Monday, July 26, 2010

Stuffed Red, Yellow and Orange Bells with Oven Roasted Corn on the Cob

Look out! HumbleVegan is back in the kitchen!

Not until I was out on my own, fending for myself, did I discover these brilliantly colored “jewels.” Growing up at home, we had stuffed green bells. I always ate what was inside ... and never the bell. It was bland, tasteless and limp. I still don’t like green bells... and that’s good because they really have very little nutritional value compared to the reds, yellows and oranges. These beautiful colors are full of vitamins, sweetness and flavors that far exceed their green, blah, counter parts.

Ok, I was having a craving for stuffed bells. Before becoming Vegan, they were always stuffed with some sort of animal protein and rice...... Looking back.. that was kinda “blah,” too. So, I thought... now that I don’t eat animal protein and not much of a rice eater... “what....could I stuff them with?” Well, I realized the possibilities were endless.

There are so many variations to stuffed bells from quinoa, fresh garlic, pine nuts and broccoli to your favorite Chinese or Asian or Mexican rice recipe. How bout red beans and broken up cornbread? Or sautéed ‘shrooms, onions and cubed potatoes? Macaroni and cheese and steamed spinach for you non-vegans. Make use of all the wonderful fresh spices and herbs, as well as the flavored olive oils. Just dream it up and go for it!

You know I found that a lot of folks boil their bells first, before roasting them in the oven.... never understood why. This only boils out all the nutrients and leaves them colorless and limp. Just stuff ‘em , put them in casserole dishes and into the oven. So SIMPLE! Who wants another pot to wash? Not me!

Just look how bright and colorful these are after coming outta the oven!

Today I stuffed 2 different kinds.... one for hubby Bear and one for me. Serving these up with some oven roasted corn on the cob bathed in garlic and roasted red pepper olive oils... and that’s what’s on our dinner plates tonight!

As ALWAYS..... I DO organic whenever possible.

Here is what you’ll need:

Hubby Bears Stuffed Bell
*about 1 cup of colored shell pasta... cooked (he loves the colored pasta... LOL.. he can be such a little kid!)
*a small can of Bush’s Vegetarian Baked Beans (he LOVES these and they are the only ones on the market that don’t contain HFCS, transfats or Soy!)
*a couple of bells: cut the tops off and core out the middle

Mix the beans and pasta together and stuff each pepper as full as possible. Place the bells in individual casserole dishes or in one dish. Be sure they don’t fall over while roasting. You can add the rest of the mixture in the casserole dish beside the bell.

Place them in a preheated oven at 375 for about 15 minutes. Don’t worry if the pasta shells on top get a little crispy and brown. It adds a nice flavor and texture to the dish. For you non-vegans out there... now is the time to toss on some of your favorite shredded cheese.

Top with chopped tomato (and egg if you like)

My Stuffed Bell is FULL of flavors and spices... because that’s the way I like my food.
*one small to medium red onion, sliced slightly thin sautéed in a couple of tablespoons of roasted red pepper olive oil with TONS of fresh garlic
*about ¾ cup of your favorite bean, I used EDENS Organic Adzuki beans, but black beans or any other are DEE-lish for sure! Add these to the skillet of onions
*corn cut off a couple of fresh ears added to the skillet
*a couple of bells: cut the tops off and core out the middle

When the skillet mixture is hot and simmering.... remove from heat and add a few sprinkles of the HOT Pepper Sesame oil and mix. Place the bells in individual casserole dishes or in one dish. Be sure they don’t fall over while roasting. Again, you can add the remaining mixture around the pepper in the dish if you like.

Place them in a preheated oven at 375 for about 15 minutes. Mine is topped with chopped cado. But, again, if you are non-vegan.... “cheese it up!”

Oven Roasted Corn
This is one of my all time faves..... and so easy to make. Here ya go:

*as many ears as you want... cleaned and stripped of husk and silk.
*garlic and or roasted red pepper olive oils
*ground pepper

I don’t wrap mine in foil or roast them in their husks. I really love the light brown crust that forms on the corn when roasting “naked” in the oven. Plus, it will roast quicker.

Making sure the ears are nice and dry, brush on the oil of your choice covering the whole ear. Then sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper. Place on cooking grate. I place my grate inside a cookie sheet to catch the oil that drips off the ear.

Place in preheated oven at 450 degrees for about 10 to 15 minutes and it is done!!!

