Sunday, July 5, 2020

Grilled Vegetables

My latest craze is making grilled vegetables using metal skewers we bought at the JOBLOT end of summer clearance a few years ago. We use hardwood charcoal on our Weber grill.

I chopped the veggies into skewer sizes pieces (2") Spanish onion, bell peppers, and leave the baby bella mushrooms whole. I dried the mushrooms with paper towel. Then I put all of the veggies in a large plastic bucket with a lid and shake it.

I made a marinade using olive oil and wine vinegar and dried oregano Adobo and salt. I whisk it until emulsified and let it all marinate for at least an hour.

After they have marinated I skewer the veggies and place them on the fire. Check and rotate often. They cook fast.

Make a lot because they taste even better the next day on sandwiches.

3 green bell peppers, 3-4 red bell peppers, 2 - 1 pound boxes of baby bella, pick the largest ones!
Spanish onion (the huge white ones) or big red onions.


Eating cod is like eating water! I baked a slab of cod with olive oil and a sprinkle of Adobo at (preheated) 350 F for exactly 20 minutes.
So simple and good, we ate it for breakfast.

Silky Salmon Slow and Low

I tell everyone about Chef Michael Smith's Baked Salmon. The slow and low method. We have never gone back to the old way.
Chef Michael Smith's Slow-Baked Salmon with Honey Mustard Glaze

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

My Best Tomato Sauce Ever

I just made my best tomato sauce ever so I am going to write down exactly what I did for future reference.

I have made tomato sauce for decades slow cooking it on the stove top but this time I made it in my large 10 qt Instant Pot and cooked it for an hour which is the equivalent of cooking it all day.

The first thing I did was chop two celery hearts and added them to my Instant Pot. (My market was out of regular celery otherwise I would've used one head). Then I chopped a gigantic white onion and added it to the pot. Then I peeled a bulb and a half of (big) garlic cloves (I cored and chopped them with kosher salt to absorb the vital juices) and added them to the pot. Then I added 2 bay leaves, and about a tablespoon each of dried parsley, basil, + oregano and 2 teaspoons of red chili flakes. (If you have fresh herbs, by all means use them.)

I sauteed all of this in a generous amount of olive oil on the Instant pot sautee setting. I let this cook for ten minutes while I prepared the next steps.

I opened 2 (6 oz) cans of large black olives and drained out the water and chopped them up and added them to the onions and celery mixture. (olives have always been my secret to great sauce)

Then I opened 3 cans of (28 oz) crushed tomatoes and spooned them into the onion celery olive mixture.

I turned off the sautee button to avoid splattering sauce.

I used a cup of water to rinse out any of the extra tomato clinging to the inside of the tomato cans (since the recipe calls for a cup of water anyway).

Then I added about a cup of Carlo Rossi Chianti to sweeten the sauce and give it age.

Then I added 1 6oz can of tomato paste. (REMEMBER don't stir it in, leave it as a lump otherwise you'll get a burn notice).

I tasted the sauce even before cooking it further and it was already fantastic!

I closed the lid and hit the pressure cooker for 20 minutes, and did this cycle 3 times! Which means perhaps next time I will hit the button for 60 minutes. The first time it didn't seal, so good thing I was checking on it.

When the hour was up I let it rest and release on it's own for 25-30 minutes while I cleaned up. It tasted amazing, it tasted like it cooked all day and rested overnight. I've never made a sauce this good. Usually tomato sauce takes 2 days to taste this good. We ate it with whole wheat spaghetti and Romano cheese sprinkled on top. Tonight we'll have it on homemade sourdough baked as a pizza.

Note: The sauce seemed liquidy at first but after stirring and cooling it was perfect.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Party Wings from Butcher Brothers

We just went to the store and bought JC and Manny's party wings. "So it must be a party!" We are pressure cooking them for 10 minutes with a natural release which might add 10 minutes. Then we will broil them with homemade BBQ sauce. Since we purchased ten pounds of wings the price dropped and they gave us a dozen eggs!

Spicy Hot Pickled Eggs

Sriracha Pickled Eggs

"These make a quick, tasty snack any time of day or for those following a low-carb diet. I love trying out new flavor combinations, and decided to experiment with one of my favorite condiments: sriracha."
2 d 30 m 12 servings 84 cals

1 1/2 cups white vinegar
1 cup water
1 small onion, sliced

1/3 cup sriracha hot sauce
1 teaspoon sea salt
12 hard-boiled eggs, peeled

2 d 30 m

Combine vinegar, water, onion, sriracha hot sauce, and sea salt in a saucepan; bring to a simmer. Remove saucepan from heat and cool liquid slightly.
Place eggs in a 1-quart jar. Pour vinegar mixture over eggs. Seal jar and refrigerate, occasionally shaking jar, for at least 2 days.

