Recipes and Tips

Pizza Dough (easy)


  • 1 cup warm water 

  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast

  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading and dusting your work surfaces

  • 1 Tablespoon Honey

  • 1Tablespoon Olive Oil

  • 1 Tablespoon Oregano or Orietta’s Sicilian Seasoning


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  If you have a pizza stone, be sure it's in the oven before you turn it on (This prevents is from cracking). If you are not using a pizza stone you can use a cookie sheet -- see instructions below.

  2. Pour the warm water in a large bowl. Add the yeast and let it sit for about a minute until it's looking a little foamy.

  3. Add the flour, Honey, and olive oil. Stir to combine (I use a sturdy spatula or wooden spoon)

  4. Flour a clean work surface and dump the dough onto it. Knead the dough for about 4 minutes, incorporating any dry bits that weren't mixed in the bowl.

  5. Place the dough back in the bowl and cover it with a kitchen towel (I know the bowl is dirty; it's fine.). Put the bowl on top of the stove (the heat from the oven will make the dough more pliable) and let it sit for 10 to 20 minutes.

  6. While you wait for the dough, get your pizza toppings ready -- grate your cheese, slice onions and peppers, etc.

  7. If you have a pizza peel, rub it with flour and dust with cornmeal (this prevents sticking). If you do not have a pizza peel you can use a wooden cutting board OR you can assemble and bake on a cookie sheet.

  8. Divide the dough in half (well-floured hands help) and stretch it carefully into a circle. I like a thinner crust so I just leave a slight lip around the edge of my circle and I stretch it pretty thin but this is all about preference (Note: thicker dough will take a little longer to cook).

  9. Place your circle on the peel/cutting board/cookie sheet you set up and add your toppings.

  10. If you are using the cookie sheet, place it right in the oven (middle rack) and bake for 10 minutes.

  11. If you heated a pizza stone in the oven, carefully slide your pizza off the peel or cutting board and onto the stone. Bake for 10 to 17 minutes (more if you opted for a thicker crust) or until the crust is golden and the cheese is melted.

Lavender Lemonade


20 ice cubes

1 cup Lavender Sugar

2 cups boiling water

8 lemons

5cups cold water or as needed

****(optional) 3 tablespoons sugar or Honey for extra sweetness. Only add after base is made.


  1. Place the lavender sugar into a bowl and pour boiling water over and allow to steep for 10 minutes, Strain out lavender debris and discard. Place ice cubes into pitcher.

  2. Squeeze lemons into pitcher, getting as much juice as you can. Top off the pitcher with cold water and stir.

  3. Taste, and adjust lemon juice, sugar/honey as you desire.

Mint Chocolate Chip Cheese cake  Dip


  • 8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature

  • ⅓ cup powdered sugar sifted

  • 4 drops teaspoon peppermint oil

  • 8 ounces cool whip

  • 1/8 teaspoon green gel coloring

  • 1 cup Chocolate plus a few more for garnish




In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large bowl using hand beaters, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 1-2 minutes.


Add the powdered sugar and peppermint oil , and beat on low until combined. Increase speed to medium and beat 1 minute. Add the cool whip and green gel coloring and beat on low until combined and the color is uniform. Fold in the filled morsels.


Pour mixture into your serving dish and top with additional filled morsels for garnish. Serve immediately, or cover and return to the refrigerator before serving.


This recipe makes about 4 cups of dip. 

Chocolate cake in a jar

Chocolate cake in a Jar

1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt



At home

1 homemade chocolate cake mix
3 large eggs
1 stick of butter, softened
1-1/4 cup milk
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

  1. Bring eggs, butter and milk to room temperature.

  2. Pour cake mix into mixing bowl.

  3. Cut up butter, and mix into cake mix.

  4. Beat eggs in small bowl. Add vanilla.

  5. Mix egg mixture into cake batter.

  6. Add milk, and mix just long enough to bring everything together.

  7. Butter and flour cake pan(s).

  8. Then, pour batter into pans, and bake at 350; approximately 28 minutes for 8×8 or 9×9 cakes; 30 minutes for 13×9 cake. You cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

  9. Allow cake(s) to cool 10 minutes. Then, remove from pan.

  10. Allow cake(s) to cool completely before frosting.

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Pastry Pinwheels


            2 Pie Crusts homemade or refrigerated

            Butter (softened at room temperature)

           White Sugar

           Ground Cinnamon


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat baking sheet with cooking spray, or cover with non-stick aluminum foil or parchment paper.

