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Friday, September 24, 2021

Vitamin D for Brain & Nervous System Health

I, as well as many other people, are vitamin D deficient. Vitamin D is imperative in so many ways, and lacking it can contribute to so many different health issues. Here's more from a reader on the importance of vitamin D, especially when it comes to young children.


Very young children do not always get all the nutrients they need to grow and develop. You may need to supplement with pediatrician recommended vitamins. Vitamin D is an important nutrient to receive at any age, but especially so for children.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

I Broke My Frugal Shopping Rule


I've written quite a few times on how to save money on groceries, its almost like the main part of my blog, other than recipes, and one of the money-saving grocery shopping tips that is pretty much the most basic one is stay out of the grocery store. Grocery stores legitimately learn the best tricks to get you to spend as much money as possible, using psychology, etc... (watch this awesomely fun and hilarious Food Theory video that talks about these tricks) and therefore, the more times you enter the grocery store the more money you'll spend. Almost no one ever manages to leave the store with just that one thing because the stores are designed to make you spend money. Better get your shopping done all at once and then just leave! And if you want to go to more than one store because each store has better prices for specific things, then rotate- going one week to one store, one week to another, and buy things at each store for more than one week, because the more times you enter a grocery store, the more money you'll spend, even with a list.

But I broke that rule of mine recently. But only because I trusted myself, and knew I could trust myself in this manner...

Basically, the story is like this.

Tips For Weaning Your Baby On A Vegan Diet

Some people choose to be on a vegan diet, whether for moral, health, environmental reasons, or a combination of the above. Some also choose to do it for financial reasons. But while veganism is a choice that many people make, there are some factors to consider when weaning your child if you are intending to raise them on a vegan diet. Here are some tips regarding that.


Introducing your baby to solids for the first time is exciting yet confusing; it can be a challenge, especially if you are a first-time mom. If you are a vegan and want to start your baby on a vegan diet, it is possible despite what you may have heard.

The key is to choose the right vegan food to provide your growing baby with the necessary nutrients they need. You may be excluding some foods by taking a vegan diet, so you must take care to ensure you also don’t exclude the nutrients those foods provide from your baby’s diet. Vegan diets can lack Calcium, Vitamin B12, and Vitamin D because the primary source of these nutrients is animal food.

However, you can supplement these nutrients by feeding the baby supplements, especially Vitamin B12, only found in animal foods.

With that said, it's the same as with any other diet plan to start weaning your baby. It takes a lot of patience and consistency to get it right. Here are some tips if you want to start your baby on a vegan diet.

Why Foster Care Could Be Rewarding For You

I have some friends who are foster parents, and a few other friends interested in becoming foster parents. While this is not something I could do myself, at least not at this stage in my life, it is something you might be interested in. Here are some reasons from a reader on why and how foster care can be rewarding for you.


Foster care is a rewarding experience for many individuals.

It can be tough and emotional at times, but it also provides you with the opportunity to help children who have had difficult lives. If this sounds like something that would interest you, then keep reading to learn more about what foster care entails and if it's right for you.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Homemade Toum Sauce Recipe- Lebanese Garlic "Mayonnaise" Spread

Mmmmm.... nom nom nom.

I recently was at my friend Tammy's house, and together with dinner she put out this lovely spread called toum, a dip, sauce, or spread made of garlic. Though I am quite familiar with and often enjoy Middle Eastern cuisine, I had never heard of nor had toum before that. But toum, pronounced toom, is spectacular. When Tammy served it, purchased from a local vendor, it was nearly identical to the texture of traditional mayonnaise, but it doesn't always come out quite that thick. However, if I'd have to describe it as something, it would be very garlicky vegan mayonnaise.

As someone who has made very many mayonnaise type dishes, from the standard egg based mayonnaise to vegan rice flour and mustard based mayo to my widely acclaimed flax based vegan mayonnaise (dubbed by TheKitchn as the most successful flax based mayo) and a whacko mayo type sauce made from foraged mallow seeds and even a vegan hollandaise sauce, I am no stranger to making these emulsified sauces, but even I was a bit skeptical about using garlic as an emulsifier. I mean who knew that garlic was even capable of being an emulsidier?

But since I ate it, I knew it could be done, and wanted to replicate it at home.

