Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry Crimbo!

lol...."Crimbo" is a totally new word for me and I love saying it! It would appear that my friends in the UK frequently use this word in loo (pun intended) of Christmas and that is how I heard of it. My husband and I are using the word "crimbo" left and right! Our dogs new nickname, for instance, is Crimbo!!! Its driving the kids crazy, they hate it!

This Crimbo, Santa gave to me:
  • Jo Malone Perfume Sampler :) & Jo Malone Nectarine Honey Blossom Perfume (Yay!!!)
  • Kate Spade Mint Julep Cocktail Ring (lovelovelovelove)
  • Turquoise & Bead Earrings, Bracelets, & Slippers from the Kids :)
  • Neon (pale) Orange Denim Jeans from JCrew :)
  • Orange Mohair/Wool/Lambswool Sweater from JCrew :)
  • Orange & White striped Shirt from JCrew :)
  • Orange Eyelet Skirt w/Beige Organza lining from Anthropologie :)
  • Lime Green Top with Flower cut-outs from Anthropologie (has a snag; exchange)
  • Emerald Green Knit Dress from Anthropologie (lovelovelovelove)
  • White w/Black Trim Ellie Tahari Sleeveless Blouse (lovelovelove)
  • Espresso & Cream striped Sweater from Nordstrom :)
  • Pink Kitty Cat Pajamas :)

I cooked all friggin day today!! As soon as the presents were all opened and put away, I started on the gr. beef/sausage for the lasagne. I made the sauce yesterday (it turned out really good), so today I assembled the lasagne for tomorrow's "S-----" Family Christmas" which is at our house this year, plus I did the garlic/cheese bread, & artichoke/jalapeno dip. All I have to do tomorrow (today) is put everything in the oven. Oh, yea, that....and CLEAN HOUSE!!! UGH!!! As if I've done nothing BUT!! Oh, Tuesday, where art thou? Ok, yes, I've had some champagne. So, shoot me. I deserve it. Its been a crazy/hectic/stressful holiday season and I'm DONE!! Having said that, I did have a really wonderful Crimbo and I'm truly blessed, grateful, thankful, etc!! My girls are amazing and they loved their gifts and were really helpful to me today! My husband was a rock star today and I'm so appreciative of all the things he helped me with and I love all the gifts he showered me with! I'm so lucky. I don't even think I deserve half of it.

I had a chance to talk to my dad, my brother, & my "surrogate" mother, "C" tonight. I've sent & received many text messages from friends/family tonight. Things are good. <3 Tomorrow is Christmas #2.....Sigh. Wake me up when its over!!

Merry Crimbo!

PS Our Jacuzzi had a almost 1 inch thick layer of ice across the perimeter of it this morning!! So cool!!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

I Do Love Me a Cheese Platter!!

Say "Cheese"! Bleu cheese, Gruyere, Proscuitto, White Cheddar, Chianti Salami, Garlic Marinated Mushrooms, Pappadew Piquante Sweet Peppers, & Green Olives.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Butterscotch Marble Bundt Cake

For Sally

1 package 2-layer -size yellow cake mix
1 4-serving-size package instant butterscotch pudding mix
1/4 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1 cup water
1/2 cup chocolate-flavored syrup
Chocolate Icing*

Grease and lightly flour a 10 inch fluted tube pa (bundt). In a large mixer bowl combine cake mix, pudding mix, oil, eggs & water. Beat at low speed of electric mixer till combined, then at medium speed for 2 minutes. Reserve 1 1/2 cups of batter. Turn remaining batter into pan. Stir together reserved batter and the chocolate syrup. Pour chocolate mixture atop butterscotch batter. Swirl with a metal spatula or spoon to marble. Bake at 350 about 60 minutes or till done. Cool 15 minutes on a wire rack. Invert onto rack; remove pan. Cool. Glaze with Chocolate Icing. (I just used a high quality chocolate fudge sauce this time). Enjoy!

*Chocolate Icing:
4 oz chocolate chips
3 T. butter
1 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar

In a small saucepan melt together chocolate and butter over low heat. Remove from heat; stir in powdered sugar and 3 T hot water. Add more hot water, if needed, to make of pouring consistency. Spoon over cake.

This recipe is from my ancient copy of the Better Homes and Gardens "New Cook Book" that I've been using since I was in high school. Its tattered and has loose pages, but its served me well and I use it all the time. My mom, rest her soul,  had an even older, worn copy of it that I am hoping my dad will give to me someday!!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Happy Birthday, Bella!

It feels so heartwarming that my daughter wanted a home cooked meal for her 14th birthday! As she requested, I made pigs in a blanket, corned beef & cabbage, & a butterscotch marble bundt cake for her tonight.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sunday Family Dinner

It is rare that I "allow" my husband to cook, but tonight he smoked a beautiful brisket. I made some delicious cole slaw and for the first time ever, Boston baked beans from scratch.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Avatar's Punjabi Burritos

We decided to check out the new Avatar's Punjabi Burrito in Larkspur today. The Jerk Chicken Burrito and the Rock Shrimp with Chutney was different, yet delicious!

