Sunday, December 16, 2012


I was really disappointed to see a news article tonight about the vast amount of hateful comments posted on twitter tonight during President Obama's speech. It is not the matter in which he was regarding, but the degree of racism that still masks our country. The fact that he was honoring victims of a horrendous tragedy was just icing on the cake, and the fact that 20 of those victims were young children make it all the more shocking. The fact that people are so comfortable going on the World Wide Web, the biggest public forum, to casually spew such hate is actually very scary to me. I would like to believe that we live in a society where we have respect and compassion for our fellow man. We so easily forget about the important things in life and focus on trivial issues regarding our day to day lives. Is it such an inconvenience that a baseball game is delayed?
I will go to sleep tonight counting my blessing for my amazing family, my friends, and having the ability to live a life where I choose my destiny. We all need to take a step back sometimes and remember what is really important. We are all the same. We have faults, we make mistakes and we all have our strengths. The one thing we all have in common.. we are human. I like to believe that we will get to a point where hate for another person be it their gender, race, orientation or beliefs is a thing of the past. We hold the power to determine the destiny of humanity. I choose to spread love not hate! xox

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Tuesday's Tip! How To Make Buttermilk!

Buttermilk is not something I usually have on hand in my kitchen.  I usually know beforehand if a recipe I am making calls for it. That being said, we’ve all been there when we come across a new dish we want to try or we get mid-recipe and realize that its calls for an ingredient we don't have.  This happened to me the other night and I know like most people I don't want to run out to the grocery store for just one item.  The best thing about being out of buttermilk though is that you can easily make do with a simple at home substitute. There are a few ways to make your own buttermilk, but I have always stuck to the old school, tried and true, and simplest way.  All you need is two ingredients and five minutes.


  • Milk (just under one cup)
  • 1 Tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice (I have always used vinegar)
1. Add one Tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice in a liquid measuring cup.
2. Add enough milk to bring the liquid up to the one-cup line.
3. Let stand for five minutes. (It will start to look curdled)
4. Stir and use.

TIP: If you have heavy cream on hand, use that in place of the milk and you will have real buttermilk

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Green Smoothie!

 I don't always eat enough vegetables to get my suggested daily intake of nutrients each day.  A while back I started adding some healthier ingredients to my fruit smoothies to make them a little healthier.  Over time I have added more healthy ingredients and now have a power packed green smoothie each day that tastes like a fruit smoothie.  Here is a easy recipe and instructional video outlining what goes into my green smoothie as well as show how easy they are to make. 


Do you drink Green Smoothies?
Would you make these yourself?

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Going Gluten Free!

For years, well for pretty much my whole life I have been plagued with stomach problems.  It had become a joke that I always felt sick after every meal.  In high school I went to a gastroenterologist and was diagnosed with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome).  After years of being sick it became almost a way of life and was seemingly put on the back burner.  It never really affected me after eating any certain type of food or anything in particular so I was lead to believe I just had a sensitive stomach.  As long as I had a bottle of pepto bismol in my medicine cabinet I was OK.

Over the years I have tried different diets and cutting out certain food groups to try and feel better, but nothing ever worked.  A few years ago with the rise of celiac disease and the concept of a gluten allergy being more in the news I again thought that maybe this could be a reason for my chronic illness.  After having an endoscopy and colonoscopy performed on me along with blood tests it was almost depressing to find out I didn't have celiacs.  Now don't get me wrong I am grateful that I don't have it, but once again I was at square one not knowing why I kept getting sick. 

Up until recently I felt defeated and that I would never get to the bottom of my stomach issues.  After much investigation and research on my part I learned that you can have a gluten sensitivity.  This is not the same as having an allergy to gluten.  If you have also been suffering from symptoms that tend to relate to gluten, it may be that you have non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Research estimates that there are 18 million Americans who have non-celiac gluten sensitivity. That is six times the amount of Americans who have celiac disease.  The reason so many people don't know if they have a sensitivity to gluten is because there is no medical test for it.  That is why so many people like me suffer for years and get diagnosed with other ailments like IBS.

Recently I caught an episode of the Doctor Oz Show that dealt with this exact topic.  Watching the people on TV describe their battle was beyond eye opening to me.  A complete stranger pretty much described the last 15 years of my life.  They also showed what they called the gluten spectrum.  It outlines the small number of Americans on one end that have celiacs (a gluten intolerance), and the large portion on the other who are not effected by gluten.  What surprised me was the large number of people in the middle who gave a sensitivity to gluten.

