Monthly Archives: January 2016

Brussels Sprouts, on the Sweeter Side

Brussels Sprouts, loved to hate these things at dinner when I was a kid, how is it that now I am an adult I have no problem eating them.  With the nutritional benefits that Brussels sprouts provide, we should be adding these to our meals more often. When we do have them with a meal, we typically consume these green orbs of awesomeness as a more herby savory dish.  I remember my mom making a salad with brussels sprouts one time and using dried cranberries which made them taste a bit sweet.  I don’t usually have dried cranberries, but I have dates!  Roasted Brussels are my top favorite but these I wanted to cook on the stove. Since these are a bit of a pain in the rear to prep, I would be sure to allow yourself an extra 5-10 minutes to prep the Brussels Sprouts.   It didn’t take long to make this dish as there was not many ingredients.  I took a sampling to a friend and she like them, a tad on the sweeter side (which I agreed) so I will tone it down with the dates next go around. Well, the remaining container was consumed by the hubs so there was nothing left for the kids to taste test, guess I will be making another batch tonight.  I don’t post recipes unless they have been kid approved, but this is a delicious dish as a lunch or a side.  Also, I tested it right when it was off the stove and it was tasty. I also tested a bite after it had chilled in the refrigerator before the hubs devoured the rest and it was just as tasty.

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Chick’nLESS Nuggets

There are many days that I spend time cruising on the internet learning about and researching plant based foods, recipes and ideas and sometimes I come across some recipes that I jot tidbits from but not the entire recipe. This is one of them, I just took the concept and then played around with it in the kitchen.  I usually am not wanting to spend much time testing ingredients, because if it doesn’t work, that is money lost.  Sounds silly but living on one income for a family of four has it’s challenges and by all means it is a choice we made so therefore I try to be very careful what ingredients I use for testing.

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ChickP’s for Snack’N

As I have mentioned before, chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans) don’t get enough love. They are a great source of fiber, carbs, calcium, iron, protein and vitamin A, which make for a great snack or some fuel for a workout.  It seems you can roast nuts, veggies and other foods so why not chickpeas.  It took me a bit to figure out flavorings, eating them raw to taste test wasn’t too bad but definitely took some time.  Well, I came up with a couple variations of these little guys and they passed all the taste testers! You may want to double the recipe, as they don’t make much and they don’t last long.  I am sure you could search and find a variety of ways to bake these, but this is what I came up with and will keep trying out new ones as these were a thumbs up with the family.

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Raw Cookies

There are so many variations to making raw cookies and I play around with ingredients often to see what we like.  This recipe is lightening fast and super easy to make. It does have nuts in it and since we are a family who eats nuts, I have not experimented with other ingredients. This took me less than 10 minutes to whip up and scoop out and put in the fridge. They are filled with wholesome ingredients to provide balanced nutrition as a treat, after school snack, 3:00 work lull, workout fuel, these are ready to consume for any occasion. Best of all, there is no oil, no dairy, no eggs, no salt, no butter, no refined processed sugars… AWESOMENESS!!

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Artichoke Pesto Pasta

Artichokes are not usually a request in this family, except for the hubs who likes them on the pesto pizzas or in salads.  Therefore I do not stock them very often but the nutritional benefits of artichoke hearts are something that should not be dismissed. I didn’t know much about artichoke hearts and found them to be a high source of Vitamin C, which is a great antioxidant. I don’t mind the flavor, but definitely have had to acquire a taste for them. I decided to try them in a pesto that I make and see how it goes. It worked well and was a super quick and easy meal that could be great for lunch or dinner.  Adding a variety to some basics will add beneficial nutrients.

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Monday Mantra: Character; Respect

I have been posting these quotes or mantras, as I have been calling them, and most of these come from the everyday life experiences within our family and some quotes just hit me a certain way and I feel that sharing them can help someone’s day be better.


As the saying goes, “treat others how you would like to be treated”… life’s lessons




Something we have worked on teaching both of our daughters is to be respectful towards others. Along with that comes, liking and having respect for yourself so that you are confident to not let others be takers. I could type a few pages on this topic, so I am just getting to the nitty-gritty.  Now, even as an adult I am reminding myself that as well. Learning that even when someone does not show respect, it is very important to not react the same way and be the nice person you are and treat them as how you would want to be treated. Yes, it can be difficult because our automatic reaction is to be rude and call them out. Well, call them out with kindness and respect. Leave the situation or conversation feeling good about who you are and know that you didn’t come down to their level.  The problem lies within that person and not with you.

So what do you do when your child tells you that an adult (a friends parent) is rude to them? How would it make you feel when your 11 year old daughter says to you, “Suzy’s” mom is rude, she never says “Hi” back to me when I and another friend wave and say “Hi” to her”.

“THANK GOD for meditation!!” was my first thought :)  And second thought was, “Really, how difficult is it to acknowledge someone saying “Hi” to you, you can be rude to me and ignore my acknowledging you, but not to my child”. Being rude to me doesn’t excuse the behavior but an 11 year old is going to take it to heart and that is unacceptable. Seriously, mama bear was trying to climb her way out, but I took control before she could emerge. I am sure my face didn’t hide it.  I was trying to take some deep breathes and gather my thoughts before I blurted anything out.  I was very disappointed to hear this and it broke my heart because my daughter is extremely genuine, kind and thoughtful. It was very confusing to me that an adult, a grown female would behave this way.  Without making my daughter feel as though I was dismissing what she was telling me, I asked if this parent maybe didn’t hear her.  My daughter assured me that was not the case. So I didn’t say much because I had to be careful to not berate this adult in front of my daughter. We had a brief discussion about respect, which she has heard before.  We also talked about not letting the mind games of someone get to you, as I have no idea why this adult would not acknowledge a child that she knows saying “Hi” to her.  Anyway, what it came down to my daughter knowing is that, NEVER let someone like that stop you from continuing to wave and say “Hi”, let alone anything else you know is kind, respectful, thoughtful and courteous. I did not want her to think she did something wrong for a parent to react and treat her that way. For my daughter to know that this person has an internal issue that my daughter can’t fix and that doesn’t excuse the behavior but it may help her understand that she did everything respectfully.

Knowing that this little life lesson didn’t do much damage to my daughter and her response of “oh, I am going to keep waving and saying “HI”, because why shouldn’t I” made me very proud that an 11 YEAR OLD, is more mature than a 35+ year old parent (yes, that comment could be viewed as immature and I can live with that  I, had to express what crossed my mind :).  On a more serious note,  my daughter understands that even though this adult doesn’t deserve my daughters respect, my daughter knows she has respect for herself and is a better human for showing it.


Spaghetti Squash with Creamy Tomato Sauce

For Christmas I was given an Instant Pot from my mom, dad and mother-n-law (woot woot!!). Getting new kitchen gadgets is always exciting, especially one that can cut down some time with meals.  This week I decided that everyday would be ‘something new’ instead of our weekly ‘Wednesday’s Something New’. I wanted to put this gadget to the test!  The first round of testing I made black beans, quinoa and veggies with some spices and some potatoes, nothing crazy just basic food stock for the week. Last night’s dinner was fairly simple, but I was a bit unsure of cooking a spaghetti squash in the Instant Pot.  I searched how long it would need to cook and decided to try it. Well, it turned out pretty darn good and it was quick.  The kids enjoyed this recipe and you could add whatever sauce you’d like to the spaghetti squash, I used a creamy tomato sauce this time.  So far the Instant Pot has earned a thumbs up, I will post a review of it soon.

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Monday Mantra: Attitude is Everything


Life lessons… Learning that our mindset determines the outcome.

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