Thursday, November 10, 2011


After a long 10 days of being in and out of the hospital, we unexpectedly had to put our dog to sleep last night. I miss her so much and I'm just too sad to even think about food, cooking, or blogging.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I'm taking a food blogging/cookbook writing class!

My first homework assignment is to write 5 blog posts with only 2 sentences each. I'm having a serious case of writers block.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Zürsun Idaho Heirloom Red Chief Lentil Soup w/Grilled Cheddar & Jack Sandwich

I bought these red chief lentils a few weeks ago and have been dying to try the recipe on the back of the bag. I love this soup! Its sooooo good. Not too spicy, easy to make, and filling. I served it with some grilled jack and cheddar on whole grain bread. A perfect cold, Fall dinner! 


1 cup red chief lentils
3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 sweet yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. tomato paste
2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp. chili powder, or more to taste
salt & pepper
1 quart chicken broth
1 large carrot, diced
14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes
juice of 1 lemon ( I didn't use lemon in mine)

Sort and rinse lentils i cool water. In large soup pot on medium heat, saute' the onions and garlice with the olive oil for 3 minutes. Add tomato paste, cumin, salt, pepper, and chili powder and saute 2 minutes longer. Add broth, 1.5 cups water, lentils, carrots, and tomatoes. Bring to a simmer, partially cover, and turn heat to medium-low. Simmer until lentils are soft, about 30-40 minutes, Taste and add salt as needed. Add lemon juice and serve. Top with a drizzle of olive oil. Garnish with Parmesan cheese, if desired. Enjoy! :)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

My first catering gig!

My tennis friend, M.O.G., is having a CAbi party next week and she wants me to cater it! :) I have a pretty small budget to work with, but I think I can swing it! I've never really been interested in having a catering business before, but this could be fun. I certainly wouldn't mind doing the occasional small party or even a small dinner party, once in awhile. So, we'll see how this goes. I have a few great ideas. Now I just need to go shopping for some new serving dishes, etc. I want everything to look really nice. I'll be sure to post pictures!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Cowgirl Yoga in Montana

*photo courtesy of Larry Stanley

You know the song "I left my heart in San Francisco"? Well, I left my heart in Montana! (And I LIVE in San Francisco! ;) I came across Margarets Cowgirl Yoga blog about 3 years ago. I think I've been stalking her pretty much since the beginning of her blog! ;) From the first time I had read the words "Cowgirl Yoga", I've been fascinated by the thought of one day being able to attend a retreat in Montana. What a genius idea this is!! Yoga? Horseback riding? Yes, please!! So, I slowly planted the seed in my husbands head that this was something that I really, really wanted to do someday! Well, last month my dream came true and I was finally able to attend the Luxe Cowgirl Yoga retreat!!

I booked the trip about 6 months in advance and was very eagerly awaiting its arrival. I had many questions about various incidentals and Margaret was extremely helpful and patient with me and my numerous emails over the months. I was able to plan my trip perfectly and had done very thorough research on Bozeman and the surrounding area.

I flew in a day early to get myself acclimated. As suggested, I decided to stay in the cool little town of Livingston and at a funky hotel called The Murray. But my first stop after my flight landed was to do a little shopping in Bozeman since I had a few hours to kill before being able to check in. What a gorgeous drive it was! I instantly fell in love with Montana! House hunting definitely occurred to me. ;) When I arrived at the hotel, I was very eager to get into my room. On the elevator I saw a women with about as much luggage as I had, so out of curiosity, I said "Cowgirl Yoga"? Long story short, we went to dinner together and really hit it off. Turns out Lynnette was to be my suite mate and the person with whom I would share the bathroom with!! Everyone thought we came together, but we had just met the night before. We are instant friends.

When I arrived on the ranch (after another gorgeous drive!!), I met Margaret and she was just as adorable and enchanting as I had imagined her to be in person. And she is drop dead gorgeous with the the cutest figure! I was eager to begin my retreat. My room in the Ranch House was really comfortable and I settled in very quickly. I have done a little yoga in my lifetime before, but never has anyone taken the time to actually explain the poses, their names & meanings, and demonstrate them in such detail. I learned so much from this retreat. I have to admit, I came for the horses. But I left with a deep love for yoga. I was skeptical that I would be able to relax during Savasana & meditation, but I found my own techniques using my inner dialogue. My mind is forever going over my To-Do list. I started to realize that I was in Montana at the absolutely gorgeous Double T Ranch, in an amazing restored barn/yoga studio with some pretty amazing women and I didn't have to do anything! I was there to learn and absorb. I ticked off my reverse To-Do list in my head: I don't have to pick the kids up from school, I don't have to plan and make dinner (even though I love doing that!), I don't have to clean house, I don't have to feed the dogs, I don't have anything but be here in the present moment! A definite "Aha Moment"!

I was beyond excited about meeting the horses and releasing my inner cowgirl. Yes, I'm a wannabe cowgirl, I admit it. And I have a lot of cowgirl boots to prove it. If there was an award for who packed the most boots, I'd have won it! I learned proper horseback riding technique from Janice & Ron. They are such a wonderful couple. So friendly & dedicated, but also firm. I will never forget them and their generosity. I got to observe the horses, brush them, and breathe in their musky scent, the dirt, & hay. Riding Tango & RC was a sheer pleasure. I miss my handsome men!

