Man, it feels like forever since I did a Sadity Cents post. You know a post about being fabulous and frugal. Anyways, my family has gone “plant-based.” I hesitate to say vegan because there is so much that comes along with that monicker, but food wise I avoid meat, dairy, and processed sugar. We’ve been at it for more than a month and I’m loving it. Part of the reason I think we’ve been successful is that I went in with a plan. This isn’t the first time I’ve done this. In fact I do it almost every year as a fast and cleanse except; this time I’m continuing beyond my typical 21-day fast (I usually do the Daniel Fast with my family).

This time I ordered the Thrive Market vegan starter kit to help spark ideas and creativity. In past years boredom has been the major roadblock that has prevented me from extending my fast into a lifestyle.

The Thrive Market kit was such a pleasant surprise! I’ve tried other kits or vegan packages and they just have snacks. But this one had actual staples that were useful and versatile. Below I will list the products that were included in the kit and the recipes in which I used the items.

Also here is a 25% discount code for anyone who wants to give it (or any other Thrive product) a try.

Discount code:

The vegan kit typically costs $47.95 for about $70 worth of product. With our first order discount code we paid $33. Not bad, it allowed me to try new products without a major investment.

Thrive Market Vegan Starter Kit

Sea Tangle Noodle Company Kelp Noodles — The only ingredients in these easy-to-eat raw noodles are kelp (a sea vegetable), sodium alginate (sodium salt extracted from a brown seaweed), and water. Kelp Noodles are fat-free, gluten-free, and very low in carbohydrates and calories—and no cooking is required to make them! Just rinse and add the noodles to any dish. Their traditional shape and neutral taste allow for a variety of uses in salads, stir-fries, hot broths, and casseroles.

Thrive Market Organic Virgin Coconut Oil

Ethically sourced from a small farm in the Philippines, Thrive Market’s organic virgin coconut oil is made from only the highest-quality ingredients. Organic, cold-pressed, and never refined, our coconut oil is just the way nature intended it to be—and at a fraction of the usual price tag. With a medium smoke-point of around 350 degrees, coconut oil is wonderful for baking, frying, and sautéing. Plus, it’s high in lauric acid, which helps to raise HDL (good) cholesterol levels.

Native Forest Vegan Coconut Milk Powder

Native Forest spray-dries fresh coconut milk for the perfect dairy-free alternative. This milk powder is great for traveling, camping, or an on-the-go lifestyle since it doesn’t require refrigeration and dissolves quickly when stirred in hot water. It tastes heavenly when used as a coffee creamer or mixed into soups, curries, sauces, desserts, and beverages.

Nuco Coconut Vegan Mayo

Whether you’re vegan, avoiding eggs, or just trying to get more coconut products in your life, this real-food vegan mayo—made from pure, non-GMO avocado and coconut oils—is sure to be a new staple in your kitchen. Cider vinegar and organic rosemary extract add that tangy, savory flavor that makes mayo so irresistible.

Thrive Market Pinto Beans, 2-pack

Thrive Market’s prepared pinto beans are grown, processed, and packed right here in the USA. They’re a great source of plant-based protein and are completely organic, non-GMO, gluten-free, and contain no preservatives or artificial ingredients—just wholesome pinto bean goodness. Try them in a number of recipes for added nutrition and rich flavor.

Pacific Foods Organic Seitan

Some vegans have a love-hate relationship with tofu, but there are other meat substitutes like seitan that can fit the bill. Made from a blend of wheat protein, red beans, and sprouted lentils, Pacific Foods’ version goes great in spicy dishes like tacos, fajitas, and stir-fry. Plus, it boasts 15 grams of plant-based protein per serving.

Thrive Market Plantain Chips, 2-Pack

When you open a bag of Thrive Market Non-GMO Plantain Chips, you’re getting nothing but a wholesome snack that pairs perfectly with dips. Try them in place of potato chips, too! These crisps are made with just three simple ingredients—plantains, non-hydrogenated vegetable oil, and sea salt—making them vegan-friendly and gluten-free.

