Monthly Archives: April 2018

Being Vegan on Vacation.

Grandson, Winston, by Jennifer Moore


I just returned from our vacation to visit colleagues, family & friends in the San Diego area. I decided, before we left home, that I would continue to eat vegan as much as possible on the trip. We drove, total of 16 hours, & stopped for the night half way. It wasn’t difficult to eat this way once we got to San Diego, but a bit of a challenge before that. I do have a rule for myself; no eating/snacking in the car. The only exceptions to that rule are coffee, tea & water.

On our way to San Diego we stopped at the Olive Garden for lunch. Now don’t laugh. It was the only thing we could find that knew what a salad was. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I had a lot of vegan choices. Click on the link above. You can order the salad with a vegan dressing of oil, vinegar & spices. The bread-sticks are vegan if you ask them not to brush them with the butter & garlic, although some vegan sites say that it is dairy free. I would ask first. Our server said it wasn’t vegan, but then again she didn’t know what a vegan was until I told her 🙂 Their Minestrone soup, so good, is vegan. Most of their pasta’s are vegan & they have marinara sauce for them. I had the salad & soup. There are other choices as well. 

Dinner found us at the Veggie Grill in Santa Monica. “Vegan chain offering sandwiches, salads, faux meats & sides in a modern, counter-service setting.” They are all over the place. Check the website for a location near you. We both had the Falla-Full Sandwich. “2 flatbread sandwiches with house-made falafel, hummus, skchug sauce, mint, basil, cilantro, tzatziki, pepperoncini. Vegan!

Fortunately, when we arrived in San Diego, our family & friends cooked healthy vegan meals for us on several evenings while we were there. That helped a great deal. We also hit Jimbo’s when we arrived to stock up on freshly ground peanut butter, a few vegan salads from the deli, Majestic Hummus which is my favorite, fruit & whole grain crackers. This way we were able to have breakfast & some lunches in our hotel room when we were not otherwise occupied with visiting or shopping 🙂

My daughter & her co-workers took us out to lunch at a new vegan place in Encinitas called Plant Power Fast Food. 100% plant based food. She & I shared the Mushroom Swiss Burger & regular fries. We asked for the black bean burger & it was delicious. One of her friends was a meat eater & ordered the Chicken Sandwich. It looked just like fried chicken & according to her tasted like it too. This is a great place to get vegan fast food & if you stick to the black bean burger it is less processed. Check out their website for more information. They are also located in Ocean Beach. 

Another place that we ate at was the Lotus Cafe & Juice Bar in Encinitas. It has vegan options but also serves fish, turkey & chicken. You can eat there with any family member no matter their food choices. I like the sandwiches & the soups. There is always a vegan soup on the menu. There are quite a few salad options & several vegan dressings. Tahini is my favorite.

My favorite place to eat, Jyoti-Bihanga, was closed the day we went there. It is on Adams Ave. in San Diego. I love their vegan Neatloaf Sandwich with Mashed Potatoes & Gravy! Take someone with you if you go there as the sandwich could serve 2! But of course I eat it by myself & have to be helped out of the restaurant! 

Since we were all disappointed, hot & tired when we found that Jyoti-Bihanga was closed we succumbed to the call for Mexican food. When in San Diego… So, we went to our favorite place in La Jolla, Don Bravo Grill & Cantina We have been going there for over 25 years when it was called Bahia Grill. I started out ordering the potato rolled tacos, which can be vegan, but fell from grace when I remembered how awesome their guacamole was. Also, I saw a quesadilla go by on a tray. Oh well, can’t be perfect. But I did share the quesadilla 🙂

I was invited out for breakfast twice & I chose to go to the Naked Cafe in Encinitas & the second time to the Naked Cafe in Carlsbad. They are also located in Solana Beach & Point Loma. Wonderful place for Kona Coffee & if you are vegetarian. Vegan, not so much. Luckily one of the vegan options they have is one I really like; Yin & Yang, “crisp rosemary potatoes, jalapenos, onions & tomatoes, balanced with red beans, avocado, salsa, and a fresh tortilla”. Yum! If you are a vegetarian they will add an egg &/or cheese. 

Another lunch date was at the Thai Society in Encinitas. I really like Thai food. Easy to be vegan at Thai restaurants. I had the Tom Kha Soup “coconut milk, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, tomatoes, mushrooms and cilantro” with their Fresh Spring Rolls “tofu, rice noodles, lettuce, carrots, mint and cucumber / peanut sauce, plum sauce and citrus soy sauce”.  I was introduced to this restaurant because their owner, a breast cancer survivor, catered an event for SDCRI. Lovely place & wonderful food! Now, we drive to Brookings, Oregon, for our Thai experience 🙂

When I finished eating at the Thai Society, I popped next door to KC Tandoor. They make vegan samosas & vegan naan. I bought them to take to our daughter’s for dinner. She made lentils & salad to go with them. Check out the link to the menu above. There are lots & lots of vegan options. Good Indian food! They have also catered an event for SDCRI. Very nice people.

