Tag Archives: vegetarian

Eat Your Seedlings!

Is that a vicious title or what?  Actually, I’ve decided eating seedlings is the kindest thing to do.

The hardest part of gardening, in my opinion, has to be thinning seedlings.  You spend a week or more, wishing, hoping and praying that your seeds germinate and grow.  Then they do!  Then you have to wipe out a sizable portion of them because there are always too many or none at all, nothing in between. They need to be spaced properly or they won’t grow but MY GOD, I don’t want to decide which ones have to go.  I want to nurture them but in order to do that I have to ruthlessly pick which ones get to live.  Yeesh!

The other thing that bothered me is that it seemed so wasteful to just toss them.  So, I decided to eat them!  Now, I prefer to think of them as sprouts, instead of my victims and they are delicious!

So, how is your garden growing this year?

Many blessings,


Homemade Tahini and My New Favorite Sandwich

I use A LOT of tahini.  I need it for hummus, salad dressing, sauces and as a spread for my new favorite sandwich (that I came up with during a moment of divine inspiration.  Recipe below.)  The problem is, tahini is expensive!  The supermarket brand, which I don’t love, is $7 a can.  Once Again, my favorite brand, is $10 a jar.  Yikes!

Clearly, I needed to learn how to make my own.  The good news is that is EASY, delish and SO MUCH CHEAPER.  I found a recipe on Kimberly Killegrew’s  The Daring Gourmet website.  All you need are sesame seeds, a little oil and a food processor or blender.  I ordered a five pound bag of hulled sesame seeds… (as I mentioned I use A LOT of tahini.)  You toast the seeds until they are golden brown; let ’em cool, toss ’em in the food processor with a little olive oil and that’s it!  One thing I did do differently than Kimberly was toast the sesame seeds on a parchment-lined cookie sheet in the oven, rather than in a skillet on the stove top.

Now for the sandwich!  I invented this recipe while I was rushing around making lunch one morning,  When you are a strict vegetarian and short on time, you need to get a little creative when it comes to lunch sometimes.  You will need two slices of bread. I prefer rye.  Spread the tahini on both slices.  Drizzle Sriracha sauce over the tahini.  Drizzle honey over the sriracha sauce.  Add a slice of beautiful tomato (preferably from the Farmer’s Market or at least organic.) Enjoy with or without a pickle.  It is so good!  It’s sweet and hot with the yummy nuttiness from the sesame seeds.  Oh my goodness!

Cynthia's Favorite Sandwich

Cynthia’s Favorite Sandwich


Do you make your own tahini?  Would you try it now that you know how easy and cheap it is?  Leave me a reply.  I would love to hear from you.

Many blessings,


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Naturally Motivated: Keeping the Faith

Did you see Julie and Julia? The movie about a blogger who records her experiences while cooking her way through Julia Child’s Mastering The Art of French Cooking in one year? There is a scene where Julie has been writing for quite a while and is, momentarily, elated to see she has finally gotten her first comment; only to open it and read something like:

“Julie, this is your mother. It appears I am the only one who is reading your thing. Why are you doing this?”

Luckily, she didn’t get discouraged. She kept true to her vision, kept cooking and kept writing about it. Eventually, Julie’s audience found her. She completed her project on time and wrote a book about it. That book was adapted into the movie. Voila! The rest is history.

Sometimes, it seems like we are doing everything we can to make a difference in the world but no one is freakin’ listening. Worse yet, maybe the people who are listening are critical of us and tell us that we are wasting our time. If you have an idea for something that you believe can help make people’s lives better, brighter or happier in any way, I’d like to encourage YOU to keep going, regardless of what seems to be happening at this moment. Stay true to your vision and just keep doing the work!

It is very easy to constantly look to other people to see if we are on the right track. I suspect it’s because approval from other people helped us out early in life; when we were learning to do things we had never done before like walk and talk. We would have learned those things anyway from modeling other people but it’s certainly a lot more fun when someone is cheering you on at every step! Most of us find that our cheering committee seems to dwindle a bit, as we get older. ‘Attaboys and ‘attagirls are often replaced with comments about fears, worries or warnings to do things a certain way in order to be safe or respectable. While these comments are probably well meant, they certainly aren’t exactly motivating to the creative individual.

