Feb 272014
 
Loaded Falafel Burger

These easy Loaded Falafel Burger with Roasted Vegetables use fresh roasted veggies along with premade burgers to save time on a busy weeknight.

Could there be anything better than eggplant, tomato and onion all roasted and caramelized? I think not.

Falafel Burgers

I give no apologies when it comes to dinner on busy weeknights.

Meals from scratch are best, but when it comes to getting home after a busy day and wanting to take a few shortcuts, I’m all for it. One of the cleanest burgers I’ve found is Sunshine Burger, and the falafel is delicious!

Here are the ingredients:

Organic cooked brown rice, organic cooked chick peas, organic ground raw sunflower seeds, organic cooked yellow split peas, organic Tahini (organic ground toasted sesame seeds), organic cumin, organic garlic, organic parsley, sea salt.

These are definitely something you can feel save feeding your whole family.

I don’t talk a lot about my personal life on my blog – I lean more towards chatting about the actual recipe and the benefits, but I’ll share a little of what has been going on and why I’ll be doing a fair amount of clean semi-homemade recipes instead of from scratch. Since leaving my corporate job in August life has been a whirlwind. Mornings (still) start by 5AM and I get right down to business. I’m a morning person though. I like to be sleeping by 9:30 or 10PM. I work for a few hours on events with Native Sun, my blog or my business. At around 7AM I get my daughter up to get ready and take her to school then head right to my workout to start my day. This has never been an “if I can make it” thing. No exceptions to working out! I head home and then it is off to meetings at Native Sun or business meetings. I absolutely love being out of the cubicle and in a self-directed environment. Sometimes I walk out of a meeting at 2:00 and into the sunshine wanting to yell – I’m FREE! I pick my daughter up from school and help her with her homework and sometimes take her paddle boarding on the river. Then after she goes to bed, many times it is back on the computer to take a training course, do an on-line business presentation or two or catch up on anything else. Self-development is another must. I never. stop. learning. We all are students, and if we don’t continue to learn, grow and change we cannot move forward. No, I don’t have time to watch much TV any more, but the old saying is so true – if you love what you do, you never have to work a day in your life. After losing my Dad in May, I vowed that on my last two minutes of life I would look back with pride. I would not wonder what if. I will know that I did everything in my power to achieve my goals and dreams. I am not special. I am not unique. I simply made a decision to wake up and say to myself – I want more. It was a choice.  Though I have failed many times, and I will fail many times more, I look at each failure as an opportunity to learn. In the past two years I have learned more about people, how to listen and how much I enjoy helping others than the previous 34 years of life. I have found that through helping others, I naturally move closer to my goals and dreams.  On the days I think to myself – how am I going to do this? Am I deserving of making this work? I then think about all the successful people out there – many of them came from a world of hardship and rose to greatness. We all have 24 hours in a day. It is what we do with that time that sets us apart.

Plus, now you have this delicious sandwich to save you time.

Is there anything you would love to accomplish in your life? Are you moving towards it? If not, what might be holding you back?

Loaded Falafel Burger

Loaded Falafel Burger

Loaded Falafel Burger with Roasted Vegetables

Serves 4
Vegan
Printable Recipe

Ingredients

1 eggplant, sliced
1 roma tomato, sliced
1 onion, sliced
1 Tbsp oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground pepper
4 falafel burgers, such as sunshine burger
4 Organic thin style sandwich buns
1/4 cup prepared hummus

Yogurt Sauce (Optional – use extra hummus if omitting)
1 container plain non-dairy yogurt (preferably Greek style)
1 Tbsp fresh parsley
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
1 clove minced garlic

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350F; spray two baking sheets with oil or cooking spray; top with eggplant, tomato and onion slices; drizzle 1 Tbsp oil, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp fresh ground pepper; roast 25 minutes, turning vegetables half way through cook time.

2. In a small bowl, mix yogurt sauce ingredients if using.

3. Heat falafel burgers to package directions; toast thin buns. Spread bottom thin bun with 1 Tbsp hummus; top with one burger, 1/4 of the roasted vegetables and 2 Tbsp yogurt sauce; add top slice of thin bun and enjoy!

Nutrition Facts
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 434.4
Total Fat 21.3 g
Saturated Fat 1.7 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.3 g
Monounsaturated Fat 3.1 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 638.1 mg
Potassium 206.6 mg
Total Carbohydrate 53.0 g
Dietary Fiber 13.6 g
Sugars 7.7 g
Protein 19.7 g

Vitamin A 0.4 %
Vitamin B-12 3.8 %
Vitamin B-6 6.4 %
Vitamin C 8.0 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 2.4 %
Calcium 16.9 %
Copper 5.8 %
Folate 5.8 %
Iron 24.0 %
Magnesium 5.4 %
Manganese 11.4 %
Niacin 1.4 %
Pantothenic Acid 3.3 %
Phosphorus 9.5 %
Riboflavin 6.5 %
Selenium 1.4 %
Thiamin 5.3 %
Zinc 2.6 %

*Percent Daily Values for Loaded Falafel Burger are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Jan 192014
 

We’re all hearing about the benefits of superfruits ~ in this post I’ll review the Mangosteen and share a delicious recipe for Superfruit Mangosteen Dressing!

It’s all over Dr Oz, the internet, health blogs – you name it – superfruits are hot. It is hard not to buy into the hype so I always do some research.  I rarely discuss supplements because I’m here to promote food first.  Human nature is to say shoot, I can eat whatever I want and then just take these supplements and I’ll be fine.

Baloney. First and foremost we need to eat a balanced and nutrient dense diet of mostly plants, and then add any supplementation on top of that. (And remember – always be sure to read the ingredients!) My daily regimen includes eating Mila every day, taking a liquid coral calcium & liquid daily vitamin, sub-lingual complex b-vitamin and I’m trying a few of these superfruits to see what I think.

Mangosteen

Mangosteen

Source

The Mangosteen is a tropical evergreen tree that primarily grows in Southeast Asia. The fruit is sweet, tangy and juicy ~ but it is the purple “pericarp”, or rind, that is high in tannins and contains an organic material called xanthones. The astringent rind of the fruit has been used in a variety of ways ~ to treat pain, inflammation, allergies, various infections, eczema and wounds, dysentery and urinary tract infections, and is also said to be an immune booster.

