Category Archives: Herbs

Fiesta Black Bean Salad

We had a Fiesta theme Birthday Bash for my Mother-in-law’s 60 th Surprise Birthday Party. I know this type of salad is one of her favorites. 

The salad is also vegan which I find enjoyable to always take a vegetarian entree wherever I go for meals. This way I can always count on at least one meal to eat at a potluck.  I prepare variations of this bean salad all the time; however, this go around I did make a few twists by incorporating an avocado, and green chilis to add some flare. 


1 large can black beans ( 822 g); rinsed and drained well

4 oz can of green chilis; drained 

1 large green pepper, diced 

1 large orange pepper, diced 

1 cup frozen corn kernels 

1 pint of grape tomatoes, cut in half

I small lime, juiced

2 Tablespoons jalapeño lime vinegar 

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon chili powder 

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 

2 tablespoon of fresh cilantro, minced

1/4 cup red onion, diced

1 small ripe avocado, diced


1. Place all the ingredients in a large sealable bowl with the exception of the avocado. Use a rubber spatula to fold ingredients together. Let the salad rest overnight. 

2. Prior to serving fold in diced avocado. 

Herbed Pesto

My grandfather mentioned to me the other day the weather report mentioned it was going to freeze in the next few nights. Right away, I realized I still had to pick a few herbs and rhubarb out of the garden before they were destroyed by the frost.

If you plant a garden you know, you put to much time into it not to preserve the harvest for enjoyment for the winter months. Ironically,  I just used up my last frozen batch about a week ago for some pasta. This recipe freezes really well. I like to freeze it in silicone 1 ounce ice cube trays, it makes for easy use for sauces, soups, and marinating meat.

Recipe Yields : 21 ounces

6 cups of fresh basil, packed

2 cups of fresh parsley, packed

1 cup of lightly toasted pine-nuts

1 cup of freshly grated Romano Locatelli D.O.C. cheese

1/2 of one large lemon juiced

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly grated Black pepper

14 small fresh cloves of garlic (ours are small from our garden)

1 cup of extra-virgin olive oil:

1. Place all the ingredients except for the olive oil in a food processor. Pulse until pureed.

2. Drizzle of olive oil while the food processor is pulsing.

3. Enjoy on some crackers, homemade bread, pizza, or pasta!

Kick’n Chive Ham & Cheddar Scones



My husband and I were lucky enough to travel to Hawaii this past May. One of the things we enjoyed most was drinking coffee on Kona, the Island of coffee. We drank so much coffee on Kona one night, I could not even fall asleep. There were so many coffee shops and coffee farms on Kona, I think at one point I got “coffeed out” if that is even such a thing. Ask my family they will vouch for me on that. This sign in this picture below somes it up.

IMG_7748 There was one special spot we liked to go in Kona called
Daylight Mind. It was a hidden gem the locals loved. Our tour guide, Katie, from Hawaiian Outdoor Guides for the National Volcano Park told us that you can almost guarantee to see Dolphins in the morning while you are enjoying your coffee. And of course we did :)

IMG_7750This restaurant/coffee shop is a true coffee cafe! We adored this place! The location is perfect! Right on the water with beautiful views of the ocean (picture below). I love the top deck seating area. 


The coffee is so good and the service is stellar. Honestly we wish we could have went there every day. They even offer yoga in the mornings which I wish I would have had time to attend class.

They offer coffee classes and also have beautiful baked goods from mango macadamia nut sourdough bread to sweet blueberry scones and savory cheddar and chive scones.

IMG_7745This place made me want to go home and open a coffee shop. I love the vibes of this place and it truly is the perfect place to start your day! Especially when you are on vacation. 

These scones pictured above inspired me to make these scones in the recipe below. It was one of the bucket list of recipes I wanted to make after our trip to Hawaii. I must say posting this recipe makes me want to plan another trip to Hawaii.

