Shop with Your Heart



The holidays are coming up fast, and we all will be doing a lot of grocery shopping and cooking. I want us to have a healthier and more humane holiday, so my wish this season is for you to “Shop With Your Heart”.

I try to love all God’s creatures. And, full disclosure, my diet does include meat. I also believe that animals that have a happy life taste better and are better for you. The ASPCA “Shop With Your Heart” initiative will help us recognize, locate and ask for meaningfully welfare-certified meat, eggs and dairy products as well as plant-based alternatives.

I’m sharing some of their online tools to help.
• A label guide that decodes what different labels mean and what to look for
• A list of food brands that tend to have higher welfare certifications
• Info on where to find higher-welfare products
• A list of farms that are welfare-certified
• A supermarket request card if your grocery store does not carry higher welfare products

You might be wondering, what are “meaningful” welfare certifications? A truly meaningful welfare certification has standards that are high enough to address animals’ physical, emotional and natural needs, as well as strong oversight in place to ensure participating farms are actually meeting those standards.

Is there is a puppy or kitten Christmas wish in your family’s scenario? Please consider adopting a pet. Our precious furry skeelákia, Stanley & Stella, are adopted. Stella was rescued from a puppy mill. Make adoption your first option!

Merry Christmas Stanley and Stella. Shop with your heart.

Merry Christmas. Shop with your heart.Have a Merry Christmas and Shop with your Heart! Merry Christmas. Shop with your heart.

Vegan Diet, Lent and Fasting

Many people follow a Vegan diet now, and groceries and markets have a lot of Vegan products to offer these days. Vegans are vegetarian, but they also do not eat eggs, dairy products and honey.  A Vegan diet is similar to the diet many Greek Orthodox follow during the Lenten season.

Greek Orthodox Lent began on Monday, March 2nd this year. That is 5 weeks before Holy Week, the week before Orthodox Easter on April 12th. Many Greek Orthodox who follow a strict fast during Lent abstain from meat, fish and dairy products. On some certain days of Lent, fish, shellfish, wine, and olive oil may be eaten.

I have decided to give up red meat, sweets, and sugar for Lent. The most difficult part has been avoiding sweets and sugar.  Sugar is hidden in almost all ready-to-eat prepared foods. So the best way to abstain from sugar is to make all your meals homemade.

My recipe for Lentil Soup can be adapted for strict fasting (don’t use olive oil) and Vegan diets. I also found this Greek Rice Pilaf with Leeks and Saffron recipe from Chef Diane Kochilas’ site. I am definitely going to try it.

Vegan Diet Lent Fasting banner 2015


16 Food Reasons Greeks Are Better At Life

Everyone one has been sending me this article on Huffington Post! Here it is #ICYMI

Ginger root syrup for Homemade Ginger Ale

I recently had a delicious glass of homemade Ginger Ale at my friend Twyla’s house. She gave me her recipe and I also did a little online research and came up with my own. Ginger has some incredible health benefiting qualities that include digestive aid, anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties.  It is now also being researched for its ability to help in the fight against cancer. I have listed at the end of this post informative online resources about the health benefits and healing power of ginger.
case of ginger
First you need some ginger root. I bought a case, but I intend on making ginger syrup at least once a week.  You can freeze ginger root. I’m storing it in my garage [which is freezing right now.]ginger rootI think the ginger root looks so interesting, almost like a gnarled up piece of tree.

chopped ginger

The printable recipe for ginger syrup below is easy. You don’t need to peel it, just dice it up.

ginger mash
After you have ‘whizzed’ it in your food processor, add the ginger, water and sugar to a large saucepan.

ginger mash simmer
Bring the mixture to a full boil and simmer for 15 minutes. It will look a little frothy and foamy.

ginger syrup container
Allow the mixture to cool. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve and then again through cheese cloth to remove any bits of root. Chill the syrup mixture. I used organic sugar from my local Costco and found a great container at Restaurant Depot.

ginger ale drink
To serve, I place 2 shot glasses of the syrup in a 6 oz. glass full of ice and fill it with soda water. I like it strong. I plan on drinking at least one glass a day. Cheers! Here’s to your health!

Ginger root syrup for Homemade Ginger Ale
How to make ginger root syrup for Homemade Ginger Ale. Ginger root has many health benefits and healing powers.
Recipe type: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Serves: 30
  • 2 pound fresh ginger, unpeeled and cut into small dice
  • 2½ cups sugar
  • 2 quarts or 8 cups of water
  • Cubed or crushed ice
  • Soda water
  • Lime wedges
  1. 'Whiz' the unpeeled diced ginger in a food processor and process until minced.
  2. Stop the machine periodically and scrape down the sides.
  3. Place the puree in a large saucepan with the sugar and 2 quarts of water (that’s 8 cups).
  4. Bring to a full boil over high heat.
  5. Reduce to the heat to medium / medium low and simmer for 15 minutes.
  6. Turn off the heat.
  7. Let cool.
  8. Strain through a fine sieve and then again through cheese cloth.
  9. Chill the syrup mixture.
  10. To serve, place 2 shot glasses of the syrup in a 6 oz. glass full of ice.
  11. Fill with soda water.
  12. [Use more or less syrup according to taste.]
  13. Garnish with a lime wedge.

Informative online resources about the health benefits and healing power of ginger:
Ginger Root from Herb Wisdom
The Healing Power of Ginger from The Positive Pear
Natural Healing Uses for Ginger from Planet Save
Complementary Medicine – Ginger from The University of Maryland Medical Center and the Center for Integrative Medicine.