3 Healthy Activities for the Whole Family to do During Self-Quarantine

3 Healthy Activities for the Whole Family to Do During Self-Quarantine

Amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, many of us are in search for some healthy activities during our self-quarantine. I believe as many do that it’s an unprecedented time at which many families are recommended to stay-in in order to avoid spreading the virus. 

In many States, including my own, self-quarantine is required to all individuals and families, regardless if you have been exposed to the virus. These people should avoid all interaction with other people for 14 days and keep a close eye on the CDC guidelines

Self-quarantine is taking the term “family time” to the next level. We as parents are finding out that keeping a child entertained 24 hours a day is no easy task. 

It is tempting to hand your child an iPad or a phone and just wait it out. While it’s the easiest approach, this is not the most healthy activity during self-quarantine.


Staying active and healthy is essential during this time. That’s why I’ve put together a list of three activities you can try to get your family up and moving! 

1. Go on a Family Walk

Go on a Family Walk

Bring it back to the basics and go on a family walk! As long as you are not interacting with other people, going on a walk is a great activity to try. 

There are lots of ways to make simple walks an engaging activity for the whole family. Here are some of our ideas:

  • Play eye-spy on your walk
  • Go on a “nature walk” and let your child collect new plants and leaves to learn about
  • Gather treasures and then make an art project when you get home
  • Let your child take pictures of things they enjoyed on their walk

Our children are used to running on playgrounds and playing with friends all day. Keep up their physical activity and their curious nature by taking a walk around your neighborhood! A perfect healthy activity during a self-quarantine.

2. Take a Wiggle Break

Teachers in schools have been using this strategy for years, and the time has come to share this with all parents! 

If you type in “brain break” or “wiggle break” into Youtube, hundreds of helpful videos will come up that guide your child through some movement activities. 

These short breaks will get your child up and moving, and it will give you a couple of moments to clean up a quick mess or put the finishing touches on dinner. 

With self-quarantine, it is so important to not get sucked into a video game or show for hours on end. 

Standing up and dancing, wiggling, and stretching is going to help prevent any meltdowns that might be bubbling up under the surface. 

3. Create a New Routine with Morning and Bedtime Yoga

Create a New Routine with Morning and Bedtime Yoga

Breathe in- 

Breathe out. 

Yoga is a healthy activity best during self-quarantine :). It has been found to help kids (and adults) control their emotions, have more stable energy throughout the day, improve mobility and core strength, and relax. 

When my big family is cooped up in a house all day together during self-quarantine, all of these skills come in handy! 

Creating routines helps kids feel safe. 

With that in mind- 

What better time to introduce this healthy activity into their routine than during the Covid-19 pandemic? 

To try this out, you have a few different options. You can try using kid yoga poses posters. Just type in “kid’s yoga” into Youtube, or check out a couple of highly rated yoga kids books on Amazon!

Try These Healthy Activities to Stay Active During Self-Quarantine

Incorporating these three healthy activities into your routine during self-quarantine are going to help you stay calm. But more importantly stay healthy and bond with your family! 

Hundreds of thousands of families are avoiding contact by self-quarantining during the Covid-19 pandemic. We are all trying to navigate this “new-normal” as best as we can. 

Focusing on the things you can control, like your physical activity, will help you navigate this experience with much easier!

From our family at planted.org to yours, please say safe, healthy and positive!

Like what you’re reading? Check out our other healthy living blogs for more!

Plant-Based Recipes that Your Kids Will Love

When it comes to food, making your kids eat veggies or plant-based meals is a big challenge. However, the good news is that you can make delicious, nutritious plant-based recipes for your kids without even letting them know. So, if you are looking for some plant-based recipes for your kids, then read along.

Vegetarian Chili

Summer is around the corner and the season calls for some healthy, nutritious barbecue, without meat. Surprised? Well, the trick is to make healthy and “good looking” food so that your kids cannot disapprove of the recipe. You will need the following ingredients to make this mouthwatering dish.

vegetarian chili


  • 1 large chopped onion
  • 4 large potatoes
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 cup dry red lentils
  • 1 can red beans*
  • 1 can black beans*
  • 2 cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 2 packs reduced sodium chili spice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 tbsp shredded cheese

*rinsed and drained


  1. Wash potatoes and dry them with a paper towel. Now, pierce the dried potatoes with a fork and wrap them into aluminum foil.
  2. Bake the potatoes at 400F for 60 to 90 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, sauté onions in olive oil for 4-5 minutes.
  4. Now, add dry lentils and keep stirring for 5 minutes.
  5. In the next step, add tomatoes, beans, chili spice, and cilantro with 1 cup of water. Lower the flame and let it cook for 30 minutes.
  6. Keep occasionally stirring until the lentils get fully cooked; add water if needed.
  7. Slice the potatoes in half and top them with as much vegetarian chili as your kid likes. You can also sprinkle shredded cheese.
  8. Serve it in a baked potato, burgers, chicken, or anything that your kids will approve.

