Tag Archives: market

My Top 10 Ways to Eat Healthier Everyday

I’ve been meaning to write this post for quite awhile now, not only to share with you, but as a reminder to myself of how I’ve changed my daily eating and health habits in order to live a better lifestyle.

#1  Sprinkle Chia Seeds on Anything You Can!  Make overnight oats, sprinkle on almond butter on a whole wheat bagel, sprinkle onto yogurt, mix 1 tbsp in any and all smoothies and shakes, or add a sprinkle to your oatmeal.

Chia seeds contain about 20% protein, a higher percentage than found in many
other grains such as wheat and rice.  Chia seeds are an excellent source of antioxidants containing even more antioxidants than fresh blueberries. Besides EFAs, Chia seeds also provide fiber, iron, calcium, niacin, magnesium,
zinc and phosphorus.

1 tablespoons of Chia = 3.5  grams of fiber, 1 gram
of protein, 102 milligrams of calcium, 2.5 grams omega-3

#2  Eat Local and Organic Fruits and Veggies!  Find your town’s local farmer’s market!  The city of Charlotte has multiple farmer’s market, you just have to find them!(Atherton Mills, King’s Market, Yorkmont Farmer’s Market)   If you do not have a farmer’s market, just be aware of where you are buying your fruits and veggies.  When it is the off season for markets, I just focus on buying the organic fruit and veggies that have ‘skin’ that you consume (i.e. strawberries, tomatoes).  It is not as a neccessity to buy bananas and oranges organic, because you throw the peels away.

I used to not go to the farmer’s market to get my fruits and veggies.  I used to buy from the grocery store because that’s what I was brought up on.  Then I learned how such a high percentage of fruits and veggies you buy from the grocery store are genetically modified so that you can buy tomatoes as large as your head.   Should we be eating fruits and veggies on steroids?  Is that what YOU want to put into your body?  I certainly don’t.

#3  Focus on buying Whole Wheat Pasta, Breads and Grains.   Whole grains offer vitamins and minerals, plus high levels of antioxidants and other healthy plant-based nutrients. Studies have shown that eating more whole grains may help reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes. New studies show that whole grains may lower triglycerides, improve insulin control, help in weight
management, and slow the build-up of arterial plaque (WheatFoodsCouncil).

I remember a time that I used to not pay as much attention to what was WHOLE wheat vs. just regular wheat bread.  I thought wheat bread was healthy, so that’s what I bought.  Make sure you are buying whole wheat breads and grains, and not being fooled as I once was.  Whole wheat foods are full of fiber because they’re made from the entire wheat kernel: germ, bran, and endosperm.  Fiber takes up room in your stomach, which then sends your brain the signal that you’re full.  Take advantage of the added nutrients whole grains offer, it will be worth the extra 50cents or so to help maintain your health.

#4 Eat Healthy Snacks to Speed Up Your Metabolism!   Whenever I can at my job, I snack on something healthy.  I often bring some type of ‘bar’ or almonds or a ziplock of fresh fruit to speed up my metabolism as I work and keep my blood sugar regular.   Nut tip–always go for RAW nuts!  You don’t want the added sodium in salted or honey roasted nuts, eventhough they may be tastier. 

I like to think of it this way, make healthy snacks your ONLY option!  While I’m running errands, I tend to bring a banana or pack of raw almonds with me as my only option if I need a snack.  Don’t fall for fast food cravings, etc.–I mean do I really have to say that?  Hopefully not.  I’m going to make my own Larabars soon, and I will post the recipe on here as well. 

#5 Buy Bulk!    I wish I have buying bulk items FOREVER, but at least I can start buying them now.  Sometimes I feel like a kid in the candy store when I visit the bulk foods section of a grocery store.  No I don’t mean the bulk CANDY department either!! All your whole grains, flours and nuts can be found in bulk in some grocery stores–(i.e. EarthFare, Healthy Home Market) just to name a few in Charlotte. 

I love going home and storing my bulk items in Mason jars tightly sealed as well.  It makes for great kitchen organization and you’re more apt to use your whole grains and other bulk foods, if they are out in plain vision on a shelf in your kitchen, rather than shoved in cabinets up high.

#6 Cashews Create A Great Lowfat Cream Sauce!  So Brandon and I enjoy making pasta often at our house, and we’ve even started to buy vodka sauce lately, which is made with heavy cream.  Instead of using this sauce, we have most recently been making our own sauce using RAW CASHEWS!  Genius, right?  Here is the recipe for this Tomato Basil Cream Pasta made with cashews, of all things.

