Sunday, May 27, 2012


Tom and I got up really early this morning and drove to Cleveland to go to Trader Joes and Whole Foods Market. It's about 1.5 hours drive, but it's well worth the selections of food compared to around here. Now that Tom is eating completely vegan also, there are so many things he wants to try. He said if he can figure out a way to make his favorite foods vegan style, he will be happy to continue this for the rest of his life. I still can't believe he switched, I am so glad, it's just hard to believe when someone says I will never give up meat or dairy and then right there after watching a movie, he was ready and now with the way he feels he doesn't want to go back. 

When we got home we immediately made this smoothie. It was incredible! It's made of 100% pineapple juice, 2 frozen bananas, 2 large handfuls of fresh strawberries and 2 tablespoons of flaxseed ground meal. It had so much flavor and was so good, especially right now with the hot weather, this was perfect.

 When we were at Whole Foods Market, Tom found these Vegan Sausages and Hot Dogs. I myself do not miss meat at all and usually don't choose vegan substitutes. Every once in awhile I will have a bean burger or vegan hotdog, but it's not something I crave. Tom on the other hand just went from the biggest meat eater I know to this new lifestyle, so I understand. He wants to try to create all of his favorite foods in a vegan version. I told him, most things I will try, but there are just some I don't even want to try because I never even liked meat that much. He grilled the Mexican Chipolte Sausage on the grill with Onions and Green Peppers, and also made homemade Wheat Hot dog buns. These were so good, had a nice spicy kick to them but not too spicy. We put some homemade mustard relish on them. You can check out the ingredients here. They are $5.00 for a pack of 4.

For dinner we bought 2 packs of Vegan Pizza dough. My son Gage loves to make homemade pizza from scratch, but we picked these up for $1.19 at Trader Joes, might even be cheaper than making the dough. My boys eat cheese so Gage made a Cheese pizza with Basil, Italian Seasoning, Minced Garlic and Hot & Spicy Seasoning. Tom and I had the Garlic & Herb Pizza dough and he put olive oil and minced garlic instead of sauce, then he put Red & Yellow Peppers, Mushrooms, Red Onions, Fresh Basil, Oregano and Thyme that we are growing, Nutritional Yeast (we just found out about this on Rip Engine 2 and now on a lot of Vegan sites) I only sprinkled a little bit on because I wasn't sure if I would like it. It's said to have a cheesy taste, but completly Vegan. It's also packed with nutrients and vitamins and protein. The pizza came out so good! We sprinkled some red crushed hot pepper on afterwards.

Well it's storming out right now so we are all taking turns doing the treadmill. Tom is down 22 lbs in almost 3 weeks. He has been eating so much food too, just all the right foods.

Friday, May 25, 2012

So thankful it's FRIDAY :)

I am so glad the weekend is here and also that I have Monday off. We don't really have any big plans but sometimes it's just nice to stay home. Sunday we are going to drive to Cleveland which is 1.5 hours away so we can stock up on food from Trader Joes and Whole Foods. I love the selections there. I have been reading so much and also watching more documentaries on organic plant based eating.

Tom has lost 20lbs since May 5th! He looks incredible, his skin is glowing, his heartburn is completely gone! He was on prescription heart burn medicine for years and years and now takes no medicine at all. He has so much energy! He even gave up tobacco and can't believe how much easier it is this time. He did buy the fake tobacco to mix in with real so he could slowly stop, but he has been doing it without it. He swears that also is from being on a plant based diet. He is so motivated and feels so good. I am so happy for him. I haven't seen him feel good like this for so long.

Tonight we went for a long walk again, it feels so good to be outside. The weather has been really hot, today was 88 degrees! We have been walking and running almost every night. It feels good and my body is loving it.

We also have been watching more documentaries and wow I learn so much every time I watch them. The latest ones we have watched are Food Matters, Gerson Miracle, and Rip Engine 2. All of them were so good!

35 more days until we leave for our vacation. I am so excited!

Some good food I had this week :)

Tom made homemade Raviolis with the filling made out of the textured vegetable protein that we used for the Sloppy Joes and he made homemade sauce with tomatoes, zucchini, onions, peppers and more. It was So delicious. He took the leftover wheat buns and made garlic toast which was incredible.

Just plain corn on the cob-it was so sweet it didn't need anything on it.

Dinner tonight was stuffed tomatoes (leftover vegan meatloaf made from Vegetables, oatmeal, TVP, spices), baked then grilled Sweet Potatoes, grilled Asparagus and purple onions-SO GOOD and SO much flavor!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Great Weekend! Perfect Weather and Yummy FOOD!

This weekend was great, I got so much done and we stalked up on so many fruits and vegetables. We really bought a lot of groceries this weekend, went to so many places including B&K Farmers Market in Warren, Ohio where we got so much of our fresh stuff. 

