Monday Musings… Crabby Cakes NOT!

Hearts of Palm Cakes with Chipotle Relish and Shaved Kale
Hearts of Palm Cakes with Chipotle Relish and Shaved Kale

I shared this picture in my post last week when I featured my Vegan Wine Weekend Culinary experience. I already knew that I wanted to make these little gem of a spin on Crab Cakes. My journey of eating plant-based had left me missing some seafood, crab cakes being one of them. With Mother’s day on the horizon and the thought of having dinner at Momma’s and trying not to let her cook loomed in the sky! With my new culinary gumption in hand I decided it was time to make these little gems!

My Momma is a great cook, and she really likes seafood A LOT! I knew she would go for a plant-based meal, she loves me like that… but the rest of the family? Since it was Mother’s day too, I didn’t want to deprive my Mom of flavors she really enjoys. My sister Diana was in charge of making some chicken for the men and others in the fam that just don’t want to venture to the wild side of plants! I am ever thankful though that my family will eat veggies because we served up some of our go to veggies; grilled asparagus, roasted potatoes and of course a glorious green salad with this dinner.

I am just here to tell you, when you transition from a meat, or processed food diet to a plant-based diet, you do not have to lament over what you are loosing… you need to celebrate what  you are gaining, which is your health AND you will start tasting things you never had before. Processed food dulls our food senses and causes all kinds of stupid cravings in our body that lead us to eating “stuff” that does just that, stuffs us and does not nourish our bodies and give us what we need.

Sorry, you know me I have to get on my “health soap box.” Now back to the cakes and why you should make up a batch. The “crab meat” is achieved by breaking down artichoke hearts to resemble the consistency of crab. The combination of toasted nori sheets and Old Bay spice bring in the magical illusion of all things from the sea, without the mercury and what other unknowns might be lurking in commercial crab meat today! Combine that with some Vegenaise (yes this dish is one that I diverge into a little oil loving) that is mingled with well-chosen spices and you will think you are sitting at a little cafe in Maryland eating up some good ole crab cakes as the fishing boats glide by.

Before you look at the recipe and say nope, too much recipe, too many parts. STOP, one thing I learned from my culinary weekend, was trust the process and break it down. Since I was making these for Sunday I made sure I had all my ingredients at hand. Saturday I made the remoulade, which maybe took 10-15 minutes with clean up. I also went ahead and chopped up the peppers, onions and toasted the nori sheets I would need for the next day. So all total with clean up I may have spent 1/2 hour on the cakes Saturday.

Sunday I was able to mix up the cakes and as I let them do their thing (they need to sit in the fridge after mixing for 1/2 hour) I was able to find other projects to work on in the kitchen, plus I had the added distraction of my nephews stopping by after church! I made up the patties, packed them in a container and they were ready to take to my Momma’s for cooking at eating!

This was Momma's plate!
This was Momma’s plate!

Of course you can see I didn’t get too fancy on the plating like we did at my culinary weekend. I didn’t want to send my family into overload with both a full on Veg meal and fancy presentations. Look at all that green on Mom’s plate… I can’t take too much credit here, she always served up salad and veggies with our meals! But this is a no meat plate and a yummy one at that. I can’t believe my Mom actually allowed my sister and I to be int the kitchen and not help with anything. She only had to throw out a few reminders on timing :) and a well needed suggestion so I wouldn’t burn myself cooking the cakes. I will say she looked a little lost in her kitchen at the other end instead of at the stove or chopping station at the end of the counter! It was my turn to give a little love in the kitchen through food like she has for so many years.

So the verdict on the crab cakes? Mom really liked them, my sister who doesn’t like seafood went back for seconds and gave a big thumbs up, my brother had seconds and I believe so did my brother-in-law, Dad had a bite and my niece Zoe liked them too. I’ll take that as a win for this dish and my family! I knew I should double the batch, but I didn’t expect all to like them that much! What they lacked in being as pretty as Chef Chad and team made, they did not lack in flavor! See my notes after the recipe for tips.

So next Sunday instead of serving up fried chicken to your family or yourself, why not venture on the wild side and go for some healthy Vegan Crab Cakes! They will make you smile and your body will thank you too, you definitely will not be crabby after serving this up!

Hearts of Palm Cakes with Chipotle Relish and Shaved Kale

Crab Cakes Hearts-of-palm-style with Remoulade (serves 4)


1 cup vegan mayonnaise

1 tablespoon ketchup

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon hot sauce

1 teaspoon vegan Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

2 teaspoons minced capers

2 teaspoons minced shallot

1 teaspoon minced fresh parsley

2 teaspoons minced red bell pepper

Crab Cakes

1 sheet of nori, or 2 teaspoons toasted nori flakes

Two 14-ounce cans hearts of palm

1/2 cup canola oil, more if needed (alternative: reduce to 1⁄4 cup oil if using small sauté pan)

1/4 cup finely diced red onion

1/4  cup finely diced red bell pepper

3 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise

2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning

1 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes

2 teaspoons arrowroot or cornstarch

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 cup panko breadcrumbs

1. Prepare Rémoulade: Place all rémoulade ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend on high for 1 minute. Set aside or store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

2. Prepare Crab Cakes: Toast nori sheet by holding it with tongs and fanning it over a low gas flame or electric burner. Be careful not to let it burn. Turn the sheet frequently, so that it toasts evenly.

3. Grind the nori using a spice grinder or a coffee grinder that you use exclusively for spices. Break the nori into pieces, place it in the grinder, and pulse until powdered. Alternatively, crumble it as finely as you can with your hands or pulverize it with a mortar and pestle.

4. Drain the hearts of palm and press in a towel to dry them. In a food processor, pulse gently until it looks like the consistency of crabmeat.

5. Place a small sauté pan on medium heat. Add 1 teaspoon of oil and heat for 30 seconds, being careful not to let it smoke. Sauté the onion and bell pepper until soft, 3 to 5 minutes.

6. In a large bowl, combine the hearts of palm, onion, bell pepper, Vegenaise, 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning, nori flakes, nutritional yeast flakes, arrowroot or cornstarch, and salt and pepper. Mix until incorporated. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

7. Scoop with an ice cream scoop or a large tablespoon to portion into small cakes. Combine breadcrumbs with 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning. Coat the small cakes with breadcrumbs. Form and let sit in the refrigerator for 1 hour or until firm.

8. Cook Crab Cakes: Place a sauté pan on medium-high heat. Add some canola oil and heat for 2 minutes. Working in batches, sauté the cakes (make certain that the oil comes about half way up the sides of the cakes) until browned on both sides and heated through, 2 to 3 minutes on each side.

9. Remove the cakes to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and place in a warm oven (200°F) until you finish all of the cakes.

