Tampa Bay Collard Greens Festival

The necessity of cooking collard greens on a Saturday night was precipitated by a visit to the Tampa Bay Collard Green Festival. We saw people walking with large green bags and found our way to the Publix stand with stacks of boxes of super fresh greens. We were surprised to be gifted with two large bunches each and a bag to carry them.

It was a beautiful day in St. Petersburg FL and 22nd St. S was an exciting block party filled with food and craft vendors, local farmers and youth organizations. Check out the youth farm at www. Stpeteyouthfarm.org.

We admired the purple cauliflower displayed by the 15th St. Farm, located on a half acre near Tropicana Field. They offer hands-on organic gardening classes. Contact Emmanuel Roux at eroux@UrbanFoodPark.net for upcoming events. I’m looking forward to the completion of their event barn and farm-to-table dinners.

Last but not least, we met a representative of the Woodson African American Museum who invited us to attend the Woodson Warrior Scholarships Gala on March 27 at the St. Petersburg Coliseum. The special guest speaker will be Nikole Hannah-Jones, Pulitzer Prize winning creator of the 1619 project and a staff writer at the New York Times magazine. Learn more about how to donate to African-American scholars at Woodsonscholarships.com

One of the 2021 scholars Charnecia Cummings

P.S. We were happy to see the League of Women Voters registering new voters. For more information, go to lwvfl.org

How to cook collard greens Brazilian style

Brazilian style collard greens

I didn’t care much for collard greens until my friend Marilia showed me how she cooks them. First you must wash them thoroughly and dry each leaf. Then you cut out the stem to about halfway up the leaf.

Remove stem from collard leaves

Stack the leaves and roll from the bottom into a tight bundle. Slice into ribbons.

To sauté, you’ll need a large deep skillet. Place over high heat and when the pan is hot, drizzle in about 2 tablespoons of good olive oil. Crush a clove of garlic and put into hot oil. Immediately add the sliced collards and stir to distribute the garlic and oil. You can add a little salt when the collards have wilted. They should be tender but still green.

This method of cooking will preserve the immune boosting vitamins A and C. Vitamin A is especially important for healthy T cells, a part of your immune system that attacks invading bacteria and viruses.

For more nutrition information, see my wellness website: https://pws.shaklee.com/deidre-lines/

Shaklee Protein Shake Chocolate cake

Healthy chocolate cake

Found an excellent way to make a sugar free, dairy free, gluten free chocolate cake. We had extra chocolate shake after our demo at the Unity of Gulfport Expo.

At the Gulfport Casino Expo

Since I am an experimenter, I decided to try my hand at making a cake, using the shake as the liquid. And after a second try- Success.

The recipe:

  • 2 cups of Bob’s Mill 1 to 1 Baking Flour
  • 2 cups alternative sugar ( I used Monk fruit combined with coconut palm)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cacao powder
  • 3 teaspoons espresso coffee powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups Shaklee chocolate shake (4 scoops chocolate protein powder and 16 ounces almond milk or coconut milk)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (avocado )
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract ( I also added a dash of maple syrup – don’t ask why – Just sounded good


  • Preheat oven to 350F. Use a butter/oiled bunt pan or two mine inch cake pans
  • Mix all dry ingredients, combining well.
  • Then added your liquids combing (whisking) well.
  • Place batter in cake pans. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. Don’t overcook. Cake will be moist.
Click link below to purchase delicious plant based meal shake:


Triumph over cravings

Today we attended another inspiring workshop led by Rev. Linda McLeod at Unity Temple of Truth. After a discussion to determine our true values and purpose, we created vision boards to reflect those aspirations.

A little dessert to celebrate our vision boards
Vision Board workshop at Unity Temple of Truth

We considered stopping for pizza afterwards, but decided we had lots of fresh vegetables that deserved our attention. It would be criminal to waste such lovely Swiss chard. I put a tray of cauliflower, onions, peppers and sweet potatoes in to roast while Nancy prepared the chard, mushrooms, and green beans with fresh tarragon.

Roll your chard and chiffonade for a quick saute

Did you know that tarragon has a number of medicinal benefits in addition to it’s culinary uses? Two examples are it helps to keep bacteria in check and it can reduce blood sugar and inflammation.

Fresh tarragon adds flavor and improves digestion
7 vegetable supper with garlic and tarragon

64 Days of Non-violence

Unity Temple of Truth, 511 Prescott St. S,
St. Petersburg FL 33712

Each week, we end our service at the Unity Temple of Truth with the Peace Song. You know the one that starts with “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.” How much of those lyrics are we carrying into the world in our daily lives.? If this is a challenge for you or you just want to reinforce this concept in your life, read on.

The Reverend Linda McLeod is kicking off The Season of Non-Violence, a program that was launched at the United Nations in 1998. It starts today, January 30, 2022 and ends April 4, 2022. The dates are significant because today is the anniversary of the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi and April 4 is the anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. For these 64 days, we commit ourselves to the principles advocated by these two great leaders.

