Jul 16

Sesame King Tahini Giveaway!

Are you familiar with tahini? If not, this is the perfect time to try it…and if you are, even better!


Tahini is a sesame paste made from hulled and roasted sesame seeds. High quality tahini pastes are made out of 100% pure ground sesame seeds. The sesame seeds are sifted, cleaned, roasted and ground to perfection!

Sesame King is the leading brand of 100% pure, ground tahini pastes, made from the finest sesame seeds. Each Sesame King tahini is all-natural, with a subtle, delightful aroma, rich with texture and delicious taste. Each flavor is rich in proteins and vitamins, made with no additives or preservatives, peanut free, Trans fat free, gluten free, Kosher Certified and Non-GMO.

Sesame King Tahini come in the following 7 flavors: Garlic, Olive Oil, Cajun, Honey, Chocolate, Light Roast and Roasted. One lucky reader will have their choice of two flavors. Simply comment on this post telling me which flavors you would like.

For another entry, follow me on Pinterest, and leave your user name in a separate comment. You can also leave a third comment with your Twitter handle if you follow me there.

Giveaway ends on Wednesday, July 22nd at 5pm EST. Continental US residents only.

By the way, the hummus pictured below was made with the cajun flavor…and it was DELICIOUS!!!


Posted in giveaway | 5 Comments
Jun 26

Strawberry, Basil & Goat Cheese Bruschetta

One of my favorite fruits this time of year is the strawberry. There is nothing better than a sweet, juicy, delicious one in the summertime!


Even though they are so good in their natural state, sometimes your mood has you looking for something a bit different. That’s when this recipe comes in handy. It’s perfect for a romantic dinner for two, or a large group!

Strawberry, Basil & Goat Cheese Bruschetta
from Ambitious Kitchen

1 baguette, sliced about 3/4 inch thick
extra virgin olive oil
4 ounces goat cheese
1 pint strawberries, sliced
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Drizzle slices of bread with oil, then sprinkle with salt. Place on baking sheet and bake for around 8-10 minutes, or until golden brown. Set aside.

Stir berries and vinegar together in a bowl and let sit for 10-15 minutes.

Spread goat cheese on bread, top with berries, and add basil.

Serves 6-8.

Posted in appetizers, berries, cheese, goat cheese, QuickAndEasy | Leave a comment
May 6

Warm Bean Dip

Hope everyone had a great Cinco de Mayo! We had a delicious lunch at work where people contributed their Mexican dishes. Everything was great! And I quickly realized I shouldn’t have halved my recipe…


I couldn’t snap a pic fast enough! Lesson learned.

This will take you less than 5 minutes to make and about the same to cook, if you do so in the microwave. Perfect for a quick and easy snack anytime!

Warm Bean Dip
slightly adapted from Andrea Rodgers

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 cup sour cream
2 cans refried beans
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 1/2 tablespoons cumin
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
(or sub all above spices with a packet of taco seasoning)
4 cups cheddar cheese, shredded (or sub half with monterey or colby jack)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix cream cheese and sour cream together. Add beans and spices and mix until completely combined. Pour mixture into a 9×13 pan.

Top with cheese and bake for around 20-25 minutes. Serve warm with tortilla chips.

***This can also be made in the microwave – cook on high for approximately 5 minutes, or until cheese is bubbling.

***Recipe can be easily halved and served in a pie plate, as seen above.

Posted in appetizers, beans, cheddar, cheese, cream cheese, dip, low carb, make ahead, Mexican, QuickAndEasy, snacks | 1 Comment
Apr 30

Hamilton Beach FlexBrew 2-Way Coffee Maker Giveaway!

Hamilton Beach has a great new product and I was fortunate enough to test it, and even more lucky to give one away to a lucky reader! This 2-Way coffee maker is perfect for everyone…it’ll brew one cup, or a 12 cup pot, and it’s super easy to use!


You can use K-cups or your own coffee for the single serve brewing function (which brews a 14 ounce cup!). It even comes with a reusable single serving cup. And of course, you can program it ahead if you’re brewing a pot. It’s pretty compact too for such a versatile appliance. Great if you’re short on counter space!

