Monday, February 27, 2017

New Location for this Blog

Just wanted to let you know that the location for this blog has moved.  Sorry for the confusion.  It's just that I found a blogspot address that I like a whole lot more.  The new one is, but you can also find it at

Be sure to sign up for email notifications once you're over there!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Home Organizing Week 8—Closets

Last week's challenge was organizing the master bedroom closetCheck out the video below to see how it turned out.

 Here are some photos to show you how I did:



This week's challenge from A Bowl Full of Lemons is organizing kids closets, but since I don't have kids, I'm organizing another closetIt's an oddball closet off of a room near the kitchen. I say oddball because the closet is huge and has an outlet in it, of all things.  We put a small freezer chest in it and all of the serving platters and bowls that we kept in an island in our old house.  The problem is... it looks so messy.  That, combined with the fact that it has collected a bunch of other stuff, it just needs to be organized!!!  Be sure to click on the video linked above to see how it looks now.  

Here's the link to the tips about organizing kids' closets at A Bowl Full of Lemons:

Click HERE to get the PDF of tasks to complete.

Join me next week, so I can show you the results of my closet and for the next challenge.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

My Plant-Based Diet Journey Week 4

At five weeks eating a plant-based diet, I've lost 11 1/2 pounds!  It's going great and I'm really enjoying it.  Be sure to check out the video below.


At our class this week, we learned about gut health.  Here are a few things we learned:

1. Eating a high-fat diet, reduces the number of good "bugs" we have in the gut.

2. We can strengthen our immune systems by getting out in nature and getting our hands dirty.  We should also "mindfully" use anti-bacterial products.

3. Eat fermented foods like pickles, sauerkraut, Kefir, Kimchi, and miso.

Two new things I discovered this week:

Earth Balance Organic Whipped Buttery Spread
Tofutti Sour Cream


Here's a recipe for a fantastic Veggie Sandwich:
Sliced tomato
Sliced cucumber
Topped with salt and Lemon infused olive oil and herb infused balsamic

Get your own amazing infused olive oil and balsamic vinegar from Verde Valley Olive Oil Traders:

Here's some suggestions for eating out:

From Pita Jungle:
Cilantro JalapeƱo Hummus with pita and cucumber slices
Dolmades (grape leaves wrapped around a rice/tomato mixture)

Mexican Food:
Burrito Enchilada Style topped with Pico De Gallo
(Be sure the refried beans and enchilada sauce don't have animal fat in them.)

Here's the recipe for some really great chocolate candy they made for us on Valentine's Day:

Dark Chocolate Bark with Walnuts
From Hormel Cancer Institute
2 Tbs. crystallized ginger
1 ½ cups (6 oz.) walnut pieces (or substitute pumpkin and sunflower seeds for nuts)
1 cup dried cranberries
9 oz. bittersweet chocolate

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Line a baking sheet pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
3. Coarsely chop the walnut pieces and then place them on a baking sheet.
4. Toast the walnuts for about 8 minutes in the oven or until they are golden and fragrant. Let cool.
5. Finely chop the crystallized ginger and coarsely chop the cranberries (this will get sticky).
6. Add both to the baking sheet and spread all over the nuts.
7. Set a double boiler on the stove with a pot of water about 1/3 full and a glass mixing bowl big enough to fit
over the pot of water without touching the water.
8. Get the pot of water barely simmering, put chocolate in to the mixing bowl and melt the chocolate until very
9. Take melted chocolate and pour onto the walnut pieces, ginger, and cranberries in a nice, even layer.
10. Put baking sheet in the refrigerator. Refrigerate the chocolate walnut concoction for 10 minutes or until
11. To serve, take the chocolate out, and break into medium sized pieces giving it a tree “bark” appearance.

Tune in next week for more great recipes and resources!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Organizing Week 7—Master Bedroom/Master Closet

Last week's challenge was organizing the master bedroomMy tasks were to clean off the top of my dresser and organize the drawers of my bedside table. Check out the video below to see how it turned out.

 Here are some Before and After photos to show you how I did:

Messy dresser before.

This is the top drawer of my bedside table before.

The bottom drawer was almost empty.

An empty drawer now holds fuzzy socks, gloves to wear when I use greasy hand creams and an extra pillow case.

This week's challenge is organizing the master bedroom closetBe sure to click on the video linked above to see how it looks now.  

Here's the link to the tips about organizing the master bedroom closet at A Bowl Full of Lemons:  
Click HERE to get the PDF of tasks to complete.

Join me next week, so I can show you the results of my master closet and for the next challenge.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Plant-Based Journey Week 3

***This post contains affiliate links.

I can hardly believe we've passed the 3-week mark in this plant-based diet study.  As of today, I've lost 9 POUNDS!  I'm feeling great, my clothes are fitting better, and I'm not really missing cheese much anymore.

At our class this week, we were joined by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, author of several books about eating a "nutritarian diet."  They even gave us one of his books. (Click HERE to get it on Amazon.)

