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.