To enter the giveaway, simply leave a comment below telling me how you take your coffee. For a second entry, follow me on Instagram, and leave a separate comment with your IG user name. Giveaway ends on Wednesday, May 6th at 5pm EST. US residents only.

Good luck!

Posted in Uncategorized | 57 Comments
Mar 31

Lamb Chops with Mint Gremolata

With Easter coming up, I had to share this recipe. For most of my life, we’ve had lamb for the holiday, and I think this is an excellent way to prepare it! Not to mention, it’s super easy, for those who may be intimidated by cooking it. Only 5 ingredients in this recipe!!


It’s juicy and delicious and the gremolata gives it a nice fresh flavor. Serve on a bed of mashed potatoes and you’ve got a feast fit for any holiday!


Lamb Chops with Mint Gremolata
slightly adapted from Country Living

for the lamb:
one rack baby lamb chops
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 sprigs torn mint
3 cloves garlic
freshly ground pepper

for the gremolata:
1 clove garlic
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 cup loosely packed mint leaves
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

Place lamb, olive oil, torn mint, garlic, and pepper in a plastic bag. Toss to coat lamb chops and marinate in refrigerator for 2 hours.

Remove lamb, wipe off excess marinade, and season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Broil chops on high until medium-rare, about 3 minutes per side. Remove and let rest for 5 minutes.

To make the gremolata: crush garlic, lemon zest, and salt into a paste using the side of a large knife or a mortar and pestle. In a small bowl, stir together garlic paste and mint leaves with olive oil.

Transfer chops to serving plate, drizzle with mint gremolata, and garnish with fresh mint.

Posted in garlic, lamb, lemon, low carb, main dishes | Leave a comment
Feb 19

Burrata, Prosciutto, Tomato and Arugula Salad

What’s better than a delicious hunk of burrata over, well, pretty much anything? Not much.


If you’re not sure what burrata is, head to your local deli, or even grocery store, and ask about it. It’s creamy and delicious and perfect, even on its own.

You can tailor this salad to your taste, adding whatever you have on hand or anything you like. This is a great main dish for those who observe Lent, if you omit the prosciutto. And yes, I said main dish…it’s that satisfying!

Burrata, Prosciutto, Tomato and Arugula Salad

burrata cheese
prosciutto, sliced thin
grape tomatoes
chopped basil
extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1/2 lemon
salt and pepper

Toss arugula in a little EVOO and lemon juice. Add salt and pepper to taste. Place on a plate or shallow bowl. Add burrata to the middle, then spread tomatoes and prosciutto all around. Drizzle a little EVOO on top and more pepper. Throw basil on top. Serve.

Posted in cheese, lemon, low carb, main dishes, QuickAndEasy, salad, side dishes, tomatoes | Leave a comment
Feb 9

Golden Girl Granola Giveaway!

I was recently approached by Golden Girl Granola and after trying their product I have to say, I’m so happy they contacted me! Check out these delicious flavors I sampled…


Golden Girl Granola is an all-natural, whole-grain granola that is non-GMO, dairy free, cholesterol free, casein free, trans-fat free, wheat free and has no preservatives, artificial color or flavors.

They have 7 flavors in all, including the ones pictured, as well as Original, Creative Cranberry, and Forest Maple. And now, you can choose your 4 favorites if you are the lucky winner of this giveaway!

To enter, leave a comment on this post telling me what your top flavor pick would be.

If you’d like an extra entry, follow me on Pinterest and leave a second comment with your Pinterest user name.

If you want another chance to win, follow me on Facebook and leave another comment with the name you’re following me with. And for yet another entry, share this giveaway on your Facebook page and leave a separate comment with the link to that post.

This giveaway ends on Sunday, February 15th at 6pm EST (US residents only). The winner will be randomly chosen and contacted via email, and will have 24 hours to respond, otherwise another winner will be chosen. Good luck!

Posted in giveaway | 26 Comments
Jan 27

Homemade Birthday Cake Oreos

Wow, what a month! Things have been crazy busy – I haven’t had much time for anything – but this huge snowstorm that we’re in the middle of has forced me to relax. And what better time to bake than during a blizzard ;)


Mom’s birthday is today so I made these last night so we could celebrate properly. When you see how easy the recipe is, you might want to bake some yourself, even if you aren’t snowbound!

