On Life, Love, Health, Travel and Good Eats

Seasonal Produce Guide

It has been the coldest winter that I have experienced since moving to Oregon and I am over it already. I mean really I didn’t move here from NY to experience cold winters. 😦

Ok, venting over, let’s move on. So recently I was mourning the end of Summer and not having my garden when I remembered how wonderful it was when the house was full of the smells of homemade bread and pumpkin pie during the holidays. Then just yesterday I was shopping at my local health food store and marveled at the beautiful fall vegetables available. As I was shopping I thought, “I wonder if my readers would like to know what vegetables are available during what season”.  Having it will help you when your shopping and want to use the freshest and most flavorful ingredients in your recipes. Keep in mind that when a vegetable or fruit even a herb is not in season it doesn’t have the same flavor that it has when in season. We all know this about tomatoes and cucumbers but have you ever used cilantro in winter and wondered what was wrong with your finished dish. Well, it’s the cilantro, try smelling it or tasting the leaves in winter. It is virtually tasteless. The best way to preserve the flavor of fresh herbs is to freeze them in water in summer (like in ice cube trays) then you will have them at the peak of flavor to use in winter dishes. Here is the seasonal produce list. Information from





Apples Apples Apples Apples
Bananas Apricots Apricots Bananas
Beets Asparagus Bananas Beets
Brussels Sprouts Bananas Beets Bell Peppers
Cabbage Broccoli Bell Peppers Broccoli
Carrots Cabbage Blackberries Brussels Sprouts
Celery Carrots Blueberries Cabbage
Grapefruit Celery Carrots Carrots
Kale Collard Greens Cantaloupe/ Muskmelons Cauliflower
Leeks Garlic Celery Celery
Lemons Greens (cooking) Cherries Collard Greens
Onions Lettuce Collard Greens Cranberries
Oranges Mushrooms Corn Garlic
Parsnips Onions Cucumbers Ginger
Pears Peas Eggplant Grapes
Pineapple Pineapple Garlic Greens (cooking)
Potatoes Radishes Green Beans Green Beans
Pumpkins Rhubarb Honeydew Melon Kale
Rutabagas Spinach Kiwifruit Lettuce
Sweet Potatoes and Yams Strawberries Lima Beans Mangos
Turnips Swiss Chard Mangos Mushrooms
Winter Squash Turnips Nectarines Onions
Okra Parsnips
Peaches Peas
Plums Pears
Raspberries Pineapple
Strawberries Potatoes
Summer Squash & Zucchini Pumpkins
Tomatillos Radishes
Tomatoes Raspberries
Watermelon Rutabagas
Sweet Potatoes and Yams
Swiss Chard
Winter Squash

Huevos con Chorizo y Pasilla Pepper Sauce (Eggs with chorizo and pasilla pepper sauce)


Jeff and I love Mexican food but not just tacos and burritos. Although we do like tacos and burritos we prefer authentic food’s like you would find in a typical Mexican family home. Recently, we were watching one of our favorite food shows that just happened to be about Mexico and I was inspired to make this dish. Pasilla peppers are a medium hot pepper with smokey, chocolate notes. This is my version of something they serve for breakfast there. It’s a really delicious dish and although there are a few steps to it it’s very easy to make. Oh and we don’t make it just for breakfast, we love it for dinner or brunch too.

If you want to impress your friends or family make the beans, chorizo, and sauce the day before and just warm them up before serving. Takes the work out of doing it the morning/day of.

You will need for 2 people:

2 Pasilla peppers (if fresh you will need to roast them in the oven until they start to turn black, remove from oven and let cool, remove the skins and split open and remove the seeds. If you use dried you need to rehydrate by pouring boiling water over the peppers, covering them and letting them steep in the water until soft. Then split open and remove seeds) Do this first then move on to the rest.

Heat a large skillet and add 2 Tb oil. Once the oil is hot add the sausage and fry out until done, chopping it up as it cooks so that it is crumbly when done. Remove from the pan and set aside.

