Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Garlicky Kale Salad

Garlicky Kale Salad

I am totally addicted to this salad dressing. First time I tasted it was at the Whole Foods Salad bar and ever since then I have been trying to reproduce it at home, but with no luck, until I stumbled across this Garlicky Kale Salad recipe. It is Ammmmazing. I end up eating the whole bowl of kale just by myself.

Then one day I was prepping for a dinner party and most of the guests were PALEO (this is before I became PALEO) some Gluten Free folks and some vegan. A week before the dinner party I had spoken to each of my guests about their diet restrictions and some of their favorite foods. So I knew what each one could or could not eat. But also some of their favorite flavor or food. I had decided to make sure that each person has a dish they would like based on their diet or what they liked. However, I knew that this salad would fit more than one person. I had made everything from a few appetizers, to a few different salad, entrees, and then some two simple. Sometime it can be hard to fit people’s diets but if you talk to people ahead of time it can be simple. Don’t try to complicate things, but if you talk to your guests, and try to make things for them, they feel really appreciated and special.

Everyone has a fabulous time at the dinner party and so was appreciative that I covered each diet. And it was more simple than I thought too. This salad was a huge hit. # Epicurious #OutoftheKitchen


Garlicky Kale Salad

Yield: 4 servings

Total Time: 15 minutes


1 bunch organic raw kale, washed, and dried
2 tbsp tahini
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp Coconus Aminos (tamari or soy sauce if not PALEO)
4 tbsp nutritional yeast
2 tsp minced garlic (1 - 2 cloves of garlic)
sesame seeds, to taste as garish (optional)


Break or cut kale into bite size pieces after you have washed it and place in a large bowl.

Puree all ingredients except kale and sesame seeds in a blender or food processor.

Pour dressing over kale and mix into the kale and make sure all peices of the kale is coated.

Let the salad sit in the fridge for an hour or so to marinate. You can skip this step if you need to eat right away, but allowing some time to marinate will wilt the kale a bit and make it a little more soft.

Sprinkle on some sesame seeds before serving if so desired.

Adapted from: Eatin Bird Food

One Year Ago: Italian Black Bean Soup
Two Years Ago: Orange and Cranberry Biscotti
Three Years Ago: Rum Balls
Four Years Ago: Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Want to know how to build a successful restaurant? Check out BonAppetit.com’s “Out of the Kitchen,” a glimpse into the inner workings of two successful restaurants. Meet the back of the house inner circle and see how face-to-face relationships keep customers coming back for more.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Bon Appetit. The opinions and text are all mine.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Bread Pudding

Bread Pudding

I didn’t grow up with bread pudding, actually first time I had it I hated it. I have something against soggy bread. Don’t ever feed by a sloppy joe. But over the years I have tasted different bread pudding desserts and now I actually really like it.

It all started with dinner party at friends houses, and especially a friend that is a great cook. Now with kids and dogs we all help out in the kitchen. I was helping out with the dessert and she was going to serve bread pudding. I knew I wasn’t going to like it but I was her sous chef for the moment. She gave me instructions and I just did what she told me to do. The way I was preparing this pudding just seemed delicious. I was tasting the bourbon sauce and oh my that I could just drink by itself.

Everything else this friend cooks is delicious so I had to taste this bread pudding that I just created following her directions. It was fantastic. I no longer thought of bread pudding as soggy bread but just delicious, sweet pudding.

Since then we have had several dinner parties and we always help, advice and share recipes. Somehow always tastes better when you are a group of good friends cooking a dinner and everyone helping out.

Since then I have mad several bread pudding over the years including this pumpkin bread pudding. But there is something about this very classic Bread Pudding with bourbon that is just delicious.

It is also very easy to prepared, you really just need some stale bread laying around.


