Tag Archives: food

Coconut Cream Eggs

Coconut Cream doesn’t get any better than this. Far better than ANY you’ll find in the store. This recipe is my grandmother’s–she’s 97 years old! She made them every year for Easter. When I first asked her for the recipe she wrote “no calories” at the bottom!  My grandmother would never lie!

The most challenging part of this recipe is hiding the eggs in the fridge from the kiddos or spouse until Easter!

coconut creameggs

Coconut cream eggs   PDF

Pesto Cucumber Salad

Fast! This recipe is so easy, it shouldn’t really be called a recipe. But it’s so good I had to share. We eat this at least twice a week at our house.
I use the pesto sauce from Costco, but most markets make excellent pesto these days.
And what should you do with the extra pesto sauce? Mix it with rice! Delicious!


For more recipes click Recipes on the navigation bar.

Frittata Recipe

Eggs! Veggies! Cheese! Healthy stuff! 

A frittata is quick-easy and, like most of my recipes, doesn’t call for exact ingredients.

I usually serve it with a salad. ( Actually, that’s a gross misrepresentation– pointing to the bag of greens while saying “You want salad? There it is!” is how I “serve”)

You might note that there’s only 1/2 the frittata in the pic below. That’s because after removing it from the oven, I left the kitchen for several moments. BIG mistake!  When I returned, a hungry 19 yr old had already descended upon it!
Note: This can also be made without cheese for those who are lactose intolerant.



Related Posts: For more yummy food click Recipes on the navigation bar.

Wanted: Food Fairy

No joke! My daughter sent this text early in the  morning--she had no idea what today's post is about!

No joke! My daughter sent this text early in the morning–she had no idea what today’s post is about!

“Send somebody else to the grocery store!” my daughter suggests after I complain about my almost daily trips to the market–for food I don’t eat.

Seems every one in the house has 1) a car and 2) an appetite, 3) two hands, 4) 2 feet, 5) a brain, but everyone  expects  the fridge and pantry to magically fill itself–as if there’s some kind of Food Fairy.

I‘ve tried sending kiddos and Hubby to the grocery store–even gave them my pack of super saver cards and the magic plastic money card, but it never works out well.

I guess after all these years, I’m just tired of figuring out what everybody wants to eat. Oh, the basics are easy. Cheddar goldfish for daughter, cans of chili for son, but those won’t actually feed a family for a week.

Seems there’s several types of grocery items:
1.specific ingredients for meals
2. snacks
3. non food items

Once in a while, I tell kiddos and Hubby to “get food.”  I know, I know…vague.  I don’t even give them a list I just say, “figure it out.”  I mean  it’s not like they have to go into the forest to forage for berries or hunt for meat, so I don’t understand the groans.

“But what should I get?”  they ask, befuddled by my request.

I mean, they’ve only eaten like….everyday of their life!  “I don’t know.You decide.”  This grocery shopping will require higher level  thinking on their part, something they only do at work or school.

“Mom’s in one of her moods,” they mumble under their breath as they trudge out of the house.

  • Hubby’s haul:  meat, meat, meat, lettuce,and more meat
  • Daughter’s finds: make-up remover, mascara, Cheddar goldfish, candy, pretzels, face wash, ice cream, soy milk, Nutella
  • Son’s spoils: chocolate donuts, hot pockets, chips, cans of chili, frozen taquitos, razors
  • Grandmom’s loot (when she visits): triple cream brie, smoked salmon, capers, olives, vodka, diet club soda, gourmet crackers, wine ( actually she’s great at getting  the ingredients for an entire meal)

Several food groups are missing. Vegetables being the biggie.

Maybe they need more practice.

I might post this ad on Craig’s List, because you can get ANYTHING on that website.

WANTED: Food Fairy for hungry, snack-happy, unpredictable, impulsive, capricious  family who has many dietary needs.

 Food Fairy duties:
  • predicts what everyone will crave for the next 5 days
  • knows what food I’m running low on and which vegetables are rotting in the veggie bin
  • anticipates what I will have time or motivation to prepare
  • puts all the groceries away where they belong
  • throws out unidentifiable leftovers and wilted veggies

I can dream can’t I?

website redendcap

Chocolate Cheddar Review

cheese 4I love chocolate.                                                   I love cheese.                                                   But together?                                              Would it please?


I broke down and finally bought Trader Joe’s chocolate Cheddar cheese and I must say it’s not bad. As you can see from the photo, the cheese has dark chocolate shavings inside–meaning, it’s MOSTLY cheese.

First, I tasted it plain and cold. The OK cheddar flavor was followed by a hint of chocolaty sweetness.

