Friday, December 3, 2010

So Long, Farewell!

After long thought and a little bit of guilt, I have decided to retire my blog. Bye Bye, all of my 3 fans out there! :)

This doesn't mean that I will stop cooking in my quaint kitchen, attempting to bake, perusing cookbooks like they are magazines, watching Food Network, or dining out for yummy dinners, it just means that I will not be posting about it. Cooking, to me, is a passion. It gives me energy and purpose and allows me to show how much I care about people. I like that I know what I am putting in my body and where that food came from. Cooking is a part of who I am and it's sad to say that this blog was becoming more of a chore than a passion.

Thank you for reading and if you found one recipe worth making or sharing, then I am content. Maybe I will have the urge to pick it up again, but at the moment I am enjoying cooking for people that are in close proximity to me and not for the world wide web.

On a side note: I am not too happy that my last blog post will be about bacon wrapped bananas, but then again, it makes it more apparent that I was beginning to lose my steam. :)

It's been lovely, really.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Bananas After Dark

I was just eating my midday snack, a banana, when I noticed the Dole sticker on the peel. It said Go Bananas After Dark and listed a website. Usually, I am not suspect to fruit label advertising, but it intrigued me. I was thinking it had something to do with how eating a banana before bedtime can stir up nightmares. Nope. The website lists dinner recipes with bananas as a key ingredient and other interesting factual and nutrition info. I guess they are trying to increase the consumption of bananas. They're not just for breakfast anymore! Well, they have me convinced. One of their recipes for Grilled Bacon Maple Banana Bites looks delicious. But what isn't delicious that's wrapped in bacon?


· 1/4 cup maple syrup
· 8 slices center-cut bacon
· 2 large DOLE© Bananas
· 1tsp. chili powder

· 1tsp. chili powder


· preheat gas grill to medium heat
· spray grill grates with cooking spray or lightly oil
· pour maple syrup into shallow dish
· place bacon onto a microwave-safe plate lined with paper towels
· cover with another paper towel and microwave on high for 1 minute or until bacon just barely begins to cook, but is still pliable and not crisp
· sprinkle peeled bananas with chili powder
· cut each banana into four roughly equal pieces
· roll each piece in maple syrup and wrap in one slice of bacon
· serve with toothpick 
· grill on medium heat for 5-8 minutes or until bacon is nicely browned & crisp, turning occasionally
· serve immediately

Friday, September 10, 2010

Bye Bye Summer


Don't get me wrong. I do not think I will be missing 100°+ weather that summer can unleash upon us, but with the coming season, I have to say good-bye to one of my favorite summer fruits for a whole year. This is a task I am not sure I can handle. You see, I love fruit more than anyone I know! It's hard to settle for just citrus fruits and apples all winter long. Where's the variety? 

I am not sure what got into me this summer but I was having a full on love affair with watermelon. Not just with the the pre-cut & packaged containers that you can pick up at the local grocer on occasion, but with the humongous 8 lb. watermelon that you need both arms to haul to the car. Don't even try the resting it on your hip trick. The watermelons that I was devouring all summer were enormous and would only last for a few days. I was eating watermelon morning, noon, and night. I even got my little pup obsessed. He loves it, too. Every time I open the container in the fridge- he'd come a runnin'. "Good boy", I'd say as I gave him a few pieces. He appreciates the sweet watery crunch just like his mama.

It's been sweet, but now it's time to say good-bye...until next year. I don't know what I'll do without you.

picture credit: cashon and company

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Trip to San Fran Part IV: Magnolia Gastro Pub & Brewery



I loved the glasses they served their beer in and the refurbished wood bar.

Since this was JJ's first time visiting San Francisco, we had to make sure to hit the historic Haight-Ashbury neighborhood. We spent an entire day just walking in and out of shops and people watching in this historic area known best for its hippie culture that began in the 60s. Many people still feel connected to this American counterculture and it is evident by the amount of people that flock there on a daily basis.