Bread Pudding

Yield: 8-10 Servings

Total Time: 60 minutes


Bourbon Sauce:
½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup Kentucky bourbon whiskey

Bread Pudding:
1 loaf French bread, at least a day old, cut into 1-inch squares (about 6-7 cups)
1 qt whole milk
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup raisins (soaked overnight in 1/4 cup bourbon)
¼ tsp ground allspice
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cardamon
3 tbsp butter, melted


First prepare the bourbon sauce. In a saucepan, melt butter; add sugar and egg, whisking to blend well. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens. (Do not allow to simmer, or it may curdle.) Whisk in bourbon to taste. Remove from heat. Whisk before serving. The sauce should be soft, creamy, and smooth.

Secondly the Bread Pudding:

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Soak the bread in milk in a large mixing bowl. Press with hands until well mixed and all the milk is absorbed. In a separate bowl, beat eggs, sugar, vanilla, and spices together. Gently stir into the bread mixture. Gently stir the raisins into the mixture.

Pour butter into the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking pan. Coat the bottom and the sides of the pan well with the butter. Pour in the bread mix and bake at 350°F for 35-45 minutes, until set. The pudding is done when the edges start getting a bit brown and pull away from the edge of the pan. Can also make in individual ramekins.

Serve with bourbon whiskey sauce on top . Best fresh and eaten the day it is made.

Adapted from:  Simply Recipes

Bread Pudding

One Year Ago: Iced Irish Coffee
Two Years Ago: Morning Glory Muffins
Three Years Ago: Chocolate Gelato
Four Years Ago: Quiche

To read more about great stories around friendships and communication in and around the kitchen go to Bon Appetit Out of the Kitchen. # Epicurious #OutoftheKitchen

Want to know how to build a successful restaurant? Check out BonAppetit.com’s “Out of the Kitchen”, a glimpse into the inner workings of two successful restaurants. Meet the back of the house inner circle and see how face-to-face relationships keep customers coming back for more.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Bon Appetit. The opinions and text are all mine.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Christmas Chocolate Drops

Christmas Chocolate Drops

I can’t believe it is almost Thanksgiving and the year is over.  I honestly have no idea where it went.  And my little one is 20 months.  It has really flown by.

But it is the time of the year to start baking.  I unfortunately do not really bake a lot anymore.  For many reasons, time is a factor, but i try to stay away from sugar and i don’t really want to introduced it to my little one, she will get plenty of sugar in her life, no need to start early.

But here is the start of my baking season, there will be lots more of this before the year is over.

These cookies were done using DOVE® PROMISES® Dark Chocolates #DoveDark who encourages sharing/baking with DOVE® through delicious recipes with Bright Ideas. If you need recipe ideas it is a great site to go and check out.

These Christmas Chocolate Drops are delicious.  I ended up using pecans and i used a food processor to crunch it up with the chocolate, and they were just delicious.


Christmas Chocolate Drops

Yield: 36 cookies

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes


1 bag DOVE® PROMISES® Dark Chocolate
8 tbsp butter
1/3 cup flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup sugar
2 cups chopped nuts: such as walnuts, pecans or toasted almonds
2 cookie sheet pans
Foil paper


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line the sheet pans with foil and set aside. Melt half of the DOVE® PROMISES® Dark Chocolate with the butter in the top of a double boiler until smooth. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Meanwhile, roughly chop the remaining chocolate and set aside.

To make the batter, combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt in a small bowl, set aside. In a large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until thick and light yellow, about 2 minutes. Stir in flour mixture and cooled chocolate and beat for 1 minute. Fold in the remaining chopped DOVE® PROMISES® Dark Chocolate and nuts.

Drop tablespoons of batter onto the prepared cookie sheet pans about 2 inches apart. Bake for approximately 10 minutes, or until just firm. Remove from the oven, transfer to a wire rack and cool for 5 minutes before removing from the cookie sheet pans.

