Welcome to my table…

January 7, 2016

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Kudos to Cooking Light!

Besides all the encouragement towards a healthier lifestyle and great recipes to help on the journey,  they throw in delectable treats like the adobo chips with warm goat cheese and cilantro salsa, to help you feel like you’re having a cheat day when you’re not!

Thanks Cooking Light!


Love and good food – v

January 6, 2016

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Bringing “healthy” to work!

Truth: since New Year’s Eve, I have been a little under the weather. .. almost the whole family was afflicted with this evil congestion-body aching illness!
Came back to work Monday at maybe 40% my usual self (minus a voice), and today, I think I’m down to 30%… but, I’ve stuff to do so I must persevere!!

To help my co-workers from contracting this hideous illness (and after a very thorough hand washing), I made a vegetable-packed minestrone with pasta and italian chicken sausage on the side (thanks for sharing the Italian sausage Mike Jewell! ) (for the more sensitive bellies among us).

If you’ve got the funk in your house, or you’re just looking for a good, healthy soup, give this a shot.

Be well friends!


Minestrone with Shells

4 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion,  diced
2 carrots, chopped into 1/4 pieces
2 stalks celery,  chopped
2 leeks, washed and chopped
2 Yukon gold potatoes, diced
2 inch piece of ginger,  peeled and minced
Napa cabbage,  thinly shredded
1 cup fresh green beans, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 cans cannelini beans, rinsed
2 cans fire roasted tomatoes or San Marzano tomatoes
1 yellow squash, cut in half, sliced thin
1 small zucchini, cut in half, sliced thin
1 yellow or red sweet pepper, sliced into strips then diced
1 cup parmigiano
6 cups vegetable stock
Crushed red pepper
Kosher salt
Ground black pepper
Olive oil
Spinach, pasta, to serve

Heat 2 T olive oil in a large stock pot. Add minced garlic, ginger, onion, carrots, celery, potatoes, green beans and leeks. Stir over medium heat for 5-8 minutes or until vegetables soften.
Add vegetable stock and cabbage, peppers, squash and zucchini and parmigiano and both cans of beans and tomatoes.  Test the seasonings. Add Bay leaf, if desired. Add crushed red pepper flake. Bring to a low boil, reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes.
To serve:  tear baby spinach leaves, place in soup bowl, spoon a little pasta over the spinach, then ladle soup over top. I find this just wilts the spinach, allowing a little texture to remain.
Like all the wonderful italian soups, finish the top with a drizzle of olive oil and of course, top it with more parmigiano!
To your health – love and good food, v

Feel free to add or subtract veggies to accommodate for your order your family’s tastes.

January 3, 2016


Almond biscotti




1 1/4 cup sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons brandy or 1 tsp anice extract
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup whole almonds with skin, lightly toasted , cooled, and coarsely chopped
4 large eggs, separated
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Stir together sugar, butter, brandy, and extracts in a large bowl, then stir in egg yolks. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, and salt; stir into wet ingredients just until combined. Fold in almonds. In a large bowl, whip egg whites until stiff peaks form; fold into cookie mixture.
Chill dough, covered for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350.

With hands dipped in flour, quarter dough to form 4 loaves on 2 large baking sheets covered with parchment paper.
Bake until pale golden, about 22 – 26 minutes, or until firm to the touch. Carefully transfer loaves to a rack, cover with clean tea towel and cool 5 to 10 minutes.
Cut loaves into 1/8 to 1/4-inch slices with a serrated knife.
Arrange biscotti, with a cut side down, on baking sheets and bake until golden, 10 to 15 minutes. (They will get crispier the longer they are left in. Just watch that they aren’t browning too much).
Transfer to rack to cool completely.

