Friday, May 25, 2012


It's Memorial Day weekend. Time to get the grills ready and begin the cookout season. Salads are always good for any cookout. One of my favorites is broccoli and cauliflower salad. I love broccoli and cauliflower raw, cooked, roasted... it doesn't matter. I just love it! A local restaurant, Cattle Rustler's, has a great salad bar and my favorite item in the whole restaurant is their broccoli cauliflower salad. It is delicious.

Here is my version of broccoli cauliflower salad. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Nutrition facts: Anti inflammatory properties in broccoli, cauliflower, onion, olive oil, apple cider vinegar & pepper.
Protein & calcium in Greek Yogurt. 
Fiber & antioxidants in broccoli, cauliflower & raisins. 
Broccoli helps lower cholesterol, has Vitamins C, D, A & K.
Cauliflower has beta carotene, Vitamins C, K & B6.
Onions are rich in polyphenols, flavonoids & quercetin which make them very heart healthy. Help lower cholesterol & blood sugar, helps prevent blood clots & increases bone density. Also has Vitamins C & B6. 
Raisins have boron for strong bones and help protect eyes from macular degeneration.

1 head of broccoli, cut into bite size pieces  (or 2 bags of precut broccoli & cauliflower)
1 head of cauliflower, cut into bit size pieces
½ red onion, chopped
½ cup raisins

¾ cup Mayo with Olive Oil
¼ cup Plain Greek Yogurt
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp lime juice
1 tbsp orange juice
¾ cup Stevia or Ideal
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cayenne pepper or Louisiana Hot Sauce

Add all dressing ingredients to small bowl & whisk together until completely smooth. If dressing is a little thick, add a couple of teaspoons of milk to thin it out.

Place broccoli, cauliflower, onion & raisins in a large bowl. Pour dressing over veggies & mix until thoroughly coated.

Refrigerate at least a few hours before serving, preferably overnight. Taste better the longer it sits.

OPTIONS – For extra flavor you can add a few pieces of crispy crumbled bacon, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, walnuts or pecans.

 Have a wonderful and safe Memorial Day weekend. 



Friday, May 18, 2012


I am an introvert. I really don't like parties or being around a lot of people. But, God has blessed me with an abundance of wonderful friends and the best church family that anyone could ever dream of. So, I go to lots of parties, dinners & fellowships. Party food is my favorite kind of food. Little bite size nibbles of deliciousness. One of my favorite go-to recipes for any get-together is Spinach Dip. I always keep the ingredients on hand in case something comes up at the last minute.

Last Saturday, my daughter in love graduated from college. She is not only beautiful, but she is incredibly smart. She made straight A's in college which is a great accomplishment, but an even greater accomplishment since English is not her native language & she has only lived in the United States for a few years. I am so proud of her and so blessed to have her in our lives & as part of our family.

Tiffany's brother, Kevin, is graduating from High School this year also. So, their parents threw a party for the both of them after Tiffany's graduation. I made my Spinach Dip, but instead of serving it with crackers decided to serve it in wonton cups. I took wonton wrappers, put them in mini muffin tins & baked at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. They made cute crunchy little bowls to put the spinach dip in. I did not put the spinach dip in the bowls until right before serving so the bowls would not get soggy.

The only "bad" ingredient in this recipe is the sour cream and you can use light sour cream to make it less fat. Spinach is loaded with good nutrition. Did you know that spinach has protein? I didn't until I was looking up the nutritional data for this post. It is really low in calories, high in fiber, iron and Vitamins A, C & K. Also has Vitamin E, B6, folate, beta carotene, calcium & magnesium. And is very beneficial for colon & liver health, as well as being anti inflammatory. No wonder Popeye got super powers when he ate spinach!

Most people make spinach dip with vegetable soup mix, which is good, but not quite flavorful enough for me. I LOVE garlic! Using the Savory Herb & Garlic Soup Mix makes this spinach dip so much tastier. 

1 box frozen chopped spinach (thawed & drained)
1 – 16oz container of sour cream
1 small can of water chestnuts (chopped)
1 package Lipton Savory Herb & Garlic soup mix
When spinach has thawed, squeeze out excess water.  Mix all ingredients together in a medium bowl and refrigerate for several hours before serving.  Letting it sit in the refrigerator for awhile allows all of the flavors to blend together better.

