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.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

10 Minute Meal - Shrimp Kabobs

Seriously, you can't get any easier than this meal. Sure, I do not have a full time job at the moment but when I hear my working friends complain they don't have time to cook dinner I am going to start giving them this recipe. From start to finish this literally took 10 minutes and it is very healthful, balanced and super delicious.

Shrimp Kabobs with Veggie Cous Cous
1 lb. shrimp, peeled and de-veined
1 red bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
1 medium onion
1/4 honey mustard (I just mixed Dijon and honey)
1.5 cups cous cous
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup of water
1 Tbsp. olive oil

1) Chop 2/3 of the peppers and the onions into large chunks for the kabobs, the other 1/3 of the veggies should be chopped fine for the cous cous.
2) Skewer the shrimp and veggies on wooden skewers
3) In a medium sauce pan saute the remaining 1/3 of veggies with olive oil. When the veggies are tender add the water and chicken stock. Bring to a boil.
4) Brush the kabobs with the honey mustard and set aside.
5) When then liquid has come to a full boil, add the cous cous and remove from heat for 5 minutes.
6) Place kabobs on the grill or under the broiler and cook until shrimp is pink all over (about 2 minutes on each side.

Serves 4

Wednesday, September 5, 2007


Tonight's dinner was something I needed to throw together with little in the house. I had left over black beans from last week I wanted to use up, I had chicken and I wanted to try a new corn bread mix. So, I decided on jerk chicken, black beans and rice and corn bread. I also cut up a garden tomato just to add a veggie and some color to the plate. The picture doesn't look so great but I wish you could taste it. Very yummy!

Jerk Chicken Marinade
2 Tbsp. olive oil
Juice of a lime
1/4 brown sugar
1 jalapeno
pinch of cayenne
1 tsp. allspice
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. rosemary

Marinate chicken for at least one hour and up to overnight. Grill until juices run clear.

This was enough marinade for three boneless skinless chicken breast. I cut each breast in half to make 6 pieces of chicken.

Black Beans and Rice
3 cups steamed white rice
3 cups cooked black beans (see post below for recipe)
1/2 onion, diced fine
salt and pepper

In a large skillet saute onion in olive oil, add beans and rice and combine together.

The corn bread wasn't great. I am trying to find the exact recipe that taste like cornbread we had in Amish country. Today's attempt was something I heard from our waitress at The Barn restaurant on a recent visit. She told us they mixed their cornbread with yellow cake mix. I used one recipe (per box directions) of corn bread mix and one yellow cake mix. This worked out pretty well...but it tasted a lot more like cake than it did cornbread. So I am going to attempt again and make both the corn bread batter and from scratch yellow cake mix and do equal parts of each. I will surely report back.

Monday, September 3, 2007

It's Time to Make the Doughnuts

Robert and I both love the sour cream doughnuts you can find at Krispy Kreme but we don't have one nearby. So, I decided I would try and make sour cream doughnuts on my own. I found this recipe from Cook's Recipe website. They were easy to make, I made the dough the night before and fried the doughnuts and doughnut holes in the morning. These are good for cake doughnuts but didn't have the richness, moistness and tangy taste that I was looking for. I didn't change the recipe at all, if I try this recipe again I may use more sour cream and less egg to try and replicate the texture and taste we desire.

Sour Cream Doughnuts

Source: www.cooksrecipe.com
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 large eggs1 1/4 cups granulated sugar1 cup (8-ounces) sour cream
Vegetable oil for frying

2 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Measure and whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a medium bowl and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs well with an electric mixer, slowly add the sugar, beating constantly. Add the sour cream, mixing well. Stir in the flour mixture just until well blended. Chill dough for several hours or overnight.
Preheat deep-fat fryer or Dutch oven to 375*F (190*C).
Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface to 1/2-inch thickness. Cut with a floured doughnut cutter. Allow doughnuts to set for 10 minutes.
Using a pancake turner (dipped first in the hot oil) carefully slide 2 or 3 doughnuts into the hot oil, making sure not to crowd the pan. Fry until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove doughnuts using tongs or wire-mesh strainer. Drain on paper towels.
Combine the glaze ingredients together in a small bowl, mixing well.
Dip warm doughnuts into glaze on both sides and allow excess to drip off. Place doughnuts on wire racks to dry. ( Be sure to place waxed paper beneath the racks to catch any drips.)
Makes about 2 dozen doughnuts.

Pasta Cavolfiore that's Cauliflower in English :-)

This is my go to in a pinch meal. It is a meal my Nana and Mom would make, especially during lent. I do make it a little different than my Mom and grandma who would cook the cauliflower so long it was almost like a yummy, buttery mush. I like it a little more firm and healthy. This dish is another where Italians show their pride in the heritage and it has the color of the Italian flag: green, white and red. The best part of this meal is it is a one pot dish!

Pasta Cavolfiore
8 oz. pasta of choice (I used penne tonight)
1 head of cauliflower, chopped rough
4 cloves of garlic, sliced or minced fine
Fresh Parsley
Crushed red pepper flakes (about 1/2 tsp.)
2-3 Tbsp. olive oil
Peccorino Romano or Parmesan Cheese

1) Bring water to boil in a large pot, add salt and pasta.

2) Five minutes into the cooking, add the cauliflower.

3) Drain when pasta is a la dente.

4) In the pasta pot add a few tablespoons of olive oil, the garlic and crushed red pepper. Saute until garlic is just browned. Toss pasta back in and coat well.

5) Sprinkle with cheese and manjia!

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Artichoke & Cheese Tarts

I made these for a party this weekend. They were very easy to make and an easy recipe to double and make a lot of. Having the mini tart pan and tart shaper from Pampered Chef was a real nice tool to have to make the job easier. I received the recipe from a family friend and I see it is very similar to a Pampered Chef recipe that Joelen sent me. So I guess there are a lot of variation to this recipe. I think anything would be great in these easy cups.

