Tuesday, February 1, 2011



When life gets busy, sometimes it’s hard to get inspired. Our days can be so repetitious and we all need a way to clear our heads every once in a while. I am always trying to think of fun and delicious recipes; sometimes I forget this is what I like doing the most! Food can be so complex, with each ingredient originating from a different life, they’re taste and benefits to your body can come together in amazing ways. I mean, think about it! Different foods can change your mood, energy, alertness, and even sexuality! There are so many ways to use food to your own advantage.


Today food aphrodisiacs inspired me and there are many of them. But the region that came to mind was Italy; the Italians are very sexual people! And what is there food like? What makes an Italian meal so romantic? The main key in Italian cooking is simple ingredients and keeping it fresh. Using the right, fresh ingredients=more nutrients=better meal!

Even the most basic of Italian sauce recipes is very benefifial to the libido, like fresh basil pesto, pine nuts, garlic, parmesan cheese, basil, all work in libido boosting harmony.


For example, pine nuts are rich in zinc and have been used to boost the libido as far back as medieval times. Garlic has many essencial oils and cell-activating effects, and has been used for this purpose as far back as the Egyptians! Combining this recipe with simple pasta, such as linguine, and mixing in sun-dried tomatoes to serve creates a visually appealing, colorful dish. But don’t forget that the act of eating the meal is very important as an aphrodisiac. The long noodles twirl around your fork ending up in your mouth. Totally sexy!

So if you want to avoid restaurants for a date and want to make something easy yet impressive and sexy, try this recipe! Oh yea! And definitely pair this with some wine, I prefer a dry white wine, but its up to you!









Fresh Basil Pesto with Pasta



2 cups fresh basil leaves

½-cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano or Romano cheese

½-cup extra virgin olive oil

1/3-cup pine nuts or walnuts

3 medium sized garlic cloves, minced

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste



 Combine the basil in with the pine nuts, pulse a few times in a food processor. Add the garlic, pulse a few times more. Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on. Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula. Add the grated cheese and pulse again until blended. Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.


Serve with pasta, or over baked potatoes, or spread over toasted baguette slices.

Monday, January 10, 2011

New Year Solutions!

Well it’s the New Year and that means a new fresh start! For most people a new years resolution is to eat healthier or loose weight and for many that means cutting out the foods they love. You could do that and stick with boring salads or diet fad shakes, OR you can think of your favorite foods you order out, look up ingredients and recipes on them and just simply replace high caloric/sugar ingredients with less fatting ingredients. I love to take recipes that seem difficult and fattening and make them easy to cook and healthy.

Now, Indian food is not my forte, but that doesn’t stop me from trying out recipes and experimenting with the flavors. On special occasions I LOVE to sit down at an Indian restaurant and order a big bowl of curry and white rice! And you may think that it isn’t that bad for you and its not. But with curries having large amounts of sugar and calories from the coconut milk and meats usually consisting of dark, bone in meat, a dish can range from several hundred calories to a thousand! With my recipe I have used lite coconut milk witch is less than half the calories and sugar per serving than the regular coconut milk, also using white chicken meat cuts fat significantly.  Naturally, the spices used in Indian cuisine remain beneficial, for example,

Coriander treats high cholesterol levels, anemia, digestion, menstrual pain, skin disorders etc. Curry powder serves to purify the blood, also stimulating new blood tissue. Cumin is extremely good for the digestive system and related problems, and all 3 of these spices aid in metabolism. Coconut milk contains many vitamins, minerals and electrolytes, which give you energy through out the day.  Plus, with a recipe like this you can pretty much add any veggie you like, and it will be fresher and better than ordering out.


Chicken Masala Curry


2 tbsp vegetable oil

2 large onions, chopped

4 garlic cloves, smashed and chopped

1 piece fresh gingerroot, about 2 inches long, peeled and chopped

3 tbsp curry powder 

1 tbsp fresh cumin

1tbsp fresh coriander 

1-cup water

4 tbsp tomato paste, about one whole small can

1 can lite coconut milk 

1 zucchini, sliced

2 large carrots, peeled and sliced

2 chicken breasts cooked and cubed.



Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot.

Cook the onions over medium heat until softened.

Add garlic and ginger; continue to cook until fragrant and softened.

Remove from heat; add Curry powder, cumin, and coriander. Stir until mixed, and then add tomato paste.

Add 1-cup water into the pot. Blend with an emersion blender (or regular blender) until smooth.

Add vegetables, cover, but allowing a little steam to release, and cook for at least 30 minutes on low, but no more than an hour. Stir in coconut milk. Add chicken pieces, stir and serve with healthy brown rice. 