This meal would be fabulous if you added some fresh steamed spinach.... but for tonight.. I am hungry, in a hurry and don’t want to deal with the spinach.

Hope you enjoy these DEEEEEE-lish bells... full of color... full of life.... full of sweetness and full of nutrients!

Until Next Time......


Friday, July 23, 2010

"We Thought We Would Live Forever...."

For most of us....when we were 12, 16, 19, or in our 20's, we didn't think much about the lifestyle decisions we made during those years of innocence and exploration. We didn't look ahead to the future.....say 30 - 40 years down the the consequences of those lifestyle choices. We were more interested in "the here and now" because at those young ages..... What did we think? That we were invincible..... immortal..... We thought we would live forever and never grow old. At that time, "Life" was all about being popular in school, proms, having tons of friends, "the" hair doo, wearing makeup, first boyfriends or girlfriends, the first car, graduation, going off to college, parties, sororities, & fraternities......And maybe that's the way it should be. But, I can't help thinking...."if we could have seen into the future.... and looked at the status of our health....would we've been more mindful of our lifestyle choices.... 30 to 40 years earlier?"

I had a week of very sad news delivered in an email from a long-lost friend and an email from a long-lost cousin both of which I have not seen or spoke to since 1983. These "catch-up correspondence" brought info and news filled with such a deep sadness that I have not felt since my father passed. People my age, which were once very close to me at another time of my life, had died or were dying of lung cancer or heart attacks. These were friends that I hung with in high school in the early 70's. They were all cigarette smokers... even at that young age. Some started in their very early teens and had smoked for 30 to 40 years before finally quitting. But for them, it was too late. The damage done... and with that... they met a very early, agonizing and painful death in their mid to late 50's. I was stunned....speechless ..... and left with heartache. The memories of so long ago were filled with fun, laughter, and youth..... with hope, with great futures ahead for us all and with no cares or worries.

In the same email from my friend, she spoke of a woman, near and dear to me, that is just turning 92. She still drives her car, lives in the same little house of 40 years ago and is in quite good health. As a teen, I always had a great deal of respect for this woman and her lifestyle. She was frugal, mindful of everything...not wasting a thing. She was always kidded about the “iddy-biddy- tiny” glob of leftovers she saved. She always remarked, "This will be my supper tomorrow." She ate like a bird. She was always busy "doing something," very creative and talented. She was an amazing homemaker, mother, grandmother, wife..... And she has out lived her husband and 2 of her 3 children.

Lifestyle choices......... made at very young ages that literally become life or death situations in our mid life years. Had we known the impact on our health and wellness...... Had we known it came down to the difference of living to a “ripe old age” or dying too soon in our mid lives..... Would we have chosen not to smoke? Not to consume alcohol or use drugs? Not to drive recklessly? Not to take dangerous and stupid risks?

These are questions that my friends may have very well asked themselves once they were delivered their fatal diagnosis.

These are questions that we, who are left living, must ask ourselves....Is it too late? Hoping with all hope.....that in making positive healthy lifestyle changes now....will negate the effects of those risky choices we might have made back in our teens and twenties.

Until Next Time......


Sunday, June 20, 2010

A Tribute to my Dad & Hubby Bear

There are only two men that made a huge difference in my life. One left this earth 27 years ago and made an impact on my life that I will take with me when I leave this earth. The other, is my dear, wonderful Hubby Bear... who continues to inspire me, to amaze me with his knowledge and to make me want to be a kinder, gentler person. It is no surprise that I married this man.... in so many ways.... he is just like my Dad.

I love them both.

Here is a short tribute to my Dad on this Fathers Day of 2010. Many wishes go out to all fathers.... wherever they are........

I never thought I’d been lucky enough to have had a Dad with so much strength and feeling. My Dad had such integrity and goodness in his heart.

I appreciated him and the support he gave me.....I miss his wonderful sense of humor, his good nature and his way of not taking life so seriously.

He may not have been as perfect as I remember...Yet, in my eyes and in my heart....
There is no one else that is more genuine and precious to me.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad and Hubby Bear.

Until Next Time.......


Tuesday, June 15, 2010


I LOVE this time of year!.... Well, at least because of all the wonderful organic produce selections, anyway. Fresh organic blueberries are very hard to find in this part of the country. So when I find them... I just go crazy!!!

