Butternut Squash Soup


It’s when I’m at the calmest and most relaxed state that the recipes come easily to me. I received an immersion blender as a Christmas gift and of course I knew I wanted to make some sort of soup and put this bad boy to use!

Butternut Squash is something that had been wanting to do for quite some time as I have heard it has a creamy texture that can be use in both savory and sweet dishes. What better dish than a bowl of soup when you feel like you’re coming down with something?

For this recipe I used turkey broth, but you can substitute with chicken or vegetable broth if you like.

If you cannot find Havarti cheese, you can use Italian Fontina cheese in this. If you do not like cheese at all in your soups you can omit this ingredient.

To add a bit more crunch to the soup, feel free to add croutons when serving! (For those who cannot have bread, you can cut some Glutinos or Udi’s white sandwich bread or purchase a french baguette and cut in small cubes and toast them on a pan and top the soup with these.)


Serves 4

4 cans of turkey broth
3 stalks of bok choy roughly chopped
1 can of Cannellini beans
2 carrots thinly sliced
1 (2 to 3 pound) butternut squash, peeled and seeded

1 Small kabocha squash (optional)
1 teaspoon of dry tarragon
¼ cup of shredded Havarti cheese


Peel, seed and chop the butternut squash into small cubes.* Now peel and thinly slice the carrots*

In a pot, pour the 4 cans of turkey broth, add the squash, carrots, tarragon, salt and cook on medium high heat between 20-25minutes or until both the carrots and squash are fork tender. Take the pot off the heat.


*If you are using the Kabocha Squash* Cut the squash in quarters and place in a separate pot with boiling water. Cook for about 20 minutes or until the squash is fork tender.

Then scoop out the squash and place in a bowl with the butternut squash and carrots and puree with an immersion blender.


Put the pot back on the heat and add the bok choy, cannellini and cheese. Cook another 10-15minutes until the bok choy has softened. Top with toasted croutons and add some more cheese if you like and enjoy!!

Serve this with a side of my Honey-Dijon wings or by itself!!

NOTE* I chop both carrots and squash into small pieces since they cook a lot faster this way.


Mini Whoopie Pies

When it comes to savory foods, if I’m not whipping up something of my own, I will take a recipe and modify it to suit my dietary restrictions.

When it comes to dessert I stick to the recipe for the most part but sometimes I feel that less is more prompting me to give the whoopie pie a little makeover. I wanted to make them like bite sized like a petit four making them a big hit at a small party I catered for two years ago. Also since I love bittersweet chocolate, I wanted to use that as a filling instead of the usual marshmallow fluff.

When it comes to food, dessert and life, creativity and an open mind are all you need to push forward, create a scrumptious masterpiece, get ahead and bring a little sunshine into your day.

Mini Cocoa Whoopie Pies W/Bittersweet Ganache

4 egg yolks
2/3 cup of milk
1 tsp of vanilla extract
1 cup of sugar
2 cups of flour
2 tsp of baking powder
¼ tsp of salt
1/2 tablespoon of cocoa powder
8 tablespoons of soft butter

Chocolate Ganache Filling

1 cup of bittersweet chocolate
1/2 cup of heavy cream

Preheat oven at 350 degrees.

In a small bowl mix the egg yolks with sugar and vanilla until creamy.

In a large bowl mix flour, baking powder, salt and mix well. Then add butter and milk and mix till smooth. Now beat the egg mixture in just until it’s incorporated.

Spray 4 mini muffin pans with Pam and fill each cup with 2 tablespoons of the batter.

Bake for 10-14 minutes until golden and they slightly firm to the touch. Let them cool for 10 minutes.

Put the chocolate in a heat proof bowl and set aside.

In a saucepan, heat the heavy cream until it just starts to boil, then pour the heavy cream over the chocolate and whisk by hand until the chocolate has melted completely. Let the Ganache cool a few minutes so it can thicken.

Now with an offset spatula, a piping bag, or a teaspoon, fill one side of the whoopie pie and place another whoopie on the top and sandwich together. (You don’t need that much of the chocolate. A teaspoon sized amount is plenty).

Yields 36-40 whoopie pies.

Meditation to Calm the Mind and Ease Belly Troubles

Business woman Concept.

Bills, work, health issues, family and financial problems.  These are just a few of the things that can stress a person out.  Stress can then in turn have some unpleasant side effects.  Hair loss, ulcers, depression, headaches, insomnia, just to name a few.

