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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Take Action with Your Food Shopping Dollars

Take Action with Your Food Shopping Dollars

When I crave plush parsley for Tabouli or juicy Pink Lady Apples for a snack, I go to my herb garden, my local farmers’ market, or the health food store, rather than journey to the supermarket. I take advantage of the simplicity, intimacy, and quality this way of meeting my food needs provides.

If plums, carrots, lettuce, and cucumbers aren't commercially prepackaged, my tactile, visual, and olfactory senses can determine the best buys of the day. I select fruits and veggies that smell garden-fresh, are vivid in color, appear unblemished, and are crisp or firm to the touch. Close examination increases my chance that the produce I get won’t spoil before I get to prepare, serve, and eat it. That’s why I check leaves, roots, peel or skin, and pick ripe but not mushy fruits and vegetables.

My local store uses minimal packaging, thereby conserving natural resources and reducing the amount of new garbage dumped in a landfill. I bring canvas shopping bags whenever I shop for food or other goods, and reduce my carbon footprint even more.

My routine is to check ahead, so I know what days of the week orders are delivered. On food shopping days, I remain flexible with menu planning. I want to get those items that are in-season, at the peak of freshness, and that fit in with my nutritional needs. At a local market, I'm not forced to stock up and buy three prepackaged red peppers, when all I need is one. This allows me the freedom to buy no more than I can serve within a day or two.

In late summer, when Wilcox farms are resplendent with mouth-watering peaches, this locally grown fruit is unquestionably the best! Assembly line and out of season crops from South America or New Zealand may be in transit for several days and sit in warehouses for weeks, before they reach the mega stores and then my table. The local harvest may be too small to satisfy supermarket quotas, but when made available in neighborhood stores, far surpass bland cardboard tasting imports.  Since stores are nearby, I don't waste gas. The errand is an opportunity to catch up on what's happening in my neighborhood and make other stops along the way. I enjoy the cordiality and informality of dealing with people I know. Lines are short, sometimes none-existent, and eliminate much of the impersonal nature of life in the express lane of the supermarket.

My local health food store and farmers’ market sells organic. This is another reason why my produce including tomatoes, grapes, potatoes, and kale are so tasty and healthful. These items haven’t been waxed, chemically sprayed, irradiated, or injected with additives. If a product is marked organic, I know it isn't genetically altered either. I make the conscious choice to eat foods that are in the original state Mother Nature intended. I also know that organic farming doesn’t use synthetic pesticides and pollutants. Each time I shop organic I save a small spot of the planet by not polluting the ground, water, air, or my body. 

That's why it’s important to me to write letters, blogs, and articles that alert you as well as the manufacturers, FDA, elected officials, and stores about food products that help and harm the food supply. I put my money where my mouth is and boycott products that are genetically modified or I deem unsafe. I have seen that an ongoing demand for organics and non-genetically modified foods motivates farmers, manufacturers, suppliers, wholesalers, and retailers to pay closer attention to what they offer for sale. If we are vocal enough, organics can become more readily available and at a lower price.

Here's info from Eating Well Magazine that addresses this question:

 Shopping and growing food in my neighborhood, gives me a feeling of continuity and community. Even more basic, it gives me a sense of history and earlier people, who hunted, gathered, and grew food for their families. I’ve noticed the path to my home vegetable garden reverberates with the sound of their steps as well as those of my ancestors’ footprints too. Being a part of the food circle, draws me close to the Source. I give thanks to the Earth in her richness and all the people who play a part in bringing this bounty to me.

Then, I reflect about those who may not use their power. Illness, poverty, apathy, fear, or lack of knowledge may be an issue for them. I am grateful that over 25 years ago I set the intention to do what I can to share a healthful meal with others, contribute to the Community Food Bank, and volunteer to do shopping for a shut in. In what ways do you share your abundance? How do you spread the word about local, healthful food? I challenge you to use your intelligence and find a way to be bold and take action. Positive change can start with that first right step. Journalist Anthony Gucciardi shares his view about the average consumer being an activist just by the choices he or she makes when shopping.

Also, please read this from John and Ocean Robbins at the Food Revolution about labeling GMO and speaking out.

Please comment by emailing me at or reach out through social media. Nancy-Andres-Health-Lifestyle-Writer-Author on Facebook and Nancy Andres on Pinterest.
 I’d love to hear what steps you take or plan to take to shop local, grow local, and vote with your food shopping dollars.

