Sunday, December 15, 2013

Chicken with Artichoke Hearts

I hope to make this again so I can add better pictures, but if not, know that I enjoyed every bite of this single serving!

This dish is inspired by a recipe I came across while waiting for Mr. Animator at the dentist. It captured my attention because I had been craving artichokes and seemed super easy. As is almost always the case, I followed the general gist of the recipe while flying by the seat of my pants for the rest of it, and came up with my own version.

Whats great about this dish is that it's easy, full of flavor, and very healthy. It could be served with rice, steamed veggies, sautéed green beans, or a large salad. You can easily add more artichokes if you're a lover, and decrease the amount used if you're a hater. 

The salty tang from the marinated artichokes is a great foil to the sharp, nutty parmesan  and these two partners in crime blend perfectly with the savory taste of the chicken. Also, broiling the artichokes releases more of the natural earthy vegetable flavor and gives them a beautiful brown toasting that adds an extra dimension to the dish. 

I know this isn't a great picture, and it's only of a single serving, but I was too anxious to eat this so I couldn't wait! 

1 large jag (14oz) marinated artichoke hearts
4 chicken breasts or 6 chicken tenderloins 
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1-2 teaspoon salt
1/2-1 teaspoon pepper

1/2 shredded parmesan cheese


Preheat oven on broiler, move top rack 6-8 inches from the heat. 

In a large bowl, add lightly drain artichokes, oil, salt, and pepper. Mix, then add chicken and toss until coated. Pour artichokes and chicken into a large pan, and arrange so nothing is over lapping. Cook for 10-15 minutes, turning over chicken about half way through cooking time. During the last 2-3 minutes of cooking time, sprinkle the dish with parmesan cheese. Once cheese is browned and chicken reaches an internal temperature 165º, remove and serve! 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Salads and a Slice of life

Consistency is clearly not my strength when it comes to posting on here. However, even when I don't post, I still eat and I still love it.

I've been on a healthy salad, soup, and sandwich kick lately.

Recently my wonderful in-laws gave me the book "Eat for Health" by Dr. Joel Fuhrman. If you're looking to make some life style changes that include eating healthier, I *highly* recommend this book. While the book talks about many aspects of healthy eating, the thing that really stood out to me was that  (and I'm paraphrasing here) 'the goal is not to eat perfectly at every meal, but know how to make wiser choices.' Basically, my take away message was 'try to eat healthy, but don't beat yourself up if you eat a cookie'. A prime example of this was when I was texting a friend. We were talking about food, and here is part of the conversation:
me "I made chocolate chip cookies - which completely negated the power smoothie for breakfast and salad for lunch"
friend: "It didn't unless you ate the whole pan."
It really got me thinking that sometime I eat one cookie or sugary snack and think "Well great, I just blew that whole 'I'm going to eat healthy today' plan that I had." When in reality it didn't. It might not have been the best choice, but it wasn't the same as eating cookies for breakfast, lunch, and a snack.

I also think the self-talk we engage in about food, eating, and cooking are a huge contributor to our health - but that's a different topic for a different day.

Now, I say all this because I've been having a hay day with salads. After getting home from a week with my in-laws who were eating very healthy, I decided to dive in as much as I could. Knowing that 'perfection' wasn't my goal, I decided to see how we'd fare if we shifted towards more foods recommended in "Eat for Health" - leafy greens, steamed veggies, low fat meats, legumes, and no dairy. I started serving larger salads and smaller portions of meat and eating lentil soup for breakfast*. I can honestly say that once I learned the 'rules' of eating healthy (and making salads) that it became more enjoyable to eat healthily.

After a few months of eating healthier here is what I have found:
I feel better when I eat better.
No one approach is perfect, a cure all, or good for every situation.
Learning to listen to your body takes time, effort, and patience, but it is worth it.

I've said all the above simply so I can post this picture and go on about how much I love these baby greens!!!

