Tag Archives: Food


15 Jan apricot-halved-1329341-1598x1067

I was tossing out old magazines and I stopped short when I saw this recipe in a magazine called Journey. I don’t often see a recipe that comes from South Africa but when I saw this one for Bobotie, I knew I had to post it in my blog. I’m not sure of the pronunciation because I’ve seen it pronounced several ways on the Internet, but I’m going with “Bobootie.”  South Africans enjoy spicy Eastern flavors, including Indian curries and Malayan spices, Dutch and English foods, and traditional African dishes. This Bobotie is one of South Africa’s most-loved dishes. It’s a combination of sweet and savory served casserole style. Note that there are no vegetables in this recipe, only fruits! Maybe your children will like it! In any case, it’s my choice for this month’s New Food Friday Flash.



2 large onions

2 Tablespoons butter

1 thick slice white bread

1 cup milk

2 lbs ground lamb or beef

2 ½ Tablespoons strong curry powder

1 teaspoon turmeric

2 tablespoons apricot jam

¼ cup sliced almonds

¼ cup lemon juice (or vinegar)

2 teaspoons salt

½ teaspoon white pepper

¼ cup seedless raisins

1 green apple, grated (or substitute carrots)

10 dried apricots, soaked & diced (or ¼ cup raisins)

4 dried bay or lemon leaves

2 eggs



Pre-heat the oven to 350F. lightly fry the onions in the butter. Soak the bread in half the milk and mash with a fork.


Mix the meat with all of the ingredients except for the eggs, the rest of the milk and the bay or lemon leaves.


Put the mixture in an oven proof dish. Push the bay leaves into the top of the mixture. Cover and bak for about 45-60 minutes, depending on size of dish.


Beat the eggs and remaining milk together and pour over the meat. Slightly lift it to allow the egg to run into the bobotie.


Bake until brown on top (about 15 – 20 minutes.


Garnish with additional bay leaves.  Serves 8 – 10.


This recipe is a great way to get more fruit into your diet. Traditionally this is served with yellow rice made with rice, turmeric, raisins, almonds, and cloves. A tasty, different meal that is very good for your health!



21 Dec mango-1327290


We all know that salmon is good for us. We want to get that Omega-3! But sometimes the flavor of salmon is too strong. It may turn you off or prevent you from enjoying your meal as much as you could. Bears don’t seem to have this problem but last time I checked, I wasn’t a bear. I have, however, come up with a solution for us homo sapiens. Mango chutney. It’s a topping you dollop on your cooked salmon. It’s delicious and nutritious. It’s pretty, especially in combination with the salmon-colored salmon. That is why it is my choice for this month’s New Food Friday Flash.


Yes, I know I’m a few days late publishing this but once in over three years is not a bad record! I knew I had written it. I just forgot to post it! I’ve been dealing with a house emergency. My smoke alarm kept going off every time I did my forth load of laundry. So, I replaced the plastic duct hose with flexible metal ductwork and vacuumed out the lint. How did I do that? Long story made short: I opened up the wall. Well, somebody had to do it. It might as well have been me! According to a Sears repairman, I saved myself between $700-$800! Then I did four loads of laundry to see if my smoke alarm would go off. It didn’t. Problem solved! You can find flexible, metal dryer ductwork at the Home Depot. It’s metal. Not plastic, not aluminum. Peace of mind is good for your health!


But back to the Mango Chutney. One of the things I like about this recipe is that you can vary the ingredients without much difference in the taste. The main flavor is the citrus taste of the mango. The more ripe the mango, the sweeter the chutney will be and it keeps well, covered in the fridge.


This chutney recipe is so delicious that you will want to add another dollop as soon as you finish the first dollop! I’ve also eaten this chutney with chicken. It would work well with pork too.



4 ripe mangoes

1 medium red onion minced

1 teaspoon cumin

juice of 2 limes

¼ cup cilantro


Wash then peel the mangoes. Dice each mango being careful not to waste the juices. A ripe mango will have a lot of juice and make it slippery so be careful! Mince the onion and add to the mangoes. Add the cumin and the juice of two limes. Chop the cilantro and add to the dish.


I usually buy one very large mango for this recipe. I don’t always have a red onion so I substitute a white or yellow onion. You don’t taste the onion in this dish but it has a very pleasant crunch so don’t leave it out! A red onion adds to the pretty colors of the dish. I use cumin seed instead of powder. Either will work but the powder might darken the bright color of the mango. I add as much or as little as I like. Then I use the juice of ½ lime. Taste as you go along because too much lime will make you pucker! Chop the cilantro and add to the dish. I like cilantro as it has a mild lemony flavor and the green herb adds another dimension of color. You eat with your eyes! It’s a festive dish and a healthful choice for the holidays: slimming rather than fattening!