Crispy Cauliflower with Potato Tacos

It is hard to resist potatoes, especially when paired with crispy cauliflower and creamy dill dip. Your kids will love the baked tacos. The recipe is simple but offers the yummiest flavors to soothe the tastebuds. The crispy cauliflower is the star of the dish – it’s baked, not fried.

Crispy cauliflower with potato tacos


  • 1/2 medium-sized cauliflower
  • 2 medium-sized potatoes (diced)
  • 4 cups cabbage (shredded)
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond/cashew milk
  • 1 tbsp apple vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cup finely ground almond flour
  • 1/2 cup raw pepitas (unsalted)
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • Creamy vegan sauce


  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Finely cut the medium-sized cauliflower into thick strips
  3. Add milk, 1 1/2 cups almond meal, and cider vinegar in a separate bowl. Mix well until it becomes a thin liquid.  
  4. In another bowl, add 3/4 cup almond meal, cumin, garlic powder, chili powder, pepitas, and salt.
  5. Coat cauliflower slices and diced potatoes first in the milk mixture and then in the dry mix.
  6. Place them on parched cookie sheets and bake until golden brown.
  7. Meanwhile, prepare the creamy vegan sauce.
  8. Serve crispy cauliflowers with shredded cabbage on soft corn tortillas.

Greek Pasta Salad

You can make this simple recipe as a side dish or include in the main course by adding chicken or shrimp to it. Greek pasta salad also makes for yummy school lunch.

greek pasta salad


For the Salad

  • 8 oz cooked and cooled pasta
  • 1 large cucumber
  • 1/4 small, thinly sliced red onion
  • 1 pint grape tomato
  • 1 cup olives
  • 6 ounce crumbled feta cheese

For the Dressing

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt


  1. Cook the pasta, drain and rinse it with cold water.
  2. Cut the veggies.
  3. Add the dressing ingredients in another bowl and whisk to mix well.
  4. Combine the veggies and dressing in a large bowl and mix with a spoon. Serve the salad at room temperature or chilled.

Our taste buds can change and adapt to new flavors; all you need to do is frequently expose your children to fresh flavors. It will help them appreciate nutritious and healthy food like these plant-based recipes.

Once you’re done with these plant-based recipes make sure to head over and check out another great post about vegan recipes for the grill.

9 Delicious Vegan Snacks for Teens

delicious vegan snacks for vegan teens

With the presence of veganism in social media, it is no wonder that teenagers are switching to a vegan diet at higher rates than ever! As a parent of a vegan teen it is my job to ensure they have not only healthy meals but also delicious vegan snacks too!

However, being a vegan doesn’t necessarily mean being healthy… Teenagers tend to load up on processed foods like chips, candy, and soda, and if they do eat a solid meal it is usually a plate full of carbs. 

This is a problem since teenagers are going through rapid change in their development and their metabolism is skyrocketing! It’s essential to make sure teens are receiving the proper nutrition. 

The bottom line when it comes to teenagers is that they are busy, they don’t want to prepare their own food, and they want to eat something absolutely delicious! 

Keeping that in mind, we have compiled a list of 9 easy, nutritious, and delicious vegan snacks for teenagers! 

Savory Snacks

Lots of times, we forget that vegan food can be savory food! These three vegan snacks are going to satisfy any craving, while also providing nutrition to carry teens through the day!

  1. Spicy Sweet Potato Falafels

These spicy falafels can be prepared ahead of time and kept in the fridge until snacktime! With spices that pack a punch and a nice protein boost from the chickpeas, this snack will act as fuel.

  1. Spicy Sriracha Tofu Jerky

Let’s face it, jerky is just delicious. Lots of vegans might feel a small pang for missing out on this, but no longer! This spicy sriracha tofu is just as mouth-watering without all of the preservatives. 

  1. Oven Baked Vegan Taquitos

These taquitos are another snacking staple that you can make ahead of time and freeze for when you’re ready to chow down! These treats are creamy and crunchy and have a boost of protein from the black beans.     