I’m certainly no stranger to what Buddhists call “Monkey Mind”.  I worry, I fret and I feel it in my stomach right away.

The key is to take control of your life.  A determination on your part to change how you deal with everything from the minor annoyances in life to the bigger situations like job loss, or health issues.

I used to meditate a few years ago and it made a world of difference.  I unfortunately have not done so in a really long time.  To that,  I say shame on me.  There is really no excuse not to devote at least 5 minutes of your time to start with and just be in the present moment breathing in and out your worries and frustrations.

As of today 11/27/15 I am making a conscious effort to do just that.  I will start with at least 10min and work my way up to 15-30 as I used to. The signs of stress are already appearing across my face (or so I tell myself) and my stomach and body have been paying the price.

You don’t need any special fancy equipment.  For me personally, I had made some mixed CDs yrs ago that I used and can still  do so.  My mixed music contained Enya, Sarah McLachlan, Pure Moods or any other music that I felt calmed this scatter brain of mine.  Some movie soundtracks have great instrumentals too.

Other options are cd’s you can get in Amazon for a few bucks or for free if you are an Amazon Prime member. Some to choose from can be Binaural, Yogi Kanna and Aimee Rebekah Shea with a 10 minute meditation.

You can also join Chopra.com on Facebook where a few times a year they  have free 21 daily guided meditation sessions you can do online. Each guided 21 day challenge has a different theme and they offer the cd’s of these meditation challenges to purchase on their site.

Another choice can be as simple as going on youtube.com and entering meditation music in the search area. You can also search for meditation music 10 minutes, 15minutes or whatever amount of time you desire.

Lastly another place you can find some peace is at calm.com  They have anywhere from 2 minutes to 20minute meditations, free!  They also have an app on iTunes and Google play. Here they also have free options and others that require a small fee if you desire.

Woman meditating in the nature on sunsetThe best thing about meditation, is that you can do this anywhere!  Sitting on your chair, sitting on your bed or on a pillow on the floor.  Choose a spot anywhere you feel comfortable that is also quiet.  Heck, even standing near the boat basin or anywhere near the water can be soothing.

As this holiday season is in full swing, now should be the time to get started since we all know the stresses can be a bit much during this time of year.

5 or 10 minutes can make a difference and maybe help you enjoy the wonders and joys of the holidays!!!

So light a candle, burn some incense and just…breathe…

New house






Pumpkin Rice Pudding

Homemade Healthy Rice Pudding with Brown Cinnamon

As the seasons change, so do some of the foods we eat. During the warmer months with the exception of the occasional barbecue, most people tend to eat a bit lighter opting for fruits and salads or grilled fish, chicken and veggies. Now that autumn is here and the weather is getting colder, the grill takes a backseat and the oven becomes the star. Heavier foods, hot drinks and desserts fill our belly and we begin to look forward to the start of the holiday season. Some foods however tend to be heavier than others forcing us to reach for an antacid or some Pepto.

One of the foods that take center stage is pumpkin.   All sorts of desserts are made using this sweet orange treat and pumpkin is loaded with Vitamin A. Pair the pumpkin with some rice which is very gentle on the digestive system, perfect for anyone with stomach issues.

Here is a dessert that paired with a warm tea or a nice cup of coffee welcomes the cool autumn weather.

Pumpkin Rice Pudding W/Golden Raisins

Serves 4
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 55min


4 cups of water
1 cup of rice
2 cups of milk
1 can of Carnation Evaporated Milk (12 fl oz)
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
¼ teaspoon of ground cloves
½ teaspoon of ginger
½ cup of sugar or 12 packets of Splenda
1 can of pumpkin puree
¼ teaspoon of salt
1/3 cup of golden raisins

Bring the 4 cups of water in a 4 quart pot to a boil then add the rice. Cook the rice for 25 minutes or until it has started to open and has a very soft texture.

While the rice is cooking, in a bowl whisk the 2% milk, carnation evaporated milk, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, sugar, salt and pumpkin.

Once the rice is done, add the pumpkin mixture in and stir well. Cook on very low heat, stirring every 10 minutes to prevent from sticking for about 30 minutes or until the liquid has reduced by about 1/3. (Cook longer if you prefer your pudding drier).

Can be served warm, or chilled in the fridge before serving!!! Add a dollop of whipped cream if desired!!