Prepare your salmon the way you like it. I baste mine with olive oil, salt and pepper and bake until it flakes with a fork, about 20 minutes depending on how thick the piece of salmon. When cooked, either place a dollop of the mango chutney on top of the fish and serve it or bring the chutney to the table and let guests serve themselves. I know I always want more. This is my favorite way to eat salmon. Now there is no excuse not to eat salmon! Buon appetito!




20 Nov Peppers

I’m always looking for foods that contain calcium. One new product is a cream cheese, the other is an old standby, buttermilk.

Let’s do the new product first. Green Mountain Farms has created “Greek Cream Cheese & Greek Yogurt” for the conscientious consumer: you and me!  Where most cream cheese has only 2 – 4% calcium (I know, you would think there is more calcium in cream cheese), Green Mountain Farms’ cream cheese contains 8% calcium.

NOTE: In case of any confusion, this cream cheese contains Greek yogurt. It is one product. The full name is Green Mountain Farms Greek Cream Cheese & Greek Yogurt.

Bonus: when you buy Green Mountain Farms Greek Cream Cheese, the package contains a $.55 coupon inside so be careful when you open it. I’ve torn the coupon each time and had to tape it together. An 8 oz bar costs $2.18 at Wal-Mart. Make sure you use your coupon!


Coupon for Greek Cream Cheese

Two tablespoons of Green Mountain Farms Greek cream cheese is only 60 calories. Compare that to butter where two tablespoons is 200 calories! The cream cheese is a much healthier choice.

I couldn’t tell you what it tastes like plain because I “doctor” it up. Here is a delicious dip recipe that I created using most of the ingredients from the Philadelphia Jalapeno Cream Cheese label.


8 oz bar of Green Mountain Farms Greek Cream Cheese

¼ teaspoon onion powder

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

1 finely chopped Serrano pepper (I prefer Serrano to Jalapeno)

1 teaspoon vinegar

dash salt (optional)

dash sugar (optional)

Mash all together well. If the consistency is too thick, add a bit more vinegar. I didn’t add the salt or the sugar the first time I made it. I did the second time I made it and didn’t think there was any improvement so I will be leaving them out from now on. If you like things very hot, add the ribs of the Serrano pepper. When you’re done chopping, wash your hands very well. I washed my hands twice after making this dish. Later on, while watching TV, I rubbed my eyes and yes, they started burning from the pepper! I continuously rinsed my eyes with cold water until the burning stopped. Boy, that was a surprise! So heed the warning!

This cream cheese dip goes great with Sweet Potato and Onion Brown Rice Triscuits.

Now for the buttermilk news.

Did you know that a one-cup serving of Kroger’s Low Fat Buttermilk contains 40% calcium? I don’t know about you, but I don’t think of calcium when I think of buttermilk. And yet, I should! We should!

Alas, even low fat buttermilk contains 120 calories in a one-cup serving, more than Deans fat free milk which contains 90 calories. But the flavor can’t be matched. This product contains 25% Vitamin D, the same amount in Deans Fat Free Milk. But Deans Fat Free milk contains only 30% calcium, 10% less than the buttermilk.

What can you do with buttermilk? You can make buttermilk biscuits. You can make buttermilk pancakes. (Oh, yum!) You can soak chicken in buttermilk which will tenderize it. And, you can make my Irish Soda Bread with it. Lately, I have been omitting one cup of flour from the Soda Bread recipe and adding 1 cup of Old Fashioned Oats instead. The oats have less calories than the flour and the taste is better. It’s also better for you with more fiber and more vitamins.

I now make the Oat Soda Bread recipe weekly. When I slice it, I slice 14 slices from one 9×5 loaf. Yes, I now use a loaf pan to make it. The calories vary depending on how much flour and buttermilk I use. This last time I used about 4 cups of flour, 1 cup of oats, and 2 cups of buttermilk. I buttered the pan with ½ T of butter. So, each slice was approximately 156 calories. I want to get the calories down on this recipe so I will be using less flour and less buttermilk next time and omitting the tablespoon of sugar.

It’s fun to play around with recipes, especially when it improves your health! I hope you enjoy good health with these calcium containing foods!



16 Oct Slimcado

I’m always on the lookout for new food products and I came across this one at my local Kroger. For those of you who love avocadoes but hate the fat and the calories, this Slimcado has 50% less fat and 35% less calories than a regular avocado. Therefore, it is my choice for this month’s NEW FOOD FRIDAY FLASH.