Salty Snacks

Want something to snack on that’s a little less boring than popcorn or pretzels? These vegan snacks offer that same satisfying crunchy salty goodness, while packing in a bit of extra nutrition. 

  1. BBQ Roasted Chickpeas

Chickpeas are a great way to add some protein into a vegan diet! Roast these up ahead of time and your teen will enjoy snacking on them all week long. 

  1. Crispy Garlic Edamame

Besides just being tasty and an added source of protein, edamame is also rich in vitamin K, fiber, and antioxidants. Take this crispy variation out for a spin. 

  1. Chips and Creamy Avocado Dip

No list of snacks would be complete without the famed “chips and dip.” Try adding in this creamy avocado dip with the chips for a flood of vitamins and healthy fats!

Sweet Snacks

We all have a bit of a sweet tooth, and vegan teens are no exception. Skip the processed cookies and candy and give these guilt-free guilty pleasures a try!

  1. Pan Fried Cinnamon Bananas

This sweet snack could not be easier to prepare and have on the go! This recipe will have you saying, “Now, why didn’t I think of that?”

  1. Peanut Butter Quinoa Bars 

These sweet and salty protein packed quinoa bars will satisfy hunger in a second! They taste like dessert, but your teen can take them on the go for any time of day. 

  1. No Bake Vegan Turtle Brownies

These no bake vegan turtle brownies are the ultimate way to satisfy a sweet tooth. Ooey, gooey, savory and sweet, you’ll be fighting your teenager for the last one! 

Vegan Snacks for Vegan Teens

We hope that these 9 vegan snacks encourage you to whip up some tasty treats that your teen will love! 

These vegan snacks for teens are all delicious, but more importantly they are packed with healthy fats, protein, and other nutrients to help your child grow! 

Enjoy reading about this? Make sure to check out our other posts for more goodness.

Amazing Plant-Based Recipes for the Grill

Would you like to grill tasty foods over an open flame while also maintaining a healthy plant-based diet?

If you answered “yes”, then you should know that there are lots of nutritious plant-based recipes for the grill that are fun to eat.

So break out your kiss the cook apron and start grilling.

Grilled Stuffed Peppers

Grilled stuffed peppers

This tasty plant-based recipe is sure to be a hit at your next party. They’re not only plant-based but also vegan friendly


  • 6 poblano peppers
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 28 ounce can vegetarian baked beans, drained completely
  • 8 ounces soy pepper jack cheese, grated
  • 1 cup of vegan ranch dressing


Heat olive oil in a skillet and add garlic, onions, red bell pepper, cumin, and cilantro. Cook over medium heat for three minutes.

Remove pan from heat and stir in baked beans and the soy pepper jack cheese.

Cut peppers in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Spoon mixture into the pepper halves and top with vegan ranch dressing.

Grill for 30 minutes.

Grilled Stuffed Mushrooms

Grilled stuffed mushrooms

These delectable vegan treats will make your mouth water.


  • 4 portobello mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon thyme
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 2 tablespoons rosemary
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 ounce pimentos
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons margarine


Cut off the mushroom stems and chop them up.

Combine the chopped stems, breadcrumbs, oregano, time, rosemary, and garlic in a food processor and blend. Stir in the pimentos.

Heat grill to medium heat and oil the grates of the grill.

Brush mushroom caps with olive oil and place 1/2 tablespoon of margarine on the inside of each cap. Place mushroom caps on the grill and cook for four minutes.

Remove caps from the grill and stuff with breadcrumb mixture.

Return caps to the grill and cook for another four minutes.

Cut the stuffed mushroom caps into quarters.

Grilled Sweet Potato Salad

Grilled sweet potato salad

I never used to be a sweet potato fan. However the more plant-based recipes I look for the more I find myself selecting these over regular potatoes. This can definitely satisfy your sweet tooth without lots of empty calories.


  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into half-inch pieces
  • 1 pear, cored, peeled, and cut into 1/4 inch slices
  • 2 cups kale
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted

Ingredients for the Dressing

  • 1/3 cup apple jelly
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


To make the dressing, pour vinegar, jelly, and water into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer until the mixture is syrupy.

Place potato slices into a pot with water and cook for 12 minutes. Place potatoes on a baking sheet and brush with olive oil.

Next, place sweet potato slices and pear slices on the grill. Cook for three minutes per side or until grill marks appear.

Mix salad greens with potatoes and pears. Add crumbled feta cheese, dressing, and pecans.

