Monthly Archives: May 2017

May Nutrition Nuggets


Nutrition Nugget posts are my favorites to write. We are so over saturated¬†with political news that we miss the articles about health & wellness. Many new studies of interest are published every day. I enjoy wading through them. May’s articles range from fruit juice, chocolate, alcohol consumption to aspirin & diets. There are two “I told you so” moments for me. ūüôā I will begin with them.

If you have been following my posts you know that I equate drinking fruit juice with drinking colas. Fruit juice is concentrated fructose with some vitamin & minerals, but sugar all the same. Even though this is a pediatric study, the information is for all ages.

NPR:¬†Pediatricians Advise No Fruit Juice Until Kids Are 1 ¬†KATHERINE HOBSON ¬†“We want to reinforce that the most recent evidence supports that fruit juice should be a limited part of the diet of children,” says Steven Abrams, a professor of pediatrics at Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin, and an author of the guidelines, which were published Monday in Pediatrics.

Whole fruit is a much better way to get all the vitamins and nutrients of fruit, the guidelines say. Whole fruit contains fiber, which slows the absorption of sugar by the body, and it also makes you feel fuller than juice, which can prevent overeating.¬†That is an important point…Whole fruit contains fiber, which slows the absorption of sugar by the body.¬†Fruit juice does not have the fiber so it is absorbed quickly. It takes 2-4 medium oranges to make one cup of juice; 5-8 teaspoons of sugar per cup. Cola has 5 teaspoons per 8 ounces.

The article goes on to say…these new guidelines don’t apply to fruit drinks, which contain less than 100 percent juice and have added sweeteners. Those fall into the category of sugar-sweetened beverages, along with soda, sports drinks and energy drinks, and frequent consumption is associated with poor health outcomes, according to the CDC. An exception is that sports drinks may be useful for child or teen athletes who are exercising heavily, the AAP said in a 2011 clinical report.¬†Sports drinks are not an option for cancer patients. Unless you are doing Zumba with Alessandra ūüôā

Smoothies, too, fall into the “treat” category, says Abrams.¬†As they should be if made with fruit juice. Smoothies can be made in your blender with a nut milk base, 10-20% whole fruit & 80% whole veggies along with other healthy ingredients. They should not be used as a substitute for a meal, except for breakfast. They are especially good for a pick-me-up in moderate amounts between meals. Check out my post in 2015 about Smoothies!¬†

My second “I told you so” moment~ In last weeks post I commented on the American Cancer Institutes¬†recommendation for alcohol consumption:¬†

  • Drink alcohol in moderation, if at all. If you choose to drink alcohol, limit the amount of alcohol you drink to no more than one drink a day for women and two for men.¬†I still have a difficult time with this recommendation to¬†limit the amount of alcohol you drink to no more than one drink a day for women and two for men. It seems excessive to me.¬†

This article by¬†CNN¬†caught my eye:¬†A drink a day tied to higher breast cancer risk, report says By Jacqueline Howard,¬†Tue May 23, 2017¬†“Researchers have long known that having one too many cocktails might be associated with an increased risk of breast cancer.

Now, a new report from the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research reveals just how much of a risk daily drinking might pose for both premenopausal and postmenopausal women. I think that pretty well covers ALL women!

Sipping an average of 10 grams of alcohol a day — equivalent to a small glass of wine, an 8-ounce beer or 1 ounce of hard liquor — is associated with a 5% increased breast cancer risk in premenopausal women and 9% increase in postmenopausal women, said Dr. Anne McTiernan, a lead author of the new report and a cancer prevention researcher at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.¬†This is not a risk I am willing to take.¬†

“I was most surprised by the alcohol result, that risk increases at just one drink a day, on average,” McTiernan said. “The increase with one drink a day was small … but the risk goes up from there. So that’s why AICR recommends no more than one alcohol drink a day for women to reduce risk for cancer.”¬†Maybe I am wrong here, but doesn’t it stand to reason that the risk would also increase over time if you drink alcohol daily?¬†

From Medscape: ¬†Just One Drink a Day Raises Breast Cancer Risk by¬†Roxanne Nelson, BSN, RN,¬†May¬†23,¬†2017 ¬†Commenting on the new finding, Susan K. Boolbol, MD, chief of the Division of Breast Surgery at Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital, New York, said, “We have known about the link between alcohol and breast cancer as several studies have shown the association. The issue with those studies is that we did not have an exact¬†amount of alcohol that was known to increase your risk.”

“This report clearly states that 1 drink per day will increase your risk. That is major news,” Dr Boolbol said in a statement.

The conclusion is:¬†“With this comprehensive and up-to-date report the evidence is clear,” said Dr McTiernan in a statement. “Having a physically active lifestyle, maintaining a healthy weight throughout life and limiting alcohol ‚ÄĒ these are all steps women can take to lower their risk.”

GNN, Genetic Engineering¬†& Biotechnology News:¬†¬†Alcohol Increases Breast Cancer Risk in African-American Women¬†¬†Due to racial bias among participants in many genetic studies, the risks of developing various diseases are less clear in ethnicities outside those with a Caucasian background. For instance, alcohol is an established risk factor for breast cancer‚ÄĒhowever, most studies have been conducted in predominantly white populations. Now, in a large study of African-American women, led by investigators at the University of North Carolina (UNC), researchers found that alcohol consumption was associated with an increased risk of breast cancer‚ÄĒindicating that African-American women, like white females, may benefit from limiting their alcohol intake.¬†

Conclusion:¬†“Understanding the impact of these various risk factors could help narrow the disparity in breast cancer incidence and mortality,” Dr. Troester concluded.

This is also a reminder that when you see results of a research study, you should check to see who the participants were. If they don’t match your ethnicity, gender or age then the outcome may not apply to you.¬†

Headlines that include chocolate & coffee don’t get by me ūüôā¬† CBS News:¬†Chocolate linked to lower risk for heart condition AFib¬†¬†By MARY BROPHY MARCUS,¬†May 24, 2017, 9:18 AM ¬†“Unfortunately, there are no effective, proven therapies for the primary prevention of AF,” experts from the Duke Center for Atrial Fibrillation at Duke University write in an accompanying editorial, so an easy, tasty way to reduce the risk would certainly be welcome. However, they sound a note of caution.¬†

“It is exciting to think about the potential for fun public health announcements, such as ‘Eat more chocolate and prevent AF!’ … However, is this message too good to be true?” they write. They say more research is needed and note a number of limitations in the Danish study group: the participants were almost exclusively white; socioeconomic levels, which may affect health status, were not tracked; and the chocolate consumers had lower levels of other risk factors including hypertension and diabetes.¬†Didn’t I just talk about how important it is to know who was in the study? Yep, I think I did.

The study didn’t look at the type of chocolate consumed, but Mostofsky said the darker the chocolate, the more flavanols it contains, an antioxidant that may promote healthy blood vessel function.

“This is not carte blanche to eat large amounts of chocolate,” said Mostofsky. “Moderate amounts of dark chocolate as part of a healthy diet would be a good choice.”¬†Darn! I am still waiting for the study that says all women 70+ should eat chocolate covered espresso beans all day long to improve their health. I can dream.

Low-dose aspirin linked to lower breast cancer risk, study says   Mon May 1, 2017   I recommend that you read the entire article. Here are a few excerpts. More potential good news for people who regularly take a low-dose aspirin: Women who took one had a lower risk of breast cancer, according to a study published in the journal Breast Cancer Research on Monday. Low dose generally means an 81 mg tablet. Aspirin is not the same as other over the counter NSAIDS like Ibuprofen.

The study used data from more than 57,000 women who were part of the California Teachers Study. In the 23% of women who reported using low-dose aspirin regularly, researchers saw a 20% reduction in the risk of developing HR-positive/HER2 negative breast cancer, some of the most common forms of the disease.

The risk was inversely associated with taking a low-dose aspirin three or more times a week, compared with those women who had no regular low-dose aspirin use. Larger doses did not show the same results.

Aspirin is an anti-inflammatory medication which may explain why it reduces the risk of many cancers. It is also an anti-coagulant, so not everyone can take even a low dose. Aspirin can also interact with other medications. Do not start taking it without consulting with your health care team. 

