Bugs, Worms, and Food

This little guy lives in my lemon balm and he get’s pretty feisty when I water. I’ve watched him grow from the size of a dime to the budding teenager he is now at about the size of a quarter. He’s been around for two months and I’ve also watched my lemon balm flourish.

Last year the white flies almost did this prized plant in and I’m so happy Lancelot decided to save my delicious smelling and tasting lemon plant.

This brings me to a huge problem we have when it comes to food.

BUGS: the good and the bad.

Although truthfully, they all have their place in nature and none are truly bad. Maybe I’ll just use the word ick instead because I’m not too fond of some little green worms who are using my kale to gain weight. This little guy was moved out of my garden this morning but I’m sure I didn’t find all his brothers and sisters.

My poor worm-eaten kale

So we’ve established there are some bugs I’m not fond of and I’m sure you have your share. Here’s the thing, bugs mean my plants are not sprayed with pesticides or governed by GMO manipulations. I grow plants the way they should be grown and I do everything possible to naturally help them thrive.

When the worms win I have no problem picking away their bite marks and eating the kale or spinach or chard. I’ve even brought in the day’s bounty and found the small green worms that are my nightmare this year and carried the little guy outside and placed him far from my veggies. Wash, eat, repeat.

We must get back to nature to heal!

This includes bugs and learning they aren’t a bad thing. If a salad in a restaurant comes with a worm, I don’t send it back. My thought process switches to survival and the fact the processed salad I’m about to eat might just have some healthy nutrients left that my body vitally needs, after picking off the worm of course 😉

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Vegan Crepes for Breakfast

Vegan Crepes

Yum, yum, yum! The joke’s on you if you think eating vegan tastes bad. The joke is also on my husband because each day I change his mind and he’s gotten to the point where he just eats what’s in front of him and loves it. I made these one morning when he decided to sleep in. They were half gone by the time he woke up. He finished the other half before I could make myself another.
Prep Time3 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Course: Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine: Healthy
Keyword: vegan, crepes, breakfast, fun with food, vegan crepes
Author: The Healthy Grandma
Cost: $4

Equipment

  • Non-stick pan

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Cook on the stove top over medium heat stirring throughout cooking. Turn lower if fruit bubbles and keep stirring until cooked.

Vegan BBQ Ribs

Vegan Ribs

We grill all year around, even in the snow, but since I’ve become vegan, we seem to be doing less and less of it. When we do, it’s grilled veggies for me. My husband tends to go my way and have a veggie wedgie burger or just my veggies. Last night I wanted something different so played around with a vegan rib recipe that needed tweaking to fit our diet guidelines (not all vegan recipes are healthy!). When I experiment this way, I never know what I’ll get. My husband prepared a large salad just in case. He asked what was in the ribs and I made him wait until after he ate them. He guessed tofu but he was wrong. The big surprise… these ribs are to die for!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: meat substitute, vegan, ribs, bbq, summer barbeque,
Cost: $8

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pea protein buy link on shopping list
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast buy link on shopping list
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp celery seeds substitute 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper less if using regular pepper
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 2 tbsp natural peanut butter I make mine from scratch
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce organic is a must with soy sauce
  • 1 cup BBQ Sauce your favorite

Instructions

  • Lightly grease an 8 by 8 baking dish. I cooked my ribs first in my air-fryer and then on the grill. You can use your oven at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or the air-fryer on 350 for 20 minutes.
  • In a medium bowl, stir pea protein, nutritional yeast, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, celery, and pepper.
  • In separate bowl or measuring cup, whisk together warm water, peanut butter, liquid smoke, and soy sauce until peanut butter dissolves and is part of the liquid. Pour into bowl with dry ingredients and stir until a soft dough forms. Now use your hands and really mix the dough together.
  • Transfer dough into greased baking dish and press evenly until it fits the entire pan. Use a knife to cut your ribs into 2 sections of 1-inch slices. This allows you to separate them after cooking.
  • Place pan in preheated oven for 25 minutes on 350.
  • Remove from oven and coat with bbq sauce.
  • Now place directly on grill and cook until your ribs are a deep brown or blackened the way I like them for about 5 minutes, turn and quill the other side for another 5 minutes or so. Add more bbq sauce if desired and enjoy!

