Vegetarian Meals. The BBTLC: Beyond Burger Tomato, Lettuce, and Cheese.


I cooked this vegetarian dish with a little TLC  last night. I call it the #bbtlc. Beyond Burger tomato, lettuce, and cheese. It’s a plant based burger patty on a whole wheat bun topped with an oven fried green tomato, lettuce, caramelized onions, smoked gouda cheese and a homemade tex mex aioli with a side of chili and cinnamon rubbed oven baked sweet potato fries.


The total meal cost less than $6.00 per serving and only 35 minutes to make from beginning to the end. It tastes like and has the texture of a real burger. You can find it at @wholefoods. You get 2 burgers for $5.99. Yum!


Healthy Thanksgiving Tidbits: How to make Candied Yams and Sweet Potato Casserole Healthier.

Photo_2017-11-15_10-41-05_AMLet’s face it, there’s no great recipe or miracle that will make that sweet syrupy goodness we call candied yams taste like mom’s or will make you go into a diabetic coma after eating it, but there is a way to make a great mashed sweet potato casserole that will still quench some of your sweet tooth, eliminate a lot of unwanted calories and still be healthy and flavorful.

If Thanksgiving breakfast is a tradition in your home, you can replace your hashbrown casserole or smothered skillet potatoes with a roasted sweet potato hash instead of using white potatoes. Sweet potatoes have greater nutrient benefits such as beta carotene rather than your regular potato.

Here are a few tidbits for making a yummy mashed sweet potato casserole and roasted sweet potato hash:

•Nix the butter, candied pecans, granulated white sugar, 2% milk, heavy cream, sweet condensed/evaporated milk, and marshmallows. All of these items are loaded with fat and/or sugar.

•Opt into using unsweetened almond milk or 1% milk if people in your family are allergic to nuts. Less calories, sugar and fat than regular milk, heavy cream or condensed/evaporated milk.

•I use unsweetened almond milk, vanilla extract, allspice (which is a blend of cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg) kosher salt and a little brown sugar in my casserole. If you don’t have allspice, use cinnamon and nutmeg. No butter. Also, Stevia is a great sweetener substitute too for granulated white sugar. Honestly, this same concept can apply to when baking sweet potato pies. Less calories, fat and sugar but still sweet enough to make a great pie.

•If you want to lift your casserole with a little heat and try something different this Thanksgiving, add a little ground chipotle chile pepper to the above ingredients. A little sweet with a hint of spicy.

•If you like candied pecans as a topping, instead of tossing your raw pecans in melted butter, flour and sugar, toss them in olive oil cooking spray, a little kosher salt and allspice. Then, top your casserole with the pecans keeping the casserole covered until it’s time for it to brown.

•Instead of making your traditional hashbrown casserole or smothered skillet potatoes try making a roasted sweet potato hash.

Peel and cut your sweet potato into cubes.Toss the cubes in a bowl with olive oil cooking spray, kosher salt, allspice and a little brown sugar. If you don’t have allspice, use nutmeg and cinnamon.

Place the potatoes into a Pyrex dish or lined sheet pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Set your oven on 400 and cook them for about 20 minutes then tossing them halfway during the cooking process.

Meanwhile, cut up some onion, garlic and peppers. Saute them in a pan with olive oil cooking spray. Once the potatoes and veggies are done, toss them together and season to taste if necessary.

I’ve offered you a few healthier options with the same great taste for you to enjoy instead of your traditional candied yams, sweet potato and hashbrown casserole. It’s diabetic as well as vegan friendly. More Thanksgiving Tidbits to come.



Superbowl Snacks can be Simple, Healthy and Delicious

superbowl snacks 2

Superbowl Sunday is one of the biggest and most celebrated events in the US. Millions of people gather around the television with food and libations to watch the commercials, halftime show, and the best two teams of the NFL go head to head for the national championship title.

