Thursday, August 18, 2011

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

I spotted a lone can of chickpeas in my cupboard yesterday and decided to put it out of its misery and make it into some hummus. I've never made hummus at home before, and often purchase store-bought varieties, some which don't impress me at all. My problem was that I didn't have any tahini on hand. I did have sesame oil, so I decided to sub with it. So here's the recipe for some easy, yummy hummus.


1 can chickpeas, drained and liquid reserved, 15.5 oz size
¼ cup jarred roasted red peppers, drained
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
¼ tsp cumin
¼ tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp fresh parsley
1/8 tsp sea salt
1 tsp crushed red pepper (OPTIONAL)

In a blender, combine chickpeas and roasted red peppers and blend until minced. Add remaining ingredients and 1 tablespoon of the reserved liquid. Blend until mixed and smooth. Serve with your favorite chips or toasted pita bread. Ideas for garnishes – shredded Parmesan cheese, a few whole chickpeas, and fresh parsley.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

I Heart Food Trucks

Our local Lexus dealership hosted a food truck event last Friday, and I was so happy my hubby discovered the ad for it! We went with the fam to check out the 18 or so food trucks that had descended upon our town. A lot of them drove up from Miami, where it seems the food truck action is bigger. I was excited to see that Sakaya Kitchen's food truck was there, Dim Ssam a gogo. SK is located in Midtown Miami, and serves up delicious Asian fusion fare.

After a walk through to check out all the trucks and their menus, we decided to sample a few. The burgers at the Latin House Grill looked really good, and that's coming from someone who's not a big fan of burgers. One was a Southwest burger, complete with jalapenos and an onion ring, the other, a Mexican burger, with Chihuahua cheese. My fave was the Mexican burger, and at 2 for $10 they were at a great price.

We saw that there was a HUGE line at CheeseMe Grilled Cheese & Sliders, so it must be the truck to be at, right?? So we got a Kobe beef slider, which I was excited to try as I had never had Kobe. This slider looks delicioso (pic below), but to me the beef itself wasn't that tasty. It lacked seasoning. The toppings of melted provolone and bacon were the best part.

Tacos from Nacho Bizness Taco Bar were next. We had 2 selections - a Spicy Korean Pulled Pork Taco with Cucumbers, and a Grilled Mahi Mahi Taco with Tropical Pineapple Slaw. These tacos were so GOOD, I should have gone back for seconds!

We didn't bother to buy from Dim Ssam a gogo since we've eaten there so many times, and already know their food is delish. When our tummies were stuffed, we decided to look about dessert. There were a few choices, from Sugar Yummy Mama to the Chipstix booth which offered to deep fry my favorite candy bars. I settled on the Big Kahuna truck, with its promise of a Stuffed Snow Cone. Sweet, juicy, ice creamy goodness was my Cherry snow cone with Vanilla Soft Serve ice cream in the middle!

To follow Miami Food trucks, visit

Sunday, July 17, 2011

My Whole Foods Tour

Yesterday I went to my local Whole Foods Market to participate in their Value Tour. I was the only customer who showed up for it, which was unfortunate, as it was filled with great info on how to shop the store on a budget. Now I don't usually shop at Whole Foods. I go every now and then to pick up some special ingredient or product that I need, such as saffron, or those delicious Annie Chun's potstickers, or an organic hair care product. Walking through those aisles I am always in foodie heaven! Love love the quality of their fresh produce, seafood, meat and the variety of their products. (I saw fresh tamarind there yesterday...sweet!)

Being on one income as a SAHM means we follow a strict budget (or try to anyway), so for me searching for the lowest prices and couponing and shopping sales is routine. So I have to admit when I saw the flier advertising the Value Tour I was skeptical. Whole Foods on a budget? Hmmm.... But I decided to give it a go, and boy was I happy I did.

The super nice Whole Foods guy - Jonny - took me on a half hour or so walk through our Coral Springs, FL store. What I learnt is that Whole Foods is the coolest grocery just because of the "extras". 99 cent sausage on Wednesdays featuring a new sausage flavor, made in store. At the seafood counter, they can season and bake your seafood for you, so you can enjoy it at the cafe if you wish. Build your own 6 pack of beer (great gift for Father's Day!) using recycled beer packs. The staff in the fresh produce section walk around with small knives so you can ask for a taste or check fruit for ripeness.

They have so many discounts and savings promos it was shocking. Weekly specials, coupon booklets, online coupons, BOGO products, 10% case discounts, 10% discount on 6 bottles of vino, "Happy Hour" at the prepared food deli, 10 cents off your bill per reusable tote, and so much more. Needless to say I was impressed. I would never have thought Whole Foods offered so many ways to save.

