Archive for the 'General' Category

The World Was Turned On Its Head

The world was turned on its head.

The people were told to distance themselves, limited to only essential outdoor activities.

The news increased a sense of panic and despair.

The economy plummeted.

Humanity behaved poorly.

At a glance those are my out-takes of the past few weeks. And yet, I implore you to look harder. To increase and strengthen your mind game. To be the kind of person that you want to meet in the future. To show Continue reading ‘The World Was Turned On Its Head’

#Giving #Thanks

The Thanksgiving Day celebration is an important part of American culture. From the iconic tales of Pilgrims and Native Americans to a holiday now focused on food and excessive retail therapy. It is easy to feel caught up in the hustle and bustle of the celebration.

The wafting aromas of turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie, a house filled to the brim with family and friends and a beautifully set table. When I think about the words tied to the holiday I realize that much of our attention as a society focuses more about turning the ‘giving’ into a way to promote spending/gift giving. But what if, for just a moment, we could really make a difference by giving the gift of sustenance. I often talk to my children about how we can make a difference and an impact. I am not suggesting that we turn in all of our gifts and put it towards a fund, but I am suggesting that for a moment we focus on really giving to help make someone’s reality better.

I’ll never forget that my Grandfather, Nunzio, during the days when he ran the crab stand at Alioto’s Restaurant at Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco; he was always looking for ways to help. One morning, I joined him at work and was perplexed to see him talking to the homeless people sleeping alongside the restaurant. It was even more surprising that they all knew him by name. When I asked him what he spoke with them about he said that he was asking them what kind of sandwich they would like to eat that day. I learned that he would prepare food for them, every day. I inquired further as to why he didn’t just bring out the sandwiches that he had made, and he kindly explained to me that being poor was not a crime and that everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. He respected them enough to give them what they wanted to eat, he cared for them deeply, just like he cared for all of us. Years later I learned he would even go out and buy them winter jackets so that they could keep warm.

Do you ever wonder how to make an impact? There are so many ways to give and make a difference. This, one of the richest countries in the world has millions of hungry children, approximately 13 million, that go to bed hungry every day. I often ask myself, how this is possible. There are so many families that can barely make ends meet let alone plan a festive dinner.

What if you could be the difference and make a dent in the hunger crisis that plagues so many, too many, children? I know that I can, and I will. Annually I make a conscious decision to stop the foodie talk and to make this space that I covet a platform to do more. I am a supporter of No Kid Hungry. As I sit down tomorrow I hope that my donation will allow others to sit around their table with those they care about to enjoy a good meal. To be part of the celebration so many of us enjoy. So for a time, I am choosing to forgo the pricey designer coffees and that new top I saw in the magazine because I know I can happily scale back and share with others to give them the memories I think are so important – to be seated around a table, enjoying the aromas of the meal, sharing laughter and stories with those that they care about most. Perspective… $10 = 100 meals.

I hope that you too will take this is an opportunity to provide a meal for a family in need because even one match of humanity can make an explosive positive impact on the lives of others. I raise my glass to all of you, I am so very thankful for all of your support as my beloved blog family. You make the difference to me by feeding my soul.

#thanks #giving

Photo Courtesy: IKEA

Photo Courtesy: IKEA

It’s easy to get caught up in the food festivities that surround the holidays. Traditional fare, too much of it, and an opportunity to hang out with ‘those’ relatives that often times create that intense and highly entertaining family drama you’ll eagerly recap at the water cooler at work come Monday. BUT what’s lost in this satirical depiction of Thanksgiving is that there are many families that can barely scrape by enough to provide this celebratory meal. Hunger in the United States is a reality that is not talked about often enough.

I would like to present you with the opportunity to change that reality. To give and provide something for others to eat. It takes but a moment and actually, if someone or a family is in need of a meal, they might very well be in need of more than just a Thanksgiving meal.

Annually I make this plight- I stop the foodie talk in hopes of opening up a very important dialogue. I am a supporter of No Kid Hungry. And as I sit down tomorrow I hope that my donation will allow others to sit around their table with family and friends enjoying some good food. It’s not that I have an abundance of cash lying around, it’s about making choices, and I’ll happily scale back on luxurious coffee drinks for a few weeks and share those funds where I can make a difference- giving to others. The impact $10 = 100 meals. Imagine what I can do in just a few weeks time.

And in light of all of the things I am thankful for today, I raise my glass to all of you – thank you for being my supportive blog family. You make the difference to me by feeding my soul.

