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So, this is what happens when you have a daughter (and surrogate daughter) who are bakers!  A little puff pastry in the freezer, some Tofutti cream cheese and sugar, some peanut butter and organic jam, and viola – danish!  Thank you Molly and Lein!!

 

 

 

 

What took me so long to go check out Yellow Green Farmers Market in Hollywood, Florida?  I’d heard great things from everyone who went there.  Again, Molly and Lein being here made it a good excuse for checking it out!  So glad we did.  What a great place.

Donut Worry

We saw a friend at her Donut Worry Eat Happy booth with those amazing injected donuts!  Beyond amazing, actually.  Kit kat, oreo, s’mores, etc.  Yummmmmmmm.

There were so many amazing booths, great food, fun stuff to see!

I bought plants too.

I can obviously only go there if I’m prepared to spend money!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Molly (the Baker) and Lein are in town for a visit, so it was the perfect excuse to go to Chef Jean-Pierre’s!  The only night during their visit that had any seats available was Chicken night, so boy did we eat some delicious chicken.  By far our favorite was the Crispy Tarragon & Garlic Chicken, which I’m going to try to recreate this weekend.  The sauce was amazing, but was made with heavy cream, so I’ll be trying a non-dairy version so Donnie can eat it.

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For those of you who’ve never been, a local legendary chef named Jean-Pierre Brehier has a wonderful “Cooking School” in Fort Lauderdale.  Before going there the first time, I imagined making the food myself.  Fortunately, it is more like being in the audience of a cooking show and having the chef cook amazing food for you, and teach you how it’s done and give you the recipes.  All the while, Jean-Pierre entertains with a wicked, funny way that seems to come naturally to him.  Jean-Pierre, who operated a restaurant in Fort Lauderdale called The Left Bank for 22 years was on two PBS cooking shows,  Sunshine Cuisine and Incredible Cuisine.  As for his “Cooking School”, all I can say is –  Great entertainment!  Great food!  You can’t go wrong.  I love bringing out of town guests there.    The link for his webpage is http://www.chefjeanpierre.com/

We also had some amazing Chicken and Chorizo Cassoulet

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And Harissa Braised Chicken with Nicoise Olives with Silky Smooth Buttered Mashed Potatoes

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Once I try nightshade versions of these two recipes, I’ll let you know how it works out!  I’m also going to try the mashed potatoes using an almond milk.  He ran cooked potatoes through a ricer and it made the mashed potatoes incredibly smooth and light.

chef-jean-pierre-cooking

I found this picture on TripAdvisor.  The reviews there give you an idea of why he has 5 stars (Yelp too).  Such a fun evening.  You bring your own beverages such as wine, or drink the bottled water they serve.

 

 

 

 

 

Prayers for Parkland, Florida

In the wake of another tragic, senseless act of violence, I find myself sad beyond sad.  I worried about school violence when my children were in high school because our local public school had a reputation for problems and fights.  But now that another local school that many considered a shining star has become the latest scene of a horrific nightmare, it is apparent that nowhere is immune.  My heart goes out to the families who lost loved ones.   I resist the urge to point at the political issues swirling around us and become involved in a debate.  Instead, I choose to focus on the amazing reaction in our community.  The coming together and support people have provided to each other is a reminder that there are a lot of good people in this world.  People who care.  Thank you to the heroes.  The teachers who protected the children.  Thank you to the first responders who provided exemplary care and comfort to the victims and the survivors.

hug your kids

Sunday morning, I helped out by watching my 5 and 2 year old grandsons while their parents went off to work.  Their other grandma, Tina,  lives there, and treats them to homemade fare regularly.  She’s the one who deserves Grandmother of the Year for all she does.

The boys wanted Mickey waffles, and luckily, their mom had some shake and pour pancake mix on hand.  However, never being one to use just water with any mix, I added an egg, some vanilla, sour cream, and (don’t laugh) coffee creamer.  It makes for fluffier waffles, and beats straight mix.  Grandma Tina had strawberries and whipped cream on hand, so they had the option of a strawberry shortcake Mickey waffle, or simply Mickey with maple syrup.  Yummmmm.

Mickey waffle

I introduced them to the movie “Matilda” and they loved it.  We all love to hate the nasty Miss Trunchbull, right?!?  We all love Miss Honey too.  They were glued to the screen (eating PB&J for lunch).  Hard to believe it’s a movie from 22 years ago.  It really holds up well.  We had it on VHS when my kids were little.

