Saturday, June 15, 2019

More Tacos Please!

More Tacos Please!

 I don't believe I've met anyone who doesn't like tacos.  I could eat tacos everyday being there are so many variations of ingredients that are available.  
According to research the origin of tacos dates back to the 18th century in Mexico.  The word "taco" referred to little pieces of paper wrapped around gunpowder to be used as an explosive device placed into the walls of silver mines.  Miners would use them to excavate the ore from the rock walls.  Basically they are named after a stick of dynamite!  You can imagine the corn tortilla like a piece of paper wrapped around some goodies. One of the first ones were known as "tacos de minero"  miners tacos.  When the lure of industry in Mexico City, migrant workers began using them for inexpensive breakfasts and lunches.  With different cultures from around the world, especially Lebanese workers, they began to fill there corn tortillas with spit-cooked pork.  By the early 1900's with the influx of Mexican migrant workers (working railroad construction and mining) tacos and tortillas made their way to the US.  By 1920, the migrant workers began to advance economically while still eating traditional Mexican fare, but then began to use more beef, lettuces and cheeses.   In 1954, Glen Bell created Bell's Drive In and Taco Tia in San Bernardino, California.  By 1962 he opened his first Taco Bell in Downey, California serving Tay-Kohs.  And so began our love for tacos.

For the plant-based eaters there are many recipes and variations of excellent tacos.

Here are some of my favorites:

First start with an exceptional organic non-GMO shell like

Don't forget Breakfast Tacos

Check out the Happy Pear video 5 Minute Vegan Tacos

Just use your imagination.  There is no right or wrong way to make tacos.

Image result for vegan tacos

Have a great week. 
Be kind.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

The Power of Kombucha

The Power of Kombucha

Related image

Image result for kombucha

Kombucha is a fermented tea beverage with great health benefits for your heart, brain and especially your gut.  Due to the fermenting process in making kombucha, it contains a large amount of living healthy bacteria known as probiotics.  These bacteria line your digestive tract and support your immune system as they absorb nutrients and fight infection and illness.  Originating in the Far East over 2000 years ago, it is known as the "Immortal Health Elixir".  Since 80% of our immune system is located in our gut and the digestive system is the second largest part of our neurological system, it is no surprise that the gut is considered the "second brain"  Just a "gut feeling"?  Regularly drinking Kombucha is a great addition to maintaining peak immune health in addition to eating a whole foods based diet.

While we lack certainty, an impressive body of studies do suggest that kombucha tea could have antimicrobial, energizing, and detoxification effects. And it may even help prevent disease, including cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.
For example:
  • Kombucha could potentially help prevent a broad range of diseases. A 2014 review of animal studies published in the Journal of Medicinal Food found that kombucha tea contains properties that could help prevent many diseases, particularly “broad-spectrum metabolic and infective disorders.” They concluded that it may be able to help with detoxificationantioxidation, and healthy immune function.
  • Kombucha could slow or kill harmful microorganisms. A 2012 study published in the Journal of Food Chemistry reported that kombucha made from both black and green tea had antimicrobial potential. Researchers also found that the green fermented tea had the most antimicrobial potential. Other studies have shown that kombucha could kill bacteria that commonly cause food poisoning.
  • Kombucha may have cancer-fighting power. A 2013 study published in Biomedicine & Preventive Nutrition showed that kombucha had remarkable potential to inhibit angiogenesis. (Angiogenesis is the process by which cancers lock in a steady supply of blood and become dangerous.)
  • Kombucha may help protect the liver. A 2009 study on some very unfortunate rats publishedin the Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology revealed that kombucha tea was effective in improving liver function and lowering the side effects of toxins.
  • Kombucha may reduce heart disease risk. In other studies also done on rats, kombucha improved two markers of heart disease in as few as 30 days. A 2015 study published in Pharmaceutical Biology found that kombucha lowered “bad” LDL. It also led to higher levels of “good” HDL cholesterol.
  • Kombucha may help manage diabetes. A 2012 study published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine on diabetic rats found that kombucha slowed down the digestion of carbohydratesreducing blood sugar levels. Kombucha also improved liver and kidney function.
  • Kombucha is a rich source of probiotics. Kombucha is a fermented food and carries a large number of probiotic bacteria that may be beneficial to your digestive health. A 2014 study published in Food Microbiology identified a prominent Lactobacillus population and numerous beneficial yeast species that were abundant in kombucha.
You can purchase Kombucha at just about any grocery store.  You can also make it yourself very easily in about a two-three week period.

