Eating is a necessity. However, we choose what to eat. The choices we make reveal a great deal about us. The food you eat can tell quite a bit about your heritage, your family, your fears, your sense of adventure, your attitude toward yourself and others, and a myriad of other personal tidbits to anyone paying attention. Everything about eating is a glimpse into your soul.

I hope to reveal a little bit about myself to you through my food. I enjoy cooking. I enjoy eating. I find pleasure in bringing pleasure to others. I hope that by sharing my recipes I bring you a little bit of joy.

Cook my food. Feed it to the people you love.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

I have been writing this blog for over three years now.  All of the recipes here but Shoepeg Corn Casserole and Black Forest Chocolate Cherry Cake are my own creations.  The challenge of designing new recipes is often steep.  So at times instead of trying to generate something new, I try to make something old by just using my intuition. That is what I did this week.

I love Sweet and Sour Meatballs.  I wanted see if I could make it with just my kitchen smarts and my taste buds' superpowers. So we went to an Asia buffet and I really studied the Sweet and Sour Sauce.  I knew that the sweet came from pineapple juice and figured the sour must come from vinegar.  But where did that day-glo pink color come from?  Ketchup.

So this is my Sweet and Sour Meatballs.  I am really happy with this.  I don’t kow if this is authentic, but it tastes good.

Servings: 4-6
Hardware:  Measuring spoons and cups, a mixing bowl, un-powdered latex gloves, a large heavy pan, a slotted spoon, a paper towel covered plate, knives and a cutting board, a whisk, a small bowl Time:  Prep:  15 minutes    Cooking: 40 minutes

Meatball ingredients:
  • ½ pound ground beef
  • ½ pound ground pork
  • 2 tablespoons bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
Sauce Ingredients:
  • ⅔ cup pineapple juice
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ⅓ cup white vinegar
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 medium bell pepper
  • ½ cup pineapple chunks
  • 2 green onions
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 cups hot cooked rice

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

  1. Put on latex gloves and combine all the meatball ingredients, except the oil, in the bowl and mix with your hands. Make golf ball sized meat balls.
  2. Heat the oil on medium.  Brown the meatballs on all sides for about 8 minutes.  Turn it ¼ time every 2 minutes.
  3. While the meatballs are cooking wash the bell pepper and cut into long thin strips.  Roughly slice the green onion.  Set aside.
  4. Move the meatballs to the paper towel covered plate.  Rinse the pan.
  5. In the rinsed pan whisk together the juice, sugar, vinegar, honey, ketchup, and soy sauce over medium high heat. Whisk until everything is incorporated and the liquid is boiling.  Add the meatballs, pineapple, pepper, and green onion.  Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes, turning the meatball halfway through.
  6. Dissolve the cornstarch in the small bowl with the water.  Stir the cornstarch-y water into the sauce.  Allow it to boil for another 2-3 minutes or until it thickens.
  7. Serve immediately over hot rice.

Saturday, August 17, 2013


School starts here on Monday.  I try to pack our lunches every day.  Packing lunch saves money and assures that we are eating well, but it is difficult to keep a bagged lunch interesting.  Really, there are only so many sandwiches you can make.  Packing different vegetables, fruits, and crackers with spreads and dips can make lunch fun.  Cream cheese mixed with basil pesto can be packed with bell pepper sticks or shredded, whole wheat snack crackers. Apples and graham crackers taste great with peanut butter and a little honey. 

Hummus is perfectly paired with pretzel chips, cucumbers, or carrots.  Hummus can also be used as a sandwich spread.  Smear a pita pocket with hummus and then stuff it with cucumbers, tomatoes, sprouts, and feta cheese.  You will have a tasty, healthy, and different sort of sandwich in your lunch pail.  If lunch is fun and interesting you, your kids, and your other will be more likely to eat it and less likely to grab an unhealthy snack.