A Slimcado tastes just like a regular avocado. It looks just like a regular avocado.


Slimcado Lite

But it is much bigger than a regular avocado. The skin stays green, it does not turn black like other avocadoes.  I paid $1.00 for this “medium” sized “avocado.” The cashier must have keyed it in wrong because there is no way this is a medium avocado.

Once home, I let it ripen for four days. In my haste to try it, apparently I didn’t let it ripen enough so it was still a bit too firm even though it had some give when I pressed it. I decided to wrap the remaining Slimcado in plastic wrap to see if it would ripen further.

Here are the nutrition facts from the www.brookstropicals.com website:

 1 cup             276 calories

Total Fat:        23.1g

Sat Fat:            4.5 g

Mono Fat:       12.7g

Poly Fat:         3.9g

Omega 3:        221mg

Omega 6:        3634mg

Cholesterol:    0

Sodium:           4.6mg

Carb:               18.4g

Fiber:               12.9g

Sugar:             5.6g

Protein:           5.1g

Vitamin C:       40mg

Potassium:      807mg

I know people like to add sliced avocado to their sandwiches and salads, or to make guacamole, but I like to eat avocado straight from the skin with a spoon as a snack. I halve it lengthwise, cover the remaining avocado with the pit still intact then wrap it in plastic wrap for another day. I won’t be doing that with the Slimcado. It’s too big!

Slimcado Avocado

I cut about 1/4 of the Slimcado to try it but you can see how big it was compared to my garden gloves!

However, a Slimcado would make an ideal vessel for stuffing! An ice cream scoop of shrimp or crab salad perhaps? Their website gives detailed instructions on how to cut up this Slimcado including photos. Click on the How to cut up a Slimcado link.

Keep your eyes peeled for a Slimcado. I think these are going to become a big hit!

If you would like more information about the Slimcado, go to www.brookstropicals.com




18 Sep Baked Lamb Pizzas

I hope you don’t get tired of my excitement with James Beard’s bread book, but every recipe I’ve tried is very good. Here’s another one. It’s called Lahma bi Ajeen and as you might guess, it’s made with lamb. I love lamb and I love pizza so it sounded like a unique combination and I wanted to share it with you for this month’s New Food Friday Flash.

Beard’s recipe calls for pine nuts but I substituted pecans that I had on hand and they were a very good substitution. It also called for tomato paste but I had two tomatoes that were going to go bad if I didn’t use them so they were also a good substitution.

Beard wrote that these “pizzas” were fun to make. I have to disagree; they are more fun to eat! My only criticism of his book is that his instructions aren’t always crystal clear although it’s never ruined my finished product so I can’t complain too loudly. For example, he writes that these pizzas make 8 servings and that you should divide the dough into walnut-sized balls. Well, he must use some pretty big walnuts because I ended up with 16 walnut sized balls.  

Pizza Dough

Pizza Dough Balls

Did he mean that each person should get two pizzas? I don’t think so. At any rate, if you’re going to go to the trouble of making pizza, it’s much better to have 16 than 8 of them.


For the Dough:

1 package active dry yeast

pinch of granulated sugar

scant 1 cup warm water (100° to 115°)

1 pound all-purpose flour (about 3 ¾ cups)

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

Dissolve the yeast with the sugar in ½ cup of the lukewarm water and allow to proof for 10 minutes. Put the flour and salt in a large, warm mixing bowl. Make a well in the center and add the oil and the yeast mixture. Work the dough vigorously adding the remaining lukewarm water gradually to make a soft dough. Knead in the bowl about 15 minutes (I thought I was the only one who kneaded in bowls!) until the dough is pliable and elastic. Cover with a damp cloth and set aside in a warm place for 2 – 3 hours or until doubled in bulk. (I use my microwave turned off.) Lightly oil the top of the dough to prevent a crust from forming.

For the Filling:

1 pound finely chopped onion

olive oil

2 cloves garlic, finely minced

1 ½ pound finely ground shoulder of lamb

½ cup pine nuts

½ six-ounce can tomato paste

1 teaspoon granulate sugar

¾ teaspoon ground allspice

1 tablespoon lemon juice

4 teaspoons salt, or to taste

1 teaspoon cracked peppercorns

2 dashes of Tabasco sauce

3 tablespoons chopped parsley

Sauté the onions in 1 Tablespoon olive oil until wilted but not browned. Remove from heat and add garlic. Then add it to the ground meat along with the rest of the ingredients and blend well. Make a small sample patty, fry in ½ teaspoon olive oil and taste. Correct the seasonings if needed. Set aside while you roll out the dough.