Here's what Lorraine Schwartz from NM shared with me.
"Your article on food choices was really good. Some of us need the reminder to support our local farmer's markets and natural grocers. We have one locally owned health food store in town so it is good to know that any purchases provide good paying jobs in addition to knowing the food is fresher and healthier. Cid's Market has been in business for over 25 years and is owned and run by a couple formerly from New Rochelle. Keep up the writing-it gets better all the time. So happy your book is doing well."

This blog post has been shared at The Plant Based Potluck Party Link Up #32

This blog post has been shared at Tuesdays With a Twist #84

This blog post has been shared at Natural Family Friday Weekly Link Up-Nov. 14, 2014

This blog post has been shared at the Healthy, Happy, Green and Natural Party Blog Hop #47

This blog post has been shared at Real Food Friday Link Up #64

The quotation for today is:
"I would like to see people more aware of where their food comes from. I would like to see small farmers empowered. I feed my daughter almost exclusively organic food."


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

How to Make Eggplant Lasagna That's Delicious Sans Pasta and Cheese!

How to Make Eggplant Lasagna That's Delicious Sans Pasta and Cheese! 

I get so excited when I have tested a recipe, and tweaked the measurements so the food tastes just right. Then I can share it with you, real food lovers. Learn how easy it is to assemble this gluten free dish and why the combination of ingredients makes it high in nutrition, cholesterol free, economical, and one that will make you a star in your kitchen.

This plant based whole food (PBWF) entrée is eye appealing, satisfying, and a good dish to serve year round. Eggplants are in the markets right now, and fit in nicely to your fall meal planning schedule. Serve it to your family, and even a meat and potatoes guy will rave. It’s a handy dish to cook ahead to serve a crowd. 


For the Thick, Luscious Tomato Sauce:

1 lg. can (28 ounces) organic diced tomatoes packed in their own juice
1 sm. can (15 ounces) organic tomato sauce
1 sm. can (15 ounces) organic diced tomatoes
1 can (6 ounces) organic tomato paste
1 sm. can (4 ounces) organic sliced mushrooms, rinsed and drained
Optional: chopped organic carrots (add along with the mushrooms for a sweeter sauce)
2 cloves organic garlic chopped
1 sprig of organic basil (4 leaves) minced
2 sprigs of organic parsley (curly or Italian-use what you prefer)
1 teaspoon fresh organic oregano or ½ teaspoon dried organic oregano
2 Tablespoons organic extra virgin olive oil

Note: If you prefer, use fresh organic tomatoes and organic mushrooms. That means to use about 4 cups fresh tomatoes and 1/4 cup fresh mushrooms

For the Eggplant Lasagna: 

1 large or 2 smaller organic eggplant (any variety will do, but make sure eggplant is firm to the touch)
1 package of extra firm or firm organic tofu (all organic tofu is non-gmo. If you can’t find organic, make sure the package of tofu is labeled non-gmo)
1 Tablespoon salt free organic seasoning mix 
1 bunch organic parsley minced
A pinch of salt and fresh ground black pepper

What to Do:

1. Start tomato sauce first. Open all cans, take out a 4 qt. saucepan and place it on the stove. Pour 1 teaspoon of olive oil into pan and brown the garlic on medium heat until golden. Reserve the rest of the oil for later. Then add the tomato paste and brown that slightly. Turn off stove and add diced tomatoes and mushrooms. Blend. Then add tomato sauce and blend. Turn on stove again. Bring mixture to a boil, mix and reduce heat to a simmer ( this should be set at a temperature that is high enough to keep the sauce boiling, but low enough that the sauce won’t stick to the bottom or burn).Stir every few minutes. Add the fresh basil and oregano after sauce has cooked for 10 minutes. I do not add extra salt here as the tomato sauce and chopped tomatoes are packed with enough salt to season them. Sauce should cook for ½ hour from beginning to end.
2. Peel and slice your eggplant lengthwise into thin strips. If you have a Mandoline Slicer, use it to make thin slices. When I made this recipe the first time, I didn’t have a slicer handy, and used a sharp knife. The pieces I made were 1/2 in. thick. Aim for slices that are 1/4 in. thick. Sprinkle eggplant with a pinch of salt. 

Part of learning how to make a new recipe is the joy of making mistakes. I’ve discovered that most of the cooks I’ve known over the years have learned the best cooking lessons from trial and error. Join the crowd of daring people, and let your creative cooking streak soar. Just remember to keep an eye on what you're slicing, and stir the sauce from time to time.

3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

4. Drain the tofu this way or drain it in a colander.

After about 15 minutes, pour off liquid and put the tofu into a medium size mixing bowl. Crumple tofu into small pieces so it looks like ricotta cheese. Keep bowl of tofu refrigerated until you’re ready to use it.