Stuffed Peppers


Many people have experienced writers block at one time or another. Not fun. It can be frustrating. How about foodie/chef block? I got that today. I was trying to find inspiration to cook a new dish and fell flat. Nothing inspired me and I had a bit of a fit. COME ON YLIA, I yelled at myself. But alas as the dinner hour was closing in on me I finally got an idea. I wanted to make some Panzanella again (recipe for this will be posted soon) but had no gluten free rolls or baguette to make croutons so I figured…maybe I could use some of the same ingredients for stuffed peppers plus a few new ingredients…and just like that, a new recipe was born!


6 Large Yellow, Orange and Red Peppers
1 8 oz chicken breast cooked and diced
20 Basil leaves
4 plum tomatoes diced
3 zucchini’s diced
1 cup of Gluten Free Plain 4C Bread Crumbs (regular plain crumbs is fine)
Zest and juice of 1 lime
1 tablespoon of oregano
1 tablespoon of tarragon
4 tablespoons of olive oil
1/2 cup of chicken stock
2 cups of tomato sauce
Salt to taste
For the Chicken:

1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons of honey
2 teaspoons of coriander
2 teaspoons of cumin
2 teaspoons of Paprika
1/2 cup of chicken stock
Instructions for the chicken:

Put the balsamic vinegar and chicken stock in a pan and place on low heat.
Take 1 teaspoon of the mustard, honey, coriander, cumin, and paprika and coat one side of the chicken. Do the same with the other side of the chicken breast with the remaining ingredients and place the chicken in the pan on medium heat. Cook 1 side for 9 minutes then turn over and cook for another 8-9 minutes or until no longer pink. Once the chicken is done place on a cutting board and let it cool for a few minutes then dice and set aside.

Filling for the Peppers:
Cut the tops off the peppers, take the seeds out and set them aside. Finely chop the tomatoes, and basil and place them in a bowl with the bread crumbs. Add the oregano, tarragon, olive oil, the zest and juice of the lime and the chopped chicken.


In the same pan that you cooked the chicken, add the filling for the peppers and cook for 5 minutes. Now stuff the peppers with the filling.

Next, pour the tomato sauce and chicken stock in a pot and add the stuffed peppers in and cook on medium heat for 10 minutes and serve.


*(you can cook them for about 5 or so minutes longer if you prefer them softer)*



Eggs Benedict w/Hollandaise Sauce

Much like in the movie “Julie and Julia” which by the way was my inspiration to go to back to school, in this case The Institute of Culinary Education, I have never poached an egg before.

Funny enough just like in the movie I found myself peering into the pot to look at the first egg cook, afraid that the floating whites meant the eggs weren’t fresh and that I’d just wasted an egg for nothing.  This was not the case.  I was in awe at how cute they turned out! Poaching an egg was definitely easier than I thought!!!  Just remember to gently slide the egg in the boiling water and then just let it do its thing!

I used Canadian Bacon in this but American Bacon or even Panchetta if you like is just fine. I sauteed some spinach and added chopped up basil to give it a better flavor, but if you don’t like spinach, you can use fresh lettuce, or boil up some collard greens which have their own distinct flavor.

EGGS BENEDICT w/Hollandaise Sauce (Serves 2)


Eggs Benedict
4 slices of cooked Canadian Bacon
2 Gluten Free Glutinos English muffins cut in half and toasted
4 warm poached eggs
Hollandaise Sauce
Chopped Basil
Sauteed Spinach  (about 30 leaves)
2 tablespoons of olive oil to cook the spinach

Poached Eggs
2 Tablespoons of White Vinegar
4 large fresh eggs

Hollandaise Sauce
2 large egg yolks
¼ teaspoon of Dijon mustard
¼ tsp of Paprika
½ cup of Butter melted
salt to taste

First wash the spinach leaves to get rid of any grittiness.  Then in a pan pour the olive oil and sautée the spinach for about 6 minutes or until it’s cooked the way you prefer.  Set aside.

How to make the Hollandaise sauce:
In the blender, combine the mustard, egg yolks and paprika. Cover and blend for 10 seconds.  In a microwaveable bowl, add the butter and heat for about 30-45 seconds or until melted.
Set the blender on high and slowly drizzle the butter into the blender for about 30-50 seconds.  The mixture should thicken pretty quickly.  Now pour the Hollandaise Sauce in a bowl, cover and set aside.

