Saturday, May 18, 2019

London / Amsterdam Recap

For the past few weekends we have been travelling, so there was no post this past Sunday.
We had a wonderful time in London and Amsterdam.  The two cities were quite different, but we thoroughly enjoyed both.  We had hoped for good weather and we definitely got  it. Mostly sunny skies and upper 50' temperatures.  Perfect weather for walking, running in London's Hyde Park and running and of course biking in Amsterdam's Vondel Park.  According to Captain Jack and Kim at Flagship Canal Cruises there are over 800,000 people in Amsterdam and 1.3 million bikes!  300,000 bikes end up in the canals every year.  If you ever are in Amsterdam definitely go on the canal cruise with them.

While in Amsterdam we had a few local foods we wanted to try, 



Dutch Apple Cake

Almost every restaurant has plant-based options and many only serve vegan meals.
Such as:

I was inspired and in awe of the environmental importance with public transportation, rail and subways(London)and organic food choices in both Amsterdam and London.  Most vehicles were either electric, hybrids or diesel powered.  Our taxi from Schipol Int Airport in Amsterdam was a Tesla! I did not see one full-sized pickup truck or SUV.   Even UPS trucks were electric.  Gasoline was almost $7 per gallon. 
While Amsterdam was busy, it was very laid back and everything just moved in harmony.  London on the other hand was very proper and very clean.  Very Royal, very polite, great customer service was its priority.  

Plant-based Deliciously Ella Deli ironically in an old dairy.

Local market

Nice billboard

Overall, it was a wonderful trip, spending time with the family and are looking forward to returning another time.

Have a great week.
Be kind.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Recommended Reading 05/05/19

I hope you enjoy these blog posts as much as I like doing them.  At this time, we are enjoying our time in London, England and later in the week we will be in Amsterdam.  We have been looking forward to this trip for a long time.

Let's get started:
Environmental Working Group's: 2019 Shoppers Guide to Pesticides in Produce
Four weeks to a better, happier and less-stressed life: Welcome to the Blue Zones Life

Environment Emissions From Thawing Artic Permafrost.

Recipes Buffalo Cauliflower Bites.
Happy Pear: 3 Best Ways to Cook Tofu. 15 Vegan Lunches.

Have a great week.
Be kind.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

In Memory

It saddens my heart to say but we had to say goodbye to our sweet cat Lizzie this week.  She came into our lives as a  scrappy little alley/barn kitten, infested with fleas and ear mites, but full of sass.  She blessed us with 18 years of love and companionship and did things her way.  From being on the streets to living like royalty, she lived a long wonderful life.  We have been blessed to be a part of it.  She will be truly missed. She has graced every "Recommended Reading" blog post and will continue to be the happy little face every month.

Here are  several photos in memory:

Just a little "boober"

Hanging with friends

Camping out in the living room

Usual day

Watching over her subjects

You still there?

Her last Christmas
Good Night

Be kind to your pets, YOU are everything to them.


Saturday, April 20, 2019

Earth Day 2019

Earth Day should be a National Holiday

Our planet and the life we know environmentally is under attack.  There is no denying that climate change is a REAL thing.  We as the human species are in the midst of the 6th mass extinction and we are the cause.  It is said we have 12 Years to Make the Change, and even though the United States opted out of the Paris Climate Agreement, many states and companies are still targeting to do what they can in the fight to curb climate change.  New ideas to address the issue are happening every day and in more States, like Minnesota and even NYC.

We must all do our part: 
*Drive less, consolidate your errands.  Take public transportation if available.
Ditch the single use plastic bags! USE RECYCLED GROCERY BAGS, not only do they hold more items they come in so many different designs.  And very reasonable in price, starting at 99 cents.
Turn the A/C off when possible and let clean fresh air cleanse your house of stale, stagnant oxygen.
Just get out in nature and enjoy the beauty of Mother Earth.

Let's celebrate Earth Day all the time.

Have a great week.
Be kind. 

