Yeh’s Valentine’s Day Almond Cake

Let me begin by saying how much I love almonds!  I’ve made several recipes made with almonds; this by far has been my favorite.  Not only was it delicious, but it turned out beautifully.  Molly Yeh is a pro at making cakes and especially very creative when it comes to decorating.  Her Valentine’s Day Almond Cake recipe is very user friendly.

I followed the instructions carefully for the cake.  I didn’t have all the gadgets required, but I made it work with a little creativity and a little help from my sis.  I did make my own raspberry buttercream frosting instead of the whipped cream frosting she uses. I used fresh raspberry syrup in place of food coloring. I also decorated it with my own flare.  This cake was not just yummy, but also a lot of fun to decorate!  Hope you give it a try, it’s well worth the effort! Follow the link for her recipe and if you’d like to try my frosting see below…


Ingredients for frosting and decorations:

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3-4 cups (or more if you like it really sweet) confectioners sugar
  • 3 or more Tbsp raspberry syrup, made with 6 oz. fresh strawberries, 1 Tbsp granulated sugar and 1 Tbsp water
  • a couple of pinches of Kosher salt
  • your choice of sprinkles


  1. Leave the butter on your counter to soften; about 45 minutes or so.
  2. In a small sauce pan, combine the raspberries, granulated sugar and water and heat on medium until the raspberries breakdown and soften and the liquid is nice and pink.  Strain the raspberries and the liquid through a fine sieve into a small bowl and set aside to cool. If you think there are raspberry pieces or seeds in the syrup, strain it twice. You will only be using the syrup, so discard the fruit that remains in the sieve.
  3. Place the butter in a deep bowl and whip with an electric mixer.  Add the confectioners sugar and the heavy whipping cream, alternating between the two, a little at a time. If you add the powdered sugar all at once, you’ll end up with a white cloud of sugar all around you. Add a couple of pinches of Kosher salt.  Continue whisking so it’s smooth and creamy.
  4. Add the raspberry syrup a tablespoon at a time until it’s the perfect pink for you.  I prefer this over food coloring…healthier and tastier! I ended up using about 5 tablespoons, but you can add as much or as little as you want.  I had left over syrup that I placed in a small bowl and served on the side so if anyone wanted to drizzle a little over their piece of cake.
  5. For the decorations, I used 3 different sizes of heart shaped cookie cutters. If you don’t have them, you can make a stencil out of parchment paper and place it over the cake, then remove it carefully once the sprinkles are on.  From Michael’s, I purchased a few Valentine themed sprinkled and combined them with a few others I had, minced some slivered almonds and combined them all in a small bowl to create what I call a “sprinkles extravaganza!”  Once the cake is frosted, carefully placed the cookie cutters on the surface of the frosting and using a 1 tsp measure to add sprinkles to the inside of the heart shapes. Try not to make it too thick vertically, but enough so each heart shape is completely filled edge to edge. Pat the sprinkles down gently so they stick. Carefully remove the cookie cutters and using tweezers (or the edge of a knife or spoon) gently remove or adjust any runaway sprinkles.  Have fun!




Savory Ground Turkey (Turkey Picadillo)

dsc_0199Growing up, my mother always made picadillo, which is ground beef seasoned with Cuban style seasonings.  I guess the American dish that reminds me most of it, I think, is Sloppy Joe, but without the bun,  We always had it with white rice, fried plantains. and on occasion her famous black beans… there any other way?  Yes…fast forward to 2019, made with ground turkey and served with brown rice and roasted vegetables!  Even though we still occasionally enjoy “picadillo” the way my mom used to make it, this version is a delicious, easy to make healthy option. Continue reading “Savory Ground Turkey (Turkey Picadillo)”

Almond Cookies

I came up with this recipe after I baked an almond cake from a recipe a friend shared.  The nice thing about almond flour is that it’s gluten free and you do not need as much butter as you would using all purpose flour.  The texture is chewy and cakey.  If you want a little crunch, try adding a few chopped almonds! They are easy to make and nice enough to  be served  as a dessert with ice cream or fresh fruit.  Or try them as an afternoon snack with a cold glass of milk, hot chocolate or some hot tea.  We had ours with ice cream and a little dulce de leche. Yum!

dsc_0168Makes about 20-24 cookies


  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp Cointreau (or other orange liquor)
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Powdered sugar for dusting