I developed this recipe for a really easy and quick “berry cobbler.” You can actually use any fruit that YOU like. A long time ago, I used to make a dessert called Cherry Celeste. It was a sort of cobbler with tons of sugar and fat in it. So, I just took that old recipe and modified it to make it healthy... it’s got a little sugar in it (in the yellow cake mix) besides the Agave Nectar... but it won’t kill us, right?

Ok, so this is what you need! And as always...

I DO Organic as much as possible!

*about 1 cup of berries
*about 1.5 cups of strawberries, sliced
*one medium apple, cored and sliced
*1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
*Agave Nectar or not... I've made it w/o and the cobbler is still very sweet!
*Coconut Oil... flavored or unflavored
*Yellow cake mix

Preheat oven to 350. Toss all the fruit and nuts into a casserole dish. Drizzle Agave Nectar evenly all over the top. Sprinkle with cinnamon.

Now take about 2 to 4 T. of cake flour and sprinkle all over the top. Drizzle about ¼ cup of coconut oil all over the cake flour and finish off with a sprinkling of cinnamon.

Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes... or until it starts to bubble.

Serve warm in little ramekin dishes and pour just a little unsweetened almond milk over the top!

I know the cake flour is odd... but I’ve tried topping this with granola or grapenuts and they do ok.... but I really like the cake flour because it gives it an interesting texture.... and it reminds me of that sinfully DEE-licious Cherry Celeste I used to make!

Hope you enjoy this!!

Until Next Time......


Monday, June 7, 2010

The First Half Mile

This is the last post in a series of sharing my water-only fasting journey with you. I hope you have enjoyed following me from day one.

After several extremely challenging days during this fast.....There are so many things I am thankful for regarding coming off a fast....... you would think getting to eat again would be high on the YOU BET it is! And so is taking my first shower and washing my hair!

But besides the obvious, there are lots of physical affects that I marvel at each time. Eyes clear and bright. Teeth whiter. Gums and tongue a gorgeous dark pink. Skin color... pink, clear and healthy. Nails long, strong and ... well.. hard as nails. Hair shiny. Skin soft and free of flakey dead skin cells. And you know those dark circles you see in the mirror under the eyes and in the corner by the nose bridge? Gone!

Not to mention my BP remains an average of 110/62. Increased energy and vitality. My metabolism is revved up like the engine on my red 'vet. This list is endless. Let's say.....the benefits of fasting are truly amazing and miraculous!

For the past couple of days I've been refeeding on watermelon, cukes, romaine lettuce, 'cados and grapes. I will soon introduce a little steamed broc, cauliflower and sweet peas. My taste buds are so sharp and quick to react to any food and drink. And smell...... gheeze... I could smell a baby deer poopin' in the woods!! All the heavenly aromas of fresh romaine lettuce, cukes and cado are just wonderful. And the smell and taste of a fresh ice cold watermelon just as it is sliced and it cracks open..... is unbelievably DEE-LISH!!

I walked my first half mile. I gotta tell ya... it was tough. The most difficult goal when coming off a fast is regaining strength and endurance. It took me a good 6 months to return to normal after my first 29 day fast. You think it would get easier with each fast, for me... it does not. It just takes time, patience and persistence.

I always feel so energized.... so refreshed..... shiny, new and clean after each fast. Water-only fasting, for me, is a tough never gets any easier.... and each day seems like 3 at times........but it is a journey that I look forward to with anticipation each year.
If you've got the guts....... are interested ........ in taking this journey... check out the True North website for yourself!!!
"FASTING........ it ain't for whimps!"

Until Next Time..... A half a mile at a time....


Thursday, May 27, 2010

True North... A Peaceful, Restful Oasis

WOW!!!! Now this is more like it!!! Today is the day I have been waiting for!!! I feel like a million bucks!! No pain, nausea, vomiting... nothing! Great nights sleep and ready to enjoy the day of reading and working on some new fitness training programs! Yesterday, I started my 2nd week of water-only fasting.

As you can see by these pictures..... northern California is beautifully green & luscious. This is the True North Center in Penngrove before they moved a little north, to the city of Santa Rosa. I love the new place....but I so miss this little residential oasis hidden in the hills just east of Penngrove.

And just check out that cactus garden! Those cacti where were as tall as me!