I had already begun to eliminate gluten from my diet to see if I fall into the category of gluten sensitive.  But after taking the self assessment test on I was convinced that my efforts had merit. They created a simple checklist of nine symptoms and if you have four or more of these symptoms you may have a sensitivity to gluten.  I have at least seven of the symptoms listed.  They recommend going gluten free for 2-4 weeks and or consulting your doctor.  Over the last few weeks I have been eliminating gluten from my diet which will hopefully eliminate the symptoms I have been experiencing.  I will have a follow up post with my progress.  If my story sounds familiar to you I urge you to read up on gluten sensitivity.  Also if you have a few seconds take the self assessment test HERE.

Do you have a sensitivity to gluten or another food allergy?

Friday, October 12, 2012

Gluten Free Chocolate Covered Pretzels!

I have come across a delicious new treat I can enjoy while eating gluten free.  As many of you know I don't like anything that tastes "diet-y" ESPECIALLY sweets.  I was nervous when I purchased this bag of Glutino fudge covered pretzels, but I was an instant fan at first bite. They are delicious and taste just like any other chocolate covered pretzel, which is one of my favorite treats.  If you didn't know they were a gluten free product you would guess.  I can’t even begin to describe how good these pretzels are! 

Have you tried these pretzels?

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Bottle To Pen!

Knowing my propensity to be "green" whenever possible, a friend of mine bought me a few B2P pilot pens a while back.  I love them and wanted to share this great idea with you all.   Pilot created the Bottle to Pen (B2P), a retractable, refillable gel ink pen, which is made from recycled plastic bottles,

Hopefully you are aware of the alternatives to using disposable bottles and recycle the ones you do use. Here are some facts about how plastic bottles pollute. 
  • Plastic bottles take 700 years to begin composting
  • 80% of plastic bottles are not recycled
  • 38 million plastic bottles go to the dump per year in America from bottled water (not including soda)
  • 24 million gallons of oil are needed to produce a billion plastic bottles
  • The average American consumes 167 bottles of water a year
  • Bottled water is the second most popular beverage in the United States
  • Plastic bottles make up close to 50 percent of recyclable waste in landfills

These pens are made from 89% recycled plastic bottles.   One plastic water bottle can be used to create two B2P pens, and the pens use the same gel ink as in Pilot's number one selling gel pen.  They work great and I love the bottle-styled barrel.  It reminds me of the bottles they are made from, and reminds me that we can find all kinds of new ways to go green!

They can be found at any office supply store or online and can be purchased singularly or in multiples.  I found a 5 pack of B2P pens at Staples for $5.99.

Would you buy these B2P pens?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Tuesday's Tip! Storing Fresh Mozzarella!

I love using fresh Mozzarella whether I'm making a caprese salad or a homemade pizza, but I don't always use it all in one recipe.  A lot of people are nervous about saving fresh mozzarella and how you can safely store it.

The best thing to do is only buy as much fresh mozzarella as you think you will need for a recipe or that you will be able to use in a few days.  If you have some left over the best thing to do is store it in a small air tight container.  I usually fill the container with tap water so that the mozzarella is covered and add a pinch of salt.  It will keep like this in the refrigerator for a few days.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Can I Grrow My Own Garlic?

Like I stated in my post yesterday Grow Your Own Garlic? I wanted to try it for myself.  So last night  I planted my own cloves to see if they will grow.

It really was easy!

Using a square glass vase that I had, I filled it with potting soil I also happened to have.  The soil was a bit dry so using a spray bottle i misted water throughout the soil to add some moisture.

Since I am using a container that is bigger than a small plant pot I decided to try and double my chances by using two garlic cloves.  This was also easy since I always have fresh garlic on hand in the kitchen.
 Simply peel the skins off the garlic cloves.  This was a bit funny for me, I haven't peeled garlic in a long time since becoming favorable to quickly pressing each clove with a large knife to remove the skin when using the garlic for cooking.  Obviously that method wont work in this situation.

I made a small hole and placed the clove inside with the pointy end facing up, then covered the clove with a thin layer of soil.  I did the same with the second clove.

When I was done I again misted the top layer of soil with a little water, hopefully to jump start the growing process.

After that it is out of my hands.  I placed the vase in a window where it can receive ample sun light and now I wait!

You can follow my hopeful success, I will be posting all the highlights of this adventure on my Hungry For Living Facebook Page!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Grow your own Garlic?

Did you know that you can grow your own garlic? Supposedly one planted clove can produce up to  twenty cloves! It doesn't seem very hard, So I am going to try this out for myself and keep you updated on the process over at my Hungry For Living Facebook Page.