Use vegan feta cheese if you want this dish to be compatible with a vegan diet.

Grilled Vegetable Fajitas

grilled vegetable fajitas

Who doesn’t love a great fajita. This plant-based recipe is a perfect hearty meal with lots of flavor.


  • 12 flour tortillas
  • 16 ounce can black beans
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
  • 1 orange bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
  • 1 onion, sliced into thin strips
  • 1 portobello mushroom, sliced into pieces
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

Ingredients for Fajita Seasoning

  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper


Combine ingredients of the fajita seasoning. Mix vegetables with two cloves of garlic, two tablespoons of olive oil, and 2/3 of the fajita seasoning.

Drain the beans and place on aluminum foil. Mix beans with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, the other clove of minced garlic, and the remaining fajita seasoning. Fold up the sides of the aluminum foil so that it can more easily hold its contents.

Place vegetables in a grill pan and place them on the grill and cook for ten minutes. After six minutes of cooking, place bean packet on grill and warm the beans for four minutes.

Serve with tortillas.

Final Thoughts

These amazing plant-based recipes for the grill taste wonderful and aren’t that hard to make.

So try a few of them and see how great they are and when you’re done head over and try our plant-based potato recipes too! Your taste buds will thank you.

7 Natural Supplements to Boost Your Immune System

Spring is just around the corner, but that doesn’t mean we should give up on protecting our immune systems, especially with the threat of the coronavirus looming. I’ve been taking extra measures with some natural supplements the past couple of weeks in order to make sure that I don’t catch a cold, and so that my immune system continues to be built up.

With the rise and fall of spring temperatures, our bodies are more vulnerable to colds, allergies, or even the flu. To avoid this, we can boost our immune systems with natural supplements and vitamins! While there are many supplements to help equip your immune system for fighting germs, there are 7 specific supplements that will help you protect your immune system this spring.


This may be the easiest thing on this list for you to get your hands on. Garlic is a very popular antiviral and anti-inflammatory food that is proven to prevent common colds and cases of the flu. It is rich in selenium, a compound that can slow down the body’s over-active responses. It is best to consume more fresh garlic while spring is approaching, and you can do this easily by adding it to your meals.

Make sure to chop or slice the garlic, as it will release a compound called allicin into your food. Allicin has been shown to possess antioxidant activity and has antibacterial activities. I love adding garlic to just about anything but have recently loved it with air-fried sweet potato fries.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a classic natural supplement that we should all be taking, no matter the season. It is necessary for the development, growth, and repair of all body tissues as well as being critical for many bodily functions like absorption. Vitamin C is also one of the top immune-boosting vitamins which can prevent common colds if taken daily and not only when you are sick.

Like garlic, you can take it in supplement form, but you can also add it to your diet by adding in specific foods. Aside from a vitamin supplement, you can get Vitamin C from other sources, like citrus fruits, leafy green vegetables, and peppers. I love getting my Vitamin C from grapefruit.


Zinc is a powerful mineral that keeps our immune systems working at their peak. It also is a great mineral to take if you want to prevent colds. Now, if you already are suffering from a cold, try using zinc lozenges, they are proven to clear the symptoms in just three days!

You can also get zinc from most forms of seafood and from poultry products as well. I recommend taking a supplement if you do not eat animal products.


Probiotics are live bacteria that provide a variety of benefits to the human body. In recent years, more and more people have been experiencing the positive effects probiotics have on the immune system. They are known to improve gut health and since 70% of our immune system cells are found in our gut, it also boosts our immune system.

Yogurt, kimchi, and kefir are just some of the foods that are rich in probiotics. Aside from taking a powerful probiotic, I make sure to eat probiotic rich foods like kimchi.



Elderberry is another recently discovered holy grail item on our list. Elderberry is a fruit packed with flavonoids, a very powerful antioxidant. Flavonoids are necessary for our immune systems as they can reduce flu symptoms in just three days. They lessen flu symptoms because they are capable of killing different viruses present in the body due to their immune-boosting properties.

Not only can they protect against viruses but elderberry is rich in anthocyanins which are proven to support the immune system. You can get your daily dose of this magical fruit in either liquid or capsule form. I like to take it in liquid form.


Spirulina is a biomass of cyanobacteria that is both safe to consume and an immune system booster. A lot of studies show that spirulina can help users overcome nasal allergies, which is common in this season of the year. Although it may not look appetizing or inviting, research shows that it really helps to strengthen the immune system. Another bonus is that this natural supplement and bacterium helps to lower inflammation on the body.