After walking around for a couple of hours, it began to rain and we were looking to a place to grab something to eat and few drinks. We came upon Magnolia Gastro Pub and Brewery and we loved the look and feel of the place. We grabbed two seats at the bar and ordered some craft beers. We were feeling a bit daring while we were looking at the menu and decided to try the smelt appetizer. We thought they would pair well with the beer for a mid-afternoon nosh. The flash fried fish
came to the table and once we both got past the fact that we were about to eat whole fish, we were able to enjoy them. Smelts have very thin bones so you can eat the whole fish; bones, head, and all. There were a few in the basket that looked scary with their mouths open, almost like they were surprised after being thrown in the hot fryer. Needless to say, those remained on the plate. The malt vinegar added a great zing to the salty, crispy fish. It was a great plate to share over a couple of beers, but I am not sure next time I would feel so daring. Thinking about it now, gives me the willies!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Trip to San Fran Part III

The Grove Fillmore

JJ and I decided to wake up early one morning while in San Francisco and stroll around Pacific Heights to find a place for brunch. We weren't exactly sure what we were in the mood for, but happened upon The Grove Fillmore. From the moment we walked in, we felt right at home because of the earthy, warm vibe. We knew we had made a good choice. The restaurant was packed with cowboy memorabilia, antique books, cushions, and anything & everything that would make you feel like you were in a cozy mountain house in the middle of winter. The worn wooden tables, benches and even a little tree house dining section added to the casual ambience. We sat at a bar that faced the center of the restaurant that was filled with rustic tables and lots of people. The seat was perfect for people watching. I truly cannot remember what exactly I ate here, but I remember it was delicious, organic, and healthy. The food was a little on the pricey side for brunch, but then again we were in San Fran and everything seems more expensive there, so it didn't phase us. Also, when I am on vacation I tend to splurge on everything anyway. This was such a great way to begin our day in the City by the Bay!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Trip to San Fran Part II

pretty funny sign at the San Fran farmers market

4505 Meats where Bacon is the new black

Trip to San Fran Part I

sipping on fresh juice- wheatgrass, apple, cucumber, and basil

Back in April, JJ and I took a trip to San Francisco to see my sister and her family. I expressed interest in seeing the local farmers market while we were there and so we did.
That is one of my favorite things to do when I visit a city to see all of their local vegetation ripe for the picking and eating! It reminded me of our trip to Santa Monica where we experienced their local market. California always produces the best crops because of their mild weather. There was so much to see and sample. It was hard not to buy everything, but I stuck to only things that I could consume on the spot (like the yummy juice in the picture above) or items that wouldn't perish on the trip back home.

harvested mushrooms

more mushrooms!

flowers for sale

jumbo asparagus

We ended up purchasing a glass jar of organic apple wood smoked salt. The vendor had an assortment of flavored salts, but this one was our fave! I still have not opened the jar yet... If anyone has any ideas, please send them my way. I am a little intimidated by this complex ingredient. We also bought a small bag of dried mild chilies; Poblano, New Mexico, and Anaheim chilies. This mixture can be used to make salsa or as seasoning for poultry or fish. I used some of the dried chili mixture to make tacos a few weeks back. They were delicious. I couldn't pass up the dried fruit vendor where I bought a bag each of Lubanah dates and dried persimmons. I bought both of them because they were the most peculiar, yet delicious.

I envy all of the Californians that have such quality organic produce at their finger tips. Don't get me wrong... I love our local Kansas City market, but it just doesn't compare to the size, quality or variety of the west coast markets. I guess I'll just sit here in the disgustingly, muggy Midwestern heat, eat my sweet corn and watermelon, and be glad that I have food to put on the table.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Portabella Parmagiana

This meal was the result of trying to avoid meat, using up 'less than fresh' veggies in the fridge, and a craving for Italian food. Sometimes restrictions breed creativity. Here's my creative and delicious solution...