Matilda

Being the food-obsessed person that I am, I offered to prepare the ground meat my daughter had in the fridge.  It’s always harder to work with someone else’s ingredients, but by the time I left, they had precooked meatballs that were in a baking dish with doctored up marina, ready to throw in the oven.  I also prepared cooked taco meat (with instructions of how to make burritos like I make) and meatballs for a night when they wanted Asian inspired teriyaki meatballs.

They just had to cook some spaghetti and garlic toast to accompany the meatballs when they got home.

Sunday dinner

Thanksgiving in Georgia

Austin, Daniel, and I drove up to Garfield, Georgia, for Thanksgiving with Andrea and Ramey at their new house!  Rather than stress cooking a turkey or ham in an unfamiliar kitchen, I opted for the convenience of Honeybaked!  Andrea and I had fun making the sides.  It was so relaxing and delicious!

I am still avoiding the foods that can cause inflammation, so the cranberry was made with apple cider instead of orange juice.  A successful substitution.  I skipped the mashed potatoes, but still had plenty on my plate!  The desserts were a simple pumpkin pie and a pecan pie cheesecake that the kids want me to make for Christmas too!  I’ll post the recipes in coming days.  Still recovering from my trip and return to work!

I’m still feeling great after giving up nightshades.  No pain at all and the psoriasis is clearing up after less than two weeks.

I sense that providing recipes on my blog that are nightshade free may fill a need.  I’ve been trolling the internet for recipes, and there aren’t a lot of resources out there.  One site,  tomatoesareevil.com did give me a good laugh.  My youngest son also needs to limit dairy, so he joked that we will soon be eating grass and drinking only water.  I’ll meet that challenge and work to make interesting, tasty nightshade, dairy free recipes that no one will guess are as healthy as they are.

Tonight’s dinner was nightshade free, gluten free and totally delicious.  I saw  Ina Garten make this – I adapted it to fit our needs.

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1 lb. cobia filet or other firm fish, cut into 2-3 oz. pieces.

1/4 lb. prosciutto, sliced extremely thin

1/4 c. Italian dressing

2 Tbsp. lemon juice

2 Tbsp. oil (I used an Avocado Olive Blend)

1 large sweet potato cubed

2 parsnips, cubed

16 baby carrots, cut into thirds

3 Tbsp. oil

Salt and pepper

Marinate the fish in dressing and lemon juice and oil at least 30 minutes (I did it overnight)

Preheat oven to 375.

Prepare two baking sheets by covering with foil and spraying with coconut oil.

Toss the vegetables with the oil and salt and pepper and spread in a single layer on one of the baking sheets.

Cook for 15 minutes while preparing the fish.

Wrap each piece of fish in prosciutto and place seam side down on the baking sheet.   Pour marinade over fish to moisten the prosciutto.

Place in oven and cook alongside fish for 15 minutes.

The prosciutto shrinks down and gets crispy on top.  Yum!

 

 

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Ground meat is one of the best buys around for reasonable priced meals for your family.  I buy in bulk when there’s a sale and prepare stuff ahead as much as possible.   Meatballs are baked and then frozen.  Meatloaf is frozen to defrost the day ahead of being made.  Ground meat seasoned with salt and pepper is cooked, crumbled and drained and then frozen.  Burgers are made and then frozen.  This past week Aldi had a sale on 5 lbs. of ground beef  for $9.95.  Another market had ground turkey on a BOGO sale so it ended up being $2.20 per pound.  One of these days, I’m going to experiment with grinding my own meat.  Ironically I bought a meat grinder to make veggie burgers, but it’s sitting in my pantry gathering dust.

First, let’s talk about meatballs.  I used to buy the frozen, precooked variety until my kids rebelled and said only mine would do, claiming the others are like little rubber balls.  I see their point.  The only way I can make this happen, though, is to cook them ahead and freeze them.  I make rather large batches, so I have at least enough for two meals when I’m done.

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3-4 lb. ground meats (use a blend of at least two – beef, turkey, chicken, and pork are all great)  Keep in mind, though, that beef really throws off a lot of grease, whereas the others are leaner and less greasy.  For that reason, I try to use less beef.

