Julie Green and Keen
There are just so many things to be recognized in October, but one of my favorite is today, NATIONAL PASTA DAY! :D  I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love pasta.  It is such a versatile food that can be made to be spicy, sweet, savory, rich…and the list goes on.

Happy National Pasta Day!
Did you know that pasta has been made and consumed as early at 3,000 B.C. by the Chinese?  It only was brought to America in 1789 by Thomas Jefferson after being in France.  I don’t know how people survived without it. 

Pasta has become a staple in much of American popular culinary works.  So why not find out a little bit more about our favorite pasta?  Here are some fun facts about pasta…I mean who doesn’t want to know more?

•    Italians consume more pasta than anyone else in the world.
•    Pasta comes in many different colors depending on the sauce it is made with.
•    The word pasta originated from the Italian word paste.
•    The average American eats 20 lbs. of pasta annually.
•    There are 310 specific forms of pasta that are known by over 1300 different names.

I remember years ago in college, pasta was the base for nearly every meal.  Pasta can be enjoyed on any budget and can be prepared to make the low cost noodles seem like a high end dish.  I still always keep pasta on hand at home.  It is great for those days when cooking an entire meal seems daunting but you want to eat something good.  It is easy to make a delicious meal in just a few minutes with pasta.

When you hear the statement, “Happy National Pasta Day” I hope you get as excited as I do and imagine yourself indulging in delicious pasta delights.  I am sure you have a favorite kind or shape of pasta, but today I say, try a new one.  With 310 different options, why not dapple in a new meal shape.  Get cooking and make sure you have your fair share of pasta. :)

What is your favorite pasta and pasta dish?

Go green and stay keen,

Where has time gone, I can’t believe it is October 4th already!  I feel like it was just spring and now we are nearly into fall.  October is always such a fantastic month for our family.  It is my daughter Hannah’s birthday, Vegetarian Awareness Month, and it is Halloween.

October 1st was World Vegetarian day and the kick-off of Vegetarian Awareness Month!   October is one of my favorite months where I make sure that everyone knows I am vegetarian and why they should try it too.  World Vegetarian Day and Vegetarian Awareness Month can be celebrated by everyone, vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. Plus, today is World Animals Day <3

My family is not vegetarian, but we do cook a lot of vegetarian meals.  During October we only eat vegetarian meals to celebrate this wonderful month.  It is always great to see my children and husband choosing vegetarian options over meat options.  During this month I really shine with my cooking, coming up with new recipes to surprise them that it is all vegetarian.

October is National Vegetarian Awareness Month

Fall offers the best selection, in my opinion, for fresh vegetables.  The squashes, zucchinis, pumpkins, and the delicious vegetable list goes on.  I believe that October brings the first feeling of the warm and coziness of fall and the future of winter.  There is just something about it that makes me such a happy person.

October is also Hannah’s birthday.  She always has something up her sleeve and hidden plans to organize everything for her party.  It is fun seeing her get so into the planning and set up for parties.  She is growing up so fast, I can’t wait to see what she has planned this year.

Over the winter and summer, I found some really great fall vegetarian recipes I can’t wait to try!  October brings so much joy and excitement in our house.  I am looking forward to having friends and family over for delicious vegetarian dinners this Vegetarian Awareness Month.

If you have any questions about becoming a vegetarian or some recipes that will trick your friends that there is not meat please feel free to ask and comment below!

Go Green and Stay Keen,

You would have to be oblivious to the world if you weren’t aware that October is breast cancer awareness month.  Every year October brings societies focus to this disease that affects so many people. Although most people are aware about breast cancer, many bypass the steps to detect the disease and how to help prevent it.

Many people know someone or have in some way been effected by this cancer.  I wanted to share a couple statistics from breastcancer.org:

•    About 1 in 8 women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime.
•    For women in the U.S., breast cancer death rates are higher than those for any other cancer, besides lung cancer.
•    The most significant risk factors for breast cancer are gender (being a woman) and age (growing older).

Breast cancer is a scary disease but with knowledge and being proactive we can better understand it and do things to stop it in its tracks.  Here are some helpful ways to reduce the risk of getting breast cancer:

•    Eat healthy and exercise regularly
•    Avoid too much alcohol
•    Know your family history to better predict and manage
•    Get regular breast exams
•    Relax

Breast cancer and those who are forced to fight it have a special place in my heart, one of my best friends fought this terrible cancer 4 years ago.  Luckily, she caught it early and took the right steps until she finally beat it.  Watching the stages of cancer and treatment from a front row seat was so difficult and eye opening. 

