Why Choosing Glass Over Plastic Matters

Infinity Jars for Food and Home Storage


Please Stop Using Plastic NOW

In a perfect world plastic would never have been invented.  I know, that is a bold statement; but had we known in 1907 what we know now about this harmful and insidious chemical product, we would have banned it immediately. Did you know that the first plastic based on a synthetic polymer was made from phenol and formaldehyde, with the first viable and cheap synthesis methods invented in 1907, by Leo Hendrik Baekeland. Phenol is both corrosive and toxic. Formaldehyde, aside from ALS risk or other nervous system consequences, is a respiratory irritant that causes chest pain, shortness of breath, coughing, and nose and throat irritation, according to the ATSDR. (The CDC’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry) It can also cause cancer, and has been linked to an increased risk of asthma and allergies in kids. Plastics contain phthalates (click on the link to learn why the United Nations and World Health Organization view phthalates as a global threat) and are, among other bad things, on a long list of harmful endocrine disrupters. YIKES!  Why would we want to be exposed to this stuff?

Choose Glass Instead

Here is some trivia for you.

  • Americans consumed about 9.67 BILLION gallons of bottled water in 2015. Each gallon represents 7.5 individual plastic bottles 90% of which end up in landfills.
  • It takes 203 ounces of water to make a 16.9 ounce plastic bottle. Anyone see the problem with that?
  • At last count in 2015, there were 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris in the ocean. Of that mass, 269,000 tons float on the surface, while some four billion plastic microfibers per square kilometer litter the deep sea.(Source)
  • Plastic bottles in landfills will take thousands of years to decompose.
  • Glass has been around for thousands of years. It was first used to make jewelry and amulets and then much later for vessels and building materials.
  • The first hollow glass container is believed to have been created around 1500 BC.
  • While glassmaking was originally thought of as creative and artsy, science entered the game in the late 1500s with the invention of glass telescope and microscope lenses.
  • The first American glass was made in 1608 in Jamestown, Commonwealth of Virginia.
  • Modern glass making is energy intensive. Approximately 22% of production costs are consumed by energy.  This, however, is far less than the 40% figure in the making of plastic.

5 Reasons Glass Over Plastic Is the Right Choice

  1. Glass is non-porous.
    Glass is inert. This means it is safer for storage of food and skin care products as there is no leeching of chemicals into the contents like there is with plastic, no odors or other external pollutants can penetrate the glass so your food retains its original flavor and no cosmetic scents can bother the person next to you, and nothing (no bacteria, detergent etc) is left behind after cleaning.
  2. Glass is a durable good.
    I love “economics speak” don’t you? Anyway, glass containers have a much, much longer “shelf life” than plastic. For example: plastic water bottles are single use. You buy it, you drink it, you throw it away.  Americans purchase approximately 42.6 billion individual 1-liter bottles of water each year (2015 figures). Globally, people go through roughly 200 billion plastic water bottles annually. Now, consider this. If you took a glass water bottle with you in the morning, full of life-saving water, then refilled it at work and at the gym; you will have personally reduced the number of plastic water bottles hitting the landfill by 3. Multiply that by 365 days in a year and you will reduce the number of plastic water bottles in the landfill by 1,095.  That’s just you. Something else that should impress you: water from your tap or filter at home costs you about 3 cents per bottle. Water purchased in that nasty plastic bottle will cost anywhere from 50 cents if you buy it by the caseload to over $3.00 if you buy it at the airport.  By using glass you will save money in the long run and help save our planet. This same theory applies to food storage containers and skin care product containers. With proper care (like not dropping them on concrete or knocking containers together in the sink or dishwasher), glass storage containers will last for many, many years. In fact, the Infinity Jars, pictured above, are incredibly strong. Let’s see: save money, save the planet —- looks like a win-win to me.
  3. Glass is 100% recyclable.
    When the time comes years down the road, to part with your glass storage containers, you can be confident that those containers won’t need to take up space in a landfill.  A glass jar can become a glass jar again, and again, and again. It can be reused by someone else, it can be repurposed, it can be crushed to be used as a soft surface for playgrounds or for pipe-bedding in the construction industry. or become part of the glass industry’s recycling process in the production of new glass products.It takes up to 60% less energy to make new glass products from recycled glass. Plastic, on the other hand, has little chance of becoming something valuable again and again. To give you a good picture, figuratively and literally, of the importance of the recyclability of glass versus plastic, please watch this TedTalk.
  4. Glass is efficient.
    I don’t know about you, but I don’t want any more clean-up than is absolutely necessary in my kitchen. Glass can help with that. Glass is so efficient you can prepare much of your food, serve it, and store leftovers all in the same dish.Side note:  I don’t think plastic tubs have a place on the dinner table!  Glass can go in your dishwasher on high temp settings as well.  Awesome, right? While these are great benefits there are more. Glass containers preserve their contents much better than plastic. You will see a dramatic reduction in waste due to spoilage and degradation. One of the best features of the Infinity Jars shown above is the preserving qualities of the dark violet glass on light-sensitive contents. I’ll talk more about that below.
  5. Glass will raise your consciousness.
    As a consumer, you have a choice. You can contribute to the deaths of our oceans, to the demise of global wildlife populations, and to the decline of human health by continuing to live a throw-away lifestyle; or, you can shift your mindset to a more sustainable lifestyle by making a simple yet powerful choice of glass over plastic. Of course, this is just one step of many we all need to take if we are to make a difference, but at least it is a step in the right direction.