Cook's Note:
The sriracha tends to separate and settle after sitting for awhile. Give jar a gentle shake to recombine liquid.
Prior to pouring brine over eggs, strain with a fine mesh strainer if you prefer less sediment in finished product.

Nutrition Facts

Per Serving: 84 calories; 5.3 g fat; 1.8 g carbohydrates; 6.4 g protein; 212 mg cholesterol; 492 mg sodium. Full nutrition

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Oatmeal Cups

Baked Oatmeal Cups

This is a great on-the-go breakfast option that is quick and easy. Make these ahead of time and have on hand in the freezer. Healthy and delicious are both in this yummy breakfast cup.
Course Breakfast
Keyword baking, berries, easy, fresh, from scratch, homemade, kid friendly
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 34-36 minutes

2 cups unsweetened applesauce (mashed banana, or pumpkin)
2 extra large eggs
1 tbsp honey we used raw honey (or molasses)
1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk (or buttermilk)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp cinnamon

Baked Oatmeal Cups with berries

Grease your muffin pan fairly well. (We used olive oil)
In a large bowl, mix together the applesauce, eggs, honey, milk, and vanilla extract. Mix until well combined.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the oats, baking powder, and cinnamon.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until well combined.
Evenly distribute the batter into the muffin pan. *Add in fruit or chocolate chips if you want extra flavor. After you drop a handful on top of each muffin, take a knife and gently swirl them into the batter.
Bake in a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees for 34-36 minutes.
Serve immediately and enjoy! *Store in an airtight container for 2-3 days or freeze them for a quick, on-the-go breakfast option!

Recipe Notes

If you prefer smaller, bite-sized cups, use a mini muffin pan. Just make sure not to bake them the full 34-36 minutes. Mini muffins will bake faster.

Had to Share

Jan 11
I went from “easy peasy lemon squeezy” to “messy distressy lemon zesty” in ten years.

Caroline's Oatcakes

Oatcakes (oat crackers)
oatcakes are a common staple in a Scottish cheese plate. Easy to make and tasty too.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Snack
Cuisine: Scottish
Keyword: oat crackers, Scottish oatcakes
Servings: 8 -10
Calories: 35kcal
Author: Caroline's Cooking

4 oz pinhead oatmeal 115g Scottish pinhead oatmeal, similar to steel cut (approx 2/3 cup)
1/4 cup whole wheat flour 35g (1 1/4oz) wholemeal flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda /bicarbonate of soda
1 tbsp unsalted butter 15g
3 tbsp water


Preheat the oven to 350F/175C.
In a bowl, mix together the oatmeal, flour, salt and baking soda.
Cut up the butter and rub it in to the oatmeal-flour mixture so it is broken up and mixed through.
Add the water and mix together and form into a ball.
Lightly flour a surface and a rolling pin and roll out the mixture to around 3-5mm/0.1 - 0.2in thick.
Cut circles out of the dough and place on a baking sheet/tray and bake for approx 15-20mins until they are dry, slightly firm and lightly golden.

Calories: 35kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 3mg | Sodium: 185mg | Potassium: 23mg | Vitamin A: 45IU | Calcium: 3mg | Iron: 0.3mg

Monday, February 10, 2020

Steel Cut Oats Nutritional Value

Steel Cut Oats Nutritional Value
Healthy Living, Learning Center on March 3, 2018 by Bob's Red Mill

Oats have been around virtually since time began and pack quite the nutritional wallop. However, oats didn't start to get cultivated for consumption and use until about 1000 BC.

Originally, oats were fed mostly to animals and shunned as "barbarian food" by ancient Rome and Greece. Eventually, however, the Roman empire fell and tribes that did consume oats passed on their knowledge and heritage to the rest of the world.

Oats began to be more routinely incorporated into the human diet and today are used in everything from puddings and baked goods to oatmeal porridges.
What Are Oats?

Oats are considered a "whole grain" and are chock full of valuable nutrients and soluble fiber that are good for the body. For this reason, oats are a great way to increase your intake of dietary fiber. An oat kernel, also sometimes called an oat groat, is made up of three distinct parts: the bran, the germ, and the endosperm.