Artichoke & Cheese Tarts

32 Wonton Wrappers (3" square)

8 oz. cream cheese

14 oz. jar of artichoke hearts, chopped fine

1/2 red bell pepper chopped fine

1 cup cheddar cheese

1-2 cloves of garlic, minced

pinch of cayenne

1) Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

2) Spray muffin tins with non-stick cooking spray and press in the wonton wrappers. Fold the sides in so as to make a flower. If you are using the tart shaper you can press and twist and it will do the job for you.

3) Mix all the ingredients together well until well combined.

4) Fill each cup with artichoke mixture.

5) Spray or brush edges with olive oil.

6) Bake at 350 for 15-18 minutes or until edges are browned.

Serve hot, warm or at room temperature.

TIP: I doubled the recipe and had 96 pieces total. So I would say each batch should make 48, not the 32 the recipe states.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The perfect pair: Black Beans and Rice

It was a hot one I didn't want the oven all day, so I decided to make a crock pot meal. Beans are one of my favorite things to cook in the crock pot. They are easier to make in the crock pot (no soaking) than on the stove, they make a lot for a few meals and it is very inexpensive to make. Here is my tried and true recipe. This is also a virtually fat free meal.

Slow Cooker Black Beans and Rice

1 lb. dry black beans (can also use pinto)
1 large onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 Tbsp. crushed garlic (4-6 cloves)
1 qt. low sodium chicken stock
2 Tbsp. chili powder
1 Tbsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. Cayenne
salt (season when beans are soft and cooked through)

1) Rinse beans and place in crock pot.
2) Add bell pepper, onion, garlic, stock, seasonings (except salt) and cook on high 8 hours.
3) When beans are soft, add salt to taste.

Serve with white rice, sour cream and cheddar cheese.

I've been Tagged....again :-)

I was tagged this week by my internet cooking pal Michelle, she has a great blog, Sugar & Spice, definitely check it out. I think this may be the third or fourth time I've been tagged and I always skip it because I can't think of 8 things about me. But I vow to try it this time. I will have to tell you eight fun facts about myself and then tag eight other people.

1) I've moved more than 20 times in my life. I went to three high schools in three different states. I've lived in 4 states. Ohio, Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina.

2) I have two pugs and I would have 10 more if my husband would let me. My dream is to have a pug sanctuary some day when I win the lottery.

3) I am trying to live my life more simply. I admire the Amish lifestyle very much. The Amish principles I really admire are: Be a steward of the earth, a good neighbor, live a simple life, put your family first. I would have a hard time without air conditioning and internet but I do really admire their lifestyle. They are the ultimate environmentalist.

4) I would like to be a better environmentalist and do work each day to make small & large changes in our lifestyle that will allow us to do that. However, I think Al Gore is a total hypocrite and a money grubbing liar. Why does he fly by private jet when he could easily take a ride on commercial airplanes? Because he doesn't really care about the environment. He cares about selling you movies and books about the environment.

5) I love company for dinner. I can whip something up last minute for 10 people without breaking a sweat. Growing up we always had dinner guest and my Mom was the master at cooking for a group. She never said no when we wanted a friend to stay for dinner and always had plenty of food.

6) I love the mountains. Living in Roanoke, VA was the best and getting married in the Smoky Mountains was so beautiful. I am very fortunate that Robert loves the mountains as much as me. We plan to retire in the Smokies or Blue Ridge Mountains.

7) I am very proud of being 100% Italian. I don't know why though. he he he

8) I am an Aquarius through and through. Here are the traditional Aquarian Traits. I think it is me to a "t". Friendly and humanitarian; Honest and loyal; Original and inventive; Independent and intellectual. On the dark side....Intractable and contrary; Perverse and unpredictable.

I am tagging the following: Erin, Elly, Katie Sue, Daphne, Carrie, Deborah, Ally, and Trisha

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Chicken Paillard

Somehow I missed today on the weekly menu. I went straight from Monday to Wednesday. I had to throw something together last minute. I decided on chicken paillard with a mushroom cream sauce, rice and a veggie. Just a simple meal cooked in minutes. As usual there is no recipe so you will have to adjust to your taste.

Chicken Paillard with Mushroom Sauce
4 chicken breast halves
1/4 cup flour
4 cups baby bellas, sliced
1 medium onion, chopped fine
2 cups chicken stock
1 cups half and half
olive oil
1 Tbsp. butter
Salt & Pepper to taste

1) Pound chicken breast to about 1/4 inch thickness, season with salt and pepper and dredge in flour. Dust off excess.
2) In a large skillet melt olive oil & butter and place chicken in the pan. Brown on both sides approximately 2-3 minutes each side.
3) Remove chicken from pan, add onions and saute until translucent. Add chicken back to pan, the mushrooms and chicken stock. Cover and cook for 20-30 minutes. Add in the half and half and simmer until sauce is reduced in half.

I served this with rice cooked in chicken stock and steamed green beans.

Pickle Time!

As part of my efforts to "Eat Local, Think Global" I decided that this would be the year I learned to can products. Last year I made bread and butter refridgerator pickles but it took up so much room that it made it a burden. Instead of buying pickles that have been shipped across the country by train and truck, I made my own in re-usable jars. The recipe is from Mrs. Miller's Amish Cook Book, it is from 1973 and has no publishing information included. It was surprisingly easy, fun and I can't wait to taste these. Not including the jars, the cost for these pickles is about $1.00/pint so this is very economical as well.

Bread & Butter Pickles
Yields 8 Pints

5 lbs small pickling cucumbers, cleaned and sliced
2 large onions sliced thin
1 sweet red bell pepper sliced thin
2 Tbsp. pickling salt
4 cups white vinegar
4 cups granulated sugar
2 Tbsp. mustard seeds
1 Tbsp. black peppercorns
1 tsp. celery seed
2 tsp. turmeric

1) Combine pickling salt, vinegar, sugar, mustard seeds, peppercorns, celery seed and turmeric in a large sauce pan and bring to a boil.
2) Place cucumber, onion and pepper into 8 sterilized pint jars, packed tightly.
3) Pour in hot liquid over vegetables (leave 1/2 inch head space) and remove air bubbles.
4) Process jars in water bath for 5 minutes.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Fresh Peaches

So my other great farm stand pick this week was a huge basket of peaches for $5.00. I made this beautiful Peach and Mascarpone Tart. Originally this was to be a Fig and Mascarpone Tart but then the peaches were so beautiful and I found a good recipe online. The recipe came from Taunton's Fine Cooking website. As you can see from my photo the tart was absolutely beautiful and it tasted delicious. However, I think the next time I make it I will add more sugar to the crust, it was bland to me. The mascarpone filling was delightful and it pairs with all kinds of fruit beautifully. This would be excellent with any other type of fruit like berries, apricots etc.

