Monday, April 30, 2012

Tough Love

Following my posts about my mother who is reversing her diabetes, I have recently had several emails from people, including a friend asking how I got my mom to 'convert'.  They are tired of watching their parents and loved ones suffer from ailments but they just don't have the guts to go to them. 

Growing up is sad.  I kind of hate it.  Thank God I have my babies to keep my mind on the positive things so I don't dwell in the past.  I love my life, but generally speaking, I had a great childhood.  I grew up with a mom who took me to mommy-n-me craft events, was Room Mom every single year in elementary school and a dad whom I idolized.  When asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always enthusiastically responded with 'an engineer' like my dad.  I was close with my 3 cousins and aunts and uncles and spending time with the 'whole' family on holidays and occasional weekends was the Cats Ass as far as my little self was concerned.  Growing up sucks because the older you get the more you are faced with reality, that your parents are real people too and have real emotions that aren't always great and suffer from real ailments and you realize that they are not as strong and powerful as you once perceived them to be.  True colors from friends and family are revealed and it hurts to see people you love in any light other than the glowing one you grew up to know.  That said, It can be a hard thing to have to be the one to act above them, as if you are the parent. 

Luckily, since I'm a bitch, It wasn't as hard for me to dish out the Tough Love I saw necessary to change my mom's life.   She was on handfuls of pills a day for blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, fish oil supplements, assorted other 'required' vitamins, etc.  Then she told me she had to have 8" of her colon removed after a colonoscopy proved she had some abnormal polyps lurking around.

What did I do?  You bet your ass I got angry!  I had a daughter and was planning on another baby.  My grandparents were all dead before I was born so I didn't want that to happen to my children.  I'll be damned if my children don't have their grandparents at their high school graduations.  So, I went shopping.  I bought some pantry staples and some new interesting options (to get her to try new things) and went over to their house, grocery bags in hand.  When I walked in, I started yelling.  I was freaking mad!  How dare she let herself go like that!  She was in piss poor shape and my dad who is overweight swears he has no health problems, which is obviously false.  I raided their pantry and threw out everything with shit.  If it had dairy, MSG, no nutritional value, it went in trash bags which were later donated to a needy family.  (I even feel bad about that!  No one should be eating that!).  I gifted them the groceries I had bought and used a magnet to prominently display my list of RULES on their fridge.  How did they react?  My mom cried and thanked me for caring.  My dad was pissed I threw out his favorite ice cream.  He got over it. 

While at first they tried hard to stick to them, they fell off the wagon and dairy was the hardest thing for my mom to give up.  This past new years she vowed as her New Years Resolution to give up dairy once and for all.  Her doctors appointment shortly thereafter was one of the worst following the holiday season of binge eating comfort foods and sweets.  Insulin was near in her future.  You can follow the previous blog posts to take it from there, but that's what I did.  Tough Love.

The thing is: If my mom was to die and I hadn't said anything, I would have felt responsible.  The way the food and medical industries suppress information, it was really like knowing a secret that alone, could save her life.  What was the worst that could happen?  She could get mad at me for being intrusive?  It was well worth throwing the information (and groceries) in her face.  I wasn't going to be the asshole responsible for someones death when I knew something so simple could potentially save her life. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Your Mom's Update

It's pathetic, I know, but I'll never get enough Your Mom jokes.  Really. 

This is an update of my mom.  If you didnt read my previous blog post about her battle with diabetes, you can check it out HERE.

Just a quick update:
She had a doctors appointment yesterday and after a 30 battle with diabetes and only 4 months following the strict rules I gave her, her doctor told her .....and I quote... "Diabetes is no longer an issue for you". 

Did you hear that?  Of course not.  You're reading.  Well, just in case you learned to read yesterday, I'll say it again:

Less than 4 months ago she was told she needed insulin shots and would likely have to give herself injections for the rest of her life.  Her mother died of diabetes.  She was on her way down a similar road.  NOW WHAT, GENETICS?  NOW WHAT?!?  Stupid doctors. 

Granted, she followed my rules, but considering all of the damage that was already done, there was and still is damage control to do.  Her kidney's were failing and high potassium levels have become an issue.  We are taking care of that via diet also.  Since most veggies and fruis have some level of potassium and she eats a TON now, its hard...but she's doing awesome and her levels are dropping.

In addition, her cholesterol fell so much her doctors were astounded.

All in all, my mom is well and I am awesome.  Haha...jk (kinda).  ;)

Hooray for health and a higher quality of life! 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Hide Your Kids, Hide Your Wife! (A Blog for the average 'Manly Man')

While my husband likes to refer to me as a 'Strong Woman', I'd be lying if I said I havent been referred to as a man on more than a handful of occasions. 

"Dude, trust me.  She has bigger balls than you'll ever have" said my Super BFF, a male, and a Green Baret.
"I'd bet she's lugging around a steel set" said another good male friend.
I once challenged a dude to play 'hit for hit' after a few beers.  You know, the game where you punch each other in the arm as hard as you can and take turns until someone cries Uncle.  Yeah...that was me.  Was he going easy on me?  Maybe.  But I was bruised for a month and I still won. 

It's true most of my friends have always been male.  Many women like to make that claim, it's always been true for me.  While I may look cute in a cat suit and hate sports, I am more man than most men. 

That said, I think I have a leg to stand on when I make the following claims.  Are you single and trying to attract a chick?  Or just 'toot it and boot it'?  Want your wife to put out more?  Tired of looking like Larry the Cable Guy in front of the TV shouting at your team?  Think eating healthy makes you look feminine?  Here's a thought:  Quit thinking about your stupid hairy self for a minute and think about your wife (or girlfriend, or girl from the bar last night).

What do you think a woman finds more attractive in a mate?  A narrow minded barbarian who fancies himself a 'real man' gorging himself on steak and potatoes until his "super attractive" hairy-naveled belly hangs over his belt and he slowly but surely over the years loses recognition of his neck, OR a man who cares enough about himself to stuff his face full of healthier foods and vegetables, looks damn good without a shirt on and has enough confidence to not give 2 shits about what his friends think?

I choose the latter and I believe most women would to. 

There is nothing cute about wasting time driving your aging husband around to doctors' appointments for high cholesterol or to hearing from doctors about how you need to lose weight.  Oh, and heavy breathing while eating?  DISGUSTING!  There is nothing Macho or Masculine about your frumpy body wearing a swim suit to the beach or gorging yourself on hamburgers and hot dogs until you need to remove your belt before heading to the couch for a post-dinner nap, only to snore while your wife does the dishes.  Sexy?  No.  You think your wife wants to crawl on top of that later?  Hardly.  Think you have a chance of scoring with another chick when your wife leaves you for someone who is not so gross?  Nope.

In addition, gentlemen, may I bring your attention over here to Exhibit B; When you think that eating healthier,  foregoing meat or dairy or going vegetarian makes you less of a man, WHO IN THE F*#& ARE YOU TRYING TO IMPRESS?   Other dudes?  (Not hating on my homo homies!...I said this was for the average man, but trust me, the same rules apply.)   Your male friends that are just as gross??    Or your wife who has had a sexy nightie and fishnets hiding in her panty drawer for years that have yet to make a guest appearance because you are too busy watching football with your hand down your pants to notice? 