Adapted from: Dove

One Year Ago: Squash Salad with Oranges and Olives
Two Years Ago: Pumpkin Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies
Three Years Ago: Turkey Stuffing

Share the Joy with Dove®. Go to BrightIdeas.com for recipes using DOVE® PROMISES® Dark Chocolate and DOVE® Silky Smooth Dark Chocolate Bar. Click. Create. Celebrate.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Mars®. The opinions and text are all mine.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Tropical Green Smoothie

Tropical Green Smoothie

I am a huge fan of healthy green and nutrient filled smoothies. I have been doing smoothie for my 20 month old, and i usually put some kind of green in there, or an avocado or bunch of carrots and chia seeds and then some frozen fruit.  She loves them. So when i came across this smoothie i had to try it out.  It is delicious, you can;t even taste the spinach at all.

There are a few alternatives you can do here, instead of the spinach you can use kale, instead of almond milk you could use coconut water, or whole milk.  Also instead of yogurt you could just use more milk.  I also put chia seeds in all my smoothies they are filled with nutrients and so good for you.  Especially if you don’t eat fish a lot.  And now with the Pacific Ocean totally contaminated with radiation for over 2 years and still running i have cut down on our fish intake.  It is really sad but i don’t trust the fish from the pacific ocean anymore, so we just eat tons of chia seeds around our house.

This recipe is part of the monthly Secret Recipe Club “assignment!” Every month you get a name of a blog and you need to choose ANY recipe from that blog and then blog about that recipe by a date. It’s a secret because the blog owner does not know you are doing this until the reveal date.

My secret blog this month was It’s Good to Be the Cook, which is written by Beth, who lives in a suburb outside Philadelphia. She has a great food blog you have to check it out –It’s Good to be the Cook.

What are some of your favorite Smoothie Recipes?

Tropical Green Smoothie


Tropical Green Smoothie

Yield: 2 servings

Total Time: 2 minutes


1 6oz container of whole plain yogurt
2 cups Spinach or kale
1 Banana
1 cup Frozen Peaches
1/2 cup Frozen Mango Chunks
1/4 cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk or whole milk
1 tbsp chia seeds


Mix all the ingredients in a blender until smooth. If you want it less thick add more liquid.

One Year Ago: Pumpkin Bread Pudding
Two Years Ago: Pumpkin Bread
Three Years Ago: Cranberry and White Chocolate Streusel Bars

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Seattle Restaurant Week 2013


Seattle Restaurant Week is here again.  If you haven’t been yet do not forget to go.  This is a opportunity for folks to take advantage of the great restaurants Seattle has to offer.

Seattle Restaurant Week is from October 13-17 & 20-124 with over 100 restaurants that will offer $28 three course dinners or $15 lunches.

This is a great time for Seattle restaurants to show what they can do for a reasonable price and get customers they would usually not get, but also this is a great time for us foodies to go to our favorite places and get a good 3-course meal for only $28.

Since there is only one day left for this amazing offer and with over 100 restaurants to choose from that is a very hard task to figure out which place you should go to.  So I am giving you my top 5 places.  On top of that I am telling you what I ordered or would order on the menu.

You can view the full list of restaurant on the Seattle Restaurant Week website but below is my top 5 list.

Don’t miss this opportunity and make the most of the last day!

Here is my top 5 restaurant list:

Art of the Table – If you have not tried this fantastic place yet you are missing out.  During their regular menu there is only a set menu.  It can get pretty pricey of $80 per person and $120 with win pairing but it is an fantastic exerience.  I love just sitting down at the table and not having to look at the menu to order something just getting great food served.

If you just want to taste some goodies from this chef go now and try it out for this amazing deal from Seattle Restaurnt Week.

Art of the Table
1054 N. 39th Street
Seattle, WA 98103
(206) 282-0942

La Bete  – Love this little cosy french place.  It is just so different and the good is delicous.  A must try.  They also have an amazing brunch with very different dishes and a bunch of fresh smoothies as well.

For Seattle Restaurant Week I would get the Falafel with Greens and Melon, housemade labne and Sumac which is just delicious.  Then I would get the Potato Gnocchi with Mushrooms, Braising Greens, Leek and Parmigianno and for dessert I would get the Coffee Cake, Lemon Curd, Huckleberry and Huckleberry Creme Fraiche Ice Cream.