Peach & Mascarpone Tart
by Elinor Klivans
Yields one 11-inch tart.

1 cup chilled mascarpone
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp. grated orange zest
1/2 cup chilled heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract
6 large peaches, pitted, peeled if desired, and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1/4 cup apricot jam, warmed over medium heat until liquefied
1 No-Fail Butter Tart Crust, baked and cooled

In a medium bowl, mix the mascarpone and confectioners’ sugar and stir until smooth. Add the orange zest and vanilla extract. Whip the cream until soft peaks appear and fold it into the mascarpone mixture. Spread the mixture into the tart crust. Top with the peach slices. Brush the peaches with the liquefied apricot jam to glaze. Refrigerate the tart at least 1 hour or overnight before serving.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Another Stuffed Success!

It appears as though I haven't been cooking much lately, but the truth is I am finding it more challenging to make "blog worthy" dinners. Tonight's dinner is another farm stand bonzana. I was in Amish country this week and picked up this beautiful giant zucchini for $.50! I've been making so much zucchini lately (zucchini pancakes, zucchini potato gratin, zucchini gnocci, grilled zucchini) it is a wonder I can find another way to prepare this delectable treat. This is something I don't have a recipe for (I know, I know) but just throw together, so you will have to adjust and season to taste.

Stuffed Zucchini
1 large zucchini (straight, not curved) or 4-6 medium
1 lb. Italian chicken sausage, removed from casing
1/2 medium onion, sauteed
2 slices bread, cubed (I used Italian)
1/2 cup Parmesan
1/2 cup mozzarella
3 cups prepared marinara (I accidentaly took meat sauce from the freezer...so we had that)

Split zucchini in half and scoop out a well on the inside. Season zucchini with salt and pepper. In a medium mixing bowl mix sausage, sauteed onion, 1/4 cup Parmesan and bread. Blend well and stuff into the well of the zucchini. Cover with 1/2 the marinara sauce
Place in an oven safe casserole with about 1" of water and cover tightly. Bake at 350 for an hour. Uncover, sprinkle with mozzarella and bake another 15 minutes.

Serve with pasta, marinara and remaining Parmesan cheese.

NOTE: You could cook the sausage ahead of time and only bake the dish for 30 minutes. You could also use standard pork italian sausage.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Stuffed Peppers, Mexican Style

This is how I chose to use my purple peppers. They were a great choice in this stuffed pepper recipe. The peppers were more sweet and less stiff than the traditional green peppers. The deepest purple peppers turned a light green and this is one that had a little red to it, turned a yellow/orange color. This recipe will definately be in the rotation from now on.

Stuffed Peppers, Mexican Style

1.2 lbs. lean ground turkey

4 large bell peppers (I used purple)

1 cup of cooked white rice

1/2 medium onion, diced fine

1 Tbsp. Cumin

1 Tbsp. Chili powder

1/2 tsp. salt

4 Tbsp. salsa

32 oz. Spicy V-8 Juice

1) In a large bowl mix together turkey, cooked rice, onion and seasonings. Blend well.

2) Cut tops of peppers and discard membrane and seeds.

3) Stuff meat/rice mixture into peppers and place in an oven safe covered casserole.

4) Top each pepper with 1 Tbsp. salsa and pour V-8 in casserole to about 1/2 way up each pepper.

5) Cover, bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes and uncovered for an additional 30 minutes or until meat is cooked through.

Served with Irish Corn Bread and Black Bean and Corn Salad from All Recipes

Monday, August 20, 2007

Farm Stands Rock!

I love summer and even on rainy days it beats the snow! Today was market day and I went to the farm stands again and found the best produce again. Fresh corn from the fields, these beautiful purple peppers and a lot of other fresh farm goods like tomatos, cucumber, onion. I plan to make stuffed peppers and corn and black bean salad tomorrow. Check back for recipes tomorrow.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

We're Chopping Broccoli

I was given this recipe from my Aunt Pat's sister Alice but I added the cheddar cheese to it. I've seen a similar broccoli salad by Paula Deen but this one has sunflower seeds and craisins (dried cranberries) instead of raisins. It is a great pot luck or picnic dish. I took it our block party last year and every one asked for the recipe. It very easy to assemble and sometimes I cheat and use pre-cooked bacon so this can be a no cook dish as well.

Broccoli Salad

4 bunches of broccoli chopped into florets (about 8 cups)
1 vidalia onion, diced fine
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup craisins
1/2 cup cheddar cheese
1/2 lb. of bacon, cooked and crumbled

Dressing: 1/2 cup sugar, 1 cup mayonnaise, 3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

1. Assemble all items into a large bowl
2. Mix dressing separately and blend with other ingredients just before serving.

TIP: It makes a lot, so be sure to halve it for four or less.

Ultimate Corn Chowder

I've tried many different corn chowders over the years and have never found a recipe I really was enthralled with. I decided to take matters into my own hands and create a fabulous one on my own. The key, of course, is fresh delicious corn picked the day you use it. I got our corn at Szalays Farm in the Cuyahoga Valley National Parkway. It is our favorite summer hang out.

