Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day - My Thanksgiving This May, Remembrance of Our Fallen Heroes

Memorial Day, not to be confused with Veteran’s Day is a day to honor and remember those who have fallen in the line of duty to our country.  So what exactly does it have to do with BBQ’s?  Technically nothing unless you want to loosely interpret BBQs as an American pasttime.  For me, it is the quality time to spend and appreciate family over food, similar to my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving.  I normally do a Thanksgiving in May just as a reminder mid-year to sit back, reflect, and give thanks.  Unfortunately time flying by got the best of me this year and it is now already the end of May.   So this Memorial Day, as I am thankful for the good food with family like my Thanksgiving in May, I hope all of you will also take the time and be reflective with me of the ultimate sacrifice so many brave men and women have made to give us this chance and remember the families of those who still reel from the loss no matter how much time has passed.   
There is a tradition in Mau`i (Blossoms for the Brave) that I have always admired -  It is about time we adopt this all across the country.  Before you start up your grill  this Memorial Day-, consider offering a blossom for the brave this year.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Cauliflower Tacos - Eat Well Challenge #13

After what seems like a long weekend of indulgence kicked off with the Greek Festival – where I duplicated all the great eats from last year and some, plus an overnight down the Central Coast revisiting old favorites like Firestone Grill and added new faves, Luna Red and Oyster Loft, I feel like I need a food detox for the day.  So when I saw these simple cauliflower tacos, it was a perfect way to use up all those leftover corn tortillas, romaine lettuce hearts, and tomatoes, coming in at under a buck a serving. 

Price:  $3 for 4 servings = 75 cents a serving

Friday, May 19, 2017

Indian Fry Bread

I am a traveler who is seeks out the foods that are specific to the area I am visiting so when in Arizona about 15 years ago, I had the Indian Fry Bread and when I brought my dad back last year, I made sure that our first meal in Arizona was Indian Fry Bread tacos -  Afraid it would be another 15 years before returning again, I picked up a pack of Indian Fry Bread Mix to replicate at home.  Over a year after returning from our trip, I finally got around to this Southwestern Family tradition. 

Since the mix is good for both dinner size Navajo tacos and dessert sized sopaipillas, I decided to do both yielding 3 Navajo tacos for dinner and 4 sopaipillas topped with powder sugar and a drizzle of the Desert Blossom Honey from the southwestern desert for dessert. 

Ayoo Ahalniih (Delicious!)


1 Package of Cheri’s Desert Harvest Indian Fry Bread Mix (
7 oz warm water
Vegetable Oil
1 Head Romaine Lettuce chopped
1 Tomato Chopped
1 Can Refried Beans – heat per directions on can
1 lb ground beef
2 tbsp onions chopped
Shredded Cheddar Cheese


1.      Cook the ground beef in a pan with the chopped onions until fully cooked and set aside

2.      Stir warm water into the Indian Fry Bread mix a little at a time in a large bowl.  Knead in bowl at least 3 minutes until dough is soft, smooth, and elastic, and doesn’t stick to the bowl. 

3.      Heat vegetable oil in pan about 1 inch deep to about 375 degrees

4.      Divide dough depending on what size you are making (see package directions)

5.      Roll dough into 1/8 in thickness (thinner the better)

6.      Follow frying directions on package

7.      For Navajo dinner tacos, top with hot refried beans, cooked ground beef, cheddar, chopped lettuce and tomatoes

8.      For dessert sopaipillas, top with powdered sugar and drizzle of Cheri’s Desert Blossom Honey

9.      Serve immediately
Price:  $18 for 3 Dinner Sized Navajo Tacos and 4 Dessert Sized Sopaipillas = $6 a serving


Wednesday, May 17, 2017


I had about ¼ jar left of the Giardiniere from the Naanwich last week and decided that it would be perfect to make a muffaletta with it.  I personally have yet to visit N`awlins but heard it can be a foodie paradise.  So since I was getting fixings for a picnic this past weekend, I decided to go all out and picked up fresh focaccia from Liguria and Italian deli meat from Molinari’s Deli in North Beach so I can have what I needed to make muffalettas for dinner the next day.  $4 a sandwich is on the higher side for me but it sure is cheaper than a flight to N`awlins. 