Famous Vegetarian Men - just a short list of some Real Men.
Albert Einstein - If this man was veg, you know its not for dummies.
Mike Tyson - While he demonstrates canibalistic tendancies, he is veg and super healthy
Bob Harper - This man is about as sexy as they come, questionable sexual orientation and all.  :)
Woody Harrelson - Natural Born Lady Killer
Barry White - "Lets Get It On" - enough said.
Paul McCartney & George Harrison- did you ever have a Mania with crowds of girls screaming for you?  Doubt it. 
Bill Clinton - He had no problem getting tail
John Salley - former NBA Champion.  This tall drink o' water gets his strength from the same source as your steak: greens
Eddie Vedder - His voice alone makes clothes come off faster than tequila
Steve-O - He may staple his testicles to his leg but he won't eat meat!
Mac Danzig - This MMA fighter gets his energy from a vegan diet
Funny Men - Bill Cosby, Steve Martin & Jerry Seinfeld.  YES, I said Jerry Seinfeld.  Is a vegatarian. 
Two Words: Brad Pitt

Note* While my intention is not to preach a vegan diet, as I am not even really vegetarian, I'm just using it to prove a point so don't get your panties in a knot bitching about how you eat meat and get all the tail you want.  No one cares.

Tofu Salad Manwich
While SOY has been shown to increase estrogen levels when eaten in large quantites, a little once in a while will not kill you, make you grow man-boobs or shrink your ball bag.  It’s good and man-approved.
1 Block FIRM (Not silken) Tofu
2 Celery Stalks, sliced lengthwise and diced
½ Red Bell Pepper, diced
2 Green Onions, diced
½ Large Pickle, diced
1 Tbsp Prepared Mustard
1/3 C Vegan Mayo
2 Tbsp Dulse Flakes
1 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp Turmeric
½ tsp White Pepper
Salt & Pepper to taste
Drain and press tofu between a paper towels or a clean dish towel for a few minutes to drain excess water.  Crumble with your hands into a bowl and add remaining ingredients.  Mix with fork.  Spread it on your favorite bread, top with lettuce and tomatoes and indulge. 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Keeping your Kids Healthy in the Face of Adversity

When the whole world seems to think that cheese pizza is healthy and doesn't understand the true implications of their actions when eating, it is unfair when we who know better are the ones that are the outcasts.  This is especially hard for children and for the parents knowledgeable about health to love their children enough to not allow them to eat junk just because all of their friends are doing it. 

Addison had a birthday party to attend today for a sweet little girl in her class and as always, it was a mildly painful reminder of how hard it can be for a 5 year old who is 'not allowed' to eat dairy.  Parents tell me all of the time how they don't let their kids eat crap and how healthy they are at home, but they almost always, without fail, allow their children to indulge in junk when they are out.  A hot dog at the fair, birthday cake at parties and you'd be a terrible parent for not allowing your child to go trick--or-treating and stuff their faces with all of the tootsie rolls and snickers bars they could! 

Not me.  I love my children too much.  I have another post on 'moderation' coming soon, so for now Ill spare you that novel.  No, I will not allow my child to mindlessly gorge herself on candy laced with artificial colors and sweeteners.  And NO, eating the spare-body-part stuffed pig assholes at a carnival or cook-out is NOT an option!  And HELL NO knowing that dairy protein in lab tests literally turned cancer ON and OFF, I will not allow my precious babies to consume it!  No way.  No how. 

So how do you handle the birthdays?  The cook-outs?  The trip to Chuckie Cheese?  Avoid them at all costs and lock your child in a closet filled with carrot sticks and romaine lettuce?  No.  You lead by example, teach your children well and keep a pantry and freezer stocked with healthier options!  You also teach them a little trick called the little white lie.  No, I am not generally advocating teaching your children to lie, but you have to teach them that THEY are wiser and you have to dumb it down for people who just don't understand.  Congratulations, kids, you are officially ALLERGIC to artificial food!  At restaurants; At friend's houses; At school: Your child is allergic.  It is easier for them to understand and they will take you far more seriously.  If you tell someone you CHOOSE not to eat dairy, you will soon find your children force fed junk somewhere.  I have had family members sneak Addison M&Ms.  It is infuriating.  Take it seriously.  Treat it like a genuine severe allergy.  Make others do the same.

It is essential to make your own lunches for school and pack your own snacks and food for outings.  And, I really do NOT want to hear anyone complain about not having time on their hands.  Ive listened to people say that and caught them hours later in front of the boob tube.  If anyone doesn't have time its me....and I make time!  Its not freaking easy, but what choice do I have?  Eating shit is NOT an option for my family. 

Sit your child down.  Tell them what your family eats, what they don't eat and why.  Do not under estimate your children.  Talk to them like adults.  My daughter was 2 1/2 when we talked.  As you lead by example, the understanding will set in.  We still talk about it.  We talk about how most people think a certain way, but that we know better.  We feel sad for everyone else that doesn't understand how bad dairy and other ingredients can be and we watch as our friends get sick and suffer from allergies, while we are healthy almost all of the time.  Now 5, my daughter understand very well and I'm told, she has no problem educating her friends at school about it. 

Birthday parties is a tough one.  Before every birthday party, we sit down and have a talk.  We sit down and talk about the food that will be there and come up with favorite foods she can eat when we get home.  Pizza, cake and ice cream are most often the culprits.  Today, we ate right before going since it was a short party.  At time, Ive made vegan pizza and took it along.  Rude?  To some.  Do I care when it comes to my daughter feeling included and being healthy at the same time?  Not a freaking lick.  Ive brought my own cupcakes to parties for her.  But if we don't we agree to pig out on vegan ice cream or some other healthier version of (still) junk food when we get home.  Today, she pigged out on some So Delicious Coconut Mint Chip ice cream when we got home! 

There was one time when a dad piped up and made a scene about Addison, making her cry about not being able to eat the birthday cake.  To this I A) Piped up and told him in front of everyone exactly where he can shove that cake using as few 'potty' words as I could for making a little girl cry and B) Took Addison into the other room, sat her down and asked her how she felt and redirected her attention to the cupcakes we were going to make together at home.  (She LOVES to help in the kitchen!)

At cook-outs, Ive never had anyone give me the Stink Eye for bringing my own food.  Sure, we'll be made fun of in good humor but its always in fun and hosts will happily oblige by throwing a vegan hot dog or veggie burger on the grill. 

