Tea: Apple Cider Vinegar

Although I’ve used apple cider vinegar for numerous years, it wasn’t until about seven years ago until I decided to do more reasearch on it’s numerous benefits. I first learned about apple cider vinegar when I was a child. My grandmother that used it religiously, she told me some of its benefits and encouraged me to try it out too.

Apple Cider Vinegar contains Vitamins C, E, and A. It also contains the minerals calcium, magnesium, potassium, and many other trace elements and nutrients. There have been numerous claims made about apple cider vinegar. I’ve listed a few below.

Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

  • Improves skin tone
  • Improves circulation
  • Detoxifies and purifies the body
  • Fat burner
  • Natural household cleaner
  • Soothes mosquito bites

Sipping it straight from a cup is something most people won’t do, since it still has that strong vinegar tast. However you can mask the taste of Apple Cider Vinegar by including it in your teas and juices. I’ve included a simple recipe below for those who might be lookiing for natural ways to eliminate constipation.

Apple Cider Vinegar Tea

  • 1 cup of hot water
  • 1 tablespoon Apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon black strap molasses or honey

Sip and enjoy!

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Moondancer, Vegan, Vegetarian, Natural Remedies

Very Berry Smoothie; A sipping drink for summer

From salads, soups, jellies and jams. The main star of a dish, or served as side order. Whatever role it plays in my kitchen, I enjoy fruit. I cannot get enough of them. They come in a perfect package, that in most cases is ready to eat.

When it comes to desserts, fruits are my dessert of choice, I normally eat them plain. They are the perfect food to have on hand when you don’t feel like cooking.

Ever had one of those days when you really don’t feel like cooking, or you’re so busy you don’t have the time to cook? Yesterday was one of those days. Although I did have the time to prepare a meal, I simply didn’t feel like making anything. Thankfully we had plenty of leftovers available. Just in case, I had chopped up vegetables and fruits standby in case we had an attack of the munchies.

Now that I think about it, I did make something yesterday, the Very Berry Smoothie!

Very Berry Smoothie

    • 3 cups of unsweetened apple juice, water, or ice cubes
    • 1 cup strawberries
    • 1 cup blueberries
    • 1/2 cup blackberries
    • 2 plums
    • 1 peach
    • 3 cups of dark leafy greens (I used a mix of collards and kale)
    • 1 tablespoon of spirulina

drop Spirulina into the liquid without touching it, or the spirulina will gum up the spoon


Combine ingredients in blender, blend, serve and enjoy!

*I prefer my smoothies to be very thick, however it if it’s too thick for you, just add more liquid.


Of course, you can select your own fruit too, say you want a sweeter smoothie you could add a few cups of pineapple or mango to the blend. Do you like a slight tart taste? Toss in some a few kiwis. The beauty of smoothies is that you can add or take away the fruits that you don’t like and make your own personalized smoothie. Have fun, and experiment with your foods.


Spirulina powder
A few facts about Spirulina…

I was introduced to spirulina in the early 90’s. I was living in downtown Baltimore at the time, to be more specific I lived in Mount Vernon. The place had a Bohemian type vibe to it that I really enjoyed. I was introduced to a lot of things while living there, became interested in Aromatherapy, got aromatherapy certifications and really started experimenting with my own skin care products. I met some fabulous crunchy folk during my time there, and some of them gave me gushing reviews about Spirulina.

Spirulina is a blue green algae that thrives in fresh bodies of water, like lakes and ponds. Numerous research has been done about spirulina; it’s purported to contain a numerous health benefits for the body. If you can, try adding spirulina to your cabinet. Include it in your smoothies or sprinkle it over your food. It’s a great way to enhance the nutritional benefits of the foods you consume.

It’s loaded with nutrients that are good for our body. Spirulina is 60% protein, which is higher than any other food. It’s also the highest source of B12. Did you know it contains ten times more beta carotene than carrots? It also contains iron, vitamin E and a whole host of nutrients that I won’t discuss here. You can learn more by reading up on the health benefits of spirulina. That’s pretty impressive right, I call Spirulina a super algae. Since its health benefits blow me away, I make sure I keep it in stock.

This very berry smoothie made a fair amount; we didn’t drink it all. About half of the smoothie was used to make fruit popsicles. It’s a healthier choice than the majority of the empty calorie popsicles you see at the store. The smoothie is an excellent sipping drink for the hot days of summer.


