Wednesday, January 31, 2018

2018 -- A Year of Changes!

The new year has brought about many changes.  One of the changes started last fall. I bought a new collie puppy, Milo, in September, 2017.  He is adorable!

Milo at 5 weeks

Milo's ride home!

Milo's 1st week home.

Which toy should I play with next?
What a cute face!

Milo and his Giraffe
Milo at 6 months

Milo likes long walks, finding sticks, watching birds and airplanes fly, and his toys!  Milo finally learned how to jump in and out of the car last week.  He is a little "fraidy cat" at times.  He has brought me so much joy!

The other news is that I retired from teaching!  I taught 2 months short of 40 years!  Retirement is a huge change, but a good one.  I'm spending a lot of time with my mother, getting my house in order, and playing with Milo.  I think it hit me that I was retired when I wasn't doing lesson plans or grading papers while watching football games on TV!

Stay tuned for my next post which will include a yeast-free recipe.  Until then, Happy 2018!!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Trader Joe's and Yeast-Free Living

This summer I have expanded my shopping to Trader Joe's. I've been frequenting the store in the Dr. Phillips area of Orlando, Florida.  The parking lot is large, and I usually go early on Saturday mornings.  This blog entry will focus on many of the food options I have found.

One of my favorite finds is Trader Joe's Chile Lime Chicken Burgers.  A box contains 4 frozen burgers and the cost is $3.49.  You can cook them several ways, but I take them out of the freezer and put them in a pan coated with olive oil spray. I cook them on medium heat for five minutes on each side. That evening I served the chicken burger with avocado, strawberries, and blueberries.  They are very tasty, and they are on many lists of people's favorite items at Trader Joe's.  The burgers are 3 points on the Weight Watchers SmartPoints system.  The listed ingredients of the burgers are ground chicken, onions, bell peppers, garlic, cilantro, salt, lime juice concentrate, and red pepper flakes.  It also says "Natural Flavors", so I want you to be aware of that.  I usually stay away from as much processed food as possible, but if you want something delicious and fast, this could be a go-to item that is about as good as it gets as far as additives.

Trader Joe's Chile Lime Chicken Burgers

Easy Dinner!

Turning to the produce section, I found Trader Joe's Broccoli and Kale Slaw.  You could easily make this into a traditional slaw by adding Vegenaise, Truvia, possibly some onion, salt, and pepper.  This comes in a kit, but I did not use the dried blueberries or cherries, because of the sugar content of those items.  The slaw sells for $3.49.

Trader Joe's Broccoli and Kale Slaw


Trader Joe's also had Mini Heirloom Tomatoes when I shopped.  They were $3.99 a pound.  I bought them, even though they were a bit pricey, because they are seasonal and they looked wonderful.

Trader Joe's Mini Heirloom Tomatoes

Below is the salad that I made with the Broccoli and Kale Slaw Mix and Mini Heirloom Tomatoes. I also added avocados that I bought at Trader Joe's (4 count bag for $3.49) and almond slivers from the Broccoli and Kale Slaw Mix.  I added one teaspoon of olive oil as dressing, along with salt and pepper.

My finished salad!

Here are the strawberries I bought at Trader Joe's that I had with the Chile Lime Chicken Burgers. The strawberries were $3.29 a pound.  They were not organic, but Trader Joe's does sell organic strawberries.  


These are just a few of the items I found at Trader Joe's that would go along with a yeast-free diet. Stay tuned for more finds!  Let me know if you have found any great items at Trader Joe's, too!  Also, thank you to the many readers who have "Liked" and follow my page on Facebook.  I really appreciate it!  Happy Summer!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Yeast-Free Egg Muffins

Happy New Year!  I'm excited about 2017!  I am starting this year with a commitment to eating yeast-free as much as possible.  I got a bit off from my good health habits over the last year and a half.  I think that planning in advance what I am going to eat is crucial to success.  I try to think about my week in advance before I shop.  That way I will buy just what I need, and I won't be throwing away food.  I sometimes get too overzealous in my buying of produce, only to have plans change. Then when I am ready to cook, it is no longer fresh.  I have also tried to make some meals in advance.  It is great to come home from work and just have to heat things up for the evening meal.

A few Sundays ago, I made these eggs in a muffin tin.  I saw several of these recipes come across my Facebook page and Pinterest.  I modified the recipes I found to fit a yeast-free diet.

First preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Next, find your muffin tin that you may not have used in awhile!  I sprayed each cup with cooking spray so they would not stick.  I placed fresh spinach leaves in the bottom of the cup.  I cut grape tomatoes into slices and placed them on top of the spinach. Then I poured liquid egg whites into each cup.  I poured the egg whites until I saw them come right up to the top, being careful not to overflow.  Season with sea salt and pepper.  Bake for 20-25 minutes.

