Black Bean, Spinach Lasagna


Black Bean Spinach Lasagna

Black Bean Spinach Lasagna


  • 8 oz. box lasagna noodles
  • 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 4-6 cups tomato pasta, your favorite
  • 1 can fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 cup Portobello mushrooms, diced
  • 1 recipe Tofu Ricotta (recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Barley cook lasagna noodles, approximately 5 minutes. Too long, and they fall apart while you are handling them to layer lasagna. Drain, and set aside.

In large sauce pan, sauté  the minced garlic cloves, onion, and mushrooms in water or veggie broth. After approximately 5 minutes, pour in a jar of your favorite tomato sauce, fire roasted tomatoes, and black beans, lower heat, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Cover bottom of 9 x 13 baking dish with a thin layer of tomato black bean sauce, then a layer of noodles. Follow with half of the tofu spinach ricotta filling. Continue the same order, using half of the remaining tomato sauce and noodles and all the remaining spinach ricotta filling. End with the remaining noodles, covered by the remaining tomato sauce. Lightly sprinkle with non-diary  parmesan  (optional). Bake for 45 minutes.

Tofu Ricotta:

  • 1/4 cup raw cashews
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 16 oz. firm tofu, pressed to drain
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 Tbsps. fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
  • Salt & pepper
  • 10 oz. package frozen, chopped spinach, thawed and drained

Thaw spinach and drain as much as you can from it. I wrap it in numerous paper towels and squeeze over sink.

Place all ricotta ingredients (EXCEPT SPINACH) into blender and blend until smooth. Transfer to large bowl and stir in the drained spinach. Continue tasting until you get the salt adjusted to your taste.

Protein–How Much is Too Much?


The RDA for Protein is 8-10% of total diet calories.

The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for protein was established in the early 1940’s and has been officially sanctioned ever since. RDA is NOT a minimum requirement (minimum requirement is 5-6% total diet calories). It is the average requirement that has already been adjusted upwards. We do not need protein in excess of the RDA. Protein deficiency does not exist without calorie deficiency.

As demonstrated by the chart below, a 8-10% protein diet is easily provided by a whole food, plant-based diet.


This chart is done by weight. Other charts measured by % of calories can be found at:

RDA = 0.8 g protein/kg body weight = 8-10% of total diet calories

To calculate how much you need on average (not minimum):

Body Weight (BW) x .37


Body Weight of 132 lbs. x .37 = 48 grams, average

Body Weight of 150 lbs. x .37 = 56 grams, average

Body Weight of 180 lbs. x .37 = 66 grams, average

“Excess animal protein not only raises cholesterol, but also leeches calcium from our bones (resulting osteoporosis and bone fractures), inflames arteries, puts a tremendous burden on kidneys and liver (resulting in kidney stones and gallstones), and ignites tumors and cancer.”–Rip Esselstyn, of the book Engine 2, during an interview with University of California, Davis Integrative Medicine Program

*Note: Plant protein does NOT affect the body in the same ways (listed in above quote) as animal protein.


Building Bone Vitality, Amy Joy Lanou, PhD

Remer, T. and F. Manz, “Potential Renal Acid Loads of Foods and It’s Influence on Urine pH

T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, Nutritional Fundamentals

Neal Barnard, MD, Cancer Survivors’ Guide



Thai Spring Rolls with Sweet Chili Dipping Sauce and Rice

Fresh Thai Spring Rolls with Brown and Jasmine Rice

Fresh Thai Spring Rolls with Brown and Jasmine Rice


Rice Paper Wraps and Sweet Chili Sauce

Rice Paper Wraps and Sweet Chili Sauce

Thai Spring Rolls are one of our favorites! Other than your choice of veggies, all you will need are rice paper wraps and sweet chili sauce, both available at most Asian grocery stores. Neither are expensive.

Veggies that are my regular choice are: large green leaf (I like either collard, turnip, or chard leaves), shredded carrots and broccoli slaw (both bought already shredded in a bag to make it simpler), green onion, bean sprouts, fresh cilantro (or mint), and crushed peanuts.

You can choose any veggies you like. My favorite Thai restaurant even includes slices of cantaloupe, which sounds weird, but taste wonderful. Here’s a picture of theirs.

Rutherfordton Thai

Rutherfordton Thai

Wrapping them isn’t that difficult after you get the hang of it. Here’s a great 1+ minute demo on how to do it.

Serve with sweet chili dipping sauce.

Just toss some rice (I usually do a mixture of brown and jasmine rice, sometimes Botan) in your rice steamer,  and you’ve got a healthy delicious meal without even heating up the stove.




Lentil Shepherd’s Pie

Lentil Shepherd's Pie

Lentil Shepherd’s Pie



  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • ½ cup veggie broth
  • 1 tsp. rosemary
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1-1/2 cup dry/uncooked green lentils, rinsed
  • 6 oz. can tomato paste
  • 8 medium red skinned potatoes, chopped with skin left on
  • 1 Tbsp. Low-fat eggless mayo (recipe under Dips & Sauces) or Veganaise
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground peppercorn mélange
  • 1 Tbsp. smoked paprika
  • 2 Tbsp. parsley flakes

In a large saucepan, sauté garlic, onion, carrots, and celery with veggie broth and cook approximately 5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, rosemary, garlic powder, sea salt, bay leaf, lentils, and enough water to cover lentils by 3 inches. Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium high heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, add diced potatoes to large pot with enough water to cover well, and cook until tender, approximately 20 minutes.

