Something for Everyone: Plant-Based Holiday Recipes

If you have friends or family over during the holidays, chances are that someone in your group prefers to follow a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle. You’ll want to be sure that there are choices to please everyone. Check out Meatless Monday for some great recipe options! I can personally vouch for the “No-Meat Meatloaf” as being very tasty, and I’m eager to try a few more of these offerings, as well. Of course, fresh fruits/veggies and regular or non-dairy cheeses are always easy additions to the table. Enjoy!

My Little Corner of the World

My Balcony in October

The daytime temperatures have finally downgraded from hot to warm, and the nights are so pleasantly cool! Flowers are still blooming but beginning to look a bit spent. I did NOT grow those little pumpkins set on the table but couldn’t resist. Back in the shadows, those are miniature yellow sweet peppers still ripening. I recently planted some garlic (thanks Alanna!) and also some late-season bush beans. I’ll soon take out most of the annuals and plant a variety of small bulb flowers, like grape hyacinths and crocus.

Halloween is almost upon us, and the other holidays follow closely behind. They’ve already started putting the holiday lights up in the Square, in fact. Seems like they just took them down from last season! Time moves much too quickly these days.

Wherever you live and whatever season you are now enjoying, I hope you’re finding pleasant times!

Zapping Manure with Lightning to Fight Pollution?

One of my recurring freelance projects is to write monthly about good news for kids. Recently, I read an article that adults could be very interested in, as well! You’ve probably read that the methane from cow poo, farts, and burps is more than 20 times as destructive for our environment than the carbon dioxide from our cars.

Short of ending or cutting back on the raising of cattle, what’s to be done? A Nordic company has come up with an idea that is now being tested in the UK. By producing artificial lightning bolts as plasma to zap manure, they are turning most of the ammonia to a usable form of natural fertilizer AND reducing almost all the methane emissions!

Truly great and promising news. Now we need to see how much governments are willing to chip in to help the farmers shoulder the costs of the electricity needed for the process. One thing is certain, we cannot just keep doing things the same.

Air pollution and climate change are real. What can you do today to help? Here are some “greener living” ideas from the EPA!

Fight Climate Change with Your Fork: Meatless Monday

Source: Pixabay

Extreme weather, rising sea levels, and species extinctions are all signs of climate change. Many scientists agree that greenhouse gases are a major threat. What can we each do to make a difference? Fight climate change with your fork! The livestock industry contributes about 14.5% of the greenhouse gas emissions caused by humans, which is even more than those brought about by transportation. Tweaking our diets away from animal products and towards plant-based eating is one way we can each help!

Source: Pixabay

Check out Meatless Monday for more details about the following:

*Adopting Meatless Monday

*Eating more plant-based meals

*Reducing food waste

*Composting

*Eating sustainable foods

And make sure to use the links for great recipe ideas!

5 Ways to Eat a Rose

roses

I’ve seen the beautiful photos and know many of you have roses in your gardens or areas nearby! If they aren’t sprayed with any chemicals, then they’re healthy and safe to use in salads, butters, beverages, honey, and vinegars. Check out the following article from Yes! A Better World Today for the details!

Source: 5 Ways to Eat a Rose

Essential Tips and Tricks for Making the Best Plant-Based Meals: from Meatless Monday

Source: Essential Tips and Tricks for Making the Best Plant-Based Meals

NOTE: If you’re “on the fence” about tofu, I know from experience that freezing it makes a world of difference with the texture! I buy the firmest type I can find and cut the block into thirds or fourths to freeze for later. After I defrost a section for cooking, I then squeeze out all the moisture. No more jiggly tofu! ~Becky

Tales of the Fairies Reimagined

For many children, some versions of popular fairy tales can be frightening! An evil witch who bakes children in her oven? Not a great story to lead into bedtime. In fact, folktales collected by the Brothers Grimm were often ghastly and not even meant for kids! And even some of the stories written by Hans Christian Andersen contained very dark and tragic themes.

When I was recently tasked with retelling a collection of fairy tales in rhyme, I knew right away that I wanted my versions to be positive, fun, and uplifting. Jack‘s giant doesn’t have to die, Pinocchio can use his nose to save Geppetto, and Goldi would decide to leave the Bears’ home safely of her own volition. Red‘s grandmother remains safe, of course, while the girl ponders how the wolf might react if her hood were sewn in different colors.

All in all, this was such a fun and challenging project. I hope you’ll take a peek at my 4 rhyming stories published right here at Empowered Parents!

Fantastic Find at the Bookstore #11: Gelatin Gems from the Past

As a kid, I thought Jell-O was a generic term. Although I remember seeing Royal gelatin and pudding mixes at the store, my mom was a loyal Jell-O consumer.

I love finding these cute vintage recipe booklets at the used bookstores or antique shops and snagged this one dated 1942. I even wrote in the back where and when I purchased it, which I often forget to do: Hancock, MI, August 28, 1991. I lived near there, in the Upper Peninsula, for many years.

This booklet contains recipes for puddings, “ice box” desserts, pies, ice creams, candies, soups, gravies, fruit salads, main dish salads, and of course, gelatin desserts! Here’s one that looks rather refreshing for a hot day like today…

Whenever I see a “fancy” gelatin recipe like this, I think back to a major Jell-O fail I experienced in my youth. The spring I graduated from high school, I was supposed to take a dessert to the Junior/Senior Banquet at school. My parents and younger brother were going out of town, I think to pick up my older sister from college. My mother told me how to make the dessert out of Jell-O, fruit, and something to make it creamy…maybe Kool Whip? She warned me to make it well in advance so it would have time to set. Well, that didn’t happen, and I took a very soupy dessert to school that evening.

No one at my table ate any of it, and I certainly didn’t admit that I had provided that particular dish. The next day, we were supposed to pick up the washed plates and bowls from the cafeteria, and I was embarrassed to do that, thinking the workers would connect my face to the disaster in the bowl. I think maybe I told Mom it was nowhere to be found when I went to check. Possibly I never told her the truth. Knowing me as she did, she may have guessed something close to the real story.

Speaking of gelatin, I’m reminded that this particular product is made from animal parts. Now eating as a vegan, this bothers me, so I looked into some likely vegan gelatin substitutes. Several of these are brand name products that may or may not be available at the grocery, health food store, or online. A few of the suggestions are more generic, however, and can be found in many shops. If you know of any similar products that are easy to find, please let us know in the comments.

And if you have any “Jell-O fails” you’d like to share, we’d love to read about them!

Vintage Bedtime Stories

I can still see that dark orange set of books lined up on the shelf in my paternal grandparents’ home. In the mid-1950s, I would have begged someone to read one or two of the Uncle Arthur’s Bedtime Stories to me. Later, I learned to read them on my own. That’s when I realized why my parents and older sister often skipped over certain tales they guessed would be much too sad for my taste. People died in some of those stories…even parents and children!

Heavy on guilt, prayer, and in-your-face morals, I did love many of the stories, however, especially those about being kind to people and animals. To this day, Volume One rests on my own shelf, amid other vintage books I’ve saved or collected. When I leaf through the pages, breathe in that old-book smell, and look at the illustrations, I can picture myself sitting contentedly on the floor in my grandparents’ small house, guarded by the highbush cranberry trees at the end of a quiet lane…

I’m happy to say that my own quartet of bedtime stories has recently been published on Empowered Parents! Pushing no heavy-handed morals, they do gently teach some important life-lessons about friendship, kindness, and family. I hope you’ll take a look and maybe share them with a little person in your life!