You Say Tomato I Say Tomahto!!


Tomatoes, who has tomatoes…I DO!!!!!!!!

My Dad’s garden is producing a plenty, his plants are 8 feet tall and going wild!!!

I have a few pictures here from the beginning stages, they are about 5 to almost 6 foot at this point,
my Dad here is growing, leaf lettuce, kale, peppers, cucumbers, onions, green beans, eggplants and of course Tomatoes!!!
There maybe be more he grows but I can remember, I do know he has another patch that asparagus is in and the green house that things grow too…

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but I just decided to write this blog about tomatoes last night, so I don’t have recent pictures of it 🙂 these picture were about the 2nd week of June

So I have been eating a lot of tomatoes lately, but they have really only been from my Dad’s, I don’t buy them usually, but I do love when I get them from him and his garden.

As anyone knows they just taste better than you can get in the store and it’s really the only eat time I do eat them.
My Mom and Dad will freeze them, stew them, roast them, sauce them, slice them for BLT (which I think they east daily during the summer) and chop them for salads.  Plus whatever else they do with them 🙂

I on the other hand I tend to eat them a little differently 🙂

First I blanch them and remove the skins, I have issues with the skins, that’s all I will say 🙂

Here are a few pictures of ways that I have enjoyed using my Dad’s fresh tomatoes from his garden.

I hope you will enjoy too!!!

Making sauce, in my Vitamix are tomatoes, roasted garlic, some Italian herbs, red pepper flakes and salt.
The Vitamix will also cook it too you let it run about 5-7 minutes and you have hot soup or sauce 🙂


Mixing it all up



Freezing some for winter 🙂

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Cooking some down too


This is the cherry tomatoes, sauteed with garlic, onions and spinach
tossed with the pasta, then fold in some fresh mozzarella pearls
then a drizzle of some balsamic glaze…Delish!!!!


My all time favorite thing in the world is
Polenta with fresh tomatoes and a poached egg!!!
This is heaven for me!!!



another day again…YUMMY!!!


This is my FBT…Fake bacon and tomato 😛


Ran out of the cornmeal to make polenta
So I made couscous instead…Delish too!!!


This was last night’s dinner
tomatoes, roasted garlic tossed with pasta and some fresh mozzarella cubes
I was talking about making this a work…so ladies this is what I made…simple and quick 🙂

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Oh and here is the kale and I made some kale chips…very good with a
sprinkle of kosher salt and garlic powder 🙂

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Here are couple of links of 2 more of my blogs that I used tomatoes in the past
First up is my Tomato Cobbler – this turned out really really good so if you
want something a little different try this recipe.

 Second is Orzo Salad with Basil, Tomato & Feta – I made this at one
of my outdoor cooking classes last year.

Enjoy the rest of the summer everyone!!!

What’s next here hopefully sooner than later
my trip to Bourbon Country 🙂


Summer Cooking Class Series!!


Yes I know I have been a little “MIA” lately!!!

But this summer has been busy and I can’t believe its JULY!!!! 
I have my hand in so many different little things that I am just so busy and it’s been hard to find the time to blog.  Plus I have not been cooking anything really good for myself, so hence no blogs.

But I did finish a couple weeks ago a cooking class series that I did in 3 of our stores 🙂

They all turned out great, a lot of grilling and a few out of the box recipes, beer sampling with one too!!

Here are a few pictures of the dishes and the crowds, it was a great time and I had a LOT of help from some of GREAT co-workers.

I hope you enjoy!!!

Grilled Fruit Pizza – naan bread, Camembert cheese, blackberries, strawberries, basil and balsamic glaze

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Grilled Asian Corn with peanuts

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Grilled Watermelon with arugula, feta and balsamic glaze

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Crowd pic

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Veggie Pizza – Garlic naan bread, red pepper hummus, grilled veggies topped with goat cheese

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Grilled pound cake and pineapple

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Grilled German Potato Salad


Grilled veggies with garlic couscous topped with basil


crowd pics

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Zucchini & tomato salad with ricotta, Parmesan and pesto


Hawaiian Rice – cooked in coconut milk, golden raisin, macadamia nuts and green onions

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Mango & pineapple salsa

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Crowd Pics



Grilled romaine with mango vinaigrette, shredded jicama, pineapple, red pepper and black sesame seeds

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Me – having fun with the microphone….I love being on the Microphone 😛 

Chef Amy

One Lovely Blog Award!!