Cancer is one of those things you never want to believe will affect you but chances are you know someone who has had it or is currently fighting it.  I believe with knowledge and strength in numbers we can come closer to a cure.  Every type of cancer is debilitating and we must take the time to donate and help find a cure.

This October please take the time to educate yourself on breast cancer or another cancer that has effect you.  Let’s become an informed society ready to knock cancer out!

Go green and stay keen,


We all know that there are certain foods that are better for parts of your body and your mental and emotional health.  I swear that a good breakfast can keep my kids going all morning and keep them attentive.  But there are some foods that are even better than others to keep your energy and brain power.  Have two growing children has made me very interested in these kinds of foods.

I always try keeping up to date on latest findings and research about what is best for my kids and my husband and I.  I found a few really interesting articles about foods that fuel brain power and memory.  These foods are good for our entire family and can keep us healthy.  I believe it is important to know what is good for you and take it into your own hands. 

Here are my findings and knowledge on “brain power food”:

•    Almond Butter can help find memory loss because of their high content of vitamin E, which has been found to help reduce the risk of cognitive impairment.  Almond butter has three times as much vitamin E than ordinary peanut butter.  Why not make an easy switch to a healthier and better for you nut spread.

•    Leafy Greens like spinach or broccoli packed with vitamin K can help improve verbal memory and the ability to understand and remember verbal instructions.  Vitamin K is good for both my husband, our children, and myself.  Leafy greens are also high in tandem that works with vitamin B12 that helps cognitive function in older adults. 

•    Blueberries are the ultimate power food.  The flavonoids in them are shown to help spatial memory and the antioxidants reduce inflammation that helps with long term memory and brain health.  There are so many powers that blueberries have it is hard to name them all.

•    Green Tea helps improve brain plasticity making it easier to learn and retain information. 

•    Tomatoes are packed with carotenoids that help improve cognition and memory over long periods of time.  Tomatoes also have lycopene found in the skin that helps protect against depression-causing inflammation.

I hope to continue eating these foods and incorporate them a little more in my life.  There are huge lists foods that help brain power and cognitive health but these were some of my favorite foods. 

What are your “go to” brain boosting foods?

Go Green and Go Keen,

I feel like everyone goes through phases with foods, whether it is loving it or hating it.  The good news is Liam has lost is last obsession…thank goodness, but my husband and I have been in quick the granola kick.

There is nothing wrong with a little granola obsession for a while but making sure that it is in moderation.  My husband comes up with some great ideas when it comes to mixing up flavors in food.  He wanted us to make our own granola and he came up with little variations to avoid getting bored with the same kinds of granola.  He came up with some delicious concoctions I have to share these great granola ideas with.

With fall in sight Low Fat Apple Raisin Granola

3 cups dehydrated buckwheat chunks
1 cup raisins
½ cup pumpkin seeds
2 tsps. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger powder
Pinch of salt
¾ cup agave
1 apple, chopped and diced
1 tbsp. almond butter

Preheat oven to 250 degree Fahrenheit
In a large bowl mix the buckwheat chunks, raisins, pumpkin seeds, cinnamon, ginger powder, and salt.
In another bowl mix the agave, apple, and almond butter together.  I have used a blender to thoroughly mix together.  Pour over the dry mixture and toss to coat and combine.
Spread on a lined baking sheet and bake for 1 hour. Cool and store in an air tight container.  This is my favorite granola we have made :)

Vanilla Almond Goji Berry Granola

3 cups old-fashioned oats
1/3 cup slivered almonds
1/3 cup sweetened coconut flakes
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
1/3 cup grape-seed oil
1/3 cup agave
1 tsp. vanilla extract
¼ cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup goji berries

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit
Mix the oats, almonds, coconut flakes, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl then pour on a lined baking sheet.
In a saucepan mix the grape-seed oil, agave, vanilla extract, and light brown sugar on low heat until a simmer then remove from the heat.  Pour over the oat mixture and toss to coat.
Bake for 20 minutes until it is golden brown, cool and break into chunks and mix with the goji berries.  Enjoy over yogurt, milk, or even ice cream if you are feeling ambitions.

When you don’t feel like a sweet granola, my husband loves his new creation: Salty Olive Granola-

3 cups old-fashioned oats
1 ½ cup pecan halves, pulverized
1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
½ cup pure maple syrup
¼ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. ground cardamom
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
1 cup raisins

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit
In a large mixing bowl combine the oats, pecans, coconut, and pumpkin seeds.  Add the maple syrup, sugar, olive oil, salt, cardamom, nutmeg, and cinnamon and mix until everything is coated.
Spread the mixture on a lined baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, stir and bake for another 15 minutes.  Let cool and add the raisins and mix together.  Enjoy your salty granola with a twist.