Last year, internationally, sales of gluten-free products rose 12.6%. This is a significant number. Scientists & nutritionists are interested in finding out why so many people are cutting gluten out of their diet & what benefit, if any, it gives them. This article is about whether there is a cardiac benefit from being gluten-free.  

A Gluten-Free Diet Could Do More Harm Than Good For People Without Coeliac Disease by¬†DAVID NIELD,¬†5 MAY 2017 ¬†“So if you’re determined to go gluten-free, don’t expect a reduced risk of heart problems, and make sure you’re not reducing the whole grains in your diet at the same time.

“Based on our data, recommending a low-gluten diet solely for the promotion of heart health does not appear warranted,” says one of the researchers, Andrew Chan from the Harvard Medical School.

This isn’t the first study to question the benefits of going gluten-free for otherwise healthy people, and some experts say it has no benefits at all, despite popular perceptions.”

This study came to the conclusion that there is no benefit to the heart & may even increase the risk of heart disease. The problem is not limiting or cutting out the gluten, it is in cutting out or limiting whole grains in the diet. Whole grains are important to heart health. 

Another important point that they brought up is that the improvement people perceive in their health may not be due to the gluten-free diet. It may simply be that they are making an effort to clean up their diet. As I have said many times before: I still believe that the success of any diet is not what you are eating on the diet but what you gave up to be on the diet :). Chips, cokes, burgers with fries ūüôā

It’s fair to say that we’ve still got plenty to learn about how gluten affects the body, and the knock-on effects that a gluten-free diet might have, whatever your opinion on the debate.

Lebwohl and his team now want to look at gluten intake measured against cancer and autoimmune disease, among other health problems, to get more answers.

“Despite the relatively low prevalence of coeliac disease and non-coeliac gluten sensitivity, surveys suggest that about one-third of Americans are trying to cut down on gluten,” says Lebwohl.

“This certainly benefits companies that sell gluten-free products. But does it benefit the public? That is the question we wanted to answer.”

The research has been published in the British Medical Journal.

Have you tried the “new” alternate -day fasting idea for losing weight? It is tough to stick to isn’t it ūüôā¬†NPR reported on a new study:¬†Fasting Studies Clash With Our Desire To Eat What We Want, When We Want It¬†by REBECCA HERSHER,¬†

The study published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine did not set out to investigate the hardships of abstaining from food. The main question was: Is alternate-day fasting more effective for weight loss and weight maintenance compared with daily calorie restriction?

The answer to that question appears to be “No.” The study of 100 people over the course of one year suggests that fasting every other day is no better than restricting calorie intake every day for people trying to lose weight or keep it off.

But the researchers also found that people do not change their eating habits easily. About a third of the study participants who were asked to fast didn’t follow the study requirements and ended up dropping out.

The researchers noted that any study about dietary changes is notoriously difficult because people don’t want to change. They drop out of the studies. It was also noted that studies on fasting of any kind are small; very few participants. Because they are such small samples the results are not conclusive. This study involved only 100 people.

Colon Cancer & Lifestyle Changes

The NIH: National Cancer Institute, predicts 135,430 new cases of colon cancer in 2017. In a new study that I will be discussing in this post, the lead researcher, Erin Van Blarigan, ScD, said that there are over 1.3 million colon cancer survivors in the US. 

This newest study shows how important diet & life style can be in reducing the risk & recurrence of colon cancer. In my research I have found that these same guidelines should be followed by all cancer survivors/thrivers. 

What is colon cancer? 

Colon cancer locations The Mayo Clinic has an informational page about¬†Colon Cancer¬†¬†The overview states that:¬†Colon cancer is cancer of the large intestine (colon), the lower part of your digestive system. Rectal cancer is cancer of the last several inches of the colon. Together, they’re often referred to as colorectal cancers.¬†Most cases of colon cancer begin as small, noncancerous (benign) clumps of cells called adenomatous polyps. Over time some of these polyps become colon cancers.

~Important to note~¬†WebMD¬†writes;¬†“Although most colorectal polyps do not become cancer, virtually all colon and rectalcancers start from these growths.”

Under Prevention, the Mayo Clinic recommends, besides yearly screening, the following:

Make lifestyle changes to reduce your risk. You can take steps to reduce your risk of colon cancer by making changes in your everyday life. Take steps to:

  • Eat a variety of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Fruits, vegetables and whole grains contain vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants, which may play a role in cancer prevention. Choose a variety of fruits and vegetables so that you get an array of vitamins and nutrients.
  • Drink alcohol in moderation, if at all. If you choose to drink alcohol, limit the amount of alcohol you drink to no more than one drink a day for women and two for men.¬†I still have a difficult time with this recommendation to¬†limit the amount of alcohol you drink to no more than one drink a day for women and two for men. It seems excessive to me.¬†
  • Stop smoking. Talk to your doctor about ways to quit that may work for you.
  • Exercise most days of the week. Try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise on most days. If you’ve been inactive, start slowly and build up gradually to 30 minutes. Also, talk to your doctor before starting any exercise program.¬†I recently read that 150 minutes a week of aerobic exercise¬†is recommended. 30 minutes a day on a bike or walking, 5 days a week.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. If you are at a healthy weight, work to maintain your weight by combining a healthy diet with daily exercise. If you need to lose weight, ask your doctor about healthy ways to achieve your goal. Aim to lose weight slowly by increasing the amount of exercise you get and reducing the number of calories you eat.¬†Age old sound advice.¬†

Following the Mayo Clinics recommendations not only will reduce the risk of colon cancer but for those diagnosed they will reduce the risk of recurrence. Lets look at the newest studies published this past week.

Medical Press article:  Eating right and exercising could reduce the risk of colon cancer coming back  May 18, 2017 by Elizabeth Fernandez

Colon cancer patients who have a healthy body weight, exercise regularly and eat a diet high in whole grains, fruits and vegetables have a significantly lower risk of cancer recurrence or death, according to a research team led by UC San Francisco investigators. This finding represents an analysis of data collected on patients participating in a national study for people with stage III colon cancer. The analysis involved 13 other institutions and patients were evaluated over approximately seven years.

“We found that colon cancer patients who reported a healthy body weight, engaged in regular physical activity, and ate a diet rich in whole grains, vegetables and fruits that was low in red and processed meats, had a lower risk of cancer recurrence and death compared to patients who did not engage in these behaviors,” said lead author Erin L. Van Blarigan, ScD, assistant professor in the UCSF departments of epidemiology and biostatistics, and urology.¬†

Researchers found that over a median follow up period of seven years, colon cancer survivors who adhered to the healthy lifestyle guidelines had a 42 percent lower risk of death and 31 percent lower risk of cancer recurrence compared to patients who did not engage in these behaviors. Those are amazing statistics! You rarely see such impressive results.

Another article on the same study was in Targeted Oncology:¬†Healthy Lifestyle Linked to Improved Overall Survival, Reduced Recurrence in Colon Cancer¬†¬†Beth Fand Incollingo, Thu May 18, 2017 ¬†Lost in the headlines is the reason the study was set up: Investigators enrolled the patients from 1999 through 2001, adding them to the study within 8 weeks of surgery and immediately starting them on 6 months of chemotherapy. The primary purpose of the study was to consider the effects of 2 types of postsurgical chemotherapy on cancer recurrence and death. But also during the study, lifestyle was assessed twice using validated surveys‚ÄĒat enrollment and 6 months after each patient finished chemotherapy. The participants were receiving conventional care at the same time their lifestyle changes were studied. This does not take away from the impressive results of the study.

The last paragraph in this article is important to note:¬†One caution was mentioned about the findings. ‚ÄúIt should be emphasized that the authors are not suggesting that a healthy lifestyle alone should be considered a substitute for standard chemotherapy and other treatments for colon cancer, which have dramatically improved survival. Rather, patients with colon cancer should be optimistic, and they should eat a healthy diet, and exercise regularly, which may not only keep them healthier, but may also further decrease the chances of the cancer coming back,‚ÄĚ said Daniel F. Hayes, MD, FACP, FASCO, president of ASCO.¬†

Another study that ASCO, the American Society of Clinical Oncology reported on: ¬†Chance of Colon Cancer Recurrence Nearly Cut in Half in People Who Eat Nuts¬†May 17, 2017,¬†Kelly Baldwin ¬†“An observational study of 826 patients with stage III colon cancer showed that those who consumed two ounces or more of nuts per week had a 42% lower chance of cancer recurrence and 57% lower chance of death than those who did not eat nuts.

