Bee Happy!

Bee Happy!

Did you know that honey bees — wild and domestic — perform about 80 percent of all pollination worldwide. A single bee colony can pollinate 300 million flowers each day. Grains are primarily pollinated by the wind, but fruits, nuts and vegetables are pollinated by bees. Seventy out of the top 100 human food crops — which supply about 90 percent of the world’s nutrition — are pollinated by bees.

According to Greenpeace USA, bees are dying from a variety of factors—pesticides, drought, habitat destruction, nutrition deficit, air pollution, global warming and more. Many of these causes are interrelated. The bottom line is that we know humans are largely responsible for the two most prominent causes: pesticides and habitat loss.

So what can we do?  Greenpeace says these three things can give us a strong start:

  1. Ban the seven most dangerous pesticides.
  2. Protect pollinator health by preserving wild habitat.
  3. Restore ecological agriculture.

Just a few thoughts buzzing through my head about saving the bees as I share this recent watercolor painting.

Bee Happy and have a great day!

Cheers & Hugs,

Dairy-Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana “Nice” Cream

Dairy-Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana “Nice” Cream.

Can you even stand how decadent and amazing this ice cream looks??!!

Well – it is actually “nice” cream!  A dairy-free, healthy version of ice cream made from fresh, natural ingredients.

When my daughter-in-law, Liz, who is a Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS) as well as a Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist (LDN), recently posted this recipe on the blog of  her website about functional nutrition, Nourish & Flourish, I knew I had to try this!

Liz’s knowledge about holistic nutritional health is extraordinary, and she “preaches” and practices maintaining a “normal” lifestyle with most everything in moderation.  I really am very proud of her, and this recipe is nothing short of AMAZING!  You will not miss the dairy, added sugar, or all the preservatives you are used to consuming in your usual ice cream.

Please click on THIS LINK for the recipe for this delicious “Nice” Cream on Liz’s website and blog.  I hope you will subscribe to her blog post as there is always something interesting to learn or to try making for a healthy alternative.  Liz also has a Facebook page and Instagram page, which I encourage you to follow as well.  And if you live nearby Pittsburgh, PA, Liz is available for individualized nutrition consulting.  You can get a free 15-minute consult by signing up here.

But first – make this Nice Cream and let me know what you think!!

Cheers & Hugs,

The Blackberry – Up Close and Personal

Close Up Blackberry

Bursting with flavor,
Rich in antioxidants, omega-3, protein, fiber, vitamins C and K
The Blackberry.

Does anything pack more punch…
more value…
more beauty…
more taste per ounce than you?

Oh how I love thee…
Oh how I wish I could be…
More like the value of a simple Blackberry!

Cheers & Hugs,

This photo is my submission for the WordPress Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge: Close-Up

And for my favorite fresh, old-fashioned homemade blackberry pie recipe, click here.

Zucchini Lasagna

The Challenge:  Take a classic recipe, and make a healthier version.

That was the assignment my son, Nick’s girlfriend, Liz, had for her final assignment in a cooking class she is taking as part of her Master’s Degree Program in Nutrition.

We were excited to help her out and have her cook dinner for us last evening.

And she rocked it!  This Zucchini Lasagna recipe is a KEEPER!  I do believe I like it even better than the classic version.

Liz was sweet enough to allow me to photograph her and share the adventure and recipe here with all of you.


One of the joys of cooking is appreciating and embracing the fresh ingredients that make a recipe so wonderful – like the smell of fresh basil.


And the only thing better than smelling fresh basil is the smell of sauteed onions and garlic in olive oil!


For the meat sauce, Liz used lean ground turkey instead of beef or sausage, and when mixed with crushed tomatoes, fresh basil, onions and garlic, you would never know you are “missing” anything – except you get the bonus of less fat and calories!


This adorable amateur in the kitchen totally mastered using a mandolin (which she formerly only knew as a musical instrument 🙂 ) to perfectly slice the zucchini to replace the pasta noodles.


And of course Mikey was on his steadfast “clean the floor” duty making sure no crumb is left behind (and yes – he even likes raw zucchini).


This recipe even includes mastering the grill, so Nick was in charge of instructions here, and the zucchini strips were char-grilled beautifully.


Yummy ricotta and Parmesan cheeses are mixed with some parsley, salt, pepper, and an egg for the traditional filling.


Everything was layered, using the zucchini strips as “noodles” and topped with fresh slices of mozzarella for that extra yumminess.


And who can’t resist an extra sprinkle of freshly grated Parmesan on top before diving in?!

Here is the recipe Liz used as adapted from

Zucchini Lasagna

Ingredients:  z

  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 4 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • 4 medium zucchini, sliced thin
  • 24 oz part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 Tbsp fresh or dried parsley
  • 1 1/2 lbs. part-skim fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 1 large egg


In a medium sauce pan, brown ground turkey.   Season with salt.  Remove from pan to bowl, and add olive oil to the pan.   Saute garlic and onions about 2 minutes.  Return the meat to the pan, add tomatoes, basil, salt and pepper. 

Simmer for 30-40 minutes, covered.

While sauce is simmering, slice zucchini into 1/8″ thin slices.  Salt lightly, and set aside for 10 minutes. Zucchini has a lot of water when cooked, salting it takes out some of the moisture. After about 10 minutes, aggressively blot excess moisture with a paper towel.

On a gas grill or grill pan, grill zucchini on each side, until cooked, about 1-2 minutes per side. Place on paper towels to soak any excess moisture.

Preheat oven to 375° F.

Stir together ricotta and Parmesan cheese, parsley, salt, pepper and egg in a medium bowl.

With zucchini, sauce, and cheese mixture complete, you are ready to begin assembling the lasagna.

In a 9×12 inch casserole, spread half the sauce on the bottom and layer the zucchini to cover. Then place the ricotta cheese mixture topped with half  of the mozzarella cheese.

Repeat with remaining sauce, another layer of zucchini, mozzarella and a bit of extra Parmesan.

Cover with foil, and bake for 45 minutes.

Uncover, and bake an additional 15 minutes.

Let stand 10 minutes before serving to “set.”


Thanks, Liz, for being such a good sport and for being such a bright spot in our lives.  We love you!  🙂

And you all are going to love this recipe!

Cheers & Hugs,