Southside San Antonio Seven Layer Dip

Jack and I attended the same two-room first grade school and later graduated from McCollum High on the Southside of San Antonio.

Today, we live in the beautiful Texas Hill Country but are fortunate having wonderful memories of good people, fun neighborhoods and great food.

Here is our favorite Seven Layer Dip inspired by living there during those younger years.

Seven Layer Taco Dip


  • 1 (1 ounce) package taco seasoning mix
  • 1 (16 ounce) can refried beans
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (16 ounce) container sour cream
  • 1 (16 ounce) jar salsa
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 bunch chopped green onions
  • 1 small head iceberg lettuce, shredded
  • 1 (6 ounce) can sliced black olives, drained
  • 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese


1. In a medium bowl, blend the taco seasoning mix and refried beans. Spread the mixture onto a large serving platter.

2. Mix the sour cream and cream cheese in a medium bowl. Spread over the refried beans.

3. Top the layers with salsa. Place a layer of tomato, green bell pepper, green onions and lettuce over the salsa, and top with Cheddar cheese. Garnish with black olives.

Nutrition Facts

Per Serving: 66 calories; protein 2.3g; carbohydrates 3.5g; fat 4.9g; cholesterol 12.8mg; sodium 178.1mg.


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From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.

Top 5 Plant-Based Sources of Protein

Eating enough protein is vital to staying healthy and independent in the long run. But there’s new evidence that piling protein-packed plants onto your plate can come with extra health benefits, too.

A study in JAMA Internal Medicine found that replacing just 3 percent of calories from animal protein (think red meat or eggs) with a plant protein (like nuts or beans) lowered the people’s risk of early death by 10 percent. Other research has found that plant-based diets can protect you against heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.

Plants also deliver nutrients such as fiber and phytonutrients that you won’t get from animal proteins. These can help stave off disease and keep gut health on point. Plus, plant-based proteins tend to be low in saturated fat, which is good for heart health.

Even if you don’t want to go completely vegetarian or vegan, plant-based proteins deserve to be a bigger part of your diet. And these picks can give you the most protein bang for your buck — and can be easily worked into the meals you’re already making.

Plant-Protein Powerhouse #1: Split Peas

These humble legumes are far from a one-hit wonder. Sure, they pack 8 grams of protein per half cup. But they also give you about 8 grams of dietary fiber in that serving, too.

Fiber helps reduce cholesterol and improves blood sugar management, which can impact heart and metabolic health. Men and women over the age of 50 should aim to consume 30 and 21 grams of fiber daily, respectively.

Another nutritional highlight of green and yellow split peas is lofty amounts of folate, This is vital for our DNA synthesis and metabolism.

In the Kitchen: Since the peas are split, they cook faster. (Plus, it eliminates the need for a pre-soak that’s needed to cook dried beans.) To get started, simmer one cup of split peas in two cups of water for about 25 minutes. Split peas can also be cooked in a slow cooker. Besides split pea soup and aromatic Indian dal dishes, use the peas to:

  • Make dips like hummus
  • Provide bulk to casseroles and veggie burgers
  • Add protein to vegetable salads

Plant-Protein Powerhouse #2: Tempeh

While tofu is made from soymilk, tempeh is made from fermented soybeans. This gives it about double the protein (about 16 grams per half cup) and more flavor. Tempeh has a mild, nutty, tangy taste, and a firm, ‘meaty’ texture that holds up well as a meat alternative.

Tempeh is also rich in other nutrients (B vitamins, iron, and fiber, to name a few). Plus, since it’s fermented, it tends to be easier to digest than beans. Translation: less gas.

In the Kitchen: Tempeh soaks up flavors from sauces and spices very well. So, try marinating plain tempeh patties just as you would steak or chicken. Then you can grill, bake, or pan-fry to cook. Add your tempeh to salads, sandwiches and tacos. Or you can make ground tempeh using the large holes of a box grater and create meat-free versions of these dishes:

  • Chilis
  • Meatballs
  • Burgers
  • Kebabs
  • Bolognese sauce

Plant-Protein Powerhouse #3: Peanut Butter

Peanuts are legumes just like split peas and beans. This means they boast a little more protein than other nut butters made with tree nuts (like almonds). In fact, they have about 7 grams of protein per 2-tablespoon serving.