Poached Eggs
To poach the eggs, fill the pot with 2 quarts of water and add the vinegar.  Bring this to a slow boil.  Now crack one egg and put it in a heat proof bowl.  Tilt the bowl close to the boiling water so the egg can slide into the water.  Repeat the same process with the remaining eggs.  Cook for 3-4 minutes adjusting the heat as necessary. (You want a nice slow boil not a rolling boil.

With a slotted spoon, take the first egg you dropped in out of the pot and touch the top to test its firmness.  The yolks should be soft and the whites should be slightly firm.  If you want them firmer cook for a few more seconds and drain them on a towel to absorb any of the water.  Do these with the remaining eggs, then loosely place a plastic wrap over them to keep them warm while you toast the muffins.
goutter les oeufs pochs

Eggs Benedict Assembly

Place the toasted muffins on the plate and add the spinach…

Then place the Canadian bacon on top…
Now add the poached egg…
Top with chopped basil then drizzle the Hollandaise sauce over the egg and serve!!!!




I have tried all kinds of things to help my stomach stop acting up. Viactiv is good because it gives you the bacteria you need but its not good enough for me personally.  I tried Align at the suggestion of my Gastroenterologist and it did nothing for me. I tried Nature’s Bounty Acidophilus with no luck, just a good amount of pain 1hour after taking it and enough gas to go airborne!!!!

I also tried Heathers Tummy Organic Acacia Senegal for IBS which oh heaven help me, made my stomach rebel for days although many reviews were positive.

I tried Irritable Bowel Syndrome Therapy Fast Dissolving Tablets which is a Homeopathic medicine and found relief the first day.  No bloat no pain and thought HOT DAMN JACKPOT!  Then the next day and the day after, nothing.  I quit and then tried again a month later and it just didn’t work for me.

Then I tried Digestive Advantage Intensive Bowel Support which has a few different products aside from the one I tried.  This one worked pretty well for me for about 2 years and then things went downhill again.  The rumblings and gurgling called Borborygmi came back with a vengeance.  Stress and eating too much gluten didn’t help matter either.

Acupuncture helped but is very expensive so after a few helpful sessions I had to stop going.

Desperate to find something after the symptoms came back a few weeks after my acupuncture sessions I logged on to HSN.com and saw some probiotics from Andrew Lessman called Friendly Flora which stopped those rumblings!!!!! I started this in a few months ago and still have my issues but at least that annoying 24/7 constant chatter from my stomach is gone.  I’m not sure how long the effects will last but at least for now I have some hope again on that front.

Everything with IBS is trial and error unfortunately.  But in the end what choice do we have but to keep going? Eventually something will work long term.

I hope one of these has worked or will work for you!

*Always consult with your physician first if you have any other pre-existing conditions before taking any herbs or supplements.


I love going into big supermarkets that have a wide range of produce and other ingredients. I go to places like Fairway or some Food Emporiums because they really do have a lot to choose from.  Eating healthy can be expensive but well worth it and your stomach will thank you!20150830_144407 I like to have a pen and notebook handy or use my phone at least to jot down or record ideas that pop into my head when I see the vibrant colors of the veggies or herbs. Experimenting with new herbs and vegetables are essential in creating new recipes or modifying ones you’ve seen on TV or the internet to suit your dietary restrictions.

This time I made Ratatouille, a traditional French Provençal stewed vegetable dish that originates from Nice in France.  I put my own twist on it of course and while it tastes amazing on its own, putting this on top of Socca Cakes is even better!!!


4 plum tomatoes cut in quarters
1 garlic clove minced
20 fresh basil leaves julienne
1/3 – 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil (I use Colavita or Goya)
2 1/4 teaspoons of salt
1 the leaves from one sprig of tarragon
3 assorted bell peppers (a mix of green, red, and yellow) chopped
3 zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into 3/4 inch pieces


TomatoBasilPANCombine the tomatoes, garlic, basil, tarragon, salt and about the olive oil in a 6-quart heavy pot, bringing to a simmer. Simmer covered, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes break down and sauce is slightly thickened, about 15 minutes.

Add the zucchini, peppers and simmer, covered, until all vegetables are very tender, about 40 minutes.

Cool, uncovered, and serve alone or on top of the Socca Cakes.




French Socca Cakes


Getting inspiration is hard sometimes but when you find your muse, you hang on to it as tightly as you can to keep going sometimes. Such is the case here.  I had dropped off the radar in regard to food but I’m definitely getting back in there.  Experimenting when I can so I can add more meals to my menu.