Serve with your favorite crackers. Delicious served in a bread bowl. The round Hawaiian bread is our favorite. Or you can skip the crackers & bread & just serve in wonton bowls.

For the wonton bowls - I used a package of 60 wonton wrappers and doubled the spinach dip recipe. It was exactly enough dip for 60 little bowls.

Eat your spinach. You will be glad you did.


Wednesday, May 9, 2012


I do not claim to be a nutritionist. I am only sharing the information that I have found that has helped me this last year on my journey back to health. I am not where I want to be, but praise God, I have come a long way in a year's time. This time last year my liver was failing, my blood sugar & blood pressure were high, cholesterol was high and arthritis had taken control of my entire body. I was in terrible pain 24/7. I got through work everyday, but would go home & not be able to move & literally would cry myself to sleep because I was in so much pain.

Now, a year later, taking NO DRUGS, my cholesterol is perfect, blood sugar & blood pressure is perfect, liver is healthy and I can walk, even jog with minimal pain. I'm not going to lie & say I am pain free. I have permanent nerve & joint damage & bone spurs. But I CAN MOVE & I enjoy it! I even started exercising a couple of months ago. I bought a Malibu Pilates Chair. I keep it in the living room so I can exercise while Kevin is on the dialysis machine. I am feeling better & stronger than I have felt in 15 years. And NO DRUGS!! It is amazing how good & strong you can feel when you focus on eating the foods that God put on the earth for us to eat & stay away from processed foods. 

I have found that eating an anti inflammatory diet is the key for me. Which is lots of nuts, eggs, green veggies, fruit (berries & pineapple especially), beans, whole grains, avocados, etc. I probably eat more meat than I should, but I love meat & being from Oklahoma, I love beef. I eat very little sugar, white flour & processed foods. I eat a handful of almonds (no salt, no oil) everyday as well as put almond milk in my coffee. Almonds are an amazing superfood. They are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, which makes them anti inflammatory. Almonds have fiber & 1 cup has 25% of our daily calcium &125% of our daily Vitamin E (which is a powerful antioxidant). Our bodies do not produce Omega 3 fatty acids, but they are essential to good health. Our only source of Omega 3's is through food. Omega 3's are needed for healthy cells, brain & nerve function. The best sources for Omega 3's are fish and nuts.

I am trying to use almond milk more. Lately I have used it when baking & am very pleased with the results. Here is a comparison of cow's milk vs. almond milk: 
Almond milk - 1 cup = 30 calories, 2.5 g fat, 1 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 0 sugar, 1 g protein
Skim milk - 1 cup = 130 calories, 0 fat, 18 carbs, 0 fiber, 18 sugar, 10 g protein
1% milk - 1 cup = 120 calories, 2.5 g fat, 15 g carbs, 0 fiber, 15 sugar, 10g protein
2% milk - 1 cup = 130 calories, 5 g fat, 13 carbs, 0 fiber, 13 sugar, 9g protein
whole milk - 1 cup = 150 calories, 8 g fat, 11 carbs, 0 fiber, 11 sugar, 8g protein
Notice that when the fat is taken out, the sugar & carbs go UP. Almond milk is great for people with dairy allergies. Vitamin D is also added to almond milk. And there are no hormones or antibiotics in almond milk like there are in dairy.

Last weekend was my Mother in law's birthday. She loves strawberry shortcake, so I tried to "healthy it up" a bit. My friend, Lana, suggested layering the berries with vanilla pudding which sounded very tasty. So I made a trifle with a sugar free homemade vanilla pudding using almond milk. I did 1/2 almond & 1/2 dairy, but next time I will use only almond milk. The pudding turned out sooooo delicious! I hope you enjoy!


2 pints of fresh strawberries, sliced                                                          
3 kiwis, peeled, sliced & halved
1 cup blueberries                                    
1 cup Stevia or Ideal
¼ cup orange juice

Place all ingredients in a bowl & mix together making sure that fruit is thoroughly coated in Stevia. Cover & place in refrigerator. You can make this the night before & it will be juicy & delicious. But, it will still be good if you don’t.

