My crazy Family Living in Japan

Military Family Living Abroad

Lunch of a SuperMom April 14, 2010

Filed under: Vegan Recipes — Annastasia @ 13:09
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A lot of my friends refer to me as “SuperMom”. Though let me tell you, I don’t always feel so “Super”.  One thing I almost always make time for is food. I love food.  Today one of my friends on Facebook was talking about hummus, and cucumber sandwiches (though I don’t think together). This suddenly sounded SUPER yummy for lunch today – so I made the most amazing sandwich EVER today!

I used the Idea mentioned above and it turned out so good I thought I would share my recipe here with you all! I hope you love it as much as I did!

What I used:

Thomas Whole Wheat bagel (These have 10 grams of protein!)

Homemade Roasted Red Pepper hummus

Home sprouted organic alfalfa sprouts

Tomato (local grown of course)




Toast the bagel.  Spread with Hummus on both sides.  Top with tomato, avacado, cucumber, and sprouts.  Enjoy!


Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

1 can chickpeas (drained & rinsed)

1/4 cup tahini

1/4 cup lemon juice

4 or 5 cloves of garlic (Minced)

1/2 -3/4 C Roasted Red Peppers

salt (optional)

parsley (Optional)

ground cumin (Optional)


Add Tahini and lemon juice into blender.  Blend until creamy and “milk” like.  Add Garlic, blend well again.  Add Roasted Red peppers, blend until smooth.  Add Chickpeas, and blend until smooth. When all is blended well, pour into a bowl.  Stir in salt, parsley, and cumin (if using).  Enjoy on sandwiches, with pita chips, or tortilla chips. It is also great as a vegetable dip!


You can learn more about hummus here.


Muffins are for Mondays April 13, 2010

Filed under: Vegan Recipes — Annastasia @ 20:59

I almost always seem to make muffins on Mondays. I am not sure why this is, maybe to have some yumminess to start off the week. Either way, these are two of my families favorite recipes for muffins!

Cornmeal Blueberry Muffins    

1 Cup Flour

1 Tblsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup cornmeal (we prefer it with yellow cornmeal, but white works just as well)

1/2 cup Vegetable oil

1/4 cup Applesauce

3/4 cup soy milk (I use vanilla soy milk)

3/4 blueberries (Frozen or Fresh)

1) Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C)

2) Mix All dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

3) Combine all wet ingredients (vegetable oil, applesauce, soymilk) mix well.

4) Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Stir until just moistened.

5) Add blueberries and flod gently into batter. DO NOT overmix!

Pour into muffin pan. Fill each cup 3/4 full.

For extra large muffins cook 30 min, for regular size muffins cook 15-20 min.


The Zante Currant is a variety of small, sweet, seedless black grape. They are very small and intensely flavoured. They can be eaten raw, especially when ripe, when they are sweet to the taste. They may also be referred to as table grapes for this purpose. More commonly they are used for making raisins and occasionally wine. When dried, they are often referred to as dried currants or just “currants”.  For simplicity purpose, these can be purchased at most major grocery stores. Sun-Maid makes a brand, which are normally next to the raisins.

Oat Apple Currant Muffins

1 cup Currants
1 cup cored, peeled and chopped apple
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup vanilla soy milk
1/4 cup applesauce
1 cup all-purpose Organic flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup uncooked oats (I use old fashioned)
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons raw sugar


Preheat oven to 400°F

1) Combine currants, apple, oil, soy milk, applesauce and sugar in a medium mixing bowl.
2) Stir  together flour, oats, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and salt in a separate bowl.
3) Add dry mixture  into wet mixture. Stir just until combined.
4) Pour into 12 lined muffin cups.
5) Sprinkle  top of batter with 1/2 teaspoon raw sugar per muffin cup.

Bake for 20 minutes or until golden.