I very quickly got used to being served the most amazing meals at breakfast, lunch and dinner by Kate. Everything was healthy and delicious. I was so impressed with the local ingredients that she insists on using. That is very important to me in my own cooking. Kate inspired me to really try to dig deep within and pursue whatever it is that I'm trying to achieve with this blog and my love of cooking. My intention is to get more people cooking home-prepared meals and learn to love the art of it. For me, cooking is enjoyable therapy. I can tell Kate feels the same.

Cowgirl Yoga was literally the best experience of my life so far. It fulfilled my heart, soul, and body. Between the fabulous people, the breathtaking scenery, the yoga, horses, and food.....I'd say this retreat has to offer what every Cowgirl Yogini is looking for. Lynnette and I are going to reunite at Luxe Cowgirl Yoga again next year and I cannot wait to get back to Montana!!

YeeHaw and Namaste!!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Roasted Garlic with olive oil and thyme

Oh Em Gee, this is the easiest thing to prepare ever, and its so friggin' delicious! All you do is peel the outer papers off several bulbs of garlic, drizzle lots of extra virgin olive oil over the top, add some good kosher salt, pepper, thyme, a cup or two of chicken stock...then bake it for about an hour in a 350 degree oven. Baste a few times and boom! Just squeeze it on your bread or eat it all alone. So delicious! Enjoy! xoxo

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Skirt Steak with Chimichurri and Raosted Tomatoes

Saw this on RR the other day, but I made changes in the Chimichurri sauce. It turned out really good, and the tomatoes on the Ciabatta were delicious!

1 pound skirt steak
6 large tomatoes, cut in half & cored
6 cloves of garlic
olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
bunch of cilantro
bunch of basil
bunch of sage
salt & pepper
ciabatta rolls, sliced in half and toasted or grilled

Place the tomatoes cut side down in a casserole dish. Put 5 of the cloves of garlic, skin intact, in with the tomatoes. Drizzle some olive oil, salt & pepper and toss. Bake at 500 for 30 minutes or until the tomatoes are soft and starting to brown.

For the chimichurri sauce, blend together the lemon juice, 1/2 cup olive oil, garlic, the herbs, salt & pepper. Drizzle some of the sauce over the steak and let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. Reserve the rest of the sauce to garnish the steak.

Cook the steak on a grill about 4 minutes per side, or until preferred temp. Let it rest for 10 minutes. Take the roasted garlic and spread on the toasted rolls. Smash some of the tomatoes on top of the garlicky rolls and enjoy! You can eat it as a sandwich or open faced, like I did.

This was really, really good!!! :)


Everyone else we know has gone on vacation and is already starting school! But we are just now going on our summer vacation. Tomorrow! Well, practically tonight, since we have to get up at 2am and leave for the airport by 3:30am! Might as well pull an all-nighter, right? Dread.

I am not a good vacationer. I am one of those weirdo's that just can't relax when away. I worry about my pets. The dogs, mainly. I love my dogs like they are my children, and they love me unconditionally! Hayley & Madison are super attached to me and get separation anxiety! I feel sorry for them being left home all alone with no hugs & kisses! I keep telling myself that the main thing is that they are safe and (hopefully!!!!) healthy! Our longtime friend, Jeff, is going to pop in and check on them, feed, & walk them every night after work and hopefully even twice on the weekend. They will be fine. We've gone on vacation before and everyone has survived. Well, I take that back. :( Sydney got really sick and died in 2004 when we were in Newport Beach. :( So sad. I will never forgive myself for not being there with her!! But it all happened so fast that there was no time for me to fly back home. I was just looking into flights when the emergency vet called. I miss Sydney. Then there was the time that poor Chuckie had to have emergency surgery on his ear and wear a cone the whole time we were gone in Hawaii. My poor friend had to deal with all that, but he was fine. However, now he's really old and senile and I do worry that he's going to crawl off in to a corner and never wake up while we are gone. The other cats will be fine and I'm not too worried. They will miss us, and I will miss them.

So, we are going to Atlantis in the Bahamas! I got my very first passport! I've always thought Atlantis looked pretty cool, especially for little kids. But my kids are 13 & 19 and I'm sure they will still have an amazing time. This trip is costing us a small fortune and I've been having anxiety attacks about all the money we will be spending! Yikes. Not terribly happy with my current weight, either. But it won't be my fattest vacation....and it won't be my thinnest. Just somewhere in between. Who cares? I won't know anybody there. Thats what I keep telling myself, but on the inside I'm just not comfortable with my body. All the running, walking, tennis, yoga, weights, etc I've been doing wasn't enough. I make it sound more brutal than it actually is! lol I've played tennis & done yoga once in the past month. But I've been walking, running, riding my exercise bike, and doing weights and a few situps. Trying to eat right. I've managed to lose about 5 pounds. I was hoping for 10. I will continue the fight, even while on vacation. I have my trip to Montana coming up in just over a month, and then my birthday trip to Napa in 2 months. I just want to look good in my jeans for those trips! :)

We have a long day of travel tomorrow. 12 hours to be exact. Get up at 2am, say our sad goodbyes to the pets, leave at 3:30, flight leaves at 6am, arrives in Miami 2:40 their time (11:40 here). Then we have a 3 hour layover and finally arrive in Nassau at 6:40. At least that one is a short flight. I hate to fly! See? Bad vacationer! Ugh.