Superfruit Mangosteen Dressing

Superfruit Mangosteen Dressing

From doing my research please keep in mind that yes, the rind has a high nutrient content; however, it should not be used to cure any ailments, so please do not believe false claims.

Any food or nutrient can only help build your very own body’s defenses against various ailments. Our bodies are amazing symphonies of biochemistry ~ but it is up to us to treat it right. If we ingest fast food drive from the through every day and then drink mangosteen juice, we cannot expect our body to be able to defend itself against ailments.  It is much better to cleanse our bodies of toxins by eating healthfully, balance our bodies through exercise and eating a variety of colorful, organic foods and build our bodies’ defenses through nutrient dense foods ~ such as mangosteen.

Variety of organic and nutrient dense foods is one of main reasons to consider the mangosteen. This is the same reason you may want to consider joining an organic CSA/farm share ~ it enables you to obtain a variety of high quality vegetables you may not normally find at your grocer. Conventional soils are depleted in the US ~ to think that we can lay down some man made fertilizer and believe we are adding everything to the soil that it needs is ridiculous, nature is infinitely more complex, so by choosing organics you are also choosing healthy soil. This is not to say that all organics are without shortcuts and are perfect by any means; however, it is a step in the right direction.

If you ARE looking for a high quality mangosteen product ~ I have a great one in my wholesale membership club with Genesis Pure  and I do feel comfortable supporting and recommending it like I do Mila. I checked out a variety that are available out there and this one is really good. If I found anything in it I didn’t agree with, I wouldn’t talk about it ~ even though it is a product supplied by my own company. It is wild harvested and has no added preservatives or sugars.

I do suggest that you compare other products and do your own research first, any time you are looking to try something out.  Google “mangosteen juice products” and see what comes up.

Other than drinking it, making a light dressing is a great way to use it ~ especially over the organically grown veggies at KyV Farm or Native Sun. It is gently sweet and really pleasing ~ no need to add additional sweeteners!

Superfruit Mangosteen Dressing

Superfruit Mangosteen Dressing

Fresh Salad with Superfruit Mangosteen Dressing

Serves 4
Printable Recipe
Vegan, Gluten Free

Ingredients

4 cups fresh chopped lettuces and greens such as kale or bok choy
1 large fresh tomato, chopped
1/4 red onion, chopped
1 cup sliced cucumber
Salt & pepper, to taste

Dressing
1/4 cup mangosteen juice
2 Tbsp roasted garlic extra virgin olive oil (plain will be fine too)
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp honey

Directions

1. Divide lettuce, tomato and onion evenly over four plates.

2. Whisk dressing ingredients in a small bowl; pour 2 Tbsp dressing over each salad; season with salt and pepper.

Here is Dr Duncan talking about what the mangosteen is good for.

Nutrition Facts
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 64.1
Total Fat 2.4 g
Saturated Fat 0.3 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.3 g
Monounsaturated Fat 1.7 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 44.2 mg
Potassium 195.7 mg
Total Carbohydrate 10.5 g
Dietary Fiber 1.2 g
S
ugars 8.0 g
Protein 1.1 g 

Vitamin A 29.7 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 2.2 %
Vitamin C 24.3 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 2.8 %
Calcium 2.3 %
Copper 1.7 %
Folate 19.7 %
Iron 4.0 %
Magnesium 1.5 %
Manganese 19.4 %
Niacin 1.7 %
Pantothenic Acid 1.2 %
Phosphorus 3.0 %
Riboflavin 3.7 %
Selenium 0.3 %
Thiamin 4.2 %
Zinc 1.2 % 

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Nov 292013
 

Welcome to the second annual support US-based small business post on this fine Black Friday! Last year there were quite a few great ideas and this year features even more. To all of my overseas friends – I encourage you to “think local” too! This will decrease the use of fossil fuels and will lend a helping hand to people that live in your own back yard.

Lord knows, in this economy lots of people are out of work, yet we keep shipping our jobs overseas for cheap labor and goods.  Let’s support those of us that work so hard to provide for their families.

Below you will see food items, crafts, jewelry and more.  Browse around, stay a while and enjoy! Many thanks to all the suggestions and comments and, of course, thanks to all of you that make this country great!   PicMonkey CollageII    PicMonkey CollageII

PicMonkey CollageIV

 **See the business links below.

For those of you that are crafty – here are ten DIY favorites you can make at HOME!

HandWarmer

HandWarmer

1. Hand Warmers

chalk wine tray

chalk wine tray

2. Chalkboard Wine Tray

Whole Grain Mustard

Whole Grain Mustard

3. Whole Grain Roasted Garlic Mustard

Flippin love you

Flippin love you

4. We flippin love you (suggest the Bob’s Red Mill version)

Lemon EVOO Hand Scrub

Lemon EVOO Hand Scrub

5. Lemon Olive Oil Hand Scrub

Narcissus

Narcissus

6. Narcissus Pot

KissGloss

KissGloss

7. Kiss Gloss

chictray

chictray

8. Old Frame turned Chic Tray

Kitchen Tablet Holder

Kitchen Tablet Holder

9. Kitchen Tablet Holder

Ceiling Tile Magnet

Ceiling Tile Magnet

10. Ceiling Tile Magnet Board

Thank you to Pinterest and Lil Luna for a few of these great ideas and many more!

Links to the US Based Businesses above….

Blissful Bird Designs: By Angie. Custom made, hand stamped bracelets and accessories. Come visit my Etsy shop at http://www.etsy.com/shop/BlissfulBirdDesigns Blissful Boxes: ”Unique Mixed Media Boxes, Shabby Chic Jewelry Boxes, Recipe Boxes, Keepsake Boxes, Trinket Boxes, and Small Decorative Boxes. Handmade collage gift tags, art collages, decorated bottles and Marie Antoinette Art decor. Personalize and customize gifts for bridal showers, weddings, baby showers, etc. All items are designed and created by Briana Lee.” http://www.etsy.com/shop/BlissfulBoxes# Clean Food: Book by Terry Walters (a FCC Favorite!) http://www.amazon.com/Clean-Food-Revised-Edition-Seasonal/dp/1454900105 csites: Winebottle candles only $15! http://www.etsy.com/listing/81139132/wine-bottle-candles?ref=shop_home_feat Cypress Ink: ”Each shirt is hand printed by me so there are small variations within every one.” http://www.etsy.com/shop/CypressInk East Hill Honey: Redefining Local Honey – visit for all their unique products! http://easthillhoney.com/ Figured Limb Woodworks: Specializes in custom, modern woodworking. Get his unique cutting board for $25 bucks! http://www.etsy.com/shop/Figuredlimbwoodworks Fringe and Fettle: “Handcrafted pottery pieces for people who love beautiful things for their daily lives. Everything you see here is made personally by me, and is completely unique and original. Find me on Facebook: www.facebook.com/FringeandFettle Check out my website: www.fringeandfettle.com” http://www.etsy.com/shop/FringeandFettle Kimmy M Designs: Handmade jewelry by Kimberly. Each piece is hand-crafted in the USA and a portion of proceeds will be donated to Dress for Success. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Kimberly-Megan/218968324799291