Halloween: Am I going to make my little angel sit at home while all of the neighborhood kids are running around like crack addicts in costumes on the streets?  Nope!  She goes trick or treating!  The past 2 years we went shopping prior to Halloween and let her pick out a couple of new toys.  These new toys were to stay in the packaging in a closet until after trick-or-treating.  We talked about what would happen and how she would have a pail filled with candy that she wasn't allowed to eat.  We talked about how when she got home, she could eat the candy OR she could trade in the candy for the toys and surprises.  I bought her a small arsenal of organic candy and dairy free chocolates and she had the new toys.  If a kid has the option of HALLOWEEN CANDY or OTHER CANDY AND TOYS, they will choose the latter.  You still need candy - just better kinds.  :)    As the child gets a little older you can trade for money.  Each piece of candy they trick-or-treat = .25 or so.  But save it until when all of the other kids are diving face first into their trick-or-treat pails.  It gives them something to look forward to so they still want to participate in the fun of dressing up and trick-or-treating.

At school events:  I have baked a dozen 'healthy' cupcakes, iced them and froze them individually.  Give them to the teacher for when other kids' parents bring in cupcakes for the class.  At Addison's Christmas and Thanksgiving Feast when parents could sign up to bring food, I literally signed up for half of the entire list.  Yes, it was a LOT of work making 4 casseroles and mashed potatoes AND a dessert to bring, but I damn well did it.  Three month old on my hip and all.  I will go out of my way to keep my child healthy and do whatever it takes so that she does not feel left out for being so! 
Most of all, talk to them.  Before events when you know they will face being an outcast, sit down and discuss what will happen and different ways you can handle it.  Then, reward!  Organic vegan cupcakes!  Dairy-free ice cream!  Hooray!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Product Review: Totally Nutty

Product Review: Upfront Foods Totally Nutty Granola

Upfront Foods contacted me a couple of weeks ago to try out their new product and I was thrilled when I saw it in my mailbox!  The packaging was super cute!  The granola is sold in small convienient 'grab n go' 1/2 cup portions, making it a quick and easy option when you're running out of the house or for a kids lunchbox.  I don't know about you, but after getting myself ready, my daughter dressed and fed and my baby dressed and fed all before 7:30 am, I always grab something quick that I can eat in the car on the way to school and then to the gym.  These little packs made a great option. 

Although the calorie count is a little high, it is full of heart healthy nuts, full of good fats (Yes! - there are good fats!).  The granola boasts 2 organic ingredients among the 9 listed.  I do wish the brown sugar was organic, as Im a freak about non-organic sugars, but the taste was pretty damn good.  Actually, it may have been one of the best granolas Ive ever had to be perfectly honest.  This granola wasn't too crunchy.  Often, when eating granola Im afraid of chipping a damn tooth.  This had just a light crunch and paired well with my non-dairy yogurt!  My 5 year old tried it and LOVED it! 

All in all, I would definately buy them.  And you will want to buy it too after you try it!  

The first 5 people to comment on this post will win 2 free 1.4oz grab n go packs of Totally Nutty Granola from Upfront Foods!  

Ready....set....go and tell me what you like to eat granola with!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Heart Breaker

Paging McFly!  It’s your favorite super sleuth here and I have some breaking news!  Its top secret and big industries do NOT want this classified information divulged to ANYONE!  I’m talking CIA shit over here!  I’m going to let you in on a secret and your mission, if you choose to accept it is to tell everyone you know!  I’m serious.  I want you to tell your spouse, your mother, your brother, your brother-from-another-mother, your kids Boy Scout leader, your pastor and your barista that you know the tried and true, indisputable fact about how to lower cholesterol FAST! 
You heard that right.  Food companies make millions by displaying a prominent red heart on their boxes in an attempt to convince us that by alone, shoving their ‘heart healthy’ cereal into your face that you will not only lose weight, but you will also lower your cholesterol.  We can’t buy into that, folks!  It’s hogwash!  Pharmaceutical companies make billions off of drugs that they sell and actually convince your doctors are the right answers all in the name of lowering that dreaded cholesterol number.  And, you, my friend, my humble blind mice, buy into the hype.  You trust your doctor with zero nutritional training.  You trust that our country wouldn’t allow such blasphemy and lies to be advertised all over the products we stock in our kitchens and homes.  You trust that when toilet paper says it’s not linty that it won’t leave your crotch looking like you were running outside naked in a snowstorm!  Well, it’s time to take matters into our own hands!  Are you ready for the secret?  The one fact that separates you from cholesterol freedom?!?!?
Are you sure?  Are you sitting down?  It’s so simple and has been right under our noses this whole time, but people are deliberately working so that you won’t recognize it.  Here it is…

The ONLY freaking food that contains dietary cholesterol AT ALL is the food that comes from ANIMALS!!!!

Yeahhhhhh….chew on that one for a while. 

Why would you want to eat this guy anyways?  He's a cutie!

This is not to confuse cholesterol with fats.  Fats do occur naturally in plant based foods, but cholesterol does NOT!  If you want to FLOOR your doctor....and I mean FLOOR!  Lower your cholesterol naturally by cutting the meat and dairy from your diet for a while.   You will be amazed!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

VK: Guest Post with Diary Of A Health Nut

VK: Guest Post with Diary Of A Health Nut

Check out my interview with Sarah Creighton from Veggie Kids!  Ignore the photo of my wild 'Left the Hairbrush at Home During Photoshoot Day' hair.   lol!

Party In the City Where the Heat is On

Just got back from vacation last night and today is Moving Day!  After weeks of hard work my blog has moved from its original location to our new home with a new look! 

A lot of exciting things are happening!  My facebook page is up to almost 10k!!  Im trying really hard to write my ebook of organic and fresh cocktails made withOUT premixed crap and inspired by fruits and veggies - all without being hungover daily.  ;)  Here's a sneak peek below!  I have been contacted my a number of people lately for interviews and companies wanting me to try their products...I hope they've read my blog and know Im brutally honest!  Anyhow, a lot is going on and I have some great informative blogs coming up as well. 

I took the weekend to vacation in Miami and visit family in my old stomping ground of Ft Lauderdale.  During the road trip down there, I stopped at Christophers Kitchen in Palm Beach Gardens.  I had the Raw Tacos and the Tomato Basil Trio, which consisted of a light 'cheese' spread on raw flax crackers topped guessed it!  Tomato and Basil!  The food was pricey, as are most raw restaurants and not a place youd want to go if your wallet is a little tight that week, but the staff was friendly ( a comfort considering the general public in south FL) and the food was really excellent.  Although they did not fill me up, they were really delicious and easy to eat in the car! 
After checking into our hotel and dropping the kids off with my amazing friend, it was off to Sublime with my husband and in-laws.  I've been there once before and loved it so much I had to go back.  It was unlike any vegan restaurant I have ever been to.  It does not display the fact that its vegan on the marquee, which is a great way to 'bait and switch' the many ignorant people who would otherwise pass it by based soley on the term.  While most vegan restaurants are hippie-dippie hole in the walls with local artwork adorning the interior and funky music playing overhead, Sublime is an upscale restaurant that makes you feel like you've just walked into a chic New York restaurant, mood lighting, phenomenal luxury decor and a layout like no other, making even your table in the middle of the restaurant feel like your own private den.  The prices can be steep, especially for the drinks, which will set you back about $10 for each one.  If you want to try everything, as in, order drinks for 2, meals for 2 and at least one appetizer, you're looking at spending $100-125 per couple.  Some of the meal prices are actually relatively good.  Between my husband and I we ordered: The Frito Misto (which is almost like vegan sweet and sour chicken...with cauliflower.  It.  Is.  Divine.), a bowl of the daily soup (Broccoli), Broccomoli Dip, Dynamite Roll, Thai Pizza, Mushroom Ravioli, 2 beers and 2 Mojitos and a side order of Mac N Cheese to go.  I think we spent about $125, not including tip.  Looking at that list, $125 doesnt sound bad at all, huh? 
Thai Pizza


