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Sugar? Agave? Stevia? Maple Syrup?

At least I’ve gotten it down to this list because, God know, there are a lot of sweeteners out there.

But which one do I use? I thought I knew. I’ve been using USDA Certified Organic Raw Agave Syrup, but recently I stumbled upon web articles stating that even agave syrup has high fructose levels – and most of us know by now how the addicting qualities of high fructose can lead to obesity and diabetes. Not to mention that the articles also state that most agave is manufactured in Mexico where lax standards have led to accusations of corn syrup additives.  In addition, it is written that agave syrup possess other chemical properties that pose varying health risks.

And so, until agave syrup is vetted to my satisfaction I am switching to good ‘ol American (or Canadian if the price is right) organic pure Maple Syrup. I already added it to my morning cup of coffee and it was wonderful. I am also going to try using powdered organic whole leaf powder Stevia.


{ about this recipe }

Are you ready for some comfort food? This is the creamy cheddar cheese version of my recipe that features parmesean cheese and garlic as the featured taste. And, yes, it’s 100% vegan – yet another recipe that dispels the myth that vegan food cannot be absolutely, satisfyingly delicious without sacrificing the spectrum of sensations we so treasure in our food experiences – taste, texture, depth of flavor, richness, delicacy, heat, spice, sweet, savory …

Like many meals,  I initially made this one based on “What’s in the fridge/pantry that we can use so we don’t have to go out to the store?”  Well, this time I noticed that the expiration date on the sausage was drawing near so, given that parameter to start with,  my attention was drawn to doing something with pasta, cheese and fresh spinach.

And, of course, it had to be easy and quick to prepare.

BRUNCH OPTION >>> substitute cooked diced Yukon Gold potatoes for the pasta

{ stuff you’ll need }

12 oz or one medium package of elbow or penne noodles, cooked, drained,rinsed and lightly coated with olive oil so it does not stick … I used Tinkyada’s Organic Brown Rice Pasta (what I had on hand); it’s wheat/gluten-free and cooks up al dente unlike most wheat-free and rice pasta brands

1 pkg Field Roast Smoked Apple Sage Sausages, roughly crumbled

¾ pkg Daiya Cheddar Style Shreds

½ cup Wildwood Soy Milk Creamer

½ cup Soy Dream Organic Enriched Milk

2 tbsp Wildwood Aioli

4 handfuls of fresh organically grown spinach leaves, thinly sliced while bunched

powdered smoked paprika to taste

powdered cayenne pepper to taste

Celtic sea salt and ground pepper to taste

{ how to make it }

… while the pasta is cooking saute the roughly crumbled sausages in a fry pan (preferably cast iron skillet) in a bit of canola oil, turning to brown evenly, being sure to scrape up any bits that are sticking to the bottom of the pan – the sausage browns up quickly so pay close attention to them it …  set aside when finished

… in a saucepan, heat on medium high flame the creamer/milk mixture making sure you do not bring it to a boil … instead, when the creamer/milk is very hot start adding the cheese to it, stirring constantly to incorporate the cheese into the creamer/milk

… when the cheese is melted stir in the cayenne, paprika, salt and pepper … set aside

… once the pasta is drained, rinsed and lightly oiled move it to a medium size bowl and fold in the uncooked sliced spinach leaves, being careful not to harm the noodles

… blend the Aioli into the cheese sauce, then pour the sauce into the noodles, stirring and continuing to be careful of harming the noodles, but being sure to mix thoroughly so the cheese is coating all the noodles

… spoon the noodle mixture into a medium size casserole, similar in capacity to an 8x8x3 baking pan

… sprinkle the sausage mixture on top, distributing it evenly and being sure that all the crunchy bits make it on as well

… bake at 350° for about half an hour

spanish rice

{ about this recipe }

This dish is one of those super easy to make comfort foods that is a real crowd pleaser. It was one of the first dishes I ‘veganized’ after I went vegan. You can choose to make it non-spicy by substituting plain diced for the canned tomatoes with chipotle peppers, as well as toning down on the powdered spices. The crumbles are optional – they are the ‘meaty’ part of the dish – making for a ‘heartier’ meal option, and also good for serving to a ‘mixed’ (vegan and meat-eaters) crowd of guests. Served along with a freshly tossed veg/fruit salad and your good to go!