I don't particularly care for regular kale, chard, or collard greens because they are a tougher green and not quite as crisp as I like. However, I've found this 'Baby Green' mix that has baby kale, baby Swiss chard, and baby spinach. These baby versions are on par with baby spinach and when mixed with some arugula and romaine, it makes for a delicious salad base. I've been trying different types of nuts, dried fruits, occasional cheeses, and various salad dressings.

Baby Swiss Chard, Baby Kale, Baby Spinach

This massive tub of greens was around $4 at Sam's Club - which is a steal in this area.
 You can also find it in smaller quantities in the pre-packaged salad section of most grocery stores.

I can't figure out how to rotate these pictures. Anyone know how!?

My slice of life is the White Elephant Christmas Party we're planing! These are the invites:

We'll be serving hot apple cider, cream cheese with cranberry chutney on crackers, apples and caramel, other munchies, and having indoor s'mores. I. cannot. wait!  Pictures to follow :)

Thanks for reading! Hopefully it won't be a month before I post again!

*Eating lentil soup for breakfast was inspired by Tim Ferris' book "The Four Hour Body" and the 'slow carb diet'.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Caprese Salad

Rich balsamic glaze.... Deliciously ripe tomatoes....

Soft fresh mozzarella.....and a crunch of green basil.

All these things make this is a go to favorite of mine. It's a great balance of protein from the cheese and sugar from the tomatoes, making it a great afternoon 'tea time' snack. It's also versatile - it can stand on it's own, and pairs well with a soup or sandwich.

Today while out grocery shopping I saw these amazing tomatoes. I've seen them before, but never bought them. They were on sale and I had basil and mozzarella at home, so I thought I'd impulse buy these and work a caprese salad into my weekly menu plan.

Let me tell you - they did not disappoint. I'm not sure if I'd buy them at full price, but they were worth every penny I spent on them today.

Brown 'Kumato' Tomatoes

I also found out that in addition to tasting great, brown tomatoes have a really interesting history. They contain a higher amount of sugar than regular tomatoes and were developed in Spain during a round of cross breeding experiments. As a result of being a 'select' variety, the seeds and cultivation of them is highly controlled and 'reproduction rights' are only given after a very detailed selection process. For more information check out this wikipedia link. Now if you're thinking you'll be a smarty pants and plant seeds from the tomatoes you buy at the store, be my guest. However, because the tomatoes are a hybrid the plants grown from the seeds will not be the same as the parent plant. Thank you genetics!

Anyway, this gem of a salad is tasty, beautiful, and really fun to serve at dinner parties. You don't have to make it with these 'invite only' type tomatoes. Any beefsteak style tomatoes will work. Because you're eating them fresh, try to pick the best ones you can.

A view from the top


1 package of Kumato Brown Tomatoes (usually 4 in a pack)
16 oz ball or log of fresh mozzarella cheese
1 bunch fresh basil
Balsamic Glaze
Extra virgin olive oil

Slice each tomato into 3-4 slices. Cut the mozzarella* into the same number of slices. If you end up with 12 tomato slices, make 12 mozzarella slices.

Layer  the cheese a tomatoes, starting with cheese and ending with tomato on top - this prevents the stack from sliding around if you plan on moving your plates. Stack basil leaves in a stack, roll, and cut into ribbons and loosen gently with fingers.

Drizzle olive oil and balsamic glaze over each tomato and cheese stack, then sprinkle with basil ribbons.

Serve immediately!

*Tips - to slice mozzarella without totally smashing it, use a marble cheese slicer (I have this one), or dental floss! Wrap the floss around your fingers and press firmly but gently down on the cheese. Check out this video for a quick tutorial. If you didn't know - dental floss has many many uses in the kitchen.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Caramel Apple Pie

You want to talk about a knock your socks off apple pie? Well this is it! I don't even LIKE apple pie and my heart was giggling as I ate this it was so good.

Around this time of year apple picking starts getting really popular. And lets face it, upstate New York is beautiful in September, so who wouldn't want to spend sometime in a beautiful apple orchard? The leaves are thinking about turning into beautiful falls colors and the cool wind gently lulls you into your favorite sweater.

The sweet apples are baked in a spiced, caramel like sauce which is surrounded in a flaky, buttery crust.