  2. Roll (or unroll if refrigerated and premade) into rectangle.

  3. Spread butter evenly over pie crusts.

  4. Sprinkle white sugar evenly over each pie crust.

  5. Sprinkle cinnamon evenly over the pie crusts.

  6. Roll tightly into a log.

  7. Slice into 1/2-inch slices and lay onto prepared baking sheet. Can put next to each other or separate. Sprinkle any extra cinnamon and sugar mix for sweeter finish.

  8. Bake in 350 degrees F oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until crust is lightly brown and sugar has started to caramelize.

  9. Remove from oven. Let cool for 5 minutes.

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Vanilla Powder  That I carry

Ingredients: Natural and Artificial Vanilla Flavor.

This highly concentrated vanilla flavoring is designed as a substitute for liquid vanilla extracts, combining natural and artificial flavors to replicate a vanilla extract taste. As there are many strengths and types of flavorings, we don't recommend this as a 1-to-1 replacement. 1/10th of the amount of liquid extract used is a good starting point, but several tests may be needed before you arrive at your own perfect ratio for substitution.

Vanilla bean powder is only recommended as substitute if the recipe is to be bake i.e. cakes, cookies,etc. Substitute 1/2 measure. 1/2 tsp powder = 1tsp liquid extract.


Single Vanilla Extract

Most pure vanilla extract you find in stores is single-fold extract. The US Food and Drug Administration requires batches of pure vanilla extract to contain 13.35 ounces of vanilla beans per gallon of liquid, which is 65% water and 35%  alcohol. Sugar may or may not be added and the beans will be steeped in the solution for several months. The resulting vanilla extract is dark brown and highly aromatic. This is the most popular type of vanilla used by home bakers and you can find it in most grocery stores. Just make sure the label says pure vanilla extract or you may leave with much cheaper imitation vanilla, which is made from the residue of sapwood and charcoal and does not have the same taste.


Two-Fold Vanilla Extract

Two-fold, three-fold (our purée), or ten-fold vanilla extracts are also called essences. The fold equals the strength rating; so two-fold vanilla extract is made using twice as many vanilla beans as are in single-fold vanilla extract. Bakers prefer the double-fold extract because it gives a powerful aromatic vanilla flavor that cannot be duplicated by simply adding twice as much single-fold extract. When baking you can use the same amount of two-fold vanilla extract that the recipe calls for if you want a strong flavor, or you can use a little bit less and make the bottle last longer. Most two-fold vanilla extracts are not available in supermarkets and must be ordered. The best ones for baking are steeped in Madagascar vanilla beans and called Madagascar Pure Vanilla Extract.








To ensure proper handling, storage and preparation of frozen turkey, follow these tips:


  • Always look for the "safe food handling" label on packages

  • The label will give you tips for proper food handling and cooking

  • Make sure the packaging is tightly sealed

  • Pick up the turkey and other meat items last and ask to have them bagged separately from other groceries.


  • Make sure the refrigerator temperature is set below 40°F

  • To freeze an uncooked, whole turkey, leave turkey in its original wrapping

  • To freeze uncooked turkey parts, wrap in freezer wrap or tightly sealed freezer bags and mark with the date

  • To freeze cooked turkey, wrap in freezer wrap or tightly sealed freezer bags and mark with the date

  • A frozen, whole turkey can be kept for approximately 12 months in a freezer set at or below 0°F

  • Cooked turkey can be kept frozen for approximately two to six months in a freezer set at or below 0°F

  • Cooked turkey should be eaten or frozen within three to four days

  • Frozen turkey parts can be kept for approximately nine months in a freezer set at or below 0°F.


  • Wash hands thoroughly for 20 seconds before, during and after handling raw poultry

  • Use two separate cutting boards to avoid cross-contamination, one for raw meats, poultry and seafood and the other for ready-to-eat foods

  • Refer to the "safe food handling" label on the package for proper preparation

  • Thaw turkey in the refrigerator (never on the counter) or in the microwave using the defrost setting or under cold water

  • For safe thawing in the refrigerator, allow about one day for every four to five pounds of turkey to thaw in the refrigerator

  • When thawing turkey in the microwave, follow owner's manual. Cook immediately after thawing in the microwave because some areas may become warm and begin to cook during microwaving

  • Turkey may also be thawed in cold water in its original airtight packaging or in a leak-proof bag. Submerge the bird or cut-up parts in cold water, changing the water every 30 minutes. Estimate minimum thawing time to be 30 minutes per pound for whole turkey

  • Do not refreeze thawed turkey

  • Use a food thermometer to cook to a proper internal temperature of at least 165°F

  • When cooking a stuffed turkey, the center of the stuffing must reach 165°F. For safety and uniform doneness of turkey, cook stuffing separately

  • Refrigerate leftover turkey promptly within two hours.

