound large zucchini, trimmed and grated (I used the fetafood processor), Rosemary salt, fresh ground pepper,  2 eggs, 1/2 cup chopped mixed fresh herbs, dill, mint, parsley ( you know I went heavy on the dill), 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1 cup breadcrumbs or more if necessary, 1 cup of beautiful Feta (the really good stuff, with extra zip/tang, spend the money, go to the deli, I’m telling you, it’s worth it)

No, I didn’t deep fry those beauties.  I used a griddle and got them nice and crispy. So alongside those crispy edges and a warm, tender center, I served a luscious creamy tzatziki sauce, which is the combination we are all looking to create.

The very next time you come home and someone has “graciously” dumped 2 or 3 zucchini’s on your door step…………..instead of the “well, I guess I could bake some zucchini bread” which will never get finished…………………. Might I gently suggest a tasty alternative?

I offer up to you……………..TA-DA…….Glorious Greek Zucchini Fritters.

So easy, so flavorful, crispy outside, moist, “meaty” delicious inside.

Oh, and in the choosing friends wisely department?

I chose wisely.

Chat soon.




For some twisted reason, Mondays have been hard the last couple weeks.  Getting up feels like a chore.   After I fed and gave fresh water to the dog and the chickens…. I headed for the Bio-mat for an hour.

Then to shower.  I smiled just thinking about using my new fancy schmancy potion!

I made this facial scrub.  I put it in a jar with a fun label.    I just fell head over heels in love with the name. 20170331_121837-1_resized


Side note about company names: for a couple of years I owned a company called “The Yellow Button Mustard Company”.  I came up with the name, then I decided to make mustard.  Of course I tied a yellow button on every single jar.  I love mustard!yellow buttons

This time, I have come up with the name “Splurge”.  Now I want to follow where that leads.  Maybe I just like the word?

20170324_150314-1_resized_1Splurge on an extra long bike ride.  Splurge on new flowers for my bike basket.   Splurge with extra coconut cream in my Monday coffee.   Splurge on a snazzy pair of new shoes. (those shoes?  Well made and so comfortable, love)  Splurge on making lotions and potions that are of excellent quality and then use them.

Using a face scrub/moisturizer that smells like little drops of peppermint.  Awwwww, feels like a splurge.

Here’s the behind the scene magic  ( or if you like, the recipe)

1/2 cup coconut oil, 1/2 cup baking soda and a few drops of essential oil…whip together.  Splurge on yourself and use it!

Oh la la

Here’s to easing into Monday & please take the time to splurge a little on yourself.  We are worth it.

Here’s to our health and wellness! 20170331_121837-1_resized

Chat soon.