SUBLIME interior - Very posh!
 The last stop was My Choices Vegan Cafe.  After our long day of sunbathing and snorkeling at the beach, I ordered the Chipotle Walnut Wrap, the Quesadilla and The Thinner Mint smoothie.  Hands down, excellent food.  The smoothie was delicious!  I'm dying to recreate it!  It tasted like chocolate mint but was loaded with spinach!  Sooo good!  Unfortunately, this is the one restaurant I didn't get any pictures of because I was SO hungry, I shoved it in my face so fast, there was no capturing its beauty on digital film before I annihilated it.  :)  The other meals I saw the kitchen produce to the waiters was mouthwatering as well and almost made me order more. 

Its really hard to pick a favorite.  Sublime gets my vote for ambiance.  It is truly in a league of its own.  For a quick meal at a reasonable price, My Choices Vegan Cafe gets my vote for best vegan lunch.  Its filling, delicious and a little less pricey than the other establishments. 

Jonah @ John U Lloyd Beach State Park

Addison & Uncle Jeff snorkeling

Amber is the color of your energy….Whoa…

SO….Have I been living under a rock???  Who in the hell knew about this and DIDN’T tell me?!?!?  If you knew and kept it a secret, please step forward so I can give you a good ole’ fashioned swift kick in the shins!  After commenting on a facebook post about teething in a natural parenting group I’m in that went something like this:
What do you for teething?  I want to try the tablets but is Belladonna OK for a baby?
Thinking Im so damn smart, I commented about the Chamomilla that Im giving my son and that Belladonna is perfectly safe, yada yada yada. 
Well, every other post on the thread mentioned AMBER Necklaces.  I was clueless!  After hearing that one of the moms in the group sells them, I ran  to buy one that afternoon.  ANYTHING to calm my fussy ass baby!  (I mean that in the most endearing way possible!) 
This magical little necklace is to be work, not ‘teethed’ on.  Taken from Amber Artisans online,
                "Currently, there are two different thoughts as to why wearing amber on the skin can have soothing and calming effects on teething children. One thought suggests that when amber is worn on the skin, the skin's warmth releases miniscule amounts of healing oils from amber which are then absorbed through the skin into the bloodstream. The other theory is based on scientific findings which have shown that amber is electromagnetically alive and produces significant amounts of organic, purely natural energy.”
Anyone who knows my baby knows how fussy he can be with his teething.  Just hours after purchasing this wondrous piece of jewelry, we took the family to meet some friends for dinner.  In public.  With a teething baby.  Something I have lately been trying to avoid.  Jonah sat in the highchair the ENTIRE time, just playing with the toys we had brought.  No screaming.  No crying.  No tugging at my shirt in a plea for some luscious boob juice.  Nothing.  Just smiles and quiet.  I am a believer.  Its calming effect was seriously like magic and I’ve been telling everyone I know about it so one day they can’t come to me with a threat about kicking my shins.  You’re been told!!  Go forth and tell others!  J

Here's a laugh to get you through your day!

Took this from a friend's FB page.  Too funny not to share.  Happy Hump Day.

Lessons to learn before having Children:

Lesson 1

1. Go to the grocery store.
2. Arrange to have your salary paid directly to their head office.
3. Go home.
4. Pick up the paper.
5. Read it for the last time.

Lesson 2

Before you finally go ahead and have children, find a couple who already are parents and berate them about their...
1. Methods of discipline.
2. Lack of patience.
3. Appallingly low tolerance levels.
4. Allowing their children to run wild.
5. Suggest ways in which they might improve their child's breastfeeding, sleep habits, toilet training, table manners, and overall behavior.
Enjoy it because it will be the last time in your life you will have all the answers.

Lesson 3

A really good way to discover how the nights might feel...
1. Get home from work and immediately begin walking around the living room from 5PM to 10PM carrying a wet bag weighing approximately 8-12 pounds, with a radio turned to static (or some other obnoxious sound) playing loudly. (Eat cold food with one hand for dinner)
2. At 10PM, put the bag gently down, set the alarm for midnight, and go to sleep.
3. Get up at 12 and walk around the living room again, with the bag, until 1AM.
4. Set the alarm for 3AM.
5. As you can't get back to sleep, get up at 2AM and make a drink and watch an infomercial.
6. Go to bed at 2:45AM.
7. Get up at 3AM when the alarm goes off.
8. Sing songs quietly in the dark until 4AM.
9. Get up. Make breakfast. Get ready for work and go to work (work hard and be productive)

Repeat steps 1-9 each night. Keep this up for 3-5 years. Look cheerful and together.

Lesson 4

Can you stand the mess children make? T o find out...
1. Smear peanut butter onto the sofa and jam onto the curtains.
2. Hide a piece of raw chicken behind the stereo and leave it there all summer.
3. Stick your fingers in the flower bed.
4. Then rub them on the clean walls.
5. Take your favorite book, photo album, etc. Wreck it.
6. Spill milk on your new pillows. Cover the stains with crayons. How does that look?

Lesson 5

Dressing small children is not as easy as it seems.
1. Buy an octopus and a small bag made out of loose mesh.
2. Attempt to put the octopus into the bag so that none of the arms hang out.

Time allowed for this - all morning.

Lesson 6

Forget the BMW and buy a mini-van. And don't think that you can leave it out in the driveway spotless and shining. Family cars don't look like that.
1. Buy a chocolate ice cream cone and put it in the glove compartment.
Leave it there.
2. Get a dime. Stick it in the CD player.
3. Take a family size package of chocolate cookies. Mash them into the back seat. Sprinkle cheerios all over the floor, then smash them with your foot.
4. Run a garden rake along both sides of the car.

Lesson 7

Go to the local grocery store. Take with you the closest thing you can find to a pre-school child. (A full-grown goat is an excellent choice). If you intend to have more than one child, then definitely take more than one goat. Buy your week's groceries without letting the goats out of your sight. Pay for everything the goat eats or destroys. Until you can easily accomplish this, do not even contemplate having children.

Lesson 8

1. Hollow out a melon.
2. Make a small hole in the side.
3. Suspend it from the ceiling and swing it from side to side.
4. Now get a bowl of soggy Cheerios and attempt to spoon them into the swaying melon by pretending to be an airplane.
5. Continue until half the Cheerios are gone.
6. Tip half into your lap. The other half, just throw up in the air.

You are now ready to feed a nine- month-old baby.