1/2 lb bulk chorizo sausage (I used a free range turkey chorizo that I found from a local ranch)

Next: To the same pan add enough oil to coat the bottom then add 1/2 of a large diced onion. When the onions start to soften add:

1 can pinto beans (drained) or use dry cooked beans, about 1 cup

1 tsp cumin powder

1 tsp garlic granules

salt to taste

Cook until the onions are soft and the beans are heated through, taste for seasoning and adjust if needed. Remove from pan and set aside.

Next, make the sauce. Go back and get those peppers you prepared before. Place them into a blender along with the ingredients below. Blend them together into a smooth sauce. Test for seasoning and add more salt or whatever you feel it needs to satisfy your taste.

1/4 c fresh cilantro leaves chopped

2/3 c chicken broth

1/2 cup tomatoes (fresh and juicy in the summer or canned in the winter with juice)

2 cloves garlic

1/2 – 1 tsp salt

Time to make the omelet. I use 5 eggs for a 2 person omelet and add 2 Tb water to lighten them up whisking them well before I pour them into a hot oiled skillet. Make sure to watch it and when the edges start to set, lift one side up and allow some of the egg to run underneath. This will help the omelet cook evenly. Continue to do this until most of the egg is set up. Then carefully lift one side and flip it over to make a half-circle. Cover, turn off the heat and let the omelet finish steaming.

Time to plate the dish. Place the omelet on a platter, spoon the chorizo on top in a line down the center, drizzle some sauce over the top of that, add some shredded cheddar or crumbled queso cheese, finish with cilantro. Then place the beans around the outside of the omelet in a circle or serve them on the side. Enjoy because this one is a real winner.




Cajun Seafood Chowder


Being raised near the ocean means that I crave seafood almost all the time. Living in Eugene we get access to fresh seafood fairly regularly. Recently I read an article about shrimp which said that soon there will be no wild shrimp left so when I got the opportunity to purchase this wild caught shrimp I went for it. I used it to make this wonderful Cajun Seafood Chowder. Try it and let me know what you think.

Heat a medium pot and add 2 Tb butter and 2 Tb olive oil then throw in and saute:

1/2 lb Chorizo sausage links cut into chunks

1/2 lg. onion diced

2 Tb crushed garlic

1 c chopped celery

1 c carrots sliced

Now add:

Salt and Pepper to taste

1 tsp garlic granules

1 tsp onion powder

2 tsp Old Bay seasoning

1/2 Tb black pepper

1 Tb cajun spice (frontier brand)

Stir in 4 Tb flour to make a roux, then add:

1 qt. chicken broth

1/2 a bottle of IPA beer (or any blonde or wheat beer)

1 can baby clams with juice

1.5 c good lump crab meat (not the cheap Starkest

1 nice size fillet of white fish cut into cubes (about 2 cups)

1 – 2 cups cleaned and deveined raw shrimp

3 dashes of Tobasco sauce

Bring to a boil then lower temperature and simmer for 3 minutes until shrimp start to turn pink. Do not over cook or shrimp will get rubbery. Add 1 qt of whole milk and bring back up to temp. Do Not boil or milk will curdle. Serve with crusty bread





My eBook “Healthy Cooking for a Happy Life”


I just published my first eBook on It will be available to purchase Jan 16, 2017. Be a sweetheart and check it out. You can sample it or buy it here: Healthy Cooking for a Happy Life. I have spent the last several years researching, writing and editing it and finally it’s done. I wanted to provide a book that would be simple and easy to understand and read. I think I have accomplished my goal.

This book is your first resource to find useful, simple, truthful, and up to date information about ingredients, basic essential herbs and supplements and of course healthy and delicious recipes. Every recipe over 70 of them, has been tested by real people and deemed awesome.

Everyone that purchases my first book, will receive a coupon code for a discount on my next book, which will be a continuation of this one’s recipes. It will be a collection of authentic healthy delicious recipes that have not been published before in book form.

