Posted in Recipes

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Yum! I was looking in the freezer for something the other day when I saw we still had meatballs. One of my favorite dishes is sweet and sour meatballs. When I started my gluten-free journey almost 2 years ago, it was hard to find meatballs that did not contain gluten. I found gluten-free frozen meatballs at Sam’s Club a few months ago. The bag was not cheap. I could justify the price because I could make at least 3 to 4 meals out of the bag.

My hubby does not always like to eat leftovers. This is one of the few dinners I have made that he has told me he looked forward to the leftovers. So, I will say that this is a winner.

What can you serve with this meal?

  1. Rice
  2. Mashed potatoes
  3. Roasted vegetables
  4. Macaroni salad
  5. Steamed peas and carrots

I made the recipe in the Instant Pot, which made it basically a hands-off recipe. You can make the sauce and dice the onions if you meal prep. If you have rice with dinner, you can prep it earlier in the week. This is a winner in my book.

Happy eating,

Posted in Meal prep, Recipes, Vegetarian, Write 31 2018

Sometimes You Need “Beef” Tacos – Day 6 of 31

Original: 10/6/18
Edited: 12/28/22


I’m teaching my students how to write narratives, so I’ve been doing a lot of model writing for them.  A good narrative has a hook that makes the reader want to read your story.  This is a skill that I struggle with when I’m writing my blog posts.

However, it is important for a writer to have a hook to get the reader to read what you have written.

Like a writer needs a hook, sometimes you need a beef taco.  Since I’m a vegetarian, I don’t have the typical beef taco.

I’ve tried TVP, which is textured vegetable protein but usually turns into a brown soupy mess.  Yuck!  Not appetizing.

Then I tried the Beefless Ground Beef along with their soy chorizo.  It’s just the right texture.

“Beef” tacos get into my belly.

What you need:

  • a third of a package of Trader Joe’s “beefless” ground beef
  • a third of a package of Trader Joe’s soy chorizo
  • a third of a jar of Trader Joe’s enchilada sauce

“Beef” Tacos

Stars of the recipe:

  • 1/3 of a package of Trader Joe’s “beefless” ground beef
  • 1/3 of a package of Trader Joe’s soy chorizo; make sure to take off the casing
  • 1/3 of a jar of Trader Joe’s enchilada sauce (You may need a little more than the third.)
  • Tortillas (hard or soft)
  • Your favorite toppings


  1. Combine the “beetles” ground beef, soy chorizo, and enchilada sauce in a saucepan.
  2. Cook on medium heat until heated through. Add more sauce if it’s not coated enough.)
  3. Enjoy on a tortilla with your favorite toppings.

This recipe is vegan before you add your toppings.

Happy vegetarian eating,

Posted in Meal prep, Recipes, Vegetarian, Write 31 2018

Better than Restaurant Oven Home Fries – Day 7 of 31 (Sheet pan recipe)

Original: 10/7/ 18
Edited: 12/28/22

Meal Prep
Kid Friendly

While I was sick with my gallstones last year,  I had one food that did not bother my stomach. Okay, it did bother me if it was greasy, but if it was cooked with no oil or grease, I had little to no problems.

Potatoes were my friend during those 4 months. I would spiralize potatoes and then cook up like hash browns on the stove.

That is until I started to cook the home fries in my oven. We love a roasted potato in the household, so this made things much easier.

Hubby might debate if these potatoes are better than the ones we get at a local breakfast place called Butter Cafe. He adores their home fries.

What you need:

  • 2 red potatoes or 4 to 5 baby red potatoes
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 red onion
  • olive oil
  • garlic powder or your favorite seasoning

Better than Restaurant Oven Home Fries

Stars of the recipe:

  • 2 red potatoes, cubed or 4 to 5 baby red potatoes, quartered, or even cut into eighths
  • 1/2 to 1 red bell pepper, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 to 1 red onion, cut into chunks
  • 1 Tbsp. Extra olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. garlic powder or your favorite seasoning


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Place the potatoes, bell pepper, and onion on a rimmed baking sheet.
  3. Pour the extra virgin olive oil over the veggies. Using clean hands or a spatula, ensure the veggies are covered with the oil.
  4. Sprinkle the seasoning over the veggies.
  5. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes at 425 degrees.
  6. Enjoy!

I enjoy using the onion salt from Trader Joe’s on my potatoes.

We love to use sriracha ketchup from Red Gold on our fries and roasted potatoes.

This recipe is not only vegetarian but also vegan. Score!

Happy vegetarian eating,

Posted in Family, Holiday/Christmas

Merry Belated Christmas

This was taken Christmas Eve. It had been a while since we had a family picture. Someone volunteered to take our photo.

Youngest is now 17 years old. He’ll be 18 in 6 months which is unbelievable. He’s a junior in high school with big dreams of becoming a genetic engineer.

Oldest is now 19 years old. He’ll be 20 in 6.5 months. Again, it’s unbelievable I’ll have a child in his 20’s soon. He’s in his first year of college studying computer science with an emphasis on cybersecurity.

I have finished my first term of my master’s degree. I’m studying Learning Experience Design and Educational Technology. I should be done either next December or June 2024. I’m in my 23rd year of teaching. This year, I’m working with students who have multiple disabilities.

My hubby is working as a tech teacher at a local school district.

We hope you had a great Christmas. It is only one day of the year. We are to be Christmas people who bring hope out to the world. The real work begins the day after Christmas.

Posted in Meal prep, Recipes, Vegetarian, Write 31 2018

Snack Boxes – The Hard Boiled Egg Version (Vegetarian Meal Prep) – Day 4 of 31

Original: 10/4/18
Edited: 12/27/22

Gluten-Free (if using gluten-free crackers)
Meal Prep

If I don’t plan what to eat during the week, I feel out of sync.