#7 Drink Non-Dairy Milk!! So tell me again, why are you drinking milk from a cow?  Eww…gross.  It’s ok, I used to drink milk from a cow too, then I realized that’s kinda crazy that humans are the only mammal that consume milk from another mammal.  So now we only buy non-dairy milk, this includes but is not limited to…almond milk, soy milk, coconut milk, and rice milk.

Almond Milk vs. Cow Milk Benefits

“Naturally, almond is a type of nut which provides people with high content of vitamin E, omega (6 and 9), fiber and also protein. Besides, almond is rich in magnesium, selenium and flavonoids. If you wish to get more calcium, then cow milk is much better to take. However, nothing is better in providing good level of calcium except cow milk.”

“When it comes to talk about the milk production of almond milk vs cow milk, almond milk offers the healthier and safer process. If you look at the steps to make both milks, you will soon find the fact that getting the milk from a cow is a process which is prone to contamination. In fact, many cows are mostly injected with some different antibiotics and hormones which can possibly affecting people health.”

#8 Whey Protein Absorbs Faster Than Casein Protein after a Workout.   So after a workout I used to think eating cottage cheese was a good snack because it contained protein.  WRONG!  I recently learned that cottage cheese contains casein protein, a slow-digesting protein.  After a workout, the best thing to have is a whey protein shake.  Whey protein absorbs quickly in the body and helps with rebuilding muscle after a workout.  Sometimes I just mix 1 scoop of protein powder with water and drink it after a workout.  We currently have chocolate protein powder, so it basically tastes like chocolate milk.  Stay tuned for a simple post-workout protein shake update.

#9   Try NEW-to-you Foods!

Since I’ve been reading blogs more often and trying out new recipes, I come across new ingredients all the time I’ve never tried much less bought.  I have to sometimes research or ask a friend how to prepare, where to find or buy certain ingredients because I’ve never bought them before.  There are tons and tons of great foods out there–from tofu to tempeh to beet burgers to overnight oats.  You just need to explore your options and try them!  I’ve been eating sushi for close to 10 years now, so sushi is not so new to me, although I’m sure there are still some out there that have never tried it or have no desire to, that’s why I picked this picture to include.  Get out of the meatloaf, spaghetti, grilled chicken, fish, steak dinner rotation!  Bottom line—try new foods when given the opportunity, you may have a new favorite!

#10  Bring Reusable Bags with You to ALL Stores–not just the grocery store!  

I thought this was a great paragraph I just read on (www.wholeliving.com) so I’d thought I’d share this one!  “For one week, count how many disposable bags you get. Make a couple of trips to  the grocery store, grab lunch from your favorite sandwich shop, pick up a  prescription at the pharmacy — it seriously adds up. In the United States  alone, we go through 100 billion plastic bags per year, less than 1 percent of  which get recycled. Bringing a sturdy tote wherever you go is one of the easiest  Earth-friendly changes you can make.”  Yessir!! It’s true!!

This is my trunk already ready to go grocery shopping, or to Target or wherever!

Overall these are MY Top 10 ways I’ve been eating healthier every day and I hope this post has inspired you to do the same. 🙂

Lots of happy puppies and love,



Tangy Potato Salad and Stuffed Red Peppers

Mmmm….I love fresh potato salad in the summertime at a picnic or just as a side for lunch.  I found this recipe for Tangy Potato Salad here at Choosing Raw, a great blog with raw and vegan recipes.  This recipe was listed under the category of Top 12 Raw and Vegan Recipes for July 4th Weekend.  There are many recipes I tend to make just out of these Top 12 listed here.  Now let me start by telling you, since I do not follow a strict vegan diet, I actually tweaked the recipe a little and did not go forth with using the Veganaise (or Nayonaise, or any vegan mayo), the original recipe called for.  Instead I used Trader Joe’s Reduced Fat Mayonnaise.  I also halved the ingredients in order to just make it as a side item for us and to have a little leftover to eat another day.

Tangy Potato Salad, Inspired by Choosing Raw

Serves 4

2 lbs baby yukon gold potatoes, quartered
2 small stalks celery, finely chopped
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup Trader Joe’s Reduced Fat Mayonnaise or (Veganaise or Nayonaise, or any vegan mayo)
1/8 cup sweet pickle relish
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tsps smoked paprika
1/2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
Salt and black pepper to taste
5 large leaves basil, sliced in a chiffonade


1) Set a large pot of water over high heat, and add potatoes once it’s reached a rolling boil. Cook till fork tender.

2) Drain potatoes, and toss with celery and onion.

