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.

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.