Recently I was nominated for the “One Lovely Blog Award” by Ka@My Uni Kitchen

Ka has a terffic blog, he has amazing Recipes, How to Guides and Cooking Tips, so please go over to his
blog and check out all those good things he has to offer 🙂

There are few rules to accepting the award you must tell everyone 7 things about yourself and nominate 15 blogs
for the award.

So here we go 🙂

1. I worked on a cruise ship for 6 1/2 years

2. My first career was in Theater Costuming before going into Culinary

4. I love Hockey

5. I worked for our home town Hockey Team by sewing names and numbers on their jerseys

6.  During the baseball season, I am on call for the Cincinnati Reds and the away teams
      that come into town and play the Reds, to sew their uniforms (sewing names & numbers),
      for any last minute call ups.

7.  The most I was ever paid for sewing 1 single uniform for an away team was $100.00
that was for 1 hour of work, that included the call, me driving to the ball park
(i live very close) 
getting in there sewing the name and number and then 
      back in my car.  🙂  

Bonus – here’s the picture 🙂


I hope you enjoyed the few things that most of you did not know about me 🙂


Here are the blogs that I think are fantastic and I give the “One Lovely Blog Award” too


Gretchen@Feeding My 3 Sons


Loretta@Safari of the Mind

Angie@The Novice Gardner

Julie@Hostess At Heart

Michelle@Giraffes Can Bake

Suzi@Beach Blanket Bacon

Jhuls@The Not So Creative Cook

Coco@Crafty Little Coco

Lili@Lili’s Cakes

Max@Dante’s Kitchen

Linda@La Petite Paniere

Ms. Frau@Frugal Hausfrau

Petra@Food Eat Love

Vidya and Chitra I added you as well
I know Ka added you to his blog
but I wanted to let you know I love
your blogs too, so you can consider mine
with his 🙂

Vidya@Traditionally Modern Food

Chitra@Chitra’s Healthy Kitchen

Thank you everyone for checking out my blog!!!




Quinoa Burger!!!


Oh its just SOOOO GOOD!!!!


Yes is really is 🙂  Back in December when I needed to come up with a “Theme” or “product” for my cooking class, one thing came to mind…Quinoa!!

Quinoa I feel is something that people heard of??? But not sure what it is, or what to do with it let alone know how to pronounce it 🙂

Most the time you see a recipe for Quinoa it is in some sort of salad and I just wanted to do more with it.
I’ll say its funny because just a few days before my class and her now a week after I have seen more recipes with Qunioa in it I just had to laugh.

Any way for my class yes I made a burger, I also put it in Minestrone Soup, as a breakfast dish like oatmeal, of course a salad 🙂 and cookies, yes cookies 🙂 with only 4 ingredients 😉

When I make my quinoa, I do 3 to 1, 3 parts water (liquid) to 1 part dry quinoa.  I rinse it really well till the water runs clear, oh and make sure you have fine mesh strainer, you don’t want that tiny seed going down your drain 🙂

I then add it to my pan with the water, I turn it on med-high, uncovered and bring it to a boil.  Once it starts to boil, depending on what I am doing with it, I will then add some flavoring, broth base or seasonings.  I then stir that in reduce the heat to low, cover it and let it go for at least 20 – 30 minutes, again depends on the quantity of quinoa that I use.  The more I have the more time I let it cook, I like mind to kind of get sticky, a little like sticky rice, for my burger I may let it go for a little longer.
Then you just go from there with whatever you are making 🙂

So of course I did not get to take any pictures of my food at my class, I got some picture of the people that came but once I starting cooking it was a little hard 😛 LOL

About my burger, you can make this any flavor you want, once you have the mix add what ever seasonings you want, so the last night when I got home from work I made them 🙂

Of course at the same time I was trying to cook up some things for the week, I made Lentil Soup and a pork tenderloin.  Of course my mind was everywhere and I forgot the beans…yes beans 🙂

So here we go…

Ingredients  – Ouinoa, onion, seasonings,
beef base (optional) and cannellini beans(not pictured)

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I rinsed my quinoa

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Make sure it drained

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I add it to the pan with my water

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Once it boils

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I then add some beef base and cover

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This is almost done

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As you can see the quinoa expand’s and get’s thicker

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At this point I put it on a plate to cool
(if its cool, it’s easier to handle)

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Now the onion in a skillet with a little oil

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Saute up

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add the quinoa, onions, seasonings and beans

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mix together

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then add the cheese

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now make your burgers
Put them in the fridge for a least 2 hours to
help firm up.

