FREE Health Fair, October 8, 2011, Glad Tidings Church, 1110 Snyder Rd., West Lawn, PA 19609, 610-678-0266

Come one come all, this Saturday anytime from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm to meet area wellness professionals and learn what options are available to meet your own personal physical, mental, and spiritual health needs.  Free medical screening by Adventist Whole Health Network, samples, informative presentations, movies, and more.  While you’re there enjoy a healthy lunch in the popular Sacred Grounds Cafe and Grille, and shop Scrolls Bookstore.  See you there!


FREE 3 Days to Health Seminar, Sept. 18, 19, and 20, 2011, 6:30 – 8:30 PM

If you are in the Reading, PA area Sept. 18 – 20, don’t miss this enlightening 3-day presentation by Chet and Bev Cook (BA, ND, CHC), Directors of the Hallelujah Acres Lifestyle Centers.  Discover God’s simple, Biblical model for physical health and healing through lectures, video clips, food prep and sampling, juicing demos and more!

God designed our bodies to be healthy. Learn how to take control of your health by eliminating toxins and following the nutritional plan that God intended for us. Totally FREE, but space is limited, so please register today!

Location: Glad Tidings Church, 1110 Snyder Road, West Lawn, PA 19609

To register phone: 610-670-7504

Austin’s Restaurant, 1101 Snyder Rd., West Lawn, PA 19609, 610-678-5500

Austin’s is an upscale American restaurant suitable for family dining, date night, or business lunches.  The decor is classic and clean on two levels with brick appointments and an open view of the kitchen.  The food may be a couple of dollars on the high side of average, but they do use the freshest of ingredients and everything is made to order.  Their servers work as a team, which keeps things moving smoothly and efficiently.  There are several vegetarian options on the menu, and there is even a gluten-free menu available if you ask your server.  Austin’s will gladly substitute brown rice or gluten-free pasta for any pasta for only $1.00.

On the night we visited I ordered the Vegetable Platter ($12.99).  It included steamed broccoli, zucchini, yellow squash and snow peas served with Austin’s own homemade Chipotle Black Beans and brown rice with two slices of garlic toast.  Everything was delicious, and the portions were more than generous.

My husband ordered the Vegetarian Pasta ($14.99): vegetables stir-fried with oil, garlic, and spices tossed with linguine, Parmesan cheese, diced tomatoes and toasted bread crumbs.  A large side salad was included in the price.  We both had hot tea to drink (free and prompt refills).

Austin’s has a variety of desserts on their menu (if you have any room left), and they also feature a Kid’s Menu for their younger clients,  and Daily Lunch Specials.  They open everyday at 11:00 am for lunch and dinner.  Reservations are not required, but we have found that it is wise to call ahead and get on the list before arriving.

I would recommend Austin’s for any occasion when you want to go somewhere a little upscale.  It is conveniently located on the corner of Snyder and Van Reed Rd. just across from that big church on the corner (Glad Tidings). You will be pleased with the appearance, location, food, service, and atmosphere at this classic restaurant.  I can’t think of a thing they could do to improve.

To see their complete menu and learn more:

Sacred Grounds Grille and Cafe, 1110 Snyder Rd., Reading, PA 19609 Phone: 610-678-0266,

I have been meaning to write about Sacred Grounds Grille and Cafe for a few months, and apologize for not sharing information about this little gem of a restaurant before now.  This casual modern eatery is located at Glad Tidings Assembly of God Church in West Lawn, PA, and is open to the public.  The hours of operation are (a little unusual): Tues. – Thurs. 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., Wed. 5 p.m. – 9 p.m., and Sunday 8 a.m. – 1:30 p.m..  The entrance to the restaurant is the main entrance to The Worship Center toward the rear of the church on Snyder Rd.  (Enter The Worship Center and turn right in the lobby).

Don’t think that this is just card tables and folding chairs in a spare room of the church.  This is a full service restaurant with commercial kitchen and competent staff.  The atmosphere is light and airy with modern furnishings and one entire wall of huge glass windows.  In nice weather you even have the option of dining outside on the patio.

