Meatless Mondays: Gorgeous Garden Salad

By Anna Fischer Wulff
My Gorgeous Garden Salad is a show stopper bursting with all the colors and flavors I hope my little garden will soon be producing.

This one is an eyeballer recipe so you can throw it together for a party or just yourself.

Spring mix greens
Baby spinach
Carrots (I like the matchstick ones that come pre-cut)
Red onion
Cherry tomatoes
Bell peppers (the tiny orange, yellow, and red ones)
Oven roasted almond slices (or whatever you like for crunch)

Plate it up and finish off with your favorite dressing.

Tackling the taboo about being second-hand

By Mary Rose Roberts
Growing up, the majority of my wardrobe consisted of hand-me downs from my sibling. While my parents did it to save money, my sibling was a boy. As a result, I spent much of my childhood dressed in Wrangler jeans and flannel shirts. To make matters worse, my mother was practicing her haircutting skills in the basement so I usually sported a short, choppy hairstyle.

It wasn’t until I entered high school that I let go of the taboo of having second-hand clothing. Like most middle-class kids of the 1980s, little money was wasted on clothes and name-brands. Kids didn’t get everything. At that time, having a Gap or Forenza sweatshirt paired with Guess jeans meant you had money. I didn’t have either.

What I did have was a group of cool, artistic girlfriends in my Chicago neighborhood. What they had was creativity. So instead of hitting the mall on Western Ave., we would head to the south side of town, across the tracks, to a thrift store called Unique.  Now people can find a Unique in the swankiest part of the city. But back then, it was in a bad neighborhood.

Us girls would head to Unique with a mission and little teamwork. It was about hitting the racks and finding a treasure, then comparing who found what. Treasures included carpet bags; long gold necklaces featuring insects or animals; polyester patterned shirts; even Levi’s and Guess jeans. Rarely did anyone buy shoes. But we all walked away with a sense of personal style.

This was the memory I had while walking around my local Goodwill and a reminder about this blog’s reuse, recycle and renew philosophy. Since that day in Unique, I enter thrift stores with excitement. I never know what I may find. For example, my last trip I scored two belts as accessories to my newest Anthropologie tennis dress, a Fossil reusable bag and two shale serving bowls. The grand total? $12.

So don’t be afraid to go second-hand. There may be a surprise waiting just for you to discover. 

It's never OK to be abused, only reused

By Mary Rose Roberts
I spend most of my alms on environmental groups and safe houses for women. They are both causes close to my heart. I firmly believe that our world is a gift and should be respected—and the idea of more as a value system just creates junk that clutters the natural environment.

I also support domestic violence causes. I spent nearly a decade married to a bipolar abuser. Abuse can be physical, mental, or emotional—and all of these are reasons to leave the situation pronto. If a man hits or grabs you, leave. If a man calls you names, like “worthless” or always accuses you of cheating, leave. If a man threatens suicide or threatens to hurt you, a friend or loved ones, leave. Here is a link to “Am I being abused.” Answer the questions honestly. If you fail, go talk to a trusted friend or family member who can help you see the truth about your abuse.

What’s the best way to combine my favorite two causes? By fashion, of course! Last year, a local organization held an annual vintage fashion show to raise money for their safe house for women. Local antique stores outfitted and styled volunteers who modeled vintage wares on the catwalk.  In addition, attendees were invited to dress in vintage clothes.

So I headed to an area antique shop and started to look through the racks of clothes. One piece caught my eye. It was a black velvet spaghetti-strapped dress with chiffon cut outs. I tried it on in the dressing room and it fit like a glove. I looked at the price tag: $25.

“I’ll take it,” I told Laurie, the owner.

I paired the dress with long faux pearls tied into a knot and red lipstick.

Needless to say, it was a fun night. Money was raised for a great cause. Fashion and artistic styling by an area salon was top-notch. And, I was able to reuse something and still look fabulous. (I only wish I would have had a camera instead of my phone to take pictures, as these came out pretty blurry.)

Here's a link to a video clip from And a picture they took... 

Even exercise can't cure health risk caused by sitting

From ScienceDaily— Good physical condition is a route to better health, and in order to improve it, exercising several days a week is recommended. Although it is possible to become healthier by exercising, long daily sedentary periods cause a health risk despite physical activity.

Prior to this, it has not been clear how these two extremes in physical activity levels are connected. Does, for example, going to the gym reduce the time spent on sedentary activities, or should one also find something else to reduce it? Answers to these questions were sought in a newly published study by the University of Jyväskylä's Department of Biology of Physical Activity.

No differences between men and women.

Homemade ricotta and grilled veggie sandwich (gluten-free)

By Mary Rose Roberts
A sandwich is a quick and easy alternative to an elaborate dinner. So, this #meatlessmonday, try a grilled veggie sandwich with a side of crispy kale and parsnips. This sandwich goes the extra mile when it comes to freshness, including homemade organic ricotta cheese (you can find the recipe here). Add Rudi’s multigrain gluten-free bread and grilled vegetables to deliver a satisfying and wholesome meal the whole family can enjoy. (As you can see, I like my veggies crispy. But it is better to keep them as raw as you can enjoy in order to preserve the most nutrients.)

Homemade ricotta and grilled veggie sandwich (gluten-free)

¼ cup of ricotta cheese
1 Roma tomato cut into slices
¼ sliced red onion
1 zucchini cut into rounds
4 slices Rudi’s multigrain gluten-free bread
A dash of salt and pepper

Grill the veggies on the grill or the stove. If on the stove, spray a frying pan with cooking spray. Add zucchini. Toss for 2 minutes. Add onions. Cook until translucent. Add tomato.

Toast the 4 slices of bread. Add cheese. Add salt and pepper. Add veggies. Serve immediately.

Kale and parsnip chips
Bundle of organic Kale (Kale is on Dirty Dozen so buy organic!)
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Chop parsnip or use a mandolin to cut into thin pieces. Place pieces in a bowl of water and place in the microwave for 2 minutes or until soft. Chop kale. Toss kale and parsnips in olive oil, salt and pepper and paprika. Place on greased cookie sheet and bake 5 minutes. Bake longer if they need to brown more.