Turn out the dough on a lightly floured board and knead a few times. Divide into walnut-sized balls and allow to rest for a few minutes, then roll each piece with a lightly floured rolling pin into a circle 5 to 6 inches in diameter. Spread the prepared filling generously over each piece. Transfer each piece to a lightly oiled baking sheet. Bake in a preheated oven at 450° to 500° for 8 – 10 minutes. The patties should be well done but still pale in color.


The other interesting thing to note is that even though I spread a generous serving of the lamb mixture on each pizza dough as he says you should do, I still had about ¾ of a cup of the lamb mixture left over. AND, I didn’t use 1 ½ lbs of lamb as the recipe suggests; I only had a 1 lb package. Go figure! As usual, I baked them in my convection toaster oven.

Lamb Pizzas

Lamb Pizzas in my Convection Toaster Oven

With the leftover lamb mixture, I added it to some store-bought Classico basil and tomato sauce and poured it over pasta. It was very good! If you have leftover as I did, you could also stuff zucchini or an eggplant with it.

Lamb mixture

Lamb Mixture Cooking

Beard says you can cut these pizzas into wedges and serve them with cocktails. I don’t know about you, but there’s nothing worse than eating cold, ground lamb – it’s too greasy. I wouldn’t recommend them for eating with cocktails or as hors d’oeuvres. These pizzas are best eaten hot.

Baked Lamb Pizzas

Baked Lamb Pizzas Hot from the Oven

I ate 5 and froze the rest. They freeze well and reheat in a toaster oven very well.

Storing Lamb Pizza in Container

Storing Lamb Pizza in Container for Freezing

Also, they cool off pretty quickly. If I make them again, I will be sure to really load on the lamb mixture so I don’t have any leftover and so that the pizza will stay hot longer. Those are my words to the wise. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!


New Food Friday Flash – Sweet Potato Rolls to Die For!

19 Jun Pull apart Sweet Potato Rolls

Can we all agree that we all love hot, buttered rolls? But they’re not the best for our health or waistline. Since I am always looking for ways to improve my diet, I have tried another James Beard bread recipe that I am addicted to! Again, it’s from the “old” book I found at the library. The man knows bread! I’ve also read his book on fish. It wasn’t nearly as good and disappointing in comparison. But I wasn’t disappointed with his Sweet Potato rolls recipe!


Has anybody not heard that we should stay away from white potatoes? Why? At the risk of repeating what you already know, they’re not as nutritious as other vegetables; they contain a high amount of pesticides (they’re in the “bad” 15 category), and we tend to fry or slather them in butter or sour cream which is not good for us. What’s a potato-loving girl (or guy) to do? Substitute your potato craving with a sweet potato.

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet Potatoes


Sweet potatoes have more nutrients, they’re high in fiber and they’re low on the pesticide scale (they’re in the “good” 15). We can make a “pumpkin” pie with them. We can bake them in the skin and serve with a pat of butter. And, we can make sweet potato rolls with them! I’ve tried several recipes making rolls with white potatoes and they have hardly any flavor and little nutrition. You’ve got to try these sweet potato rolls!


I’ve made sweet potato rolls five times now. When I’m down to my last one or two rolls, I start baking a sweet potato. I like the sweet potato skin to show some blackened areas from baking because that caramelizes the potato and brings out the sweetness.


I knew that yesterday I was planning to do lots of yard work and would be too tired to make the rolls, so I started the night before. I put the dough ingredients and sweet potato together (I had baked the sweet potato the night before that) and put it in the fridge overnight. I wasn’t sure this would work, but happily, it did!


The next morning before I went out in the yard, I took out the bowl of dough. It had risen beautifully as you can see in the photo.

Sweet Potato Dough

Sweet Potato Dough well-risen

 I rolled the dough into 24 balls and put them in two cake pans as I usually do. I placed them in my microwave oven (turned off) with a hot cup of water, and left them there to rise while I did my yard work. When I came in exhausted, at 4:00 pm (I began at noon), I checked on my rolls. Look at how much they rose! 

Sweet Potato Dough Rolls

Big, Puffy, Sweet Potato Dough Rolls


I then baked the rolls in my convection toaster-oven. For me, it takes 17 minutes at 350° but I will give you the original recipe below.


They say we “eat” with our eyes. Look at the color on these beauties!! They’re gorgeous! They’re moist! They’re fluffy! When you put them in cake pans, they pull apart like cotton candy! 