Servings:  2 ½ cups
Time:  10 minutes
Hardware:  Measuring cups and spoons, a food grinder (processor or blender), a can opener, a rubber spatula, and an airtight container

  • 2-15 ounce cans of chickpeas
  • ⅓ cup tahini (sesame paste)
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons liquid from the chickpeas
  • 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • S&P to taste
  • Paprika
  1. Open and drain the chickpeas, saving 2 tablespoons of the liquid.  Rinse the chickpeas a few times and drain thoroughly. 
  2. Peel the garlic and place it in the food processor with the olive oil and lemon juice.  Process until it is completely smooth.
  3. Place the remaining ingredients, except for the teaspoon of olive oil, in the food processor and grind until it is the consistency of dry peanut butter. Add S&P to taste. 
  4. Store in the fridge in an airtight container.  It will keep for 3-4 days. Serve straight from the fridge or at room temperature. When serving create a little swirl or well in the center of the hummus.  Pour the remaining olive oil into the swirl/well and sprinkle with paprika.  Offer your guests pita chips, crackers, or fresh veggies for dipping.


After you master the basic recipe, you can play around with hummus.  Replace 1 tablespoon of the reserved liquid with ½ of a roasted red pepper for red pepper hummus.  If you replace all of the reserved liquid with lemon juice and add the zest from one lemon, you have lemon hummus.  You can also double the amount of garlic for garlic hummus.  Throw in a handful of black olives with the garlic and make sure to puree completely and then follow the rest of the instructions for olive hummus. Spicy hummus can be made by replacing some of the chickpea liquid with hot sauce and adding cayenne pepper to the recipe.  You can even use different beans.  You can use cannellini beans, yellow lentils, or black beans (don’t use tahini with the black beans and add some cumin).  So if you are imaginative and adventurous, hummus will never get boring.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Lemon, Dill Tilapia

We do not eat any meat on Monday and I try to serve fish or seafood at least twice a week.  By cutting back on the amount of red meat that we eat, I hope that I am lowering our risk of heart failure and stroke.  Also, serving seafood, fish, and vegetarian meals, along with red meat helps to keep dinner interesting.

I had to learn to like fish.  A decade ago, when I was trying to find a fish that I would eat, my husband suggested tilapia because it isn't too 'fishy.' This is the very first fish recipe that I ever created. It is fast and simple. The dill, lemon, and butter complement one another and the fish. 

In time I learned to like fish.  For this recipe, I use dill grown in our herb garden,  lemons from the Farmers' Market, and tilapia farmed in Florida, so I can feel good about not just our health, but the heatlh of our community.  If you have picky eaters, this is a fish recipe that they might be willing to try.

Servings: 4-6
Time:    Prep: 10 minutes; Cook: 15 Minutes
Hardware:  paper towels, measuring spoons, a knife, a baking sheet, foil, and a metal spatula

  • 1 pound tilapia
  • 4 large lemons
  • 8 sprigs of fresh dill
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ stick very cold butter
  1. Preheat the oven to 450°.
  2. Line the baking sheet with foil.
  3. Rinse the fish in clean water and pat dry.  Cut into serving sizes.
  4. Zest and juice one of the lemons.
  5. Slice the butter into thin pats.
  6. Wash the dill and remove it from the stems.
  7. Wash and slice the remaining lemons. Remove any seeds
  8. Place the fish onto the prepared baking sheet. 
  9. Sprinkle with half the salt and pepper. Lay half the lemons, half the dill, and half  the butter on the fish.   
  10. Bake the fish for 7 minutes and then carefully flip the fish with the spatula.
  11. Salt and pepper the other side of the fish.  Cover with the remaining lemons, dill, butter, lemon zest, and juice.
  12. Bake for 5-7 minutes on the second side depending on the thickness of the fillets.  Be careful to not over cook the fish.  It is done when it is opaque and flakes easily.

Serve with Curry Cream SauceOrzo Pilaf, and sliced cucumbers