The very reasonable and creative menu includes salads, soups, cold and hot sandwiches, wraps, pizza, and sides– plenty of vegetarian options! I’ve eaten at Sacred Grounds several times, and my favorite menu item is the Strawberry Spinach Salad.  For only $6.25 you will not find a larger or tastier salad anywhere, and they are not stingy with the strawberries and walnuts.  You can get the poppyseed vinaigrette on top or on the side — all served on real china dishes with stainless steel utensils (not plastic).  This salad is definitely a meal 🙂  Yummy!  Hot and cold drinks and desserts  are available just a few steps away at the Cafe.  Note: a portion of the profits from the sale of their fair trade coffee goes to support foreign missions.

This restaurant is open to the public, and even has free WiFi.  For a casual lunch with friends or a quiet business meeting, Sacred Grounds is unique in the area for its clean, healthy, modern, wholesome  environment and delicious food at reasonable prices.  Very classy, Sacred Grounds is a place you will be proud to take guests to; and while you’re there discover what’s going on at “that big church on the corner.” Highly recommended!

“The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook,” by Jo Stepaniak

“The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook” is the latest addition to my cookbook library.  Because I was brought up on dairy products there are a few things I really miss eating since becoming a vegetarian; macaroni and cheese is one of them.  I was intrigued by this book because it offers a wide variety of dairy-free recipes from individual un-cheeses to casseroles and desserts.  The secret ingredient in most is nutritional yeast (not active dry yeast; there is a difference).  I couldn’t wait to try them.

The first recipe was the Gooey Grilled Cheez sandwich (page 141).  This recipe, and the others in this cookbook, are uncomplicated and easy to follow.  It was a “high okay” in my opinion.  It had a cheddar-like flavor and was definitely gooey, as melted cheese should be.  As non-cheeses go the flavor was similar to other veggie cheeses — maybe a little less lemon juice would have been better.

The second recipe I tried was the Traditional Macaroni and Cheez (page 112).  This recipe was right on the mark.  It was everything I’d hoped for in a non-dairy recipe and more. The color, texture and flavor were perfect.  I did make one minor alteration to the printed recipe by layering chopped onion between two layers of the macaroni/cheez mixture before baking, because this is the way my family always preferred macaroni and cheese casserole “back in the day.”  Served with stewed tomatoes on top it was just like Grandma used to make — delicious (tastes like pizza)!

Considering all the negatives associated with dairy consumption I am thrilled to have found this cookbook, and I’m looking forward to experimenting with several other recipes in the near future.  Betta Feta (page 45) and Caesar Salad Dressing (page 146) look very intriguing.

I purchased this cookbook on below retail and no shipping charges if your order is over $25.00.  I would definitely recommend “The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook,” by Jo Stepaniak  if you are serious about following a vegetarian lifestyle.

ZOUP! Woodland Rd. in The Shoppes at Wyomissing, PA 19610, 610 372-6717

Zoup! is a new franchise restaurant in town.  If you follow Woodland Rd. east past the Berkshire Mall you will end up in the parking lot of The Shoppes at Wyomissing, an upscale strip mall where you will find Zoup! situated more or less in the middle of the strip.

My first impression of Zoup! was that is very clean and the staff was very helpful and answered all our questions — even offering free samples of the soup before we ordered. In appearance Zoup! is reminiscent of a scaled down version of Panera Bread; scaled down because they don’t have a bakery (or any desserts) on the premises.  Zoup! offers soups, salads, and sandwiches freshly made at reasonable prices.  They had four vegetarian soups on the menu the night we were there: vegetarian split pea, tomato basil, wild mushroom barley, and butternut squash (that is a larger selection than Panera, which usually only offers one, sometimes two). Any salad can be made into a wrap. Sandwiches can be ordered deli-style or grilled.

