Archive for March, 2013


I recently turned 50 years old and one of my goals for the year is to make 50 new recipes. The latest recipe is Black-Eyed Pea Masala ftom Fat-Free Vegan Kitchen’s site.

I chose to make this dish because I have some home-grown purple hull peas in the freezer, and it’s about time to use them up lest they get freezer burn.

I love Fat-Free Vegan Kitchen; many of the recipes are easy to make. This recipe Was especially easy. cook black-eyed peas (or in my case, purple hulls), onions, canned tomatoes, and spices. Serve over brown rice. Add some greens (I steamed kale). De-licious!


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If you’ve been watching the NCAA basketball tournament, you’ve surely noticed the AT&T commercials with the man sitting around a table talking to kids.  My favorite of these is the “island made out of candy” commercial.

It’s such a kid thing to want to be surrounded by candy!   Okay, who am I kidding, it’s a thing for me too!  I would love to live on an island full of candy.  Snickers, M&Ms, peppermints, caramels … YUM!  But unfortunately I wouldn’t be living there long because I would quickly become diabetic!

So, if I could choose an island made of anything other than candy, what would it be?

I know:  I’d live on an island full of things beginning with the letter B.

My island would have lots of healthy food to eat, including my favorites:



beans, especially black beans, and



Bowl of Fresh Strawberries

I’d ride my bike to the beach:

Tropical beach scene on a sunny day in Oahu, Hawaii

and because I would be so skinny from eating broccoli, I’d be able to sport a brand-new bikini!


I’d live in a comfortable bungalow


and spend some of those hot, lazy afternoons reading books (so I can meet my 50-in-50 challenge)!

So, if you could live on a fantasy island, what or where would it be?

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image courtesy of author website

image courtesy of author website

I recently turned 50 years old and one of my goals for the year was to read 50 new books. Book number 4 was Wife-in-Law by Haywood Smith.

This book is about two neighbors, Betsy and Kat, who are polar opposites but end up being best friends.  They have a few misunderstandings through the years, such as practically getting each other arrested over a political protest.  But they work through their differences and remain friends, seeing each other through childbirth, death, and divorce.

Then something happens which seems very unrealistic:  Kat marries Betsy’s ex-husband and ends her friendship with Betsy.  The reader will learn about this in the beginning of the book, so I’m not revealing any surprise plot points here.  But, after the marriage, something catastrophic happens,  providing an opportunity to bring the two together again.

This was a quick read (I finished it in about five evenings before bed), and was a light, fairly enjoyable read until the latter part of the book.  I won’t reveal what happens, but it sort of put a damper on the story for me.    I like my light, enjoyable reading to remain light and enjoyable, even if unbelievable.   The not-so-nice part of the book wasn’t believable anyways.

And looking at the number of books I’ve read so far, I think I’m going to have trouble reaching my challenge.  Oh well… I’m reading three others now, just have to buckle down and finish at least one!


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I recently turned 50 years old and one of my goals for the year was to cook 50 new recipes. Earlier this week, I made Broccoli Mushroom Soup.

This recipe is based on one of Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s recipes, which I received via email during the 2012 Holiday Challenge. It looked good, so I set it aside to make at the right time. Based on the contents in my fridge on Sunday, this was the right time!

Unfortunately I can’t access the original recipe to post a link. I did change several key ingredients, basically because I didn’t have his suggestions on hand. Lazy me will tend to sub ingredients rather than run out to the grocery store…  So here’s my version of the soup.

Broccoli Mushroom Soup

  • 4 or 5  c. broccoli florets
  • 12 oz. mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 tsp. Mrs. Dash
  • 6 c. vegetable stock
  • 1 handful raw walnuts
  • 1/4 c nutritional yeast

Place the first eight ingredients in a soup pot, bring to boil, and then simmer for about 20 minutes, until broccoli is tender.  Add walnuts and nutritional yeast, then blend using an immersion blender, food processor or high-speed blender.

The original recipe says that this serves 4, though I divided my soup into 8 individual servings.  I’ve been eating my soup as part of the meal, rather than the main course.  If you eat dairy, you could sub some milk or cream for the walnuts and nutritional yeast.      Fast, easy, nutritious… just up my alley!


