Black Pepper: Spice It Up!

 

I never cook by adding salt. I love to add pepper to my preparations, though.

I love spice- yet not too much spice. Just enough to give a satisfying flavor to my tastebuds.

I enjoy the mild hotness of pepper by not over-sprinkling the spice into my various dishes.

Aside from livening up food, pepper offers us a few great benefits that serve our health to the fullest.

 

Enough For What Is Needed

 

I remember as a kid when my mother used the expression “You have a Champaign taste with a Kool-Aid pocketbook”.

We were not poor, but we were not rich either. We had our temporary normal days of drought from time to time, yet we always had what we needed to live comfortably.

We never went without thanks to God I know my mother would say.

My family ate good.

I do not currently eat expensively, but food can add up to be expensive when it comes to price. I know how to budget.

Just because I can afford something does not mean I will waste money on what I do not feel is necessary. I am not one who is into foolish splurge, though I do have elegant taste and choose nice, quality things.

I enjoy the pleasant dinners I prepare at home that are suitable to me. I do not put garbage into my body.

Cozy evenings, in front of the television set at peace while I eat.

 

“Bean Me Up!”

 

Rice is a grain I have loved and never tired from.

Of course, there are times when I take a break from eating rice though I am one who can constantly eat this grain on a routine schedule.

I am a lover of beans too and incorporate these plant-based gems into my diet quite frequently.

I like to mix things up a bit.

For a long time now, I have purchased Bob’s Red Mill 13 Bean Soup mixture of fresh dried beans.

I buy the 13 bean Jack Rabbit brand of beans regularly also.

There are rich, hearty servings of navy beans, black beans, red beans, pinto beans, garbanzo beans, great northern beans, kidney beans, baby lima beans, large lima beans; black-eyed peas, yellow split peas, green split peas; and brown and red lentil beans.

Altogether they are extremely high sources of fiber and protein in a daily, or weekly meal.

I crave my rice and beans and they satisfy my hunger pains.

 

 

 

Black-Eyed Peas

 

If one is from the south, black-eyed peas may be a favorite staple.

I am a born and raised New Yorker, but my mother’s side of the family came from Virginia (My father’s side of the family who I did not grow up around are from South Carolina. My great-grandmother on my mother’s father’s side came from North Carolina).

I had plenty of that delicious variety of hearty southern rooted grub during childhood on up in my household.

I still love and eat black-eyed peas till this day.

These legumes are so quick to prepare compared to other beans and peas and they are very tasty.

Black-eyed peas naturally come with health benefits that impart adequate nutrition toward one’s lifestyle.

One of the downsides of eating peas and beans regularly is that it can cause a build-up of intestinal gas.

Nevertheless, over time some of our bodies learn to adapt and we experience less bloating and other discomfort.

I remember back in the day my mother’s family used to cook neck-bones with black eyed peas, oxtail with black-eyed peas and stew beef with black-eyed peas or potatoes.

I currently love and eat my black-eyed peas seasoned with pepper, onion, garlic, oregano and a little basil over rice.

I never cook with salt.

To me, the flavor of prepared dry black-eyed peas is good enough to go without any herbs or spices added to them.

 

 

 

Skins

 

The fleshy parts of fruits and vegetables are extremely healthy, but the edible skins of certain fruits and vegetables are even more beneficial to health.

The skin of potatoes, apples, cucumbers, zucchini and more contain richer amounts of vitamins, minerals and fiber.

I love eating baked potatoes with their peels on.  

Just be sure to know which fruit and vegetable skins are suitable to eat and those that are not.

 

Roasted Rainbow Carrots

 

An Italian lady that I work with fixed me a plate of organic multicolored carrots roasted in olive oil earlier in the week.

She knows that I am vegan and took it upon herself to fix me lunch.

The carrots that were in their natural shades of golden-yellow, creamy white, deep burgundy and jeweled orange tasted pretty good.

I liked the yellow carrots cooked the most.

They had a flavor like a cross between potatoes and yellow squash.

I have always been fond of fresh orange carrots. So, I am a carrot-eater in general.

It feels good to enjoy a healthy meal.

Wholesome Fun With Food

 

It is a wise idea for parents to teach their children early the importance of healthy eating.

Let it be a part of bonding or a hobby when it comes to spending quality time with one another.

Whether it is shopping at the grocery, preparing recipes, or cooking meals, make eating a fun and exciting activity that outlines the benefits of what good nutrition has to offer.

 

 

Too Much Of A “Sweet/Tasty” Thing!

Many of us get a taste for something sweet once in a while if not too often.

