Black Fig Food

Half-Ass Recipe of Soup and Croutes

By September 27, 2017 Food

As I stepped outside into the crisp cold autumn air this morning wearing a dress (I’m such a dumb ass), my leg hairs stood straight up in shock.  It won’t be much longer before they will get to WAVE in this air….you know, with No Shave November being just around the corner and all….but more importantly, the time for making fall soups is finally here!!!!!

Once a week, I clear out my fridge of all the red-headed step veggies and throw them into a nice “Everything But The Kitchen Sink” soup.  You all know what I am talking about…that half of a red onion, those few carrots beginning to not be so happy to see me, and an entire head of purple cabbage minus a small missing piece used for shrimp tacos last Tuesday night.  I’d be so damned happy if stores started selling shredded purple cabbage (not slaw) in itty bitty “one serving” packages.  Until then, I will use the leftover head to make a vegetable broth for soup and whip up a batch of croutes from leftover artisan bread.  I’m not even mad that my broth turns purple.  I waste nothing.

This week, I had green onion, that damn purple cabbage, portobellos, a roma tomato, coarse sea salt, pepper, and parsley to use for my soup broth.  I added about 1 gallon of water to a stock pot along with veggies and kept it at a slow simmer for about an hour, then strained everything through a fine mesh sieve and discarded the lifeless veggies.  Back into the pot the broth went…

I then added about a cup of dried beans (any of your favorite variety will work) to the broth along with two bay leaves and simmered for 2 hours, adding more water if needed.  Don’t roll your eyes at me while whispering, “Who the hell has time to wait for two hours?!”  Uhhhh, you do!  It’s just two Real Housewives or four Chopped back-to-back episodes…..mmmhmmmmm.

After the beans cooked to a toothy texture, I removed the bay leaves, added butternut squash, fresh corn cut right off a few cobs, a half cup of wild rice, and one head of broccoli florets.  I let it hang out over a low heat for another 45 minutes and then served with my Croute recipe.  You can find the recipe here along with a bonus soup favorite one, actually.  You’re welcome.

If you get into the habit of doing this once a week, you can stock pile your broth in smaller batches by freezing it in zip lock baggies.  Anytime you need a little or a lot, it will always be there for ya!  I use it for other quick soups during the week.  Or, if you ARE in a pinch for time, you could always buy a box of organic from the grocery store.

On the same day of making this particular soup, I was able to use the veggie broth to steam a batch of vegetarian Asian Pot-stickers.  I do spend a lot of time in the kitchen (thanks to my masochistic ways) so all of this cooking really does not phase me.  I REALLY DO stand in front of the stove, barefoot but NOT pregnant, thank baby Jesus.  I digress….

I make these quite often, however, I was recently introduced to The Giant Asian Pot Sticker.  Seeing these prepared with a large egg roll wrap blew my mind on so many levels.  I just had to try it.  I usually make smaller dumplings (vegan or pork-filled) which can be a little more time consuming so, I was happy to see, where I was making 24 at a time before, I could now make four big ones!  Edamame Mushroom filling tucked into each wrap, lightly fried in a splash of sesame oil then steamed with the flavorful broth…yeah, this shit sent me over the edge with delight.  But, I will have to share this recipe on another day.

Happy broth making!


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Autumn, Vintage Finds, and Heirloom Bliss

By September 24, 2017 Food, My World

My time home is coming to a small pause as I wrap up the week and prepare to head back to Georgia.  I was super stoked to be here to witness autumn (my favorite season) slowly creeping in along with the Tri-State Fair into our city.  It is a time for that long awaited seasonal wardrobe change to hang from my clothing rack and cherished fall recipes to adorn the table.

The most perfect end to my week started the moment I stepped foot into Back & Forth Thrift Store.  Anyone who knows me, knows how much I love things with a history, a past, a story….it is here where I found heirlooms, once belonging to another human being, meant to be mine.  The energy I felt, coming off of the pieces that caught my eye, were stabbing at my heart, inspiration, and wallet.  Let’s just say I was murdered…and what a wonderful way to go.