Lesson 9

Learn the names of every character from Sesame Street , Barney, Disney, the Teletubbies, and Pokemon. Watch nothing else on TV but PBS, the Disney channel or Noggin for at least five years. (I know, you're thinking What's 'Noggin'?) Exactly the point.

Lesson 10

Make a recording of Fran Drescher saying 'mommy' repeatedly. (Important: no more than a four second delay between each 'mommy'; occasional crescendo to the level of a supersonic jet is required). Play this tape in your car everywhere you go for the next four years. You are now ready to take a long trip with a toddler.

Lesson 11

Start talking to an adult of your choice. Have someone else continually tug on your skirt hem, shirt- sleeve, or elbow while playing the 'mommy' tape made from Lesson 10 above. You are now ready to have a conversation with an adult while there is a child in the room.

This is all very tongue in cheek; anyone who is parent will say 'it's all worth it!' Share it with your friends, both those who do and don't have kids. I guarantee they'll get a chuckle out of it. Remember, a sense of humor is one of the most important things you'll need when you become a parent!

New Products Review

Product Review!

I recently found some new options for non-dairy milk at the health food store! I love trying new things do I bought them both!

Sunsational Vanilla Non-Dairy Beverage (made from sunflower kernels)
80 calories per 8oz
3.5g fat
4g fiber
6g sugar
2g protein
Vitamin A 20%
Folate 15%
Calcium 8%

Aside from its gray color, it has a good flavor with a nutty aftertaste. It's literally the color of sunflower seeds which doesn't bother me, but may turn off some.

Good Karma Flax Milk
50 calories per 8oz
2.5g fat
7g sugar
0 protein
0 fiber
Vitamin A 10%
Calcium 30%
Vitamin D 25%
Phosphorus 15%
Vitamin B12 25%

White color. I was surprised to find that this has 0 fiber, which is a minor downfall since I eat a high fiber diet. HOWEVER, it is loaded with Calcium and B12 which is a big deal for you vegans! It's the original flavor and surprisingly sweet. This one gets my vote. Also boasts 1200mg of Omega 3s.

Both are vegan, gluten free and soy free an both are creamy and yummy. Flax milk gets my vote though. It was pricey but I'll be buying this one again. :)

Your Mom!

Ok...not really.  My mom!  I never get tired of Your Mom jokes. 

Wanted to share my mom's personal journey that I kind of forced her into. 

All of my life my mom was diabetic.  She 'controlled' her disease for years with meds.  Now she's getting older and seeing half a dozen different kinds of doctors that don't know their ass from their elbows.  Her physician says one thing.  Her kidney doctor (she has 3 BTW!) says the opposite.  How is a girl to know what to do?

Shortly after I started my health journey, my mom was hospitalized for surgery and had to have 8" of her colon removed, as a colonoscopy proved she had some rather large polyps.  When she returned home is the day I bum rushed their home and ransacked their pantry.  I chucked about half of their food, pissing off dad as he watched his Rocky Road Ice Cream melting into the trash.  Then, I shoved about 4 bags of groceries from our health food store at them, pinned a paper with What To Eat and What Not To Eat on their fridge with a magnet and left.  Tough Love.  Tough Shit!...Ill be damned if I'm gonna stand by while a friend or family member is slowly killing themselves without even knowing it! 

Fast forward a couple of years and her health is still not great.  She claims she's eating healthy but when I see her restaurant orders or the food she makes at home, I know she's not following My Rules exactly.  That was until New Years this year.  My mom's New Years Resolution was to go vegan, finally.  Well...not really...but to eat how I eat and finally say a final goodbye to her much loved dairy.  Farewell!

About a month ago she went to the doctor who tested her blood for the first time after the holidays when she still ate junk.  The doctor informed her she would need to go on insulin.  Major Fail!  She informed the doctor that she was trying to be more vegan and explained to her how her FAVORITE DAUGHTER (lol....jk) eats and shockingly, her doctor told her to talk to Little Ol Me. 

She gave her 1 month to turn things around after 30 years of living with this, so needless to say, I had my work cut out for me.  Armed with my advice,
Kris Carr's Crazy Sexy Diet book and a great cookbook from The Happy Herbivore, she got to work cooking and discovering new foods! 

Less than a week ago my mom showed up at my door to inform me that after visiting the doctor again, she was removed from all but 1 pill and was told that the way things are looking, she will likely be off of that one too!  For the first time in over 30 years my mom may actually be off meds!! 

This is her letter: 
(Note: when she says Vegan, she means Almost Vegan.  Small amount of seafood and some other non vegan ingredients are in her diet, but only in small quantities)

"For 30 years  I have been a Type 2 diabetic.  Over these years I have really never been successful at controlling it.  I've been on numerous diabetic medications, combining some for an extra "punch".  A couple of month's ago, my primary care doctor suggested that I go on insulin.  Doing this would move me up in status from Type 2 to Type 1 Insulin dependent.  I swore to myself that I would never go on insulin without a fight.  I asked my doctor if she would give me one month to try and control this.  This statement was almost laughable since there had been no success in 30 years!!!!   "One month, that's it" she said.  When she asked me what I was going to do that would be any different from what I've done in the past, I told her that my daughter, Megan, was vegan and extremely knowledgeable on the subject.  To my surprise, my doctor gave me her approval to try this.  "But just for a month"!!!!  she repeated.  I went from the doctor's office straight to my daughter's house.  I got a crash course from Megan and knew I could go to her with any questions I might have.  During this time I was also seeing a kidney doctor.  My kidneys have already lost function from the diabetes.  I told this doctor that I was going vegan and, surprisingly enough, he too, had no objections.  Well today I went for my appointment with. the kidney doctor. So far one diabetes medicine had been eliminated and today another medication was cut in half.  My doctor's next statement made me do a "happy dance"!!!!!......."don't be surprised if I take those away completely next month!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!".Damage has already been done to my kidney's but the diabetes will not rob me of more.  I'm going to work on trying to increase the kidney function.  I've had this disease for 30 years, and a simple, healthy, way of eating has made all the difference in the world.  To think I might be medication free in another month!!!!!!  I also have more energy than I've had in years.  I can't thank Megan enough for her guidance.  Being vegan ROCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
-Linda Dice (my mom) 


I'll keep you posted on how she does.  Since last week, she is down another few pounds and is walking at least a mile a day.  After I got tired of listening to her horror stories of doomsday doctors, she made an appointment for a holistic health care provider in Orlando that specializes in diabetes and other diseases. 

Have a Happy Healthy First Day of Spring! 