Second, I sipped red wine and nibble on the cheese. Much better! The wine helped bring out the flavors of both. SO, this would be a good novelty cheese to include in a sampling if you need quick, fun party nibbles.

cheese 5Third
, (I’m ever so diligent during chocolate experimentation) I added a slice of cheese atop a split croissant, and warmed in the toaster over!  Magnifico! On par with Nutella! The heat brought out both flavors and, combined with the delicate taste of the croissant ,made for a yummy–if not calorie-laden–treat.

I think this chocolate cheddar would be great wrapped in a wonton and fried. Hubby’s family stuffs empandas with cheese, so this might be a unique substitute.

cheese 1If you love the idea  and taste of a sweet cheese, I suggest buying an expensive gourmet bottle of vinegar ( don’t even ask how many bottles of flavored specialty vinegars I have) and shake the decadently sweet drops onto the cheese for a real “party in your mouth.”




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Cheesy pasta goodness! A cross between lasagna and spaghetti!
Ready to eat!

Ready to eat!

Ziti is one of my son’s favorite meals.

The basic no-frills recipe.

Note: For super fast prep time, I buy pre-shredded cheese and the marina sauce,

  • 1 pound al dente ziti
  • 12 oz ricotta
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4  cup grated parmesan
  • 2 Tbsp chopped parsley
  • 3 cups ( a jar and 1/2) of marina sauce
  • 8 oz shredded mozzarella
  • salt and pepper to taste. ( personally I think bottled sauce has plenty of salt, so I just   add pepper)
  • Optional mix-ins
  • 1 lb cooked ground beef, or chicken, or spicy Italian sausage (remove casing and brown on stove top)
  • 3-4  chopped roasted garlic ( or saute a tablespoon of minced garlic in butter)
  • Italian seasoning like sage, thyme, basil, rosemary, or  Italian spice mix ( fresh is best but who can get to the grocery store every day?)
  • red pepper flakes ( to taste)
  • top with fresh sliced tomatoes
Combine ricotta eggs, 1/2 cup Parmesan and spread enough sauce on bottom of 9 X 13-inch glass pan to prevent pasta from sticking. Layer ziti and mixture and mozzarella  Top layer should be mozzarella and remainder of Parmesan. I  top my ziti with sliced tomatoes and more mozzarella.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or  until  cheesy is melt-licious and sauce is bubbling.

Before it goes into the oven

This recipe makes A LOT of food, and without the meat, the 9 x 13 pan is brimming.


Cheatin’ Chocolate Cake

My family LOVES chocolate cake–preferring this dessert over anything else. As a busy teacher-author I like recipes that are FAST. The credit for this cake goes to my 1st ex ( don’t ask) who experimented with baking many years ago.

Super easy! This recipe–it’s cheating to call it a recipe–makes decadent, moist, rich, tastes-like-homemade chocolate cake. It’s good by itself, dusted with powdered sugar, or frosted.

Cheatin’ Chocolate Cake
  • 1 box of chocolate cake mix
  • 1 box of brownie mix
  • follow directions for both mixes
Mix both together in one bowl. Grease and flour pans. Two 9-inch or 1 bundt ( if not making layers).
 Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Don’t over bake–that’s the kiss of death for baked goods. After 35 minutes, I do the knife test. The second it comes out clean, the cake is done. Carefully invert cake and cool on cooling rack.

For special occasions, refrigerate cake after it has cooled. Slice cold cake with additional layers using a string.  A 4-layer cake is very impressive looking.

For  an “adult” flavored cake, puncture cake with a fork and pour in coconut milk or rum or Kahlua ( 1/4 to 1/2 cup or to to taste)

Yummy fillings to consider: Apricot or raspberry jam
That’s it! Two boxes, one cheatin’ chocolate cake!
Note: I call it Cheatin’ Chocolate cake because it’s not from scratch.

My favorite fast frosting recipe is courtesy of the wonderful book 101 Gourmet Cupcakes

Chocolate Buttercream
  • 8 Tbsp ( I stick) butter at room temp
  • 1/3 cup cocoa
  • 3  and 3/4  cup powdered sugar
  • 3-4 Tbsp milk or cream
  • 2 Tbsp vanilla extract
    Beat butter until smooth and fluffy. A least 30 seconds.Add in remaining ingredients. Mix well. Add milk one tablespoon at a time.  I find the more I whip, the lighter it becomes.

My 2 favorite sources for frosting,mix-ins, & cake flavor ideas!


Ecuadorian Stew: Sancocho

There are many variations of this South American comfort food. Here’s my take on this stew.