After letting this blog molder for several months, I really didn’t know what to expect in terms of readership. I’ve noticed something interesting. A lot more people read it than comment on it. When I first launched, I didn’t get stat reports on click-throughs from social media. The only way I knew if people were reading was when they were kind enough to leave me a comment or send me an email. Even though I know now that more people are reading than I had evidence for before; I don’t know what they think about it because they don’t directly engage with me.

Then the other day, I was blessed with an eye-opening email from Jodi:

Hi, loved your last post on veggie scraps. I commented away on that already! lol.

Did I mention I am well on my way to vegetarianism – even dare I say veganism??? Probably since February. And Garry is right there with me, sometimes ahead of me! He feels so good, his glucose numbers are normal (he tests every morning). He’s lost 30 pounds. It’s kind of been a process – but I figure every meal without meat, fish, or dairy saves or helps an animal, the planet & our health. The reason I wanted to mention it to you is because one of your blogs about being a Vegan & the whole thought process of being a snobby Vegan or a militant Vegan really made an impression on me. Also, that it was a process & took you a while to give up cheese. I never forgot that post – so remember that when you write, even if you don’t know it, you are making an impact on some people. I didn’t switch right away but it was stored away in my brain – not word for word but the gist of it! We are probably 98% there.

Wow! I wrote those posts on being a vegetarian, which Jodi so kindly refers to, well over two years ago! Last week, my best friend, who is not a commenter, sent me this text: “You are a really good writer Cindy. Did you ever consider writing a book?” I can’t tell you how moved I was by these wonderful and completely unexpected remarks!

Keep moving toward your dream. Keep doing the work. Keep going even when you feel like nothing you do matters because you may be making an impact on someone right now, who just hasn’t told you… yet!

Many blessings to all,



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Naturally Resourceful: Getting Scrappy with Vegetables!

Anyone who has been reading my blog for a while knows I’m a vegetarian. When you eat a lot of fresh vegetables, you end up with a lot of vegetable scraps. What do you do with them? Throwing them out seems so wasteful! I have put together a few suggestions to see if maybe I can help you see those scraps in a new light.

  1. Eat them

Stems and stalks may not be the sexiest parts of the plants but they are still loaded with all the good nutrition and fiber you find in the prettier areas. Stems can be tough but if you dice them up and toss them in a soup, stew or stir-fry, they will become tender and delish.

  1. Feed them to your pooch

Chauncy and Lucy regularly eat vegetables as I mentioned in my post, Natural Pets: Eat Your Veggies Fido! They love broccoli stalks, cut up to roughly the same size as their store-bought treats. Lucy goes wild over crunchy lettuce ends. They are also both huge fans of kale stems, raw or cooked. I will dice up kale or Swiss chard stems, steam them and mix them in with their dog food. They gobble it right down.

Chauncy and Broccolli Stem

Please be careful when feeding your dog fruit or veggies. Always make sure you give them safe veggies in small, manageable portions. Less is more is definitely more in this case! Never give your dog onions, corn cobs, grapes, nuts, avocados or stone fruits.

Lucy and Broccoli

  1. Make stock or broth

I have to admit…I rarely do this. A lot of people do though. They will reserve their veggie scraps and freeze them until they have enough to cook down into stock. The problem I have with this, besides giving up the freezer space, is not all veggies taste good together. While I love and appreciate kale mightily, it has too strong a flavor to use in stock. Maybe one day when I have my dream garden, (and don’t have a three hour commute) I can devote my time to separating scrap for stock.

  1. Compost it

Composting is a wonderful way to improve your soil. Vegetables are a beautiful, safe addition to your heap or bin. Again, this is not something that I currently do but would like to. If you are a gardener and have been contemplating whether or not to make your own compost, let this be the push to get you started! Find great information (and laughs) in Jeff Yeager’s wonderful article, Rotten Luv: My Love Affair with Compost.

Final Thought:

If you have to toss them in the trash, go ahead. There are far worse things stuffing up landfills than veg scraps. At least you know that they will fully decompose and not wreak havoc on the environment for centuries to come.

How do you use your veggie scraps? Do you throw them out? Have you tried any of the suggestions mentioned above? Would you? Leave me a reply and let me know.

Many blessings to all,



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Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Muffins

I have been doing a lot of my own baking these days.  There are a lot of advantages: 1) I use only real ingredients, often organic 2) I save money 3) I LOVE baking!  There is somethig so satisfying about putting a bunch of powders and fluids together, adding heat and tada, a completely new creation appears.