Pull apart Sweet Potato Rolls

Beautiful Color on these fluffy Sweet Potato Rolls


The final result: they tasted the same as the sweet potato rolls I made without putting the dough in the fridge. The only difference is that they raised more, and were bigger than usual. What’s not to love about that? Isn’t it great to know that you can do this recipe in steps if you’re short on time? Plus, if you use the refrigerator method, you don’t have to knead the dough at all.


I enjoy them with breakfast and with dinner. They reheat very well in the microwave and they keep in the fridge very well. I keep them in the cake pan.  After they’ve cooled on a rack, cover them with aluminum foil. I also put the foil-covered rolls in a clean, plastic bag in the fridge just to ensure that they don’t get stale. This works very well. I keep the other cake pan with rolls covered the same way, and put them in the freezer. So, when the first batch is nearly all eaten, I take out the frozen batch and put them in the fridge. Easy-peasy.


Beard says you can substitute the sweet potatoes with canned sweet potatoes (without the liquid), or winter squash, like butternut squash or acorn squash. I tried acorn squash rolls yesterday but I prefer the sweet potato.  Either would make an excellent substitution since they are equally nutritious, high in fiber, and low in pesticides and a good way to sneak a vegetable into your family’s meal.


Sweet Potato Roll Recipe

2 packages dry yeast

4 Tablespoons sugar

½ cup water (100° – 115°)

3 Tablespoons melted butter

1 Tablespoon salt

2-3 eggs (one for basting rolls)

3-3 ½ (or more) cups flour

½ – ¾ cup cooled, mashed sweet potato

2 Tablespoons cream


Combine the yeast with 1 Tablespoon of the sugar and the ½ cup water in a bowl. Let it proof 5 minutes. Add the remaining 3 Tablespoons of sugar, the melted butter, salt and 2 eggs. Stir well to blend. Stir in the flour one cup at a time with the potatoes. (I prefer to add the potatoes before adding the flour.) Knead 2-3 min. Add enough additional flour to prevent sticking. Dough will be soft. Shape it into a ball. Put in a buttered bowl, turning to coat all. Cover with plastic wrap and keep in a warm place about 1 hour. Then punch dough down, shape into a ball again and let rest 2 minutes. Form into golf ball size balls and place on a buttered cookie sheet or 2 cake pans. Let rise until doubled in size. Brush with the last egg mixed with the cream. (I prefer using only an egg white mixed with 1 Tablespoon water and 1 Tablespoon powdered dry milk which I always have on hand. I never have cream in the house!) Also, I brush the rolls before I let them rise. If you brush dough after it has risen, it tends to deflate the dough.


Bake at 375° for 20 minutes depending on your oven. Makes 24 rolls or two loaves. Bet you can’t eat just one!



New Food Friday Flash – Irish Soda Bread

15 May Irish soda bread side view

I have been on the hunt for an easy to make, quick, delicious bread recipe since the year of the flood. I think I found it! This is not the usual recipe for Irish Soda Bread. Most recipes I’ve seen contain raisins. This one is raisin free. If I want bread with raisins then I’ll also want cinnamon in it. Then it wouldn’t be Irish Soda Bread, it would be Cinnamon Raisin Bread. I also have a recipe for Irish Soda bread using yeast. This is not that recipe. I started making this bread at 8:00 pm one night when I craved bread. It was on a cooling rack at 9:00 pm. That’s what I’m talking about and that is why this month’s New Food Friday Flash focuses on Irish Soda Bread.


The story: I was searching the book shelves at my library for baking books and came across a book by the famous chef, James Beard. When I tried to check it out using the computer checkout station, I couldn’t find the library number on the book. I asked the librarian about it and she said it was an old book so the number would be on the inside cover instead of on the outside of the book. Sure enough, it was inside. I hesitated for a moment when she said “old book” but I thought I’d check it out anyway. Boy, am I glad I did!


James Beard’s “Beard on Bread” is a treasure trove of bread recipes. I’ve made two of his breads so far and both were very delicious. The Irish Soda Bread caught my eye because it had no yeast or raisins in the ingredients and when I scanned the recipe, it said to knead for 2-3 minutes. There is no waiting for the dough to rise. His ingredients list did not include any sugar but his directions said to add the sugar! Aaargh! I thought, too many obstacles! This recipe can’t be any good! There is no waiting for the dough to rise? There is no 10-minute kneading as I am used to? Should I add some sugar? Should I leave the sugar out? But I was desperate for a piece of bread! Desperate I tell you. I left the sugar out even though my other Irish Soda Bread recipes contained sugar in the ingredients list. It would only go to my waistline anyway.


Here is the recipe:

3 cups whole-wheat flour

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

¾ teaspoon double-acting baking powder

1 ½ to 2 cups buttermilk


Beard also included another version of this recipe using all white flour instead of whole wheat flour. I used half white bread flour and half white all-purpose flour. If you use all white, decrease the baking soda to ¾ teaspoon.