Here I made some Socca Cakes inspired by Rachel Khoo.  What a find she is!!! Happy, cheery, creative and full of zest when it comes to food. For this particular recipe, I used Bob’s Red Mill Fava Bean and Garbanzo Bean flour since the supermarket didn’t have only Garbanzo Flour.  You can add whatever seasonings you like to this, it will taste amazing no matter what!!! Top this with my Ratatouille, pour yourself a little wine, and put on a little French music (via Pandora) and pretend your in France treating yourself to some tasty cuisine! bon appetit!

Serves  4-10

1 cup cold water
1 cup garbanzo-fava bean flour
2 tablespoons of olive oil

In a bowl pour the cold water and add the garbanzo bean flour.  Add whatever spices you desire and mix with a whisk or a wooden spoon until well blended. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 30minutes.

Spray some Pam on a griddle pan or pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil and swirl around to coat the pan.  Preheat your griddle and test it by pour a little bit of batter and seeing if it sizzles.

Once the pan is ready, with a ladle, pour your batter onto the griddle. You want to make sure just like pancakes you wait until the batter stops bubbling to turn them over…. About 3 minutes then flip over and cook for another 2 minutes or until it is beginning to brown and serve! These are even better topped with Ratatouille!




Lavender Panna Cotta w/Strawberry Coulis

panna cotta et coulis de fraise

Dessert can be delicious and sinful at the same time. Beautiful to look at and admire but a bit dangerous some may say for the waistline. All in moderation I say. I believe dessert can be soothing, relaxing, comforting, and for me…is the whole point of the meal.  You can’t very well sit down and eat a rich buttercream filled chocolate cake all by yourself or a bag of chocolate chip cookies in one day. Eating veggies, drinking plenty of water and of course exercising is important for anyone but even more vital when you have any kind of health issue.

That being said, there are times you crave something simple and sweet to unwind from a long week of work or another senseless fight with your significant other. This creamy Italian dessert contains Lavender which is used in many things such as candles, lotions and body mists to calm the mind, sooth the senses and relax the body.

At first, my family was skeptical about actually ingesting Lavender as a tea let alone in a dessert but once they tasted this they were hooked. This dessert is not only very easy to make, but it’s like a blank canvas you can add any flavoring to it that you desire.

Lavender Panna Cotta w/Strawberry Coulis (serves 4)

1/2 tsp dried lavender or a lavender teabag
1 cup light cream
1 cup whole milk (cold)
1 tsp unflavored gelatin 3tb sugar or 4 packets Splenda

Sprinkle the gelatin over the cold milk and let it sit for a few minutes to allow the gelatin to bloom. Meanwhile, heat the cream with the lavender and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for a minute. Remove from heat and let the tea steep in the cream for a couple of minutes. Strain the lavender leaves out or just throw away the teabag and whisk the cold milk and gelatin into the hot cream.

Make sure the gelatin dissolves completely or else there may be setting issues. Divide the mixture into 4 small porcelain ramekins or disposable ramekins and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or until firm to the touch.

For the Strawberry Coulis

1 cup frozen unsweetened strawberries
1/3 cup sugar1 tablespoon lemon juice

In a saucepan, combine the strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Let it cool then transfer to a blender. Puree until smooth, strain and then drizzle a little over the panna cotta.   NOTE: If you want to make it easier on yourself, you can use strawberry syrup to drizzle over it or even chocolate syrup and enjoy!

Espresso Biscotti

biscotti-espresso2For coffee and tea lovers there is nothing more satisfying than a little something to go with your heaping hot cup of liquid heaven in the morning, afternoon or evening.

While there are a lot of great pastries that go well with coffee or tea, what I came to love after making them in pastry school are Biscotti. Biscotto, which is Italian for twice baked come from the city of Prato in Italy and although some are made with eggs and butter, their shelf life ranges from 1 month to 3 months provided they are stored in an airtight container. This is due to the twice baked process which draws out all the moisture.

Biscotti are also like a blank canvas. Whether it’s ripe bananas, chocolate, almonds, vanilla or green tea, you can add anything to the recipe and they will taste amazing!!! Here is a recipe for Espresso Biscotti that will last you a while and are perfect as a homemade gift if you’re looking for something extra to give during the holiday season.

