hotdurgerWhen my children were small, we used to make HOTDURGERS. It all started one day when we were having a cookout and I did not have hamburger buns, but had an excessive amount of hot dog buns. So, I rolled the hamburgers into the shape of a hot dog and served them like they were a regular food item. My kids thought they were great. From that point on they always asked for them when we were having a cookout with great enthusiasm. Try wrapping the hotdurger in bacon before grilling, they roll really well for even grilling.

Aiden’s Birthday Cupcakes

birthday cupcakes


Recently, my nephew Aiden had a birthday and His mom asked if I was interested in making his cupcakes. I was very flattered that she asked and excited to do it. Aiden’s favorite cupcake is chocolate, so thats what I made with a marshmallow buttercream. They were really yummy!



1 box of dark chocolate cake mix
made into cupcakes, per recipe on box

1 recipe of buttercream frosting
1 small container of fluff
whip fluff into the buttercream frosting

assorted candy


mb2This week we had an Italian Feast on Memorial Day! Made all the favorites! Eggplant Parmesan, Arancini, Cavatelli, Tomato sauce, Sweet Italian Sausage, Broccoli Rabe Chicken Sausage, and Jumbo Meatballs! Served up with some crusty bread and a Pepperoni Pizza that we brought back from New York for an appetizer. Finished up the dinner with Cannolis and Italian Cookies for dessert! Such a whirlwind with family everywhere and the little ones running around that I took no pictures. Only thing I took pictures of was the meatballs because I made them earlier in the day. The kids were so well behaved, they made a little fort behind the couch with blankets and pillows. They colored pictures and used my IPad and played. They also ate really well and especially loved the meatballs, so, meatballs it is. Just a note about stale bread. I always take bread that is left over, stale, no good bread. I cut it up and lay it in a sheet pan to dry. When dry, throw it in a large Ziploc bag. I always have bread crumbs and stuffing mix handy. I also cut up bread and bag and freeze to save for bread puddings.


1 lb ground Beef
1 lb ground Veal
2 cups cubed Stale Bread any kind or Croutons
1 cup Half and Half or Milk
2 eggs beaten
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
3 cloves chopped fresh garlic
1 handful of fresh parsley chopped
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. granulated garlic
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 cup hot water

butter for frying

In a large bowl, add the cubed bread and milk and let soak for 15 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients, (except for the water and butter) along with the meat and mix just until mixed. Add the water and mix in. Roll about 6 meatballs the size of your fist, Get a skillet hot on med high heat. Add butter, and meatballs, begin frying them, lower the heat if necessary. Let them get crisp and brown before trying to flip them over. You need to be very gentle with them or they will break apart. Once they are flipped over, cover with a lid and let them steam and fry at the same time. When they are browned and firm remove. Add more butter if necessary and remaining meatballs until all are cooked. Place them gently into a simmering pot of tomato sauce. Let them simmer for a hour or more in the sauce. Simmering in the sauce is not necessary. They can be used immediately, refrigerated or frozen. If you want to do a test fry before frying all the meatballs, it’s a good idea so, you can adjust the seasoning if needed.

Memorial Day Weekend

daveI think sometimes we forget why Memorial Day is so important. For some its’ meaning is just a day off, but for others it is honor, courage, and great loss. Before I begin to talk about my Memorial Day weekend, I would like to express my appreciation for those men and women who died while serving in the US Military. I would also like to express my appreciation for those who served and lived, Thank You!
This was quite a weekend, so much going on. There was the March against Monsanto, that was so very successful and wide reaching. I truly hope that more people, do their due diligence and find out what is happening to our food supply and begin taking steps to help stop this insanity.There are so many products out there that are so wonderful, like Pomi tomatoes, which are BPA and GMO free, and their packaging is biodegradable. Find out what these products are and buy them. By not buying the harmful ones (like ROUNDUP, singlemost worst thing you can put on your land, now causing super weeds that are resistant to chemicals, so now the potency of these chemicals needs to be increased), companies will take notice and stop allowing the their product to be tainted. We need to hurt them where it counts, their pockets. If Monsanto remains exempt from the law and able to continue to spray their harmful chemicals onto the seeds, the ground, and the weeds, before long there will be nothing we can do. It will be a done deal, we will all be doomed. End of story.

