I’ve been catering regularly since August 2019. I specialize in cocktail nosh for small parties. I have done Korean, Puerto Rican, Indian, Italian, Mediterranean and other cuisines. I write all the menus and design all the recipes myself. I specialize in parties, but I could do small dinners as well.
Hi there! If you’d like to see ONLY my extensive research on Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy, bariatric diet and managing GERD (reflux), you can filter out all my other posts and see just those by clicking HERE. You can see my vlogs about my VSG journey here.
To see any category (recipes, for instance), use the drop down menu to the right labeled “View Posts by Category” and select the category you’d like. Thanks for stopping by!
I was posting about using coupons today, and had a memory triggered! I was wondering how much money I’ve saved over my lifetime by couponing at the grocery and wondering where I got the idea to coupon at all, since my mother never used a coupon. Then I remembered sticking Green Stamps into books with my Gran, and I thought that perhaps THAT was what got me into couponing. I can’t remember why I did it, but I’d really love to know the tally of all the money I’ve saved! I’ll bet it would buy a nice house!
Anyway, about those Green Stamps. They were S&H Green Stamps and they were the first loyalty program ever invented, running from the 30s until the 80s. I remember them in the 70s when I was a kid. My Gran got them for shopping at White Store (grocery in E TN). We’d stick them into books then cash them in for merchandise, but I can’t remember anything in particular that she got with them.
I was wondering if Green Stamps were still around, and THEY ARE!! They are now called GreenPoints and they are offered at a few stores in the NE only. They used to still cash in the old stamps if you find your grandma’s stash and it’s over 60 books, however, according to greenpoints.com, they no longer accept them. Boo!
It’s always nice to have childhood memories pop up. I especially like it when I remember things about my Gran. She was quite a lady! Please go read a little about her in my tribute to her!
I saw this soup on Bon Appétit the other day and was intrigued. The woman who wrote the recipe was very enthusiastic about it, so I wanted to try it. I made the recipe as it was written, but I really disliked all the whole spices. While the Indian woman loved chomping cumin seeds and whole peppercorns, I found the cumin very overpowering to the dish. Here is my version that is served without the seeds. I also altered some of the other ingredients. Try to find asafoetida! It is a strong spice blend, but does add umami in a very Indian way. (You can order it from Amazon.)
This is an Indian turmeric yogurt soup. It is traditionally served with all the spices whole, but I found it to be unappealing to chew on cumin, black peppercorns and cloves. This is my version that is seedless.
Keyword Indian yogurt soup, kadhi, yogurt turmeric soup
Prep Time 10minutes
Cook Time 15minutes
1 1/2 cupswhole milk yogurt, not Greek
1/3cupchickpea floursub a/p flour (but do try to use chickpea)
6 whole cloves
2 bay leaves
1 tspwhole black peppercorns
1 tsp black mustard seeds sub plain mustard seeds
3Tblghee1.5 Tbl used in two places; sub olive oil, but ghee is preferred
2tspfenugreek seeds1 tsp used in two places
2tspwhole cumin seeds 1 tsp used in two places
2tspkosher saltmore if needed
juice and zest of one lime
3dried chileschile de arbol is perfect
1 tspasafoetidaspecialty Indian spice; sub 1/2 tsp onion powder + 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4tspcayenneor Indian red pepper
2tspsugaroptional, I like the balance it gives
Mix together the yogurt, chickpea flour and turmeric. Add one cup water and whisk until smooth. Set aside.
In a large soup pot over medium heat, add 1 1/2 Tbl ghee, cloves, bay leaves, peppercorns, mustard seeds, 1 tsp fenugreek seeds and 1 tsp cumin seeds. Cook spices in ghee until the mustard seeds pop. Turn heat down to low. Add 3 cups water and the yogurt mixture. Season with 2 tsp salt and lime zest.
Turn heat to med high (high if needed) and stir constantly until soup reaches a boil. When a boil is reached, turn down heat to retain a light boil. Do not stir at this point and put a long handled wooden spoon in the soup to keep it from boiling over. If it starts to boil over, reduce the heat a bit. Cook at a light boil for 10 minutes (or until desired thickness).
5 minutes before the soup is done, put remaining ghee in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Add remaining fenugreek and cumin seeds and toast until cumin browns a little. If you don't want so much cumin, reduce amount or omit it. Remove from heat and add chiles, asafoetida and cayenne.
When the soup has reduced and become creamy, take off the heat and strain out the spices. Stir in half the lime juice (or more if you like) and sugar. Check salt levels. You can serve with the spices in the ghee or strain them out. Do not eat the chiles, they are for flavoring only. For service, I swirl the spiced ghee on top of the soup as pictured, but you can stir it into the whole pot of soup if you wish.
You can serve kadhi over rice if you want a heartier dish. Ghee and asafoetida are specialty items, but worth tracking down if you want an authentic Indian flavor.
I am still wrestling with GERD, and I have discovered an anomaly!