Sandababy Designs
Sandababy Designs

KyV Farm: Visit Vivian and Francisco for one of my favorite gifts, a gift card for a week’s farm share.  www.KyVfarm.com LuvBoopa: Super cute handmade crochet gifts. http://www.etsy.com/shop/LuvBoopa

Moonlight Sprouting System
Moonlight Sprouting System

Moonlight Microfarm: Their Etsy store features heirloom seeds and lots more. http://www.etsy.com/shop/MoonlightMicroFarm

Native Sun: Let the crew from Native Sun help build you a basket of goodies in an Alaffia Handmade basket. http://nativesunjax.com/our-products/hot-products/ Nidification: ”Nidification is the process of building a nest, at our store you will find handmade items to fill your nest. Most items are made to order and we welcome your own creativity if you see something you like but would like it altered we will customize it just for you.” http://www.etsy.com/shop/nidification NorCalWood Design: ”NorCal Wood Design – your one stop gift shop that specializes in anything handmade out of wood. Right now, this is mostly cutting boards, although I have a bunch of unique and innovative items coming soon! Check back often for more products!” http://www.etsy.com/shop/NorCalWoodDesign

SandABaby Designs: By Avita and Angela https://www.facebook.com/SandaBabyDesigns

Serenity Blue Bag
Serenity Blue Bag

Serenity Blue in St Augustine: Visit their storefront on St George Street in St Augustine to chat and browse! https://www.facebook.com/SBlueStAug Sierra Metal Designs: By Alicia Ballard http://www.etsy.com/shop/sierrametaldesign The Flavor Bible: (An FCC Favorite!) http://www.amazon.com/The-Flavor-Bible-Creativity-Imaginative/dp/0316118400 Twin Oaks Farm: Real Food. Our farm is committed to organic practices, the cultivation of non genetically modified vegetables and fruits and the breeding of heritage livestock in an effort to support their conservation. http://www.twinoaksfarm.net/ Yoga Den: Visit Alyson and grab a gift card to give the gift of health! http://yoga-den.com/

 Posted by at 4:10 pm
Nov 252013
 

 Juicy Orange Vinaigrette over Crisp Pear & Apple Salad with Cranberries, Almonds and Fresh Rosemary. Need I say more?

Juicy Orange Vinaigrette over Crisp Pear & Apple Salad with Cranberries, Almonds and Fresh Rosemary

Juicy Orange Vinaigrette over Crisp Pear & Apple Salad with Cranberries, Almonds and Fresh Rosemary

Sometimes an unexpectedly happy email pops into your inbox ~ maybe it is from an old friend, maybe it is a response to a job opportunity or maybe it is from Mommypage for an interview!

This is an AWESOME resource for moms out there!

Mommypage  is an online community of like minded women to share stories, advice, recipes, craft ideas, coupons and more. You can be caught for hours browsing around the useful information and connecting with people.

_mp-Newsletter-Swap-Banner250x250

When I got the email asking if I would be open to sharing some recipes and writing up an interview I said of course!

I was so excited to be able to share a little snapshot of information about plant based diets and how it can benefit people and especially their children. Here is one of the questions I was asked….I loved this question because it enabled me to expand on the difference between vegan and plant based. Yes there are lots of reasons to go vegan, but when it comes to health for our bodies and the environment, plant based is a great way to go. It essentially is vegan but is based around as many whole foods as possible.

Are you raising your daughter to be vegan? Do you think parents should consider this food lifestyle for their kids?

No, I’m simply teaching her the principals of plant-based nutrition – why it is healing, what happens in the body, the effects of animal foods and where food comes from – especially the conditions of the animals in factory farms.  Every man, woman and child should learn about the centralized feeding operations that supply our meats and dairy and the ties between the USDA and these industries.  Many times the bottom line is not our health, it is money.  She has a dairy allergy and I don’t buy or cook with meats but she will occasionally have local honey. Also important to note is that even if someone calls themselves vegan they can still eat junk food all day!

No, I don’t think people should consider a “vegan” lifestyle for their kids, instead consider a whole foods plant-based lifestyle where they eat plants as close to the source as possible.

Juicy Orange Vinaigrette over Crisp Pear & Apple Salad with Cranberries, Almonds and Fresh Rosemary

Juicy Orange Vinaigrette over Crisp Pear & Apple Salad with Cranberries, Almonds and Fresh Rosemary

 While you are reading Mommypage I have a fabulous recipe for you to nosh – guilt free! There is something about fresh citrus in a dressing. It is so zingy, invigorating and sunny! This time I threw the whole orange in – yup the pulp and all – and I loved the texture. Feel free to juice the orange first instead, but you will miss out on all that glorious pulp!