Notice the visitor that happened to walk by in the above picture? I have 3 mommy raccoons out there now.

I planted Basil, Oregano, and Thyme in my empty steel cut oatmeal tins. They worked perfectly for this, I put some holes in the bottom to drain the water out.

I also planted some pretty Red, Pink and White Impatiens in the Raccoon planter that my mom got me last year and also in the flower bed and around the outside of house to brighten it up.

This weekend Tom made one of the BEST meals ever, we both were So happy with how these Vegan Sloppy Joes came out. Since eating a vegan/plant based diet he was thinking about what things he would miss most and Sloppy Joes were one of them. He started looking online for recipes and found this one. The only thing he did different was instead of the chili powder he used his own Memphis Rub which is a mixture of Salt, Pepper, Cayenne, Paprika, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Chili Powder, Cumin, and Cinnamon. I have never seen him happier about something he made. He made everything homemade including the whole wheat buns which came out PERFECT. He had tried a recipe last week that didn't work out so he tried this one and replaced the egg with 1 tablespoon of ground flax seed and 4 tablespoons of warm water These had SO MUCH flavor! I can't get over how good they were and wish I could share them with everyone that loves sloppy joes. Tom said this is the best Sloppy Joe he ever had! I agree completely.

this is the main ingredient that replaces the meat and is packed with nutrition including a lot of protein! ALL VEGAN and NATURAL. I bought a 4 pack case of these on Amazon for $8.13 under the subscribe and save, I already ordered more.


I could go on for days how incredible these are, the flavors and texture and just everything were out of this world!

I have been buying a lot of the Bob's Red Mill items on Amazon, I use the Subscribe & Save to save even more money and free shipping, You can cancel it anytime! I bought Chia Seeds, Unsweetened Coconut, Golden Flaxseeds, High Protein TVP, Blue Cornmeal and Buckwheat Groats.

Today we went to Sam's Club and bought the Clif Bar Fruit Ropes above for my sons, Gage loved the Nature Valley ones but we can't seem to find them anywhere except Sheetz. I love that the Clif bar ones are Organic. And I figured these out they are cheaper. You can 24 for $10.58 and 2 of these would make the Nature Valley long ones at Sheetz for $1.00, so this cost $.88 and it's better for you.  We bought one case and then in the car my husband and I tried them and loved them so we went back and got 4 more cases.

Tonight we made a different smoothie. We just threw in a bunch of stuff and hoped it would come out good. 

1 head of Romaine Lettuce
3 handfuls of Spinach fresh
1 Banana frozen
1 Gala Apple frozen
2 large Carrots shredded first
1/2 cup of orange juice

It was very thick, I could have added more orange juice but I didn't want extra calories. The flavor was a lot better than I expected. You can not taste the Spinach or Romaine Lettuce. This REALLY fills you up too. I figured the cost to make 2 full large cups (probably about 4 cups total of liquid) it cost $5.42, so $2.21. I also figured out the calories to be approximately 536 total, so 218 for a huge large cup full as pictured.

I am off to take a long walk with Tom, last night Gage came which was great, (Graham was at Kennywood) so we are going to get our boys walking with us every night also.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

When & Why Did I stop Eating Meat then Dairy....

Beautiful Cow at the Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen, NY -Mothers Day 2011

So many people ask me when and why I became a vegetarian and then stopped eating dairy products. First let me start off by saying that all my life I wasn't a huge meat eater, I did eat hotdogs, chicken wings, sausage, an occasional burger. When making deli sandwiches, Tom would laugh at me because I would use 1 thin slice of turkey which was barely anything on my sandwich. I did enjoy getting Ranch & Hot Wings with Tom every once in awhile. I would eat grilled chicken thinking it was the healthiest option so giving up meat for me was pretty easy.

It all started almost 6 years ago, my great aunt Shirley was diagnosed with cancer. She had 5 siblings that all except for 1 died of cancer. My grandma was one of them. Shirley was diagnosed with cancer in the lining of her uterus. She had a hysterectomy and treated with chemo therapy and as of right now is cancer free. That was her only surgery her whole entire life, she will be 77 this year. The whole year that I was helping her get through her treatment and surgery and helping her out in any way, I started to look online for foods that prevented cancer. I came across an article very similar to this Top Five Cancer Causing Foods. It was like a wake up call, I read through it and realized that so many of the foods I was eating were ones that caused cancer. Did I believe this? Yes. It all makes complete sense to me. I stopped meat immediately. It was pretty easy at first. I did crave it a few times and within 2 years I had eaten meat again for a short period in between because I gave into my cravings but I would go back to not eating meat right after. After those 2 times, I never have craved or even thought about eating it again. I have learned SO much more since then and I continue to learn. It's SO easy now and I actually enjoy food SO much better. I look better, feel better, just everything is amazingly better! The first couple years I didn't experiment with food, I just ate salads and pastas and when we went on vacation was the one time I had given in because I was just eating salad the whole time. Now I know how to be creative at home with a husband who makes me incredible meals. There are so many options now also especially in big cities.