I am really just looking forward to getting there, taking a shower, eat, and sleep! Saturday night my husband splurged on front row tickets for us to see Jimmy Fallon live! Apparently he's doing a comedy show at Atlantis! So excited. Other than that, I will be laying out by the pool, working out every morning, eating and drinking like a queen! And I will be missing my dogs & cats every single minute of every single day and dreaming of going home.

I don't usually like to write so much personal stuff on this blog, but I don't think anyone reads this anyway. I'm hoping to rejuvenate my blog in upcoming months. Give it a makeover and post more often. But for today, I just needed to get my stress out on "paper". I feel better, but nervous about who might see this. Well, I better get busy and clean the house (why? I don't know...cuz I'm weird) and finish packing. I've started compiling stuff, but I still have to decide what makes the cut. I bought new, bigger suitcases but I'm not sure if I will use them...I want to try to pack light. I tend to over pack. Too much is better than not enough!

Til next time: Cheers!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Ravioli w/ Spicy Brown Butter Sage Sauce

I saw this on Giada's show yesterday while I was riding my exercise bike. Trying to do some last minute damage control before our vacation in a couple of days! This recipe is so easy to make! Especially if you use store bought ravioli, like I did.


1/2 stick butter, room temperature
16 fresh sage leaves, chopped
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 t paprika
3/4 t crushed red pepper (more or less)
Kosher salt to taste

While your ravioli is boiling, melt the butter on med heat until melted. Add the sage, paprika, cheese, paprika, red pepper, & salt. Simmer until its slightly bubbling, 2 or 3 minutes. Drain your ravioli and put into a bowl. Add the sauce and toss lightly. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Salisbury Steak

Going Retro! Salisbury Steak w/Mashed Potatoes, Onion/ Mushroom Gravy, & Green Beans with a Grapefruit/Sriracha Vinaigrette.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Cheese Omelette

Bella requested a cheese omelet for lunch today. I like to spell it "omelette". :) Turned out so pretty that I wanted to share. Much prettier than the spinach & mushroom scramble that I made for myself!

Why are the pics not working? :(

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Spicy Artichoke Dip

I took this to my tennis party a couple weeks ago and everyone loved it! So, I made it again for my husband, Corey, but this time I used hot jalapenos. This dip is soooo good!

Spicy Artichoke Dip


1 cup light mayo
8 oz 1/3 reduced fat cream cheese, softened
6 oz marinated artichoke hearts, chopped
2 oz diced green chiles (Ortega)
6 oz can diced jalapenos (Ortega)
1.5 cups Parmesan cheese
1 oz sliced jarred jalapenos (La Victoria)


Mix the first 5 ingredients in a bowl with 1 cup of the Parmesan cheese. Turn into a baking dish. Garnish the top with the sliced jalapenos and the remaining Parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, then broil for 5 minutes until brown and bubbly. Serve with your choice of tortilla chips, sliced baguette, crackers, or veggies. Enjoy!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Bistecca alla Fiorentina (Tuscan Porterhouse)

Tuscan Porterhouse with Arugula and Cannellini Beans

Bistecca alla Fiorentina with Arugula & Cannellini Beans(serves 4)


4 Porterhouse steaks

8 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish

4 sprigs of rosemary, plus more for garnish

Fleur de sel & freshly cracked pepper, to taste


8 oz dried Cannellini beans


Herb infused olive oil

Pecorino cheese


Rinse and pat dry the steaks; season with sea salt & pepper. Put steaks in large Ziplock bags or a glass dish and drizzle with the olive oil. Rub in the garlic, toss in the rosemary sprigs, cover and let marinate in the refrigerator at least 2 hours, or up to 12. Set out on counter for 30 to 60 minutes to bring to room temperature before grilling. Grill or broil 5 to 10 minutes per side until a brown, golden crust forms, depending on thickness of steak and preferred temperature. Garnish with rosemary sprigs ( I make sure I grill mine with the rosemary still stuck to the steaks to give it a charred look for the garnish) and serve over dressed *arugula and a side of **Cannellini beans.

*I like to use arugula, but you can use whatever greens you want: spinach, mache, etc. Toss the greens with a drizzle of olive oil and juice from half a lemon, salt & pepper (or you can use a flavored vinegar such as grapefruit or champagne, instead of the lemon juice).

**Soak Cannellini beans in water 4-6 hours, or overnight. Rinse, cover with fresh water, a drizzle of olive oil and bring to a boil. Simmer on low anywhere from an hour to 3 hours, adding more water if needed, until the beans are soft. When the beans are soft and most of the water has evaporated, then you can add sea salt and a little pepper. Garnish with a nice green olive oil, such as parsley or basil, and a lite sprinkling of grated Pecorino cheese.

