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Quinoa “Pasta” Salad

This is an adaptation of a recipe I found by the Detoxinista. I now make this pretty much weekly during the spring and summer months. I eat it for lunch, as a snack or even for dinner with a main course. And, this is my go-to recipe to make for new moms. It stays fresh for days in the fridge and can easily be thrown into a coffee mug and eaten quickly with a spoon as you’re running around the house caring for babes.

Adapted from Detoxinista


  1. Cover the 2 cups of dry quinoa with 4 cups of water in a saucepan, over high heat on the stove. Bring to a boil, then reduce the temperature and cover for 15 minutes, until the quinoa has absorbed all the water. Fluff with a fork, and allow to cool while you chop the vegetables and herbs.
  2.  In the meantime, mix together the lemon juice, olive oil and 2 teaspoons of sea salt  in a large bowl. Add the cooked quinoa, and toss in the dressing to coat well.
  3. Add in the minced scallions, red onion, chopped dill and parsley, chopped cucumber and olives, and toss well to combine. Allow the mixture to marinate at least an hour before serving, or chill in the fridge overnight. This salad can be served cold or at room temperature. I like to add feta cheese before serving.

Beef Stroganoff Soup

Skinny one pan recipe that is easy to make and super delicious.


  1. Sprinkle meat with salt and pepper. In a 4-quart Dutch oven melt butter over medium high heat. Add meat, half at a time, and cook until browned. Remove from pan.
  2. In the same Dutch oven cook the mushrooms, onions and garlic over medium heat 5 to 7 minutes or until the onion is tender, stirring occasionally. Add the beef broth, Worcestershire, and tomato paste. Bring to a boil. Stir in the noodles; reduce heat. Boil gently, uncovered for 5 to 7 minutes or until tender.
  3. In a medium bowl combine the sour cream and flour. Gradually stir in about 1 cup of the hot soup, broth; add the sour cream mixture to the soup. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir 1 minute more. Stir in meat; heat through. Top servings with additional sour cream (if desired) add parsley.

Elderberry Syrup

Standard dose is ½ tsp to 1 tsp for kids and ½ Tbsp to 1 Tbsp for adults. If exposed up dosage to 3x per day. If cold or flu strikes, take the normal dose every 2-3 hours instead of once a day until symptoms disappear.

Benefits of Elderberry
Elderberries naturally contain A, B, and C and stimulate the immune system. Israeli researchers found that the complex sugars in elderberries support the immune system in fighting cold and flu. They developed several formulas based on these complex sugars that have been clinically shown to help ameliorate all kinds of cold/flu. In fact:
Dr. Madeleine Mumcuoglu, of Hadassah-Hebrew University in Israel found that elderberry disarms the enzyme viruses use to penetrate healthy cells in the lining of the nose and throat. Taken before infection, it prevents infection. Taken after infection, it prevents spread of the virus through the respiratory tract. In a clinical trial, 20% of study subjects reported significant improvement within 24 hours, 70% by 48 hours, and 90% claimed complete cure in three days. In contrast, subjects receiving the placebo required 6 days to recover.


  1. Pour water into medium saucepan and add elderberries, ginger, cinnamon, and vanilla (do not add honey!)
    Bring to a boil and then cover and reduce to a simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour until the liquid has reduced by almost half. At that point, remove from heat and let cool enough to be handled. Mash the berries carefully using a potato masher or other flat utensil. Pour through cheese cloth and squeeze access into a glass jar or bowl. If you don\’t have cheesecloth or straining bag use a mesh strainer but clean it immediately to avoid a mess.
  2. Discard the elderberries (or compost them!) and let the liquid cool to lukewarm. When it is no longer hot, add honey and stir well. We use 1/4 cup honey but can add more if you want it sweeter. Be sure to stir or shake before sampling b/c the honey tends to settle on the bottom. If fighting a cough or sore throat add more honey to coat the throat.
  3. When honey is well mixed into the elderberry mixture, pour the syrup into mason jars or glass bottle of some kind. We save our kumbucha bottles!!!
  4. Ta Da! You just made homemade elderberry syrup! Store in the fridge and take daily for its immune boosting properties. Some sources recommend taking only during the week and not on the weekends to boost immunity. I put it on shot glasses and my kids drink it like juice. Also great to mix with bubble water and sip!!!
  5. You can double the recipe and store for up to 2 weeks!

Gazpacho al Chile Poblano

Adopted from the personal recipe of Rita Benavides-Munoz. A vortex all by itself, as an appetizer or dinner.

Nutrition information per serving: 278 calories, 73% of calories from fat, 23 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, o mg cholesterol, 16 g carbohydrates, 3 g protein, 455 mg sodium, 3 g fiber.