10. Serve: Place the cakes on a plate and garnish with Rémoulade. Top off with some spring greens if you have them.

 From the book “Crazy Sexy Kitchen” pg.151

Notes from Me! I followed the recipe, but I do know that the cakes we had at the culinary weekend had a different sauce served up. Also my cakes didn’t seem to hold together as well as I wanted so next time I will add a little more arrowroot to the mixture. I followed the cooking directions on how much oil to use to fry them. This was hard for me because I have been trying to leave oil behind for the most part. I will use less next time for sure and I don’t think I will have a hard time frying them. The other thing I want to mention is that even uncooked this dish is yummy and could be used for a sandwich or over a salad. I would probably do some tweaking such as adding some of the spices from the remoulade, and as Chef Chad said the recipe is just a guide! So step outside the page and live on the wild side of eating plant-based, whole food and take your health back!


“Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health,

as it goes well with your soul.” 3john2

What get’s you out the door?

Yesterday I procrastinated a run. The sun was bright but the temps registered between 28-30 degrees brrrr. Usually I don’t mind running in the winter, but my lame excuse yesterday was that my toes were already cold! No I don’t wear cotton socks, smartwool or icebreaker for this girl. In all honesty it was just another lame excuse!

So what was it that got me out the door today? Determination? Guilt? That inner voice that reminds me of the benefits? Innate desire to endure the breezy cold winter day? The slight jiggle in my step, where did that come from? :)IMG_4625

Maybe it was remembering my last run with my sister Cindy on New Years Eve. That’s us in the picture after our run in the hills of TN. Until last year my sister would say that running was absolute craziness! Yea, that’s her and she has done a half marathon too! Today when the lazy thoughts wandered into my head, I remembered Momma taking off on her walk after we all went to dinner last night. There are very few nights that she doesn’t hit the pavement, no mater what the weather!

My run is over, my toes are again warm, my face no longer weather “red.” I sit here and think of my own question and realize the reason for getting out the door doesn’t really matter. Getting out the door and doing something does! When motivation doesn’t come your way sometimes you have to create it! For me it goes something like this: “I don’t have time for a run.” ahhh, but I have time to read yet another post on facebook? Get out! “I really need to get this kitchen floor clean.” ahhh, but you will have more energy for bending and stretching to clean the floor therefore killing two birds with one stone! “I really need to work on… on the computer.” ahhh, but won’t you be so much more creative and productive after getting the endorphins going! GET OUT THE DOOR!

You get the point. It’s the whole positive for a negative, self talk, self motivation. If that doesn’t work there is always remembering others who are out there running, pushing, or walking daily like my Momma! Going running with someone isn’t always an option and I really am not a social runner. I enjoy my solo runs, but I do get encouragement from knowing I have other friends and family pounding out the pavement!

Then there is the goal setting. So far for me the next running goal is a team effort coming up in April. A 70 mile relay run with a few other wild runners. Now if that doesn’t keep me motivated, especially since most of the other runners are close to half my age, nothing will!

So whatever it takes, get out the door. Put one foot in front of the other, even in these days of cold! Getting outside keeps you healthier especially during the winter. Take advantage of the sun when it is out, and when it isn’t, well take a walk/run and pray for the coming spring and know that each day is getting longer… more sun, more time to get out the door!

… is it the “flu?” lots of thoughts

58750_534321286584086_903818207_nI sit her cozy in my kitchen sipping tea, fireplace going, listening to Passion 2013 and reading a lot about the flu.

I know I take a risk opening up this topic, but so many people have been sick at work. Reports on TV state it’s the worst flu season in a long time the commercials advertising flu shots are like fingernails on chalk board to me!

Why? Is it all the different strains? Is it that this year we all are “inside more” because the weather, therefore in each others faces without fresh air? Could it be we are killing our immune systems via vaccinating them to death?

First hear my heart, I feel for anyone who has been sick with the “flu” or whatever virus you might have suffered/or are suffering. I can’t imagine how terrible it is to have no energy, to fight to keep anything in your body, to know that you need to move but the very thought puts you in a sweat. REMEMBER I am a nurse, I have taken care of a few people suffering. Remember too, that I am a nurse. Everyday I go to work I am exposed to more germs and viruses and DISEASES than I want to think about, I wash my hands till they are red and try really hard to keep my hands from my face (hmm, 2 things that are paramount in decreasing the spread of yuk!).  So I wonder some times why I don’t “catch more” of whatever the illness is  being passed about that week at work?

I am not tooting my horn here, and I may have to eat my words if I get sick in the coming weeks, but again hear me when I say this: “we are fearfully and wonderfully made…” each one of us has an amazing body! Have you ever just stopped and considered for a moment what happens with each breath? Or what about each bite of food? The body is simply AMAZING work! God designed these bodies to endure much and when cared for well they survive well! Just as in our spiritual walk if we take in “junk” spend our time hanging out with negative people, listen to degrading/lonely music, watch movies or TV that fill our minds with images of death, and craziness, we will start believing and living these out!

It’s no different with our physical bodies. IF we fill them with “junk” non food, they can’t function as well… notice I say as well, they will fight, they are met to fight and sometimes sickness is the fight or it takes longer for illness/sickness/disease to show up.

When your sick with a virus, your fever goes up, you sweat, your body is fighting. Excuse me, but when you throw up and have the runs, your body is trying to rid itself of all things toxic! It’s awful, it’s hard and our body needs support during these times, but it doesn’t need STOPPED! I am not saying that some aren’t so sick that they don’t need a little IV fluid, or something, what I am saying is your body needs a chance to fight!

How many of you all have been in a battle? A physical or emotional battle? It was hard, you may have come out bruised and broken… but there is a part of me that knows if you survived, you are stronger! I know this is the case for me. I have been through some emotional battles that I wasn’t sure I wanted to survive, but God carried me through and WOW, I am humbled that He did, and how much stronger in Him I am!

Why do we not give these wonderful bodies the same chance? Why do we not trust the Creator, who made these bodies to heal and work through illness? YES I am a nurse, I am not saying all medicine is bad, but I wonder and have been in the last few years if we haven’t left out the greatest healer? I pray a lot at work. I pray for healing, I pray for patience, I pray for wisdom and I pray the day will end :) !

Seriously though… most days I have more questions than answers, but I am going to keep asking. I am going to seek for truth and wisdom, I am not perfect. I am going to try and give my body good fuel to remain as healthy as it can in a broken world.

In this season of “flu” whatever the strains that are out there I will wash my hands, I will stay home if I am sick, I will drink more water, eat more garlic, eat more greens, take Vit D, C get some fresh air and exercise and REST! I will pray for my friends who are sick. I will offer advice if asked, food if needed and tissues and soft toilet paper! I will give my body a chance to do what it has been designed to do! I pray you do the same… trusting in the creator of your body and not a man made substitute!

Timely Tuesday

I haven’t blogged in a while. There a few things that have been put on the “back burner”. I could use the excuse that my house is torn up, literally and that will be the one today! I finally decided to get new flooring… 11 years later. When I got this house, I hated the linoleum flooring in the kitchen. There was always something else I could spend money on, and it was functional. Not like I was living with a dirt floor, or overly damaged. Same for the carpet. Mind you there was a big stain on the carpet that the previous owners had so well staged the couch over that I missed it before buying, and thus my couch has hidden said stain for the past 11 years.