Feature Review – Infinity Jars

Infinity Jars for Food and Home Storage

The glass containers featured here are from Infinity Jars. Let me first say they are beautiful and perfectly sized for the uses I have committed them to. Pictured here are the 5ml Glass Push Pump Bottle, 15ml Glass Push Pump Bottle, 15ml Glass Pippette Dropper Bottle and 150ml Glass Tall Screw Top Jar. There are over 30 different containers available from Infinity Jars, but as I will be traveling soon the three small ones seemed like a perfect fit for now. Based on appearances, these containers get a solid “10” from me for form: now for the function.

Infinity Jars are made from dark ultraviolet glass which is not just aesthetic. According to the company’s information, this type of pigmented glass blocks harmful visible light rays from degrading light-sensitive contents on the inside and lets beneficial light rays in to extend the shelf life of the contents. I’m not a scientist but this makes sense to me. I know that beer and wine companies use dark glass for many of their products to keep their light-sensitive products from spoiling. Sure, there are lots of products in clear glass containers but my research tells me these are products not typically affected by light. The dark glass is quite attractive and serves a good purpose; but it is impossible to see what’s inside. Don’t worry, Infinity Jars has you covered. They provide attractive, appropriately sized labels for listing contents and dates.

I’ve chosen to use the three smaller bottles for my skin care products. I use and highly recommend KINDri.  KINDri is a line of organic, cruelty free skin care. It is incredible for many reasons not the least of which is there are no harmful man-made chemicals in them, unlike those found in most commercially available skin care products. For this reason, my KINDri products have made their home in my small Infinity Jars. I know my KINDri skin care products will stay well preserved and protected even in my carry-on bag. NOTE:  TSA rules limit liquids in carry-on bags to no more than 3.4oz per container and all liquid containers in your carry-on bag must fit into one (1) quart see-through sealable bag for screening.

The small bottles are perfect for essential oils too. My bucket list includes learning to make my own essential oils – especially lavender. What I do know already is that essential oils are really sensitive to light. It doesn’t make sense to put in all that work to realize something so lovely only to have it quickly degrade because of the container it is in.  I think the small bottles, especially the one with the dropper, are perfect for tinctures too, like Black Elderberry during cold and flu season from Mountain Rose Herbs as well as my liquid B12 and D3 from Garden of Life.

The large 150ml screw top Infinity Jar is now the home of a blend of fresh, beautifully fragrant herbs from our local farmer’s market. I use a lot of herbs in my food preparation and they are sometimes quite dear in price. I don’t want to lose any of their quality so I am glad I have this jar to keep them as fresh as possible. **Note: this jar does not meet the TSA requirements so my herbs will not be accompanying me on my journey.

I hope you have found this post useful. My goal is to help my readers live a healthy, happy, plant-strong life and to encourage everyone to take care of our planet. I love sharing my recipes, educating people about the power of food to heal and maintain good health, and learning about the many conscious entrepreneurs who are working hard to make this world a better place. I would love to hear from you about this or any of my posts.

Looking for information on how to begin a healthy, whole food, plant-based lifestyle? Why not join the more than 16,000+ people on the 2017 Engine 2 7-Day Rescue Challenge. In just 7 days, the healthy results you will experience will blow your mind.






Herbs are not just for decoration anymore!

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Who hasn’t tossed a sprig of parsley on a plate or topped a dessert with a mint leaf merely for decoration?  It’s ok to admit it.  Those little pops of green do make a dish look finished, right? Truth is, I even wondered as a child why those funny little leaves were on my plate, but I didn’t venture to eat them until my sense of culinary adventure developed in my 20’s. I wonder how many thousands of pounds of parsley and mint have been scraped off restaurant plates around the world over the years!

Since I adopted a vegan lifestyle a number of years ago, I have discovered so many wonderful flavors, textures and awesome nutrition available through plant foods that I can create a new dish every day and never need to repeat the recipe. One of the categories of foods I am really excited about enjoying and experimenting with in our kitchen is herbs. However, I live in the desert, so what are the chances I will be able to find the best quality, freshest herbs worthy of serving my family and friends? Actually, the chances are excellent.

Diane & Cate

Herbs by Diane

Finding Herbs by Diane, located in Boulder City, Nevada, is like finding a treasure trove in your grandmother’s attic or a truly special gift under the Christmas tree. And, just wait until you meet Diane Greene, the owner of this beautiful, edible garden in the desert.  In my opinion, Diane is such a Southern Nevada treasure they should name a street after her!

Diane clearly loves the part she plays in providing beautiful, organically grown herbs, vegetables, microgreens and edible flowers to our Southern Nevada Community. Diane’s passion for gardening was passed down to her by her parents who involved her, as a young child, in growing healthy food and taking care of the environment. In fact, when asked why she continues in this business that takes a good deal of patience and hard work, she responds with a chuckle and says “I’ve always loved playing in the dirt”.