"Oat groats" are simply a whole grain oat kernel with its husk, or chaff, removed.

When discussing steel cut oats, they are basically oat groats that have been sliced with a steel blade into two or three small pieces.

Steel cut vs. rolled oats have a chewy, heartier texture. Because of their distinct shape, steel cut oats must be simmered or soaked for longer, so that they soften up enough to eat.
The Nutritional Value of Oats

All types of oats can be a significant contribution to a healthy diet, especially for people who may have heart concerns or that suffer from ailments like diabetes.

The nutritional value of oats is significant and offers many health benefits, such as lowering bad cholesterol levels (LDL levels) and decreasing your risks of developing heart disease. Oats can help decrease high blood pressure, as well as lower your risk of developing type-2 diabetes. This is due to the high content of soluble fiber that is found in oats, especially steel cut oats.

If you struggle with weight gain or with losing weight, the high fiber content can also help you feel satiated for a longer period of time, reducing snacking and your overall caloric intake for the day.

Steel cut oats, rolled oats, and even instant oats are all fairly well-balanced in their nutritional makeup. Oats are made up of roughly 66% carbohydrate, 17% protein, 11% fiber, and 7% fat.

In terms of raw oats, 100 grams boasts about 10.6 grams of fiber and 16.9 grams of protein.

One of the healthiest fibers found in oats is a fiber called beta glucan. In low concentrations, beta glucans are unique in that they form a gel-like substance that seems to lower cholesterol, reduce blood sugar and insulin levels after eating carbohydrates, and increase the excretion of bile acids.

Beta glucans are thought to be associated with a myriad of health benefits, and it's what makes steel cut oats vs. rolled oats or instant oats so much more desirable.

Remake a World

“You must write every single day of your life... You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads... may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.”
― Ray Bradbury

Olive Oil

Olive oil: What are the health benefits?

Not sure why olive oil is recommended as a healthy cooking ingredient? Read on to find out.

All fats are dense in calories, but not all need to be shunned by those following a healthy eating plan. In fact, some fats — such as olive oil — are considered to be heart healthy. Why is this?

The main type of fat found in all kinds of olive oil is called monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs), which are considered a healthy dietary fat. You may gain certain health benefits if your diet replaces saturated and trans fats with fats that are mostly unsaturated, such as MUFAs. Saturated fats are found in meat, high-fat dairy products, and tropical oils, such as palm-kernel oil. Fats that are "partially hydrogenated," including some types of margarine and shortening, contain trans fats. Trans fats are also found in processed foods like salad dressings, cookies, snacks and fried foods.

By replacing the type of fat that you usually cook with — or spread on or pour over food — with olive oil, you’re making a good decision.

"Monounsaturated fat such as olive oil helps lower your risk of heart disease by improving related risk factors," says Donald Hensrud, MD, an associate professor of preventive medicine and nutrition at Mayo Clinic and medical editor-in-chief of The Mayo Clinic Diet. "For instance, MUFAs have been found to lower your low-density-lipoprotein cholesterol levels when substituted for saturated or trans fats in your diet. And some research shows that MUFAs may also benefit insulin levels and blood-sugar control, which can be especially helpful if you have type 2 diabetes."

Just remember that even healthy fats, such as those in olive oil, are high in calories, so use them only in moderation. Choose MUFA-rich foods such as olive oil in place of other fatty foods — particularly butter and stick margarine — not in addition to them. Use olive oil conservatively to enhance the flavor of foods, such as roasted vegetables and stir-fries, or in marinades or dressings for salads. And remember that you can't make unhealthy foods healthier simply by adding olive oil to them.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Amy + Jacky

Old-Fashioned Gingerbread

Shortening, butter or Baking Spray
2 3/4 cups whole wheat Flour
1 tablespoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

2/3 cup corn or veg oil
2 large eggs, beaten

3/4 cup molasses
1 cup lowfat buttermilk
1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 13x9-inch baking dish with baking spray. Combine flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in medium bowl; set aside.
Combine sugar, oil and eggs in large bowl; mix well. Gradually pour molasses into sugar mixture; stir until well blended. Alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk to sugar mixture; beat well. Spread batter evenly in prepared baking dish*.
Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes before serving. Cut into 12 pieces. Optional: dust with confectioners' sugar.
*grease, or butter and dust with flour

Irish Oats, Steel Cut Oats, Pinhead Oats, Groats

The secret to great Irish oats is to cook them with raisins. They plump up and infuse their sweetness into the oats. We used the instant pot today and we made the oats using the pot-within-a-pot method.