Peanut butter is also a perfect mix of protein and healthy fats, which helps you stay fuller longer. Combined, these two nutrients can help you avoid spikes in blood sugar after a meal. This helps reduce your risk of diabetes — and the sugar crash that can bring on hunger pangs.

To get the most benefit, select a peanut butter that doesn’t include any added sugar or added fats, such as palm oil.

In the Kitchen: Peanut butter is a perfect grab-and-go protein source. Put some on toast with sliced bananas for a quick snack, use it as a dip for apple slices, or add a dollop to your morning yogurt. It also makes a great add-on to smoothies, oatmeal, and creamy sauces for stir-frys.

Plant-Protein Powerhouse #4: Hemp Seeds

Tiny but mighty, hemp seeds have nearly 10 grams of protein in a 3-tablespoon serving. They also contain all nine essential amino acids that your body can only get from food (a key part of keeping muscle mass as we age). And they’re a good source of the healthy fats called omega-3 fat alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).

ALA has been linked to lowering inflammation which can have heart health benefits.

In the Kitchen: Hemp seeds taste like a cross between pint nuts and sunflower seeds. (No— they won’t get you high like a marijuana plant.) For a boost of nutrition and flavor, you can blend hemp seeds into dips and smoothies, or sprinkle them on:

  • Oatmeal
  • Yogurt
  • Salads
  • Soups
  • Roasted vegetables

Plant-Protein Powerhouse #5: Chickpea Pasta

No shade to regular pasta, but noodles made from chickpeas and other legumes can give you a notable protein and fiber boost. A 2-ounce serving of chickpea-based pasta supplies about 11 grams of protein and 6 grams of fiber. That’s nearly twice as much protein and three times as much fiber as traditional pasta made from wheat flour.

Boil up a pot of chickpea penne or rotini and you’ll also get more of several vital nutrients such as magnesium, iron, and potassium.

In the Kitchen: These new-generation noodles have definitely improved in flavor and texture over the years. But there are a couple of important things to keep in mind when preparing any legume-based pasta.

  • These pastas can go from perfectly al dente to soggy in a matter of moments. So, taste test often as you near the recommended cooking time.
  • The noodles also foam quite a bit when in boiling water, so skim it off as needed with a spoon.
  • Unlike wheat-based noodles, the legume variety should be rinsed with cold water after draining to remove the starch


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From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.

He-Man Meat and Potatoes Casserole

This He-Man Meat and Potato Casserole is a recipe our family used to keep our friends, cousins and us fired up for sports and well fed. We named it after our first son’s favorite childhood hero to entice him to try it initially. It worked and became a favorite.

Whether it was baseball, volleyball, building snowmen or swimming, we found this to be enjoyed by children and adults.

Preparation is about 20 mins and it cooks about an hour. This recipe yields 6 servings.


  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 3 cups peeled and thinly sliced potatoes
  • 1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • ¾ cup milk
  • salt to taste
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese


Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Step 2: In a medium skillet over medium heat, brown the ground beef; drain fat.

Hamburger Potato Casserole

Step 3: In a medium mixing bowl, combine cream of mushroom soup, onion, milk, salt and pepper to taste.

Step 4: Alternately layer the potatoes, soup mixture and meat in a 11×7 inch (2 quart) baking dish. Bake in the preheated oven for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until potatoes are tender. Top with Cheddar cheese, and continue baking until cheese is melted.

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From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.

5 Time-Saving Ways to Live a Healthy Lifestyle

With busy schedules and never-ending to-do lists, it can seem like living a healthy lifestyle is out of reach. But, prioritizing nutrition doesn’t have to be a chore. Here are five quick tips to help you and your family eat well, even when it feels like time is not on your side.

1. Meal Prep in Advance
Prepping for the week ahead on Sundays can make a huge difference in what you eat throughout the week. Pre-chop veggies, cook grains or grill proteins for the week to have as an arsenal of ingredients that can be quickly combined to create easy lunches and dinners with fresh flavors.

2. Choose Portable Snacks
Keep portable snacks on hand that are easy to throw in a purse, lunch bag or bring to the gym. Nuts and granola are nutritious and easy to pack. Whole fruits like apples and bananas, or portable yogurts and cheese snacks are also great options.