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Pantry Refill

Just a short post this week. 
We've been pretty busy these last several weeks and the cupboards were a little bare.  So it was time for a Trader Joe's trip to refill the pantry.  I know I talk about how great Trader Joe's is, but you can not find better deals on fresh veggies, pastas, seeds, nuts, frozen fruits, etc. and Kris says wine!  If you blessed with a Trader Joe's near you, I sure hope you are taking advantage of it.  We have a distribution center here, but no store.  We are glad to make the 45 minute drive over to Winter Park to stock up.

The bargain prices are too many to list, but just a few are organic canned beans..99cents, 1 lb. organic ground flax seed..$2.99,  roasted sunflower seeds, 16oz ..$1.99, bananas..19 cents each, 20 oz. extra firm tofu..$2.49, 2lb bag organic Fuji apples..$2.99, the best organic Taco shells..$1.99 with 12 oz. "beef-less"ground beef..$2.99 for the best tacos !

The list goes on..there is no reason you can't eat healthy for less.

Next week.. Recommended Reading

Have a great week.
Be kind.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Just The Flax

What if there was a nutrient-packed super food which costs pennies a day that greatly reduce the risks of death by heart disease, cancer and many other life threatening conditions?  Would you take it?
The good news is there is! Welcome to the amazing, nutritional/medicinal potential of flax seeds
Flax seeds have been consumed for at least 6000 years, making them one of the first cultivated super foods.  It is one of the richest source of ALA omega 3 fatty acids and also seven times the amount of lignans than sesame seeds.  Both of these benefit the body by improving digestion(high fiber), skin and cardiovascular health, cholesterol and hormone balance and fighting cancer.  Just a tablespoon of ground flax per day is all you need to reap the wonderful benefits. Some ways to consume flax is sprinkling a couple of tablespoons on morning oatmeal and fruit, add some to your whole grain baking and even use a flax "egg" as a egg replacement  in your Vegan Lentil Loaf,  

Here's a great article from "Worlds Healthiest Foods:  Health Benefits

Have a great week.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Two Bean Vegan Chili

Quick and Easy Two Bean Vegan Chili

This is quick nutritious chili full of protein and fiber, with no meat.  This is great to prepare on the weekend because it makes for several meals through out the week.  That's a win-win recipe to keep handy.

2-28 oz. cans Diced Tomatoes
1-large can of Dark Kidney Beans
1-large can of White Beans
1 small diced onion
Italian seasoning

In a large pot, combine all ingredients and on medium heat, stir frequently until it begins to bubble.
Turn heat down and simmer while your skillet cornbread is baking.
When cornbread is done, set aside and let cool.

For healthy side;
Sauted' Garlic Kale
In a medium to large skillet add 2 tbs. olive oil on medium heat.
Add 2-3 minced garlic cloves 
Add as much chopped kale as you can get into the skillet, as it will wilt down.
Once wilted sprinkle sea salt and mix together.



Have a great week.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

It's Less Expensive To Eat Healthy

The majority of us work hard for our money.  We most definitely value what we purchase and want to get the most "bang for the buck" in those purchases.  With the rising cost of health care and the high out of pocket expenses, we should be doing everything possible to stay healthy.  By choosing to eat a whole food plant-based diet, not only are we getting the most nutrient-dense foods, we are spending less money.  At work the other day, a delivery driver was saying he went to the Emergency Room because of severe abdominal pain.  It turned out he had a kidney stone!  After a CT scan, IV's and pain medicine, 3 hours later he went home with a $12,500 bill.  Fortunately he had company insurance, but still was responsible for $2500.  He was also informed he had 2 more stones which would require surgery if didn't want to let them "pass".  $25,000.  I gladly "passed" some information from  Dr. Michael Greger on preventing kidney stones with diet.  

"Nutrition is the master key to human health"
T.Colin Campbell, PhD

Two-thirds of Americans alive today of cancer or heart disease and many of these deaths will be related to diet.  The whole food, plant-based lifestyle features simple guidelines grounded in science.