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

New Years Bubbly!

 What is the best way to kick off the new years? With a special glass of Champagne! It really has become a tradition for most people, Champagne, food, friends, loved ones, all synonymous with ringing in the New Year. Rather than settling for your average glass of Champagne, why not make it extra special this year by just adding a couple ingredients to make a not so expensive glass of Champagne taste like you just ordered it at a 5 star restaurant! Pomegranate is a unique, slightly tart and sweet flavor that you wouldn’t normally gravitate to but it works amazing in this drink.

 I love to pair drinks with food and I also know that Champagne can be difficult to pair with food. Personally, I would stick with something simple and not too complex. First, we all know we don’t want to have bad breath before that mid-night kiss, so I would suggest putting out some fruit such as, raspberries, strawberries, pineapple, etc. Also, if you choose Chocolate, choose white chocolate. White chocolate is creamier, sweeter, and less complex than other kinds of chocolate, it makes a far better match with Champagne and wine.

Well, there you have it! I hope you all have an amazing New Years!!


 Pomegranate Champagne



6 tbsp Pomegranate syrup

1 bottle brute Champagne

6 lemon twists



Place one teaspoon of syrup at the bottom of each champagne flute or glass. Gently pour in champagne and garnish with a lemon twist Pomegranate syrup can be found in the international food section of your supermarket or at a local Middle Eastern foods market.

Serves 6 

Friday, December 10, 2010

No bake - Peace of cake!

 I LOVE desserts! And I also love baking, but when I am cooking a big meal in a little kitchen with limited oven space, it makes dessert difficult to fit in to your dinner plans. I could just go to the grocery store and buy a dessert, but where is the fun in that!

I have emphasized in previous entries that I LOVE the holidays and I am always looking to create delicious and easy recipes to bring to your friends holiday parties. When you want to be with family and friends, you don’t want to be slaving away in the kitchen. With minimal ingredients and no baking, this recipe is perfect! This is also a really fun recipe to make with kids, or to let them do themselves! Just set out all the ingredients on the kitchen table with a mixer and give them direction. It’s that easy and pretty fool proof. Plus, it’s much safer than having them running around you in the kitchen with the hot oven and stove.

In addition, for all my anti-sugar friends out there, you can replace the sugar with splenda or a sugar substitute. You could use a reduced fat cream cheese as well, but I really do think that it compromises the flavor and texture of the cheesecake. So I would stick with the regular cream cheese, it will make for a creamier, more decedent finished product.


 No Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake


1 pkg. (8 oz.) Cream Cheese, softened 

1 cup canned pumpkin 

1/2-cup sugar 

1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

1 tub (8 oz.) Cool Whip Whipped Topping, thawed, divided 

1 Graham Pie Crust (6 oz.) 


Beat cream cheese, pumpkin, sugar and pumpkin pie spice with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Gently fold in 2-1/2 cups of the whipped topping. Cover and refrigerate remaining whipped topping for later use.

Spoon cream cheese mixture into crust.

Refrigerate 3 hours or overnight. Serve topped with remaining whipped topping. Store leftover cheesecake in refrigerator

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Wholesome and Healthy for the Holidays

So Thanksgiving is over, but more holidays are right around the corner! And if you are like me, its not just Christmas dinner you have to worry about, there are many different dinners and parties through the month of December with friends and family. Perfect! That gives you an opportunity to try out delicious new recipes on your friends!

To me, there are a few factors that make a dish great, and I think my Roasted Butternut Squash soup fits pretty much all of them. Its affordable, fresh, minimal ingredients, healthy, and delicious!! Now I could go buy Butternut squash at the store, but if you look at the ingredients on the back, there are words I can’t even pronounce! That’s usually not a good sign. Lol. Not to mention store bought soups contain WAY more calories than MY soup. I don’t understand why people always think that soups are so difficult to make from scratch! And why people always think I’m such a culinary genius for making them!!?? (Even though I am.. lol, jk) They can really be easy if you find the right recipes.

All in all, this is a great soup for the wintertime. Whether for lunch, as an appetizer or dinner, this Butternut squash soup will have everyone coming back for seconds, so you may want to think about doubling this recipe! 




Roasted Butternut Squash soup





1 (2-3 lb) Butternut squash, seeded and chopped into 2 inch pieces

1 medium onion, large rough chop

6 cups vegetable or chicken stock (reduced sodium)

3 tbsp extra virgin Olive Oil

1/3 tsp Nutmeg

Salt and pepper





Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

On a large sheet pan, arrange squash and onion evenly, drizzle olive oil over top along with a heavy pinch or salt and pepper, making sure everything has been seasoned.