Thrive Market Sprouted Brown Rice

Our sprouted brown rices’ rich, nutty flavor puts bland white rice to shame. Try it as a side on its own, or as a base for soups, salads, and stir-fries. It’s official: Thrive Market is taking over your pantry in the best possible way. We now offer a variety of wholesome baking ingredients and nutritious grains. It’s the perfect collection for all dietary needs and healthy cravings

Upton’s Naturals Chili Lime Jackfruit Carnitas

Jackfruit is a giant, fleshy fruit native to South and Southeast Asia. When cooked, it has a consistency similar to that of pulled pork, making it a great option for vegan-friendly tacos and burritos. Not only is this jackfruit carnitas flavorful and filling, it’s also a timesaver in the kitchen. Just fry with a small amount of oil and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until heated, stirring occasionally.

Louisville Vegan Jerky Co. Pete’s Bourbon Smoked Black Pepper Jerky

“Jerky” and “vegan” are two words that rarely go together—until now. Pete’s bourbon-smoked black pepper flavor tastes like the real deal, but is made from meatless soy protein that’s marinated in gluten-free tamari, sweetened with locally-sourced sorghum grains, and smoked in real Kentucky bourbon barrels. The result is a salty, robust, and chewy snack that boasts seven grams of protein per serving.

Follow Your Heart VeganEgg 100% Plant Based Egg Replacer

What’s breakfast without eggs and toast? Now vegans can get in on the American staple with Follow Your Heart’s 100% plant-based egg alternatives that offer the same texture and taste as the real deal. Simply whisk or blend with ice-cold water, and use in any and all eggs recipes, including scrambles, omelets, quiches, cookies, cakes, and more! This 4 oz. carton makes a dozen cholesterol- and dairy-free “eggs” that the whole family will enjoy.

Sophie’s Kitchen Black Pepper Vegan Toona

Savor the fresh taste of the sea without harming any fish in the process. Plant-based Toona by Sophie’s Kitchen is a delectable fish-free alternative to conventional canned options, made with non-GMO, all-natural ingredients like Konjac root (an ancient Asian superfood), pea protein, agave, and spices. Along with black pepper seasoning, this veganized tuna has a flavor and texture that works wonders in salads, casseroles, sandwiches, and more. Plus, it’s an excellent source of protein and fiber.


The recipes I made are:

  1. Jap-Chae: Made with the Kelp Noodles and Seitan
  2. Cubano Sandwich with Pinto Beans: Made with the Chili-Lime Jackfruit Carnitas, Coconut Oil Mayo, and Thrive Pinto Beans
  3. Polenta, Eggs, Chorizo and Stewed Tomatoes: Made with Follow Your Heart Vegan Eggs
  4. Vegan Meat-Lover Pizza: Made with Chili-Lime Jackfruit Carnitas
  5. Vegan Nachos: Made with Seitan
  6. Coconut Hot Chocolate: Made with Powdered Coconut Milk
  7. Tuna and Hummus Plate: Made with Vegan Toona and Thrive Plantain Chips
  8. French Toast: Made with Follow Your Heart Vegan Eggs and Powdered Coconut Milk
  9. Thai Coconut Curry Soup: Made with Coconut oil and Kelp Noodles
  10. Butter Chicken Chickpeas: Made with Coconut Oil and Sprouted Brown Rice

{November 6, 2017}   The Struggle is Real

Its almost 1 am and this nursing mama should be asleep instead I am awake. I can’t even say I’m wide awake, I’m just barely awake, yet there is so much to do. How does one balance it all? How do you function as CFO of our home, chef, property manager, laundress, and full-time child care provider. All while trying to eak out a semblance of a career (which has take a major back seat, I mean right now its not even in the trunk, its hitched to a trailer and holding on for dear life), lose weight, stay presentable (which means doing my hair every day) , and trying to actually interact more than just feeding  the aforementioned child. Sure teaching her French right now is a little much, but I also don’t want her just staring at the ceilings between feedings and diaper changes. How do you accomplish it all? Right now it doesn’t feel like anything can be dropped. Don’t manage the finances and rental property? Don’t prepare whole food meals for the family? Don’t do laundry?

The go to answer is have your husband help more. But if he is already extremely helpful between classes and work and taking on a major portion of the cleaning all while dealing with Uncle Sam on a daily bases what more can you ask before you both are overwhelmed? Right now my solution is that I overload myself to keep from overloading him. It seems like men can’t handle stress at the level women can. I don’t know if there is an answer. There’s just the question at one in the morning. How do you balance it all? The struggle is so real.

They say the best things in life are free, the next best things are low cost and easy to make. Not everything in life has to be difficult and sometimes getting what you paid for is actually a great thing. Such is the case for this really simple, really good, coconut ice cream!

I made it without an ice cream maker and it was smooth and creamy. 