The time has come, I actually made a decision on flooring, which of course meant that I needed to paint the walls, and then what about cabinets? Do I change-up the counter tops? Spruce up the corner gas fireplace Pops put in for me, because I HAD to have a fireplace?

Anyone who has done a house project knows that one project usually leads to another. Anyone who knows me, knows I have a hard time making decisions and as much as I like nice things, I am also of the mind sight that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” With a little help, no a lot of help and encouragement from family and some good friends this little Reno is happening. I will spare you the pictures, but a few weeks ago I started moving furniture, my bedroom and the spare rooms are packed, and so far I can find everything I need for day-to-day, but don’t ask me for anything out of that realm, like an envelope, well I do know where those are. Over the weekend a good friend ripped out carpeting, and the dreaded linoleum is gone. I have beautifully new painted walls, thanks Momma and Greg. (that was another whole drama picking out colors and painting… remember I said I can’t make decisions!). My living space is a big cavern as I wait for the “floor guy” to start his work. Gone are the dust gathering blinds, the temporary paper blinds are hung, lets just hope they aren’t still here a year later! :) I am so tempted to take out my sharpies and do some art on these concrete floors, (yep, that may be the way to survive crazy!)  in a dream home, I might keep a little painted concrete,  but this is not that house!

Needless to say all this activity has made being in the kitchen, being creative with food, not on the top of my proverbial list. Quick meals, lots of salads, some eating out and thank goodness for smoothies! However this morning in the midst of concrete, stacks of wood flooring boxes, paint brushes, echoes and the like I decided to whip up an eye catching and soul satisfying bowl of oatmeal. Inspired by the cooler temps, fall breezes and my sister Cindy’s tempting bowl I was on a mission.

Cindy's bowl

                              Cindy’s bowl

I thought about going for a savory bowl, but opted to use the overripe sweet banana and do my normal, add a kick here and there. The only thing “normal” or ordinary about my oatmeal, was the actual oatmeal. I add a dash of salt, cinnamon, tumeric (because my joints like it when I do!) not to mention a kick of cayenne, because why not! I added a spoonful of almond butter and a little coconut water (I didn’t have any milk made). To top off my bowl I went with banana, gogi berries and cocoa nibs with a drizzle of honey. YUMMO! This fuel me well with all this re-habing!12118906_10154319698394237_1446263432408669192_nWho wouldn’t feel special setting down to this for breakfast? I have shared with you before the benefits of cinnamon and tumeric for the healing properties, goji berries, this amazing little superfruit contains natural anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal compounds. Their powerful antioxidant properties and polysaccharides help to boost the immune system, great for this time of year! What about cocoa nibs? Cacao nibs — bits of the same cacao beans that go into candy bars and hot chocolate — contain healthy antioxidants that can boost your health. Also called cocoa beans, cacao beans are technically a seed (plant-based!) Cacao nibs are less refined than chocolate liquor or cocoa powder and thus are more nutritionally potent. So yes, chocolate is a good thing, just make sure you are eating the right kind. Some studies suggest that adding this little gem to your diet will boost heart health!

So treat yourself well, your body, mind and spirit will thank you! Make your meals, however simple, special, you deserve it! Really when was the last time you went to a restaurant and was served a bowl of such a simple and wonderful food? Usually it’s more like wall paper paste… yes, I had to through in the whole house reno stuff! I’m out of here, trim to paint, dishwasher’s to look at, and no, my kitchen is not quite the “gourmet” kitchen of my dreams, but it is going to be a creative space that will inspire healthful foods to share! So who wants to come to dinner?


Monday Musings…. Cheesecake make over

The origin of cheesecake is uncertain, but it is believed that it was served to athletes during the first Olympic games in 776 BC. A recipe for cheesecake was found in a Roman treatise around 200 BC. Centuries later, cheesecake is still a favorite dessert, however if you are trying not to eat dairy, what are you to do?

I remember in my early 20’s I found a Chocolate Chip Cheesecake recipe in Seventeen magazine, ya I read it!  I called it, get a man cake and took it to work… a lot. It was always a tempting treat that soothed taste buds, especially at 4 a.m. for the haggard residents and interns that came through the ICU I worked in. Never mind the crust was made with chocolate chip cookies and butter. The main body of the cake took 5 packages of cream cheese, a couple of cups of chocolate chips… well you get the idea, it was a sugar high! By the way, I never got a man by making the cheesecake, and for that I am thankful, but I digress.

Fast forward, I am not really a dessert eating person. I enjoy a good piece of fruit to satisfy my craving for sweetness, or maybe some good dark chocolate, but I know others really like their dessert and when they decide to eat healthier that is one thing they are concerned about giving up.

Enter non-dairy cheesecake. I made this when I taught the Not So Cheesy class a couple of weeks ago. Just like full fat/dairy cheesecake the base is the easy part, picking the flavorings or add in’s can make your head spin with options. For the class I did a mix of blueberry, bourbon caramel, and chocolate chip (a long way from that one made in my 20’s).IMG_5145These mini versions were such a hit with all who attended that day, I thought I better share with you all. I snagged the recipe from  As per my norm, I made a few tweeks, I know, not surprising, but I will share those little tweeks. The big thing about these is that they are temperature sensitive. If they sit out too long you will have pudding over a circle of nuts! The flip, good side, is you can make these ahead, stow in the freezer. You can pull them out and impress guest on a whim! If you use a mini muffin tin it makes 24. That was what I did for the class. It allowed me to make 3 flavors. These are like 2 bites, and really as rich as they are that’s enough for me! I had a little leftover filling, so I made a couple bigger muffin tin size to show you here. Really an easy impressive dessert for guest that you can wow them, with little effort.IMG_5168This is the Bourbon Caramel Cheesecake with a little extra caramel drizzle. The original recipe for the sauce called for sugar and cream, yep, substitution is easy

Bourbon Caramel Sauce

1/2 cup cane sugar

1/4 cup water

1/c cup coconut cream (can of coconut milk, in which I drained off the cream part, don’t buy low-fat, it won’t work)

1 Tbsp. good Kentucky Bourbon

pinch of salt

Place water and sugar in the pan on low heat and swirl it around till sugar dissolves. Take off heat add cream, bourbon and salt till mixed, then back on stove to heat. You will have leftover to drizzle over Cheesecakes, ice-cream, wherever you find the need. Just re-heat before using. Keeps in fridge well.

Now on to the cheesecakes! Like I said I snagged this recipe, so my changes are in red.

7 Ingredient Vegan Cheesecakes

7 ingredient vegan, gluten-free cheesecakes that are creamy, slightly tart, perfectly sweet and 100% irresistible. Better than real cheesecake and the perfect healthy, simple dessert to feed a crowd (or just you).