The crust is delicate and sweet in a way that only well made pie crusts can be. And the apples, moist and tender from having cooked in the caramel sauce are wonderful to sink your teeth into. Eating this is like eating Fall itself. Satisfying, delicious, and decedent when served with rich vanilla ice cream, this pie should not disappoint.


1 pie crust recipe (See below for a two 9" crust recipe. And no, there is no shame in buying pre-made or frozen ones if you want.)
8 cups of apple slices

1 stick of butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 Tablespoon corn starch
1/4 cup water or apple cider

1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 475º.
Line pie dish with one crust. Fill with apple slices. Pile them up into a mound as they cook down! Use the additional crust to make a lattice top. If you want to do a full crust covering, make the caramel sauce as indicated below, then place the crust on.

In a small sauce pan, on medium high, mix sugars, corn starch, and water/cider. Once warm, add butter and bring to boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, add spices and mix thoroughly. Carefully pour mixture over and through the lattice crust, making sure not to spill. With a brush or a clean finger, gently spread the liquid over any missed spots on the crust. If you used a full crust on top, reseve a bit of the caramel to brush over it.

As you can see below the caramel is gently brushed over the top, and my edges are messy as messy can be. I make no effort to make my crust edges look pretty, as I'm going to eat the darn thing as soon as it cools enough to eat. However, if you're into braided edges, cute leaf cutouts, or imprinted patterns, go for it!

Bake at 475º for 15 minutes. Turn oven to 350º  and over loosely with a sheet of foil and bake for an additional 60 minutes or until apples are soft.

Allow to cool before serving. Refrigerate left overs.

Pie Crust:
2 1/2 cup flour
1 cup butter or shortening
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt

In a food processor or with a pastry knife, combined salt, sugar, flour, and butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs or corn meal. Slowly add water, mixing until a soft dough forms. Using hands, remove from bowl, and kneed gently a few times. Divide dough into two equal parts. Roll each part into a ball before rolling flat with a rolling pin.

For an even more excellent pie crust, I recommend this recipe. For a tutorial on how to do a lattice top, check out this website.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Strawberry Spinach Salad with Walnuts

This is really a pretty easy salad, but is a favorite of many people I know. I'm posting it here not really because I need the recipe, but I need the reminder. You know how sometimes you just get stuck in a rut and think "I don't know what I want to eat!!!" - well that's when I get online or open a cookbook and peruse through the pictures, recipes, and various ingredients until I see something I know I like, or something that sounds interesting, easy, or delicious enough to try. Sometimes, we just need a nudge in the right direction, so I hope this will be it for many of you.

However, if you've never tried this type of salad, it is certainly worth a go! It's more substantial than most  leafy green salads, in my opinion, because it has a heavier dressing and the walnuts and strawberries add body and flavor which make for an amazing blend of satisfaction of both taste and appetite.

1 Bag baby spinach
2 cups sliced strawberries
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Poppy Seed Dressing - I prefer Briannas

Wash and dry spinach. Add about 1/2 bottle of dressing, and toss until spinage is evenly coated. Move to a serving plate, and sprinkle walnuts and strawberries on top.

Serve cold.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Raspberry Freezer Jam

Once this was done and in jars, I bounded into the room where Forrest was and proclaimed my undying love of raspberries and how I will now be able to enjoy disgusting amounts of sugar and fresh raspberry flavor during the cold winter months in New York.

This recipe is the same one that is contained in the SureJell Pectin insert. I'll post my own version of the directions here, but the pectin packet will contain details that are helpful to first time jam makers. It's worth looking over for certain.

3 cups crushed raspberries
1 6oz packet of SureJell Fruit Pectin
5 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup water


Place raspberries and sugar in a large bowl and mix throughly. Let sit for at least ten minutes. Meanwhile, in a small sauce pan, mix water and pectin over high heat until boiling. Continue to boil for one minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and pour into raspberry sugar mix. Stir for about 5 minutes minimum and long if sugar is not totally dissolved. Once sugar is dissolved, pour into jars, stopping about 1/2 inch from the top to allow for expansion in the freezer. Wipe edges clean, screw on lids, and let set 24 hours before freezing.