Our drive home was fun because we stopped to see the Botanical Gardens at UC Berkeley. It was a great time to be there, flowers everywhere. If you are ever in that area I encourage you to stop & take a leisurely stroll. Eating wise we stopped at In & Out Burger for a quick lunch. I did not eat vegan there but did order their Grilled Cheese which is their burger without the burger. I also shared fries with my husband. It is fun to have fast-food that is freshly made. For dinner we stopped at an Olive Garden because it was the only thing open at that time & right off the freeway. I was so looking forward to a big, fresh,  salad! NO SALAD! An E-coli outbreak caused the Olive Garden to pull all their lettuce. Ended up with Minestrone soup again. 

When we got closer to home, we stopped at a Co-op in Eureka to shop for fresh veggies! We had an apple for a snack. It is interesting that the only thing I really missed was a big salad every evening. We are so very grateful to those friends & family who made vegan meals with big, lovely salads just for us! 

There are a number of restaurants in the San Diego area that have vegan options. I have only mentioned a handful. I have found that if you tell your server that you are a vegan, they will help you find something to eat. Here are a few in Encinitas area.

  • EVE Encinitas: Casual vegan restaurant serving imaginative menus of plant-based meals. Haven’t tried this one.
  • Nectarine Grove: Cozy cafe highlighting health-conscious eats, including paleo, gluten-free & vegan dishes. Haven’t tried this one
  • Native Foods California: Chain for creative, Californian-style vegan fare, including mock-meat dishes, ordered at a counter. I never liked this one. Too processed. 
  • Ki’s Restaurant: Wholesome, home-style meals made with organic ingredients served in a 2-story house with ocean view. Vegan options. Love Ki’s

I learned on this trip that you can survive as a vegan with a little bit of creativity. Stores with a deli & fresh produce are great to stock up on snacks & breakfast foods. Our hotel in Encinitas had a nice breakfast in the morning. My husband loved their pancakes. I stuck to my freshly ground peanut butter or hummus on crackers. Having fresh fruit in the room was also a must. Coffee? Oh yes, I had my coffee every chance I got 🙂

I hope that this blog shows that eating on the road can be healthy no matter how you eat. Until next week…Mary 🙂




Cleaning does not have to be hazardous to your health.



I have been receiving newsletters about harmful chemicals in our cleaning products. Nothing really new, but just in time, because I am in the mood for spring cleaning 🙂 Do cleaning supplies have to be harmful? Can I make my own? You can either buy safe products, they are easy to find, or make your own, as it is relatively easy to do with natural ingredients that you already have on hand. I posted some of this information last year: DIY Natural Cleaners. This post is an updated version with new links to safer products & cleaning recipes.

If you prefer to buy your cleaning products but want them without all the toxic ingredients then EWG is the website for you. It has always been my go-to for information regarding toxic ingredients in anything I use or consume. Their new Healthy Home Guide  site has links to all their guides to help you with choosing safe products for your environment. Explore the Home Guides has them all listed in categories. We have been upgrading our 68 year old home a little bit at a time. It is important to use safe products even when painting or caulking the bathroom tiles. There is a guide on this page for any product that you may need when upgrading, repairing, cleaning etc. Bookmark it!

The labels on cleaning products are very confusing & difficult to decode. EWG has done that for us.  EWG’s Guide for Decoding Labels: “Decoding the labels: Confused by the labels on cleaning products? EWG helps you sort facts from hype.” For example:  “Active ingredients” in cleaning products are usually antimicrobial pesticides added to kill bacteria, viruses or molds. Avoid them – they’re hazardous chemicals, and you rarely need them to get your house clean. Another good page to bookmark.

Safety ratings for more than 2,500 products. You can type in the product or the brand that you are interested in using the search box. You will get a rating on all the brand’s products or on the individual product you typed in. If you would like a list of products & their grades rather than looking them up one at a time, look at the top left of the page & find the Green Banner that says EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning. It is a drop down menu. Click on the cleaner you are interested in & you will get a list with their grades beginning with the highest rated products.

Most of my cleaning supplies I have made. Some, detergent & dish soap, I buy. When I make them myself, I like simple & fast. White Vinegar, Baking Soda, Borax & salt have been used for cleaning for generations. You can buy them, cheaply, in large containers at drug stores & markets. Here are some of my favorites recipes.

Oven/Pot/Pan cleaner: Make a paste with baking soda & water. Apply it to all the gunky areas liberally. Sprinkle white vinegar onto the paste. It will foam. Allow it to sit for 30 minutes. Wipe & you have a clean oven or pan. You can add salt to the paste & skip the vinegar. Let it sit 30 minutes, then scrub. Works well.