A secondary analysis revealed the benefit of nut consumption was limited to tree nuts. Tree nuts include almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, cashews, and pecans, among others. These findings will be presented at the upcoming 2017 ASCO Annual Meeting in Chicago.”

‚ÄúBasic healthy eating can often be overlooked during cancer treatment. This study shows that something as simple as eating tree nuts may make a difference in a patient‚Äôs long-term survival,‚ÄĚ said ASCO President Daniel F. Hayes, MD, FACP, FASCO. ‚ÄúNut consumption and a healthy diet are generally factors that clinicians and patients should perhaps pay attention to as they design the approach to treatment for colorectal cancer.‚Ä̬†The study participants were undergoing conventional chemotherapy at the time.

I am encouraged to see such a prestigious group as ASCO recommending that clinicians & patients should pay attention to diet & lifestyle changes before, during & after diagnosis & treatment of colon cancer. Again I say that this idea should be included in all medical care.

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention recommends the following for colon cancer screening:  

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that adults age 50 to 75 be screened for colorectal cancer. The decision to be screened after age 75 should be made on an individual basis. If you are older than 75, ask your doctor if you should be screened. People at an increased risk of developing colorectal cancer should talk to their doctors about when to begin screening, which test is right for them, and how often to get tested.

Several screening tests can be used to find polyps or colorectal cancer. The Task Force outlines the following colorectal cancer screening strategies. Talk to your doctor about which of the following tests are right for you.

Stool Tests

  • The guaiac-based fecal occult blood test (gFOBT) uses the chemical guaiac to detect blood in the stool. It is done once a year. For this test, you receive a test kit from your health care provider. At home, you use a stick or brush to obtain a small amount of stool. You return the test kit to the doctor or a lab, where the stool samples are checked for the presence of blood.
  • The fecal immunochemical test (FIT) uses antibodies to detect blood in the stool. It is also done once a year in the same way as a gFOBT.
  • The FIT-DNA test (also referred to as the stool DNA test) combines the FIT with a test that detects altered DNA in the stool. For this test, you collect an entire bowel movement and send it to a lab to be checked for cancer cells. It is done once every one or three years.

Flexible Sigmoidoscopy

For this test, the doctor puts a short, thin, flexible, lighted tube into your rectum. The doctor checks for polyps or cancer inside the rectum and lower third of the colon.

How often: Every 5 years, or every 10 years with a FIT every year.


This is similar to flexible sigmoidoscopy, except the doctor uses a longer, thin, flexible, lighted tube to check for polyps or cancer inside the rectum and the entire colon. During the test, the doctor can find and remove most polyps and some cancers. Colonoscopy also is used as a follow-up test if anything unusual is found during one of the other screening tests.

How often: Every 10 years.

CT Colonography (Virtual Colonoscopy)

Computed tomography (CT) colonography, also called a virtual colonoscopy, uses X-rays and computers to produce images of the entire colon, which are displayed on a computer screen for the doctor to analyze.

How often: Every 5 years.

How Do I Know Which Screening Test Is Right for Me?

There is no single ‚Äúbest test‚ÄĚ for any person. Each test has advantages and disadvantages. Talk to your doctor about the pros and cons of each test, and how often to be tested. Which test to use depends on‚ÄĒ

  • Your preferences.
  • Your medical condition.
  • The likelihood that you will get the test.
  • The resources available for testing and follow-up.

Our insurance recommends the stool screening which is done with a kit at home. They send us a kit every year by post & we take it to our local clinic to be tested. Could not be easier. If you haven’t been tested in the last 1-3 years, then you should ask your doctor about it.¬†

Next week I will report on all the interesting news items I have collected during the month of May. Until then…Mary ūüôā


Vegan Comfort Foods.

Pannikan, Encinitas
Jennifer Moore

¬†This vegan website said it so well; even vegans need comfort food.¬†VegKitchen¬†“Vegans need comfort food just as much as anyone else. Salads and smoothies are great, but during sad or difficult moments, or when you‚Äôre under the weather, they just don‚Äôt do the trick. Warm and soothing, comfort foods also contain just the right amount of nostalgia ‚ÄĒ and love.”¬†

A sample of their recipes:¬†¬†Vegan ‚ÄúChick-Un‚ÄĚ Noodle Soup¬†“This simple, tasty soup recalls a comfort food from my childhood ‚ÄĒ minus the poor bird. Chickpeas or baked tofu do the trick, adding substance and flavor to this soothing soup. There‚Äôs a Yiddish proverb that goes: ‚ÄúWorries go down better with soup.‚ÄĚ

Serves: 6 ~Click on the recipe to see photos & additional notes.

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 large celery stalks, finely diced
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 32-ounce container low-sodium vegetable broth¬†~I like “NotChick’n” broth cubes.
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons salt-free all-purpose seasoning blend (like Frontier or Mrs. Dash)¬†~Lemon pepper would be good.
  • 4 to 6 ounces small pasta rings (anellini) or
    short noodles (cut vermicelli or angel hair pasta work well)
  • 1 cup cooked or canned (drained and rinsed) chickpeas, coarsely chopped,
    or 4 to 6 ounces baked tofu, finely diced
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill¬†
  1. Heat the oil slowly with 3 tablespoons water (or broth) in a large soup pot. Add the celery, carrots, garlic, and onion. Sauté over medium heat for 10 minutes, or until the vegetables begin to soften.
  2. Add the broth, water, and seasoning blend. Bring to a simmer, then cover and simmer gently for 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
  3. Raise the heat and bring to a rapid simmer. Add the noodles and simmer steadily for 5 to 8 minutes, or until al dente. Add the chickpeas or diced tofu, then season with salt and pepper. If the soup is too crowded, add a cup or two of additional water or broth. Stir in the fresh dill and serve.

Nutrition information
Per serving: Calories: 157;  Total fat: 5g;  Protein: 7g;  Fiber: 2g;  Carbs: 21g;  Sodium: 163mg

Oh my, this page has too many to choose from!¬†The list is from different websites.¬†15 Drool-Worthy Vegan Comfort Food Recipes That Will Warm Your Heart and Tummy¬†“There are some days when you just need something that will comfort you inside and out. It may be your favorite sweats and a big sweater, it may mean a snuggly blanket, and it may mean certain foods that make you feel warm and cozy. On December 5th, we get to indulge in those feelings because it‚Äôs National Comfort Food Day.”

I particularly liked this one: Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese Casserole from OneGreenPlanet. 


  • 1 5-ounce pack of crackers
  • 2 1/2 cups cubed butternut squash
  • 1 14-ounce box elbow macaroni
  • 1 cup plain almond milk
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2-3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon rosemary plus more for garnish
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup vegan Parmesan cheese¬†~There are many brands to choose from at the grocery store. You don’t need to make your own.
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 of 1 onion
  • 1/4 cup cashews
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated

FOR THE SHIITAKE BACON:¬†There are many brands of vegan bacon to choose from. This sounds good & not too much effort to make. You can do the same thing using tempeh sliced thinly if you can’t find shiitake mushrooms.


  1. First, make the Shiitake bacon. Slice the mushrooms, coat in all the ingredients (and leave coated for as long as possible), and place in the oven on 250¬įF for 30 minutes. Rotate the mushrooms at the halfway point for an even cook. Mushrooms should be crispy, not hard.
  2. Preheat oven to 375¬įF. Place cubed squash on a baking pan and cook for about 15-20 minutes or until fork tender. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly, then transfer to a blender or food processor and blend until completely smooth. Add the almond milk to assist with pur√©eing. Soak the cashews in hot water for ten minutes, drain, and add to the blender with the butternut squash along with the nutmeg, nutritional yeast, sea salt, cayenne, and Dijon mustard.
  3. Boil pasta in a pot of salted water until al dente. Drain and set aside. To make the topping, put the package of crackers in a plastic bag, smash for 3 minutes until you get crumbs of all sizes, and set aside.
  4. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat, then add the onion, garlic, rosemary, and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook for 3 minutes, then stir in the 1/2 cup almond milk and cook until just starting to thicken, about 3 minutes. Take the sauce off the heat, then stir in the 1/2 cup vegan parmesan cheese until fully incorporated. Add butternut squash mixture stirring to combine. Season to taste with kosher salt.
  5. Combine the full mixture with the cooked pasta. Add the pasta to a baking dish and top with vegan Parmesan cheese, the flatbread crumbs, shiitake bacon, and chopped fresh rosemary and bake for about 20 minutes.
  6. Slice and serve.