The best thing about this recipe? It’s all done by hand. No mixer needed! For those that don’t like really hard biscotti, you can reduce the baking time to make them softer.

Espresso Biscotti

2 ½ cups of flour
1 cup of sugar
Pinch of salt
½ tsp of baking soda
½ tsp of baking powder
2 large eggs
1tsp of vanilla extract
1 tablespoon of espresso powder in 1/3 cup of hot water
1 egg white (for brushing on top of biscotti)

Preheat oven at 350 degrees.

First add 1 tablespoon of espresso powder to 1/3 of cup of water in a pot and heat till it comes to a simmer then set it aside to cool (make sure it’s cool to the touch otherwise you will scramble the eggs).

Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl and stir well with a whisk and then make a well in the center.

Beat the eggs, vanilla and cool espresso in a small bowl and then pour it into the well.

Use a spatula; draw the dry ingredients gradually into the eggs, turning the bowl clockwise until you form soft dough.

Now with floured hands and lightly floured cutting board, divide the dough into 3 pieces and roll each into a 10 to 12 inch cylinder and then transfer them to a ½ sheet pan or a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

Now take the egg white and with a pastry brush, lightly coat the top of each biscotti cylinder.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes then rotate the cookie sheet and bake for another 20 minute until they are firm to the touch.

Remove the biscotti from the pan and cut them at a 45 degree angle at ½ inch or so intervals.

Return them to the cookie sheet and bake for another 15-20 minutes until they are very dry.

Cool them completely on the pan or a wire rack and then store them in a tin.

Beef Dumplings w/Bok Choy Dipping Sauce

Beef Dumplings w/Bok Choy Sauce


1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 stalk of bok choy chopped finely
 Combine all together in a small bowl

8 ounces ground beef
1 large egg
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger
1 stalk of bok choy finely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon Riesling
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon sugar
34-36 square or round dumpling wrappers
4-6 tablespoons vegetable oil

For the filling: Mix together the beef, egg, sesame oil, ginger bok choy, soy sauce, Riesling, cornstarch and sugar in a bowl and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

To make the dumplings: Place a small bowl of cool water by your work surface. Working with one wrapper at a time and keeping the rest with a damp towel over them, put a wrapper on your work surface or cutting board and brush the edges with water using your finger or a small pastry brush. Put a rounded teaspoon of filling in the center of the wrapper, spreading it out into a football shape. Bring the edges of the wrapper together, resting the dumpling base on your work surface. Seal the edges by making 4 to 6 pleats on the side facing you and pressing the edges together. (Only 1 side should be pleated.) Set aside, cover with a damp paper towel and repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling. Now Heat 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until it begins to simmer. Place the dumplings, bottom-side down in the skillet, and cook until beginning to brown on the bottom, about 1 minute. Add 2/3 cup water to the skillet (it will spatter), cover tightly and let the dumplings cook until the skins are tender, about 4 minutes. Remove the lid and cook until the liquid has cooked off and the dumplings are crisp and brown on the bottom, about 2 more minutes. Repeat with the remaining vegetable oil and dumplings. Serve with the bok choy sauce.

Chicken Burger w/Avocado

A grilled chicken sandwich with avocado slices

Wasn’t sure what to make for the celebration of July 4th and with the World Cup going on, I didn’t have much time. So I decided to make a simple and quick chicken burger. Instead of Mayonnaise to smear on the bun, I used mashed Hass avocados. Try and let me know how you liked it!!!!

Chicken Burger w/Avocado

4 chicken breasts
1 tablespoon of honey
2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard (must be Dijon, as the regular would ruin the taste)
1/4 cup of Balsamic Vinegar
2 tablespoons of Olive Oil for the pan
1/4 cup of Red Wine
1 teaspoons of Tarragon
1 teaspoon of Coriander
1 Hass Avocado (mashed)
8 leaves of fresh basil
4 Hamburger Buns or Gluten Free Udi’s Hamburger Buns can be used

In a very small bowl, mix the honey, mustard, coriander and tarragon and set aside. Heat a skillet or pan on medium heat and add the olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Now top each chicken breast with the flavor mixture you mixed earlier and add the chicken to the pan. Place the chicken in the pan and add the red wine. Cook the chicken about 7 minutes on each side, depending on the thickness of the chicken.

While the chicken is cooking, take the avocado and mash it till you get the consistency of guacamole.