I have been noodling in the kitchen long enough that I can wing it.  I came up with something so tasty yesterday, I thought I’d share it with you.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Muffins


2 Cups Unbleached All Purpose Flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

half teaspoon baking soda

half teaspoon salt

quarter cup organic unbleached sugar

1 mashed up banana

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

quarter cup oil

1 cup of soy milk

one cup chocolate chips (I like to use big dark chocolate chips)

Big ‘ol dollop of peanut butter (approximately a quarter cup)

Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.  (Use a bowl you love to mix things in.  Love is an important ingredient.)  Add the wet ingredients until just mixed.  Then gently stir in chips.  Swirl in the peanut butter last.

Spoon into a greased muffin tin.

Bake at 375 for approximately 20 minutes.  Your kitchen will smell sooooo good! Allow muffins to cool before handling. Pop them out with a knife and enjoy!

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Naturally Veggie: Tortilla Lasagna

I love tortillas and salsa!  However, given my dental issues since I fell in 2013, I have to avoid crunchy, hard food.  I started making what I call Tortilla Lasagna as a way to indulge my love of tortilla chips… all Mexican food really.


Tomato Sauce

Tortilla chips

Black Beans

Salsa (I added some real grape tomato slices here as well)

Vegan Cheese

Chopped Olives to garnish

Preheat oven to 350.

I am not  going to include measurements because I usually just make it for myself in a loaf pan.  You just layer in the ingredients to fill whatever pan you are using.  (Usually I only put in a layer of each item and then eat the whole pan.)

Put in the oven for twenty minutes and voila!

It’s quick, easy and delish!  Even after my teeth are finished, I will still be enjoying this dish.

Give it a try.  Let me know what you think.

Love and Many Blessings,





Natural Pets: Eat Your Veggies Fido!

I couldn’t figure out why the tomatoes kept disappearing right as they were ready to be picked. No one in my family would admit to taking them. Then one day I was standing at the kitchen sink, looking out the window and I saw Quincy, our faithful mutt, throwing his body against the pots. As he knocked the ripe tomatoes down, he would gobble them up as soon as they hit the ground.

You’re not a carnivore and neither is your dog. There I said it. I can just imagine all the immediate protests that statement might instigate. “Polite: you are mistaken my dog is a carnivore.” Outrage: “Are you out of your $#@%^^& mind, Woman!”

It’s true though. My Dad LOVES read meat. He considers himself a carnivore. I suspect he knows that he is really an omnivore but he won’t admit it. If my mom let him, he would have red meat at every meal. (You should see what the guy orders on pizza! You can’t even see the cheese.) If I had my way he would be an herbivore. Alas, Dad is an omnivore and so is his bichon frise, Lucy.

Lucy loves veggies so much that she will sit on the floor by my feet while I am cutting them and whine for me to throw her a treat. Her favorite is the stems from kale. (My dog Chauncy enjoys these as well.) The best way to get her to eat her whole dinner is to include steamed veggies in the mix. One of their other faves is cut up pieces of the stalk from broccoli.

Why do some many people believe dogs are carnivores then? Some of the obvious reasons would be that dogs have long, sharp teeth that would seem ideal for ripping flesh and hunting. They are also closely associated with wolves, who many would agree are carnivores but there have been arguments made that wolves are omnivorous as well. Although, physically they are built as carnivores, dogs appear to have adapted over thousands of years of hanging with humans and are now suited to a more varied diet. Dogs are capable of metabolizing carbohydrates.

Dogs may have always been a bit instinctually omnivorous anyway. Have you ever noticed your dog eating grass and dandelions in your backyard? They are not being weird. They are smart. Dogs know what humans have forgotten. Many weeds are natural cleansers for the body. Dandelions are especially wonderful because not only do they act as a diuretic, clearing the body of waste, they are also rich in many vitamins and minerals. (More on that in a future post.)

Dogs, like humans, benefit from a varied diet including fruit, vegetables and lean proteins. (There is some debate about whether or not dogs should eat grains. There is also debate over whether humans should either. It’s beyond the scope of this blog but it is worth investigating on your own if you choose.) Some vegans believe that dogs (and cats) can maintain good health and feed their pets meatless meals and supplements. Personally, I am not comfortable omitting meat from my dog’s diet. He seems to thrive on well-balanced diet of meat, raw & steamed veggies and some grains.