~Just an added note. I bought a bottle of organic pumpkin pasta sauce but it had cream in it. I found this vegan version that sounds wonderful. Vegan Tuscan Pumpkin Pasta Sauce on the Detoxinista website under her vegan recipes.

OLIVES FOR DINNER; RECIPES FOR THE ETHICAL VEGAN¬†¬†is a very interesting¬†site. The photos, as well as the recipes are wonderful. I would say that if you love to cook, this would be a good resource for you. Read the home page about the author & her husband’s views on being vegan.¬†Hi, I’m Erin! I love creating original and delicious vegan recipes and sharing them here. I cook and photograph food with my husband Jeff in Redondo Beach, CA”

I have shared  Chocolate Covered Katie  with you before. She is delightful & her recipes are amazing. 

Zucchini Banana Bread  Adapted from Flourless Banana Bread

Total Time: 35m,¬†Yield: 9×5 loaf

Ingredients ~No flour!

  • 2 1/2 cups rolled oats (260g)
  • 1 cup mashed banana (240g)
  • 1 cup finely grated zucchini, loosely packed (200g)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup oil OR milk of choice
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup, agave, or honey
  • 1 and 1/2 tbsp vinegar
  • optional 1/2 cup chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350 F, and grease a 9×5 loaf pan very well, making sure to go up the sides. Put the oats in a blender and blend until a fine powder forms. Add all other ingredients (except optional chips) and blend until smooth. Stir in chips, if using. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, then bake on the middle rack for 35 minutes. Turn the oven off, but DON’T open the oven. Let the bread sit in the closed oven for another 10 minutes. Then remove from the oven and let cool completely before going around the sides with a knife, then inverting onto a plate.

Take a look at her brownies ūüôā¬†

I am adding this link for those of you who are vegan ~look for the vegan baking tab~ & for those of you who don’t use eggs. Madhuram is from India. Her story is very inspiring.¬†¬†¬†Madhurams Eggless Cooking¬†¬†Hello and welcome to Madhuram‚Äôs Eggless Cooking, a blog fully dedicated for egg free baking recipes. Are you one among the millions who cannot eat eggs due to health concerns, religious restrictions or personal preference? Or are you simply out of eggs? Don‚Äôt let that stop you from baking crispy cookies, decadent cakes and delicious pastries because you are in the right place and I have the perfect solution. Find hundreds of truly tried and tested egg free and vegan baking recipes with drool-worthy pictures, easy to follow instructions and loads of useful tips to make your egg less baking experience as pleasant as possible.”

Take a look at her vegan cookie recipes. Lots of healthy comfort food there ūüôā

ChowHound Vegan Comfort Food  has a gallery of yummy recipes. Eggplant lasagna sounded so good. The recipe is not as difficult as it looks. 

Vegan Lasagna 

  • Total Time: 1 1/2 hrs, plus baking time |¬†Makes: 8 to 12 servings

 What’s lasagna without ricotta, mozzarella, and Parmesan? To an Italian, it’s a travesty. But to a vegan or those with food allergies, it’s a delicious and healthy pasta dish that is bound to also please the meat- and dairy-lovers among us.


For the eggplant:

  • 1 1/2 pounds eggplant (about 2 small)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • Pinch red pepper flakes

For the sauce: ~You can always buy a prepared vegan marinara sauce.

  • 2 (28-ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, plus more as needed
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons capers

For the noodles:

  • Kosher salt
  • 12 ounces dried lasagna noodles

For the filling:

  • 2 pounds soft tofu, drained
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped Italian parsley leaves
  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest (from about 2 medium lemons)
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus more as needed (from about 1/2 lemon)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed

To assemble:

  • 1 cup loosely packed basil leaves (from about 1 bunch), cut into 1/4-inch-thick ribbons


For the eggplant:

  1. Heat the oven to 350¬įF and arrange a rack in the middle.
  2. Cut the eggplant(s) lengthwise into 1/8-inch-thick slices. Place in a single layer on a flat surface or 2 baking sheets, overlapping slightly as needed, and sprinkle evenly with 1 teaspoon of the salt. Flip the eggplant and sprinkle evenly with the remaining 1 teaspoon salt; let sit until water beads form on the surface, at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the sauce.

For the sauce:

  1. Using a food processor fitted with a blade attachment, pulse the tomatoes and their juices, in batches as needed, until coarsely chopped (about 10 pulses). Heat the oil in a large saucepan with a tightfitting lid over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds more.
  2. Push the onions and garlic to one side of the pan and add the tomato paste to the empty side of the pan. Cook the paste slightly to remove the raw flavor, stirring occasionally, about 1 to 2 minutes. Stir the onions and garlic into the paste to incorporate. Add the chopped tomatoes, bay leaf, red pepper flakes, and a few pinches of salt. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes to meld the flavors.
  3. Add the capers, taste, and season with additional salt and red pepper flakes as needed; set aside.

To finish the eggplant:

  1. Using paper towels, pat the eggplant slices dry on both sides. In a large nonstick frying pan, heat 1 1/2 teaspoons of the oil over medium-high heat. Add just enough eggplant to sit in a single layer in the pan and sear on both sides, about 4 minutes total. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Transfer to a plate and repeat, in batches, with another 1 1/2 tablespoons of the oil and the remaining uncooked eggplant.
  2. While the eggplant cooks, place the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, parsley, vinegar, red pepper flakes, and a pinch of salt in a large bowl and stir to combine. Transfer the seared eggplant to the oil-vinegar mixture and toss. Taste and season with additional salt as needed.

For the noodles:

  1. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the noodles and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, about 7 minutes. Drain. When cool enough to handle, lay the pieces flat on a lightly oiled baking sheet.

For the filling:

  1. Place the tofu, parsley, nutritional yeast (if using), lemon zest, lemon juice, and measured salt and pepper in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade attachment and process until smooth, about 30 seconds. Taste and season with more lemon juice, salt, and pepper as needed; set aside.

To assemble the lasagna:

  1. Spread a thin layer of tomato sauce in the bottom of a 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Place a single layer of noodles on top of the sauce, about 3 regular-sized noodles. Top the noodles with a quarter of the tofu filling (about 1 cup) and spread evenly. Lay a quarter of the eggplant slices over the filling. Spread about 1 cup of sauce over the eggplant and sprinkle with about 1/4 cup of the basil leaves. Make three more layers of noodles, filling, eggplant, sauce, and basil, omitting the basil from the top layer.
  2. Cover with foil and bake for 50 minutes. Uncover and bake until bubbling, about 10 minutes more. Let cool at least 10 minutes before cutting. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup basil. Serve with any remaining tomato sauce.

Here they are! From Cookie + Kate¬†¬†“These easy vegan pancakes are my favorite basic pancakes! Who knew that eggless, whole grain pancakes could be so fluffy?! I made mine with healthy whole wheat flour, but I suspect that you could substitute other flours with great results. Feel free to throw in some add-ins like blueberries or chocolate chips, if you‚Äôre so inclined. Recipe yields 6 modestly-sized pancakes (perfect for 2 servings), so multiply as necessary.”