Sinfully Delish comfort food March 22, 2010

Filed under: Vegan Recipes — Annastasia @ 19:34
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I have not blogged in awhile. My college classes have been taking up all of my free time (with 3 kids, my free time is already a commodity). Since my last blog post,  I have decided to get my degree in nutrition, and am super excited about my decision.
Some friends have been asking for some of my recipes I have been posting on facebook, so today’s post is going to be on some new sinfully delish foods!!

First up . .. . Soup!

Creamy Cheezy Potato Carrot Broccoli soup ~ Note: I combined 3 different recipes, added my own flair and came up with a whole new dish for this one! It turned out super yumm-O!!

6 cups water

2 veggie bullion cube (No MSG)

5 cups potatoes, cubed

1/2 cup onion, Chopped

1/2 cup carrots, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 capful of liquid smoke

1 bay leaf (remove before blending)

Rosemary, sage, and Nature’s Seasons (by morton, the salt peeps) – I add these to taste ( I like lots)

Add all these ingredients to the crock pot.  Stir, cover and cook on high 6 hours.

1 hour before these are done you need to prepare your cheezy cream.

Cheezy cream

1 cup potatoes, cubed

1/2 cup carrots

1/3 cup onion

2 cups water

1/2 Cup Nutritional Yeast ( HOLD until the end of recipe)

Add above to pan, boil for 10 min or until veges are tender.

When done, add to blender with 1 cup cashews, 1/4 tsp garlic minced, 1/4 tsp dijon mustard, 1 tblsp lemon juice, 1/4 tsp black pepper, 1/8 tsp cayenne, 1/4 tsp paprika. Blend until creamy. Add some of the vegetables and soup broth from the crock pot into the blender (with the creamy sauce) to total about 3-4 cups. Blend well. Add all back into the crock pot, stir well. Add frozen broccoli and 1/2 cup nutritional yeast, stir.  Cook 45 more minutes or so. until crock pot is done.


With this I made Onion herb rolls. The recipe I use for these is fantabulous and from vegweb (

Onion Herb Rolls

1/2 cup soy milk
1 1/2 tablespoon sugar (I use evaporated cane)
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon non-hydrogenated margarine
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1 packet yeast (about 2-1/4 teaspoons)
2 1/4 cups unbleached flour
1/4 medium red onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon thyme (dried)
1 tablespoon rosemary (dried)

Mix the soymilk, salt, sugar in a small saucepan and plop in the margarine. Heat until *almost* boiling, stir, and remove from heat. Add the onion and garlic. Let cool.

Mix the flour with the herbs.

Dissolve the yeast in the water in a large bowl, and add the soymilk mix (should be lukewarm/room temperature-ish) and flour mix. Stir well.

Let the dough rise, covered, for about 45 minutes.  It works best if it’s somewhere warm (I put it in the oven, heated to 100 and then turned off)

Plop spoonfuls of the dough onto a greased pan/ sheet, making about 12 rolls (or whatever you like).  Bake for about 20 minutes, until the tops are browned.


These two recipes are a definate favorite in my house! The kids and hubs loves them! There is never leftovers!



An apple a day or an onion a day? December 17, 2009

Filed under: Vegan Recipes,Your Health — Annastasia @ 14:21
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Considering that apple’s are #2 on the dirty dozen list (Look here) is that slowly changing to an onion a day trend? Onions are packed with TONS of good for you stuff, and according the the EWG, Onions are lowest on the list for pesticide contamination. Not to mention, you can normally find onions fairly inexpensive.  I think I picked up some yellow onions for $1.37/lb the other day.  My family likes onions. .. . ok, maybe they don’t “like” them, but at least they eat onions. They know mom says “they are good for your health“. Lets take a look at the Onion, which is an Allium vegetable and what makes them SOOO good for you.

Onions (Allium cepa) belong to the lily family, the same family as garlic, leeks, chives, scallions and shallots. There are over 600 species of Allium, grown all over Europe, North America, Northern Africa and Asia. The plants can be used as ornamentals, vegetables, spices, or as medicine. There are over 120 different documented uses of the Alliums.