Beef Bourguignon (Julia Childs)


I am a huge fan of Julia Childs, have been since I was a teenager. I remember watching her show on PBS from the time I was 12. I always wanted to be like her but alas it wasn’t in the cards. When the movie came out about the young lady that wrote an entire blog about her and going through her cookbook making every recipe, I was jealous. I wished that I had thought of it first. I saw the movie, it was good, it made me more jealous.

I am not going to start making every recipe from one of Julia’s books but I did make this amazing Beouf A La Bourguignonne as the french call it. It is the first time I have made it and I am sorry I didn’t try it sooner, not sure why.  Maybe it’s because that’s what the girl made in the movie “Julia” for the food critique and somehow I’m still a little jealous. Cool story, my hubby Jeff made this dish in his senior foods class in high school and had to get permission to bring wine into the school. It was for his final and he aced it, said he impressed everyone. I’m not sure any of the guys in my senior class would have thought to do something so complex. Come to think about it, there were no guys in my foods class.

So here is the recipe, it’s important to do everything right but it’s not hard or too complex and man is it worth it.

Your gonna need:

3 lbs of good stew meat or a 3 lb chuck roast (I used a roast)

6 slices of organic bacon thick cut

1 lg. carrot sliced

1 onion cut in half and sliced

1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

2 Tb flour

3 cups of Burgandy or Chianti wine

2-3 cups of beef stock

1 Tb tomato paste

2-3 cloves minced garlic

1 tsp thyme

1 bay leaf crumbled

1 lb button cremini mushrooms

Method: Preheat oven to 450′

If you have one of those great Le Cruesant casseroles you can do everything in it. If not then fry everything in a skillet then put it all into a casserole dish. Fry out the bacon until very crisp, set aside. In the bacon fat saute the onions and carrots until they start to become tender then remove from the pan and set aside. Remove the meat from its package and dry it with paper towels, if you skip this step the meat will not brown. Salt and pepper the meat, if you are using a roast, rub the salt into the meat and pepper it well. Now seer the meat on every side in the hot bacon fat. If you are using stew meat, after it is browned toss it with the flour coating all sides and place it uncovered in the preheated oven for 4 minutes, toss the meat and set it back in the oven for 4 minutes more. This will create a crispy coating and help to thicken the broth. Reduce the oven to 325′.

Put everything back in the casserole including the bacon, vegetables and any fat drippings. Add the herbs, garlic, tomato paste and additional 1 tsp salt. Do not add the mushrooms. Pour in the wine and enough beef broth to cover the roast or meat. Place the casserole dish in the oven and let cook for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Check occassionally to make sure the broth is simmering not boiling as you do not want it to cook to fast. Adjust tempeture if you need to. The last 1/2 hour remove the casserole dish and add the mushrooms place back in the oven uncovered. 

Serve this with mashed potatoes, rice or pilaf, crusty bread and a salad. It is fabulous!



Christmas Goodies


One of my favorite memories from childhood is all of the goodies that were around during Christmas time. When visiting my father’s family, who were from Illinois, we enjoyed magic cookie bars, german chocolate cake, and my Aunt Leones red velvet cake. On the other hand, if we ended up in Alabama, with my mother’s family, we nibbled on Cousin Judy’s divinity, Aunt Carra’s pecan pie, sweet potato pie, pumpkin pie, and an array of amazing cookies.

Over the years I have tried to give my daughter these same memories. There have been many changes in my life since I was a little girl and the goodies that I make have changed also. My husband is Sicilian and when we got together he brought with him several food traditions that I have tried to incorporate with my own. One of these is what he and his siblings refer to as Chocolate Meatballs. These are little chocolate cookies in the shape of a ball and infused with clove and cinnamon. Every year I make these and an almond anise cookie that we have with our morning coffee. Once with the help of his sister we made Cuccidatas sort of an Italian fig newton. They are great but a lot of work.