· Portabella mushroom
· tomato sauce (in a jar is just fine)
· Italian bread crumbs
· Italian blended shredded cheese
· fresh basil leaves for garnish

· saute Portabella mushroom in a pan over medium heat with a little drizzle of olive oil and chicken stock to keep it moist while cooking (if going for truly vegetarian-you could use wnater here, instead)
· sprinkle mushroom with garlic powder, salt and pepper
· preheat the oven to 350°
· toast and mix bread crumbs in a pan over medium heat with 1 tbsp of butter and juice of 1/2 a lemon
· once the Portabella mushroom is cooked, place it on a basking sheet upside down and press the bread crumb mixture into the under side of the mushroom
· top with tomato sauce
· sprinkle with shredded cheese and bake in the oven until cheese is melted (about 8-10 minutes)
· garnish with fresh basil leaves

Voila! A yummy meatless meal. I will definitley be making this again real soon!

Fava Beans with Whole Wheat Pasta

Ever since hearing the quote from Silence of the Lambs, fava beans had never really seemed that appetizing to me. You know the one... "I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti." Hearing it use to send chills up my spine, but now that I am a big girl, horror movies don't seem to bother me as much. And, I am not in favor of passing judgement against any fruit or vegetable unless I have tried it and not liked it. That doesn't happen very often, though.

I don't think I would have seeked out fava beans at the grocery store, they just happened to be fresh at the farmers market. Buying what is fresh is always better even if it is an item that I am not familiar with. It gives me the chance to learn and try something new.

Preparation: I boiled the whole wheat pasta and made a quick sauce of olive oil, lemon juice, freshly grated Pecorino cheese, freshly ground pepper, and kosher salt. It was a simple and yummy pasta dish. I will say that prepping the fava beans was a little more work than I though it would be, but well worth it. You first have to remove all of the beans from the pods and then blanch the pods to soften for easy removal of the outer shell. Once you remove the beans from the outer shell you then have to boil for about 3-5 minutes to cook the fava beans.

top picture: from oswego tea

Saturday, June 19, 2010


Back in April, JJ and I took a road trip to Oklahoma City to visit his dad. Along with visiting the Oklahoma City bombing site and touring the famous Bricktown, we also took a little detour to grab lunch at a place called Pops with JJ's pop. It is located off Route 66 in Arcadia, OK. This is a tourist destination to say the least. The place was packed with people and its shelves packed with over 500 different types of sodas. Originally a gas station, this pit stop was turned into an ultra modern must-see restaurant, shake shop, gift shop, and convenience store. The landmark outside is a 66 ft. sculptural soda bottle and straw that can hardly be missed. The futuristic glass building is unique with shelves lined with a rainbow of bottled sodas.

We shopped around a little before grabbing a bite to eat. You could build your own six pack and so we did. I opted for more fruity sodas; pineapple soda, pink grapefruit, and a sugar free Jones soda. JJ went for the more crafted rootbeers and cream sodas. We were like kids in a candy shop. We waited about 45 minutes for seat and I will say the food wasn't anything to write home about- just normal diner food, not bad, just not memorable. We took our select sodas back with us to Kansas City and it took me forever to break them open. I think there might still be one in the fridge...just waiting to quench my thirst after a sweltering summer day.

If you are ever on Route 66, stop in at Pops for a pop with your pop!
What a great memory. Happy Father's Day, Sid!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Fruit Addict Salad

There is not a day in my life that goes by without a piece of fruit. It is a regular part of my diet. I blame my mom for eating too much fruit while pregnant with me. Seriously, when it comes to fruit, there is no discrimination. I love it all!

After recently purchasing a giant papaya at the farmers market, I decided to make a fruit salad for breakfast. Needing a little protein in the mix, I sprinkled a few raw almonds for crunch. A drizzle of honey over the top made this fruit salad a sweet dessert for breakfast. The fruit salad included papaya, strawberries, mango and a banana. What a beautiful and healthy way to start the day. Bright colors make me happy and so does nature's candy!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Muffins Made With Love

When the weather warms up, I look for any excuse to throw berries into a dish. Wanting to cook breakfast for my honey, I looked through the pantry to see what I could find. Way at the top of the shelf was a container of organic cornmeal mix I had bought with my Williams-Sonoma gift card a while back. Sometimes breaking out something you were saving for a special occasion makes it a special occasion. It was a Sunday morning and heart shaped berry corn muffins was the occasion! I just followed the directions on the container and added in blackerberries and blueberries to the batter. They basically made themselves...I will say that the berries added a lovely sweetness to the salty cornmeal mix and they turned out perfect.