Whole Foods is known for its commitment to the environment and communities, and offering organic and natural products as much as possible. Jonny explained the ANDI rating system score - Aggregate Nutrition Density Index, which analyzes the nutrients in a food product on a scale up to 1000. They have hanging posters that show the ANDI score of particular items, for example, kale has a score of 1000, while potato chips are around 11. There is the Health Starts Here program, Animal Welfare Standards, donating to environmental organizations, offering sustainable seafood, and so much more. I also liked that in the produce section, the signs below each fruit show the state and farm that they come from. Jonny said they try to source as locally as possible, showing me fruit from a farm in Homestead (near Miami). And don't forget they are the place to go for vegetarians, vegans, gluten-free, and for other special dietary needs.

I am definitely going to try to work Whole Foods into my Saturday shopping, using their sales and coupons to look for deals on such high quality fresh food. Happy shopping everyone!

For more info on Whole Foods and where its food comes from, visit their blog at Whole Story blog.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Summertime is for Cherries!

Whole Foods is holding a Kid-Friendly Cherry Recipe Contest, and I am so excited to enter because sweet red cherries are one of my favorite fruits! The challenge was to use cherries in a delicious way, and of course kids must love it too! The recipe could only have 7 ingredients or less (not counting salt, pepper or olive oil), and must include 2 other types of fresh fruits and/or veggies. Below is my entry, an easy to make taco that's perfect for kids and summertime!


4 tsp extra virgin olive oil, divided use

3 farm-raised tilapia filets, cut in half lengthwise

8 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice, divided use

1/8 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

3/4 cup organic unsweetened finely shredded coconut flakes

1 lb fresh, red sweet cherries, pitted and quartered

3 tbsp sugar

3 cups coleslaw mix

6 yellow corn taco shells

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spread 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil onto baking sheet. In a small bowl, whisk together remaining olive oil, 4 tbsp lemon juice, salt and pepper. Dip tilapia halves into mixture, then coat with coconut flakes. Place tilapia on baking sheet, and bake until golden brown and fish flakes easily with a fork, about 13 minutes.

2. In a medium pot, combine cherries, remaining lemon juice, sugar and ½ cup water. Cook over medium-high heat. When sauce begins to boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and let simmer for 5 minutes.

3. Pour cherry lemon sauce into coleslaw mix and mix well.

4. Fill each taco shell with the tilapia and then some cherry lemon slaw. Makes 6 tacos.

Cook's Notes: You can find the prepared fresh coleslaw mix in the produce section of Whole Foods, and the coconut flakes in the baking aisle.

Check out the Whole Story Blog for cool background info on the food at Whole Foods, as well as sales, recipes and events.

Now I'm off to eat more cherries! :)

Trini Corn Soup

Photo courtesy of

We had barely returned from our trip to Jamaica, when we decided to make a trip to Trinidad. This time it would be myself and Bugs alone, since hubby had to get back to work. We were having a family event, and now Bugs would finally get to meet the rest of his fam on his Mommy's side. Now I was a bit worried about travelling with a super active toddler by myself, but guess what, it went pretty well. He once again slept through almost the whole flight, much to the relief of the other passengers.

Triniland was fun; I hadn't been home in over 2 years, and seeing all of my extended fam and dear friends was great. Of course the next best part of going home is the food lol. Roti, doubles, corn soup, callaloo, bake and shark, pelau, Royal Castle chicken and chips, and the list of deliciousness goes on and on. When I got back to SoFL I immediately decided to make a pot of corn soup, and I used the recipe from, a site that's quickly becoming one of my favorites. The soup came out perfect, so feel free to try this recipe on your own as well.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Blueberry Wontons

We all know that blueberries and cream cheese go well together, so I decided to take this combo to another level. Blueberries + cream cheese + mascarpone cheese, all wrapped up in a wonton wrap, fried until hot and melty and delicious, and then served with a blueberry lemon sauce. These are easy to make, fun to eat, and make a fantastic dessert!


For the sauce:
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 cup water, divided use
6 tbsp brown sugar
5 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup fresh blueberries

For the wontons:
4 oz whipped cream cheese
4 oz mascarpone cheese
1/3 cup confectioners sugar
1 ½ cups fresh blueberries
8 egg roll wraps
canola or vegetable oil, for frying

1. Mix cornstarch in 2/3 cup water until dissolved. Pour into small pot, and add brown sugar, lemon juice and vanilla. Heat over medium high heat, stirring until mixture thickens. Add blueberries and 1/3 cup more water, and let cook until boiling, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low, and let cook for 10 more minutes. Remove from heat.
2. In a bowl, combine whipped cream cheese, mascarpone cheese and confectioners sugar and mix. Fold blueberries into mixture gently.
3. Lay egg roll wrap diagonally on a plate, and place some filling in the center. Fold bottom corner over filling. Fold in both sides snugly against filling. Moisten edges of last flap. Roll wrap up and seal top corner. (See pictures below)
4. In a large pot, pour oil to about 2-3 inches. Heat over medium-high heat. Using a large spoon, gently place wontons into oil, a few at a time. Fry until golden, turning occasionally, about 2-3 minutes. Drain on paper towels.
5. Serve wontons with blueberry lemon sauce. Let cool slightly before enjoying. Makes 8 wontons.