Note: can also add dried cranberries, or dip in chocolate. These are wonderful made with pistacchio, too!
Serve with espresso, coffee or vin Santo. Enjoy – love and good food, v

January 1, 2016

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Dirt ~

Happy New Year!  May your 2016 bring you joy, prosperity and love… put the phone down and share something remarkable with a human! 
If you are planning to celebrate the New Year in the Southeast, it is most likely that you will be offered black-eyed peas in some form, either just after midnight or on New Year’s Day. From grand gala gourmet dinners to small casual gatherings with friends and family, these flavorful legumes are traditionally, according to Southern folklore, the first food to be eaten on New Year’s Day for luck and prosperity throughout the year ahead.  
These flavorful legumes? Are they joking? Well, up until about 6 years ago, I would have argued up and down, ’til I was blue in the face… I felt the same way about lentils.  Lentils have been the source of guilt for me lately… You see, people have asked me for recipes for Lentil Soup, or asked how I would make lentils. And I would give them a recipe or recipe suggestion… without having TRIED it, without liking the little protein-packed morsels!  Well, that all changed when I passed the whole foods section of “Greenfields Market”, this phenomenal little market with amazing produce, bulk grains, dry beans, and yes, lentils!  There they were, staring at me, Beluga Lentils, Puy Lentils, Yellow Lentils or Toor Dal, and the most common: the brown lentil.  I saw the protein content, realized I couldn’t go without giving them an honest to goodness shot ~ 
  • 1 sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cup chicken stock/broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup lentil of choice
  • 1 cup brown basmati rice
  • pinch of crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 tsp mexican oregano, rubbed in hands to release oils and flavor
  • salt to taste
  • 3 T  hot pepper sauce, + more for serving
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 T butter
Place a large skillet over medium-high heat; add olive oil and butter; sauté onion, garlic, red pepper and oregano, just until onion becomes translucent. Be careful not to let garlic burn. Stir in lentils and brown rice until glistening, about 2 minutes; add chicken stock, water and pepper sauce, bring to a boil, stirring occasionally; reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.  You may need to add more water (up to 1/3 cup). Add salt ~  serve with additional hot sauce. 
Black-Eyed Peas
  • 1 bag black-eyed peas
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 small hot pepper, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 yellow or red bell pepper, thinly chopped
  • 1 tsp dry thyme, or 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • olive oil
  • ham or bacon, optional
  • salt and pepper to taste

Sort and rinse peas. Cook according to package in boiling, salted water. After peas have cooked for 30 minutes, sauté onion, garlic, thyme, bell peppers and hot pepper in olive oil in skillet; add ham or bacon, if using (even turkey bacon works!). Add onion mixture to black-eyed peas, simmer an additional 25-40 minutes. Eat ’em up!  (They’re not just for New Year’s Day in the south!)

Go on! I dare you to grab a bag of black-eyed peas and lentils from the dry bean section of your store… Versatile, FAST, and simply delish!
Ginger flavors the creamed lentil soup and spiced carmelized onions make a fabulous garnish for this rich soup from India. You will need a food processor or blender to puree the cooked lentils.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes


  • 1-1/2 cups red lentils
  • 4 cups chicken broth or water
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 (1-inch) piece ginger root, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 yellow onion, finely shredded
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • Fresh-ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, optional


Pick over the lentils, removing any stones or misshapen or discolored lentils. Rinse thoroughly and place in a nonreactive deep pot. Add the chicken broth or water,turmericginger, and tomatoes bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, 25 minutes

December 25, 2015

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No matter how you chose to celebrate,  or not celebrate,  Christmas can be seen in a variety of cultures throughout the world.  Open your eyes and heart to the wonder of it all!

Traditionally,  the most treasured of celebrations is the Christmas meal… whether you are with family, friends or fellow co-workers,  it is a blessed occasion to sit and break bread together, over a meal so lovingly

prepared by someone who cares.


Merry Christmas to all – may you have a sense of purpose, a serene sense of peace,  and a warmth that fills you completely.

October 18, 2015

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Chap Chae… A Korean Delight

This year has been an event-FULL year for our family.  Tony came home from his far, far away place; M is still creating some beautiful, functional pottery and continues her education at UNM; A graduated college, then commissioned into the USAF, THEN married wonderful A;  T graduated high school and committed to joining the USAF in a totally different capacity.

