Showing posts from September, 2016

Hearty Sirloin Chili

Total Time: 2 hr
Prep: 15 min
Cook: 1 hr 45 min
Yield: 6 servings

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup flour
Salt and pepper
2 pounds sirloin, bite size chunks
2 large onions, chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
12 -ounce bottle ale
2 cups low sodium beef stock
4 cups crushed tomatoes
2 cups canned black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups canned kidney beans, drained and rinsed
Garnish: Shredded cheddar, red onion, scallions, sour cream

Heat oil in large heavy pot over medium high heat. In a pie plate combine salt, pepper and flour with a fork. Toss sirloin cubes with flour to coat. Shake off excess flour. Brown sirloin in pot on all sides and remove meat to a plate. If necessary add more oil to pan and add onions. Cook onions over medium heat until they begin to soften. Stir in green, red and jala…

Chicken in Cream Sauce

Yield: 2 Servings
Calories: 737

This dish is perfect to make for a lazy night in or a romantic dinner for two. You can also double and triple the quantities and serve as an appetizer or main course for a larger event like a family dinner or party.

8 oz chicken breast, sliced thin
4 oz creme fraiche
2 oz half and half
4 oz white wine
4 oz chicken stock
2 oz spring onions, chopped
2 medium red onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp fresh tarragon, finely chopped
1 tbsp fresh oregano, finely chopped
2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

1. In a medium bowl, toss the chicken in flour and season with salt and pepper.

2. In a medium to large pan, fry the chicken in olive oil until golden brown.

3. Add half of the tarragon and oregano into the pan and let wilt.

4. Remove chicken from pan and set aside. In the same pan, add the onions and garlic and saute until transparent.

5. Deglaze with white wine, bring to a boil, then add the chicken s…

Bursts of Love and Joy

There are days when small events give me the bursts of joy I need to swiftly carry on with my week-- today was one of those amazing days. This morning, my nephew came to visit after being away for over a year. He surprised me when he showed up and asked me to breakfast. After chatting over a delicious breakfast, I realized how much I’ve worried about him and really missed him – he was the family’s first baby so we all adore him and always want to protect him, so when he enlisted in the Navy, we were all worried about his safety and what his job would entail. Thankfully, he’s thriving, loving his job and has been safe.

When I got home from breakfast I was energized and felt little bursts of love and joy as I went about my day. These are the moments that make life so amazing! It’s becoming increasingly clear that during the unsteady times of an election year, and many injustices, unsteady times, and tragedies happening around the world --- that our only guarantee is that we’ll always hav…

Roasted Squash with Brown Butter and Cinnamon

Recipe courtesy of Alex Guarnaschelli
Total Time: 45 min
Cook: 45 min
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Level: Easy

3 pounds butternut squash (or other variety), washed, and peeled with a vegetable peeler
6 ounces unsalted butter
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons molasses
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 (1 to 2-inch) knob fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 fresh orange

This is great as a side dish, ravioli filling or, when enriched with some milk and cream, becomes an amazing soup! I love using Kuri and Banana squash varieties for added flavor.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Put the squash on a flat surface, then split in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Cut each piece in half, lengthwise, to form 4 wedges. Arrange in a single layer on 1 or 2 baking sheets.

In a small saucepan, over medium heat, add the butter. Wait until the butter starts to turn a light brown color. Rem…

Life Is Full Of Pleasures: Cyndi's Top 3


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Quote of The Day


Greek Yogurt Frosting

Recipe courtesy of
Yield: 12 Servings
Calories: 36

Chef Resha makes really good cupcakes. What’s her secret? Her frosting includes a special ingredient: Greek yogurt! Get your piping bag ready—you’ll want to double this recipe!

1 cup Greek yogurt
1/4 cup cream cheese (low-fat or vegan)
2–3 tbsp honey or maple syrup or agave
1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
1 pinch sea salt

1. Blend ingredients together in food processor.

2. Keep cold until ready to use.

Tip: For even frosting application, spoon into resealable plastic bags and snip a small hole in the corner of the bag before piping onto cupcakes and baked goods.

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Tortellini With Pumpkin Alfredo Sauce

Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchen
Total Time: 20 min
Prep: 10 min
Cook: 10 min
Yield: 4 servings
Level: Easy

Kosher salt
2 9 -ounce packages cheese tortellini
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 small shallot, finely chopped
1/2 cup canned pure pumpkin
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
Freshly ground pepper
Chopped fresh parsley, for topping (optional)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the tortellini and cook as the label directs. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water, then drain the pasta.