This is a great grab-and-go breakfast for those hectic mornings.  I ate two as soon as they came out of the oven on Sunday.  Then I stored the rest of the egg muffins in the refrigerator in the muffin tin covered with plastic wrap for the rest of the week.  I had two each morning that week.  They reheat great in the microwave in a matter of seconds.  I would not keep them any longer than 5 days in the refrigerator.  The recipe I modified said you can also freeze the egg muffins and reheat them later.  I haven't tried that yet.  You could also put 2-3 egg muffins in storage containers to make it more of a grab-and-go breakfast.  Just grab a storage container and go!  If desired, you could heat the egg muffins in the workplace microwave.

You can be as creative as your want with the egg muffins.  Add peppers, asparagus, onion, etc. to the cups. Whisk together 12 eggs or use a liquid egg substitute.  Have some precooked spinach (maybe from the previous night's dinner) or avocado on the side.  I hope you enjoy this recipe!

After dealing with the loss of my beloved nephew and sweet collie over the last year and a half, I wanted to leave readers with a quote I found that really helped me.  When it says "move on and leave it behind me", I interpret that as I will never lose the love I feel for them, just that I have to move forward with life.  Michael, my nephew, would want me to be happy.  He would have been the first to "like" this post today because he was all about healthy eating.  Happy 2017 everyone!

Saturday, August 6, 2016

New Yeast-Free Product and a Sad Goodbye

Where has the summer gone?  It has flown by, as usual, and Monday I return to my teaching job for my annual week of pre-planning.  Before it gets too hectic, I want to share with you one of my latest findings that I'm using with my yeast-free living.

I was most excited about finding yeast-free panko flakes!  Yes, you are reading that correctly--yeast-free panko flakes.  They are made by Jeff Nathan Creations.  I found them locally in the Central Florida area at the Turkey Lake Road Whole Foods.  They did not have them at the Winter Park Whole Foods.  I would ask your neighborhood Whole Foods manager to carry them if they are not stocked on the shelves.  They can be purchased at and in quantity, but it is quite pricey.

The ingredients are
Tapioca Starch, Water, Potato Starch, Potato Flour, Palm Oil, Natural Vinegar, Honey, Egg Yolks, Salt

If you are on the Weight Watchers plan, a 1/4 cup serving of the panko flakes are 4 SmartPoints.

I made chicken cutlets and dredged them in Bob's All Purpose Gluten-Free Baking Flour seasoned with salt and pepper.  Next, I dipped them in a combination of almond milk and eggs, and then covered them with the Jeff Nathan Panko flakes. Finally, I cooked them on the stove in olive oil until done. Delicious!

Gluten Free and Yeast Free Panko Flakes
So who is Jeff Nathan?  He is the executive chef and co-owner of Abigael's on Broadway in NYC.  He also appears on his own PBS series, New Jewish Cuisine. You can also purchase the panko flakes through the link to Abigael's restaurant, but be mindful of the shipping costs.

I had to say a sad goodbye to my little sweetheart, Abbey, on July 17th.  I have featured her in many of my blogs over the past few years.  She was the most wonderful collie and friend.  When I bought her, she was a little terror.  She was all legs and all action.  I kept her in my laundry room with a baby gate while I was at work.  One day I got a call in my classroom right before I was to give the FCAT (the Florida Standardized Test at the time) that my alarm was going off at my house.  I quickly called my mom, and she said she would drive over to my house to see what was wrong because I could not leave work.  When my mom got to my house, she said my garage door was open and Abbey was sitting in the laundry room.  We had no idea at the time what had transpired, but I was about to find out from several of my neighbors!

It seems that when I backed out of my driveway and put my garage door down, it must have caught on something and it went back up.  Somehow the force of that happening, opened the door to the laundry room where Abbey was and she escaped into the neighborhood, setting off the alarm.

One neighbor stopped me a few days later and said, "Oh, that's the dog that ran 90 miles and hour out of your driveway INTO MY CAR!"  He said he didn't hit her, but that she just ran into his car. He stopped his car, but she kept on running, so he knew she was fine.

Another little girl stopped me and said, "Oh, that's that crazy dog that was at our bus stop!"  I asked her what Abbey did.  She said she was jumping on all of the kids and nipping them.  "Great," I thought to myself.  She's lucky she did not go into the busy street next to their bus stop.

The reason she did not go into the busy street is that another neighbor told me that she saw Abbey at the bus stop with the kids and knew she was my dog.  She also knew her name, so Abbey followed her back to my house.  My neighbor thought I had been broken into because my garage door was open, but she was kind enough to walk Abbey into the open door to my laundry room.

That is why when my mom came to the house, all she found was my garage door open and Abbey sitting in the laundry room like nothing happened!  So, that was just one of many Abbey adventures!

I will really miss those big brown eyes and all the love we shared.  Abbey will always remain in my heart.