I started taking probiotics (Vitacost brand) about a month or so ago. Probiotics are supposed to aid in managing GERD symptoms and I’d been taking Kyo-Dophilus before I got the Vitacost brand without issues. Soon after starting these, I began to have bouts of severe hypersalivation (called “water bashing”) which is caused by acids touching the esophagus an causing an automatic salivary response. In addition to having a LOT of saliva, swallowing it would make the GERD even worse! It was keeping me up at night.
I was even getting GERD spikes during the day and occasional water bashing during the day! I thought I was doomed to start back on PPIs to get rid of this nasty symptom. As it was, I was having to take Pepcid (H2) several times a week just to sleep.
Tuesday I decided to look up probiotics and GERD. Lo and behold, there IS actually a correlation to taking them and having worse GERD symptoms! Sigh. I, apparently, am one of the people who have bad results with probiotics. LUCKY ME! I stopped taking the probiotic yesterday and the GERD has already backed off a bit. I think it’s the Vitacost brand that has something in it that does not agree with me. Nonetheless, probiotics are OUT.
I’m still having some water bashing – I had a couple of short bouts last night. I’m hoping it will cease now that I’m off the probiotics. The minor good news is that the H2 (Pepcid) does not seem to cause complete constipation, so I think I can safely use that for nighttime GERD.
So, if you are taking probiotics and your GERD is no better, try stopping them. They might be making it worse!
This fucking issue (GERD) is a moving target. UGH. I’m mostly OK, but it is something I deal with every single day. BUT would I choose to skip VSG knowing that I’d have GERD? NOPE. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done and I’d do it again. It’s worth playing the odds that you won’t have GERD like I do. I think most do NOT. But I will tell you to get OFF PPIs as soon as you possibly can, so your body does not become dependent like mine did. GERD is no joke!
I was discussing food with a friend and he said that he likes colcannon and shepherd’s pie. So that sparked inspiration! I had a head of red cabbage that I needed to use and all the ingredients for cottage – not shepherd’s – pie, so this is what I made. Shepherd’s pie has lamb and is my preference, but I didn’t have any ground lamb on hand, so Cottage Pie it is! I used beef and pork, but all beef, all pork or all lamb is fine. I didn’t use enough cabbage, so I upped the amount in the recipe. I use things like Kitchen Bouquet and Maggi seasoning, which can be omitted, just use more soy and L&P worcestershire. ALSO, I used instant potatoes on purpose. I like that they are perfectly smooth and I can control the consistency easily. They also get a nice brown on them. You can certainly make your own creamed potatoes if you wish, just make sure they are not too loose if you plan on piping them like I did. The main recipe is for a large 9×12 casserole (8 servings), but it can be cut down to an 8×8 square (4 servings) by halving the recipe.
Cottage pie is shepherd's pie, but made with beef rather than lamb. Colcannon is cabbage with mashed potatoes. These two together seemed like a no brainer! Delicious!
Course Main Course
Keyword colcannon, Irish cottage pie, shepherds pie
Prep Time 45minutes
Cook Time 35minutes
9x12 baking dish
gallon plastic bag
1Lb90/10 ground beefsub lamb
1Lbground pork sub beef or lamb
1large carrot, dicedabout 1/2 cup
2celery stalks, diced about 1/2 cup
2/3cupfrozen green peas
4-5 clovesgarlic, minceda heaping Tbl
1medium onion, dicedOR one large onion, dice about 2/3 cup, slice the rest into half moons
1small onion, halved then slicedif needed
6cupsred or green cabbage, sliced thinly, lightly tossed with salt to soften before cooking cut into 2" pieces; cut cabbage into quarters before slicing; a mandolin is handy if your knife cuts are not consistent
3 1/2cupsinstant potato flakesOR sub 2# creamed potatoes, very smooth and very stiff for use in a piping bag
bacon fatoptional but delicious
butterused in several places
2Tblflourany kind is fine
2cupscream or half n half more or less, depending on thickness of potatoes
1/2cupsour creammore or less, depending on thickness of potatoes
1Tblred wine or apple cider vinegarfor cabbage
1TblKitchen Bouqueta browning sauce, amps up flavor of meat, optional
1 TblMaggi seasoninganother brown sauce for umami, optional
2TblSoy sauce I use Kikkoman Light (green cap); use more if omitting browning sauces
3TblL&P Worcestershire saucemore, to taste if omitting browning sauces
1Tblcurry powder optional
1tspdry marjoram sub oregano
1tspgarlic powderoptional, but gives deeper flavor
1tsponion powderoptional, but gives deeper flavor
As always, prep all the ingredients first. It will make the cooking go more smoothly. Especially on a multi ingredient recipe such as this one.
Cook meat layer first. In a large skillet, put a Tbl of bacon fat (or olive oil) over medium high heat. When fat is hot, add carrot, celery, diced onion and 2/3 of the garlic. Turn heat down to medium and sweat (not brown) the veg until soft, about 5 mins.
Break up ground meat. Push veg to the sides of the pan and add meat to center. Turn heat back up to medium high. Add about 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp black pepper to the meat. Stir and continue to break up meat as it cooks for about 4-5 minutes.