3. Reach For the Freezer
Think eating frozen means you can’t eat well? Think again. Frozen foods are not only convenient; they can provide portion control while also tasting great. At mealtime, grab an entrée like the new Lean Cuisine Chicken Tikka Masala, which has 18 grams of protein, vegetables and no artificial preservatives. Or, if you’re in a pinch for a side dish, grab some frozen vegetables for a quick and delicious dose of vitamins and fiber.

4. Breakfast in Large Batches
Oatmeal is a great make-ahead breakfast because it can be prepared in a big batch in a hurry and then portioned to grab and go throughout the week. If you’re willing to spend a bit more time prepping, large batches of breakfast sandwiches can be made ahead and frozen.

5. Use Online Tools to Organize
Does the stress of figuring out what to make for dinner lead you to order pizza? Use an online platform to organize recipes that interest you so they’re always at your disposal. That way, you’re just a few clicks away from inspiration.

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From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.

James Morgan’s Texas Cattle Drive Wrangler Stew

Great grandfather James Allison Morgan was a real Texas Wrangler in the late 1880s and early 1900s. He taught his son-in-law (my maternal grandfather, a chef/cook in the Navy Seabees and later in Abilene), Bassett Arthur, how to make Texas Wrangler Stew.

Just about every bite features generous chunks of earthy, wholesome potatoes and onions, juicy seared beef, and tender vegetables. Savory, rich, and meaty with a few notes of sweetness and dark beer, this stew fends off the chilliest of days with good old-fashioned flavors.

Here’s the basic recipe, modernized a bit, for this hearty meal.

Time: 3 hours 25 minutes

Yield: 8 servings

recipe image


• 3 pounds beef chuck roast, boneless, trimmed, and cut into 1 1/2-inch thick pieces

• salt and pepper, to taste

• 4 tablespoons olive oil, plus more if desired

• 2 medium-sized yellow onions, chopped

• 1 tablespoon garlic, minced

• 3 large carrots, peeled and chopped into thick slices

• 2 celery stalks, chopped into thick pieces

• 4 large potatoes, quartered• 1/4 cup plain flour

• 1 1/2 cups dry stout beer, such as Guinness, or dark beer of choice

• 3 tablespoons tomato paste

• 1 tablespoon brown sugar, optional

• 4 cups beef broth or stock

• 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme

• 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped (optional garnish)

• mashed potatoes, for serving


Step 1

Set the oven rack to the lower-middle position and preheat your oven to 325 degrees F.

Step 2

Then, thoroughly season the beef with salt and pepper. You’ll want to be generous as you are only seasoning the surface of the meat.

Step 3

Heat the oil over medium-high heat, in a heavy-based, oven-proof pot (or a dutch oven).

Step 4

Sear the beef in batches of 3 or 4, until browned on both sides. Then, move the beef to a warm plate.

Step 5

Add the garlic and onion to the pan juices, sautéing until transparent and soft. Be careful not to let the garlic burn, as it easily can if sautéd for too long.

Step 6

Add in the celery, carrots, and potatoes, cooking for an additional 2 minutes. Stir the flour into the vegetables and potatoes, evenly coating them. The flour helps to thicken the stew down the line.

Step 7

Stirring occasionally, cook for 2 minutes more. The raw flour smell should disappear. Pour in the dry stout or dark beer, mixing well to dissolve the flour.

Step 8

Then add in the brown sugar (if using), tomato paste, thyme, and broth, scraping up any brown bits at the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon. These brown bits, called fond, help deepen the meaty flavors of soups and stews when incorporated into the broth.

Step 9

Bring the stew to a simmer, cooking until slightly thickened, for about 5 minutes. Return the beef back into the pot along with any juices.

Step 10

Cover the pot partially, then move to the oven and bake for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Remove it from the oven twice during the cooking process to give it a good stir, then return it to the oven still partially covered.

Step 11

After the stew has finished cooking, cautiously remove from the oven, then season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Step 12

Serve with mashed potatoes and garnish with parsley, if desired.

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From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.

More Healthy Classic, Creamy Broccoli Salad

This recipe is delicious, yet guilt-free. Try it with a sandwich for a light lunch.

Broccoli’s nutty, yet sweet, flavor is enhanced by roasting or grilling with a small amount of oil and seasoning. It is a nutrient-dense food full of potassium, protein, fiber, and vitamins C and B-6, making it an excellent choice for plant-based diets or to balance out a grilled meat.

