Category Archives: Recipes

And Now For Something Different: Adventures in the Kitchen

I am not a cook. I’m the daughter of a cook. And a baker. I grew up in a restaurant. But I’ve not inherited the genes that make one skillful at knowing what spices to combine with what bases.

I’m the one who tried to make her own coconut rice and had it described as “palatable.”

I tried to make a chocolate strawberry tart and the hubs needed a butcher knife to cut it.

Recently, I set a potholder on FIRE! 😀

And so, in our household, it is my partner, Joe, who does the cooking. And I remain ever grateful. But we’ve challenged ourselves to do things a little differently in our partnership and I’ve started making one meal a week with the goals of being health conscious and tasty.

Like a good little wi-fi (my husband’s nickname for me given my love of social media), I trolled pinterest for some recipes that looked good, easy to make, and were healthy. That means I was steering clear of recipes with a lot of dairy, red meat, or carbs. Here’s what the past 2 months have brought about.

*Note: All photographs are my own. I thought you should see what the food looked like when an amateur attempts to pinterest at home. Bon appetit! 

The Contenders

Buddha Bowls

Featuring the 30 Best Buddha Bowls, Yummy Mummy Kitchen included a winter bowl with curried chickpeas that I adapted at the end (scroll to the bottom of her post). I made the chickpeas as she described, then played around with my own vegetable options. I sautéed rainbow carrots and brussel sprouts in olive oil, ginger, and cumin until tender. And I added marinated beets and a thai cocount curry hummus which I purchased from my co-op to the top of the bowl. Everything was dumped on a bed of spinach. It’s a nice mix of sweet, spicy, creamy and tangy.

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White Bean and Avocado Burritos

I am not the best burrito roller, but halfway through I got the hang of it! This dish was really filling and nice for leftovers. Our favorite part was the cilantro lime sauce. Bonus, the recipe from Ceara’s Kitchen is also vegan, so if you’re looking for some meat-free meal options, this one’s good.

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Lemon Poppyseed Pancakes

Alright, so pancakes aren’t exactly at the top of the health food menu, but it was the weekend and I wanted to do something special. Plus we’d received super yummy Canadian maple syrup from my brother’s family as a thank you for dog sitting so pancakes were really the only option.

This recipe from The View From Great Island is a very delicious lemony treat and goes great with fresh blueberries and turkey bacon on the side.

*Notice my absolute lack of skill in pancake flipping. I made Lemon Poppyseed Pan-shmooshes. 

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Chicken Tikka Masala

When the chef preparing this dish says she eats chicken tikka masala multiple times a week, you know you can trust the recipe to be pretty good. Found on Savory Tooth, this chicken tikka masala recipe was indeed, tasty.

This recipe requires an Indian spice blend called garam masala, which for those of you who live in a smaller city, could be hard to find. You can buy it online, but I was lucky enough to find it in the bulk aisle of my co-op and prepare my own baggie full of the spice. Buy extra, cause the next recipe calls for it too!

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Slow Cooker Butter Chicken

I have absolutely no idea why this recipe is called Butter Chicken when there is, in fact, no butter in it. But for folks who like spice, then this dinner from Damn Delicious is the ticket. It’s extra spicy if you pair it, as I did, with Fooduzzi’s recipe for Sriracha Almond Butter Roasted Brussel SproutsZing! 

If you’re trying to cut out excess carbs too, you can put the chicken over a bed of chopped spinach instead of rice like we did, and sprinkle with cilantro.

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The Winning Favorites

The two best recipes, as favored by the hubs and I, were…

Crock Pot Thai Chicken Soup

From The Endless Meal, this recipe for thai chicken soup, which simmers in a crockpot for eight hours was DELECTABLE! Red curry paste mixed with chicken stock and coconut milk makes up the broth. Add chicken, plus whatever vegetables you want, and rice vermicelli noodles – which cook in 2 minutes! For veggies this time, I used red pepper, onion, mushrooms, and tomatoes. So savory and even the leftovers are delicious.