You can take it regularly in pill or powder form. I love experimenting with different spirulina smoothies.

Tinospora Cordifolia

This herb is very common to India and is only now getting the recognition it deserves worldwide. Not only does it help regulate sugar level, but it can also enhance the immune system functionality. It helps a cell called macrophage to fight germs do not want in our body.

You can take it in pill form or you can brew a tea from stem and roots. I like brewing it myself and adding it to my daily routine.

There you have it, the best natural supplements to boost your immune system! Do not wait until you get sick and take preventive actions now. I have implemented most of these supplements into my daily regime and have yet to get sick this year, knock on wood.

Most of these natural supplements are very easy to find and they can even be taken in pill which makes them easy to take, even for the pickiest of people. Just make sure to consult your doctor before you make major changes to your regime.

If you’re still looking for some tips about staying healthy, make sure to take a look at our earlier post about Things You Probably Didn’t Know about Herbs and Oils

Perfect Potato Recipes for a Plant-Based Diet

Potatoes are a great primary ingredient for many different kinds of healthy plant-based recipes.

They provide a fabulous source of nutrition while providing you with a rich, hearty taste that truly satisfies.

So if you are living a plant-based lifestyle and you love potatoes, then you’re in luck because we have some tasty recipes that feature this delicious ingredient.

Potato Skewer Swirls and Dressing

Potato Skewer Swirls and Dressing

This creative recipe will delight your family and friends…


  • 2 potatoes
  • 1/4 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Ingredients for the Dressing

  • 4 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise
  • 1 lime
  • 1/4 teaspoon honey


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix the spices together.

Stick a skewer into the middle of both potatoes lengthwise. Using a knife, cut the ends of each potato until the knife hits the skewer. Rotate each potato around so that you create a spiral shape throughout the entire potato. Once you are finished, pull the potato out so that it uncoils along the length of the skewer. The slices shouldn’t be more than a quarter of an inch thick.

Take a pastry brush and coat each potato with oil. Sprinkle the spice mix over the potatoes. Cook for 30 minutes.

To make the dressing, mix all of its ingredients together.

Potatoes and Vegetables with Red Pepper Dip

Potatoes and Vegetables with Red Pepper Dip

The ingredients for this awesome dish include potatoes, carrots, and cauliflower.


  • 10 ounces frozen roast potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 courgette, quartered
  • 4 carrots, halved
  • 1 piece of cauliflower, quartered
  • 1 teaspoon coriander

Ingredients for the Dip

  • 1 pepper, chopped
  • 2 ounces vegan feta cheese
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 4 whole almonds, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cook the frozen potatoes for 35 minutes.

Next, brush oil on the carrots, the cauliflower pieces, and the courgette. Sprinkle ground coriander on the vegetables. Place on a tray and roast for 20 minutes.

Place the feta cheese, pepper, vinegar, oil, and ground coriander into a food processor and blend. Pour the dip into a bowl and add almonds and parsley.

Arrange the potatoes and vegetables on a plate and serve with dip.

Potato and Bean Soup

Potato and Bean Soup

This soup is so full of hearty vegetables you’ll want to eat it with a fork, but use a spoon.


  • 24 ounces potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 16 ounce can mixed beans, drained
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, sliced
  • 1 cube vegetable stock
  • 1 quart water
  • 2 teaspoons tomato purée 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped


Heat oil in a saucepan and sauté the garlic, celery, carrot, and potatoes for three minutes. Add the other ingredients and bring to a boil.

Simmer for 12 minutes. Garnish with parsley.

Deviled Potatoes

Deviled potatoes

These devilishly good treats are absolutely divine…


  • 10 medium small potatoes, cut in half lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon parsley


Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place potatoes on a baking sheet, drizzle with coconut oil, and bake for 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Using a melon baller, scoop out the insides of the potatoes and place the scooped-out material in a bowl. Add mayonnaise and mustard to the scooped-out potatoes in the bowl and stir. Fill potato skins with the potato, mustard, and mayonnaise mixture. Garnish with paprika and dill sprigs.

Baked Potato Roses

Baked Potato Roses

These delicious vegan treats not only taste good, but are also very beautiful.


  • 4 potatoes, peeled
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon pepper powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons thyme
  • 2 teaspoons oregano


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice potatoes using a mandoline slicer. Grease a muffin tin with coconut oil.

Whisk together olive oil, garlic powder, thyme, and oregano.