Simple Vegan Pancakes 

  • Prep Time: 10 mins/Cook Time: 10 mins/Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 6 pancakes
  • 1 cup Bob‚Äôs Red Mill Organic Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup almond milk or dairy-free milk of choice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or melted coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup or sugar of choice
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • More oil to grease your pan/skillet, if necessary


  1. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a 2-cup liquid measuring cup or another mixing bowl, whisk together the milk, oil, maple syrup and vanilla extract until thoroughly blended. (If your coconut oil solidifies on contact with the cold milk, gently warm it in the microwave just until it liquifies again.)
  2. Pour the liquid mixture into the dry mixture. Stir until combined, so only a few lumps remain (don’t over-mix or your pancakes will be tough!). If you’d like to mix in any totally optional add-ins (like chocolate chips or blueberries), gently fold them in now. Let the batter rest for 5 minutes so your pancakes will be nice and fluffy.
  3. Meanwhile, if you’ll be using an electric skillet, heat it to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Otherwise, heat a heavy cast iron skillet or nonstick griddle over medium-low heat. You’re ready to start cooking your pancakes once the surface of the pan is hot enough that a drop of water sizzles on contact.
  4. If necessary, lightly oil the cooking surface with additional oil or cooking spray (I don’t oil the surface of my non-stick griddle and my pancakes turned out great).
  5. Using a 1/4-cup measure, scoop the batter onto the warm skillet. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes until small bubbles form on the surface of the pancakes (you’ll know it’s ready to flip when about 1/2-inch of the perimeter is matte instead of glossy), and flip. Cook on the opposite sides for 1 to 2 minutes, or until golden brown.
  6. Repeat the process with the remaining batter, adding more oil as needed. You may need to adjust the heat up or down at this point. Serve the pancakes immediately or keep warm in a 200 degree Fahrenheit oven.

Solved my pancake dilemma ūüôā

~Another possibilty:  Vegan Baked Buckwheat Banana Pancakes from Detoxinista

My lovely husband likes to cook. He is very good at it too. One morning he told me that he wanted French Toast for breakfast. He didn’t want to have a lot of bowls & ingredients. He had an idea he wanted to try.

He preheated our large flat cast iron skillet on medium & added a little bit of coconut oil. When it was ready he placed 4 slices of sprouted bread on the skillet. Then he poured plain hazelnut milk onto each slice & topped it with cinnamon. When he thought they were browned he flipped them. When they were browned on both sides he served them.

I thought this was ingenious of him ūüôā They were very good plain or with maple syrup. Sometimes simple is the best.¬†

¬†Pancakes are ready! Until next week…Mary ūüôā

Don’t forget we have a Recipe page on this website!

Spring Recipes!


Spring is here. Flowers are everywhere, & so are the weeds. We have been busy cleaning up the flower gardens & planting veggies. My Sage & Thyme ‘drowned’ in the epic rain we have had in the Pacific Northwest. The other herbs did okay & are coming back. I have decided to try growing the sage & thyme in pots in my herb garden this year. Hopefully with well draining soil they will winter over better. I am so ready for the fresh salad greens & veggies that I have been looking on line for some new recipes. Here is what I found ūüôā

One of the websites that I continue to go back to for recipes is Elena’s Pantry.¬†¬†I like the way she writes & her recipes are delicious. She has a tab that says “Special Diets”. If you click on a diet that you are interested in, there are recipes for it. I chose this recipe from her latest Cinco de Mayo Newsletter, because I know many of you eat turkey & it is very simple.

Green Chili Turkey Burgers¬†May 17th: “These 7-ingredient Green Chili Turkey Burgers are a super popular paleo recipe. Made with ground turkey, green chiles, cilantro, onion, cumin, chili powder, and salt, my loaded paleo burgers are stuffed with spicy goodness! Better yet, they are an absolute cinch to throw together.¬†


  • 2 (4 ounce) cans diced green chilies, drained
  • 1 pound ground turkey ~You can also use vegan¬†chorizo, ground seitan or even beans.
  • 1 cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • ¬Ĺ cup onion, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon celtic sea salt


  1. In a medium bowl combine turkey, chiles, cilantro, onion, cumin, chili powder, and salt
  2. Form into 8 patties
  3. Grill 4-5 minutes per side
  4. Serve

I encourage you to read about Elena & her health journey. Very inspiring.

Summer or Spring rolls have to be the ultimate healthy dish. I have several recipes that vary according to country of origin & taste. Once the veggies are prepared along with the noodles, tofu or fruits they are simple & go together quickly. Our favorite Thai restaurant in Oregon has these available all year; much to my delight.

Minimalist Baker has several variations. Click on the recipe to see step by step photos of preparation.

RAINBOW SPRING ROLLS WITH GINGER PEANUT SAUCE  30-minute spring rolls filled with a rainbow assortment of fruit, vegetables and fresh herbs. So fresh, crisp and served with a spicy-sweet ginger peanut sauce! A satisfying, quick and healthy meal.

Author: Minimalist Baker, Prep time: Total time: 

Cuisine: Thai, Vegan, Serves: 8



  • 7-8 rice spring roll papers ~Easy to find in any store. They look like pale tortillas ūüôā
  • 1 beet, skin removed and finely grated
  • 1/2 yellow and red pepper, seeded, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1 ripe mango, cubed*
  • 1 large bunch mint leaves
  • 1 large bunch cilantro, cut from stems
  • OPTIONAL: 8 ounces extra firm tofu, 1 cup cooked quinoa, or 8 ounces cooked vermicelli noodles
  • 1/2 cup salted natural peanut or almond butter
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce (GF for gluten free eaters)
  • 2-3 Tbsp brown sugar or maple syrup (add to taste)
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 tsp chili garlic sauce
  • 1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger (optional)
  • hot water to thin¬†
  1. Prep veggies and set aside for easy assembly. For the beets, I used this mandolin. 
  2. Bring 3 cups water to a boil in a saucepan or kettle and set aside to cool slightly for cooking rice papers.
  3. Prepare peanut sauce by adding all ingredients except water to a mixing bowl and whisking. Add hot water 1 Tbsp at a time and whisk until desired consistency is desired (should be pourable but thick). Set aside.
  4. Add hot water to a large shallow dish (I used a skillet) and submerge a rice paper to soften for about 10-20 seconds. If you let it go too long or if your water is too hot, they will get too fragile to work with.
  5. Once soft, transfer to a clean, slightly damp surface (I prefer a wooden cutting board), and gently smooth out into a circle.
  6. Add carrots, peppers, mango, beets, and a healthy handful each cilantro and mint (and any other desired fillings). Fold bottom over the fillings, then gently roll over once and fold in the side to seal, then roll until completely sealed. Place on a serving plate and top with a room temperature damp towel to keep fresh.
  7. Repeat process until all toppings are used – about 7 or 8. Serve with dipping sauce and sriracha, if desired.
  8. Store leftovers covered in the fridge for up to a couple days, though best when fresh.

Notes: *I added mango in my spring rolls and while delicious, I found that their acidity ate through the rice paper lining overnight! So if you’re making these in advance, leave out the mango, yo!

*Nutrition information is a rough estimate for 1 of 8 spring roll with dipping sauce and NO added protein sources (tofu, quinoa or otherwise). Serving size: 1 roll with dipping sauce Calories: 226 Fat: 8.9g Saturated fat: .8g Carbohydrates: 23gSugar: 6g Fiber: 4g Protein: 6g

VIETNAMESE SPRING ROLLS WITH CRISPY TOFU 30-minute Vietnamese-inspired spring rolls with fast crispy tofu and a savory-sweet almond butter dipping sauce. Flavorful, crisp, delectable, and so fresh and perfect for spring and summer. Author: Minimalist Baker

Prep time: Cook time: Total time: 

Cuisine: Vegan, Vietnamese, Serves: 4 (8 spring rolls total)


