Category Archives: Uncategorized

Happy 7th Birthday FSTS & Happy 7-Year Veganniversary to Me!


Image Courtesy of Stuart Miles at

When I started this blog 7 years ago I had no idea that my life would be so different today. I didn’t know I would be vegan, it wasn’t even an idea in the beginning of February 2010. I would never have thought I was going to leave the corporate world to go back to school for nutrition or enjoy teaching nutrtion so much. I didn’t think I would have lost my mother and one of my beloved cats too soon or that I would have had more dogs than cats in the house. I also didn’t know that my husband had a child and how that secret would affect me, our relationship and my faith in people to do the right thing.

I like to think of the last 7 years as a time of growth, not just in the garden but also in me. I see that life will always have challenges, the latest with a sick kitty, and no matter what it throws at you, you have to rise above it. Like I said in January, I don’t really know where I will end up this year, but I do know that it will include my garden. According to High Mowing Seeds, the time to start onion seeds is now, or about 12 weeks before transplant – so that will be my next project. The garden plan will be to plant lots of greens, garlic (got that started in November) peppers, eggplants, herbs and maybe a few other things. Nothing too ambitious, last year squash borers killed ALL of my squashes so this year I will take a break from them. I’m also done with tomatoes, I like them but I am not in love with them and I want this to be a garden I love that will hopefully love me back.

Long Long Overdue Garden Update

Hello my lovelies,

I know, I have left you for way too long. I promise that I have kept myself sufficiently lazy and busy. Lazy because after a long day at the FoodBank I enjoy my evenings puttering in the garden and sitting outside and busy because I have a garden to tend after all!

By this time of year I usually have a few posts on what I have going on outside and as they, whoever they are, say – better late than never baby!

The Herbs:
I have the usual echinacea, marjoram, caraway and lemon balm growing in my herb patch. This year I added a few perennial plants from the Rutgers Master Gardener sale (Shameless Plug) which includes two varieties of lavender, gold sage, and greek oregano. I also bought some bronze fennel and rosemary. From seed I planted a few more perennials: thyme, garlic chives and yarrow, though right now it only seems I have yarrow growing. The chives and thyme were older seeds but should still have germinated.


Wild Bergamot under a squash


Bronze Fennel on left and Rosemary on right


Echinacea on rights with Caraway and Marjoram on left and Lemon Balm in front


Golden Sage


Lavenders on top and Greek Oregano on the bottom

The Squashes:
My lovely squashes how I enjoy them. I have a few acorn squashes, a kabocha or two, a calabasa and some blue hubbard squashes. Alas, my butternuts have become butternots – as in not doing very well. Luckily I have some rogue squashes that have done spectacularly so far, now if I could only know what goodies they will give me.


Unknown Variety Squash


Acorn Squash with an Unknown Variety behind it


Calabasa with Cut Flowers and Sunflowers


Blue Hubbard Squash with and Unknown Variety in foreground


Kabocha Squash with Collard seed pods behind it

The Tomatoes:
This year I planted three varieties of tomatoes: black prince, cherry tomatoes and cosmonaut volkov tomatoes. I have to admit I didn’t think they would do as well as they have done so far. Their legginess when I planted them made me think the heirloom plants at the produce store looked good when my seedlings died. I only lost one!





The Peppers:
I have to admit that my peppers have become a bit of a disappointment. The seedlings had done really well but the plants, not so much. I have some yellow peppers, and jalapenos. I have one that I think looks pretty good the others – meh



The Greens:
My pride and joy. I have my usual prolific collards and this year I planted a kale mix that has produced pretty well. My lettuce mix not so much, I think I saw two plants…




Kale mix with Sunflowers and Unknown Variety Squash and Red Cabbage

Everything Else:
The asparagus did well, even the one I thought had died came back. I also planted a purple variety so in a couple of years I hope to enjoy it. I planted beets, way too close together, I have a feeling I’ll have more beet greens than beets which works too!


Asparagus with Onion Flower in foreground


Beets with Brussels Sprouts

This year I also added two cut flower beds to the garden, looks like a lot of cosmos and zinnias which I love.


Cut Flowers

Of course we can’t forget the forage greens like dandelion, lambs quarter and purslane.



I also expanded the garden with a new row of beds and two perennial flower beds that produce flowers for beneficial insects on each side. I put the fencing around to help keep the dogs out.


Expanded Garden


Perennial Flower bed around the border of the yard which 

Every year we fill in the border of the yard with new plants and veggies, this year I added a few rutgers strawberries


Rutgers Strawberry

And how can we forget Lola with the catnip.