It was refreshing to discover a new local thrift store with the most splendid set-up.  Although I sometimes welcome the idea of clothing grouped by color, I appreciated the garb mixed together (but still grouped in sizes) in various patterns, styles, and hues.  I like to hunt for my “high” rather than have it handed to me so, it worked out for me.  The owner, Kristie, and her staff (Korree) were so kind and went out of their way to help me find my inspiration.  I scored some really beautiful vintage Everlast Metal serving platters (there’s still some left, you guys!) and a few pieces to add to my wardrobe.  As I began walking around the store, I thought of my friend, GaLena, who introduced me to this wonderful store.  I vindictively thought, “I beat her here today.  I will take what she hasn’t seen yet.”  I’m a bitch like that…but I still love her.  She too has found her own inspiration at Back & Forth by curating and selling vintage clothing and lifestyle items online and in pop-ups through Lena Von Vintage.   Check her out.  I guarantee, you will find something meant to be yours.  And if you’re local, visit the fine ladies at Back & Forth!  They’ll have you strutting away like George Jefferson with purchases galore in tow.  I was totally George the other day…dreaming about serving some heirlooms on my new heirlooms!

Kick ass vintage Everlast Metal platters for food inspiration

I got a pretty sweet fuchsia dress and printed delicate blouse to pair with my favorite orange coat for the fall.

Vintage Amber Glass for the perfect “after dinner” dessert

Faux Snake Skin Pumps

Romantic Silver Tea Set for your Downton Abby moments

Inspiration in Color Contrast

Simple Oven Roasted Mini Heirloom Tomatoes

The flavor in these roasted sweet little gems is completely insane!  If they aren’t going into a salad, they end up straight from the oven into your mouth.  For a little extra flavor, you can add fresh garlic, thyme, and a drizzle of balsamic…whatever you’re into…you do you!

1 container mini heirloom tomatoes

1 glug of olive oil (about a tbsp)

Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Toss tomatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper in a baking dish.  Roast tomatoes in oven for 30-45 minutes or until they begin to brown and pop.  Remove from oven and add to pasta dish or refrigerate for salads or any other favorite recipe of yours.

For a delicious lunch with leftovers to make love to later, just combine the roasted tomatoes with your favorite whole wheat pasta and veggies along with my Arugula Pesto recipe.  For you carnivores out there, just top with grilled chicken or sliced skirt steak and a little Parmesan.


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By September 17, 2017 My World

There comes a time in our lives when we discover, after 46 years, we actually don’t know shit.  Who’s 46, by the way?  I’m not 46….YOU’RE 46.  Anyway…..

Taking a short hiatus to reboot, recharge and re-evaluate one’s self can for sure be a shock to the system in a very good way.  I took a break from work to become more mindful of my surroundings, reacquaint myself with all the pretty things in nature and step back to see just how messed up my program of self-care, or lack thereof, has been for years.  And, I discovered A LOT.

Here are the things I learned:

1)  Not just one, but, ALL four dimensions (Physical/Body, Mental/Mind, Emotional/Heart, and Spiritual/Spirit) of our well-being must be activated for any one of them to benefit ourselves to the fullest.  If one quadrant gets out of whack, they all shift out of place.  Plain and simple, all of it needs to jive, folks.  We need balance.

2)  In most instances, there is no right or wrong.  Mostly, it is I who makes a judgement.  It is I who chooses to believe in what I see as right or wrong.  Rather, I need to be more mindful on finding what is helpful and what is not helpful to me.  And, any one of you may disagree with this and that is entirely okay.

3)  Just 10-20-30 minutes of meditation or a bit of Qigong every morning does wonders to my “I don’t want to” attitude.

4)  Getting a wild hair and telling myself “I’m going to hike eight miles today” (even though I haven’t exercised since the seventh grade) and actually fucking doing it, is one of THE best feelings of accomplishment in my life as of yet.  Although, I was expecting to see a huge Blue Lagoon-type waterfall or perhaps a Jurassic creature as a reward for my hard work at the turn-around point, I was stoked to have achieved it only falling just once and shitting myself twice.

5)  Practicing gratitude can protect me from being envious or jealous, help me sleep better at night, and give me balance to be open and accepting of my life lessons.  In the words of Rumi, a 13th-century Persian Sunni Muslim poet – “Where ever I am, whatever my condition is, I need to try to be a lover”….so next time you see me, you better pucker up!