Homemade Birthday Cake Oreos
from Chef in Training

2 boxes chocolate cake mix
4 eggs
2/3 cup oil

for the filling (cake batter frosting):
1/2 cup butter, softened
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup yellow cake mix
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup sprinkles

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, beat chocolate cake mixes, eggs and oil until completely blended. Roll dough into 1 inch balls and place on greased cookie sheets.

Bake for about 8 minutes. Do not overcook!

While cookies are cooling, make frosting. Combine butter, sugar, cake mix, vanilla, milk and sprinkles together in a medium bowl until blended.

When cookies are completely cooled, frost the bottom of one cookie, top with another cookie. Repeat with remaining cookies. Roll assembled cookies on their sides in sprinkles to cover the sides.

Posted in cake, chocolate, cookies, dessert, family, QuickAndEasy | Leave a comment
Jan 2

Crab Stuffed Mushrooms

After buying fresh crabs not long ago, and struggling to get a decent amount of meat from them after cleaning them (don’t ask!), I had to come up with a recipe to use the little that I had. I decided to remake one of the first recipes on my blog, and the end result made me forget about all the little cuts I got on my fingers ;)


So delicious and easy to make! Impressive enough for company, too. The filling would be delicious in a stuffed fish dish as well, like flounder or shrimp. And of course, you can use canned crab meat to make your life easier…

(The original recipe source page was deleted which is why you don’t see anything cited)

Crab Stuffed Mushrooms

2 dozen large fresh mushrooms (save half of the stems when cleaning them)
4 tablespoons butter
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 pound cooked crab meat
2 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
3 tablespoons seasoned dried bread crumbs
3 green onions, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove stems from cleaned mushrooms, then chop stems and sauté in half of the butter with garlic and onion.  Add salt and pepper to taste. Brush mushrooms with remaining melted butter.

Mix together crab meat, eggs, mayo, bread crumbs, green onion (save some of the green part for later), lemon juice, salt and pepper. Add to onion mixture and cook for 5 minutes. 

Fill mushrooms with mixture. Sprinkle with cheese and reserved green onion. Bake in buttered shallow casserole for 15 minutes. Serve warm.

Posted in appetizers, make ahead, mushrooms, seafood, side dishes, snacks | Leave a comment
Dec 31

Eggs Benedict Made Easy

Lots of eating, drinking and being merry is happening lately, especially tonight, which is why most people love a breakfast on New Year’s Day that will “soak up” the festivities from the night before. But, at the same time, you probably don’t have the energy to put tons of effort into making it. So, you might want to check this out…

Poached eggs…made in the MICROWAVE? And hollandaise sauce, made on the stovetop, so you don’t have to have that blender running and making your head pound even worse? ;)

No matter how you’re feeling, these techniques will come in handy.


So, how do you poach eggs in the microwave? It’s very easy. However, cooking time depends on your microwave, so you need to have some patience and a good eye. Simply take an egg and crack it in a microwave safe bowl. Add 1/3 cup of cold water and a 1/2 teaspoon of white vinegar. (FYI – I made 2 eggs at a time and doubled these amounts, and it worked beautifully!)

Cover the egg with a microwave safe plate and start by cooking for around 40 seconds. Remove the cover and check the eggs. Are they set? Do they look like they’re cooked? If not, continue cooking in 20 second intervals until they are finished. Again, cooking times vary based on what kind of microwave you have and how powerful it is.

Remove eggs carefully with a slotted spoon and place on toasted english muffin/bread, or whatever you desire.

As for the hollandaise, you’ll need…

3 egg yolks
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon cold water
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup butter

Beat all ingredients besides butter together in a bowl. Put butter in a saucepan and melt over low heat, then slowly add egg mixture while whisking. Continue whisking for around 6-7 minutes, or until sauce has thickened. Serve immediately.

If your sauce breaks or is too thick, add a splash of warm water and continue whisking fast.

So there it is – an easy yet impressive breakfast for tomorrow morning, or any time. Hope you all have a fabulous New Year! Here’s to 2015…I’ve got my Vasilopita and my lentils ready to go!


Posted in breakfast, condiments, eggs, lemon, QuickAndEasy, sauce | Leave a comment