From: Cultures For Health

  1. Purchase a bottle of raw, unflavored kombucha.
OPTIONAL STEP: Make 1 cup of black or green tea.  While the water is hot, add 1-2 tablespoons white sugar. Mix until the sugar is thoroughly dissolved, then cool completely to room temperature.  While this step is not critical to the process, adding a cup of sweet tea to the bottle of ready-made kombucha gives the yeast and bacteria additional food to consume during the process of growing a new culture.  Learn more about choosing the best ingredients for making kombucha tea.
  1. Pour the raw kombucha and the cooled tea into a glass jar.
  2. Cover the jar with a tight-weave dish towel or a paper coffee filter. Secure the covering with a tight rubber band.
  3. Ferment the tea in a warm spot, 68-85ºF, out of direct sunlight, for about 7 days.  
  4. After a week, it is common to see a baby SCOBY developing across the surface of the liquid. A new SCOBY starts off as a clear film or blob and then slowly become less translucent, more white, and thicker as time goes on. If no signs of SCOBY development appear after 3 weeks, discard the batch and start over. We recommend waiting until the SCOBY is at least ¼-inch thick before using it to brew the first batch of kombucha tea. Reaching that thickness may take up to 30 days.
  5. Retain the kombucha tea and the new SCOBY for making your first batch of kombucha and then follow our instructions on kombucha tea at home.


You will need a large 2 quart glass jar, never use metal or plastic.
Bring 8 cups of filtered water to a boil.
Steep 3-4 tea bags of unflavored black(preferable), green or white tea for appr 10 minutes.
Add 1/2 cup sugar, for the scoby to consume as food.
Let cool to body temperature, add your scoby and 1 cup kombucha from scoby farm.
Cover jar with a coffee filter or paper towel and secure with a rubber band to keep flies, etc out while brewing.
Place tea in a warm, dark place.


Your scoby will now go to work turning that sweet tea into Kombucha.  The process can take 5-30 days depending on the temperature and other factors.  After a few days you should notice a new "baby" scoby forming.  A few more days later you may notice a faint vinegar smell, signaling that your brew is fermenting.  After a couple of weeks you can sample with straw or wooden spoon, but remember to be patient, good things are happening in there.


When you are satisfied with the flavor, you can now transfer the "booch" to sanitized smaller individual bottles with caps to enhance the fizz.  With clean hands, carefully remove your scoby and 1 -1/2 cup kombucha to original scoby container.  Cover with cloth and your ready for your next batch.  This where you can have the option of flavoring your booch.  Just add 20% of your favorite flavored organic juice.  Set your sealed, filled bottles out at room temp for a few days to promote carbonation and flavor.  You can leave them for a few days or week, then refrigerate them and enjoy!

Kombucha can also be used as a base for salad dressings and sauces.

For more information on Gut Health see my series here: Gut Health: Part 1

Have a great week.
Be kind.

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Recommended Reading 06/01/19

I recently finished reading a book by New York Times bestselling author Bill McKibben, who founded, the first global citizens movement to combat climate change. The book: "Falter" is the latest of his writings, his call to arms to save our faltering planet and possibly humankind,  While it may seem depressing of what we have done to our beautiful planet, it gives hope that we can at least slow down the destruction process and still have hope for a great future.  There is no "Planet b", we must change the way we are headed.
"We're the only creature who can decide not to do something we're capable of doing.  That's are superpower, even if we exercise it so rarely.  Because we can destroy, but also because we can decide not to destroy.
This is a must read.

This month, the post will be all about Climate Emergency.   Recommended articles, podcasts, etc. pertaining to our environment, food production and how are choices are either helping or hurting our lives and our planet.

It is hard for me to comprehend that there are those who don't believe in "climate change".  Most of those who don't are either burying their heads in the sand or get misguided information from those like: The Top 10 Climate Deniers.  Here are "12 Excuses for Climate Inaction and How to Refute Them".  
The easiest way to help in combating climate change is moving to a plant-based diet.  Change Your Diet to Combat Climate Change in 2019.   Animal agriculture is not a sustainable industry and is the second largest contributor to greenhouse emissions.  Industrial animal agriculture is at the heart of our environmental crisis.  5 Ways to Eating More Plant-Based Foods  Benefits The Environment .  To feed the ever increasing population we must first change the way we farm our lands.  Without efforts to rebuild soil health, we could lose our ability to grow enough nutritious food to feed the planet's population.

I understand that this some disheartening information to read about.  What is our other options?  We have the power to change the way we live our lives.  We are capable of doing great things together.  The human project has long been a group effort.

Have a great week.
Be kind.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Memorial Day Recipes Ideas

Memorial Day is here and it is hard to believe 2019 is almost half way over.  Most Americans celebrate the day remembering those who gave their lives for our country's freedom, and by having the first cookout of summer time.  Except here in Florida it seems like it is summer all the time.

Here are a few summertime recipes we have shared on the blog over the years.

The first is a Beet/Black Bean Burger from Rich Roll and Julie Piatt's  The Plantpower Way cookbook.

These always go great with Sweet Potato Fries or

Kale and Chickpea Mash:
Saute several diced garlic cloves over medium heat in a small amount of olive oil or coconut oil.  Add approximately 1/4 of a diced onion and cook until soft.
Add 3-4 cups of chopped kale and 1/4 cup of Bragg's Liquid Amino Acids 
(1/2 the amount of sodium of soy sauce) or Coconut Amino Acids (1/2 the amount of sodium
of Bragg's).  Cover and let kale begin to wilt.  Add one-15oz. can of drained and rinsed
chickpeas.  Make sure you rinse them a few times to get rid of excess salt etc.
By now the kale has wilted.  Mash about half the chickpeas while they are in the pan cooking, then sprinkle with Nutritional Yeast for a great 'cheesy' flavor.

This whole process should only take 10-15 minutes.

Watermelon Steak
You can have this as a salad or dessert. 

We make a quick dressing with "Simply Organic" garlic vinaigrette.
You should be able to get this at any supermarket or health food store.

A quick dressing recipe from Gwyneth Paltrow.
Apple Cider Vinaigrette
1 tbs. Dijon mustard
3 tbs. apple cider vinegar
2 tbs. maple syrup
1/2 cup olive oil
sea salt
black pepper
whisk together mustard, vinegar and maple syrup in a bowl.
slowly drizzle in olive oil.
season with salt and pepper.

It is important you use arugula because of its slightly bitter, peppery taste. Combined with
the sweet watermelon, it makes for a delicious blended flavor.
Here's a link to benefits of arugula: Food Facts.
Also some interesting facts about watermelon: Food Facts

Slice a chilled watermelon into 1-1/2" to 2" thick slices.
Cut into "steak-like" shapes.
Top with a hand full of Arugula, sunflower seeds or pine nuts.
Drizzle with a small amount of dressing.

For a quick dessert try: 

3 cups frozen pineapple
1 banana
1 16oz. can of full fat coconut milk

Blend all together in blender,
Transfer to airtight container and freeze for 2-3 hours.
You can add some rum if desired!

Have a great week.
Be kind.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

London / Amsterdam Recap

For the past few weekends we have been traveling, 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 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 International 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 we 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.