Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Clorox Buys Burt's Bees

Do you buy Burt's Bees lip balm?  I used to!  I was so disappointed to learn that this little "mom and pop" company had been purchased by a not-so-earth-friendly company like Clorox...You know, they guys that make bleach and other harmful chemicals.

This is NOT a recent corporate buyout.  It happened in November 2007 at the tune of about $913 Million!

So WHY am I sharing this info here?  My husband and I make our own small-batch, Vegan and Non-GMO Lip Balms.  They may not be as fancy as store-bought brands but at least I know HOW my lips are being moisturized.  I know that the lip balms are made with care and serious quality control.

If you're looking for earth-friendly lip balm with no animal products, no GMO ingredients and made with care, check out Mary's Basics.  Our "flavors" include Peppermint, Cocoa and Sweet Orange.  Or you can always stick with plain jane!

Cocoa Delight Vegan Lip Balms

Made with skin-friendly shea butter, coco butter, and a bit of  sunflower oil or olive oil and "flavored" with natural essential oils.  All of our balms are made with vegan cadelilla wax, a healthier alternative to those chemical-laden commercially produced balms.

Our Vegan lip balm is vitamin rich and good for your lips.
ALL of our products are phthalate free, paraben free, and formaldehyde free!

Sweet Orange Vegan Lip Balm

Hope you're having a wonderful week so far.  More healthy recipes are on the way!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Simple Pesto Pizza

This might be one of the easiest vegetarian meals I've made so far.  Seriously!

Mary's Simple Pesto Pizza

whole wheat pita
HomeGrown Basil Walnut Pesto
Parmesan cheese (optional)

I used whole wheat and flax pitas and the tomatoes where from my garden.

Preheat oven to 400.
Place pita(s) on a baking sheet. Spread pesto over pita, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and top with tomato slices or halves cherry tomatoes.

Bake for 20-30 minutes or until slightly browned or crispy (however you like it).  Serve hot!

While I had the oven going I also made Roasted Cauliflower...I'll share next time!
Sharing this post HERE and Tuesdays with a Twist

Back to the Basics

Friday, May 24, 2013

HomeGrown Basil Walnut Pesto

Dark Purple Opal Basil
We love Pesto!!!  Sometimes I go a bit nuts on the garlic and it irritates my stomach but I just can't get enough. *pictures from my garden*

Pesto is so simple to make that I don't know why I ever bought it from the store in the first place!

I grow LOADS of basil and this is a great way to use and preserve fresh basil.  I don't just use the leaves, I throw in the cuttings of flowers as well so they don't go to waste.

One thing I don't have anymore is a food processor.  It quit last year so everything goes in the blender these days.  Works just great!

In case you missed the Amazing Guest: Sandra from Vegan Mother Hubbard  she shared her version of Walnut Pesto.  Mine is slightly different but they're both simple and delicious!
Fine Verde Basil

Mary's HomeGrown Basil Walnut Pesto

3 cups basil, Green or Purple
5 cloves garlic
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup water
1 cup walnuts
1/2 teaspoon sea salt


Add all items to your blender or food processor and blend until smooth.

I made a delicious Pesto Pizza using flax & whole wheat pitas and homegrown tomatoes! (RECIPE tomorrow)

Sharing this deliciousness HERE.  Join me!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Absolutely AH-MAY-ZING!!!

This morning I hosted another wrap party...
I'm STILL buzzing with Excitement!

EVERY women who attended the party decided to wrap and EVERYONE trimmed down!!!  
(One lost almost 3 inches!) WOOHOO!

So you're asking...What is this CRAZY "wrap" thing she's talking about? 
The Ultimate Body Applicator is one of my favorite products from It Works!  It's simple to use and you're done in as little as 45 minutes.

 There truly is SOMETHING for everyone.

The greens are a wonderful way to get your "greens" AND they make a great facial as well.

 AND...My loyalty customers save UP TO 45% off the retail price!

I never thought I would get to say that but it's true!
Do you want to get paid to party?  Let me know!

Email: or

You can even call me!!!  (954) 654-3501
Check out my website for even more AH-MAY-ZING products!
Slim Down with Mary

Friday, May 17, 2013


If you missed out on the announcement...Wake up!!!
Today is an AMAZING day in the land of food.  Today we celebrate!
My Farmer's Market produce run!