It doesn't seem that difficult to cultivate your own garlic at home.  Here is how you can try it yourself!
 Simply plant a garlic clove in a small pot. If the clove has started to sprout that is even better. If your cloves have yet to begin to sprout you just want to make sure to plant them with the pointy end up. If you have a bigger pot or flower box you can plant multiple cloves, just make sure to plant them a few inches apart.  You can also plant them in a garden if you have the space.
 You want to make sure it is placed in a location that gets a lot of sun and that the soil isn't too damp.

If you plant your clove inside water it occasionally like you would an indoor plant. As the garlic begins to grow it will sprout leaves. Eventually they will turn brown die.  This is good though, it means it's time to harvest the garlic.
Simply dig out the garlic and hang the bulbs in a cool, dry location to allow them to dry.  After about a week the garlic should be dry.  Now you can clean it off and cook your favorite recipe.

Would you try to grow your own garlic?

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Rosemary Chicken!

Below is an easy recipe for a contemporary chicken dish made with fresh vegetables.

4 skinless/boneless chicken breast halves
1 5.8oz box of quick-cooking couscous
1tsp lemon pepper seasoning
1Tbsp fresh rosemary chopped (or 1/2tsp dried and crushed)
3 garlic cloves minced
1/4tsp salt
1 medium zucchini
1 yellow squash
15 cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup apple juice
2Tbsp apple juice
2tsp cornstarch
fresh rosemary springs for garnish (optional)

  • To start prepare your vegetables by slicing the zucchini and squash in half lengthwise, then make 1/4 inch cuts with-wise. 
  • Cut each of your tomatoes in half.

TIP: If you are using fresh rosemary the best way to remove the leaves from the stem is to hold the  top of the stem with your left forefinger and thumb with the leaves facing up.  Then with your right hand grasp the stem right below your left fingers with your right forefinger and thumb  and move slowly down the stem easily stripping the leaves off.

  • Cut your chicken breasts in half. If your chicken breasts are thick you will want to pound them out.
  • Next prepare your couscous as instructed on the box
  • Place olive oil in a skillet over medium heat
  • Once hot place chicken in skillet and dust the chicken with 1/2 tsp of lemon pepper.

  •  After approximately 7 minutes turn the chicken and dust with the remaining 1/2tsp of lemon pepper.  Continue to cook the through approximately 7 more minutes.
  • Place chicken aside and keep covered to keep it warm
  • Place garlic, zucchini and squash in skillet after 30 seconds add a 1/2 cup of apple juice, salt and rosemary.
  • Allow the juice to come to a boil, cover and then reduce heat to low and simmer for 2 minutes.
  • In a small glass mix cornstarch into 2Tbsp of apple juice. Slowly add this slury to the skillet while stiring slowly.  Continue to stir until the broth becomes thick and starts to bubble, then add tomatoes.  
  • Plate chicken and vegetables over couscous and garnish with a rosemary spring if desired.

What do you think?
Will you try this new recipe?

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Easy Marinade!

Here is an easy marinade you can use for a last minute steak dinner or to give your meat dish a little extra flavor.
Using a Ziploc bag or air tight container place your meat inside with the following.
1 cup olive oil
1/2 cup Vinegar
2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons black pepper
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon fresh minced garlic (or granulated garlic)
1 tablespoon fresh minced onion (or onion powder)
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes. 
Refrigerate for 30 minutes to 24 hours then prepare meat as desired.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Easy Homeade Tomato Sauce!

I never use tomato sauce from a jar, so whether I am making a quick pasta sauce or sauce as part of a larger recipe, I have a quick and easy way to make fresh homemade tomato sauce.  Below is a recipe that will generate 2 Cups of tomato sauce.  It is perfect for a pasta dinner for 2 or 3 people.  For a larger amount of sauce, just double or triple the recipe.

1 Can of basic plain tomato sauce
1Tbsp Olive Oil
A handful of fresh cherry tomatoes
3 Garlic cloves (minced)
1/4tsp Salt
1/8tsp pepper
Basil (1Tbsp fresh or 1tsp dried)
Oregano (1Tbsp fresh or 1tsp dried)
Thyme (1tsp fresh or 1/4tsp dried)


In a large skillet over medium heat add Olive Oil and Garlic.  
Cook and stir for about 30 seconds and then add tomatoes and herbs.
Allow the tomatoes to cook in the hot oil while occasionally stirring until the skins begin to crack.


Once the tomatoes begin to break apart, you can use your spatula or spoon to help break down the tomatoes.

After the tomatoes start to break apart, you can add the tomato sauce.