5. Brown (sauté) a few pieces of eggplant at a time in a large frying pan, using the rest of the olive oil. Cook until golden brown and eggplant is fairly soft, but not falling apart. 

Line a serving platter with paper toweling to absorb excess oil. Put eggplant pieces onto the platter. Then grind on fresh black pepper.

6. Place a large rectangular glass oven proof pan (I used one that’s 13x9x2 or 3 qt.) on a hotplate on your kitchen counter. When sauce has cooked for 30 minutes, turn it off and give it a stir. Put the pot on another hotplate next to the lasagna pan. Use a large kitchen spoon to scoop a layer of tomato sauce into the pan. Even it out to cover the bottom completely. Spread a third of the browned eggplant slices over the sauce. Then add half of the tofu and spread it over the eggplant. Make sure to season the tofu well with mixed Seasoning Blend and fresh herbs like parsley, thyme, sage, and rosemary. The more the merrier. If you like garlic as much as I do, sprinkle fresh minced garlic or garlic powder on tofu too. Spread on another layer of eggplant, then sauce. Add a final layer of tofu and season well. Put on the last layer of eggplant and top with sauce. Sprinkle fresh parsley, basil, and freshly ground black pepper on top.

7.Cover pan with tinfoil, but make sure it doesn’t rest on the food. 

8. Bake Lasagna casserole for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until it is bubbling and you can easily pierce the eggplant with a fork. Take it out of the oven. Let it set for about 10 minutes and serve with a tossed organic green salad. If you'd like, serve it with gluten free organic or non-gmo labeled garlic bread to sop up the extra sauce. If you are making the lasagna for the next day, refrigerate covered. Warm the dish in the oven. When you serve it, get ready for the oohs and aahs. Refrigerate any extra sauce for another day. Now that you've read the recipe, read on to learn why this dish is so healthful for everyone. 

Here's interesting details about the three main ingredients:

Eggplant is a fruit (because it has seeds) that is available year round in markets, but it’s in season and most delicious from April through October. It comes in many varieties, but all are a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamins like B 1, B6, K, Niacin, and minerals like potassium, copper, and manganese. Eggplant contains compounds that are phytonutrients, ones that provide anti-cancer, anti-microbial, anti-LDL (bad cholesterol), and antiviral protection.

Tomatoes and tomato sauce are rich in lycopene, the substance that gives tomatoes their rich, red pigment. Eating tomatoes helps reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, and improves the body’s ability to regulate fats in the bloodstream. Tomatoes are a good source of vitamin A, C, E, and K and also biotin. See this article from Scientific America for further information.

Tofu, a product made from soybeans, is produced with significantly less processing than most soy milk and soy burgers. It contains a high level of isoflavones, potent antioxidants. Buy the kind that is organic, calcium enriched, and fermented because it’s more easily digested and a great food that helps your body build and maintain strong bones. Tofu is an inexpensive plant-based source of protein, one that is cholesterol free.

Eggplant Lasagna is a dish that is versatile. It's a festive meal to serve at dinner time or at lunch. Cut up the leftovers into individual portions, because it freezes well and comes in handy when you want a quick meal.

Please give me feedback through Google +, and like and pin me on social media. 

Buon Appetito!

The quotation of the day comes from Garfield the cat.

“When the lasagna content in my blood gets low, I get mean.”


 See this post at Healthy, Happy, Green, Natural Party Blog Hop # 42
and it was picked to be featured too!
Live It Up at the Healthy, Happy, Green & Natural Party Blog Hop #43

See this post at the Plant Based Potluck Party Linkup #27

Natural Family Friday Linkup #5

Real Food Fridays # 60

Meatless Monday LInkUp & Pumpkin RoundUp
Before you go, 
Here's a simple way to join others and take part in Change The World Wednesday! 
The Challenge this week is to be aware of spending habits. Before you purchase anything new ask yourself whether you actually need it or want it. Cutting down on material things simplifies your life, doesn't drain natural resources, reduces carbon footprint, reduces over-consumption, and saves money. Why not do this: Make a shopping list of those things you need to survive this week, and those things that are icing on the cake. Can you limit spending to things you actually need rather than those extras that drain your time, energy, resources, and patience? Take the CTWW Challenge.