Yield :   4 servings


  • 2 cups broccoli florets cut into bite sized pieces
  • ¼ cup diced red onion
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • ¼ cup walnuts


  • ¼ cup yogurt
  • 1 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp honey


  • Combine broccoli, onion, raisins, and walnuts in a bowl. Stir dressing ingredients together until smooth; pour over salad and toss.
  • Refrigerate until ready to serve. This salad keeps well in the fridge for a few days.
Healthy Broccoli Salad
Healthy Broccoli Salad!

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From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey

A Favorite and Delicious Cool Weather Salad

This simple, tasty fall salad recipe can be whipped up in 20 minutes or less. It can be served by itself for a light lunch, or topped with grilled fish, roasted chicken, or grilled tofu for a more substantial meal.

White Bean and Arugula Salad: This quick and easy salad recipe is packed with protein and nutrients. Tossed in a zippy mustard dressing, it comes together in no time with the aid of canned beans. If you’re meal planning for the week ahead, the bean mixture can be made in advance and kept refrigerated for a few days.

Here’s how to make this quick and easy fall salad.

White Bean and Arugula Salad

Yield: 2-4 servings
Total cooking time: 15 minutes


  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon brown mustard
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 15-ounce can white cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup pitted green olives, torn in half
  • 2 cups garlic croutons, homemade or store-bought
  • 2 cups packed arugula leaves
  • Shaved Parmesan


In a medium bowl, whisk together lemon juice and zest, olive oil, brown mustard, sugar, and salt. Add beans, shallot, and olives, tossing to combine. Arrange arugula leaves on individual plates or a serving platter. Sprinkle with croutons. Spoon bean mixture over arugula; top with shaved Parmesan. Serve immediately.


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From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.

Apple Fritter Pull-Apart Bread

by Dodie Dennis

We are currently in the middle of our 2021 autumn roadtrip out west to visit our new grandson, Carter.

A few days ago, we spent an afternoon at the Southwest Arizona-Sonoran Desert Museum in Tucson. The next day we visited the Casa Grande National Monument south of Phoenix in Coolidge. Last night we attended a John Fogerty concert at Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Along the way, I found a recipe for apple fritter pull-apart bread that is made with delicious and delicate a sweet yeast dough and sugary, buttery diced apples that are caramelized.

The dough is rolled out, topped with the diced apples and then sliced in squares, stacked in groups of four, and just stuffed into the pan. This recipe is just downright fun. The pan went into the oven, and an hour later, sitting before me were apple-laced slabs of heaven ready to be pulled apart and devoured! You can make this with the homemade dough recipe below or you can make it with refrigerated croissant dough. Just promise me you’ll make it!


• 3 containers refrigerated croissant dough, rolled out into one solid rectangle or homemade dough below

For the dough

• 3 cups flour

• 1 package yeast

• 1/2 teaspoon salt

• 1 cup brown sugar

• 1/4 cup water

• 1 egg, beaten

• 3/4 cup milk

• 1/4 cup butter (I used Kerrygold Triple


For the filling

• 6 large crisp apples, peeled and diced

• 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice

• 1 cup brown sugar

• 1 teaspoon vanilla

• 2 tablespoons butter

• 1 teaspoon cinnamon

• 1 tablespoon cornstarch

For the glaze

• 1 cup powdered sugar

• 3 to 4 teaspoons milk, half and half, or water


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9-by-5-inch bread pan.

In a skillet, cook apples, lemon juice, brown sugar, vanilla, butter, cinnamon and cornstarch until mixture is thickened. Set aside to cool.

Heat the milk in a small saucepan until it bubbles; remove from heat. Add the butter and stir until melted; set aside.

Put flour, yeast, brown sugar and salt in a bowl, mix well.

Add the water, egg and milk/butter mixture.

Mix until dough forms into a ball, kneading for about 5 minutes.

On a floured surface, roll dough into a rectangle.

Evenly spread apple mixture over dough.

Cut dough into even 3-inch squares.

Stack four squares onto each other with spatula. Stack them side by side in pan until piles are used up. Bake 50 minutes. If top gets too brown, place foil over top and continue to bake. In a bowl, mix together powdered sugar and milk, cream or water until smooth.