I fall into the occasional category. I get the urge for a cookie every now and then with long intervals in between.

I even want a piece of cake once in a while but yet to have found one on the market desirable to my choice of ingredients.

Either there is too much sugar, grams of fat, the wrong types of fat, or the product is not vegan suitable, and so on.

Of course, I could make my own cake, however, I am not interested in baking desserts like I used to years ago.

I do not mind baking some delicious cornbread though!

There is nothing wrong with indulging in the pleasure of succulent pastries.

The problem is that we tend to overeat the foods we enjoy the most or that we cannot get enough of once we start to consume them.

Everything should be in moderation we are constantly told, nevertheless, the idea of moderation is disregarded when what tastes good overpowers the portions that are within our limits for the moment.

All it really takes is discipline for those who find it difficult to refrain.

 

 

 

 

Soymilk And Cookies

I have been drinking vanilla soymilk as well as cooking plain soymilk with my oat bran when I get into the mood.

What I love about the vanilla soymilk is that it tastes like a health shake. Delicious, clean, and refreshing.

A lady I work with thought about me and brought me back a box of vegan coconut/oatmeal cookies the other day.

I had mentioned the item to her- how I had not had any of the cookies in a while- and when she returned from shopping at the grocery, she handed me the box of Steve and Andy’s organic coconut oatmeal cookies!

Onions And Garlic

 

I love onions. They are so strong within smell and taste. Powerful enough to literally bring tears to our eyes while we slice and handle them.

This pungent vegetable has always been a favorite of mine whether eaten raw or cooked. Onions bring out a distinct flavor along with garlic.

I love red onions in my salad. Biting into the crunchiness of the flesh causes a natural tingle and sting that indicates how potent the onions are.

When I swallow red onions a burning sensation flows through my nostrils, sometimes so bad that I have to pause before continuing to eat them.

Garlic burns too, and I love it!

The harsh tingles are nature’s release of inherent nutrients, purifiers, and restoration properties in action. They stimulate to take affect within the body.

Onions and garlic contribute highly to good health and well-being.

My grandfather used to make natural tonics- from onions that worked to knock out the common cold virus quickly. He grew up in the south, learning how to use herbs, spices, and vegetables as healing remedies from his grandmother.

Onion rings were an appetizer I once enjoyed but cut out due to it not being wise to make a habit out of eating fried foods.

When it comes to the spicy vegetable garlic, I use the contents of the bulb on just about everything!

Garlic also works as a beneficial antibiotic. I substituted garlic capsules for one of my dogs years ago until I was able to bring her to the vet to get her some amoxicillin. The garlic had really helped my dog out a lot.

 

 

Lentils: A High Fiber Meal

 

Lentils are delicious and incredibly nutritious. I absolutely love lentils.

In fact, I had a bowl of lentil soup for lunch yesterday afternoon.

I cook and eat these legumes on a regular basis.

I sometimes prepare them with rice, vegetables or other types of beans.

Lentils are also a satisfying dish to create all by themselves without anything extra being added to them.

 

 

 

 

In The Mood For Oat Bran

 

I had recently gotten back into the habit of eating hot oat bran cereal after getting tired of it a while back.

The cereal tastes so good boiled with plain organic soymilk.

My bowl of oat bran comes out creamy and filling.

It is nice when what we eat can both be satisfying to the taste buds and beneficial to the health.

Oat bran is whole grain and high in fiber, a very wholesome and nutritious meal to enjoy regularly.

 

Pumpkins

 

I like pumpkins. I think they are so cute.

They make attractive, unique decoration to enhance the essence of the environment, whether during the autumn, for Halloween, or for Thanksgiving.

I used to buy pumpkins years ago for display in my home.

I tasted the inside of one as a youngster. I did not like the taste of it. I used to eat pumpkin seeds now and then, though.

I never had anything with pumpkin as a main ingredient that I recall.

I used to eat sweet potato pie. I have not had that dessert in years.

I purchased my mother a pumpkin pie once when there was not any sweet potato pie available at a restaurant.

Long ago were the days of my mom preparing homemade sweet potato pies as she was tired of big holiday cooking year after year.

My mother had acknowledged to me that the pumpkin pie tasted better than sweet potato pie if not similar.

 

 

A Lack Of Vitamin D

 

I had a routine visit to my doctor a week ago.

Everything was good, all the bloodwork came back normal as usual. I am just getting over my cough from my bronchitis acting up.

The only problem the doctor informed me about is that my vitamin D levels are low.

This is nothing new for me and many others. Most of us have vitamin D deficiency.