If you have any unique and tasty granola recipes I am sure my husband would be excited to give them a try! :)

Go Green and Stay Keen,


This weekend we celebrated the 4th of July so much, I need a vacation from the weekend.  Not only were we invited to three Fourth of July parties, we also hosted a barbeque ourselves.

Hannah is my little party planner so I would expect nothing else than her wanted to host a BBQ.  I am glad we all have the day off today to relax and have a little rest from the weekend.

On Saturday afternoon we hosted a fantastic 4th of July BBQ.  It is always such a busy time of the year with all the holiday parties and the kid’s activities.  I don’t know why I let Hannah convince me to have a 4th of July barbeque, but it turned out great.  Surprisingly she is a very good party planner, to the extent of food, decorations, and inviting people…she isn’t that good on the cleanup part yet.  :)

Hannah wanted to be part of ALL the planning for our barbeque, even though she is pretty busy with soccer.  She wanted to plan it all herself and then have us make the final decision.  She actually came up with some really great ideas for decorations and food that were easy and cheap!

She also wanted to help create a red, white, and blue menu.  She officiated “Dad” to the grilling of the burgers, veggie burgers, and corn on the cob. (Her favorites on the grill)  She found quite a few food ideas of Pinterest and made them with a little help from me.  We made watermelon, blueberry and banana kabobs, “stuffed strawberries,” and patriotic Jell-O bites.
On top of Hannah’s special treats she found, I also made some easy snacks and sides.  One of my good friends who is an incredible baker offered to bring a cake…I have never said no to a cake. :)

Overall it was a successful 4th of July BBQ.  Today we are laying low and recuperating from all of our weekend festivities.

I hope everyone has a wonderful 4th of July! :)

Go Green and Stay Keen,


4th of July BBQ

by on 7/04/2016
This weekend we celebrated the 4th of July so much, I need a vacation from the weekend.  Not only were we invited to three Fourth of Jul...
I love encountering individuals who are eager to learn about a vegetarian lifestyle and make a change.  Last night at the restaurant I had the opportunity to chat with a couple that has just decided to embark on their vegetarian lifestyle journey.  They asked me for some helpful hints to get through the difficult first couple months.  With spring quickly approaching and BBQ’s and soccer games around the corner they were concerned about vegetarian options.  Luckily for them I have quite a few helpful hints.

Deciding to become is a big diet and lifestyle change.  There are times when it will seem impossible, but once you find your strength and keep pushing forward there is not turning back.  Here are a few tips that helped me “keep on trucking” and create a healthy lifestyle for myself.

1.    Don’t expect everyone to embrace your new lifestyle change initially.  My parents thought I was crazy when I told them I was making the change, and now they eat a primarily plant-based diet.  During the first couple months my friends and family would taunt me with my past favorite meals with meat making it a game to see if I would crack.  I stayed strong and soon everyone came to realize this was something I was doing to better myself and I wasn’t going to back down.  Stay strong!

2.    There will be times when you crave a dish with meat in it, and when that happens just watch one of the wonderful documentaries out there about the factory meat industry.  I am sure that craving will pass.  Documentaries are a great way to find inspiration to make change and find your strength from within.  Educate yourself!

3.    Try new fruits and vegetables.  There are so many it shouldn’t be hard to try a new one every week incorporating it into a new recipe.  I can’t stress enough that even “ugly” fruits and veggies taste wonderful.  Don’t overlook certain types just because you have never tried it before or it looks ugly.  Dive in head first and see what you like.

4.    If you are not a chef, take a vegetarian cooking class.  I took a class in my first couple months of becoming a vegetarian and learned so much and met a great support system.  Working and having fun with likeminded people is a great way to discover some new recipes and new friends.

5.    Eat what is in season and go to the farmers markets.  Going to the farmers markets is not only a way to get your groceries, it is an experience in itself.  Become friends with the farmers and really find out where your food comes from.  I also suggest planting your own garden.  It is such a satisfying feeling cooking a meal with all your own fresh yields.

Making a lifestyle change doesn’t have to be that hard.  Find a good support system and make a promise to yourself, you’ll be half way there.  If you have any other questions about become a vegetarian, I would love to answer them for you! :)

Go Green and Stay Keen,