BBQ Season – Steak Marinade

We’re well into the summer barbeque season.   Here’s a great recipe for a steak marinade.



Steak Marinade


1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup pineapple juice
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 tablespoon natural mesquite flavor liquid smoke
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 teaspoons dried oregano
3 cloves garlic, crushed
Honey, to coat
2 rib eye steaks
Sea salt and pepper


Whisk together ketchup, pineapple juice, cider vinegar, liquid smoke, onion powder, cumin crushed red pepper, oregano and garlic in a shallow baking dish. Put a layer of honey on both sides of the steaks and place the steaks in the marinade, tossing to cover both sides. Let sit for 3 hours.

Remove the steaks from the marinade and pat dry. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and grill!


Home Made Ketchup


1 large red onion, peeled and chopped
1/2 bulb fennel, trimmed and chopped
1 stick celery, trimmed and chopped
Olive oil
2 tbsp.  chopped ginger

2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
1/2 a fresh red chili, deseeded and finely chopped
Bunch fresh basil, leaves picked, stalks chopped
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
2 cloves
Salt or Sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 pounds cherry or plum tomatoes, cut in half
3/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/3 cup soft brown sugar



Place all the vegetables in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan with a dash of olive oil, ginger, garlic, chili, basil stalks, coriander seeds and cloves. Season with the pepper and a little  salt.

Cook over a low heat for 10 to 15 minutes until softened, stirring every so often. Add all the tomatoes and 1 1/2 cups of cold water. Bring to boil and simmer gently until the sauce reduces by half.

Add the basil leaves, then put the sauce in a food processor or with a hand blender and push it through a sieve twice. Put the sauce into a clean pan and add the vinegar and the sugar. Place the sauce on the heat and simmer until it reduces and thickens to the consistency of tomato ketchup.  You can add seasoning to taste.

Refrigerate until needed.  Your ketchup should keep for about 6 months.



Getting Pretty During BBQ Season

Let’s run through the grill checklist:


Make sure your grill is clean and working at its peak.

Look it over thoroughly for any signs of insects under the knobs, in the grill itself.  Nature has a way of making everything outside it’s own.

Make sure none of the hoses have cracks in them or leaks.  Repair and replace as necessary.

Make sure all of the knobs turn easily.  If not, spray with WD-40 or another silicone spray.

Make sure all the vents open and close easily.

Click the igniter and make sure you get a spark.

If you were smart, you cleaned everything at the end of the last grilling season.  If not, now’s the time to do it.

If you are using propane, check your tank.  Make sure there is no rust.   If it looks suspicious, then it’s time to do a trade in.  Please let the store know if you think the tank may have a problem.

Fire that baby up and let it burn to help clean anything that you may have missed.


Now, ladies, the important part:

You need your table ware/dinner ware, glasses, cups, plates, napkins, table cloths, serving dishes and — mosquito repellants.

You want everyone to be comfortable and you want everything to look pretty.  Table cloths really do the trick to make an attractive dinner or eating areas.  You can buy crinkle taffeta table linens here.  You can buy reusable, inexpensive tablecloth clamps to keep the covering in place.   bbq-clamps

You want things that are washable.  Please try to stay away from disposable plastic ware and plates.  It’s such a waste for the environment.


Always let kids help set things up.  Not only do they learn how to do it, but it gives them an opportunity to contribute to the fun event.

Create a beautiful center piece for your table and voila! the BBQ is official!


Please share your photos of your fantastic beautiful BBQ table settings.

Brooklyn Farm Girl


Did you ever think about farming on a Brooklyn rooftop? Or any rooftop?  That’s what Pamela Reed and her husband do.  They feed themselves with their own crops from their rooftop “farm.”  There’s a lot to this artistic woman and her equally artistic husband, Matthew, including their successful visual arts company Reed & Rader.    When you visit, you’ll find wonderful recipes, gardening info, art and fashion and great cat stories!




How does a girl from a mining town in Pennsylvania end up in New York City?  And, why Brooklyn as opposed to Manhattan, Bronx, Greenwich Village…?
I went to art school in Pittsburgh where I met my creative partner and husband, Matthew.  We are artists creating digital imagery in fashion and advertising ( so NYC was the most relevant move in the United States.  When we moved to NYC, Brooklyn was the first choice due to cost and size of a space, but nowadays Brooklyn is where all the artists are moving to just because it’s a great location with energy and creativity.  I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else in NYC but Brooklyn, I love it.


How does your family feel about you being in the big city?
They like to visit so it works out.


What is blue hair all about?bluehair

Blue hair is just about fun.   In our work we play with characters often so this is just a way to express perhaps a future augmented self.   I used to do all colors but nowadays I tend to stick with my blue.


You and your husband have this really cool garden on the roof of the building that you live in.  What was the initial inspiration for that and how did you get started?

We are both from small towns where we both grew vegetables alongside our families as kids, so living in a concrete jungle, we got the itch to create a space where we could get our hands dirty again in some soil.  In NYC there is so much empty space on rooftops so we felt like it would be the perfect spot to grow our own urban farm.


