cranberry blessing

Cranberry Chutney (Vegan)

Vegan Cranberry Chutney 

I’m slowly getting ready for Thanksgiving.  Very slowly.  I just decided yesterday to buy some cranberries with no real intention of making sauce.  I just bought them–they are a pretty cranberry color and . . . they sort of define Thanksgiving.  Seriously, I bought with no intention!  BUT I do know that I can freeze cranberries so even if I didn’t use them now . . . I could freeze them and use them later.  Sometimes I do things that don’t really make a lot of sense.  (For the record I have bought fingernail polish because it was a pretty color–but I never paint my nails AND I have lots and lots of really beautiful yarn . . . are you seeing a trend?)

The Video

My real time, on the fly video.  








The Ingredients

  1. one smaller box of cranberries
  2. 1/2 of a sweet onion
  3. juice and zest of one Cara Cara orange (IMHO these oranges are the absolute best on earth.)
  4. 3 smaller carrots
  5. 6 cloves of garlic–which is too much!

I start with the onions on low to caramelize them . . . then add the rest.  

When I was in the kitchen on this day I also prepped up my butternut squash–I had 4!  I roasted them all.  I will make soup, freeze some cubes and use the remaining squash for my Thanksgiving day vegan casserole.  

Be Blessed as you eat with L.O.V.E.

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For my local Peeps! How-to Eat with L.O.V.E.

Today I had the honor of speaking at the Mundelein Rotary Club.  I’m sure I’m getting the name wrong but what really matters is the women and men were so welcoming to me!  This post is the hand out that I gave them after my talk.  Many of my readers know that I spent the last weekend at the Engine 2 Retreats.  I had an amazing time learning, sharing, meeting new friends and being immersed in the science of nutrition, cancer research  and preventing and reversing heart disease with a plant based diet.  

I went to college to be a biology textbook author.  That didn’t happen but my love for science stayed with me . . . I then began working at the Cancer Center at the University of Michigan having a blast learning from the absolute best in the world, which lead to working in the lab . . . such a long winding road of interesting opportunities that I embraced 110%!  My resume is a crazy mix of science, research, food service, and early childhood development.  I know, right!  So much to learn, so little time.

My dad died at 49.  I was 7 years old.  My mom died after a long battle with heart disease which included a heart transplant!  I don’t want to die like them.  The reasons I have chosen a plant based diet are numerous and I’m currently writing them all down in an e-book “47 Reasons I don’t eat meat”.  My Mom and Dad are both in the book.  If they knew what I know–they hopefully would have made a different choice.  When I look into the eyes of my amazing kids–I eat plants for them.  I want to see my grand babies.  I know I may not–but I’d rather say I did everything in my power than to have one speck of regret.  Some days I’m more successful than others–but each day I wake up with the intention to be the love and light, while I eat plants.  Will you join me?

Eat with L.O.V.E.


(Local, Organic, Veggies, Everyday)


Grocery Stores:

Trader Joe’s




Farmer’s Markets:


Mundelein–Friday 3-7 pm at the new Village Hall 300 Plaza Circle in downtown Mundelein

Libertyville–Thursday morning 7 am-1pm through October 16, located next to the library 

Radical Root Farm–Saturday morning 8 am-1 pm, 31330 N. Milwaukee Ave, Libertyville


Local CSA’s (community supported agriculture)


My favorite is Tomato Mountain Farms.  They deliver directly to my house!  I can pick and choose the season and the size of the share.  The website is  Tomato Mountain also has an online store with items being delivered with you box–I have eggs delivered each week and maple syrup on occasion.  All of the products are local.  

If you have no idea how to pick a CSA–read this!

I’m new this year to Sandhill Farms.  They have a meat share, dairy share, egg share, vegetable share and fruit share.  This farm is located in the Praire Crossing community.  You can find out more at their website

Radical Root Farm is a CSA as well as having a Farmer’s Market. I love the idea that a young family are also pursuing a career in organic farming!  This CSA has some added benefits such as 20% off the farm stand produce, rescheduling for vacations AND a CSA menu planning tips and meal ideas with the produce in your box.  Very handy!