In the GreenhouseWe met Diane at her Boulder City garden last Friday morning, while she was busy getting orders ready for her regular customers to pick up and preparing for her weekly Saturday farmers market table at Fresh52 @ Tivoli Village in Summerlin. While Diane and her team were busy, she was delighted to show off her gardens and green house, and proudly conveyed she supplies 8 local, very prestigious Las Vegas Strip restaurants with her fresh garden bounty. In fact, the next time you are enjoying a world-class meal at Harvest by Roy Ellamar at Bellagio Las Vegas you will know you are enjoying some of Diane’s delicious herbs.


In the Greenhouse-3My husband and I are huge fans of microgreens.  Diane’s microgreens will make you a fan too.  The flavor that is packed into these tiny little plants is unbelievable! Diane let us taste the pea shoots, sunflower greens and radish greens – WOW! Talk about a flavor punch! You just have to add these to your salads or sandwiches, you will not believe what a difference they will make – not to mention how much added nutrition that your body will benefit from.

In the GardenIt is hard to believe delicate lettuces can grow in our harsh desert climate, but Diane’s gardens are brimming with lettuce at various stages of maturity. Just imagine the flavor you’ll get from a salad made from lettuce picked fresh from the garden rather than picked then transported over hundreds of miles by truck only to be packed onto store shelves for days.  The variety of greens you could use for your salad is fantastic: how about fresh basil, chives, parsley, verbena and maybe some sorrel. Oh, and don’t get me started on the edible flowers Diane has to offer.  OK, full disclosure – Until last Friday, I’d never tasted fresh sorrel before. I’m pretty sure Diane was amazed by my confession, but I am so glad she offered to give me a taste. Sorrel has a lovely, tart, almost lemony flavor that will take your next salad to a whole other level. Try it! Really, just try it!

Here are several good reasons to buy your herbs, microgreens and edible flowers from Herbs by Diane:

  • Diane’s produce is organically grown
  • Diane’s produce is freshly picked for you to enjoy
  • Diane’s herbs, veggies, microgreens and edible flowers are very healthy additions to your whole food, plant-based diet
  • Herbs by Diane is a local, small business that deserves our support

To contact Diane, send her an email at dianegreene2@cox.net. You can check out the products she has to offer at www.herbsbydiane.com. Like her page on FaceBook or stop by her booth indoors at the Fresh52 Farmers’ Market at Tivoli Village every Saturday from 9 am – 2 pm.

A heart shape held in hands February is heart health month. Herbs provide many unique antioxidants, essential-oils, vitamins,  and other nutrients that can contribute to good health. Did you know that parsley, that little green leaf so often thought of as just decoration, is actually an excellent source of Vitamins A,C and K and a very good source of folate and iron. Basil is also an excellent source of Vitamin K and is considered an anti-inflammatory food. Cilantro, one of my favorite herbs, is an excellent heart-healthy choice too. Bonus – herbs are very low in calories so enjoy liberally.

5 Gift Ideas With Meaning

Gift IdeasWhat is Conscious Gift Giving?

Conscious giving simply means some thought has gone into selecting a gift that has meaning for the recipient and that honors the values of the giver. Gift giving should bring joy to both parties and should be a reflection of their relationship. Even when offering a gift to someone with whom you have only a professional relationship, meaning should be a primary consideration.

Here are some gift ideas that will hopefully stimulate your thinking. Don’t let the barrage of panicked advertisements and commercials shouting about “there’s not much time left to find the perfect gift” get in your way of choosing the perfect gifts. You may be surprised at how simple and easy conscious gift giving can be.

  1. The Gift of Music
    Music is a universal language that transcends so many of our perceived differences. I am blessed to have music in our home every day. My husband, a gifted composer and multi-instrumentalist, finds such joy and comfort in playing; I am fortunate to be a beneficiary of that beautiful music and the pleasure it brings to him. Check out his latest album “Quintessence” on Amazon.com and iTunes.com.The Gift of Music can include everything from vintage albums to new releases, gift cards to iTunes.com or maybe a subscription to a digital music service.  Maybe your loved one or colleague has been wanting to try out a new genre of music; what a great opportunity to give them a little taste of something different!
    The Gift of Music can also include a new instrument, or music or singing lessons, or maybe some new music charts for someone already musically experienced. Even small children will love getting a triangle, a recorder, or even a set of drums. (Sorry mom and dad.)  What about tickets to a concert or musical theater? There are plenty of choices available that won’t break the bank either: community theater, school productions, City-Sponsored programs, and live music in showrooms and music festivals. With a little research in your community you should be able to find something that will delight.
  2. The Gift of Learning
    People of all ages delight in watching something grow.  Just watch children in a classroom as they learn how to germinate a potato or in the Spring when they see little sprouts pushing through the garden soil. Consider giving a collection of heirloom seeds maybe with some small garden tools to a family or child. Make sure you ask them to keep you posted on how their garden is growing.There are a myriad of great classes available in almost every community, everything from cooking, to photography, to crafts, tai-chi, and even languages. Check out your local community colleges and universities – they have all kinds of classes for just about every interest. Some retailers also offer photography, cooking and craft classes. Check out Williams-Sonoma, Sur-La-Table, and local art and photography stores. Many of their classes are very inexpensive and all are lots of fun.
  3. The Gift of Outdoor Adventures
    Giving a gift of the outdoors to someone you love is a gift that will last a lifetime.  We all know we spend far too much time indoors – its just not physically or mentally healthy for us. A National Parks Pass encourages those you love to take some time to enjoy the extraordinary beauty of the world.