I usually get the idea to make Spanish Rice when I have a lot of fresh garden tomatoes on hand (dear son-in-law just arrived with the most amazing pile of plum tomatoes!), and green peppers are in season (now!) when at the peak of their flavor and low price. However, that does not keep me from making this dish in the dead of winter (comfort food!) when it’s a perfect for social get togethers. And, like most casserole-style meals, it is even yummier the next day, and the next …

{ stuff you’ll need }

I’ll leave the exact quantities up to you but if you have any questions feel free to ask and I’ll be happy to reply.

. 4 cups cooked (2 dry) organic Basmati style rice – white, light brown or brown
. 3 med-large sweet onions, diced and sauteed until caramelized
. 2 jumbo or 4 med/small green peppers, diced and sauteed until caramelized
. 3-4 15 oz cans of Muir Glen Organic Fire Roasted Petite Diced Tomatoes with Chipotle Peppers, undrained
. 1 bag of frozen non-gmo crumbles, Boca or other, nearly thawed
. fresh tomatoes, diced
. smoked paprika
. cayenne pepper
. salt and pepper

{ how to make it }

while the rice is cooking saute in separate batches (a cast iron skillet is ideal) the onion and green pepper, gently folding them into the rice when they are done … then, saute the crumbles for 10-12 minutes and gently fold into the rice mixture … add the canned tomatoes and fresh diced tomatoes … season to taste … bake or microwave to warm and serve

vegan hummus sandwich

{ about this recipe }

This is a sandwich that is delicious unto itself but that I must confess I came up with initially because I was still craving tuna sandwiches (which, thankfully, I no longer do). This sandwich gave me that creamy/crunchy texture I missed with my tuna sandwiches.

This deliciously simple hummus sandwich exemplifies the healthful benefits of “food combining”. In addition to being excellent sources for fiber and heart-healthy iron and manganese, the combination of bread and hummus (chick-peas/garbanzo beans)  provides a high ‘complete’ protein source. Also, by combining fresh carrots with  hummus, digestion speeds up thus avoiding excessive gas buildup.

And, as always, feel free to change up the minced veggie ingredients. For instance, the addition of minced radishes and/or celery wonderfully expands the crunch, texture and taste factor. And if I have it on hand I add a layer of spicy/sweet kale salad and layer it in a wrap – delicious!

hummus wrap with carrots and kale

{ stuff you’ll need }

I’ll leave the ingredient quantities up to you but if you have any questions feel free to ask and I’ll be happy to reply.

. Creamy style spicy or garlic flavor hummus
. Shredded sweet carrots
. Kale salad (optional)
. Flavorful whole grain bread

{ how to make it }

spread a layer of hummus, not too thick, on the inside of each slice of the bread …  by spreading  hummus on each slice of bread it serves to hold the shredded carrot in place … sprinkle one slice generously with the shredded carrots … place the other slice of bread on top

conserVegan seems a bit of an oxymoron, doesn’t  it?  Actually, it is my hope to show how conservatism and veganism share essential core principles and values. In fact, as a Christian conservative it was not until I embraced veganism that my life was fundamentally transformed both spiritually and outwardly.

Christian …

Before anything I am Roman Catholic. Not a Newchurch Catholic, but a pre-Vatican II Traditional Catholic who attends Tridentine Latin Mass  every Sunday. Well, nearly every Sunday. Nobody’s perfect. 😉  From my faith flows all that I hold sacred: Faith in God’s Presence and Love; the Word and the Will of God; His restoring grace and redeeming love; right and wrong; charity; free will; family; God’s living creations; and living in The Imitation of Christ.  Bound by this system of interwoven beliefs and values, my faith, conservatism and veganism integrate seamlessly into my daily life.

