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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Celebrate Your Friends and Yourself This Valentine's Day

I've been reflecting about friendship and what it means to me this Valentine's Day. The words that come to mind are kindness, authentic, non-judgmental, close attention, sharing, growth, thoughtfulness, give-and-take, balance, willingness, warmth, generosity, blessing, grace, showing up, gratitude, fun, tears, laughter and visions of all those I hold dear in my heart. 💗




This post is my love letter to you dear friends 💌. Thanks to all those who have come to my blog this year, and all those who have yet to come. What words, ideas, or feelings come to mind, when you think of friendship or Valentine's Day? Please let me know you're visiting me, by sharing in the comments section below. Hugs to you dear ones. Nancy Andres

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Thursday, January 12, 2017

Gluten free Vegetarian Chili that's Fast, Flavorful, and Protein Rich

The multilayered flavor of this vegetarian chili comes from basic pantry ingredients including vegetables and spices. This dish is simple and inexpensive to make, gluten free, vegan, and loaded with plant-based taste, protein, and fiber. Feel free to leave out or add additional vegetables or seasonings, and know any beans you like fit in well. The recipe is adaptable and forgiving so relax and have fun in the kitchen. 

The way this dish is set up now, it yields 4 large or 6 moderate servings. It contains approximately 10 g of protein in every portion, and makes great leftovers too. 


·       1 medium organic red onion, chopped
·       1 large organic red bell pepper, chopped
·       2 medium organic carrots, chopped
·       1 4 oz. can organic mushrooms chopped
·       1 ½ cups organic frozen corn kernels (defrost in refrigerator for a few hours)
·       4 squirts Braggs Liquid Aminos (or 2 tablespoons gluten free low sodium soy sauce)
·       2 large or 4 small cloves garlic chopped
·      3 tablespoons chili powder
·       2 teaspoons ground cumin
·        a few sprigs fresh oregano
·       1 small can (15 ounces) organic diced tomatoes with juice (I used fire roasted tomatoes)
·       1 can (15 oz.) organic black beans, drained
·       1 can (15 oz.) organic mixed beans, drained (the mixed beans I selected contained kidney, black, and pinto beans)
·       1 can (15 oz.) organic kidney beans, drained
·       ½  to 1 jalapeño pepper (use gloves to take out the seeds and cut in half, then chop fine) Omit this ingredient, if you like a milder chili or increase the amount if you like it hot)
·       1 cup water
·       1 bay leaf
·       1 to 2 teaspoons lemon or lime juice (use the juice you like best)

·       Garnishes can include: sliced avocado, guacamole, corn chips, scallions, radish, red onion, gluten free vegan cheese, nutritional yeast. 

What to Do:

      1.  In a large Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed pot, put in chopped red onion and sauté dry over medium heat until soft (about 2 minutes). Add chopped garlic, red bell pepper, carrots, mushrooms, and stir. Continue to sauté  without oil by  adding a drop of water to fry pan. See more by clicking this link and going to step 2 (directions for browning onion and garlic without oil).

2.   Add chili powder, cumin, and a half to a whole (depending on how hot you like it) jalapeño pepper finely chopped. Stir until fragrant, which should take approximately 1 minute.

3.    Add three cans of beans, water, and bay leaf. If you'd prefer to use cooked dried beans, see how to prepare dried beans.

4.  Stir in canned or cooked dried beans to combine and let the mixture come to a simmer (covered). Add the diced tomatoes and juice. Cover and continue cooking, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook for 25 minutes. Add corn kernels and lemon or lime juice and cook 5 minutes more. Correct seasoning by adding salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. Remove chili from the heat.

Gluten Free Mixed Bean Chili (Topped with Radish and Onion), Salad with White Bean Dressing, and Quinoa/Corn Chips

Serving Suggestion: This dish is hearty, filling, and tastes great. Place chili in colorful dishes and serve with sides of guacamole, salsa, and steamed brown rice. If you want to keep it real simple, mix cooked brown rice, salsa, and guacamole into chili for a flavorful meal!

Spicy Mixed Bean Chili and Brown Rice, Topped with Guacamole

Why not try this recipe too? Colorful-Tasty-Tucson-Tacos.

Please Note: I write and publish topics of interest for those who want to create and maintain a healthier lifestyle. My Website is To see information about my writing services, details about the interactive self-care journal, Colors of Joy: A Woman's Guide for Self-Discovery, Balance, and Bliss, and health tips and ideas visit often.