Ultimate Corn Chowder
8 ears of corn, shucked
1 lb. of bacon, chopped in bite sized pieces
1 large sweet (vidalia) onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 jalapeno, diced
2 medium potatoes, diced
2 cups low fat/low sodium chicken stock
1 Tbsp. chicken base
1 cup of milk (I used fat free)
1 cup of half and half
1 Tbsp. Chili Powder
½ tsp. cayenne
1 Tbsp. salt (adjust if you don’t use low sodium stock)
2 Tbsp. flour
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

1. In a heavy bottomed stock pot cook bacon; Remove bacon and set aside.
2. Add onion to bacon drippings and saute until translucent. Add corn, peppers and potatoes to onion and saute for about 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently so not to burn the corn.
3. Add in chicken stock and chicken base. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer.
4. Simmer for about 30 minutes and add in milk, cream , chili powder, cayenne and salt.
5. Make a slurry with Tbsp. flour and about ¼ cup of cold water (remove lumps) and pour into soup slow stirring very well. This will thicken the soup.
6. Cook for another 20 or so minutes and add ½ of the bacon and ½ of the cheese, stir well.
7. Serve hot and garnish with bacon and cheese.
8. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
TIP: If you don’t use low sodium chicken stock reduce your salt to taste.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Shinto rocks...especially on Tuesday!

Tonight we went to our favorite Japanese restaurant, Shinto (http://www.shintoexperience.com/) in Strongsville, OH. Shinto is both a Teppanaki restaurant and they also serve a sushi/sashimi menu. Lately we've been only heading to the tables for hibachi food cooked by chefs with a lot of cooking and entertainment skills, however, tonight our mission was sushi. If you do go there for hibachi be sure to ask for our favorite hibachi chefs Mike Jones or Ricky Martin (I am sure theses are not the names their mother's gave them) but Ricky can really shake his bum bum!

We've been trying to find a good time to go to sushi with my sister in law and her husband for awhile. They are novice sushi eaters and apparently I am the family sushi expert. A title I am proud to hold by the way. We finally had a common open date and Tuesday nights Shinto has half priced sushi so tonight was the night.

The night started with our waitress spilling a full 22 oz. Sapporo in my lap. But I wasn't going to let a pair of wet pants and smelling like a drunk deter me from my mission. We had Sapporo Gold, Miso Soup, Shrimp tempura, edamame, and gyoza to start. Then our sushi & sashimi arrived with our hot sake. We had a very good variety but my favorite is the Unagi roll (Smoked eel).

I didn't take any pictures, but it was all beautiful and delicious. They have a ton of pictures on the Shinto website so check it out.

I will say the service on half-priced sushi night was very slow, but not so slow you became uber annoyed, just not the level it usually is. The highlight of the night was when the bill came, we had a ton of food, enough drinks to feel a nice buzz and all for $36/per couple. You can't beat that!! The best part is I now I have two more people to go to sushi with as Robert isn't a huge fan. He did come along tonight and was a trooper trying everything (even sashimi) but this just isn't his thing. We had to stop at the new Hershey Ice Cream shop on the way home for a milkshake for him. So we all went home happy!

Blueberry Crumb Muffins for Breakfast

Robert is home on vacation this week and I decided to bake breakfast. Not something I do normally so this is a rare treat. I wanted to take advantage of the beautiful blueberries I bought at the farm yesterday. I found this recipe on http://www.allrecipes.com/ and you can get the recipe and reviews here. These are very good, very easy and the crumb topping make them decadent. Definitely a winner.

source: Allrecipes.com Submitter: jacynth
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup white sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cups blueberries
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup brown sugar
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease or line muffin pan.
2. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, white and brown sugars, salt, and baking powder. Stir in oil, eggs, and milk until well blended and very few lumps remain. Gently fold in blueberries being careful not to mash them. Fill muffin tins 2/3 full, or slightly more for a larger muffin top.
3. For the crumb topping, mix together the flour, softened butter, cinnamon, and brown sugar. Place a small amount on top of each muffin.
4. Bake muffins in the preheated oven for 20 to 30 minutes, or until a wooden skewer pierced in the center comes out clean and dry.

Asian Style Pork & Stir Fry Veggies

I don't remember where I first got this recipe. I think I may have picked it up at my mother-in-law's butcher in Jupiter, Florida. It is really easy, really delicious and a nice twist on Chinese food. If the veggies look a little over-done, they were. The grill master (cough, cough) took longer than expected with the pork, but they were still really delicious. The left-overs are great for pork fried rice also.
Asian Style Pork
2 lb. pork tenderloin
1/2 cup sesame oil
1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
4 scallions, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, chopped

1) Combine all ingredients in large zip lock baggie

2) Marinate meat for at least 8 hours and up to overnight. Turn occasionally to coat entire tenderloin.
3) Grill (we wrapped in foil for the first 15 minutes and then directly on coals) until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees.

Stir - Fry Veggies I used onion, cabbage, red & green bell peppers and mushrooms. We went to the farm today and I picked up a ton of great homegrown veggies. I sauteed them in olive oil and sesame oil and added some prepared hoison and soy sauce at then end of cooking. I would have preferred to eat them 5 minutes before the picture...but this is what everyday cooking is like. I don't want to only include the food that comes out perfect in my blog because that isn't reality. Even the best cooks don't always get it right.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Close only counts horseshoes....

Tonight's dinner was a blend of hearty goodness and near misses. I made Grown Up Sloppy Joes with ground turkey on homemade yeast buns, baked sweet potato chips and a fresh tomato, cucumber salad. The sloppy joes are a recipe that I received from my Nest friend and fellow food blogger, Beth about a year ago. Here is a link to the recipe in her foodie blog. The only thing I do differently is add about 1-2 Tbsp. brown sugar and a pinch of cayenne pepper.
The sweet potato fries are something I just can't get crispy in the oven. It looks like this is one item you really can't try to skimp out on the oil and if you want them to be crispy you just need to deep fry. Personally, I don't even care for sweet potato fries, but they are Robert's favorite.

Of all the cooking I do, I rarely, if ever bake anything with yeast. Tonight I attempted to make homemade buns for the sloppy joes. I used this recipe from http://www.breadworld.com/. As you can see my buns didn't quite turn out like the picture. They are very tasty, but very heavy and not so pretty. In the next few months I am going to try and perfect my bread/bun making skills. So stand by for more attempts.