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Moondancer, Recipes, Smoothies, Vegan, Vegetarian, whole food


Overnight soaking; Black beans

black-beans.07.16.10.jpgIf someone were to ask me what my favorite bean was, I imagine I would say Black beans.

I love a variety of beans. I keep a large variety of dried black beans in our hosue. Some of which have been dried from our own garden. I’m very proud of that. Black beans are the ones I use most. I love the bold black color, and the way it contrasts with the colorful vegetables I add to my recipes.

Of course, it’s an added bonus that black beans are so good for you too. Why do you think I like them? 😉 Black beans are a great source of fiber, they are rich with antioxidants, and many other nutrients that I won’t mention here. But what about the gas? Depending on the dish I’ll add ginger, garlic, or fennel to combat this issue. They along with a few other whole foods are an effective way to prevent gassiness.

Earlier today, I mentioned I was craving lentils. I satisfied that craving by making a delightfully vegan savory lentil soup. Well, I’ve been craving black beans too. Earlier this evening, I set aside four cups of dried black beans to soak. Tomorrow I’ll cook them all in a large stock pot, set aside a cup, or two for some type of dish (I’m leaning towards grilled black bean burgers at the moment) and freeze the rest. I don’t use canned beans anymore, they simply don’t have the same flavor as dried beans. The frugal part of me, likes that they are cheaper to buy, and it’s fresher since the dried beans have recently been cooked.

The only drawback of cooking dried beans, is they take time to cook. That is, if you don’t have a pressure cooker. Crockpots come in handy in this instance since you can put your beans in the pot, leave the house to go about your day, and come back to cooked beans. I normally put prepare my dried beans in a stock pot. Eventually I’ll get around to purchasing one of those newfangled pressure cookers. I have an older pressure cooker. Updating to a smaller pressure cooker is ideal, since it will cut down on my dried bean cooking time.

When I know, I’m going to be busy; I prepare meals in advance. In doing so, I always have healthy options available so there’s really no reason for me to pick unhealthy foods. Since I’ve been following this type routine for years, unhealthy food really isn’t a temptation. However, in the early 90’s, I did have to force myself to get into this habit. If I didn’t, I would find myself reaching for the quick fix foods. You know what I’m talking about, processed foods that really aren’t that good for you.

Part of me, really doesn’t want to make grilled black bean burgers tomorrow. However, I told my seven-year old daughter that I was thinking of making them, and now she’s sold on the idea. Being the veggie burger lover that she is (especially the grilled variety) I won’t be surprised if I’m outside grilling, even if it is hot. Well, I’ll dress for the weather and wear a big hat.

Question: What’s your favorite bean? What’s one of your favorite ways to prepare it?

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Moondancer, Vegan, Vegetarian, black beans

Savory Lentil Soup; Soup that started out a salad


Savory Lentil Soup

Some say that lentils are to India as meatloaf is to America, it’s the ultimate comfort food. I’ve been Vegan since 1992, I haven’t eaten meatloaf since the late 80’s, however, I’ve made numerous dishes that included lentils.

For the past few days I’ve been craving lentils. I prepare Lentils in creamy Dhal. They make an appearance in sauces, and occasionally you’ll see them popping up in salads too. Regardless of how I prepare them, lentils usually have the starring role in dishes I prepare, and for good reason.

Despite their small size, lentils are a nutritional powerhouse. Serving up a variety of healthy and tasty, nutritional options that will keep you (and your loved ones) clamoring for more. Over 80 nutrients can be found in this tiny bean. Important minerals like iron, manganese, copper, phosphorus, folate, and molybdenum. It also boasts two types of B vitamins. Let’s not forget about fiber, just like most legumes you’ll find lentils far ahead of the pack serving up a healthy dose of soluble and insoluble fiber.

Yesterday, after my daughter’s piano practice was over, we stopped by the store and I purchased some dry lentils. I prefer purchasing my beans dry, unlike other dried beans it lentils don’t take as long to cook. So if you don’t have a pressure cooker, your beans won’t take hours to prepare.

A few days ago, I stumbled upon Pig in the Kitchen’s truly delightful virtual community. Although many posts caught my eye, I couldn’t help but to chuckle at her latest post. In that post, she wrote about her competitive nature (I can completely relate) and at the end of her post she shared a recipe for a truly delightful lentil salad. Although I had every intention of making some type of salad, my lentils had a mind of their own and I found myself making a savory lentil soup. Ahh, no worries, I haven’t made lentil soup in a long time.