Not only did I learn about how bad meat & dairy is for me, I then learned what animals actually go through and I was horrified. I never knew what they went through. I had never thought about it. Watching videos on Peta made me sick and SO ANGRY! How could anyone treat an animal this way just so we can stuff our face when there is plenty of food that doesn't require a living being. I hate when I hear people say WHERE are you going to get your protein or calcium? Well educate yourselves please, you can get more calcium from Coconut Milk and Almond Milk then Cow's milk. You can get protein from many foods that are NOT MEAT. It takes education and in this day and age, so many people are stuck in the beliefs they were brought up in. If meat and dairy are so good for us, then why is the US full of obese and sick people? Seriously, let's take a stand, get smart and take a chance at something that has been with us since day 1. I really believe God gave us enough foods with the vegetables, grains, and fruits. But that wasn't enough, man became greedy and wanted more. Now look where we are at, so many chemicals in foods, so many creations that are doing nothing but harm to our bodies. Isn't it a eye opener when you hear that red meat is bad for you, well then people say I don't eat much red meat, I eat chicken. What makes you think that chicken is ok? It's all about what people hear on the radio or news. Why not read articles that tell you that Meat is not good for you, NO MEAT.

My health has increased dramatically! I was one who ALWAYS had the stomach flu yearly, colds at least twice a year, bladder infections, pleurisy developed out of nowhere (I blame this on the pill), but my immune system seemed to be so bad that since I was a little girl I would always be sick. When I gave up meat, right away I lost 10lbs. My skin cleared up some, my sense of smell increased, my energy increased, I wasn't getting sick at all when my kids were and others around me. The list goes on.

Then I gave up milk, I only had skim milk with cereal so that wasn't hard. Cheese on the other hand has been a hard one to give up, just pizza, but I finally did these past few months. I would always go back and forth and throughout the years hardly had any but being in Chicago, Washington D.C., and New York City, I would have a slice of pizza. I now do not eat any dairy at all. Giving up milk and only eating cheese once awhile through those years cleared up my acne that I have had since I was 12 years old. My face is clear and it's VERY rare that I get a breakout. I would actually have perfect skin, eat pizza and in a few days have a breakout and also feel completely bloated after pizza. Ice cream was a hard one also to give up but now I make my own ice cream at home with coconut milk and everyone loves it. You can still enjoy the foods you love with replacements that are so much healthier.

I have never felt better than I do now. I have so much energy, my skin glows, I swear it helps with aging. I am 35 and so many people tell me I look like a teenager, I don't really take that as a compliment because honestly I don't mind being 35. I love how much more I learn and appreciate as I get older. Don't get me wrong it is a compliment but I wasn't a woman who cried when turning 30 and actually find it ridiculous that women do. Getting older and wiser makes my life better, and makes me a better person. 

The other night I was at my son's choir concert and saw so many young girls (6th thru 8th grade) that were so overweight. My heart broke for them. They are so young. Articles and doctors are saying now that our children might not outlive us. This should be a wake-up call to everyone. Child obesity and diabetes has done nothing but increased. 

I really wish people that wanted to make a change would stop the fad diets and try one that is real, that makes sense and that has proof that it works. It's not even a diet, it's a lifestyle. 

Please just watch Fork Over Knives and share it with anyone else you love and care about, or anyone that will listen. It's the answer to everything health related in my opinion.

PS. My husband has lost 16 lbs in 12 days by eating plant based foods and he eats A LOT of food, his daily headaches are gone, sense of smell stronger, his stomach issues (bathroom) are gone and he has more energy! 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

This and That

Cecropia Moth on the side of our building at work

Coming into work this morning as I walked up to the door was this beautiful what I thought was a butterfly but later learned it was a Cecropia Moth. It's gorgeous! The colors, it's size,the little feather looking antennas. This is what makes me happy! A beautiful insect that reminds me of childhood,  although I do remember putting bugs and butterflys in jars then letting them free, but now as an adult thinking about that makes me cringe. How cruel that was, but I didn't know any better at a young age capturing them to watch them. I looked up this moth online and sadly they only live for 2 weeks. They do not eat and their only purpose is to mate! Very sad :(

I am feeling great! I have been eating so clean for months and months. Tom has lost 14 lbs in 1 week and 3 days. His headaches are gone and he is experiencing what I did when I first became a vegetarian, my smell became stronger. I know it sounds weird but it's true. He has so much more energy already, instead of me doing the treadmill every night, him and I have been going for walks for 1 hour every night. It feels so good and the weather has been wonderful.