  1. 1. Rough chop tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper and bread; place into a bowl.
  2. Mix with sherry vinegar, 1/2 cup olive oil and salt.
  3. Cover; refrigerate at least two hours.
    2. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Spread poblanos, garlic, and onion on a baking sheet; drizzle with remain 2 tbls olive oil.
  4. Roast until poblanos are blistered, 10-15 minutes. Cool.
    3. Peel garlic; stem and deseed poblanos.
  5. Puree tomato mixture in a blender on high speed, about 30 seconds. (You may need to do this in batches).
  6. Add the garlic, onion and poblanos; puree until creamy and smooth.
  7. Taste for seasoning; add ice water if soup is too thick.
    4. Cover; refrigerate until chilled, 2 to 3 hours.
  8. Serve with bowls of croutons, chopped poblano and chopped cucumber for garnish.

Caesar Salad with Roasted Capers

The ultimate Vortex… every time. This Caesar takes on a capery twist.
What makes this so good? It is all about the dressing and the croutons. The key dressing ingredients are garlic, egg, Parmesan cheese, lemon and oil. Here the roasted capers replace the crouton.
This recipe is from the Tribune by Diane Rossen Worthington (TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES)

The dressing may be prepared 8 hours ahead, covered and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature before serving. If serving to pregnant vortex followers make sure the egg is cooked thoroughly.

NUTRITION INFORMATION: Per serving: 246 calories, 77% of calories from fat, 22 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 42 mg cholesterol, 9 g carbohydrates, 6 g protein, 277 mg sodium, 5 g fiber.


  1. 1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Place the capers and 1 tsp oil in a small heavy roasting pan.
  2. Roast, turning a few times, until crispy, about 18-20 minutes
  3. Watch carefully toward the end. Remove from the oven; reserve.
    2. Meanwhile, immerse the egg in a small saucepan of boiling water.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat; allow to sit covered, 8-10 minutes.
  5. Remove the egg from water; allow to cool, 10 minutes.
    3. Mince the garlic in a food processor.
  6. Add the lemon juice, anchovy paste yo taste and pepper; process to combine.
  7. Spoon in the egg; pulse until combined.
  8. With motor running, add 1/2 cup oil until emulsified.
  9. Pulse in 1/4 of cheese. Taste for seasoning.
    4. Combine the lettuce and capers with the dressing in a large bowl; toss.
  10. Add the remaining cup of cheese; toss.

Ham Hocks & Beer-Braised Sauerkraut

This is special….when you want to get rid of the vortex serve this dish. Ham hocks was one of my father’s favorite recipes. This is guaranteed to make a carnivore a vegetarian, or maybe even vegan, and will certainly clear the house. As the aroma of the ham hocks fill the air, other engagements take priority and your guest will begin to leave. Patty and I then order a pizza from Salernos. I served this to my family once, many years ago. It has never been on the table since. Still one of my favorites. This particular recipe is from Emeril Lagasse. He has titled this recipe “Emeril’s Never Enough Pork Beer-Braised Sauerkraut.”


  1. Heat the oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Place the sauerkraut in a colander and rinse briefly to remove some of the salt from the brine-don’t rinse it too much, or you will lose a lot of the flavor. (Alternatively, if the sauerkraut is not excessively salty, use as is.)
  3. Press to release most of the excess liquid and set aside.
  4. In a large non-reactive skillet, melt 3 tbls of butter over medium-low heat and add bacon.
  5. Cook until most of the fat is rendered, about 4 minutes.
  6. Add the onions and continue to cook until they are soft but not browned 8 to 10 minutes.
  7. Transfer the bacon-onion mixture to a nonreactive roasting pan or large oven proof Dutch oven. Add the drained sauerkraut and toss to combine.
  8. Using a small piece of cheesecloth, make a bouquet garni with the thyme, bay leaves, peppercorns, juniper berries and garlic, and place in the baking dish.
  9. Add the ham hocks, chicken stock, and beer. Stir to combine.
  10. Cover the casserole and bake, undisturbed, until ham hocks are mostly tender, about 1 1/2 hours.
  11. Meanwhile, melt the remaining tbls of butter in a large skillet over high heat and brown the sausages on both sides. Set aside.
  12. Brown the pork chops and set aside.
  13. When the hocks are mostly tender, remove the casserole from the oven. Place the sausages on top of the sauerkraut.
  14. Cook for about 30 minutes, or until the sausages are tender and heated through.
  15. Add the pork chops and press them into the sauerkraut.
  16. Cover and return to the oven and cook until the pork chops are heated through and tender, about 30 minutes longer.
  17. Remove the casserole from the oven and discard the bouquet garni.
  18. Serve immediately, with each person receiving some of the sausage, part of a hock, part of a pork chop and some of the sauerkraut.
  19. Pass the mustard at the table.