Conservative …

As a Reagan conservative I believe in upholding all the laws of our Constitution, limited government, a free market economy, limiting taxes, a sovereign nation with a strong national defense, and freedom of religion and expression.  I support the second amendment, and as a responsible gun owner I am prepared to protect my life, my loved ones, my home and country with my S&W 686+ .357 Magnum, for which I am NRA certified in Basic Pistol/Revolver Shooting, and Home Firearm Safety. I am against hunting for sport but I will defend your right to do so with the hope that you will someday see the light.

Vegan …

Basically, there are health vegans and ethical vegans. Many vegans are both, which would be me. Health-wise, I believe that a diet high in animal fat and casein from dairy products is a trigger for many of our Western diseases, specifically heart disease and cancer. And from an ethical standpoint, I believe that God’s instruction for mankind to behave as  benevolent stewards of His kingdom on earth has been basically ignored through mankind’s selfish choices.  Mankind must cease to be motivated by the desire for oppressive power, and instead work to eliminate the shameful, gruesome and inhumane practices of factory farming for food and fur, indiscriminate hunting, poaching and other animal cruelties that threaten the very definition of  humanity.

Each of us is responsible for preserving this beautiful Earth that God created for us and all His creations.  However, unless we protect our liberty and security our children will not have a healthy environment to enjoy. Therefore, we cannot  preserve our environment at the risk of losing our security.  To begin with, we must protect our borders while enforcing immigration laws,  and must responsibly extract fossil fuels in our own country while we develop reasonable alternatives resources.   As well, the  man-made global warming hoax should be ended before there is any further consideration of instituting the financially disastrous Cap and Trade bill. These are just two of many politically charged issues propped up by the Progressive ideology of the Far Left that threaten to irrevocably harm the security of our country.

Most importantly, preserving our environment begins at home. If we all  choose to live simply, eat healthfully, consume minimally, acquire in moderation, and treat others, animals and our surrounding environment with respect and kindness we would not be facing most of our impending financial, environmental and social calamities.

This also explains why I am Pro-Life, why I believe that human life is God-given and precious, that it begins at conception, that to willfully kill innocent life is murder. Conversely, I believe Capital Punishment is warranted in certain complicated cases. Even Christ believed in it.

I can assure you that I have not come by my views lightly. Youthful boneheaded decisions, misguided beliefs and abdicated values were followed by years of soul searching, Bible study, prayer and meditation, reading, examining relationships, thoughtful observation – and just plain ol’ thinking.  From all of this I can attribute the present clarity of my humbled and resolute heart, mind and soul to the unbending strength of my faith in my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.


If you’ve checked my other recipes I guess you’ll notice that I love recipes that are super simple, super fast to prepare and super yummy! Oh, and did I mention healthy?! Couscous could not be easier to prepare, and if you love pasta you will love couscous  ~ because that is what it is 😀 ~ and it’s actually even easier to prepare than boxed pasta! If you can boil water (I use an electic kettle) you can make couscous. A make-ahead-of-time dish. Serves 4

1       block of  More Than Tofu Spinach Jalapeno seasoned tofu, removed from package and patted dry

½      box of Delallo brand Certified Organic 100% Durum hard wheat couscous

3       large Portobello mushroom caps, cleaned and cut into small pieces

2       15oz cans of Muir Glen Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes, drained

1        large Vidalia onion, peeled and diced

½     bunch of spring onions, cut into ½ inch lengths

4-5   cloves of garlic, minced, or 2 tbsp of Rinaldo’s Organic Garlic Gold Nuggets