    What about giving a child or a family a week at camp? There are hundreds of wonderful camps for children, teens and families: some are science focused, some are sports, music or art focused, there are camps for people with disabilities – really there is something for everyone. There are even awesome day camps, many that are sponsored by your city-run community centers.

    How about a membership to a running club, or a hiking club, or a bird-watching club…..you get the idea.  A gift of a soccer ball, or a jump rope, or a badminton racket, or chalk to make a hopscotch game on the sidewalk will get people you love outdoors.  Let your imagination run wild and you’ll be sure to come up with a brilliant idea.

  4. The Gift of Health
    Finger Food FunOK, I’ll admit this one could be a double-edged sword; but I believe giving the gift of good health is the ultimate gift of love. It shows how much you care. A gift of a fitness tracker or a certificate for yoga or a fun dance class are sure to be welcome by those who want to make good health a priority. A pass to a community center pool or a membership to a health-focused online grocery shopping business like Thrive Market would be greatly appreciated.The gift of a massage or other cruelty-free spa treatment is sure to be welcomed and will set your loved one on the path of understanding that taking care of him/herself is important. Herbal teas and other healthy remedies will also be welcomed.  Mountain Rose Herbs is a great place to learn about these lovely gift ideas. Just click on the ad to the right. (this is an affiliate link)
  5. The Gift of a Kinder, Gentler World
    To me, choosing gifts with meaning means ensuring the gifts are cruelty free; that they are offered by an organization that has ethical business practices including fair trade and sustainability; that the gifts are locally sourced whenever possible; and that they have the least impact on the environment as possible. I also like to support businesses that help their communities.The most important thing you can do to ensure any gifts you purchase are cruelty free is to read labels and product descriptions. If you are choosing anything with fabric please consider only items made from organic cotton, hemp, bamboo and vegan (faux) leather or (faux) suede, and microfibers. Take a look at GUNAS and A Greener Kitchen on the right (affiliate links). Their products are cruelty free and beautiful.There are plenty of organizations that work hard to make a positive difference in the world. Purchasing items from groups like Peta, or animal sanctuaries help these organizations continue their work. Check them out.
A Gift of Love

A Gift of Love

Whatever you choose to give this year the thought you put into the gift will be appreciated because the receiver will know it came from a place of love. Enjoy this beautiful time of the year!

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Joyous Kwanzaa.

Conscious Gift Giving Made Easy

 Conscious Gift Giving

Who doesn’t love the opportunity to offer a gift to someone you love! The joy on their faces, their warm embrace, their delight with whatever you have chosen for them makes gift giving such a pleasure, right? Then why is it there are so many people stressed out this time of year? Malls and sidewalks are filled with people rushing here and there, some panicking about the very few days left to “buy that special gift” and others treating clerks and cashiers like their own personal punching bags. The “giving season” has turned into a wrestling match with so-called adults physically fighting over merchandise, people screaming at each other in parking lots, and children crying as parents yell at them to hurry up.  Wow, this is NOT what gift giving is supposed to be about.  Let’s stop the madness, right now, and take a moment to be truly conscious about the giving of gifts.

A Gift From The Heart

A Gift From the Heart


When we choose to give a gift, whether it be at Christmas, or for someone’s birthday or anniversary, or just because; that gift is meant to be a reflection of our love and affection for the recipient and our understanding of just what will bring joy and comfort to the receiver. The true value of a gift is not measured in size or financial investment; its value comes from its essence, its intrinsic nature, its spirit.


The Greatest Gifts are Often Free

Holiday_8One of the things I used to do every Christmas Eve was people watch in a local mall. It was an interesting study in human behavior; but while the madness was somewhat entertaining at first, it didn’t take long before it stopped being fun. I found myself becoming increasingly disappointed in our society’s mindless lust for consumption of goods under the guise of Christmas gift giving. I saw people who clearly didn’t have the excess income required to buy the “latest thing” for their children; many people who wandered from store to store with glazed expressions that read “If I don’t get this right I’m in big trouble”; and then there were those who believed quantity would trump quality or thoughtfulness every time. This is clearly not what gift giving is meant to be. So, how do we change this? Here are some ideas.