  1. Heat oven to 350º F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Add the butter and sugar to a bowl and beat with an electric mixture until it looks like cake crumbs,  about 2 – 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating each time until blended and smooth.  Add the almond and vanilla extracts, the Cointreau (or orange liquor) and the lemon zest.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift the almond flour and all-purpose flour.  Add the baking powder, salt, and cinnamon, whisk to mix.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and blend gently but thoroughly.
  5. Scoop the cookie dough using a 2 Tbsp measure or a soup spoon, making mounds that are about 2 1/2″ in circumference (like the size of small meatballs).  I use a small ice cream scoop I have, that is a bit larger than a melon baller.
  6. Place the mounds of cookie dough on the parchment lined sheets and bake for 12-17 minutes, until the edges are golden to your liking.
  7. Once removed from the oven, allow them to sit on the cookie sheet for 3-5 minutes. Place the cookies on a cooling rack, leaving the cookie sheet under the rack, and dust them with powdered sugar.  They’ll keep covered for up to 5 days.


Note:    Almond flour keeps well in the freezer; store it in an air tight container.  Also, it’s gluten free, so these are very easy to make GF!  King Arthur has a gluten free all purpose flour that can be substituted for the all-purpose.  I have not tried it, since we’re not sensitive at my house, but it’s an option for those of you who are.

Sunday Morning Scrambled Eggs (with parsley and goat cheese)

dsc_0170Scrambled eggs are perfect any day, but I especially love to make them on the weekends. When I have goat cheese left over from pasta or salad that I’ve made, I put it in the scrambled eggs with parsley, which I usually have right on my counter.  It seems like a fancy breakfast, it’s delicious and it’s so simple to prepare. Also, you can add other things to this scrambled egg recipe instead of parsley and goat cheese. Try combining different ingredients:  onion and peppers, mushrooms and Gruyere , tomatoes and spinach, cheddar and ham, Swiss cheese or other veggies…be creative!  My youngest son loves onions, green pepper, red peppers, Mexican Blend shredded cheese from Organic Valley, cilantro, and his favorite hot sauce.cilantro

And speaking of cilantro, do you ever buy a bunch and it’s wilted the next day?  Keep it fresh for days and even up to two weeks in a mason jar.  Wash it thoroughly, allow it to air dry on several layers of clean paper towel or a dish towel. I usually pat it with paper towel again before storing it, just to make sure no water droplets remain.  Also, I like to cut the large stems off so I only have the tops.  Simply place the cilantro in the mason jar, close the lid tightly and keep it in the fridge.  It will be fresh and available when you need it!  And, if you want to keep your parsley fresh for up to a week, also wash it thoroughly, cut the stems evenly and place it in a glass or small vase filled with fresh water, making sure that only the stems and not the leaves are in the water.  Change the water in the glass every day and keep it on your counter top.  It should stay green and fresh for up to a week.


  • 6-7 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup half and half (you can use milk)
  • about a tablespoon of fresh chopped parsley
  • about 2-3 tablespoons, crumbled goat cheese
  • salt and pepper


  1. Crack the eggs into a bowl and add the half and half.  Mix thoroughly using an electric mixer, blender or whisk.
  2. Heat a pan (preferably non-stick) on medium/high heat.  Melt a pad of butter in the pan and add the egg mixture.  Lower the heat to medium/low.
  3. Stir frequently until the eggs are done to your liking.   Turn the heat off and add the parsley and the goat cheese.  Add salt and pepper.  Serve.
  4. If you are adding other ingredients such as onions, peppers, mushrooms, ham or vegetables, you should cook these ingredients first and then add the eggs, then add whatever cheese you choose.  Keep in mind that ham and bacon are salty, so be aware not to add too much extra salt…taste first.

Serves 3-4

scrambled eggs with oniion and peppers



dsc_0142Quiche is versatile.  It’s what I love best about making it!  You can conveniently use the ingredients you have on hand plus it’s great for breakfast, brunch or dinner.

I made two quiches.  A broccoli and cheese (this time I used Sargento Shredded 6 Italian Style Cheese; I usually pair broccoli with cheddar, but this was just as good) and a second quiche with Organic Girl Baby Spinach…which I had left over from a salad I made earlier in the the week.


As far as the pie shell goes, you can make your own if you know how, and have the time.  Or you can buy a ready made brand that you like. This time I used a pie shell I found at my local Whole Foods; Wholly Wholesome brand organic frozen pie shell.  I usually buy organic, especially the things we have everyday or eat often.  Pie, we don’t have very often, so I have used the Pillsbury brand and it’s good too.  Conveniently, the frozen pie shells come with two in the package.  If you’re planning on making two of the same or two different types of quiche, please double the ingredients below, as they are for one quiche.dsc_0125

I made these for a quick Sunday brunch. I also served fresh fruit with a yogurt dipping sauce on the side and of course…fresh brewed coffee.


Continue reading “Quiche”

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!