Yields: 16 mini scones    Prep Time: 15 minutes


2 cups of Whole Wheat Pastry Flour

1 Tablespoon of baking powder

1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt

1 Tablespoon of honey

1/2 teaspoon of roasted garlic powder (from Penzey’s one of my new favorite spices)

1/2 cup (1 stick) of unsalted butter, cubed

3/4 cup of Non Fat Buttermilk

1/2 teaspoon of hot sauce

1/3 heaping cup of diced finely lean ham

1 cup shredded 2% mild cheddar cheese

1/4 cup of fresh chives, chopped

Essential tools for the job & prework:

  • Mini Scone Pan; sprayed with cooking spray
  • Oven preheated to 425 degrees


  1. In a large bowl, combine flour,  baking powder, garlic powder and salt. Add cold butter, using your fingers to work the butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles wet sand appearance.
  2. Stir in hot sauce, buttermilk, cheese, ham and chives until all ingredients appear wet.
  3. Evenly divide the batter into the prepared mini scone pan. Place the scone dish into the center rack of oven and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until firm to the touch and lightly browned.
  4. Allow the pan to cool on wire rack for 5 minutes and remove the scones on the pan and allow to cool on wire rack or serve right way.
  5. Enjoy!





Fresh Greek Pasta Salad

A gentleman I work with gave me a “Greek”cucumber. I couldn’t wait to try it. To be honest I did not know there was such a thing. Lo and behold there is and it  is actually called Armenian Cucumber. 

These cucumbers are more mild and perfect for salads once seeded and peeled. 

I made this pasta salad using all my garden finds. Having a garden can be very rewarding. 

Yields 4 servings


2 cups of uncooked rotini whole wheat pasta

1/2 cup kalamata olives (cut in half)

1 cup cherry tomatoes (cut in half)

1 cup Greek cucumber, (peeled and seeded), diced

1/4 cup balsamic dressing 

1/2 cup crumbled fat free feta

3-4 fresh leaves of basil


1. Cook the rotini according to the package but one minute less. Strain & Rinse with cold water.

2. In a small bowl mix together olives, tomatoes,cucumber,feta& dressing. 

3.Fold in the rotini and garnish with the basil. 

4. Enjoy! 

P.S. If you are letting this salad sit overnight than you may need to add 1-2 tablespoons of dressing before serving.

Bold Black-Eyed Pea Hummus



We had my husband’s colleagues over for a picnic yesterday. I had intentions of making my vibrant blackeyed pea salad; however, I cooked the beans too long in the pressure cooker. It was my first time cooking the black eyed peas in the pressure cooker.  Apparently they don’t take as long to cook as black beans. Well, I learned my lesson for the day. There seems to always be a lesson to be learned. Anyway, there is a positive to this food story,  the unintended outcome was this spicy black-eyed pea hummus. I was able to showcase some crispy fresh garden vegetables from my grandfather’s garden and also my favorite local markets as well.

Hummus goes well with so many foods, I like to add it on top of a pizza instead of marinara sauce. I also add it to my vegetarian BLTs, and I love it on my soft tortilla shells. My frequent go to with hummus is with fresh vegetables. I suggesting skipping the ranch and giving this creamy dip a try.  My favorite pairs are cherry heirloom tomatoes, kohlrabi, red bell peppers, and snap peas.

This recipe makes 30 ounces of hummus (plenty to share; even for us non-sharers )


1/2 cup Water

2 Tablespoons of fresh lemon juice

2 Tablespoons of balsamic vinegar

3 1/4 cup cooked black eye peas, (if canned make sure to buy low sodium and rinse well)

4 Tablespoons fresh chives

4-5  large of cloves of garlic, peeled

2 teaspoons of ground cumin, plus more for garnish (optional)

1 teaspoon of fajita seasoning

Tools: Vitamix Blender  (I have the Professional Series 750)

2 (2 cup capacity sealalbe containers to store the goods)


  1. In the order of the ingredient list, place all the ingredient items in the vitamix or blender. Place the lid on the attachment to secure.
  2. Select variable number one and gradually increase to number seven.
  3. Allow for all the ingredients to marry in the vessel for at least 1 minute. Use the vitamix wand to press the ingredients to the blades if necessary.
  4. Portion out the hummus in two separate containers. Sprinkle with fresh chives.






Mini Mediterranean Kalamata Olive & Spinach Frittatas

These mini frittatas are just what you need to get you going in the morning. These tiny protein powerhouses are full of vegetables and flavor. Today was day two for the Vintage Grand Prix Car festivities and I sent these along with my husband to fuel up the drivers for the event. They bite size egg muffins are the perfect size for dinning on the run and freeze well if you want to enjoy them longer than a week. 
This recipe yields 10 mini frittatas



Cooking Spray

1/4 cup of red onion, chopped

3/4 cup of red bell pepper, chopped

1/4 cup kalatata olives, pitted and chopped

2 cups of fresh spinach

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 cup skim milk

3 whole eggs

3/4 cup egg whites or 6 egg whites

1/4 cup of fat free or reduced fat feta

1/4 teaspoon cracked fresh pepper


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cooking spray line vessels in a standard muffin tin. I used stoneware for this recipe which generally requires longer baking time.