  • Many of the best gifts are free! The gift of time being on the top of that list.
    148743755When my youngest was born just a few weeks before Christmas a dear friend gave me a hand-made booklet of coupons for childcare with suggestions on when to redeem them: if I wanted to take a nap, or have a long bath, or take a walk by myself, or just pop out to do some shopping.  My friend gave me the gift of time for which I was truly grateful and she enjoyed the gift of snuggling with a newborn baby and her older sister – something she found enormous pleasure in, too.
  • Recycle, Reuse, Repurpose, Reimagine

    Proud to recycle

    Proud to recycle

    I recently watched a rerun of a 1995 Seinfeld episode about regifting. This episode as well as most other Seinfeld shows made me laugh. However, the idea of regifting is not as offensive to me as it was to Jerry, Elaine and George.  I believe recycling, reusing, repurposing and reimagining are worthy ways to keep the things we no longer have use for or want out of the landfill and to give our creative spirit an opportunity to express itself.Craft, art and imagination projects for families to do together can make good use of items found around the house. There are some excellent websites available to help you find the perfect gift project.  Most importantly, sharing activities like this with your children or grandchildren has many additional benefits: you are spending time with them and you are teaching them about giving, and you are teaching them about caring for our planet – great life values for them to grow up with, right?

  • Make it Personal

    You may have people in your life, whom you truly care for, that don’t get out much. Give them the gift of an outdoor adventure to a local park, a museum, a concert at the library, a drive through neighborhoods with awesome light displays…there are many things to do in your community that don’t cost a thing but your time and a bit of gas for your vehicle.

    The gift of homemade vegan cookies or a fragrant box of homemade vegan soaps will delight almost everyone. You can even put together a do-it-yourself kit to give your loved one with a special note that you would like to enjoy making this gift together. Something for now under the tree and something for later when you can share special time together. Who wouldn’t love that! If you need some inspiration on the right organic essential oils to buy to give the gift of fragrance, just visit my friends at Mountain Rose Herbs (click on the ad to the right – Affiliate Link)

    For the special people in your life who love animals check out the Peta Catalogue for some wonderful gifts for them that help animals too.
    The gift of good health will last a lifetime. Maybe a gift certificate to a community center that offers social activities, exercise programs, and dance classes. What about a membership to Thrive Market. This online market has free delivery, excellent vegan, organic products that contribute to great health, and gives back to our communities by supporting families who are food insecure. This is truly the gift that keeps on giving.

  • Cruelty Free Gifts Make a World of Difference 
    When you are purchasing a gift, please consider how that gift was made before you buy. There are many cruelty free, very high quality, beautiful gifts items available so you do have a choice. Check out GUNAS (click on ad to the right – Affiliate Link). GUNAS makes absolutely beautiful handbags that any lady would love. They are also cruelty free – and who doesn’t love that!
    You can also find beautiful vegan, cruelty free gifts at Amazon.com just search with the word vegan.
Heart Shaped World

A Love-Filled World

Gift giving should be a joyous activity. It should come from the heart and from a place of intention. Gift giving should not be stressful or cause anxiety or break the bank. I encourage everyone to be conscious about their gift giving this year and throughout the coming years. You will find the experience very pleasant and bring much joy to those who receive your gifts. If you choose to purchase a gift, please choose gifts that are cruelty free. If everyone does this, our world will be a much happier place.


Here is a wonderful gift – the gift of music – to give to someone you love.  My husband Graham Berry, a multi-instrumentalist, is a gifted musician. This album is all original music, written and performed by Graham. It will truly make everyone who loves music very happy.  To purchase go to itunes.com.  or amazon.com  or play.google.com


Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Joyous Kwanzaa from all of us at Jazzed Up Veggies. May your celebrations be filled with love and joy and may 2016 be a year filled with happiness and prosperity.

Thanksgiving Week Grocery List

Keep It Simple

Put These on Your List

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to nourish our souls by spending time with family and friends: laughing, sharing stories, listening to music,and just generally being with each other. Over the next six weeks there will be more hugs and kisses, hand holding and gentle touches than there has been the entire rest of the year!  It just feels good! While we are nourishing our souls, we need to nourish our bodies with delicious and healthy foods too. To help, I’ve prepared a quick list of items to pick up at the grocery store, most of them in-season foods that are at their peak of nutrition and easy on the budget, and a few healthier, prepared foods to help free up some time.  As with all my recommendations, I really encourage you to buy organic whenever possible.  Here is a reminder from the Environment Working Group on the top non-organic foods to avoid. 

Organic Prepared Foods


  • Squash – Red Kuri, Delicata, Acorn, Butternut, Spaghetti
  • Mushrooms – Cremini, Portobello, Shiitake, Oyster
  • Onions – Red, Yellow, Leeks, Scallions, Shallots
  • Carrots
  • Beets – Yellow and Red
  • Greens – Bok Choy, Kale, Arugula
  • Tomatoes – Cherry and Roma
  • Parsnips
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Peppers – Red, Yellow, Orange, Green


  • Apples (see Dirty Dozen)
  • Fresh Cranberries
  • Dried Goji Berries
  • Lemons, Limes
  • Frozen Fruit – Blueberries, Raspberries, Peaches
  • Dates

Grains, Beans, Nuts & Seeds

  • Farro
  • Quinoa
  • Brown Rice
  • Nuts – Almonds, Cashews, Walnuts, Hazelnuts (these can be ordered online for a great price and delivered to your door to save time. Check out Food to Live.)
  • Steel Cut Oats and Rolled Oats
  • Lentils, Garbanzo Beans, White Beans, Adzuki Beans, Red Kidney Beans
  • Flax Seed (ground)
  • Chia Seed

Herbs, Spices & Seasonings

  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Harissa
  • Smoked Paprika
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutritional Yeast

Other Essentials

This may seem like a long list, but there are probably many items here you already have on hand. The idea is to keep your Thanksgiving menus simple, using whole, fresh foods whenever possible; and to use time savers like those listed in the prepared foods section above. A rule of thumb I always use at the market: if there is a label on the product I am considering, the fewer ingredients listed the better. If I can’t pronounce the ingredient list I put the product back on the shelf.