Here are a few of my older posts with more information:


Have a great week.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Recommended Reading 03/02/19

March Recommendations

Let's get started with fitness.
*New research suggests the number of push-ups you can perform might be an indication of your overall heart health.  
If you are interested in learning how to increase that number, check out this video from the "Iceman" Wim Hof on How to do more push-ups   If you want to go even deeper and unlock your fullest potential, spend 45 minutes watching this new documentary from Yes Theory: "Becoming Superhuman"
After a long workout or activity instead of reaching for ibuprofen, try one of these 10 Natural Ways to Recover Faster

On to nutrition and wellness.
More knowledge from Dr. Michael Greger: "Why Prevention is Worth a Ton of Cure"
If you still have questions on adapting to a plant-based lifestyle, listen or watch Rich Rolls podcast with Marco Borges.. "The Greenprint Project-22 Days",  lately I have been more interested in watching the podcasts.  It's definitely better than watching mindless TV. 
Bored with the same old breakfast ideas? 15 Plant-based Breakfast and Brunch Ideas
Plant-based diets are becoming more widely known for their benefits:"Why Food Could Be the Best Medicine of All,
The healthy "cheese" alternative: Ingredient IQ:Nutritional Yeast.
Here's an all natural 2 ingredient mouthwash solution for :"Get Rid of Canker Sores"

Last but not least, Environmental.

This Sunday (3/3/19) on National Geographic Channel:

This is interesting..

 Have a great week.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Recipe Sunday Part 2

This week's post is part 2 of delicious comfort food recipes.

This one is an all-american "vegan"meatloaf.   Most everyone loves meatloaf and especially leftover meatloaf sandwiches.   This one is more healthy, loaded with fiber, protein and loads of flavor and easy to make.  It is a little time consuming, but most good things are!

Vegan Lentil Walnut Loaf
1 cup green lentils
3 cups vegetable stock or broth(Knorrs)
1 large yellow onion
1 large carrot
1 stalk celery
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp minced garlic
1 cup bread crumbs
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
3 tbsp ground flax or chia seed mixed with 1/2 cup water
1 tsp oregano  1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
for topping-
2 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 350'
In a small bowl, combine the ground flax and 1/2 cup water. Set aside.
Simmer together the lentils, broth and a pinch of salt for about 25 minutes or until lentils are tender and have absorbed all the broth.
Meanwhile, prepare your veggies by chopping the onion, grate the carrot and dice the celery.  Saute the onion and celery until tender but not caramelized.  Add the garlic and carrot cooking for about another four minutes.  Toast the walnuts in a toaster oven for 6-7 minutes, WATCH THEM not to let them burn.  Add to stove-top mixture and stir well.  Add oregano, salt and pepper and take the mixture off the stove, transferring to a large bowl.  Add breadcrumbs, flax gel and cooked lentils tossing well.   Press mixture into a oiled loaf pan or form into loaf.  Set aside while you make the topping.  In a small bowl combine ketchup, maple syrup and vinegar.  Spread on top of loaf.  Bake for 40 minutes.  Enjoy with homemade mashed potatoes or organic corn and peas!


Have a great week.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Recipe Sunday Part 1

This is part one of comfort food Recipe Sunday.

The healing powers of Congee.
I look at Congee like a vegan chicken noodle soup.  If you are feeling under the weather Congee is just what the doctor ordered.  Congee is an Eastern Medicine digestive remedy.
   In Traditional Chinese Medicine, foods that are warm, easily digestible and moistening help nourish and soothe a weakened or inflamed digestive tract.  It is a healing porridge, a soupy rice mixture and is very easy on the stomach and offers an accessible source of energy for the body.  It nourishes the stomach and spleen imbalances which include bloating, sinus drainage and congestion, headaches and irregular bowel movements.  It is ideal for recovery from stomach flus/viruses and food poisoning.   This offers your body real food that truly hydrates and nourishes.  
There are many ways to make congee, but here's a plant-based version we use, which makes 4 large servings.

