Porkchops and Applesauce…okay just applesauce

February 11, 2018

Did you guys ever watch the Brady Bunch as a kid?  Do you remember the episode where Peter starts imitating Humphrey Bogart and telling everyone they were having ‘Porkchops and applesauce” for dinner?  Click here to see what I am talking about.  LOL.

Have your ever had pork chops and applesauce?  I never have.  Is it a good pairing?  My mom just slow braised pork chops in lemon juice and white wine and oregano until fall apart tender.  But that’s not what this blog post is about!  I can fill 100 blog posts about all the things my Greek-American girlfriends and I never tried as children that all of our regular American friends indulged in.  You have never heard so many sad tales of “I never got to order off the kids menu as a child, I had to have a t-bone steak!”  Can you imagine?  A 5 year old with a t-bone steak in front of her?  Yeah, that was me.  FWP (first world problems).  LOL.

Anyway, back to our regularly scheduled program…you guys, how did I not know that applesauce is so good?  How have I been living unaware of this fact for so long?  Okay, truth be told I wanted to make some applesauce for Miss Magdalena since she is starting solid foods now.  But I tasted some and was like “whoa!”  I found out it was so super good and I had to share this simple little sweet treat.

What else can you do with applesauce?

  • a side to pork chops
  • latkes and applesauce
  • use applesauce in your baked goods like muffins and cakes
  • topping for your oatmeal

Now I am all, “I can’t wait for fall to go apple picking!”  Get ready Michigan road trip!  Apple picking and apple cider doughnuts.  Alas, it’s only February!!!  It’s snowing like crazy in Chicago.  We probably got 8 inches on Friday and another 5 inches Saturday night into Sunday morning.  It’s a slow motion snowpocalypse…never ending snow. Heavy, wet, slushy snow.  Actually the slush reminds me of applesauce, but golden and cinnammon-like…ok, never mind.

Applesauce…try it.

I like to top vanilla ice cream with a  few spoonfuls of warmed applesauce and a little caramel sauce and it’s heaven!  So here is my husband and baby approved applesauce.

Cinnamon Applesauce – makes 4 x 8oz jars


4 lbs of apples (I like gala or braeburn)

1.5 cups of water

2 sticks of cinnamon


Peel, core and slice your apples

Place in a big pot and add water and cinnamon sticks.

Bring to boil, then turn down and simmer for 25 minutes, stirring from time to time.

Mash or puree or waz it up with a fancy immersion blender,

Eat with a touch of cinnamon or nutmeg or use in your favorite recipe for baking or top your vanilla ice cream, or top your oatmeal, or just enjoy plain.



A recipe that’s easy as pie, but it’s cake…not pie.

February 4, 2018

Okay guys, I am pretty sure my mom is secretly a blogger writing recipes on Food52.  I am not kidding.

So last week I discovered a recipe that was easy as pie, but it wasn’t pie.  It was cake.  Easy as cake.  But you know, pie isn’t that easy either sometimes.  But this cake was.  Easy that is.  Okay, okay…just keep reading.

I get these emails from Food52 every week.  It’s one of my all time favorite foodie websites, and kitchen gear websites, and lifestyle websites.  It’s totally my aesthetic, my jam , ya’ know?  Well, one day they emailed out this recipe for a “no measure chocolate cake”.  What on earth does this mean, “no measure chocolate cake?”  What is this?  Like one of those “no kneed breads?”  Something that sounds like blasphemy but is really a miracle?

A cake is baking and baking means measuring.  Measuring means being exact.  And why be exact?  Because science people!  Science! Baking is science!

Not this recipe.  It uses the slightest notion of a measuring tool.  The plastic cup of a yogurt container…much like my mother’s approximate baking theory uses a coffee mug.  I had to do a double take and make sure she wasn’t secretly blogging for Food52 and doing product placement for Fage Greek Yogurt.  This recipe is so up Vasiliki’s alley.

So, I tried it and it was so easy.  We are talking chocolate cake in less than an hour.  More like 45 minutes.  And it was good man.  Do you want dessert?  Make this cake.  Do you want a slightly sweet treat to accompany your morning coffee?  Make this cake.  Do you like chocolate?  Make this cake people!!!  I can’t believe how easy it was.