When tomato lentil mixture is done, pour into 9 x 13 baking dish. Set to the side.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Remove potatoes from heat and drain. Add low-fat mayo, almond milk, and salt and blend with hand mixer about a minute, until slightly smooth.

Spread potatoes over lentil mixture in baking dish. Sprinkle with peppercorn, smoked paprika, and parsley flakes. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes, or until bubbly. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.



100-year-old surgeon, WWII vet who retired at 95, shares secrets to longevity

Talk about inspiring! Definitely worth the read!


Sweet Ginger Sesame Sauce


Sweet Sesame Sauce

Sweet Ginger Sesame Sauce–


  • 2 Tbsps. sesame seeds, roasted in dry pan
  • Dash of sesame oil (optional) OR 1 tsp. of tahini (available at most grocery stores)
  • 2 Tbsps. minced garlic (I used kind from jar)
  • 2 tsp. ginger root
  • 3 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. agave nectar

Combine all ingredients together in a medium bowl. This sauce is terrific over noodles and stir fry veggies. Could also be used as a dipping sauce or marinate.

Recipe from

Veggie Udon Noodles with Sweet Ginger Sesame Sauce



  • 12 oz. firm tofu, cut into triangles and drizzle with soy sauce. Allow to marinate for 20 minutes.
  • 3 medium green onions, sliced at an angle
  • 1 cup mushrooms (I used Portobello)
  • 1 small bunch of Bok Choy (or spinach), chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 plentiful handful snow peas
  • 8 oz. Udon noodles, cooked

Sweet Ginger Sesame Sauce–


  • 2 Tbsps. sesame seeds
  • Dash of sesame oil (optional) OR 1 tsp. of tahini (available at most grocery stores)
  • 2 Tbsps. minced garlic (I used kind from jar)
  • 2 tsp. ginger root
  • 3 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. agave nectar

Cook Udon noodles according to package directions, drain, rinse in cold water, and set aside.

In large skillet, add sesame seeds to dry pan and roast until golden brown and starting to pop. Transfer roasted seeds to a medium bowl. Add all sauce ingredients, and set aside.

Put skillet back on medium heat and add 1 Tbsp. of the sauce. Once it’s heated, add marinated tofu to hot pan. Sear on both sides until lightly browned and set aside on a plate.

Return skillet back to heat and add 3 Tbsps. of sauce and add Bok Choy. Cook until starting to wilt, approximately 5-7 minutes. Add all other veggies and 1 more Tbsp. of sauce. Allow to cook until veggies are slightly tender.

Toss noodles and the rest of Sweet Sesame Sauce into veggie pan. Add tofu and heat another 3-5 minutes. Now it’s ready to eat!

Confirmation I’m on the right track, so far…

These are the countries that have viewed my blog.  Just so unreal to me.

These are the countries that have viewed my blog. Just so unreal to me.

Wow! Talk about confirmation that I’m on the right track trying to encourage others back to health through nutrition! Last March, when I started this blog, I had never even read many blogs and had no idea what I was doing. Family members kept asking me about advice and recipes, and one of them suggested I start a blog because it would be a good platform to share information. Today, my blog has well over 4,000 views, and this is a comment I received the other night while we were out at dinner.

“Hello! I just wanted to let you know I linked to your site from a response you left on Dr. McDougall’s site and have been enjoying reading your blogs for the past 2.5 hours. I wish I had your energy and your prowess in the kitchen your meals look terrific! Wish I could hire you to make mine for me but I live north of Phoenix, AZ so don’t think that would work out. Anyway, just wanted to let you know how much I’m enjoying your site and I’ll definitely be trying out some of the recipes you’ve included. Also enjoy hearing about your good health and your other pursuits.”--Flora

This has reached way beyond my family and friends asking for recipes and advice. I’m humbled and thankful to have confirmation that I’m heading in the right direction.  Feels pretty awesome.

No-Egg Salad Sandwiches


No-Egg Salad Sandwiches


  • 1 block firm tofu, squeezed dry
  • ¾ cup chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • ¼ or ½ cup *Low-Fat, Eggless Healthy Mayo (recipe below) or Vegenaise
  • ½ cup Dijon mustard
  • ½ cup celery, diced
  • ½ green onions, with scallions
  • ¾ cup frozen green peas, thawed in drainer under warm water
  • 3 Tbsps. Nutritional yeast
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • ¼-1/8 tsp. cayenne powder for spice
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. sea salt

In blender, briefly pulse tofu, chickpeas, ½ of the celery, and ½ of the onions. Barely pulse this and leave it very chunky. Transfer blender contents to large bowl. Add the other ½ of celery, onions, green peas and all other ingredients. Stir thoroughly and serve on your choice of whole grain bread with fresh leaves of spinach or lettuces.

Easy, Low-Fat, Eggless Mayo


Low-fat, eggless mayo

  • 1 pound silken tofu
  • 1 tablespoon healthy sweetener (I use sucanat unrefined sugar or agave nectar)
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar or fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt

Remove water and drain tofu. I do this by setting it on a pile of paper towels in the refrigerator for a number of hours or overnight.

Scrape the tofu into a food processor.  Add the rest of the ingredients and puree until smooth and creamy.  Keeps in the refrigerator for about a week.

Recipe from Mary McDougall

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