Yogurt Dip for Fresh Fruit

This simple, little combination is a perfect partner for your mixed fruit.  I love preparing a nice plate or bowl filled with fresh seasonal fruit or a nice mix of fresh berries and pair it with this yogurt dip.  It’s a lovely way to accent your brunch table and it is great to top the fruit of your healthy breakfast; try it on granola!  Looks fancy, but it’s super easy!


Ingredients and Instructions:

  • One 7 oz. container of plain Greek yogurt (I use Fage brand, 2% or 5% low fat)
  • 1 Tbsp 1/2 & 1/2 or heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • a drizzle of honey over the top
  • A generous pinch of cinnamon

Simply place the yogurt in a small bowl.  Add the half and half and mix with a small whisk or a spoon until blended.  Add the vanilla evenly over the top, add the drizzle of honey evenly over the top as well, and then sprinkle with cinnamon.  You can serve it just as it is or you can blend all the ingredients together.


Simply Grilled Pork Tenderloin

As you might have guessed….I like pork tenderloin!  I have different ways I prepare it, but during the week when I’m in a rush and have no time to marinade, I make this delicious option on the grill.  It cooks quickly and cleanup is a snap.sweet potatoes with pork

Serves 4


  • 2 pork tenderloins, trimmed
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • garlic powder, sprinkled
  • cayenne pepper, sprinkled
  •  ground cloves, sprinkled
  • fresh chopped parsley and drizzle of fresh lemon or lime juice (optional)


  1. Preheat your grill.  Trim the pork tenderloins from any excess fat and silvery skin that it may have and pat dry with a clean paper towel; place them in a pan to be seasoned.
  2. Drizzle the tenderloins with olive oil and turn them in the pan so the olive oil coats the meat.  Sprinkle the tenderloins with salt, pepper, and garlic powder on both sides and then sprinkle with the pinches of cayenne and cloves on one side.
  3. Grill on med/low for 10 minutes on each side. (20 to 25 minutes total for grilling should be enough; you can dry out the meat if you over cook it.)  Remove and allow the meat to sit for a few minutes before slicing.  Garnish with fresh chopped parsley and place some lemon or lime wedges on the side.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Orange and Balsamic

sweet potatoesSweet potatoes are such a perfect side dish to any meal, but my favorite way to pair them is with roasted or grilled pork.  Last week while I was in North Carolina, I made simple grilled pork tenderloin and decided to modify a recipe I had seen on for sweet potatoes.  Also made cheesy grits, which complimented both perfectly.  I used Ina Garten’s recipe for grits: .  I love her recipe for grits.  The only thing I change is that I use less salt, a little less cheese, and I substitute the half & half for low fat milk.  You can’t go wrong with this trio! It  was easy and super delicious!

Serves 6


  • 4 medium sized sweet potatoes
  • juice of 1 orange
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 1/8 – 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 8 garlic cloves in their peel, sliced in half lengthwise
  • 2 – 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • leaves from 4 sprigs of fresh sage, chopped
  • about 2 Tbsp fresh thyme (I like to remove the tiny leaves from the stem by running my fingers down the stem from top to bottom; they come right off)
  • 1/4 cup or more crumbled goat cheese

sweet potatoes with pork


  1. Mix the orange zest, juice of the orange, balsamic vinegar, dark brown sugar, and red pepper flakes and simmer until it is hot and bubbly and slightly thickened.
  2. Wash the sweet potatoes thoroughly and cut them, unpeeled in half and then cut the halves in wedges.  Place them in a large bowl.
  3. Add olive oil to the the sweet potatoes and stir with a wooden spoon to coat.  Remove 8 cloves of garlic from the head of garlic.  Leave them with their peel on, and cut each clove in half lengthwise.  Add the garlic to the potatoes.  Add the chopped sage leaved.  Add the warmed orange juice mix and toss to coat the sweet potatoes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Prepare a roasting pan by drizzling with a little olive oil.  Place the potatoes in a roasting pan in a single layer and pour the glaze over the potatoes. Sprinkle evenly with salt and pepper.  Roast in a preheated oven for about 40 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon 1/2 way through roasting.  Check with a fork or toothpick to make sure they are tender before removing.  The edges should be slightly browned.  Before serving you can remove the peels of any garlic cloves that have not loosened during roasting.
  5. Place them on a serving platter.  Drizzle any orange juice glaze that remains in the pan over the potatoes.  Sprinkle the thyme leaves and goat cheese over the top and serve immediately.  Left overs warms quite nicely the next day.


Cannellini Bean Soup with Fennel and Swiss Chard

The holiday season can be tiring!  This warm, hearty, veggie-packed soup helped us recharge and reset after so many heavy, meat-filled holiday meals.  It’s the perfect meal to start the new year.  For this soup and many others I make, I use my homemade chicken stock.  I tweaked New York Times Cooking’s slow cooker version to come up with this recipe.