Serves: 12


  • Crust:
  • 1 cup pitted dates (soaked in warm water for 10 minutes then drained) I didn’t soak
  • 1 cup raw walnuts or almonds
  • pinch of salt
  • Filling:
  • 5 cups raw cashews, quick soaked*
  • 1 large lemon, juiced (scant 1/4 cup) for tartness add more 1TBS more or to taste
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted I added only 2 TBS
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp full fat coconut milk (see instructions for note)
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar or maple syrup (or honey if not vegan)
  • 1 teas. vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • Optional Flavor Add-Ins:
  • 2 Tbsp salted natural peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup wild blueberries (fresh or frozen) used frozen
  • 3 Tbsp bourbon caramel sauce


  1. Add dates to a food processor and blend until small bits remain and it forms into a ball. Remove and set aside.
  2. Next add nuts and process into a meal. Then add dates back in and blend until a loose dough forms – it should stick together when you squeeze a bit between your fingers. If it’s too dry, add a few more dates through the spout while processing. If too wet, add more almond or walnut meal. Optional: add a pinch of salt to taste.
  3. Lightly grease a standard, 12 slot muffin tin. To make removing the cheesecakes easier, cut strips of parchment paper and lay them in the slots. This creates little tabs that makes removing them easier to pop out once frozen.
  4. Next scoop in heaping 1 Tbsp amounts of crust and press with fingers. To pack it down, use a small glass or the back of a spoon to compact it and really press it down. I found the bottom of a glass works well. If it sticks, separate the crust and the glass with a small piece of parchment. Set in freezer to firm up.
  5. Add all filling ingredients to a blender and mix until very smooth. For the coconut milk, I like to scoop the “cream” off the top because it provides a richer texture. But if yours is already all mixed together, just add it in as is.
  6. You don’t need a Vitamix for this recipe, just a quality blender. I mixed mine for 1 minute, then “liquified” or “pureed” it until silky smooth. If it won’t come together, add a touch more lemon juice or agave or a splash more coconut milk liquid as the liquid should help it blend better.
  7. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. If adding peanut butter, add to the blender and mix until thoroughly combined. If flavoring with blueberry or caramel, wait and swirl on top of plain cheesecakes (optional).
  8. Divide filling evenly among the muffin tins. Tap a few times to release any air bubbles, then cover with plastic wrap and freeze until hard – about 4-6 hours.
  9. Once set, remove by tugging on the tabs or loosening them with a butter knife. They should pop right out. Our favorite way to devour these was with a little more caramel and a touch of coconut whipped cream. But they’re perfect as is! Keep in the freezer for up to 1-2 weeks.
  10. Optional: you can set them out for 10 minutes before serving to soften, but I liked them frozen as well.


*To quick soak cashews, pour boiling hot water over the cashews, soak for 1 hour uncovered, then drain and use as instructed.
*Adapted from Sidesaddle Kitchen (Absolutely smitten with her.)
*Nutrition information does not include toppings or added flavors.
*Prep time does not include freezing (4-6 hours)

Nutrition Information

Serving size: 1 cheesecake Calories: 324 Fat: 22 g Saturated fat: 8.7 g Carbohydrates: 29 g Sugar: 21 g Sodium: 10 mg Fiber: 2.6 g Protein: 6 g

IMG_5164Ya, it’s that good. I left in the nutritional information that was listed with this recipe. Yes, there is a lot of calories, and they are from fat in these little bites of dreaminess. Guess what? When you look at regular cheesecake the amount of fat can be crazy, and it is all from dairy. The fat you are consuming from this vegan version is in the form of the nuts, and the coconut milk, which by the way are good fat that your brain needs! But this is still a treat, not an everyday place on the plate, but surely that once a week, I made a groovy dinner that needs a little star at the end of it kind of treat!

So make up a few of these and stow them away in the freezer to wow the family, guest or maybe like me, you pull one out plate it up special and celebrate the gift of how eating well helps me live better!



I’m musing, even though it’s not Monday

Yesterday was Labor day, and while I “labored” over almost 30 miles on my bike, I otherwise took a break, rested, chilled! I ate a huge plate of yummy dairy free nachos covered in black beans, greens, avocado oh my!IMG_3997Saturday I had the pleasure of hosting a little Not so Cheesy workshop. What a fun day sharing and learning more about non-dairy eating. The fact that it really isn’t that hard. I had around 9 people, all different ages, with various reasons as to why they want to let go off dairy. Animal protein promotes the growth of cancer. The China Study, written by T. Colin Campbell, PhD., who grew up on a dairy farm, so he regularly enjoyed a wholesome glass of milk. Not anymore. In multiple, peer-reviewed animal studies, researchers discovered that they could actually turn the growth of cancer cells on and off by raising and lowering doses of casein, the main protein found in cow’s milk. Did you also know that the casein has addictive properties?

Okay… off  my rant. I’m gonna share a few pics from Saturday. The guest enjoyed Cheesy Kale Chips, Cheez-it’s, Cashew Herbed Cream cheese with crackers, Macadamia nut log, Nacho’s with non dairy cheese… finishing off with the choice of 3 different cheesecakes, blueberry, chocolate chip, and Bourbon Caramel, yummo. I have convinced myself that I will eat about anything plant and find a way to enjoy it, however sharing with others always makes me a little nervous, but I truly want others to realize you too can live healthier and still enjoy eating! I think I may have hit most of that Saturday!

teaching and sharingIMG_5145

yep... vegan cheescake

IMG_5147I thought I would share the Nacho’s recipe. I had only made this once before Saturday and ate it so quickly, I didn’t realize the treasure and goodness that these really are. You see back in my cheese days, nachos were dinner many a night! As I do, I am confessing here that since Saturday I have had them twice. I don’t feel so guilty these days with this quick and easy cheese sauce, and I dare you to try it for football snackage with some non-vegans! You can do it!

Nacho Cheese Sauce

  • 1.5 cups non dairy milk
  • 2 Tbsp GF flour/or regular
  • 1/2 Tbs tapioca or corn starch
  • ½ tsp mustard powder
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder or paste or 1 small clove
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ¼ tsp chipotle pepper powder
  • ½ tsp paprika or smoked paprika
  • ¼ tsp cumin powder
  • 1 Tbsp pickled jalapeno or 1 tsp fresh jalapeno (optional)
  • 3-4 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 3 tsp lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp turmeric (optional for color)
  • ½ tsp salt or to taste

Mix all this together in a blender, or a good whisking by hand. Place in saucepan on medium heat till mixture begins to thicken. Taste for flavor and add spice or salt accordingly.

I warmed up my chips in the oven, added a big handful of spinach romaine mix, black beans then the cheese sauce, fresh salsa, avocado and fresh cilantro garnish!

IMG_3996This was my next day helping. Re-heating the cheese you may need to add some liquid, about 1/2 -1 Tbsp, beer, non-dairy milk, water… you get the idea. This cheesy sauce can be used over veggies, or maybe just a dip! Let your taste-buds lead you, use your creative imagination and get a little cheesy!