6)  I was shown how and why change can be a scary thing and learned more about understanding the process to make it easier to accept.  I have had unrealistic expectations to change before and would self-sabotage my attempts.  I learned that by taking smaller steps toward change and not be intimidated by the bigger picture, I can commit to that change and maintain my progress.  Consistency + Time = Change, bitches.  Have a healthy self-esteem.  Be optimistic.  Have a vision.

7)  I REALLY needed to rethink my food environment and exercise program, you guys.  Mix a crazy eating (or no eating) pattern with life’s imbalances and little to no time for exercise, I had a stroke with my name on it just waiting to happen.  I discovered I was not taking control of what I ate, when I ate, and when I exercised.  I have plenty of time to take care of myself!  Oh….and a bottle of olive oil is supposed to last me wayyyyyy longer than a week.  With the help of some smart individuals (you know who you are), I learned what I have been doing wrong this whole time and have begun taking steps to snuff that shit out!

8)  I have been in a dark place before and hurt people I cared about more times than I want to admit.  But, I cannot turn back the clock to fix it all or beat myself up about it anymore.  I have to just look at those events as lessons learned (for both parties) and walk forward taller with the best intentions and kindness.

Thank you to everyone who enlightened me, held my hand, and told me to just live.  Most life-changing hiatus ever…

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Sunday Hot Mix and Asian Broccoli Apple Salad

By August 20, 2017 Food

Asian Broccoli Apple Salad

 I have so many different versions of this fucking salad, it’s hilarious.  Sometimes, I add cauliflower or shredded purple cabbage but I keep broccoli center-stage so that I don’t have to change the name of the recipe.  For this particular recipe, I had a “Waldorf feel” idea in my mind (hence the Vegannaise) but, I just couldn’t help turning it towards an Asian direction.  You can certainly play around with this recipe as well by adding a little miso paste to kick up the salt factor, switch out the cranberries with dried blueberries or chopped dates, or add walnuts….just turn on this week’s playlist, get in the kitchen and go in hard!

1 bunch fresh broccoli, broken into small florets, and stem, roughly chopped (yes, you can eat the stem)

1/2 red onion, finely chopped

1 honey crisp apple, cored and chopped

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1 cup frozen edamame

3 carrots, shaved or cut and sliced into thin sticks (or pre-shredded variety from grocery store)

2 tbsp Vegannaise

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar

sprinkle with sesame seeds (optional)

grated nutmeg (optional)

kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

*Meat Eaters:  accompany with grilled shrimp or salmon. Use real mayonnaise (NOT Miracle Whip…just no) instead of Vegannaise.

Combine broccoli and the next five ingredients in a medium salad bowl.  In a separate smaller bowl, whisk together the Vegannaise, soy sauce, and rice wine vinegar.  Add half of the dressing to vegetables, stir until combined, then check for taste.  Add more dressing if necessary.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds and nutmeg, if desired, and serve.

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Sunday Post-Punk Hot Mix With Breakfast

By August 13, 2017 Food

Hot mix is not a bad ass batter for waffles.  Hot mix is a bad ass playlist to accompany you in the kitchen.  Brandon jokes with me all the time about “hot-mixing” when I cannot listen to an entire song without changing it to the next.  Guilty.  So, here is my playlist of hot mixes I have been digging this week.  Wake up and feed your body and soul, and GROOVE!

Although they fall apart after a few days, these Rise & Shine Bars are an easy and delicious “grab-and-go” breakfast for those busy mornings.  I say, let them fall.  When crumbled, they make a nice muesli over yogurt and berries.  Or you can take a little more time and rustle up something more substantial and satisfying!

Tofu Scramble with Sweet Potato Hash

1-14 oz package firm tofu, crumbled into small pieces

1 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp garam masala

2 sweet potatoes (skin on), cubed

1 tbsp coconut oil

1 green bell pepper (pith removed), roughly chopped

1 bunch green onion, julienned

2 to 3 sprigs fresh thyme

kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper

garlic chili paste for topping

alfalfa sprouts for garnish

In a small bowl, combine tofu, turmeric, and garam masala.  Set aside

Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat.  Cube potatoes.  Add coconut oil to skillet, then potatoes, bell pepper, green onion (save a bit for garnish), thyme, salt and pepper.  Stir potatoes, then cover with lid and reduce heat to medium-low.  Cook for 5 minutes then stir potatoes, cover once more and let cook for another 10 minutes, check midway to avoid burning the potatoes.