What do you do with the abundance of food that you grow?

We enjoy it mostly between the two of us, as I freeze and can everything to last us months.  Even though tomato season mind end in September, we can still enjoy fresh tomato sauce in May which is pretty cool.  I also share with our friends and neighbors.


Do you face any obstacles with your rooftop farm?

Being on a roof we have to deal with strong winds and a very reflective rooftop.  We have to get creative with ways to protect it.


If someone else wanted to get started with a similar project, what you would you recommend they do first?

Start small and don’t get discouraged.  Figure out what works and try new methods.  Our containers we started with in the first year of the garden are not the containers we use now, but they were the first step to get us there.  Also, not all plants are going to work out  but just live and learn.  Trust me, I’ve cried more than once.


Do you need a written plan of some sort to start gardening?  Do certain vegetables need to be started at a certain time in order to be in the proper growing season?

I have a seed calendar on my blog:  It’s more specific to the Northeast.

Given all the recipes that you introduce regularly on your website, you have a passion for cooking.  Where did that come from?

I don’t really know.  My mom cooked as a kid but she was more a out of the box macaroni and cheese mom.  I think I just get the passion from wanting to learn and wanting to make something from nothing.  With growing all our vegetables it’s made me really search for new ways to enjoy and preserve them.

Any suggestions for someone who does not cook well (some people have tried everything) to get better?

The internet is your Oyster.  There’s a how to video on anything!


farmgirl-catLet’s talk about your family – your beautiful cats.  Is introducing a new cat to the family easy, or were there challenges with each new introduction?

We live in a open loft space so introduction to new cats is pretty quick, we can’t exactly quarantine for days or weeks.  With that said, all our cats get used to each other quickly and like all cats, they’ll bond over food. J


Your website is so very interesting.  You speak on a variety of different subjects.  How or when did you decide to live such an open and vocal life? 

I consider my blog my own personal blog.  It’s not a gardening blog, not a cooking blog, not a beauty blog, but it’s just my life.   I work as an artist, but I garden often and I cook dinner every night.  I’m  obsessed with cats.  I like pretty clothes and nails.  Sometimes I think this can be confusing to my readers as perhaps most of them are into one of those things, but I try to have the same voice across all categories and bring them all together.  Besides, who doesn’t love cats?


showcase-flowersHow did you and your husband create such a successful art company? 

We just worked really hard and continue to do so today.  We both come from blue collar families so artist was never an occupation we heard growing up.  It still confuses our families on how we make a living.


You seem to be so full of happiness and optimism.  What gives?  How do you do that?

I’m just like everyone else, I get happy and I get sad.  I think there’s many blogs out there that try to put on this “always happy, my world looks like a perfect pinterest board” but I think that’s really discouraging to readers and has to be emotionally draining on the blogger.  I just try to be me and share things that I think might cause other people happiness.


 For more information (and those great recipes we mentioned):


Chicken With Apricot Sauce


Submitted by Deanna Jones, Kentucky USA

Apricots are not as popular as apples and bananas, but they are just as healthy, if not more so.  And, there are several different varieties.

Apricots are an excellent source of Vitamins A, C, E, potassium, and iron, as well as being a great source of beta-carotene.  The fruit contains no fat and a small amount of carbs (about 8g of carbs for two apricots, 2 of those being from dietary fiber).

They are very beneficial for good eyesight and also help to prevent heart disease and other ailments. Rich in powerful antioxidants, such as Lycopene, apricots strengthen the immune system. They are also a good source of fiber.

Dried apricots have an even higher concentration of vitamins and nutrients, but are also slightly higher in carbs. Apricots can be enjoyed in cakes and pies, with ice cream or sorbets and yogurt, as a jam or jelly, used as a sauce or as a fruit topping for salads, cereal, pancakes, and other foods.

You could go looking for apricot products here.




4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, (about 1 1/4 pounds), trimmed and tenders removed

3/4 teaspoon salt, divided

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon canola oil

3/4 cup dry white wine

1 medium shallot, minced

4 fresh apricots, pitted and chopped

2 tablespoons apricot preserves

2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon , or 1/2 teaspoon dried


Place chicken breasts between 2 pieces of plastic wrap. Pound with a rolling pin, meat mallet or heavy skillet until flattened to an even thickness, about 1/2 inch. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Place flour in a shallow dish. Dredge the chicken in the flour, shaking off excess. (Discard any leftover flour.)

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook until browned and no longer pink in the center, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate, cover and keep warm. (If necessary, cook the chicken in two batches with an additional 1 tablespoon oil.)

Off the heat, add wine and shallot to the pan. Return to medium heat and cook, scraping up any browned bits, until slightly reduced, about 3 minutes. Add apricots and cook until the fruit begins to break down, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in preserves, tarragon and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Return the chicken to the pan and cook until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes. Serve the chicken with the sauce.


Makes 4 servings.




The Upcoming Holiday Dinners



With the holidays rapidly approaching – yes, right after Halloween the press is on for Thanksgiving and Christmas, you want to make sure that the holiday meals are what you’d like them to be – festive and wholesome.  I like to start well ahead of the game and pull out my calendar to start making preparations.