¾ cup Stevia or Ideal
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 ½ cups milk (I used 1%)
4 egg yolks, beaten
1 tablespoon butter
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla

1)               In a medium saucepan, combine sugar & cornstarch.
2)               Stir in milk. Cook & stir over medium heat until thickened & bubbly.
NOTE: It’s going to take awhile, but I promise, it is worth it.
3)               Remove from heat. Gradually stir 1 cup of milk mixture into egg yolks.
4)               Add egg mixture to milk mixture in pan. STIR CONSTANTLY until mixture comes to a GENTLE boil.
5)               Turn off heat. Cook & STIR 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
6)               Stir in butter & vanilla.
7)               You just made completely from scratch, no processed ingredients, sugar free & healthier vanilla pudding.
8)               Delicious warm or cold.
9)               For this recipe, you will want the pudding chilled.

In a trifle bowl, spread a layer of fruit on bottom. Spread a layer of pudding over fruit, then another layer of fruit over pudding and so on.

OPTIONS:  You can tear angel food cake into chunks & layer it under the fruit. You could also top with slivered almonds or shaved chocolate or toasted coconut or whipped cream.



Blessings to all, 

Friday, May 4, 2012

Anti Inflammatory Sugar Free Cole Slaw

Southerners eat a lot of cole slaw. And they like their cole slaw sweet. I admit that I used to like mine that way also. I love cole slaw, but can't eat it at most restaurants because a lot of people put celery or celery seed in it. YUCK! One thing you will never find in this blog is a recipe with celery or celery seed. Just saying the word makes me nauseous. As a matter of fact, I just call it "The C Word". Ewwww.

Ok. Back to happy thoughts. Cabbage is so good for us. But Southerners have a knack for taking a food that is healthy and turning it into something that is very unhealthy. Most cole slaws have lots of sugar and if you buy a bottled dressing, it most likely will have high fructose corn syrup, preservatives & other chemicals in it. So, I have taken out the sugar and tried to increase the nutritional value, but still have a tasty cole slaw that Southerners would eat.

It takes about 10 minutes to make this recipe. It is really so simple that anyone can do it. Instead of grabbing a pre-made cole slaw at the grocery store or buing a bottle of slaw dressing, try this. You will feel better knowing that you ate something that was good for your body instead of loading it up with sugar & chemicals.
FYI - Cabbage, apples, apple cider vinegar, olive oil  & cayenne pepper are all anti inflammatory.
Cabbage has more Vitamin C than oranges, plus fiber, antioxidants, iodine & Vitamin E.
Apples have lots of fiber, flavanoids, polyphenols, Vitamins C & A, iron, potassium & folate.
Apple Cider Vinegar is anti bacterial, anti fungal, increases metabolism, detoxes the liver, has potassium & magnesium.
Greek Yogurt has protein, calcium & acidophilus.
Cayenne pepper increases metabolism & lowers blood pressure.


2 bags of shredded cabbage & carrots (cole slaw mix)
½ onion, minced
½ apple, minced (any type of apple will work)

¾ cup Mayo with Olive Oil
¼ cup Plain Greek Yogurt
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp lime juice
1/4 cup orange juice
¾ cup Stevia or Ideal
1 tsp garlic
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cayenne pepper or Louisiana Hot Sauce

Empty one bag of cole slaw mix, onion & apple into LARGE bowl. You need a LARGE bowl in order to mix everything up well. It will fill up a large bowl & look like a lot, but after it sits for a few hours or overnight, it shrinks way down.

Add all dressing ingredients to a small bowl & whisk together until completely smooth. If dressing is a little thick, add a couple of teaspoons of milk to thin it out.

Pour dressing over cole slaw mix & mix until thoroughly coated. Add the remaining bag of cole slaw mix & mix until all is thoroughly coated. The dressing thins out & the veggies soak it up the longer it sits. It might not look moist enough today, but tomorrow it will be plenty moist. And if not, you can always add a little milk or make 1/2 batch of dressing & add to it.

Refrigerate at least a few hours before serving, preferably overnight. Taste better the longer it sits.