When staying at True North Health and Wellness Center....the first thing we water fasters do when we awake is..... RUN..... to the bathroom! Drinking a gallon or more daily.... really keeps us busy!! Then back to bed. The doctors come in daily...around 8am to check your blood pressure, temp, pulse and urine. Ya can't be up moving around before they visit as this will skew the readings. Once a week, it is blood work time. Blood is drawn to check the electrolytes and several other factors to ensure everything is cool.

After you get the "OK" from the docs, you can enjoy some time alone or dress and head down to one of many great lectures given by any one of the most brilliant minds in the natural health and wellness industry. These usually last a couple of hours or so. After the lecture, I usually sit out around the beautiful courtyard in the warm California sun... with the cool fresh breeze to get a little sun... about 20 minutes worth. Then back to my room for a nice long nap.

The afternoon offers another lecture series or an educational DVD to enjoy. When refeeding you have the opportunity to attend cooking classes given by the chef and others to learn how to prepare some of those dishes below that make you drool. By now, it is time for some chit-chat with the other fasters and then back to the room for the evening doctor's visit. After that some movies, TV, reading, knitting...whatever. I am pooped after the busy day & bedtime, for me, is usually early as I awake early... around 5:30a.m. (Gotta love that west coast time zone... the sun is already up and shining by then!)

The length of fasts varies from person to person. Some only need a week, some 10, 12, 14, or 18+ days. It just depends on why you are there and what the doctors determine what is best for you. For every day you fast... you need 1/2 day of refeeding time. 10 day fast.... means 5 days of refeeding... totaling a 15 day stay.

Oh!! speaking of refeeding!! OMG!! The food is heavenly!! EVERYTHING you consume is fresh, California, whole ORGANIC foods.... free of oils, fats, sugar, sodium, and animal protein. CHOLESTEROL FREE, baby! The chefs use a lot of wonderful spices and herbs for flavoring.

It's tough to describe just how delicious the juices and food taste. So flavorful and what I love is the unbelievable "smell" of the food........ The cukes, romaine lettuce, cados, carrots, celery...... all smell so amazing!! Try that with regular grocery store produce! True North offers a yummy buffet serving raw veggies, fruits, steamed veggies, potatoes, beans, greens, quinoa, rice, oatmeal, millet, stews and soups. Everything is prepared fresh, daily, by their fantastic and very talented new Chef Bravo and his team. They even offer delivery and take out service from the True North Kitchen! You can call in and have a whole weeks worth of meals ready for you to pick up!! All organic and fresh. What I would give to have something like that here!!

There is a meticulous plan of refeeding. Depending on how long you fast, you have days dedicated to specific foods in a specific order. Remember, the digestive track has been completely shut down for a lengthy period of time, so refeeding should be very carefully implemented. The first phase of refeeding consists of drinking juices. These juices are very tasty and after not having anything but water for days and days or weeks.... there ain't nothing like a tall glass of freshly juiced watermelon!! Fruits and veggies are juiced, fresh, everyday all from O.J to watermelon to veggie/fruit combos.

The second phase is raw veggies and fruits. As you cruise the buffet, you have so many choices...not only just "ordinary" fruits and veggies; but also, some choices like jicama, Japanese mushrooms, golden yellow beets, chayote, lime-soaked radishes, mangos, & papayas.

The third phase is steamed veggies like spaghetti squash w/ shitake 'shrooms, corn on the cob, sweet carrots and cabbage, brasied red cabbage w/dried cherries, broccoli, honey sweet acorn squash, artichokes, kale, chard, oven roasted tomatoes w/ arugula..... gheeze.. I could go on and on!!

The 4th phase is when it gets really great because you start consuming more high caloric dense foods..... like basil-curry garbanzo beans, hummus, baked Irish and sweet potatoes, black-eyes peas, & split pea and yam stew.

The last phase are grains like oatmeal, red quinoa salad, wild rice pilaf, millet, oatmeal French toast, brown rice, black bean tamale pie and stuffed bells with rice and beans, spicy carrot-ginger soup, and butternut spaghetti squash.

Nuts and seeds are the VERY last to add in because they are the most difficult to digest.