Note: I only had Parmesan on hand, and it didn't melt like I wanted it to for the picture....and I didn't have any infused olive oil, so you'll have to visualize it. Asparagus is optional and only there because Corey isn't eating "carbs" these days, so he needed two vegetables.


Monday, May 2, 2011

My 100th post!

Trio of lettuce cups with bbq chicken, white beans, red bell pepper, cilantro, sweet & sour chile sauce, & Sriracha.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Spicy Deviled Eggs

Spicy Deviled Eggs by Michael Symon: Mash 6 hard boiled egg yolks, 1/3 c. creme fraiche, 1/4 c. crumbled bacon, 1 t. Sriracha, 1 T. chopped cilantro, 1/ t. dijon mustard, 1/4 t. lime zest, 1 t. lime juice, and salt. Spoon into the egg whites; top with more lime zest.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Steak Salad

Steak Salad
(this was really, really good!)

1 lb Hanger steak
1 cup Soy Vay Veri Teriyaki marinade
lettuce ( I used butter & romaine; you can use whatever you like)
shredded carrots
sliced mushrooms
sliced red onion,
sliced avocado
diced bell peppers (any color, but I like orange, red, or yellow)
crumbled bleu cheese
balsamic vinaigrette (see recipe below, or you can use bottled...or whatever dressing you like!)

Put the steak in a zip lock bag and pour the marinade over it. Marinate for at least 30 minutes, and up to 4-6 hours. Preheat broiler, then broil for about 10 minutes per side, depending on how you like your meat done. Wrap it in foil to rest and cool off while you do cut your veggies. I put it in the fridge for about 15 minutes. Slice the steak.

Put the lettuce in individual salad bowls, add the veggies, the steak, the bleu cheese crumbles, and drizzle the vinaigrette over the top. Enjoy!

Balsamic Vinaigrette:
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar (you could use red wine vinegar if you want)
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons Italian dressing seasoning (recipe below) or a packet of Good Seasons mix

Put ingredients in a cruet and shake it well. Chill.

Italian Dressing Seasoning Mix:
  • 1 tablespoon garlic salt
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery salt
  • 2 tablespoons salt
Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl. Store in a glass spice jar.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Blueberry Oatmeal Bars

Blueberry Oatmeal Bars (with Spinach!)
From Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld:

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 1/4 c all-purpose flour (I used whole wheat)
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 1/4 t baking powder
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1 t pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 c Balance trans-fat-free soft tub margarine spread, chilled (I used butter)
  • 1 cup low-sugar blueberry preserves (I used regular organic preserves)
  • 1/2 cup spinach puree*
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Coat an 8x8 inch baking pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the oats, flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, & vanilla, and stir to mix well.
  3. Add the margarine and cut it quickly into the dry ingredients with two knives until the mixture resembles coarse meal and is no longer powdery. Do not overmix-bits of margarine will still be visible.
  4. Set aside about half of the oat mixture; press the rest of it firmly into the pan. Bake until lightly browned at the edges (but not fully baked). 13 to 15 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, mix the preserves with the spinach puree in a small bowl.
  6. Spread the blueberry mixture over the partially baked oat layer, then sprinkle with the reserved oat mixture. Bake until the topping is slightly browned, 20 to 25 minutes. Set the pan on a rack to cool completely before cutting into 12 bars.
*Spinach puree:
Prep: No prep at all for baby spinach. For mature spinach, fold leaves in half lengthwise witht he stem outside, then strip the stem off the leaf.
Cook: Steam for 30 to 40 seconds, or cook in a skillet with 1 T water for about 90 seconds, or just until wilted. (I steamed mine in the microwave for 2 minutes in a covered glass dish).
Puree: In a food processor or blender for about 2 minutes until smooth and creamy.

The kids loved these. The first time I made them they knew I used a secret ingredient but didn't want to know what it was. This time, they knew what it was and didn't care. What a great way to get some iron & greens into a healthy snack!!!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Chicken Pot Pie


Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust (should sit out for 15 minutes)

1 large potato, peeled & diced

4 carrots, finely diced

2 celery stalks, finely diced

1 small yellow onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 TBSP butter

1 -14 oz can reduced sodium chicken broth

2 TBSP all-purpose flour

1/2 cup milk

2 cups cubed cooked chicken

1/2 cup frozen peas

1/2 cup frozen corn

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp dried tarragon

1/2 tsp pepper


1. In a large saucepan, saute potatoes, carrots, celery, onion, and garlic in butter for about 5 or 6 minutes. Add broth, cover and cook until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.

2. In a small bowl, combine flour and milk until smooth. Gradually add to vegetable mixture. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Add the remaining ingredients; simmer 5 minutes longer.

3. Fit crust onto a pie tin. Pour hot filling into crust. Place the second crust on top; crimp edges. Cut slits in top of crust.

4. Bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes or until crust is light golden brown. Serves 6.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

"Chile Verde" Chili

Typically, Chile Verde doesn't have beans, but I was shooting more for a chili with pork & green sauce. However, the red bowl kind of threw off the color, so it doesn't look as green as it should. Also, I added a can of stewed tomatoes, when I probably should have used 2 jars of salsa verde instead. Oh well. The bottom line is that it was delicious!!!