For over 4,000 years onions have been used for medical purposes. Egyptians numbered over 8000 onion-alleviated ailments. The esteemed Greek physician Hippocrates prescribed onions as a diuretic, wound healer and pneumonia fighter. During World War II, Russian soldiers applied onions to battle wounds as an antiseptic. And throughout the ages there have been countless folk remedies that have ascribed their curative powers to onions, such as putting a sliced onion under your pillow to fight off insomnia. (Taken from

Onions are highly recommended for people trying to prevent cardiovascular disease, cancer and infections. Like most vegetables, onions are fat- and cholesterol-free, and contain very little sodium. Onions  are a member of the 500-plus allium family. While garlic, also in the allium family, has been highly praised as a cancer preventative, most people eat a lot more onions. As Americans search for low-fat, low-salt, but tasty meals, they’re eating more onions – according to the National Onion Association, around 20 pounds/year per person, which is 50% more than a decade ago.

Two health benefits of the onion are sulfur (a compound) and quercetin (a flavonoid). Flavonoids are super potent antioxidants. They each have been shown to help neutralize the free radicals in the body, and protect the membranes of the body’s cells from damage. Quercetin is a antioxidant it is also found in red wine and tea, but in much lower quantities. White onions contain very little quercetin, so it’s better to stick with the yellow and red varieties. Most health professionals recommend eating raw onions for maximum benefit, but cooking makes them more versatile and doesn’t significantly reduce their potency. I personally only know one person who will eat an onion raw, like you would an apple (YUCK!).  But, if you like them that way. . . It is definitely the way to go!

Throughout history, Onions have been used for a variety of ailments. Early Americans used wild onions to treat colds, coughs & asthma, and to repel insects. (I would think this would repel EVERYONE, onions have a strong scent) In Chinese medicine, onions have been used to treat angina, coughs, bacterial infections, and breathing problems.

The World Health Organization (WHO) supports the use of onions for the treatment of poor appetite and to prevent atherosclerosis. Onion extracts are also recognized by WHO for providing relief in the treatment of coughs and colds, asthma and bronchitis. Onions are known to decrease bronchial spasms. An onion extract was found to decrease allergy-induced bronchial constriction in asthma patients. They contain a number of sulfides similar to those found in garlic which may lower blood lipids and blood pressure. Onions are also a rich source of flavonoids, a substance known to provide protection against cardiovascular disease. Onions are also natural anticlotting agents since they possess substances with fibrinolytic activity and can suppress platelet-clumping.

Onions are a very good source of fructo-oligosaccharides. These oligomers stimulate the growth of healthy bifidobacteria and suppress the growth of potentially harmful bacteria in the colon. They are known to reduce the risk of tumors developing in the colon. Onion extracts, rich in a variety of sulfides, provide some protection against tumor growth. In central Georgia where Vidalia onions are grown, mortality rates from stomach cancer are about 50% lower than the average level for the United States. Studies in Greece have shown a high consumption of onions, garlic and other allium herbs to be protective against stomach cancer. Chinese with the highest intake of onions, garlic, and other Allium vegetables have a risk of stomach cancer 40 percent less than those with the lowest intake. Elderly Dutch men and women with the highest onion consumption (at least one-half onion/day) had one-half the level of stomach cancer compared with those consuming no onions at all.

Western Yellow, New York Bold, and Northern Red onions have the richest concentration of flavonoids and phenolics, providing them with the greatest antioxidant and anti-proliferative activity of 10 onions tested. The mild-tasting Western White and Vidalia onions had the lowest antioxidant content and lowest anti-proliferative activity. The shoppers trend to purchase the less pungent, milder onion varieties may not be the best, since the onions with a stronger flavor and higher astringency appear to have superior health-promoting properties.

Onions are safely consumed by most people. Though, consuming large quantities of onions may lead to stomach distress and gastrointestinal irritation that may result in nausea and diarrhea.

So there you have it – try to eat onions every day!! They are super good for you!!  I put them into almost everything I cook. If you are concerned about bad breath, Parsley (fresh of course) cures that icky onion breath.  It also taste good in many many foods.  To cut down on the “tears” that come with cutting onions, when using a cutting board, spray it down first with white vinegar, I am not sure why this works, but I hardly get tears when cutting onions now.


