Happy Vegetarian Week – Tips to get your kids to eat more veggies

We don’t need a holiday to celebrate veggies in our household, but we’ll take it anyway!  Looking few a few tips on how to incorporate more vegetables into your kid’s diets?  (what mom isn’t?)  Here are a few of our favorite ways to get our kids to eat more vegetables:


Vegetable Smoothies
Kids being silly while they drink their morning smoothie.

This is the number one way to get your kids to eat an assortment of veggies.  We started with a very basic pineapple and spinach smoothie.  The pineapple is sweet and besides the green color, you wouldn’t know that there is spinach in there.  From there, we started adding in broccoli or cauliflower.  Then we started playing around with different berries and vegetables.  They will now eat any smoothie that we make.  It might take some time, but keep playing with different combinations until they can’t resist any.




Yup, you heard me right.  During my Sunday prep day, I always try to make a muffin that has either a vegetable or a protein source for the week.  Here are some of the kid’s favorites:

Zucchini Bread

Carrot Muffins

Tips and Tricks

Leave them on the counter

My kids are dying for a snack when they get home from school. So, I put out a plate of veggies with hummus (or another dip of choice) and say they can eat as much as they want, but this is the only snack they get.

Grow them in your backyard

My kids can’t resist picking anything off a vine and eating it.  We grow tomatoes, cucumbers, pole beans, herbs and broccoli in our backyard.  They are involved from the moment we plant the seed.

Let them choose at the grocery store

Let them pick one (or more) vegetables from the grocery store. Then select a recipe and cook it together.  They will always want to try something they helped prepare.

Lastly, remember that it will take time to form a new habit.  Don’t give up.  Keep trying.  Hopefully, these tips will help your little one form a love (ok, maybe just a liking) of vegetables.

Kids Eat More Veggies





Vegetarian Meal Plan: Soup, salad and more

It’s been awhile since I posted a meal plan.  To be quite honest, I haven’t really been planning any of our meals.  Life has been a bit crazy and we are mostly making up meals with whatever we have on hand.  But, as I am working a bit later these days and my husband has been doing the cooking, I try to make it easy on him and have some recipes or meal ideas ready.  So, I thought I would plan out next week.


Southwestern Kale Power Salad by Cookie and Kate

Spicy Lentil Soup also by Cookie and Kate

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Tostado from Ohmyveggies.com

Quinoa Cakes by Ohmyveggies

Crispy Quinoa Cakes with Red Pepper Cashew Cream from ohmyveggies.com


I know it’s not Pumpkin season, but boy do I have a craving for it, so…I’ll be making these muffins by Delish Knowledge.

Pumpkin Muffins by delishknowledge



Vegan Meal Plan

It’s been awhile since I posted a meal plan.  We were on vacation (yea for us), I have been a single parent for a few weeks (boo for us), and then we had a wicked windstorm that knocked out power for a few days.  But this week we’ll be back on track and ready for a normal week of dinners.  So, here’s what we are cooking this week:


10 Minute Pasta by Oh She Glows – Quick and it includes hummus (i gotta try it).

Mexican Quinoa Stew by Cookie and Kate

Black Bean Enchiladas by The Savory Vegan

Crispy Apple and Kohlrabi by Cookie and Kate – This is a side dish, but I love Kohlrabi, so this will get added to a baked potato for a delicious meal.


Hiking With Kids – 8 Tips to Keep Kids on the Trail

Hiking and backpacking were adventures that my husband and I loved to do together.  When we started having kids, those two things were put on the backburner.  We knew we wanted to do this more and the only way we can get out there is to get our kids on board with the adventure.  So, here are some tips and tricks we use to get our kids on the trail with us.

Give them their own gear

Who doesn’t love gadgets and gear?  The best part of finding any new activity is the new gear you get to buy. Kids are no different.   We bought both our kids a backpack that is used for hiking and travel.  This is a good start to getting them used to wearing a backpack and carrying their own stuff.  Even on short hikes, they wear their packs.  It prepares them for carrying their own things for future longer hikes.  They also enjoy storing the treasures they find during their hike.


Every good hike needs snacks

With kids, I think every activity needs snacks.  Hiking is no exception.  We always pack trail mix, protein bars and snacks that they might not get often at home to make it a special event.  Don’t forget their water bottle!

Maps and Navigation

My kids love leading the hike.  Some trails are marked, but I also bring a map.  Even if it’s just a quick loop at our local park.  It helps them to learn how to map read (something I am terrible at) and gives them the confidence to lead the hike.

Plenty of stops

I know, stopping a hundred times isn’t an adult’s idea of a good hike, but kids need it.  We have to remember they are small, most initially don’t prefer walking and get bored easily.  We stop often to look at nature, have our snacks and take pictures.

Kids love games – make the hike one big game

In the kid’s backpack, I add things like a magnifying glass, small baggie to collect specimens, scavenger hunt printouts and in the summer and fall, a leaf collection book.  These are just a few ways to make the hike more fun and engaging.  We also sing songs, climb trees, throw sticks in the water and look for animal scat and prints.