Years ago, one of my other primary care doctors prescribed vitamin D for me but I did not take it because it was animal derived.

There was a time when I did take Vitamin D2, which is the vegan kind, ergocalciferol.
I used to buy Country Life brand.

It was hard for me to find Vitamin D2 with ingredients that I preferred. Country Life have made changes to quite a few of their supplements, so I do not use them anymore.

I have seen Vitamin D3 advertised on the market in vegan form. However, I will stick with D2 because I know for sure it is plant-form and not animal derived.

Since us vegans do not consume dairy, we may not get enough calcium and vitamin D.

I do not take calcium supplements as some can be dangerous and lead to atherosclerosis due to the calcium not properly being absorbed, etc….

I love spinach and other leafy-green vegetables.

In fact, I gobbled down on some kale, collard greens, chopped spinach, and broccoli a week and a half ago as I ate a helping of each for dinner, evening after evening.

Certain vegetables do contain sufficient amounts of calcium, although it may not be enough if not eaten on a regular basis, or not adequate due to other factors in regard to an individual.

 

All Fried Out

 

Shit! Excuse my language- or should I say excuse my “French?”

My mouth waters in memory just to think about it. Those crispy fried potatoes- golden, steaming hot, salty or unsalted

I use to be a French fry-acholic during my teenage and early adulthood.

I was hooked on French fries.

I stopped a long while back as I cut down on fried foods period. I never ate too much fried food frequently to begin with, though I would sometimes indulge heavily at times on certain things that I enjoyed to eat.

I was informed during early adulthood how fried foods could harden arteries yet that did not stop me from consuming those yummy fries. I took the warning seriously I just was not able to resist my favorite so-called junk food.

I was already limited in what I ate as I was a vegan/vegetarian.

A day came when the desire for French fries subsided. Then once in a while I would get the urge to peel, cut and fry my own, or go buy a frozen bag from the supermarket.

Nowadays, even though I may sometimes hunger for a fry, I do not even try.

Luckily, I am within good health, far from any heart disease and I would like to keep it that way.

I have always eaten pretty healthy and nutritiously but there are always specific foods we should be careful of and eat within moderation if not at all after a while.

Watch the fried foods, refined sugars, saturated fats and other harmful, no-good additives and ingredients.

 

 

Mushrooms: A Fantastic Fungi!

 

Back in the day, when I was around fourteen, my mother used to buy me this great-tasting yellow-colored vegetable rice from a diner she would frequent.

This vegan dish had tiny cut mushrooms prepared within the variety of vegetables that were intertwined.

Prior to eating this rice, I had only had foods with a mushroom flavor that I enjoyed without the actual particles of mushrooms themselves.

As an adult, I tried certain mushrooms that I just could not tolerate. I didn’t like the taste nor the texture.

 

I don’t know what type of mushrooms that were in the rice years ago or how it was cooked I just know I was able to eat them and chew on them satisfactorily.

Mushrooms are extremely beneficial to one’s health.

They are excellent for brain health, digestive and immune health, heart health, cancer and all-around longevity in general.

I began to take Mushroom supplements years ago. They are wonderful and safe (unless one has a particular allergy)!

If one chooses to incorporate a mushroom supplement into their diet just know to purchase those with the fruiting body extracts instead of mycelium.

 

 

Mushrooms are inherently comprised of mycelium, but supplements made from mushrooms are not equivalent to ones made from mycelium.

The fruiting body of the mushroom contains high concentrations of beta-glucans, triterpenes, and other particular compounds such as cordycepin.

Mycelium is the vegetative bit of the mushroom.

The fruiting body is the bit that grows from the ground. It is able to be harvested.

 

A Fruit And Vegetable A Day

 

 

I know that everyone who may want to eat healthy cannot always afford to.

Prices for everything is sky high these days. It is hard to just get by sometimes.

There are fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts that are priced reasonably when sales aren’t being advertised.

It is beneficial, necessary and even vital in some circumstances for one to eat at least one or more fruits and vegetables a day every day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

How We Consume Does A Body Good Or Bad

 

Everything that may smell good, look good, or taste good may not be good for one to consume.

The same goes for in dealing with people but, that is another story.

One may be busy on the run, get hungry, or need to eat.

It may be too hot to cook, one may be tired, or even just a bit lazy.

Whatever the reason it is perfectly normal.

One may just want to order out, desire some fast food or stick some packaged frozen cuisine in a microwave, saucepan, or conventional oven and eat.

 

The only thing is these foods whether from a restaurant or our local supermarket may not offer the best ingredients or are prepared in ways that are not suitable to our health.