Lola with her favorite Catnip patch behind her

#RepealTheSeal | Petition & Open Letter to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietitics

I am participating in the #RepealTheSeal campaign to show my disagreement with the Academy’s recent decision to allow the Kids Eat Right logo onto food packaging. I invite my fellow colleagues and bloggers who share this opinion, or who support this campaign, to also post this Open Letter on their own blog, to sign the petition at, and/or to use #RepealTheSeal hashtag via social media.

If you feel strongly about this matter I urge you to repost the open letter and sign the petition.


March 16, 2015

To Mary Beth Whelan, President Sonja Connor, leadership at the Academy and the Kids Eat Right (KER) Foundation:

As long-time members and proud supporters of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), we are dismayed, shocked, and saddened by the blog post in last week’s New York Times. The piece ( – ) reports on the KER Foundation’s Nutrition seal— a seal that the Academy states was not an endorsement of the product, but is an indicator of the brands that support Kids Eat Right.

As dedicated Registered Dietitians/Nutritionists and food and nutrition experts, we are protesting the Academy’s position to allow the Kids Eat Right logo on Kraft Singles, as well as the possibility to allow any future implied endorsement of any product by AND for the following reasons:

Flawed Understanding of the Marketplace

We wholly reject the rationale that the Academy used in their formal press release to defend the nature of the relationship between Kraft and the Academy. A logo on a product label is an endorsement, an alignment, and recognition of a paid relationship. Simply stating otherwise in a press release, no matter how emphatically, doesn’t change this fact. Rather, AND’s actions illustrate how profoundly out of touch AND is with business principles, which has put our professional integrity and credibility at risk. It is also a decision that is out of touch with members’ values.

Failure to Provide Transparency to AND Members and Consumers

We work hard to provide full transparency in all of our own business relationships, and we expect the same from the Academy. Failure to be transparent about ANDs actions violates the Academy’s own Ethics Policy, which calls for the highest standards of honesty and integrity, and for members to not engage in false or misleading practices of communications.

Actions Requested of the Academy: #RepealtheSeal

We ask that the Academy make available to its members, the media and the public the following:

  • We ask for full transparency regarding the process of approval to allow the KER logo on the Kraft product— including the names of those involved, the meeting minutes of the discussion, and Board’s vote on this issue.
  • We ask for full disclosure of the terms of the financial agreement between KER Foundation and Kraft. We also request full transparency regarding the status of future agreements under consideration for use of our Logo.
  • We ask the Academy to provide their plan for the discontinuation of this specific relationship with Kraft and removal of the KER logo off Kraft Singles product packaging.

Academy members deserve strong leaders who will protect the integrity of the Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist credential. This latest action is an embarrassing misstep that must be corrected swiftly in order to prevent further damage to the RD/RDN brand and to the Academy.


Rachel Begun MS, RDN
Kate Geagan MS, RDN
Regan Jones, RD
Evelyn Fuertes, DTR

How You Can Help: 3 Steps

PETITION – Sign the petition at (, which outlines the steps we are asking that The Academy and KER take to rectify this situation.

POST – Post the attached Open Letter to the Academy and KER leadership on your blog and/or social media platform(s) to reach your peers and audience. Please use the #RepealTheSeal hashtag. While we kindly ask that you keep the Open Letter intact, if you have any additional thoughts or commentary that would be of interest to your readers, please feel free to include that in your own post.

PROMOTE – Please share this Open Letter and/or links to the petition on your social media platforms or your blog, and please feel free to invite others to repost on their blogs and social media networks. If you do share this on your blog, please include the following suggested language to help your audience understand how they can help support the campaign:

I am participating in the #RepealTheSeal campaign to show my disagreement with the Academy’s recent decision to allow the Kids Eat Right logo onto food packaging. I invite my fellow colleagues and bloggers who share this opinion, or who support this campaign, to also post this Open Letter on their own blog, to sign the petition at, and/or to use #RepealTheSeal hashtag via social media.

We thank you for your support!

*American Dietetic Association/Commission on Dietetic Registration Code of Ethics for the Profession of Dietetics and Process for the Consideration of Ethics Issues. J Acad Nutr Diet2009;109(8):1461-1467.

Can’t You Just Taste Spring!

Spring is almost here, the clocks have sprung forward, the days on the East Coast are getting warmer, the snow is melting and the sun is shining. This is the time we start to shed our winter layers.


Image Courtesy James Barker /

I like to think of spring as a time of renewal and hope. New projects and an excuse to be outside more often. Though some projects will keep me indoors, like continuing to declutter the house, the new garden has me very excited – more light and better weather means I can work outside longer.