Friends are more fun than parents

Kids are never bored when they have a friend around.  Bring friends along on the hike or join a local hiking group with other families to build a network of fellow hikers.

Go often

Busy schedules can make getting on the trail hard.  Remember that not every hike needs to be epic.  Short hikes can be just as engaging as a long one.  The idea is to be consistent about going.  The more it becomes your family’s routine, the easier it gets to get them on the trail.  It might seem obvious, but scheduling a hike on the calendar is the best way to make it happen.  If it’s on the calendar than your committed to hiking!


Vegetarian Meal Plan

I am sipping my hot tea with honey and lemon as I write this post.  The winter cold has shown up to a party he was not invited to.  And this time I can’t even blame my kids–everyone else in the house is healthy (crossing fingers it stays like that).

It just goes to show that eating healthy and exercising is not enough to keep a cold away.  I am not big on taking supplements, but I have to admit that my husband has not been sick at all this winter season and he is an avid Probiotic taker.  So, I am joining him, starting this week, on the Probiotic train.  I have been buying them on Amazon (what don’t I buy there) and it’s super convenient.  There are a ton out there, but this is what I have been buying.  A local vegan heart doctor, Dr. Joel Kahn, recommended the Garden of Life brand, so that is what I have been buying.  Let’s hope this is the last cold for a long time.

This is what I have planned on the menu this week:vega-meal-plan-feb-7

Quinoa Gado-Gado Bowl (30 Minutes) from Minimalist Baker

Speedy & Spicy Chili Bean Burritos from The Veg Space

Vegan Spinach and Artichoke Pasta

Avocado Bean Burger

Weekend Prep

Vegan chocolate zucchini muffins

Vegan Recipes for Meal Planning


Vegan and Vegetarian Link Round Up for Meal Planning

Hello 2017!  Can you believe another year is upon us?  I took a much-needed break over the holidays and love the start of a new year.  Everything seems fresh and possible.  Even if you don’t make resolutions (which I don’t) it does make me step back and evaluate what in my life was working well in 2016 and what do I need to say Auf Weidesehen to.

Just to share a few things that I did that was positive and WILL continue in 2017:

  • Exercise:  I really stepped this up, and by that, I just mean I did it every day.  Not some laborious hours-long event, but I committed to just 30 minutes a day and boy has it made a difference in both my state of mind and my body.  How do I get an effective workout in just 30 minutes you ask?  My cousin, a Team Beachbody Coach, totally got me hooked.  (I did the workout, 22 Minute Hard Corp)  I’ve always done some form of exercise; running, the gym, swimming, home workouts, but with my schedule today, this is by far the best fit for me.
  • Eating a Whole Foods Diet:  My friend went Vegan and at first I couldn’t imagine not eating cheese.  I was never a really big meat eater, but cheese, come on!  Then I watched Forks Over Knives.  It is a great movie that goes into the Science and Research behind eating a whole foods diet.  What does this mean Basil? (Yes, I still use Austin Powers references) I go into more detail here, but basically, I eat whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.  Do I follow this 100%?  No, but pretty close.  I do it because it makes me feel great.

What didn’t work?

  • Taking on too many projects at one time:  My goal for 2017 is to only do things that make me happy and if I can’t get to everything then that’s ok!  This is a really hard one for me and will take work, but it’s happening.

But enough about my new year traditions.  Here’s what we are eating next week.

Lentil Wraps by beautybites.org

Grilled Zucchini Hummus Wrap by Maebells

Vegan Minestrone Soup by Vegan Richa

Cilantro-Lime Vegan Tacos by Spinach 4 Breakfast

Weekend Prep:

Muffins for the week



What is a whole-foods, plant-based diet?

My meal planner posts are all vegan and vegetarian meals that have been gathered from some of my favorite whole-foods, plant-based websites.  I have been eating this plan for less than a year and I get a lot of questions from family and friends.  Here are the basics of the plan, as mostly told by the creators of Forks Over Knives.

What is a whole-foods, plant-based diet?

According to Dr. Matthew Lederman and Dr. Alona Pulde, a whole-food, plant-based diet is centered on whole, unrefined, or minimally refined plants. It’s a diet based on fruits, vegetables, tubers, whole grains, and legumes; and it excludes or minimizes meat (including chicken and fish), dairy products, and eggs, as well as highly refined foods like bleached flour, refined sugar, and oil.

What do you really eat?

These are truly items that I eat every day.  The great part about this eating plan, you can eat until you are stuffed.  Why?  Because it is all great food.

  • Fruit: mangoes, bananas, grapes, strawberries, blueberries, oranges, cherries, etc.
  • Vegetables: lettuce, collard greens, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, carrots, etc.
  • Tubers and starchy vegetables: potatoes, yams, yucca, winter squash, corn, green peas, etc.
  • Whole grains: millet, quinoa, barley, rice, whole wheat, oats, etc.
  • Legumes: kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils, lima beans, cannellini beans, black beans, etc.

I was always a girl who preferred the side dishes over the main meat dish.  Now, I make all my meals with a meatless main and enjoy dishes such as stir fry, soups, beans and rice, smoothies, muffins, nuts, and everything else you can imagine.