  • Set your intention.
  • Drink more water.  (yeah, water isn’t exactly a plant but . . . ) Water cleans out your system, gets things moving, and cleans your palate allowing your taste buds to experience the new foods that you might be trying.
  • Buy plants!  Kale, Swiss Chard, spinach, collard greens–they need to be in your fridge!
  • Figure out how to cook them!  I have several videos on the website that show how to prepare greens for cooking.
  • Start small.  A green smoothie in the morning.  My favorite is so simple–1/2 banana, splash of juice and a handful of spinach.  Blend it up.  (I have graduated to adding a little kale, swiss chard and other mixed greens, but it took a long time!)
  • If you don’t want to cut, dice, slice and prep a variety of veggies–Sunset has a great salad bar that has cut up veggies.  Make it easy on yourself.
  • Organic vs. Conventional–doesn’t matter!  Research has shown that eating plants reduces the chances of developing heart disease, diabetes, and dementia. 
  • Eat a fistful of greens 4 times a day.
  • Prepare your veggies on Sunday night–or another time where you can devote 2 hours.
  • Health care is self-care.  A plant based diet gets your blood flowing in ALL areas of your body!  
  • Create a schedule of meals.  Each morning have oatmeal with fruit, at lunch have a salad loaded with veggies and just a balsamic vinegar salad dressing (ditch the processed dressings!) and for dinner . . . kale with salsa, beans and rice loaded with peppers, onions, jicama.  Or a simple veggie soup/chili/chowder.
  • Keep it simple.
  • Make one change at a time.
  • Try one new green at a time.


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#1 Asparagus Secret

 I love Asparagus!web_proof_reneeb_178_dec2013 watermarked

 Do you ever get tired of me going on and on about how much I love veggies?  


I feel a story coming on . . . 

When I was little we had a small asparagus patch, very near the horseradish patch, and not far from the sassafras trees that we made tea with.  I loved fresh asparagus.  We would eat it raw.  Just pluck off a shoot and enjoy.  I always noticed that the shoots broke off at different lengths leaving some much longer than others.

So I asked my Daddy, “why?” 

He grinned a Camel stained smile, like he always did when I would ask questions, he began to tell me that each asparagus breaks off at its own perfect spot.  (How prophetic from a man who would die @49 when I was only 7.) He went on to tell me that when I cooked the asparagus I needed to break each shoot by itself–never cut the asparagus because the knife can feel the natural break.

Fast Forward 40+ years

I look back on those moments with my dad often.  He taught me about chickens, ducks, mushrooms, asparagus and so much more.  He gave new meaning to the Billy Joel song “Only the Good Die Young”.   I miss his physical presence but in mind he is always there–having a smoke, beer in his hand and the best grin EVER.

The Video!

GO! GO! GO!asparagus

Go get some asparagus and start cooking.  Some of the great qualities of asparagus are:

  • A 5.3 ounce serving provides 60% of the recommended daily allowance for folacin which is necessary for blood cell formation, growth, and prevention of liver disease.
  • Low calories, 20 calories per 5.3 oz. serving, less than 4 calories per spear.
  • A good source of potassium (helps keep acid/alkaline in balance).
  • A source of fiber 3 g/serving (daily intake should be 25 grams for women 38 for men).
  • An excellent source of folate (division and growth of new cells).
  • A significant source of thiamin (beneficial effects on the nervous system and mental attitude).
  • A significant source of vitamin B6 (a key factor in red blood cell regeneration, protein metabolism and anti-aging!)
  • One of the richest sources of rutin, a compound which strengthens capillary walls.
  • Contains glutathione (GSH) an anti-oxidant.

Would you mind adding this graphic to Pinterest?  I want everyone to know asparagus is super healthy!


For my asparagus lovers–if you have a favorite recipe–share it in the comments or share a link in the comments!  

Remember to L.O.V.E.!



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