Juicy Orange Vinaigrette over Crisp Pear & Apple Salad with Cranberries, Almonds and Fresh Rosemary

Juicy Orange Vinaigrette over Crisp Pear & Apple Salad with Cranberries, Almonds and Fresh Rosemary

Juicy Orange Vinaigrette over Crisp Pear & Apple Salad with Cranberries, Almonds and Fresh Rosemary

Serves 4-6
Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe
**Ingredient on sale now at Native Sun Nov 7 thru Dec 6

Ingredients

4 cups chopped romaine lettuce
3 small pears**
3 small apples**
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
2 Tbsp dried cranberries
1/8 tsp sea salt & dash fresh ground pepper
2 Tbsp chopped natural almonds

Dressing
1 fresh orange, peeled
1 (to 2) Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp local honey or agave
2 Tbsp water

Directions

1. Mix salad ingredients in a large bowl; mix dressing ingredients in a small bowl; toss dressing over salad mixture.

2. Garnish with fresh rosemary.

Nutrition Facts
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving 

Calories 213.4
Total Fat 7.3 g
Saturated Fat 0.8 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.5 g
Monounsaturated Fat 2.6 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 77.6 mg
Potassium 498.9 mg
Total Carbohydrate 38.3 g
Dietary Fiber 7.3 g
Sugars 24.1 g
Protein 3.2 g

Vitamin A 31.2 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 4.3 %
Vitamin C 66.3 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 15.9 %
Calcium 7.1 %
Copper 8.9 %
Folate 24.0 %
Iron 7.7 %
Magnesium 8.8 %
Manganese 24.8 %
Niacin 2.5 %
Pantothenic Acid 2.4 %
Phosphorus 4.3 %
Riboflavin 6.6 %
Selenium 2.1 %
Thiamin 6.0 %
Zinc 2.1 %

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Nov 132013
 

 A seasonal take on classic flavors - Black Bean and Pumpkin Enchilada Bake made with bonus recipe ~ Chunky Enchilada Mole Sauce.  This bake has a perfect balance of spice and a hint of seasonal pumpkin – without the heat!

Black Bean and Pumpkin Enchilada Bake

Black Bean and Pumpkin Enchilada Bake

Before I get to this delicious recipe I’ll share a few snapshots from VegFest last weekend! What an amazing event to bring together like-minded people from the community who are concerned about animals, the earth and people.

VegFest 2013

VegFest 2013

I loved this photo when I walked by.  It was so captivating that I had to stop and snap a few photos of it.  I think that when it comes to birds we think of as food, we forget that they are living beings.  The interesting thing is that if someone sees and injured bird on the road or baby duckling there tends to be so much concern and care – but when it comes to chickens or turkeys that we consider food that same sentiment isn’t there. Many chickens and turkeys in the commercial farming industry are de-beaked without anesthetic to prevent them from pecking other birds, their own feathers or vents out of stress and boredom.  That would be like taking that baby duckling and cutting half her beak off. I can’t imagine!

VegFest 2013

VegFest 2013

VegFest 2013

VegFest 2013

There were fabulous crafts for kids.  Here they are using sticks and native oyster shells along with string to make beautiful and creative mobiles.

VegFest 2013

VegFest 2013

A few of the vendors present were Corner Taco

VegFest 2013

VegFest 2013

Sally Ann Designs – handmade local fashion

VegFest 2013

VegFest 2013

dig foods…

VegFest 2013

VegFest 2013

VegFest 2013

VegFest 2013

…very cute animals roaming about…

VegFest 2013

VegFest 2013

…and where I parked myself all afternoon…Native Sun!
Here you see one of the crew having a serious conversation with a seahorse.

VegFest 2013

VegFest 2013

I was there representing Native Sun  as both a customer and partner to help where needed, give out coupons and recipe cards, meet people and chat!

We had two kinds of vegan tacos for people to try – a mushroom based Carnitas style with BBQ sauce and a spice Sriracha style with an artichoke base. People voted on their favorite and the winner is going to be on the menu at Native Sun.

VegFest 2013

VegFest 2013

 Now before I move ahead with the recipe I’ll share my favorite experience of the day – getting to meet this cute little piglet! With her soft fuzzy head and velvety nose she brought a smile to everyone’s face and melted every heart around her!

Cutest Piglet Ever at VegFest 2013

Cutest Piglet Ever at VegFest 2013

Cutest Piglet Ever at VegFest 2013

Cutest Piglet Ever at VegFest 2013

Cutest Piglet Ever at VegFest 2013

Cutest Piglet Ever at VegFest 2013

And the winning taco was the Carnitas style taco!

VegFest 2013

VegFest 2013

On to the recipe…..now don’t let the ingredient list scare you. You most likely have the majority of these ingredients at home if you are someone that enjoys flavors like garlic, cumin and chili – and of course, my secret weapon is mustard! I love a nice course-ground, prepared mustard to add a bit of acid to finish my dish.

Tip: Keep in mind that when tasting a dish and wondering what it is missing – it is usually acid.  Some examples are a squeeze of fresh lemon, vinegar of all kinds, lime juice and mustard. Mustard is prepared with vinegar so not only does it add flavor, it adds that tiny bit of sour to balance out the flavor.

Seasonal Black Bean and Pumpkin Enchilada Bake

Seasonal Black Bean and Pumpkin Enchilada Bake

My suggestion is to make the enchilada sauce ahead of time and double the recipe if you want freeze some to have on hand for next time or to make another dish.

Seasonal Black Bean and Pumpkin Enchilada Bake

Seasonal Black Bean and Pumpkin Enchilada Bake

Seasonal Black Bean and Pumpkin Enchilada Bake

Serves 9
Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe

Grocery List

Black Bean and Pumpkin Enchilada Bake Ingredients

1 recipe Chunky Enchilada Mole Sauce or two cups prepared enchilada sauce**
1 Tbsp oil (or broth for fat free)
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups chopped sweet potato
1 tsp cumin
1 1/2 Tbsp chili powder
1/4 to 1/2 tsp salt (to taste) & fresh ground pepper
1 cup corn kernels
1 1/2 cups cooked black beans or 1 can low sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup water
3/4 cup canned pureed pumpkin
1 tsp prepared mustard
5 tortillas (I used Food for Life Gluten Free), cut into strips
1 cup non dairy cheese, I used Daiya Pepper Jack

Directions for Black Bean Pumpkin Enchilada Bake

1. Heat 1 Tbsp oil or broth in a large pot over medium high heat; add onion and saute until translucent, about five minutes; add garlic and saute an additional minute; add sweet potato, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper and cook 10 minutes or until potatoes are beginning to soften; stir in corn, black beans, water, pureed pumpkin and mustard; cover, reduce heat and simmer about 2o minutes.

2. Preheat oven to 375F. Layer 1/2 cup enchilada sauce on bottom of baking dish; top with 1 layer of tortilla and 1/2 black beans and pumpkin mixture; repeat; end with 1 layer of tortilla, remaining 1 cup sauce and 1 cup cheese; cover and bake 15 minutes or until heated through.

