September 6th is National Read a Book Day!

This is one “holiday” we can all celebrate and enjoy together. I can’t think of a single day in my life when a book hasn’t been in my hands. Books can expand your mind, open new worlds to explore, and feed your spirit.

Need some quiet time alone? Relax with a book. Doing research? There’s a book on that topic. Is it time to build a better you? Answers can be found in books. Trying to get a child to go to bed? Books can help with that, too!

Here are a couple of suggestions so you can get a headstart on National Read a Book Day.

You can find these books on Amazon now, read sample pages, and have them in your hands by September 6. Just click on the links:

SMASHING IDOLS: http://www.amazon.com/dp/173758641X

Peeling Potatoes: Katie’s Story: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1737586436

I hope you enjoy everyone’s holiday on September 6th, and know that I will be reading with you!

Barley Mushroom Casserole (Tsar-kasha)

Because I am working on a new book series for middle grade children that focuses on early 20th Century eastern European immigrants to North America where life was hard and childhood was short, I currently have a special interest in Russian/Ukrainian cuisine. Both of my grandfathers worked in the coal mines of northeastern Pennsylvania during that era, so some of these recipes have been passed down through the generations. I am resurrecting a few favorites from my childhood and experimenting with them to fit a meat-free plant-based lifestyle.

This is a simple Russian/Ukrainian peasant recipe that I have adapted from the original to be vegan. I am including the original ingredients in parentheses so you can choose the version you prefer. This was an easy recipe to adapt because it was already vegetarian. I just made a few minor adjustments to make it vegan.

Ingredients:

2/3 cup finely chopped onion

3 Tbsp grapeseed oil (or 6 Tbsp butter)

1 large clove garlic, minced

1 lb fresh sliced mushrooms (these were traditionally hand-picked in the forest, but you can just use sliced white mushrooms from the grocery store as I did here)

3 cups water

1 cup regular barley

3 tsps instant vegetable bouillon granuals or “Better Than Bouillon-No Chicken Base” (or instant chicken bouillon or regular chicken broth)

1/4 cup snipped fresh parsley

1 tsp dried basil leaves

1/2 tsp salt (optional)

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Method:

In a large pot combine the onion, oil, garlic, and mushrooms. Cover and cook on medium, stirring occasionally, just until the onion is tender.

Stir in remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Lower heat to simmer, cover and cook until barley is tender. Stir occasionally and add more water if needed.

Remove from heat and let stand covered for 5 minutes.

This simple recipe yeids 8 -10 side dish servings or 4 – 5 maindish servings.

My mother would have served this with ground redbeets mixed with horseradish, but I really dislike that concoction. I served it with a side of whole cranberry sauce instead and roasted vegetables. Serve as you like.

If you are interested in learning about the early 1900’s coal mine experience as seen through a child’s eyes, then please check out my new book, “Peeling Potatoes: Katie’s Story” on Amazon. Available in Paperback or eBook: https://amazon.com/dp/B0B4KTJL3F

New! About Jayne M Booth, Author of “SMASHING IDOLS: Transform Your Body, Mind and Spirit with a Plant-Based Lifestyle.”

Jayne M Booth has always loved reading and writing. At 16, she started working as a waitress at Percy Brown’s Restaurant in Wilkes-Barre, PA. She is a certified Health Minister. She helps individuals enjoy a healthy whole-food plant-based lifestyle. She likes to paint, dance, hike, and read to anyone who will listen. Read full interview…

Book Review: “Alaska Sourdough, The Real Stuff by a Real Alaskan,” revised edition, by Ruth Allman (forward by Addie Studebaker)

If you have ever thought about making your own sourdough bread, but were intimidated by the online instructions and videos detailing the complicated method involved in creating and keeping a living starter, then this is the book for you. I admit the whole process seemed daunting and mysterious to me. I really didn’t want my life to revolve around feeding a sourdough starter morning and evening for a whole month before even trying to bake bread. If you do some research you will discover that there are dozens of ways to create, and kill, a sourdough starter, and I wasn’t willing to take any chances after that investment of time and effort. This book is perfect for people like me — like you?

Alaska Sourdough, the Real Stuff by a Real Alaskan was first printed in 1976, but has recently been revised for the modern reader. I love the wisdom and charm of Ruth Allman’s notes and advice. She makes everything seem simple, and her common sense style of writing will convince you that yes, even you can bake your own sourdough bread. Throughout this book she intersperses the history of early Alaskan pioneers who depended on their sourdough starter to keep them alive through bone-chilling winters on the frozen tundra. These early pioneers were not expert chefs or bakers. They were in Alaska to homestead, find adventure, and hopefully strike it rich. They did not have the luxury of allowing their sourdough efforts to fail. Their very lives depended on the success of their sourdough, and the author is generous in sharing their many no-nonsense tips and tricks for success.

So, encouraged by their efforts, I dove in and made the starter using her potato water recipe. I expected to wait and feed the starter daily for at least one week before baking. Well, by the second day my starter had nearly doubled in size, and by the third day I had to bake, or it would have overflowed the quart jar where it was bubbling and brewing like a witch’s cauldron. The two loaves of bread I made on the third day came out great! I continued to feed the starter following the author’s simple instructions, and two days later used some to make delicious sourdough hotcakes for three hungry adults. All this in less than one week! I have plans for more bread and sourdough pretzels in the near future. If I can do this, you can, too. I highly recommend Alaska Sourdough, the Real Stuff by a Real Alaskan, by Ruth Allman, and wish you much success on your bread baking adventure!