First, I visually walk through everything in my mind – from the beginning of the day to the end.  When I wake up, I shower, brush my teeth, do my hair and get dressed.  (It may seem a little silly to start off with these basics, but I start at the very top of my day.) I imagine everything else after that from sipping a cup of tea to pulling out the vegetables, to chopping, to cooking, to food layout – all the way through serving and watching the last guest leave.  I even imagine comments and feedback and throw in little “what if’s.”  What if so and so doesn’t make it?  What if I can’t get a certain spice or ingredient?, and so on.  Then I think about my plan B’s.  Well if this doesn’t work then, I can try this, or try that.

Once I’ve visualized the day and different scenarios, I set out the making my lists:


FOOD PLAN, Including Preparation

The first and of course most important thing is what I am going to serve.  I make my decisions based on family and guest preferences.  You usually have a sense for who likes what.

The entire meal that is being prepared – including any deserts

All the ingredients that I will need for cooking every single dish

What’s involved with preparation (chopping, etc.)

How long each item will take to cook

What dishes will be cooked at what time

What dishes can be cooked ahead of time and will then need reheating




Beverages that will be served



How will food be served – buffet style or table centered?

How will I display of the food being served

What dishware I will use

waterproof printed tablecloth, napkins, silverware



When invitations will be sent out

Deadline for attendance confirmations

Follow up with attendees

Final head count


I make sure that I have all the fine details worked out.  I know when I am shopping for items I need and where I will get them from.  When it is time to start cooking the dishes, I know when and how I am going to do everything.  My timing is usually right on.


I like to group items together that will be cooked together when I am staging everything (by staging, I mean getting things ready to be prepared for cooking).  For instance, if I am making a cake, I set aside the mixing bowl, the flour, the eggs, the sugar – all the ingredients and I sit them all together in one spot.  The string beans with white potatoes, they go into a group together, with the pot, potato peeler, mixing spoon and knife.  Each dish sits together, but separated from the whole.  By staging, this also helps me to make sure that I have every single ingredient that I need.  I order everything according to when it will be cooked and when I start the actual preparation of ingredients and cooking, I move right down my newly created “physical” list.  It makes the process clearer, more simple and keeps everything moving at the right time.



I look forward to the meal time with friends and family with excitement.  I have spent the time to plan everything so carefully that things usually go off without a hitch and everyone is happy.  Holiday time is about love and family.  The food that we eat reflects that especially if that food is prepared with love.  That love energy is an essential ingredient, not just with this meal, but with every meal that we eat.  So, if you take the time to carefully plan out all of the details, it makes the experience easier for you and will help to enhance the joy that everyone will experience on those days.


Feel free to share your kitchen organization and food preparation “secrets.”

Unhealthy Eating in America


A lot of us have forgotten some things, or perhaps never knew, as it relates to food.  Our parents or considering the time – their parents – were raised on home grown vegetables, livestock that the family had themselves and good old, down home cooking.  A meal was prepared with time and most importantly with love.  Food didn’t come in a box with instructions to add water, or just to heat and serve.  No.  The time was taken to prepare each ingredient and to include that ingredient along with others to create a meal.  Fresh eggs were in the chicken coop in the backyard.

The entire family was involved in the process, including children.  There was a need to plant and to tend to the gardens.  A need to pick the vegetables with a discerning eye which learned to select the good from the bad.  The process of growing, caring and observing the food that was eaten gave a distinct appreciation and understanding of the life and the chain of life.  Everything is alive!

Along comes the industrial age and greedy corporations who mass produced food products and included lots of chemicals in the process.  Food was processed with coloring to make it look more appealing, flavoring to replace and enhance the taste because the real flavor was lost during to production process and finally, preservatives to make it last longer on store shelves.  We all have access to the list of ingredients on the products that we eat.  But, how many of us really look at what is in our food and research it to understand the effect it has on our bodies?  Not enough of us because if we were really aware of what we were eating, we would make a stand against it and force companies to change they way they process our food.

Many Americans end up with cancer.  Why?  Do we look at the massive quantities of chemicals in the form of pesticides, preservatives, coloring, flavoring and other non-food ingredients that we consume over a lifetime?  No.  There is a no major scientific emphasis placed on such matters.  If you want information about the effect of chemicals on our bodies, we have to dig for the information.

“Fast” food should be a considered a no no at all times.  Teach your children healthy eating habits and about healthy meal preparation.  Let them enjoy the process of preparing real food with you.  Make the effort. Take the time.  Start a little garden in your backyard or by growing food in pots in your kitchen!  Children delight at the miracle of watching things grow.  Learn together what the soil needs to be like for each vegetable or plant.  How much light does it need?  How often should different plants be watered?  Make it their job to help care for the plants.  Most young children would not consider this a chore at all.  They will delight in the fruits of their labor – literally!  There is nothing like growing a cherry tomato, picking it when it’s ripe and taking a bite of something they grew themselves.   And when there is a nice little harvest, imagine their pride when the family sits down to eat dinner and they are eating the results of what you grew together!