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Roasted Chicken With Vegetables

And the other hit was Roasted Chicken with Vegetables from The Cookie Writer. Another easy one pan meal – hooray! The cook behind this recipe saved time by buying chopped veggies from the grocery store, but I did my own chopping with what we had on hand already. I substituted chicken breasts for the bone in chicken, since we had 3 frozen chicken breasts to use up. And the veggies I cut up were cauliflower, green pepper, and baby carrots. My hubs loved the paprika and basil spice blend.

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There you have my adventures in the kitchen. It’s not going too bad!
Minus, you know, that ONE potholder. 😛

What are the recipes you love and return to?
See any on this list you might try? 

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Guilty Pleasures: Turkey Curry Wraps, a No Fuss Recipe

Are you forever on the hunt for quick, easy, and healthy recipes?  I know I am.  As a girl who works 50+ hours a week, easy, yet tasty, meals are everything!

I’m a big fan of the magazine Simple and Delicious – that’s basically my lifestyle!  Here’s one I recently tried and enjoyed.  Could be a new guilty pleasure lunch!  Mmmm.

Turkey Curry Wraps

(sent in from Lisa Renshaw, Kansas City, MO – Thanks Lisa!)

Turkey Curry Wrap1/2 cup fat-free mayonnaise

1 Tbsp. orange juice

1 tsp. grated orange peel

3/4 tsp. curry powder

4 whole wheat tortillas (8 in.), room temperature

2 cups finely shredded cabbage

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

1 can (11 oz.) mandarin oranges, drained

2/3 cup dried cranberries

1/2 lb. thinly sliced deli turkey

Combine the mayonnaise, orange juice, peel and curry; spread over tortillas.  Top with cabbage, onion, oranges, cranberries and turkey.  Roll up.

Here’s the unrolled version before the turkey is on:

Turkey Curry Wrap

Add some chips and peach salsa as a side, presto!

You’ve got an easy, homemade, delectable lunch!

Turkey Curry Wrap

What are your go-to easy recipes?  Are you starting to look for those lighter, spring meals yet?  Even with snow on the ground here I’m craving citrus foods!

 

Holiday Yum: Pumpkin-Curry Chicken and Blue Cheese Bread

Hey Everyone!

I know, I know, I’ve been completely MIA in the blogosphere this season!

Forgive me.  I work in retail.  You won’t see me in full swing until January.

However, doesn’t mean I can’t play along with…

art by Ellen M. Gregg

See the Full Holiday Yum Schedule – Tasty Treats You Won’t Want to Miss!

 

  • On November 17th, Jenny Hansen kicked off the hop with her Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Meal.  There are lots of great tips for folks who need to eat GF, including some sneaky foods to watch out for!
  • On November 19th, I shared the salty-sweet, super-easy Spiced Pecans appetizer.
  • Ellen M. Gregg has us all drooling with The Chocolatiest Chocolate Cake – Evah on Monday, November 26th.
  • Jenny Hansen introduces us to her luscious Almond Roca, famed of song and story, on Wednesday, November 28th.
  • Estee Lavitt shares her mouth-watering Baked Latkes on December 2nd, just in time for Chanukah!
  • Natalie Hartford starts us off on a cookie binge with her fabulous French Lace Cookies on December 5th.  Mais Oui.
  • I’ll be back on Dec 10th with a Christmas cookie staple that’s yummy and versatile – butter spritz cookies.
  • And if those last two posts aren’t enough “cookie” for you, Ellen M. Gregg will also be making her Old-Fashioned Buttermilk Sugar Cookies, along with Bulldog Punch, on December 14th.
  • Natalie Hartford continues the yummy sweets with her favorite cheesecake recipe on December 17th.
  • Jenny Hansen teaches us not to fear candy-making with her super-easy, super-yummy Holly Candy recipe on December 19th.
  • Jess Witkins is still plotting and planning, so we will either be treated to a comfort food or appetizer recipe on December 23rd.
  • On December 26th, I’ll be posting about my super-easy beef rib-eye roast with currant jelly brown gravy that I make every year for Christmas dinner.  Hope my holiday guests don’t mind me taking more pics of the food than of them, LOL.
  • And, finally, to help us ring in the New Year, Natalie Hartford will share some festive and delicious Mocktail recipes on December 28th!