Remove bread from oven and pour on glaze. Pull apart and enjoy!


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From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.

Zinc is Vital for a Healthy Immune System

We take it specifically to fight off Coronavirus.

by Dodie Dennis, Retired RN

Zinc, with tonic water, in our household is the #1 supplement we use to defend ourselves against Coronavirus.

It is an anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and is well known for its role in a healthy immune system.  Zinc is a component in over 200 enzymes.  It works within the cells to block viral replication.  Zinc can be a very strong antiviral, but it works best if you have it built up in your system.

Zinc plays a role in :

  • Immune support (zinc decreases the occurrence of infection in the elderly)
  • Wound-healing
  • Zinc is necessary for eggs to develop into healthy embryos
  • Healthy prostate gland
  • Increased sperm production
  • Cellular growth and repair
  • Creation of collagen
  • Bone strength
  • Cognitive function
  • Digesting food and breaking down carbohydrates
  • Producing insulin and using glucose.

Zinc Deficiency     

Although severe zinc deficiency is very rare in developed countries, it is believed that many individuals in the United States have a marginal zinc deficiency, especially in the elderly population. Severe deficiency in zinc is known to cause a host of health problems

  • Severe immune dysfunctions
  • Growth retardation in infants and children
  • Stunted brain development if insufficient zinc is taken during pregnancy
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Delayed sexual development in adolescents
  • Impotence in men
  • Prostate enlargement 

Zinc deficiency may also cause other symptoms such as:

  • Appetite loss
  • Decreased ability to taste food
  • Diarrhea
  • Eye and skin sores
  • Hair loss
  • Weight loss
  • Problems with wound healing
  • Lowered alertness

Conditions Predisposed to Zinc Deficiency

These conditions cause decreased intake of zinc:

  • Acute infections/inflammation
  • Alcoholic cirrhosis
  • Alcoholism
  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Burns
  • Post-trauma
  • Protein deficiency
  • Vegetarian diet
  • Starvation.

These conditions cause decreased absorption of zinc:

  • Alcoholism
  • Celiac disease
  • Chronic blood loss
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Diarrhea
  • High fiber diet
  • High dietary calcium:zinc ratio
  • High dietary iron:zinc ratio
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Intestinal Resection
  • Liver disease
  • Pancreatic insufficienc.

These conditions cause increased requirement of zinc:

  • Old age
  • Pregnancy and lactation
  • Oral contraceptive use
  • Growth spurts and puberty
From Natural News

Zinc Benefits Many Conditions

Zinc has been used to treat many health conditions, such as:

  • Prevention of blindness in patients with age-related macular degeneration
  • Treatment of common cold
  • Improved immune system and wound healing
  • Acne
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Diabetes
  • Male sexual function
  • Pregnancy
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

Top Sources of Zinc

The human body can’t store zinc, so you need to consume these zinc-rich foods daily to meet your daily requirements.

Here are the top 15 foods that contain zinc:

  1. Oysters – 16.6 mg of zinc per 100 g
  2. Hemp seeds – 9.9 mg of zinc per 100 g
  3. Sesame seeds – 7.8 mg of zinc per 100 g
  4. Pumpkin seeds – 7.64 mg of zinc per 100 g
  5. Cocoa powder – 6.81 mg of zinc per 100 g
  6. Beef – 6.31 mg of zinc per 100 g
  7. Cashews – 5.78 mg of zinc per 100 g
  8. Flax seeds – 4.34 mg of zinc per 100
  9. Oatmeal – 4 mg of zinc per 100 g
  10. Dark chocolate – 3.31 mg of zinc per 100 g
  11. Peanuts – 3.3 mg of zinc per 100 g
  12. Almonds – 3.12 mg of zinc per 100 g
  13. Kidney beans – 2.6 mg of zinc per 100 g
  14. Chickpeas – 1.53 mg of zinc per 100 g
  15. Garlic – 1.16 mg of zinc per 100 g (8)

There are many forms of zinc to choose from. While many clinical studies have utilized zinc sulfate, this form is not as well absorbed as other forms:   Zinc picolinate, acetate, citrate, bisglycinate, oxide, or monomethionine are all excellent forms of zinc.