Our neighbors gave us a few things from their garden and I decided to make a very simple salad with cucumber, tomato, onion and celery. I tossed all the veggies with a little olive oil, balsamic vinegar, oregano, salt and pepper. Delicious! You really forget what real garden tomatoes taste like when you get used to eating the engineered ones. Also, I rarely eat the skins on cucumbers as they are usually covered in wax and chemicals...not so when they are grown next door. Mmmmm.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Stuffed Cabbage Experiment

Robert asked me to make stuffed cabbages this week. I wasn't too excited about it because usually when I make stuffed cabbage it is for a big party and I am rolling tons of cabbage but this wasn't so bad for a weeknight dinner when making a small batch. I usually use my Mom's stuffed cabbage recipe which calls for ground beef, rice and barley. I decided to experiment a little and use ground turkey and I thought they were really good and a lot more healthful than the traditional version.

Stuffed Cabbage
1.2 lbs lean ground turkey
1 head of cabbage
2 cups of steamed white rice
1 Tbsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. black pepper
(I didn't use salt...but it could definitely use it, try 1/2 tsp.)
32 oz. low sodium V-8 Juice
28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
1 lb. sour kraut

1. Prepare cabbage by cutting out the stem and boiling the cabbage head. Remove leaves as they cook and place on dishtowel or in a colander to drain and cool.
2. Mix ground turkey, rice garlic salt, pepper and salt and mix well.
3. Place outer cabbage leaves on the bottom of a large roaster or casserole.
4. Put about 1/4 cup of meat in a cabbage leave and roll up, folding in sides (like a burrito) and placing them in the casserole over the outer leaves.
5. Cover cabbage rolls with sour kraut
6. In a bowl mix the juice & crushed tomato and pour over top.
7. Bake covered at 350 for at least 1 hour and uncovered for an additional 30 minutes.

Makes 10 rolls and freezes well after cooking.

TIP: Place a cookie sheet on the shelf under the casserole to catch any juices that may bubble over and avoid having to clean your oven.

Smashed Red Skinned Potatoes
2 lbs. red skinned potatoes
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) of butter
1/2 cup low fat sour cream
Salt & Pepper to taste
1) Boil potatoes until fork tender
2) With a potato masher, mash the potatoes until no large chunks are noticeable, remove any large pieces of skin that didn't mash.
3) Add in butter and sour cream and mix well.
4) Season with salt and pepper.

Banana Cream Pie

This is a banana cream pie Sandra Lee would be proud of. I had a lot of bananas that were almost over ripe and decided to use them up and my milk was expiring today. Soo..this pie took about 5 minutes to make but was a really nice finale to our beige dinner.

Banana Cream Pie
1 9 inch graham cracker pie crust (I bought Honeymade)
3 bananas sliced
Juice from half a lemon
1 box instant banana pudding (made with skim milk)
1 container Cool Whip light
1 bar of dark chocolate

Slice bananas and squeeze lemon juice over top and place in the graham cracker crust. Make pudding according to package instructions (use 1/4 cup less milk) and pour over top of bananas. Refrigerate for about an hour, cover with the cool whip and using your veggie peeler shave the chocolate over top. You can serve immediately.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Beige but Delicious

Tonight's Dinner doesn't look so appetizing but it really was delicious. Today was a rainy yucky day and I thought about making some nice comfort food. Having a food blog has made me increasingly aware of trying to make my dinners look colorful and delicious, but tonight's didn't really make the colorful chart. I should have served a salad or a green vegetable with this meal, but look at that corn! I couldn't pass it up and had to eat it today as it was picked at the farm yesterday.

Dijon Chicken, Rice Pilaf and Sweet Corn on the Cob
2 split boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
2 cups panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. dried parsley
pinch of cayenne
Salt and Pepper

In a medium bowl mix together bread crumbs, salt, pepper, parsley and cayenne.
Coat each chicken breast in the Dijon and then into the bread crumbs for a good cover.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes or until juices run clear on the chicken.

I cheated today and used a box mix for the rice pilaf. I like the Near East brand, although it is very salty tasting to me.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Maryland Memories

The one thing I really miss about living in Maryland is the crab fests. I would love to have a bushel of steamed hot crabs thrown on some newspaper and pound away. So, in order to get my Maryland fix I decided to make some authentic crab cakes. This menu was inspired by a meal I saw in July's Everyday Food magazine called Weekend Dinner Down by The Bay. While I was inspired by the meal, I used or created my own recipes for my version. I don't usually use a recipe for crab cakes but just sort of go by feel. You will have to trial and error to find the right combination for you.

Maryland Crab Cakes
1 lb. Crab meat, backfin
1/2 - 1 cup saltine cracker crumbles
2 scallions chopped fine
2 Tbsp. mayo
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning
Juice from 1 lemon
1 egg

Combine all ingredients and if they don't hold together, add a few more crackers. Using an ice cream scoop make crab cakes and place on a parchment lined baking sheet and refrigerate for at least one hour to overnight. In a skillet with olive oil and butter (equal parts of each) cook each crab cake for about 3 minutes each side and transfer to a baking sheet (lined with parchment again) and bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Should make 5-6 nice sized crab cakes.

Tip: I make a small mayo/old bay seasoning mix as a sauce to serve on the side. 1/2 cup mayo, 1 tsp. old bay, juice of half of a lemon. You could also serve with traditional tartar sauce.

Sweet Corn Saute
6 ears of corn, shucked
1 cup of grape tomatoes, cut in half
3 Scallions, chopped
1/2 small onion, chopped
2 Tbsp. Cilantro
2 Tbsp. butter
Salt & pepper to taste

In a large skillet with olive oil, cook the onion until translucent, add the rest of the ingredients except cilantro and toss well add butter and melt. Season with salt and pepper to taste and toss in cilantro. Serves 4.

Oven Roasted Garlic Asparagus
1 bunch of asparagus cleaned and cut
3 cloves of garlic, sliced fine
Olive oil
salt and pepper

Layer asparagus on a baking sheet, coat with olive oil spray, toss on the garlic, season with salt and pepper. Bake at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Simple Sausage Dinner Done Light

You can't go to any neighborhood carnival or church festival in Cleveland without seeing hot italian sausage sandwiches. I like to use the chicken italian sausage. I buy my sausages at Gibb's Butcher Block. They are local, and make their product made the old fashioned way with little fat, no filler and all the goodness of homemade.