La Bete
1802 Bellevue Ave.
Seattle, WA 98122
(206) 329-4047

Mistral Kitchen – This place not only has amazing food but one of the best bar tenders in the city.  I have had some of the most amazing drinks here.  You can tell the bartender other types of drinks you like and she will put some amazing things together.  And what she puts together you will never have tasted anywhere else.  Even if you don’t want to try the food, go for the drinks.

Here I would start of the Pork Terrine, Bread and Butter Pickles for appetizer and then have the Slow Roasted Whole Lamb, Mint, Potato, Anchovy for entrée and some amazing Pumpkin Pie, Muscovado Ice Cream, Drunk Currant, Vanilla Foam for dessert.

Mistral Kitchen
2020 Westlake Ave
Seattle, WA 98121
(206) 623-1922

Voila Bistrot – This place is a place I go to often, it is a Madison Valley neighborhood favorite.  It’s a solid place and you get some great food here.  Want something simple and just a burger – well it is amazing.  Feel like having some soup, their onion soup is some of the best in the city.  Not a place to miss.

Here I would have the Rillette De Pouc as a starting point then the Housemade Gnocchi (with pesto sauce, annugula, parmesan) and for dessert the Chocolat Lava Cake

Voila Bistrot
2805 E. Madison St.
Seattle, WA 98112-4840
(206) 322-5460

Spur Gastropub – One of my top ten restaurants in Seattle.  It is a small place a little pretentious but the food is amazing here.  Every time I go I walk out of there just amazed at some of the flavors I ate.

For appetizer I would get the Pork Rillette with Apple, Rose & Mustard then the Tagliatelle with oyster mushrooms, pine nuts, parmesan which are amazing and for dessert the Hazelnut ganache cake with pear & burnt cinnamon meringue.

Spur Gastropub
113 Blanchard St.
Seattlle, WA 98121
(206) 728-6706

Don’t miss this opportunity! Hurry and pick up the phone and make a reservation. Many restaurants use OpenTable for you to make reservation, which makes it really easy.

Want to see all my Seattle Restaurant reviews go here!

One Year Ago: Seattle Restaurant Week
Two Years Ago: Apple Cake
Three Years Ago:
Pumpkin Brownies

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Black Bean Soup with Bacon

Black Bean Soup with Bacon
It’s fall and time for soup.  I am always on the look out for good Black Bean Soups and i think i might have found another delicious hardy black bean soup. The one i made previously was this Italian Black Bean Soup.

I don’t know why but black bean soups are so hard.  They are either bland, too spicy, too runny or too thick.  It’s hard to find a perfect consistency with the perfect spicy.  One of the key things is to have good chicken stock.  I always make my own chicken stock and it makes  a big difference.

This black bean soup recipe i got from The Pajama Chef – i ended adding bacon and chicken to the soup[ and the soup was just delicious.  I am sure you can just add some sausage and it would be delicious too.

This recipe is part of the monthly Secret Recipe Club “assignment!” Every month you get a name of a blog and you need to choose ANY recipe from that blog and then blog about that recipe by a date. It’s a secret because the blog owner does not know you are doing this until the reveal date.

My secret blog this month was The Pajama Chef, which is written by Sarah, who lives in Nashville, TN.  She has a great food blog you have to check it out – The Pajama Chef

Black Bean Soup with Bacon


Black Bean Soup with Bacon

Yield: 4 servings

Total Time: 45 minutes


2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 tstp chili powder
3 1/2 cups black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups Chicken Stock
, divided
2 cups baby spinach, tightly packed
10 ounce can diced tomatoes
6 slices of bacon or panchetta chopped
2 full chichek tighs
cilantro, for serving
lime wedges, for serving


In a medium pot or dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 3-4 minutes or until soft, stirring frequently. Add the bacon or the panchetta and stir 2 minutes. Then add garlic and cook for a minute more until fragrant. Stir in cumin and chili powder and cook for another 30 seconds.