Spring Rolls

  • 1/2 cup each julienned carrots, red pepper and cucumber
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro
  • 1 bunch fresh mint
  • 4 ounces vermicelli or rice noodles (the thinner the better)
  • 8-10 Rice Spring Roll Papers
Almond Butter Dipping Sauce
  • 1/3 cup salted creamy almond butter
  • 1 Tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce (GF if gluten free)
  • 1-2 Tbsp brown sugar, agave or honey if not vegan (depending on preferred sweetness)
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp chili garlic sauce
  • Hot water to thin
Crispy Tofu
  • 8 ounces extra firm tofu, drained and thoroughly dried/pressed
  • 4 Tbsp sesame oil, divided
  • 3 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 2.5 Tbsp almond butter dipping sauce
  • 1 Tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar or agave nectar
  1. Start by preparing rice noodles in boiling hot water for about 10 minutes (read instructions on package), then drain and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat and cut pressed tofu into small rectangles. Toss in 3 Tbsp cornstarch and flash fry in ~3 Tbsp sesame oil, flipping on all sides to ensure even browning ‚Äď about 5 minutes. Remove from skillet and set aside.
  3. Prep veggies and prepare almond butter sauce by adding all sauce ingredients except water to a small mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Add enough hot water to thin until a pourable sauce is achieved. Adjust flavors as needed (I often add a little more chili garlic sauce and brown sugar).
  4. To add more flavor to the tofu, transfer ~2.5 Tbsp of the sauce to a small bowl and add an additional Tablespoon each of soy sauce, sesame oil and brown sugar (or agave) and whisk to combine.
  5. Add tofu back to the skillet over medium heat and add ‚Äúsauce/glaze,‚ÄĚ stirring to coat. Cook for several minutes or until all of the sauce is absorbed and the tofu looks glazed, stirring frequently (see photos). Set aside with prepared veggies and vermicelli noodles.
  6. To assemble spring rolls, pour very hot water into a shallow dish or skillet and immerse rice paper to soften for about 10-15 seconds.
  7. Transfer to a damp cutting board or damp towel and gently spread out edges into a circle. It may take a little practice, so don’t feel bad if your first few attempts are a fail!
  8. To the bottom third of the wrapper add a small handful of vermicelli noodles and layer carrots, bell peppers, cucumber, fresh herbs and 2-3 pieces of tofu on top (see photo). Gently fold over once, tuck in edges, and continue rolling until seam is sealed.
  9. Place seam-side down on a serving platter and cover with damp warm towel to keep fresh. Repeat until all fillings are used up ‚Äď about 8-10 spring rolls total.
  10. Serve with almond butter sauce and sriracha or hot sauce of choice. I like to mix mine and go dip happy.
  11. Leftovers store well individually wrapped in plastic wrap, though best when fresh.
Notes: *Inspired by the lovely Heidi at Foodie Crush

Nutrition Information: Serving size: 1 roll with dipping sauce Calories: 274 Fat: 12g Saturated fat: 1.5g Carbohydrates: 25gSugar: 3.6g Sodium: 172mg Fiber: 1.5g Protein: 6.5g

***Instead of frying tofu or tempeh, I bake it in the oven. I either put it in unadorned or I toss the slices or cubes in a small amount of olive oil with spices. I place it on a parchment lined cookie sheet & bake it at 450 for 30 minutes. Tastier than fried & healthier. 

Show~Me~The Yummy, Healthy Spring Recipes ~Lots of good recipes here. Most of them have shrimp or chicken. The recipes are such that you can substitute the meat or fish with turkey, tofu, or beans if you are so inclined. Here are a couple of examples.

Shrimp Avocado Salad: So, you guys, here ya go, the best, most refreshing, crazy flavorful snack/lunch/dinner: Shrimp Avocado Salad. 

ALMOND BUTTER ENERGY BITES: These Almond Butter Energy Bites are SO healthy and delish. They’re nutty and rich from the almond butter, chewy from the oats, and sweet from the maple syrup and dark chocolate chips!

HEALTHY TURKEY TACO CHILI This Healthy Turkey Taco Chili comes together in just over 30 minutes! It’s healthy, gluten free, loaded with veggies and lean protein, and absolutely delicious! ~This recipe would be wonderful with vegan chorizo or beans!

Martha Stewert, Our Favorite Spring Recipes ~I chose asparagus recipes to show you.

Asparagus, Peas, and Radishes with Fresh Tarragon To save time, the asparagus in this bright salad can be cooked, cooled, dried, and then wrapped up and refrigerated up to a day in advance.

  • PREP:


  • 3 pounds asparagus, tough ends discarded, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons butter ~You can substitute¬†Olive Oil¬†
  • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen peas, thawed
  • 1 bunch (about 1 pound) radishes, greens discarded, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup fresh tarragon, coarsely chopped
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper

DIRECTIONS ***I never boil vegetables. I steam them because they retain more of their nutrients.

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Prepare a large bowl of ice water, and line a baking sheet with a double thickness of paper towels.

  2. Add asparagus to pot; cook until crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes. With a slotted spoon or wire skimmer, transfer to ice bath. Let cool completely, then transfer to prepared baking sheet and pat dry. (Wrap in plastic and refrigerate up to 1 day.)

  3. In a large pot with a lid, heat butter over medium. Add asparagus and peas. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are heated through, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in radishes and tarragon. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Asparagus, Leek, and Gruyere Quiche¬†This spring dish is made richer with Gruyere — an aged Swiss cheese with a nutty flavor that tastes great with eggs.


  • 1 tablespoon butter¬†~Substitute Olive Oil.
  • 1 leek (white and light green parts only), halved and thinly sliced, then well washed
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 bunch (1 pound) asparagus, tough ends removed, thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • 4 large eggs ~It is richer with whole eggs but I use 2 whole eggs & 2 egg whites
  • 1 1/4 cups half-and-half¬†~I substitute an unsweetened nut milk for half of this.
  • Ground nutmeg
  • Our Favorite Pie Crust, fitted into a 9-inch pie plate, well chilled ¬†~I like to use organic¬†Phyllo Dough¬†sheets¬†layered as the crust.¬†If you prefer a traditional crust, then substitute¬†coconut oil for the butter.
  • 1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese (4 ounces) ~When making a quiche, always put the cheese in first on the crust. It keeps the crust from becoming soggy.¬†


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with rack in lowest position. In a large skillet, melt butter over medium. Add leek and asparagus; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until asparagus is crisp-tender, 6 to 8 minutes; let cool.

  2. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, half-and-half, 1/2 teaspoon salt, teaspoon pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg. Place pie crust on a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with cheese; top with asparagus mixture. Pour egg mixture on top.

  3. Bake until center of quiche is just set, 50 to 60 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

Epicurious, Spring Recipes¬†¬†~Lots of yummy recipes for Spring on this site; including asparagus recipes ūüôā The recipe that I found intriguing was:

SPRING PEA BUTTER WITH SHALLOT AND LEMON: This creamy compound butter is packed with bright spring flavor. Spread it on toast, stir into pasta, or slather on grilled lamb chops for the springiest meal ever.

YIELD: Makes about 1 1/2 cups, ACTIVE TIME: 15 minutes, TOTAL TIME: 15 minutes


  • 1 1/3 cups fresh shelled peas (from about 1 pounds pods) or frozen peas, thawed
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature, divided ~¬†I don’t use butter. I wonder if coconut oil would work. Must try.
  • 1 medium shallot, finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest


1. If using fresh peas, cook in a medium saucepan of boiling salted water until tender, about 3 minutes (if using frozen peas, do not cook). Drain, transfer to a bowl of ice water, and let sit until cold, about 3 minutes. Drain and pat dry.

2. Melt 1 Tbsp. butter in a medium skillet over medium high heat. Add shallot and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a food processor. Add peas, pepper, lemon zest, 1 tsp. salt, and remaining 1/2 cup butter; pulse until just combined.

Do Ahead: Pea butter can be made 3 days ahead; cover and chill, or freeze up to 3 months.

Mother Earth Living Food & Recipes: One of my favorite magazines. The online recipes had one for salmon. The salmon could be substituted with either tofu or tempeh. 

Harvest Garlic: Lemon-Mustard Salmon Here’s a quick and easy way to prepare salmon with gourmet appeal.


‚ÄĘ 3 garlic cloves, minced
‚ÄĘ 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
‚ÄĘ 1 tablespoon soy sauce
‚ÄĘ 1 tablespoon stone-ground mustard
‚ÄĘ 1 tablespoon honey
‚ÄĘ 1‚ĀĄ2 tablespoon olive oil
‚ÄĘ 1 teaspoon sesame oil
‚ÄĘ 1‚ĀĄ2 teaspoon lemon thyme
‚ÄĘ 6 salmon fillets (about 1 1‚ĀĄ2 to 2¬†pounds total)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In small bowl, combine garlic, lemon juice, soy sauce, mustard, honey, oils and lemon thyme; set aside.

2. Coat a large baking pan or sheet with cooking spray. Place salmon fillets, skin side down, in pan. Liberally brush each fillet with sauce. Bake, uncovered, 15 to 20 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Serve and enjoy. ~I use parchment paper.

Contributing Editor Kris Wetherbee tends her herbs in western Oregon. 