With the internet and the instant availability of a myriad of recipes from all over the world, there is no excuse for not exploring diversity with meals.  There is no reason why we don’t all have a greater understanding of nutrition, health and what the needs of our bodies are.  We must get back to the garden of eden, or the garden of eatin’!

For a mother, who is usually the CEO of family food, there is no greater magic than the priceless results of a healthier you and a healthier family who understands that food does not come in a box.  It comes from time, patience, a little bit of smarts, great healthy, recipes and lots and lots of love!  Feed your family well in healthy ways and they will learn to do the same for themselves.

Did Somebody Say Bacon?




Nothing can go wrong with Bacon

Did somebody say bacon? Well who does not love bacon? Bacon is one of the tastiest foods that were ever invented. Now despite the fact that bacon isn’t really something that a health nutritionist can really recommend, but there are those times when we tend to get tired of eating chicken and beef, and we crave for bacon. Whatever the recipe is, whenever bacon is concerned, people love it, period. Now who does not like bacon?

Now what makes bacon something to be desired by many is the fact that you can easily cook bacon, with nothing. Nevertheless, it can also go well with eggs and toast in the morning. It can also be stuffed inside chickens or placed as sandwich fillings. Even soup can be made out of bacon. That is how great bacon is. Today, we will be talking about a full bacon meal; starting from the soup that is made of bacon, side dish that is still bacon and a main course that will surely bring you to bacon-heaven.

Below are mouth-watering bacon recipes of Potato and Bacon Soup, Roasted Asparagus & Bacon and Feta & Bacon Stuffed Chicken with Onion Mash. Let us move a step ahead, step into the world of bacon, and leave the normal bacon and eggs recipe to your favorite roadside diner.



Potato & Bacon Soup

A thick potato soup that is made with bacon. Perfect as a starter, whether it is lunch or dinner.


  • 450g chopped bacon (unglazed)
  • 8 peeled and cubed potatoes
  • 50g butter
  • 2 sticks of diced celery
  • 4 tablespoons of plain flour
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 3 finely chopped cloves of garlic
  • 1ltr chicken stock
  • 250ml double cream
  • 1tsp dried tarragon
  • 1tbsp chopped fresh coriander
  • Salt & pepper to taste



1.       In a large pan, cook all the bacon over medium heat until done. Once done, remove the bacon from the pan and take 4tbsp of bacon fat. Get rid of the rest.

2.       Get one or two slices of bacon and dice it.

3.       Use the remaining fat in the pan to sauté your onions and celery until they begin to go clear. Add the garlic until you see them turn golden brown. Add the potatoes and coat everything in bacon fat.

4.       Let it cook for 3-4 minutes and add back the bacon to the pan.

5.       Add the chicken stock, enough to cover the potatoes. Let it simmer until potatoes are soft.

6.       In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Slowly whisk in the flour, cook it into the butter for 1-2 minutes. Add the double cream, tarragon and coriander.

7.       Bring the mixture of ingredients to a boil while stirring constantly, until it thickens.

8.       Stir the cream mixture that you just made in the saucepan to the potato mixture. Let it sit until completely thickened into a half and return to the pan. Add salt and pepper to taste.

9.       Place in a bowl and add the diced bacon as toppings. Serve.

Great for those cold nights when you want something warm and creamy to eat. Not to mention, it is completely made out of bacon. Now for another “bacon-terrific” recipe.


Roasted Asparagus & Bacon

This very popular side dish has been served at parties and social gatherings for a very long time. You may have even tried it before, a testament to this perfectly designed side dish.


  • 4 slices of bacon
  • 1 bunch of trimmed asparagus
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste



  • Preheat the oven to 200 Celsius
  • Make sure that you toss the asparagus in the olive oil, getting everything coated especially the spear. Divide the asparagus into 4 equal pieces per bunch. Wrap each bunch with a piece of bacon, use toothpicks to hold them in place if needed.
  • Place them upon the roasting tray, then add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Roast for 10-15 minutes or until the bacon is crisp and the asparagus is tender.
  • Let it cool for a few minutes and serve.

What a great way to enjoy asparagus with our favorite ingredient. Now for the main course, this will really end that bacon craving of yours.


Feta & Bacon Stuffed Chicken with Onion Mash

This meal is not for the faint hearted, literally. It is completely out of the health books but a good fulfilling meal that we need to eat occasionally to know what life really means.


  • 350g cut bacon into 2.5cm pieces
  • 3 skinless & boneless chicken breast fillets
  • 150g crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 3 tbsp soured cream
  • 4 peeled potatoes and cubed
  • 100g dried breadcrumbs
  • 1/8 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1/8 tbsp ground black pepper
  • 1 large chopped onion
  • 30g butter
  • 125g plain flour



1.       Preheat your oven to 180C. In a large frying pan, cook the bacon over medium-high heat, turning occasionally until both sides are brown but not stiff. Once the bacon is done, set aside the bacon fat and put the bacon on paper towels to dry.

2.       Once the bacon is properly cooled down, in a small bowl mix the feta cheese and 3tbsp of soured cream, black pepper and oregano. Once done, set it aside.