Mix the dry ingredients thoroughly then add enough buttermilk to make a soft dough, similar to biscuit dough but firm enough to hold its shape. Knead 2-3 minutes on a floured board. Form into a round loaf and place in a well-buttered 8-inch cake pan or a well-buttered cookie sheet. Cut a cross sign on the top of the loaf with a very sharp, floured knife. As it was baking, it rose and kept rising! It was beautiful bread, decorative because of the necessity to cut a cross on the top with a sharp knife before putting it in my convection toaster oven. It browns nicely in 35 – 40 minutes at 375° in your oven.

Irish Soda Bread in one hour!

Does this bread look like Santa Clause or it is just me?


Beard says to cut the bread in paper thin slices. I like it thin, I like it fat, I like it any which way but loose. He likes it buttered. Its great buttered but it is also good with blackberry spreadable fruit. It is very good as garlic toast (slathered in butter, topped with Italian herbs and garlic salt). It would also be good as sandwich bread. You have to try this bread. It’s good for novice bakers, old-hand bakers, what the heck, a kid could make it.


It keeps well in the refrigerator in a plastic bag. One-hour bread. I think I died and went to heaven!

Irish Soda Bread T-stand

Yipee! I love this bread!




New Food Friday Flash – A Better Breakfast

17 Apr Beans, Grits, Egg, Irish Soda Bread Toast for Breakfast

I’m a big fan of PBS. They have a program; actually, it’s more like a documentary, they call “Breakfast Special.” Apparently, it was so popular that they now have a Breakfast Special II. The narrator and cameraman (and crew) go around the country at various restaurants that serve breakfast. These breakfasts are special! The interviewed customers rave about them. The program is light and funny. The breakfasts are typically huge, sometimes unusual, and very delicious-looking. When they stopped at a restaurant that served buckwheat pancakes (at only a certain time of the year), my mouth watered so much that the next day I ran out and bought buckwheat flour and made my own! Since sadly, I am not a breakfast lover, I decided it was time to make my own “Breakfast Special.” That’s why I chose it for this month’s New Food Friday Flash.


Breakfast has never been my favorite meal of the day. Sure, I love my recipe for Southern Rice Pancakes but it is time-consuming and the syrup and butter I put on them goes straight to my hips. A few times a year I’ll treat myself to bacon and eggs but I recently learned I’m allergic to sulfites. So, in an effort to eat a healthful breakfast and incorporate more beans in my diet, I created a recipe that I love and I want to share it with you. The following are the star players.


The Grits

Grits are similar to corn meal which is how you make polenta. Polenta is a southern Italian staple. I’m half southern Italian (and half northern Italian) so the chances of my liking grits, ironically popular in the south of the US, were good! Grits are white whereas corn meal is yellow. Grits are grittier and corn meal is creamier. I top the grits with a pat of butter.


The Beans

I’ve discovered refried beans. I don’t know why they’re called “refried” because they aren’t fried to begin with so how could they be “re” fried? In the supermarket, you can buy various types of refried beans, some with lard, some without, but I like the lardless Pinto refried beans. I doctor them up in a tablespoon of olive oil in which I fry half a chopped onion, one clove of garlic chopped, and about a teaspoon of Chipotle in Adobo Sauce (comes in a can) minced. I keep my Chipotle in Adobo Sauce in a container in the freezer and when I need it, I scrape it with a fork or whatever is handy and put it in the pan. This all gets sautéed until the onions are translucent. Then, in goes the can of beans. I mix it well, put it in a dish, and take as much as I want to go with my grits, saving the rest in the freezer.


The Egg

Any egg will do, but if you really want to spoil yourself, use Eggland’s Best eggs. The flavor and vitamin/mineral content is superior. I like mine well peppered with a little salt.

Beans, grits, & egg

A well-peppered egg on top of grits and refried beans


The Grapefruit

They say everything is bigger in Texas. Looking at the Red Texas Grapefruits I bought at Meijer, I can see it is no lie. They are wonderfully sweet! If you haven’t had a red Texas grapefruit, you don’t know what you’re missing!

Try some grapefruit

Texas Red Grapefruit


The Alternative

I made oatmeal instead of grits but put on too much cinnamon. Yet it turned out great and now I prefer it that way! Sprinkle on a 1/4 teaspoon of sugar and it’s a nice alternative to grits and better for you. Buy old-fashioned oats, also better for you.