I’ll leave you with the ending of the workshop. As my sister passed the note, that I needed to “wrap up,” and I was starting to get hungry myself, I asked if there was anymore questions? The final question of the day… “This is totally off topic, but what kind of soap do you have in your bathroom?” and this is why I enjoy doing this kind of thing! The answer:IMG_5162Not the clearest picture, this is Dr. Bronner’s Magic soap! It is one of my all time favorites! I use peppermint in my guest bathroom, well because it wakes them up! Now my secret is out. If conversation has lulled, my presentation isn’t going well as long as I have hydrated you, you will need the bathroom, and, well the invigorating smell of peppermint will revive you! Thank you Dr. Bronner’s


Monday Musings… Bacon, Bacon, Bacon! Maybe

This past weekend where I live, the annual Bacon Fest was held. Vendors gather at a local venue with live music, and everything bacon. Other meats wrapped in bacon, bacon ice cream, chocolate bacon, I’m sure bacon beer, you get the idea. For obvious reasons this is one festival I have never attended. Don’t get me wrong, back in the day, bacon was one of my favs, probably one of the last meats that I ever let pass my lips too. I get it,  the salty, slightly sweet, crisp smoky flavor paired up with a fresh juicy summer tomato on toasted bread, add in a chunk of crisp lettuce and slice of onion… yep I am drooling a little, but just like most meat dishes, it is often what we pile on said meat that makes the dish so yummo!

But what is in bacon, is it good or bad for you? Bacon is a processed food, and while in the times of our ancestors when pigs were left to eat a “normal pig diet” there were some good things in the pig. Good fats, protein, and even a good amount of B vitamins (but hey, they eat and wallow in dirt).  The not so good news, because bacon contains a high amount of fat both good and bad, about 50/50 it increases cholesterol, leading to coronary artery disease, which can lead to strokes and heart attacks. One of the biggest problems however lies in the dreaded processing of bacon… it can lead to cancer, hmm enter in my thoughts on how many people are now diagnosed with cancer daily! UGH!  “And NO amount of processed meat is considered safe to eat, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research” this from the ever popular site WebMD. While WebMD,  is not a source I normally choose, but I know others do, they continued to suggest “healthier options” which usually was a processed food… ugh, speaking out of both sides of the webpage.

One thing you will hear me say repeatedly is EAT REAL FOOD! Over processed “stuff” is not FOOD!

The other thing that I say often since going plant-based, vegan, veghead, is that I really don’t like what a lot of vegans call transition foods. The “imitation meats,” tofurkey? What are these things… again, many of these are filled with not so great ingredients, always read your packages and eat real food!

Which leads me to my search for “bacon.” In my green world of food, I hesitate to call some of the things I eat, by their imitation of the carnivore opposite, yet for convenience sake, that’s what us vegheads do. Looking for similar flavor profiles, or textures of those foods we think we miss. At this point I am not sure I would enjoy a piece of bacon, I do however enjoy my eggplant “bacon.” Eggplant bacon takes a little time to make, but the rewards are strips of tasty crispness, doesn’t clog my arteries or leave my gut churning. I was in search of possibly a quicker option.

Enter in coconut “bacon.” Really?? I had toasted coconut, and added different flavors to these little flakes, but had not thought about using the “bacon” flavors on these little slivers of coconut, time for a test run.

Coconut flakes
Coconut flakes

The flakes work better, but if all you have is shredded, what you will end up with is “bacon” bits, which really this is what the flakes reminded me of too.  I can tell you that I wasn’t disappointed with the results, and just like the eggplant “bacon” it doesn’t really taste like bacon, but it gives me the goodness without the bad, and when you add the other ingredients of fresh summer tomato, well you get to enjoy the flavors, texture and yumminess of summer without the fear of increased cholesterol, cancer or too many fat calories!

This recipe was easy, and within 30 minutes I was taste testing this and packaging it up to take to House Church and serve it up as a topper on a Debbie salad. Yes the omnivores gave it a thumbs up, but like me it’s not really bacon… it’s better!

the finished product
the finished product

So the recipe I went with was from one of my favorite veggie sites, Choosing Raw, with of course my tweaking, noted in blue print. I encourage you to give this a try, you really will enjoy it on so many things, wraps, salad, potatoes, pizza or just for healthy snacking!

Coconut Bacon Recipe, Raw or Cooked
  • 2 tablespoons tamari (I use low sodium tamari)
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut flakes (or shredded, unsweetened coconut)
  • optional, my addition, a little liquid smoke 1/2 teas
  • optional, yep! enter the heat, a 1/4 teas or less of chiptole


  1. Whisk the tamari, vinegar, and syrup in a medium-sized mixing bowl, optional ingredients also added at this time. Add the coconut and mix it around until it’s all evenly coated. Allow the coconut to absorb the marinade for at least thirty minutes.
  2. To prepare in a dehydrator, spread the coconut on a Teflex lined dehydrator sheet and dehydrate for 8 hours, or until crispy and dry. You can mix it around a few times to make sure it dehydrates evenly.
  3. To prepare in the oven, pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees Farenheit. Spread the coconut evenly over a foil or parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the coconut is golden and smells fragrant.
  4. Sprinkle the bacon on salads, over baked potatoes, stuff it into wraps, or mix it into cooked grains/legumes. Enjoy!
Romaine lettuce, avocado chickpea salad with tomato and coconut "bacon"
Romaine lettuce, avocado chickpea salad with tomato and coconut “bacon”


Ahhh, a Debbie salad topped with fresh tomato and coconut bacon bits!
Ahhh, a Debbie salad topped with fresh tomato and coconut bacon bits!

Let’s review some of the benefits of coconut: Eating coconuts are excellent for one’s immunity. They are antiviral, antifungal, antibacterial, and anti-parasitic, meaning they kill harmful bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. Eating coconuts also supports the development of strong, healthy bones and teeth. It does this by improving the body’s ability to absorb calcium and magnesium. It also prevents osteoporosis, a condition in which the bones become thin and fragile and lose their density. Read more:

Hmm, does that sound better than eating processed, nitrate filled, artery clogging, who knows what else is in the “food,” that brings disease into your life, or a whole food that brings life? Give this a try, let the bacon go! Take steps to limit or get rid of your intake by finding whole food options to replace your “addiction!”

Choose to eat REAL FOOD!




Monday Musings…. ya, I know it’s Tuesday!

During the Clemens Cycle for Cancer ride

Insert the music of Queen and “Bicycle Race,” better yet sing it!  “Bicycle, Bicycle, Bicycle… I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride it where I like!” This song came to mind Sunday when I was restless and knew it was time to really move! My mind was racing too much, and my body was screaming for some attention. On went the stretched out padded shorts, the helmet and down came the well-worn  Cannondale Black Lightening circa 1985, yes my bike is that old… all 19#’s  and shimona shifting 15 clicking gears! It’s been through a few tire changes, wrecks and has toured many more miles than I can remember in multiple states. I used to ride a–l-o-t!