  • 1 pound cannellini beans (dried)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 large onion, thinly diced
  • 1 fennel bulb
  • 3 celery stalks with leaves
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • Tops of 3 celery stalks with leaves
  • 2-3 Fennel bulb stalks
  • 4 Swiss chard leaves, center removed
  • Rind of an 8 oz. block of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese


  1. Pick through the beans to remove any foreign objects and rinse them.  Place them in a bowl and add double the amount of water.  Cover the bowl and allow the beans to soak for at least 8 hours (or overnight).
  2. Drain the beans and place them in a large pot.  Discard the water they soaked in.  Add the chicken stock, Parmigiano Reggiano rind, dried basil, rosemary sprigs, bay leaf , the celery stalk tops,  and the fennel stalks.  If you have cooking twine, you can tie the stalks and rosemary sprigs together for easy removal at the end.
  3. Set to medium/high heat and bring to a boil.
  4. Meanwhile, chop the onion and fennel bulb, mince the garlic, and slice the celery.  When chopping the fennel, cut away the base and cut off stalks, which can be saved for about a week or so in the fridge and used for something else.
  5. Heat the oil in a large saute pan. Add the onion and cook for a minute or two.  Then add the fennel, followed by the celery and the garlic.  Season with red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.  After a couple of minutes, add the white wine and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes.
  6. Add the onion, fennel and celery mixture to the beans, which should be boiling by this time.  Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  7. Taste to make sure the beans are tender enough and salt is adequate.  Add fresh ground pepper.  Remove the celery stalk tops, fennel stalks, bay leaf, rosemary sprigs and Parmigiano Reggiano rind.
  8. Cut away the center part of the Swiss chard and chop the leaves roughly.  Add the chopped leaves to the soup.
  9. Just before serving, sprinkle each bowl of soup with freshly grated cheese.  If you have fresh basil on hand you may add it as a garnish.

Homemade Chicken Stock


1 whole chicken, cleaned, and, if desired cut into pieces

  • 1 onion, peeled and halved
  • 2 shallots, peeled and halved
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly smashed with the side of a chef’s knife
  • 3 celery stalks with leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1-2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 tsp whole black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt


  1. In a large stock pot, place an entire chicken that has been cleaned or, alternatively, 2 chicken breasts, 2 chicken legs, 2 chicken thighs and 2 chicken wings.
  2. Add 8 cups of water along with the remainder of the ingredients to the stock pot.
  3. Bring it to a boil. Once boiling, cover and reduce the heat to low. Cook for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
  4. Remove the chicken or chicken pieces and set them aside in a large dish.  You can use the chicken in a different recipe later.
  5. Allow the liquid to cool a bit, then strain it through a fine mesh sieve into a large bowl (preferably one that has a spout and handle). Discard the seasoning and vegetables you added, then pour liquid into which ever means of storage you prefer.   I keep mine in large Mason Jars. Allow the fat to stay on the surface before you seal your jar (it can be easily skimmed off before using it).  It will stay fresh in the fridge for several weeks if your jar is sterilized and the fat remains on the surface.  I usually plan on making soup shortly after preparing a batch of stock, so I never store it for long.  Most soup recipes call for about 4 to 6 cups of stock.  This recipe makes 8 cups more or less.

Stay tuned for chicken salad, pulled chicken sliders, chicken vaca frita, chicken pot pie, chicken tacos, chicken fajitas so your chicken does not go to waste!

Effortlessly Elegant Babas Au Rhum

My daughter, Stephanie, recently visited Paris and came back raving about a dessert she had at Cyril Lignac’s bakery called a baba au rhum.  I make my rum flan or a rum cake for Christmas dinner most years, so she suggested I try making a baba au rhum instead.  Anticipating that replicating such a delicious and opulent dessert from one of the best bakeries in Paris would naturally be very complicated and labor-intensive, I cringed at the thought.  But she insisted and I accepted the challenge.

It turns out that babas au rhum are not only delicious but also surprisingly simple to make.  After reading several baba au rhum recipes online and watching lots of YouTube videos showing how to make them, I came up with this recipe.  It will now be a staple at our holiday dinners–and hopefully yours, too!

Continue reading “Effortlessly Elegant Babas Au Rhum”

Chocolate Hazelnut Crinkle Cookies (from Bon Appetit Magazine)

Everyone absolutely loved, loved, loved these adorable cookies.  I used the recipe from Bon Appetit’s Special Edition “Essential Cookies.”  I’ll just say that every cookie in this edition of the magazine looks amazing, and not just for the holidays but for any time of the year.  I made these Crinkle Cookies and I also made Ultimate Sugar Cookies, which were equally as good.

I followed the recipe according to the magazine, however I did tweak it a little; you will notice the changes I made below in the ingredients list.  I really love coffee in anything chocolate, so I added that to the recipe.  I think it really enhanced the flavor, but you can omit it if you prefer.

These cookies are perfect for the holidays to enjoy at home, share with friends and neighbors, or give to your kids’ teachers.  They pack beautifully in a cellophane bag.  You will love them! Continue reading “Chocolate Hazelnut Crinkle Cookies (from Bon Appetit Magazine)”