I coat my 6-inch cast iron pan with a little coconut oil and spread the bean mixture on one side and the grits or oatmeal on the other. Top this with an egg, salt, and pepper and it’s ready for the toaster oven for 7 minutes at 400° for a still jiggly egg. Experiment with the time to get your egg the way you like it.


While this is baking in the oven, I am eating my grapefruit. I also make myself a large hot cup of water with ¼ of a lemon squeezed in and a thumb-size piece of fresh ginger. Sometimes I add honey, sometimes Truvia, a natural sweetener. It’s better than tea or coffee. Actually, it tastes a lot like regular tea to me but doesn’t stain your teeth and ginger is good for you.


This breakfast is divine! The beans are a little spicy, the grits or oats a little sweet, and the egg, well the egg is an egg and if you like eggs, it’s good! The grapefruit is sweet and juicy! Sometimes I’ll have a slice of Irish Soda Bread too with butter or jellies depending on how hungry I am and how much time I have.

Beans, Grits, Egg, Irish Soda Bread Toast for Breakfast

Beans, Grits, Egg, Irish Soda Bread Toast


Now I can join the people who love breakfast as long as I’m having THIS breakfast! Try my breakfast special, you’ll like it!



Cooking Tips and Other Tricks

10 Mar Apple Pie with a Cup of Tea

With over 50 years of cooking and baking, I have come up with a few cooking tips that I have not seen mentioned anywhere else. I’d like to share them with you.



Here is a tip for fresh lemons that I learned accidentally! You know how lemons turn to mush after you had cut them in half and only used one-half? This happened to me too frequently and I was annoyed at how many times I would have to throw out the remaining half lemon. One day, since I needed a lemon wedge for my tea, I decided that instead of cutting the lemon in half, I would cut a wedge out of the lemon. Guess what? The remaining lemon stayed fresh until I used up every wedge cut from the lemon – well over a week. It helps to twist your plastic wrap tightly around the remaining lemon. Also, if the plastic wrap gets wet, discard it, tear off a fresh piece of plastic wrap, and wrap the remaining lemon. You won’t be throwing out any more lemons! This works with limes too.  I love this tip!


I had a cup of tea with honey, a lemon wedge, and a nice slice of homemade apple pie.

Apple Pie with a Cup of Tea

A Slice of Homemade Apple Pie with a Cup of Tea with Honey and Lemon



What do you do with the remaining lemon when a recipe calls for nothing but the zest of one whole lemon? You don’t want to throw out the lemon. The chances of saving the lemon without the protective outer layer are not good unless you have plans to use it within a day or two.


One lemon without the zest!

What to do with a lemon once you’ve removed the zest

Here is what I do: I get a sharp knife and cut the lemon into wedges, put them in a container and then put the container in the freezer.

Zested lemon wedges in container

A zested lemon cut into wedges ready for the freezer

I use the wedges for hot tea or thaw out a wedge or two and squeeze them over fish. Actually, you can use these wedges of lemon the same way you would use fresh lemon. Another benefit of saving lemon this way is that you can remove all the seeds at the same time you are cutting the wedges. Works great and helps cool off a too-hot cup of tea!

Hot cup of tea with frozen lemon wedge

Squeeze frozen lemon wedge into a hot cup of tea



I buy bacon infrequently, but when I do buy it, I cook it all up either in my toaster oven or in a fry pan. I drain it all on paper towels that I line in a glass bowl. I let the bacon cool and store it in the refrigerator or in the freezer depending on how soon I think I’ll use it.


Then, when I want bacon and egg (only one egg for me) for breakfast, I get a heatproof plate, cover it with parchment paper, and sprinkle bacon bits on it from my bowl of cooked, cooled bacon slices. I crack an egg on top of the bits. I place the dish in my toaster oven, select Toast, add a slice of bread alongside the dish, and select the highest Toast cycle, which for me is number 3. When the bell dings, I leave the toast and dish in the toaster oven to absorb the residual heat while I’m getting other items ready like tea or coffee, etc. This makes perfect toast and a sunny side up egg with crispy bacon. Clean up is a breeze!


Any runny yolk stays on the parchment paper, not on the plate. I get just enough taste of the bacon to satisfy me without overdoing it, limiting my salt intake for the day. You would be surprised at how eating a couple of slices of bacon can make you go over your salt intake! I love this tip!



Is there a woman out there who doesn’t suffer from cold feet? There have been times when my feet were so cold that it would take me an hour to fall asleep because my feet were so cold and no amount of blankets were enough. I complained about it to my doctor and he told me to wear two pairs of socks. That didn’t help.


I finally got the idea to wear two pairs of jogging pants or “sweats” around the house. This solved my problem indoors.