  • 1 can coconut milk (full fat)
  • 1/2 cup raw sugar
  • 1/4 tsp of salt


  1. In a saucepan warm coconut milk, sugar, and salt over medium low heat until sugar is dissolved. 
  2. In a glass container freeze overnight. 
  3. The next day, allow the sweet coconut milk to sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes. Just long enough for the solid block to begin to melt around the edges. 
  4. Chop sweet coconut milk into the food processor. 
  5. Pulse and then mix until it is creamy and smooth. 
  6. Pour mixture back into glass container and freeze for at least 4 hours. 
  7. The mixture should be slightly more solid than soft serve. 
  8. Top with garnishment or serve with cookies. 

Here is a list of garnishment ideas:

  • Fruit slices
  • Toasted coconut
  • Chocolate tuile
  • Sprinkles
  • Pokey Sticks (this is what I used)

Note: We ate this as desert to our Pho soup and it was a great pairing. 


{February 24, 2017}   Food Pho Thought

There is a definite chill in the air here in Big Sky Country. One that harkens  back to yesteryear and winters of long ago. Nowhere in sight are signs of the climate change promised and yet we know it’s here. Not two days ago, most of the snow was gone and green grass was all the eye could see. Then a warm front came in; one had hope that an early spring was on the horizon. But alas the more things change, the more they stay the same. The warmth was only a prelude to a winter storm. Since then it has snowed for nearly two days non-stop and all the progress towards greener pastures feels like it’s disappeared. Still I hold onto hope. I hold on to the hope that this cold front, though nostalgic for some, won’t last forever. I hold onto the hope that as time and weather patterns change that, though just as brutal, this winter won’t last as long as past winters. That the sun will come out and warm all it shines upon. In the meantime, winters like this are a great time to learn and try new things. What better than a soup that is a generational and cultural staple to warm you from the inside out until the rest of the world begins to thaw. As we all go through this cold winter I encourage everyone to explore new cultures, embrace new ideas, try new things, and just enjoy good food. 


I grew up in the northwest, where a large population of Asia Americans and Asian immigrants reside. Pho was a common and cheap soup to find on a cold day and wet day. So imagine my surprise when yuppies and food trucks discovered Pho and the our staple went from “Phoe” to “Pha” and from $4 bowls at a mom and pop corner store to $15 a high end food truck. Since Pho has made its emergence to the elite it only made since to find the cooking class I attended last week at an upscale kitchen supply store would be teaching us how to make this soup like a gourmet recipe. Don’t get me wrong I was thrilled to learn this yummy Vietnamese staple. The class was more observational than hands on, so I went straight home determined to see if I could make the recipes myself. I have to say I’m pretty impressed with myself, especially since I’ve taken a little break from cooking lately. This was a great recipe to restart my passions. 

Beef Pho


  • 3-5 lbs. oxtail or beef bones
  • 1 1/2 – 2lbs chuck roast (I used sirloin steak)
  • (4) 3″ pieces of ginger, halved
  • 4 yellow onions, peeled and halved
  • 2 1/2 c. fish sauce 
  • 1/3 c. palm or rock sugar
  • 2-3 whole anise
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 2 tbsp. kosher salt
  • 2 pounds rice sticks (small or medium)
  • 1 sirloin steak, partially frozen
  • 6 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 3 c. chopped cilantro 
  • 1 c. Thai or regular basil, chiffonade
  • 2 lbs. bean sprouts
  • 2-3 hot chili peppers (Thai, Anaheim, Jalepeno, Serrano)
  • 2 limes thinly wedged

Note: I cut the recipe in half for my small family and the fish sauce to a 1/4 of the called for amount to avoid an over-salted flavor as the leftovers sit in the refrigerator. 