Uncover lid and add tofu to skillet.  Cook for just a few minutes or until tofu is hot.  Serve with chili paste, remaining green onion, and sprouts.

This week is a killer post-punk playlist (one of my favorite musical subcultures) for you to get rad while you make brekky.  The Spotify list is only up for a week so, be sure to check it out before it’s gone.  I’ve included a list for you slackers.  Enjoy!

Talk About The Weather-Red Lorry Yellow Lorry


You’re Driving Me Mad-The Cravats

Green Fingers-Siouxsie and the Banshees

Change-Killing Joke


India-The Psychedelic Furs

Road, River, And Rail-Cocteau Twins

Dark Spirits-Red Temple Spirits

Somewhere-The Danse Society

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If You Carrot All….

By July 16, 2017 Food

Let’s be honest.  Carrots are not really anyone’s favorite vegetable.  No one ever yells, “Damn, I wish I had me a big bowl of steamed carrots!”  I am one of the guilty who keeps them in my crisper until they shrivel up and become easy to bend.  I would buy them in bulk because that is what I do when I tell myself that I am going to eat healthier.  Then, I end up just staring at them every time I open my fridge looking for leftover enchiladas or pizza or cake or…

The vicious cycle of carrot neglect has got to stop.  I am tired of having the red-headed step child of the plant realm glare at me whimpering, “…if you carrot all…, you’ll cook me and eat me and love me.”  Okay, damnit.  Okay…..fuckin’ carrots.

Carrot Idea #1

Carrot Hummus

Hummus is something I make just about every week for us to nibble on when we get hungry.  I do not use tahini in this particular hummus recipe because it tends to overpower the sweetness of the carrots.  It is a great appetizer to serve with baked pita triangles sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar.

4 carrots, chopped

1- 15 oz. can garbanzo beans, drained

3/4 tsp chipotle powder

1/2 tsp ground coriander

1 1/2 tsp ground cumin

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 tbsp lime juice

4 sprigs fresh dill

1/4 cup olive oil

Boil carrots in a small saucepan with 2 cups water over medium high heat until soft.  Drain carrots into a colander in the sink then transfer them to food processor along with beans and the next six ingredients.  Fasten lid and process while pouring olive oil through the feeder tube hole.  Process until carrot mixture forms a spreadable hummus.  Serve with toasted pita chips sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar.

Carrot Idea #2

Carrot Soup with Thyme, Raisins, and Pecans

I cannot believe I’m sharing this one.  This soup is a fantastic dish for fall but, I make it year round (often with butternut squash instead of carrots) because it’s one I actually DO often crave.  I’m not fucking kidding around….you will crave it too.  It’s that good.

6 carrots (tops removed), sliced

1/2 red onion, roughly chopped

1 tbsp olive oil

1 russet potato, peeled and sliced

13.66 oz. can coconut milk

1 tsp ground nutmeg

1 tsp fresh thyme, stems removed

1 tsp kosher salt

1/4 tsp fresh cracked pepper

1 cup chicken stock

Golden raisins for garnish

Pecans, crushed, for garnish

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Toss carrots and red onion with olive oil on a baking sheet.  Roast in oven for 30 minutes or until carrots are soft.  While carrots are roasting, place potato slices into a small saucepan with water and boil until soft.

Process carrots and potato along with coconut milk.  Transfer carrot mixture (it will seem a bit gummy but that’s okay) to medium saucepan, add nutmeg, thyme, salt, pepper, and chicken stock.  Stir and simmer for 15 minutes.  If the soup is too thick, add a little bit more chicken stock.  Ladle soup into bowls and top with raisins and pecans.  Drizzle with olive oil and serve.

*Wanna make it vegan?….use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock.

Carrot Idea #3

Roasted Carrots

Lastly, there is the simpler way out when you don’t have a lot of time to fuss with making dinner.  Don’t ever let me catch you admitting to that, btw.  Keep that shit yourself.  There is ALWAYS time to make dinner.

A few nights ago, I made a Date-Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with Caramelized Onions and served it with a Chickpea, Spinach, and Red Pepper dish with, you guessed it, Roasted Carrots.  They added a lot of personality to my dish.  Roasted carrots are an easy side that literally takes 30 minutes or less to prepare.  Depending on your chosen regional cuisine, you can switch up the herbs and seasonings for your carrots.