Remember, as with any soup or stew, the amount or ingredients can be modified to suit personal tastes and/or what’s available in your fridge..

  • 2 ears  of corn, halved
  • Chicken OR beef cubes
  • Chicken OR beef broth
  • 3 medium potatoes, peeled, thick sliced ( I used a handful of small gourmet potatoes and left the skin on)
  • 1 lb peeled yuca/cassava, 1 inch slices
  • 2 green plantains, 2 inch slices
  • 3-4 onion diced
  • Garlic, 1 T minced
  • 3 Carrots, ½ inch slices
  • Salt, pepper to taste
  • Cumin 1-2 tsp
  • Cinnamon (optional) 1-2 tsp
  • Cilantro, handful

In large pot, sauté onions and garlic.

If using beef, sear beef cubes in oil. If using chicken, bake in oven. (I prefer to cook my  meat before it goes into a soup.)

When onions are translucent, add broth. Add in remainder of ingredients. Low boil until starches are cooked through ( yucca, plantain, potatoes). Simmer until dinner.

Note: The amount of spices used are a personal preference;  I added more cumin and cinnamon—just kept adding until it was flavorful. Next time, I’ll add more garlic and a cup of frozen corn.

Another note: Prep time was about ½ hour and stew simmered for about an hour.

Hubby gave it 5 out 5 stars.  He might be a bit biased.



Love or Hate? Turkey leftovers

One can only eat so many turkey sandwiches. My task, therefore, is to CONCEAL the turkey leftovers from the hungry, Christmas shopping hoard! My family will eat almost anything if it’s got some heat to it!

Turkey enchiladas

  • Turkey
  • 1 can large can green chilies, chopped
  • 1 onion chopped
  • Green/red/yellow peppers, sliced
  • Flour tortillas
  • Shredded Jack cheese
  • Sour cream, guacamole or Mexican Crema (optional)

Sauté onions, peppers, and green chili, in pan. Add leftover turkey.

Wrap mixture with flour tortillas. Place in  glass Pyrex pan. Pour sauce over. Sprinkle cheese. (OR pour heated sauce over afterwards it bakes.)  Bake in 350 for ½ hr

Top with guacamole, sour cream, or Mexican Crema sauce if desired. 

Tomatillo sauce

  • 2    12 oz cans tomatillo drained            
  • ½ onion, roughly chopped
  • Bunch cilantro
  • 1/4- 1/3 lime juice

Blend in Blender (that’s super redundant)

 Turkey soup- remember its soup, so ingredients and amounts can vary to suit

  • chopped carrots ( leftovers OK)
  • 4-5 stalks chopped celery
  • Any other leftover veggies
  • 1 diced onion
  • Leftover turkey drippings (optional)
  • 2- 3 cartoons chicken broth
  • Handful of chopped mushrooms
  • 1 can Garbanzo beans
  • Diced jalapenos ( optional)
  • Handful of rice, barley, or pasta (optional)

Heat through or until pasta,rice, or barley is cooked. Add turkey last before serving!  



Sorry ! No “official” blog today! Too busy chopping, cooking, mashing, baking, mixing, slicing and dicing today!  The familia wants to eat! I WILL be posting pics and comments throughout the day!

I AM very thankful for all the blessings in my life.

Now, I just gotta prepare all the food that’s in these boxes.

The haul from my Costco run–still 2 more grocery stores to go!

If I have a chance, I’ll post more pics of the cooking process.

Happy Thanksgiving!





I cook the bird in my WALMART Rival Roaster Oven.

Bought a organic (???) bird from Trader Joe’s. Stuffed bird with lemon wedges ( from off my tree) and bunches of rosemary, sage, and thyme.  

Then I poured butter over the top,and topped with Kosher salt, pepper,and  rosemary. Lid on, roast at 350.

Begin making barley stuffing. ( I’m doing that no wheat thing- so I’m simply replacing the bread with the cooked barley.



Daughter said finished product tasted delicious


Just immediate family ( minus 1 son in Colorado) this Thanksgiving

Foodie Tuesday: Easy creamed soup

Creamed Soup in a Snap!

I love soup and so I’ve devised a few easy and FAST recipes that meet my low sodium, low fat, high flavor requirements.

For the photos, I used the ever-so–trendy orange cauliflower, but the recipe suits a few other veggies as well. Lots of calorie options in this recipe.