Frozen      Turkey
Christmas Crack


  • 1 cup dark brown sugar

  • 1 cup (2-sticks) butter

  • 1 sleeve of club crackers

  • 12 ounces chocolate chips


  • In a saucepan, combine the brown sugar in the butter and bring them to a boil. Boil for three minutes.

  • Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cover a jelly roll pan with aluminum foil. Cover the foil with a layer of club crackers.

  • Pour the buttery/sugary mix over the crackers, making sure they are all saturated. Put pan in the oven for 10 minutes.

  • Take pan out and sprinkle chocolate chips over the crackers. Let sit until chips soften. Spread the chips with a spatula or the back of a spoon. Freeze for two hours.

  • Remove the pan from the fridge and peel off the aluminum foil. Crack it up into pieces, whatever size you'd like. Store in a container and refrigerate until you're ready to eat!

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Cranberry Sauce using dried cranberries


  • 2 Cup Dried Cranberries

  • 1 Cup Sugar

  • 1 Cup Water

  • 1 Teaspoon Lemon Juice ⠀⠀


  1. In a deep bottomed pan, add dried cranberries and water. Let this come to a boil.

  2. Reduce the flame, and on a low flame, let this cook for 5 minutes. Stir occasionally.

  3. Add lemon juice and sugar. Mix well.

  4. Cover and let it simmer for 5-8 minutes or till all the water gets evaporated.

  5. Allow this mixture to cool down.

  6. Blend it. (While blending, add 4-5 tablespoons of water, so that it blends easily)

  7. Add the blended mixture into a pan.

  8. On a low flame, cook this mixture till all the moisture evaporates.

  9. Homemade Instant Cranberry Jam / Thick Cranberry Sauce is ready!                                                        


Pumpkin Delight Cake





  • 1 c flour

  • 1/2 c butter softened

  • 3/4 c pecans chopped

  • 8 oz cream cheese softened

  • 1 c powdered sugar

  • 3 c whipped topping divided

  • 2 1/2 c milk

  • 3 pkgs white chocolate (or vanilla) instant pudding mix (3.4 oz size)

  • 15 oz can pumpkin puree

  • 1 tsp pumpkin spice


Layer 1

  1. Mix flour, butter and ½ cup pecans together. Press into a sprayed 9x9 OR 9x13 pan. Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees, then remove and let cool.

    NOTE: If you are using a 9x13 pan, or would like a thicker crust, add an additional ½ cup flour, ¼ cup butter and ¼ cup chopped pecans.

Layer 2

  1. Blend cream cheese and powdered sugar, add 1 cup of the whipped topping, then spread over cooled crust.

Layer 3

  1. Mix milk, pudding mix, canned pumpkin, pumpkin spice and 1 cup whipped topping until smooth. Spread over top of layer 2.

Layer 4

  1. Spread remaining 1 cup of whipped topping and sprinkle pecans.

  2. Let chill for 3 hours or until set. Serve chilled, and ENJOY!

Bakers Apples

20 Ounce

New York State’s bigger and better answer to Granny Smith Apples, which can not be grown here because they require a longer season to ripen than New York state conditions will allow. This heirloom variety is famous not only for its massive size but excellent baking qualities as well.

  • Best for pies, applesauce, and baking

  • My favorite pie apple, but not so great for eating.

  • Available September to November


Thought to be a cross between Granny Smith and Lady Hamilton. Holds up very well in cold storage.

  • Sweet and tangy flavor

  • Excellent for snacking and cooking, while this isn’t my top choice in a pie apple, I have used it in pies with other varieties.

  • A later variety apple, available starting October


This all-purpose apple was developed at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, New York, the USA in 1898.

  • Juicy, sweet apple with just a hint of tartness

  • Excellent for eating, salads, sauces, pies and baking

  • Good for freezing



Introduced in 1948 and is a cross between the Golden Delicious and the Indo apple varieties, first grown in Japan.

  • A crunchy and sweet apple.