Change The World Wednesday on Reduce Footprints

Thursday, September 4, 2014

5 Dynamite Ways to Eat More Calcium Rich Foods Today

Everyone knows that calcium helps build and maintain strong bones. That's why it seems strange that 75% of Americans are calcium deficient, even though many men, women, and children eat dairy, fish, and stuff that's known to contain calcium. See link. advisory about calcium deficiency

and read the Surgeon General's Report on Bone Health and Osteoporosis

Without further ado, here are ideas to help you review your "food and lifestyle" habits and information about plant based foods that contain high levels of calcium. 

Remember... photo

Here's My List...

5 Dynamite Ways to Eat More Calcium Rich Foods Today

1. Stop eating processed foods and don't fool yourself by thinking vitamins and other supplements can make up for nutrient deficient meals. Most processed foods, whether served at home or in fast food restaurants, are highly salted, overly sweetened, and contain empty calories that leave you robbed of nourishment. 

2. Drink plenty of water as it helps your body stay hydrated and absorb minerals like calcium. A recent study shows that mineral waters containing calcium are recommended as a supplemental source of calcium to achieve optimal calcium requirements, especially in aged people with lactose intolerance. 

Here's the link Mineral Water and Calcium

3. Learn which plant based foods are high in calcium. Specific examples appear below in point number 4. Take note that they are plant-based and do not contain cholesterol like animal sources do. If possible, eat 5-7 servings of vegetables and 2-3 servings of fruit each day. As long as you don't add fats (including more than a handful of nuts and seeds or more than 1 tablespoon of salad dressing at each meal), creamy sauces, cake, cookies, and other processed snack foods, you'll probably never have to watch calories either. Whole foods that are plant based (WFPB) are simple to prepare and include fresh veggies of every kind, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, berries and all other fruits. 

4. Select and prepare high-calcium leafy greens like collard greens, kale, Chinese/Napa cabbage, and broccoli. Other powerhouses of calcium are almonds, asparagus, blackstrap molasses, carob, figs, filberts, kelp, mustard greens, oats, prunes, sesame seeds, tempeh, calcium-set tofu, turnip greens,  and watercress. In fact, the link below shows why watercress is the most nutritious green leafy vegetable available today.

cress from
Learn why watercress is so good for you at this link

Monday, August 11, 2014

How to Save Water, Money, and Empower Yourself

Did you know that saving water is good for your pocketbook, conserves a dwindling, precious natural resource, and empowers you? To assure we have enough water to meet daily needs now and in the future, we need to do our share. I'll describe which efforts worked for me. Please try them as well as think of additional ways you can save water too.

First, ask yourself whether you’re for water and take the “WaterSense Pledge.” It’s as easy as 1-2-3.

1. Check toilets for silent leaks (the link below explains how).
2. Twist and tighten pipe connections.
3. Replace the fixture if necessary. 

See more at WaterSense Pledge

Then, look for the WaterSense Label, which is affixed to products that have been independently tested and certified to meet EPA WaterSense criteria for efficiency and performance. Following are many easy ways to save water, so read to the end. After you're through, please take a moment to comment. I'd love to hear whether you're concerned about a water shortage throughout the world and what are your tips for conserving water too. Here's the sign that will appear in stores that sell WaterSense Products.


We recently updated an older model toilet to a new gravity-flush water efficient model. Our old toilet was stained from the hard water we have here in Arizona, and the toilet had started to leak. My husband and I were mindful to purchase a new one that limits water consumption to 1.28 gallons or less per flush and is designed to resist staining. It does the job, reduces water consumption, and saves money too, because low-flow toilets reduce water usage by 40% to 50% a year.

We found out that if a toilet was made before 1991, and you replace it with one that carries the WaterSense label, you may be eligible for a tax rebate from your local water supply company or municipality. The store where you purchase your new toilet will supply rebate information and discuss details about rebate programs in your area. 

By replacing old, inefficient toilets with the WaterSense labeled models, the average family can save at least $110 per year in water costs, and $2,200 over the lifetime of the toilets. Nationally, if all old, inefficient toilets in the United States were replaced with WaterSense labeled models, we could save 520 billion gallons of water per year, or the amount of water that flows over Niagara Falls in about 12 days. 

For more information contact the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Helpline at- 1-866-987-7367 or write the Office of Wastewater Management (4204M), 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20460.

See what makes it easier to pick out a new toilet from Consumer Reports at Consumer Reports Help for Selecting Low-Flow Toilet


Wash only full loads of laundry to get the most out of water use. Your washing machine water level should assure that clothes are immersed in water and move easily, but goes no higher. When it’s time to replace this appliance, choose one that has a top Energy Star rating. In the long run, you'll save dollars and water. Energy Star certified clothes washers use about 20% less energy and 35% less water than regular washers. They also have a greater tub capacity which means you can wash fewer loads to clean the same amount of laundry.