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image courtesy of Amazon

image courtesy of Amazon

I recently turned 50 years old and one of my goals for the year was to read 50 new books.  Book number 3 was The Widows of Eden by George Shaffner.

This book is about a small town in Nebraska in the midst of a devastating drought.  Farmers can’t grow their crops  and therefore can’t pay their bills.  Foreclosures are imminent, and the town’s future is uncertain.  Enter Vernon Moore, a man of mystery and good fortune.   He has visited the town several times before, each time resulting in something miraculous happening. (There are books about these adventures, but I have not read them.)    Word quickly spreads about Vernon’s presence, and the townspeople cheer, as surely Vernon can make it rain.  All they have to do is convince Vernon to help them with the cause.

Sounds simple, but there’s a catch:  the town millionaire, Clem Tucker, is terminally ill.  He asks Vernon to use his miraculous powers to save him instead.  It appears Vernon enters into a deal: if Clem survives an upcoming surgery, then Clem will pay Vernon $75 million.     The townspeople are afraid that Vernon will be enticed by the money and choose to help Clem instead of them.

Caught in the middle is Wilma, Clem’s fiance.  Wilma owns the b&b where Vernon is staying and is an active member of the local Quilting Circle.   She is bombarded by people who request private meetings with Vernon.  There’s no way Vernon could meet with everyone, so he has called upon his traveling companions, the widows of Eden, to help out.

During his six-day visit, Vernon meets with Clem to discuss faith and free will, and why God might not intervene when one thinks He should.

Meanwhile, Clem is suspicious of Vernon — his life story doesn’t add up.  So he has Vernon and the widows investigated.  Turns out the visitors have quite a longer past than one might expect.

This was a nice book to read before bedtime.  A little bit of small-town schmaltz,  a little faith, a little magic, and a happy ending for …. ???

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I recently turned 50 years old and one of my goals for the year is to have 50 new experiences.

This latest new experience, attending a high school musical, feels a bit like cheating. After all, I acted in several plays back when I was in high school, though, technically, they were not musicals.

Regardless of my admittedly limited past dramatic experience, I haven’t been to a high school production since I graduated in 1981. So when my neighbor B. called to invite me to a play at her grandchildrens’ school, I jumped at the chance. I was – and am – in desperate need of new experiences or I’ll never meet my goal!

Plus, the production in question was “Grease.” I had never seen the stage production, but the movie … well that’s another matter entirely.

“Grease” the movie was released the summer between my freshmen and sophomore years in high school. Along with my BFF’s K. and K., I saw that movie easily 30 times that summer. We watched so many times, we had the entire movie memorized, songs and all!

The movie still holds a special place in my heart. Yes, it’s silly, but it reminds me of a fun, innocent summer with my two besties.

The play is a bit different from the movie, with lots of different songs and sets. And at least one song (Sandra Dee) had different lyrics, too.

We went on opening night, and it was fun seeing the young folks performing while their parents watched proudly. My only complaint was that the student running the sound didn’t quite have the job down: no sound from the mikes, then suddenly sound would blare. It was a bit disconcerting, but hopefully the situation was resolved by the next performance.

Besides being a new experience, I was glad to be able to support high school arts. Funding is tough these days, and I would hate to see art, drama and music programs fold.

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I recently turned 50 years old and one if my challenges for the year was to make 50 new recipes. This weekend, I made a quick and easy Sweet Potato Chili from Chocolate Covered Katie.

This is a great recipe if you want a “one-pot” meal but don’t have a lot of time to prepare or cook.

Sweet potatoes, canned beans, canned tomatoes, onion, zucchini and spices – throw in a pot and cook until the sweet potatoes are done.

I’ve made similar recipes before, but not this exact one, so it counts for my challenge. Plus, it includes two of my favorite things: black beans and sweet potatoes. I couldn’t go wrong trying this!

It does make a nice amount; I gave a little away, froze some, and still have enough for several meals this week.

Yum yum!

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