For more info on blueberries and delicious recipes, visit the Blueberry Council.

Also check out their Facebook page to connect with other blueberry fans!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Blueberries...Jamaican Style!

This recipe is inspired by my recent vacation in Jamaica, the land of jerk chicken! Jerk seasoning is a combination of spices and herbs that includes Scotch bonnet peppers, allspice, thyme, cloves, cinnamon, scallions, nutmeg, garlic, and more pepper. It can be made in the form of a dry rub or as a wet marinade. You see it most commonly on chicken and pork, but you can jerk anything - shellfish, beef, even tofu!

My challenge was to create a savory dish with blueberries, and as I pondered I thought that the sweetness and flavor of the berries might go well with the spicy jerk. The result is a tender spicy roasted pork and a spoon-lickin' berry sauce to accompany it.


1 ½ lb pork tenderloin
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp dry jerk seasoning
1 tbsp lemon juice
12 oz fresh blueberries
1/2 small white onion, chopped
2 green onions, chopped, divided use
2/3 cup water
5 tbsp brown sugar
1/8 tsp salt

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Rub pork with olive oil, jerk seasoning, and lemon juice. Place in a baking dish. Roast in oven for 15 minutes, then flip over and roast for 15 more minutes. The internal temperature should be 155 degrees F.
2. In a medium pot, combine blueberries, onion, half of the green onions, water, brown sugar and salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, and then reduce heat to medium-low. Let simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
3. After meat has rested for at least 10 minutes, slice and serve with blueberry sauce. Garnish with remaining green onion. Serves 4.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Jamaica Jamaica

So we just got back from our trip to Jamaica, and we had a great time! My hubby is Jamaican, so it's always great when he goes home and sees his family and friends. We had two weddings in one day to attend, with a 3 hour drive in between! We also celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary there! This was Bugs' first trip, and he also had a fun time (met his great-grandparents for the first time!), in spite of the unwavering daytime heat! In the days leading up to departure, I had dreaded the airport time and plane ride so much, but funnily enough that was the easiest part of the trip lol. He slept through half of the trip going and the entire trip back, and behaved quite well in the airport. Of course, it helped that I planned and packed accordingly, lots of milk, new toys, etc.

This was my third trip there, and I wanted to take a gazillion food pictures like last time, but didn't get that many this time :( Partly because I had to manage the baby a lot, partly because the food there is so good, I would dig in and be a few bites along before I remembered to take pics haha!

So here are a few pics below of delicious Jamaican food, which I like to say is ALMOST as good as Trini food! :D

Fruits on the roadside - mangos and neeseberry (called "sapodilla" in Trinidad)

Jackfruit - sweet but rubbery texture. I wasn't a fan.

The ubiquitous Jamaican patty! One of the staples of their diet.

Ackee & saltfish on the left (national dish of Jamaica). Jamaica callaloo on the right (I prefer the Trinidadian version), and I was surprised that my kid liked this one!

Ground provisions - green banana, yam, Caribbean sweet potato. Dumplings.

Stew pork - yum!
Sausage and beans, stew kidney and liver (ick!)

Sweet potato pudding
Beans and saltfish with Johnnycakes on the right.

Fried lobster - soo good!!

Stew fish with pumpkin, carrots and other veg, crackers on the side

Bammy - fried cassava. Soaked in milk before and fried, sometimes steamed.

Roasted breadfruit on the right, love breadfruit!

Famous "Ting" - Grapefruit Soda

Cherry juice - my fave :)

Friday, June 3, 2011

Top Chef Tour!

This day has been so cool because this morning we went to the Top Chef Tour! Bugs and I made the trek to downtown Ft. Lauderdale to see Chefs Tiffany Derry and Kenny Gilbert live and in person. Of course we were late (partly Bugs' fault, partly mama's), so we got there at the end of the live cook-off and unfortunately we didn't get to taste their food like the rest of the audience. Tiffany did win the round though. And getting there late had its perks, we were 3rd in line for the meet and greet.
Of course my son, upon meeting his first famous person, watched her like she had two heads as she waved hello to him. And his mama, ever so cool, gushed the greeting, "Tiffany...I love you!". Ugh I'm such a geek :S Anyway, I pulled myself together long enough to tell her that when I visit my sis in Dallas soon I will also visit her restaurant, and after I got a pic with them.
I love Top Chef, one of my absolute favorite shows on tv, and this last season of All-Stars was the best yet. Tiffany has been one of my fave cheftestants from her season and All-Stars. Meeting her was great, because even though she didn't win the show, she still proved that she's a hot chef, and has a great personality to boot. Can't wait to try her food in Dallas!

Oh and I did the culinary smell test while I was there, and was able to identify 2 out of 3 smells while blindfolded! - curry powder and coriander. Missed on the truffle oil, but didn't feel too bad since I've never had it!

In case you want to check out the Top Chef Tour in your city, visit Bravo's site here.