There is data to support each of these forms as being very well-absorbed and able to produce benefits.  Most zinc lozenges are made with zinc gluconate, which appears to be an effective form for this application.

The US RDA for zinc is 11 mg for men and 8 mg for women per day.  When zinc supplementation is being used to address specific health concerns, the dosage range is 30 to 45 mg for men; 20 to 30 mg for women. 

Zinc has been used therapeutically at a dose of 150 mg/day for months and in some cases for years. However, zinc can prevent iron absorption, leading to iron deficiency and possible peripheral neuropathy, with loss of sensation in extremities.  So zinc and iron should be taken at different times of the day.

Believe me when I say I’ve done the research–years of it. Vitamins, supplements and healthy foods are a passion for me. We are confident in recommending Green Pasture as our primary source for natural products.


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From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.

Avocado Tips: Herd It Through the Grapevine

Avocados have a high good fat content and a low carbohydrate content.  

They’re completely healthy to  consume on keto and other low-carbohydrate diets.

They can be iced to ensure there is plenty on hand.

It just has one flaw. The avocado browns really. quickly! It varies from the apple,  which can sit in a corner without changing color.

After purchasing an avocado, place it in the refrigerator for 24-48 hours to allow it to brown. The culprit is, of course, oxygen.

When the avocado is exposed to sunlight, it quickly begins to oxidize.  Its skin is made up of oleic acid and linoleic acid, and it has a low carbohydrate content.

You should select these fruits before you eat them.

We will find phenolic compounds within the substance, and as they come into contact with oxygen, the rotting process begins. The precise method is in charge of adjusting the hue of the apples. As a result, you can buy the avocado whole so that you have some time before the discoloration begins.

Another method for slowing the  undesirable process is to use lemon  juice in the avocado or guacamole.

Before you freeze this fruit, you  should be aware of a few tips and tricks. Let us not forget that if we cut the fruit in half, the other half should be wrapped to delay the discoloration.

What is the best way to freeze avocados?

Step one Determine whether you want to freeze it whole or in bits. You can freeze six halves or three whole avocados in one storage baggie.

To begin, peel off the skin and remove the pit from the fruit.

Step two Lemon juice should be used to avoid browning. 

Step three If you’re going to freeze half of them, place them on a plate to flash freeze.


Since the avocado is quite mushy, it can not be processed into a food sealer if it is to remain whole. After an hour, remove the avocados and put them in a storage container.

Ensure that all oxygen has been removed so that oxidation does not occur.

 This fruit can be stored in the freezer for up to two years.

You must do the flash freeze cycle if you wish to freeze them in cubes. 

The cubes can be used to make guacamole. 

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New book by award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey out August 1, 2021.


Top Super Foods for Superior Health

Herd It Through the Grapevine



Top of the list is the highly nutritious fruit loaded with monounsaturated fat that improves healthy blood flow throughout your body and enhances your brain health. The monounsaturated fats in the fruit can help fight off inflammation in the body and reduces your risk of several chronic health conditions associated with inflammation.

Apart from healthy fats, avocados are loaded with minerals, vitamins, and fiber that plays an integral part in maintaining your overall health and well-being.

Leafy Greens

Next on the list are dark green leafy vegetables, including spinach, kale, collard greens, and swiss chard. Dark green leafy vegetables are a great source of nutrients, including calcium, zinc, folate, magnesium, and iron. They are also loaded with vitamin C and fiber that play a significant role in maintaining your immunity and digestive health.

Another reason leafy greens make it to the list of superfoods is that they can reduce your risk of developing chronic health conditions, including type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. They are also rich in anti-inflammatory compounds, carotenoids, which help protect against certain types of cancer.

If you don’t enjoy the distinct taste of leafy greens, you can get creative and find out ways to make some interesting soups, salads, and curries using leafy green vegetables.


As we share a list of nutritionally rich superfoods, how can we not include berries?

It doesn’t matter whether it’s raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, or cranberries, berries of all types are a nutritional powerhouse. They are packed with antioxidants, fiber, and compounds that can keep your mind and body strong and healthy.

The powerful antioxidants can play a significant role in maintaining your cardiac health and fight against other inflammatory conditions such as arthritis and even cancer. Moreover, regular use of berries can help improve memory and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Whether you want to enjoy them as your favorite smoothie or as part of your breakfast, make sure you add this superfood to your diet every day and live a healthier life.