Many foods for your holiday meal can be prepared ahead of time so take advantage.  Remember, too, that many hands make light work; so ask your friends and family to help. Cooking together is a wonderful way to share time with each other.

To Do List


Plant-Based Nutrition for Your Family

Some Great Jazz to Get Us Started

Our name, Jazzed Up Veggies, came to us because food and music are two of our greatest pleasures. As you can hear, my husband is a gifted musician. Listening to his original music, “The Need to Groove”, from his album “Quintessence” really inspires me. That, and exploring the wonderful world of plant-based living! Please enjoy this great jazz. I hope you find it and today’s blog inspiring.

My goal is to encourage you to embrace the idea of nourishing your body as a way of life. I firmly believe most people want to take good care of themselves; but, life always seems to get in the way, right? All the activities we pack into a day seem so important to us that we find we need to cut corners to fit it all in. Unfortunately, cutting corners usually translates into poor food choices, no exercise and not enough sleep. If we treated our vehicles the way we treat our bodies, we would never get to all our activities; we and our vehicles would be stuck on the side of the road waiting for a tow truck.

The exponential increase in the use of medical services over the last half-century can be attributed directly to our “new normal” of cutting corners to get it all done. The wear and tear on our vehicles will cause them to break down and so will our bodies if we don’t take care of them. Good thing we are the masters of our domain (aka body) and we have all the tools we need to keep our bodies in running order. We just need to make taking care of ourselves a top priority, take stock of what needs to be done, and DO IT!

Here are some ideas to help you make good nutrition your “new normal”.

  1. Talk to the people you love and who love you. Let them know how important good nutrition is to you and invite them to partner with you on getting your family’s nutrition on track.
  2. Knowing what good nutrition looks like will help you make good decisions. Educate yourself. Vendors at farmers’ markets and produce managers in shops are eager to show off their products. Let them! The more you know the more you will want to know.
  3. Shift your perspective on grocery shopping. Rather than think of it as another “chore” to complete in the shortest time possible, think of it as an adventure. Allow yourself to enjoy the amazing variety of colors, textures and smells; and, given the importance of the food choices you make, take the time to really consider your selections.
  4. Change your routine. Instead of going to the same store you always shop at, try your local farmers’ markets, farms & orchards, and specialty shops. Who knows what you will find: its all part of the adventure.
  5. Don’t do it alone. Give your family the opportunity to shop with you. Making nutrition a family affair is a great opportunity to learn together and we are all more likely to embrace change if we are involved in the process.




To help you get started on thinking differently about the foods you choose, here is a great recipe for an easy, delicious lunch or evening snack that covers all the nutritional bases. Let me know how you like it!

Jazzed Up Chickpea Spread

Yield: Makes approximately 2 cups and should serve 4+ people.

Jazzed Up Chickpea Spread

This spread is an excellent source of protein and a great way to incorporate raw vegetables into a meal. Chickpeas are inexpensive and really versatile. Experiment with this recipe by using different spices and different veggies such as red pepper. Jazzed Up Chickpea Spread also makes a great dip for crackers and raw vegetables.


  • 1 can (2 cups) cooked chickpeas drained and rinsed
  • 2 handfuls baby spinach
  • 2 small carrots, shredded
  • 6 small Cornishons (chopped)
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley coarsely chopped
  • 2 scallions chopped
  • 2 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast (you are going to love this stuff!)
  • 1/4 cup Vegenaise
  • 2 Tsp yellow mustard
  • 1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp lemon rind (optional but so zesty!)
  • 1/2 - 3/4 Tsp curry powder (adjust to taste)
  • 1/2 - 3/4 Tsp ground cumin
  • Pepper
  • Lettuce Leaves for Wraps
  • Whole Grain Bread and Fresh Sprouts for a Sandwich
  • Vegan Seeded Flatbread or Crackers for a Snack
  • Sides
  • Raw vegetables: carrots, celery, cauliflower etc.
  • Grape Tomatoes


  1. Combine all ingredients, from chickpeas to pepper, in a bowl or process using the pulse setting on your food processor. You want the chickpeas to be finely chopped but still allow for a bit of texture.
  2. Taste and adjust spices & seasonings.
  3. Serve.