Chunky Enchilada Mole Sauce

Chunky Enchilada Mole Sauce

Chunky Enchilada Mole Sauce

Makes 1 recipe
Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe

**Chunky Enchilada Mole Sauce Ingredients

3 Tbsp chili powder
2 Tbsp gluten free flour (I used chickpea flour)
1 Tbsp raw cacao powder or baking cocoa
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1/2 Tbsp prepared mustard
1/2 Tbsp onion powder
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1 can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cups low sodium vegetable broth

Directions for Chunky Enchilada Mole Sauce

1. Heat a straight sided skillet over medium – high heat; add all ingredients; cook for 20 minutes or until well combined.

 Enchilada Bake Nutrition Facts (Including Enchilada Sauce)
9 Servings

Amount Per Serving 

Calories 247.2 (including olive oil – without 233 cals)
Total Fat 6.9 g (including olive oil – without 5.4 grams fat)
Saturated Fat 1.3 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.6 g
Monounsaturated Fat 1.4 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 585.9 mg
Potassium 503.0 mg
Total Carbohydrate 39.9 g
Dietary Fiber 8.3 g
Sugars 3.5 g
Protein 7.2 g

Vitamin A 74.2 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 19.6 %
Vitamin C 18.5 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 2.1 %
Calcium 4.9 %
Copper 11.1 %
Folate 16.0 %
Iron 14.3 %
Magnesium 17.0 %
Manganese 18.2 %
Niacin 10.8 %
Pantothenic Acid 6.3 %
Phosphorus 15.4 %
Riboflavin 4.3 %
Selenium 2.1 %
Thiamin 15.4 %
Zinc 6.9 %

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Chunky Enchilada Mole Sauce (whole recipe)
Nutrition Facts  
1 Serving
Amount Per Serving

Calories 284.9
Total Fat 5.0 g
Saturated Fat 1.2 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.8 g
Monounsaturated Fat 1.1 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 2,447.4 mg
Potassium 1,290.9 mg
Total Carbohydrate 53.3 g
Dietary Fiber 16.1 g
Sugars 16.9 g
Protein 9.5 g

Vitamin A 165.7 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 56.8 %
Vitamin C 88.6 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 1.4 %
Calcium 21.2 %
Copper 29.1 %
Folate 8.4 %
Iron 37.8 %
Magnesium 19.9 %
Manganese 41.2 %
Niacin 10.3 %
Pantothenic Acid 0.1 %
Phosphorus 16.4 %
Riboflavin 12.4 %
Selenium 7.8 %
Thiamin 9.3 %
Zinc 9.3 %

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

 

 Posted by at 3:24 pm
Oct 232013
 

Halloween is scary. Candy, cocktails and sugar crazed children oh my. To make Halloween a little less scary I gathered some of my favorite tips from around the web and cataloged them here  for you – all in one place!

Vampire Carrots

Have a happy and safe Halloween! 

1. Pass out Halloween pencils, erasers, stickers, and tattoos. (Jumpstart MD)

2. Don’t hand out your favorite candy. (Suggestion and stats from David Zinczenko with Matt Goulding)

A cocker spaniel weighs about 24 pounds. You know what else weighs 24 pounds? The heft of candy the average American gobbles down each year, a big chunk of that falling to our waistlines in the days before and after Halloween. Fun size? I don’t think so—unless it’s fun being size 16.  

  • Three miniature Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups—the kind you find in office candy bowls and trick-or-treat-bags—fill your belly with more sugar than a glazed doughnut.
  • Half a pack of Skittles has more sugar than a scoop of Haagen-Dazs Cookies and Cream Ice Cream. 
  • Nine Twizzlers carry as many calories as a Wendy’s Double Stack Burger.

photo (4) 3. Don’t drastically cut calories earlier in the day in an attempt to counteract any excessive candy eating later on. (Care of Hungry Girl)

That’ll just set you up for a candy binge. Eat filling meals, and drink plenty of water. (If you’re dehydrated, it’s easy to mistake thirst for hunger.)

4. Keep the empty wrappers in sight so that you’ll be aware of how many you’ve already had. (Tip from Small Steps)

5. Stifle their sugar rush: Halloween buy-back! (Little Inspirations) 

I give my children one dollar for every pound of candy they give to me instead of eating. Keeps the cavities away, and the kids feel rewarded for all their hard work trick-or-treating.

6. Set (and enforce) limits on how much candy may be eaten each day and when (i.e., only after meals). (Monica Reinagel, Nutrition Over Easy)

7. Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark (from Beyond Fit Physiques)

If you’re craving chocolate, then the darker, the better. Dark chocolate has less sugar, is dairy-free, and is rich in antioxidants that have been shown to reduce blood pressure and decrease your risk of heart disease. BONUS: cocoa is a craving killer and a few bites of the real stuff will help you eat less in the long run!

8. Keep your trick-or-treating route short. (Everyday Family)

9. Fill up on lots of fiber, healthy protein and drink lots of water on Halloween day. That’s my tip :)

Eat Mila and Join a CSA such as KyV Farm and you’ll have plenty of veggies on hand! (I couldn’t help getting a farm share/CSA plug in there)

10. Minimize your exposure. (Am I Hungry)

Wait until the last minute to buy Halloween candy then buy only what you really think you’ll need for the big night. Get the stuff kids love rather than bags and bags of your favorites.

What are your favorite Halloween survival tips? Are you dressing up this year? 

 Posted by at 11:10 am  Tagged with:
Oct 092013
 

Today is my three year bloggiversary! To celebrate I am posting a creamy Autumn Sweet Potato, Pumpkin and Lentil Soup with Aromatic Fresh Sage will put you in the mood for fall. Savory and comforting with all the traditional holiday flavors will have you giving thanks that Thanksgiving is right around the corner.

Autumn Sweet Potato and Pumpkin Lentil Soup with Fresh Sage

Autumn Sweet Potato and Pumpkin Lentil Soup with Fresh Sage

The good news is that the amount of fiber will trim our waistline before the heavy meals make their way into our diets. This mouth-watering soup is only 100 calories, naturally (almost) fat free and has 6 grams of fiber so eat to your heart’s content!
As an added bonus, this recipe is great for both you and your kids. My daughter loved the rich but mild flavor and the sweetness of the potatoes and pumpkin.