  1. Bring 8-12 quarts of water to a boil, add beef. Boil 10 minutes then drain, rinse meat and bones. Bring another 8-12 quarters of water to boil with bones and meat, reduce heat to a simmer, skimming surface often. 
  2. Char ginger and onions over high heat on the grill (I used the broiler). Add charred finger and onions, fish sauce and sugar to the pot. Simmer an additional 60 minutes. Remove beef and set aside in refrigerator. Remove oxtail and dispose (I definitely did not do this! Pho is a humble food made to feed working class and poor people originally. Not to mention I come from a southern “waste-not want-not” family. So I used the meat from the steak and oxtail to make the most amazing BBQ sandwiches for a quick dinner). Continue to simmer broth an additional 90 minutes. 
  3. Place anise and cloves in the broth (you can place in a spice bag though I didn’t find it necessary). Simmer broth for another 30 minutes. Drain and discard spices, ginger and onions (I added mine to the BBQ). 
  4. Refrigerate broth overnight.
  5. The next day, skim fat and reheat broth. 
  6. Slice half-frozen steak. 
  7. Prepare noodles according to the package. 
  8. Chop peppers, green onions, bean sprouts, cilantro to be added as desired.
  9. In a large bowl add noodles and pour broth over noodles. 
  10. Add raw steak (only if broth is boiling hot, it will cook in the broth). Otherwise add to broth while it is still simmering and allow it to cook. 

This soup is so good! We loved every bite of it. I hope you do too. 


{February 1, 2017}  

You know that time where life is happening so fast and all of its blog worthy but you can’t seem to keep up with it all? Yea, me too. The last six months have been a blur of blogable events and yet I haven’t really blogged. So I figured maybe if I just list everything that’s been going on then I can organize my thoughts and pump out some posts. So here we go:

  1. Husband and I developed a fertility diet for me after weeks of research based on some great books and blogs. 
  2. We found out we were pregnant after one cycle on the diet. Which was wonderful because we’d been trying for awhile and had received really distressing news from the doctor. I attribute a lot of this to faith in action. I had faith God would make a way, but I didn’t sit on my laurels either. 
  3. We celebrated a milestone birthday for hubby with a trip to Yellowstone National Park. It was amazing and we loved it. 
  4. Then I went about finding the right care provider by of course researching. Who would have know this sadity girl is crunchy when it comes to her baby. I wasn’t impressed with the apathetic or overly medical options I was being offered with traditional medicine so we picked a midwife. What! It’s actually becoming more common but mine is not associated with a hospital so for me that meant I could seek the care I want and not the treatments dictated to me. 
  5. I have had to do a lot of traveling for work and family in the last few months. Which has helped me come up with a pretty stellar travel “must haves” list for the pregnant woman. 
  6. I also switched my fertility diet and exercise routine to a prenatal one. I didn’t follow one particular plan but rather I took practice options from several to create a plan for a real pregnant person. You know one who is has a  below average fitness commitment and likes food (even if it does make her sick right now).
  7. I put together a registry early on based on great advice from my sister and mother, two vets in the game. It’s also gender neutral!
  8. I’ve resisted the new mom stereotype of everything must be new and instead opted for a Sadity Cents type nursery and baby preparation. 
  9. I’m prepping for taxes because organization and life don’t stop with a baby. 
  10. And of course cooking! I will say that’s fewer and far between because standing and smelling for too long just aren’t working right now. 
  11. As a bonus I figured out the man I married is awesome! And really is the best daddy-to-be. He’s consistently take on a number of chores and pampering techniques to make this a wonderful pregnancy. 

Follow the links, which I will add as I write the relevant posts. Said posts will be written in between naps, so please be patient. 🙂


Here’s a great recipe for the barbecues this weekend! Everyone need coleslaw at the Labor Day party, so why not try traditional dish with a twist?

Ever have one of those moments when you have too many fruits and vegetables in your refrigerator? Since we’ve been at the new duty station I’ve been to farmer’s markets and local stores and of course the commissary. I seem to walk out with more produce every time and we haven’t consumed the vegetation at home. I think I’m in shock. No longer am I seeing $13-18 watermelon at the commissary like in Korea. No more rotten lettuce or worm eaten tomatoes!
I can’t help myself. Not to mention I just planted a garden with plenty of herbs. So what’s a girl to do?
Make up new recipes of course!

I already mentioned that we’ve been grilling like it’s going out of style. Partly out of necessity, our beloved household shipment has been “misplaced,” and partly because it’s beautiful and we have a new grill table.

The newest recipe is: Mango-Nectarine Coleslaw. It fits perfect for a Labor Day barbecue and is oh so yummy! This a great dish to pair with BBQ chicken.


