Sunday, December 27, 2015

Holiday Cheery. After Christmas, Christmas Salad.

After Christmas Christmas salad. Romain. Chicken with chicken gravy. Jasmine rice. Pomegranet seeds, flax seeds, bias cut green beans. I think I'll do an after holiday post. Nice cold or warm.

If you stuffed yourself with too much food this holiday, here's a nice light alternative. 
Make an after Christmas, Christmas salad. Romain, chicken with chicken gravy, Jasmine rice, Pomegranate seeds, flax seeds, bias cut green beans. Nice warm or cold.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Sunny Side Up

fried eggs on toast

Keeping it simple and tasty for Christmas breakfast.
Eggs are great fuel for the day.
Wishing everyone a sunny side up kind of day!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Egg Salad and Mozzarella Tomato Rounds

 Egg Salad tomato rounds with mozzarella greens and veggies

Egg salad is so simple to make, although it can look rather plain. I often add a little crunch of celery and red bell peppers to dress it up. Being on a tomato kick has been easy prep for me. When I am super busy I don't have as much time to spend in the kitchen but I still like to eat well. Nourishing food that keeps me fueled.

Food always looks more appealing when it's colorful and plated nicely. Even if it's simple fare, take the time to make it yummy to your eyes. Sit down and savor your meal and enjoy it to its fullest. I usually make a dozen hard-boiled eggs at a time—that way I can have them for a quick breakfast and put them in other things throughout the week. Plenty to share.

One large egg is 78 calories, but if you are watching cholesterol, it checks in at 187mg, which is 62% of recommended daily intake. One cup of chopped boiled eggs (approximately three medium eggs) is 210 calories. So, making a bit of egg salad and using it as a tomato topper is a good idea. You get all the goodness, (protein, vitamins, minerals and omega-3 fatty acids) and flavor without being too heavy-handed with egg calories and cholesterol.

Yes, the mustard and mayo add some calories too. Still, it's a nice way to have a small portion go a long way. If you want the least amount of calories, use just the egg whites. They are only 18 calories per large egg, 60 calories less than a whole egg. Don't throw the yoke out. It makes a nice light egg crumble for salad, or spread on toast. This has a slice of mozzarella too, another 78 calories. While this is not super low-cal, small portions of each make it a good go-to almost any time of day, or as a nice side with your meal.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Tomato Two Ways. Baked Tomato with Mozzarella or Cold with Vinaigrette

Short on time? Hot or cold, one thick slice of heirloom tomato makes a delicious light lunch or dinner meal. The first was topped with mozzarella cheese and a very light red wine vinaigrette. I was out of basil, so I used a little sliced romaine to garnish. The second is a broil baked tomato with mozzarella, a bit of marinara sauce that was thinned down and finely grated Parmesan. I cooked it right on the plate to let the juice from the tomato and the sauce run together. Simply delicious. I ate them both. First the cold and then the hot. When you have the ingredients for each, why not prepare them two ways and enjoy the different presentation. I pepper just about everything, and I added chile flakes to both of these for a little extra pop. I like them plain, but you could add just about anything, from artichoke to prosciutto.

 Single Slice of Tomato with Mozzarella Cheese and red wine vinaigrette

Baked Single Slice of Tomato with Mozzarella Cheese -Marinara Sauce and Parmesan Cheese

Baked Single Slice of Tomato with Mozzarella Cheese and Marinara Sauce

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Grilled Chickpea Sandwich with Cheese, Broccolini, and Zucchini Side

Grilled Chick Pea, Cheese and Broccolini Sanwich
Had some chickpeas left over from the recent roast and decided to make a grilled chickpea sandwich. Sounded good to me.

I smashed the soft chickpeas and topped them with some shredded cheese and broccolini. Then a generous squeeze of Sriracha Chili Sauce. I served it with a broad slice side of zucchini, sprinkled lightly with chia and flax seeds, plus a small bite of artichoke and a few of the crunchy roasted chickpeas.

After I made it and shot the photo, I thought it would be good with the zucchini on the sandwich. So, I opened it up and put a slice inside. I liked it both ways. The leftover chickpeas could have gone into a few things but making a sandwich was new for me. Maybe you will like it too?

Grilled Chick Pea, Cheese and Broccolini Sandwich,Side of Zucchini

Monday, September 28, 2015

Super Snack! Roasted Chickpeas with Sriracha and Dixon Chile Powder.

Roasted Chickpeas with Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce and Dixon Red Chile Powder
Everyone loves crunch! These super hot chickpeas are roasted in Sriracha Chili Sauce and New Mexican Dixon Red Chile Powder, plus a little olive oil, and a touch of salt. Chickpeas are nutrient dense and chock full of proteins, vitamins and minerals. The name chickpea, (ciche pease) comes from a variety of sources with the addition of garvance in the 17th century. The current word, garbanzo comes directly from modern Spanish. I just call them delicious. These are great snacks but also make a wonderful addition to many other recipes. Pop them on a salad. If you are feeling adventurous, crumble them on top of your eggs, or sprinkle on top of your mac and cheese bake.