Arrange 15 potato slices overlapping one another. Brush olive oil mixture over the top of the potato slices.

Roll the potato slices carefully, holding onto the slices in order to get a rose-like shape. Place in the muffin tin. Bake for 30 minutes.

Serve with dipping sauces of your choice (optional).

Final Thoughts

So if you’re a Mr. Potato Head and love your taters, then why not give a few of these healthy plant-based recipes a try. Once you’re done with those treats head over and check out some other ideas for tasty snacks !

You have nothing to lose but your hunger.

13 Gardening Hacks Every Gardner Should Know

Are you thinking about starting a garden this year? Need some gardening tips to get you started? Gardening is a beautiful and calming habit to have, but sometimes the number of gadgets you need can be overwhelming. It might even stop you from starting the garden that you’ve always dreamed of.

Despite what you may think, gardening can actually be an easy habit to pick up, and there is a sustainable way to do so. What if I told you that you could use items that you already have in your house to create a successful and sustainable garden?

Over the years, I’ve learned a few tricks that have helped me immensely with my gardening. After you’ve built your indoor herb garden, here is my collection of gardening hacks that will help you get the beautiful garden you’ve always wanted by using sustainable methods.

1. Sprinkle cinnamon on your seedlings to avoid diseases

One of the most frustrating things as a gardener is watching your seedlings become infected with diseases after working hard to nurture them. I add cinnamon to the leaves of my seedlings in order to prevent these diseases from occurring because of the powerful anti-fungal properties in cinnamon.

2. Cardboard seed tubes

Starting seeds can be a complicated process, but it can be simplified in a few easy steps. The good thing about starting seeds is that you can do so by using a household product you’re bound to have, toilet paper tubes.

All you need is your leftover toilet paper tubes, soil, and seeds. Start by filling the tubes with potting soil, and adding your seeds to it. Once the seeds have sprouted you can move them to your garden, planting the tube below the surface. Watch as the cardboard decomposes and your seeds sprout into beautiful plants.

3. Use leftover coffee grinds to keep garden pests away

Leftover coffee grinds to keep garden pests away

A great gardening hack is to reuse your coffee grounds is by sprinkling them in your gardens to keep the pests away. Adding coffee grinds to your gardens will keep ants, snails, slugs, and any other pest away from your plants and flowers. I keep a container of my used coffee grounds under the sink and sprinkle it over my gardens every once in a while. It does the trick perfectly!

4. Keep your plants watered for days by using this paper towel trick

Paper towel trick for your plantes

One of the biggest worries for gardeners when going away is the problem of watering plants. If you’re going away for a few days and don’t have someone to water your indoor plants, this paper towel trick will help keep your plants alive and thriving.

First, roll up some paper towels as tight as possible, then dose both ends with water. Place one end in a plant pot, and then the other end in a cup of water. This will slowly water your plant while you are away.

5. Increase healthy plant hydration with sponges 

One problem gardeners oftentimes face is root rotting at the bottom of a plant pot because of settling water. In order to prevent this from happening, place old kitchen sponges in the bottom of your pot. Instead of allowing water to settle at the bottom, the sponges will create an air space as well as act as a water reserve.

A nice gardening tip is to keep my old sponges in a container in my garage and when I have enough to pot a plant, I get to work adding the sponges to the bottom.

6. Swap fertilizer for Epsom salt

Instead of filling your garden with toxic fertilizer, use Epsom salt instead. Epsom salt is made up of hydrated magnesium sulfate which will help in seed germination and chlorophyll production. The compound also allows for greater nutrient absorption.

You can add Epsom salt to a water bottle and apply it as a spray which will help with immediate growth. I keep a spray bottle with Epsom salt in my gardening shed, so I can use it frequently.

7. Keep your soil in place with coffee filters

Keeping your soil in its designated pot can be extremely frustrating. It’s easy for the soil to slip out the bottom and get on your porch, deck, or any other place it’s located, especially when you’re watering the plant. One great way to keep your soil in place is with coffee filters.

When you pot a new plant, place coffee filters at the bottom of the pot so that it will stop the soil from coming out of the bottom. This is a great solution because it stops the dirt from leaving the pot but still allows for water filtration.

8. Kill weeds with vinegar

Kill weeds with vinegar

Instead of spraying your garden with pesticides and other poisonous chemicals, grab the vinegar from your kitchen. You can find a vinegar weed killer recipe here.

9. Use honey to propagate cuttings

Honey is a great way to propagate your plant cuttings because of the growth-stimulating enzymes that it contains.