While they cool, mix the mayonnaise, relish, mustard, paprika, vinegar, salt and pepper. Add it to the potatoes and mash with hands or with two large wooden spoons. Add only enough of the mayo dressing to coat potatoes generously; you may well have extra.

3) Serve potato salad with basil chiffonade on top. Yum!! Eat as a side item, or just as a light lunch!  Leftovers are great and encouraged as well!

Now for my favorite stuffed pepper recipe I’ve tried.  I remember being a little girl having my mom make me stuffed peppers with about 50% white rice and 50% ground beef as the stuffing, topped with tomato soup straight from the can.  Well this recipe for stuffed peppers will more definitely be replacing your current stuffed pepper recipe!

I was looking for a new stuffed pepper recipe and stumbled upon this one from Happy Little Vegans.  You can see the original recipe and find it here.  Again I only changed 2 things from the original recipe, 1.) I used red peppers instead of green peppers 2.) I de-veganized it!! (sorry, we used reduced fat shredded chedder cheese instead of Daiya).  We loved, loved, loved this stuffed pepper recipe and will be making it again!!  We stuffed 4 peppers, so we had 1 each for dinner last night and 1 each for leftover lunch today!

Stuffed Red Peppers, Inspired by Happy Little Vegans

Serves 4

1 tbsp olive oil

4 red bell peppers

1/2 yellow onion

2 handfuls of sliced portabello mushrooms

generous handful of fresh sweet basil leaves

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1/2 package of reduced fat shredded cheese (or Daiya)

1/2 cup dry quinoa=2 cups cooked quinoa

1 jar of marinara sauce


1.) Preheat oven to 375.  First prepare your peppers.  Wash them, remove tags, slice off the top and scoop out the seeds.

2.) In a large baking dish, lightly coat the bottom with a smear of marinara sauce.  Place peppers in the dish of marinara and slide them into your oven while you continue preparing.

3.)  If making 4 large peppers, combine 1/2 cup of dry quinoa with 1 cup of boiling water, turn heat down to simmer.  Set the timer for 12 minutes for the perfect quinoa consistency.

4.)  Next dice your onions and mushrooms.  Add onions to olive oil in sautee pan.  Sautee onions and add garlic powder and pepper.  Next add the mushrooms to the onions and sautee until mushrooms are slightly tender.  Chop your handful of basil and add HALF to the onion/mushroom mixture.

5.) Your quinoa should be ready by now…add the quinoa and onion/mushroom mixture to a large bowl and stir.  Now add the remaining basil, 1/2 jar of marinara sauce and 1/4 bag of shredded cheese.  You will have a thick stuffing mixture now.

6.)  Carefully pull your peppers out of the oven and place on cooktop.  Stuff each pepper to the top.

7.)  Drizzle more marinara on top and in bottom of dish.  Top with additional shredded cheese.

8.)  Place in oven and continue to cook for approx. 30 min.  Check frequently and remove peppers based on your liking.  Some people like more crunchy peppers, some more soggy.  Ours turned out JUST RIGHT! 😉

All this cooking, made me almost forget to include a new picture of Lacey Lou, after her trip to the groomers yesterday!

My sweet and CLEAN puppy

Here’s Lacey currently….fast asleep while mommy blogs….I think she’s got the right idea for a lazy Wednesday afternoon.

Treats for Puppies and People

Treats for Puppies and People

Last week I made my sweet puppy, Lacey, some Pup Tarts from a doggie treat recipe I got from The Organic Dog Biscuit Cookbook.  Lacey has loved all the treats I have made her and treats from this cookbook she has gotten from friends.

Pup Tarts, taken from The Organic Dog Biscuit Cookbook

For Dough:

  • 1 c. oat flour (can be replaced with whole wheat flour, if your pup doesn’t have wheat allergies)
  • 1/2 c. brown rice flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 c. safflower oil
  • 1/4 c. water

For Filling:

  • 1/2 c. blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/2 c. diced strawberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 c. peanut butter (unsalted)
  • 1 egg


Preheat oven to 400degrees.  Combine all dough ingredients together and mix thoroughly.

Roll out on a lightly floured surface to 1/4in. thickness.

Divide evenly into 24 pieces and press them into the cups of a lightly greased mini muffin pan.

Stir all the filling ingredients together and mix thoroughly.

Scoop even amounts into each of the crusts in the muffin pan.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the edges of the crust are golden brown.

Store in an airtight container in the refridgerator.

This is very important because since these treats do not have any preservatives they only stay fresh in the fridge for 2 weeks.  If you are like me and have a small pup, it is best to either freeze what won’t be eaten in the next 2 weeks, or give to other dog owners so they can share these yummy dog treats with their puppies too!