Cats, on the other hand, are obligate carnivores. Although, they do eat grass to cleanse their systems like dogs do, they are biologically built for meat consumption. They have sharp teeth and nails, short digestive tracks, heavy-duty acids to break down raw meat. A vegetarian or vegan diet contains no taurine, an essential amino acid for cats but one they cannot produce on their own. Although, it is possible to supplement a cat’s diet to include taurine and other essentials that would be absent in a vegan diet, I do not think this would be the NATURAL choice for a cat. I respect nature… thus the name of my blog.

Does your dog eat his or her veggies? Let me know in the comments section. I would love to hear from you!

Love and Blessings to All,




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Brussel Sprouts: A Former Hater finds…Like

I have always despised brussel sprouts.  As a vegetarian, I generally like all vegetables but not brussel sprouts.  I thought they were mean, nasty, little, bitter cabbages and I avoided them like the plague until today.

I’ve been doing research on nutrition that will support me having the best possible outcome from the dental reconstruction I will begin shortly. (I’ll get more into this in a future post.)  So, you can imagine my inner conflict when I discovered that brussel sprouts, those angry little wet balls of green slimy leaves, are loaded with vitamin K, essential to strong bones, and calcium… among many other health benefits.  Dammit!  Now, I was going to have to give those little suckers another try.

So, today with an open heart and mind, I opened a bag of fresh (well, you know, Trader Joe’s fresh) of brussel sprouts.  I dutifully cut off what remained of their little tails and split them in half.  (I learned it was good to split them in half because sometimes little creatures can be found amongst the leaves…ewwwl!)  Then I put them in a bowl full of water with three tablespoons of vinegar for ten minutes to clean them.  I rinsed them off and was ready to roast.

I figured, since I tend to like roasted veggies that, roasting might increase the odds I actually would find them edible.  I added a few tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.  Then I put the little green guys in the oven for about 25 minutes at 350 degrees.

When I checked on them, I was pleased to find them just starting to turn brown and tender but not slimy.  I cautiously put one in my mouth and began chewing.  While, I would say they definitely were mildly astringent but not at all bitter.  They were quite pleasant.  I couldn’t believe it.  I was actually enjoying brussel sprouts!

So, to any of you veggie avoiders out there (you know who you are!) you may want to give your detested dish another try.  I think prep is key when it comes to certain vegetables.  So, if you don’t like it the way your grandma made it; find a new recipe; mix it up; invent your own!  It might improve your health and make your world a little more interesting.

Love and blessings to all.


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My Plant-based Life: Part Deux (Getting healthier)

I decided to try yoga because my body was way too run down to start jogging.  I had always been pretty flexible; so, it seemed like it might be a good fit.  Also, yoga seemed to be a series of slower movements.  So, I didn’t have to worry about being a spaz… the way I always felt in dance and aerobics classes.  Turns out, I LOVED it!  At first, I did it on my own with tapes and DVDs; then when I was brave enough, I began taking classes.  I highly recommend going to an experienced yoga instructor.  It’s always a good to have someone checking your form and giving you tips to grow your practice.

As I began learning about yoga, I found a lot of information on being a vegetarian.  Not all people who practice yoga are veg, but there seemed to be a lot of vegetarian info. in yoga magazines and books (Teaser: more on why this is this next week!).  And from what I was reading, many people found relief from the digestive orders like I had, by eliminating meat and dairy from their diet.  So, I began to experiment.

First, the red meat went.  Instantly, I started to feel better.  The bouts of diarrhea stopped.  I also stopped drinking milk.  I never liked milk.  When I was a little girl, I struggled to finish my glass of milk with dinner.  Often, I would be the last one at the dinner with Mom wiping the table down around me because it was so hard to get down.  Milk and ice cream would leave my belly so distended but I never made the connection because I thought milk was so good for you. Eventually, I stopped eating all animals, seafood, eggs and most dairy.  I felt better and better with each elimination. (No pun intended but FYI that improved too!)

As I was getting rid of these items, I had to learn to new ways of eating.    Given what some friends have referred to as my Virgo nature, I had to find out how to be a healthy vegetarian, as well as, the answers to any questions detractors might throw at me.  (Virgos don’t like to argue but, apparently, we like losing arguments even less.)  So, I officially became a nutrtion nerd, devouring books, magazines and websites on vegetarian nutrition.

