Know Your Resources

I promised a few people over the past few weeks that I would compile a list of my favorite cookbooks and other resources for good whole food plant based eating!  So here goes!

First, cookbooks….To be fully “McDougall compliant”, I eliminate all added oils from these recipes. Typically, it just involves saute’ing in veggie broth instead of oil.

  1. Isa Does It by Isa Chandra Moskowitz
    This one is my go-to cookbook and the source of many of my new comfort foods.
    Favorites: Cheddary Broccoli Soup, Creamy Potato-Leek Soup, Lentil-A-Roni, White Wine Risotto and Dilly Stew with Rosemary Dumplings
    I think there are still so many more unexplored recipes for me to try!
  2. Oh She Glows by Angela Liddon
    Favorites: Quick & Easy Chana Masala, Creamy Vegetable Curry, Broccoli & Cashew Cheese-Quinoa Burrito
  3. Crazy Sexy Kitchen by Kris Carr
    Favorites: Veggie Quesadilla, Save the Tuna Salad on Rye
    Lots of beginner “know-how” in this book.
  4. The Happy Herbivore Cookbooks – my favorite is “Light & Lean”.
  5. O M Gee Good! Instant Pot Meals by Jill McKeever
    I got this one to help me better use my instant pot. I’ve only tried a few recipes so far. I love one pot meals for their ease of preparing; cooking them in minutes is even better!

While I do go to my cookbooks a few times a week, more and more I go to the web to find new recipes. I’m part of a few Facebook groups that post recipe links, so I’m never at a loss for new recipes. I have a stack of printed recipes that I plan to try, along with those I keep going back to!

If there’s a particular ingredient you want to try to incorporate into a dish, just google it along with “vegan recipes”. There’s a whole world of recipes waiting to be explored. I always review the ingredient list to make sure they are “compliant” or easily modifiable, and to see how difficult the recipe is to make. If it has too many steps or looks like it will take too long, I will skip it. I want to get dinner made in 30 minutes or less!

Here are some of my “go to” websites:

  1. 40-Year-Old-Vegan (an old college friend, now a vegan chef)
  2. Oh She Glows (yes, she has a website too!)
  3. Klunker’s Kitchen

As a reminder, you can click on the “recipes” tab above. That will link you to all posts that contain a recipe link. And if you find any good recipes on your own, please do share!!

IMDb: Know Your Resources (1950)

The Swimsuit Issue

I was never much of a swimmer nor a lover of water. I had the same bathing suits for years (decades, even?) because they rarely got used. I would much rather sit in the shade sipping a cool drink and reading a book than spending time in the water. So when I had my double mastectomy, I figured that was the end of swimsuits for me. I regularly joke “you do NOT want to see this body in a swimsuit”.

But then my husband’s employer decided to have their annual holiday party at Kalahari in the Pocono Mountains.  For those of you unfamiliar with Kalahari, it’s a resort with an indoor water park. Our reservations include tickets for 4 to the water park and we will be taking my son and a friend of his with us. Suddenly I am met with the challenge of actually putting THIS body into a swim suit. Horrors!

The search was on, and an easy task it was not. I spent hours on Google trying to find the right cut / fit. I ended up on sites that were ridiculously expensive or cuts that just weren’t going to work.  No. I am not spending $200 on a bathing suit that I will wear once a year, if I’m lucky.  Most had cups and underwire (don’t miss that!), or were cut down to “there”. Not really a good look for many, never mind post-mastectomy.

Finally I landed on the Hapari site. A few looked interesting, and some even said “mastectomy-friendly”. But even those seemed to have cups or places to insert prostheses, so I wasn’t sure. Eventually, I emailed the company and asked if they had any recommendations. I was really pleased with their customer service… they responded within 24 hours and provided several links of tankini options that might work. Most had either really thin cups, or removable cups.

I ordered 3 different styles and decided on this one:  JoBurg Classic Bandeau Tankini

I still need to find a bottom.  I had ordered one that had drawstrings that you could adjust the length, but even with those, it was just a tad too short for my comfort. Seems that might be an easier piece to find, however.

So after years of saying “never”… Kalahari, here I come!

IMDb: The Swimsuit Issue (2008)



Skin Deep

A few months ago I started nagging my husband about going to see the dermatologist. He had a mole on his chest that I thought needed to be looked at. In my years of having an annual examination by a dermatologist, I remembered someone saying “if it looks angry, have it looked at”. This particular mole was ugly — dark, textured, angry-looking. So I nagged… and nagged… and nagged.

Finally, at the beginning of October, David went to see the dermatologist. Turns out the one I was worried about was not a cause for concern. (Great!) Unfortunately, there was one on his back that was worrisome and so they did a biopsy on the spot. The results came back as an early melanoma. To be specific, the final diagnosis was “unusual compound Melanocytic lesion, suspicious for early Melanoma In Situ originating within a preexisting Clark’s (mild to moderately dysplastic) Melanotic Nevus. Peripheral and deep margins are negative.”

We spent this past Friday morning back at the dermatologist’s office for removal of the whole mole and surrounding areas. David now has a 3″ incision on the middle of his back. The doctor had no concerns of spread, indicating that this caught very early. (Yes, he owes me big!!) David will be monitored more regularly now — and with this cancer scare, you can be sure he won’t require nagging from me!

Interestingly, the doctor said that most men actually get to the dermatologist because of a loving wife who nags the heck out of them!  Most men would probably not get there on their own. (Married men do live longer than single men…) And lest you think I am being sexist, this article further supports that premise.  (Skin Cancer is Mostly a Male Problem) Further, men are less inclined to wear sunscreen.  If I had a nickel for every time I’ve said “don’t forget to put your sunscreen on” as David walked out the door for a track meet or a golf outing or yard work, I’d be retiring early.

Note: There are differing schools of thought on sunscreen. I still wear it, but I am careful to find a high quality sunscreen with the least amount of chemicals. Remember, if you are out in the sun a long time, you are sort of baking chemicals into your skin.  Do your research; don’t just buy what’s cheap.

If you are at risk (fair skin, have lots of moles, family history, usage of tanning beds, etc.), be sure to self-check and watch for changes to any moles. I strongly recommend getting a full body check by a professional. Melanoma doesn’t only appear on skin that has had exposure to the sun, so it’s important to check everywhere.  For areas that are hard to self-check (i.e., your back), have a loved one take a picture. Then take pictures every 6 months and do a comparison.


IMDb: Skin Deep (1989)

The Newspaper

Yesterday was the annual Ladies in Pink Party which benefits local women who are battling breast cancer. I am grateful for the gift that I received from this wonderful group of ladies back in 2012. It helped alleviate some of the financial challenges that come with treating cancer.  There were five recipients this year, including an 18 year old woman with stage IV breast cancer. (This totally broke my heart.) But as always, it was a celebration of life and a great time for a great cause.

This year, I also had the honor of being interviewed by The Scranton Times as a former recipient. I am grateful for the opportunity to share their story through my own story, and I even got a plug for my blog.  You can read this newspaper article here. (And thanks to Jon, the reporter, for a great conversation! It was a pleasure to meet you.)

Thanks to the 35 friends, family and coworkers who joined me in supporting this great cause! And thanks to the Ladies in Pink for all they do to support women fighting the good fight.



IMDb: The Newspaper (2015)