Once the chicken is cooked, spread the avocado on the hamburger buns, add the 2 leaves of basil, the chicken and you’re ready to eat!

Salmon w/Balsamic Maple glaze, topped with Apple-Bacon Slaw

Everyone at one time or another has had to redo a task or revise a report. Sometimes its no big deal, other times it takes someone a while to think of a plan B. When it comes to food, its all about revising the recipe. Here is another case where I took a recipe and made it my own to suit my dietary needs. The original recipe was from Brunch at Bobby’s on the Cooking Channel. This is my version of it and it was very tasty. I hope you enjoy!


  • 8 slices bacon, cut into small pieces
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup (if you don’t have maple syrup add 1 tablespoon each of honey and pancake syrup)
  • 1 tablespoon of Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried Tarragon
  • 1 teaspoon of coriander
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of espresso powder
  • Half a head of cabbage finely chopped
  • 2 medium Fuji apples, halved, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Four 4-ounce salmon fillets, skin on
  • 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise


For the Slaw: Put the bacon into a large nonstick skillet and cook over medium heat until crisp. Transfer to a plate covered with a paper towel to soak up any fat.

In another bowl, whisk together the vinegar, syrup, mustard, thyme and some salt bowl and pour over the cabbage and apples.

Put the cabbage, apples in a skillet and cook for 1 minute. Transfer to a bowl and add 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise and add the bacon. Mix until the mayonnaise is incorporated.

Sprinkle the salmon on both sides coriander and a pinch of espresso powder and dried Tarragon. In the same pan, cook the salmon skin-side down until golden brown and crispy, about 4 minutes depending on how big your salmon is. Turnover and cook to medium doneness, about 2 minutes longer.

Pull the skin off and then scrape the gray flesh as well if you don’t like the taste of it. Top each fillet with the bacon apple slaw and serve immediately.


Shrimp & Broccoli w/Orange Riesling Sauce

Shrimp & Broccoli w/Riesling Sauce

My mother saw this recipe title Jalapeno Orange Shrimp w/Broccoli and Brown Rice that came from the Daily News in USA Weekend in April 2013. She urged me to take a shot at it and see how it would come out when I put my own twist to it and boy did I hear a lot of oooo’s and mmmmm noises when people ate it.

I completely changed and omitted the Jalapeno, garlic, grapeseed oil, and black pepper to include the ingredients below. I recently made it for a potluck lunch at work and got some decent reviews for it and a request for the recipe which definitely put a smile on my face!!

Try it out and let me know how many people compliment you on this dish!

*Note* Use sweet Riesling such as Barefoot brand sweet Riesling or the taste will be a bit bitter.

(Video to follow soon)

Shrimp & Broccoli w/Orange Riesling Sauce

1 1/2 pound of raw deveined medium or jumbo shrimp
Juice of 3 naval oranges
2 tablespoons of honey
1 teaspoon reduced sodium soy sauce
1/3 cup of Sweet Riesling
2 tablespoons of Olive Oil
1 tablespoon of Espresso powder
1 teaspoon of Cumin
1 tablespoon of Basil
1 teaspoon of dried Tarragon
1/2 tsp of salt

Season the shrimp w/the olive oil, salt, cumin, basil and espresso powder.

Bring the orange juice, honey, Riesling, soy sauce and tarragon to a boil in a saucepan over medium high heat and cook for about 5 minutes.

Heat a skillet over medium heat, add the shrimp and cook until they start to turn opaque, using tongs to toss the shrimp so they cook evenly. About 4 minutes.

Now add the orange sauce and cook for another 3 minutes and then set aside

In a separate saucepan add water and the broccoli florets and cook for about 5 minutes or until the broccoli is tender but still a bit crunchy.

Now add this to the shrimp and serve.

Yields 4 servings.

Asparagus Sauteed w/Spices and Wine

Asparagus makes a nice healthy snack before a game or a side dish for dinner.  Asparagus is nice delicious, crunchy and good for you.  Aside from Vitamin K, asparagus is a good source of fiber, folate and vitamins A, C and E.  Here’s a recipe you can make that takes very little time and has lots of flavor!

Sautéed Asparagus

1 pound asparagus, tough ends snapped (about 16 spears)
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
Tablespoon of espresso
1/4 teaspoon of Turmeric
1/2 teaspoon of Coriander
1/8 teaspoon of Cinnamon
1/4 cup of sweet Riesling  ( I use Barefoot brand Riesling)

Mix the spices in a small bowl and then sprinkle them over the asparagus.  Heat a pan with the olive oil then add the asparagus and wine and sauté them for 6-7minutes and serve.