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Then cook for about 5 minutes on Medium to Med. High

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Flip it

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add cheese and let melt

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Get you bun ready, of course I toasted my
whole wheat bun added some fresh spinach
and horseradish

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Done and Delicious!!!


Quinoa Burger

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

8 regular size burgers

1 cup quinoa (red or white)
3 cups water
1 tsp. Better than bullion beef base (optional)
4 tsp. seasoning (I used Grillmates Worcestershire Pub Burger)
1 large onion, chopped and sauteed
1 cup Cannellini beans, drained, rinsed and blended in food processor (you could use the whole can)
1 cup cheese, fancy shredded (any flavor)

Rinse quinoa in fine mesh strainer until water runs clear, drain, add to med sauce pan with 3 cups water, cook on med-high uncovered.  Once it comes to a boil add beef base, stir and cover, reduce heat to low, cook for 30 minutes or until water is almost gone and quinoa has expanded and is thick, give a few stirs to make sure all water is gone.

Pour out on to a plate and let cool, once cooled, add sauteed onions, blended beans and seasonings, mix very well to blend.  Taste, add more seasonings if needed, then fold in cheese.  Form your burgers and place them on baking sheet lined with parchment paper, put in the fridge for at least 2 hours or longer.

Add oil to skillet add your burgers, cook over med to med-high for about 5 minutes, burger should have a nice brown color like a burger would have 🙂

Flip and then add some cheese on top if you want, cook another 5 minutes or so, add to your bun and dressing with your favorite toppings.  Enjoy!!

At my class I did a BBQ Bacon Cheddar with crispy onion straws 🙂

They all enjoyed it for sure 🙂

Here they are at the class and the crowd that came 🙂

I had to make the burgers in batches, so many came 🙂

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Cooking Salmon & Scallops!!


This week I was at one of our store cooking up seafood in a “Seafood Market” Demonstration I had Salmon, Scallops & Mussels, showing people really how easy it is to cook seafood 🙂

Scallops with the Garlic, Dill & Lemon Marinade


As I started it was a little slow so I was able to take a couple of pictures 🙂

It was a great weekend Seafood and Wine sample can’t go wrong with that 🙂

First I must share my new duds 🙂 I am going “green” 😛

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This picture is the Salmon with the Asian Marinade, you can see a great char on the salmon from the sugar, this added a great smokiness to the salmon, with the hint of soy sauce and ginger.  This salmon was melt in your mouth good!!! 🙂

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Salmon with the Garlic, Dill & Lemon Marinade

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Seafood Marinades

Asian Marinade

1 lb. salmon fillets
1/4 cup lime juice
1 tsp. fresh ginger, grated
1 tsp. fresh garlic, minced
2 tbsp. brown sugar
3 tbsp. lite soy sauce
1/3 cup light beer
zest of 2 limes

Combine juice, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, sugar, lime zest and beer in zip-loc bag and shake to mix, then add salmon, refrigerate at least 3 hours or up to 8 hours.  Drain liquid and pat dry salmon, brush salmon with a little oil and cook as desired.

Garlic, Dill & Lemon Marinade

1/2 cup oil
1/4 cup fresh dill, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 – 1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper
zest of 2 lemons

Add all to a shallow container or zip-loc bag, add your seafood let marinade for 15 – 30 mins.  Then cook as desired, you could just roll your fillets, scallops or shrimp in the marinade then cook immediately.

I hope your try these recipes!!!  And of course in my Planking…blog I could not say enough about the Skuna Bay Salmon and that is what I used again this weekend and it is just so GOOD!!!!  So go buy it, find it!!!  Enjoy!!

“CHEF” El Jefe!!


“the Chief” or “the Boss”


When I first heard about this movie and saw the trailer I thought this looks like a really cute funny movie.

Here is the wiki if you want to read about it

As I sat in the movie theater as the credits rolled, my mind was reeling, I was like what did I just see!!

The trailer


Feeling of inspiration  was so overwhelming, I just wanted to leave the theater and go and COOK!!!