All purpose cleaner: 2-3 tablespoons of white vinegar to 1 quart of water in a spray bottle. I use this to clean counters, floors, stove tops, cupboards, doors & walls. It can also be used on carpet, but test it first in case it bleaches out the color. Here in the Pacific Northwest, mold & mildew is a problem. We now have a dehumidifier which has limited the mold & mildew in the house. That combined with using this white vinegar spray, I no longer have a problem. This can also be used to clean your car inside & out.

Window cleaner: 2 tablespoons of white vinegar to 1 quart of water in a spray bottle. Bright & shiny windows. I use this on our car’s windows too. Well, my husband does 🙂

Bathroom tiles: 2 tablespoons of white vinegar to 1 quart of water. Spray onto tiles & shower curtain to get rid of mildew. Let it sit for about 30 minutes & then rinse it off with warm water. If the grout is particularly bad then add baking soda or salt & scrub. You can use this to clean the tiles as a preventative measure all year.

Keep your drains clog free: I shared this with a plumber & he just laughed at me 🙂 Place 1/4-1/2 cup of baking soda into your drain. Follow this with 1/4 to 1/2 cup of white vinegar. It will foam up. Let it sit for 15 minutes. Then clear the drain with 2-3 cups boiling water. If you do this once a month you won’t get that buildup around the inside of the pipes. Great preventative method. I have also used this to unclog drains. 

This is my favorite reference for cleaning ingredients & recipes. They also have a printable version at this link… A Green Clean: Homemade Cleaners to Detox Your Home from Mother Earth Living, by Kim Erickson, July/August 2009  This is a list of the ingredients they discuss. Go to the link to read about each one.

  • Baking Soda: The overflow hole in our bathroom sink in Encinitas was emitting a horrible odor. I used the Baking Soda & Vinegar in the hole & then rinsed it with hot water. Odor was gone!
  • Borax
  • Distilled White Vinegar: My favorite
  • Hydrogen Peroxide: I used this to remove an oil stain from my husbands work clothes. I saturated the stain with the hydrogen peroxide, added dish soap (Dawn is recommended. I used my 7th Generation dish soap) & then add the baking soda last. I scrubbed with a small brush & let it sit for an hour. I then rinsed & washed the clothes. It did a good job & removed 90% of the stain. It was an exceptionally bad stain, but it was gone after the next wash day. Hydrogen peroxide is like a mild bleach, test your fabric before using. Gets out blood stains too.
  • Salt:  I always forget to use salt on carpet stains. It works well.
  • Vegetable Oil (Castile) Soap: Dr. Bronners is a castile soap.
  • Washing Soda: Washing soda is soda ash. It is not edible. EWG gives it an A. It is very caustic, wear gloves when using. It can be purchased at most grocery & big box stores. Look in the laundry detergent aisle. Arm & Hammer makes one & it gets an A from EWG.
  • Lemons:  If you have been cutting up garlic, cut a lemon in half & add salt to the cut side, scrub the board. You can also use salt & lemon juice to wash the garlic smell from your hands. As teenagers, my younger brother & I surfed, not very well, but we did try. He had light brown hair & wanted it blond. I poured grapefruit & lemon juice on his head & he laid out in the sun for hours. Presto! Blond sticky hair! 🙂

The next list on the same page is for Homemade Cleaners: You can use your essential oils with these. They not only make them smell fresh, they are also anti-viral & anti-bacterial.

  • All-purpose cleaner and disinfectant
  • Lemongrass dust cloths
  • Creamy nonabrasive cleaner
  • Pre-vacuum carpet freshener: Sometimes I just strew dried lavender onto the carpet & leave it there until the next time I vacuum. Smells lovely. I also hang a muslin bag, full of dried lavender & dried lemon grass, from the door knobs. Wonderful room freshener. I use it in the car too.

I would like to end with a recipe for a Hand Sanitizer that I found on Live Simply: DIY  I keep a bottle in the car & a small spray bottle of it in my backpack. 

DIY Hand Sanitizer by Live Simply 


  • 3 TB aloe vera Get pure aloe vera. Check the labels!
  • 2 TB witch hazel or rubbing alcohol, if using alcohol reduce to 1 TB We only use witch hazel in our house. It is a great wound cleaner.
  • 1/2 tsp vitamin E oil You can get this in a small bottle or you can open capsules if you have them.
  • 16 drops tea tree essential oil
  • 8 drops lavender essential oil


  1. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl. To use the hand sanitizer store in a small jar or a squeeze tube. I also use these tubes for homemade toothpaste. Note: This recipe will make 2 fl oz (one tube.) 

I found a Witch Hazel product by Thayers with alcohol free Aloe Vera & Lavender oil already in it. I use 5 TB of that & then add the Vitamin E oil & Tea Tree oil. See it hereMy husband noticed that when he used it, it also acted as a mosquito repellent. We now apply it to our skin & hats when hiking. Works very well.

Now you are ready for spring cleaning without the worry of toxins. For even more information, explore the links below under Resources. I will be on vacation beginning this week. The next post will be on April 17th.

Until then…Mary 🙂