  • Excellent for eating, sauces, baking and freezing

  • October through September


It’s a cross between a Red Spy and Empire apple and was created at Cornell University.

  • Excellent for pies and sauces

Ida red

Developed in Idaho, it’s a cross between two old-time New York apples, Jonathan, and Wagener, that were first grown in Penn Yan in 1791.

  • Excellent for sauces, cooking, baking and pies

Northern Spy

Discovered around 1800 in East Bloomfield, New York, south of Rochester, New York, as surviving sprouts of a seedling that had died and was cultivated with stock brought in from Connecticut. Northern Spy apples are tarter than most popular varieties, and its flesh is crunchier than most, with a thin skin, and is my runner up for pie baking. The only reason this is in the runner-up position is because it can be tricky to find. Northern Spy apples are a heirloom variety that fell out of favor somewhat due to the dull coloration, irregular shape, tendency to bruise easily, and lack of disease resistance.

  • Best for pies, apple sauce, and baking

  • Somewhat harder to find

  • Available staring around October


This old-time variety originated in Ohio in 1816 but is widely grown in New York State.

  • Excellent for sauces, baking, and pies                                                                                                                                                                                         

Apple Crisp


1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

1 cup Light Brown sugar

1/2 cup butter, melted (1 stick)

1 teaspoon apple pie spice

**if using premade pie filling cut baking to 30 minutes***



6 medium baking apples, such as Granny Smith (2 1/2 to 3 pounds)

1 orange, zested and juiced

1/4 to 1/2 cup (50 to 100 g) sugar, depending on tartness of apples

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg



·        Make Filling

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch square (or 2-quart) baking dish.

Core apples then cut into 3/4-inch pieces. Add apples to a large bowl with orange zest, orange juice, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir then add to baking dish.

o   Make Topping

Combine flour, oats, sugar and the salt in a medium bowl. Add the melted butter then stir until all the flour has been moistened by the butter and topping is crumbly. Sprinkle over apple filling. (We like to use our hands to do this. As we sprinkle, we press the crumbles together to create larger clumps of topping.)

 Bake Crisp

Bake 1 hour to 1 hour and 30 minutes or until juices are thickened, the apples are tender and the topping has turned light golden brown. If the topping starts to become too brown, cover with aluminum foil and continue to bake until the apples are done.

Ceylon VS Saigon


For fine desserts Ceylon Cinnamon is an absolute must because it is subtle, smells very mild and is slightly sweeter in taste. It never takes center stage in the recipe but adds a very complex flavor. Although Ceylon Cinnamon smells mild, if you grind and add it to baked goods or Cinnamon French toast for example, the aroma it gives off is a very sophisticated and fragrant.

Most well established recipes that call for Cinnamon came from Europe or the middle east and should use Ceylon Cinnamon. The same applies to any Mexican recipes that calls for Cinnamon. This is because the taste profile of these desserts were designed with Ceylon Cinnamon. Mexico is the biggest importer of Ceylon Cinnamon.

However because the supply in the US is overwhelmingly Cassia Cinnamon, most people have been using Cassia Cinnamon. That makes the desserts taste very different. Even many Mexican desserts made in the US erroneously substitute Cassia Cinnamon, which ruins the original taste profile of the dessert. Because Ceylon Cinnamon tends to be mild and sweet, it lends itself to creating sophisticated layers of flavors that is not possible with the harsher Cassia Cinnamon.

Most cinnamon sold in the United States is the cassia variety, which is often labeled as Chinese cinnamon. Its scientific name is Cinnamomom cassia, also known as Cinnamomom aromaticaum. Ceylon cinnamon, which is native to Sri Lanka, is more difficult to find and more expensive. Its scientific name is Cinnamomum zeylanicum, and it is also known as Cinnamomum verum -- "verum" means "true." You may have to go to a specialty gourmet store or upscale food market to find it.

Benefits of Cinnamon

Both types of cinnamon have been studied for their health benefits. In a 2012 study published in the "International Journal of Preventive Medicine," diabetic patients were given 3 grams of an unspecified cinnamon supplement per week or a placebo. At the end of eight weeks, the test subjects experienced improvements in blood sugar and triglycerides, and they lost weight compared with the placebo group. A 2012 review article published in "Diabetic Medicine" examined 16 studies of Ceylon cinnamon specifically. The researchers uncovered beneficial effects on diabetic complications, with no toxicity to the liver and kidneys. Toxicity might, however, be an issue for cassia.