Food Revolution Day on 17 May is a global day of action for people to make a stand for good food and essential cooking skills. It's a chance for people to come together within their homes, schools, workplaces and communities to cook and share their kitchen skills, food knowledge and resources. Food Revolution Day aims to raise awareness about the importance of good food and better food education for everyone by focusing on three simple actions – cook it, share it, live it. The first Food Revolution Day took place on 19 May 2012 with more than 1,000 events in 664 cities across 62 countries. Find out all about Food Revolution Day 2012 here.

Who is Taking Part?

Food Revolution Day is open to any individual, school, business and organisation that wants to take part in hosting or attending activities in their local area on 17 May. Many local activities will also be organised by our voluntary Food Revolution ambassadors who play a leadership role across the world in connecting individuals, schools, businesses and organisations at a local level. Get in touch with your nearest ambassador by visiting the Food Revolution Day team’s webpage. If you want to get involved, raise awareness or fundraise for better food education and cooking skills, then why not organise an activity in your local area. Follow the link to download the Food Revolution Day Activity Guide for loads of help and ideas. If you simply wish to attend an activity near you, visit our interactive activities map to find out where they’re taking place. 

Why have a Day of Action?

Cooking skills used to be passed down from generation to generation, but now millions of people lack even the most basic cooking skills. We need to get back to basics: to cook and eat fresh local produce; to share cooking skills and food knowledge; to join forces within communities and get as many people involved as possible. Food Revolution Day is our opportunity to get the world to focus on the importance of good food and essential cooking skills, by rallying our efforts to empower people with better cooking skills and to inspire them to cook fresh food from scratch. 

I had 2 major cooking influences growing up: My Mom and my Granny.  Both are/were equally amazing!  When I go back home to visit every year the kitchen is FULL of "smith girls."  My mom makes the BEST carrot cake ever which is a family recipe and both of my sisters are so creative in the kitchen.  We have a great time and I am so very grateful for the experience!

Super Mega Birthday Salad


Lettuce, chopped
Radish, sliced
Jicama, peeled and chopped
Tomatoes, sliced
Cucumber, sliced thin
Carrots, shredded
Avocado, sliced

Layer each ingredient however you like.  My final product is pictured.

The Super Simple Potato

1 red potato
1-2 teaspoons olive oil
Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper

Slice potato most of the way through leaving the bottom intact
Microwave for approx 5 minutes, turning halfway.
Drizzle with olive oil and microwave for another 2 minutes.
Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and microwave for a final 1 1/2 minutes.
Serve hot!

Baked Chickpeas


3 cups cooked garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon cayenne powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place garbanzo beans in a mixing bowl, sprinkle with olive oil and spices.  Toss to coat.
place garbanzo beans on a cookie sheet and bake for 30-35 minutes.  Serve hot or cool.
I love these as a topping for salad!

Black Bean Quesadilla


1/2 cup black beans, smashed
salsa, optional

Smush black beans with a fork.  Heat tortilla and add cheese.  I prefer mozarrella.
Once the cheese is mostly melted, add smushed black beans to half of the tortilla and fold.
Cook on medium for approx 1 minute per side and serve hot.

I hope you have enjoyed my edition Food Revolution Day!  It's not to late to get started on your own.
Cook It!  Share It!

 Sharing this post at Tuesdays with a Twist, The HomeAcre Hop The Weekly Creative and HERE.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Polenta Recipes

Considering how easy it was to make my own Polenta I'm not sure why anyone would buy pre-made or packaged polenta.  3 Ingredients: water, salt and cornmeal.  After my first time making polenta I decided to add a bit of flavor and it was even better!

I'm getting ready for FOOD REVOLUTION DAY tomorrow!!!
Cook It!  Share It! 

Polenta with Mushrooms and Garlic

Top Polenta triangles or squares with sauteed mushrooms and Garlic

Roasted Winter Vegetables with Cheesy Polenta

Eggplant-Polenta Stacks

Polenta Wedges with Tomato Tapenade

See you tomorrow for even MORE delicious and nutritious recipes.
I like simple, healthy recipes!  Ready to join the Food Revolution?

Sharing this delicious post HERE.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

How to make Polenta

I've been actively looking for soy-free vegetarian meals.  There are so many healthy recipes out there so this has been exciting.

