Hi and thank you for visiting my blog. My name is Tina, I am 42 years old and married to a wonderful man named Robert. I live in the Cleveland, Ohio area with my husband and our two pugs, Koko and Lucy and a special kitty, named Trixie.

I am of Italian decent and love to cook not just for my family but for everyone! I have a lot of weeknight dinner guest and try to keep it casual but delicious! My Mom passed away a few years ago and was my great teacher.

In 2012 I have changed the way I eat. A real lifestyle change to be healthier, eat a nutrient dense diet and remove all processed foods, refined flours and sugars from our diet. I do cook a lot healthier than my Mom did and do a lot more vegetarian meals, poultry and fish. I'm trying to find a way to keep the traditions of family, friends and good food in my house always.

I plan to post my weekly menus, update with new recipes, health information and articles and how to eat mostly organic in an economical way. I will also periodically post personal updates of my journey to regain health and hope.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Kissing for HEALTH!!

It starts with a kiss!  Along with the obvious side effects like making you feel loved and turning you on, I just read an article that shows there’s now proof to back up the following other benefits of kissing:
1. It can boost your metabolism. The more passionate the kiss, the more calories it burns.

2. It helps keep your face slender.
 Apparently, making out works out something like 30 of your face’s muscles. How about that for a skincare regimen?

3. It’s an intimate way to get to know the other person.

4. A makeout a day… the saliva you produce when kissing helps to rid your teeth of bacteria and fight plaque.

5. It makes you happy
 through the release of dopamine and norepinephrine.

6. It’s a sexy de-stresser.
 Kissing also releases oxytocin which calms you down.
So when your partner gets home tonight or the next time you meet up with a hottie...break out the breath spray and get your make-out on!

Monday, March 26, 2012

I am a Nutritarian....

A what?  A Nutritarian.  In my quest for optimal health I am going to do my best to eat only those food that provide me the best nutrients.  Eating a nutrient dense diet (Diet is the Latin term for "Way of Life", not a temporary practice to lose weight.) is what I strive for.  I am trying to view food as fuel for my body and not entertainment, not out of boredom and not what the multi-billon dollar food industry tells me I should be eating.  Here is Dr. Joel Furhman's food pyramid that I am doing my best to follow.  I am still heavy on the whole grains and potatoes and trying to incorporate more green and less starchy vegetables.

So I am sitting here sipping my banana, strawberry, almond milk smoothie and thinking I should have added some spinach to this.  This is a process and I am not perfect by any means...but I am slowly moving to health.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Menu for the Week of March 25, 2012

We are a busy couple both with full time jobs, volunteer positions, an active social life and three pets.  Finding time to cook or prepare three meals per day with very little dining out is a challenge but it can be done!

Breakfast:  During the work week we generally just have a smoothie for breakfast.  We have a few standards in rotation.  I will list the recipes as we go.  On the weekends we'll take time to make oatmeal or egg dishes.

Lunch:  I generally eat a salad and left-overs from the previous night's dinner.  Robert takes a sandwich or wrap, fruit, veggies and protein bars to get him through his very busy and arduous work days at UPS.

This week's dinners are:

Sunday:  Apple, cranberry and chicken sausages from Gibb's Butcher Block and mixed green salad.

Monday:  Pasta bake with roasted veggies, ricotta salata, and mixed green salad.

Tuesday:  Slow Cooker Cassoulet with wilted garlic spinach

Wednesday: Roasted cauliflower, chickpea and quinoa

Thursday:  Crab stuffed flounder (from Trader Joe's), brown rice and steamed broccoli

Friday: Grilled cilantro chicken and sweet potatoes

Saturday:  Out to dinner on a date with my honey :)

Monday, February 8, 2010

Farewell to Suki

Princess Suki Paul crossed over the rainbow bridge on Saturday, February 6, 2010. She was loyal companion, my best friend and just the best dog to ever cross my path. She was my child just as if I had birthed her myself. The imprint she has left on my heart will always be there. The lessons she taught me will be my life's mission. Love unconditionally, live in the moment, never hold grudges, green grass is meant to be rolled in and there is nothing better than cuddling with the ones you love! Rest in peace my precious princess!
Please take a moment and view this video of the life and times of Suki Paul

Friday, September 11, 2009

Ham Salad from Scratch

More ham left-overs! I enjoy ham salad on a few rare occassions. I enjoy it served either on small crustless breads at tea or on buttered crackers. I never made it myself...but I thought it was time to try. I looked online through several recipes and just decided to do wing it.

