cook up some love

cooking and love quote20180211_192140-1_resized

Sunday night dinner just got all fancy.  Oh, and did I mention dairy free and vegan?

Vegan Creme Brulee.  Yes, vegan, really.  Seriously.  I cross my heart.  The best dairy free version I have ever, ever indulged in.

The pictures speak for themselves. 20180211_191849-1_resized

If you find yourself wanting to lick the computer screen, may I gently suggest the book, Fuss-Free Vegan by Sam Turnbull?

Or you could ask me to share the recipe.

Or you could stop by and share dessert!

Here is a gentle suggestion, make plans today to create, make and share a special meal including dessert for someone you love this week.

I promise you, nothing feels more special than to cook for that special someone or to have that someone cook something homemade just for you.

There is something downright decadent when your spoon cracks that caramelized crust and dips down into that silky smooth, creamy dreamy custard.  Oh, la la.

20180211_192128-1_resizedHappy Week of Love, people!

In this together,

Chat soon.



dip time

One of the “recipes” I made as a kid was brilliant.

Have your mom buy a container of sour cream and one of those boxes of French Onion Soup mix.  It came with packets of dehydrated onions and other mystery, magical powder.

*We did not read ingredient lists 40 years ago.   (come to find out, “other dry powder” was MSG, corn syrup, sugar, corn starch, hydrolyzed soy protein, caramel color, gluten, yeast extract, “natural” flavors, disodium inosinate, disodium guanylate.)   soup mix 2

Mix together.  Dip chips or crackers into the dip mix and scoop up as much as possible.  It was salty, fancy dip.

Hello, 2018.

You could follow the same recipe today.

Or, here’s a brilliant, self-loving thought, you could make your own!

Important note: so you are not a sad-faced reader by the end of this post.  Make this today because you have to let it sit in the refrigerator overnight!  

First, make the Wellness Mama dry mix recipe and store in a glass jar.  You can use it to shake some potatoes in before you roast them, actually make soup or use like you always use the dry onion soup mix.

I also make the mix minus the dehydrated onion.  I will tell you why.  I caramelize my own onions and add the seasonings.

Wait.  It is SO EASY PEASY. Yep. Even a teenager from the 70’s can mix it up.

Why on earth would you go to the “trouble” of making your own?

1. Because the Olympics are about to begin and we all want to watch a little television olympic ringsand just maybe while we watch amazingly fit, world-class athletes compete we would like to wear yoga pants and sit on the sofa and have something to dip our salty, crispy snacks into.

2. Because you have an exchange student visiting and you want to set out some munchies and she can’t have dairy.

3. Because you have chosen not to eat dairy for the Lenten season that is about to begin.pray fast give

4. Because your friend just found out they have Celiac disease and you want to serve some snacks and show a little empathy because he no longer can have that dry onion soup mix, that he loves.gluten free

5.  Because you are vegan. vegan girl

6.  Because you are a smarty pants and don’t eat chemicals.



Enough talk….let’s do this.

Make sour cream.  (gentle suggestion?  make a double batch, seriously, because I said so.)

Soak 1 cup of raw cashews in hot water for an hour.  drain.   Okay, put the softened raw cashews, 1/2 cup water, 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar, 1 Tablespoon lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon salt into a high-speed blender and like good Jazz music……until smooth and dreamy.  Supposedly this stores in the refrigerator for one week in a glass container with a lid.  We have NEVER had it around that long to actually test that. haha

caramelized onionsOkay, while your cashews were soaking………….chop up a large onion (I love to use one big ol’ Walla Walla sweet onion or 2  yellow onions) add 1 Tablespoon olive oil and 1/4 (yes, 1/4) teaspoon sugar and start cooking all that onion goodness.  You want it to be all golden and caramelized.  It’s going to take 15 to 20 minutes of listening to music or you have time for a TED talk.  You gotta stay there and keep those beautiful pieces of onion dancing around in that pan. Keep going…….not quite……….you want it really, really golden.  done.

Okay, mix together 1 batch of your sour cream, about 1 Tablespoon of the dry onion soup mix mentioned above.  It will be approximately 1/2 teaspoon, onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon celery salt. 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley, 1/2 teaspoon sea salt and all those beautiful caramelized onion bits and pieces…...yes, scrape the pan, get all that amazing flavor. 

Here comes the tricky, hard part.  Put into the refrigerator for 4 hours or better yet, overnight!  What???  Sadly, it is hard to wait.  Those flavors need to marry up and the beautiful caramel color needs to swirl around.  dip3

However, tomorrow night when the Olympics come on and you are about to sit down………that beautiful, caramelized onion dip will be waiting just for you and your family.dip

In this together, friends.