Here is one of my favorite recipes with raw onions.

Black Bean Salad (courtesy of Vegweb)

2 cans Black Beans
1 Can Corn (I used organic, white)
4 plum tomatoes (Or organic diced tomatos, plain)
1 Medium Red Onion (More if you can handle the strong flavor of them)
1/2 Green Pepper (I have used red, green, yellow, and orange)
Handful of fresh Cilantro
1/2 tablespoon SALT (or to taste)
1/4 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
1 Tblsp Olive Oil
2 Chipolte Peppers (Or Chipolte sauce)
1/2 Tblsp Minced Garlic

1.  Drain & Rinse Beans

2.  Drain Corn

3.  Dice red onion, Green Pepper, Tomato, and chipotle peppers.

4.  Chop Cilantro.

5.  Mix all of it together. Add salt, olive oil, garlic, and vinegar.

6.  Chill covered 4 hours to let flavors blend.  Serve chilled.


Virtual Cookie Exchange 2009 Entry December 15, 2009

Filed under: Vegan Recipes — Annastasia @ 14:59
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Chocolate chip Peppermint Cookies

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup canola oil
1/4 cup applesauce (or 1 egg substitute)
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups crushed peppermint candy (I use Candy Canes)
1 1/2 cups vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Mix sugar, brown sugar, oil, & egg replacer in large bowl. Mix flour, baking soda, salt in separate bowl. Add dry ingredients to wet. Stir well. Add crushed Peppermint (I use candy canes, crushed in the vitamix)  and chocolate chips. Combine well. If it is a little dry, add a small amount of “milk” (I used almond milk) to make it cookie consistency. Drop on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 min. Cool on wire rack and enjoy.


I love baking this time of year. . .ok, I LOVE baking ANYtime of year! Christmas is especially fun because there are so many great desserts to make. Cookies, candies, fudge . . mmm the list goes on and on.  What is your favorite thing to make this time of year?

For some great Cookie Recipes to try out this season, check out the Virtual Cookie Exchange 2009 (Click the picture below) Hosted by Hillbilly Housewife.


Lets get down and “Dirty” December 14, 2009

Monday’s mission – memorize or download the  Dirty Dozen list published by the Environmental Working Group.  What is the Dirty Dozen you ask? I am not referring to the 1967 film, but rather produce. The very produce you probably have in your home now.  This is a list of the top 12 items that, when consumed, supply your body with over 90% of your chemical load from fruits and vegetables. YUCK!

About the pesticides found –

Why are these produce items so bad for you?  They  are heavily contaminated with pesticides.  Two of these are Benomyl and Carbaryl, these have five known pronounced effects. They are known to cause cancer and birth defects in animals. In humans they damage the reproductive system, interfere with hormones, and damage the brain and nervous system. Benomyl and Carbaryl has been found in spinach. Benomyl is also present in peaches and strawberries, while Carbaryl is present in peaches, strawberries, raspberries, nectarines, imported grapes, cherries, bell peppers, and apples. Another major pesticide is Captan, a carcinogen that causes birth defects in animals. In humans it damages the reproductive system, the brain and nervous system, and the immune system. Captan has found a home in peaches, strawberries, raspberries, pears, imported grapes, and apples.

Another one of the pesticides found on produce repeatedly was DDT, which was banned in the United States after December 31, 1972. Samples taken of spinach and potatoes in a 2001 report both contained DDT.

According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, “In soil, DDT lasts for a very long time because it binds strongly to soil particles. Once attached, DDT and its byproducts can persist for as long as 15 years. Moreover, when bound to soil particles, DDT can begin to bioaccumulate, building up in plants and in the fatty tissue of the fish, birds, and animals that eat the plants. Despite a longstanding ban in this country, the United States exported more than 96 tons of DDT in 1991.” The NRDC reported the presence of DDT in breast milk, although there has been a decline in countries that have banned or restricted this chemical. DDT was banned because it caused significant damage to wildlife around the world and was a suspected link to breast and liver cancer. It was also believed to hinder embryo development and reproduction. More information from the NRDC can be found at

Organic produce means that it is pestecide free, and also “non GMO” – Watch about that here –

How do I memorize all of that?