Plant-based Congee
Gwyneth Paltrow's egg-less version

8 cups vegetable broth (Knorr's)
6 garlic cloves
1-(3-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and very finely grated or minced
3 tablespoons of toasted sesame oil
2/3 cup of jasmine rice
4 large pinches of salt
4 tablespoons of tamari or coconut amino acids
6 scallions thinly sliced
Furikake seasoning:
2 toasted nori sheets
2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
2 tsp coconut sugar
1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
pinch of salt
crumble nori sheets in a small bowl and mix all together
Combine the stock, garlic, ginger, sesame oil, rice and salt in a medium pan.  Bring mixture to a boil, partially cover and simmer over very low heat fore 30-40 minutes.  Stirring every 5 minutes or so to make sure rice isn't sticking. 
Garnish with scallions and furikake.

Next week: Vegan Lentil Loaf


Have a great week.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Beautiful Broccoli

Image result for broccoli

I could eat broccoli everyday. 

A phytochemical found abundantly in broccoli called sulforaphane has been found to dramatically minimize the damaging effects caused by strokes.  Scientists from The Kings College in London found the enzymes are useful in removing dangerous free-radicals.  The study was funded by the British Heart Foundation to find new and better options to treat damages caused by strokes.  These findings are hailed as a major breakthrough in helping at-risk individuals to help prevent strokes or minimizing the damage already caused.  They believe a simple "pill" could be taken to help to prevent a stroke.  Could possibly eating broccoli on a regular basis do the same?

Broccoli is part of the Brassica family, which includes kale, cauliflower, cabbage, brussel sprouts,
collards, bok choi, mustard etc.  This diverse group includes plants that the leaves, flowers, stems and roots can all be cooked and eaten.  They are the most commonly eaten plant group worldwide.  Broccoli is inexpensive and can be found at just about any grocery store.

Broccoli is a great source for the antioxidants vitamin C, beta-carotene and quercetin.
They are renowned for quenching free-radicals and reducing risks for prostate and breast cancer, Alzheimer and Parkinson's.  They are essential
for good health, promoting healthy immune systems, nutrient absorption (e.g. iron)
and overall vitality.

Broccoli is rich in calcium, making it an excellent vegan source of the nutrient that supports strong bones, which prevents osteoporosis.

Broccoli is an source for glucosinolates, which are sulfur containing chemicals.  These have
been shown to prevent oxidative stress, stimulate the immune system and reduce cancer growth.
They are anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and help to eliminate toxins from our bodies.

Broccoli is a great source of potassium and soluble fiber which help in blood sugar levels,
preventing heart disease and managing diabetes.

The best way to eat broccoli is raw.  Cook or steam it for only about 5 minutes to retain its nutrients.
Nutrient fact: Sprinkle on a pinch of ground mustard
to reactivate the glucosinolates, so to get all the health benefits.

Here's a informative video on broccoli:


Have a great week.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Recommended Reading 02/03/19

Lizzie says;  It's recommended reading time!
I hope you enjoy these posts as much as I do.
The first recommendation reminds me of when were living in Lexington, Ky.  We had a mobile auto detailing service which meant in the cold winter(salt and slush on the roads) months we still worked, outside in the elements.  I was known around town as the crazy guy that wore shorts all winter long, as far being interviewed on a local television station.  We Salute You Guy Wearing Shorts All Winter
While we are on the subject of extreme weather, here's a short video from Jimmy Kimmel show where two young kids "break down climate change for Donald Trump"   One more from Outside Online: The Difference Between Weather and Climate.  Sixteen year old Swede GretaThunberg tells it like it is in this TEDx talk,

On to nutrition:
 the FDA is having an issue with what exactly is milk. The Smithsonian has a great article on: Nut Milks are Milk, Says Almost Every Culture Across The Globe,  also here's my take on Milk DOESN'T Do A Body Good.  Call it "dairy crack", dairy producers have found a way to keep you coming back for more: Why Its So Hard To Give Up Cheese.  If you are plant-based, here is a healthier alternative to bone broth: Vegetable Mineral Broth.  Animal food production is not sustainable,  The Way We Eat Could Doom Us As Species.