Oh wait, you have a little something on your chin…

Chat soon.







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.




Oh, Happy Day!

Can you feel it?  The special sparkle in the air?  The deep rumble of the very beginnings of giddiness?

Me Too!

Happy Groundhog Day!  You party animal, you!ground hog day

Happy One Year learning to crochet day for me! FB_IMG_1517584163018_resized

Is it me, or would that groundhog look downright adorable in the first crocheted hat I ever made?

Good golly we have a lot to be happy about.  The festive music is LOUD here in my dining room.  The food is being set out.  You can feel the excitement building.

Here is a fun fact about groundhogs: They are the same thing as woodchucks. If you knew this already, it seems laughably obvious. If you didn’t, your mind may be blown a little. It’s never too late to learn things.

As I type this, it is only 6:57am  the day is already off to a happy note.  Nice.

Okay, to celebrate this wild, festive day… I thought I would share one new favorite thing.  Less than $10.00, extremely easy to use and it WORKS!

You know how you draw a bath, you have the temperature just right, then after a while, the water level goes down, the water you have left is getting colder by the minute?

This gadget solves those issues.  The suction cups hold it in place over the overflow drain. 20180125_081841-1_resizedNow I know this is a first world “problem”.  Gee, I wonder how I can get the bubble bath in my beautiful jacuzzi to stay warm?  Yet, I am just so darn tickled with this common sense gadget I felt compelled to share!  You’re welcome!

See your day is already better because you learned some new stuff and it isn’t even lunchtime.  Just imagine what we will learn the rest of this exciting day??


Here’s to going out today and finding some HAPPY!

Happy Friday, Y’all.

In this together,

Chat soon.



Hello, friends, today is Wednesday’s Works in Progress.

“And a Forest Grew” by Karen Kluba.  Boy howdy is it growing, measuring right around 29 inches wide.  The biggest piece I have ever done.  I’ve already started saving to have this beauty framed.  She is going to cost a pretty penny.

I decided since I 20180130_094239-1_resizedmanaged to stitch side to side, I would take a picture.  When my adult kids see this, I can already feel them shaking their heads.  haha, keeps ’em wondering if I have gone crazy.  Makes me smile just thinking of that.20180130_094245-1_resized

I started this in August 2017.  28 count cream-colored, Jobelan fabric. There are 101 different colors of cotton thread in this piece.   I decided to add french knots as bunny tails.  20180130_094222-1_resized

This piece has been mostly a pleasure to stitch.  I say mostly because I stitch “in hand”.  That means I do not use a hoop or frame.   It is a rather large piece of fabric and when I don’t have the sides rolled up, it is rather tricky to hold.

I’ve already stitched the date.

It is an inspiration to complete my resolution of finishing by December 31, 2018.  Gee, by already stitching the date, you KNOW I am determined to finish.    20180130_094257-1_resized

The other Work in Progress is close, very close to completion.  It is called “Hen” by Ben Creek.  It has been a very quick stitch.

Over the weekend, I found the perfect frame to mount this piece on.  It was meant to be.  So perfect.  I can’t wait to complete.  (I did change the color of the chicken to match the colors of a couple of my barnyard beauties. )20180127_144442-1_resized

Please share your Wednesday work in Progress.  I think we will be good for each other?  We can lift each other up, share progress and inspire one another.

Progress, not perfection!

In this together, friends.

Chat soon.

hidden grace & goodness

One of the things about making a resolution to finish projects that have been hidden in the unfinished object basket is that you get to say hello to old “friends”.

20180130_102114-1_resizedHello, strange pink colored fabric that I have moved/touched (feeling a bit guilty) every single time I flip through my extra pieces of stitching fabric…..since 2005.  I ask you (as I said aloud to the dog), what was so vital in my life that I didn’t have time to complete 8 stitches and then sew together into a pin keep?  Yes, 8 stitches.    The good news, it didn’t take but a few stitches, a bit of sewing and a little charm.  All of a sudden, a bit of goodness to sit on a table.

20180130_094535-1_resizedHello, quilted wall hanging I began years ago to always remember my sister-in-law.  When I saw this pattern, it reminded me of the first time I had dinner on their farm.  They passed around a Polaroid picture of the chicken (one of 80,000) they raised, and all that went on that morning .…so that we could eat fresh chicken for dinner.  YIKES!  That was a first for this girl.   Janice got a good giggle out of that.  She was a creative & kind sister.  She always treated me so well.  She baked like I have never seen before.  She was the best example of a mom. She was the first person to ever tell us we were raising our boys well.  I will never forget her.  I don’t need to sew a quilt to remember.  It is just a nice piece to work on.  It affords me the time to remember so many bits of goodness about Janice.  I’m guessing that she would be belly laughing that I now have 5 chickens. 20180130_094542_resized


Oh, hello sweet thing.  That little coin purse hardware has sat on my sewing machine table for way too long.  I sat down one evening and in less than 2 hours had this adorable little bit of limey green goodness finished. 20180122_204630-1_resized_1

Three hidden projects brought out into the light of day and it is only January.  Every time I spy a completed item, it feels like I am bathing myself in grace & goodness.

