Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Lentil Stew (DF, GF)

  I LOVE a good, flavorful Lentil soup !

Adapted from this recipe

1 onion, chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
1 16-oz package frozen carrots
1 16-oz package frozen spinach
2 8-oz cans tomato sauce
1 Tbsp minced jar garlic
1 and 1/2 cup dry lentils, rinsed
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp salt (I used celery salt)
1/4 tsp black pepper
4 cups of broth or water

Put everything in a crockpot and cook on low for 8-10 hours or until done.

No, the Lord is all I need.  He takes care of me. 
Psalm  16:5 (NCV)

Monday, May 29, 2017

Three Bean Salad (DF, GF)

A bean salad is always GREAT in the summer !!!  Make this for picnics, lunches, get-togethers, or a side dish for dinner. This is a GREAT way to get your fiber !!!  

1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
1 onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 to 3/4 cup salsa (no sugar)
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 Tbsp cilantro flakes

Place all ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine  - serve immediately or after it has been in the fridge. 

But those who turn to idols will have much pain.  I will not offer blood to those idols or even speak their names.
Psalm 16:4 (NCV)

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Monday, May 15, 2017

Contribution from Freelance Writer Jess on Improving Your Health With a Garden

I hope you are enjoying the articles from Jess as much as I am !!!  Here is her latest on how having a garden can improve your health.  THANKS Jess !!!

How Growing Your Own Vegetables Can Improve Your Health
It's no secret that eating vegetables packed with vitamins and minerals is great for your physical health. But did you know that the very act of tending your own vegetable garden and growing your own produce can also have a number of mental and emotional health benefits too? Gardening, much like baking and sewing, has experienced somewhat of a revival among 18-24 year olds and 89% of them say they have a garden or grow their own plants. But how exactly can growing your own vegetables benefit your mind, body and soul?

Research indicates that being close to nature helps relieve stress. The beauty and tranquillity of the natural world is subconsciously calming and the repetitive, gentle act of gardening in the natural environment can be the perfect way to unwind and relax from the pressures of everyday life. Simply having your hands in the soil can relieve tension due to the natural electrons found in the earth - this process is called grounding. 

Physical exercise is great for mind and body. While gardening might not be the most traditional workout, it can be physically hard work particularly when it comes to hauling heavy watering cans, bending, lifting and stretching to prune your plants. All of this is apt to help you work up a sweat which improves everything from your heart health to your mood. Best of all, it is gentle exercise that anyone of any age and fitness level can carry out. 

Eat well
Of course the key benefit of growing your own vegetables is that you are creating fresh, organic food that is packed with nutrients and is much more financially viable than what you'd pick up in a store. Popular plants for novice vegetable gardeners include tomatoes which are full of vitamins and onions which are thought to have immunity boosting properties. Best of all you know exactly what has gone into your crops - no nasty chemicals or pesticides. And enlisting the whole family in the process will improve their diet and eating habits too - studies show that children who grow their own vegetables are more likely to take an interest in healthier foods and eat well as they grow. 

With the rise of allotments and community garden schemes, gardening has become a hugely social pastime that allows people to come together and unite in a common goal. As humans, we thrive from this sort of interaction as it improves our sense of belonging and self-esteem. 

On the subject of self-esteem, gardening is a great way to feel a real sense of achievement. Planting something and nurturing it into a product can be harvested to feed yourself and your family in a real back-to-basics approach to life that will fill you with a sense of self-sufficiency that we no longer get to experience often in the modern world.

Where to begin?
If you have decided to give vegetable gardening a go, it can be daunting to know where to begin - especially for novice gardeners. Setting up a vegetable garden is actually quite straightforward but it does require a little planning. The location of your garden is important. You'll need an area that gets plenty of direct sunlight but that can also ideally offer some shelter from the elements. The ground should be cleared of any roots or perennial weeds and it’s important to invest in good quality seeds for your produce. It's important to have a good understanding of the maintenance and growing patterns of specific plants. Some will only thrive at certain times of year while others (such as root vegetables) tend to be able to withstand colder, winter temperatures. Do your research and plan ahead - soon you could be reaping the mental and physical health benefits of growing a vegetable garden. 

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Contribution from Freelance Writer Jess on Refreshing Summer Drinks

THANKS Jess for writing another interesting and fun article !!!  As warm weather is now approaching, this article is PERFECT !!!  Jess gives GREAT suggestions for some refreshing vegan drinks to make this summer !!

5 Vegan-Friendly Drinks to Make Yourself This Summer
With summer around the corner, the time has come to sit back, relax, and enjoy a tasty drink. For vegans, this can be easier said than done, as wine, certain juices, and even some types of sugar are off limits. This can make it difficult to create a crisp, refreshing summertime drink. However, with the right mix of ingredients and a little creativity, you can concoct these five tasty and vegan-friendly drinks this summer.

The Kit You’ll Need
For these drinks, you’ll need three things: a blender, plenty of crushed ice, and tons of fruit. Having some mint, soy milk, coconut milk, as well as some vodka and bourbon will help too. You’ll also be wise to have a few tall, chilled glasses handy, as they will help to enhance these cool, summertime drinks that much more.

Tropical Fruit Freeze 
As long as you have enough fruit, this summer drink is about as easy as it gets. All you need to do is toss a peeled orange, banana, and mango in a blender with either soy or rice milk and whip it up until it's smooth. It’s guaranteed to be fruity and refreshing, perfect for a summer’s day.

Dragon Fruit and Coconut Shake
Odds are, you haven’t had this combination of fruits before, but drinking this shake will make you feel like you’re on a beach somewhere. You’ll need a dragon fruit and a banana mixed with a cup of coconut juice or coconut milk. Put all that into a blender with a cup of ice cubes and half a cup of coconut meat. Blend it all up and you’ll have the perfect summer drink.

Regular lemonade can be a little boring, but feel free to add a new twist to a classic drink by making yourself a tall glass of watermelonade. Simply liquify five cups of watermelon in a blender and add a touch of lemon juice and a few ice cubes. It’s that easy to make yourself a cool summer drink, and if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, feel free to add a little mint, just to make the drink feel a little fancier.

Cranberry-Ginger Martini
For those hot summer nights, nothing will hit the spot like a cranberry-ginger martini. Throw some ice, 2 oz. of cranberry juice, and half an ounce of lime juice into a martini shaker (with some vodka, of course). Pour the mixture into a martini glass with half an ounce of tonic water and just a touch of powdered ginger. At the end of a long summer day, it’ll hit the spot.

Mint Julep 
This is an old-school cocktail, and fortunately, it’s vegan-friendly. First, mix a cup of water with a cup of sugar and bring to the boil for five minutes in a saucepan. Then pour into a container with seven sprigs of fresh mint and cool in the refrigerator to create a mint simple syrup. Next, crush three mint leaves at the bottom of a glass before adding two oz. of bourbon whiskey, one Tbsp. of your simple syrup, and plenty of ice. Stir it up and you’ll have a classic mint julep.