There are times when nothing will quite clear my mind as being on my bike, and yes a solitary journey is called for at such times, but then I am never alone. Sunday was a mind clearing day in many ways as the push of my feet against the pedals, turned the wheels and propelled me forward on the bike path, separating myself from the flash of the computer, the hum of the TV, the staleness of being in air conditioner air.  The distractions of the open trails, cool breeze a few rain drops and wide open space helped the lines on my face and the cob webs in my head fade… or maybe it was the wind stretching my  cheeks. lol

I realized that the past year, with the challenges that I had faced, that the message I started to teach with the concept of R3Wellness; Refresh, Revive, Renew… Mind, Body, Spirit, had somehow quit being an important daily teaching to myself. I had given in to aches and pains, both physical and emotional. I gave myself too much permission not to push active exercise, and called chilling out watching movies and eating emotionally “as rest.”  WHAT? How was that refreshing? I was filling my mind with “crap” often, and even though my emotional eating was no longer gallons of ice cream, but endless bowls of popcorn or healthy “snacks”, over eating is over eating! Although I still believe no one ever got fat eating a rainbow of veggies, I had stepped over my line. I wasn’t sleeping well, and instead of using my knowledge of stretching, turning off, and tuning into my body, trying “legs up the wall” a very relaxing yoga move! I flipped from one end of the couch to the other… note to self, try this instead!

Legs up the wall, try it, your body and mind will thank you and you will sleep much better
Legs up the wall, try it, your body and mind will thank you and you will sleep much better


Instead of turning to prayer, meditation and renewing my mind with truth (for me that is God’s truth, His word). I let my Bible sit collecting dust, and chose to go through the motions of my faith instead of choosing to talk to God and allow healing to happen.

I miss riding my bike without a helmet and really letting the wind blow through me, but the moments weren’t missed on Sunday, and like so many rides I have taken on the trails and roads across this country, I headed home with positive thoughts creeping in, clearer thoughts, and the ache in the bum, and shoulders felt good. I needed to make sure I had the energy to get home, because at the end of this ride was a 2 mile uphill climb. At the turn around I downed some water and sent a text to the family, yes it is good to let people know where you are when you venture out on your own! (um, insert that this goes for those times when emotionally you are hurting, sometimes you need to reach out to those who know you well and will listen).  The wind was against me as I turned around pushed on. There was an annoying click that I couldn’t locate and fix, but I kept on, choosing to focus on the beauty around me. The rolling clouds above, with the clear blue sky, the Little Miami river flowing alongside the path and the occasional smile from a fellow explorer.  I was reminded how the past year had been a journey, traveling a path that I wasn’t quite sure of, trying to navigate the way, not always using the resources that were “right there.”  Just as I had learned long ago in biking; how to conserve energy, or ramp it up, how to climb a hill, how to coast well, stay hydrated, stay safe… but always to enjoy the ride, even with an annoying noise occasionally, so it is with life, it will be challenging, it will have hills, valleys, creaky noises, but there is much beauty around, if only you choose to look… and use the resources to fuel yourself for the journey ahead on those unknown, unexplored paths.

Lesson learned, and I am sure I will need to learn it again, and again! Recently I listened to a podcast that spoke to teaching/sharing, this person suggested that you teach what you want to learn, what you are passionate about. You are always one step ahead of another who might want be on the same path and need a guide or someone to walk with them. So I put my feet/hand to the pedal/ the keyboard, and I start sharing again, what I learn; the success and the stumbles and hope that you might join me, no longer a solo rider, but taking that journey to optimal health, Mind, Body, Spirit… Refresh your thoughts on food/health, Revive your body to move  and eat well, Renew your spirit through truth.


Monday Musings… Ice Cream makeover

It’s been awhile, and quite frankly I feel like I have stage fright as I sit here looking at the blank screen, hoping the words I share are inspiring. One of my fears is that I will ramble on. Recently I lost a best friend too soon, then coming up on the year anniversary of my Daddy passing on, checking out, leaving (sorry inside joke) and the memories are a little bitter, but also very sweet. Yet I feel like I need to be back here. Sharing life, food, health all in the name of healing “mind, body and spirit.

So today I will share the sweet of memories and the fact that my Pa liked his ice cream. As a little kid when my parents where divorced I remember the drive back to West Carrollton. We would stop at the Baskin Robbins 31 flavors on Salem Ave, and I would get chocolate chip mint and make a mess of it! In later years I remember Pa coming up the stairs to get a little bowl of the sweet cold tastiness, some crazy rocky road or turtle track mix and heading back down to his recliner. Later hearing the clinking music of the spoon getting the last little bit and you knew the bowl was “empatee” aka empty in Pa language.

Yes, he passed on his enjoyment of ice cream, and I admit to an addiction that had me eating out of the pints, or 1/2 gallons as a single gal. I once proclaimed that ice cream was better than men, (I am sure this was after some breakup)  it was always there, meant to be cold, and it wouldn’t leave… oh it wouldn’t leave me, my hips, my belly, my thighs and as I now know all the crazy stuff that dairy was actually doing to my health. Since I really didn’t (a choice) control my addiction I was lead to years of boycotting ice cream in my freezer! If I wanted it, I had to leave the house to get it.

Ice cream became a treat for the grand-kids too. If youmentioned hiking orgeocaching to the kids, well that meant a stop for ice cream no matter what the time of year, and Pa knew all the best places for good ice cream.

Captain 9's after a great day hiking at Germantown
Captain 9’s after a great day hiking at Germantown Dam
This is why the pockets are empty... look at all the happy faces!
This is why the pockets are empty… look at all the happy faces!

So thankful that Pa passed on the love of outdoors, time with us and well ice cream!

Yes we made homemade ice cream, but not as much in the later years. Just a few years ago my brother got Mom and Dad a counter top Cuisinart ice cream maker and we whipped up a few flavors, much easier than the crank method and almost as good. Sometimes I think the effort and extra work in the making of the ice cream with all that salt, cranking and ice somehow made it taste sweeter :)

After I went dairy and basically sugar-free, I was a spectator to the enjoying of the ice cream on our adventures. Snagging a  taste here and there but oh too sweet for this girl. When we would have ice cream at home I would get the rice dream ice cream and it “would do” in a pinch and I did find one brand that was pretty good but $$$$ at $6 for a pint. One of my quick “go to” ice cream fix is banana ice cream, basically frozen bananas, whipped up in the blender or food processor. You can jazz it up with vanilla, chocolate and mask most of the banana flavor… still not quite there.

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago. I invited friends over for dinner! A little out of my element, but oh so fun! One of my guest is a lover of the ice cream, and as a new Momma with a toddler too, I wanted to make her a treat. She also has gone dairy free so it was time for me to do this “home-made ice cream thing.” Yes I experimented on my guest!

I asked my Mom if I could borrow the ice cream maker and I dug out my trusty Crazy Sexy Kitchen cookbook and found the recipe. Going for the clean taste of Vanilla Bean, because I was serving this sweet treat up with drunken berries! This recipe was super easy and the little ice cream maker was the bomb!

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream with Drunken Berries and dark chocolate cocoa nib bark
Vanilla Bean Ice Cream with Drunken Berries and dark chocolate cocoa nib bark





The guest really liked it, which left me thinking, why, why have I spent all this time without ice cream, when this is so easy!! I can’t wait to try some different flavors, and while this is plant-based, dairy free it still falls in the treat category, but really you won’t feel as guilty for eating something so good.