2. Heat sauté pan to medium heat, cooking spray the pan, once the pan is ready, add onions,& peppers. Cook on medium heat for 2 minutes. Add spinach, oregano and olives. 

3. In a large separate bowl whisk together the pepper, skim milk, eggs, egg whites, and feta. Set aside. 

4. Once the spinach has wilted take the cooked vegetables and add them to the egg mixture. Whisk all the ingredients together. 

5. Take a 1/4 cup measuring cup and add the batter to the prepared muffin tins 1/4 cup at a time. Place the muffin tin in oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Using the stoneware pan this recipe did take 25 minutes. Remove the frittatas from oven when internal temperature reads 160 degrees. Allow the frittatas to cool slightly before removing from the pan and enjoy alone or on a toasted English muffin. 


Tri-Color Quinoa

I love quinoa! This Tri-Color Quinoa goes well with just about any dish. I make it in bulk on the weekends and serve it up with most of my lunches or dinners during the week. Add it to beans, salads, place onto of portobello mushrooms, stuff peppers with. Really you can use it just about anywhere you typically use rice. I prefer it over rice because of it’s nutty flavor and fluffy texture. Quinoa provides more protein than traditional grain products. A 1/2 of cup uncooked quinoa provides 8 grams of protein.


1 cup of dry (rinsed through a strainer) Quinoa (I like the tri-colored but you pick your favorite)

2 cups of water

1 tsp of Penzey’s Vegetarian Soup Base

1 tsp of Pasta Sprinkle (or Italian seasoning)

1 tsp Roasted Garlic Powder


  1. Place a 2 quart pan on a burner with vegetable base, garlic powder, water & quinoa on high. Allow the quinoa to come to a boil.
  2. Once the quinoa is boiling, decrease the temperature to simmer and place lid over pan.
  3. Allow the quinoa to simmer for 15 minutes with lid on. After 15 minutes have elasped check to see if the grain is fluffy and no water remains.

Spring Pesto Pasta with Asparagus and Pine Nuts

If you are looking for a dinner that can be ready in 15 minutes than you have found the right recipe. Bonus you can make this entire dish in one pot! Whenever I’m in a hurry or in a pinch pasta is my go to for a quick and fast dinner. 

Asparagus is a spring vegetable packed with a lot of nutrition. Since this vegetable is in season right now you can get a pretty affordable deal at the market! I know our local farmers market has it fresh from the garden. 

Asparagus is rich in Vitamin K and also folate. Asparagus is also a good source of fiber. There are many colors of asparagus; however, the well know green asparagus is the most common variety, but you can also find white, & purple spears as well. 

Yields 4-6 servings 


2 cups dry rotini (I used dreamfields)

1/2 tsp salt

3 oz of pesto ( I used my freezer stock from last season)

1 pound of fresh asparagus ( 2 inch segments)

1/4 cup pine nuts


1. Cook the pasta according to package. During the last minute of boiling add the cut asparagus. Strain the pasta and asparagus. 

2. Add the noodles and asparagus back into the pan and add the pesto, salt and pine nuts. Use a spatula to mix the ingredients together and enjoy!

Classic Basil Pesto


Last year I was so jealous my sister had a beautiful bountiful basil plant. I had started it in a basket hanging basket for her for Mother’s Day but she took it out and planted it in her garden.  While mine remained in my basket hanger and barely grew a few inches. Her plant was beautiful! The first thing I taught her to make with her basil was pesto!! 
I learned my lesson this year I planted our basil plant in an herb garden. Wow this  year our basil plant is large and in charge, like my sister’s plant last year. I have made pesto a couple times this season. My husband loves it! So I thought I’d share the recipe this time. It is super simple. I plan on freezing some for the winter as well that is if it lasts.

It’s recipe yields about 1 1/2 cups of fresh pesto


4 cups of fresh basil

1/2 cup of lightly toasted pinenuts

1/2 cup of extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 cup of freshly grated Romano Locatelli D.O.C. cheese

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp freshly grated Black pepper 

7 small fresh cloves of garlic (ours are small from our garden)


1. Place all the ingredients except for the olive oil in a food processor. Pulse until pureed. 

2. Drizzle of olive oil while the food processor is pulsing.

3. Enjoy on some homemade bread or pasta!