Nanna’s Italian Salad Dressing Mix

Well, I really need to buy a better camera (someday). My apologies for not offering any pictures with this blog post but I think we all know what Italian Salad Dressing looks like. In a previous blog post titled Magnificent Gluten Free Spaghetti Dinner – Magnifica Cena Spaghetti Senza Glutine I promised to post my homemade recipe for My Italian Salad Dressing Mix. We all know that an Italian dinner is never complete without garlic bread and a tasty salad. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!!!!


Nanna’s Italian Salad Dressing Mix

I use organic ingredients as I grow and dehydrate most of them myself, however if being organic is not of high importance to you regular off the shelf ingredients will do..  Keep this dry mix in an air tight container. Use to make Italian salad dressing as needed.



Dry Mix


2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon sea salt

2 tablespoons oregano

2 tablespoons dried red bell pepper flakes (ground fine)

1 tablespoon dried Italian flat leaf parsley

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 tablespoon Stevia or sugar

2 teaspoons garlic powder

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon dried sweet basil

1/4 dried thyme

1/4 celery salt


Italian Salad Dressing

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/3 cup cold pressed extra virgin olive oil

1/3 cup grapeseed oil

2 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons Nanna’s Italian Salad Dressing Mix


Combine Italian Salad Dressing ingredients in a pint jar with a lid or a salad dressing cruet and shake vigorously. Store in the fridge. Shake well before using!!!


Enjoy! Here is one of my favorite quotes to start your day!!


“Peace is not the absence of turmoil but the presence of God”



A Vegan Lifestyle

Tyler Yelle
Tyler Yelle

Hello! This is Tyler Yelle, Donna’s grandson and a new guest writer on her blog. About 6 weeks ago my girlfriend and I decided to switch to a vegan lifestyle. That’s right, vegan, no animal products at all. We made this decision for a number of reasons, with the number one being our health, as there is much evidence suggesting that a vegan lifestyle, if done correctly, is the healthiest thing you can do for your diet. My role on this blog is not to tell everyone that they need to be like me and switch to a vegan lifestyle, nor am I here to disrespect the diet of anyone who does eat meat or animal products. Everyone has their own dietary choices and I am here to present another choice for people to consider.

So what can I say after being vegan for 6 weeks? It wasn’t that hard to make the switch. I was never someone that ate a large amount of meat. I would have the occasional cheeseburger or taco, but really I was never that keen on meat. When we made the switch, it started with a trip to the grocery store where we got an excessive amount of fruits, vegetables, and some pastas and bread. No eggs, no milk, no butter. “Where are your staples?!” you might wonder. When you’re a vegan though, your staples are much different because everything is plant based. We do still usually get vegan cheese and butter from the local co-op but we use it sparingly as it is expensive and we are college kids.

I don’t crave burgers. I don’t crave grilled chicken. For the most part, I don’t feel like i’m missing anything. Vegans don’t eat just salads and fruit, contrary to the stereotype we actually eat really well and really yummy food. The best part is that because our bodies are functioning more effectively off of plants, we can indulge and have extra pasta or chips and salsa, because the carbs and the calories are actually good for you.

If you have a favorite food that has an egg in it or milk in it, substitute those things out for vegan alternatives. Can’t think of any? Literally Google “vegan alternative for eggs”, or “vegan (whatever food you’re trying to eat),” and i’m sure you’ll be surprised that you might even have the things to make this dish. In my experiences the vegan alternatives come out just as good and sometimes even better. My Nanna has an excellent recipe for fudge with avocado as the main ingredient.

So what do I eat? Well I’m writing this on a Sunday where I am working from 8am-noon at my announcing job at Public Radio 90, followed by a 12:30-8:30 shift at my other job. What I mean to say is that I’m pretty busy today. And since it’s hard to get substantial vegan meals where I live, today i’m taking a whole bunch of bananas with me. Bananas are rich with a lot of things that fuel your body and will definitely hold me over until I get home tonight. When I get home I will supply my body with some carbs and maybe a little protein, so that I have what I need to refuel and energize.

During a normal week I will have some breakfasts where I eat just fruits, oatmeal with fruit, cereal with almond milk, or a breakfast smoothie. It depends on how much time I have in the morning and how motivated I am. I’m a procrastinating college student after all. Even so, eating fruit is really good for you and involves zero prep work or cooking. During the day for lunch we usually have a pasta or a vegan grilled cheese or vegan cheese quesadilla. Something good but pretty easy to throw together in the middle of the day. I’m a very big fan of roasted potatoes. For dinners we eat things like quinoa, pasta, a vegan soup, a vegan sandwich, really whatever we have that sounds good. This is a good time to load up on carbohydrates, which help your body regenerate at night and fuel you through the next day. We try to buy gluten free pasta as it tastes just as good and many people suffer from an undiagnosed gluten allergy which can give your cramps, bloating, muscle aches, and just general discomfort. We also try to eat a lot of avocados in whatever we can. They are a super food and nature’s butter so they’re good in just about anything and great for you.

Finally, if you’re still not convinced that this is something you could try every once in a while, there are even ways to have vegan deserts. Oreos are actually vegan too which is really cool! Ice cream can be made from frozen bananas that have gotten pretty ripe. Baking vegan is very easy as well, just use almond milk and an egg substitute and you can have your favorite treats without feeling guilty at all.