Meanwhile, heat the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shallot and cook, stirring, until slightly soft, about 2 minutes. Add the pumpkin and nutmeg and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in the cream and bring to a low boil. Reduce the heat to medium low; simmer, stirring, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cheese and cook until thick, about 1 more minute. Season with…

The Best Cauliflower Ever

Recipe courtesy of Daphne Brogdon
Total Time: 25 min
Prep: 10 min
Cook: 15 min
Yield: 4 servings
Level: Intermediate

4 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 large head or 1 small head cauliflower, cut into florets
Salt and fresh ground pepper
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 roasted red pepper, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons soft tofu
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the cauliflower florets and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the cauliflower begins to brown and soften, about 12 minutes, stirring every few minutes.

While the cauliflower is cooking, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and saute until softened, 1 minute. Add the roasted red pepper and saute for another few minutes, until heated through. Transfer to a blender or mini-chopper and blend. Add the tofu and some salt and p…

When Mom Starts Cheering...Against You!

While visiting my friend one day, her mom stopped by and joined the conversation about our kids becoming teenagers -- her mom jumps in and says, “I can’t wait! You’re going to pay for all your teenage shenanigans!” I gasped and turned to my friend with the, I know exactly what you’re feeling, look. Both my mother and mother-n-law have said they can’t wait for my teenage kids start acting up, because then I’ll see. I’ll see what? I’ll see how hard life will be with incompassionate parents who hope that I’ll have a hard time raising good children? It’s saddens me to know that parents, mainly mother’s, are betting against their own children.

Over the next few weeks, I had several conversations with other women and they’ve all been told the same thing by their mothers and in-laws, so I wondered, wouldn’t their hope be that we don’t face the same challenges they did? Wouldn’t our parents and in-laws want the best for our children and us? And if we don’t get the best cards dealt with our te…

Life Is Full Of Pleasures: Cyndi's Top 3


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Quote of The Day


Pear and Pistachio Guacamole

Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchen
Perfect for autumn or winter when the petite seckel pears are in season. But you can use any favorite pear. It has a surprising crunch, creating a delicious new version of guacamole. The pistachios on top make it extra special and contrast so nicely with the pear and avocado.

Total Time: 15 min
Prep: 15 min
Yield: 8 servings
Level: Easy

3 Hass avocados, halved, pitted and cubed
2 firm ripe Seckel pears or 1 large Anjou pear, cored and finely diced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
Kosher salt
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 small jalapeno, minced with some seeds
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons chopped roasted pistachios
Lime wedges, for serving
Blue corn tortilla chips, for serving

Toss together the avocados and pears in a medium bowl. Stir in the cilantro, lime juice, coriander, 1/2 teaspoon salt, the garlic and jalapenos until combined. Add additi…

Stashing A Little Joy For Emergencies

“Find pleasure and joy. Maybe even make lists of joys for emergencies.” -Rebecca Solnit

I recently noticed Ms. Solnit’s powerful quote on an article she wrote a few days ago. I read the quote a few times and thought, “it’s hard to come up with a thought of joy to replace a bad thought. I can’t imagine making a list for emergencies.” Almost every time I work out, I think of bad things that I’ve said to others and myself, or other people have said to me. I think of bad situations and circumstances of the past. I think about mistakes and regrets, and I cringe, and they gain momentum and continue to replay in my head, over and over again. The agonizing thoughts probably identify with the physical agony in my workout, or the thought of working out — the totality of the agony, physical and emotional almost always drain the joy right out of my body and mind. And just like that, I find myself hydrating my body with water and scrambling to think about joyful thoughts to bring back joy to my mi…

Corn and Cheese Chowder

Recipe courtesy of Ree Drummond
Total Time: 40 min
Prep: 15 min
Cook: 25 min
Yield: 12 servings
Level: Easy

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
1 whole onion, chopped
3 slices bacon, cut into pieces
3 whole bell peppers, finely diced (red, yellow, orange)
5 ears corn, kernels sliced off
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups chicken stock or broth
2 cups half-and-half
1 heaping cup grated Monterey Jack
1 heaping cup grated pepper Jack
1/3 cup sliced green onions
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 bread bowls, hollowed out

In a large pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the bacon and cook for another minute or so, and then add the bell peppers and cook for a couple of minutes. Finally, add the corn and cook for a minute.

Sprinkle the flour evenly over the top and stir to combine. Pour in the chicken stock and stir well. Allow this to thicken for 3 or 4 minutes, and then reduce the heat to low. Stir in the half-and-half, and then …

Tilapia Milanese

Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchen
Total Time: 40 min
Prep: 20 min
Cook: 20 min
Yield: 4 servings
Level: Easy

4 6 -ounce tilapia fillets
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3 large eggs
6 slices white sandwich bread, torn into pieces
1/3 cup fresh parsley leaves
Finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon, plus lemon wedges for serving
5 to 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 cups baby arugula

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Soak the fish in a bowl with the milk and 2 cups ice, 15 minutes. Meanwhile, mix the flour with 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper in a shallow dish. Lightly beat the eggs in another dish. Pulse the bread, parsley, lemon zest and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a food processor until crumbs form, then transfer to a third dish.