Chile Verde Chili

2-3 pound pork loin roast, cut into 2 inch cubes
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
4 T extra virgin olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 large shallot, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 Anaheim chili pepper, diced
1 can stewed tomatoes
1 large jar of salsa verde (I used Herdez brand)
32 oz chicken stock
1 t each: oregano, cumin seed, ground cumin
1 bay leaf
salt & pepper
2 cans pinto beans, mostly drained, but keep a little bit of the liquid

Put the flour and some salt and pepper in a large ziplock bag. Add the pork, zip up the bag, and give it a good shake to coat the cubes. Heat 2 T of the olive oil in a large skillet and brown the pork for about 3 minutes on both sides, in batches. Set aside.

In a large pot, heat the remaining 2 T olive oil and saute the fresh vegetables until softened, about 8 minutes or so. Add the spices and cook for a minute. Add the stewed tomatoes, salsa verde, & chicken stock. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the pork and simmer for an hour. Check your spices; I always add a little more cumin. Now add the beans with a little bit of the liquid and simmer very gently for 15-20 minutes.

Garnish with diced onions, cilantro, jalapeno, & white cheddar cheese. Serves 4.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Chinese Chicken Salad

I broke my Italian theme last night and made a Chinese Chicken Salad. I felt like something lighter after all the heavy pasta dishes I've been making. (And I wonder why I can't lose the last 10 out of 15 pounds I've gained this winter! ;) Anyway, my 13 year old wanted nothing to do with this salad, but my husband and I enjoyed it. My inspiration was the bottle of Toasted Sesame dressing I bought last week. Its made by one of my all time favorite food companies: Soy Vay. I use their Veri Veri Teriyaki all the time as a marinade. Its sublime!!

Chinese Chicken Salad


2 boneless skinless organic chicken breasts
1/2 cup Soy Vay Veri Veri Teriyaki sauce
2 cups chopped napa cabbage
2 cups chopped romaine lettuce
1 carrot, shredded
1 handful of micro greens (cuz I had them)
1/4 cup slivered almonds
Soy Vay Toasted Sesame Dressing (& marinade)
Cilantro, for garnish


Marinate the chicken in the teriyaki sauce for at least half an hour. Preheat the oven to 350 and bake the chicken on a foil lined cookie sheet for 20 minutes. Set aside to cool, then slice.

Toss the vegetables (Feel free to use any veggies that you have on hand! Bell peppers would make a nice addition!) and the almonds with the dressing. Divide into two salad bowls. Add the chicken slices, a few more almonds, and the cilantro for garnish. Serves 2 with leftovers. Enjoy!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Cheese Ravioli w/ Peas & Prosciutto

Cheese Ravioli with Peas & Prosciutto

(Adapted from the Food Network magazine)


1 lb cheese ravioli
4 oz chopped prosciutto
2 T extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, sliced
1 T tomato paste
1 cup reserved pasta water from ravioli
1/4 c half & half
1 c frozen peas
chopped parsley
Parmesan cheese


Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add ravioli and cook for about 8 or 9 minutes until done. Reserve one cup of the water, set aside. Right before you drain the pasta, add the frozen peas and stir until slightly blanched. Drain, set aside.

Meanwhile, saute the prosciutto in the olive oil for about 5 minutes, until crisp. Stir in the garlic & tomato paste and cook for about a minute. Add the water from the pasta and simmer for about 4 minutes, or until it has reduced by half. Remove from heat and stir in the half and half. Toss the sauce with the ravioli & peas, garnish with parsley & grated Parmesan cheese.


Thursday, March 3, 2011

Cajun Jambalaya

(This recipe was adapted from a recipe that was featured in Bon Appetit's March Issue. This makes a lot...theres 3 of us and we had a ton of leftovers, so you might want to cut it in half. I will definitely cut it in half next time!)

Cajun Jambalaya


  • 12 ounces bacon, diced
  • 4 smoked sausages, halved lengthwise, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick semi-circles
  • 4 andouille sausages, quartered lengthwise, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/2 smoked ham, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 large celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, coarsely chopped
  • 3 skinless boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1- to 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon (or more) cayenne pepper
  • 3 10-ounce cans diced tomatoes and green chiles
  • 2 1/2 cups beef broth
  • 3 cups (19 to 20 ounces) long-grain white rice ( I used brown rice, so it had to cook longer)
  • 8 green onions, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • Chopped fresh Italian parsley


  • Position rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 350°F. Cook bacon in very large pot over medium-high heat until brown but not yet crisp, stirring often, 8 to 10 minutes. Add smoked sausage, andouille, and ham. Sauté until meats start to brown, about 10 minutes. Add onions, celery, and bell peppers. Cook until vegetables begin to soften, stirring occasionally, 10 to 12 minutes. Mix in chicken. Cook until outside of chicken turns white, stirring often, 5 to 6 minutes. Mix in paprika, thyme, chili powder, and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne. Cook 1 minute. Add diced tomatoes with chiles and broth; stir to blend well. Add more cayenne, if desired. Mix in rice.
  • Bring jambalaya to boil. Cover pot. Place in oven and bake until rice is tender and liquids are absorbed, 45 to 48 minutes. Uncover pot. Mix chopped green onions into jambalaya; sprinkle jambalaya with chopped parsley and serve. Garnish with Crystal hot sauce, if desired.