Abbey--July 27, 2003-July 17, 2016--RIP

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Zucchini Noodles and Living Yeast Free

Now that March is almost here, I'm starting to think about springtime vegetables.  One vegetable that is versatile is zucchini.  I bought a spiralizer and started to substitute zucchini noodles in my brown rice pasta dishes.  I didn't know if I would like the zucchini noodles, but I was pleasantly surprised. Not only did I like spiralized zucchini, I loved it!  I have not bought pasta as often since I invested in the spiralizer.

I bought the Paderno World Cuisine A4982799 Tri-Blade Plastic Spiral Vegetable Slicer on Amazon. It has three blades, suction feet that attach to your counter top so it doesn't slide, and it is easy to use and clean.  It has 4 1/2 stars on Amazon from 7680 customer reviews.  Right now it sells for $29.90, which is less than I paid for it in December, 2014.  Since zucchini is so much cheaper than brown rice pasta, it will save you money in the long run.

To make the noodles, first peel the skin off of the zucchini.  To me, it makes for more pleasant-looking noodles. Then you attach the zucchini to the spiralizer and turn the handle.  Within seconds, you have zucchini noodles!

Next, I placed a tablespoon of olive oil in a sauce pan.  I let it get a bit warm and then added the zucchini noodles.  It takes just a matter of minutes for the noodles to cook.  I added a teaspoon of garlic, sliced cherry tomatoes, Daiya mozzarella style shreds, and salt and pepper to taste.  I have added rotisserie chicken to this recipe, too. I also think that the avocado pasta recipe I placed on my blog on June 21, 2013 would be fantastic on the zucchini noodles, too.

I hope that you enjoy making zucchini noodles.  I have found them to be flavorful, light, but filling in their own way.  What a great substitute for carbs!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

In Memory of Michael Oro

This blog is bittersweet today.  It is written in memory of my nephew, Michael Oro, who recently passed away.  Among Michael's many loves was cooking, especially healthy cooking.  Michael enjoyed cuisine from all over the world.  He especially liked octopus from Galicia in Spain.  Our family also enjoyed going to Bosphorous Turkish Cuisine Restaurant in Winter Park, Florida. We would all normally order the Chicken Adana Kebab dinner.  On that evening, I would usually cheat a bit on my yeast-free lifestyle and have the naan bread.  However, Michael was really proud of the fact that I was sticking to yeast-free living about 90% of the time.  He enjoyed working out at the gym, writing electronic music, and making everyone laugh.  Michael was loved by his family and friends.  So, I am running the post "Michael's Sauce" again as a tribute to him today.  This remains one of my favorite dinners.

Michael Oro

Last night I made one of my favorite yeast-free dinners.  Then I realized that I never shared it on this blog.  I actually got this idea/recipe from my nephew, Michael.  He was making this sauce one day when I was over visiting him.  He works out and eats a healthy diet, so it was normal to see him cooking with ground turkey.  He doesn't know it (I guess he will when the blog is published), but I am naming the recipe "Michael's Sauce".

Here is the recipe:

  • 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
  • 1 to 1 1/2 pounds of ground turkey
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon of minced garlic
  • 1 bag of fresh spinach
  • 1 cup of spaghetti sauce
  • 2 tsp. of Italian seasoning 
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • Red pepper flakes (a few)--Optional
Heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the chopped onion and cook until softened.  Add garlic. While the onion is cooking, in a separate pan, brown the ground turkey.  Add the cooked ground turkey to the onion and garlic mixture.  Begin to add the spinach a few handfuls at a time to the turkey mixture until the spinach is wilted.  Add the spaghetti sauce and seasonings. Simmer for 10 minutes or so until the sauce is heated.

Serve over quinoa or brown rice.

There are many variations you can make to this recipe.  Mushrooms can be added if you are not on a yeast-free diet.  Also, green, yellow, or red peppers can be added.  In addition, you could add fresh tomatoes.  Broccoli can be used instead of spinach.  What is nice about this recipe is that you can use leftovers you may have in your refrigerator or pantry to complete the sauce.  I actually had most of a yellow onion and part of a jar of spaghetti sauce leftover which I used for the recipe I made last evening.  All I had to purchase was the bag of fresh spinach.  Everything else I had on hand.  That is why it is one of my "Go-To" recipies now.

I hope you enjoy making "Michael's Sauce" as much as Mike and I do!

 "Michael's Sauce" over brown rice

Michael at St. Augustine Beach

Monday, July 20, 2015

Motivational Monday

We all need a little motivation now and then to get back on track after a weekend of indulging ourselves and not quite following the yeast-free plan. Or maybe you need that extra push into an exercise routine that works for you. If you are like me, this is what I struggle with from time-to-time. So for today, this post is as much for me as it is for you, my readers.


I hope this will help to inspire you to make the change you have been wanting to make starting today. As for me, I'm off to the gym and the treadmill for the 2nd day in a row! Have a Motivational Monday!