Make Nutrition a Family Affair

Finger Food Fun

Incorporating nutrition into your family’s busy routine may seem daunting in today’s busy households; but, not only is it essential to our health and well-being; it can be quite easy, budget friendly, and have positive family-dynamic benefits too. We have to eat to survive so presumably eating is already well entrenched in your daily activities. The challenge is to make a shift in our habits of random noshing to thoughtful consumption: from the view that food intake is a chore or a mindless activity, to seeing the intake of nutritious food as a catalyst to a happy, healthy and productive life.

The vast majority of our “first-world” society puts much more thought into the clothes we wear, the cars we drive and the homes we live in, the so-called external trappings of success, than we do to the way we care for our bodies. Truth is, we would rather have a quick fix or blame someone else for our massive obesity, behavior and health problems than take stock of our priorities and make necessary fundamental changes in how we live.

The first step we need to take is to admit we need to take the first step. You are in control, right? So only you can resolve to make nutrition a priority for you and your family. Once you have done this the rest is a piece of cake – OOPS, sorry, a piece of whole fruit!

Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Start a conversation, preferably during a family meal, about food. Some family members may not have given the food they eat much thought. Ask everyone what they ate that day. Be prepared to be startled.  You may just hear some things that will make you cringe or you might be surprised to find out your family members are eating good things away from home you never thought they would.
  • Review the coming week’s schedule and plan your meals as best you can. Engage your family in the planning process. Make a grocery list based on your meal plan but allow for some nutritious “back-up” items just in case. You know the saying “the best laid plans…” so plan for the unplanned and you’ll have much less stress.
  • Plan a grocery outing that at least includes your partner/spouse and hopefully includes your children. This can be tough because the trip will take much longer than shopping on your own. However, you will give your family the opportunity to see all the different foods they might not have considered. Let new foods be a conversation starter! Occasionally making grocery shopping a family affair shows them how important selecting the right foods is to you.  You could even make a game out of it: ask everyone to choose a fruit or vegetable they haven’t tried before and make it the star of a special meal during the week.
  • Let meal-preparation be a family activity too. When children are involved in making meals, they are far more likely to enjoy eating them. This is a great time for conversations with teens and probably a rare opportunity to touch base with spouses as well.  Food is not only a necessity for us, it is a social catalyst, so take advantage of this important time together.
  • Remember children love to imitate. What you do and say really matters. Be great role models for them. Let them see that fueling our bodies with nutritious food is important. Don’t make drastic changes all at once but do make good food always available. Before you know it, nutrition will be a regular family affair.

Post Script:  While quick and drastic changes can really backfire on your plans to make long-lasting adjustments to what your family consumes, here are some food items you will want to reduce or eliminate entirely from your home:

  • Palm Oil: potato chips, many crackers, most candy, margarine, many cereals and canned goods. Palm Oil is extremely high in saturated fat which is detrimental to human health. If that isn’t enough reason, palm oil is also responsible for devastating the world’s rainforests.
  • Sugar: most packaged foods contain sugar – and large amounts of it. Read labels and you will be blown away by how much sugar is added. Sugar is really empty calories, turns to fat in your liver, causes insulin resistance, contributes to obesity, diabetes and heart disease, actually increases your appetite and is highly addictive. Ok, there are no redeeming qualities to sugar so eliminate it from your diet. Sugar is also responsible for devastating forests and animal habitats. It requires a lot of water to produce and crops are sprayed continually with pesticides that we end up consuming or it drains off in wastewater and pollutes our oceans and streams.
    Want something sweet? Choose fresh whole fruit, add fruit to breads & muffins, or use a very small amount of agave nectar.
  • Sodium: many, many packaged foods contain extremely high levels of sodium. Sodium should be listed on labels; however, it might be listed as Na (the scientific symbol for sodium), salt, MSG, disodium phosphate, baking soda or baking powder. In fact if “sodium” is in the name at all i.e. Monosodium Glutamate you know it is salt.  High sodium intake is associated with problems with high blood pressure, heart disease, swelling of extremities and other health problems. Because sodium is so prevalent in packaged foods, it is best to stay away from them. Choose whole, raw foods whenever possible.

A plant-based diet is a nutritionally sound and delicious way to ensure you are nourishing your body. We always recommend you purchase organic foods whenever possible to avoid ingesting harmful pesticides and other chemicals. At Jazzed Up Veggies we are committed to bringing you easy, budget friendly plant-based recipes and really encourage you to try them with your family.

There are many wonderfully talented plant-based chefs who have written recipe books. My favorites are:

  • Chloe Coscarelli – “Chloe’s Kitchen”
  • Robin Robertson – “Quick-Fix Vegan” and “More Quick-Fix Vegan”
  • Leanne Campbell – “The China Study All Star-Collection”



Ferry Plaza Farmers Market – San Francisco

CUESA’s Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market in San Francisco is an incredible example of how to successfully connect urban dwellers to farmers so we can understand where our food comes from and have access to the most delicious, most nutritious, most extraordinary variety of food available. CUESA is making important strides in promoting healthy food choices, educating children and adults about where our food comes from and introducing them to who provides it, and advocating for sustainable agriculture and earthy-friendly living.