Another substitution for meat & fish, besides tofu, tempeh,or beans are mushrooms. My favorite are Cremini. They are related to the Portobello mushroom. They hold their shape & are “meaty” like the Portobello; also less expensive. The Portobello, marinated & used as a veggie burger are fantastic!

On the Show~Me~The Yummy website is this gourmet¬†recipe for Portobello Mushroom Burgers. If you aren’t into this much work, there is a more simple recipe that follows this one.

Portobello Mushroom Burger: This Portobello Mushroom Burger is vegetarian, healthy, can be gluten free, and is topped with caramelized onions, a homemade basil pesto, and goat cheese!

Servings: 4 people, Prep Time: 10 minutes, Cook Time: 10 minutes


  • Caramelized Onions
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter ~ Olive Oil
  • 1 yellow onion halved and sliced
  • 2 splashes white wine
  • 4 portobello mushroom caps
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 4 whole wheat buns~ Your choice of bun
  • 1 (4 oz) log goat cheese softened
  • baby spinach
  • caramelized onions from above
  • 1/4 cup pistachio pesto or store bought, if preferred. ~There are a lot of wonderful organic pesto‚Äôs at the store.


Caramelized Onions

  • Heat a large skillet over medium/medium low heat. Once hot, add in butter.
  • Once the butter has melted, add in sliced onion and cook for about 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown and caramelized.
  • In the last minute or two, deglaze the pan with a couple splashes of dry white wine. Cook until the wine has absorbed.
  • Set aside.

Portobello Mushrooms:

  • Preheat broiler (ours is at 500 degrees F).
  • Gently wash and dry mushroom caps. Place them ribbed side up on a rimmed baking sheet.
  • Whisk together olive oil and balsamic vinegar in a small bowl.
  • Brush half of the oil/vinegar mixture on the ribbed sides of the mushrooms.
  • Broil for 5 minutes.
  • Flip the mushrooms and brush on the remaining oil/vinegar.
  • Broil for another 5 minutes.*
  • Remove from the oven and sprinkle with a little salt.

Assembly for one burger:

  • Spread softened goat cheese on the bottom bun.
  • Top with spinach, then portobello mushroom.
  • Top that with some caramelized onions and 1 tablespoon of pesto.
  • Top with burger bun, repeat with the remaining burgers and enjoy!

Recipe Notes:

  • Some of the oil/vinegar will roll off the mushrooms and may start to smoke on the pan. Don’t worry…it’s totally normal!
  • After the mushrooms were cooked, Trevor cut the mushrooms to fit the size of bun we have on hand. This isn’t necessary, but makes for a really pretty presentation!
  • Gluten free? Make sure to use a GF bun! ūüôā

From Portabella Mushroom Burgers  ~Serves 4 people & yes, both spellings are correct. 


  • 4 large portabella mushrooms
  • 1‚ĀĄ4¬†cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 -4 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 ounces sliced provolone cheese¬†~Optional
  • 4 whole wheat rolls¬†~Your choice
  • sliced tomatoes (optional)
  • romaine lettuce leaf (optional)
  • sliced grilled onion (optional)¬†~Or raw
  • Dijon mustard (optional¬†~When it comes to any mustard, optional is not a choice as far as I am concerned. Love mustard!


  1. Cut stems off of mushrooms and place smooth side up in a shallow dish.
  2. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.
  3. Prepare the marinade by whisking together the vinegar, oil, basil, oregano, and garlic.
  4. Pour the marinade over the mushrooms and allow to stand at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes, turning once or twice.
  5. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.
  6. Place the mushrooms on the preheated grill, reserving the marinade for basting
  7. Grill mushrooms for 5 to 8 minutes per side, basting frequently with marinade.
  8. During the last 2 minutes of grilling, top with cheese.
  9. Serve with the whole wheat rolls and condiments of your choice.

Sounds so good! Texting husband to bring home Porobello or Cremini mushrooms ūüôā

A new vegan website I found through our volunteer Dana Wylie: Wallflower Kitchen. I posted this fantastic recipe on the SDCRI Facebook page.

GUT-HEALING VEGETABLE BROTH (AND WHY IT‚ÄôS BETTER THAN BONE BROTH)¬†A nutritious, gut¬≠ healing broth as a vegan alternative to bone broth. If you don’t like or can’t find any ingredients, don’t worry. Add what flavours you like and try to get as much variety and nutritional goodness as you can!¬†

Ingredients: Serves: 8

  • 12 cups (2¬ĺ litres) filtered water
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil or extra ¬≠virgin olive oil
  • 1 red onion, quartered (with skins)
  • 1 garlic bulb, smashed
  • 1 chili¬†pepper, roughly chopped (with seeds)
  • 1 knob ginger, roughly chopped (with skin)
  • 1 cup greens such as kale or spinach
  • 3-¬≠4 cups mixed chopped vegetables and peelings (I used carrot peelings, red cabbage, fresh mushrooms, leeks and celery)
  • ¬Ĺ cup dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 30g dried wakame seaweed
  • 1 tbsp peppercorns
  • 2 tbsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tbsp coconut aminos*
  • A bunch of fresh corriander or other herb of your choice (plus extra, to serve) (optional)
  • ¬ľ cup nutritional yeast, for extra flavour and vitamins


  1. Simply add everything to a large pot. Bring to a boil then simmer, with the lid on, for about an hour.
  2. Once everything has been cooked down, strain the liquid into a large bowl.
  3. Serve immediately with some fresh herbs, for decoration or cool for later. 


  • It also freezes well.
  • Coconut aminos can be very salty, depending on what brand you use so taste before adding any additional salt.¬†

Until next week…Mary ūüôā

Fraudulent Cancer Cures?

Miracle Cure: FDA Website


The FDA is once again cracking down on companies that are making the assertion that their products prevent, treat or cure cancer in people & in pets. Let’s look at why these products were targeted & what to look for on labels. I will also look at individual products that have been around for a long time & continue to be popular.¬†

As an RN, a Reiki Master/Teacher, certified in homeopathy, flower essences & growing/working with medicinal herbs, I want to get my two cents in. The above therapies are legitimate & can boost your immune system, lower your stress & help with side effects of cancer treatment. But they will not “cure” cancer. They can help you to “heal yourself”.¬†“Cure” is a physical outcome. To “heal” is to balance your body, mind & spirit. A cure can take place when you believe 100% + that something will cure you. These are miracles & we all know that they can occur.¬†

When a person is diagnosed with cancer, there is a small window of opportunity to start treatment to get the rogue cancer cells under control to effect a cure or to treat the cancer as a chronic disease. If that person goes for the alternative therapy~ claiming a “cancer cure”~ that they heard or read about, & not go for the conventional treatment, then they are putting themselves at risk of the cancer growing larger or spreading. That is not to say that you should not use other treatments of your choice. Get a diagnosis, talk with your oncologist & make decisions together. I have had patients choose other therapies while they were being monitored by their oncologist to see if it was working. Other’s had the conventional treatment while using complementary therapies with the blessing of their health care team. Both scenarios have positive outcomes.

It is ultimately your choice. Be informed. 

I will let the FDA tell you in their own words why they review what is being targeted to cancer patients.¬†Products Claiming to “Cure” Cancer Are a Cruel Deception¬†¬†‚ÄúAnyone who suffers from cancer, or knows someone who does, understands the fear and desperation that can set in,‚ÄĚ says Kornspan. ‚ÄúThere can be a great temptation to jump at anything that appears to offer a chance for a cure.‚ÄĚ

Legitimate medical products such as drugs and devices intended to treat cancer must gain FDA approval or clearance before they are marketed and sold. The agency’s review process helps ensure that these products are safe and effective for their intended uses.

Nevertheless, it‚Äôs always possible to find someone or some company hawking bogus cancer ‚Äútreatments,‚ÄĚ which come in many forms, including pills, capsules, powders, creams, teas, oils, and treatment kits. Frequently advertised as ‚Äúnatural‚ÄĚ treatments and often falsely labeled as dietary supplements, such products may appear harmless, but may cause harm by delaying or interfering with proven, beneficial treatments. Absent FDA approval or clearance for safety, they could also contain dangerous ingredients.¬†

That holds true for treatments intended for humans and those intended for pets. ‚ÄúIncreasingly, bogus remedies claiming to cure cancer in cats and dogs are showing up online,‚ÄĚ Kornspan says. ‚ÄúPeople who cannot afford to spend large sums at the animal hospital to treat cancer in their beloved dogs and cats are searching for less expensive remedies.‚ÄĚ

Remember that the word cancer is an umbrella term describing¬†how a rogue cell acts. Each type of cancer is a disease in its own right. Due to our unique health history as an individual, even the same cancer diagnosis does not progress in the same way for each person. Treatments must be individualized. “One size does not fit all.”