On to exercise:
Training starts when you throw your laziness in the trash.  David Goggins: The Cure To Laziness
You don't need to go to the gym to get strong: Seven Underrated Body Moves.
Or at least get a Kettlebell: Master The Turkish Get-Up

"Forget everything else. Keep hold of this alone and remember it;  Each of us lives only now, this brief instant. The rest has been lived already, or is impossible to see"  Marcus Aurelius


Have a great week.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

"The Sanctum" Vegan Cafe

I am happy to announce this weeks guest post will be from our daughter Briana.
You can follow her for all things "Lifestyle" at The Young Sophisticate

Last weekend, we made our usual monthly trip to Winter Park to shop for groceries at Trader Joe’s but this time, we first stopped at The Sanctum Café. The Sanctum is one of several vegan restaurants that have popped up in the Orlando area which is super exciting.


Right when we arrived, there was a jazz quartet playing music outside on the patio but it was a little too windy to sit outside, so we waited a few minutes for seats at one of the long, communal tables. I love sitting at communal tables, which are an especially common thing in New York City but something I haven’t seen much of in other states. I’m happy to see this trend is catching on because it makes you feel a lot more connected to your surroundings and the other people at the restaurant, who clearly share a love for good vegan food.

The decor vibe was a little bit like a subdued, industrial farmhouse. They have a big decorative wall lined in various burlap sacks and a cute little bar area with pretty tile. 


Since we went on Sunday, we ordered from the brunch menu, but want to go back and try lunch or dinner or even their “Zen Hour” which is like Happy Hour but with healthier bites. We ordered two buffalo burritos (our take on the recipe below) and an open-faced ‘egg salad’ sandwich made with tofu as well as fresh squeezed orange juice and a ginger kombucha from the tap. We ended the meal by splitting a brownie dubbed “the best damn vegan brownie”. I have to say it was a really good, fudgy brownie but I think my brownies are still the best damn vegan brownies 😉


Turmeric tofu scramble, organic potato, tempeh, carrot, celery, coconut bacon, buffalo sauce, avocado ranch dressing.

For the tofu scramble:

1-16 oz Extra Firm tofu.
3 large organic potatoes.
1-2 cups diced red,yellow, green bell peppers.
 1 small onion diced.
In a large skillet(cast iron preferably) slowly heat the diced onions in a small amount of  oil until softened.  Add the diced bell peppers. Let simmer, while you cut the potatoes into 1/2 -3/4 inch sized cubes.  Add the potatoes to skillet, turning up the heat to medium/high and let cook until they are tender.  Add salt and pepper. Cover to cook more evenly.  In another skillet, on medium heat, add oil and crumble the tofu block into chunks.  Sprinkle with turmeric, smoked paprika, salt and pepper,  Mix together until tofu is consistently the color of scrambled eggs. Heat for a few minutes and add together with the potatoes and bell peppers.  Sprinkle a several large tablespoons of Nutritional Yeast on top for a wonderful healthy cheesy flavor.

For the coconut bacon:

3 cups Organic Unsweetened Coconut Flakes
2 Tb. Maple syrup
2 Tb. Raw Coconut Aminos*
Bragg's Amino Acids*
1 Tb. Sesame Oil
1 Tb. Liquid Smoke
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. smoked paprika
Preheat oven to 350'
Mix all ingredients in a large mixing bowl until coconut flakes are well coated.
Spread flakes on baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes.
Stir and cook for 10-15 more minutes making sure they don't burn.
Remove from oven and let cool to get crispy.

For the tempeh:

Cut the tempeh into 1/2 inch cubes. Bring a few inches of water(enough to cover tempeh) to a boil in a pot.  Add the cubed tempeh and allow to simmer for 15 minutes.  Drain all the water.  Heat two tbsp of  olive or coconut oil over medium heat in a large skillet and brown the tempeh on all sides.  Remove from heat and let cool.  Combine the cooled tempeh in a large bowl with the vegan mayonnaise/ chipolte seasoning making sure it is evenly coated.