On a lighter note, I saw my favorite band in concert this weekend, Dave Matthews Band. Had a good time even though it rained, no it poured, the whole time and it was 40 degrees in the outdoor Venue. BRRR! Cold. Was he worth it, yes and no. I will say that I feel I cannot do the concert scene at large Venues too much more. I guess I am just getting too old for the mayhem. As I looked around and saw young people, falling down drunk, others dressed in little to nothing for the sake of looking sexy, in basically freezing temperatures, wall to wall people, fights and others practically having sex, lines to the bathroom 75 people deep, I decided enough is enough. It’s really not how I want to spend any more of my evenings. But then, the music begins and Dave starts singing, to me I think and then the Angels begin to sing along with him. He does his crazy little dance, I cant stop smiling because he is so damn funny and cute. He interacts with the others in the band each one individually, the bond is so strong between these band members. It’s beautiful. The audience, so connected and singing every single word to every single song in perfect harmony. Every person on their feet dancing from the beginning of the concert to the very end. Screams of Joy from everyone. The contemplation of the next song that will be played, then the encore. Each band member playing a solo with insane talent on the instrument that they are playing so effortlessly. Just amazing and beautiful talent. How could I not want to be part of this anymore. Okay, when is the next show…

Middle Eastern Shepherds Pie

shep pie in bowlMy son Eric, was the inspiration behind how I came up with this recipe.  I have had this pound of ground lamb in the freezer for a while and I kept thinking what am I going to make. So today, I thawed it out and decided to make a shepherds pie. I knew I wanted to use either coconut and curry or turmeric and cinnamon. I looked at what I had on hand and used what I had. We were discussing lamb recipes and he expressed how he loves the Middle Eastern spices better than Indian. He gave me some recipe suggestions for meatballs, but I wasn’t really excited about it. I went with my gut, made the pie and added his spices. I am sharing this recipe with you all and I am certain you will love it. After dinner my husband Brian, high fived me, but would only allow a double high five. He then proceeded to say “just so we’re clear, this doesn’t leave the house, don’t bring it to the shop and share it with anyone, it stays here”. He made a few other comments but they aren’t anything I can share. Haha! Made me feel good. While I was making it and tasting as I went, I knew this was going to be a good recipe. 🙂

Middle Eastern Shepherds Pie
400 degrees, 20 minutes

1 lb ground Lamb
1 cup frozen peas

middle eastern lamb

1/2 onion cut into strips
2 tbsp coconut oil or olive oil
1/2 cup fresh green pepper
1/2 cup fresh red pepper
5 fresh white mushrooms
4 cloves fresh garlic

2 cups water
1 tbsp better than bouillon beef base
3 tbsp flour

1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
1 tbsp Tomato powder or paste
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Paprika
1/2 tsp Cumin
1 tbsp parsley
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste

Mashed potatoes
6 small potatoes, quartered
4 carrots, cut into 1″ pieces
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 stick butter
2 tsp olive oil
1 head roasted garlic (optional)
Or 1/2 tsp granulated garlic
Salt and pepper to taste

First, get the potatoes and carrots boiling together. You will have to separate the carrots and set them aside after they are cooked. After the potatoes are soft enough to mash, add the sour cream, butter, olive oil, garlic, and salt and pepper. Mash them and place them in a large ziploc bag with the tip snipped off for piping on.

While the potatoes and carrots are boiling, get a saute pan nice and hot and begin sautéing the ground lamb, no oil is necessary in the pan. Let it brown up, don’t stir it too much, let it get a nice brown crust before breaking it up. Leave in it good size chunks. Add the seasoning, turmeric, cumin, paprika, parsley, tomato powder or paste, cinnamon, and salt and pepper. Add the peas. Add as much more of the spices as you like to get the flavor where you are happy. After its is cooked remove it from the pan. Lower the pan to medium if necessary and add the coconut oil and onions. Sauté them until they are about halfway cooked. In a cuisinart food processor or chop really fine, purée the green and red peppers, garlic, and mushrooms, add to the onions and continue sautéing. When they are cooked tender, sprinkle the 3 tbsp flour and cook for another minute. Add the lamb back in and stir. Add the beef stock and water, let it simmer until it thickens to a nice gravy. If the gravy is too thick add more water and beef base if needed, 1/4 cup of water at a time and only add more of the base if it lacks flavor. Taste it as you go because you do not want it to be salty and beef base can do that if you add too much. Pour the mixture into an oven safe dish, top with the carrots and then pipe the mashed potatoes on top. Sprinkle more spices if you like and drizzle a little olive oil. Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 20 minutes. Serve with crusty bread.

middle eastern shepherds pie