Adding honey to the roots of your plant cuttings will help them quickly propagate, while simultaneously protect them from fungal problems. I’ve done this with a variety of plant cuttings and it does the trick every single time.

10. Keep your climbing plants in place with zip ties

Manage plants with zip ties

Zip ties are such a great, versatile gardening product. If you are growing vines or climbing plants, these can be super helpful in training them to grow in specific directions. You can find more zip tie tips and tricks here.

13. Use leftover citrus rinds as seed starters

Oranges, lemons, grapefruits, and other citrus rinds are a great, sustainable option for starting new seedlings. Not only are they a great size for baby seedlings, but you likely have some in your kitchen. Instead of throwing out the rinds after eating citrus fruit, save them and plant a new seedling.

Once the seedling has sprouted, you can move it straight to the garden, planting the entire rind in the ground. While the sprouts grow, the citrus rind will naturally decompose.

I hope that you love this list of gardening hacks as much as I do. Many of these tips advocate for sustainability in an easy and affordable way, which, as you know, I really value. Instead of having to buy fertilizer, seedling starters, or fungus sprays you can use items leftover from your kitchen. It’s amazing what you can do with items you already have in your household, like coffee grinds!

Chemicals in Food and the Effects on My Daughter

I was asked to write a little article about my daughter, Lily’s reactions to food dyes and other chemicals in foods.

Lily was an awesome baby, she slept well and didn’t cry too much. She was always very alert and active, but never “difficult.” When she started eating real food, not baby food, but foods like us, we noticed a difference in her. She became irritable, threw huge fits, and would bang her head on the ground when she was frustrated. We always thought she was teething, or just not sleeping well. I remember being excited when her last tooth came in because her behavior would get better. It didn’t, it just continued to get worse.

Lily was always our super sweet kid who loved to cuddle and loved having her back scratched. This sweet kid could snap in a second. One second, she was hugging you, the next, she would be screaming at you and hitting you. When she was 4, after a year at the same school, the teacher had concerns about Lily. Lily behaved the same way at school. She was really sweet, but if another child made her mad, or if she didn’t get to sit by someone she wanted to, she screamed and cried. She didn’t just do this for a little while, she would not stop. We thought she was behaving like a normal 4 year old, but we decided to take her to a counselor to be sure. After 6 sessions, we were told she has bad anxiety and coping issues, but there was nothing else wrong.

We did everything we could to make Lily feel more comfortable and help her anxiety, but her anger issues just got worse. People always told us she would grow out of it. We hoped that was the case, but it wasn’t. Lily didn’t care who you were, if she was set off, she would yell at you if you made her mad. We always made excuses why our sweet, lovable child would behave so poorly. Lack of sleep, travel, and moving to a new home were always our excuses.

When Lily was 5, she got really bad. She would go on 3 hour long fits. She would go from happy to screaming, crying, hitting walls, slamming doors, and sometimes just scratching at the floors. She would not stop for hours. Picking out clothes each day was horrible. She went through 5 outfits a day because everything felt weird. She preferred to be naked, everything felt weird. She made us so miserable that I cried all the time. I wasn’t sure I wanted to be a mom anymore. I didn’t understand how we could have such a “normal” older daughter, but Lily was “horrible.” How could our sweet, caring girl go from sweet and caring to a raging monster that was hard for even her mother to love? Luckily, we finally found the answer that doctors and a therapist could not tell us.

Before I go into this, let me tell you, Lily never had problems once she started kindergarten. Her teacher said she was attentive, a hard worker, and played well with everyone. Lily does not have ADHD. I even tried to get help from the school social worker, but she didn’t display any signs of focusing or social issues while in the classroom.

One day, my 3rd grader had a friend over. I remember saying to her friend’s mom, “It’s peaceful now because Lily isn’t here.” When her mom picked her up, Lily was home. Lily was screaming at us and making life miserable. The mom said to me, “You know, sometimes the chemicals in food can cause severe reactions in kids. Our daughter was ticking, and when we cut out dyes and preservatives, the ticking stopped. Check out the Feingold diet.” That’s all she said, and she left.


I immediately checked out the Feingold diet. This is meant for kids with ADHD and autism, but I found articles on how it also helps kids with anger and self control issues. I asked my husband if we should try it, and he thought it would be worth the try. I remember staying up reading everything I could about chemicals in food and items I could buy. My head was spinning. The next day, I cleared out all of our old food. Everything had dyes, artificial flavors, and preservatives. All of our “healthy” food was not as healthy as I thought. I was in shock. I spent 5 hours grocery shopping the next day and we immediately started eating all-natural and organic.