I changed it up a tiny bit.  I used olive oil instead of canola, well because I’m Greek. There I said it. Canola…come on! Now that’s blasphemy. I also put a tiny splash of vanilla.

And so, I share the cake that’s easy as pie…but cake…okay bye.

“No measure” Chocolate Cake – adapted from Food52


1 container Greek yogurt (7 oz)

1 container olive oil

1 container sugar

2 eggs (LARGE)

2 containers self-rising flour (NOTE THE SELF RISING FLOUR, OKAY?)

1 container cocoa powder (unsweetened, DUTCH PROCESS PLEASE!)

1 container coffee (use a cup of coffee that you make the morning that you make this)

small splash of vanilla (don’t bother measuring)

Powdered sugar for dusting OR chocolate frosting, because, chocolate. I love chocolate.


Pre-heat over to 350.

Open your yogurt container and make note of where the yogurt is leveled off in the container.  You will want to “measure out” the rest of your ingredients up to this appoximate level as well.

Empty the yogurt into a mixing bowl.  Using that same container measure out your sugar and olive oil.  Add the eggs and beat until mixed.  Next, add your flour, cocoa and coffee and mix until smooth.  Pour the whole thing into a greased and floured spring form pan and bake for 35 minutes.

Let it cool, frost it or dust it with powdered sugar and pat yourself on the back.  Drop mic.  You just made the simplest chocolate cake.



The Holiday Cookie to End All Cookies…Melomakarona

December 31, 2017

Cassandra, this one’s for you.

Have you ever had a cookie that just basically stops time?  One that makes you stop in your tracks and re-examine your life?  No?  Well, I have a cookie recipe that will make you philosophical.  It’s called melomakarona.  And during the holiday season, when you are constantly bombarded with peppermint this and pumpkin spice that, melomakarona sing a different tune.  These cookies  gently embrace you with the classic wintertime flavors of orange (yes, oranges are a winter fruit), cinnamon, and a kiss of honey.

But if that’s not enough to convince you, what if I told you they are healthy too?  Yes, a cookie can be healthy.  Can’t it?  No?  Yes!!! Let me explain:

These cookies are a unique concoction of all that is good and right in the world.

  1. Olive oil – full of heart healthy fats and anti-inflammatory properties.
  2. Orange juice – vitamin C.  Just what’s needed for the winter time cold season.
  3. Eggs yolks – all protein and the most nutritional part of the egg.
  4. Honey – hell, honey makes this cookie almost paleo.  It’s anti-bacterial, anti-microbial and has healing properties…it’s the good kind of sugar right?  Right?
  5. Walnuts – full of more protein, those feel good omega-3 fats and vitamin E too (shiny hair folks).
  6. Cinnamon & clove – they have anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and also help in diabetes management.

Have I convinced you yet that this cookie is “not that bad”?  Okay good, because you are going to need to remember all this stuff I just told you when I tell you to bathe them in a pool of honey simple syrup later.

Wait what?

But they are so gooooood.  These cookies are move the earth kind of good…trust me please!!!


Well, instead of writing a soliloquy extolling the virtues of melomakarona…why don’t I just tell you how to make them and you decide!  It’s a multi-step process, but nothing you have to do all in one day and it’s all pretty easy.

Here we go:


Melomakarona – makes 45 “question the meaning of life” cookies

Ingredients for the cookie part:

3/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

1.5 cups olive oil

1 sticks of melted unsalted butter

2 egg yolks (large)

1 tsp honey

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp clove

1 rounded tsp of baking powder

1/2 rounded tsp of baking soda

grated orange rind of 1 orange

approximately 4 – 4.5 cups of all-purpose flour (approximate baking theory folks, read about it here)

Ingredients for the simple syrup:

3/4 cups sugar

1 cup of honey

1 cup of water

Ingredients for the topping:

1 cups of walnuts finely crushed in a mini food prep, or mortar and pestle if you’re old school

2 tbsp of sugar

1/4 tsp of cinnamon

Let’s talk about how to make them below:

Directions for the cookie:

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.  Grate the rind of one orange, it equates to about a healthy tablespoon and set aside.  Squeeze the juice out of that orange and another if needed to get about 3/4 cup of orange juice.