3.       Lay the chicken breast flat on your counter cut a small pocket about five cm into the chicken breast. Repeat with all the chicken breasts and pour in the bacon filling inside.

4.       Pour the eggs, flour and bread crumbs in a separate bowls.

5.       Press the chicken breasts in the flour.

6.       Dip it into the beaten egg.

7.       Then next into the breadcrumbs.

8.       Reheat all the bacon drippings that were saved over medium heat. Cook the chicken until golden brown on both sides for about 2mins each. Make sure to save the bacon fat again. Transfer the already golden brown chicken into a baking pan, and place in the preheated oven. Cook for 20-25 minutes until the insides are no longer pink.

9.       While cooking the chicken, place the potatoes into a large pot and cover with water-salt solution. Let it boil over high heat, and once the boiling starts, reduce to medium-low and cover. Let it simmer for 20minutes until soft. When done, drain.

10.   While boiling the potatoes, cook the remaining onion in the bacon fat that is left on the pan. Cook in medium heat for 10minutes until golden brown. Once the potatoes are done and drained, mash it together with the golden brown onion, butter and the remaining 3tbsp of your sour cream.

11.   Once the chicken is cooked, serve with your mashed potatoes.

These recipes are clearly hearty meals that can quench the soul of that eternal hunger. Surely, bacon is something that is completely out of this world. These are easy to make meals that are packed with bacon-goodness.


Linda Rosario, a food enthusiast from Chef Needs “The Kitchen that Every Restaurant Needs” for these great recipes. Linda also loves arts and crafts and works as a pre-school teacher.

Tantalize yourTaste Buds with Turkey Dishes



Submitted by Linda Rosario


Turkey is best known during Thanksgiving when it is endlessly served by most households in the United States. Its unique meaty flavor is a favorite complement for wines, which is why chefs find it fun yet challenging to concoct Turkey dishes for restaurants and hotels.

Most home cooks do not need to wait for Thanksgiving or visit the restaurants to get a taste of Turkey. Here are turkey recipes that are perfect for home cooking.


Turkey Veggie Sandwich


  • 8 slices whole grain bread
  • 4 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1 cucumber, sliced
  • ¼ cup lite cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup shredded carrots
  • 4 small leaves Romaine Lettuce
  •  ½ pound sliced Butterball Oven Roasted Turkey Breast, sliced



1.      Prepare the slices of bread and spread at least 1 tablespoon of lite cream cheese evenly on them.

2.      Each bread should have the following layers: 4 cucumber slices, 6 radish slices and 2 tablespoons carrots. Put a small-sized leaf lettuce on top and at least 2 ounces of Butterball sliced turkey.

3.      Put another slice of bread on top.

4.      Use a sharp knife to cut the sandwich into halves.



Grilled Turkey Tenderloins with Rosemary


turkey tenderloins2INGREDIENTS

  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 4 turkey tenderloins
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ juiced lemon
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
  • ½ lemon, zested
  • 2 tabslespoons balsamic vinegar

Additional materials: large plastic (resealable), grill, brush



1.       Prepare the plastic bag and add the following: green onions, orange juice, olive oil, chopped rosemary, balsamic vinegar, zested lemon, juiced lemon, honey and salt.

2.      Mix the ingredients well inside.  This will serve as the marinade for the turkey tenderloins.

3.      Put the tenderloins in the bag and seal it along with the marinade. Shake the contents well.

4.      After mixing, leave the turkey in the marinade bag for 1 hour at maximum.

5.      Prepare the grill and turn it on medium heat.

6.      Get the turkey inside the bag and place it on the heated grill.

7.      Grill the first side for at least 5 minutes, then reverse the tenderloins to grill the other side. It would take at least 3 – 5 minutes.

8.      Dip a brush made for sauces in the marinade and coat the turkey tenderloins evenly.

9.      This dish can be divided into 4 servings.


All-American Turkey Potpie



  • 2 cups all- purpose flour
  • 3 – 4 tablespoons for water
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup cheddar cheese, finely shredded
  • 2/3 cup shortening
  • 1 tablespoon cold butter


For the filling:

  • 1 cup peeled potates, cubed
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ cup carrots, thinly sliced
  • ¼ teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 1/3 cup celery, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup onion
  • ½ cup frozen corn, thawed
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ½ cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 –  ½ cups cooked turkey, cubed
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • ½ cup 2% milk
  • 2 tablespoons all- purpose flour



1.       Mix flour and salt using a food processor. Let it pulse to blend. In the mixture, include cheese and pulse again to develop fine crumbs.

2.       Butter and shortening should be added to form coarse crumbs from the mixture.

3.       Pour water carefully into the mixture while processing. Keep the water coming until the dough can be formed into a ball.

4.       Make two balls with the dough, one larger than the other.  Use plastic wrap to cover the two dough balls. 30 minutes of refrigeration are required

5.       While waiting, prepare a saucepan and get started with the filling. 5 minutes are needed to saute the following in butter: celery, carrots, potatoes and onions. After this, include garlic in the mix and cook for another minute.

6.       Cook the vegetables into the broth for at least 10 minutes until the ingredients are tender.

7.       Mix flour and milk. Pour this into the vegetables in the saucepan. Boil and cook the mixture for 2 minutes, or wait for it to thicken.

8.       Stir the mixture and gradually add the remaining items in the filling ingredients. 5 minutes of simmering is needed.

9.       Retrieve the larger dough ball and knead it to fit a 9 inch pie plate. Trim the dough and pour the hot turkey mixture in the crust. Get the smaller ball and roll it on top of the mixture to cover the pie.

10.   Seal the edges. Flute if necessary.

11.   Make decorative cutouts if you have specialized cutters for pies.

12.   Put the pie plate in the oven and bake at 350 degrees Celsius. A total of 35 – 40 minutes is needed to get the right golden brown crusting.



Turkey recipes should be enjoyed by anyone at anytime they want. There are hundreds of Turkey recipes online that can be done for daily cooking, and are proven easy enough for starting cooks.



Linda Rosario, a food enthusiast from Chef Needs “The Kitchen that Every Restaurant Needs” for these great recipes. Linda also loves arts and crafts and works as a pre-school teacher.

Humitas Recipe from Cecilia Echeverría




Submitted by Cecilia Echeverría, Chile

Humitas is a typical Chilean food.
Use fresh corn on the cob.
Remove the corn from the cob by slicing it off carefully with a knife.
Chop the corn, then place it in a blender with 5 basil leaves.
When it is well ground put it in a pan with cut chives, butter and salt to taste.
Meets in ground corn and fried, cooked to be semi solid paste, served hot with tomato salad. You can add sugar to corn dough.

They are delicious!


Hugs to all, love.

Here is a more detailed recipe for those hesitant to try to guage how much of each item to add:

(Leftover) Turkey Pot Pie

If you still have some leftover turkey in the fridge, you’re in luck! This is a quick, easy recipe that will help you use it up, and–bonus–you probably already have all of the ingredients on hand!

Now, I’m cooking for one, so this recipe serves 2 generously, but you could easily double the recipe and serve your whole family. Make it work for you!

(Leftover) Turkey Potpie

Serves 2 generously

1 T. Smart Balance Light or other buttery spread (you could use butter as well)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 T. flour
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup turkey or chicken broth–OR leftover gravy
1 cup frozen mixed veggies
3/4 cup leftover turkey, diced or shredded
1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning
1 pre-made pie crust (or homemade if you are ambitious!)
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 425.

Heat Smart Balance over medium heat until melted. Add onions and season with salt and pepper. Cook about 5 minutes until softened. Sprinkle flour over top and cook 1 minute or until flour is absorbed. Gently whisk in milk and broth, and whisk constantly for 3-5 minutes until bubbly and thickened. Add veggies, turkey, and poultry seasoning and reduce heat to low. Allow flavors to combine while you set up your crust.

In a small baking dish, lay out the pie crust. The dish should be small enough that you have quite a bit of crust going over the sides. I used the green one on the right:

Gently press the crust into the dish, and pour the turkey mixture into the middle. Carefully fold the crust over the top, sealing the edges. Cut a few slits in the top to allow the heat to escape, and bake 30-40 minutes.

Full disclosure: I did eat the whole thing. I do not recommend this. It is neither healthy nor necessary as this is very filling, but my stomach was all stretched out from all that Thanksgiving eating, so it felt like the right thing to do.

It may not be fantastically attractive, but I assure you, it is good.

What is your favorite thing to do with your Thanksgiving leftovers?

Melissa Woodson is the community manager for @WashULaw, one of the premier law programs offered through Washington University in St. Louis that allows foreign attorneys to earn their LLM degree online. In her spare time, she enjoys running, cooking, and making half-baked attempts at training her dog.

Spanish Rice



3 cups long grain rice
5-6 cups of hot water – appx.
½ cup of sofrito (some people make theirs from scratch. I just use the store bought ones)
16 ounce can of green pigeon peas (you can use red beans, or any other kind of beans)
2 tablespoons of caper and olive mixture
2 packet of Sazon with achiote
1 can tomato sauce
3 tablespoons of oil
1/4 cup of diced ham (optional)
salt and pepper to taste (I use adobo with pepper. add it slowly until it reaches your taste)

In a medium size pan add the oil, tomato sauce, capers and olive mixture, sofrito, ham and sazon. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add all other ingredients, and enough water to cover the rice 1″ above the rice line. Bring to a boil and cook over high heat until most of the water is absorbed. Once the water has been absorbed, stir gently from bottom to top, cover and turn the heat down to low. Cook for 30 minutes or until the rice is tender.

If you stir the rice too much during the cooking time, it can get sticky.



Sofrito Recipe:

2 pounds- large green peppers
1 pound- medium size head of garlic
3 pounds- large onions
1- bunch of cilantro
1/2 cup- vegetable oil
Add these items from your own “hortaliza”…
50- recao leaves
1 pound- ajies dulce (small sweet cooking peppers)

Place all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and chop coarsely. Add in the water a small amount at a time .Pour this mixture into icecube trays and freeze. Anytime you are going to cook some asopao, habichuelas, arroz con gandules, or your own carne guizada, just throw in 1-2 cubes of Sofrito. Add this mixture (to taste) to bean dishes, stews, soups, and anything else you want to spice up.

My variation for arroz con gandules is adding chopped “salt pork” (tocino) and jamon de cocinar (smoked ham) (especially the cueros (skins) from the jamón), and covering the whole caldero (pot) with banana leaves. (You can’t beat the flavor)

Note: In order to skin the garlic cloves easily, separate all cloves and place in warm water overnight or longer and the skins will come right off.

Make Your Own Pizza

Sorry Domino’s, Papa John’s, etc. – we’re making our OWN pizza these days!


Makes 2 14″ pies


Pizza Dough:

1/4 cup warm Water

1 package active dry Yeast

4 1/4 cups sifted Flour

1 teaspoon Salt

1 teaspoon Sugar

1 1/4 cups lukewarm Water

2 tablespoons Olive or other cooking Oil


Pizza Sauce:

1 (8-ounce) can Tomato Sauce

1 (6-ounce) can Tomato Paste

1 tablespoon Olive or other cooking Oil

2 tablspoons Water

1 clove Garlic, peeled and crushed

1 teaspoon Oregano

1/2 teaspoon Salt

1/2 teaspoon Sugar

1/8 teaspoon crushed dried hot red Chili Peppers




3/4 pound Mozzarella Cheese, thinly sliced or coarsely grated

1/3 – 1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese

1 teaspoon Oregano


Pour warm water in to a warm alrge bowl, sprinkle in yeast, and stir to dissolve.  Mix in 2 cups Flour, the Salt and Sugar.  Add lukewarm Water and Oil and beat until smooth.  Mix in remaining Flour and knead on a lightly floured board until elastic.  Shape into a ball, turn in greased bowl to grease all over, cover, and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Meanwhile, warm all sauce ingredients together in a covered saucepan over lowest heat, stirring now and then, 20 minutes; keep warm until ready to use.

Preheat over to 450 degrees. Punch dough down, divide in half, refrigerate 1 piece, and roll the othr into a circle about 15″ across.  Place on a greased 14: pizza pan, roll edges under even with rim, and brush with a little oil. Spread half the sauce evenly over dough, sprinkle with half the mozarella, Parmesan and Oregano.

Prepare remaing dough the same way.  (Note:  Dough may be rolled to fit a 15 1/2″ x 12″” baking sheet if a pizza pan is unavailable.)  Bake, uncovered, 20-25 minutes until edges are well browned and cheese bubbly.  Cut each pie in 6 wedges and serve hot.  Pass extra Parmeasan, Oregano, and Chili Peppers if you like.  About 300 calories per pie-shaped wedge (6 wedges for each pie).


Of course, pizza toppings are up to your imagination.  And if you have little ones, they will have a ball making their own personal, individualized pizza!


The Benefits of Cooking With Cast Iron


My Mom had her cherished cast iron pans and pots and used them regularly when cooking our family’s meals.  I remember the skillet that was black, black, black and she used it for everything.  Little did I know why until I was older and started cooking for my own family.  I found out that the skillet she has was her mother’s and she has cooked with it for over 7 decades.  (One pan for 70 years! And, who knows how long her mother had it before her.)

My Mom was born in 1922 and grew up in Virginia when things were slower, healthier, happier and better.  The family’s garden fed them along with the chickens they raised.  They pumped the water from a well and it was crystal clear, clean and drinkable.  She has watched our lifestyles decline and descend into a mad dash with commercially processed food laden with chemicals and mothers not being able to stay home with their children.  She laughs at the idea of “organic food.”  That’s what she was raised on and now it is considered a novelty.

Well, enough of that.  It’s time to get healthy and to keep our families healthy.  It’s time to take a look at the things that we are doing to take stock and research so we can make improvements.  Discover not what’s faster and more convenient, but what’s healthiest?  What serves us better?



Cast-iron skillets conduct heat evenly. 


They can be used on the stove top or in the oven. 


A well-seasoned cast iron pan can be virtually nonstick.


You avoid harmful chemicals that are used in nonstick pans.   The coating that keeps food from sticking to nonstick pots and pans contains PFCs (perfluorocarbons), a chemical that’s linked to a host of illnesses for the human body.  PFCs are released and inhaled from nonstick pans in the form of fumes when pans are heated on high heat. We also ingest these chemicals when cooking with them, especially if the surface of the pan gets scratched.

Not using non-stick pans?  Well, aluminum is harmful to the human body and builds up in our systems over time.


Cooking in cast iron actually puts small amounts of iron in your food.


Cast iron pots and pans cost considerably less than other kinds of pots and pans.


Cast iron lasts for generations!  My mom as been using a cast iron frying pan for over 70 years now.   Well-treated, they get better with age and you can pass yours on to your daughter or grandchildren.  A cast iron pan is a low cost lifetime investment.  How many non-stick or aluminum frying pans have you during your lifetime?