After adding the tomato sauce, you can add the salt and pepper.
Continue to stir the sauce occasionally, and using your spatula or spoon, you can continue to break down the tomatoes further.
 Allow the sauce to simmer over a low heat for ten minutes

Then Enjoy!

Tip:If you don not have tomatoes on hand or prefer a thin pasta sauce just omit them from the recipe.  They do however add a great deal of flavor and texture to the sauce.

Do you think you would like this recipe?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Tuesday's Tip! An Easy Way To Chop Fresh Herbs!

I always love cooking with fresh herbs.  Since it's been summer I have been using them more than ever.  It can be tricky and time consuming chopping or mincing lots of fresh herbs for a recipe. I recently started using an old trick for finely chopping herbs quickly.  

Using a small glass and a pair of kitchen shears you can quickly cut any kind of herb quickly.

Just put a handful of whatever leaves you are using in a tall glass, then using the kitchen shears snip the leaves until they are minced. The glass holds the leaves compressed in a small space so it is easy to cut them up. The sharp scissors are much better at cutting the herbs more finely than a rougher knife would be.


I used this trick the other night while making homemade pasta sauce.  I filled the glass with Basil, Oregano, Greek Oregano & Thyme picked fresh from the garden and in 30 seconds they were all chopped.

It was quick, easy, and no mess. All the herbs went straight from the glass into the sauce.

Have you ever used this method to cut herbs?

Saturday, September 1, 2012

A New Look For Only $0.96!

While I was organizing my new place I came across a piece of furniture that I didn't have much use for.  It was an old shelf that I have had for a while.  I remember when I was a kid we had it in our house, at that time it was a dark stained wood.  A while back my mom gave it a new life by painting it white and putting on a some new white knobs with a flowery design.  In my new place though I didn't have any place where this shelf would look good.  I got to thinking and decided to give this old shelf a facelift.
 I started by taking the shelf outside and with a drop cloth behind it I spray painted a fresh coat of black paint that I purchased for only $0.96.
 After I allowed the shelf to dry I brought it inside.  I didn't need to buy new knobs since I had some old knobs saved from old furniture.  I had both silver and brushed brass knobs to choose from.  After trying both I decided the brushed brass looked better.
Once the shelf was fully dry it was ready to hang.
I decided to use my new shelf as an addition to my homemade bar.  Now I have somewhere to display my glasses in the same area.
The shelves also come in handy for a bar idea.  They are the perfect size to hold bottle openers, cork screws  and bottle stoppers.
    Here is the whole bar area now.

 So for only 96 cents I was able to breathe new life into an old shelf and spruce up my new home.


Friday, August 24, 2012

An Easy Dinner Using Leftovers!

Tonight I created a yummy dish utilizing leftovers, a pantry staple and a few things picked fresh from the garden.  When I looked around tonight thinking about what to make for dinner I remembered I had about 11oz of ground beef in the freezer left over from homemade burgers earlier this week and a small amount of Italian sausage from making homemade pizza a few days ago.  I also a had a small amount of fresh picked grape tomatoes from the garden.  I got to thinking and instantly knew I could make a meat sauce.  I also knew I had a whole plethora of fresh herbs from the garden at my disposal.  Here is a quick and simple recipe.

The left overs I had were 11oz of lean ground beef and 1 1/2 Italian sausage links

On hand I had fresh genovese basil, oregano, greek oregano, thyme and garlic. I always try to use fresh herbs when possible.  Obviously if you dont have all or any, dry herbs can be used. 

In a saute pan I browned the ground beef in a little olive oil with fresh garlic.  When the beef was browned I I crumbled in the sausage.

Once all the meat was cooked I removed and drained the meat and put it aside in a bowl

At this point I put a pot of water on and once it boiled I added some rigatoni I had in the pantry.  Obviously a recipe like this can be altered in many ways and you can choose what ever kind of pasta you have or prefer.

After wiping the saute pan clean I added some Olive Oil, chopped fresh herbs, grape tomatoes and a little salt.  I sauteed them over a low heat until the skins of the tomatoes began to crack.  


Once the garlic began to brown and the tomato skins cracked, I added a can of tomato sauce puree. I added a dash of salt and a pinch of salt to taste as well as a dash of cracked red pepper flakes.  Using my wooden spatula I also applied pressure to the tomatoes to break them down a little further.  After that I added the meat to the sauce and allowed it to cook for a few minutes.

After the sauce began to simmer I removed it from the heat and used it to top off my rigatoni.  After adding a small amount of fresh Romano cheese on top I had a perfectly De-Lish dinner!


Have any other ideas for making a dish with these ingredients?