My sourdough starter on day 2. (The rubberband marks the starting point on day 1). On day 3 it was definitely time to bake!

It’s Never Too Late

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Photo by nappy on Pexels.com

Total health starts with your spiritual life.  Prayer, reading the Bible and meditating on God’s word will reduce stress and give you answers to life’s questions. If you want to be healthy body, mind and spirit, then start here.

Jesus never refuses an invitation to be with you. He’s never too busy. He never has something more important to do. You are the most important thing to Jesus, and he loves spending time with you, It’s never too late. He’s just waiting to be asked.

Luke 24: 28-29 — As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going farther. But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.

So, How’s that New Year’s Resolution Going?

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The start of a new year is a funny time. People ponder the state of the goals they set during the previous year and resolve to do better this time around. Lose weight, finally read that book, get your finances in order, clean out the hall closet — every missed opportunity and put-off chore is on the list of things we resolve to make happen this year. Because it’s a New Year, a fresh start — anything is possible!

One thing I have been thinking about for a while is this blog. I’ve noticed that there are many blogs out there based on diet and food. Recipes abound for any diet you wish to follow. But, for some people, like me, you need more than a recipe to entice you to alter your diet even if it will improve your health. As a believer, I had to be convinced that following any specific diet was God’s will, so I researched with an open mind, read and prayed a lot. After two years I was convinced that a vegetarian (mostly vegan) diet was the correct diet for humans. Fad diets come and go, but this one has stood the test of time for promoting optimal health and longevity. This isn’t the answer I was hoping for (believe me, if there were a hot fudge sundae diet that worked, I would tell you!), but I am convinced this is the truth.

So this year, I resolve to share more about what God’s word has to say about the food we should eat. There will still be recipes, but more about what the Bible says that convinced me to permanently change my diet 18 years ago. It wasn’t because I loved vegetables (or even animals). My lifestyle change was an act of obedience to what I knew God was telling me. And, I believe that when you ask God a question, and He answers, then you’d better do what He says. I hope that throughout this new year you, too, will understand the wisdom of God’s original diet (Genesis 1:29 – Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.”)

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Let’s Start at the Very Beginning!

 

Are you wondering how to eat as you search for answers to your health problems? Has your search led you to more questions than answers? Are you concerned about the health of planet Earth as well as your own body? Sixteen years ago I was asking all those questions, too. I read everything I could find on health and nutrition. I spent days in the library and online studying the scientific research, taking and comparing notes, searching for answers only to become more and more confused as everyone from the FDA to fad diet promoters each led me down yet another rabbit trail of doubt. I prayed for guidance.

Instinctively I knew that the answers to my questions were to be found somewhere in the oldest book of wisdom known to mankind, the Bible. Thinking this would take forever, I started to read, determined to root out the answers to a healthy diet. To my surprise, the answer was hidden in plain sight in the very first chapter of the very first book of the Bible!

Genesis 1: 29  Then God said, I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.

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Then it dawned on me… a plant-based diet is not something new and suspect. Vegetarian diets are not recent inventions by New Age gurus. Eating a healthy whole food plant-based diet is the oldest and most efficient diet in the world! Always was, always will be. If you are wondering where to look in your search for health, why not start at the very beginning?

 

 

“Vegetarian Times Complete Thanksgiving Cookbook” by the editors of “Vegetarian Times” magazine. MacMillan, 1998.

As Thanksgiving approaches we all (even vegans) yearn for the familiar tastes and aromas of the comfort foods we associate with the traditional American Thanksgiving dinner.  Trying to follow a vegan lifestyle during this season of feasting can be a challenge, but the editors of Vegetarian Times have compiled a cookbook to please any non-turkey eater’s appetite.  No longer do we have to be content with dry mashed potatoes, salad, and a roll while everyone else gorges on turkey flesh and gravy!  This cookbook is full of holiday favorites and treats.  The accompanying photos are mouthwatering in themselves, and the recipes I have tried live up to the excellent standards “Vegetarian Times” always maintains.

One recipe for Vegan Pumpkin Pie (page 193)  is, in my opinion, the very best pumpkin pie I have ever had.  That it is made without any eggs or dairy puts it way above conventional pumpkin pie recipes that are high in fat, calories, and cholesterol. You can use your own favorite pie crust recipe or the one included in the book.  This is the simple filling recipe, smooth creamy, and out of this world!

Ingredients:

2 cups canned pumpkin

1 cup low-fat soymilk or rice milk

1/2 cup honey or 3/4 c. granulated sugar cane syrup (I used 1/4 c. honey and 1/4 c. agave syrup)

1/4 cup cornstarch

1/2 Tbsp. dark molasses, or to taste

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. salt (I used Celtic sea salt)

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

1/4 tsp. ground allspice

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. To prepare filling, in a large mixing bowl, mix all ingredients until smooth and blended.  Pour into prepared crust and smooth top.  Bake 10 minutes — THEN:

Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees; bake until filling is set, about 50 minutes.  Set on a wire rack to cool, then refrigerate overnight to set. Top with your choice of dessert topping if desired.  I’m sure you will love it!

For more recipes like this, the cookbook “Vegetarian Times Complete Thanksgiving Cookbook” sells for $21.00 (or less if you shop around).  For even more recipes for everyday cooking go to this great resource: http://www.vegetariantimes.com/recipes.