Making these are easy. If you use fresh garbanzo beans, you are going to have to prep ahead and cook them for about two hours. Cool, rinse and dry. If you use the canned version, rinse and dry them before you toss all the ingredients together. I also clean off the clear outer skin. Next, let the ingredients marinate for 30 minutes. Use a non-stick sheet pan, or line a traditional sheet pan with foil or parchment paper and lay the chickpeas in one layer. If you use a glass pan, add a quick spray of non-stick oil. Cook at 400-450 degrees for about 40 minutes, turning them every ten minutes or so. I like mine very dry and crunchy throughout, so I sample them toward the end of the bake and sometimes add additional time. Your personal preference for crunch may vary, how long you cook them is up to you. Also, the amount of spice you add will influence the hot factor. Make a good sized batch. They will last for a few days, but my guess is that they will be gone before you can say yum-dillicious.

TIP: If you want other flavors, mix in whatever you like. Chickpeas are adaptive to lots of ingredients. If you are going to use these as a crumble or crisp, put them in a baggie and pound them to your desired size. These also make a fine crumb breading for fish, chicken or pork. 

PS. If you want some New Mexican Dixon Red Chile Powder…this is your source.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Fig and Friends Emoji

Fig and Blueberries Emoji
My dear friend brought me a lovely bowl of figs this morning. I missed him, so he left them on the porch. What better way to say thank you than with a personal emoji of surprise and delight. Thanks Mac! You're the best.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Watermelon. A Slice of Summer Nostalgia.

beautiful watermelon
As summer wanes, I get a little nostalgic about watermelon. It's a staple in the fridge throughout the season; and since it's 92% water, it keeps me hydrated. It's definitely thirst quenching on hot summer days. When I am not hungry, it's a perfect energy snack with a light boost of sweetness. With only 6% sugar, one slice is all you need to wet your whistle.

It's no wonder watermelons were left as food in the tombs of the Egyptians to nourish the dead in the afterlife; it
refreshes you and brings you back to life.

The word watermelon first appeared in the English dictionary in 1615 but the vegetable, commonly thought of as a fruit, has been cultivated since the second millennium BC.

TIP: Don't toss the rind! Pickle it, or put it into a blender for a super nutrition advantage in your smoothie or favorite beverage.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Fruit. Edible Decoration.

Fruit. Edible Decoration

One of the delights of summer fruit is their artful perfection. When you feast your eyes on the vast variety of fruit in your market don't just think of them as food. Think of them as edible decoration.

Bring home a variety and use them as centerpieces for your table; allow them to ripen naturally. The sweet aroma fills the room with the scent of summer until you are ready to eat them. Unlike most flowers, fruit is a beautiful decor accent that you can eat. Their natural beauty brightens up your space. Any time you bring nature inside you enhance everything.

In addition to enjoying them as they are, baking them, adding them into prepared dishes, turning them into a sauce or jam, making smoothies, a fruit dessert, or topping ice creme—I like to squeeze the juice on some lovely salad greens for a light, fresh dressing or spritz a little into my water.

Before the season is over, buy them now. Get canning, or cut them up and freeze them to enjoy year round.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Modern Etiquette meets the Wi-Fork

Table setting etiquette blueprint with mobile phone
Table étiquette has seemingly changed to include a Wi-Fork phone—but it's more than that, it's taken center plate. It's become the largest part of the table setting. With the exception of a handful of places that ban cell phones at the table, it's now embedded into society as acceptable.

It's the new appetizer gone wild.

I, for one, think it's completely rude. Mindful eating and good manners should not be left behind. People are obsessed with taking pictures of their food while dining and it's distracting. I don't want to see phonies taking selflies while talking with their mouth full.

Decorum is dignified and shows respect for the chef, the servers and your guest(s). It's good taste for the sake of good taste. I guarantee your food will taste better if you put away your phone.

I want to enjoy my meal and talk with the people I am breaking bread with. How about you?

App is a verbal short for appetizers in restaurant lingo, and tech applications, but real appetizers are small bites of delectable food meant to be savored—not a download you devour while using your phone. If you currently do this, I hope you will rethink your decision and join those of us who would love to spend quality time with you…without your Wi-Fork phone. The new normal is not informal + mobile device. There, I said it—I formally invite you to get a little more formal, or dare I say, civilized.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Do the Mashed Potato!