If you are crazy busy like me, and simply don’t have the ability to remember “one more thing” ~ rest assured, there is a solution! The iTunes store has a free app for iPhone and iTouch called “Dirty Produce”. If you do a search for the Environmental Working Group, it comes up. This is very helpful, because you can have the list with you all the time, which makes it convenient for grocery shopping. I know personally I would never remember the entire list, and I don’t know how many times I have used this app while in the produce section!

What can you do?

Now that you have all of this information, how in the world do you keep your family safe!?!??! If you are anything like me, you can not afford to go 100% organic every time you shop. Produce is expensive, and so is the other things you need to buy. The solution? Focus on those foods that come with the heaviest burden of pesticides, additives and hormones. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), consumers can reduce their pesticide exposure by 80% by avoiding the most contaminated fruits and vegetables and eating only the cleanest. If consumers get their USDA-recommended 5 daily servings of fruits and veggies from the 15 most contaminated, they could consume an average of 10 pesticides a day. Those who eat the 15 least contaminated conventionally grown produce ingest less than 2 pesticides daily. Please remember this list also holds true for baby foods as well.

The Dirty Dozen List

Here is the list of all 47 items – Those Ranked #1 (toward the top) are the “worst” contaminated, always buy organic. Those ranked near #47 (toward the bottom) are the least contaminated. (Taken from


1 (worst) Peach 100 (highest pesticide load)
2 Apple 93
3 Sweet Bell Pepper 83
4 Celery 82
5 Nectarine 81
6 Strawberries 80
7 Cherries 73
8 Kale 69
9 Lettuce 67
10 Grapes – Imported 66
11 Carrot 63
12 Pear 63
13 Collard Greens 60
14 Spinach 58
15 Potato 56
16 Green Beans 53
17 Summer Squash 53
18 Pepper 51
19 Cucumber 50
20 Raspberries 46
21 Grapes – Domestic 44
22 Plum 44
23 Orange 44
24 Cauliflower 39
25 Tangerine 37
26 Mushrooms 36
27 Banana 34
28 Winter Squash 34
29 Cantaloupe 33
30 Cranberries 33
31 Honeydew Melon 30
32 Grapefruit 29
33 Sweet Potato 29
34 Tomato 29
35 Broccoli 28
36 Watermelon 26
37 Papaya 20
38 Eggplant 20
39 Cabbage 17
40 Kiwi 13
41 Sweet Peas – Frozen 10
42 Asparagus 10
43 Mango 9
44 Pineapple 7
45 Sweet Corn – Frozen 2
46 Avocado 1
47 (best) Onion

1 (lowest pesticide load)

Note: We ranked a total of 47 different fruits and vegetables but grapes are listed twice because we looked at both domestic and imported samples.

The EWG Methodology – (taken from

The Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides ranks pesticide contamination for 47 popular fruits and vegetables based on an analysis of 87,000 tests for pesticides on these foods, conducted from 2000 to 2007 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration. Nearly all the studies used to create the list test produce after it has been rinsed or peeled. Contamination was measured in six different ways and crops were ranked based on a composite score from all categories.

The six measures of contamination we used were:

  • Percent of the samples tested with detectable pesticides
  • Percent of the samples with two or more pesticides
  • Average number of pesticides found on a sample
  • Average amount (level in parts per million) of all pesticides found
  • Maximum number of pesticides found on a single sample
  • Number of pesticides found on the commodity in total

The philosophy behind the guide is simple: give consumers the information they need to make choices to reduce pesticides in their diets. In this spirit, the Guide does not present a complex assessment of pesticide risks, but instead simply reflects the overall load of pesticides found on commonly eaten fruits and vegetables. This approach best captures the uncertainty of the risks of pesticide exposure and the value judgments involved in the choice to buy food with less pesticides.