There was so much about this movie that I could relate too, the passion in cooking  and sharing it with other people!!

Whether you are a Chef or Foodie you will love and understand this Movie, you will walk away with the same feeling of joy and inspiration that I did…if you are not…you will walk away and say oh that was a cute and funny movie.

There were so many scenes that I just loved…I think the big one (well all food scenes really) was the making “Grilled Cheese” scene, really the part when he starts to eat it 😛

The crunch…the CRUNCH!! was out of control, the sound of that Crunchy bread and the gooey cheese hanging from the bread, it was like I was there eating it myself.  I could smell it, I could feel the crunch and I could taste it!!!

Here is that scene


The food scenes have been described as ‘Food Porn”  and have all been “designed” just like the set is designed, the food cooking scenes were designed by Chef Roy Choi, he worked as an technical adviser.  Chef Roy Choi is a Genius in my mind!!

He also sent actor Jon Favreau who directed, co-produced, written and starred in, to French culinary school and then had him train in several of Choi’s kitchens.
Here is a behind the scenes clip with Chef Choi and Jon Favreau


I just loved every minute of this film and have already gone back and to see it again with my best foodie friend Danny, he got the movie just like I did 🙂

I have made my takes on some of the food that was made in the movie here are couple, of course the “Grilled Cheese” and the “Pasta” scene.

For the “The Cuban” sandwich, I search the Cincinnati area for the best, some good some not so good, but I found a place “Paula’s Cafe” downtown.  I heard that the owner Paula was from Miami and the sandwich was pretty authentic, so I finally got down there and had it…it was the best i had yet.  Pork could have been a little more and spread out on the bun, but everything else was perfect!!!   If you are in the area I recommend the Cafe, it is only open M-F 10:30 am to 2:30 pm and its crowded!!!  Its small so getting it to go is popular if there are no seats, I went at 1:15 pm and it was starting to clear out, by 1:30 pm only a few people.  But the “To Go” line was really non-stop, soup of the day (cream of chicken with wild rice) and the Tuna Salad seemed to be the most popular for the “To Go” customers.  Also the friendliest  waitresses around town!!!!!  I will be going back for sure!!

Enjoy my pictures and it the Movie “Chef” is playing still near you go see it!!

Grilled Cheese

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Pasta 🙂


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The Cuban from Paula’s Cafe

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So if have a passion for food, then please go see this movie, you will not be disappointed, I can’t wait till I can get it on DVD 🙂

Opening Day!!!!!!!!! Go Reds!!


It’s “Opening Day” today for our Baseball Team the Cincinnati Reds!!

So everyone around town and here in our office is proudly wearing Red or their Reds gear and I was trying to think up a recipe that I had that you could put together, forget about it and then watch the game.

Here are some of our ladies in the office…proudly supporting the Reds!! 🙂


So I picked Bratwurst Soup, I made this at one of my cooking classes using Sam Adams beer, everyone loved it 🙂

It was using the slow cooker, which will be perfect to have cooking before or during the game and what’s better than Brats, Beer, Baseball and Cheese 😛

But before we get to that here’s video to get you into the baseball mood 😎


Bratwurst Soup

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

1 cup onion, chopped
4 cups potatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes
1/2 cup carrots, grated
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
4 cups chicken broth
2 tsp. dry mustard
12 oz. Beer, whatever your drinking
14-16 oz. Stadium Style Bratwurst
1/2 cup flour
1 cup heavy cream
10 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

Add onion, garlic, carrots and potatoes to your slow cooker, sprinkle in the seasonings and give a stir, then add broth and beer.  Cook on High for 4 hours or on Low for 6-8 hours.

Meanwhile if you are using the cooked bratwursts then just slice into 1/2 inch pieces and saute them in a skillet to brown them on both sides.  If you are using fresh you can do 1 or 2 things, cook them whole in the skillet browning them on all sides, or cut the casings off and pinch the meat into bite size pieces and cook them.

Once the done then just put the Bratwurst into the soup and continue to cook.

In the last 30 minutes of the cooking, remove 2 cups of the soup liquid a large saucepan over medium heat, sprinkle in the flour whisking the whole time, whisk in cream, then whisk in cheese adding a handful at a time until smooth.  Stir cheese mixture into the soup stirring well to fully combine, cover and finish cooking.


Sorry no pictures, usually when I have classes I don’t have time to take pictures 😦