Green Tea

While it’s a lightly caffeinated beverage, green tea makes it to the superfood list because of its health benefits and medical properties. Green tea is loaded with antioxidants and plant compounds which have strong anti-inflammatory effects. It is due to the antioxidants that green tea can protect against several chronic health conditions, including diabetes, heart diseases, and even cancer.

Research also indicates that the combination of antioxidants and caffeine in green tea makes it an effective drink that can help you lose weight/maintain a healthy weight.

Fatty Fish

Fatty fish such as sardines and salmon are incredibly nutritious and hence a superfood you should add to your diet. Fatty fish are packed with healthy fats, protein, potassium, vitamin B, and selenium. They are also a great source of omega-3 fatty acids that provide a wide range of health benefits and also help reduce inflammation which is a leading cause of several chronic health conditions.

Moreover, by including fatty fish in your diet, you can also maintain a healthy heart and a healthy weight.

However, try to limit fatty fish consumption to two to three servings a week, as too much of it can have a few potential drawbacks for your health.

Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds are excellent sources of protein, but they offer a lot more. Nuts such as hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds, and pecans are loaded with monounsaturated fats that help you maintain a healthy heart. Moreover, they are loaded with plant compounds that can have an anti-inflammatory effect on your body. While they are loaded with calories, some types of nuts can also help you lose weight if you include them as part of a healthy diet.

Similar to nuts, seeds are also loaded with healthy fats and proteins. Flaxseeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds are nutritional powerhouses that are packed with antioxidants and plant compounds that allow you to stay healthy and happy.


Packed with vitamin C, oranges are a must-addition to your diet. They boost your immunity and fight off inflammation in the body. With a regular dose of oranges in your diet, you can enjoy healthy and radiant skin regardless of your age.

Whole Grains

Whole grains may be last on this list, but that doesn’t affect their significance. An excellent source of fiber, whole grains also contain proteins, minerals, vitamins, and plant compounds that help you lower your cholesterol and protect against cardiovascular diseases and other chronic conditions.

Replace your bread with a bowl of oatmeal for your breakfast that contains more protein and fiber. It will not only keep you full for longer but will also bring in some amazing health benefits. It might come as a surprise that popcorn is a whole grain, so instead of the sugary snacks, try popcorn.

We supplement these super foods with highest quality products from Green Pasture. It’s worthwhile to visit their website to understand why.

Green Pasture Products

Secret Ingredient Fully Loaded Egg Croissant Sandwich

This secret ingredient egg croissant sandwich with fluffy scrambled eggs and rich toppings is the ultimate breakfast and brunch dish you didn’t know you needed!

Calling all croissant and egg lovers, this sandwich is a loaded and flavor-packed sandwich that is perfect for anyone who needs a little extra energy for the day.

It is extremely filling and full of protein; not your typical, quick breakfast, but great to make once in a while. This sandwich includes a variety of fillings, including a bit of a secret ingredient and one of our favorite toppings in the world: caramelized onions.

Although cooking caramelized onions is time-consuming, I usually batch-cooked them so that we have some for later meals.

This breakfast (in our case, brunch) sandwich includes scrambled eggs, caramelized onions, American cheese, bacon, chives, avocado, butter and a bit of one secret ingredient (revealed below).

A cast iron skillet is good for this recipe, but I used my favorite skillet, a Kitchen Kraft 10-inch wide pan to caramelize two of our own home grown onions. The greater the surface area, the better for caramelization.

Egg Croissant Sandwich

Recipe for 2, with total cook time about an hour.

For caramelized onions:

2 large yellow onions, thinly sliced

2 tbsp. unsalted butter

For eggs and sandwiches:

3 large eggs

3 tbsp. milk (any fat %)

2 tsp. unsalted butter

2 large croissants, toasted and sliced in half horizontally

2 slices American or cheddar cheese

2 tbsp. chives, diced, plus more for garnish

1 small avocado, sliced

2 strips cooked bacon

1 to 2 tbsp. of secret ingredient (see below)

Note: Salt and pepper to taste. I never salt food, but bacon brings out enough salty taste.


To caramelize the onions, melt butter into a pan over medium heat. Add onions in three batches, cooking the first batch for 2 min while stirring, and then repeating the process for the second and third batch.