Savory Lentil Soup

  • 2 cups of dried lentils
  • 8 cups of water
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • 1.5 cups of corn
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped fine
  • 2 tbsp of lemon juice (I used freshly squeezed lemon juice)
  • 1 tbsp curry
  • 1 bay leaf
  • organic sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper


  1. In a large stock pot, add lentils, water, garlic, onions, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for about an hour.
  2. Add the corn, tomatoes, lemon juice, and curry.
  3. let simmer for two – three minutes
  4. Add salt and pepper, season to taste
  5. Serve and enjoy

I tend to add my vegetables towards the end of the cooking time because I like the fresh taste of vegetables. They’re so flavorful. The good news is, there are so many different vegetables you can add to this dish. I had every intention of adding carrots, but checking my vegetable crisper I realized I didn’t have any. Although I love my dark leafy greens, I chose not to add them to this soup. It didn’t stop me from munching on them throughout the day.

Oh, I did add about six leaves of fresh lemon balm to this dish. We have it growing in our yard; it’s right next to the bee balm. I wanted to see how it turned out. I liked it, but think I should have added more leaves. There’s always next time, right? Cumin was purposely left out of the dish, simply because I wanted to see how I liked the soup with curry, it still tasted great and my daughter wanted more.

I had no intentions of making soup on an extremely hot day, but I really enjoyed the results, and we have leftovers!

By the way with the exception of the seasonings, lemon and garlic, everything else came from our garden. Now how’s that for fresh?

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Moondancer, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian, whole food

Vegan: Fueling the body with healthy post-workout snacks

Bodybuilding-ant.07.10.10.jpgWhen you do a lot of physical activity, you tend to burn a lot of energy. That makes perfect sense right? The question is, how are you fueling your body to deal with this increased activity?

Since my appetite increases based on my activity level one of the ways, I combat this issue is having snacks readily available. Whether I work out at home or make tracks for the gym, I’m armed with a nutrient dense snack that will fuel me through my workouts.

Before beginning my workouts, I always eat a light snack. Why? For the extra energy and stamina needed to assist me throughout my exercise! Once your workout has ended, your body still needs fuel. Why is that? Think about all the muscles you used during your workouts, the energy you expended during your training. I guess we should replenish some of what we lost, right? Having a post workout snack helps assist the body with replenishing your depleted glycogen stores. Glycogen stores are depleted during a strenuous workout. A post workout snack also aids repairing muscle tissue.

I’ve included some of my post-workout snacks below…

  • Post-workout smoothie
  • One of my favorite pre and post workout snacks are green smoothies. For protein, I normally add 1/4 cup of freshly ground almonds to the blend. If I’m working out at the gym, I make sure I carry an extra container with my green smoothie. I use Klean Kanteen Stainless Steel Water Bottles. I’ve been using them for years and haven’t had to replace my originals yet. I like them a lot since they keep my drinks cold, which is especially important when I’m sitting in the dry sauna.

  • Hummus and Collard Wrap
  • If you don’t like the collards try romaine lettuce or use pita bread.

  • Berries and Nuts
  • Carbs and protein, I tend to eat 1 cup of berries with a few tablespoons of almonds.

For those who want to see an extended list of where vegans get their protein, check out the Vegan protein link at the Vegetarian Resource group.

Question: What are some of your favorite pre and post workout snacks?

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Fitness, Smoothies

Strawberry, blueberry, and Banana soy milk smoothie

soy-milk-smootie.07.06.10.jpgFresh fruit is always welcome in our household (as I type this I’m munching on a red delicious apple) however at times we don’t always want to eat our food.

Sometimes it’s more delightful to sip a sinfully delicious (and healthy drink.) Especially when I’m curled up with a great book, working on projects for my clients, quick boost after an intense workout, checking emails, etc. Well you get the idea… In those situations, I reach for my Vita-mix blender and create a delicious smoothie.

Occasionally family and friends will ask me for soy based smoothies. With my cooking website, I used to get emails too. To be honest, soy milk isn’t something I regularly use in our household. In fact, I haven’t used it in years. Yeah, yeah I know that blows some peoples stereotype that vegetarians and vegans are all tofu eating, soy milk drinkers… but I’m not one of them. That being said, in my early veggie days I did try soy milk, just to get an idea what it was like. Later on I did make a few soy milk smoothies for my daughter and she really liked them too.