Grain Free Wraps/Tortillas

Vegan Grain Free Wraps

We use these for breakfast lunch and dinner with a slight variation listed in the instructions
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Course: Breakfast, Main Course
Keyword: vegan, wraps, gluten free,
Servings: 3
Author: The Healthy Grandma
Cost: $5

Equipment

  • Non-stick pan

Ingredients

  • 1 cup chick pea flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1.8 cups water

Instructions

  • Toss ingredients into high powered blender
    Mix on high for one minute
    Pour about 1/4 cup onto heated Teflon pan swirling around to cover bottom
    In about a minute the sides will peal up
    Using a plastic spatula, flip the wrap over and cook for about 60 second
    Place on plate and make the next one
    For crepes: Replace turmeric, garlic, onion powder with 1 teaspoon Stevia liquid & 1 teaspoon vanilla
    For Spinach Wraps: Replace turmeric, garlic, onion powder with 1/2 cup packed raw spinach


Tofu Medley in Place of Eggs

This is one of our favorites and I make enough to last the week so I can throw it on a spinach or turmeric wrap (recipe to come). It’s high in protein and for anyone who has heard the estrogen rumor regarding tofu, no worries. The female hormone in tofu/soybeans will affect plants not humans and it’s an excellent source of protein. Keeping you from tofu is one of the many old wives tales put out by the food industry to make you unhealthy. If you are on an egg restricted diet like me, this recipe is a must!

Ingredients

Block of extra firm ORGANIC Tofu

1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

Any leftover veggies in your fridge that wet your appetite

1/2 Onion

3 broccoli florets

handful spinach

1/4 red pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

 

Prep your tofu

Carefully open your tofu and allow the water to drain. I will gently squeeze the tofu and remove excess water. Place the tofu on a towel, cover and place something heavy on top to get all the extra moisture out. Set to the side.

Prep your veggies

Wash and chop veggies into the size you prefer. I just toss the spinach in because it shrivels quickly

Instructions

Place the oil in a large pan on medium heat

Add veggies and move around the pan, coating the bottom of the pan in oil

Push the veggies to the side of the pan

Crumble tofu into pan and stir it to keep it from sticking

Cook for approximately 5 minutes and add the turmeric to the tofu and stirring it in

Cook for another 5 minutes

Push the tofu and veggies together to combine and cook for an additional 5 minutes

When ready, your tofu concoction will look like eggs and it tastes pretty darn close

Veggie Wedgy Burger

This summer barbecue favorite has turned into a staple in our home. Even my husband gives up steak and eats these veggie wedgies.

Ingredients:

1 cup chickpeas soaked over night or 1 can

1/2 cup tri-colors quinoa (I haven’t tried with plain quinoa

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 to 3 tablespoons water

Spices (spice to taste) cumin, paprika, garlic power, onion powder, black pepper

1/2 cup almond flour set aside. Spice to taste with the spice ingredients above

Directions:

Place chickpeas, quinoa, and oil in Ninja and mix until ground up. Add spices and mix again. Add water until the consistency is like raw hamburger. Form patties and place in spiced almond flour to coat. Cook in oven 350, on the grill on a piece of foil, or on stove top with a little cooking spray. We even cook these in our air fryer. They cook quickly so keep an eye on them. We like our a little chard when we grill. Use a lettuce wedge and you have a veggie wedgy!  

If you’re wondering about the BBQ veggies it’s a mix of what’s in our fridge. Zucchini, onions, tomatoes, red bell peppers, seasoned with garlic, onion, pepper and red peppers.

Holiday Chocolate Pecan Candy

Gluten, dairy and grain free!

This is my yummy go-to when I have a sweet tooth.

I make my own peanut butter. If you want to try, buy a bag of unsalted raw peanuts. Bake for about 20 minutes on 350 degrees on a cookie sheet to release the oil. Grind/mix in your Ninja for 5 to 15 minutes. If you forget to roast the nuts expect the time to double. Scrape sides every few minutes until peanut butter forms. Add about 1/4 teaspoon of salt because if you don’t, it tastes funny. Store unused portion in fridge. Don’t freak out if you go to eat leftover peanut butter and the oil has separated. Just heat a little and mix well. Peanut butter manufactures use chemicals to keep their peanut butter from separating. No chemicals for me!

Ingredients:

1 cup coconut oil

1/4 cup cocao powder

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

2 teaspoons liquid stevia

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon almond extract (can use another teaspoon of vanilla if you prefer)

1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1/2 cup pecans (or not)

Directions: Melt peanut butter and coconut oil in medium size pot on stove. Turn off burner when completely melted. Add all ingredients but pecans. Stir until thoroughly mixed. Poor into a backing dish covered with parchment paper. Smooth out (may be runny), place pecans on top and refrigerate for at least an hour. Break apart and enjoy. You need to keep these stored in the refrigerator or can freeze.

Apple Pie to Die For

Just in time for Thanksgiving, I’m making gluten, grain, and egg free apple pie. It’s supper simple and tastes great. Start with easy peasy pie crust made in your Ninja or food processor.

Pie Crust:

1 1/4 cup almond flour

1 tablespoon coconut flour

4 tablespoons palm oil or ghee, or butter (melted)

1 tablespoon flax seed for egg replacement (1 egg)

3 tablespoons water for egg replacement. If you use an egg, discard water.

Directions: Combine all ingredients in Ninja and mix until a ball of dough forms. Press into pie dish and bake on 350 for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Apple Filling:

I use about 6 to 8 green and red apples because I like my pie a little tart and a little sweet.