Coq au Riesling


This is my recipe for Coq au Riesling. I swap out the regular bacon for Canadian Bacon. Instead of leeks I used celery and swapped out the garlic for Tarragon, Thyme and Coriander.


  • 1 (3 1/2-pound) whole cut-up chicken, with skin
  • 10 slice of Canadian bacon diced
  • 4 celery stalks chopped
  • 4 carrots chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of Coriander (to be sprinkled on all pieces of the chicken)
  • 1 tablespoon of dried Tarragon or 4 sprigs of fresh Tarragon
  • 3 sprigs of Thyme
  • 2 1/2 cups of sweet Riesling wine
  • 2 tablespoon(s) chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves (Optional)


  1. Sprinkle chicken with the coriander.
  2. In medium pot, cook the Canadian bacon on medium heat until slightly brown 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
  3. Add the chicken and cook them for about 4 minutes each side until the skin is browned.
  4. Now chop the celery and carrots.
  5. Add the celery, carrots, bacon and wine to the pot.
  6. Put the lid on and cook for 35minutes.
  7. Add the parsley towards about 25 minutes into the cooking.

For a side you can steam some broccoli, or add a piece of avocado, or pair the chicken with some simple couscous.
**In the video I mention that the recipe calls for 4 carrots and 4 celery stalks. I should state that I had already cut 2 of the carrots and 2 of the celery prior and then cut the rest on camera.wpid-1373845103098.jpg

Minestrone Soup W/Canadian Bacon

Minestrone Soup
Minestrone Soup

When I saw Giada’s Christmas special on the Food Network I was excited to see all the food she made in that episode. I can’t remember when this episode aired but recently I got it on ITunes and was able to watch the food magic happen again. This inspired me to take a crack at it.

12 years ago I was diagnosed with IBS. Since then the list of foods I eat has changed big time. Onions, garlic, black pepper, spicy foods, are among some of the items off my list.
Sometimes the case is, however, that you just can’t find the exact ingredients in your local supermarket so you have to learn to improvise which is what makes cooking sooo much fun!!

As with every recipe I come across now, I cross things out and start inserting or adding new ingredients. Sometimes the recipe print out resembles a graded term paper!

For this recipe, I swapped the Panchetta for Canadian Bacon, the Swiss chard for collard greens and instead of using a Parmesan cheese rind, I decided to us Italian Fontina Cheese. I also omitted the onion and garlic. Another change I made was using Tarragon and Thyme instead of Rosemary. Tarragon gives the soup a nice anise like flavor and meshes well with the cheese, turkey broth and other ingredients.

Try this new version of Minestrone Soup and let know what you think! I promise you will love it! If you want to compare with Giada’s original recipe you can find it on the Food Network website under Winter Minestrone. Enjoy!!♣


Yields 4 to 6 servings
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 carrots, peeled, chopped 3 celery stalks, chopped
10 slices of canadian bacon coarsley chopped
2 sprigs of Tarragon or 2tablespoons of dried Tarragon
1 pound Collard greens, stems trimmed, leaves coarsely chopped
2 russet potatos, peeled, cubed
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
3-4 sprigs of Thyme
2-3 (15-ounce) cans cannellini beans, drained, rinsed
4 (14-ounce) cans Turkey broth
2 cups of shredded Italian Fontina Cheese (optional)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves (optional)
Salt to taste (optional)

Heat the oil in a heavy large pot over medium heat. Add the carrots, celery and Canadian bacon. Saute until the Canadian bacon starts to brown. About 5 minutes. Add the collard greens and potato; saute for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, thyme and tarragon. Simmer until the chard is wilted and the tomatoes break down, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, blend 1 cup** of the beans with 1/2 cup of the broth in a processor until almost smooth. Add the pureed bean mixture, remaining broth, and Italian Fontina cheese to the vegetable mixture. Simmer until the potato pieces are tender, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Stir in the whole beans and parsley. Simmer until the beans are heated through and the soup is thick, about 2 minutes. Season with salt to taste. Discard tarragon stem.

Ladle the soup into bowls and serve.**If you find the soup to be a little too thin then puree 2 cans of beans and throw in 1 can of beans whole to the soup.