You can't get any easier than this...if you want to eat at home. This is good italian comfort food.
Sausage and Pepper Sandwiches
1 lb. Chicken Italian Sausage
1 green bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
1/2 large sweet onion
I usually cook my sausage in the oven to make sure it is cooked evenly and browns all over. We also like to grill the sausage. I sauted the peppers and onions in olive oil and then served them in nice italian hoagie rolls.
Fake Fried Potatoes
6 medium potatoes, sliced

1/2 large sweet onion
Olive oil
1 tsp. Season Salt

Toss potatoes, onion with olive oil and season salt. Bake in a single layer on a cookie sheet in a 425 degree oven. Bake for approximately 10 minutes, turn and cook another 5 minutes or until tender on the inside and crispy on the outside.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Modern Sunday Dinner

Growing up we had spaghetti sauce and meatballs almost every single Sunday, we ate dinner at 2:00-3:00 p.m. and usually had a table full of people. It was time to have a delicious big meal prepare with love and shared with family and friends. For us Sunday dinner is still a special time to sit down and enjoy a big meal but in the summer I like to keep them light. I served Broiled Halibut with peach salsa served over wilted garlic spinach and lime-cilantro rice.

Broiled Halibut with Peach Salsa
2 - 6-8 oz Halibut Filets
2 - Fresh ripe peaches
1 - clove of garlid chopped fine
1 - Jalepeno chopped fine
2 tsp, chopped cilantro
Juice of a lime
Olive oil

1) Seed and dice peaches and put in a small bowl
2) Add in chopped garlic, jalepeno, cilantro and mix.
3) Squeeze in the juice of a lime and add a pinch of salt.
4) Blend well, leave at room temperature until serving.
5) Spray fish with oilive oil spray and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
6) Broil under the broiled for approximately 8 minutes turning once, or until fish is opaque throughout.

I like to use the Misto olive oil sprayer. This is a MUST have kitchen item http://www.misto.com/

Served with wilted garlic spinach and lime-cilantro rice.

Lime Cilantro Rice
3 cups steamed, white rice
2 Tbsp. Olive oil
2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
Juice of a lime

Mix rice, olive oil, cilantro and lime juice together. Serve immediately.

Wilted Garlic Spinach
4 cups fresh, washed spinach
1 Tbsp. Olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, sliced thin
1) In a medium saute pan over medium-high heat heat olive oil and saute garlic for about a minute. Add in spinach, coat with oil and cover tightly for 1-2 minutes or until just wilted. Season with salt and pepper.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Saturday at Sokolowski's

As you can probably tell from my blog so far, I really do not care for most chain restaurants (except PF Changs he he he), so tonight I was thrilled when we were invited to go to a local Cleveland landmark Sokolowki's University Inn in Tremont, a trendy Cleveland neighborhood. This place has been around for 84 years and continues to be a star. It is a casual cafeteria style eatery specializing in polish favorites like pierogi, sausages, stuffed cabbages etc. Everything is homemade and uber delicious. It is open for lunch Monday to Friday and dinner Friday and Saturday only.

This restaurant has been featured on food tv and Bobby Flay has eaten there, Anthony Bourdain filmed an episode there that will be featured on No Reservations on August 27, 2007 and the former President, Bill Clinton ate there a while President. The food is comfort food at its best and this is usually a place we go to in the winter but a welcome change to all the summer salads and grilled food we've been eating lately.

I had the Beer Battered Halibut with sides of pierogi's and mixed seasonal vegetables. It was so delicious and only $9.99 for a ton of food. Robert had the stuffed cabbages. We didn't bring our camera but this picture is of the stuffed cabbage from the Sokolowski's website. We also share a gigantic piece of Coconut cake that was to die for. If you are ever in Cleveland this is a gastronomic must!

Friday, July 27, 2007

God Bless America!!

The 4th of July is always a great time to get together with family to celebrate our nations day of Independence. Here is a cake I baked for the occassion. It was delicious. I will say I am not a talented baker or cake decortator but the taste was out of this world!!

Lemon Cake with Buttercream Frosting & Berries

Lemon Cake
1 cup of butter, softened, plus more for greasing pan
3 cups of flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 Tbsp. lemon zest
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. lemon extract
1 cup low fat buttermilk

1) Preheat oven to 325 degrees, and grease & flour a 9 x 13 baking pan
2) Whisk together flour, salt and baking powder in a small bowl and set aside
3)Mix butter, sugar, eggs, zest and vanilla until creamy.
4) Add flour in three additions alternating with the buttermilk in two additions.
5) Bake for approximately 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Grandma's Classic Buttercream
2 Tbsp. Flour
1 cups of milk
1 cup of butter
1 cup of sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

1) In a heavy bottomed sauce pan bring milk and flour to a slow boil and remove from heat. Cool at room temperature completely.
2) Once flour mixture is cooled, combine butter, sugar and vanilla in a mixer until well blended.
3) Add in flour/milk mixture and beat on high for about 10 minutes or until light and fluffy
4) Frost cooled cake and decorate as desired.

Tip: I used a pint of rasberries and 1/2 pint of blueberries. The fruit and lemon cake combination was excellent!! I also doubled the frosting and filled the cake. It was too much frosting...even though it is one of my favorite things.

I'm Back!!

Sharp Henckle Knife + Tina in a Hurry to clean up =

Wow, I can' t believe it has been almost three weeks since I've posted last. I have a ton of updating to do and I will try and get as many new recipes up as I can in the next few days. The last month has been one hectic month. First, I sliced open my hand and required stitches. Then my PC crashed and we had out of town guest for most of the month. So my new PC is here...it is fabulous and I will be blogging regularly on it.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Gnocchi, Noi-Key or Ganacheese

In one of my first telephone conversations with Robert (8 years ago today) I asked him what he had for dinner and he said "Ganacheese". I asked "what is that?" and he said "I thought you were Italian" After a few minutes I realized he was talking about Gnocchi!! So in honor of that phone call, tonight I made a really delicious, very easy and very quick dinner. I didn't make homemade gnocchi but it would be super tasty with fresh.