Autumn Sweet Potato and Pumpkin Lentil Soup with Fresh Sage

Autumn Sweet Potato and Pumpkin Lentil Soup with Fresh Sage

 I’d also like to take this time to express my gratitude for each of you that comes to visit me here. When I started this blog I really wanted to simply catalog my recipes and practice my photography skills.  As this blog grew and I got feedback from people that it was actually helping them I knew that I had a responsibility to change and grow and provide useful content.  By doing this for you, it in turn makes me feel fulfilled. Blogging takes many hours and is a lot of work – you really have to love it, but isn’t everything worth doing a lot of work?  It is a creative and fun outlet where you can really connect with people.  Many thanks to each of you that has joined me on my journey as I learn about SEO, blogging do’s and don’t (I’m sure I’ve broken ALL the don’ts) and grown both in photography and writing.

Autumn Sweet Potato and Pumpkin Lentil Soup with Fresh Sage

Autumn Sweet Potato and Pumpkin Lentil Soup with Fresh Sage

Gratitude is such a beautiful thing. It puts things in perspective and gives us peace.  Once we are at peace we can share this calmness and love with others.  I can’t completely express how changes in my life have given me a bit of this peace. Even though my life is so crazy (still) – much more than I thought since leaving Corporate America – I’m moving in the direction of being able to do what I’m passionate about each and every day.  I can blog, spend time with my daughter, husband and family, help people through my business, coach others in need, work with amazing businesses in my community and even take some classes.  Continuing education is so important. I encourage you all to wonder about the world. Ask why something is.  If we all dove deep into why things are the way they are the world would change for the better very quickly.  Once the hard part of figuring out WHAT I was passionate about was done, I could then laser focus on WHY I wanted to make a course correction and move in that direction. The why is what gives me the power to continue getting up each day at 4:30 and get that worm!  Though I’m not exactly where I want to be I am now enjoying the journey.  And I’ll let you in on a little secret. Being at peace with the journey is what it is all about.

So on my third bloggiversary I leave you with these thoughts for the day.

Gratitude

Peace

Good Health

Education

Autumn Sweet Potato and Pumpkin Lentil Soup with Fresh Sage

Autumn Sweet Potato and Pumpkin Lentil Soup with Fresh Sage

Sweet Potato, Pumpkin and Lentil Soup with Fresh Sage

Serves 8 generous 1 1/2 cup servings
Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe

Ingredients

1 onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 sweet potatoes, chopped
1 bay leaf
1/3 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp fresh ground pepper
2 Tbsp salt free poultry seasoning blend
1 cup pink lentils
2 cartons (8 cups) low sodium veggie broth, divided
1 tsp fresh sage, minced
1 14oz can pumpkin (not pumpkin filling)

Directions

1. Heat 2 Tbsp of the veggie broth in a Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the onion and celery; cook about 7 minutes. Add the garlic, sweet potatoes, bay leaf, salt, pepper and poultry seasoning; cook 3 minutes.

2. Add the lentils and veggie broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes; stir in sage and pumpkin; cook an additional 15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

3. Remove bay leaf; puree ingredients with an immersion blender for a thick and creamy soup.

Nutrition Facts
8 Servings
Amount Per Serving 

Calories 105.4
Total Fat 0.4 g
Saturated Fat 0.1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.1 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 249.1 mg
Potassium 337.2 mg
Total Carbohydrate 22.3 g
Dietary Fiber 6.0 g
Sugars 3.7 g
Protein 3.7 g

Vitamin A 291.0 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 10.2 %
Vitamin C 20.5 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 3.7 %
Calcium 5.9 %
Copper 9.5 %
Folate 15.8 %
Iron 12.6 %
Magnesium 7.0 %
Manganese 19.0 %
Niacin 3.8 %
Pantothenic Acid 6.1 %
Phosphorus 8.2 %
Riboflavin 6.2 %
Selenium 2.1 %
Thiamin 6.1 %
Zinc 3.7 %

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Sep 252013
 
Certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition, Completed October 2013, T. Colin Campbell Foundation and eCornell

Like taking a polar plunge – in August of 2013 I jumped into some major life changes – eyes squinched and nose plugged.

I left my 13 year career in Corporate Finance to pursue things that have real meaning to me. Namely, having more time with my small daughter and my wonderful family, time for peace and reflection, time to dig my heels into the amazing health and wellness business I started over a year ago and time for my second baby – Florida Coastal Cooking.  I want to make this blog the BEST resource for what I call “green info”.  High quality plant based recipes and photos, tips and tricks, how-to videos, meal plans and maybe a cookbook or two.  With my eyes on the horizon of where I want to go, I easily made the decision to make this huge change after the sudden death of my father in May.  For those of you that are new to my blog I will share the unthinkable – after 40 years in Corporate America my Dad finally decided to retire. That day, he rode his bike up to the pool to swim laps and died instantly – never getting to enjoy retirement. I still can’t believe he is gone.

Dad – I did it! I got out!

My Dad

My Dad

One of ways I am going to make this blog the best is by going back to school. On September 11th I started the first of three courses with the T Collin Campbell Foundation and Cornell University towards obtaining my certificate in plant based nutrition.  The first class was Nutrition Fundamentals.

Prior to starting I will admit that I was a bit scared – how was I going to find 6-12 extra hours per week?

Trust me, when it comes to something you are interested in you simply find the time.

Savory Chinese Five Spice Rabe and Quinoa

Savory Chinese Five Spice Rabe and Quinoa

We learned facts about the top ten causes of death in the US; the top three being heart disease, cancer and lower respiratory disease. Other topics included the obesity epidemic that the US faces, the rising health care costs and how nutrition fits in.  As of now it simply doesn’t – there is little funding, medical professionals get very little nutrition training and the policy and standards set by the FDA are misguided by money and politics (shocking, I know.).

I devoured the video lectures and readings and eagerly jumped into the class discussions.

Many of the current information on food and nutrition comes from studies focused on a reductionist approach – studying one nutrient at a time and not on how the nutrients fit together to make a complete picture. Think of the relationship between vitamin D and calcium absorption.  The two must go hand in hand for the process to work efficiently.  It is simply misguided to think that each nutrient works independently in the body. Dr Campbell promotes a “wholistic” view of the role of nutrients – like each separate instrument in a symphony.