The sauces, gravies and salad dressings are all homemade. Mouthwatering choices include porccini mushroom gravy, tomatillo salsa, peach sauce, red bell pepper coulis, mango-ginger dressing, roasted red pepper dressing, & pineapple tarragon

And you know what? THERE IS NO CALORIE COUNTING!! You eat as much as you want. Once you have completed the phases and can eat everything, you start with raw and eat as much of that as you can, then go to steamed.... eating all you can, then progress to beans and potatoes, and if you have room.... go for the grains. This makes such a huge difference in cutting down your calorie consumption. Fill your gut up with raw and then you don't eat as much of the other.

Dang! This is REALLY starting to make me hungry!! I hope this gives you an idea of what occurs when I go to the center for fasting. The environment provides a very peaceful and stress-free place to heal, relax, and concentrate on you. Plus, you get to eat all this great food!

Until Next Time.......

GOOD HEALTH TO ALL... and here's to another awesome day!!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Starting the 2nd Week of Water Fasting

As this journey continues, I head into the 2nd week of my annual 21 day water-only fast. The past few days have been pretty much.... SHEAR HELL! H O T, burning ...stabbing pain in my lower back... specifically the SI joints...

radiating down into my hamstrings, calfs and bottoms of feet. This makes it unbelievably difficult to sit or lie down for more then 5 minutes. I stand and walk..... and walk.... and walk. No sleep in 3 days until last night when this phase of fasting has started to subside..... THANK GOD!!! This is all part of my fasting process... and does NOT happen to everyone.

In reading these posts.... please don’t think water fasting is all doom and gloom... vomiting... pain...sleepless days and nights with “goo” extruding from various body parts! After the first 7 to 10 days, most people start to feel wonderful... euphoric in a sense. You will see this later in my posts... I promise!

Last time I discussed the 3 phases of fasting, the different fuels the body uses while fasting, the difference between water-only fasting and "juicing" and other "detox/cleansing" programs, how the body cleanses and why it is so important to get plenty of rest and sleep during a water-only fast.

Your body shows you in so many ways how it is cleansing and healing itself. Dry skin cells form on top of the skin. A simple daily brushing of the body with a stiff bristle brush will sluff off these dead cells..... and as an added bonus..... will stimulate healing circulation throughout the body. There might be some "green goo" coming out of the alarm..... this is yeast of some sort and will at some point abate. Sometimes hunks of wax will collect in the ears...... like the goo.... kinda gross... but is of no harm. The sinuses will react by draining "gunk" from the nose & eyes. Lots of coughing & hacking. "Lovely"..... right? Aren't you so happy that I don't post pix?

The benefits of water fasting are just endless! I was absolutely blown away with my first fast of 29 days when 2 scars and 1 mole on my body.... just disappeared....poof..gone! The body not only uses glucose, glycogen and fat as fuel while fasting, it also feeds on itself by eating scare tissue from within. This explains why my scars disappeared and the mole just fell off. I could not believe it and would not have believed it had I not seen it!

I was also impressed with my blood pressure reading during fasting. My lowest was 92/68...WOW! I love giving my little heart some rest time! I am able to maintain an average of about 116/62 in my daily life!

Do you know that a blood pressure reading of 138/88 has 5 times a risk of a heart attack? Each one point reduction in diastolic will give you a 1% reduction in mortality. 200,000 people die annually of heart attacks and 700,000 leave this earth from strokes. These stats are found in numerous articles on the True North site.

I invite you to check out the 3 published studies done by Dr. Alan Goldhamer, Founder and Director of True North Health and Wellness Center in Santa Rosa, California, Dr Douglas Lisle, the Center's Psychologist & co-author along with Dr. Goldhamer of The Pleasure Trap, Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Author of The China Study, along with Banoo Parpia, PhD, & Scott V. Anderson, MD. The results are fascinating about the effects of water-only fasting has on hypertension and diabetes.

1. Medically Supervised Water-only Fasting in the Treatment of Hypertension

Medically Supervised Water-Only Fasting in the
Treatment of Borderline Hypertension

Initial Cost of Care Results in Medically Supervised Water-Only Fasting for Treating High Blood Pressure & Diabetes

Another great benefit from water-only fasting is ..... of course... the weight loss. I lost 50 lbs during my first fast five years ago. Just one of the many horrible side effects from popping all those steroids to “treat” my systemic lupus.

I hope you are enjoying (?) LOL! or maybe at least learning something about water-only fasting and how miraculous the body is in my journey posts.

Here’s to the start of another week!! Hang with me... and see what this week brings... I have a feeling.. it might just be a fabulous one!!

Until Next Time....