The quote for today follows:

Margaret Cousins, novelist. "Chili is not so much food as a state of mind. Addictions to it are formed early in life and the victims never recover. On blue days in October, I get this passionate yearning for a bowl of chili, and I nearly lose my mind."

Do you eat beans often? What are your favorites? Do you have a go-to chili recipe you'd like to share? Please let me know by commenting in the space provided below.

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Sunday, December 25, 2016

Quotations to Inspire You in the New Year.

Start the New Year off to a healthy start by reflecting on these self-care quotations. They can comfort, inspire, or motivate you. Perhaps you're afraid to risk moving forward or avoid change. Quotations can help access your inner wisdom. Once you tap into that guidance, let it enable you to head in a new or more positive direction in 2017.

Maybe this year you'll read a quotation that will re-enforce your resolve to detach with love from people, places, or things that no longer bring you joy.

No matter what stage of life you're in, it's possible to improve your sense of well-being. Quotations can help you identify with that part of you that feels small, afraid, unfulfilled, or dreads to do things differently.

Embrace and accept yourself as you are. Know if change is necessary for your betterment, the answers will come. Hang in there and remember to like and love yourself just the way you are right now. 

Contemplating the wise words of others has been an instrument for personal growth for me. I've used the wisdom of others as role models. Quotations from my mentors, teachers, and students have provided encouragement, support, and validation. I'm so grateful!

Learning how to compose and recite affirmations (quotations I write and repeat to myself) helped me summon the courage to pen and publish a woman's self-care journal. Affirmations continue to give me inspiration to keep up with writing this wellness blog.

I suggest you use quotations from people you admire to spark your creativity, sustain your momentum, and refresh your spirit. Repeat them aloud to fortify your resolve to pick yourself up and begin again.

Let these messages help you remember to be kind and gentle with yourself and others. We are all part of the human race and need compassion more than ever in the world today. Be an instrument of peace.

Wishing You a Happy Holiday. Many Blessings in the New Year!

Which quotation or quotations put things into perspective for you?

Do you have a favorite quotation that inspires or motivates you? 

Please let me know what are your favorite quotations. How many of the ones I shared in this post resonate with you? Comments are greatly appreciated. Scroll down to the bottom of this post to comment. Please remember to click publish after you've done that.

Thanks for the visit. Be Well and Live Your Best Life Ever in 2017!

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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Frida Kahlo: Exciting Exhibit at Tucson Botanical Gardens for Wordless Wednesday

This is a Wordless Wednesday post, but I'm so excited about the show at the Tucson Botanical Gardens that I wanted to RAVE about it. 

Frida Kahlo, is an artist who is best known for the many self-portraits she painted. She was born in Mexico City in 1907, and lived with Diego Rivera, her Mexican Muralist artist husband in La Casa Azul until her death in 1954. Her home is now a museum and pilgrimage site for many who consider the artist an early Mexican feminist.

The exhibit in Tucson is a recreation of the gardens Frida maintained at La Casa Azul. The plants, colors, and forms that were such an important source of inspiration to Kahlo are included in the installation. 

See the pictures now...

At the Entrance to the Frida Kahlo Exhibit

A side view of entrance to exhibit

Here's a link to the Tucson Botanical Gardens and details about the Frida Kahlo: Art, Garden, Life Exhibit October 10, 2016 - May 31, 2017

In the courtyard at Casa Azul

The Years Frida and Diego Lived at La Casa Azul

Here I am Enjoying the Sun and Surroundings

This Meso-American-inspired replica of a Pyramid built by Diego Rivera,was in the central courtyard of their home. It was a showcase for a diverse collection of cacti and succulents native to the deserts of Mexico and the Southwestern United States.

Lunch at the Cafe Botanica tops off the visit with a Christmas Eve Salad, Veggie Torta, and Bean Taco

If you live near or in Tucson or can come for a visit, this lovely exhibit is sure worthwhile.

How many of you have seen this exhibit or plan to come by before it ends in Oct. 2017?

Please comment below and share the love if you like what you see.

The quote for today is : "I paint self-portraits because I am so often alone, because I am the person I know best." Frida Kahlo

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Saturday, November 12, 2016

Zucchini Lasagna That's Easy, Tasty, and Nutritious

In a food rut? My suggestion is to make Zucchini Lasagna, like I did this week. This gluten free plant-based dish is sure to perk up your taste buds. It's a simple-to-follow recipe that's delicious as all get out. Zucchini is featured in place of lasagna noodles. Tofu, which contains 8 grams of protein in every 3 oz. portion, also contains 15% of the RDA of calcium. What a nutritional punch.