Makes about 7 cups of jam.

Mango Peach Lemonade

I am obsessed with lemons. Someone once gave me a large paper bag full to bursting with lemons from their lemon tree and I used or ate every single one in under a week.

This delicious drink mixes my basic lemonade recipe with two of my other favorite fruits to give you a satisfying and refreshing treat. It's great with a scone or two and a small slice of cheese as a late afternoon tea or snack.

The tartness of the lemonade is curbed slightly with the velvety sweetness of the mango and is either started or finished with a tasty peach slice.


4 cups Basic Lemonade
1 mango, cubed or 1 cup frozen mango chunks
1 peach, sliced


Divide mango cubes amongst 4 glasses. Fill each glass with about 1 cup lemonade. Make a small incision into four of the peach slices, and slide the slice onto the edge of the glass. If desired, dice remaining peach slices and add to lemonade.

Serve cold.

Basic Lemonade

Lemonade is easy - as long as you don't mind juicing lemons. I don't mind as I love everything about lemons. The fragrant puff of lemon oil that plumes into their air when it's squeezed, the tangy, sour juice it yields, and all the versatile uses leave me loving a good lemon. Heck, I don't even like the color yellow, but few things in the kitchen are as beautiful to me as a bowl of lemons.

So back to lemonade being easy. It's all about ratios. You can adjust this make any size portion you want, which makes it fabulously versatile. As long as you keep the ratios, you should be fine. As always though when cooking, taste it often and make adjustments as necessary.

For absolutely superior lemonade, juice you're own lemons. I use a wooden reamer, but you can use the fork method, a hand held one, or a cradle one. I love my reamer, fyi. Make sure to strain your juice to avoid seeds, or if you like the pulp, use a spoon to fish out the seeds. Store bought lemon juice can be used, but it won't be as good. However, it is a lot easier than juicing lemons.


1 part lemon juice
1 part sugar
4 parts water


Mix together in a large pitcher or carafe and serve cold. Told you it was easy.

Serves 6

For those unfamiliar with the 'parts' concept, here is the idea of it. Pick a measuring device and designate that as one unit. For example, if I chose 'cups' as my unit for this, I would make the following:
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
4 cups water

However, if making it for a large group, you could do gallons and it would yield 6 gallons total rather than 6 cups. Make sense? Leave a comment if you have questions!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Stuffed Acorn Squash with walnuts and dried apricots

Acorn squashes have an elegant, colonial beauty to them. The dark green skins are a handsome contrast to the light orange flesh. The flavor is also charming in that it's gentle and malleable enough that you can make it either sweet or savory elements and have it turn out great either way.

 In this recipe, I've done a sweet interpretation of the graceful gourds with a pop of tartness that comes from the apricots, and a subtle nuttiness that comes from the walnuts - both of which combine with the squash to make it a perfect 'hands free' meal that seems like you slaved away making something gourmet. 


2 acorn squashes
5-7 dried apricots, chopped
1/4 cup walnuts, diced
1 Tablespoon sweetener

You can use almost any type of sweetener you like for this - sugar, brown sugar, agave nectar, honey stevia, etc... 

Cut the top inch or so off the squashes and clean out seeds. Mix apricots and wanuts together, divide, and fill squashes with them. The squashes should not be totally full as the dried fruit will expand

Place squashed upright in a greased slow cooker and add about 1 inch of water to the bottom of the pot. Cook on high for about 2-3 hours, or low for 5-6 hours. 

Remove using tongs to hold and stabilize the squashes while sliding a large spoon underneath and move to a serving plate.

Dried cherries, pecans, and maple syrup.
Dried Pineapple, dried apricots, and orange marmalade.
Strawberry jelly, then top with brie cheese once cooked

Note - for the grammar fanatics out there, I found that the plural of 'squash' can be 'squashes' or simply 'squash' '

Friday, September 6, 2013

Salted Caramel Popcorn

Salty, sweet, and crunchy, with a creamy buttery overtures makes this a fabulous snack to have around Occasionally though - only have this around occasionally. If you make it and eat it frequently, you'll likely start cursing me for your rapid weight gain and insatiable sweet tooth. So to avoid profanities make this only as a special treat.