Protein was something I had always heard was lacking in vegetarian diets.  Indeed, to this day, “how do you get your protein?” is the top question I am asked.  I quickly learned that protein deficiency is rarely an issue.  (And if you think about it, many of the animals, omnivores eat for protein, are actually vegetarian.)  I’ve also learned that too much animal protein is a likely contributor to chronic diseases.  I could write a whole post just on this topic alone but a few sources of veggie protein include nuts, seeds, legumes, tofu, fermented soy products and certain grains like buckwheat.

The next biggest question I get is: What do you eat?/Don’t you feel deprived?  The great irony is that I eat MORE and more varied food now that I am veg than I did when I was an omnivore.  I also still eat a lot of the same food I ate before like pasta, pizza, burritos, burgers, fries, salads etc. but of course now they are made without animal products.  I became a better cook and got more adventurous in trying new things like kale, different types of mushrooms and dandelion greens.  I finally learned how to cook beans.  I found that the more colorful my diet became, the better I felt.  A lot of my food before had been beige: chicken breast, potato, pasta, bread and margarine.  In fact, my doctors had told me to eat plain foods to keep my digestive issues at bay. After I went veg, my meals became a dazzling display of healthy lush greens with red, yellow, purple and orange veggies.  The more colorful my diet got, the better my digestion was.

My health bounced back rather rapidly after I started a yoga practice and adopted a vegetarian diet.  I lost 15 of the 20 pounds I had gained.  My energy increased significantly.  I also experienced a greater sense of emotional well-being and I felt more like myself but more on that in next week’s post… Going all the way Veg.

Love and many blessings,


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My Plant-based Life: Part One

The most controversial word I have ever encountered is VEGAN.  Holy cow, if you want to see people get whipped up into a frenzy, just utter the word vegan in a mixed crowd and see what happens.  Militant meat-eaters will throw out phrases like “grazers” or make assumptions like, “you only eat rabbit food” or get ethical and say “vegans act like they are better than everyone else because they don’t eat animals.”  Militant vegans have thrown paint on people for wearing fur coats; accuse people of being murderers just for eating the way they have their whole life.   In short, it can get really ugly.

You and me, we’re not militant, right?  So, let’s avoid all that today, shall we?  I am going to tell you my story and what I have learned over the last 10 and a half years of being a vegetarian and living a mostly plant-based lifestyle.

I remember very distinctly the first time I considered becoming a vegetarian at seven years-old.  We were at my grandparents’ house for a barbecue and I suddenly became aware that the cheeseburger I was enjoying used to be a living, breathing animal.  I told my family that I didn’t want to eat animals anymore.  Mom informed me that I would be a vegetarian then.  “Yes, I will be a vegetarian!” I decided.

Grandpa said, “Why draw the line there?  You have to kill plants to be a vegetarian.  Why is it okay to murder plants?”  I said, “Grandpa! Plants don’t get hurt the way animals do!”  He insisted that they did.  He went onto say that whenever he mowed the lawn that he could hear the grass screaming.  Everyone (except me) had a big laugh over this and it was clear that my vegetarian goal was not going to be supported.  So, I released the idea into the summer night and didn’t think about it again for over 20 years.

All through my life, I was plagued by digestive issues ranging from gas, severe bloating, bad bouts of diarrhea, nausea and cramping.  It always seemed like something was going on but no doctor could get to the bottom of it.  Almost always I was told to use antacids or given a script for whatever new drug was out that year and sent on my way.  Complicating my digestive discomfort, I have suffered with bouts of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) on and off since I had a severe case of mononucleosis my freshmen year of college.  I also struggled with nasal allergies and chronic sinus infections.   It seemed like something was always wrong with me and it sucked because none of the traditional treatments ever seemed to work.

When I was 29, I went through the worst bout of CFS I had ever had, and was sick and tired of being sick and tired, all the time.  And for the first time in my life, I had gained a lot of weight from the lethargy induced by my illness.  Nothing I had been given by western medical practitioners had worked.  I knew that if I wanted a different result I would have to find a new way of doing things.  The two areas I had yet to delve into were diet and exercise.

To be continued…

Please check back next week for Part Two of My Plant-based Story…

Love and many blessings,


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