¬†FDA: Red Flags¬†¬†“While some fraudulent products claim to cure a variety of diseases and conditions, fraudulent cancer products often use a particular vocabulary, Kornspan says. Consumers should recognize certain phrases as red flags, including:

  • Treats all forms of cancer¬†
  • Miraculously kills cancer cells and tumors
  • Shrinks malignant tumors¬†
  • Selectively kills cancer cells¬†
  • More effective than chemotherapy¬†
  • Attacks cancer cells, leaving healthy cells intact
  • Cures cancer

This is an example of recent headlines. CBS News: FDA cracks down on bogus cancer treatments : Herbal tea remedies, asparagus extract, and a number of topical creams and ointments are among the products that fraudulently claim to prevent, treat or cure cancer, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Yesterday, the agency issued warning letters to 14 U.S.-based companies peddling more than 65 of these bogus cancer cures. The products are marketed and sold without FDA approval, most commonly on websites and social media platforms.

‚ÄúConsumers should not use these or similar unproven products because they may be unsafe and could prevent a person from seeking an appropriate and potentially life-saving cancer diagnosis or treatment,‚ÄĚ Douglas W. Stearn, director of the Office of Enforcement and Import Operations in the FDA‚Äôs Office of Regulatory Affairs, said in a statement. ‚ÄúWe encourage people to remain vigilant whether online or in a store, and avoid purchasing products marketed to treat cancer without any proof they will work. Patients should consult a health care professional about proper prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer.‚ÄĚ

The herbal tea remedies that are usually targeted by the FDA are Essiac & Flor Essence Teas. PubMed has an excellent site about these 2 teas; their history & the results from clinical trials. Essiac/Flor Essence 

Essiac Tea is traditionally made with these 4 herbs. My links are to information about each herb at Mountain Rose Herbs. It is a company that I trust & use to purchase herbs for my personal use.

  • Burdock root.¬†¬†I see this used mostly for skin conditions.
  • Indian rhubarb root. Turkey Rhubarb Root¬†This is the root used in the Essiac tea later when¬†Rene Caisse, the Canadian public health nurse responsible for the formula, switched the herb because she thought this one more effective & more palatable.
  • Sheep sorrel.¬†Gaining popularity. It is usually used for diarrhea & inflammation.
  • Slippery elm (the inner bark).¬†Slippery elm lozenges made from the inner bark are wonderful for GERD or any upset stomach. I use the powder sometimes but it must be used at least an hour before or after you take medications as it slows the absorption.

The problem with these herbs, together & separately, is that they contain tannens & oxalic acid. Both cause permanent kidney & liver damage when taken in large amounts or for long periods of time.

Flor Essence uses the same four herbs plus these three:

  • Watercress.¬†I use it in salads ūüôā It has been used for everything from diarrhea to baldness & coughs. When used medicinally, in small amounts, it is safe, but in larger amounts, or over long periods of time, can cause kidney problems & stomach upsets.
  • Blessed thistle. Used as an appetite stimulant & supports healthy digestion. I have seen it in Bitters.
  • Red clover.¬†I see this in menopausal¬†remedies. The profile I linked to has a reference area with NIH clinical research links.
  • Kelp.¬†Culinary use is the most popular. In teas it is used as a diuretic. Be cautious because it is very high in natural iodine.

These teas are safe to use in moderation, but not when used several times a day over a long period of time. I would also be cautious if you have a history of liver or kidney health issues.

Asparagus extract is another popular one sold as a cancer cure.¬†Asparagus is safe when eaten as a food. There aren’t any studies that I could find that says it is safe as an extract. Extracts, like supplements, are not checked for safety before being sold in the US.

In the past the FDA has tested a few extracts & supplements; they found differing amounts of the product in the extract or pill than what is stated on the label. They also found added ingredients that were not on the label. This is why choosing reputable companies is so important.

Asparagus is one of my favorite foods that I pig out on when they are in season. I can’t wait until our asparagus bed will be ready! They are an antioxidant & full of vitamins & minerals. Asparagus is also a natural diuretic. Eat it!

These are good examples of a food & an over the counter drug that can help cancer patients. Both have research behind them. Notice that they are not labeled as “cancer cures”.

Dr. Weil:¬†Can Medicinal Mushrooms Benefit Cancer Patients? These 4 May¬†“For people with cancer, medicinal mushrooms are one way to help strengthen the body‚Äôs defense. This non-toxic therapy can boost immune function ‚Äď especially important for people going through radiation or chemotherapy. Four mushrooms I have recommended for their proven anti-cancer and immune-enhancing effects are:

  1. Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor). This common medicinal mushroom is shown to have anti-cancer effects in ongoing research in the United States. I suggest liquid or encapsulated extracts.
  2. Maitake (Grifola frondosa). This mushroom not only has anti-cancer, anti-viral and immune-enhancing properties, but it may also help reduce blood sugar and blood pressure levels.
  3. Reishi¬†(Ganoderma lucidum). Animal studies have shown that reishi inhibits the growth of some malignant tumors and improves immune function ‚Äď it also has natural anti-inflammatory effects as well.
  4. Agaricus blazei (Agaricus brasiliensis). This mushroom contains beta glucans, a group of polysaccharides (complex sugars) that may be the reason behind its immune-boosting effects. Oncologists in Japan and Brazil use this mushroom in treatment protocols.

When research is done on herbs & plants, they may use the entire plant, a particular part of the plant or an extract. It is important to look at the research to see what was used & how much & for how long. Just to say that reishi mushrooms in ANIMAL studies, inhibits the growth of SOME malignant tumors does not give us enough information. Unlike the fraudulent products, we do know that culinary mushrooms are safe to eat.

Medscape:¬†Aspirin to Prevent Cancer: What to Tell Patients¬†“Patients might be asking you if they should take aspirin to prevent cancer. And depending on their age and health status, the answer may be “yes.” Data show that overall mortality is lowered with regular aspirin use. That benefit is due primarily to reduced death from cancer ‚ÄĒin particular, colorectal cancer, as well as breast, prostate, and lung cancer.

Note that the author says it depends on your age & health status. Aspirin is an anti-coagulant, has side effects, and interacts with other drugs, so it is not a particularly safe drug for everyone. If you are interested in adding aspirin to your tool box then make sure you talk with your health care team.

The governmental agency, NCBI,¬†The National Center for Biotechnology Information, has a very interesting site about herbs & spices.¬†Herbs and Spices in Cancer Prevention and Treatment¬†“Today, spices are increasingly revered not only for their culinary properties but also for their potential health benefits. Although the health attributes associated with spice use may arise from their antioxidant properties, their biological effects may arise from their ability to induce changes in a number of cellular processes, including those involved with drug metabolism, cell division, apoptosis, differentiation, and immunocompetence.”¬†

If you are thinking about trying an herb or supplement that claims a “cancer cure”, you can use these links:

I guess the bottom line would be “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” We need to be vigilant & talk with our health care providers before we try something that may be detrimental to our treatment. I use the word we because¬†there are fraudulent¬†products out there for every disease or health problem.¬†

Until next week…Mary ūüôā

New Mediterranean Recipes:

Additional Resources

  • Chicago Tribune:¬†FDA cracks down on companies peddling fraudulent cancer treatments¬†: The¬†Food and Drug Administration ordered 14 companies to stop making bogus claims about cancer cures – including asparagus extract, exotic teas and topical creams for pets – or face possible product seizures and criminal prosecution.
  • FDA: Illegally Sold Cancer Treatments¬†:¬†The FDA has issued 14 warning letters and¬†four online advisory letters to companies illegally selling more than 65 products that claim to prevent, diagnose, treat, mitigate or cure cancer. The products are marketed and sold without FDA approval, most commonly on websites or social media platforms. They have not been reviewed by FDA for safety and efficacy, and can be dangerous to both people and pets.