Creamed Vegetable Soup

  • Head cauliflower (white cauliflower, broccoflower, butternut squash or carrots are tasty substitutes) Cut into chunks. The smaller the chunks, the faster it cooks.
  • 1 carton chicken stock ( I prefer the organic kind)
  • 1-2 yellow onions
  • Minced garlic (optional)
  • Salt, pepper to taste
  • Nutmeg (optional)
  • Shredded Parmesan ( optional topping)
  • Cream (optional)

Saute onion in butter, add minced garlic if desired. Toss in chopped vegetables and pour in carton of chicken stock. Cook veggies over medium flame until soft. In batches, transfer veggies and stock into blender. Blend. Return pureed mixture back to pot. Add salt and pepper to taste (add red pepper flakes if you’re a fan). Reheat.

Depending on how fat/calorie conscious you are, mix in anywhere from a teaspoon to a Tablespoon of cream to the bowl. (I have a lactose intolerant child so I don’t put any cream in her bowl.) Sprinkle with Parmesan and nutmeg.





Foodie Tuesday:Pork & Cabbage Recipe

There’s nothin’ like the smell of a delicious meal when you return home from work! Problem is-that never happens unless I put the food in the Crockpot before I leave at 6:30 in the morning. This mom has a day job (teacher), night job (writer), and in-between job (head chef and supply clerk)! This might sound VERY familiar to the women.

So once a week, I try to make a crockpot meal—I know—I know—so suburban—but hey, I’m assured a tasty nutritious, calorie conscious (always) meal.

Here’s the recipe for the meal I made the other day. Pork & Purple Cabbage. Warning—I come  from a long line of eastern European peasant woman who do NOT believe in precise measurement, instead practicing the art of culinary vagueness!


  • Pork loin (sorry future daughter-in-law)
  • Small head purple cabbage cut in about 1 inch strips ( no need for preciseness-just cut it up & trash the hard white core)
  • 2 large yellow onions chopped
  • 3 apples peeled and chopped
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Splash of  ( good ) red wine vinegar
  • tsp fennel ( optional)
  • brown sugar (1/2 cup)

Place pork loin in bottom on crockpot on high and dump everything else on top. Cook on MEDIUM

Serve with: pasta, rice, or potatoes and some crusty bread.

I’m presently doing the no wheat thing (we’ll see how long that lasts), so I’ll fool my husband with gluten-free pasta (he’ll never know).

Hope you like it!

Time to eat!




Calorie Counts on Menus

securedownload (2)Love ’em or Hate ’em? Those ever so helpfully posted Calorie Counts on the menu?

Eating out used to be a culinary joy! A gastronomic guess. Flavor triumphed over calories! NO LONGER! Now dining out has become a math equation—and worst of all—a math word problem.

If I eat 540 calories of this chicken-brown rice-veggie plate (boring)  PLUS a  90-calorie glass of red wine, can I put cream in my coffee tomorrow? Will I feel good about myself when I leave the restaurant? Will I feel cheated or deprived! Or still hungry?

If I eat 2000 calories of this dreamy, yummy, salt laden veal piccata, am I reduced to nuts and twigs for the duration of the week? How many hours on the treadmill will offset the splurge?

 And, oh dear Lord, there’s the bread basket! (butter or pesto or oil/vinegar options vary by restaurant).  What shall I do????

I enjoyed being blissfully ignorant of the calorie count. I ate what—the horror—I wanted. Now—I eat what I should. Because I should be mindful of fat, sugar, salt, calories, yada yada.

Banish the burger! Shun the sugar! Flee the wheat! Bar the carbs! Decline that 2nd glass of wine! Spurn the salt. Eat this, Not that—I even bought the books!

My choices have been reduced to numbers. Not flavor. Not texture. Not whim. I may need to take a therapist with me the next time I eat out. I intend to find a nice indulgent slightly pudgy one!

I love knowing my calorie intake...I hate knowing I can’t eat 99.9% of what’s on the menu!

Related Posts: Diet Diatribe; Treadmill Lament;

Foodie Tuesday-Juicing


Bought a juicer and I’m a juicin’ !!!

Feel healthier—mostly because I’m consuming so many more fruits and veggies.Wish I could take juicer to work, but juice loses optimal nutritional value after a few hours– so I usually make a big glass for breakfast ( I’m sure my sleeping family LOVES hearing the jet engines of the machine at 6 am) and when I return home in the evening.

A few of my favorite recipes.

1.Fresh cranberries and green apples!

2. Tomatoes, celery, kale, 1/2 an English cucumbers ( they’re never sour), ½ a lemon, wheat grass ( I have this almost everyday).  Skip the wheat grass & kale and it’s still delicious.   The lemon gives it tang.

3. Carrots, green apple, nub of ginger root

Who do you like better: Juice it Up  or Jamba Juice?

5:30 am cranberry & apple