Here are a few nuggets of information that struck a chord with me:

When we eat nutrient dense foods, we are not as hungry.  When we eat unhealthy foods, we are ALWAYS hungry.  We're never satisfied.

The longer you live in a stage of not digesting food, the longer you live.  (When the body is not digesting food, it can focus energy on healing itself.  When it is constantly digesting, it doesn't have the energy to do anything else.)

"We are creating an army of nutritionally-informed people."

For more detailed information, watch my video below.

Naked Food Free Subscription (Time sensitive)

Naked Food Free Subscription

Here are the recipes I made this week:

I've been using two cookbooks this week.  Click HERE to get Plant Strong on Amazon.

Click HERE to get Blissful Basil on Amazon.

Plant Strong Recipes
Rainbow Quinoa

Veggie Pizza (I made my own crust and used nutritional yeast, spinach, tomatoes, sauteed mushrooms, pepperoncinis, scallions, and chopped fresh basil.)

PBJB Burrito 

Recipe from Blissful Basil Chocolate Covered Date Candy

Monday, February 13, 2017

Home Organizing Week 6—Master Bedroom

Last week's challenge was organizing the living roomMy job was to clean out and straighten up some baskets and a few other things.  Check out the video below to see how it turned out.

This week's challenge is organizing the bedroom.  I'll be organizing my nightstand and the top of my dresserBe sure to click on the video linked above to see how it looks now.  

Here's the link to the tips about organizing the master bedroom at A Bowl Full of Lemons:

Click HERE to get the PDF of tasks to complete.

Join me next week, so I can show you the results of my living room and for the next challenge (the master bedroom).

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Plant-Based Diet Journey (Week 2)

I have completed just over two weeks now of a plant-based, nutrient-dense diet and I've lost 7 pounds!  While many people experience withdrawals from sugar at this point, the thing I miss most is cheese.  Even still, I've found so much really good food to eat without cheese that I'm really enjoying the diet so far.  

Here are a few tips for this week:

1. Don't become a junk food vegan.
Just because something has no animal products in it, does not make it good for a plant-based diet.  After all, Oreo's are vegan as are Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies.

2. On packaged foods, keep the ingredients to 5 or less.

3. Don't eat foods your grandmother would not recognize as food.  (A Twinkie would be a good example of that.)

4. Cook more than you need, so you can freeze the rest for next week.

I only cooked a few things this week since I reheated several recipes from last week.  (Click HERE for last week's recipes.)  Both are really good.  So here they are.

Sorry!  This recipe for Cabbage Soup from the Oh She Glows Everyday cookbook was not available online.  I highly recommend the cookbook.  Click HERE to get your own copy.

Mexican Pasta
8 oz. pasta
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 28-oz. can of diced tomatoes
1-2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. salt

Cook pasta to al dente.  Saute onion and garlic until tender.  Add tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, and salt.  Simmer for 5 minutes.  Add cooked pasta and mix together.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Garden Book Review and Giveaway!

Startle Garden by Carole West is my new favorite book. As soon as you open the book, you will be drawn in by Carole's passion for gardening, a wealth of useful information, and beautiful photos.  CLICK HERE to buy it on Amazon. affliate link

(To win a copy, see instructions at the bottom of this post.)

While it is the perfect book for the novice gardener, it is so much more than that. This is not just a book to read, but rather a book to DO as you go.  Carole includes detailed instructions about a wide variety of topics from building a raised bed garden to creating healthy soil to sprouting seeds and bringing in the harvest.  I love that Carole emphasizes adding beauty and flair to the garden with eye-catching flowers, attractive growing containers, and cute garden signs. 

This is a book you will not want to skim.  Both the novice and experienced gardener can glean nuggets of inspiration from each page.  Carole is giving away this book to one of my readers.  Simply leave a comment below, telling something about your experience with or love of gardening.  I will randomly select the winner on Tuesday, February 14th.  Good luck!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Organizing Week 5—The Living Room

Last week's challenge was organizing the "launch pad"That's the place where we tend to dump our stuff when we come home.  My launch pad is a corner of my laundry room right by the door going into the garage.  Here's how mine turned out.

And here's how it looks now:

Now, let's talk about the living roomBe sure to click on the video linked above to see how it looks now.  My plan is to organize some baskets and a cabinet.

Here's the link to the tips about organizing the living room at A Bowl Full of Lemons:

Click HERE to get the PDF of tasks to complete.

Join me next week, so I can show you the results of my living room and for the next challenge (the master bedroom).

Monday, January 30, 2017

My Journey Eating a Plant-Based Diet (Week 1)

***This post contains affiliate links.

This is the first post of many that you'll see over the next six months.  I've signed up to participate in a 6-month research study about eating a plant-based, nutrient-dense diet. 