Mmmm…Lacey loves these treats!!  I think the combination of fruit and peanut butter must be really tasty to her!

What a good puppy sitting to get her Pup Tart!
For the next recipe, I am going to share a treat for people–
Scratch Made Peach Blackberry Crisp
Brandon had just brought home from the Springs Farm in Fort Mill, SC, and I had just picked up some blackberries from the market so I literally looked up peach and blackberry desserts and found this recipe on Bran Appetit!
  • 2-3 cups blackberries
  • 3-4 peaches, peeled and diced
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 2/3 cups oats
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 canola oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Toss fruit with 1 Tbsp sugar and 1 Tbsp flour and pour into greased 8×8 baking dish.
  3. In separate bowl, mix the oats, flour, sugar, oil, salt, and cinnamon together until combined.
  4. Spread crisp topping over the fruit.
  5. Bake 35-45 minutes or until the topping is browned and fruit is bubbling around the edges.
  6. Serve. Preferably with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream. (which we did not have at the moment!)

Fruit-filled crisps are a great summertime dessert!  They don’t take many ingredients to make and taste like summer!  I love them because they are so versitile, you can throw in any fresh fruit you have on hand for a tasty fruit combo!  For some more fruit combinations try; apple-strawberry, blueberry-strawberry, or apple-peach!  Mmm…

Check out these blogs for additional dog treat recipes!

Flower Power Cookies

Strawberry Blueberry Muttins

Tofu Tacos and Tri-Colored Quinoa & Black Bean Salad

Tofu Tacos and Tri-Colored Quinoa and Black Bean Salad

Let me start off my saying YUM!  I loved this dinner and will definitely make it again!  I found the recipe for the Tofu Tacos from Peas and Thank You, one of my favorite blogs.  The tofu was delicious in the marinade and really had a good ‘taco’ flavor because of the chili powder and cumin.

Tofu Tacos

 This recipe is so simple but I had a slight problem with my tofu being too wet still even after pressing it.  So instead of following the recipe exactly, I made tofu scramble instead of tofu slabs.  But check out the original recipe here.

Spicy Tofu Soft Tacos

Adapted from Peas and Thank You

Print this recipe!

Makes 6-8 tacos


  • 2 T. soy sauce
  • juice of one lime
  • 1 T. agave or maple syrup
  • 1 T. water
  • 1 t. garlic, minced
  • 1 t. chili powder
  • 1/2 t. cumin

Soft tacos:

  • One 14 oz. package organic, extra firm tofu (drained and pressed and cut into slabs)
  • 6-8 whole wheat soft taco-size or corn tortillas
  • 2 c. shredded cabbage
  • 1 batch Almost Chipotle Guacamole or 1/2 c. other guacamole
  • 1/2 c. prepared salsa


Prepare your marinade in a container with a sealable lid so you can add the tofu easily.  Just whisk together the ingredients and add the tofu.  Gently shake your container so the tofu is evenly coated with the marinade.  Leave your tofu in the fridge marinating for a few hours.  Your tofu should be evenly coated and will have absorbed most of the liquid.

If making tofu scramble, put skillet on medium heat and place all tofu and remaining marinade in skillet.  The remaining marinade will coat the skillet nicely and help with heating up the tofu.  I turned the tofu a few times and heated it up for about 10 minutes.  While the tofu was heating up, I made a quick guacamole, got out salsa and cut up my cabbage to top the tacos.  I also heated up the tortillas by putting them on a flat skillet for 10-15 seconds on each side.  We then easily made our tacos with the tofu, cabbage, salsa and guac!

Until I purchase a tofu press, I will probably be making my tofu tacos as a tofu scramble, although I love the idea of tofu slabs.  As a side item, I made Tri-Colored Quinoa & Black Bean Salad, adapted from Eat a Plant.  I used the tri-colored quinoa I bought at the bulk section of EarthFare, but any quinoa would work.

Tri-Colored Quinoa BEFORE

Tri-Colored Quinoa AFTER

Tri-Colored Quinoa & Black Bean Salad

Adapted from Eat a Plant


2 cups quinoa (tri-colored or regular quinoa)
3 ½ cups water
pinch of sea salt
1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
3 green onions, sliced
1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely diced
1 red pepper, diced
2 cups cooked black beans, rinsed and drained
1 avocado, peeled and sliced for garnish

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ cup freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 ½ teaspoon sea salt

Add quinoa to medium pot with water and sea salt. Bring to boil, reduce heat to low. Cover and let simmer 12-14 minutes or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat.
Place quinoa in a large bowl to cool. Combine oil, juice, salt and cumin in a small bowl. Whisk and pour over cooled quinoa. Toss well. Add cilantro, green onions, jalapeño, red pepper and black beans. Toss.  Garnish with avocado slices and serve.