6 to 8 green and/or red apples (pealed, cored and sliced)
2 tablespoons cinnamon (use to taste and cut back or add more as you prefer)
Natural Sugar (2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey, or liquid or natural stevia, or monk fruit to taste)

Directions: Prepare apples while crust is cooking. Place about a tablespoon of water in the bottom of a pan and place the apples inside. Add the cinnamon and sugar. After cooking you can taste test to add more sugar if needed. I don’t like a lot and sometimes none at all. Cook the apples until they are soft but not mushy. I cook for about 15 to 25 minutes on low heat covered. Be sure to stir often so they don’t stick. The water is to help with sticking. When your apples are cooked, poor them into your pie crust and you’re done. Refrigerate or serve hot.

Why Give Up French Fries?

One of the things about becoming healthy is all the foods you must give up. I’ve had a love hate relationship with French fries my entire life. My taste buds love them and my hips hate them. Potatoes are something we try to stay away from and there are several reasons but I think the biggest is that potatoes clean the soil by leaching everything around them including pesticides. They’ve long been used in crop rotation when the soil is too damaged for other crops. Sweet potato fries are a healthier substitute but my husband doesn’t care for them. Last night I cooked a vegan dinner for both of us that included cucumber pasta salad and plantain fries. Plantains look like bananas but have less sugar. they also contain fiber and are a good source of vitamins A and C, and potassium. The secret is to buy your plantains when they’re green/yellow and not brown/yellow. No worries though, if your plantains ripen before you use them, you can cut up and freeze to use as pancake batter later. Please fry them in olive or avocado oil and stay far far away from bad oils such as vegetable, cotton seed, sunflower, etc. My husband loves these plantain fries so I consider them kid approved and it’s a vegan dinner he doesn’t complain about 😉

The second part of our dinner was the Cucumber Pasta Salad. My grown daughters are cringing right now because they know we don’t eat pasta (no grains at all) and they’re wondering what in the blazes I’m talking about.

I make the pasta out of an English cucumber. Add the yummy topping, and we eat. It’s thoroughly delicious. Here’s our vegan dinner breakdown:

3 – plantains (serves 2)

2 cups – olive oil (we save the leftover and reuse a few times)

salt and pepper to taste

Directions: cut plantain into 3 sections. Slice one side and peal off the skin. Cut into French fry size. Place in a deep pot of hot oil and cook until golden (stir occasionally). Place finished plantain fries on paper towels to absorb excess grease and serve. Yes you can even dip these babies in ketchup.

1 – English cucumber (serves 2)

2 to 3 – small tomatoes

8 – fresh basil leaves

1 – clove garlic

1 – avocado

2 slices – lemon

Directions: spiralize your cucumber and place in a colander to drain, place tomatoes (cut into sections), basil, and garlic into your food processor and blend for about 30 seconds, pour on drained spiralized noodles, top with cut up avocado, and squeeze the lemon onto both servings.

 

Growing Herbal Tea in My Garden and Kitchen

I love my garden and spend many hours outside pruning, watering, and fertilizing. I need to feel nature and my plants takes me there. I began growing herbs that can be used to make teas a few years ago. Lemon balm is one of my favorites. I’ll actually eat a leaf when walking past the plant. It’s taste like lemon Pledge I used years ago to dust my furniture if that makes sense. I also cut a few branches and place them in a bag with lavender leaves when I travel. I use them as natural perfume by rubbing the combo on my wrists. Lemon balm has many uses including repelling insects. I love the stuff.

This year I added another spearmint plant to my kitchen windowsill. I love the smell and on top of the scent it’s a pretty plant that thrives indoors. The combo of lemon balm and spearmint is one of my favorite teas. This year I’m hoping to have enough spearmint to make it through a cold winter (lemon balm grows like a weed and isn’t a problem).

I cut the spearmint stems along with lemon balm and hang in my kitchen with other herbs. When they’re dry, I put them into my special tea containers (bought at the dollar store for $1 each so very special) and store them in the cupboard.

Dried jasmine flowers can also be added in teas along with lemon thyme which I added to my garden this year but haven’t cultivated yet. I enjoy creating combinations of flavors and testing them on my picky palate.

There are so many health benefits and I know there are no pesticides and I use organic fertilizer to keep them growing strong.

Lemon Balm – Eases stress and anxiety, contains rosmarinic acid (a chemical compound with antioxidant properties). Also used for insomnia, cold sores, high cholesterol, genital herpes, indigestion, and heartburn.

Spearmint – Contains vitamins, antioxidants, and vital nutrients. The aroma is very similar to that of peppermint. Is rich in limonene, dihydrocarvone, and cineol.

Your windowsill might be empty now but you could be growing the next best combination of teas on the planet so don’t let the perfect growing space go to waste.

I took these pictures early in the morning so the light isn’t the best but I think you get the picture 🙂