Within 48 hours, we had a new child. It was amazing. After a month, I remember saying, “This is the first time we’ve been happy in years.” I no longer cried and wished I wasn’t a mom. My horrible and angry child was now just my “normal” child. Of course she still has her moments, but they aren’t severe. Her 3 hour tantrums in her room are now 5-10 minutes. She no longer scratches at the floor or snaps at you for looking at her the wrong way. If she gets mad, she can control her anger.

It has been 1 year, 4 months, and 7 days since we started Lily’s diet. It’s no longer “Lily’s diet,” it is just the way we eat. We eat no food dyes, artificial flavors, preservatives, or any form of corn syrups. We found out even corn syrups were harming Lily. They were the reason everything “felt weird.” People on the outside think my kids are deprived and I need to lighten up. What they don’t know is Lily doesn’t want to eat those foods anymore, she knows how bad she feels afterward. We still eat sugar, and we still have treats, we just changed our brands. Lily is now 7, and she knows if she eats anything with chemicals in it, she will feel bad for a few days. She likes feeling good, and she knows what sets her off, so she self regulates now.

I am often asked where I now shop for our food. My favorite stores are Costco, Meijer, Trader Joe’s, and Aldi. We still eat normal food, we just switched out the brands. Pillsbury puts dyes in their crescent rolls and cinnamon rolls (our old favorites). Jet Puffed marshmallows have dyes in them. Kraft macaroni and cheese has dyes in it (eat Annie’s). Crest toothpaste for kids has dyes and artificial flavors (we use Tom’s). Some packaged rices have dyes in them. Life cereal has dyes and preservatives. I could go on forever, check the labels on your food. You’ll be amazed.

For another mom’s story about food dyes, read this article. It’s exactly what we went through.

Be Our Guest!

Be our guest! Be our guest! Be our guest! In case you didn’t notice, I’m just a lil bit excited that my brother, beautiful sister-in-law, adorable niece and precious nephew are on their way. They are headed down from DC to spend a week here with us in Tampa. I love getting a guest room ready to be used and this time I’m super excited to try something with my lavender oil. (I know, I know…more oil talk). It has so many benefits for relaxation and I’m sure you’ve seen it in all the baby lotions and potions that are out. Well my niece is almost 2 years old and my nephew is only 6 months, so if lavender has some kind of soothing and calming effect, I’m all about it. I got the idea when I saw something on Pinterest that said to add some lavender to the rinse cycle of your bed linens. I had every intention of doing that except that I completely missed the rinse cycle when I remembered I had laundry washing. So, I decided to add 3-4 drops of lavender to a small spray bottle of water and spray the bed and sheets as I was making the bed. I may have gotten a little carried away and sprayed the rug, comfy chair, and extra blankets as well. Then I remembered I had a small sachet of lavender that I bought in a cute shop in Marseilles last summer. It doesn’t smell much anymore so I added a few drops of lavender to it and laid it on the nightstand. Here are a few other touches for our guests….


Little touches like fresh flowers let them know how special they are to you…

flowersHave their fluffy towels and washcloths ready and easy for them to locate by placing them on the foot of the bed. This way they won’t feel like a burden asking you where to find them when they’re ready to freshen up. Go the extra mile by providing water bottles and easy snacks so they don’t have to tiptoe around the house if they’re hungry late at night or early in the morning….


I’m always sure to have a clock with an alarm, sweet smelling candle (this one from anthropologie), light reading (love this book by Emily Schuman), and ample amount of light…

bookLast but not least, I’ve added a few touches to the reading corner so that our guests don’t have to keep asking us for what they all want…wi-fi! 🙂

What do you do to make your guests feel welcome? Would you use any oils?


Essential Oils For Great Prices…They Do Exist!

I’m so excited…I just trekked across town (well, not by foot..and technically, I rode along while my friend Aprile did the trekking…but not by foot, got it?) and found unbelievable prices for a huge selection of essential oils. Remember that post about my husband with his allergies and sinus issues? (No? Here’s a refresher) Well, I’ve been talking to so many people about oils and everyone has had an opinion. And then my friend sent me this link of a DIY Shower Decongestant that I decided I HAVE to make for my suffering husband.



But don’t be crazy. I refuse to pay $100 for four oils (which remain unnamed) ! Jackpot! How do you use your oils and what recipes are your favorites?