Mexican:  cumin, fresh garlic, and chili powder

Italian:   fresh oregano, parsley, thyme, and garlic

Moroccan:  coriander, cumin, turmeric, fresh dill, brown sugar, cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Rinse one bunch of carrots and trim tops.  Pat dry with paper towels.  I like roasting carrots with their skin so, I don’t normally peel them.  Place on a baking sheet and toss with olive oil, your choice of seasonings and herbs, salt, and fresh cracked  pepper.  Roast for 30 minutes or until cooked through.  Remove from oven and drizzle with melted unsalted butter or Earth Balance.


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……That One Time I Tried To Follow A Recipe And My ADHD Took Over

By July 12, 2017 Food

….wait, that’s EVERY TIME I try to follow a recipe.  The process of recreating is done with full intention but then, it just goes completely into left field with my own directions.  I quickly lose interest in the ingredient list and steps to prepare the dish.  My college professor could have a 30 minute conversation with you about how I never followed his instruction.  “You have to learn the rules before you can break them”, he’d say.  I would reply, “How ’bout I just make my own rules right now (hence the damn B I got that semester)?”  It’s not that I think the recipe sucks the way it was written or developed…it’s obviously intriguing enough for me to want to try it, duh!  I just see so many other possibilities dancing all around the image….so, I end up all over the place except where the recipe wants me to be.  I will look at the picture next to the recipe (they are quite important for reference, btw) and I’ll start seeing other colors and ingredients swishing around…almost like I’m on a bad acid trip.  For the record, I have never done acid but, I can only imagine….

Pea, Pesto, Farro, and Lemon Salad

This is such a beautiful photo and delicious description from the website of Sacla Italia…there isn’t a damn thing wrong with this recipe.  There is something wrong with me.  And so it reads…..but then I go….

Image from Sacla Italia site

  1. Put the farro in a bowl, cover with cold water to soak for 15 minutes (“Got it! I’m doing great so far!”)
  2. Carefully peel off and discard any stringy bits from sides of sugar snaps (“Fuck that…ain’t nobody got time for that.”)
  3. Drain farro and tip into a saucepan. Cover with cold water and bring to boil over medium heat (“Mmmmmmkay, but I wanna eat farfalle today! Let’s just double up on complex carbs.  Get that to boilin’ too!   HELL YEAH!”)
  4. Cook for 20-30 minutes until soft – go by texture rather than timing (“al dente, bitches!”)
  5. Drain well and leave to cool (“Lunch is in 30…I better put it in a stainless steel bowl and throw it in the freezer!  How cool would it be to mix in a little of my homemade pesto sauce into the farro and pasta first!”)
  6. Wipe out the saucepan (“Donnnnnnnn’t need it anymore.”)
  7. Boil sugar snap and podded peas in salted, boiling water for 2-3 minutes, until just cooked (“Nah man, I’m just gonna put the pods in a ziplock bag and nuke them for 1 minute then shock them in ice water.  Sweet!  I found a bag of frozen peas to throw into the salad before serving!”)
  8. Drain and quickly run under cold water for 30 seconds to stop cooking and cool down (Nottttttttttt doing.”)
  9. Drain again, shaking off any water (“Donnnnnnnn’t care.”)
  10. Put Sacla’ Pesto, lemon juice and 2 tbsp of oil in a mixing bowl (“Pesto is already chilling with the carbs but, I’ll make a vinaigrette with the lemon juice, a bit of white wine vinegar, finely chopped fresh garlic, chopped fresh cilantro, and olive oil.”)
  11. Add farro, sugar snap and podded peas and stir until everything is combined (“Dumping the pods and frozen peas into the already chilled bowl of farro and pasta.  What the hell…I’ll add the lemon vinaigrette too.”)
  12. Loosely toss in the rocket (“Rocket is arugula but I think I also want fresh basil, dill, and grilled peaches in this salad.  I need a contrasting color for fuck’s sake.”)
  13. Season to taste and divide between salad bowls (I’m gonna serve it in a big bowl with grilled chicken on top.”)
  14. Drizzle with rest of the oil and tear a few basil leaves over the top (I beat you to it with the whole basil thing, Duder.  But, I’ll also add pine nuts because they are Italian AF.”)
  15. Scatter with lemon zest and Parmesan or Pecorino, finish with a grind of pepper (“I’m not gonna use the zester because every time I do, I think of that time I couldn’t afford a pedi and used my microplane on my feet and then had to throw it away because the thought of using it again on food grossed me hella-out…desperate times call for desperate measures, yo… no lemon zest OR cheese.”)
  16. So, my salad looks sorrrrrt of like theirs….doesn’t it?….shut up.