There may be excess sugar, sodium, fat, artificial flavorings, chemicals and so on.

One just has to be careful in deciding on what to purchase and consume when it comes to eat-out and take out.

There are healthier options out there nowadays, although these type of stores or restaurants may not always be within a location near to us.

Nevertheless, if we’re going to eat certain fast foods do it in moderation and with precaution.

What we may take for granted early on with our health and body could affect us later on in the long run.

No one wants that.

 

Air-Popped

For years, I had always popped popcorn kernels with oil.

I read about air-popping corn kernels over the stove yet didn’t think it was actually possible as I tried once and failed. All that had resulted was burnt kernels.

Something recently inspired me to give this oil-free popping a try once again because after reading another article I realized where I went wrong.

I didn’t shake the pot of kernels every one to two minutes like I should have.

So I gathered my stick-free (non-stick) pot, heated it on medium to high flame, then poured in some corn kernels and covered the pot with the top.

I frequently shook the kernels around and before I knew it they started to pop!

Ever since, I’ve been air-popping popcorn like a professional.

It is so much healthier to pop our own popcorn. To pop it without the use of oils and without adding salt which make the grain the ultimate healthy snack that it actually is.

Purely natural popcorn is packed with nutritional value (including fiber) and it tastes good too!

Corn is just all around delicious period!

Rice And Beans

Whether it’s kidney, pinto, white, navy, lima (green in particular), green (string beans), peas (black-eyed) or green (string beans) beans are a wonderful tasting high-protein food. They taste great alone or enhanced by other combined meals.

The most complimenting dish, of course, is the many variety of rice and bean preparations.

White, yellow, brown or red (mixed with tomato sauce) rice specifically dressed and spiced up in numerous flavorings set those beans and peas off fantastically, especially when beans and peas create a saucy textured gravy/infusion to additional combination foods when cooked to an extended tender.

 

 

Vegan Pasta With Broccoli

Broccoli has always been one of my all-time favorite’s food. I love broccoli with rice, broccoli with shrimp, and broccoli with spaghetti noodles dressed in garlic, olive oil and oregano.

When I first tasted vegetarian lasagna many years ago, I loved every bite of it. As a pasta lover, having the dish prepared with broccoli just added a further appeal to me. The broccoli had taken the place of the meat usually included within traditional lasagna.

Ziti is another favorite pasta dish of mine and the noodles covered, packed, and melted in vegan cheese is just a wonderful satisfaction to my taste-buds.

Vegetable, Pasta, And Grain Meal Preparations

I had white rice and corn last night for dinner. I love rice and corn!

I sautéed the corn in a lovely sweet and tangy dressing before covering it over the rice. Corn tastes so good mixed in with rice; peas, beans, and broccoli also go delectably well with all types of rice.

Vegetables bring out the best in rice and I don’t normally eat my rice cooked with salt either. The vegetables themselves usually give my rice its own nice complimentary flavor.

Vegetables bring out the best in many other dishes too.

Vegan/vegetarian lasagna is also an inviting meal that could include broccoli and whatever other vegetables of choice that may add to a fabulous dinner. Lasagna pasta crafted and baked with broccoli, shrimp, and vegan cheese is another great idea for the ever-tempting appetite!

Some individuals even like spinach or numerous other types and blends of vegetables and/or tidbits in their vegan or vegetarian lasagnas.

Grains, pastas and vegetables are such great combination foods when designed together effectively.

Biscuits And Soup

I love biscuits. I love them plain, I love them buttered, and I love them stuffed with any hot or melted delicious preference of choice.

Biscuits make great appetizers to the experimentive and creative mind.

Soup is another versatile meal. We can have soup with biscuits as well as with crackers.

Soup is a wonderful flavoring to dress over foods as a gravy, and it is a delectable adornment, giving certain dishes a pretty appearance.

I would frequently pour my garden vegetable or minestrone soup over white rice, or mix the rice into a hot pot of soup once both foods were done. It turns out to be such a good meal that I’ve enjoyed for years.

Curry Rice And Chicken

Last night I colored my rice with curry powder, not too much, because I’m not fond of food too spicy, just enough to give my rice a nice yellow tint.

I added some rosemary, basil, and thyme, then boiled a separate pot of two chicken thighs lightly salted and peppered.

I like my chicken, shrimp, and fish once in a while as I predominantly eat vegan.

Last night I ate pollo pescetarian and I healthily enjoyed myself.

Yellow Rice With Herbs And Spices

I cooked and ate three plates of yellow rice that I prepared earlier this afternoon.