We start by learning how to be less violent and more compassionate with ourselves. We build the courage to speak and act with respect, honor and reverence for our own being. The very first lesson is on courage. Eleanor Roosevelt urged us “to do the things you think you cannot do.” Today, light a candle and accept the courage to practice the 64 ways to live non-violently.

Pictured above: the Rev. Linda McLeod, Deidre Lines, Omaka Zhenji, Nancy Neely, J Monique Baker

I continue to be inspired by the character of the people I’ve met at Unity Temple of Truth. Today’s meditation was led by Omaka Zhenji of the Sanctuary of Holistic Love Healing Center. Omaka is a Zen Master and a devotee of the Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh. Sneak peek of Day 2 lesson from Thich Nhat Hanh: “if in our daily life, we can smile, not only we, but everyone will profit from it. This is the most basic kind of peace work.”

So you see the lessons are easy, but it helps to have a structure to follow. Rev. Linda has provided the following link for a workbook to help us practice these principles in our daily lives. https://www.agnt.today/_files/ugd/92c24a_ecd0cdd7b7de444fa36712f597d8055e.pdf?fbclid=IwAR1f7po0HwOuBIq50JDEy15dDLJH0-e2S_5zM8aAumfBbBD9ae-khxLve3M

Please join us as we work together as a community. You can find us on Facebook under Unity Temple of Truth Church. Sunday Service is at 10am at 511 Prescott St. S, St. Petersburg, FL 33712.

For more information on the Season for Non-violence you can also visit http://www.agnt.org or gandhiinstitute.org.

Alesia: a family based Vietnamese-French resturant

If you like tasty pho, French pastry and delicious coffee, Alesia will soon be one of your favorite spots for lunch.

Alesia serves delicious French Vietnamese dishes based on original homemade family recipes of the The Lye family.

The Lye, a Vietnamese man, relocated to France after the 1975 fall of Saigon. His two daughters Erika Ly-Hsu and. Sandra Ly-Flores grew up on his flavorful complex broth-based dishes. The two sisters enlisted the support of their husbands to join their venture as partners, added their father as a founding chef and their mother as dessert chef.

Our meal today is pictured below, Bun vermicelli noodles with herbs and lettuce topped with egg rolls and vegetable pho. The vegetable pho broth is as rich as the bone broth and has lots of baby bok choy and mushrooms.

Our meal today


Alesia is located at 7204 Central Avenue, St. Petersburg, FL

Special thanks is given to Kara VanDooijeweert. Her article in “I Love the Burg” provided background history on the establishment. For additional information on Alesia see:

website: https://www.alesiarestaurant.com/,

Instagram: @alesia_restaurant

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alesiarestaurant/

Spanish Point

Selby Botanical Garden Spanish Point is located on the Little Sarasota Bay in Osprey, Florida – south of Sarasota and north of Venice.

A beautiful cool sunny day in Florida beckoned us outdoors. So off we head to Spanish Point to spend time with a friend we had not seen in several months. Spanish Point’s history unfolded as we walked nature trails that wove through homestead buildings and archeological sites.

Spanish Point provides a little of everything on a small scale. By meandering through accessible nature trails, Spanish Point gives a brief glimpse of pioneer homestead seashore operations (1870s), an archeological indication of habitation from 5,000 to 1,000 AD and of course a butterfly garden.

Zebra butterfly
First thought the red object was a berry. Closer examination revealed it was a bug. So a quick step back, since we didn’t know what the creature was and are too familiar with biting insects.

The Selby Spanish Point campus is a 30-acre environmental and historical complex composed of native and introduced botanicals, marsh and bay ecosystem, homestead houses, prehistoric mounds and archeological dig.

Choke berry

Findings indicate prehistoric habitation of the site began about 5,000 years ago. Using the abundant resources provided by the Gulf of Mexico, prehistoric people living on Tampa Bay’s shoreline transitioned from nomadic hunters and gatherers to settlers. The site’s archaeological records indicate the prehistoric settlers disappeared sometime prior to 1100 AD.

In 1867, the John Webb family from Utica, New York established a homestead on Spanish Point overlooking Little Sarasota Bay. He gave the name “Spanish Point” to the land he settled to honor the Spanish trader who advised him of its elevation. The Webb family built their homestead house, planted citrus, sugar cane and vegetables and built a citrus packing house and boat yard. In the early 1900’s, the Webb family sold parcels of the homestead to new settlers.

Frank and Lizzie Webb Guptill House is furnished to depict the Florida pioneer era
The lawn of the Gupill House slopes down toward the Boat Yard.

Then in 1910, a wealthy Chicago socialite, Bertha Palmer (widow of Potter Palmer) purchased 350 acres around the Spanish Point homestead as well as thousands of acres for cattle ranching, citrus groves and real estate development. She preserved the pioneer buildings and connected them with lavish formal gardens and lawns. After her death in 1918, her family maintained the property and encouraged its nomination for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. In 1975, it became the first site in Sarasota County to be listed in the National Register. In 1980, the Palmer heirs donated Spanish Point to the Gulf Coast Heritage Association. In May of 2020, it became a companion campus of the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens of Sarasota.

Miniature aqueduct built by Mrs. Bertha Palmer to provide water to cascade over shells.
Snake plant: none of us had seen it bloom.