Unless you are a true fan of the sport or your team is playing in the Superbowl, it’s really all about the food and the fellowship. Traditional party food for gatherings such as this is loaded with high amounts of calories, carbs, fats, sodium, and sugars.

This year, I decided to throw a small Superbowl gathering amongst four friends and go beyond making the traditional calorie laden foods by creating healthier options using some of the fantastic food finds found in the Kroger’s Simple Truth Brand.

Simple Truth has a variety of snack options and natural antibiotic free and organic meats that are nutrition friendly.

For today’s party, I prepared sun dried tomato and cranberry chicken salad lettuce wraps using Simple Truth Natural Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts and Kraft Mayo with Olive Oil, asian ginger pasta salad using Aldi’s LiveGfree Gluten Free Brown Rice SpaghettiSimple Truth Organic Balsamic Vinaigrette, and other spices, fresh fruit, raw carrots, and Laughing Cow Creamy Swiss Garlic and Herb Cheese Wedges. For my snack items, I decided to try Simple Truth Organic Blue Corn Tortilla Chips, Simple Truth Organic Black Bean and Corn Salsa, Simple Truth Multigrain Rice Crackers, and Simple Truth Natural Fruit and Nut Mix.

Eating traditional superbowl party food could easily add up to 4,000 calories or more for one meal/sitting which is beyond the FDA’s recommended daily value 2,000 calorie diet. Our recommendations if all is selected and eaten according to the serving size is less than 1,700 calories which isn’t too bad since this is a special occasion and you have a variety of snacks and foods to choose from. If diabetic, the brown rice spaghetti won’t spike your blood sugar up unlike semolina based pasta and our lettuce wraps are a perfect substitution for bread. It is also is gluten free for gluten sensitive readers.

Each Simple Truth snack item was less than 150 calories, 20 carbs, 150mg of sodium, 8g of fat, and 9 sugars per serving and the laughing cow cheese was only 35 calories, 1.5g of fat, 190mg of sodium and less than 1g of sugar for one serving.

Superbowl Sunday can be a fun filled gathering with simple and delicious guilt free food without blowing all of your hard work from eating healthy during the week. Look for our chicken salad and pasta salad recipe under our appetizers, soups and salads, vegetarian menu or click on the above links. 

These snack items and appetizers can be prepared for any party, potluck, holiday gathering or as a part of your weekly meal calendar for lunch or as a quick and healthy snack. We hope you will like our appetizers and decide to give them and our fantastic food finds a try. You won’t regret the calories nor the taste.


Steamed Cabbage with Soy Italian Sausage


cabbage stir fry with soy sausage

1 medium head of cabbage
2 Lightlife Veggie Smart Sausages Italian Style
1/2 cup of red and green bell peppers cut into chunks
1/3 cup of sliced yellow onions
1/3 cup of Kitchen Basics Unsalted Vegetable Stock
1/4 cup of water
1 tablespoon of minced garlic
2 stevia sugar packets
1 tablespoon of kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon of Kroger garlic herb zesty seasoning
1/4 teaspoon of Kroger table blend zesty seasoning
1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
Olive oil cooking spray

Slice italian sausages into bite size pieces.
Spray skillet with olive oil cooking spray and cook them on a medium heat until browned. Set aside.
Clean and cut the cabbage into small pieces removing all of the hard white stems and core pieces
Cut the bell peppers into chunks and slice the onions
Combine the cabbage, peppers, and onions. Mix them up and add them to the pot
Spray a little olive oil cooking spray on top of your cabbage mixture and add your seasonings and garlic on top
Pour the vegetable stock, vinegar, and water on the side of your mixture to the bottom of your pot, deep skillet or wok pan
Cover and bring to a boil
Once it comes to a boil and begin to cook on medium heat.
Keep it covered stirring occasionally with adding the sausage half way during the cooking process
Cook for about 15-20 minutes or until done.
Remove from the heat and adjust the seasoning to taste