½     cup of sliced pitted assorted Mediterranean style olives or whole capers

olive oil

Celtic Sea Salt


1: Place the couscous in a large glass, ceramic or stainless steel bowl.
2: Boil 1½ cups of water, pour over the couscous, gently stir to evenly  distribute the water, cover and set aside
3: In a large heavy bottom skillet saute the onion until caramelized.
4: Gently fluff up the couscous.
5: Scoop the cooked onions on top of the couscous and gently mix in.
6: In the same skillet, add some more oil and gently saute the mushrooms, adding the garlic when almost done.
7: Scoop the cooked mushrooms into the couscous and gently mix.
8: In the same skillet, add some more oil, crumble in the tofu and, using a steel spatula, saute the tofu for about five minutes, adding the spring onion after about 2 minutes, being careful to continuously scrape the bottom in order to get all the precious crunchy bits.
9: Scrape the tofu from the skillet into the couscous and gently mix.
10:Add the drained tomato bits and the olives or capers.
11:Salt to taste.

Eating a vegan diet does not mean that you are going to lose weight.  It is fat and sugar that make us fat. It’s really that simple. A vegan eating too much oil and sugar is going to get just as fat as a meat eater eating too much meat, dairy and sugar.  Meat eaters who maintain their weight do so only because their fat and caloric intake is equal to the energy that their body burns through exercise.  Even as a vegan, I climb on the scale every morning to make sure I am not gaining weight. I also know that unless I get those few hours of exercise in every week, those pounds are going to creep back on.

vegan meals can be fattening

However, it is because their diet is high in animal cholesterol that slender meat eaters face the same health issues (heart disease, cancer…) as overweight meat eaters. An overweight vegan who eats too many meals like the burger shown here, though they are not going to look as hot in a bikini as a slender meat eater, is a whole lot healthier on the inside. Their blood flows freely through their veins and their organs function as they should, negating the need for cholesterol, blood pressure and even Stage II diabetic  medications. It is a proven medical fact, and is even stated in some of the product commercials for erectile enhancement pills, that the reason why men get erectile dysfunction is because those vessels down there are clogged with cholesterol, thereby causing performance issues for little johnny.

And so, besides the important ethical reasons related to factory farming, the next important reason for eating a vegan diet is to improve and extend the quality of your physical health.  Most Americans consume meals that include animal protein amounts higher than 10%. Scientist call this the Western Diet, and attribute it to the steep increase in vascular and cancer diseases. One of the scariest things about eating meat and dairy is that many researchers and scientists have established a link between the ingestion of animal cholesterol and casein (known as cancer ‘triggers”) in our Western Diet and our ranking as number one for breast cancer in the world.

The literature that definitively lays out for laymen the reasons for us to rethink our Western diet is The China Study, written by Dr. T. Colin Campbell. From

“Early in his career as a researcher with MIT and Virginia Tech, Dr. Campbell worked to promote better health by eating more meat, milk and eggs — “high-quality animal protein … It was an obvious sequel to my own life on the farm and I was happy to believe that the American diet was the best in the world.”

He later was a researcher on a project in the Philippines working with malnourished children. The project became an investigation for Dr. Campbell, as to why so many Filipino children were being diagnosed with liver cancer, predominately an adult disease. The primary goal of the project was to ensure that the children were getting as much protein as possible.

“In this project, however, I uncovered a dark secret. Children who ate the highest protein diets were the ones most likely to get liver cancer…” He began to review other reports from around the world that reflected the findings of his research in the Philippines.

Although it was “heretical to say that protein wasn’t healthy,” he started an in-depth study into the role of nutrition, especially protein, in the cause of cancer.  The research project culminated in a 20-year partnership of Cornell University, Oxford University, and the Chinese Academy of Preventive Medicine, a survey of diseases and lifestyle factors in rural
China and Taiwan. More commonly known as the China Study, “this project eventually produced more than 8000 statistically significant associations between various dietary factors and disease.”

The findings? “People who ate the most animal-based foods got the most chronic disease … People who ate the most plant-based foods were the healthiest and tended to avoid chronic disease. These results could not be ignored,” said Dr. Campbell.