For me, I simply enjoyed spending a beautiful crisp, cool sunny day walking in nature with friends.  One of those days where you want to point your face to the sun, hold your arms out and thankfully say “What a Gorgeous Day.”  

Overlooking Little Sarasota Bay, surrounded by nature , Spanish Point is a perfect setting for a picnic lunch. Plenty of places to eat your sandwich or fruit and nuts and quietly contemplate the beauty of nature.

January cleanse

How many of you have done a cleanse? To start the new year off right, my partner and I did a 5 day program incorporating herbs and probiotics with a diet of raw fruits and vegetables.

Nancy’s fancy arugula, corn and blueberry salad

The object of a cleanse is not to lose weight, although Nancy lost 5 lbs., but to give your digestive system a rest and refresh. I found that my holiday bloated belly is remarkably flatter. We both felt well with a few side effects, we both had a headache the second day, probably coffee withdrawal. I felt some activity in my lymph nodes that subsided by the fourth day..

Typical breakfast: Dragon fruit, orange, banana apple and raspberry
Nancy’s Five Fruit breakfast
Mid morning snack

One of the pleasures of this program is you get to eat every two hours and we enjoyed so many colorful fruits and vegetables. You’re meant to eat them all raw, but I made one meal of very lightly sauteed zucchini noodles with raw tomatoes and basil. My favorite salad was kale, apple and carrot in a lemon olive oil dressing with sesame seeds. I blended a small avocado in the dressing for extra fat. Remember, the goal was not to lose weight and I added fat wherever possible. I sometimes added blue cheese dressing, which has the added benefit of being probiotic.

Kale, apple, carrot salad topped with blueberries
A hot meal: sautéed zucchini noodles with fresh tomatoes and basil

We found that our salads and snacks were easily portable when we were going to be away from home for most of the day.

Lunch on the go, picnic in the park

It’s really important to drink a lot of water, at least as many ounces as half your weight in pounds. So 140 pounds translates to 70 ounces of water. We drank Golden Milk for our morning beverage and it was such a treat I may not go back to coffee. Golden Milk powder is a blend from Spice Walla, a gift from my daughter in Asheville.

So tomorrow we add back in protein, but we plan to exclude meat and dairy for a while. We’ll get our protein from protein powder (soy and plant based), nuts, beans and eggs. I’m looking forward to continuing the good habits we’ve established with our New Year cleanse.

For more information on ways to improve your health, check out my website: https:/pws.Shaklee.com/Deidre-lines

Build your immune system

What is our best defense against highly contagious viruses?   Most people agree that being vaccinated is a responsible action.  We can also wear masks, stay away from crowds and wash our hands frequently.  All of these actions are recommended by health authorities. 

I think these actions are good and I recommend them, but what are we overlooking in this situation?  Our bodies are designed to protect and defend themselves at the cellular level.  What else can we do to help ourselves stay healthy?  Lots of things! 

We can start by understanding how our immune systems work and providing the necessary building blocks through nutrition.   We need high quality, easily digested protein to make cell defenders. We need antioxidants to neutralize free radicals caused by inflammation, stress, infection and aging.

Let’s start with just that combination of nutrients.

If you have a good balance of amino acids (proteins), your body can more effectively regulate the production of T cells (lymphocytes), B lymphocytes, NK cells (natural killer), and macrophages (act like pacmen to eat foreign invaders).  Protein is also essential to the production of antibodies.

Other important contributors to a healthy immune system are antioxidants.  Antioxidants destroy free radicals and help protect the structural integrity of the cell.  In other words, they keep the protective coating of the cell intact so invaders can’t get in.

The immune system is a highly complex system that is not so simply explained, but we can start with these two important aspects.  We can ensure that we get high quality, easily digested protein.  I supplement with a soy or plant-based protein every morning to kick start my day.   Fresh, raw fruits and vegetables are full of antioxidants and are abundant any time of year.   It’s best to buy local in season produce, but let your senses guide you.   Look for bright colors, red, yellow, orange, purple and of course green.

For more information on how to improve your health, check out my website: https://pws.shaklee.com/deidre-lines/

Sautéed zucchini with fresh tomatoes and basil
Oranges are in season!
My favorite protein for morning smoothie

Little Guatemala in Western Carolina

With Christian Ramazzini at Little Guatemala

The culmination of a relaxing vacation was a stop in Morganton NC to see old friends with an exciting new venture. Erica and Christian Ramazzini renovated a building at 810 East Union Street into a charming cafe serving freshly roasted Guatemalan coffee, pastries and Guatemalan street food like tostadas. You can also purchase traditional craft items, clothing, coffee beans and handmade bean to bar chocolate displayed in the storefront. You can sit inside or on the spacious back porch.

Mouthwatering pastries and savories
Mi amigas especial Nancy Neely and Marilia Carter

Most impressive is the indoor soccer field in the adjoining building. There are bleachers for spectators and an area for concessions. You can rent a slot of time for your event, after-school program or summer camp.

Check out Little Guatemala at littleguatemala.com or call 828 448-5934