When I go outdoors, I wear a pair of long johns under my jeans. If you don’t know what long johns are (also known as thermal underwear), they are insulated pants, typically white, and relatively seamless, with matching separate tops that are made of a very stretchy fabric. Mine are 50% cotton and 50% polyester and made in the USA. You can buy them at Meijer and probably Walmart. I’ve had mine a long time and bought them when I first decided to go skiing. They are snug around the ankles and the wrists to keep in your body heat. They don’t show under your jeans. They are comfortable; you won’t know you are wearing them.

With this crazy, dangerous weather, you never know if your car is going to be stuck somewhere or you are going to be hit by a vehicle in a skid, so you want to be sure you are able to withstand the cold just in case you can’t stay in your car or your heater dies. These long johns also help to protect you from the high winds we’ve been having which make it seem even colder. I no longer have cold feet and in fact, I am as warm as toast!


Final words: double your pleasure by doubling your pants!

















New Food Friday Flash – Trottole

13 Feb Trottole with Gorgonzola and Artichoke Quarters

Once a week I get grocery flyers from Meijer, Kroger, Marsh, and Aldi. (Most recently, 1/8/15, a Save-a-Lot grocery store opened near me.) I’ve always avoided Aldi because you need to have a quarter (25¢) handy to use one of their carts. You can’t use credit cards and you have to bag your own groceries and bring your own bags! However, food prices are lower although that is getting harder and harder to tell because with fuel prices plummeting, all grocery stores are lowering prices! At least they are here in Indianapolis. Ever the adventuress, I decided it was time to give Aldi a try. On one of my trips there, I came across a gourmet pasta called Trottole. I thought this pasta was different enough to be a part of my New Food Friday Flash.

Trottole Front Label

Trottole Front Label

 Trottole is a tri-colored pasta in the colors of the Italian flag: green, white, and red. The red comes from tomato powder, the green from spinach powder. These Trottole are imported from Italy. The pasta shapes are big! They look like a salesman’s sampler for the Michelin man. (If that doesn’t make any sense to you, you need to watch the Antiques Roadshow more often.)

Trottole Back Label

Trottole Back Label

 Because these Trottole are so thick, they need a longer cooking time: 11-13 minutes for an “al dente” tenderness. I don’t know about you, but for me, that’s a long wait for pasta! Trottole have an interesting mouth feel. They’re fun to chase around the plate with your fork.


The first time I made them, I combined them with feta cheese, broccoli florets, chopped garlic, olive oil, walnut pieces, and pasta water. I covered the pan so the cheese would melt. It made a nice gravy-like consistency for a dish I enjoyed very much!

A nice salad to serve with these Trottole is a spinach and pear salad with sliced avocado, carrot slivers, and blue cheese dressing.

Spinach Pear Salad

Spinach Pear Salad


The second time I made them, I poured a sausage tomato sauce over them that I had made from ground turkey, crushed fennel seeds, and other ingredients that I had made weeks ago and stored in my freezer. I wish I had the patience to write down all my cooking experiments so that I could duplicate the successful ones. Alas, this sausage sauce was the best one I ever made and I don’t have a clue how to make it again.


The third and last time I cooked these pasta from its 17.6 oz package for $1.69, I cooked them my favorite way for pasta, mixing them with a jar of quartered artichokes, chopped garlic, olive oil, and gorgonzola cheese.

Trottole Blue Cheese Artichoke dish ingredients

Trottole Blue Cheese Artichoke dish ingredients

This is an easy, quick recipe worth noting for when you are rushed for time or too tired to cook. You get your calcium, fiber, protein, and carbs. There is no sodium in the Trottole. It’s a delicious, nutritious dish.

Trottole with Gorgonzola and Artichoke Quarters

Trottole with Gorgonzola and Artichokes

 The only negative comment I have for these pasta is the packaging. I ended up cutting my finger trying to remove the snap-like closures on the cardboard and plastic packaging. There are two of them as you can see in the photo. I was worried that one or both could end up in my pasta dish. Carelessness in this area could earn you a broken tooth. The edges of these snap-like buttons are sharp. Take my advice, get scissors!

Gourmet Pasta

Trottole Gourmet Pasta with Snap Seal


Otherwise, Trottole are fun to eat. They may be too fat to serve to young children who may choke on them. It’s better to stick with small pasta for them like stars, elbows, or baby shells. If you can find it, alphabet pasta is good for kids too! They are tasty and educational!


Speaking of education, my Italian translation software tells me that trottole means tops or whirligigs. “Hey honey, can you make some whirligigs for dinner tonight?” Wink, wink!




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