This is recipe is a breeze with a food processor! I have this Cuisinart Food Processor and love it!

Ham Salad
3 cups ham chopped fine
1/2 cup celery chopped fine
1/2 cup sweet pickle relish (I made my own from my homemade Bread & Butter Pickles).
1 cup mayonaise
2 Tbsp. dijon mustard

Put all ingredients in food processor (seperately) and chop fine. Mix with mayo and dijon.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Wow..$6.00 Dinner and my first Quiche Ham, Broccoli and Cheese Quiche

Considering the economic times we are in, I am trying to use more left overs than ever and make more economical meals than ever. Also, I am trying to perfect my pie/tart making skills..so I thought a quiche would foot the bill. I was a little worried that my husband wouldn't think a quiche was a suitable dinner..but I was soo sooo wrong.

I had quite a bit of ham left over from a party earlier in the summer and it was taking up my much valuable freezer space. So I finally figured out what to do with it.
Ham, Broccoli and Cheese Quiche - Serves 4
1 Pie/Tart crust
3 Tbsp. butter, melted
1 medium onion chopped
1 cup of diced ham
1 cup of diced broccoli florettes
1 1/2 cups of cheddar cheese
4 eggs
1 cup of milk ( I used skim)
salt and pepper

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

1) For the crust I used the tart crust from the Zucchini, Bacon and Goat Cheese Tart I made last week. I made the crust the night before and refrigerated it overnight. I rolled it into a 14 inch circle and placed it in a 12" tart pan with a removable bottom. You could also use a store bought pie crust for convenience.

2) In a large skillet pour 2 Tbsp. of the butter (reserving 1 Tbsp.), onion, ham and broccoli and saute until they are just heated through. Fill crust with the ham, broccoli and onion mixture.

3) Sprinkle cheese over the top.

4) In a bowl whisk together the eggs, milk, reserved Tbsp. butter salt and pepper.

5) Pour egg mixture over cheese and filling.

6) Bake for 40-45 minutes or until knife comes out clean from center.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

An Updated American Classic Appetizer - Sweet and Sour Meatballs

I was invited to a friend's party and knew there were going to be a lot of Brazillian's with a lot of Brazillian food. I wanted to make something classic american and decided on Sweet and Sour Meatballs. I updated the recipe (my mother in-laws) so I didn't have to go out shopping.

Updated Sweet and Sour Meatballs - Makes approximately 50 mini meatballs

2.4 lbs. package of ground turkey (85/15 lean)

4 slices of bread (I used chiabatta) coursely ground into breadcrumbs..approximately 2 cups

1 package lipton onion soup

2 eggs

2 jars heinz chili sauce

2 cups - mixed berry jam

2 tsp. lemon juice (approximately the juice of one lemon)

2 tsp. brown sugar


1) Mix ground turkey, breadcrumbs, onion soup mix and eggs in a mixing bowl..mixing until meat can hold together to form into balls.

2) Using a medium scoop dish out equal portions of the meat onto cookie sheets that have been sprayed with cooking spray or brushed with olive oil. Form each portion into a ball by rolling in your hands.

HINT: keep a bowl of warm water near you to make the rolling easier dip your hands in the water every two or three meatballs.

3) Bake in oven at 3:50 until cooked through (approximately 15 minutes)

4) In a mixing bowl combing chili sauce, jam, lemon juice and brown sugar and combine well with wisk.

5) Add meatballs to a slow cooker, pour sauce over and coat each meatball with the sauce. Cook on high for one hour and turn to low or warm. Serve warm.

(Traditionally the recipe calls for beef, bread crumbs, dry minced onion, a variety of spices, chili sauce, jellied cranberry sauce and the meatballs are fried in oil before going into the sauce..this version is slightly healthier and very tasty.) Feel free to write to me for the original recipe if you would like.