If you do not have the organic cornmeal mix on hand, here's a quick and easy recipe for berry cornmeal muffins (heart shaped tin- optional)

· 1 cup all-purpose flour
· 3/4 cup cornmeal
· 2 to 2 tbsp. sugar
· 2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
· 3/4 tsp. salt
· 2 beaten eggs
· 1 cup milk
· 1/4 cup cooking oil or melted butter
· 1/4 cup fresh blueberries
· 1/4 cup fresh blackberries

(makes 12 muffins)
· preheat oven to 400°
· in a medium bowl, stir together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt; set aside
· grease a muffin tin
· in a small bowl, combine eggs, milk, and oil
· add egg mixture to dry ingredients and stir until moistened
· fold in berries being careful not to break them
· pour batter into muffin tin only filling each cup 2/3 full
· bake for approx. 15 minutes and check with toothpick to make sure they are cooked through
· serve warm and with love

Sunday, June 6, 2010


Lately, I have had an obsession with beets. I am not sure if its the earthy flavor I love or the fact that my hands get dyed a lovely fuchsia while preparing them. Coming out of a 2 to 3 month vegetarian phase, I had a craving for this amazing root vegetable. I was discussing this with a friend and she mentioned that my body was craving the iron. Isn't that amazing?...that our bodies crave certain foods because we are lacking in that particular nutrient? What about when I crave Cheetos? What is my body telling me, then?

Beets were never part of my regular diet. Sure, I had eaten them on a salad here or there while dining out, but had never prepared them myself at home before. There are two ways that I have been preparing them lately; boiling until nice and tender or roasting them in the oven to make them nice and sweet.

Beet Salad (above)
· boiled beets
· strawberries
· sliced green onions
· mixed greens
· feta cheese
· dressing: good balsamic vinegar and olive oil

There's nothing like discovering a new fruit or vegetable that is in season to experiment with in the kitchen. I hope this encourages you to get out of your normal culinary routine and try something different. Happy hunting!

Sunday, May 16, 2010


After a semi-brief hiatus, I will be back at the DISH in a few days. There is much that has happened in a few short months and I have lots to post about including...a romantic homemade dinner for two, vegetarian dishes, an asian celebration feast, dining out adventures in two of my favorite cities, route 66 hot spot, and much more. Stay tuned!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Dark Chocolate Covered Apricots

· 1 bar of dark unsweetened dark chocolate (100% Cacao)
· 1/2 cup heavy cream
· 3 tbsp. agave nectar
· about 30 dried apricots

· create a double boiler on the stove top by simmering 1 cup of water in a large pot and
placing a bowl on top that doesn't touch the water. (the steam from the simmering water
will slowly melt the chocolate; preventing it from burning)
· break apart chocolate bar and place in bowl over simmering water
· add the agave nectar and slowly add the heavy cream
· stir slowly until all ingredients are incorporated together and the chocolate is nice and smooth
· in the meantime, cover a sheet pan with parchment paper
· remove the bowl of melted chocolate from the stove and dip each apricot in the melted
chocolate so that half of the apricot is covered
· place on parchment paper
· once all 30 apricots are dipped, place sheet pan in fridge to chill for about an hour

I adapted this recipe from a recipe I found on-line because I accidentally bought unsweetened chocolate at Whole Foods. I saw the 100% Cacao on the chocolate bar and in an attempt to fulfill my craving with something healthy, snatched it right up so fast I didn't quite read the entire label. I had plans to make chocolate dipped something but I wasn't quite sure what. I always love when my friend Lizzie makes chocolate dipped apricots, so I thought I would give it a shot. The agave nectar was added to sweeten the bitter chocolate, and boy was it bitter... I broke off a piece to give it a little taste and I couldn't get it down with our some water. Not only did the agave nectar add the perfect amount of sweetness while still letting the earthy cacao shine through, it made the chocolate so shiny and smooth. These apricots turned out very rich from the dark chocolate. If you are not a dark chocolate fan, I would not suggest this recipe. It is only for true chocolate lovers.