Baked Ziti with hot Italian sausage & zucchini

This recipe was adapted from the Mix & Match Baked Pasta article featured in the March issue of the Food Network magazine:

Baked Ziti with Hot Italian Sausage & Sauteed Zucchini

1 lb penne pasta
1 lb hot Italian sausage, cooked & crumbled
Extra virgin olive oil
4 zucchini, sliced and sauteed
4 cloves of garlic, sliced
pinch of red pepper flakes
3 cans of diced tomatoes
1 cup water
4 sprigs of basil
1 15 oz container of ricotta
3 cups shredded mozzarella or asiago cheese
1 cup grated Pecorino or Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 450. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil; cook 1 pound of pasta until very al dente, 3 minutes less than the label directs; drain. Drizzle with a tiny bit of olive oil to prevent sticking.

Saute your zucchini in olive oil and set aside. Cook your sausage, drain, set aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and a pinch of red pepper flakes; cook until the garlic is golden, just a few minutes. Add the diced tomatoes & water into the skillet. Add the basil; simmer, uncovered, until the sauce is thickened, about 20-25 minutes. Discard the basil; season the sauce with salt. (you could also just use 4 cups prepared sauce and skip this step.

Toss the ricotta, zucchini, & sausage into the sauce and stir until the ricotta has incorporated itself into the sauce. Toss the cooked pasta and half of each cheese into the sauce. Turn the mixture into a greased casserole dish and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake, uncovered, until browned, about 20-25 minutes. Let rest for 15 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Cuban Sandwiches

I love Cuban sandwiches! They are super easy, especially if you use leftover roasted pork! All you need is some rolls, dijon mustard, pickles, ham, & shredded or sliced pork. Some people use turkey, too. I discovered this awesome Asian chili sauce by Franks the other day. I mix it with some Sriracha sauce and serve it with the Cuban. Yum.
I've been spending a lot of time on my blog lately, and its affecting my waistline! I've packed on a few pounds, so its time for me to start doing something about that. I will still be cooking great food, but trying to cut out some calories here and there, and getting off my butt and exercising more. Today I walked 2.5 miles and I'm about to go play tennis for 90 minutes with my team. Its February and I feel like I'm that much closer to Spring & Summer, so I feel a lot more motivated to get outside and work out. I always feel better when I've been working out.

Happy February!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Pork Chile Verde

Is Pork Chile Verde a bit redundant? Because it does go without saying that there is pork in Chile Verde, right? I couldn't find a recipe that worked for me, so I made it up myself. I bought a 7 pounds pork shoulder and wanted to roast it and save half for another use. Basically, I just rubbed the roast with garlic, squeezed a grapefruit and an orange over it, drizzled some olive oil, and sprinkled it with a teaspoon each of onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder, paprika, & oregano. Cover the roast with foil and cook on 350 for about 4 hours. Set half of it aside for another use (tamales, carnitas, Cuban sandwiches, etc), and shred the rest for the Chile Verde.

Now for the sauce.

1 large sweet yellow onion, diced
1 each: red, yellow, & orange bell pepper, diced
1 teaspoon each: ground cumin & cumin seed
salt & pepper to taste
32 ounces chicken stock
10 tomatillos, hulled, and quartered
2 bunches cilantro, plus a handful chopped for garnish
3 1/2 to 4 pounds of cooked pork, shredded or in chunks. (see above)

Using a large Dutch Oven or sauce pan, saute the onions & bell peppers in oil (I used corn cuz I am low on olive oil) until soft, about 10 minutes. Add the cumin, cumin seed, salt, & pepper and give it stir. Add the chicken stock and the tomatillos and bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer for 30 minutes. Add the cilantro and very carefully blend the ingredients with an emulsion blender, being careful not to splash yourself with the hot liquid. If you don't have an emulsion blender, run out right now and get one or order on Amazon asap! In the meantime, you could use your regular blender and then return the sauce to the pan. Simmer for another 30 minutes. Add the shredded pork and simmer for at least 15 minutes, but longer is ok. If it gets too thick, you can thin it down with more chicken stock or water. Check for salt & pepper before serving.

Serve with corn tortillas and these suggested garnishes: sour cream, cilantro, diced onions, avocado, pickled jalapenos & pinto beans. You can eat it as a stew or in tacos. Enjoy!!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Garlicy Chicken & Roasted Cauliflower

1) Put boneless skinless chicken breasts in a Ziplock bag. Pour evoo over chicken, add tons of minced garlic, and some salt & pepper. Marinate for an hour or two. Broil for 10 minutes per side.

2) In a casserole dish, add cauliflower, diced... shallots, salt, pepper, and a generous drizzle of evoo. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until done.


Friday, January 21, 2011


I love meatballs! I had some ground beef and some sausage that I needed to use before going away this weekend. We're moving my daughter into the dorms in So. Cal. tomorrow! I'm going to miss my baby so much!! I'm trying to keep it together until after I say goodbye....then I know I'm going to start bawling! :(

Anyway, these meatballs are a little too brown, but they turned out soooooo good.