There are some weeks that I know that all I will be able to eat is snacky food.  Foods that I can eat while working at my desk or even sometimes between students.

Here’s one idea for a snacky-type snack box.  I call it my Hard Boiled Egg version.

I’m a vegetarian but not a vegan.  I still eat dairy and eggs.


What You’ll Need for these Snack Boxes:

  • Hard-boiled egg(s) – Store bought or made at home – Instant Pot or oven method 
  • Hummus – Homemade or Store bought
  • Your favorite snacking veggie – sliced cucumber, snap peas, carrot sticks, celery sticks.
  • Slices of cheese
  • Mini Croissants, crackers, or some other carb
  • A container to put the snack in, cupcake wrappers (silicone or paper), and small containers to put the hummus in

To assemble the Snack Box:

  • Place in the container.  I used the cupcake wrapper for the egg to separate it from the rest of the food.  You can leave the peel on or off.  It really does not matter.
  • I put the mini croissant in a small sandwich bag to keep it fresh.
  • The hummus was placed in a small container I purchased at the dollar store.
  • Use within 4 days.

When you make hard-boiled eggs, it is best to use the eggs that have been in your fridge the longest but are not expired.

Happy vegetarian eating,

Posted in meal plan

Meal Plan – Week 1

For years, I shared my meal plan for the week. I need to be more relaxed about posting my meal plan. I love to meal plan. The problem I have is that I don’t always follow through. 

I will share my meal plans to become accountable for cooking for my family. My meal plans can also inspire you as you plan your week out. Having a meal plan gives you a game plan for the week.


Yogurt Parfait

Fruit on the bottom Yogurt


Cottage cheese with jam 

Cottage cheese with blueberries, sliced almonds, and honey

Breakfast burrito

Breakfast Sandwich

Other ideas 1

Other ideas 2




Snack Plates


Week 1:

Monday – sweet and sour meatballs with rice

Tuesday – creamy tomato soup with grilled cheese 

Wednesday – Pad Thai

Thursday – Taco Soup

Friday – Stuffed Pepper Soup

Saturday – Leftovers

Note: Use either ground beef or ground turkey for the taco soup and stuffed pepper soup.

Note 2: Freeze any leftover soup for later.

Sweet and Sour Meatballs with Rice 
36 frozen meatballs
One 20-ounce can of pineapple chunks undrained with juice
¼ cup water
One tablespoon of soy sauce or coconut aminos
½ cup ketchup
½ cup brown sugar
One tablespoon of dried minced onions
Two bell peppers seeded and sliced 
One tablespoon cornstarch
One c. uncooked white rice 
Creamy Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese
1 – 15 oz. can think of chicken broth
1 – 14 oz. can of CRUSHED tomatoes
One c. heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp. dried basil
One bay leaf
Sliced cheese 
Pad Thai 
8 ounces flat rice noodles
3 Tablespoons oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
8 ounces chicken, cut into small pieces 
2 eggs
1 cup fresh bean sprouts
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
3 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup dry roasted peanuts
2 limes
1/2 cup Fresh cilantro, chopped
3 Tablespoons fish sauce
1 Tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
5 Tablespoons light brown sugar
2 Tablespoons rice vinegar, or Tamarind Paste
1 Tablespoon Sriracha hot sauce, or more, to taste
2 Tablespoons creamy peanut butter (optional) 
Taco Soup 
One lb. of ground beef or ground turkey cooked 1/2 small onion, diced
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 package of store-bought taco seasoning
1 1/2 c. water2 (15 oz.) cans of diced tomato
1 (15 oz.) can of tomato sauce
1 (15 oz.) can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
One c. frozen corn
Stuffed Pepper Soup One lb. of ground beef or ground turkey cooked
1 15 oz. can of tomato sauce
2 15 oz. cans of diced tomatoes with juices
One c. beef broth
1 16 oz. bag of frozen pepper stir fry mix
salt and pepper, to taste
1 c. brown rice, uncooked
cheddar cheese to top the soup

Printable Meal Plan

Posted in Meal prep, Recipes, Vegetarian, Write 31 2018

Greek Pasta Salad (Meal Prep) – Day 3 of 31

Original: 10/3/18
Edited: 12/26/22

Gluten-free if using gluten-free pasta
Meal Plan

In August, I finally met some family members I had never met before. They live on the west coast, Oregon, and don’t get to Ohio very often.

My mom’s first cousin, their mother, lives in the Phoenix area. She comes into town more often than her children. She was planning to visit the family and decided her children should also come to Ohio.

Since they came into town, one of my mom’s first cousins decided we needed a family get-together with a potluck dinner.

My aunt flew into town from New York. That was an adventure in itself. (Needless to say, her maybe 4-hour trip took almost 12 hours because of plane delays and missed connections).

Any-who, on the same day as the family, get together, our church had its annual picnic. I needed to make something that could be served at the picnic and the get-together. That’s when I decided to make this Greek pasta salad. It’s quick and easy to put together.

This recipe can either be prepped for the week or eaten as a side dish. If you decide to prep it for the week, add the dressing before you eat the pasta salad, so it does not get soggy.

The dressing I used for this recipe was the Greek Feta cheese dressing from Trader Joe’s. However, you can use whatever Greek dressing you desire.

What you’ll need:

  • Box of farfalle pasta (bow tie pasta) – You can use any shape,o like penne, but I just like the shape of the bow ties.
  • Jar of artichokes
  • Kalamata Olives
  • Bell Pepper (orange, red, or yellow)
  • Feta Cheese
  • Sundried Tomatoes
  • Greek dressing

Happy vegetarian eating,