Gnocchi with Zucchini & Prosciutto

1 lb. fresh gnocchi (I got mine from Ohio City Pasta http://www.ohiocitypasta.com/ )
1/4 lbs. proscuitto, sliced thin and cut into ribbons (I used domestic for this dish)
1 medium onion, diced
2 medium zucchini sliced
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1) In a stock pot bring 6 qt. of water to a boil.
2) In a medium saute pan heat up some olive oil and saute the onion over medium high heat until translucent.
3) Add prosciutto and zucchini and saute for about 5 minutes and reduce to medium heat.
4) Add gnocchi to water and cook until they are floating or approximately 3 minutes.
5) Strain gnocchi from water and add to saute pan and toss with prosciutto and zucchini. Cook for one minute.
6) Top with Parmesan cheese. Serve promptly and hot!

Monday, July 2, 2007

Quick Lasagna for Becky!

My friend Becky asked me for a lasagna recipe and I decided to post it as I was typing it out for her. It is a good quick lasagna (but not fast).

Quick Lasagna
Even though this recipe has a lot of ingredients and steps, it is actually my quick version of lasagna. My Mom's lasagna recipe takes two days to make. I hope you enjoy!

1 lb. Barilla NO COOK lasagna noodles or package of lasagna noodles, par-boiled.
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil or canola oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 lbs. Lean ground beef or turkey
1 tsp. sugar
2 clove garlic, chopped
1 ½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. basil
½ tsp. parsley
½ tsp. garlic powder
Dash of crushed red pepper flakes
28 ½ oz. can tomatoes
6 oz. can tomato paste
Pint of part skim ricotta cheese
2 eggs
2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
½ cup Parmesan or Romano cheese, grated

1) In a heavy bottomed sauce pan over medium heat add olive oil and onion & garlic. Sauté onion until soft.
2) Add meat, oregano, basil, salt and pepper. Cook until meat is browned throughout.
3) Add Tomatoes and tomato paste and one cup of water; turn heat up to medium high.
4) Bring to a boil then turn heat to medium-low and simmer for 1 hour to 1.5 hours, stirring occasionally.
5) In a small bowl combine ricotta cheese, egg, parsley and garlic powder. Whisk thoroughly and refrigerate until you are ready to use.
6) Prepare noodles according to package directions if you are using standard lasagna noodles, otherwise skip this step for the no bake pasta.
7) Spray a 9 x 13 casserole with non-stick cooking spray (like Pam)
8) Ladle a thin layer of sauce on the bottom.
9) Place noodles across the bottom of the pan, it is okay to overlap.
10) Spread 1/3 of the ricotta cheese mixture over the noodle (it doesn’t have to be perfect).
11) Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over top.
12) Cover with meat & sauce (not too much sauce, use a slotted spoon)
13) Repeat noodles, ricotta, Parmesan and meat sauce twice.
14) Finish with a layer of noodles, sauce and then top with the mozzarella cheese.
15) Spray tin foil with cooking spray and cover casserole tightly.
16) Bake at 350 degrees for one hour.
17) Let lasagna rest for 15 minutes before cutting & serving.
18) Serve with extra sauce on the side.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Italian in Akron

Tonight we went to an Italian restaurant in Akron called Papa Joes. Check out their website: http://www.papajoes.com/. It has been around since 1932 and there is a reason for their longevity. It is simply fabulous. The decor isn't trendy and probably could use a little updating but the food is delicious, service excellent and the prices are just right! We had taken a ride to one of our favorite farm markets and Robert said he had passed by a cute restaurant on one of his bike rides nearby and wanted to try it. Surprisingly it was a place I had been to before years ago with my parents. We had just had ice cream cones and still ate a ton. I can't wait to go back and try more!

What we ate:

Zucchini Frette - We shared a huge platter of lightly battered and fried zucchini topped with Parmesan cheese and served with ranch dressing.

Robert had the Penne Marinara with meatballs. It was another huge serving and he ate all of it. It was served with a house salad and dinner rolls. I couldn't believe he ate it all.

I had the stuffed artichoke for my entree, it was an appetizer but I can't pass up artichokes on a menu. It was soo soo good. It appeared to be steamed, trimmed and halved and then stuffed with Italian sausage and breadcrumbs served with a creamy lemon garlic aioli. I also had the Caesar side salad, fresh but no anchovies!

They had a great wine list, but we stuck with water and soda tonight. Total bill $36! You can't beat that..we will definitely be back. We are hoping to invite a few friends with us next time as well.

Frugal Fiesta!!

I fed 14 people a full meal for about $40! Can you believe that? It is true and no, they weren't all ultra skinny girls who eat a tablespoon of food. This was 10 hungry concrete workers and a few Italian women :-) Here is how I did it. I didn't get any pictures because before I even had all the food out they started digging in.

The menu was following:

Ground Turkey Seasoned with taco seasoning* (6 lbs)
Mexican Rice (12 cups)
Black Beans (8 cups)
Soft and Hard taco shells (18 each)
Shredded Lettuce (1 head of iceberg)
Sour Cream (1 pint)
Cheddar Jack Cheese (2 lbs)
Tomatoes (4)
Onions (1/2)
Chips & three kids of salsa: Basic medium tomato salsa, roasted chipotle salsa, Artichoke and lime salsa

*I always make my own taco seasonings as I try and eat a low sodium diet. I found this recipe from Bill Echols on www.allrecipes.com. It is called Taco Seasoning I. I omit the salt all together and think it is great. It saves 2400 mg. of sodium per this entire meal. I generally use 2 Tbsp. of this for 1 lb. of ground turkey.

Taco Seasoning
1 tsp. Chili Powder
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes ( I sometimes use cayenne)
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. paprika
1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. sea salt (optional)
1 tsp. black pepper

Friday, June 29, 2007

Close but no cigar...Pasta

I was trying to re-create a pasta dish from Macaroni Grill called Pasta Milano. It is bowtie pasta with mushrooms, grilled chicken, sun dried tomatoes in a creamy garlic sauce. This is what I came up with and it was good, but not quite the same. I definitely won't cook the sun dried tomatoes next time, the saute made them mellow with no bright bite to them. Also, I think they use white mushrooms and I used criminis which I do love. I definitely need to work on my plating and photography skills.
My brother told me my food all looks mushy and this is another mushy looking photo. I think it is my camera! Seriously, this tasted a lot better than it looks in the picture!