On With the Food!!!

Today, I’m sharing a comfort food dish that I tried this year and loved!  And working in retail, I’m all about the little comforts when I get home!

Here’s what my roommates said about the meal:

If you wanted to make this again, that’d be alright.

and

This is f#$@ing good!

But don’t take their word for it!  Try it yourself!

Pumpkin Curry Chicken

Found in Simple and Delicious Magazine, Contributed by Aysha Schurman from Ammon, Idaho

2 cups uncooked jasmine rice

1 1/2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

4 tsp. curry powder, divided

1/4 tsp. pepper

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 garlic clove, minced

1 cup canned pumpkin

1/2 cup chicken broth

1/2 cup raisins

1/4 cup apple butter

1/2 tsp. Chinese five-spice powder

1/3 cup chopped cashews, toasted

Minced fresh parsley

Cook rice according to package directions.  Meanwhile, sprinkle chicken with 1 tsp. curry powder and pepper.  Heat oil in a large skillet; saute chicken for 5-6 minutes or until no longer   pink.  Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer.

Curry Chicken

Stir in pumpkin, broth, raisins, apple butter, five-spice powder and remaining curry powder.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5-7 minutes or until heated through.

Stir cashews into rice and serve with chicken mixture.  Sprinkle with parsley.

Pumpkin Curry Chicken

Blue Cheese Herb Bread

Found in Simple and Delicious Magazine, Contributed by Janet Allen from Sarasota, Florida

1 tube (12 oz.) refrigerated flaky buttermilk biscuits

2 Tbsp. butter, melted

2 Tbsp. crumbled blue cheese

1 Tbsp. dried minced onion

2 tsp. dried minced parsley flakes

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tsp. dried tarragon

1 tsp. minced chives

1/2 tsp. celery seed

1/2 tsp. dried oregano

Separate biscuits; cut each into quarters.  Arrange into an 11 inch long loaf on a greased baking sheet.  In a small bowl, combine the remaining ingredients; brush over loaf.

Bake at 375° for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown.

Blue Cheese Herb Bread

Voila!  Gourmet comfort food without all the fuss!

Pumpkin Curry Chicken and Blue Cheese Bread

Cheers to you and yours this holiday season!  May each of you celebrate with all those you love, and take a little comfort in some homemade treats!

Friends and Fruit Salad

This weekend flew by, didn’t it?  I thought so.  In between work and writing, I had one of my awesome friends, and fellow English Major, in town from Tennessee for a few days.  Her name is Karla, and it was so fun to see her and share some adventures together again.  We hit up our usual, the Starlite Lounge, a martini bar that rests above a cajun restaurant.  Nothing like raspberry cosmos and jerk chicken nachos to remind you it’s summer.

Karla and I with our college diplomas 🙂

La Crosse also hosted Rockin’ the Docks on Saturday, an outdoor music fest on the edge of the Mississippi River.  My boyfriend’s band, T.U.G.G. performed and we went down to support (and dance and hang out).

There was a trip to the local Rivoli Theater, an old opera house turned movie theater that plays films that just left the main theater for a discounted price.  I love the Riv!  We all went to see Bridesmaids, which I recommend as a must to go see with your girlfriends.  It’s hilarious!  It’s like The Hangover for women.

Our weekend ended with a potluck/wine tasting at my place where we watched Red Riding Hood.  My only advice is proceed with caution when watching that film.  It was entertaining, because we were drinking, but the movie seems to grasp at several previous films and blend them all together so you don’t quite know what film you’re watching.  It’s a little bit Twilight meets A Knight’s Tale meets Van Helsing  meets The Village meets an eclectic cast of Sci-fi TV stars.  It’s got a lot going on.