2 eggs

1/ 2 or so seasoned bread crumbs (in a pinch, I’ve used oatmeal, instant grits, and leftover quinoa)

2 heaping Tbsp. sweet pickle relish

1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

16 oz. cottage cheese (or ricotta if you don’t have any cottage cheese)

Optional add ins:

Pesto, seasoning packets from Rice-A-Roni (ha ha – when I make prepared foods like that I always use 1 packet per two boxes to reduce the sodium, and keep the spare packet around for future use)

Prepare two 13 x 9 baking dishes by spraying with coconut oil.

Mix meats and wet ingredients by hand, gradually adding in the bread crumbs/oatmeal/whatever, so that you can form meatballs that do not fall apart.  Add sparingly, as you can always add in more, but you can’t take them out once you’ve put them in!  Sometimes when using ground chicken, the meat is impossibly sticky.  Using the grab and roll method with flour on your hands, and rolling the meatballs in a  little seasoned flour takes care of that!

Scoop meat mixture using an ice cream or cookie dough scoop if it’s not too sticky and place meatballs in baking dishes.  If there is no beef, drizzle with a little olive oil.  If there is beef, skip this step.

Bake at 375 F for approximately 40 minutes (depending on meatball size) or until golden and the internal temperature is at least 160 F.

Allow to cool, and place in containers to freeze for future use.

I defrost them overnight the night before I am going to make them for dinner.

Meatballs are so versatile.  Some variations we have enjoyed are:

https://vickidelbrouck.wordpress.com/2013/08/13/buffalo-meatball-and-potato-casserole/

Ground meat 1 Buffalo meatball and potato casserole

https://vickidelbrouck.wordpress.com/2015/02/26/stroganoff-style-meatballs/

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https://vickidelbrouck.wordpress.com/2016/01/24/meatball-sub-casserole-from-tasty/

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https://vickidelbrouck.wordpress.com/2016/02/23/coconut-curry-meatballs-using-imagine-thai-coconut-curry-sauce/

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https://vickidelbrouck.wordpress.com/2014/06/21/chinese-chicken-meatballs-adapted-from-guy-fieris-general-guys-chicken/

ground meat 3 gen tso meatballs

 

https://vickidelbrouck.wordpress.com/2014/03/10/barbecue-ranch-chicken-meatballs-2/

barbecue ranch meatballs

Or simply bake them with your favorite spaghetti sauce topped with cheese!

Sometimes I make them big, like little mini meatloafs.  You can even cook them in a muffin pan.

The recipe for crock pot meatloaf follows much the same recipe as my basic meatballs.  Cooking it in the crock pot is by far the easiest way to make a moist, delicious meatloaf.

https://vickidelbrouck.wordpress.com/2016/03/16/crock-pot-meatloaf/

Crock pot meatloaf

You can stuff uncooked jumbo shells or manicotti with meatloaf mixtures, too, or add in a little sausage to give it a zing.

https://vickidelbrouck.wordpress.com/2016/02/21/stuffed-shells-using-uncooked-pasta-and-meatballs-for-another-night-or-two/

Stuffed shells

The recipe I use for burgers is more or less the same.  I put them in a Tupperware and freeze them until the night before we’re having them.  I cook them on a baking sheet, rather than standing at the stove flipping burgers.

https://vickidelbrouck.wordpress.com/2016/07/05/burgers-cooked-in-the-oven/

burger cooked in the oven

There are a load of recipes you can make with precooked and frozen ground meat or sausage:

SAM_1377

https://vickidelbrouck.wordpress.com/2016/02/17/stuffed-poblano-pepper-casserole/

Stuffed Poblano Pepper Casserole

https://vickidelbrouck.wordpress.com/2015/09/29/stuffed-bell-peppers-with-polenta/

Stuffed peppers

https://vickidelbrouck.wordpress.com/2015/05/17/cabbage-rolls-deconstructed-casserole/

cabbage rolls casserole.jpg

https://vickidelbrouck.wordpress.com/2015/03/03/cheeseburger-casserole/

Cheeseburger Mac and Cheese

https://vickidelbrouck.wordpress.com/2015/01/02/hawaiian-crock-pot-delight/

Hawaiian crock pot dish.jpg

https://vickidelbrouck.wordpress.com/2014/04/23/shepherds-pie-using-leftover-meatloaf/

shepherds pie

https://vickidelbrouck.wordpress.com/2014/02/11/gluten-free-sloppy-joe-cornbread-casserole/

sloppy joe

 

https://vickidelbrouck.wordpress.com/2013/09/18/lazy-day-casserole/

Lazy day casserole

My sister Sue recently shared some photos including some of matching family cars taken during our summer vacation one year.   I love this.  I hadn’t seen this picture in years!

