Getting set for the week.

zucchini bread photo

We were slow to get the week started around here–it was an eventful week/weekend. One of my oldest friends came through town last week leaving this delicious zucchini bread shown above. Paired with an ample dollop of Earth Balance spread and a cup of black tea, it was an irresistible breakfast.

Earth Balance is vegan, made without artificial ingredients or hydrogenated oils, free of gluten, lactose, and eggs. It’s also Non-GMO Project certified. I use it instead of butter when I can, especially if there’s no local, organic butter on hand.

breakfast photo

I’m also a fan of black tea, which helped me to wake up this morning. As you can see, Madison wasn’t having it. A study done at Rutgers showed that black tea may help prevent stomach, breast, and prostate cancer. A study in the Netherlands showed that drinking black tea daily decreased by 50 percent your chances of dying from heart disease. It also prevents tooth decay. And it looks more like coffee, which for some reason, appeals to me.

Bella guarded the basil as I planned ahead for the week to come. I made a curried butternut squash bisque (I’ll publish pictures of it later this week) and a simple cold sesame noodle salad with mustard green shavings. Hopefully this will last the husband and I a few days, so I can get ahead on my work and avoid take out all at the same time.

cold sesame noodle salad photo

Cold Sesame Noodle Salad with Mustard Green Shavings

1 package soba noodles
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tbsp organic peanut butter
2 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp hot sauce (add more if you like)
1 tsp cold pressed sesame oil
2 cloves minced garlic
The juice of 1/2 lime
2 large leaves minced mustard greens
1 tbsp sesame seeds


1. Cook noodles as per directions.

2. While you’re cooking the noodles, whisk oil, peanut butter, soy sauce, hot sauce, sesame oil, garlic, and lime together.

3. Dress noodles and top with greens and sesame seeds–toss well. Refrigerate to allow the flavors to meld.

4. When serving, drizzle with sesame oil and a squeeze of lime.

Breakfast of champions.

breakfast of champions photo

I get asked all the time what I eat for breakfast and to be honest it changes. But I am rather picky about my morning intake because it’s the way I start the day. Start with junk and the day is likely to move in the wrong direction.

I’m a big fan of Earth Balance crunchy peanut butter with banana slices, raw honey, and sprouted grain bread, which of course gets shared with Madison and Bella. Bananas are undoubtedly their favorite.

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Adopt A Turkey This Thanksgiving

live turkeys photo

Photo: faster panda

For 25 years, the Adopt-A-Turkey Project has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to support the care of more than 1,000 rescued turkeys. For a one-time donation of just $30, adopters or the recipients they choose will provide for the care of a rescued turkey and receive a special Adopt-A-Turkey certificate complete with color photo of their adoptee who resides at one of Farm Sanctuary’s shelters, along with fun details about their new friend’s habits and disposition.

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Are You a Healthy Eater? 10 Questions You Need to Ask

farmers market photo
Photo: Natalie Maynor

Food is your daily medicine–three times a day, everyday. What you eat contributes to the way you feel on a daily basis and to health outcomes later in life. Not sure how well you eat? Ask yourself these 10 questions:

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Fire Roasted Spaghetti Al Pomodoro

fire roasted spaghetti al pomodoro photo

The weather just cooled down at least a few degrees outside so making a heartier dish isn’t downright preposterous. I’ve been thinking of making this for a while because though jarred tomato sauces are much simpler to dump into the pan and swirl around with spaghetti, a traditional pasta dish is far from jarred.

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How a Plant-Based Diet Fights Cancer

plant-based diet photo
Photo: SweetonVeg

I’ve spoken broadly about the benefits of a plant based diet. It makes you look and feel good, it reduces aging, and fights the free radicals that break our bodies down. Additionally, according to a number of different studies referenced below, it shields the body against cancer growth. But even still, we’re left wondering how exactly the body is better able to fight cancer on a plant-based diet. That’s where Dr. Neil Barnard and Michael Greger come in to explain it in terms we’re better able to understand.

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Is Genetically Modified Corn Safe? New Study May Shine Some Light

corn cobb photo
Photo: whitneyinchicago

Last week Russian authorities placed a temporary ban on imports of a genetically modified (GM) maize produced by Monsanto as a result of a controversial new cancer study. Russia’s institute of Nutrition is currently reviewing the study to see whether further action needs to be taken, causing a large scale debate, according to Food Navigator.

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Quinoa Salad with Red Grapes, Kalamata Olives, Pine Nuts, and Cherry Tomatoes

quinoa salad photo

Prepping for a week of healthy foods in the Novak house means making whole grains ahead of time so when you need them they’re already prepared and ready to eat. I make quinoa for three days at a time, starting on Monday. This is a standard lunch on week days when I don’t have time to drop everything and cook. I’ve perfected the quinoa salad to be salty, sweet, and rich all in the same bite.

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Vegan Farmhouse Cobb Salad With Fresh Herb Vinaigrette

vegan farmhouse cobb salad photo

I’ve always been a huge fan of the Cobb salad, probably because it’s one of the furthest things from a salad in the first place. Dump a little ranch on there and you might as well eat a burger, fries, and a coke. The bleu cheese, chicken, and bacon make for a seriously caloric meal. But it turns out the Cobb doesn’t have to be fatty at all.

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Arsenic in Rice and Brown Rice Syrup: Is It Dangerous?

vegan pecan sandies photo
Photo: Vegan Feast Catering

The idea of ingesting arsenic in the food supply is a scary phenomenon, especially in a seemingly healthy food like rice. It got even more heated when brown rice syrup, a staple sweetener known as a healthier alternative to high fructose corn syrup, turned out to be the culprit.

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Sara Kovak
Welcome to Serene Kitchen, your destination for tasty meatless eats and mindful living. My name is Sara Novak and I'm a health and wellness expert for Discovery Health and TreeHugger.