Shooting Up

> Yesterday, my children's pediatrician, Dr. Cornelia Franz taught a class at an Orlando hospital about immunizations that I was lucky enough to attend! As a 'modern day urban naturalist', I was excited to learn all that I could! When Jonah was born (6 months ago today!) Dr Franz informed me that in her practice she would not begin vaccinating if we chose to, until 6 months of age, and of course, for her protection, she can't tell me which ones to do or not, if any. I was told to educate myself and do my research. I had 6 months. Well, since Jonah had reflux and colic at first which went away only to give way to teething, I've had little time on my hands so when I heard about this class, I was thrilled! My husband watched the kids so I good friend and I could attend the class. I would highly recommend a similar class to anyone pregnant or considering having a child. It's so important to be informed!!
> Basically, there's far too much information to repeat but I'll give you some basic cliff notes. The information I learned was only reinforcing What I've been reading about in Jenny mcCarthys books. (Check out my homepage at to see what I'm reading now!).
> Some basic facts:
> Random factoid learned: a butterfly is the only species that ACTUALLY changes its DNA during metamorphosis!
> If you get chicken pox (which, btw, everyone had when I was a kid and no one died from it) you are immune for life. With the vaccine, it's not lifelong immunity.
> You only have a 20 WEEK window to have your infant vaccinated for rotavirus!!! What? 12-32 weeks. You mean to tell me my little baby with a developing immune system is supposed to get shots at that young with no other option??
> Yes, the life expectancy used to be much lower due to viral disease etc.....BUT many of those we now understand have more natural solutions. Example: unless you have a DEEP DIRTY wound that's sits dirty, you can easily clean a cut to avoid tetanus.
> In June 2011 Formaldehyde was officially declared a carcinogen. Something most of us have been saying for decades. Formaldehyde is in MOST vaccines! Yes, this means you are, in actuality, injecting cancer into your infant.
> Aluminum has a +2 charge, the same as Mercury, which is a KNOWN DEADLY TOXIN. Aluminum is not any different and is in most vaccines! For decades it has been a KNOWN NEUROTOXIN! It is harmful to all cells in the body. Aluminum concentrates in organs like the brain, liver and thyroid.
> Injections bypass the body's natural immune defense. Whether by design or evolution, our body's are generally efficient at protecting us. By injecting crap into our bodys, we are overriding that.
> 90% of Pertussis cases (Whooping Cough) are in developing countries. No matter what you do, it lasts 1-3 months.
> The Center for Disease Control (CDC) considers 3 cases nationally an Epidemic. (epidemic creates fear. Fear creates action. I.e. vaccines. =big money for Big Pharma!)
> Rubella aka 3 Day Measles only really affects pregnant women. But, we vaccinate our INFANTS?!? Hmmm...
> To all my VEGAN friends: many shots are NOT vegan and contain egg protein and gelatin. One of these is the FLU SHOT. Which, btw, only accounted for certain strains of the virus. Who can say what strain is going around this year? NO ONE. It's a waste. Fear.
> Systemic autoimmune disease an be related to repeated vaccinations!
> MSG is in the Varivax, Rotavirus ad MMRV vaccines! MSG! It is unquestionably a neurotoxin. We are not even supposed to EAT IT....but the CDC says INJECTING IT is ok?!?! Pay attention people! If you're not pissed off, you're not paying attention!
> We are literally injecting known toxins into our babies!
> Mississippi and West Virginia are the only states that require a Medical Exemption to not be vaccinated for school. Lesson: Dont Live In Mississippi or West Virginia! We're talking about our kids....our flesh and blood. I'd move my kids on a dime across the world to keep them safe.
> Autism is now 1:80
> Although vaccines cannot be blamed entirely for autism it is undeniably a major contributor.
> Vaccines 'flip a genetic swutch' and can allow pervasive diseases to develop such as autism, eczema, ADHD, allergic reactions...)
> 10 'healthy' newborns were tested in a study and found an average of 250 toxins in them!!
> This is the first time a generation is NOT predicted to outlive their parents!
> There ARE SOME circumstances when vaccine benefits outweighs risks. Sickle Cell Disease is one. If you are traveling to a developing country, this is another. Do your research!
> If you eat right and maintain a healthy lifestyle, your immune system will do it's job!
> Autism has seen a 6000% increase in the past 20 years!
> Asthma has seen a 400% increase.
> ADHD - 300% increase
> For you pro-lifers, the Rubella vaccine is grown on aborted fetus cells. Protest that next time you want to infringe on someone's rights! 

The Daptacel: Acellualr Pertussis vaccine contains, amonng other things, Glutaraldehyde which causes Asthma.  This lovely cootie cocktail also contains Phenoxyethanol, which is a substance also in jet fuel, paint laquer an is used as a stabilizer in perfumes.  It breaks down to phenal & acetaldehyde, which can disable the immune mechanism.

Tween 80 is a substance found in most vaccines that assists other chemicals pass the blood-brain barrier.  So, essentially, this is what can help all those other disgusting chemicals make a bee line for the brain.  Great!!  

Gardasil is the vaccine we've seen commercials for that supposedly will save out daughters from a life destined for cervical cancer!  Within weeks of introducing this potent piece of shit, 4 of 120 girls died on India!  They no longer sell it.  Somehow, we do!  So if you were in Infia and disappointed that you weren't in line fast enough, come on over here to the US!  Because we couldnt care less about anything but the bottom profit margin!  Aside from those tragic deaths, this vaccine only covers 4 of the over 100 HPV strains!!!  And it only covers 2 effectively.  So...if you are certain tht your daughter is going to be SUCH a skank that she will undoubtably contract at least 98 strains, the odds are probably in her favor that you get her vaccinated.  

On that note, HEPATITIS B?!?  Really?  Because unless you plan on selling your you g precious baby into the sex slave industry or introducing them to your questionable lifestyle of sharing needles, their risk for getting this disease is virtually nonexistent.  Suck on that.
> ------The following is me - not mentioned by Dr Franz ------
> Know what's in your vaccines! Don't allow yourself to be bullied by your doctor who SHOULD be looking out for your best interest and should support any decision you make, so long as it is an informed one!
> A local pediatric office here in Lakeland, FL, Lakeside Pediatrics will not allow their patients to be unvaccinated. I know of clients who were informed they were being DROPPED based on their decision to not vaccinate. Their excuse for dropping patients?  That the unvaccinated patients were a risk to their healthy patients....YOU MEAN THE VACCINATED ONES?  If the damn vaccines are so wonderful, I would be worrying about the UNvaccinated kids.  Morons.  Find another doctor!!!  I went through 3 or 4 pediatricians before we could Dr Franz.
> According to books I've read, although Mercury or Thermosil was taken out of vaccines, they supposedly still contain trace amounts. Mercury is a DEADLY TOXIN. A DEADLY TOXIN IN SMALL DOSES IS STILL A DEADLY TOXIN!
> Keep your immune system healthy! I've blogged about my past before. I grew up sick all of the time. Not 'sickly', but I had strep throat all the time, tonsillitis was nothing new to me. 'walking pneumonia' was my diagnosis at least twice. I had Mono 'the kissing disease' in 6th grade....before I ever kissed someone that wasn't a family member! (and I mean that in the non-inbred context, lol). When I changed my diet 3 years ago now, I've had cold symptoms maybe 4 days in those 3 years. Eat mostly organic. No dairy. Remember: the 4 biggest sprayed crops are SOY, COTTON, CORN & CANOLA. Wheat is another big one. Don't eat these unless they are organic because otherwise you are more than likely consuming toxic materials.
> If you want to complain to someone that's not Merck! 1-800-444-2080!

