Real. Good. Fud.

and other joys in life

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Fascinating Fall: Pumpkin Tea Latte and Kettle Corn

Ahh… the sweet flavor of fall.

Fall is above and beyond, my very favorite season.  I guess it’s the feel of the cool air- a fresh sensation following the dreadful humid heat, the beauty of trees changing colors, the smells, and most importantly- the food. 

As much as I love the fresh produce of summer, I cannot wait to begin seeing pumpkin, butternut squash, and spaghetti squash available!  My favorite seasonings are cinnamon, cocoa, and honey.  I think I was “born this way” (and remember, “God makes no mistakes; I’m on the right track baby…”; sorry- gotta love Gaga!), but I have always loved rich food; dark chocolate; dry, bold red wine; dark, bold coffee; creamy casseroles; and heavy soups.

So naturally, I get giddy when I see orange leaves outside! 

An obsession with rich, heavy foods does not have to mean you can’t be healthy!  I will be sharing all kinds of foods to fit these fancies, and how to keep your health in mind along the way.  Don’t forget that the fundamental principle with living a healthy lifestyle is to keep it real- make it yourself.  So put down that package of hot chocolate loaded with sugar and unknowns, and let’s get into the kitchen!

First in line- the perfect enhancement for my night in last Friday…


Pumpkin Tea Latte

adapted from Modern, Christian Woman 

1 tea bag (any kind- I used green) 

1 cup water 

A couple spoonfuls of cooked (or canned) pumpkin 


 Pumpkin pie spice (or cinnamon, cloves, allspice, nutmeg) 

1 cup milk (I used soymilk)


Steep the bag until tea is ready.  Heat the milk, then whisk in other ingredients.  Combine milk mixture with tea.  Feel free to mix it up- add cocoa, vanilla, or whatever else sounds delicious!


Have you ever made popcorn on the stove top?  I have always avoided it, thinking I needed that special popcorn popper pan… not true!  I hear you can also do it in the microwave (in a paper sack), but have never tried.  On the stove, just use a heavy bottom pan with a lid.  Add some oil to it (I like sunflower or coconut oil– something that can withstand high heat), and some seasonings.  For my kettle corn, I added salt and brown sugar.  Pour in a couple tablespoons of popcorn.  Note- popcorn explodes way more than you may estimate; so start with a little and add more if you need to!  When it begins to pop, just shake that pan like crazy, so it doesn’t burn.  Once there is a pause between pops, remove from the heat and enjoy (the entire, humongous bowl if you’re like me).


What’s your fall favorite?


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Cleanse Update

Well,  I had to modify.  Here’s how the first day of my cleanse went:

I had some carrot-grapefruit juice for breakfast in place of my typical oatmeal and coffee.  I felt okay, had some blueberries and almonds for a snack.  The headache and fatigue started, which was expected.  Then I ate my lunch: arugula salad with various toppings and lemon juice/EVOO dressing.  During my afternoon class, I started to feel real bad, and it only got worse.  I felt like I had the flu.  Then, I got sick.  I went home and took a nap (which I haven’t done in years)… went to work and got sick again.  I came home… got sick again… and went to bed at 7pm.  My conclusion is that I ate something bad- because I cannot imagine that simply changing my breakfast would’ve had such a detrimental effect (since the rest of the day’s diet was consistent with my normal).

So, I decided that Friday I would start my day off with a small bowl of oatmeal (with only flax, wheat germ and cinnamon added), and a very small cup of coffee.  The oatmeal I’m okay with; I think my body needs a little something in the morning, since I am continuing my exercise (which includes lifting weights).  Plus, I lost the support of my husband once I started getting sick; he is afraid I’m going to lose weight on this cleanse.  The coffee probably would be better to skip, but here’s my reasoning: coffee has lots of benefits and I therefore had full intentions of adding it back in after the cleanse.  So, I determined that it wasn’t worth the excruciating headaches to cut it out for 3 weeks!  Please don’t judge me 🙂

With that being said, I am continuing everything else as originally planned for the remainder of each day.

Yesterday, I made vegetable broth for the first time!  Super-duper easy and I have enough for a few days’ worth of soup.

I used carrots, leeks, celery (mostly the leaves), garlic and onions.  Just chop them up in large chunks and place in a big pot.  Then, fill with water and let it simmer for about an hour.  When ready, just pour through a mesh strainer and there’s your broth!

I used the broth to make tomato soup last night (and aren’t I nice- I made my husband a grilled cheese sandwich).  Tonight or tomorrow, I plan to use it for butternut squash soup.

PS- I will blog with all the juice recipes and how they taste later!  (I’m drinking beet-carrot-apple-mint juice now).

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This is what it looks like the day before a cleanse. 

A what?  A cleanse, detox, a challenge, an adventure… call it what you want, I start one tomorrow.

The cleanse I am doing is from  I got the idea from Daphne Oz (Dr. Oz’s daughter, host of the Chew).  Here’s the plan in a nutshell.  Week 1 you eat only fruits, vegetables, and plant based fats- including nuts, seeds and oils.  Week 2 you add seafood, beans, lentils and soy.  Week 3 you add gluten free grains and eggs.  I chose this one because I don’t think my body would do well with only juice or raw fruits and vegetables.  I like that I can still get my good fats and protein. 

So, why?  There are lots of claimed benefits of a cleanse.  The main one being to rid the body of toxins.  The research isn’t there to prove whether this is actually beneficial (not because it’s been proven otherwise, but because there is little research done in the area).  However, it only makes sense, right?  Either way, I have many other reasons for doing this. 

  1. I like challenges.
  2. What a great way to practice self-discipline.
  3. I can discover lots of new vegetarian recipes!

Tomorrow is Day 1.  I will do my best to keep my blog updated with how it’s going, and especially to share any new recipes or ideas!

Have you ever done a cleanse?  Any advice?