We put the trivet inside the instant pot and added water to the bottom of the trivet, placed a stainless steel bowl on the trivet and added the Irish oats, 3 C water, 1 C raisins, 1 teaspoon Kosher salt to the bowl and closed the lid. We set the pressure to 17 minutes and went and walked our dog.

It was hot and ready when we returned.

Easy Instant Pot Whole Chicken from Fresh or Frozen

Easy Instant Pot Whole Chicken from Fresh or Frozen
Easy Instant Pot Whole Chicken from Fresh or Frozen
Author: Catalina Castravet Serves: 6 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 1 hour Total time: 1 hr 10 mins


1 (4 pounds) whole chicken
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
6 tablespoons butter (room temperature or use olive oil)

Stuff Chicken (optional):

6 cloves garlic
1 lemon (halved)
4 sprigs fresh thyme
4 sprigs fresh rosemary
4 sprigs fresh oregano
3 bay leaves

Buttery Mixture for Broiling:

1/2 cup butter (unsalted)
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon thyme powder
1/2 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper


If cooking a FROZEN chicken you will not be able to stuff it, so skip the stuffing step. Proceed to the step where you add the chicken to the Instant Pot.

Remove giblets from chicken if present.

Stuff Chicken:

If cooking a fresh chicken, stuff the chicken with garlic cloves, lemon, fresh thyme, rosemary, oregano and bay leaves.
Optional: Gently loosen the skin from the chicken breast, lifting it from the meat with your fingers and rub about 3 tablespoons of butter (or olive oil) under it. You can also add some seasoning.
Rub the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter (or olive oil) all over the chicken surface. You can also add some seasoning if desired.


Add a trivet with handles to the Instant Pot and add the chicken broth. Place the chicken, breast side down, on top of it.
Cover with the lid and lock it, point valve to sealed.

Press High Pressure and set the timer to 25 minutes. See the blog post for cooking times based on chicken weight and if using fresh or frozen chicken.
After the cooking time is done and the Instant Pot beeps, let the pressure naturally release for 15 minutes, followed by a quick release of the remaining pressure.

Using a food thermometer, check the internal temperature in the thickest part of the breast, it should be a minimum of 165 degrees F. If needed, pressure cook for 5-10 more minutes.
Turn on the Oven Broiler.

Buttery Mixture for Broiling:

Melt butter and mix with garlic powder, onion powder, thyme powder, paprika, oregano, salt and pepper.


Open the pressure cooker lid and remove the chicken from the pot and place it on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and drizzled with olive oil.
Brush the chicken with the Buttery Mixture and place under the broiler for about 5-8 minutes for extra crispy skin.
Watch chicken closely, and if needed rotate the pan, so it doesn't burn. If needed brush more with the sauce from the pan. Broil until skin is golden-brown and crispy.
Serve and enjoy!

Calories: 541 Carbohydrates: 5 Protein: 24 Fat: 47 Saturated Fat: 22 Cholesterol: 165 Sodium: 929 Potassium: 369 Fiber: 1 Sugar: 0 Vitamin A: 1340 Vitamin C: 17 Calcium: 64 Iron: 2.3

Monday, December 23, 2019

Whole grains vs. regular grains: What's the difference?

Whole grains vs. regular grains: What's the difference?

Whole grains provide a variety of healthy nutrients and are naturally low in fat. Here's how to get more into your diet.

Chances are you eat lots of grains already. But are they the healthiest kind? If you're like most people, you're not getting enough whole grains in your diet. Aim to choose whole grains for at least half of all the grains you eat. Read on to learn about the different types and why you should skip refined and enriched grains.

Types of grains

Also called cereals, grains and whole grains are the seeds of grasses cultivated for food. They come in many shapes and sizes, from large kernels of popcorn to small quinoa seeds.

Whole grains. These unrefined grains haven't had their bran and germ removed by milling; therefore, all of the nutrients remain intact. Whole grains are better sources of fiber and other important nutrients, such as selenium, potassium and magnesium. Whole grains are either single foods, such as brown rice and popcorn, or ingredients in products, such as buckwheat in pancakes or whole wheat in bread.
Refined grains. In contrast to whole grains, refined grains are milled, a process that strips out both the bran and germ to give them a finer texture and longer shelf life. The refining process also removes many nutrients, including fiber. Refined grains include white flour, white rice, white bread and degermed cornflower. Many breads, cereals, crackers, desserts and pastries are made with refined grains, too. These processed foods will not keep your blood sugar levels steady, which is why you will be hungry again soon after consumption.
Enriched grains. Enriched means that some or many of the nutrients that are lost during processing are added back in later.