Tim Sternadel, Lonely Mountain Farm

Tim Sternadel

I was excited to visit the Farmers’ Market with my videographer/photographer husband. We are grateful to CUESA for giving us permission to shoot video and stills while we were there. One of the highlights of our visit was  the Lonely Mountain Farm booth and meeting Tim Sternadel and Justin Outten – two of the farmers who live and work on the farm. Tim (pictured here) and Justin (featured in our video) are truly passionate about bringing wholesome, organic, delicious and nutritious food to your table. In fact, they invite you to their farm to enjoy a meal at their table during one of their many Farm to Table dinners. The next dinner is planned for August 16th, with their Fall Farm to Table dinner scheduled for October 4th. Click the link above to learn more about the farm and to make your reservations for a dining experience you will not forget.

Take a moment to watch our interview with Justin Outten from Lonely Mountain Farm. I think you will enjoy it!

If you have visited the CUESA Ferry Plaza Farmers Market or visited Lonely Mountain Farm and have some photos, please share them with us.  If you like what we are doing here at Jazzed Up Veggies, please subscribe to this blog and share it with your friends and family. I am truly enjoying getting to know new people who share my desire to live the best life possible and to treat our earth and all its inhabitants with love.

Quinoa – A Simply Perfect Plant Protein

Quinoa Plants

Quinoa Plants

Quinoa is a complete, plant-based protein. It includes all nine essential amino acids necessary to nourish your body. It tastes wonderful alone or included in your favorite salad, as a bed for a vegetable medley, or as a base for vegan burgers. Quinoa is an excellent source of iron, phosphorus, magnesium and fiber.Quinoa is an ancient food, actually a seed really, and has historically been cultivated in the Andean mountain regions of Peru, Chile and Bolivia. It comes in a variety of colors and forms i.e.) seeds, flour, pasta, leaves and is available year round.

Quinoa is definitely a SUPERFOOD!

I believe it is important to support the farmers and the communities they live in when purchasing food; so I make it a point to choose organically and sustainably grown, responsibly sourced, and sustainably packaged quinoa. Check the packages at your local market. Some good providers are Alter Eco and Bob’s Red Mill.

Preparing quinoa is easy.Just remember 1 part quinoa, 2 parts liquid. Bring to a boil, reduce to low heat. Your quinoa will be ready in about 20 minutes. You should rinse your quinoa seeds well before cooking. This will remove the bitter coating on the seeds. I usually cook enough quinoa for a week then freeze in individual containers. When needed, I thaw the quinoa, remove any excess moisture using cheese cloth, and add to my meals. They say variety is the spice of life: well, with quinoa, there is no limit to the variety of ways you can serve it. Here is a link to a recent recipe I posted using quinoa:

**Flavor the liquid you use to prepare the quinoa with broth made from your favorite veggies such as celery, roasted carrots, onion etc.
**Add spice to your pot: curry, coriander, turmeric, harissa
**Add herbs to the finished product: basil, thyme, parsley
**Serve cold in a salad
**Serve hot as a side dish
**Use as a base for veggie burgers

My favorite market, Whole Foods, has a wonderful website full of great recipes and ideas for incorporating this incredible superfood into your diet. Just click on the link.

Quinoa Mantage

If you haven’t tried quinoa yet, I hope you will. Let me know what you think and please share your recipes in my comments section.

Farmers’ Markets – A Feast for the Eyes

Walking around the best farmers’ markets is like gazing upon a Monet – it is a feast for the eyes so rich with color and texture it takes your breath away. Markets don’t have to be big to be good. What really makes them special is the freshness and variety of the farm offerings and the friendliness of the people. Some markets have begun to include non-food vendors, which can be good I suppose, depending upon what the products are; but for me, I want to support local food producers, to fill my bags (cloth of course) with fruits and vegetables picked only a day or two prior and from the people who grow it, and really know where my family’s food comes from.

Baskets of Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Fodor’s Travel published a list, in 2014, of the top 15 Farmers’ Markets in the United States. Some I have been to and they didn’t disappoint. It might seem odd, but I have a visit to the rest of the markets on my bucket list. Here is a link to the list: http://www.fodors.com/news/photos/americas-15-best-farmers-markets#!1-intro

Top of the list is Portland’s Farmers’ Market – not surprising really! Portland is at the top of almost every good list I’ve seen and Oregon is an incredibly small-farm friendly state. I’ve visited the Union Square Greenmarket in Manhattan (awesome) and Pike Place Market in Seattle (a real adventure). You know when you see chefs from the best restaurants purchasing their produce from these markets that the food is fresh and delicious! I’ve also enjoyed the Charleston Famers’ Market near the Citadel and will be spending as much time as we can at the Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market in San Francisco next month. As you can see from the Fodor’s list, farmers’ markets can be found all across the country; some are big, some are small; but all are worth at least checking out.

Bag of Fresh ProduceFor my readers living in Southern Nevada, I’ve prepared a graphic of local famers’ markets I’m aware of. They are worth a visit. Don’t forget to take your cloth bags with you. When you find a market you like, you’ll want to add their market day to your regular grocery shopping schedule. Farmers’ markets are really much more than a grocery destination – they are an experience, one everyone should get out and enjoy whenever possible.

Farmers Markets in Las Vegas and Henderson as of June 2015

Information as of June 2015