Things I Like

Lately, people have been asking me for advice on what to eat, what to read, how to exercise, etc. So, to make it easy, I thought I’d put a list together. I’ll keep adding to it as time goes on.

Here’s what/where I like to:


Earth Balance Spread– I used to use butter just about every day, mainly because I didn’t like the taste/consistency of other products.  Earth Balance is what I was looking for:  great butter taste without all the health issues that come with butter.  Try it yourself, and I think you’ll be hooked too.

Lentils-  Growing up, I don’t think I ever ate lentils.  They are a staple of the vegetarian diet, and I love them.  During the fall/winter, I had lentil soup/stew at least three times a week.  Lentils are easy to prepare, taste great, and are so good for you.  Some people say the French green lentils are best.  I’ve tried them, and though they are good, I like the lowly brown type I buy for 89 cents at my local Super Fresh.  Try them both and see which you prefer.

Morningstar Farms– In my opinion, the best veggie burgers out there.  I used to love their maple veggie sausages in the morning, until I tried the hot and spicy ones. You would never know they’re not made with meat.

Tomatoes- They are the best, and there’s about a million ways to prepare them.  Recently, I even got some hothouse tomatoes that were full of flavor. But there’s nothing better than the bounty of tomatoes during the summer.  I’m planting for a bumper crop this year!

Quinoa- This ancient grain pronounced keen wa has only recently become readily available in the US.  Quinoa’s protein is  of an unusually high quality. It is a complete protein, with an essential amino acid balance close to the ideal … similar to milk!   Hard to find not that long ago, now you can pick it up in most grocery stores.  This link will give you probably more info than you’re looking for 🙂 but it is worth a look.

Pasta- Dreamfields Pasta is a great choice for people trying to change their diet.  It’s a low carb alternative that tastes fantastic.  You and your dinner companions will not tell the difference, and your body will scream “Thank You!”  A year ago, I thought you could only get Dreamfields on-line, then it showed up in the grocery store down the street. Sweet!

Tortillas- Wrap-itz.  Although they have lots of choices, the tortilla that I use is the lo-carb wheat wrap.  There’s no trans fat, no saturated fat, and only 5 net carbs.  Most other tortillas have anywhere between 15-30 carbs.  That huge reduction in carbs let’s you pay more attention to what you put inside your wrap, and that has to be a good thing 🙂


Almond MilkAlthough there’s other choices, I like Blue Diamond. If you are watching your weight/blood sugars, go with the unsweetened.

Wine- Gary Vaynerchuk and his Wine Library is a great source to learn about wine.  Maggie Bush, one of my high school friends, married into a wine-making family and together they own Madrona Vineyards. Try some!


Trader Joe’s–  When I was a kid growing up in Glendale, California, my mom used to shop at the original Trader Joe’s in Pasadena, about ten minutes away from home.  Now, they’re nation-wide. I love them for their great food, reasonable prices, and quirky randomness of choices.

Whole Foods– This store has some great stuff too.  A bit pricier than Trader Joe’s, with a bit more “health food” feel to it.  They have a cool hot/cold food bar with lots of unusual selections.

Wegmans– A friend of mine called our local store a culinary Disney World. If there’s one in your area, don’t miss the olive bar, a great source for appetizer fixings.

A G Ferrari– A great on-line source for all things Italian, esp. the olive oils and vinegars.


(Basically, I’m cheap.  Check out these titles at the library first, if you can find them.)


Conscious Cook by Tal Ronnen. Some of the recipes are for the experienced cook, but overall pretty good.

Engine 2 Diet What a great story by Rip Esslestyn, with plenty of great tips and recipes to try.

New England Soup Factory Cookbook by Marjorie Druker. Although not all vegetarian, there are some really fine recipes in this one.  Who doesn’t love a bowl of soup?

Now Eat This  by Rocco Dispirito.  He took the top 150 favorite things Americans eat (only some vegetarian) and re-worked them to bring them under 350 calories.  The most amazing recipe for me was the one for brownies.  Initially at 1,500 calories and 70 grams of fat, he got it down to 1.6 grams of fat and 53 calories.  Find out his secret ingredient.

Sacred Feasts by Brother Victor-Antoine d’Avila-Latourrette

Twelve Months of Monastery Soups by Brother Victor


Frances Mayes, author of Under the Tuscan Sun, among others, is one of my favorite authors.  She’s got a book out on Tuscan life, and has got me dreaming again…

The Eyewitness Guides to Italy are fantastic.  Can’t go wrong.


I really believe in what Dr. Neal Barnard is doing.  I’ve followed his guidelines and program, and it has made all the difference.  I never thought I would be this healthy again.  In my mind, anything written by him is worth reading.


As you may know, I’m very into Ignatian Spirituality right now, and have been for the last three years. Loyola Press has a great selection of titles. Heroic Living, Inner Compass, and What Is Ignatian Spirituality are three of my favorites.  Fr. Timothy Gallagher has written a great series on Ignatian Spirituality, and all of them are worth a read.


I really like Gary Vanerchuk’s book, Crush It. He tells you the reason why everyone should be blogging.

Word Press For Dummies has helped navigate through the minefield and produce something worthwhile.

A-List Blogging Club- I joined the club a few months ago and have learned some really great tips that has made Making All Things New even better.  I’m an affiliate with them, and if you’d like to join, click here.


Three Minute Retreat. It’s how I start my day.  From Loyola Press, these quick Scripturally-based and uplifting messages set the stage for a peaceful beginning.

Grace Before Meals A great website from my friend Fr. Leo Patalinghug.  This site, with the subtitle stronger family- better food has lots of great recipes and inspirational messages, all with the goal of improving family life.  How could you not like that?


In my spare time, I’m a Master Gardener.  I love working in my own little piece of land.  This year, I’m focused on a revitalized  vegetable garden.

3 replies on “Things I Like”

Hi Paul, your website is wonderful & I’m thrilled that you are vegetarian. I have been for over 8 years, and know God’s hand was in the decision (based on a dream!). Mary Lynne told me yesterday about your website, and there she is with this morning’s post. Nice. I plan to look for several titles you have mentioned, and have two to suggest.

How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, by Mark Bittman
The Passionate Vegetarian, by Crescent Dragonwagon

Both are in CCPL’s collection. You won’t be disappointed.

Thanks for getting this site organized (oh, I agree completely about the stores!) and I’ll be back. This came up with Mary Lynne because my husband is diabetic.


Thanks Lauren! I’m glad you found my blog, and I hope you can find some new ideas here. Be sure to check out my vegetarian tab, where I have posted lots of recipes. Let me know if you have a great recipe to share, and I’ll get it up.

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