Garden greens are one of my favorite aspects of spring, here’s a link to one of my favorite recipes – Polenta with Spring Vegetables. Enjoy!

What are your spring plans?

Happy Veganniversary to Me! And Happy Birthday FSTS Blog!

This week, maybe today(!) is my 5-year veganniversary. This is also the 5-year birthday week for this blog, Wow how time flies…


This is usually the post of the year that I recap the last year and that one was quite eventful. Here are the highlights: I graduated with my Associates Degree, I passed my DTR exam, I started a full-time job at a non-profit, I started the Rutgers Master Gardener Certification and tonight I am hosting my first ever vegan potluck.

Overall it’s been a great year, there have been challenges but what would life be without its ups and downs.

As the next year begins for me and this blog I have decided to focus on Hunger, Nutrition and Agriculture – my three passions. My work at the foodbank has reignited my passion for helping people and I am grateful to be able to do something that I find meaningful. I also plan to have a kickass garden this year with lots of flowers and vegetables, so stay tuned for those updates. Finally, my love health, wellness and nutrition I think shapes everything else.

I look forward to the next year and hope to see you all there with me!


Garden Update

I figured it was about time I gave you guys a garden update.


This spring I didn’t have a chance to get my seeds started early so I pretty much planted as late as I ever have. As I was telling my friend Nelson, who does an awesome job running the Metuchen Farmer’s Market, my gardening philosophy is to take whatever I have and throw it in the ground…

So here’s what has come up


Kabocha Squash


Kale and Mystery Squash













I also have these wild flower looking weeds that have really come in, thanks to my lack of weeding and making it more of a “permaculture” type plot. If anyone knows what these are please let me know!


Mystery Flowers

What do you have growing in your garden??


I want to thank my friend Charanya from Yes I’m Vegan 🙂 for nominating me. Below are the rules and questions to answer:

Rules for this award:

  • Thank and link back the person who presented the award to you.
  • Have the award on your post.
  • Answer the questions that has been asked.
  • Award the same to other upcoming blogs.

Charanya’s Questions

  1. What’s your favorite cuisine? Too many! Middle Eastern Maybe
  2. What would be the last meal you will love to eat? Something Indian or Falafel
  3. What is your favorite vege? Changes every day!
  4.  Do you watch Game of Thrones? Yes, though I am behind but have read through book 5
  5.  If you are vegan, why? If not, do you think you could be one for few days? at first it was fr health reasons but as I did more research my reasons became more ethical and environmental
  6.  Is there anything your life wont be the same without? Nope not really
  7.  What’s your favorite movie? Too many to name! I love bad movies!!
  8.  Is there any color you loved as a kid? Green, now my fave is red
  9.  Is there anything you would change in your life if life had a rewind button?
  10.  Do you own an iphone or an android? iPhone
  11. 3 words that could describe you: Passion, Loyal, Independent

My nominees are:

1. Vegan Flavorista
3. A Lazy Girl Goes Green
4. Veganomics
5. The Novice Gardener
6. Vegan Muffin Woman
7. Epicurean Vegan

My questions are:

1. What is your favorite book?
2. What gets you up in the morning?
3. What color best describes you?
4. What do you do for fun?
5. If you could make one thing in the world right, what would that be?

My garden wishlist

So I am getting ready to start some seeds indoors and have been thinking of what I want to grow this year. I have some kobucha squash seeds that I saved that I will be planting in the next few days. I harvested them a little while ago so they will hopefully be viable.


I have some dill and garlic chives going on in the light shelf too. I also planted rosemary but I don’t think it’s germinating. There’s something there but they could be weeds from the garden  I use garden soil and reuse potting soil so anything can be coming up.



Garlic Chives

Garlic Chives

I have tomatoes and peppers going strong, a little too strong and am afraid that they may outgrow their pots before mid-May. I was hoping to have them produce fruit inside but they are taking forever to grow (I know I am contradicting myself here, stay with me).





So that’s what I have, what about what I want? I want the squashes, I also want cucumbers. I have had NO LUCK with cucumbers, not sure why they produce fruit and it’s small and shrivels up in no time. I want beans, lots and lots of beans. Jared and I talked about it and we both agreed to try to plant beans this summer, I want to plant all of the legumes we eat: peas, black, kidney, navy, chickpeas, adzuki and pinto. I am not sure if any of these are pole or bush or whatever so it will be fun to experiment. Now I just need a spot to start them inside

What’s on your garden wishlist? Please feel free to share what you are planning on doing this year and any tips you have for beans!