The most recent change I have had to make in my holiday baking is adapting these and my own recipes to a diabetic friendly version. My husband is diabetic and I have candida so neither one of us can have sugar. Although a challenge, it’s one that I knew I could conquer. All of these recipes have been adapted to a low glycemic or sugar-free option. I have also updated them to be healthier versions of the original, use all organic ingredients and make alternative choices on things like oil.  So without further ado here are the recipes.


Italian Chocolate Cookies (updated version of my husband’s family recipe)

Makes 120 cookies

2 c sugar or xylitol

1 ž c coconut oil melted

2 eggs

4 oz. cream cheese

1 c whole milk

1 c cocoa powder

1 ½ tsp baking soda

3 Tb baking powder

5 c flour

1 c chopped nuts (optional)

1 c chocolate chips

1 tsp ground cloves

3 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp allspice

Preheat oven to 350’. In the bowl of an electric mixer cream together the sugar, cream cheese, eggs, oil, and milk until creamy smooth. Mix the dry ingredients together including the chocolate chips and make a well in the center; add the cream mixture and work into the flour until you have a dough that can be rolled out into balls. Roll out balls the size of a small meatball and place on a cookie sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Remove and let cool completely, you will ice them when they are cooled.


2 c confectioners’ sugar

1 tsp vanilla or orange extract

Mix these 2 ingredients together and add enough water or milk to get a syrupy consistency. Add a little water/milk at a time. Using a spoon drizzle icing over top of cookies. The icing will set up and get hard as it cools. These freeze well but make sure to let them dry well before putting them in bags to freeze.


Italian Anise Cookies or Almond Cookies (This is a versatile dough, use it to create your own special cookie)

Makes a few dozen

1 ½ c sugar or xylitol

½ cup avocado oil or other natural oil

2 eggs

1/8 tsp salt

2 tsp anise may substitute almond extract

3 c all-purpose flour white spelt works well too

4 tsp baking powder

1 c sliced or slivered almonds (Optional)

imag0829_burst002_1    imag0830

Preheat oven to 350’.  In the bowl of an electric mixer cream the sugar and oil; add eggs, salt, and anise. Mix in the flour and baking powder until smooth.  Roll out the dough into walnut sized balls and placed on greased cookie sheet (use additional flour if the dough is sticky). Bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes until golden brown. These may also be shaped into an S or log shape, if you do this place the cookie sheet in the fridge for 15 minutes to firm up the dough.

Bourbon Pecan Pie

I created this one year’s ago. I have adapted it to work for a diabetic using coconut sugar.

1 c brown sugar or coconut sugar for diabetic friendly version

3 Tb butter

2 eggs (beaten)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/8 tsp salt

1/3 cup bourbon whiskey

1 ½ cup pecan halves

1 pie crust

Preheat oven to 350’. In a pan over low heat melt the butter, add the sugar and stir until melted. (If you’re using coconut sugar be careful as it likes to crystalize very quickly, as soon as the sugar begins to melt into the butter remove from heat and stir until it melts) Whisk in the vanilla, eggs, bourbon, and salt. Whisk briskly and make sure the eggs don’t cook. Place the pecans in the bottom of the pie crust and pour the syrup over top. Place in a preheated oven for 25-30 minutes. Check after 15 minutes to check the progress, depending on your oven it may be done at 20 minutes. It will be soft but the top will crust over and look a bit bubbly. It will set up as it cools.

This next recipe is for Banana Custard with Baileys Irish Cream. It’s not the southern version of banana pudding. This is a recipe from a dear friend that was a customer when I owned my hair salon. She and her husband were farmers and during the winter months, their pantry would sometimes become depleted. However, she still needed to make desserts for her family so she devised this recipe. I find it very versatile I use it for a cream pie filling, I make a coconut cream pie with it, I use it for banana cream pie, and this year I used it for banana pudding.