No need to puzzle about handling tofu. The secret to making this bland tasting high protein ingredient flavorful is to season it well. Use plenty of spices and herbs that are customary to Italian-style dishes. Your meal mates and you will smile with glee. Although Zucchini Lasagna is low-carb, it's hearty and filling. It's the perfect dish to serve on the weekend, either for brunch or dinner. It serves 4-6 generous portions, with leftovers.

With no cholesterol and moderate cost to boot (organic tofu is approx. $1.50 lb.), this entree is healthy and economical.

Let it bubble away in the oven, while you read the Sunday paper, watch the game, or prep it a day ahead so the flavors meld. Allow a half hour prep time and an hour cook time. Whenever you decide to cook it, take it from me, it's fun to assemble, cook, and serve.

Now on to the recipe for Zucchini Lasagna


1 14 oz.-16 oz. container firm or extra firm organic tofu that has been drained. Here's a simple way to drain the water out of a brick of tofu.
4 medium organic zucchini
2 15 oz. cans crushed, chopped, or diced organic tomatoes including juice
1 can (4 oz.) organic mushrooms or 1/2 cup fresh mushrooms chopped
1 medium chopped organic onion
5 fresh grated garlic cloves
1 cup fresh chopped basil (1/2 cup for sauce and 1/2 cup for tofu)
2 teaspoons dried thyme (half for sauce and half for tofu ) or 2 Tablespoons Fresh chopped thyme (half and half)
2 Tablespoons of fresh chopped sage (half for sauce and half for tofu) or 2 teaspoons dried sage (half for sauce and half for tofu)
1/4 cup fresh oregano (half for sauce and half for tofu)

Optional: Adding extra items to the sauce adds depth, increases thickness, nutrients, and calories: 1/2 cup fresh tomatoes, 1-6 oz. can organic tomato paste, 2 organic chopped carrots, 1 organic red pepper chopped, 1 teaspoon hot pepper flakes, bunch organic parsley chopped, rosemary, and other veggies or seasonings you enjoy.

What to Do:

1. Gather all ingredients including a 13"x9"x2 1/4" baking pan or similar. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Mash or chop drained tofu. 

2. Cut off end pieces of 4 medium organic zucchini and scrape clean. Slice each with a mandolin slicer or by hand. Make pieces about 1/8 " thick. Here's a photo to show you how 2 zucchini look, after they have been scraped clean, and the other two have been sliced thin.

3. Chop onion and grate garlic.  Directions provided in step 2 of this link explains how to grate garlic as well as brown garlic and onion without using oil. After onion and garlic are brown, put half into the tofu.

4. Put ingredients for the sauce (tomatoes, half the onion and garlic, mushrooms, and half the herbs and spices) in the same pot that you used to brown the onion and garlic. Blend them all. 

Note: I learned from my experience cooking this recipe the first time, to add an optional ingredient, a can of tomato paste to the mix. Two cans of tomatoes make a slightly watery sauce, one that is thinner than I like a sauce to be. I suggest you either pour off some of the juice from the tomatoes (it’s good to save the liquid for soup stock) or add a can of tomato paste to the ingredients above.

5. Spread a layer of tomato sauce on the bottom of the baking dish and put a layer of zucchini over it. 

One layer of tomato sauce on the bottom, layer of zucchini goes next

6. Spread the tofu mixture over that. Top with a third layer (zucchini layer). Top zucchini layer with the remaining tomato sauce. Grind on fresh pepper and salt to taste.

7. Cover with aluminum foil and bake in a 400 degree oven for approximately one hour or until zucchini noodles are soft, but not mushy. Test by seeing whether a knife will cut through a piece easily.

See how much fun it was to make? Only seven steps and you're done!

Zucchini Lasagna with Snap Pea Salad, Oil and Vinegar

For an added treat: Check out an original recipe that describes How-to-Make-Eggplant-Lasagna

Please comment below. Do you think you'll make this recipe? Can you offer ideas about other optional veggies that might be good to add? If you like what you see, please share the love. Thanks for the visit, and please come back again. 

The quote for today comes from Jane Velez-Mitchell. "Cholesterol does not exist in vegetables. Vegetables do not clog arteries." 
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Thanks for Visiting

Hope you enjoyed your visit and will return again. Be well. Live well. Lead a colorful life! Warm regards, Nan