One at a time, remove the fillets from the milk and dredge in the flour, shaking off the excess. Dip in the eggs, then coat with the breadcrumbs, gently pressing to coat both side…

Life Is Full Of Pleasures: Cyndi's Wedding Day! Cheers and Hurray!

 We wish our beautiful contributor, Cyndi a beautiful life with her husband Ed!
Cheers and Hurray on your nuptials! xo

Quote of The Day


Quote of The Day


Pasta with Pumpkin and Sausage

Recipe courtesy of Rachael Ray
Total Time: 25 min
Prep: 10 min
Cook: 15 min
Yield: 4 servings
Level: Easy

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon
1 pound bulk sweet Italian sausage
4 cloves garlic, cracked and chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 bay leaf, fresh or dried
4 to 6 sprigs sage leaves, cut into chiffonade, about 2 tablespoons
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken stock, canned or paper container
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup (3 turns around the pan) heavy cream
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, ground or freshly grated
Coarse salt and black pepper
1 pound penne rigate, cooked to al dente
Romano or Parmigiano, for grating
Pumpernickel or whole grain bread, as an accompaniment

Spinach Salad with Apple and Red Onion:
1 pound triple-washed spinach, de-stemmed
1 small Golden Delicious apple, quartered, cored, and sliced
1/4 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons (a couple of splashes) apple cider vinegar

Fellow Citizens of The World, Where Has Compassion Gone?

I cried while watching a video of a camerawoman tripping and kicking migrants near the Hungary-Serbia border. As an immigrant from Mexico myself, I experienced so much discrimination at just ten years old, so it always breaks my heart to see others disregard and mistreat fellow citizens of the world. We don’t have to agree with the policies of another country in order to have compassion for their citizens. We don’t have to judge the actions of people searching for a better life for themselves. What we do need is compassion, love, and empathy.

Our world is plagued, more than ever, with self-appointed, judge and juries that have descended upon the most needy and vulnerable. Some of us watch and choose to be jaded by daily pictures of migrants suffering and struggling to reach safety. But then we have terrible people like the camera woman who watched a father run with his child in his arms trying to reach safety, and she trips him in hopes that he’s arrested by the police. It’s truly hear…

Beef with Broccoli

Recipe courtesy of Ree Drummond
Total Time: 15 min
Prep: 10 min
Cook: 5 min
Yield: 4 servings
Level: Easy

1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup cornstarch
3 tablespoons sherry
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound flank steak, trimmed of fat and sliced very thin against the grain
3 tablespoons peanut or olive oil
1 pound broccoli florets
1/4 cup beef broth
1/4 cup oyster sauce
Salt as needed (use sparingly)
Chow Mein, for serving

In a bowl, mix together the soy sauce, cornstarch, sherry, brown sugar, ginger and garlic. Pour half the liquid over the sliced meat in a bowl and toss with your hands. Reserve the other half of the liquid and set aside.

Heat the oil in a heavy skillet (iron is best) or wok over high heat. Add the broccoli and stir for a minute. Remove to a plate.

Allow the skillet to get very hot again. With tongs, add the meat in a single layer. Spread out the meat as you add it to skillet, but do not stir…

Life Is Full Of Pleasures: Cyndi's Top 3


Happy Labor Day


Quote of The Day


Quote of The Day


Chimichurri Sauce

Recipe courtesy of Ree Drummond
Total Time: 5 min
Prep: 5 min
Yield: 5 servings
Level: Easy

1 large bunch fresh cilantro, stems removed
1/2 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, stems removed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 cloves garlic
Juice of 3 limes
1/2 cup olive oil

Fill a blender or food processor with the cilantro and parsley leaves. Add the cumin, salt, cayenne, garlic and lime juice. Put the lid on the blender, then remove the center piece. With the blender on low, drizzle in the olive oil. Blend until pureed and somewhat smooth. Serve with grilled steak or other meat.

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A Concert To Remember!

I went to see Coldplay in concert a few weeks ago -- I fell deeper in love with their music, inspirational vibes, and energy! I was expecting to enjoy listening to a few of my favorite songs, but what I got was a show full of energy intertwined in happiness, and highlighted by the light-show created by wristbands that were given to all attendees at the entrance of the stadium. The wristbands lit up in different colors and at different times, and while this type of technology might be an old shoe for most concertgoers, it was new to me but also a burst of happiness!

The lyrics resonated deeper than ever, the impact of the visuals, along with the overall experience left me wanting more. I’ve been on a Coldplay kick since the concert and I’ve listened to full albums everyday since then. They gifted me a long-lasting feeling of nirvana that allows me to relive the concert, and experience heartfelt giddiness. 

The morning of the concert, I woke up feeling so grateful to able to attend the co…