My partner and I both decided on the vegetarian split pea soup (large) and a “cali veg sandwich”, which we split (whole sandwiches are quite large). For an extra $1.99 any soup can be served in a bread bowl. We each had freshly brewed iced tea (free refills).  Everything we had was delicious.  With the soup you get a good-sized complimentary fresh roll (three choices: white, wheat, or multigrain), so there really is no need to purchase the bread bowl unless you really love bread.

Zoup! occasionally publishes coupons, and we had one that night for “buy one get one free soup.”  That was worth about $5.50 — what a deal!  With our coupon our entire bill for two, including tax, came to only $15.08.  We will definitely go back to Zoup!  It’s a nice place to go for a healthy lunch or casual dinner while shopping.  They also have free wi-fi. See them on the web

I thought Zoup! was a great value for the money. Plus, they have free internet!

Abigail’s Tea Room, 1441 Perkiomen Ave, Reading, PA 19602 (610 376-6050):

Today my 6’3″ engineer husband bravely agreed to take me to Abigail’s Tea Room for lunch to celebrate my birthday. I say “bravely” because there is more than enough lace, fine china, and “cute” at Abigail’s Tea Room to strike fear in the hearts of ordinary men. As they say at Abigail’s, “It’s not just about the tea, it’s about the whole experience.”  Thankfully, I have an extraordinary husband!

As vegetarians we phoned ahead to be sure there would be something there for us to eat, and we were assured that they would make every effort to accommodate our request. Upon arrival, we were impressed with the superb remodeling that has gone into transforming this formerly rundown city property into the superb Victorian gem you see today. Decor is mainly burgundy and mauve with lace curtains and doilies on every surface, as it should be. Gold gilt mirrors, crystal chandeliers, and even an old Victrola concealing the speakers which softly played background music were all elegant touches that added to the feeling that we had actually stepped back in time. As tea connoisseurs we appreciated their extensive tea list and the fact that each person got their own full-sized pot of tea instead of the “one cup of hot water and a tea bag” that we are used to getting in restaurants today.

For lunch we opted for the “Tea Room Special.” This included an appetizer consisting of a scone and a slice of orange bread served with Abigail’s sweet cream and fruit preserves. This was followed by a cup of Garden Vegetable Soup (you could choose a Garden Salad if you prefer) and any 1/2 sandwich or slice of quiche. We chose the Vegetarian Wrap, and it was delicious.  The wrap consisted of tomatoes, lettuce, cheese, cucumbers, peppers, and a tasty hummus dressing. The wrap was served with a fresh fruit garnish of melon, pineapple, one globe grape and fresh strawberry all on a bed of greens — the presentation was lovely! To top it all off we each had a tray of  four mini desserts: brownie, fruit tart, lemon square, and vanilla cream layer cake. After all that we were quite full, and the tea lasted through the whole meal! (They do have honey for your tea — you just have to ask for it). For $13.95/person, including the tea, I would say this was a good value and a enjoyable experience.

Of course, they do have a gift shop for you to browse through. I found their prices reasonable and the selection of items unique and lovely. (Perfect gifts for the tea lovers you know). While there, don’t forget to walk upstairs and see the restored rooms on the second floor, too.

I would recommend Abigail’s Tea House to anyone. Take your sister, aunt, mother, friend, even the men in your life. If my husband could do it I know there are other men out there who are brave enough to try something different. Try it — you just might like it!

Hello world!

Hello, Vegetarians! I have been a vegetarian for 16 years, taught healthy living and vegan cooking classes for 10 years, and I’m still learning. This blog was originally intended for vegetarians living in Berks County, PA, the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch Country. However, anyone can appreciate the recipes and pertinent information. The restaurant reviews will be especially helpful for those of us who like to eat out but are trying to live a healthy, vegetarian lifestyle. As we’ve traveled, moved, and sampled food in many areas the restaurant reviews have become more broad, so check them out– you might find one near you! I welcome any healthful information you would like to share, too.

<a target=”_blank” href=”;u=1320173&amp;m=67006&amp;urllink=&amp;afftrack=”><img src=”; border=”0″ alt=”natural organic products” /></a>