Charlene Suzuki’s Vegetable Lasagna

Served this recipe many times over the years as my children were growing up. It was one of their favorites. Maybe not the all-time vortex attraction but very healthy and tasty.


  1. Preheat oven to 375-degrees.
  2. Saute onions, garlic and mushrooms in oil until vegetables are soft.
  3. Add broccoli, zucchini, spinach, oregano, and red pepper.
  4. Stir, lower heat, cover and simmer for about 5 minutes. Brocolli should be tender crisp.
  5. Stir in parsley.
    In a bowl combine cottage cheese, mozzarella, Parmesan, basil and egg.
  6. Spread 1/4 cup of sauce over a lightly oiled 13-by-9 inch glass baking pan.
  7. Place 3 lasagna noodles on the bottom; if noodles don’t quite stretch the length of the pan, use pieces of extra broken noodles to fill.
  8. Spread half the cheese mixture on noodles, then half the vegetable mixture and 1 cup of the tomato sauce. Repeat layer, starting from the noodles.
  9. Top with remaining noodles; spread with remaining 1/2 cup of sauce.
  10. Sprinkle the top with more cheese.Bake until bubbling hot. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving

BBQ Chicken with Polenta

One of my favorites! Perfect for a spring time dinner.


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Season the chicken liberally with salt and pepper, poultry seasoning and grill seasoning. Heat 2 tablespoons EVOO in a medium size skillet and brown the chicken a few minutes on each side to put some of its flavor and drippings into the pan. Transfer the chicken to the oven and roast for 15 minutes more, or until juices run clear. Meanwhile, add 1 more tablespoon of EVOO to the pan and cook the pancetta or bacon, if using, until crisp. Add the onion, garlic and rosemary, cook for 5 minutes, then add the vinegar, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, tomato sauce and 1/2 cup chicken stock. Reduce the heat to low and let the sauce simmer 5 minutes more.
  3. Bring the remaining 1 1/2 cups stock and milk to a boil, whisk in the polenta and season with salt and pepper. Whisk the polenta for 2-3 minutes until it thickens, stir in the butter and cheese, then remove from the heat.
  4. Remove the chicken from the oven and turn in the barbecue sauce. Fill shallow bowls with polenta. Top the polenta with the chicken, spooning the extra sauce over the chicken and garnishing with some torn basil leaves.

My-oh-Mahi! That’s a Good Fish Taco

The best fish tacos. Ever.


  1. Heat a tablespoon of the oil in a skillet over medium heat and add the jalapeno, finely chopped red onion, and garlic. Cook 3 to 4 minutes, then add the beans and cumin and mash together. Season the beans with salt and pepper and fold in the chutney. Reduce the heat to low to keep warm, stirring now and then to keep them from burning. If the beans dry out before you are ready to use them add a splash of water.
  2. Zest one of the limes and set aside. Combine the juice of both limes, the hot sauce, honey, 2 tablespoons of the canola oil, salt, and pepper with the sliced onions, cilantro and shredded cabbage. Toss to combine.
  3. Heat an outdoor grill to medium or preheat the broiler. Season the fish with the remaining tablespoon of oil, 2 teaspoons of lime zest and the grill seasoning. Cook the fish on the grill with the lid closed or under the broiler for 8 minutes total, until cooked through, turning once.
  4. Crisp the taco shells and blister the tortillas on the grill or in the oven. Glue the softened flour tortillas onto the crisp taco shells with a few spoonfuls of mashed black beans. Fill each tortilla-wrapped taco shell with half a piece of fish, flaked, and top with some cabbage slaw and creme fraiche. Serve 2 tortilla-wrapped tacos per person.

Chopped Kale Salad with Tamari-Ginger Vinaigrette

A colorful chopped kale salad bursting with Asian flavors, including ginger, cilantro, Thai basil and soy. This salad is vegan and gluten free, so it would make a great potluck dish.


  1. Use a chef\’s knife to remove the tough ribs from the kale, then discard them.
  2. Chop the kale leaves into small, bite-sized pieces and transfer them to a mixing bowl.
  3. Sprinkle the kale with a dash of sea salt and use your hands to massage the kale by scrunching up the leaves in your hands and releasing until the kale is a darker green and fragrant.
  4. Toss the remaining salad dressing ingredients with the kale.
  5. To make the vinaigrette, whisk together all the ingredients until emulsified.
  6. Toss the dressing with the salad and serve.

Please note: Yields 2 enormous salads or 4 medium.
Storage suggestions: Leftovers will keep well in the fridge for a day or two.