What I wanted to share with you is the dish of honor.  At Karla’s request, I made her favorite Pina Colada Fruit Salad.  Oh, it’s divine!

  Pina Colada Fruit Salad from Carol Farnsworth, Greenwood, IN, Simple and Delicious Magazine

Prep/Total Time: 15 minutes     Yield:  9 servings

1-1/2 cups green grapes

1-1/2 cups red grapes

1-1/2 cups fresh blueberries

1-1/2 cups halved strawberries

1 can (8 oz.) pineapple chunks, drained

1/2 cup fresh raspberries

1 can (10 oz.) frozen non-alcoholic pina colada mix, thawed

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup pineapple-orange juice

1/8 tsp almond extract

1/8 tsp coconut extract

In a serving bowl, combine the first six ingredients.  In a small bowl, whisk the pina colada mix, sugar, juice, and extracts until sugar is dissolved.  Pour over fruit; toss to coat.  Chill until serving.  (Note:  I’ve made this a couple times and always have extra syrup.  Stock up on your favorite fruits so you can replenish the dish as the night goes on.)

Enjoy!  See you all on Friday for another edition of The Life List Club!  See what else we’re up to by visiting us on Twitter at #LifeListClub. 

Summer Salad, Herb Bread, and Author Interview

It’s summer.  And that means it’s hot, there’s lots to do, both at work,  in the garden, and general housework.  We need quick, easy meals that are light, but filling, and allow us to get back to our day, or if we’re lucky, a good book!

These recipes are from my favorite cooking magazine, Simple and Delicious, and I vouch that they’ll live up to both!

Also, I’m completely thrilled to be the feature writer interviewed over at M. E. Anders’ blog.  If you haven’t read Mindi Anders’ blog, you’re simply missing out.  She is the go to gal for all things suspenseful, with a focus on cult history and she’s writing a new series on just that.  She is much more tech saavy than myself and has fun podcasts and movie reviews, and every tuesday she features a new writer or reader in a fun interview that you can participate in too!  Please stop by Mindi’s and see her interview with me and check out her awesome blog!

Chicken and Berry Salad: From Sheri Abernathy, Lemont, Illinois

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup red wine vinegar

1/2 cup olive oil

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts

6 cups torn romaine

6 cups torn red leaf lettuce

1 pint fresh blueberries

1 pint fresh strawberries, sliced

2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

1 cup chopped walnuts

Prep: 15 minutes + marinating  Grill:  10 minutes  Yield: 9 servings

In a large bowl, whisk the first six ingredients.  Pour 3/4 cup marinade into a large resealable plastic bag; add the chicken.  Seal bag and turn to coat; refrigerate overnight.  Cover and refrigerate remaining marinade.

Drain and discard marinade.  Grill chicken, covered, over medium heat for 5-8 minutes on each side or until juices run clear.  Cut into strips.

In a large bowl, combine the lettuces, blueberries, strawberries, cheese, and walnuts.  Add reserved marinade; toss to coat.  Top with sliced chicken.

Blue Cheese Herb Loaf: From Janet Allen, Sarasota, Florida

1 tube (12 oz.) refrigerated flaky buttermilk biscuits

2 Tbsp butter, melted

2 Tbsp crumpled blue cheese

1 Tbsp dried minced onion

2 tsp dried parsley flakes

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tsp dried tarragon

1 tsp minced chives

1/2 tsp celery seed

1/2 tsp dried oregano

Prep: 15 minutes  Bake: 20 minutes  Yield: 1 loaf

Separate biscuits; cut each into quarters.  Arrange into an 11-inch long loaf on a greased baking sheet.  In a small bowl, combine the remaining ingredients ; brush over loaf.

Bake at 375° for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown.