Do you get enough protein?

Yes.  We forget that whole grains have tons of protein in them, so do legumes, nuts and yes, even vegetables all have protein.

What about calcium?

This was actually the most eye-opening part of the documentary.  Did you know that the US consumes the most dairy, yet we have the highest rate of osteoporosis?  How is that possible if we get all this great calcium from dairy?  It’s because we don’t get great calcium from dairy. We only absorb a third of calcium in milk or calcium supplements. There are many factors that affect the calcium absorption in our body, so you should really read this article for all the facts, but eating a whole foods diet will give you the calcium you need.  For example, one cup of bok choy, 1½ cups of kale, or 2 cups of broccoli contain the same amount of calcium as a glass of milk, due to their much better calcium absorption rate (in the 50–60% range! )

Are you a crazy environmentalist?

I wouldn’t say crazy, but I would say it is very important to me.  Here are just a few advantages of eating a plant diet:

  1. Cutting your carbon footprint
  2. Conserves water
  3. Saving animals
  4. Cleaner Air

Do you really follow this all the time?

To be honest, no, I don’t follow it all the time and I don’t follow it word-for-word.  For example, I still use olive oil for cooking and salad dressings.  I do occasionally eat dairy, especially on pizza and lasagna 🙂  And I occasionally eat meat.  But, I can tell you that I don’t eat anything close to the American Standard Diet and I am conscious about what I put in my body and give to my family.

I hope this helps give you a better idea of the way I eat.  Below are some resources of doctors and chefs that feel the same.  Research it, give it a try.

More information for you to review:

Dr. Neal Barnard

Forks Over Knives 

One Green Planet

Dr. Joel Kahn

Oh She Glows

Delish Knowledge

Cookie and Kate

Mark Bittman, Vegan Before 6 (in case you want to do it 1/2 of the time)


Vegetarian Meals – Pasta, Lentil Shepherd's Pie, Cauliflower Curry and Red Lentil Soup


The snowflakes are beginning to fall in Michigan and we are expecting 4-7 inches of snow over the next 24 hours.  I’m supposed to be running the 5K Jingle Bell Run tomorrow, so if the snow can hold off a bit, that would be appreciated.  But for now, I’ll stick to planning what we’ll be eating over the next week.

Weekly Vegetarian Meals

Red Lentil Soup, from Delish Knowledge

Fresh Arugula, Artichoke and Tomato Rotini, by the Jazzy Vegetarian

Cauliflower Curry Recipe, by Indian Healthy Recipes

Vegan Shepherds Lentil Pie, by Delish Knowledge

Weekend Prep

Vegan Gluten Free Black Bean Brownies by Minimalist Baker

I know what you are thinking, black bean brownies, but they are really good and you can’t taste any bean flavor.  These even pass my picky eater test.

Healthy No Bake Cookies by Well Plated


Vegetarian Meals – Spaghetti Squash, Chili, Soup and Pasta


The flu bug (what was the point of getting a flu shot??) hit my little guy pretty hard this week and then he followed it up with pink eye.  So nonetheless, it has been a week of caregiving.  Let’s keep our fingers crossed that no one else in the house gets it.  I think I might have gone through an entire container of disinfectant wipes.

I finally got to my meal planning today and here’s what’s on the list:

Spaghetti Squash Burrito Bowl from Cookie and Kate

Vegetarian Cashew Chili from Cooking Light Magazine

White Wine Pasta with Brussels Sprouts from Minimalist Baker

Vegan Lentil Soup from Cookie and Kate

There are 7 days in a week, what gives?  True, but life gets in the way.  We have PB&J for dinner, leftovers or say screw it and go out.

Sunday Prep:

  • Granola Bars for the week
    • Here’s a nut free bar, although my husband is not a huge Tahini fan, so I’ll probably use Peanut Butter instead of Tahini, but these would be great for the kiddos to take to school

4 Days of Vegetarian Meals

mealsweek2It’s a record high of 70 degrees in late November in Michigan as I write this, but reality sets in tomorrow with our temperature diving to a high of 45 degrees and it only gets colder.  So, I am planning my week with soups and comfort food.  Especially knowing that next week is Thanksgiving and I’ll be eating my weeks worth in one day!

Curried Butternut Squash from Minimalist Baker

Lotsa Vegetable Chowder from Forks Over Knives

Sweet Potato Coconut Milk Ravioli by Reclaiming Provincial

I have never made this, but I am thinking I might substitute egg roll wrappers for the dough…depends on how much time I have.

Sheet Pan Winter Vegetable Budha Bowl by Yummy Mummy Kitchen

Sunday Prep:

  • Almond Coconut Granola Bars
  • Peanut Butter Energy Balls – There are tons of recipes for different energy balls/bites, but this is our family’s favorite so it’s what we make each week.
  • Wash any greens that I purchased
  • Prepare Butternut Squash for recipes above


There are 7 days in a week, what gives?  True, but life gets in the way.  We have PB&J for dinner, leftovers or say screw it and go out.