Convert to a water efficient shower head and cut your showers by two minutes. Even a one or two minute reduction can save up to 700 gallons per month.


Keep a bottle of drinking water in the refrigerator. This beats running tap water to cool it for drinking. This measure saves 200 to 300 gallons a month. 


Be sure to fix all leaking faucets. The water that comes out of faucets in your home or apartment accounts for more than 15 % of your total indoor water use or 1 trillion gallons of water across America each year. The aerator tip of the faucet determines the maximum flow rate of the faucet. If you have an older kitchen faucet, consider getting an inexpensive new, water-effective one.

When preparing fruits and veggies, refrain from using running water to clean them. Instead, fill the sink or a large bowl with water and immerse produce to clean. Afterward, water can go to water plants in your garden and cuttings can be dumped on your compost pile.
This can save 150 to 250 gallons of water per month.

"When you're brushing your teeth, turn off water, while you are actually brushing. Use short bursts of water for cleaning your brush. This saves about 80% of the water normally used.” For additional tips about conserving water go to the Water Project Website Water Project 17 Tips for Conserving Water


For home landscaping water needs, remember automatic landscape irrigation systems are a home's biggest water user. To make sure you're not over-watering, adjust your irrigation controller at least once a month to account for changes in the weather and install a rain shutoff device, soil moisture sensor, or humidity sensor to better control irrigation. Create a visually attractive landscape by selecting low-water, drought-resistant plants. Conform to water conservation methods like watering early in the day and plan for water harvesting of rainwater and gray water use.

Here’s a thought provoking article from Robert Brears who eloquently states, “We live in an interconnected world where water and food scarcity will impact us all no matter where we live in the world.” See it at

When you take simple steps to reduce, reuse, and conserve water you are being proactive and this is empowering. Help yourself, your family, your country, and the world by doing your part in saving this finite resource. "Water is key to all life and survival." Nancy Andres

The quotation for today follows:

Water is the driver of Nature -Leonardo da Vinci 

This post was shared at 

Tuesdays with a Twist #73 is LIVE!

This post was shared at
at the Healthy-Happy-Green-Natural Party Blog Hop #40 and here'the link

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Celebrate July 4th with a Luscious Red, White, and Blue Dessert

Prepare a colorful strawberry, blueberry, and coconut dessert to celebrate Independence Day or any day you want a healthful treat. You're sure to see smiles on the faces of family and guests as you look round your dinner or picnic table, if you serve it. This three ingredient recipe is a snap to assemble. Just follow the steps below.


1 Quart Organic Strawberries or about 16 oz. of berries that are lightly washed in cool water and hulled (see links below)
1 Quart Organic Blueberries or about 16 oz. that are washed in cool water
1 Cup unsweetened shredded coconut (either fine or coarsely shredded)

Read what Molly Watson @ says about washing and hulling strawberries.

4 hulled strawberries

What to Do:

1. Wash and hull strawberries and wash blueberries as described above. Place them in a medium-sized glass bowl and mix them together.
2. Sprinkle the berries with coconut flakes.
3. Insert serving spoons into bowl and place on your holiday table or portion out into individual dessert dishes for a more formal touch.

Strawberries and blueberries contain many healthful elements. They are high in vitamin C and phytonutrients and have no cholesterol. The shredded coconut provides fiber, iron, and healthy fat that satisfies and staves off hunger. 

Look at the links below for additional nutrition facts from

Nutrition facts about blueberries

Serve this color rich dessert to celebrate our nation’s birthday on July 4th or on any day you want to have fun topping off your meal with a red, white, and blue dessert.

Before you go, please ask yourself how often you serve summer berries, those you find at a farmer's market, pick in a home garden, or purchase at a local shop. Produce loses nutrients the longer you keep it, so please serve within a day or two of purchase. What are your favorite ways to serve strawberries and blueberries? Please share about that by leaving a comment on this blog. I'd love to learn about your favorite recipes and concerns.

Here's the quotation for today from Jordin Sparks:

"I love berries. Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, black berries, anything with an 'errie' in it!"

This post is shared at Healthy, Happy, Green & Natural Party Hop
The-Healthy-Happy-Green-Natural-Party-Blog-Hop # 32

This post is shared at The Plant-Based Potluck Party Link Up # 19
The Plant-Based Potluck Party Link Up # 19

Thanks for Visiting

Hope you enjoyed your visit to my blog and will return again. Wishing you a day that's brimming with good health and peace. Warm regards, Nan