Summer is short.  Don’t spend it all in the kitchen!  There’s more books and blogs to read.  😉

Miss Scarlett, In the Kitchen, With the Butcher Knife

Happy 4th of July, Everyone!  It’s official:  I will never bake again.  For those of you getting to know me, you’re well aware of my affinity towards salty food, predominately jalapeno cheetos and entire cartons of shredded parmesan.  I am a total salt fiend in my taste buds!  But on rare occasions when I flip through cook books and cooking magazines I get this domestic tug at my sweet tooth and decide to bake something.

They make it look so easy.  It’s really not fair. 

Bake 4-5 minutes until chips are melted.

*Sigh*  I don’t know what happened.

The Recipe:  Strawberry Ginger Tart by Chantal Bourbon, Montreal, Quebec 

1/4 cup butter, softened

2/3 cup sugar

1 egg white

1 Tbsp. minced fresh gingerroot

1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1 cup milk chocolate chips

Filling:

1 pkg. (8 oz) reduced-fat cream cheese

3 Tbsp. confectioner’s sugar

2 Tbsp. 2% milk

4 cups halved strawberries

Glaze:

1/4 cup seedless strawberry jam

1 Tbsp. crystallized ginger, finely chopped

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in egg white and ginger.  Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well.  Press onto the bottom and up the sides of a greased 9-in. tart pan.

Bake at 350° for 12-15 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.  Sprinkle with chips.  Bake 4-5 minutes longer or until chocolate is melted; spread over crust.  Cool on a wire rack.

In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese, confectioner’s sugar and milk until smooth; spread over chocolate.  Top with strawberries.  In a small microwave safe bowl, microwave jam in 10 second intervals until melted; brush over strawberries.  Sprinkle with ginger.  Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.

The Catastrophe in the Kitchen:

The tart crust went fine.  Sure it was messy, but I got that done.  I baked it for it’s nice 12 minutes, and I sprinkled the chocolate chips on top and waited for 5 additional minutes for them to melt.  THEY NEVER MELTED!  12 minutes later!  I now was having a raging fit in the kitchen, “This is why I don’t bake!  How am I going to salvage this?  The crust is hard as a rock now, and these f***ing chips still aren’t melted!  Why do I try?  I don’t even like sweets!  I’m going to stab this tart!”

Here is where some breathing exercises would have helped, however, I was out of cream cheese.  “Oh my god, I don’t know if it’s worth a trip to the store to finish this awful project or not!  The chocolate looks like poop cause I can’t get it to spread evenly.  I’m so irritated right now!  Fine, if I’m going to the store, I’m going grocery shopping, I’m not making a special trip for this stupid tart!”

An hour later, I put the groceries away, I made the cream cheese spread, I cut the strawberries, I nuked the jam in 10 second intervals and drizzled it over the berries.

Me and My Tart, fake smiling satisfaction. I am ready to throw this tart across the room.

I am never baking again.  Enjoy these photos now, people, holiday or no holiday I’m through!  It makes me way too angry!

At least it looked pretty.  The next morning we got the tart out of the fridge for breakfast.  Using a butcher knife, my poor Joe had to use all his arm muscle to cut through the over-baked crust!  It honestly did taste good, and if jaw pain is normal after such desserts, then I guess I did a splendid job!

If any of you are considering being a guest at Che’ Witkins’ B & B, I highly recommend the gin smoothies with your tart.  Made the previous evening’s anxieties all the more delicious!

Finally, a peaceful moment. Gin smoothie, espresso coffee, stupid tart, book to read!

Bologna Girl Learns to Cook

My bloggy friend, Madge, more commonly known as author Margaret Reyes Dempsey over at her blog, couldn’t believe that a girl who solved her problems with bologna sandwiches came from a family who owned a restaurant!  So, I’m here today to state the facts.

Fact #1.  Yes, I had a moment of weakness where I ate a bologna sandwich and drank Chardonnay after a bad day.  My only fault was blogging about it (with picture evidence, no less) because now I’ll never live it down.