In The China Study, Dr. Campbell details the connection between nutrition and heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, and also its ability to reduce or reverse the risk or effects of these deadly illnesses. The China Study also examines the source of nutritional confusion produced by powerful
lobbies, government entities, and irresponsible scientists.”

Dr. Campbell is a vegan, as is the head of the breast cancer clinic at the number one ranked cancer treatment hospital located in NYC (I know this because my dd worked their as a chemo nurse).

baked veggies

As long as the medical research, education, media exposure and legislation for humane practices continue to bear out the rationale for eating a vegan diet we can look forward to a time when humans will enjoy better health and live in a more humane environment. No longer will we buy into the hype that there is a magic pill to solve all of our problems. Most of all, there would be a dramatic shift in our self-centered and ingrained 1960s-based cultural focus of  “I should have whatever I want”, to “I should have what is good for me so that I can be the best person that God wants me to be.”


Post Categories




Want to read about why it’s so great to go Vegan?

The China Study
by T. Colin Campbell, PhD

Dominion~The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy
by Matthew Scully

The Emotional Lives of Animals
by Marc Bekoff

The Inner World of Farm Animals
by Amy Hatkoff

When Elephants Weep
by Jeffrey M. Masson

The Outtermost House
by Henry Beston

Mind of the Raven
by Bernd Heinrich

Tarka the Otter
by Henry Williamson

The Face on Your Plate
by Jeffrey M. Masson


             "other nations"



"Don't interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard for our liberties."
Abraham Lincoln ~ August 1856

"This is not just an America in decline. This is an America in retreat -- accepting, ratifying and declaring its decline, and inviting rising powers to fill the vacuum."
Charles Krauthammer ~ May 2010

"One of the sad signs of our times is that we have demonized those who produce, subsidized those who refuse to produce, and canonized those who complain."
Thomas Sowell ~ February 2007

"The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself"
Benjamin Franklin ~ "Yardstick of Liberty"

"Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight."
Albert Schweitzer

"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated."

"A wise and frugal government, which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor and bread it has earned -- this is the sum of good government."
Thomas Jefferson

"When one door closes another door opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us."
Alexander Graham Bell

"Moral excellence comes about as a result of habit. We become just by doing just acts, temperate by doing temperate acts, brave by doing brave acts."

"If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there'd be a shortage of sand."
Milton Friedman

"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same."
Ronald Reagan

"The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money."
Alexis de Tocqueville

"That government is best which governs the least, because its people discipline themselves."
Thomas Jefferson

"I hope we have once again reminded people that man is not free unless government is limited. There's a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: as government expands, liberty contracts."
Ronald Reagan

"Give me liberty or give me death!"
Patrick Henry ~ 1775

"The propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected upon a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which Heaven itself has ordained."
George Washington ~ Inaugural Address 1789

"Government is not the solution to the problem; government is the problem."
Ronald Reagan ~ Inaugural Address 1981

"How can you tell a communist? Well, it's someone who reads Marx and Lenin. And how do you tell an anti-Communist? It's someone who understands Marx and Lenin."
Ronald Reagan

"I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome."
Booker T. Washington

"I am in favor of cutting taxes under any circumstances and for any excuse, for any reason, whenever it's possible."
Milton Friedman

"Don't expect to build up the weak by pulling down the strong."
Calvin Coolidge

"Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If ti moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it"
Ronald Reagan

"Liberals claim to be open to hearing other peoples' views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views."
William F. Buckley, Jr.

"The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself."
Benjamin Franklin

"Don't interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties."
Abraham Lincoln 1856

"There has never been a society or a nation without God. But history is cluttered with the wreckage of nations that became indifferent to God, and died."
Whitaker Chambers

"Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that His justice cannot sleep forever..."
Thomas Jefferson 1788

"Within the covers of that single Book are all the answers to all the problems that face us today; if we'd only look there."
Ronald Reagan

      libera nos a malo

Veganize it!