What came AFTER the chicken and the egg???


Ladies and Gents...I present you with the worlds first vegan omelette!  Ok, ok...not the first...but the BEST!  Hold your applause....Its no secret I'm not really a vegan...just 99% of the time.  I eat backyard chicken eggs for the nutrition they provide, but only seldomly as to not clog my beautiful arteries.  The thing was, even though I ate eggs, I would only eat 1 at a time and maybe once a week, or less.  So, my days of delving into a cheesy veggie filled omelette I thought were over.  I used to make a damn good omelette.  In fact, I had perfected the art of it.  I am convinced I have now finally perfected the art of the vegan omelette as well. 

As far as I know this has not been I'm pret-ty damn proud of this recipe.  I knew tofu would have to be the 'egg', but I couldn't figure out how to hold it together so it wasn't just another tofu scramble.  Then in came to me....drum roll please....

.....DAIYA CHEESE!!!  Its cheesy.  It melts.  Its stretches.  It binds.  Its perfect!

And what could be more perfect???  How about a recipe that only had FIVE ingredients?  You are only 5 ingredients away from the best vegan omelette ever made!  I know, I know...where have I been your whole life? 

As for the veggies, be creative!  The thing about most of my recipes is that it allows for you to use what you have in many of them.  Many times Ill be following a recipe and realize I forgot you don't have onions, use garlic, or peppers, or whatever you find in your fridge.  The recipe calls for 3 C of veggies.  I am personally a GIANT fan of the onion, mushroom and pepper combo, but use what you have.  Spinach is great.  Zucchini or yellow squash would be good.  Yellow onion, white onion, red onion...whatever you have available will do. Also, if its time to head to your farmers market because you're low on veggies, you could also use Cheddar style Daiya as a filler, or some vegan deli 'meats', chopped up. Thats one of the reasons I loved omelettes to begin with!  They're so easy and you can throw in whatever you have! 

So...without further adieu...
....the worlds first Perfect Vegan Omelette
1 Block FIRM tofu, (NOT silken) drained
2 Tbsp prepared yellow mustard
1/3 C Daiya mozzarella style cheese
1 Tbsp vegan butter
3 C veggies for omelette (I used onions, mushrooms and bell peppers)
Salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste (optional)

In  a food processor fitted with an S blade, process the tofu until smooth, stopping several times to scrape the sides and push clumps down.  Add mustard and process again until it is a faint yellow color.  Add the Daiya and pulse until just combined and slightly don't want chunks of 'cheese' but you don't want to pulverize it so much that it doesn't do its job to bind. 

Now you can do both the omelette and veggies at the same time like I did, but if you suck at multitasking in the kitchen, do your veggies first and set the tofu mix aside until ready to cook. 

Heat vegan butter in a skillet over medium heat.  Add your veggies and cook about 8-10 minutes until softened.  Remove from heat.

Now heres the fun part: Coat an omelette pan with non-stick cooking spray and turn the heat to medium-high.  Before it starts smoking (Cancer alert!  No smoking oil!) but is hot, add 1/3 C of the tofu mix.  Now, it wont fall and spread like an egg does.  It will fall into a pile.  Use a spatula to spread it out to cover the pan.  Holes will come through from the heat, but gently use your spatula to move the 'egg' to cover the holes until its a solid circle.  I promise, once you start, its easy...its just fair warning that your not going to pour it into the pan and it spread like a normal omelette. 

Allow it to sit there and cook over med-high heat (about 6-7 on an electric stovetop) for about 8 minutes.  Using a spatula, you can test the sides to check that its ready...when its not liquid anymore and more pancake-like as far as 'flipability' goes, lol.  When its done, pile your veggies onto one side of it.  Then, using your spatula, carefully flip the other side over onto the veggies.  Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes while the tofu mix covers and cooks into your veggies.

Voila!  I swear...Its divine!!  Try it!

Ain't No Spring Chick'n

So I've had the plan to veganize a favorite childhood casserole that my mom used to make and is likely the only time I would eat broccoli as a child. I've been dying to recreate it but was intimidated by the list of non-vegan ingredients that I would have to make substitutes for. Well, my friends...I have officially veganized cream soups for cooking with! If jarred and refrigerated they even get gelatinous like the junk Campbells crap.

Chick'n Broccoli Casserole
10oz bag frozen organic broccoli florets
2 Tbsp vegan butter
8oz white button mushrooms, sliced
1 C Imagine No Chicken broth (or other vegan chicken flavored broth)
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp poultry seasoning
1/4 tsp parsley
1/4 tsp curry powder
3 Tbsp non-GMO cornstarch
1 C soy creamer
1 Tbsp high heat cookin oil
1 package Gardein Chick'n Scallopini
1/3 C Vegenaise
1/2 tsp lemon juice
3/4 C Daiya cheddar shreds
1 C organic vegan stuffing mix

Preheat over to 350 degrees.

Steam broccoli until fork tender. Set aside.

Pulse sliced mushrooms in a food processor a few times until they are chopped small.  Likewise, you could use a knife to chop them fine. 

While broccoli is steaming, melt butter in skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms and cook until mushrooms soften, brown an release liquids. Turn heat to medium high and add broth and seasonings. In a separate bowl, whisk cornstarch into soy creamer. When broth and mushrooms begin to boil, add the soy creamer mixture. Whisk constantly until thickened. Remove to bowl to cool slightly. In the same skillet, heat oil and add Chick'n Scallopini. Season with salt and pepper (optional). Cook both sides ad when it softens, use your spatula or a knife to cut them into bite size pieces in the skillet. Continue to cook until lightly browned. Remove from heat.

Layer broccoli in bottom on 9x9 square baking dish. Layer Chick'n on top. Mix vegenaise and lemon juice into the mushroom mixture and pour on top of chick'n. Spread a layer of Daiya on top of that and finally, top it off with the stuffing, lightly pressing on top to set it in there.

Bake in preheated oven for 30minutes.


Taste the Rainbow

So it seems I have several people looking for quick go-to meals to help them transition to a plant centered diet. Below is my absolute favorite go-to meal. I literally eat it at least 4-5x a week because I love it so much. I created after having the ultimate Stare Down competition with the fridge. I eat mostly fresh food so cooking and preparation are a must with nearly every meal. No Heat & Eats here! The sauce is so simple and if you have the ingredients in front of you, will whip up in 60 seconds or less. The most time consuming part is cutting veggies, unless you fancy yourself a Quick Draw McGraw with a knife like I do, in which cutting the veggies is not only super fast but therapeutic if you need to release any pent up aggression! This can serve about 4 lunch portions (unless you me, it only makes 2! Yum Yum) or as a side dish o compliment a meal, can serve 6-8. Hope you enjoy this as much as I do!

