As you travel along Interstate 90 across South Dakota you might notice a brown sign which says “Badlands Scenic Loop”. A glance at your road map shows a 31 mile loop going south of the interstate. From the vantage point out your window on I-90, nothing but flat open grassland as far as the eye can see, it would be easy to just keep on driving. Yet those willing to take the scenic route will be rewarded with one of the more incredible (almost paranormal) phenomenons in the U.S.- the Badlands.



I know what you are saying. Eggplant bacon? Seriously? My thoughts exactly.

The world of vegetarian and vegan cuisine can have a lot of strange faux meat products. Everything from mock chicken nuggets to frozen veggie burgers with a disturbing brown color and ‘grill marks’. I have largely avoided these products since: 1.) most contain gluten to hold the veggie ingredients together 2.) processed food just really isn’t our thing and 3.) I’ve found the best way to enjoy a vegan diet is to stop focusing on meat replacement. However when I saw recipes for eggplant bacon on respected vegan food blogs curiosity got the better of me.



Do you have lentils in your pantry? These easy going legumes are like the laid back surfers of the bean world. Ready to go at a moment’s notice they require hardly any preparation and take just a brief 25 minutes to cook. No overnight soaking, pre-cooking, or long slow simmers required. Packed with protein, fiber, essential minerals, and B vitamins lentils are an excellent choice for bulking up meatless meals.



The Black Hills are one of the country’s hidden gems. Most people are familiar with Mt. Rushmore but few are aware of the incredible beauty found in the surrounding hills. This month I participated in the Black Hills Photo Shootout, an action packed photography workshop that took us to some of the best places in the hills. It was the peak color weekend in Spearfish Canyon and the leaves were stunning. I have many more fun photos to share including getting up close and personal with a few raptors!



Lunches at home can be challenging. I find myself craving something healthy and satisfying but don’t want to spend a lot of time putting it together. When I changed my diet, the default sandwich or quick cheese and hot sauce tortilla fell off the lunch list. In their place I have started to make large batches of whole grain salads. Hearty and full of flavor, grain salads only get better as the week goes on- the perfect solution to a fast and healthy lunch.




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