Idahoan Mashed Potatoes with Asparagus and Cheese
I keep a box of Idahoan potatoes on hand for quick fixes. Of course I like using real baked potatoes when I have the time, but these are 100% real Idaho potato flakes, and they work just fine when you are in a hurry. I like to add some extra goodies in to my potatoes and that can be just about anything. They have different flavors, but I've only tried the traditional ones. I like to do my own flavoring. Another reason I have them in my pantry is because they make an excellent add to soups and sauces when you want a creamier consistency. They thicken your base quickly. Don't over do it, sprinkle in a little at a time and wait and see how it blends.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

What's in a Garnish?

Grilled Pork Chop with Red Bell Peppers
Using a simple garnish makes your plate presentation more beautiful. This plain grilled pork chop topped with a few slices of fresh red bell pepper and two tiny sprigs of broccolini greets you with a nice pop of color. Letting the au jus rim the plate and adding some fresh cracked pepper completes the visual appeal. You don't have to go overboard with a garnish. Use what you have. Even if it's just some wild salad greens. Slice it up chiffonade style and place a small amount on top of your serving or even around the plate for added color. It only takes a few seconds to add a garnish, but it's a feast for your eyes that lingers way past the meal.

Chiffonade (French pronunciation: ​[ʃi.fɔ.nad]) is a chopping technique in which herbs or leafy green vegetables (such as spinach and basil) are cut into long, thin strips. This is accomplished by stacking leaves, rolling them tightly, then slicing the leaves perpendicular to the roll.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Hot & Saucy Grilled Chicken on Crispy Cold Veg Bed

Grilled chicken with marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese is delicious but all that gooey goodness is even better stacked on a fresh cut veggie salad. Cut up some cucumber, carrots and celery and chill them in the fridge. The chicken is served hot over the cold bed of veggie salad and is a nice contrast. Add a few more veggies on top for a perfect serving. This small plate keeps portions under control but the full stack of veggies underneath fills you up with satisfaction. If you want to cut calories, skip the sauce and cheese but this combo is a wonderful blend of flavors. If you don't eat meat, the salad combination is outstanding all by itself. Toss it with a tad of your favorite dressing and you've got some seriously cool crunch as a main dish or side.

chicken with chopped veggie salad bed

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Super Easy Mini-Pizza

Mini Pizza on Flour Tortilla
This small pizza is great for kids. It's 5" and cooks up in a pan in about 5 minutes. I used a store bought flour tortilla and crisped it in the pan—turning it a few times to keep the sauce from soaking in to the soft tortilla. Then I spread some chunky marinara sauce almost to the edge, and added a few fresh red bell pepper slices. Next, I top with shredded mozzarella cheese and put the lid on to steam melt the cheese. Just before serving toss on some chile flakes and a garnish of green.

Your kids can make this by themselves and there is practically no clean up.

It can also be cooked in the oven on a sheet pan to get a golden, bubbly cheese top.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

How Much Cheese is Too Much Cheese?

cheese on top of cheese with garnish

I've been really busy lately and have not been much for a sit down meal. What this means is I graze on small bites throughout the day. Many times grabbing a slice of cheese, a cheese stick, a spoon or two of cottage cheese, add some cheese to a small bowl of soup, or make half a cheese sandwich. That's a crazy amount of cheese. I always have salad in the fridge and other things to make, but some days I just keep eating cheese. I did this image at the end of the day, laughing at myself for how it all adds up. This visual food for the day scenario is both laughable and not. Without variety, and certainly adding in fruits and veggies your body is not going to be very happy; plus it packs on some heavy calories and salt. One cheese slice is 104 calories and 468 mg. of sodium. Yikes. Add in a cheese stick and it's another 80 calories and 220 mg. of sodium. You can see where I am headed with this. Yes, cheese has its benefits, and it makes everything yummier, but it should be used sparingly as a treat. If you want to cut calories and are on a low salt diet…I'm giving you the same advice I'm giving myself. Don't buy it. If it's not there you won't eat it. I fell off the wagon so to speak, and got careless with my shopping and eating these past few weeks. Now, I am back on track and that's a good thing.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Cooking with Kids. Pots & Pans and Utensil Set

Cooking with Kids Pots & Pan and utensil set

Get your kids, or grand kids cooking with this sweet little set of stainless steel pots and pans plus a utensil set by Melissa & Doug. Perfect for ages 3+ for a fun adventure in let's play house. It has a beautiful polished mirror finish and is as nice as anything you have in your grown up kitchen. When they are finished playing, it comes with a storage stand to tuck away and keeps things tidy. If you want this set, go to or call 1-800-284-3948.

They did not pay me to plug this…it's just so awesome, I had to share.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Tiny Bites. Big Results.