Warm Quinoa Salad with Wilted Kale & Veggies
2 C Water
1 C rinsed organic quinoa
2 stalks curly kale, ribs removed and chopped (makes about 2-3 C)
2 1/2 C Chopped assorted veggies! *
See Note Below1 Recipe Sesame Dijon Sauce (Recipe Below)

*Time to clear our that produce drawer in your fridge! Eat a rainbow. In the one pictured I used red cabbage, red and orange bell peppers and yellow summer squash. Other good add-ins are frozen peas, frozen broccoli, zucchini, shredded carrots.

Bring water to a boil in large saucepan. Add quinoa and return to boil.  Cover and simmer 10 minutes.

Remove cover of saucepan and dump in all your veggies on top.  Cover again and continue simmering 5 more minutes.

Remove from heat, uncover, mix veggies into quinoa.  The hot quinoa will continue to cook the veggies for a couple of minutes so don't fret if their not soft enough yet! 

Mix with sauce.  Enjoy!

Sesame Dijon Sauce
3 Tablespoons Tahini
3 Tablespoons Braggs Liquid Aminos (or tamari or shoyu)
3 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard
3 Tablespoons filtered Water

Whisk all ingredients together. 

...or is that the smell of exhaustion and baby poo?  Oh well.  In an effort to post a Valentines menu BEFORE Valentines Day, Ryan and I had an early Valentines dinner.  I had this idea in my head of stunning pictures of my romantic table spread where the vibrant colors of the raspberries in the parfait glowed and the lemon twist on my martini glistened against the backdrop.  Let's just say I failed miserably! 

We put the kids to bed early and I started cooking.  We set our romantic bistro table up with candles and set out the food - only to be insanely disappointed by the pictures.  I am apparently not a photographer!  (Soo..the pics here are my leftovers in the daylight!)

I've always wanted to plan a Valentines Day meal.  We usually go out and I was excited at the challenge to create a visually appealing meal that was also not too rich or heavy on the belly and contained a plethora of popular aphrodisiacs.  The aphrodisiac food I included in the meal are: avocados, almonds, asparagus, garlic (Yes!  even garlic is an aphrodisiac!  Your partner wont care about your garlic breath is you both have it!  It cancels each other out.), raspberries and last but not least: ROSE!

The menu: (items in pink are believed to be aphrodisiacs!)

Spinach Salad with Bitchin' Dressing, Avocado slices and slivered Almonds.
Portobella Asparagus Pasta (Gluten Free - with Red Pepper Flakes & Garlic!)
Raspberry Cheesecake Parfaits
Lemon Rose Martini

Mouth watering yet?  Here are the recipes:

Spinach Salad with Bitchin' Dressing, Avocado slices and slivered Almonds.3 C fresh organic spinach
1/4 C Bitchin' Dressing2 Tbsp raw slivered almonds
1/4 of one haas avocado, sliced into 4 sections

Toss dressing with spinach and divide among 2 plates.  Top each with 2 avocado slices and 1 Tbsp slivered almonds.  To kick it up even more, use baby arugula instead of spinach.  (I would have if my husband liked arugula!)

Portobella Asparagus Pasta
2 Tbsp high heat cooking oil (Canola, coconut or avocado)
1 C sliced baby bella mushrooms
1/2 lb asparagus, broken in half, woody ends discarded
4 cloves garlic
1 tsp red pepper flakes (or more to turn up the heat!)
1/4 c red wine
1 package Gluten Free Linguini (I like quinoa linguini), cooked according to package
1/4 C Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil (of good quality!)
S&P to taste

Heat oil in skillet over medium heat and add mushrooms, asparagus, garlic and red pepper flakes.  Stir occasionally about 5 minutes until mushrooms and asparagus begin to soften.  Add red wine and cover another 5 minutes.  

Turn heat off and toss veggies with pasta and olive oil.  Serve immediately.

Raspberry Cheesecake Parfaits
1 Package Soft Silken Tofu
4oz (Just eyeball and cut down the middle of the tub) Vegan cream cheese
1/3 C powdered organic sugar
1/3 C organic sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
zest of 1/2 lemon
1/3 C Graham cracker crumbs
1/2 C frozen organic raspberries

In a food processor, combine all ingredients except for the raspberries and graham cracker crumbs. 
Put 2 Tbsp Graham cracker crumbs in the bottom of each of 2 wine or martini glasses.  Top each with about 1/4 of the cheesecake filling and then with several raspberries.  Top each with the remaining cracker crumbs, and then another layer of cheesecake filling and raspberries.  Chill in the fridge for several hours, or if serving sooner, chill in the freezer for 30 minutes or so.

Now for the fun part!  BTW: I took about a dozen pictures and couldn't get a damn one to look good in the lighting!  Also - the lemon spiral was quite a fiasco and something I need to work on!  Lol

Lemon Rose MartiniJuice of 2 lemons
3/4 C Organic Vodka
1 Tbsp Raw Agave Nectar
1 tsp Rosewater
2 Tbsp Raw sugar or organic sugar

In a cocktail shaker over ice, add lemon juice, vodka, agave and rosewater.  Now shake it like a salt shaker!  Then, for the perfect rim job, use the leftover lemon to run along the rim of each martini glass.  Then, with the sugar in a shallow dish, dip each glass in.  Voila!
Garnish with a lemon spiral.

Eat Your Heart Our Paula Deen!

Although I didn't stay true to the entire recipe veganizing along the way, it is similar and got great reviews from my husband, daughter and friend! Then, it's followed by the yummy drink I concocted and am sipping now!

Serves 6

2 Tbsp high heat cooking oil (I used organic canola)
1 package Tofurky Smoked Sausage Style, quartered lengthwise then sliced
1/2 Medium onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 green bell pepper, coarsely chopped
3 celery ribs, sliced
1/2 Tbsp dried parsley
1/3 C unbleached flour
2 Tbsp vegan butter
1/4 C Worcestershire sauce (vegan)
2 Tbsp Braggs or tamari
3 C Imagine's 'No-Chicken Broth' (or other faux chicken broth or veg broth)
1 Not-Beef bullion cube
1 Can Muir Glen fire roasted diced tomatoes (in liquid!)
2 C sliced frozen okra

Heat oil in Dutch oven. Add Tofurky sausage and cook over med/high heat until it starts to brown. Add onion, garlic, celery, pepper and parsley. Cook about 5 minutes over medium heat until they begin to soften. Move veggies with spatula to one side of Dutch over and add flour to the other side. Whisk flour to 'toast'. Add vegan butter to flour side and whisk together about a minute or so and then start to whisk with some of the veggies and sausage to incorporate. Add Worcestershire and Braggs and whisk together. Add broth and bullion and continue whisking until gumbo thickens a little bit, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and okra, stir, cover and simmer for about 20-30 minutes for flavors to blend. Optional: add hot sauce to taste! (I have a 4 year old so heat is always optional an added at the end).

Raspberry MojitoServes 2

1/4 C frozen organic raspberries
1 Lime, quartered
2 mint sprigs
3oz white rum
1 12oz can organic or natural lemon-lime soda (I used Whole Foods brand)

Divide raspberries, lime quarters and mint evenly among 2 glasses. Muddle, ad ice and 1.5oz rum. Top each with lemon-lime soda. Cheers!