Why don’t I use soy milk? I much prefer eating whole foods, and soy milk is a processed food. I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad food but as I’ve already stated, I prefer whole foods. For those who don’t know, whole foods are foods that haven’t been processed or unrefined foods. Think of it as sticking to as close to the natural food source as possible. I know some people might view the way I eat as extreme. That always makes me chuckle and shake my head a bit, since the way many people eat, pre-packaged meals, condiments, artificially made sweets and savory snacks are far removed from what our bodies are designed to eat. In some cases, these nutrition-less foods are pumped with vitamins to replace what wasn’t there to begin with. Are you going to tell me that way of eating, isn’t extreme? Come one now, let’s get real! What’s extreme? Constantly feeding our bodies with ‘fake foods’ lacking any nutritional value. What we eat plays a major role on our health. Quit burying your head in the sand folks, make a change.

It’s sad to see that so many, are so far removed from the way we were designed to eat. I’ve met numerous people that thought they were doing great health-wise, until they made changes to their eating habits. When you clean up your eating style, you’ll most likely see a positive change. More about that in a later post…

All right back on topic, I don’t add additional sweetness to my smoothies or juices since I feel that we’re getting enough natural sweetness from the fruits that I do add to our smoothies. At times, I think people go overboard when they add ‘extra sweetness’ to their blends.

Anyway, I decided to include a simple soy milk smoothie below. I prefer freezing some, or in some cases, all of my fruit for a thicker consistency. As with other homemade drinks you can add to or take away the fruits you don’t like.

Vegan: Strawberry, blueberry, and banana soy milk smoothie

  • 2 cups of plain soy milk
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 2 frozen bananas; peeled, cut, and frozen
  • 1/2 cup blueberries


  1. In a blender add all ingredients.
  2. Cover and blend until smooth.
  3. Serve and enjoy!

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Moondancer, Smoothies, Vegan, Vegetarian, Soy Milk Smoothie

Peach & Banana fruit pudding; Simple, delicious, & nutritious

peachesnbananas.06.30.10.jpgDesserts don’t have to be elaborate to taste good. I like the simple things in life so it’s no surprise that it applies to my food too.

Take my vegan food photos, I usually don’t go out of my way to arrange the food before I snap the shot. It’s more of a here this is what I made kind of thing, no bells or whistles, lol. However I do know that some really do enjoy seeing those type of things, so you might see me do a little bit now and again.

Anyway back to simplistic desserts (that are anything but that in the way they taste.) My daughter was asking for something to eat last night, and so I let her choose her dessert. She eagerly reached for two peaches and a banana and said, “Mommy, can you make me some of that yummy fruit pudding?” So here’s it is…

Peach and Banana Fruit pudding

  • 2 peaches
  • 1 Banana


  • Place ingredients in food processor
  • Blend until smooth

That’s it, serve and enjoy!

I only made enough for my daughter; I did spoon the remaining batter out of the food processor before I washed it. Yum, it was delicious. It’s a perfect, not to mention a healthy treat, anytime, and it’s good for you too. How’s that for simple, nutritous, but delicious?

Homemade fruit bars/popsicles

Here’s an idea, if you want something different you can make homemade fruit bars too. Why make them when you can purchase them from the store? I’ve been making homemade popsicles and fruit bars for years. Let me tell you something, they taste a lot better than the store bought variety.

Benefits of making homemade fruit bars

  1. Cheaper than store bought fruit bars
  2. They’re preservative free
  3. Only thing in them is raw fruit
  4. Freshly made, so you’re getting the maximum nutrition
  5. You know exactly what’s going into the fruit bars

Where can I purchase popsicle molds?

You can purchase them at many discount stores. I’ve even seen them at grocery stores. You can always find popsicle molds online too. The ones I have are similar to these popsicle molds. If you cannot find them, or don’t want to purchase the molds. You could use paper cups. You could scoop out the frozen dessert with a spoon or add Popsicle sticks (available at most craft stores.)

The beauty of making your homemade popsicles/fruit pops, is that you have a large variety of fruits to choose from. Yes you can sneak vegetables in the homemade fruit pops also! You can come up with the ones you like the best.

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Raw food, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian, whole food, Moondancer, New Tag, Raw food, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian, whole food, Fruit pudding