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Nothing but burgers….

Red bean burgers_1

Recycled photo – Homemade Red Bean Burgers; vegan

This past weekend, I made black bean burgers for my daughter. Similar to the ones shown to the left. I’d prepared those a while ago,  but instead of red beans… I used black beans.

Many of my non-vegan friends are surprised at how delicious a bean burger can taste. I don’t add all those crappy meat substitutes that you’ll find in many of the veggie burgers that are sold. I use beans and produce. I’ve found those make the tastiest burgers.

Since my daughter is still on a burger kick, yesterday, I made more. But this time I used animal products and so I used ground beef and pork. Since, the thought of just eating meat has no appeal to my daughter whatsoever, I added finely chopped carrots, onion and mushrooms. In my mortar and pestle I ground Himalayan sea salt, black cumin seeds, cumin and other spices. Both varieties (vegan and non-vegan) received an enthusiastic thumbs up from my daughter. Some of my daughter’s friends think she’s a bit off, since she really does not care for fast food and who could blame her. Since she consumes meals freshly prepared meals daily,  she can tell the difference and she thinks that fast food and processed food tastes a bit “off”. She’s right, it does to me also, but then again, we don’t eat that way. Our diet is whole foods, which simply means as close to the natural food source as possible. If anything is going to be “processed,” I (or she’ll) be the one doing that.

When I get around to uploading pictures, I’ll be sure to post them on Celebrate Life. Today, most likely, will be a simple meal. Tonight is my daughter’s Christmas play and I have some finishing touches left to do on her dress that I’ve sewn for her. The good news is she really loves how the dress looks.

Happy Father’s Day

My father is visiting my brother and his family in Florida, so I’m not hanging out with him today. I did talk to him this morning and wished him a Happy Father’s Day. My daughter and I will postpone our celebration for him upon his return next weekend.


Creating a meal from leftovers; Chicken fried rice

Yesterday, I told my daughter I was going to make chicken pot pie for todays dinner. I still had leftover chicken breasts from the meal I’d prepared for her this past Sunday, and I thought that placing the breasts in a crust, along with some veggies, would make a great dinner.

Today in Maryland, the temperature was over 70 F, and so I changed my plans. I decided to make something much lighter; chicken fried rice (and for myself vegetable fried rice).

Cooked chicken breasts

The cooked chicken breasts were chopped into small chunks, and set aside.


Olive oil

A bit of olive oil was added to a heated skillet.

Brown eggs

Two eggs, and some seasonings, were added.



Next, chopped green onions were included, along with coarsely chopped broccoli.

Brown rice

Cooked brown rice was added, and I stirred everything for a few minutes. I then included the chopped chicken breast, and the sweet corn. I sauteed the chicken and corn for a bit longer, and set aside my newly created meal from leftovers.

Chicken Fried Rice 2 03 28 12

Besides the eggs, green onions, seasonings,  and oil everything else was leftovers, but together they made a great meal! Of course, I made a vegan version for myself; vegetable fried rice.

Should I have done something differently? Well, I love garlic, and it would have complimented this dish. Also for a bit more color (and added sweetness), I could have added slivers of carrot and red bell pepper.

However, even without these additions, I was pleased with how it turned out, and the fact that a lot of the chicken fried rice was eaten, was a great indicator that my daughter and father enjoyed their meal. I loved my veggie fried rice too, unfortunately I ate my dish before I remembered that I was supposed to take a photo. Whoops!

My mother is still out of town, and so I’ve been preparing my fathers meals. When it comes to cooking, he’s the stereotypical old school American dad. He doesn’t really cook that much. Which is fine, my mother loves to cook, and so do I. Cook for my dad, whenever mom’s away? Sure, no problem!


Chicken Fried Rice 1 03 28 12

Inspiration for this dish came from the wonderful blogger, Suituapui. A few days ago he’d made a fried noodle dish. Reading his post, I realized I hadn’t made a fried dish in a while. Since my daughter and I love fried rice dishes… I thought that was the next best thing.

Do you want to know what’s hilarious? Right after I made this dish I logged onto his site, and he had made a fried rice dish too, but not the same thing, his fried rice dish has fermented shrimp (first time hearing about them — but sounds fascinating) and he added other delicious ingredients.

Video Humor: Frog strikes back!

I saw this on Facebook…

Of course I’m on the frog’s side…

Online gaming: Getting cheeky with Bingo

I was first introduced to Bingo when I was about eight years old. At the time, I thought Bingo was a game that only young kids and old people played. During grade school, I can remember some of my teachers distributing bingo cards and game pieces to our class. It was part of our ‘fun time,’ and the winnings were usually some type of cheap toy, crayons, watercolors, or coloring book.

Bingo animated

By the time I entered high school, teachers had stopped including Bingo into their format. However, I can remember one of my friends actually played real bingo. Of course, I teased her, since in my fourteen-year old brain it was something only little kids and old people played. She laughed along with me, and said, “I thought the same thing!” “However, I really had fun!” So what got her into playing bingo? Food! The local Bingo group (where her mother was active) was having a crab feast, with a percentage of the proceeds being donated to a local charity. Since she loved seafood, she went along with her mom and begrudgingly played Bingo. Surprisingly, she enjoyed it, much to her mom’s happiness, since they now had a weekly mom/daughter outing. Occasionally she won cash too.