In a large stand mixer, place the olive oil and orange juice, beat on high for 20 minutes.  Next, add your melted butter and egg yolks and beat for another 20 minutes.  Your batter will turn thick and creamy and a pale shade of yellow.  You want to beat them for this long because it will add air into the batter for a nice tender cookie.

Now that 40 minutes have elapsed and you have finished checking your email, Facebook and Instagram pages, add, the cinnamon, clove, honey, orange rind, baking powder and baking soda.  Mix for 5 more minutes.

Remove the mixing bowl from the stand and begin adding the flour one cup at a time.

Note: you can probably add the fist 2- 3 cups of flour and beat it in with you mixing stand, but after that I recommend you mix in the final 1 – 1.5 cups with your hand.  You really need to feel the dough and get the right texture.  You want to add enough flour so that the dough pulls away cleanly from the bowl, but not so much that the dough gets dry and cracks.  You want the cookie to be smooth when you roll it out.

Next, roll out your cookies by hand like little football shapes about 2 -2.5 inches long and then press little indentations on them with a fork like in the picture above.  We do this for several reasons.  It helps to prevent the cookie from cracking, but also to create a little texture for them to hang on to syrup, walnuts and cinnamon sugar afterwards.  Bake at 400 degrees F for about 18-20 minutes.  They will become a nice toasty golden brown.  Much like your favorite camel colored coat.

Ok ignore me.

Directions for the honey syrup bath and walnut topping:

After you have baked all of your cookies.  I recommend you let them cool.  Do not taste them.  They are not sweet yet.  It’s this next part, where you give them their sexy little honey syrup bath that transforms them into magic.  You can do this part after they have cooled or even the next day.  Or two days from now.  No one is rushing you, even though you will want to after you taste them.

To “honey” them, begin by adding the sugar, honey and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil to melt the sugar and honey into a syrup.  Once that has occurred, turn your burner down to low to keep the syrup warm.  Add about 5-6 cookies at at time and let them swim in there for about 1 minute.  Could be more, could be less time, but it’s rather quick.

I would recommend doing a tester one first to see how long it takes for the syrup to soak through the cookie.  The trick is to have enough of the syrup permeate the cookie to sweeten it, but not so much that you have made mush.  You want the cookie to hold up and not fall apart when you handle it or take a bite.

After a minute, remove the cookies onto a sheet tray to cool and add the next 5-6 cookies.  While you are waiting for the new set to take their dip in the syrup, you can top the ones you just took out with finely crushed walnuts and sprinkle of cinnamon sugar.

And that’s it!  You are done!  You have now aligned the sun, moon and stars with all that is right about the world.  Enjoy!


Here is my little melomakarono…hope your holidays were as magical as this cookie.


November 15, 2017

Here are the links I love this week, November 15, 2017.

1.  If you are still trying to figure it out.

2.  In case you wanted to makeover your pantry for the new year…

3.  And since we are purging your pantry, how about purging other things in your life?  Minimalism…ah, yes!

4.  Punch in the face!  All about accountability.

5.  Tuna noodle casserole, yay or nay?  I have never had it.

6.  Not sure how I feel about this, but I’m intrigued.

7.  But I will probably end up making this tonight…

The Hunt for White Mums in October

October 3, 2017

You guys, it’s officially fall.  Summer is over…my balcony garden is kaput and I’m on the hunt for some white mums.   Big round plants of white mums.

I went to Gethsemane Garden and they had a ton of pumpkins and gourds in all shapes and sizes…especially the little white ones that I love to use for decor.  So I loaded my basket up with a ton of those.  Okay, five.  I loaded my basket with five of them.

Look at that lime green one!  Pretty shapely eh?  Have you ever been to Gethsemane Garden in Andersonville?  It’s pretty amazing.  I mean it’s got crazy good stuff in the summer.  But they don’t fail you in the fall either.  Look at these pumpkins!

They have all sorts of hearty fall flowers too.  And winter greens.  All kinds of kales and chards and cabbages!

They have “fancy” mums in every shade of orange and red you can imagine.  

But did they have any white mums?

No, not a one.  But they did have these giant cabbage roses.  Where does a girl get white mums from people?  Hook a girl up!

– Kallie