When meat has mostly cooked, add flour and stir all veg and meat together. Turn down heat to medium and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring. If it is getting very dry, add some of the soy sauce to loosen up. You don't want to burn the veg.
Add all the dry spices: curry, thyme, marjoram, onion and garlic powders. Stir.
Add liquids: kitchen bouquet, maggi, soy and L&P. Add frozen peas. You should have a pretty tight ragout. If it is still really dry, add some water until there's just a little sauce. You don't want it too loose, this is the base of your casserole. Check for seasoning.
Pour meat ragout into casserole dish that has been sprayed with food release (PAM). Make an even layer.
Now, move on to the cabbage layer. Wipe out or rinse the skillet and add 1 Tbl bacon fat (or butter) over medium high heat.
When fat is hot, add in the sliced onion, wilted cabbage and the remaining garlic. Sauté until onions are translucent and cabbage is cooked. Turn heat to medium to avoid burning. If it gets too dry, add a splash of water.
When cooked, season cabbage with vinegar, salt and pepper to taste.
Make second layer over the meat in the casserole dish.
Now the final layer: creamed potatoes. If you've made potatoes from scratch, make sure they are seasoned to your liking (WITH sour cream) and pretty tight. They need to hold a peak. Skip this next section about how to make instant potatoes. BUT do put sour cream in the potatoes!
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Make instant potatoes. Put about 2.5 cups water into a medium (2 qt) saucepan over high heat with 4 Tbl butter. When they reach a boil, add potato flakes a little at a time, whisking as you go. Turn down heat to med. When the water is absorbed, add 2 cups of cream or half n half. Whisk in the liquid and whisk in remaining potato flakes. Remove from heat.
The potatoes should be very stiff. Add sour cream and whisk. You are looking for a thick consistency that will hold a peak. Adjust liquids to achieve this. Check salt level.
Put creamed potatoes into a gallon ziplock bag (or pastry bag if you have one). You can do this in two batches. Cut corner of bag off, making it about a 1/2 to 3/4 inch hole.
Pipe potatoes onto cabbage layer. I do round globs with peaks, see photo. If you want to be really fancy, you can use a pastry bag with a star tip. OR you can simply spoon on if you prefer. I like the look of the piped potatoes.
Spray potatoes with food release (PAM) to help them brown.
Bake casserole in oven for 30-40 minutes - until potatoes are browned.
I happened across a bag of moong dal on the sale rack at Kroger a while back, so I picked it up in order to try making dal! In the interim, I also came across a Bon Appétit In The Kitchen episode about kadhi (yogurt soup), so I am officially in an Indian phase of cooking. :) I have a cabinet full of Indian masalas and spices, so I’ll note the ones that you can easily skip or I’ll give you a substitution. This is not a traditional recipe; the use of raisins and coconut milk came from one of the many recipes I perused to get the idea for this. There are as many dal recipes as there are cooks! Make it your own!
Perfect comfort food! I think of this is Indian mac n cheese! Make it vegan by using oil rather than ghee to toast the spices.
Course Side Dish
Keyword comfort food, dal, moong dal, red lentils
Prep Time 10minutes
Cook Time 30minutes
6 qt soup pot
1cupsplit red lentils (masoor dal)rinsed thoroughly
1cupsplit mung beans (moong dal)rinsed thoroughly
1/2cupsweet peppers, diced2-3 small ones or 1/2 large one
6scallions, sliced on the biaswhite and green parts
1 can 14 oz coconut milk/cream
3cupswater or chicken stock if not vegetariancover the dal by 1"
1/4cupgheesub oil for vegan
2 Tblginger pasteOR about 2" fresh ginger microplaned
3 Tbltomato paste
1 tspblack mustard seeds
2tspasafoetida (Indian spice blend)SUB 1 tsp each onion powder and garlic powder
2tsp saltTO TASTE
Rice for servingoptional
Thoroughly rinse the lentils and mung beans. Add to pot with diced carrot and water. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
Let simmer for about 15 minutes, until the lentils start to soften. Then add peppers, 2/3 of the scallions, raisins and coconut milk. Keep at a slow simmer. Adjust water to get the consistency you like. I like mine THICK, so I let it cook down, but if you like it soupy, add more liquid.
In a small saucepan, melt ghee over medium heat. When hot, add the seeds and fry for a minute. Then add powdered spices and fry for another minute. Then add pastes and fry for another minute. Do not use too high of heat! The spices need to bloom, but not burn.
When spices have bloomed and smell fragrant, add to dal. Stir thoroughly and cook for another 5 minutes or so. The complete cook time should be anywhere from 20-30 minutes.
Serve over rice with scallions and cilantro as garnish. I also like this with a dollop of plain yogurt on the side.
To make vegetarian, use water instead of chicken stock. To make vegan, use water and sub oil for ghee. This dish is nicely complemented with yogurt! This recipe makes about 1.5 quarts of dal. You can freeze leftovers. I highly recommend finding the Indian spices. It makes all the difference.