Veganism isn’t for everyone. Some people go with the vegetarian option which is quite a bit easier and still great for you, and some people choose to eat vegan for one day a week, which studies show, has a significant beneficial impact on your health. Experiment with it and see if it’s something you can try every so often. Lastly, i’d like to stress the importance of educating yourself on the stuff going into your body. Whether that be food, medicines, drinks, or whatever else. This is the only body you get so take as good of care of it as you can.


P.S. Sorry for the long post, hopefully it’s a good read.



Tyler Yelle

Magnificent Gluten Free Spaghetti Dinner – Magnifica Cena Spaghetti Senza Glutine

I love pasta. I love Italian food. Now that my husband is trying to be gluten free and I prefer organic I’m finding that coming up with meals that align with both of our lifestyle choices and taste authentic a bit challenging. After much persistence and perseverance I think I’ve hit on a pretty close approximation of an acceptable Italian dinner. There are times when I have to remember that even Thomas Edison said “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work”.

Gluten Free Spaghetti with Organic Meat Sauce
Gluten Free Spaghetti with Mostly Organic Meat Sauce


Mostly Organic Italian Pasta Sauce with Meat

(This makes a gallon of sauce so I can what is left over in glass jars in a pressure canner but it can be frozen also)

Home Canned Mostly Organic Pasta Sauce with Meat
Home Canned Mostly Organic Pasta Sauce with Meat

In a large stainless steel 6 quart pan put enough Organic Cold Pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil to coat bottom. This amount will vary depending on the fat content of the meat you use.

Brown and crumble in Organic Cold Pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil to brown ground meat

1 pound of organic 99% lean ground beef

¾ pound ground Cudighi or sweet Italian sausage (casing removed)


1 organic yellow bell pepper (seeded and diced)

1 medium organic sweet yellow onion (peeled and diced)

1 – 8 ounce package organic portabella mushrooms (minced or sliced)

½ cup organic sweet red wine (I make my own but you can use Marsala or Port)

3 cloves garlic (peeled and pressed thru a garlic press or finely minced)

½ teaspoon organic red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons organic turbinado sugar

1 tablespoon beef soup base powder or granules

2 tablespoons organic dried Italian flat leaf parsley

2 tablespoons organic dried sweet basil


3 quarts of canned tomatoes in their juice (blended in a blender)

3 – 8 ounce cans of any brand of organic tomato paste.

sea salt to taste


Tinkyada Brown Rice Spaghetti
Tinkyada Brown Rice Spaghetti


Fresh grated Asiago Cheese
Fresh grated Asiago Cheese

Serve with Garlic Bread made from My Gluten Free Bread Recipe and an organic toss salad. Stay tuned for my Italian salad dressing mix recipe coming soon. For those who prefer a creamy dressing try My Ranch Dressing Recipe.


Enjoy! Here is one of my favorite quotes to start your day!!

“Peace is not the absence of turmoil but the presence of God”



Nature’s Nectar – Cherry Wine

After learning about making yeast from Survival Food Series: 3 Ways To Naturally Make Yeast I decided to try it out and see if I could make wine without purchasing wine yeast. I’ve made wine and beer for many years but have always purchased the little packets of yeast. When I let nature take care of this process for me the fermentation process took longer to start (11 days verses 1 day) but the overall flavor was more true to the fruit that I used and it was crisp and clear.

Cherry Wine
Cherry Wine

Nature’s Nectar Cherry Wine



3 Quarts Unprocessed Sour Cherry Juice (room temperature)

(mine was drained from frozen cherries that my daughter-in-law picked and I added enough other fruit juice to make it equal 3 quarts)

2 Quarts non-chlorinated water

2 Pounds raw organic sugar

cherry wine fermenting
cherry wine fermenting

In large sauce pan dissolve sugar in 1 quart of water. Let cool to room temperature. Combine all ingredients in a 1 gallon sterile glass carboy and put airlock in place. Fermentation will start in 1 to 2 weeks. Leave ferment in a cool place out of direct sunlight until bubbling stops. Siphon off the cleared wine into sterile dark wine bottles and insert cork stoppers.



Enjoy!  Here is one of my favorite quote to start your day!!

“Peace is not the absence of turmoil but the presence of God”

Super Food Side Dish

Super Food Side Dish

Super Food Side Dish Over Rice
Super Food Side Dish Over Rice


3 Tablespoons Rosemary Garlic infused cold pressed extra virgin olive oil

(I make this by adding a few sprigs of rosemary and a few cloves of halved garlic to a bottle and fill it with cold pressed extra virgin olive oil. Then cover it and leave it set in a cool dry place for a few weeks)

3 Tablespoons Organic Grape seed oil

2 medium yellow onions (sliced)

8 ounces portabella mushrooms (sliced)

1 large organic green bell pepper (diced)

1 Tablespoon organic minced garlic


Season with

Low sodium organic fermented soy sauce (to taste)

Course ground sea salt (to taste)

Saute Ingredients To Desired Consistancy
Saute Ingredients To Desired Consistancy

Combine ingredients in a large skillet and sauté until it reaches desired consistency.

Serve over jasmine rice or quinoa cooked in vegetable stock.


Enjoy!  Here is one of my favorite quote to start your day!!

“Peace is not the absence of turmoil but the presence of God”