We learned about the origins of protein – the chemical discovery was made in 1839 by Gerhard Mulder. Subsequently, the findings of Francois Magendie illustrated that protein was absolutely necessary for the health of the dogs he was using in his experiments which in turn influenced Gerhard to describe the new found discovery as proteios ”of prime importance” .  Chemist Justus von Liebig and Carl Voit (mentor to many famous researchers of the time) then also jumped on the bandwagon touting the importance of protein. It was from these men that protein got it’s cult like following in our society.

Interestingly, these lectures were organized by the T. Collin Campbell Foundation – one of the authors of the China Study.  When he began his research into nutrition and protein he was seeking to economize on the making of protein in order to better feed malnourished children in the Philippines. Through these studies he discovered the children that were the best fed – eating the highest amount of protein and animal foods – were the ones getting liver cancer from a toxin on peanuts called Aflatoxin. This led him to a an Indian study in the 60′s that found that different levels of protein consumption affected the development of liver cancer in rats and Pandora’s Box was opened.

One of the biggest cancer studies ever done in China, the China Atlas, included about 880 million people in the study mapping where each instance of cancer occurred. The maps showed that cancer was geographically located which indicated that genetics was not the primary reason for cancer. Interestingly, this theory was supported by the fact that individuals that migrated to different parts of the country and adopted the diet of that location would adopt similar statistics to that location in regards to cancer.

Next up things really got interesting! We took an even deeper dive into the American reverence for protein…..but what ARE the recommended allowances, you ask? Only 8-10% is what is recommended by the RDA!

Keep in mind that some of the strongest animals in the world eat only plants.

Grauer’s gorilla from Kahuzi-Biega National Park. Credit: ICCN

Grauer’s gorilla from Kahuzi-Biega National Park. Credit: ICCN

I pose the question – why is it that we feel we need to consume animals in order to get enough protein? Typically the response is, “Because that is what humans have always done.” or, “We have teeth meant to eat animal protein.” Yes animal protein is closest to the makeup of our own bodies, is easily absorbed and is absolutely more effective in growing farm animals – BUT the “high quality” protein from animal foods is also high quality for cancer cells and the atherosclerotic tissue that contributes to heart disease (as in the case of my Dad). We can get plenty of protein from plant based sources and through many years of testing and a wide array of studies it has been found that plant based protein does not “turn on” cancer, heart disease and other “diseases of affluence” the way animal proteins do.

The average Joe typically won’t take steps to examine their diet until something prompts them to do so – the emergence of a disease or need for weight loss.  The tendency is to try whatever is in style at the time – for instance the new faddish Paleo diet.  The problem with such fad diets as this is that we know so little about chronic illness in this population because they typically only lived into their 40′s.  This article makes some interesting points in regards to the Paleo diet. Researchers consider the fact that paleolithic diet to be mostly plants with some free range game.  How much antelope can you buy at Publix? Are you getting 100 grams of fiber per day? Most likely not.  From the casual discussions of many people “losing tons of weight” on the Paleo DIET – people are treating this like the unhealthy Atkins diet – using it as an excuse to eat exorbitant amounts of meat. I applaud the fact that they may be eating less processed foods and more veggies – but upon completing this first class and the many, many years of study done on this way of life – I can’t help but think that T. Collin Campbell and Caldwell Esselstyn Jr. are on to something here.

I remember a quote from Caldwell Esselstyn that always resonates with me: “Some people think the “plant-based, whole foods diet” is extreme.  Half a million people a year will have their chests opened up and a vein taken from their leg and sewn onto their coronary artery.  Some people would call that extreme.” Dr Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr, notes. 

We further went on to view additional diet fads of the past – the origins of low carb and low fat.  The most extensive study on low fat diets being the Harvard Nurse’s Health Study that brought to light the fact that low fat diets did not in fact affect cancer rates but unfortunately caused much confusion by concluding that diet did not have much of an influence on cancer rates. They did not take into account that because of many of the nurse’s low fat diets, their diets were actually higher in animal protein by some of that dietary fat being replaced by protein.

Of course this is just an overview of what I learned over the course of seven modules in Nutrition Fundamentals and I am looking forward to setting up a series of three seminars on plant based nutrition upon completion of the class. If you are interested in learning more for yourself I highly recommend these classes!

http://www.ecornell.com/certificates/plant-based-nutrition/certificate-in-plant-based-nutrition/

 Posted by at 4:22 am
Aug 312013
 

A dive into the confusing world of vitamins ~ Liquid Vitamins Vs. Hard Pill Vitamins and a few suggestions.

Liquid Vitamins Vs. Hard Pill Vitamins

There are all kinds of differing opinions on this subject.  But who is right?  We all know you can find the answer you are looking for on the internet if you simply look hard enough.

“Your body absorbs liquid vitamins better than its pill counterparts do. In fact, the body absorbs approximately 98 percent of the vitamins and minerals contained in liquid form. However, the body only absorbs anywhere from 3 to 20 percent of the vitamins in a vitamin pill.”

On the other side of the coin:

“My wife pays a premium for liquid vitamin and mineral supplements, which are supposedly better absorbed by the body. Are they worth the cost?” “Probably not, unless your wife has trouble swallowing solid supplements. In theory, liquid supplements should be better absorbed by the stomach since they’re already dissolved. But there has been little research to substantiate that idea.”

Truthfully I didn’t think much of it either way until August 3rd at a presentation by Dr Lindsey Duncan , a world renowned naturopathic doctor and product formulator.

What did he say that got me thinking about this post?

I got a photo with Dr Lindsey Duncan!

I got a photo with Dr Lindsey Duncan!

He said that waste treatment plants are clogged with hard pill forms of vitamins and we are literally flushing our money down the toilet. It is best to obtain pure liquid forms if possible so that the body can more readily absorb the nutrients.

When it comes down to it – a picture is worth a thousand words.

This x-ray shows the pill moving through the body and coming out the other end.

XRay of Centrum Vitamins from Dr Lindsey's Presentation

XRay of Centrum Vitamins from Dr Lindsey’s Presentation

The reason I hadn’t thought much of it before this point was that I don’t consider myself a supplement kind of girl and tend to promote whole raw foods as much as possible ~ hence my support of Mila.