Sweet Coppa
10 Kalamata Olives
¼ jar of Giardiniere
Olive Oil


1.      In a food processor, pulse the olives and giardiniere with a drizzle of olive oil until it is roughly chopped

2.      Split open the focaccia bread

3.      Spread the olive spread on the bottom side

4.      Pile the mortadella, sweet coppa, soppresata on other side and top with provolone

5.      Combine the two sides and let sit for about 15 minutes for the flavors to marry.  You can serve as is at room temperature or you can put in preheated 350 degree oven wrapped in foil for 15-20 minutes to melt the cheese.
Price:  $16 for 4 servings = $4 a serving

Monday, May 15, 2017

Quick Italian Style Turkey and Vegetable Soup – Eat Well Challenge #12

I had originally printed out a copy of this recipe as I thought it would be a quick and easy dinner since we already had most of the ingredient, for my husband to make at home while I was away for my free week in Mau`i.  Despite already making notes of how he can substitute ingredients that we didn’t already have with ones we did to make sure it was fool proof, he went off on an even larger tangent and added kabocha squash to it which definitely does not scream Italian and in the process soaked up all the liquid…sigh…

So I decided to try this myself with those same substitutions I notated for him per the notes below to have a healthier version for my eat well challenge.  When asked what he thought of it this time, his response, “It definitely tastes more Italian this time".  Double sigh… 

Quick Italian Style Beef and Vegetable Soup Rachael Ray Recipe -


1.      Instead of ground sirloin, use ground turkey breast

2.  Instead of using beef stock, use chicken stock

3.  I did not have parm rind so we just added a sprinkle of parm to the top of the bowl before serving

4.  I never have cubanelle so used a green bell

Price:  $8 for 4 servings = $2 a serving

Friday, May 12, 2017

Baked Chicken with Salsa Verde and Nutty Breadcrumbs

One day a week, I try to go through any leftover ingredients from previous recipes and use up as much of it as possible.  I had leftover nutty breadcrumbs from the baked fish night - and salsa verde from by Steak with Parm Frico dinner -   Since I was still on my fusion kick, I decided to be creative and used the salsa verde as my “glue” for my breadcrumbs vs. dijon mustard to top boneless chicken thighs.  Served with a side of Trader Joe’s sweet potato gnocchi that is found in their freezer aisle, I had myself a delicious dinner in no time. 


Leftover Nutty Breadcrumb Mixture
Leftover Salsa Verde
2 Chicken Thighs Butterflied
Salt and Pepper
Drizzle of Olive Oil
Trader Joe’s Potato Gnoochi – cook per package directions


1.      Salt and pepper the chicken thigh and drizzle with olive oil

2.      Top with salsa verde and then the nutty breadcrumb mixture

3.      Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 12-15 minutes (depending on thickness) until chicken is cooked and juices run clear

Price:  $6 for 2 servings = $3 a serving

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Japanese Simmered Kabocha Pumpkin

I had a kabocha pumpkin that has been sitting here for 2 months but had not been used as planned.  Originally I thought it would be great to make pumpkin chips with it as I use to love the ones I got from the Calbee store in the SF Center.  Unfortunately they had closed the one and only store in the States over 5 years ago but as you can tell, it was so good that I still think about it.  So if anyone knows how to bake pumpkin chips without frying it, I would love to hear from you. 

In the meantime, I just simmered it in dashi broth mixture.  Heads up that since dashi granules had MSG and we added sugar to the mixture, I am not including this as an “eat well” dish as preparation is everything. 

Japanese Style Simmered Kabocha Recipe -

Notes:  Dissolve about 2/3 tsp of the dashi granules in about 1 cup of water.  Since dashi has bonita tuna powder, this is not a vegetarian dish. 

Price:  $4 for 4-6 servings = Less than $1 a serving