Pesticides cause many adverse effects in well designed animal studies, from cancer to nervous system damage to reproductive effects. Rather than assign more weight to cancer than birth defects, we simply assumed that all adverse effects are equal. There is a significant degree of uncertainty about the health effects of pesticide mixtures. This ranking takes this uncertainty into account in the most defensible way possible, by simply ranking fruits and vegetables by their likelihood of being consistently contaminated with the greatest number of pesticides at the highest levels.

What will you do now?

Now that I have overloaded you with information on the “Dirty Dozen”  take a moment to vote in the poll about your thoughts.



Sick kids and good food ~ December 13, 2009

Filed under: Vegan Recipes — Annastasia @ 19:18

Well, it has been a rough few days! Every one of my kids has managed to be sick!! Today, I had a lot of stuff to get done, and with 3 sick kids it was a little difficult, but I managed. I made some homemade almond milk, homemade “chick’n” noodle soup, full meal muffins, and peppermint chocolate chip cookies. The first three items were for the kids, the cookies were for me!! I would like to share my recipe for the last two with you all.
The “Full meal muffin” recipe came from The vegan Lunch Box cookbook. The recipe can also be found on their website here.


Full Meal Muffins (taken from Shmooed Food)
1 cup whole spelt flour
1 cup barley flour (or use 1 cup white and 1 cup whole wheat flour in place of spelt and barley if you prefer)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 ripe bananas, peeled
3 tablespoons blackstrap molasses
½ cup apple juice, plus more as needed
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 zucchini, finely grated (about 1 ½ cups)
½ cup finely chopped or ground walnuts
½ cup currants or raisins (optional, they add a touch of sweetness)

Preheat the oven to 375º. Line a muffin tin with paper liners and spray with nonstick spray.

Combine both flours, cinnamon, baking powder, and baking soda in a mixing bowl and whisk together.

Place the bananas, blackstrap molasses, apple juice, and apple cider vinegar in a Vita-Mix or other blender and blend until smooth. Mix the wet and dry ingredients together, then fold in the zucchini, walnuts, and currants or raisins. Use a bit more apple juice if needed to wet all the flour.

Divide mixture evenly into the 12 lined muffin cups, and bake for 20 minutes, or until the top springs back to the touch. Remove muffins from the pan and cool on a wire rack.

Store in an airtight container or freeze in individual freezer bags to pull out and put into lunches as needed.


I made some adjustments to the original, based on what I had in the house. I did use 1 cup white + 1 cup whole wheat flour, subbed OJ for Apple juice, and used apple instead of Zucchini. I also added a bunch of Bok Choy into the vitamix. Instead of raisins or currants, I used dates that I chopped up.  These ingredients were just what I had on hand, and they worked out deliciously. The kids couldn’t get enough!! Z ate 2 whole Muffins!!! We will definitely make these again!!


Now for the cookies!! These are my FAVORITE cookies!! I Love these!! When I feel stressed, I eat these. They make everything better. After the day I had today, I needed these cookies. They are so wonderful, I thought I would share the recipe with all of you!

Chocolate chip Peppermint Cookies

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup canola oil
1/4 cup applesauce (or 1 egg substitute)
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups crushed peppermint candy (I use peppermint sticks)
1 1/2 cups vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Mix sugar, brown sugar, oil,  & egg replacer in large bowl. Mix flour, baking soda, salt in separate bowl. Add dry ingredients to wet. Stir well. Add crushed Peppermint (I use candy canes, crushed in the vitamix) and chocolate chips. Combine well.  If it is a little dry, add a small amount of “milk” (I used almond milk) to make it cookie consistency.  Drop on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 min.  Cool on wire rack and enjoy.


I would love to post my recipe for “chick’n noodle soup” but it didn’t turn out as well as I would have liked.  I hope you all enjoy these recipes.

Happy Baking!