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They are parked in front of a cottage our family used to visit each summer in Geneva on the Lake, Ohio, on Lake Erie.  Our family, consisting of mom, dad, Sue, Don, and me would be joined by Uncle Sherman (Lease), Aunt Harriet, Jerry, Barbara, Uncle Tom (Miller), Aunt Jane, Tommy, Sally, Kathy, my dad’s parents, Art and Helen, and sometimes friends, including the Kunz family, Tom Coughlin, Jerrie Simon (I think) to name just a few.  There would be sleeping bags everywhere.  People sleeping all over the place! There was an old boat house down on the lake where the really brave boys would sleep, as it was beyond rustic and housed spiders of all shapes and sizes.  Or maybe they just told me that to keep me from wanting to hang out with them!   Lake Erie was the closest thing to the sea shore we had, and we loved it!

Sue shared some pictures of how it looks today, including “Shank’s Cottage”  which belonged to a friend of Uncle Sherman’s named Elmer (I think) Shank, who rented it to our family each year.

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Nicely updated, but it still has some of the charm I remember!

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There were arcades where we could play bingo and other games for tickets to claim amazing prizes (or so we dreamed).  Miniature golf and an amusement park called  what?  Pop’s maybe, with kiddie rides.  Vacations at Geneva were a dream come true!

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Eddie’s Grill has been there forever!

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This is the Sunken Bar circa 1966-67

Geneva 1 Sunken BAr

I remember my grandma and Uncle Sherman cooking spaghetti for dinner, both with cigarettes hanging out of their mouths.  Mom used to joke that ash was their secret ingredient.

We used airplane tire tubes as our flotation devices.  So many fun times!!

We rented a scooter one year and have some fun home movies I now have a yen to dig up!

Family vacations are money well spent.  Nothing in my childhood memories matches the times we had at Geneva on the Lake!

Miscellaneous pictures I found searching online:

Another Proud Mama Update

As you know, I am proud of all my children.  My son Austin is no exception.  He also has always been very clear on who he is and what he wants.  His creativity led him first to remodeling and decorating.  He could have done that for a living.  However, he found himself drawn to doing hair.  He also followed his passion.  After much research, he decided that Aveda was the place for him.

Austin Aveda Show.

He landed a job with Ted Gibson of “What Not to Wear” fame while still in school.

Hair 8 Ted

Another part of who Austin is presents itself in his willingness to give back.  The following story and picture ran in our local paper:

Nine economically-disadvantaged teens and young adults, some homeless, got a bit of pampering at Blend Beauty Lounge and then dinner at J72 Chef’s Lounge all for free during the “Beauty and the Feast” event in Davie. The girls are residents at 4 KIDS of South Florida, a non-profit that finds homes for children, teens and young adults in crisis, based in Fort Lauderdale. The owners of the establishments said they simply want to reach out to the less fortunate if even for just one day.

(Taimy Alvarez / Sun Sentinel)

 

Austin giving back

Currently at Blend Beauty – every day, he helps women to feel more beautiful.

Hair 7

From beautiful blonds using Balayage.  (his kid sister Molly the Baker is his model)

Hair 5

To vivid and amazing colors.  Color correction, too.  (friend Stephanie is his model)

Hair 1

Gorgeous, one-of-a-kind coloring (his sister in law Bree is his model)

Hair 4

Letting people express themselves with beautiful, unique hair (friend Anandi is his model)

Hair 3

Wow – amazing (significant other Daniel is is model)

Hair 2

Austin is an artist.  His vision, eye for color, his talent, are a gift.  I love when he does my hair and makes me feel beautiful.  (his sister Olivia and I are his models)

Livy and Mom

He keeps the whole family looking beautiful!  Austin introduced me to unique hair, and I’ll never go back to boring colors.  Maybe it’s my inner rebellious teenager, but I choose to continue to embrace the opportunity to express myself with colorful hair!

Hair 6

Thank you for letting me share another proud mama moment.  More of these “tributes” to my children are to follow.  They are all truly the best thing!

 

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