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I’m Breaking Up With My Microwave

By July 9, 2017 My World

I remember the day my parents bought their first shiny new microwave.  Of course, it was a few years after everyone else had purchased their own.  We were always behind the times; with our fashion, gadgets, and home appliances.  Getting that microwave was a symbol of being one step closer to the Jones’.  Looking majestic as fuck, it was placed on our kitchen bar counter that served as a pass-through into our dining room and I was just tall enough to reach its door handle.  The “Beast”, as I called it, rested inches underneath the wall of shame which adorned my shitty report cards.  The good ones never made it on the wall for two reasons:  1) there were none and 2) putting my smarts, or lack thereof, on public blast was meant to motivate me to do better next time.  Whatever…

This huge chunk of metal could do so many things with our food yet, we never utilized it in all of the ways it was meant to be used.  My mom never cooked a twenty two pound turkey as its side sticker “chart of cooking times” suggested.  It was only used to reheat my parents’ coffee and zap “macaroni-n-cheese in a cup” every day after school.  Then, why in the hell was there always a colony of mystery food splashes stuck to the sides and top of the inside?  It was and, to this day, IS never fun cleaning a microwave.

FAST-FORWARDING TO TODAY:  After starting my kitchen face-lift project, I began to covet the space where our microwave sat.  I thought, “How lovely would a coffee and tea bar look right there…”  I immediately googled ways on how to live without a microwave and came across  10 Reasons To Get Rid Of Your Microwave.  I freaked.  I thought to myself, “If it’s on the internet, it must be true, right?  How will we enjoy our Orville Redenbacher’s Simply Salted popcorn?  How will I reheat my coffee when it gets cold in my mug?  How will the kids warm up leftover pizza?”  These were all legitimate questions that needed answering!  I mentioned getting rid of it to my oldest daughter, Bennie, and she lost her shit…just like she did when I began buying, what she called, “mom bread”.

MOM BREAD /mom bred/


the healthy whole wheat or multi-grain bread parents switch to when they are going through a “let’s feed our family healthier and organic food” phase.

Was I being unreasonable to take away something we all thought we could not live without?  After opening it’s door this morning and getting hit in the schnoz by a smell combination of popcorn, spaghetti sauce, and glazed doughnuts….I decided it was time to break up with my microwave.  We don’t even BUY GLAZED DOUGHNUTS!  As for solutions to adapting without it?  Here they are…..

Warming Our Coffee

I am crushing on this stove top Turkish Coffee Pot simply because it will solve my cold coffee problem!  Copper just so happens to also be an accent color for my kitchen.  GO ME!

Making Popcorn

I am going back to that ol’ school way of making popcorn on the stove!  It will teach us all about patience and give us endless possibilities of flavor combinations.

Thawing Meat

Like…we should all know how to do this safely…mmmmmmkay?

Steaming Vegetables

Snatch up a veggie steamer basket!  You can set your vegetable on the steamer and then place it inside a large pot or Dutch oven with about a 1/2 inch of water and bring to a simmer.  Easy, done, and time to Bro-Fist-Bump someone!

LASTLY, REHEATING LEFTOVERS:  Remember what I said about patience?  It’s a beautiful thing, I hear.  I HAVE to learn about patience because hello…laundry!  I can slow down and enjoy the actual process, or ritual if you will, of reheating leftovers.  You will enjoy your food that much more because the taste and nutrients will still be present.  ANNNNND, I get to use my mom’s vintage bakeware on the reg!

So, when it is time to break up with someone…ahem…I mean, something,  brainstorm ways you can live without it!  I promise, it won’t be the end of the world.