Nature’s perfect superfood, Mila® is a proprietary blend of Salvia hispanica L., commonly known as chia seed.

Nature’s perfect superfood, Mila® is a proprietary blend of Salvia hispanica L., commonly known as chia seed.

But I confess that here and there I’ve taken cranberry, various multivitamins and calcium to supplement my ingestion of leafy greens, tofu, unhulled sesame seeds.

But what about those folks that don’t consume leafy greens, tofu and unhulled sesame seeds every day? When it comes down to it – even if we have a perfect diet we may be lacking in specific vitamins and minerals.  For instance – the last time I went to the doctor I was low in Vitamin D – and living in Florida that is just kind of crazy! Now I get outside in the fresh air for 10 minutes per day without sunblock on my arms, legs and torso.

Dr Lindsey is the formulator of various products that he originally created for his wellness clinics and now has brought them to the general public to promote his philosophy of Cleanse, Balance and Build.  I’ve tried some of them and love them so I’m proud to now support a few more products that I think people are looking for!  Goodness knows that people like options.

Here are two of my favorites.

Daily Build

Daily Build

“…a comprehensive liquid daily vitamin. This robust formula features eight unique proprietary blends that incorporate the best nutrients available from nature and science, including six powerful superfruits and a unique blend of superfood extracts such as chlorella, spirulina and alfalfa to deliver a wide range of nutrients needed to build your body with unparalleled health benefits.

The Bio-Protection Blend includes some of the newest and best-researched nutrients available.* One serving of Genesis PURE Daily Build provides a full range of amino acids, powerful antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals in their most bioavailable form, allowing for maximum absorption.* If you can only make one healthy addition to your regimen, start with Daily Build.”

Daily Build
Retail $65.95/Wholesale Membership $49.95

Coral Calcium

Coral Calcium

Strong bones are necessary for a longer, more enjoyable life. Calcium is an essential mineral required for many functions in addition to bone health such as muscle function, nerve transmission, hormonal secretion, and intracellular communication. Genesis PURE™ Coral Calcium contains 100% pure coral calcium as well as other essential vitamins and minerals. This exceptional product is absorbed more effectively than other calcium supplements, which are often passed through the body, undigested, and is easily assimilated by your body. Carefully selected from the purest waters from around the world, our coral collection process is meticulously conducted to ensure the protection and ecological safety of the unique coral reefs and the surrounding marine environment. Discover how Coral Calcium can add life to your years—and bones!

Liquid Calcium
Retail $49.95/Wholesale Membership $39.95

Want more products? Check out http://www.genesispure.com/products

To order use IBO Code US11065661

 Posted by at 11:37 am
May 102013
 

If you are new to my blog or have been a follower for a while – I have some sad news to share so that you know why I’m out of commission for a bit.

This past Tuesday, May 7th, around 3:30 in the afternoon the world was flat – then in a millisecond, with two words, “he’s gone”, I realized the world is round.

The impossible became possible.

Dad in Islamorada

Dad in Islamorada

A man I had just seen Monday night, the picture of health, while we watched my daughter take swim lessons, was gone.

My Dad and Daughter at Little Talbot Island

My Dad and Daughter at Little Talbot Island

I had been sitting in a meeting at work Tuesday afternoon when a friend told me there had been an emergency. It didn’t register. “Are you kidding?” I looked at my phone and saw four missed calls – one from my mom; in a broken voice she told me there had been an emergency and to come quickly.  My hands were shaking as I pressed the elevator down button and I was already crying. What could it be? I thought maybe the boat fell on my dad, the ultimate fisherman and outdoors-man. I said to myself, shoot he’ll still find a way to fish, even if he doesn’t have his legs.  

Dad

Dad

I walked outside and my husband was waiting for me outside which was very odd.  He drove like a maniac to the ER. What could be wrong? As I walked in the room he was quietly lying there.  My dad. But gone.  Gone. I crumpled to the floor.

Earlier in the day he and my mom had met with a financial planner. At 67 he had finally made the decision to retire. Around lunchtime, he rode his bike up to the pool like he does every other day to lift weights and swim laps.  He greeted the staff and began his laps, about 13 minutes in he made the turn at the pool side where the lifeguard was, stopped swimming and went under.  That’s it. The lifeguard noticed immediately and reacted, they got him out in about 20 seconds but it was too late.  Even as I write this it seems surreal.

Impossible. Impossible. Impossible. I still don’t believe it.

As we left the hospital we were in shock. We are still in shock.  There is no WAY.

There is so much to be done it is overwhelming.

Now I think of all the things he will miss – my daughter’s graduation, holidays, travel, camping trips, daily life – and it makes me so, so sad.  My daughter is 4 – will she remember Papa?

Dad

Dad

We were told he had coronary heart disease and had a heart attack.  What?! I wrack my brain. Were there any signs? ANY symptoms? I think back. I continually ask myself what if he hadn’t been in that pool. What if I had pushed him even harder to stop eating meat?

There are so many reminders - his art work all over my house, his work boots in the garage – empty. Never to be worn again.  We had to retrieve his belongings from the pool.  His flip flops wrapped neatly in his towel.

http://www.fishcaughtintime.com/

Fish Caught in Time

Fish Caught in Time

My memories flash back – from both long in the past and even from a few days ago; his raised gardens in Massachusetts, where he grew beans, broccoli and raspberries, weekends at Cape Cod, all the camping trips we have taken, how he would tell me stories at bedtime and now my daughter those same stories, trekking out to the marsh to catch fiddler crabs with my daughter, swimming at blue springs state park, retiring his old flip flops in the desert in Arizona, cooking up dinner on the Big Green Egg and how proud he was on Monday to see his granddaughter swimming under water to grab the colorful rings.

Catching Fiddler Crabs at Skidway Island

Catching Fiddler Crabs at Skidway Island

 All we can do now is live and put one foot in front of the other and celebrate the life he had.

Me and Dad

Me and Dad

And celebrate the time we had with him.

Cooking up Marshmallows

Cooking up Marshmallows

And cherish each and every memory.

Wine Tasting

Wine Tasting

Daddy – you will be missed. I love you. We love you. And so many others love you.

Mom and Dad

Mom and Dad

Papa, Granddaughter and Daisy

Papa, Granddaughter and Daisy

 Posted by at 8:35 pm  Tagged with: