Sunday, April 24, 2011


 I woke up to a beautiful morning with sunshine and birds chirping outside my window.  I thought to myself "it is  going to be a great day". After breakfast with my husband  I set my table for our family gathering. Then went into the kitchen to prepare our Easter meal. My menu was, ham, mashed sweet potatoes, asparagus bundles, lasagna and my first attempt at Easter bread which I had baked a day before (thank God for that). I put the ham in the oven and happily started cooking my vegetables. Everything was going as planned, ham was cooking happily in the oven with lasagna, my vegetables were almost done. All of a sudden something didn't feel right. The delicious aroma that was wafting from the oven through the house had stopped. What was wrong?? I opened the oven door and the oven was cold. Oh no, oven malfunction on a holiday is not so pretty!!!. My husband tried different things to fix it but still there was no heat. The funny thing is the stove was working fine. This forced me to go to plan B/ to use my toaster oven. I had to slice the ham and put it  in a smaller pan to cook in a small space. But what about my  lasagna?? I had to improvise on that one also. That's why I do not have pictures of my ham or lasagna although they tasted great but they weren't picture worthy.
However, my Easter bread was a hit as was the little chickadee place cards I had made a day before.  
The honey mint glazed carrots received good marks from my husband and the asparagus bundles with their very subtle lemon oil dressing got a good mark from Beverly.  

Mashed sweet potatoes with garlic and  cream cheese was my favorite. It was comfort food at its best. At the end of the day what matter the most was to have our family around to celebrate this holiday.

Thursday, April 21, 2011



Monday, April 18, 2011


While going through old recipes,  I came across my childhood favorite crepe recipe that my mother used to make for us . Reminiscing about those days and having not made crepes for a while I thought it would be a great treat for my husband. Using basic crepe recipe I made a batch  in the morning and served half of it for breakfast instead of pancakes. I rolled  them up like burritos and drizzled sour cherry jam on top.  I saved the rest in the fridge for dessert for that evening.
This recipe yields approximately 18 pieces and can be frozen by placing wax paper between the extra pieces. Just take them out to room temperature an hour before serving.

Here is the basic crepe recipe:

1 1/2 Cups milk
1 Cup flour
2 Eggs
1 Cup milk
2 Tbsp vegetable oil

In a bowl combine milk, eggs and oil (I don't use salt but for those who want can add 1 tsp.) mix them well.Add flour and beat until smooth. Heat a lightly greased 6 inch skillet, spoon in 2 tbsp of the batter with a ladle and tilt the skillet to coat the bottom. Brown one side (you can check to see if it is done by lifting a corner) only and slide unto a paper towel or place it on a cooling wire. Repeat with remaining batter and grease the pan with oiled paper towel occasionally.

To make this light and airy crepe in to dessert:

1/2 Cup margarine or butter
Rind of an orange pith removed and thinly sliced
1/2 Cup Orange Juice
1/4 Cup Sugar
1/4 Cup Orange Liqueur (Orange Curacao)
1/4 Cup Brandy (if you want to be really fancy or you can omit it)

Melt butter in a large skillet add orange strips, orange juice and orange liqueur cook and stir until thickened.
Fold each crepe in triangles and arrange them in the sauce carefully. Simmer for 2-3 minutes until heated. Turn off the heat. Pour  brandy in to a large ladle and carefully ignite it and pour over crepes. 

Monday, April 11, 2011


One of my all time favorite soup is this red lentil soup. With its nutty aroma and flavor it just warms me up all over. Many of my friends also enjoy its creaminess. I make sure that  I always make a big batch not only to freeze but also to give away some to my neighbors. They look forward to it.


2 Cups of Red Lentils washed and drained
2 Medium Onions coarsely chopped
2 Carrots peeled and coarsely chopped
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 Tbsp of Tomato paste
8 Cups of Water of Chicken Broth I
1 Cup of  *Medium Grind  Bulgur  (see below )
1 Tsp. ground Mint
1 Tsp Paprika

In a medium bowl soak bulgur in hot water set aside. In a  large pot, sautee onions, carrots, tomato paste for few minutes with olive oil. Add lentils and water/broth. Stir and cook until carrots are soft.  Turn off heat. Using a hand infuser or regular blender blend everything  to a creamy consistency. Add bulgur and mint simmer for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with paprika and serve with croutons. It makes 12 servings.

For home made croutons:  Brown all sides of cubed old Italian bread in butter in a small frying pan.  

This soup becomes thick as it stands. It can be diluted with water/broth  for the the next use. When I make this soup, I apportion it to servings for two, in a freezer appropriate container and use them as needed.
*Bulgur is a cereal made with Durum wheat and has a nutty flavor. I think that's why it complements this lentil soup so well. Bulgur has four different grinds. #1 through #4. Very coarse, coarse, medium and fine.  I only use  coarse, medium or fine grades in various recipes. 

Friday, April 8, 2011


We Americans have recently learned that we need to save; apperantly we have forgotten how to save.
Remember the times that our parents used to give us  piggy banks to save some of  our allowances or monies that we made doing chores? The idea was to teach us to save for whatever we needed to buy without asking them. My dad always quoted "A penny saved is a penny earned" .  I remember having an orange (I don't know why it was orange) colored piggy bank. I used to put the loose change that I had in my pockets there. I though I was saving but later learned that my brother found a way to take money out-of it without being too obvious.

 In today's economy we should all learn to live more efficiently not only to benefit ourselves but  for the benefit of our country and our planet. Here are money some saving ideas:

Conserving energy: I set the thermostat to 65 degrees before I leave my house in the winter and in the summer I set the air conditioner to 70 degrees until I come back home.

"Cloth Bag It" use reusable cloth (or re-usable plastic) bags that comes with your cosmetic purchases for toting your home made lunch to work whenever possible. You'll be eating healthier.

Enjoy home cooked supper at home with your family. Everyone can get into action and have a blast cooking and talking about their day.  Read my recipes in this blog. They are a breeze to make and  very healthy.  Another plus side to this is you probably already have the necessary ingredients in your pantry.

Don't go shopping when hungry, you'll buy everything you don't need. Just like sending your husband to shopping he'll buy everything he likes but will forget the list you gave him. I usually go shopping with my  husband and we go after our lunch or dinner. Double bonus...!!!! He pays and he buys what we need.

 Make full use of  your supplies. A cap full of laundry detergent is more than enough to wash a large load. Also, putting a table spoon of baking soda (more uses on baking soda coming up soon) in the wash with the detergent makes a good whitener and fabric softener. It saves you both money and space. When you think you are at the end of a bottle of laundry detergent, tightly screw the lid on and turn it upside down you'll get another cap full for the  next load.

To make full use of expensive face/hand creams etc. see my nifty-thrifty helpful hint blog page.

Credit Card Use: If you must use your credit card, make sure you have enough money in your checking account to cover  that amount. Then when you come home write a check for that amount sans date and clip it to your receipt and mail it when you receive your statement. You'll be saving money and paying the exact purchase price (people tend to forget that minimum payments increase the purchase price due to the interest they pay. )


One of my husband's favorite dish is pasta with peas and pearl onions. He thinks it is a lot of work to prepare (don't tell him... it is easy) this dish . While the bow- tie pasta was boiling in a pot, I sauteed one half bag of frozen peas and pearl onions in garlic and oil and added splash of white wine to the mixture. I stirred  in a small can of tomato sauce and sprinkled it with dried oregano and basil. While they were simmering happily for 10 minutes I made my salad and garlic bread. Voila his favorite dish was ready.... After I sat the table he took this picture to memorialize it.

Thursday, April 7, 2011


You know me, most of the time I like to cook quick, easy meals when I come back home from work. Well,  last night was one of those nights. A quick look in the pantry and fridge I found all the ingredients I needed. Here's the recipe:

4 Chicken Boneless Cutlets
1 Cup of seasoned bread crumbs
1 Tsp. ground Parmesan cheese
1 Tsp. Cumin
1 Whole egg whipped
1 Bunch of Broccoli
8 Oz box of Baby Bell Mushrooms
2 Tbsp of margarine
2 Tbs. of Cream Cheese
1 Clove garlic finely chopped (or pressed)
1 Shot glass of whiskey
1/3 cup of vegetable oil for frying the chicken

Wash and cut  broccoli into long stems boil or steam (I steamed) in a pot for 5 minutes, turn off heat pour out water and set aside. Mix breadcrumbs, cumin, Parmesan cheese in a bowl. In a separate place (for health reasons) pound the chicken breasts with a mallet  between stretch wrap to flatten. Dip flatten breasts first into egg mixture than dredge in the breadcrumb mixture, coating them well. Set aside.  In a medium pan saute garlic with margarine add cream cheese and stir till cheese melts and becomes smooth add whiskey and mushrooms, stir again (don't be tempted to add water). Fry the chickens until golden color. Plate with  broccoli  with mushroom sauce. (Sauce color will be lighter with white button mushrooms)

Friday, April 1, 2011


 When I came home from work today I didn't feel like cooking but since I was in a playful mood I thought I would surprise my husband with a cold snack platter with some of his favorite vegetables. I grabbed whatever I found in the refrigerator and created this whimsical design. I put tuna fish in the middle with cucumbers around it, made little chicks with the hard boiled eggs. I made flowers  with red and yellow peppers. Feta cheese, tomatoes and olives completed this platter.

Hummus (recipe below) that I had prepared a day before was enough to please both of us.

1 Can (15.5 oz) of Chick Peas (Garbanzo Beans)
2 Cloves of  Garlic
1/3 Cup of Tahini*
Juice of 1 Lemon
2 Tbsp of Olive Oil

In a blender combine all the above ingredients, cover and process until smooth. Transfer to a bowl. Decorate with parsley, olive, pimento etc. if desired.
It is delicious as a dip, side dish or spread on bread.

 * Tahini is sesame seed paste. If you can't find it in the supermarket you can substitute it with creamy peanut butter (3 tbsp) mixed with  sesame oil (1 tbsp).