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked for a few hours or overnight

1  14oz. can of coconut milk

1/2 cup water

1 Tablespoon vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean scraped

1/4 cup agave

pinch of sea salt

1. Blend all the ingredients together in a blender till smooth.

2. Pour ice-cream mixture into a sorbet/ice-cream maker and follow manufacture instructions

3. If you don’t have an ice-cream maker: Line a square container with plastic wrap, pour in the mixture, and freeze overnight. Pop frozen ice cream block out of container the following day, slice into a couple 2 to 3 inch  strips, and put through a twin-gear juicer using the solid plate or pulse in a food processor till desired consistency.

Store in air tight container in the freezer… if you don’t eat it all

I told you it was easy! So much cheaper than buying it at the store and you avoid other additives used in some brands of non dairy frozen treats. I know, it isn’t something I can pack up and take with me on a hike to enjoy with the rest of the family after… but until there is a dairy free version out there at my local ice cream place I know I can enjoy this version with the sweet memories it brings as I scrape the bowl, and hear the singing of the clinking spoon in the bottom of the bowl… and it is empatee! Enjoy!

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream with dark chocolate shavings and candied chiptole pecans
Vanilla Bean Ice Cream with dark chocolate shavings and candied chiptole pecans


“Dear friend, I hope all is well with you and that you are as healthy in body as you are strong in spirit.” 3john2

Time, what about it?

How many times have I started a journal entry or even a post here remarking about time… how it moves quickly, slowly, how FB or other “things” can be time “robbers.” How about the fact that this is the first post in 2015? Time is here, it’s where we live, and all I can say is in my absence here, I have been living a lot, eating more and trying to find the balance I talk about so much and the balance we all are chasing after. One thing I can say for sure, I miss writing, sharing. So let’s see if a can make a come back! :)IMG_3557I just got back Sunday from celebrating with my family my oldest nephew Will’s graduation from University of Tennessee in Chattanooga! A great weekend for sure, but I could be anywhere with this gang and we would find fun! Special treat for me was the fact that Will took us to Sluggo’s a local Vegan eats! So fun to be in a place where looking at the menu was easy for me and tricky for the rest of the crew… but everyone liked what they had! Yummo!

Tori and I doing a little yoga
Tori and I doing a little yoga

Speaking of yoga, I went on a yoga retreat in February to Costa Rica!

our last night
our last night

The week was beautiful, the time away was good… but honestly I could have used another week to really renew, revive, and refresh my soul. A lot of praying, and slowing down with yoga  have been really healing to me in the last months. You see I am still trying to figure out what to be when I grow up, what it’s like not to have my Pa around and how to possibly “launch” into business!IMG_2688

Maybe it’s time to dig out the Power Point, start sharing again, teach more yoga, talk and share more food, do “nursing” in a new and healthy way!

Oh and of course there is the food! This is just a sampling of my batch stuff I do for a week of work, fun, and eating well in the midst of it all! Notice the salad is center stage! I can never get enough of my greens, not to mention having a bag of rice and stash of beans or soup to grab for ease! Cutting up veggies and bagging them ahead, makes for fast food.

prep day for the week ahead
prep day for the week ahead

Yep, with my new-found wheat allergy (did I share that?) Finding a good crust is high priority, but I really like this home option of Food for Life rice tortilla, this one has my white bean humus as sauce, and well, yes salad on top! In the oven on my pizza stone at 400 for 20 minutes and yummo!

Salad pizza!
Salad pizza!

So what about time? Does time heal all wounds, is there a “perfect” time for this decision, or that? I don’t know that I have any answers, I do know that we shouldn’t waste time. I have done that enough in my life, or did I? Ya, but I am learning. Time is the moment right now. Time is the choice you make to enjoy the moment, and maybe the moment will become a memory, and you will have time to reflect on that memory, when you spent a lot of time, making a life worth counting.

Don’t waste the gift, share it, live it and while you are at it, live it well… Eat real food, enjoy the sunshine, and at the end of the day say a prayer of thanks for the moments in time that shape who you are!




’tis the season…

The photo text I received from my sister Cindy was one of her oldest daughter, athletic basketball player laying on an exam table in sweats… it’s the flu, pray, this is a BIG week!

As most of you know if you have read this blog for any time, I don’t get the flu shot. (see previous post from 2013) I fought not to for many reasons, but suffice it to say as a medical professional my stance is not popular.  Having said that I am sure that most of you have heard the reports, or felt the pain of taking a flu shot only to get the flu.

‘Tis the season. We are closed in, less time outdoors, “sharing” a little too much personal space and wearing ourselves out with to do list. It could happen to any of us, BUT there is hope.

It’s been awhile since I had the flu… honestly I dig bag into my memory and I think it was before I even started hiding the gray hairs, that I spent a Christmas in a semi zombie state of fog. I know it is quite unpleasant though, and you want it over quick, which for most means they will go to the doc, praying for a pill, shot, antibiotic or something to zip them back into life in the fast lane.

YOUR body is calling a halt, time out, bench sitting for a quarter or two. It’s begging you for some basics, and not a band-aid. YOUR body knows how to heal itself, and yes there are things you can do that will help those aches, pains, fever and nausea. SLEEP, yep, find that comfy blanket, favorite pillow and watch all the Christmas movies in between naps. IMG_0629Plenty of water, not ice water, warm water with lemon and maybe ginger for the queasy stomach.IMG_0626Lemon has Vitamin C and warmed on the stove instead of “nuked” keeps you from killing all the benefits. If you get organic, eat some of the inner peel, or let it soak in the water, this contains quercetin, CoQ10 and hesperdin bioflavoinoids, which are all better than any expensive store-bought vitamin. Adding organic raw honey is also like adding in extra fighters, dark honey has many trace minerals that help fight, and build the immune system.

Raw veggies are best, but may not be tolerated, so if you can juice ’em up!

green power juice
green power juice

SOUP! not from a can, come on a good veggie broth with onions and garlic, maybe a kick of cayenne (all natural antibiotics and more powerful than the drugs) Check out my post for Flu Shot October 2013!

The finished "dose" of flu medicine
The finished “dose” of flu medicine

This soup will build you up, warm you up and just plain taste good! Don’t forget ginger for its benefit if your stomach is the least bit queasy. Slicing up a few strips of fresh ginger, brewing up your own tea an adding organic honey can give you a boost.

There are some over the counter, homeopathic remedies (some I have used with great results) that I would also suggest to move through this easier, and hopefully quicker. Oscilococcinum, Sambucol (elderberry, which is anti-viral), Emer’gen-C, high dose of Vitamin C, which of course the body likes! Herbal teas, I can’t say enough about good teas. I like the brand Traditional Medicine. I buy their Seasonal pack that has Echinacea, Throat Coat, Breathe easy (peppermint tea) and Gypsy Cold Care. At the slightest bit of feeling off, I start drinking the tea!