Combine the tofu scramble, coconut bacon and tempeh and wrap it up in a large tortilla of your choice!

Buffalo Tofu Burrito and Open-Faced "Tofu-Egg" salad sammie

Fresh juices and kombucha on tap!

If you are in the Orlando or Winter Park area, check out The Sanctum Cafe. You will be happy you did. 


Have a great week.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

3 Easy Plant-Based Meals

Our family loves to cook and bake.  We each have our own different specialties.  I like mostly brekkies and snacks.  Kris loves mostly entrees and any recipe from Chloe Coscarelli, she even has nicknamed her Lexus: "Chloe".  Bree is the baking and dessert specialist, she definitely could win awards with her creations.
I haven't posted many recipes in a while, so here are 3 easy plant-based meals.

This is my weekend go-to recipe:

Tofu Potato Scramble
1-16 oz Extra Firm tofu.
3 large organic potatoes.
1-2 cups diced red,yellow, green bell peppers.
 1 small onion diced.
In a large skillet(cast iron preferably) slowly heat the diced onions in a small amount of  oil until softened.  Add the diced bell peppers. Let simmer, while you cut the potatoes into 1/2 -3/4 inch sized cubes.  Add the potatoes to skillet, turning up the heat to medium/high and let cook until they are tender.  Add salt and pepper. Cover to cook more evenly.  In another skillet, on medium heat, add oil and crumble the tofu block into chunks.  Sprinkle with turmeric, smoked paprika, salt and pepper,  Mix together until tofu is consistently the color of scrambled eggs. Heat for a few minutes and add together with the potatoes and bell peppers.  Sprinkle a several large tablespoons of Nutritional Yeast on top for a wonderful healthy cheesy flavor.  Top with organic ketchup.  This makes enough for 2-4 people with leftovers.

Bree created this one for a quick lunch or dinner:

Mexican Fiesta Bowl

Organic brown rice.
2 16 oz cans of Jackfruit in water or brine(not syrup)
1 can organic black beans.
1 bag organic sweet corn.
Handful of organic cherry tomatoes.
Homemade guacamole

Cook some brown rice according to label directions in vegetable broth for a great flavor.  Pre-heat oven to 325'
At the same time drain and rinse the jackfruit.  Break the chunks apart into stringy pieces.  Squeeze to remove excess water and place into bowl.  In a small bowl mix 2 tb olive oil, 2 tb brown sugar, 2 tb maple syrup, juice of 1/2 of a lemon, 1 tsp each onion and garlic powder, 1/2 tsp each of salt, nutmeg, pepper and 1 tb nutritional yeast.  Mix well and form into a paste. Add jackfruit and combine until evenly coated.  Bake on lined sheet for 30 minutes.

The brown rice and jackfruit will most likely be done at the same time.
Heat corn and black beans.
In a bowl mix the brown rice with beans and corn, topped with roasted jackfruit, guacamole and sliced cherry tomatoes.
Top with sweet chili sauce or non-dairy sour cream/yogurt.

There will be leftovers to enjoy for another meal,

Kris prepared this awesome dish from Chloe a few weeks ago and we are having it again tonight:

Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts

1-1 1/2 lbs Brussels Sprouts
1/4 cup olive oil.
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper.
2 tb maple syrup

Trader Joe's Basmati Rice Medley
Fresh Pomegranate seeds.
Raw sunflower seeds.

Prerheat oven to 375'
Remove any yellow or brown outer leaves, cut off the stems and cut in half.  In a large bowl, toss sprouts, oil, salt and pepper together.  Once coated in oil place on baking pan.  Roast for 15 minutes,  prepare the rice according to directions,  stir Brussels sprouts with spoon or spatula and roast for 30 minutes more.  Stir once more and drizzle maple syrup over the top.  Roast for 15 minutes more or until tender.

Serve over a bed of rice and top with pomegranate and sunflower seeds. 

We obtained all these ingredients from Trader Joe's!

If you are looking for some easy healthy recipes and the vegan pantry essentials please check out The Happy Pear 

Have A great week.