This is another Cinnamon which has gained in popularity recently. Originating in Vietnam this cinnamon admittedly makes a good first impression in terms of sheer aroma and taste. It tends to be even more spicy and strong and sweet at the same time. It's a little more expensive than Cassia Cinnamon but has the highest levels of Coumarin. Saigon cinnamon is derived from the bark of cassia trees, which are native to Southeast Asia. Saigon cinnamon, also known as Vietnamese cassia, is one of the sweetest and strongest varieties of cinnamon. It's a member of the Cinnamomun cassia family -- the predominant cinnamon variety sold in the United States, according to Pennington Biomedical Research Center. Saigon cinnamon provides valuable health benefits common to all cinnamon varieties.



Type 2 Diabetes

Spices such as Saigon cinnamon display insulin-enhancing properties. Of the two main classifications of cinnamon, Cinnamomum cassia has shown greater benefits for blood glucose levels and insulin levels than Cinnamomum Zeylanicum. An article published in "Diabetes Care" in December 2003 noted a study conducted on 30 men and 30 women with Type 2 diabetes found that after consuming cinnamon for 40 days -- whether the dose was 1, 3 or 6 grams -- the test subjects showed reduced blood sugar levels, triglycerides, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and total cholesterol. The study also suggested that including cinnamon in the daily diet might reduce diabetes and heart disease risk factors in people with Type 2 diabetes.

Anti-Inflammatory and Antimicrobial

Inflammation is one of your body's natural defense mechanisms against infection and injury, but when uncontrolled it could result in painful inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, asthma and cancer. According to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, in vitro studies -- those conducted in laboratory vessels or in a controlled laboratory environment, but not on humans -- have demonstrated cinnamon's anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.


Possible Cancer Protection

Cancer remains the second most common cause of death in the United States, accounting for nearly one out of every four deaths, according to the American Cancer Society. An article published in "BMC Cancer" in July 2010 noted a study that tested the anti-tumor activity of cinnamon extract on various tumor cells. The tests were performed in vitro and in living mice. The results showed that the cinnamon extract suppressed cell tumor growth and caused tumor cell death.

Safety Considerations

Saigon cinnamon is generally safe when used in amounts commonly found in foods, according to MedlinePlus. Cassia varieties of cinnamon -- including Saigon cinnamon -- contain significant amounts of coumarin, which is linked to potential liver damage. If you have liver disease, avoid dietary supplements containing cassia cinnamon, but using cinnamon for seasoning should be fine. If you have any concerns, however, talk with your doctor before consuming cinnamon. Additionally, because not enough is known about Saigon cinnamon use during pregnancy, talk with your doctor before using it if you're pregnant or breastfeeding.




Ceylon Cinnamon grows best in sandy soil. The tree grows to about 49 feet in its natural state but is cut earlier for commercial purposes. It has a thin bark. The leaves are shiny and leathery on top and dull on the underside. The flowers are white with an oval sized fruit which becomes bluish with white spots when ripe. The leaves when crushed are spicy and hot to taste while peeling away the outer bark of the tree yields a very strong cinnamon smell.

The biggest advantage of Ceylon Cinnamon is ultra-low Coumarin levels. Coumarin in high doses causes liver failure, so for people who take Cinnamon on a daily basis, Ceylon Cinnamon is the preferred choice.


Important Differences

Ceylon cinnamon has a sweeter, more delicate flavor than cassia does, which may make it preferable for flavoring desserts and lighter dishes. But the more important distinction may be the presence of a chemical called coumarin, a natural plant chemical that acts as a blood thinner. This chemical is present in much higher concentrations in cassia than in Ceylon cinnamon. It is contraindicated for anyone taking prescription blood thinners. Coumarin has also been shown to be toxic to the liver and kidneys, and it may also be carcinogenic, which can negate any health benefits of cinnamon.


Other Benefits of Ceylon Cinnamon

In addition to its potential beneficial effect on glucose metabolism and body weight, Ceylon cinnamon also contains antioxidant compounds called proanthocyanadins. These are similar to the antioxidant compounds found in green tea and grapes. Coumarin-free Ceylon cinnamon may also be beneficial to the liver, according to studies reviewed by "BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine" in 2013, with no adverse effects to other organ systems. Other benefits may be antimicrobial and anti-parasitic activity, digestive health and blood pressure reduction.