This post features a Korean dish we had while visiting the A’s somewhere between the commissioning and the wedding.  Chap Chae is a wonderful, flavorful Korean noodle dish. Meat can be added (I used a pork loin, roasted and cut into small strips), but is not necessary.  This dish comes together so quick, so if you’re pressed for time, give it a try. (I made something very similar when the kids were little, and always let them use their hands to pick up the extra long noodles; made for a fun meal!)

Please join me, as I continue the celebration of an Italian-American boy who married his love, a Korean-American girl ~ love and good food ~

chap chae

chap chae

Chap Chae

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 c matchstick cut carrots (about 3 large)
  • 3 c baby spinach
  • 3 baby bok choi, trimmed and quartered
  • 1 c mushrooms, washed and sliced thin (optional)
  • 6 oz package of bean thread noodles
  • 1/2 c tamari
  • 4 T sesame oil
  • 4 T brown sugar
  • 1 T olive oil
  • crushed red pepper flake, to taste (optional)
  • chopped scallions, optional
  • bean sprouts, optional
  • sesame seeds, optional

Soak noodles in a large bowl of very warm water, just until softened (5-8 minutes). Drain; cook in a large pot of boiling water for 2-3 minutes (I season the water with salt and a drizzle of sesame oil); drain then rinse under cold water.

Whisk tamari, sesame oil and  sugar in a small bowl; set aside.

Heat olive oil in large pan/wok over med-high heat; add onion, garlic and carrots; stir-fry until tender, about 3 minutes.  If using mushrooms and meat, add to pan/wok, stir-fry another 2-3 minutes. Add noodles and tamari sauce; simmer until liquid is absorbed. Toss baby spinach in just before serving to wilt slightly. (Can add spinach just before noodle/tamari addition, if you like your spinach cooked a little more). Serve, topped with scallions and sesame seeds if desired.

enjoy ~ v

October 12, 2015

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Match-A-Flavor Donuts


Match-a-flavor Donuts

  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp *Matcha Green Tea powder (optional)
  • 2/3 cup oil (I used melted coconut oil, but veg or canola oil will work, too)
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (I made my own by combining milk with 1 T Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar to equal 1/2 cup)
  • 1 lg egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350. Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl, give a quick stir with a whisk (I guess that could be, “give a whisk”). In a large liquid measuring cup, combine all wet ingredients, give another whisk to incorporate. Using a wooden spoon, stir wet stuff into the dry stuff, mixing to form thick batter.  Prepare donut pan(s) – I used 1 large and 2 small pans, and I also doubled the recipe, as I took them in to work!  Spoon batter into a large ziplock; snip end of bag at an angle. Fill pan(s) 3/4 full; place on rack in center of the oven, bake for 8-12 minutes, rotating pans if necessary.images

*I named these Match-a-flavor because of their versatility, also, it was a cute play on the Matcha Green Tea flavor I used for these.


If you desire a more traditional flavor donut, omit the green tea powder and add 1/2 tsp fresh grated nutmeg. Please don’t stop there! Oh, and don’t forget the party on top: icing, frosting, glaze! possibilities are truly endless: apple fritter baked donuts with a buttermilk glaze, blue berry with a simple dusting of powdered sugar, chai with a chai tea infused glaze , the flavor-du-jour: PUMPKIN SPICE with a maple glaze, lemon drop with a raspberry glaze, chocolate with chocolate icing, maple with maple glaze

Simple Matcha Glaze

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Matcha powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1-3 T hot water

Whisk all ingredients together to form a smooth glaze. Dip cooled donut tops into glaze; set on wire rack to drip dry (I place a sheet of waxed paper underneath to catch all the drips. Makes for easy clean up!). Why not add some finely chopped pistachio to embrace the green!

For Matcha powder ordering information, click here:  
Green Tea Powderbaking


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