Meanwhile, stir in 2 1/2 cups of black beans and 1 cup chicken stock. Add the raw chicken and bring to boil.

In a food processor, puree remaining 1 cup black beans, 1 cup chicken broth, and spinach until smooth. Pour into the soup pot, then add tomatoes and stir well. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer, cooking for an additional 20 minutes.

Remove the chicken thighs and cut them up into pieces and put back into the pot and stir.

Serve garnished with cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice.

NOTE: The celery, carrots and parsnip you see in the soup is from the stock.

Adapted from: The Pajama Chef

One Year Ago: Pumpkin Energy Bar
Two Years Ago: Pumpkin Pie Snickerdoodle Bar
Three Years Ago: Asparagus Soup with Bacon

Monday, September 9, 2013

Lemon Yogurt Cake

Lemon Yogurt Cake

This lemon yogurt cake is fantastic.  If you like a light lemony and so moist dessert this one is for you.  I made this for a party and the whole thing was gone within a few minutes.  I will be making this many more times.

This recipe is part of the monthly Secret Recipe Club “assignment!” Every month you get a name of a blog and you need to choose ANY recipe from that blog and then blog about that recipe by a date. It’s a secret because the blog owner does not know you are doing this until the reveal date.

My secret blog this month was Vanderbilt Wife, which is written by Jessie.  She is a stay at home mom withe 3 kids and writes a food blog.


Lemon Yogurt Cake

Yield: 1 loaf

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt or ricotta
1cup sugar
3 extra-large eggs
2 tsp grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil

For Sauce:
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup sugar

For the glaze:
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 9" loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease and flour the pan.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into 1 bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold the vegetable oil into the batter, making sure it's all incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Meanwhile, cook the 1/3 cup lemon juice and 1/3 cup sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.

When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully place on a baking rack over a sheet pan. While the cake is still warm, pour the lemon-sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in. Cool.

For the glaze, combine the confectioners' sugar and lemon juice and pour over the cake.

NOTE: I tried to put the sauce in the batter and it turned out great. You can go either way by poring the sauce over the baked mixture or pouring the sauce in the batter.

Adapted from: Vanderbilt Wife

Lemon Yogurt Cake

One Year Ago: Plum and Mascarpone Pie
Two Years Ago: Chicken Pasta Salad
Three Years Ago: Peach Sorbet


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Espresso Martini

Espresso Martini

Need a simple pick me up this summer?  How about an Espresso Martini?  This drink is just delicious, ice dessert in a glass to me.  And want to take it a step further?  How about using one of the International Delight 3 new flavors in your martini.  You can just use their regular creamer or a new flavor that tastes just like ice cream – Cold Stone Creamery™ Hot for Cookie™,  Cold Stone Creamery™ Founder’s Favorite™, or Cold Stone Creamery™ Churro Caramel. YUM!

Read more…

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Chilled Cucumber Soup

Chilled Cucumber Soup

This Chilled Cucumber Soup is the perfect summer dish. If you like raita or tzatziki you will love this.  Now, i am already a fan of those sides, so when i saw this recipe it was a no brainier to me.

This soup is soo simpel to make, it’s refreshing, healthy and just tasty.  Perfect little summer lunch or starter to a dinner.

This recipe is part of the monthly Secret Recipe Club “assignment!” Every month you get a name of a blog and you need to choose ANY recipe from that blog and then blog about that recipe by a date. It’s a secret because the blog owner does not know you are doing this until the reveal date.

Read more…

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Swedish Shrimp Salad also called Skagenröra

Swedish Shrimp Salad

I have been wanting to share one of my favorite summer delights for awhile. This is the classic Swedish Shrimp Salad or also called the Skagenröra. It’s simple, delicious and just heavenly. You can eat it with potatoes or as most Swedes do eat it with some toast as an open faced sandwich which makes it a shrimp sandwich also called Räksmörgås!

Read more…

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