Most refined grains are enriched, and many enriched grains are also fortified — meaning nutrients that don’t occur naturally in the food are added — with other vitamins and minerals, such as folic acid and iron. Enriched grains lack fiber and are not an optimal choice because while they have traces of nutrition, many important vitamins and nutrients are lost during processing.

Choosing whole grains

Eat whole grains rather than refined grains as often as possible. Examples of whole grains include:

Brown rice
Bulgur (cracked wheat)
Whole-wheat bread, pasta or crackers
Wild rice

It's not always easy to tell which grains are in a particular product, especially bread. For instance, a brown bread isn't necessarily whole wheat — the color may come from added coloring. If you're not sure something has whole grains, check the product label or the Nutrition Facts panel. Look for the word "whole" on the package, and make sure whole grains appear among the first items in the ingredient list.

How to enjoy more whole grains in your diet

Try these tips to add more whole grains to your meals and snacks:

Enjoy breakfasts that include whole-grain cereals, such as bran flakes, shredded wheat or oatmeal.
Substitute whole-wheat toast or whole-grain bagels for plain. Substitute low-fat bran muffins for pastries.
Make sandwiches using whole-grain breads or rolls. Swap out white-flour tortillas with whole-wheat versions.
Replace white rice with kasha, brown rice, wild rice or bulgur.
Feature wild rice or barley in soups, stews, casseroles and salads.
Add whole grains, such as cooked brown rice or whole-grain bread crumbs, to ground meat or poultry for extra body.
Use rolled oats or crushed bran cereal in recipes instead of dry bread crumbs.

Eating a variety of whole grains not only ensures that you get more health-promoting nutrients but also helps make your meals and snacks more interesting.
source: Mayo Clinic

Friday, November 29, 2019

Pumpkin Pancakes


1 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 cup vegetable oil
1 egg ( slightly beaten )
1 1/2 cups buttermilk ( 1/8 - 1/4 cup more if needed to keep batter thinner )
1/3 cup pureed pumpkin (pumpkin from a can will work)
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon vanilla


Preparation time 10mins
Cooking time 20mins
Adapted from
Step 1

In a medium sized bowl add flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and baking soda, whisk together with a fork to blend all of the dry ingredients.

Add vegetable oil, slightly beaten egg, 1 and 1/2 cups of buttermilk and stir until mixture is just well blended.

Add pumpkin, vanilla, and pumpkin pie spice and stir until you have a uniform mixture.

Heat a frying pan to a medium heat or use a griddle and heat to 350 degrees.

Oil the cooking area slightly with vegetable oil, and then pour batter onto surface.

About 1/2 cup of batter creates a pancake that is easy to handle.

Flip your pancake over when you see the edges of the pancake become dry and small bubbles from on the uncooked side.

After pancakes are flipped cook for another minute or two.

Turning pancakes is made much easier if you spray your pancake turner with a non stick spray.

This recipe makes about nine 4" - 5" pancakes.

Serve warm with your favorite syrup

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Smoked Ham Hocks Greens and Beans Soup

After swimming I walked over to my local butcher shop and bought a smoked ham hock. He cut it into quarters. I am pressure cooking it with a pound of kidney beans, onions, lots of fresh garlic, red wine, Cholula hot sauce, frozen corn, spinach, oregano, bay leaf, Adobo. I took pointers from this recipe but mine is much more of a soup at this point.
Update: Today I bought three bunches of collard greens and chopped them steamed them in the pressure cooker and added them into the soup with more water and chianti Adobo and salt. It was fantastic!

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Roasting Cauliflower, Eggplant, Carrots

Home-roasting chopped cauliflower, carrots, eggplant, kale in a 450 degree oven drizzled with olive oil Adobo kosher salt...

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Blackeyed Peas

I just cooked a batch of blackeyed peas and they are so good. I love them because they taste like DIRT! Delicious dirt!


Two heads of kale steamed in chicken bullion. Then I added olive oil, 2 pieces of cooked chopped bacon, 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds, and slices of raw red onion. Delicious.