I colored white rice naturally with turmeric spice. I added oregano, cumin, thyme, parsley, garlic, onion and plant butter to boil along with the rice to give it a flavor.

I didn’t put in any salt as some may prefer.

The yellow rice came out nice to my liking I love all kinds of rice anyway, even plain white rice. Brown rice tastes good too if seasoned and crafted well.

Next time I am going to mix some vegetables along with the dish. Green peas, corn, and broccoli taste great mixed with yellow rice and rice pilaf.

Country Crock Plant Butter

I went to the supermarket yesterday to purchase my favorite plant butter made with olive oil and there was only one left on the shelf.

No one had touched any of the Country Crock Butter And original Country Crock Vegetable Spread, only the Non Dairy Plant Butter.

I had got to the store just in time. Last week the shelf was full of the plant butter when I picked up a tub.

Everybody is into Plant-Based food now I remember many years ago when it wasn’t such a widespread interest among certain folk.

I didn’t have to worry about going short on my favorite vegan foods.

Well that’s how it goes. When there’s something good or appealing to the taste buds everybody wants to jump on it.

 

Appetizers

 

It’s exciting to have more options to choose from and that cater to our lifestyle, health, and special diets, nowadays, whether we are vegan/vegetarian/pollo pescetarian or just plain gluten free, and so on.

I love plant milk, preferably soy and cashew, the vanilla flavors suit me best. I don’t like almond milk at all.

I also love cashew cheese and olive oil crafted buttery spreads.

I tend to come up with ideas and tasty plans to create then to put into effort within my foods.

I’m just glad I can experiment with a variety of plant sources without sacrificing great flavor.

So go and get that plant-based milk, cheese, and butter if it’s befitting to a preference or way of living.

 

Silver Dollars

 

I haven’t eaten pancakes in a long while now but when I use to prepare them I made them small.

I didn’t like the average size pancakes.

After mixing up the batter I’d dip in a table spoon and scoop out about the same equivalent within measure and let the slight thickness of the mixture empty into the grease of the pan.

I’d create what my family called “silver dollar” pancakes, cute and with volume.

I wouldn’t put too much milk (plant-based milk can be used) or water into the mix just enough to provide a good and preferable consistency for my pancakes to come out nicely textured.

The pancakes always tasted better cooked in a butter (plant-based butter or margarine can be used) compared to vegetable oils.

I would eat those pancakes anytime of the day, for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Whenever my appetite called out for them.

It didn’t matter whether or not I used syrup over the pancakes they were delicious either way.

Most of the time I ate them without any topping, and I’d fix and eat multiple silver dollar crafted pancakes until I had gotten thoroughly full.

 

Olive Oil

Real olive oil will leave a specific recognizable tingle within the back of the throat I’ve experienced this numerous times. It is a sign of the purity and pungency of the oil.

I continuously prepare and use olive oil in a lot of my foods. I first began using olive oil during my teenage years. I had got it in the tin can it use to come in.

I don’t just buy any olive oil displayed on the shelves of the supermarket because I know for a fact all oils labeled as 100% pure olive oil are actually not legitimate.

There are many popular well known brands who claim to sell authentic olive oil yet their statements are false and have been proven so.

There are only two olive oil companies I have trusted and bought from for over a long period of time now and they are California Olive Ranch, and Lucini. I had researched them prior to purchasing their oils. They both have the harvest dates as well as expiration dates located on their glass bottles.

Of course, there are other legitimate brands out there who do sell authentic olive oils these are just the particular two I frequently buy.

I also look out for the seals and certifications such as Non Gmo, Certified Extra Virgin Olive Oil Associations, USDA and so on.

Potatoes

One can do so many things with potatoes.

They can be baked, fried, boiled, mashed and turned into a variety of scrumptious dishes to enjoy.

I just made some potatoes yesterday. I cut eight whole potatoes in half and placed them into a pot of water seasoned with onion, garlic, cumin, thyme, pepper, salt, oregano and parsley.

When they were done and the majority of water had boiled out of the pot I scooped them onto a plate and spread a plant-based butter made with olive oil over them and they came out fantastic. They were the texture of luscious baked potatoes, they had boiled perfectly.

My favorite of all potato dishes have and will always be French fries.

There is nothing like homemade fries cooked in sunflower oil. I peeled, cut up, and fried so many potatoes when I was younger that I knew which type of oil brought out the best taste within them above all the others.

I even fried and ate so many homemade French fries one night that my body had absorbed too much grease and my stomach felt like it was split in half. I’m so glad my mother knew exactly to give me an alka seltzer back then it had cured the problem almost immediately.