Roast for about 40 minutes until the squashes edges turn golden brown. Remove and let cool slightly.

Pour squash mixture into a large pot over medium-high heat, add stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to heat to medium-low and allow to simmer for 10 minutes.

Take off heat, and using an emulation blender in the pot, blend ingredients until smooth. (You can use any sort or processor or blender you like) stir in Nutmeg, and season with salt and pepper to taste.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Holiday Indulgence

The Holidays are all about indulgence. Many delicious dishes come to mind including one of my favorite indulgent desserts, Pecan pie! In my family growing up we always cooked all the main course dishes and got store bought pies and cakes for dessert. It wasn’t until I really became interested cooking that I wanted to figure out how to bake, and what was so difficult about it? In my cooking I tend to not use exact measurements, but with baking you typically have to or else your finished product will not turn out the way you want it.

Unlike cake and other baked goods, pecan pie is one of my favorites because the measurements don’t have to be exact, and its pretty fool proof, just how I like it!  Buying a store bought crust for your pie cuts your prep time in half, and the filling is made over the stove, so it’s a lot like cooking.

There is something that is just so rewarding about baking your own desserts for the holidays, and this one is so delicious and fun to make with the family!




Chocolate pecan pie



 2 pie crusts, store bought already in baking dish.


5 tbsp unsalted butter

1 cup packed light brown sugar

3/4-cup light corn syrup 

1/2 tsp salt

2 cups chopped toasted pecans

1 to 2 tbsp bourbon 

2 tsp vanilla extract

3 eggs, lightly beaten

½ cup Dark chocolate chips





Set separate racks in the center and lower third of oven and preheat to 400 degrees. Put a piece of parchment paper or foil over the pie shell and fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake on a baking sheet on the center rack until the dough is set, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and lift sides of the parchment paper to remove the beans. Continue baking until the pie shell is lightly golden brown, about 10 more minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.

While the crust is baking make the filling: In medium saucepan, combine the butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, and stirring constantly, continue to boil for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the nuts, bourbon, and the vanilla. Set the mixture aside to cool slightly, about 5 minutes.  Whisk the beaten eggs into the filling until smooth. Put the pie shell on a sheet pan and pour the filling into the hot crust, sprinkle chocolate chips over top of filling.

Bake on the lower oven rack until the edges are set but the center is still slightly loose, about 40 to 45 minutes. (If the edges get very dark, cover them with aluminum foil half way during baking.) Cool on a rack. Serve slightly warm or room temperature.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Steaming 101

Fish recipes can often be tricky for some people. Unless you are familiar with how to cook different types of fish and what pairs well with them, it’s hard to find recipes that will always turn out delicious no matter what. An “En Papillote” fish dish lets you make a delicious French style dinner quick and easy. "En Papillote" simply means that the fish is wrapped in parchment paper before you cook it. This is an awesome way to cook fish and vegetables simultaneously and the fish comes out tender and delicious every time. The paper seals in all the flavor and aroma, which is why this cooking method is so popular. For an outdoor grilling day, you can also replace the parchment paper for foil.

I use this cooking method with fish ALL the time. It is one of my favorite ways of steaming which I learned in culinary school. Usually the foods that taste the best are also the easiest to make with minimal ingredients. So that makes this dish pretty cost efficient as well!

In addition to the fish, you can add pretty much any vegetables you like. You might like to add some diced tomatoes, sliced carrots, peppers, capers, lemon juice, or lime juice to the package, as well as the butter or oil and the seasonings. Halibut, tilapia, salmon, and red snapper are all suitable fish for cooking En Papillote because this cooking method works best with firm, meaty fish.


Halibut En Papillote




2 tablespoons butter

2 cloves garlic, finely minced

4 (6 ounce) Halibut fillets

Salt and pepper to taste

1 lemon, thinly sliced

½ lb grape tomatoes, sliced in half

2 heads bok Choy, leaves removed

½ cup dry white wine

2 tablespoons olive oil



Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut four large rectangles of parchment paper and fold in half; unfold. (about 25 inches)

Drizzle a tiny bit of olive oil in the center of one of the parchment paper folds, place fish filets over oil so not to stick when baking.  Dab a bit of butter over top of the fish and season with salt and pepper.  Place about 2 lemon slices over seasoned fish. Divide garlic tomatoes and Bok Choy evenly over fish.

Fold top half of parchment paper over fish and crimp to seal; place on two baking sheets. Once everything is in place, open paper a tiny bit and evenly distribute wine into all of the paper pouches, re-cover.

Bake at 400 degrees F for 12-16 minutes, switching baking sheets halfway through cooking time, until fish flakes easily when tested with fork. Serve immediately.