Over the years, I’ve met several young people that play Bingo, so earlier assumption was inaccurate. For my friends the big draw is hanging out with friends, and the winnings that some of them receive is a nice bonus. While many play  at a local location. There are few that play bingo online also.

Cheeky Bingo is an online bingo site that offers a variety of games.. 75 Ball Bingo and High Five Bingo are few of their popular games. For those who like to socialize in a virtual setting, they also have chat rooms. These rooms are organized by Cheeky Chat Hosts who offer a variety of games such as Slides and SwingsBe My Friend, and Cheeky Grin, for users to play. These games give bingo players a perfect chance to socialize and possibly when some cash also.

Do I play Bingo? Yes, I play the children’s version with my with my eight-year old daughter we play the board and online bingo games.

Question: Have you ever played Bingo? Let us know in the comment section.


Keats: Bright Star

Although not a fan of romance type movies, I did enjoy watching Bright Star, admittedly the fascination had a lot to do with John Keats. I’ve been a fan of his since I read a book of poetry (I believe it was titled) Keats and Shelly (cover to cover) at eight years of age.

My father collected old books, and had an outstanding collection of books from the 1800s, and earlier, amongst those books was poetry by John Keats. I inherited an old copy of Shakespeare’s works (from my dad) , that even includes Shakespeare’s will — but that’s another story.

Also I was blown away by the costuming in the film. I’ve done my share of clothing design, and was especially impressed by the crochet designs of Sophie Digard, so beautiful!

John Keats was young when he passed away — twenty five if I remember correctly (from tuberculosis) a death sentence in those times. The movie largely focuses on the romance between him and Fanny Brawne. It’s a beautiful tale of romance, and I enjoyed it immensely.

But please know this Mr. Keats… in your correspondence with Fanny Brawne, when you wrote…

“I almost wish we were butterflies and liv’d but three summer days – three such days with you I could fill with more delight than fifty common years could ever contain.”

Sorry babe that sounds like a cop-out to me, plan to spend the rest of your life ‘filling me with delights’. Three days, please you must be joking! You’d be getting off way too easily!  I don’t think so! 😉

Happy Valentines Day!

Buddy makes a lifestyle change; health and fitness

Witch stirrin pot; Calorie Counter


Recently, a friend asked whether I knew of any free online calorie counters. She’s decided to make a radical change to her life. Her reasoning was simple although she looked healthy she knew she wasn’t where she could be health wise.

I’ve got to admit; I was surprised when she told me the news. I’m not one to preach health and nutrition. You can turn people off if you’re constantly in their face about their eating habits and why they need to make a change, you know? I figure the best approach is to live by example.

I am excited that she’s finally making changes into her lifestyle. One of the biggest things holding my buddy back was time. Just like myself, she stays extremely busy and she didn’t feel she had the time to add exercise into her schedule.

However, when she sat down she realized that she could add it into her life she just needed to make changes to her personal time. Once she got that under control she was ready to make the move and shake up her lifestyle. I’m happy for that she’s making the change, and it will be nice to work out with her now and again too.

But back to calorie counters, I really don’t use calorie counters, I pretty much know the calories that are in the whole foods I consume. When I became interested in nutrition, I made a habit to look up everything just so I could take a peek at the foods nutritional value.

Over the years,  I’ve tested out a few of the online calorie counters available so I was able to point my buddy to some of the numerous that are available. I’ve listed a few below.

Free Online Calorie Counters

  • Whole Foods
  • This is definitely my favortie website, and a place I frequent when I’m unsure of a food or just want to clarify nutritional information. It tells you the calories associated with the food item and more imporantly it gives you detailed nutritional information, health benefits, and case studies about the food item. It’s a keeper. You’ll see me link to this site a lot on Celebrate Life.

  • New Calorie Counter
  • With this calore counter you enter a single food item. It will give you the nutritional information available.

  • Calories Count
  • I like the fact that you can add a number of food items you’ve eaten or are planning to eat throughout the day. It gives you a quick overview of the amount of calories you’re consuming.

  • Fit Day
  • If you want to keep tabs on your calories and fitness, FitDay offers both in one place. It’s free to join, you have access to a variety of tools such as the calorie counter, online diary, and forums. A few years ago, I used FitDay since a few people I trained wanted to take a peek at my fitness routine and the types of foods I consumed. If you don’t have a lot of support this might be a good place for you, since you can interact with others that are sharing your fitness or weight loss goals.

If your goal is to lose weight, it takes time. Please don’t get discouraged. It took time to put the weight on, and if you use the natural approach  (focused on changing your eating habits and adding exercise into your routine) shedding those unwanted pounds might take a while. Please try to remember this when you experience some challenging times. I will tell you that having support can make those tough times so much easier. Try to surround yourself with  your own cheerleaders  who’ll congratulate you during your triumphs and encourage you and be help you through your minor setbacks.

There are numerous online calorie/fitness websites available. I’ve only selected a handful. Check them out or search for one that works best for you.

Question: Are there any online calorie counters or fitness journals you use? If so let us know in the comment section.