Tape measure with blueberry on cutting board
I know I posted on this but it's worth showing again.
Big results come from making small changes over time.
Plus, I think the image is a fun reminder.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Calculating your Plate

food measurements
This is what it's like to calculate your plate.
I'm not enjoying food as much as I used to because it's not just an eating event…it's a calculation process. Lots of us have jumped on the cooking at home bandwagon but it's mostly about taste and presentation without much consideration for the waistline impact. This image illustrates a good point. If this measuring device was at the center of your plate, how would you rethink what you consume? Add in the nutritional value, GMO % and before you know it, you don't want to eat. This is more of an editorial than a fact…but I'd like to know how you feel.

I miss being able to eat anything I want, uhhh…namely pizza without having to think about the consequences.

My parents did not know about any of this stuff and still lived in to their late 70's. That's long enough if it was an enjoyable trip…today, it's like a no-no to eat most things and enjoy the flavor of fun. I am not saying go crazy with your diet, but for heavens sake…live a little will ya. I'm talking to myself as well as others.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Chocolate is Not Aways What You Think it is...

chocolate scare
Regulations are changing on food labels but this is off the charts. I recently read that some chocolates contain ingredients that have dangerous heavy metals and other ingredients you don't want to consume. Read this list of companies you don't want to keep. I eat Lindt 85% extra dark chocolate on occasion and add some non-fat blueberry yogurt for creaminess with a few fresh blueberries. It might seem like a good snack but in the future I will not be eating it.

Nutrition labels do not tell the whole story, no matter how vigilant you are with inquiry. And, this is just one example.

Food can be a risk on many levels if you don't pay attention. Why don't they share this kind of information and stop adding it in to our food?

They just want our money and don't care how it affects us.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Water and Lemon Scare

Adding vinegar and lemon to water
Today I watched a video on the potential of icky stuff on lemons. Really icky bacteria and fecal matter, etc. I've heard this many times before. Especially in restaurants where not enough care is taken in keeping them clean. Don't give up on the delight of lemons in your water. The best way to avoid this is to grow your own. If you are dining out, take your own lemon with you.

As an alternative, I also enjoy apple cider vinegar in water. Just pour a small amount in to a container, add some water and bring it with you.

TIP: As a general caution, you may not want to order foods that are prepared with lemons.

Also, if you enjoy zest, I recommend you take your own and share this info with your friends who cook, cater or eat out.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Sliced Tate Bakes

Potato Bakes Sliced
I like different varieties of potatoes and enjoy serving them in small portions. More of an accent on the plate. These were to go with super thin slices of steak and French green beans…but it did not happen. To my surprise, I served these up and my sister would not eat them. She said they looked liked snails and actually made a face and pushed them away quickly. She was really turned off by the look of them. They say we eat with our eyes first…well, in this case…it was a total turn off to her.

By contrast, I love the look of them and thought she would enjoy a different presentation of potatoes. Purple potatoes are not everyones top choice and this may have added to her no thank you grimace.

She ended up making her own potatoes.
Instant, from a box.

Everyone has their own taste preferences and as a cook you have to honor that. So, if your kids won't eat something, or an adult dislikes certain foods, or an unusual presentation, it's okay. Fortunately, I enjoy the process of cooking and tucking some love inside. Even if someone does not want it, the effort is not wasted. Love is what cooking is all about. Even if it comes from a box.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Kitchen Essentials. The New Food Lover's Companion is a Must Have!

This is a book I can't live without. It's pages are well worn with loving reverence and deep appreciation for Sharon Tyler Herbst. This week I went to get a copy for a friend. The fifth edition is written by both Sharon and her husband Ron Herbst and includes many updates. 500 new international listings including Persian and South American Foods, an extensive breakdown of food labels and nutritional facts, and updated information for hundreds of existing entries. I have Sharon's obituary tucked in to my copy and have it here to share a little bit more about this wonderful woman and her contribution to the world of food. This month marks eight years, and I post this as a thank you to Ron for keeping this all alive. Forever grateful!

The New Food Lover's Companion

Sharon Tyler Herbst

Sharon Tyler Herbst Obit

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Clean Plate Club Sticks and Stacks

After the party
I don't usually cook for parties but a friend needed help over the holiday's at the very last minute. And, I mean the very last minute. Both over Christmas and for New Year's Eve. So, I went and did the shopping, and then on to chopping and cooking for a relatively unnumbered amount of people. It was an open house. Add to that, there was hardly any room in the fridge. It was no easy task. We stacked the party plates with kindling wood to give some rise in the minimal space. This little trick was one of the most interesting things that came out of this event. So, if you find yourself in a bind, and are short on space…try it. Use some clean, new kindling that you can find at your local grocer. They are about one inch square and a foot long. It's a bit of a quick fix and you do have to be careful when placing the plates, but it works. If you need a higher rise you can tie two sticks together with string or use a good rubber band to secure them. If the sticks are too long you can either saw them shorter, or slightly angle them. I did not attend the party, but my friend sent me a text saying it all went well. This is one of the after party shots…sorry I did not think to take an image of the sticks and stacks, I had no idea I would be writing about it…it really is a great solution!