Continue to cook onions for 40-45 min, stirring every few minutes to maintain an even color throughout the onions. Adjust heat as needed. If the bottom of the pan is starting to char, add a bit of water as needed to deglaze the pan. Once cooked, set aside.

To make the eggs, beat the eggs and milk together. Stir in the secret ingredient: Zesty Italian Dressing for a mild, but tasty kick.

In a frying pan over low-medium heat, melt the butter. Add in the egg mixture and slowly stir until egg curdles form. Continue to stir until the eggs are slightly set and wet. Add the chives at the end.

Add the hot eggs onto both halves of the croissants and place the cheese on top so that it melts. Top with avocado, bacon, and caramelized onions. Optional: wrap in sandwich paper and slice to enjoy!

Dodie complemented our meal with a small side of blueberries and banana slices. Yum!

Zesty Italian Dressing is easy to make

BONUS: Homemade Zesty Italian Dressing


  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3-4 TBSP white wine vinegar
  • 1/2-1 TBSP Italian Seasoning Blend (I use HEB’s Hill Country Faire Blend)
  • 1/2 TBSP garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste


  • 1-2 tsp fresh parsley
  • 1 clove garlic (smashed + minced)
  • 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes


  1. Whisk all ingredients together and allow to sit. Giving the dressing some time to mesh and mingle will not only infuse flavor into the oil/vinegar but also soften the dry herbs and seasoning.
  2. This dressing will keep in your fridge for about a week so make extra to drizzle over a week’s worth of salads!

Recipe Notes

Feel free to adjust oil-to-vinegar ration to taste. The above measurements are my favorite in a vinaigrette. 1 parts vinegar to 3 parts oil is a bit more conventional if desired.


A Special Message From Dodie Dennis (Retired RN)

With 40 years experience as a licensed Registered Nurse on a cruise line, a Colorado ski resort, and in Phoenix, AZ, I did everything from Operating Room to Immunology to all levels of Newborn care.

Among my favorite jobs was teaching childbirth and nutrition classes. For the most part, I believe whole foods trump supplements. And eating a nutritious diet loaded with veggies, grass-fed meat, and plenty of good fats is the starting point. You certainly cannot supplement your way out of poor dietary choices. However, even with the best diet, there may be a few gaps that we might want to fill to “supplement” a solid diet.

For example, Omega-3 fatty acids are vitally important to our health. Our Omega-3 to Omega-6 ratio should be 1:1 or 1:2. Sadly, the average person’s is more like 1:20. Not only are we not getting enough Omega-3 from sources like grass-fed meats and fish/seafood, we’re also over consuming Omega 6 (e.g. vegetable oils, excessive nut consumption) – a double whammy.

Personally, Jack and I don’t eat enough fish to get adequate Omega-3 due to concerns about toxins, mercury, etc. That’s why we welcome a new sponsor to “supplement” with Green Pasture Fermented Cod Liver Oil (FCLO).

Welcome Green Pasture Products to CleverJourneys

I use the word “supplement” loosely here, since FCLO is really a whole food. Not only that, but it’s also a traditional food with a long history of use. Quite the opposite of highly processed fish oils.

Green Pasture’s website

Fermented Cod Liver Oil is simply cod livers fermented naturally to extract the oils. The cold-processing method maintains all the fat soluble vitamins. Most fish oils on the market are heat processed. What’s worse is that they’re then bleached and deodorized, and since most of the vitamins have been removed or destroyed, synthetic vitamins are added back in.

FCLO contains more than Omega 3s. It’s also a great source of Vitamin A and Vitamin D, and contains small amounts of Vitamin K2, Vitamin E, and various other quinones.

If you want to try out the amazing benefits of Fermented Cod Liver Oil, or maybe your current supply is running low, we highly recommend Green Pasture.

Green Pasture’s website

They are the only company to supply naturally fermented cod liver oil that we are aware of (and the one recommended most highly by the Weston Price Foundation).

Check out Green Pasture’s website now and tell them CleverJourneys sent you.

In addition to Fermented Cod Liver oil, Green Pasture also sells other products like high vitamin butter oil, coconut oil, and coconut ghee.

Green Pasture’s website

Jack likes Green Pasture because they are an American business that share the same patriotic values we do.

Check them out today! God Bless.