Everyday we are making so many delicious meals at home. I don't crave any bad foods at all anymore, I actually crave fruit and my biggest craving is homemade guacamole! I can't get enough of it. I can eat 2 avocados and not gain a pound, they are high in fat but it's the good fat, it fills me up and I love it!

On Sunday, Tom made bean burgers and asparagus and green onion on the grill. YUM!

 Chocolate Almond Nut Butter

I have been making my own Nut Butter and this one is perfect. I got the recipe from Oh She Glows and it's very easy!

2 cups of Almonds Raw Plain- Put in Food Processor for 15 minutes, scraping sides of processor every minute.

1/2 cup of vegan chocolate chips (or regular chocolate) with a teaspoon of Coconut Oil-Microwave or Melt in pot, if you microwave it, stir every 30 seconds for a total of 1.5 minutes.

Add melted chocolate and 1/4 tsp of seat salt to food processor after the 15 minutes and process for 1 minute and you have perfect Chocolate Almond Nut Butter!

Here are two of my cats that seem to love to lay on our kitchen table (I am a very clean person lol) This morning I took the picture because my son was trying to eat his cereal and Haystack (the big black one) was trying so hard to get his milk. By the way that is the last of the dairy milk in the house. I told the boys one change I am making with them is no more dairy milk.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Zoo ~ North Market ~ Dirty Frank's - Columbus, Ohio

Flamingos - Columbus Zoo

We hadn't been to the Zoo for a very long time, since the boys were really young. They are 16 and 14 now and I thought it would be nice for all of us to go to the Columbus Zoo in Columbus Ohio. It's ranked #1 in the Nation so I thought this must be a really big Zoo! We looked up things to do in Columbus, we have been there a few times before (Ohio Deli where my husband won the challenge eating the Dagwood Sandwich, Schmidt's Restaurant and Sausage Haus in the German Village, and also one time to see John Capurulo stand up comedy.

I looked up tickets and bought them online for $12 each saving $2 each using my AAA card, and 7 for parking. So it cost $55 just to get in the Zoo. I was a little hesitant after thinking about the Zoo, how much I love animals and how over the years I have thought about all the abuse, suffering,etc that they go through, and I thought a Zoo is actually for us to see the exotic animals, in cages for us to view. I thought about this before but it affects me much more now. And I was right, seeing all the animals, so many looked so depressed and the SMALL size of cages and areas they have for animals even BIG ones was crazy! There was quite a variety of animals but not as big as I was expecting. The Aquarium was no where near what I was expecting, although I was comparing it to the Dallas Texas Aquarium which is awesome so maybe that's why.

This bear broke my heart, just look at how sad it looks :( they need to be put back in the wild or kept in the wild!

this bald eagle had hardly any room! There was a net across the top right above it's head :( If people would leave the wildlife alone they could live their life freely like we do!

After the Zoo we were all hungry and we drove to Dirty Frank's for Vegan/regular Hot Dogs. Tom said this would be his last meat before starting the plant based lifestyle change. I don't usually eat vegan meat because I don't miss meat at all, but I was excited to try a few of their Vegan hotdogs. First I had the Rockaway Beach which has sweet hot cabbage and carrot mustard slaw, it was very good. The next one I shared with Tom was the Fire on the Rhine which was very hot (spicy) and I loved that, it had spicy sauerkraut grilled with sriracha, chile paste, garlic and onion.  Tom also had the West Virginia Dog- coney sauce with creamy slaw & onion and the Chicago dog. The boys had onion rings and fries since neither of them like hotdogs. The prices were good $3-3.50 per dog, $2 for fries and tator tots and $3 for onion rings. I loved the poppy seed buns. The service was great and very quick, the place was packed but we got seated quickly. PARKING IS FREE ON SUNDAYS on the street, I learned that after putting. 50 in the meter since there was nothing about Sundays being free. I knew New York City and Chicago were free on Sundays but wasn't sure about Columbus, lol. I even tried the next day to write them to get my money back but they said no refunds....yes .50 I write about, it's money!
Me trying to figure out how to get my money back

Fire on the Rhine

Chicago Dog

West Virginia Dog

Rockaway Beach

Gage & I

Graham & Tom

About 2 miles away from Dirty Frank's we drove to North Market. It was a very cool market with a lot of places to eat. I tried samples of Jeni's sorbert which is vegan, the cherry was the best. My son got a Waffle cone for $5.50 which I thought was a little pricey for the size. They have a lot of very unique flavors. Both Gage and Graham tried the pizza at Clever Crow Pizza and Sarefino's Pizzeria. Gage said the Clever Crow Pizza was the best with a cornmeal crust.

Graham with his Brown Butter Almond Brittle cone which he really liked the flavor

Being in Ohio with a Pittsburgh Steelers shirt was not a good idea for Tom ha ha so many comments that day.