Let me preface this by saying that I participated in a 9-week study last summer with great results.  I was very nervous about the protocol which allowed only one serving per week of animal products.  While I'm not a huge meat eater, I am a self-proclaimed cheese-aholic.  "How in the world would I go without cheese?" I wondered.  As it turned out, I didn't miss cheese very much (after the first few weeks anyway).  I lost 11 pounds and several inches in 9 weeks and felt great.  I even kept it up after the study ended until I injured my jaw in late summer and among other things involved in my treatment, had to go on a soft food diet.  (Let me just tell you... it's very hard to eat plant-based when you can't chew.)

So, here I am six months later with a mostly healed jaw, carrying a few more pounds and lacking the energy I had in July.  I'm so ready to jump back into this way of eating and a research study helps me with accountability as well as a wealth of information and support.

Why a plant-based diet?  Research has shown huge benefits such as decreases in the following: heart disease, inflammation, chronic pain, chronic disease, diabetes, Alzheimers, and depression (to name a few).  Check out the links below for more information:

WebMD Plant-Based Diet Benefits for Heart Health
HealthLine 5 Benefits of Eating a Plant-Based Diet

My plan each week is to share with you some helpful resources that I receive as well as links to great recipes.  It is important to note that I am not a doctor or a dietician.  Be sure to contact a medical professional before jumping into something like this.  (As participants in the study, we were all required to notify our primary care physicians.)

Here's what we are being asked to eat each day:
• At least two 1-1/2 cup servings of greens
At least four 1-1/2 cup servings of other vegetables (which could include more greens)
At least three 1-1/2 cup servings of fruits
One to two 1/2 cup servings of legumes (beans, peas, lentils)
2 tablespoons of raw nuts or seeds
1 to 2 servings of whole grains (serving =1 cup or 1 slice)
healthy fats (like olive oil) in limited amounts
1 serving per WEEK of animal products

The last bullet point is key.  Other than that one serving per week... no meat, no fish, no cheese, no butter, no milk, no half & half, no yogurt, no eggs.  Ugh!  That's what I thought last summer, but it is amazingly easy and you can't imagine how good food can taste without those things.  I'm not necessarily saying they taste better; they're just equally as good.  

My best advice is to not try to recreate familiar foods you love.  Pizza will never taste the same with "fake" cheese.  A veggie burger will never taste like the real thing.  Whatever you make, just take it for what it is.  If you like it, add it to your list of favorites.  If you don't like it, retire the recipe and move on.

The great thing is that we are allowed one serving of animal product per week.  So, if I want cheese pizza, I can have cheese pizza... once a week.

If you're interested in getting started in eating this way, begin by checking out these two resources. 

21 Day Vegan Kickstart
You have to register for the kickstart, but it's free.

Rating the Nutrient Density of Foods
Try to get a score of 250 for breakfast, 500 for lunch, and 500 for dinner.

This past week, I have been loving the following two cookbooks by Angela Liddon:

Oh She Glows Cookbook
Oh She Glows Everyday Cookbook

Here's the link to the veggie burger video:

Here are links to some of the great recipes I made in the past week.

From the Vegan Kickstart:
BBQ Portobellos
Easy Veggie Fajitas
Quinoa Pilaf
Quickie Quesadillas


From Oh She Glows and Oh She Glows Everday:
Vegetable "Cheese" Soup

Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta
Loaded Sweet Potatoes

Overnight Oats

Here's an amazing dessert:
Chocolate Banana "Ice Cream"

And here's my Green Smoothie recipe:

2 large handfuls of mild greens (baby spinach or kale)
1 1/2 cups liquid (water, almond milk, soy milk, etc.  UNSWEETENED)
1 banana
2 other fruits (I like using strawberries and blueberries)
1 tablespoon of chia seeds or ground flaxseeds (if you have a Nutribullet, you can use whole flaxseeds)

If using a Nutribullet, put everything in and blend.  If using a blender (even a Ninja), blend liquid and greens first and then add the fruit and blend again.  (Click HERE for the kind of Nutribullet I have.  I also have a Ninja, but the Nutribullet is better for smoothies.)

Be sure to join me next week for an update on my progress and more great resources. 

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Organizing Week 4—The "Launch Pad"

Last week's challenge was to organize the dining roomFor me, this was really a decorating challenge.  Since we moved into our house a few months ago, we just never got around to decorating that space and it ended up collecting "stuff".  You can see a lot more detail by watching the video.

  Here's how some of the spaces looked before:

And here's how it looks now:

Now, let's talk about the "launch pad"This is the place in the house where we grab our stuff and go and it is also the place where we dump everything when we come home.  My launch pad is a corner of the laundry room (which I will organize during another week of this challenge).  Be sure to click on the video linked above to see how it looks now.

Here's the link to the tips about organizing the launch pad at A Bowl Full of Lemons:

Click HERE to get the PDF of tasks to complete.

Join me next week, so I can show you the results of my launch pad and for the next challenge (the living room).


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