Portobello Mushroom Supreme Pizza with Homemade Pizza Sauce

portabella mushroom supreme pizza copy

Pizza Ingredients
2 large portobello mushroom caps
1 Morningstar soy tomato and basil pizza burger
1/4 cup of chopped red, yellow, and green bell peppers.
1/3 cup of chopped red and yellow onions
8 medium reduced salt black pitted olives chopped
1/4 cup of low moisture finely shredded mozzarella cheese
Olive oil cooking spray

Homemade Pizza Sauce Ingredients
1/4 teaspoon of chili powder

1 8oz can of no salt added tomato sauce
1/4 teaspoon of Kroger garlic herb zesty seasoning blend
1/2 teaspoon of italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon of dried basil
1 & 1/2 tablespoon of  Hunt’s 100% natural ketchup
2 stevia packets of sugar
1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt

Pizza Sauce Directions
Combine all of the seasonings, tomato sauce and ketchup. Cook on low-medium heat stirring occasionally for about 5-10 minutes.
Remove from the heat and adjust the seasoning to taste

Pizza Directions
Gently remove all of the gills and stem inside of the mushroom until you have a smooth beige like surface keeping the thickness of the mushroom
Spread about a tablespoon or more of your pizza sauce depending upon the size of each mushroom
Divide the cheese in half and spread it on top of the pizza sauce inside of the mushroom
Chop the pizza burger into bite size pieces. Split the pieces in half and spread it on top of the cheese on each mushroom
Mix your onions, bell peppers and olives into a bowl. Spread the mixture evenly between the mushrooms on top of the burger.
Spray a pyrex dish or pan with olive oil
Bake for 20 minutes on 350° degrees or until done depending upon the thickness and size of the mushroom (the mushroom will exude liquid which is fine while baking).


Sweet Potato Hash

sweet potato hash copy

3 medium sweet potatoes
1/4 cup of chopped  red, green and yellow bell peppers
1/4 cup of chopped red and yellow onions
1/3 cup of dried cranberries
1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic
1/4 cup of Kitchen Basics unsalted vegetable stock
1/2 tablespoon of cinnamon
1/2 tablespoon of kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon of Kroger garlic herb zesty blend seasoning
Olive Oil Cooking Spray

Peel and chop sweet potato into evenly bite size pieces as possible (helps with even cooking) set aside
Spray a small saute pan with olive oil cooking spray and add your bell peppers, onions, cranberries, and garlic stirring occasionally until softened but not mushy. Cook on medium heat. (set aside)
Combine sweet potatoes and vegetable stock into a pan stirring occasionally until softened but not mushy. Cook on medium heat.
Add all of your seasonings and vegetable mix to the pan, stir well, spray with olive oil if need be.
Remove from the heat and adjust the seasoning to taste


Vegetarian Chili

vegetarian chili

1 10oz bag of Picsweet of Seasoning Blend (chopped onion, peppers, celery)
1 roll of Lightlife Soy Gimme Lean Ground Sausage Style
2 tablespoons of minced garlic
2 tablespoons of chili powder
1 1/2 tablespoons of cumin
2 tablespoons of kosher salt
6 stevia sugar packets
3 tablespoons of 100% natural ketchup
A dash of cayenne pepper
2 150z cans of no salt mexican beans
1 150z can of no salt dark red kidney beans
1 150z can of no salt light red kidney beans
1 150z can of no salt pinto beans
1 150z can of no salt whole kernel corn
1 150z can of no salt diced tomatoes
1 60z can of no salt tomato paste
1 280z can of crushed tomatoes
Olive Oil Cooking Spray
A dollop of sour cream and shredded cheese (optional)

Cook soy ground sausage according to the package and set aside
Spray a small saute pan with olive oil cooking spray and add your seasoning blend until softened
Combine sausage, seasoning blend, beans (do not drain), corn (drain), tomato paste, and tomatoes (do not drain) into one big pot
Add all of your seasonings to the pot, stir well, cover, and bring to a boil
Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally for about 2 hours
Remove from the heat and adjust the seasoning to taste