I don't know if I have ever run into someone that did not like tamales! I used to make them with a pork filling, which is typical Mexican cooking. Once again, I had to look for an alternative that would accomodate our new vegetarian lifestyle! These turned out so delicious, I had to share them with some friends. All the feedback I got was positive, bordering on ecstasy! Quite simply...they...are...amAZing!

I took plenty of pictures so I could post a 'tamale tutorial'. They're not hard to make...just time consuming. I put on a favorite CD, made a cup of hot tea, and made a batch of black bean corn tamales. I believe the recipe makes about 3 dozen tamales. The only ingredient you might have a little trouble finding is the corn husks used to wrap them in. My grocery doesn't always carry them, but if you look around, you'll find them. You'll need one package for the batch.

I hope you will feel confident enough to give this recipe a try. You won't be disappointed! They freeze well so you can make a batch and 'try' to spread them out over a few days! Just wrap in a paper towel and pop them in the microwave for a minute and enjoy!
3 c. water
1/2 c. oil - I used canola
2 Tb. seasoned salt ( I used 1 Tb salt, 1 Tb chili powder, 1 Tb paprika)
5 c. Masa Harina (you will find this in the Mexican aisle. It's like a flour bag and will say Masa on the bag...for tortillas, tamales, etc.)
I put all these ingredients in my mixer and beat it together.
Make your filling. I used corn, black beans, roasted poblano, chopped onion, chopped red pepper, 1/2 c. salsa, 1 pkg. Taco seasoning mix, chopped cilantro, salt. Just mix and taste until it's to your liking!


Place corn husks in a large bowl of warm water to soak. Tear strips about 1/2 inch wide to tie tamales. Set aside.
Lay one husk on a towel and with wet fingers, spread masa mixture out so it's just thick enough not to see through. You don't have to be fancy on this step!!
Place a small amount of filling in center of tamale leaving space on the sides for rolling.
Roll from one side to the other and bring one end up and tie with strip. Stand up in a soup pot.

Standing at ATTENTION! One recipe will fill the pot. Fill the pot with water about 3/4 of the way. The tamales will be standing in water up to about half. Cover with lid, bring to a boil, turn heat down to cook for 1 hour. Be sure water level is maintained.
At the end of an hour, check to see if they need additional time. You will know when they are done if the masa has firmed up a bit and it not mushy. They will be a bit wet. Remove from pan. The tamales are ready to eat at this point, or can be frozen for later.
It's like Christmas morning when you open these little packages of deliciousness!
I made the tamales for our family dinner tomorrow, and used the leftover filling for our dinner this evening. I cooked 1 1/2 cups brown rice and added it to the leftover bean corn mixture and stuffed into roasted acorn squash. So good!
 Cut sqash in half, baste with a bit of olive oil and salt. Bake at 400 for about 40 minutes on a parchment lined dish/pan,  until done and slightly browned. Fill with filling and heat to serve.
I made a side of kale to go with the stuffed acorn:  Chopped onion, garlic, chopped kale, balsamic vinegar, and 1/4 c. chopped pecans.


Can eating healthy really taste this good?? YES!
This past week, Richard came home from work one night with two new recipes that he found on the internet while on his break at work. We used to enjoy a black bean soup we had a recipe for, but it included chicken and chorizo. Now that we are not eating meat, we both missed the soup, and he took it upon himself to find a recipe we could use. He made a black bean soup for dinner on a night I worked late. It was really delicious and vegetarian. We're both happy we can now have black bean soup on our menu!  This recipe was also listed as a vegetarian black bean soup. I made it for dinner the other night and is was amazing! It seemed more like a 'stew' than a 'soup'. It was rather thick, but the recipe did say more water could be added to thin it out. I wouldn't change a thing, really!  Richard did think it was a little too spicy for his tastes, but we were both really happy with the results.
With a little effort, it's easy to find vegetarian or vegan recipes to replace some of our favorite meals that called for meat of some kind.  I think we may fall into that category "Vegan recipes for Carnivores"!!  This soup/stew is hearty, and filled with all kinds of good ingredients.  I prefer buying a 1 pound bag of dry black beans and cooking them myself. Canned beans have a lot of sodium, plus the cost for a bag of beans is about the price of 1 can of beans and once the beans are cooked, that one pound will yield about the same as 4 cans!
I cooked a bag of beans and then used them for this soup, and the rest I used for the tamales I made today, as well as the stuffing for the acorn squash we had for dinner! Wow! Three meals from that one bag of beans!
Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili
2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and diced(I used 2 large)
1/2 tsp. ground dried chipotle pepper
1/2 tsp salt
2 TBSP olive oil, divided
1 diced onion
4 minced garlic cloves
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, diced
2 TBSP ancho chile powder,
1 TBSP ground cumin
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 c. water or more as needed
1 TBSP cornmeal
1 tsp salt
1 tsp white sugar
1 tsp. cocoa powder
1 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
pinch cayenne pepper
Toss cubed potato with 1 TBSP olive oil, chipotle pepper, salt and place on parchment lined cooking pan. Roast in 400 degree oven for 20-25 minutes until the edges are browned.
Set aside to cool.
Cook remaining olive oil,onion, garlic, red bell pepper, jalapeno pepper,ancho chili powder, cumin, and dried oregano together in a large pot. Cook and stir until onion is soft, about 5 min.
Add tomatoes, beans, and water and bring to a simmer. Add cornmeal,salt, sugar, and cocoa powder. Reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes.
I used a quart of my home canned whole tomatoes and cut them up before adding. I also used canned chipotle instead of dried and added it to the soup instead of to the cubed potatoes before roasting. You can easily adjust the 'heat' in this soup.  I thought the heat was fine, but Richard thought it was too spicy.
One more note, don't be put off by the long list  of ingredients. It doesn't take long to make this chili and it's so delicious you'll be glad you  made the effort!
Cornbread was a perfect compliment!


 Did you know.....
Margarine was originally manufactured to fatten turkeys.  When it killed the turkeys, the people who had put all the money into the research wanted a payback so they put their heads together to figure out what to do with this product to get their money back.  It was a white substance with no food appeal so they added the yellow coloring and sold it to people to use in place of butter.  How do you like it?  They have come out with some clever new flavorings...
MARGAINE vs. BUTTER ... what IS the difference?
Both have the same amount of calories.  Butter is slightly higher in saturated fats at 8 grams; compared to 5 grams for margarine.  Eating margarine can increase heart disease in women by 53% over eating the same amount of butter,  according to a recent Harvard Medical Study.  Eating butter increases the absorption of many nutrients in other foods.  Butter has many nutritional benefits where margarine has few and only because they are added.  Butter tastes much better than margarine and it can enhance the flavors of other foods.  Butter has been around for centuries where margarine has been around for less than 100 years.
And now it's Margaine's turn...
Very high in Trans fatty acids.  Triples risk of coronary heart disease.  Increases total cholesterol and LDL (the bad one) and lowers HDL (the good one).  Increases the risk of cancers up to five times.  Lowers quality of breast milk.  Decreases immune response.  Decreases insulin response.
Here is the MOST DISTURBING fact:
Margarine is but ONE MOLECULE away from being PLASTIC and shares 27 ingredients with PAINT.  WHAT????
We avoid margarine---anything that is hydrogenated means it has hydrogen added, which changes the molecular structure!
Leave an open tub of margaine in an open shaded area or a garage.  In just a few short days you will notice that flies and fruit flies avoid it, and it won't rot or spoil because it has no nutritional value; nothing will grow in it!
Why??? Because it is nearly plastic.  Would you melt your Tupperware and spread it on your toast?
Don't be a turkey...avoid margarine!!!



Today I tried a new recipe. Not only was the recipe new, but it included an ingredient that I had never used in my cooking before. I don't know how I've avoided edamame up to this point, but they are so delicious! They're a popular snack food and I wanted to give them a try. I had actually had them in a salad at Panera Bread and liked them and wanted to try cooking with them myself.

 I couldn't find them in the store so I had to ask for help. When I did, I also asked for already shelled edamame. The store employee that helped me assured me the ones he gave me were shelled and I didn't  check the package myself. Big mistake. I came home and found that they were still in the  So, I had to microwave them for 5 minutes-they came in a steamable bag-and then pop the beans out of the shells. It's not hard work, just time consuming. They are somewhat soft, but hold their shape and are really delicious!

This salad was just oustanding. It's one of the best salads I've made, I believe! I'll be making it again, for sure! It was such a great compliment alongside the portabello sandwich we had. I added grilled onion, lettuce, tomato slice, and mustard on a grilled bun. It was a little messy due to the juicy portabello, but packed with flavor and still very healthy!

I made the salad in the morning so that the dressing and vegetables would have time to marinate. It stayed crunchy and was perfect for dinner. Give this recipe a try...you won't be disappointed!
For the Dressing
1/4 c. honey
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1/4 c. unseasoned rice vinegar
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp Asian sesame oil
1 Tbsp peanut butter
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 Srirach sauce
1 Tbs minced fresh ginger
1 large garlic clove, minced
Stir all ingredients together in a bowl until peanut butter is dissolved. Set aside
(I used agave nectar instead of honey, and I only had a little over 1 Tbsp to use but the slaw was sweet enough without more than that.)
For the Slaw
4 c. shredded cabbage
2 c. shredded carrots
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 c. cooked and shelled edamame
2 med. scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 c chopped salter peanuts
1/2 c. loosely packed chopped fresh cilantro
** Note
(I used diced red onion instead of scallions, and I have cilantro in the freezer so I used my frozen cilantro and chopped it up before adding to the slaw. The other change I made was to use almonds and cashews instead of peanuts)



This is the season that I find myself thinking about this subject and rereading one of my favorite books ~ Living More With Less.  I sometimes cringe at the idea of sharing my thoughts on this subject, because it's just not a popular subject with a lot of people! I never intend to 'convert' anyone. My passion for living simply, conscious eating, and minimalism is simply that...MY passion. It may not be yours, but in sharing my thoughts, I do want to challenge you to not only be more accepting of other views than your own, but also possibly challenge yourself to live in a more thoughtful way....thoughtful of your own health and well being, thoughtful of the world around you and it's resources, and how you treat it.
From the book:  You can either save time or money, seldom both.  Fast living is expensive living.  When we're in a hurry we buy convenience food from the most accesible store.  Because we don't want to take time to prepare meals at home, we eat in restaurants.  The food we eat in our homes is more nutritious than many commercial meals and overall cost is considerably less.

There is a lot of great information in the book pertaining to all areas of our lives. The author is Doris Janzen Longacre. I find it so interesting that it was published in 1980.  The jacket says the book was commissioned by Mennonite Central Committeein response to inequities in World resource distribution and to bring a Christian perspective to material consumption.  I believe, however, that you can read this book and get a lot of great information even if you have no religious tendency.


I like to think that if heaven has a taste, it tastes like a warm, fresh from the oven blueberry muffin!
Sheer perfection in my opinon! Give this recipe a try and see if you don't agree!

Richard's grandfather was a baker. Fortuneatly, one of his recipes has survived and it's actually one we make often.  I would rather eat whole wheat muffins, which is also a favorite family recipe, but every once in a while I crave blueberry muffins. The berries were on sale this week at the market so today after work, I stirred up a batch to have for dinner. 

Today was also our first snow of the season, so muffins seemed a perfect way to celebrate! Yes, I like snow and feel it needed to be recognized with a special celebration! Since we are watching our fat intake, I adjusted the original recipe to reflect that.  Instead of the 1/2 cup of melted shortening called for in the recipe, I added 1/2 cup of applesauce.  Otherwise I made no changes to the recipe. I probably could have eliminated the egg yolk, using only the white, but I chose not to. I guess it depends on my mood?!

This is a no fail recipe and they always turn out light and fluffy. Having a good muffin recipe is crucial this time of year, don't you think? Soup and a muffin...a perfect evening meal on a cold winter's day!

Quick White Muffins
2 c. flour
1/3 c. sugar
3/4 tsp. salt
4 tsp. baking powder
Combine above ingredients and add:
1 egg
1 c. milk
1/2 cup applesauce
Bake at 425 degrees for about 20 minutes until golden brown.
*Note-for blueberry muffins add 1 c. blueberries and decrease milk to 3/4 c.




This week Richard asked me to buy raisins because he was hungry for oatmeal raisin cookies. He has a sweet tooth that never seems to be satisfied!  We kept a very strict diet that last 6 months and until recently cookies were nowhere on the radar!  Occasionally, now, he will stop at his favorite donut shop and get one donut to have with his favorite cup of coffee, but it is a rare thing! 

Every evening we have a cup or two of hot tea - Earl Gray, Constant Comment Green, Jasmine Green, Stash Christmas Spice - our current choices.  One small cookie and a cup of tea are a perfect ending to a day! Today our granddaughter, Paige, came to help me decorate for Christmas and make a few crafts.  We decorated the tree and put up a lot of festive touches but I still have a lot to do to finish. While we were working, Richard made the cookies!

Here are the finished cookies! Pretty nice!



It's a tradition in my family that the day after Thanksgiving is 'Candy Making Day'. As far back as I can remember we did this. Both of my parents came from large families so there were lots of cousins, aunts, and uncles.  Most lived close together so the day of candy making was usually well attended. We were even featured in the Toledo Blade one year, when I sent a letter to the food editor telling her about our fun tradition of making candy all day on the Friday following Thanksgiving day.

We usually ended up with over 100 pounds of candy, each family taking home samples of each kind made. They included almond roca, buckeyes, peanut sticks, peanut brittle, white chocolate crunch delight, over 6 flavors of hard candy each a different color, caramels, church windows, peanut butter and chocolate fudge, and some I may be forgetting! For the kids, it was usually just a day for playing together, but as we got a little older we would be delegated to wrapping caramels in wax paper or rolling hard candy in powdered sugar to prevent sticking. 

For my family, most of this candy was given away as gifts at Christmas in special candy boxes or fruit baskets. Another tradition in our family would be to go out Christmas caroling the week of Christmas. We would put together beautiful gift basket with fruit and candies to give to those we sang to.  It was so much fun!

Today as we made candy, we had fun remembering those times. Traditions are such an important family activity, and we really are never too old to establish new traditions! These are some of the special times that bond our families together for life. I hope you enjoy some of the pictures of our Thanksgiving day and Candy making day.

The candies we made today were- white chocolate crunch delight, peanut brittle, chocolate covered peanut sticks, almond roca,and buckeyes and one of our favorites-ritz crackers sandwiched with marshmallow creme and peanut butter then covered in chocolate. I made a large batch of cut out cookies earlier in the week and the granddaughters all worked together and decorated the cookies. We were all able to take home a nice variety of all we made. I'll most likely make more as the days and weeks go by but this day spent with family is always a great start to our holiday baking!



Today was a WIN WIN!! I tried two new recipes and they are both keepers! My good friend Jim Schoch posted a picture on his facebook page, of a loaf of bread he had made. It looked amazing so I  asked for the recipe. It's one of those 'no-knead' breads. I've never tried them, but have checked out the recipes numerous times. After seeing the end result he posted, I decided I had to give it a try. It's very easy, and the bread tastes so amazing.  Ciabatta is known for all it's litle holes...which hold melted butter so well!!

In the fall, we use a large cast iron pot to cook soup over an open fire. I don't use the pot for anythinng else, because quite frankly, it's like lifting a tank! It's very heavy. I knew that it would be perfect not only in size, but it heats well and would make a nice free form loaf.  I sprayed the pot with oil, then dusted heavily with corn meal.  You can use flour if you would rather, but we like the added crunch of the corn meal.  The bread has just four ingredients!! You can speed along the process of rising by adding a couple of tablespoons of sugar or honey. I used agave nectar-just use your choice of sweetener to give the yeast an added kick if you so choose.

2 c. warm water
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. dry yeast
4 c. flour
(opt. 2 Tbsp. honey)
Mix ingredients to incorporate flour into liquid. The dough with be very wet.
I let my kitchen aide mixer do the work! But it would be easy to mix by hand.
Cover the bowl, and allow to sit for 8-12 hours. By adding sugar, you can shorten that
waiting time.  Mine sat for about 7 hours, and had doubled in bulk.
Prepare a baking stone, sheet pan, or large kettle (I used cast iron) by spraying
with oil and dusting with flour or cornmeal. I believe you could use a cast iron skillet
(I'm going to try that next time!)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  DUMP bread batter into pan and bake for  25-35 minutes,
until nicely browned. The original recipe said 25 minutes, but mine took 35.
This bread has a wonderful yeasty smell due to the hours of sitting time!
I had planned to try a new recipe called Mushroom Stroganoff from a vegetarian cookbook and knew this bread would be a great compliment. Beef stroganoff used to be one of our favorite meals and I hadn't come up with a good alternative since changing to our vegan/vegetarian lifestyle.  When I saw this recipe, I knew I had to give it a try right away! It ... was  ... AMAZING! Richard actually said "did you put sour cream in this??", knowing that we don't eat dairy normally. It really tastes like sour cream, I was very surprised!! 
Not only is this recipe low in cholesterol, it's also high in protein. I'll be making this again. It's a great dish for either a pot luck or if you are having guests. It  makes a lot which is nice if you have a crowd. 
Cook noodles al dente and drain. Set aside. I used No Yolks noodles to cut down the cholesterol.
I think the recipe would be suited to rice or quinoa as well.
Did you know you can saute in a small amount of broth to eliminate fat?
Your choice-saute in olive oil or broth:
1 large shallot, diced
Then add:
16 oz. white button mushrooms, sliced
4-6 oz. shitake mushrooms, stems removed, sliced thin
4-6 oz. baby bella or cremini mushrooms sliced thin
Add 1/2 c. white wine or broth, cover pan, and simmer 10 minutes.
Drain liquid from 1 package Silken Tofu, and process in food processor
until smooth. I added 1 1/2 tsp. dry thyme at this point-but you can eliminate if you want.
Combine tofu and mushrooms, S & P to taste, and the juice of half a lemon.
Pour over noodles to serve!
Easy Peasy and so delicious!
Served with a salad and bread it's a delicious, and  easy meal!
This dish could easily serve 6, possibly 8.
Another meatless, healthy meal!



We were done eating and I was about to snap a picture of our casserole and my sweet husband had already dished the leftovers in a container for his lunch tomorrow along with a couple extra containers for the next couple of days! So, no picture this time. I'm really bummed, too, because it looked great!

As you know we are eating as many vegan meals as possible. This dish would be very easy to make strictly vegan. I used a small amount of butter, however, but it was still vegetarian.  Since we are being strict with our fats, macaroni and cheese is certainly a dish that is not on our menu!  I ran across this recipe on Pinterest, of course, and this is the second time we've had it.  Tonight was the first time our picky eater Cole tried it. I talked it up, calling it a 'Mac n Cheese' dish.  It looked enough like baked mac n cheese that he didn't question it. I like ketchup on mine (so sue me) so I suggested he try that because I knew it would give it even more of an authentic taste.  He loved it and went back for seconds THEN thirds!!  I kept asking him if he wanted to know what was in the dish and he insisted that I do not tell him. That drove me nuts and we all got a laugh out of the fact that I wanted to tell him so badly!
So, are you curious now to know what the secret recipe/ingredient is?  Butternut squash.  I don't know if squash has ever even crossed Cole's lips! LOL! He hates squash. Well, until tonight!! He still doesn't know what was in the dish! The actual recipe name is ROASTED BUTTERNUT SAGE PASTA.

Here is the recipe if you would like to try it. If you are vegan or lactose intolerant you can easily replace the butter in the recipe with a small amount of vegetable broth. It will effect the taste a little, but certainly not enough to spoil the dish.

First, melt 1/4 c butter slowly until the foam disappears. Add 1 chopped onion and a stem of fresh sage leaves and saute for a few minutes  and 1 lb. of diced/cubed butternut squash and 1 1/2 c. water. Cook until the squash is cooked through. You can omit the butter and add some vegetable broth to saute the onion in. Once the squash is cooked well,remove the sage leaves and  puree in either a blender or use an immersion blender. The result will be a smooth puree. S & P to taste.

While the squash mixture is cooking, bring a pot of water to a boil and add a good amount of salt to the water before adding your pasta. I used farfalle or some other similar type of pasta. Use a pasta that has curls or edges to help hold the sauce. When it is cooked al dente, drain water reserving 1 cup of liquid. Add the pureed sauce to the pasta and add extra water if needed to make the mixture moist, not dry. At this point, you can serve it like it is, or place in a greased casserole and top with bread or cracker crumbs that are sprayed lightly with cooking spray.  Bake in 400 degree oven about 15 minutes, just long enough to brown the crumb topping. Serve (with ketchup!). It truly has a cheesy flavor! It looks like a deep cheddar cheese sauce.

It goes to prove that we eat with our eyes first! If it looks like mac n cheese, it's easier to convince a picky eater that there is cheese in the dish!



1 tsp. olive oil
2 c. savoy cabbage, chopped
(or regular cabbage very thinly sliced)
2 c. shredded carrots
2 c. bean sprouts(I used 1 can)
1 can water chestnuts, chopped
2 TBSP. green onions,sliced (I used shallots)
1 tsp. fresh ginger, grated
2 TBSP. soy sauce
1 TBSP. corn starch
1/4 c. water
14 egg roll wraps
1 pkg. tofu angel hair pasta-MY addition
Sweet chili sauce or sweet and sour sauce
(for dipping)
 Step 1 - make the filling
 This is the package for tofu noodles. It's found in my grocery store in the organic section along with the other tofu products. This item is OPTIONAL.
 Step 2 - Place filling on egg roll wrap
 Step 3 - Bring up bottom of wrap first
 Step 4 - Bring sides over bottom sealing with a dab of water
 Step 5 - Roll up and seal top edge
 Step 6 - Place on cookie sheet/baking pan and spary with cooking spray
 Nicely browned after baking 15-20 minutes
Dip in sweet chili sauce and enJOY!
We really like asian inspired foods. Since converting to a vegetarian diet, we eat stir fry, rice dishes, and tofu dishes quite frequently. We all like egg rolls and until recently, I would fry them in a small amount of oil until nice and crispy brown. I try not to fry anything anymore, so when I saw this recipe I had to give it a try. The outcome was really great. I do think they were a little bit 'tougher' than a fried egg roll, but not so much that they were off-putting.
I baked them until they were nicely browned on all sides. This is going to be a repeat recipe. Recently when buying tofu, I saw a new product that I had to try. It's a tofu product that looks just like angel hair pasta. I used it once in a soup, which was very good, and had it on hand so I decided to add it to the egg rolls. By adding this, it gives the egg roll a protein which just makes it that much better for us! The tofu pasta has to be drained and 'dried' the same as when using a block of tofu. The noodles tend to stick together unless they are very dry.
Here are the directions for the recipe if you would like to give it a try:
Cook cabbage, sprouts, carrots, chestnuts and ginger in hot olive oil for 4-5 minutes, until veggies become limp but still slightly crisp.  Mix the corn starch and water together and add that along with the soy sauce to the pan along with the green onions. This is where I added my drained tofu noodles.  Cook for an additional 1-2 minutes to thicken the sauce.  Remove from the heat and let cool.
Place 2 TBSP. of mixture in the center of the egg roll wrap. Fold the bottom up over the filling and the sides in over the bottom like an envelope. I use a small dish with water to the side to dip my fingertip in before wrap edges meet to 'seal' the edges together. Roll up, seal top edge, and place on a cookie sheet for baking. I like to use my stonewear cooking sheet for even heating.  Spray the egg rolls with cooking spray, turn and spray other bottoms. 
Bake in  preheated 400 degree oven for 8-10 minutes or til nicely browned, then turn and cook an additional 5-7 minutes. You want them to brown, NOT burn.
Don't try to eat them hot of the oven... believe me it's not fun!  I could hardly wait to try them.  I used a sweet chili sauce to dip them in.  They....were....scrumptious!!!! The leftovers were even good warmed in the microwave the next day.  No, they aren't like fried egg rolls, but I can forgo the oil treatment and extra fat for a very good BAKED egg roll!  I'll be making this again!
Since we are trying to eat a strict vegetarian and NOT-so-strict vegan diet, finding those tofu noodles was very exciting. They are delicious in soups and other dishes and add a nice amount of protein and no cholesterol!


She's Back!

Wow- it's been one whole year since I've posted on the blog! I basically lost interest and moved on to other outlets. I had a friend recently encourage me to pick this back up, since we've been doing some VERY thoughtful eating. The past 6 months have been pretty interesting here on the home front - dietarally (is that even a word?) speaking.

I'm reminded of one of my favorite quotes:

 I love to sit quietly and enjoy each bite, aware of the presence of my community, aware of all the hard and loving work that has gone into my food. When I eat in this way, not only am I pysically nourished, I am also spiritually noursihed. ~
Thich Nhat Hanh

Six month ago we found out that Richard-the husband-had very high cholesterol.  His mom and brother also do, so it wasn't a complete surprise that he would, too.  Both his mom and brother experienced bad side effects from the medication, so the last thing we wanted was that!  His Dr. gave him 6 months to work on changing his numbers or he would need to go on the meds.  I spent a considerable amount of time on the internet searching out information about treating high cholesterol 'naturally' - you know - withOUT meds! 

There is a lot of information and studies that show that eating a vegan diet will lower your cholesterol.  I didn't jump on that bandwagon with the first report I read. I kept looking, and kept seeing more and more studies to support this! I mean, if you are considering a drastic change like that, you want to be pretty sure there is some valid reason to do it! While it is a drastic change, it wasn't too foreign to us.  For the first 7 years or so of our marriage we were vegetarians, and even after becoming meat eaters we didn't eat a lot of meat. Chicken was our main meat, with ground beef coming in second, used mostly as a seasoning and additive in dishes. We were not big beef eaters as many are in this part of the country.  We love our veggies and ate several meals a week meatless anyway, so we both felt it was something worth trying. Couldn't hurt!! 

Of course, there were the skeptics who didn't think it would work, and even my Dr. at one point sort of 'raised his eyebrows' at me.  I'm always surprised how quickly those in the medical field choose the 'drug route'. Wouldn't it be so much better if we were able to get the same results without putting all those chemicals in our bodies?

So, we began eating vegan in May of this year.  Richard has, for the most part, been very strict and I have from time to time eaten an egg or cheese.  I don't have the high cholesterol that he does, but certainly could lose some weight.  We didn't start this diet with the intention of losing weight, although his Dr. did tell him he could lose 20 pounds - which I just laughed at when he told me - because he's always been tall and slim. He usually puts some pounds on over the winter, but loses them in the spring, but he was carrying more weight than he had ever before. 

It was amazing, but as soon as we began to eat a vegan diet we both started to lose weight, even with no change in physical activity. When we first started Richard felt like he just couldn't eat enough, and the weight started to fall off, until he had lost 30 pounds! He would go to work on  Monday and weigh himeself and come home and report that the past week he had lost another 4 pounds...give or take! It was making me feel frustrated, until, I had a check up and discovered that I had lost weight too!  What a surprise, because I didn't feel hungry or deprived at all. We were enjoying this new way of eating. 

Well, I won't bother you with all the boring details, but at the end of our 6 months, when we both had a recheck , my choesterol had dropped 20 points, even though it wasn't high in the first place, and his had dropped 100 points!! Really?? 100 points?? His Dr. said he's only seen those results from a vegan diet one other time! He was very impressed and told him he was healthy and didn't need to come back for a year "I can't make money on people like you!" was his exact words!  My Dr. was interested to hear our results and said he would be talking to some of his patients about what we had done. He mentioned that his daugher is a vegan so he was well aware of eating that way. Both of our doctors spent a considerable amout of time asking us questions and taking notes about the way we were eating.

When I had my 3 month blood work done, my protein numbers were pretty low and my glucose levels had gone up a little so I've added nutritional yeast to our diet, and cut back some on carbs, adding instead, tofu at least once aweek. After a recheck 3 months later all things looked good.

So that is just a little background on why all of my food posts will be vegetarian or vegan.  It really is a whole different way of planning, eating, and thinking about food! It's challenging to come up with creative ideas, and it makes it pretty difficult to eat out. We hardly ever eat out anymore, which isn't a bad thing, but on occasion it's nice if we can find a place that has good vegan offerings!  We do eat fish (not vegan I know!) maybe two or three times a month.  Mostly we eat salads, beans, rice, legumes, and veggies, veggies, veggies!

I'll be sharing vegetarian dishes that we have found that are delicious and fit into this new lifestyle. Yes, it is a lifestyle for us. Why would we go back to eating the way we did before?  I'm continuing to lose weight. Total so far since starting I've lost just alittle over 45 pounds! I'm still losing, but I don't weight myself at home. It just keeps my  focus on eating healthy not getting hung up on numbers. It's a treat now to go to the Dr. for a blood pressure check every three month to find that I've lost more weight, and my blood pressure is great. I have a lot more weight to lose, but I'm doing my darndest to not think about that. It's too easy to be discouraged when youlook at the big picture. 

Do we feel better? That is the question we get asked all the time. Richard says he doesn't feel much different. I always say that I DO feel different.  We never feel stuffed after a meal. It's a lighter way of eating and it just feels better.  So I'll begin posting pictures, recipes, and stories about our new way of eating and you can give the recipes a try!  I think you'll be surprised just how satisfying and delicious they are and you may even decide to add a few 'meatless' days to your week!  I mean, really, can it hurt?

Just so you won't get bored with this blog, I'll also post other material besides foodie stuff! You know....interesting stories for instance, like today when I drove both TO and FROM work on a flat tire! Richard just shakes his head at me. I said "don't cars TELL you these days if they have a flat tire?"  When I got in the car to go to work right away the steering wheel had a strange vibrating feel. I called R to tell him what was going on and after about 1/2 mile from the house it stopped. He told me I probably should check for a flat and then when it stopped he said maybe it was just mud on the wheel that came off.  Well, I didn't realize he actually MEANT for me to check the tire...duh Teresa...yeah he DID! So on my way home, as soon as I started driving on the 65 mph 4 lane highway, it had a strange sort of 'swimmy' feeling to it. I had the 'thought' that maybe I actually DID have a flat, but then decided there was no way that could be true or it wouldn't steer. It did steer a little funny and I decided maybe the tire was just low and I drove conservatively the whole way home. After I got here I told Richard about it, he went out and looked and came back in and said "Yeah! you have a flat!"  OMG...I could NOT believe it!! He wasn't all that thrilled that I hadn't checked it....and I was VERY happy that I made it home ok!! Crazy huh?

I'll have to start taking pictures of our food again so you can see what we are eating. I hope to hear from you!