Almost Pasta Milano


1 lb. bowtie pasta
2 Boneless skinless chicken breast, marinated in Italian dressing
1 medium onion, chopped fine
1 pint crimini mushrooms, sliced
6 sun dried tomatoes chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
3 Tbsp. Flour
3 Tbsp. Butter
2 cups of milk
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste


1) Grilled and cut chicken into bite sized pieces
2) Cook pasta according to package directions
3) In a small skillet over medium heat cook onion in olive oil, add mushrooms and sun dried tomatoes when onion is translucent and cook for approximately 3-5 minutes or until mushrooms are cooked through.
4) In a medium sauce pan, over medium heat melt butter, add flour and cook 2-3 minutes.
5) Whisk in milk and cook until sauce will hold on the spoon.
6) Add garlic, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper to taste.
7) Toss all together and grate fresh Parmesan on top.
Tip: If sauce appears to be too thick, you can add some of the cooking water from the pasta to thin out a bit.

Foodie Blog Roll!

I made it to the Foodie Blog Roll. Check it out to the right of this post. There are a ton of great Blogs on there. I was soo excited to see my name up towards the top!! Woo hoo.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Tater Tots aren't just for kids!

Tonight I had my nephews for dinner again. We had so much fun today! I didn't have too much time in the kitchen between golf, going out to lunch, swimming and tennis! I made a quick go-to meal that I knew the boys would like. It is called Tater Tot Casserole. I received this recipe from one of the girls on the http://www.thenest.com/ (FunkyBunny) but I adapted it to suit our family.

Turkey Tater Tot Casserole

1 lb. lean ground turkey
1/2 medium onion chopped fine
1 can cream of chicken soup (I use low sodium)
1 bag frozen mixed veggies
1 bag frozen tater-tots
1 cup shredded cheese (I used cheddar jack)

1) Brown turkey and onion in olive oil until brown through
2) Add the canned soup and heat until well blended
3) Layer the meat/soup mixture in a 9 x 13 casserole dish
4) Spread the vegetable medley over the meat
5) Layer the tater tots in a single layer over the vegetables
6) Sprinkle cheese over the veggies
7) Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes

Tip: The original recipe called for Ground beef (drained) and cream of mushroom soup.

Family Dinner

Tonight I had my two teen nephews stay over. We had so much fun. We had a great meal, played a PS2 game called Sing Star Pop. It is like karaoke but you are scored on musical talent, word recognition and overall performance. It was a riot.

Today's dinner included Mojo Grilled Pork Tenderloin, Roasted Red Skinned Potatoes with rosemary and corn on the cob. I usually don't have two starches in one meal but the corn was too good to pass it up and it was delicious. We also had Brownie Sundaes for Dessert. Decadent but it is Camp Aunt Tina time of year. Aunts are allowed to spoil!

Here is the recipe for the Mojo Grilled Pork Tenderloin


2 lb. trimmed pork tenderloin
1 large onion, peeled and thickly sliced
1 cup of Goya Mojo Chipotle plus more for basting


1. In a zip lock bag combine the tenderloin, onion and 1 cup of Mojo. Seal and let marinate in refrigerator for as little as 15 minutes or up to overnight. The longer it marinates the more Mojo flavor.
2. Grill over medium heat. Cook, turning occasionally and basting with additional Mojo for about 20-30 minutes. Tenderloin is done when they are browned on both sides and reach 160° F. The onion should be nicely browned

The Roasted Red Skinned Potatoes with Rosemary are a household favorite and so easy.

2 lbs red skinned potatoes, cut into bite sized pieces
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 tsp. Season Salt
1 tsp. rosemary sprigs

Toss potatoes, olive oil, season salt and rosemary on a cookie sheet. Bake at 400 Degrees for 20-30 minutes or until potatoes are crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. Turn after about 10 minutes.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Party today!

Today we are heading to my nephew's birthday party. I made some traditional macaroni salad to add to the feast. I can't wait to have a piece of birthday cake!

This is a recipe I picked up in Amish country.

Mrs. Yoders Macaroni Salad

1 lb. elbow macaroni - cooked to package directions and rinsed in cold water.

3 hard boiled eggs, chopped fine

1/2 medium onion grated fine on the cheese grater

1 green bell pepper chopped fine

3 stalks of celery chopped fine

1/2 cup of matchstick carrots

1 cups of miracle whip (I use light)
½ cup of mayonnaise (I use light)

3 Tbsp. dijon mustard

3 Tbsp. white sugar

2 tsp. white vinegar

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

3/4 tsp. celery seed

In a large bowl combine pasta, egg, onion, pepper, and celery.In a small bowl whisk together the miracle whip, mustard, sugar, vinegar, salt, pepper and celery seed until smooth and creamy.Pour over pasta/veggie mixture and chill before serving.

Tip: I usually don't add all the dressing at once...I reserve some for later as the pasta will absorb a lot of the dressing. Also, add some grated cheddar for a different version of this fabulous salad.

Carribean Night Not So Hot!

So Robert and I do not go out to eat a lot and we rarely go to chain restaurants but tonight we decided to try Bahama Breeze http://www.bahamabreeze.com/. It was okay, nothing special. Not bad for a chain but also missing something. I had the Tortilla soup which was excellent and included chunks of chicken, tomato, potato and avacado. For an entree I had the Grilled Chicken Kabobs. Robert had Conch Chowder and Jerk Chicken dinner with mashed sweet potatoes. I probably wouldn't go there again soon but I would try it again someday. The place had a nice atmosphere but for a $60 meal (we also each had one cocktail) I would have rather gone to a family owned place in Little Italy or PF Changs for a chain.

I guess I would give Bahama Breeze a B-

Saturday, June 23, 2007

First Entry

Suki is 5 years old and Koko is just over a year old.

Hello, and welcome to my blog. I sure hope there is spell check. If not, you will have to suffer through my terrible spelling skills. I just thought it would be fun to keep an open record of my life and times. Basically this blog will probably be pretty boring...but it should have some good recipes, great pug pictures and an occassional home project or two.