I would love to hear what projects you are creating or finishing.  Maybe we can inspire each other?

“You can’t use up creativity.  The more you use, the more you have.” Maya Angelo


In this together friends,

Chat soon.


if you were given 5 years

If you were given 5 years…wish 2

If you were given a gift of 5 years, 5 years you thought you didn’t have, what would you do?  How would you spend them?  Would you do the things you always wished you could do but for whatever reason you haven’t?  Would you make sure that the people you love know you love them?  Would you buy the extra good foods, go on great adventures?  Would you run yourself ragged trying to make every minute of every day meaningful?

Daleen decided that she would be grateful for each day and would use every day by embracing something that would help her on her journey.  She decided to learn everything about healing cancer naturally.  She’s become an expert at clean living and is a virtual encyclopedia of knowledge on the subject.  She was determined to travel even though it tired her out so much.  After all, there’s a big world out there waiting to be discovered by each of us.  And so, we’ve been to virtually the four corners of these great United States and many places in between.  She dedicated herself to her handiwork and has produced one beautiful piece after another.

We haven’t done it alone though and so we are grateful we have a supportive family and some supportive friends.  Though they don’t all agree we chose wisely, they all have been squarely behind Daleen – who could ask for more?  From phone calls to emails to wee gifts in the mail, everyone has been a positive part of her wellness.

Sweet Liberty, a Golden Retriever of distinction, has done her share.  She’s made sure there was dog hair to pick up, meals for Daleen to prepare for her and toys to pick up.  She’s also caught more than a few tears in her luxurious golden coat and offers nothing in return but love.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; were that humans could be so unabashedly loving and accepting as dogs.

In that bleak January 5 years ago, she would ask me “do you think I’ll be around at Christmas?” and then slowly the question became “do you think I’ll be around to see (fill in the blank)?  There was always the nagging thought that no matter what she did, it wouldn’t make a difference.  She would eat healthily, exercise, get a lot of sunshine, take vitamins and everything wouldn’t matter.

At some point, she quit asking.  She accepted the fact that she was living, she was living well and that was enough.  Next, she started planning ahead – a huge change!  Finally, questioning her life stopped being the predominant thought of her every waking moment.  In short, she learned how to live again and live she has; this Sunday is 1,826 days of wellness.healing-comes-from-gathering-wisdom-from-past-actions-and-letting-go-of-the-pain-that-the-

That dear friend is what cancer does to you.  It robs you of the luxury of not thinking about death.  Sure, there are many other things it does, but the pervasive, all-encompassing thoughts revolve around death for longer than we thought possible.  To be honest, they are never that far away and it’s a constant struggle to keep them where they belong – in the distance.   What cancer can also do is tie you even closer together.  We’d been married for a while when the dreaded diagnosis was given and I thought I knew my blushing bride of 30 years.  Turns out, I only knew part of her.  I have now come to know the amazing strength that is her, and of course, I see more clearly the quiet beauty and the grace that is her.  Along the way, she’s taught me more about living and life than I thought possible and I’m ever so grateful.

We have a few posters and sayings in our home about gratitude and grace.  Ok, a first-time visitor to our home might say many.   They serve as continual reminders.  She is grateful because she was given these last five years when she was convinced she wouldn’t have them.  She is grateful for so many things and so many people I could fill many pages listing them all.  She has the quiet grace that goes with confidence and the inner grace that radiates outward.  When you are with her, you know you are with someone who understands the value of each and every day.  She’s confident that although the future is (and always has been) uncertain, she’s been blessed with these last five years and has tried to embrace each and every day as the gift it is.

Along the way, we’ve learned so much about living well.  We recognize all the positives in our life, and there are so very many, and we’re eliminating the negatives.  We used to struggle over this, now we’ve learned to simply accept it.

I started this writing by asking you what you would do with a gift of time.  Dear friends, you have the gift of time, and more time after that and so on.  That time is yours to do with as you please.  What will you do with your time?  We hope you make the most of it, that you embrace your time and use it wisely.  In short, we hope you live!

Wishing you health and wellness.