You can actually make your own cornmeal buy grinding corn kernels, preferably non-gmo corn, with a grain mill.  It's easy and saves a bunch of money!

from (seriously)
large pan of firm polenta

Salt and pepper
1 cup medium or fine cornmeal
Parmesan for soft polenta, optional
do NOT just dump in the cornmeal or the entire thing will be lumpy.
If it gets lumpy and the wisk doesn't ehlp, use a slotted spatula and squish lumps against the sides of the pot.
do not leave it and walk away or it will go funky

For firm polenta use 4 cups water; for soft polenta use 5 cups water. Bring water to a boil in a medium-size heavy sauce pan over high heat. Add 1 teaspoon salt. Pour cornmeal slowly into water, stirring with a wire whisk or wooden spoon. Continue stirring as mixture thickens, 2 to 3 minutes. 

Turn heat to low. Cook for at least 45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so. If polenta becomes quite thick, thin it with 1/2 cup water, stir well and continue cooking. Add up to 1 cup more water as necessary, to keep polenta soft enough to stir. Put a spoonful on a plate, let it cool, then taste. Grains should be swollen and taste cooked, not raw. Adjust salt and add pepper if you wish. 

For firm polenta, lightly butter a baking sheet or shallow dish, approximately 8 1/2 by 11 inches. Carefully pour polenta into pan. Using a spatula, spread polenta to a thickness of 3/4 inch. Cool to room temperature to allow polenta to solidify. Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. 
Polenta Triangles ready for topping
For soft polenta, add 6 tablespoons butter to pot and stir well. Serve immediately or transfer to a double boiler set over low heat, cover and keep warm for up to an hour or so. (Or set the saucepan in a pot of barely simmering water.) Stir well before spooning into low soup bowls. Sprinkle with Parmesan, if desired.

Bob's Red Mill advertises that they are GMO Free!  Get a great deal buy buying a 4-pack
I opted for the firm polenta and it was delicious but a bit plain.  for my first attempt I wanted to see hoe it would turn out.  I'll definitely make this again!
This recipe will be GREAT for Food Revolution Day...Topped with homegrown herbs and veggies!

Sharing another healthy recipe at Tuesdays with a Twist and HERE. 

Monday, May 13, 2013

I'm Co-Hosting the Chain Linky CLIMB!

Good Morning!  I am honored to co-host a party here at Mary's Kitchen.  I'm so happy to could join us.  Check out other blogs and link up.  Happy Monday!

Last month's CLIMB was so much fun & I'd like to thank everyone who participated! -
You are all so talented & amazing!!

Blog Climb by Angie Ouellette-Tower for photo ClimbIntroFinal_zps566389ea.jpg

_________________Follow the Host & ALL of the co-hosts below_______________

025-Copy-1,      Notions from Nonny


Blog Climb by Angie Ouellette-Tower for photo ClimbRulesFinal_zps460d2792.jpg

I (Angie from will be giving a FREE "Weekly Ad" space to anyone who co-hosts this Blog Climb !
(The Ad will run live a few weeks after you have co-hosted)

Blog Climb by Angie Ouellette-Tower for photo ClimbthumbnailFinal_zps57ddc4cb.jpg

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Amazing Guest: Sandra from Vegan Mother Hubbard

Since I recently decided to go completely vegetarian instead of just Meatless on Mondays I wanted to share another perspective. I am so excited to have Sandra as our guest here in Mary's Kitchen.  You'll love the recipes she has to share and just in time for Mother's Day!

Hi! I'm Sandra from Vegan Mother Hubbard. Many thanks to Mary for having me here on her blog, to talk about my story of going vegan.

Sweet and Salty Pineapple Tofu with Coconut Rice and Steamed Broccoli

I grew up in an omnivorous home. Meat, often ground beef, was a typical part of our suppers, but we were never a meat-and-potatoes family. There was always at least one vegetable on the table, and often more than one. Veggies, grains, starches and fruit were a major part of our diet. My eldest sister was vegetarian (I have no memories of her pre-veg days). All that added up to vegetarianism never being a strange concept to me.

BBQ Chicken Pizza

When I went off to college, I enjoyed a readily available, and well stocked, salad bar at our campus dining hall. The food at my alma mater was excellent, and as the fall trimester progressed, I realized I was eating less and less meat. Shortly after Thanksgiving, I decided that meat was just not necessary and I went vegetarian. That was late fall of 2000.

Biscuits and Sausage Gravy

College also introduced me to the concept of veganism. I met several wonderful vegans, who educated me on the negative environmental effects and animal abuse involved in animal agriculture. I was lucky to never encounter preachy, high pressure vegans, but rather great kids who kindly answered my questions. College primed me for the leap from vegetarian to vegan. My sister Kristie went vegan sometime around my senior year of college, and she gifted me How it all Vegan, which is still my absolute favorite cookbook. Furthermore, I started to feel like something of a hypocrite. I wouldn't put a piece of animal muscle on my plate, but I wore leather shoes, and ate eggs that came from abused chickens. I likened it to constantly brushing my teeth, but never brushing my my tongue. Outwardly it seemed like I was doing something great, but I was just ignoring half of the germs.