I've been making this Salted Carmel Popcorn since I was 14 and living with my dad. I can't remember why I started making it (maybe because it was freaking amazing!?) but I remember opening the side pantry, pulling down my moms worn out, splattered, flour stained Betty Crocker Cookbook and flipping to the sticky page that held the gloriously simple recipe.

My mind would always fill with wonder and excitement as the baking soda caused the thick dense carmel to bubble and foam like shaving cream. The emotions quickly shifted to gleeful anticipation as I poured the fluffy mixture over the salted popcorn and stirred until it was properly coated. Consumption begun immediately as I poured the sticky morsels into a pan and put it in the oven. It would make my teeth stick together before it was cooked, and it would yield a satisfying crunch after the oven had worked it's caramelizing magic.

Mmmm, good times are always to be had when carmel popcorn is involved. Make it for a light summer snack or put a large bowl out for holiday parties, this recipe is good all year round.


12 cups popped popcorn (about 1/3 cup unpopped, btw)

1 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup butter

1/4 cup corn syrup

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda


Spray or grease a bowl to comfortably hold all the popcorn. Add popcorn and set aside.

In a medium pot, heat sugar, butter, corn syrup, and salt over medium heat until it starts to bubble. Keep it as a soft bubble for 2-3 minutes. Add the baking soda, mix quickly, and remove from heat. It will instantly foam like shaving cream, so watch out! Immediately pour over the popcorn and stir with a large spoon, coating the popcorn evenly.

Crunch carmel corn: Pour onto a greased cookie sheet and bake at 200º for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Allow to cool, and store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

Gooey carmel corn: (perfect for popcorn balls) don't bake it, and simply store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. If you want to form it into shape, now is your chance!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Pot Roast Stew

In the rare chance that you or your family ever has left over Pot Roast, this makes for a great pick me up dinner mid week. What I recommend is that if you have Pot Roast as a Sunday dinner, you have this on a Wednesday or Thursday night the same week. 

And just a word to the wise - if you are planning on doing this in a house where the term 'left over pot roast' is almost comical because it is as rare as seeing a three legged duck, I recommend you reserve the amount of roast you'll need immediately after cooking it and never let it reach the table. Tuck it away in the fridge along with the reserved broth and other veggies (mainly onions and carrots). 

When I've planned this into the weeks menu, I buy a roast that is slightly larger and toss in the extra veggies during the initial cooking so this dish ends up being a quick mid-week wonder. 


1/2 lb leftover Pot Roast*
1 cup cooked carrots*
1 cup cooked pearl onions*
1 6oz package baby button mushrooms, washed and halved
4 cups beef broth*
1 teaspoon garlic powder, or 2 garlic cloves diced
1/4 cup flour 
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil or Butter 

*preferable reserved from the pot roast

In a medium pot, heat olive oil over medium high. Add flour and stir quickly. Add broth slowly, stirring vigorously to combine throughly. Add mushrooms and garlic then bring to a boil - about 5 minutes. Reduce to a simmer for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, dice carrots and cube left over roast. After mushrooms start to soften up, add carrots, onions, and roast. Cook an additional 5 minutes until roast and veggies are hot. 

Serves 4-6

Pictured here over Garlic Mashed Potatoes (coming soon!)

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Thyme Roasted Butternut Squash

Craving potatoes? Hash browns? Don't want to eat potatoes? Perfect - this will solve that problem for you.

During my research and experimentation with butternut squash, I thought, "Why does everything call for thyme?!" And once I started getting into kitchen tests I realized "Oh, because it's almost always amazing. Duh!" This pairing - butternut squash and thyme - is one of those cases where you shouldn't fix something that isn't broke.