Old Fashioned Banana Custard with Baileys

 1 pint half- n- half

ž c sugar or xylitol

5 Tb all purpose or white spelt flour

In a heavy pot mix together the half-n-half and xylitol, whisk in the flour. Place the pot on medium heat, stir continuously until the custard thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon. Once thick stir in;

1/8 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 Tb butter

½ tsp nutmeg

2 Tb Baileys Irish Cream

(2-3 bananas’ for layering)

Once the butter has melted set aside and let cool. To assemble: Slice the banana’s into ¼” slices; in a 8” casserole pour 1/3 of the custard into the bottom of the dish. Arrange slices of banana on top of the custard. Continue layering in this manner and end with bananas. Top with whip cream and sprinkle with nutmeg if desired.

So when I made the custard this year I doubled the recipe and had some left over after I put together the dessert. I wanted something chocolate so I made up this one using the left over custard and adding some ganache. Try it and let me know what you think.

Chocolate Orange Tart

 1 Pie Crust baked

1 ½ c vanilla custard (recipe above)

1 c dark chocolate chips

ž c half-n-half

½ tsp orange rind

½ tsp orange extract

In a small heavy sauce pot warm the half-n-half until tiny bubbles form, Add the zest, chocolate chips, and orange extract. Stir until the chocolate melts completely. Pour mixture into cooled, baked crust, refrigerate 2-3 hours until set. Garnish with sugared orange peel it’s easier than candied.

Sugared Orange Peel

Cut peel on each orange into 4 vertical segments. Remove each segment (including white pith) in 1 piece. Cook in a large pot of boiling water 15 minutes; drain, rinse, and drain again. Cut the peel into thin strips, toss the strips in sugar until coated. Place on a cookie sheet, separate the strips, let sit in a 200’ oven for 2 or more hours until they dry out a bit and the sugar becomes tacky.







When I was around 25ish I started collecting authentic recipes from everywhere I could. I wanted a collection of the real old south. I have collected them from grandmother’s, aunts, mom’s and friends. This cornbread recipe came from my ex-husbands grandmother one of the best cooks I ever met. On one visit to her home she took me under her wing and taught me a lot about southern Kentucky cooking. This recipe is one of my favorites and its the only cornbread recipe I use.

3/4 cup white spelt flour or white whole wheat flour

1/4 cup cornmeal

1.5 tsp baking powder

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking soda

1/8 tsp salt

Milk or faux milk (enough to make a batter)

Mix the dry ingredients together, add the milk and stir until it creates a medium thick batter. Pour into a hot oiled iron skillet, coat the top with melted butter or other oil. Bake in a 400′ oven 20-25 minutes until golden brown.


Green Tomatillo Chili


During these cold snowy winter months, it’s always nice to have a pot of chili going to warm you up when you’ve had an especially hard day. Try out this twist on an old favorite. Let me know what you think. I always appreciate feed back. You can also make it in a crock pot. Serve it with cornbread the recipe follows.

3  Anaheim peppers

1 lb. ground turkey

1/2 large onion chopped

1 Tb. Cumin

1 Tb. Chili Powder

1 Tb. Garlic granules

1 Tb. Onion powder

1 tsp Oregano

1 16 oz. jar Salsa Verde or large can of tomatillo’s (if you use the can add 1 Tb lime juice)

2 cans pinto beans including liquid

32 oz. Chicken broth

1 ripe Plantain sliced

Salt and Pepper to taste

Garnish: sour cream and cilantro


Cut the top off of the peppers, slice in half lengthwise and remove seeds, put on sheet pan and roast under the broiler until peppers are soft and blackened on edges. Remove from oven and let cool. Once cooled dice up.

salsa-verde               plantains8


Fry out the onions, add the turkey and spices and fry until browned, add, salsa, peppers, broth. Cook for 30 minutes then add plantain and cook 20 minutes more.

Garnish and serve. This is great to have in the fridge for nights when you come home tired and just want to get supper on the table fast. Check out my next post for the Cornbread recipe.





Another One Green Planet Post that I think you’ll like

Check this weeks post out. Lots of good reads and recipes.

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