A Garden Update & My Non Big Fat Greek Platter

Hello Healthy Friends!  Long time no chat!  Or, should I say…long time no post?!  I’ve been super crazy busy with cakes and kids and carnivals and costumes…all fun and fabulous stuff! :)

We had a super fun Halloween with Rapunzel and our mini firefighter. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday too! :)

I love this time of year…Halloween, the holidays are right around the corner, and it’s fall garden season! Veggies and greens are cropping up out back and we are anxiously waiting for them to start producing some yummy organic grub! :)

In the meantime, we’ve been thinning out our plants…pulling up some of the seedlings to make space and give the others more room to grow. My favorite thing about doing this is that we get to eat all of the little greens…mini arugula, kale, mustard greens, turnip greens, and beet greens. They are SO YUMMY sprinkled in salads…or just drizzled with a little balsamic vinegar and seasoned with freshly ground black pepper…and they are SO good for you!

On the other hand, one thing in our gardening world that is not making me happy ~ Rat Hunt 2011! We’ve got a rat outside…I’ve officially seen him out there…and he’s eating all of our plants. :(  We read that you can sprinkle cayenne pepper in the garden and they don’t like the smell or taste so they’ll leave things alone. Well, our rat is apparently Cajun and likes his greens seasoned with cayenne because he seems to be eating MORE of them now!! It’s frustrating to say the least! My hubby just finished setting some traps outside…we’ll see how that goes. If any of you gardeners out there have any suggestions for getting rid of rats PLEASE comment…I’d love to hear some ideas!

Okay, moving on to a more positive subject…yummy food!! :)  Because of my current Engine 2 Oil-Free Challenge, I’ve been experimenting with oil-free cooking these past couple of weeks. I’ll get into some of the up’s & down’s in one of next weeks posts…but, in the meantime, I wanted to share one of my favorite oil-free meals that I’ve made so far…a Greek Platter. Given the absence of oil…I like to call it My Non Big Fat Greek Platter. :)  It’s got a few of my absolute favorite things…portobello mushrooms, hummus, and tabbouleh…served with whole wheat pita wedges. :)

Not only is this really delicious…it’s super easy and fast! The hummus (I used Jenny’s homemade hummus recipe) and tabbouleh can both be made a day or even a couple of days ahead of time and the portobellos take just a few minutes to prepare and cook. I would normally roast my portobellos in a high temp oven with a little olive oil…but, that’s a no no right now. So, instead, I simply sliced them, placed them in foil, sprinkled them with a little onion powder and a little garlic powder, and squeezed the juice of one lemon over them. I then sealed up the foil and baked them at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes. They basically steamed inside the foil and when I pulled them out they were so moist and so good! No oil needed. I would also normally use olive oil in my tabbouleh…but, this time, I made an oil-free version. Once I tasted it I wondered why I had ever added oil to my tabbouleh…it’s so wonderful without it! :)   The only thing that would have made this dinner better is a bed of steamed spinach served under the mushrooms…but, we were out at the time. I’ll definitely be adding some spinach the next time I make this…which will probably be SOON! :)

Traditional Tabbouleh (oil-free version)
5.0 from 1 reviews
Recipe type: side, snack, appetiser
Author: Melissa
Prep time: 10 mins
Total time: 10 mins
Serves: 6
Tabbouleh is a traditional middle eastern dish made with bulgur and seasoned with lots of fragrant fresh parsley, lemon, and mint. Paired with vine ripe tomatoes, cucumbers, and green onions…it makes for a wonderfully fresh and light side dish or appetizer. It’s delicious served with toasted pita wedges or hearty crackers.
  • 1 cup bulgur
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped green onion
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 – 3 tomatoes (chopped)
  • 1 cucumber (peeled, seeded, and chopped)
  • 3 tblsp fresh mint (finely chopped)
  • sea salt and fresh ground pepper – to taste (I’m generous with the sea salt)
  1. Place the bulgur in a large bowl, pour in the boiling water, and add 1 1/2 teaspoons salt.
  2. Stir, then allow to stand at room temperature for about 1 hour.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and toss to combine
  4. Add salt & pepper to taste
  5. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving (it’s even more flavorful once it’s allowed to sit overnight)


Have a WONDERFUL day and be sure to check back with us this weekend…I’ll be announcing our next giveaway and it’s an awesome one! :)

Health & Hugs ~ Melissa


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About Melissa

I've been blessed with an amazing husband, Tyler and two amazing children, Mia who is 5yrs old and Luke who is 3yrs old. Our entire family has a passion for food. We see food as a means of nutrition, something wonderful to enjoy and indulge in, and meals...if we are doing them right...serve as a fun social experience too! Food definitely brings this family together!
Our family, as a whole, eats a mostly vegetarian diet...although we do consume meat and fish, on occasion. So, I'm always looking for and trying out new vegetarian and vegan recipes that hopefully all of us will enjoy.
Besides food, we are passionate about gardening. We have an organic veggie garden in our backyard that provides a good portion of the veggies that we consume. The kids love to jump in and get their hands dirty and it's crazy how much they already know about gardening! It makes my husband and me so happy to think that they will (hopefully) carry this experience and lifestyle into their futures.
I'm also passionate about learning new ways to lead a healthy lifestyle and provide one for my family...and, I love sharing these ideas with anyone who is interested in hearing about them! So, as I discover recipes and other healthy happy things I will share them...and when you discover some yourself...I'd love for you to share them with me! :)


  1. Kim says:

    Oh no!! Your Cajun rat sound like a real booger! :) That big nonfat Greek plate looks sooo good! I just might have to make that this weekend! xoxo

  2. Jenny says:

    That looks delish and I love your mushroom preparation! Way to be creative :)
    darn rats ! I need to thin some of my veggies out also…how do you know how much to take out ? I know i have WAY to many beets growing. I had lettuce from the garden the other day…tastes SO amazing…nothing like store-bought !

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