6 Tips for Improving Your Grades

My son is in high school and has a long travel day and a lot of extracurricular activities. Some of my friends are in college, many while simultaneously raising a family. These things make it hard to get good grades. Here are some tips from a reader on how you or your kid can raise your grades.


School isn’t easy, whether college or high school. Whether you're in college or your kid is in high school, there are so many stresses. On top of all the peer pressure and social politics, there is taking tests, writing essays, executing group projects and carve out time to study. Then there’s that part-time jobs you or your kid took to support yourself or to save up money for your post-graduation plans. Oh, and what about all the extra-curricular stuff, like sports and music?

It’s a small miracle anyone completes high school or college, let alone with good grades! Yet, if you want to continue on to the higher education of your choice, you need to make sure to keep up those grades.

If you or your kid want to ace your courses, you need a few aces up your sleeve. Below, you’ll find a few easy-to-follow tips for improving one's grades. No one can guarantee that these tips will improve one's marks (every learner is different), but they’ve worked for countless students in the past.

Without further ado, let’s hit the books!

How to Teach Your Kids to Spend and Save Responsibly

From day one, pretty much, I've tried to teach my kids to be money wise and responsible spenders, and I'd say it's pretty much been successful, though obviously the older ones have it more down pat than the younger ones. Here are some ideas from a reader on how you can help your children with this.


Raising a family is as rewarding as it is challenging, especially when it comes to dealing with money. As a parent, you want your children to feel safe and supported, including teaching them life lessons that they will be able to take with them as they grow and become more independent.

When it comes to money, it’s never too early to teach your kids about the benefits of making wise financial decisions, saving solutions, and to learn about other options. When you have a complete understanding of money, you have the tools you need to live a stable life. Teaching your kids these ideals will undoubtedly help them later in life.

Every day is an opportunity to teach valuable life lessons to your kids, and money habits are a great place to start.

Follow our tips and tricks for teaching your kids how to spend and save responsibly.

Monday, September 20, 2021

The Start of the New School Year

My girlies on their first day of school

As I wrote in my previous post, I had a really hard time in August regarding school for my daughter Rose this year, when I was told that the placement I wanted for her wasn't possible because there was no room left in the special ed class in the school I requested, and they insisted on putting her in a class in a school that wasn't right for her or our family, and then two days before the start of the school year I finally was told that they had room for her and she was accepted. I thought it was my local municipality who lied to me, but it turns out it was the municipality of the city where the school I wanted to send her to was located because they were reserving that last spot, waiting first to see if there was anyone from their city that needed a spot, but two days before the school year they let her join. 

Once that was taken care of, especially because everything was last second, I was told by my local municipality that they would take some time to arrange transportation for her to school (as is their legal requirement, as she is a child in a special education framework), so that meant needing to bring her to school every day by bus and picking her up every day.

Budgeting And Planning For A Future House Move: Here's What You Should Know

I abhor moving. In fact, it is one of the things in the world I hate most. But moving sometimes is necessary (and some people don't hate it as much as I do). If you do plan on a move, here are some things to keep in mind to make it easier.


The average American moves 11.7 times in his or her life. Moreover, in 2019, almost 10% of the population in the United States moved; that’s over 30 million people. On one hand, it is a joyride that includes scouting for a house, choosing furniture, and deciding colors. On the other hand, when not planned correctly, it might mean facing unplanned financial difficulties that add a bitter taste to the mix.

Whether you are looking for new horizons to start fresh in a new place or moving because of your job, here are the answers you’ve been looking for. Read on, organize well, and keep it a beautiful moment. A dream without a plan is a dream, but if you budget correctly, you can turn it into a reality.

What Parents Should Know About CBD for Kids

I first heard about CBD from a friend of mine whose son started having terrible, nearly non stop, seizures. He was in the hospital and none of the medications they gave him were helping. With CBD oil, though, her son's seizures finally stopped and he was able to live a normal life. CBD for adults is pretty well known by now, but what about for kids? Here's more on the topic.


Cannabidiol, otherwise known as CBD, is a chemical compound of the cannabis plant. CBD has been found to have benefits of medical and therapeutic use and has gained popularity in states where marijuana has been legalized or decriminalized for recreational use.