Fact #2.  My family owned a Steak House for 16 years.  I thought the place was my free-for-all and walked around like I owned the joint, grabbing grape soda from the bar fridge and hoarding plates of my dad’s AMAZING homemade cheese spread.  I was in a sense, raised by a group of cooks and waitresses who let me help make cole slaw.  In fact, the waitresses at our restaurant were actually the ones that named me!  I’m not sure if that’s a charming trait, or a reality check that my mother was about to have kid #4 and just didn’t care anymore.  (Just kidding, mom, I know you love me!)

Fact #3.  My parents have two cooking styles.  My mom (apart from salads and desserts) basically made the same meals for dinner on some kind of rotation.  Baked chicken, meatloaf, chow mein, CHILI MAC (my fav.), and my least favorite, goulash.  Who would like something named goulash?  It tastes like it sounds.  😛  My dad, on the other hand, will make a variety of dishes, but he’ll also make them for 50+ people.  After graduation, my dad enlisted in the Navy, and was the cook on ship during his service.  Add that to years of restaurant managing, and you have a man who inevitably will buy one chicken and make you chicken, yes, but also chicken soup and chicken salad and chicken and rice and chicken tiramisu!  Ok, maybe not that last one, but you get the idea.  How was I, the youngest, supposed to learn to cook in a house with a mother whose idea of taco salad was crumbling doritos on lettuce or a father who never measured a thing and made quantities for storage in a bomb shelter?

Fact #4.  In college, I survived on pasta and frozen vegetables.  My initial attempts at cooking were described as “palatable” and “finger food” by parties subjected to taste testing.  I think back on my attempts to make my own coconut milk as creative!  And so what if I was terrible at following directions and charred many a batch of cookies!  It was the effort that counts, right?

Fact #5.  I eventually learned to cook.  I chalk it up to the wonderful gift of Simple and Delicious Magazine my mother gave me after graduation.  Simple and delicious, you say?  That’s my kind of meal!  So get ready folks, I’m sharing with you two amazing recipes that will make dinner feel like summer’s finally here!  These dishes were so scrumptious, even as leftovers!  My honey and I really enjoyed them.  Both were so flavorful, the burgers had a great little kick to them, and this potato salad was the best potato salad I’ve ever eaten!

Chipotle Sliders from Shawn Singleton in Vidor, Texas

Prep time: 30 min. Yield 10 sliders

1 pkg. (12 oz.) Hawaiian sweet rolls

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

8 tsp minced chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, divided

1-1/2 lbs ground beef

10 slices pepper Jack cheese

1/2 cup mayo

Place 2 rolls in a food processor; process until crumbly.  Transfer to a large bowl; add the salt, pepper, and 6 tsp chipotle peppers.  Crumble beef over mixture and mix well.  Shape into 10 patties.

Grill burgers, covered, over medium heat for 3-4 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer reads 160° and juices run clear.  Top with cheese.  Grill 1 minute longer or until cheese is melted.

Split remaining rolls and grill, cut side down, over medium heat for 30-60 seconds or until toasted.  Combine mayonnaise and remaining chipotle peppers; spread over roll bottoms.  Top each with a burger.  Replace roll tops.

Golden Potato Salad by Linda Behrman in North Merrick, New York

Prep:  25 minutes  Cook:  15 min + cooling  Yield:  10 servings

2-1/2 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes

1 medium sweet red pepper, chopped

1 small red onion

1/2 cup shredded carrot

1 cup mayo

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

2 Tbsp spicy brown mustard

1 Tbsp mustard seed

3 tsp snipped, fresh dill (I used dried)

1-1/2 tsp sugar

3/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

Place potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with water.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until tender.  Drain; cool for 15 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine the red pepper, onion, carrot and potatoes.

In a small bowl, whisk the mayonnaise, oil, vinegar, mustard, mustard seed, 2 tsp dill, sugar, salt and pepper.  Pour over potato mixture; gently toss to coat.  Sprinkle with remaining dill.  Refrigerate until serving.

Are your taste buds watering?  What yummy dishes have you made to kick off summer?  Who taught you to cook?  Have you ever tried to make your own coconut milk?  It’s hard, isn’t it?

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