Opt for Ceylon over Cassia

It is probably OK to use smalls amount of cassia occasionally. But if you are a daily user, it pays to seek out Ceylon, or “true” cinnamon. Even if you do choose the Ceylon variety, more is not necessarily better. Use it in moderation for culinary and medicinal purposes, and monitor any health conditions with your physician. Some bottles of powdered cinnamon may not specify which type it is. Usually Ceylon will be labeled. If you have unlabeled, whole cinnamon sticks -- which are actually the plant bark -- the rolled bark of Ceylon cinnamon will be thinner and multilayered compared to the thicker bark of cassia.

Cinnamon Bread


  • 1 cup butter, softened

  • 2 cups sugar

  • 2 eggs

  • 2 cups buttermilk or 2 cups milk plus 2 tablespoons vinegar or lemon juice

  • 4 cups flour

  • 2 teaspoons baking soda


Cinnamon/sugar mixture:

  • 2/3 cups sugar

  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon



  1. Cream together butter, 2 cups of sugar, and eggs. 

  2. Add milk, flour, and baking soda. 

  3. Put 1/2 of batter (or a little less) into 2 greased loaf pans (1/4 in each pan). 

  4. Mix in separate bowl the 2/3 c sugar and cinnamon. 

  5. Sprinkle 3/4 of cinnamon mixture on top of the 1/2 batter in each pan. 

  6. Add remaining batter to pans; sprinkle with last of cinnamon topping. 

  7. Swirl with a knife. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 min. or until toothpick tester come clean.

Cool in pan for 20 minutes before removing from pan.

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Pepper Steak

Marinade Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce

  • 1/3 cup water

  • 2 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar

  • 1 Tbsp. corn starch

  • 1/8 tsp. coarsely-ground black pepper (or more/less to taste)

Pepper Steak Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. thinly sliced flank steak or sirloin, cut diagonally across the grain into thin strips

  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil

  • 12 mini sweet peppers, thinly sliced (or 2 regular-sized bell peppers, thinly sliced)

  • 2 scallions, sliced diagonally into 1 inch pieces, white and green pieces separated

  • 2 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger

  • 4 garlic cloves, minced

To Make The Marinade:

Add all marinade ingredients to a large bowl or ziplock bag, and stir to combine. Add the sliced steak, and toss in the marinade. Cover/seal and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.

Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the sweet peppers and white part of the scallions, ginger, garlic, and saute for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a plate.

Add the remaining 1 Tbsp. oil to the saute pan. Remove half the steak from the marinade with a slotted spoon (reserving the marinade) and saute about 2-3 minutes until browned, stirring occasionally. Transfer steak to plate with the veggies. Saute the remaining steak, then transfer to plate.

Add the reserved marinade to the skillet and cook for 1 minute or until thickened. Add the steak, veggies and green parts of the scallions to the skillet, and stir to combine. Cook for an additional minute, then remove from heat.

Serve immediately over rice or quinoa.

Zucchini Chips

Prepping Your Veggies for Drying

For dehydrating vegetables, set your electric dehydrator to 140°F (60°C). Remember, thinly sliced veggies will dry faster, and if you get all the pieces roughly the same size, they will dry in roughly the same amount of time.

Most vegetables should undergo a pretreatment, such as blanching or dipping, before dehydrating. Why? They dry faster and last longer. If I’m going to spend weeks growing beautiful veggies, I can take a few more minutes to dry them correctly.

Blanching is briefly precooking food in boiling water or steam. It stops enzymatic reactions within the foods, which slows down decomposition. Blanching shortens drying time (skins are softer so water gets out easier) and kills many spoilage organisms

Steps for steam blanching (fruit and vegetables):

Adapted from Virginia Cooperative Extension.

  • Use a steamer or a deep pot with a tight-fitting lid that contains a wire basket or could fit a colander or sieve so steam can circulate around the vegetables.

  • Add several inches of water to the steamer or pot and bring to a rolling boil.

  • Loosely place vegetables into the basket, no more than 2 inches deep.

  • Place basket into pot (vegetables should not make contact with water).

  • Cover and steam until vegetables for the recommended time (Table 2).

  • Remove basket or colander and place in cold water to stop cooking.

  • Drain and place vegetables on drying tray.

How do I Know my Vegetables are Done Dehydrating?

Up to 90% or more of the moisture is removed from vegetables when they are fully dry. They should snap/break cleanly, and be brittle. This may take longer than listed times, depending on the humidity levels.