And it's true - the thyme is the magic in this dish. The simple sweet and nutty flavor of the butternut announced by the fragrant thyme making this a wonderfully simple and elegant side dish to just about anything. It goes particularly well with any type of roast or whole meat - beef roast, pork loin, whole chicken, or a side dish at Thanksgiving. It's perfect because while the meat is cooking in the oven, you can sizzle this up on the stove.

A final note to those who are  feeling ambitiously lazy: you can buy pre-diced butternut squash at most grocery stores to avoid peeling, hulling, and dicing it yourself.


1 large butternut squash
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dried thyme, or 1 Tablespoon fresh thyme

2 Tablespoons cold butter
Salt/Pepper to taste


Peel, hull, and dice the squash.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil on medium high. Add diced squash, spreading into a single layer. Cook about five minutes, until brown. Toss occasionally to brown additional sides - about another five minutes. After squash is mostly browned turn heat to medium low, add thyme and salt, and cover. Cook an additional 10 minutes, tossing occasionally, or until squash is tender when poked with a fork.

Remove from heat, add butter and gently stir or toss until butter is melted. Serve hot.

Short hand: Brown squash on med high, add thyme, butter, and salt, cover for 10-15 additional mins, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, add butter, stir til melted. Serve

Monday, August 5, 2013

Chocolate Chip Scones

I make scones mostly because we don't eat dinner until 8 or so most nights, and I need a little something something around five to keep me sane. I've often preferred eating a little bit later at night, but once Downton Abby came along and stole my heart, I was convinced that having afternoon tea is perfectly normal for everyone, even if we don't have Mr. Mosley to serve it.

These are rich and wonderful. Initially the orange juice in these seems like the random thing I typed while sleep walking and forgot to delete. However, the flavor mostly bakes out leaving behind and interesting sweetness that adds a special lightness to the recipe as a whole. They are softer than most scones I've previous tried, but they are fragrant, delicious, and perfect with spiced tea, hot chocolate, or vanilla steamed milk.


1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons cold butter, cubed
1/8 cup orange juice
1/8 cup cream (heavy or light will do. Use Half and Half only if you're in a pinch)

1/2 cup chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 400º degrees.

In a food processor, pulse dry flour, sugar, baking powered, and salt together. Add butter and pulse until mixture is like fine crumbs. If you squeeze it in your hand at this point, it should stick together, but if you poke your fistful of dough it should crumble.

Add orange juice, pulse just until incorporated. Add cream, and pulse again just until incorporated. Error on the side of under-mixing it in the food processor. If needed, turn onto a clean surface to finish mixing. Mix in chocolate chips by hand.

Divide dough and shape into two rounds about 3/4 inch thick. Cut each round into 4-6 sections.

Place sections onto a greased cookie sheet and bake for 12-15 mins, watching carefully. Allow to cool in order to burn your hands and mouth while scarfing down these dainty treats.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Watermelon Cubes

For the last few weeks I've been obsessed with watermelon. The delicate crispiness of the coveted center bites, the sweet summery scent, and the deeply refreshing burst that comes with each bite are all things that make watermelon one of my favorite summer time fruits.

Within the last month, I'll confess that I've eaten almost a whole watermelon by myself each week. No, that's not a typo. And sure, I have a partner in crime who helps me polish it off, but I've been eating watermelon like nobodies business.

However, I don't like my fingers or face getting sticky, so I hate cutting it into wedges and holding it by the rind. The juice can drip down my hand, which results in a cold, sticky mess which generally detract from the over all watermelon experience. So, I cube mine as shown below and eat it with a fork (usually).

The beauty about cutting watermelon in cubes is that you can pick whatever size you want, and maintain that with fairly accurate uniformity. Thus, you can make it small cubes for a fruit salad, large chunks for a side dish, or long thin sticks for kids to grab.


Here is the picture tutorial. It is followed below with step by step instructions and a few hints!

De-rinded and sliced horizontally

De-rinded and sliced horizontally - take two 

Vertical cut 1

Fumble during Vertical cut 2

Final product. Enjoy!