I mentioned sleep, another often over looked flu fighter (really any illness fighter) to healing and surviving the flu… attitude. Thinking positive. I have been in healthcare long enough to know that attitude, is a game changer. Yes you feel miserable, and if you focus only on feeling miserable, that’s all you have. Think this way…I know I am miserable now, but this too will pass, so I’ll just sleep it off, drink like crazy (all the things above) and soon I will be back in the saddle.

Listening to your body and not pushing it beyond its limits is key. We have been “fearfully and wonderfully made” the bodies knows what it needs. At the first sign of a sniffle, cough, or even because we know it ’tis the season, implement your plan of attack. I start my day with a warm cup of lemon water, and in the winter I add the cayenne. I also up my game on tea in the winter with good local honey added. I make up a batch of “Flu soup.” HippocratesQuote


Wednesday… Wondering and Wandering

First my disclaimer. I have been absent, silent, in my mind I have shared a dozen blogs. Some funny some introspective, all in my head. Today I cut loose!

Recently I found myself reading a book and the guy was talking about some of the reasons we don’t move forward with dreams. One being that we are seeking perfection. The reality being that my perfection doesn’t match yours etc. How true this is when it comes to blogging/writing for me. I ask myself why do I write/blog? Do I do it to entertain? Do I think I have something to say? Well yes, but don’t we all. I think the reason I really write is because “I need to.” Maybe it’s the being single and somewhat of an introvert. Whatever the reason, I need to write and I think I need to be “okay” with the mistakes, yes even the grammar mistakes that make my Mom and sister-in-law cringe. I need not to “self edit” so much, because really aren’t we all looking for a little more honesty and less fluff?

So fueled with this delicious quick-lunch

hummus salad pizza YUM!
humus salad pizza YUM!

I venture into a little of my thoughts of late.

I am no different from many the last few weeks I am sure. Once the first of November hits, the wheels crank up in lives and we get busy, even as the temperature lowers and all of the rest of nature seems to go to rest.

Thanksgiving is one of my most favorite times of the year. Being with family, eating, playing cards… just being together. I knew this year would be different. Dad had been gone since August, and well everyone always says the “first” things are always the hardest. Yea, well no. I mean yes it was hard not having Dad make turkey noises, sit in his recliner and watch endless  hours of “A Christmas Story,” share a simple prayer “be with us and guide us”

Last Christmas... in all it's glory!
Last Christmas… in all it’s glory!

but it was more the little things. The first are hard, but it’s the everyday that gets me, or the moments when a light flickers, or some other electrical glitch and you think… “gotta tell Dad … crap, I can’t.” Ya, those moments.

In those moments I remember how great a family I have. How even though we don’t talk about the “absence” we live on in the memories. We try to keep the traditions, and build new ones… and well, we run the race that has been set before us.

My crazy loving, trotting family!
My crazy loving, trotting family!

Sure Christmas will be another hard one… maybe. We will do our thing, the traditional things. We will remember Dad, and miss him wearing the red or green sweater as we head out to Christmas Eve service. I will miss his voice singing, as he holds hands with Momma. We might watch A Christmas Story, laugh, cry and remember. Best of all, we will celebrate the reason for the season. We will celebrate that time long ago when Christ came as a babe, came to save this crazy, ugly, mixed up beautiful world to save us. The best part… because He did that, lived a blameless life, died and rose again, well because of that great gift, I get to see my Dad again. I get to live out with hope, joy and the knowledge that my Dad lived well, believed well and lives on.  So this Christmas, this time of first with an empty spot in our family, I choose joy, peace beyond some people’s understanding.

I hope you too, may know the peace, joy and hope of Christmas

Just Do It! some running ramblings


I know Nike made this statement big in athletics and exercise years ago. We see the swoop and we automatically get it, and yes today was one of those days that I had to “just do it.”

This past year I have poured a lot of my spare “work out” time to yoga and pursuing my 200 yoga teacher training. I am short 2 hours and a book report to receive that certificate, but I am seeing that finish line this week. In the fall I messed up knee… again. I did a little on-line re-hab, but the budget cut that, so I was on my own. Running was out, but I would walk… sometimes.

The last couple of weeks despite the rising heat, my feet have hit the pavement. My soul longs to run, and yet every step feels heavy, my body feels awkward as I plunge forward, but forward I move.

Today was no exception. I sat groggy at the counter reading mindless facebook (forgive me some of you do share great stuff) and all I could think was I needed to get on with the day. It was only 73 degrees out the sky was clear blue, and a slight breeze was present. I laced up the shoes, turned on mapmyrun aka walk, and was off… walking. As I turned one corner I pushed forward to move a little faster, a jog of sorts. I tried not to think too much about how I was moving and just move. I tried to remember the days when this seemed effortless, well except for the first mile, but today the first block feels weighty, my gate feels uneven, I feel stiff… let it go, my mind says, then the all too familiar tweek of pain in the knee and fear starts  rising up… let it go… but I stop and start walking, and analyzing every last step. I blame it on needing new shoes, don’t push before I have good equipment and yet… let it go, whispers in my ear.

Why do I want to run so bad? Why is this so important for me?  I want to get back to the feet pounding, the feel of loosing myself in the movement. Don’t I get some of that with my yoga? It’s not the same my mind says, and my body tells me to move, to feel the heat, to feel the breeze, to let go!

Hebrews 12:1-2 come to mind as a memory of my Dad floats across my vision, running the race with endurance, forgetting the past, moving forward, “looking to Jesus the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross”… I know, how cliché to pick a running scripture to talk about the struggles of running, or for that matter, moving forward, moving in life when everything around you feels heavy, when you don’t realize there is a weight on your shoulders until you try to move freely, to shake it loose… to let go.

So I keep moving. Every few blocks I might jog a little, but I keep moving, trying to let go of anything physical (a few extra pounds) but more so mentally anything that is weighing my heart and spirit down to run well the race that was set before me. I don’t run alone, I run with the author and perfect who wrote my story. Who knew that I would struggle with these steps. Who knows that I struggle with the here and now, but to desperately wants to let go of those things that hinder running the good race.


My Dad was a runner in High School. He never really talked much about it, and I wonder if he was a good runner? My Dad was an emotional runner for a while… tell he let go, and let God. Maybe that’s why Hebrews 12:1-2 was one of his favorite verses, I know it is one of mine for this reason.

So I run, or I strive to run well. It’s not always going to feel right. Sometimes I will walk, who knows there may be days I will have to crawl, but I will move. I will move forward, shedding what no longer serves me and run with endurance… yet another reminder of my Pop’s. Just weeks before Daddy died he was still striving, moving forward. I remember he kept bugging my Mom about making sure someone would take his place delivering bread. I remember the night he passed, he was at the kitchen counter, walking weakly around it, moving, moving his hands as if working on something… never-ceasing to move until the job was done, and then as he said he could lay down.

I will keep lacing up the shoes and getting out there. It helps me to think, to stay balanced to explore the world around me and before me, to run with endurance the race that was set before me…

Just do it!