Mango- Nectarine Coleslaw


  • 1 head, large (about 5-1/2″ dia), Cabbage, red, raw
  • 9 mini peppers, Bell Peppers (for color) or 1 medium Bell Pepper
  • 3 medium (2-1/2″ dia), Nectarines, raw
  • 2 medium, Mangoes, raw
  • 1 tbsp(s), Mint, fresh
  • 1 tbsp, Basil, fresh
Cut out the core of the cabbage, and cut thinly. Coarsely chop all the other ingredients. Mix well. Chill. Serve.
Servings: 12
1) If you want more of a “coleslaw” texture add vanilla yogurt until you have the right texture.
2) If you want to it to remain a low-calorie side dish add 1/2 cup of strawberry vinaigrette.
3) This has no baring on the recipe, but I am proud to say that the basil, bell peppers, and mint came from my garden!!!
Nutrition Facts
Servings 12.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 100
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 1 g 1 %
Saturated Fat 0 g 1 %
Monounsaturated Fat 0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg 0 %
Sodium 25 mg 1 %
Potassium 466 mg 13 %
Total Carbohydrate 24 g 8 %
Dietary Fiber 4 g 16 %
Sugars 18 g
Protein 3 g 5 %
Vitamin A 51 %
Vitamin C 204 %
Calcium 6 %
Iron 6 %
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

Its been a busy week. We’ve had a shipment from our household goods come in, so I spent most of this week unpacking. Hubby has been hard at work and school and then he comes home and unpacks some more! I love him 😍. So its nice to take a moment to just relax on our porch and enjoy a date night in.

We just bought a new patio set and want to enjoy as many evenings outside as possible. Luckily the weather has been very cooperative.

What’s on the menu tonight? Well, Sam’s club had a great deal on Wild-caught Alaskan Sockeye salmon. I couldn’t resist, look at how beautiful these fillets are! I’m also trying my hand at a new recipe: Grilled Artichoke. I was inspired by a Grilled Artichoke and Parmesan recipe. Instead, I tried goat cheese as a pairing instead of Parmesan. Because artichoke produces so little fruit for all of your efforts, I’m also adding our standard grilled veggies and some quinoa and brown rice by Seeds of Change (seriously love this stuff).

The verdict for tonight’s dinner was delicious! I loved the artichoke     I will say it probably won’t be in constant rotation because it takes so much time, with so little reward. But we thoroughly enjoyed our treat. 


When you’ve been grilling as much as hubby and I these past few weeks, you’re bound to have a couple mishaps a.k.a burnt chicken. So what’s a girl to do? Well when life gives you burnt chicken, make chicken salad! Yep. Its time to put a new spin on my famous (among friends and family) chicken salad. I guess you could call this version Cajun Chicken salad. I added more savory flavors than sweet. This time I included some crushed red peppers and eliminated the pecans and fruit, except for the apples. I made tomato bowls to serve the chicken salad in by scooping out the middle of ripe tomatoes. Then I added additional salad onto the plate and topped it with some spicy guacamole. It was a great summer meal as always and wonderful way to avoid waste.



Date night is back after much traveling! I’m so glad we are getting back into a routine. Last Friday hubby text me and told me to be ready by 6 pm to go out on a date. I was pleasantly surprised. This is NOT something my husband does. Yes we go on dates but planned and orchestrated entirely by my husband, never. We went to a cute wine shop in town that was so sophisticated and cultured that for a moment I forgot where I was… For a moment. The place is small and gets crowded easily so they had to make a table in the wine room for us. It was actually very romantic, it was like we had a private room. The food was superb. To our surprise the chef is a military spouse and trained in European cuisine. The staff is very friendly and you can tell the my take pride in their restaurant. We had a wonderful time. I will say that it is a little pricey, but considering that there are very few places with that kind of attention to detail and excellence in their cuisine its a nice place to treat yourself.  Here are our dishes:


{July 29, 2016}   Food for Thought: Grilling

We ran into a snafu with our move. The email that said our home goods had arrived was wrong, they weren’t even in country yet and the storage goods that we left in the states are lost somewhere between the mountain states and the east coast. Yikes! So what do you do with no dishes, pots or pans? Well normally I’d say go to the Airman Attic but since ours is sorely under supplied; hit the garage sales. We picked up a couch, some plates, some pans but most importantly a grill.

Grilling is the all-in-one cooking method that relieves the need for a large amount of utensils or culinary supplies. Here are some of our meals we’ve created. None of them were cooked on a stove.


Lamb Burgers with Grilled Asparagus


Grilled Chicken with Healthy Coleslaw


Can you tell we like asparagus?


Grilled Salmon, Corn on the Cob, Grilled Yam, Brown Rice with Quinoa, and a side salad.


Steaks with Roasted Vegetables, Corn, Yams, and a Summer Salad


et cetera