After realizing I still had my bulk items in the bags I bought them in, I figured I better do some kitchen organization.

Thank You Mariah (pictures pups and pies) for the idea of using these cheap and convenient jars!

One last picture to leave you with….

Lacey's Victim #5

Spaghetti Squash w/ Vodka Sauce and Turkey Meatballs or not

National Running Day- June 1st

Before I start my blog for the day, I wanted to recognize that I just read in CarrotsNCake.com, that this past Tuesday, June 1st, was National Running Day.  I just think it’s so ironic that RUNNING was what I COINCIDENTALLY decided to write about that same day.

Enough about working out, now for some dinner and dessert.

Spaghetti Squash w/ Vodka Sauce and Turkey Meatballs or Not

Here is the Original Recipe adapted from www.foodnetwork.com


  • 1 whole spaghetti squash
  • A drizzle of safflower or olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Sea Salt
  • 3 cups prepared (jarred) marinara or vodka  sauce
  • Turkey meatballs


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Split the squash in half and scrape out seeds.

Line an oven tray with aluminum foil. Season the spaghetti squash with safflower oil, salt, and pepper.

 Place flesh side down and roast for 30 to 40 minutes until fully cooked.

Remove from the oven and let rest until cool enough to handle.

Meanwhile heat the marinara or vodka sauce in a large saute pan.  Add turkey meatballs, if desired.

w/o Meatballs

w/ Meatballs

When squash is cool enough to handle, using a large kitchen spoon scrape the strands of squash from the inside of the skin.

Toss the spaghetti squash in the pan with the sauce and turkey meatballs for just long enough to get hot.  Serve and enjoy!

Next time try serving the spaghetti and sauce in the empty squash skin!

I’ve seen it served that way before, but we knew our meatballs would be too heavy to put in there.

We love making this simple and quick meal as a replacement to pasta.  It’s only 41 calories per cup of cooked spaghetti squash!!!  You can jog in place for a few minutes to burn that off! 🙂  Spaghetti squash is also very high in Vitamin C and B6.  Vitamin C is important for promoting a healthy immune system and Vitamin B-6 is needed to break down stored energy.

Here is a link from LiveStrong.com about the benefits and nutritional value of Spaghetti Squash.

After having a delicious dinner we treated ourselves to some fresh peaches Brandon brought home from a local farm near his job and some strawberries and blueberries I picked up earlier in the week from the King’s Drive Farmer’s Market.

Fruit Salad with drizzled Raw Honey

Cloister Honey--Whipped Cinnamon and Raw

We LOVE to get different varieties of Cloister Honey from our other local Farmer’s Market—Atherton Mills Market. 

 One last photo to leave you with—Happy puppies LOVE spaghetti squash too!!!

Happy Puppy

Welcome to Summer Break 2011!

Welp!  I’ve done it!! I have created a blog, an online journal, a place for me to reflect on what has gone on in my life and treasure memories.  After just finishing teaching my 6th school year, I now have what every teacher looks forward to the most (no matter what they tell you), SUMMER BREAK!!!  Along my summer break, I plan to take a few trips, at least road trips, if nothing else.  I also plan on spending a lot of time with my sweet puppy, Lacey.  It was always so hard waving goodbye to her when I left out the door on the way to school each morning at 7:30am and she would just curl up in her bed, where I believe she stayed until I got home from school at 3:30pm.  Now we will get a chance to venture out on some activities I’ve waited until now to do with her.

  First venture out with the puppy was at the local Farmer’s Market today.

Lacey really is a very sweet puppy and loves all animals and all people, no matter if they love her or not.  I believe this picture I took today totally explains the name of my blog.  Here are a few more pictures of us at the market today.

During our walk around the Farmer’s Market, Lacey got really hot and was panting a lot.  She then laid down in the shade near a large fan that you can’t see in the background.  She was adorable lying here and when I had checked out, I couldn’t even get her to budge!

What a happy puppy!

I found a lot of fresh veggies at the market today!

I stocked up on some watermelon, blueberries, strawberries and bananas as well.   And I got the ingredients needed to make Tomato Basil Cream Pasta.

I did not take any pictures of our tomato basil cream pasta, mostly because we were devouring it before I could even get the camera out.  We followed Mariah’s recipe exactly, although; Brandon added grilled chicken for additional protein and I thought a sprinkle of goat cheese would add a good touch.  It was awesome!! No leftovers tonight!