  • Wash the watermelon, and slice into quarters (you can halve it, but I find quarters is easier to work with). 
  • On a large cutting board or surface, place 1 quarter of the watermelon with one side of the flesh down and the other facing you. 
  • Using a long sharp knife, cut off the rinde, moving from right to left. Finish by cutting off the top.
    • Tip: Turn you chopping surface - not your watermelon. 
  • Make large horizontal slices by placing your knife horizontally 1/2-1'' above the watermelon and, gently pressing down on the top, move the knife away from you through the melon. 
    • Hint: Work from bottom to top. 
  • Starting from left to right, make vertical cuts from the top down. Turn your board and repeat to finish off the cubes.
    • Tip: the last cut can be tricky as it may tend to topple. Keeping a loose hand on the top or side can help minimize epic downfalls of watermelon. 
  • Repeat with remaining watermelon quarters. 
  • Take to your next bar-b-que and have people wonder how you got such beautiful looking watermelon cubes with such clean cut corners! 

Friday, June 28, 2013

Update on experiments

I ran a few experiments these past few weeks, some had ended better than others. Following are my results:

Homemade powder sugar:
This happened because I was mid-stride of a recipe and realized I was out. UGH! A little research online and I found that 1 cup sugar mixed with 1 Tablespoon corn starch can yield powder sugar. I say 'can' because I tried it first in my large food processor - and it remained fairly course. And I pulverized that sugar for a solid five minutes !! Once I moved it to my Magic Bullet (I LOVE that thing!!!!) I only had to pulverize it for two minutes. It was still a little grainy, but not bad for some made stuff. I could have had a go of it with my mortar and pestle - but let's be real, that wasn't going to happen.

Frozen Guacamole:
A few posts back I made Salsa y Guacamole and tried freezing the guac to see what would happen. The taste was okay, but the texture was weird and it looked awful!

Any suggestions? Has anyone had success on freezing avocados or guacamole? Please comment below if you have any thoughts!

Spicy Chicken Lime Soup

This one is fantastically easy and amazing. One day I was craving something savory, with a bit of kick and tang to it. So after rummaging around, working some magic, and doing all sorts of complicated procedures (just kidding, it was easy), this soup came into existence.

The savory broth is given some zing from the lime, and the Sriracha adds just enough kick to make things interesting. Plus, the classic combination of these flavors is very oriental to me. I don't know if it really is an authentic flavor combo as I've never been some place I would deem authentically oriental. But it works for me and I love this. Every time I've taken it into work for lunch, people always catch a whiff of it say something along the lines of "That smells great!" So yes, this really is good :)

I'm posting the recipe that will feed 6-8 people, but it can be paired down really easy as this is not an exact science type of soup. It's the 'throw everything in, taste, and add stuff till it tastes better' type of soup. So if you're flying solo, or feeding just two, only use part of the chicken, and save the rest for later.

Hope you enjoy!


8 cups chicken broth (homemade is best, fyi)
1 Rotisserie chicken
4-6 limes, juiced
1 Tablespoon Sriracha Sauce

Cilantro or Parsley (optional for garnish)


Remove the skin from the chicken, and remove as much breast and thigh meat as you can. Enjoy the legs and wings on your own time, but don't include them in this soup. Save the carcass for homemade chicken broth if you'd like. Cut the remaining chicken into chunks.

Heat chicken broth, add chicken, lime juice, and Sriracha sauce. Stir, serve, and garnish with Cilantro or parsley if desired.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Pomegranate Lime Virgin Cocktails

Easy, distinct, and bold. This drink is something that kills three birds with one stone - it's bright, bold, and beautiful. It's like liquid elegance and beauty. Not only is it simple and fun to make, but it can be served with appetizers for a great conversation starter.

To get all the flavors, try briefly swirling it around in your mouth after taking a sip. This will allow the tart pomegranate flavor to give way to the sweet grenadine and the tangy lime.

Hope you enjoy!

2 oz water or ginger ale (depending on what you're in the mood for)
2 oz pomegranate juice (POM Wonderful is the only way to go for this)
1 oz Rose's Sweetened Lime Juice
1 oz Rose's Grenadine

Mix together, strain over ice if desired.