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cake

Don't get me wrong. I am not condemning any person who is almost vegan, is vegetarian, or even just participates in Meatless Mondays or Mark Bittman's "vegan before 6:00" movement for not being entirely vegan. I think any step toward less animal consumption is wonderful and a great benefit to animals and the environment. I am a firm believer in focusing on the good decisions, as opposed to shaming folks. Afterall, you catch more flies with honey brown rice syrup, than vinegar, right?

Walnut Pesto

Back to my story: In early spring of 2005, as I approached college graduation, I decided that I would go vegan on my graduation day. I spent a couple months getting used to non-dairy milks (which I already drank sometimes), cooking with tofu, discovering the glory of nutritional yeast, and learning to love foods like pizza, lasagna, and nachos without dairy cheese. By the time I was out of school, vegan cooking had become second nature. My mom (an incredible woman, who taught me how to cook) quickly figured out how to adapt just about any dish to be vegan. By the time my husband and I got married in February 2007, my mom was such an excellent vegan cook and baker, that she made our uber-delicious, vegan wedding cakes. How lucky am I?

Simple Black Bean Burgers

After seven years of veganism, I barely have to think about it. Reading labels is like a reflex. Subbing vegan egg and dairy alternatives into baking recipes is something I now do without much thought. Even eating out has become much simpler, now that I know what questions to ask and what restaurants are (or are likely to be) veg friendly.

4 Sample Vegan Toddler Meals

We're raising our daughters (three year old twins named Veronica and Clarissa) vegan. They adore tofu, veggies, fruits, and hearty grains. They are healthy, growing well, and they enjoy a varied diet. In fact, just yesterday Veronica and I were talking about what different animals eat. I asked her what she eats, and this was her list (in this order): cabbage, lettuce, carrots, bananas, seeds, tofu, Tofu Pups, cherries, mango, avocado. Other than the pups, the foods that first came to her mind were whole, largely unprocessed foods. Keep in mind that Clarissa and Veronica eat their fair share of (vegan) cookies, ice cream, fruit snacks, chips, pizza, French fries, and the like.
Shortly after the conversation I had with Veronica, Clarissa started asking me if the tomatoes she was eating had come from the garden or the farmers market. It didn't even occur to her that they had come from the grocery store (and we haven't been to the farmers market in a good seven months).

Blueberry Poppy Seed Muffins

That's my story about going, and now living, vegan. Are you veg? What prompted your vegetarian or vegan diet? If you're not, what's standing in your way?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Spicy Buffalo Cauliflower

I hope I don't lose any of you now that I've gone vegetarian.  The recipes I've shared lately are still carnivore friendly.  If my husband (who swears he's not a picky eater) will eat it I'm sure it's A-OK! 
This recipe is perfect for Food Revolution Day on May 17th! 

One thing I'm trying to stay away from is soy.  Too much soy is NOT good for you.  Also, soy is an added filler in many of the prepared foods on the market (even if the ingredients list does not clearly state Soy).
*Today is the LAST day to enter the Heirloom Seeds giveaway!*

Spicy Buffalo Cauliflower

1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 cup all purpose flour
3 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 small head of cauliflower, chopped into pieces
1 cup buffalo sauce (I use "Franks")
1 Tbsp olive oil
*I also added 1/8 cup water to the "batter" because it was very thick*

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine flour, garlic powder, cayenne & oregano.
Add the coconut milk and stir with a whisk until smooth.

Add cauliflower to the mixture and coat evenly – (I find it easier to use my hands than a utensil).

Arrange the cauliflower pieces so that they are not overlapping on a lightly greased cookie sheet or shallow baking pan. Bake for 20 minutes, without flipping.

Combine the buffalo sauce and olive oil.

When baking is complete, transfer cauliflower into a clean mixing bowl. Add half the buffalo sauce mixture and coat evenly. Transfer cauliflower back to baking sheet and resume baking for an additional 10 minutes.

Once the cauliflower is done, place in a serving dish and drizzle with remaining buffalo sauce.

THIS recipe will definitely be used many times.  It was fantastic!!!   
Deliciously Spicy! 
I'm thinking about trying this recipe with Broccoli as well one of these days.

I'm partying over at Tuesdays with a Twist and HERE.