1 pound lean ground beef
1 pound Jimmy Dean breakfast sausage (in the tube)
2 t. sea salt
1 t. black pepper
4 basil leaves, finely chopped
1 shallot, diced
4 scallions, sliced (not the green tops)
1/4 cup bread crumbs
4 slices of white bread, crusts trimmed off, cubed
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 egg, slightly beaten
Canola or vegetable oil
Olive Oil

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Using your hands (yuk, I know...and don't forget to de-bling!), mix very well. Form about 14-16 golf ball sized meatballs. Heat equal amounts canola & olive oil in a frying pan, about 1/4 inch deep. Cook the meatballs in two batches on medium, about 5 minutes per side, or until done in the middle. Drain on paper towels. Enjoy!

I served mine with tortellini & red sauce, but if I had rolls, I'd have made meatball sandwiches! Yum!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

CrockPot Chicken Enchilada Chili


  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 large can of red enchilada sauce
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 T cilantro, chopped
  • 1 chipotle chile in adobo
  • 2 cans of pinto beans, rinsed
  • 8 oz Velveeta


Place the first 5 ingredients in the crockpot and cook for 7-9 hours on low for defrosted chicken, or 4-6 hours on high for frozen, until the chicken can be shredded with a fork. Add the beans and Velveeta, cook on low for one more hour. Serve over rice, if desired, and garnish with tortilla chips & cilantro.

Grilled Rib Eye Steaks with a Pomegranate Glaze, served over a Bed of Arugula, & Roasted Golden Beets & Garlic



Put the beets & garlic cloves in a small baking dish. Season with salt & pepper, drizzle generously with olive oil. Cover it with foil. Bake at 400 for about 45 minutes, or until you can spear it with a fork. You want them firm, not squishy.

Meanwhile, rinse the steaks, pat dry, and season with salt and pepper, set aside. Heat up your grill (I used one of those indoor teflon ones with the grill ridges) on Med-High. Spray with cooking spray. Put the steaks on, drizzle with olive oil, and cook for 5 minutes. Turn over, brush with Pomegranate glaze* (if using), and grill for 5 minutes. Wrap in foil to rest for about 5 or 10 minutes.

Toss the arugula with some olive oil, a little bit of the Pomegranate glaze* (if using), and a slash of red wine vinegar. Serve the steak over a bed of dressed arugula, sprinkle some of the roasted beets over the steak, and enjoy. I like to think of it as a steak salad. :)

*You can substitute the Pomagranate glaze for almost any other type of marinade or glaze of your choice....I bet it would be good with Soy Vay's Veri Teriyaki glaze!! Be creative!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato....

Happy Friday! I'm ready for a 3 day weekend.

I was supposed to bring some tea sandwiches to our tennis match this morning, but it was rained out. I spent hours yesterday baking bacon (yes, baking! Bacon! I'll never fry bacon again!)* and boiling eggs for mini BLTs and egg salad sandwiches. So I had all this bacon and HB eggs and decided to get a little creative for breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner tonight! I can't let perfectly good bacon and egg salad go bad, now can I? ;)

I had all this bacon, so I thought: why don't I put some bacon bits and a little bit of scallion into the egg salad? Is it wrong to have egg salad sandwiches for breakfast? Not if it has bacon! ;)

I made these cute BLTomato cups as a snack.

For lunch, I made BLT "pizzas" on whole wheat pita bread. Each mini "pizza" has 240 calories and they are super delicious. Here is the "recipe":

whole wheat pita bread
basil leaves
shredded lettuce
cherry tomatoes, sliced
3 slices of cooked bacon, chopped into bits* ( )
1 TBSP ranch dressing

Toast the pita bread on both sides. Toss the lettuce & bacon bits with the ranch dressing. Arrange the basil on top of the toasted pita bread. Put the lettuce mixture over the basil, then top with the tomatoes. Use a pizza cutter to slice the pita into 4 wedges. Enjoy!

This was so tasty, I wanted another one!

PS I wish I knew how to post this to my Facebook fan page and not MY personal FB wall.....and I also wish I knew how to make the pictures bigger. I'm a work in progress! :) And I love comments! xo

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Chicken Curry in the Crock Pot


  • can of coconut milk
  • 4-6 frozen skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 8 oz can tomato paste
  • 4 T curry powder
  • 1 t ground coriander
  • 1 t ground cumin
  • 1 t peeled and grated ginger
  • few dashes of Tobasco
  • 1 yellow onion. chopped
  • 6 cloves of whole, peeled garlic
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 3 large russets, sliced thick, skins left on
  • 4 carrots, chopped roughly
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken stock


Mix together in a small bowl: spices, coconut milk, Tobasco sauce, and tomato paste. Pour into the bottom of a crock pot. Add the chicken, tossing a few times to coat it nicely. Layer the remaining ingredients on top of the chicken. Pour chicken stock over the veggies, add a little salt and pepper.

Cover and cook on low for 7-9 hours, or on high for 4-6. About halfway through, toss everything to coat the veggies, etc, and gently toss again before serving. Season with salt and pepper. Serve over brown rice.