Many cast iron foundries incorporate steps in the production of cast iron that greatly reduces waste and impact on the environment.  Eco-friendly!!  :  )

Corn Bread



1 1/4 cups Flour

3/4 cup CornMeal

1/4 cup Sugar

2 tsps. Baking Power

1/2 tsp. Salt (optional)

1 cup Milk

1/4 cup Vegetable Oil

2 egg whites or 1 egg, beaten


Heat oven to 400 degrees. Grease 8 or 9 inch baking pan.  Combine dry ingredients.  Stir in mil, oil and egg, mixing just until dry ingredients are moistened.  Pour batter into prepared pan.  Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until light golden brown and wooden pick inserted near center comes out clean.  Serve warm.

Makes about 9 servings.


I always use Powered Milk and Unbleached Flour.



Or if you want to stick with good old Jiffy Mix, here’s their link:





We all have the Native Americans to thank for corn bread.  Its humble beginnings can be traced back to the Indians that the European settlers came in contact with when they first arrived in America. However, it stands to reason that the Native Americans have been making corn bread long before that.

The Indians used corn ground into meal and flour for years in their cooking.  Corn was a major food source so they were very creative in its usage.  Because the white settlers were dependent on the natural resources, they too, adopted the practice of making corn bread.  A surge in popularity around Civil War time was inevitable as corn was plentiful and cheap.  Corn bread and other meals made from corn were easy to make.

Because there were special varieties of corn grown throughout North America, the corn bread differed by region.  In the southwest areas, blue corn was popular.  The northern regions favored the yellow corn and the south had white corn.  In addition, the preparations in making corn bread differed too.

In the beginning, when a lot of supplies were scarce, the Indians made corn bread from a simple mixture of water, salt and cornmeal. The recipe graduated to using variety of sweetener products like sugar, honey or molasses for northern corn bread. The south tended to steer clear of the sweetened corn bread and favored using fat from bacon or lard.

Because of some of the natural components in the corn, there is no need to use yeast to get the corn bread to rise. This property makes it one of America’s favorite quick breads.  These days, you can still make corn bread from scratch.  However, there are a number of varieties of corn bread mixes available these days from your local grocery store. Corn bread, once a major part of a diet, is now a southern accompanying favorite to almost any meal.

Reposted from


Native Americans were using ground corn (maize) for food thousands of years before European explorers arrived in the New World. European settlers, especially those who resided in the southern English colonies, learned from natives—”Indians” such as Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Creek—the original recipes and processes for corn dishes, and soon they devised recipes for using cornmeal in breads similar to those made of grains available in Europe. Cornbread has been called a “cornerstone” of Southern United States cuisine. Cornmeal is produced by grinding dry raw corn grains. A coarser meal (compare flour) made from corn is grits. Grits are produced by soaking raw corn grains in hot water containing calcium hydroxide (the alkaline salt), which loosens the grain hulls (bran) and increases the nutritional value of the product (by increasing available niacin and available amino acids). These are separated by washing and flotation in water, and the now softened slightly swelled grains are called hominy. Hominy, posole in Spanish, also is ground into masa harina for tamales and tortillas). This ancient Native American technology has been named nixtamalization.[2] Besides cornbread, Native Americans used corn to make numerous other dishes from the familiar hominy grits to liquors (as Andean chicha). Cornbread was popular during the American Civil War because it was very cheap and could be made in many different forms—high-rising, fluffy loaves or simply fried (as unleavened pone, corn fritters, hoecakes, etc.)

Reposted from


Make Your Own Soda



Would you have ever in your wildest dreams thought it would be possible to make soda at home?

SodaStream allows you to do just that.  There are several advantages as explained below – less expensive, no lugging heavy bottles home from the store and more eco-friendly.


SodaStream (Soda-Club) USA

Sleek and stylish, the home soda maker is a countertop appliance about the size of a coffee maker that transforms water into fresh, fizzy seltzer/sparkling water at the push of a button. Soda makers operate without batteries, electricity or plumbing, so they are simple to use in a kitchen and great for bringing along on a boat, RV or to a second home. Making seltzer and soda takes just seconds and requires no clean-up.

A reusable, one-liter carbonating bottle (provided by SodaStream) is filled with water and screwed into the machine fitting. A CO2 carbonator, housed inside the soda maker, adds carbonation at the touch of a button – as much or as little as the consumer prefers. After carbonating the water, the soda drinker simply adds a capful from one of over 25 soda mix flavors to make his or her favorite, great-tasting soda.



With a home soda maker, a household will save in many ways – save trips to the store, save lugging and storage, save the environment, save sugar and sodium…and save money!

With SodaStream, soda stays fizzy, thanks to a special hermetic seal in the carbonating bottle caps. That means no more flat, wasted soda. A home soda maker and concentrated sodamix flavors means no more lugging and storing soda. Each bottle of sodamix is about the size of a can of soda but contains enough syrup to make 12 one-liter bottles (about 36 cans) of soda. So, SodaStream is great for families and for anyone with tight space, including RVers, boaters, college students and urban dwellers.

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