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My Arugula Pesto Addiction

By July 7, 2017 Food

Hi. I’m Ruthie and I’m sort of addicted to arugula.  Lately, I have been mixing all sorts of green herbs and lettuce varieties together into salads; fresh basil, mint, thyme, parsley, tarragon tossed into spring mix, spinach or straight up arugula.  The peppery taste of arugula is fantastic with just about anything.

Basil is usually the herb I use when making pesto but, I have recently decided that in order to make enough pesto for pizzas, I would pretty much have to turn a few tricks to afford all the basil needed to do so.  Not happening.  I suppose I could grow some but, I would kill it.  I would kill it fast.  I am good to keep my own children alive, I don’t need the stress of keeping herbs from dying.  I COULD also go for the jarred variety but, I want to know exactly what is going into my pesto.  Alas, I discovered I can use parsley or arugula alone to take basil’s place and spend a fraction of the cost!  This arugula pesto recipe is tasty served on top of fried eggs, rubbed on portobellos before grilling, spread in sandwiches or hummus pitas, mixed into tomato soup, or used as a pizza sauce.  The recipe makes about 2 cups and can be stored in your fridge for up to a week.,,,but I doubt it will last that long.

Arugula Pesto

1- 5 oz container of fresh arugula

1- 2.25 package of pine nuts

4 cloves fresh garlic

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp fresh cracked pepper

1/2 cup olive oil

Place arugula, pine nuts, garlic, salt, and pepper into a food processor.  Lock on lid and process while pouring olive oil into the feeder tube hole.  Process until arugula mixer almost forms a paste.  Add more olive oil if needed.

*For lacto-vegetarians, add 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan before processing mixture.

For Pizza

Spread pesto over raw pizza dough.  Top with favorite toppings and bake until crust is crispy.

Arugula Pesto Tomato Soup

1- 29 oz can tomato sauce

1- 13.66 oz can organic coconut milk, milk solid only (reserve coconut water for other use)

1/2 cup Arugula Pesto recipe

fresh thyme and oregano, roughly chopped

dash of cinnamon

Combine all ingredients in a medium sauce pan over medium heat.  With a wooden spoon, stir sauce to incorporate all ingredients.  Cover with lid and let simmer for 15 minutes.  Serve with grilled cheese sandwiches.


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Four Salads for the Fourth of July

By July 3, 2017 Food

Take any one of these salads to the July 4th cookout you were invited to, and the back yard will get sexy the second you walk in….

The first one is a new recipe I serve for breakfast, lunch, or dinner and the other three are tried and true dishes I make time and time again.  They are simple, refreshing, and perfect ideas for that last minute “what am I going to bring!?”  Make one or make them all!

Tomato and Avocado Salad with Za’atar Dressing

3 ripe avocados, cut in half, scored into small cubes, and scooped out

2 cups fresh mini heirloom tomatoes, sliced in half

1 red onion, finely chopped

1 bunch fresh arugula

juice of 1 lime

2 tbsp za’atar

1 tbsp local honey

1 tbsp olive oil

kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

Serve the first four ingredients onto a large platter.

Combine lime juice, za’atar, honey, olive oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl and whisk until thickened.  If it is too thick, you can add a small amount of water to thin the dressing.

Drizzle za’atar dressing over salad and serve.

  Watermelon Salad

This delicious salad is super easy to prepare and can be put together once you arrive to the party.  I would take a pretty platter to display the beautiful cut outs of watermelon.  If you are in a hurry, you can also just cube the watermelon and serve it in a bowl with the other ingredients sprinkled and drizzled on top.

Sweet Cantaloupe and Cucumber Salad

Another great summer salad, the sweet cantaloupe mixed with the salty feta and crunchy pecans will be a fast favorite!  It can be presented on a platter (just like the watermelon salad) or tossed into a bowl.

Bloody Mary Shrimp Ceviche

This is one of my ol’ catering go-to’s I would serve to larger crowds and parties.  It makes a hefty amount and is so damned tasty!  You can A) omit the vodka if your party is kid friendly OR you can B) leave it in and serve it only to the adults.  I would go with plan B…. in which case, you will want to up the 1 to 2 shots of vodka to about 1/2 cup…tee hee.  Be sure to serve it in a smaller bowl inserted into a larger bowl with crushed ice in between them.  This will keep the salad cold and prevent food poisoning.  Gotta keep that shrimp on ice!


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