CBD derived from hemp plants is legal throughout all fifty states when sold as a dietary supplement without any Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis. As CBD gains popularity throughout the adult population, some are also sharing the benefits of these magical plants with their kids.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Vegan Chickpea Based Laotian Larb Salad Recipe


When I had a bunch of lemongrass that I wanted to use up after thinning it out from my garden, my mind went immediately to Thai and Laotian food. Larb is a chopped meat salad from that region, generally made with pork, however there are many other ways to make larb. I made non vegan larb and it was wonderful, but I had my friend Jacob, who is vegan, coming to me for the same meal where I planned on serving the meat based larb, and I wanted to have a vegan alternative for it. 

I knew that larb was flexible, being able to be made from a variety of different protein sources, from chicken to beef to pork to turkey, but also could be made vegan. I searched and found recipes for larb made with tofu, mushrooms, seitan, and tempe, but I didn't want to make it with that. My vegan guest loves chickpeas, so I decided to experiment to see how it would come out with chickpeas.

Suffice it so say the experiment was a roaring success. I was so excited when I tasted it and saw how wonderful it was, because I knew it would be a great addition to the meal. My guest not only loved the dish but requested the recipe so that he could make it himself at home. This dish is not just for vegans to enjoy- it is a great low cost dish, gluten free, allergy friendly, and good for a variety of different diets. 

This recipe is based on a bunch of different larb recipes I've seen from around. They all have different ingredients but with the same general idea. Salty, spicy, sweet, sour, umami, and aromatic. Some recipes have mint, some lemongrass. They generally have shallots and fish sauce and lime juice, but to keep down the cost, make it vegan, and use what I had on hand, I used onion and garlic in place of the shallots, gluten free soy sauce in place of the fish sauce, and lemon juice in place of the lime juice. The end result is a dish whose flavor is very full-bodied and almost meaty, in a good way, my guest said. Feel free to add some mint to your dish, I just ran out by the time I made this dish.

This dish is generally served on a bed of lettuce or on rice. I made mine on rice since my lettuce turned out really bitter.

Vegan Chickpea Based Laotian Larb Recipes

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Purchasing A New Car In Atlanta – An Essential Guide For Buyers

Purchasing a new-for-you car can be stressful, but if you don't do it wisely you can have a lot more stress afterwards. Here's a guide from a reader on buying cars if you are based in Atlanta, but relevant to people all over as well.


When living in a big city like Atlanta, you can only benefit from owning your own car, whether it’s for driving to work and the store, or getting you and the family out for day trips or visiting friends and relatives. Buying a new car is not a simple decision though, as there are lots of things to consider. Are you going to sell your old car? Perhaps you want to trade it in? And what do you need from your new purchase? Here are some of the top things to do and keep in mind when buying your new ride.

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Laotian Beef Larb Recipe - Delicious Chopped Meat Salad


I was working in my garden, preparing it for the winter, and part of that was pruning plants that had gotten too big. My lemongrass plant is gigantic, as no one really uses it, since I didn't really know how to access the part usually used for Asian cooking, and have even purchased some for cooking use, since I was that clueless. I also and am not a big tea drinker, the only thing I knew to do with the rest of the plant. (My dog, though, regularly chews off parts of the lemongrass stalk.) But the lemongrass plant was absolutely gigantic and definitely needed to be thinned out or it would take over my entire garden. Lemongrass, it seems, grows by making more and more shoots next to the original ones, and I pulled out a bunch of that new growth. Googling helped me realize what I needed to do to reveal the part of the plant used in Asian cooking- peel off the outside layers like an onion to reveal the softer inner stalks.

So I had a bunch of these now and had no idea what to do with them.

Asian cooking, obviously. Thai and Laotian recipes. I used some of them to make my delicious spicy curry laksa noodle soup. Other recipes I saw were Thai hot and sour soup, but there are only so many soup dishes you could eat at once. I also made green curry paste for use in various recipes.

But I wanted main course recipes with lemongrass. And then I remembered larb. Larb is a meat salad from laos and northern Thailand, and it often is made with lemongrass. I was pretty sure I even had a larb recipe already on my blog, and I looked and found that, in fact, I did. But I didn't want to go with the recipe I already had. I wanted to make a new and improved one. I looked at my old recipe and about 4 or 5 other recipes, each with their own twists and ingredient combinations, and decided how to make my own. To keep down costs and use what I had at home, I replaced the shallots, fish sauce, and lime juice with onion and garlic, gluten free soy sauce, and lemon juice. I also used mint that I had growing in my garden.

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