1 Cup sliced Zucchini

1 Tablespoon Olive oil

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons Paprika

Preheat oven to 450 F

Slice zucchini, put olive oil, salt pepper and paprika in medium bowl. Put zucchini in bowl, coat zucchini and put on a parchment paper on cookie sheet bake until crisp, 45minutes to an hour.

Eat while warm.

Hamburger Benefits

How do you like yours, Do you like beef?


Red meat, including hamburger, tends to be overlooked as part of a nutritious diet; but moderate amounts fit perfectly into a balanced diet. Hamburger meat packs your meal with nutrients, like iron, vitamin B-12 and protein. So if you're a generally healthy person, a hamburger once in awhile may have some benefits.



Optimal Iron Levels

Iron carries oxygen to cells, tissues and organs. Red meats, such as hamburger, are some of the best sources of heme iron. Heme iron is found only in animal-based foods, is highly bioavailable and easy for your body to utilize. Your body absorbs as much as 35 percent of the heme iron you get from meat, versus only two to 20 percent of nonheme iron from plant-based foods, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements. Adult men need eight milligrams of iron each day, while women require 18 milligrams. Pregnant women are recommended to intake up to 27 milligrams, and breastfeeding moms need nine milligrams. Four ounces of 90-percent lean broiled hamburger meat have more than three milligrams of iron.


Proper Red Blood Cell Function

Vitamin B-12 is essential for the production of new red blood cells. Without adequate B-12, red blood cells form abnormal shapes, resulting in decreased oxygen delivery throughout your body. Adults of both genders need 2.4 micrograms of B-12 each day. In some cases, women may need more. During pregnancy, you need 2.6 micrograms each day, which increases further to 2.8 micrograms if breastfeeding. A four-ounce broiled hamburger patty provides nearly three micrograms of vitamin B-12, helping you meet your daily recommendation from one meal.

Rich Protein Source

Hamburger is rich in protein, but you should select the leanest varieties, such as 90 percent lean or more, to avoid consuming too much fat and calories. Protein gives structure to cells, builds lean muscle mass and acts as a backup source of energy when carbohydrates and fat are not available. Your diet should consist of 10 to 35 percent protein. Because protein has four calories per gram, this equates to 50 to 175 grams per day for a 2,000-calorie diet, depending on your activity level. Four ounces of cooked hamburger meat have more than 30 grams of protein.



Cook hamburger meat thoroughly to eliminate pathogens that lead to food-borne illnesses. Checking the meat with a thermometer helps you determine if it reaches the proper cooking temperature. Another concern of red meat is the high saturated fat content. Saturated fat hardens arteries, elevates blood pressure and ups your risk of cardiovascular disease when you have too much. Do not have more than 10 percent of your total calories come from saturated fat, which contains nine calories per gram. For a 2,000-calorie diet, you can have a maximum of 22 grams of saturated fat per day. You'll get nearly 5.5 grams from four ounces of 90-percent lean hamburger meat.

Slow Cooker Party Wings

Slow Cooker Party Wings
3 pounds chicken wings split at joints, tips removed
1 cup Koss or Awesome sauce
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons honey

Heat oven to 400 degrees F.
Place chicken on foil-covered rimmed baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray.
Bake 30 minutes.
Transfer chicken to slow cooker; discard foil with any drippings.
Mix remaining ingredients until blended. Pour over chicken; stir to evenly coat. Cover with lid.
Cook on LOW 5 to 6 hours (or on HIGH 2-1/2 to 3 hours).

Grilled Veggies with Honey-Thyme Vinaigrette


2 tbsp. red wine vinegar

1/2 tsp. honey

Kosher salt


1 shallot, finely chopped

1 tsp. fresh thyme, plus more for serving

2 tbsp. olive oil, plus more for brushing vegetables

2 yellow summer squash, sliced

2 zucchini, sliced

1 small eggplant, sliced

2 red peppers, quartered lengthwise

1 lb. asparagus


  1. Heat grill to medium-high. In small bowl, whisk together vinegar, honey and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper to dissolve. Stir in shallot and thyme; let sit while grilling vegetables.

  2. Brush vegetables with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill, turning once, until lightly charred and just tender, 2 to 4 minutes per side; transfer to platter. 

  3. Stir 2 tablespoon oil into vinegar mixture; serve over vegetables and sprinkle with additional thyme if desired.