Chocolate Chip Cookie – Bean Cake Cookies In Disguise (Gluten Free)

GF chocolate chip cookie-bite.PNG

I have lived on the edge of holding on. Holding onto quotes, phrases, and people. I am horrible at good-byes. And permanent good-byes terrify me. This type of closure pushes a hole deep into my heart. I guess I just can’t let go, so I live by Continue reading ‘Chocolate Chip Cookie – Bean Cake Cookies In Disguise (Gluten Free)’

Peanut Butter Coconut Balls (Gluten Free)

peanut butter balls finished.JPG

The holiday vortex. It is only when I’ve woken up in January from my sugar filled dreams that I realize I’ve been caught in culinary bliss; blissfully drifting from bite to bite through the month of December. My body screams- it’s time to wake up – time to thin down – time to ‘try’ to leave the sugar and excess poundage behind. Every year around this time I do a gentle cleanse. Now don’t panic, it is not just a juice cleanse, which I doubt I could ever do, but it does strip out a few edible options. The cleanse is gluten, dairy, and sugar free. There are a few foods I can’t eat temporarily, but Continue reading ‘Peanut Butter Coconut Balls (Gluten Free)’

Coffee Cake Gingerbread Chocolate Protein Waffles & 3 Unique Toppings

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I am fairly new to the world of waffles. My mother tells me that she used to make them, but I mostly remember her pancakes, omelets and drop biscuits. The person who I identify waffles with most is my stepmother Regan. A trip to the mountain house in Mt. Shasta is not complete Continue reading ‘Coffee Cake Gingerbread Chocolate Protein Waffles & 3 Unique Toppings’

Give Thanks – Give Hope

Give Thanks

I am looking forward to Thanksgiving, which I’ll spend at home cooking with my husband for our family and a few good friends. There is so much to be thankful for this time of year, including the lavish meal we will prepare for loved ones.

In my minds-eye, the table is festively set. Family and friends gathered Continue reading ‘Give Thanks – Give Hope’

Wordless Wednesday – North Carolina

1 day old piglet

A nearly Wordless Wednesday post sharing some photo out-takes from my trip to North Carolina. For the full story of ‘Farm to Fork’ and my recipe please read: Swine and Wine Italian Pork Stew Continue reading ‘Wordless Wednesday – North Carolina’

No Kid Hungry- A Thanksgiving Wish


While I am typically not home to celebrate a traditional Thanksgiving meal, when I see a beautiful table setting I imagine what it would be like to sit as a guest at that table. The wafting smell of a home cooked turkey, a plate brimming with my favorite stuffing, creamy mashed potatoes with a puddle of rich gravy, accompanied by tart cranberry orange relish and eventually a slice of pumpkin pie. What strikes a cord with me is that imagining such a dinner is what many do on this holiday. Knowing that there are families that can’t afford it breaks my heart. I know how lucky I am to have a good job that allows to put food on the table. My family and I have so much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. But many people in America are struggling. You can help by making a donation to No Kid Hungry’s Thanksgiving campaign today. With the simple click of your mouse, you can be a part of the solution to end childhood hunger and connect hungry children with the food they need to grow, learn and thrive.
Continue reading ‘No Kid Hungry- A Thanksgiving Wish’

Cutie Pie – A Clementine Dreamsicle

All this fuss over a simple Cutie Pie? Well, sometimes dessert is a BIG DEAL, even if it is not ornate. I am always striving for ways to make a low sugar dessert for my mom. She claims not to have much of a sweet tooth, but since being diagnosed with diabetes she has her moments where she would love to sink her teeth into dessert. I love to see the look on her face when I show up with something sweet that she can eat. While her dietary restrictions limited her to the one slice, she was quick to secure a second piece for a future day. I made sure to gobble up a very generous slice and wish I had another one to enjoy right now!

Cutie Pie

Crust Ingredients

6 TBS chilled unsalted butter, diced

3/4 cup wheat flour

1 cup almond meal

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1 egg yolk

Filling Ingredients

2 tsps water

1/4 tsp unflavored gelatin

3 egg yolks

1/4 cup sugar

4 1/2 tsps cornstarch

1 tsp orange zest

1 cup 2% milk

1/2 cup heavy whipped cream

6 clementines (or cuties), peeled and sectioned


Crust Directions

Coat a 9-inch spring form pan with cooking spray. In a food processor mix together almond and wheat flour, butter and salt. Blend until the mixture resembles course meal. Add yolk and continue to blend until dough comes together in moist clumps. Press dough evenly onto bottom and up sides of pans. Using a fork, pierce dough. Freeze 30 minutes or until firm. (This can be made 1 day ahead of time if kept frozen.)

To cook crust, preheat oven to 400. Bake approximately 18-20 minutes until dough is golden brown and appears slightly puffy. Set aside, allow crust to cool.

Filling Directions

Place 2 tsps of water in a small cup and sprinkle gelatin evenly over it. Allow gelatin to soften 10 minutes.

In a medium bowl, whisk yolks, sugar, cornstarch and orange zest until blended. In a medium pot, over medium high heat, bring milk to a boil. Slowly mix hot milk into yolk mixture, stirring continuously as to not risk cooking the eggs. Transfer yolk and milk mixture back to the same pot. Over medium heat whisk yolk mixture until custard thickens and boils, approximately 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add gelatin to mixture. Whisk until dissolved and custard is smooth.

Transfer custard into another bowl. Allow to cool to room temperature, approximately 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Custard will become thick.

In a medium bowl, beat cream until peaks form. Whisk custard until smooth. Fold whipped cream into custard in three additions. Transfer filling into the cooked crust. Chill until filling sets, a minimum of 3 hours and maximum of 8 hours.

Peel clementines, remove pith. Place in a small bowl and cover with a damp paper towel so that segments do not dry out.

Place spring form pan over a large glass and push down the sides of the pan to release the tart. Decorate pie with clementine wedges. Cut the tart into wedges and drizzle with honey.