Monthly Archives: November 2015

Here’s a secret: Sometimes I like leftovers…ssshhh!

November 29, 2015

The Great Day of Thanks is over and you have the Mother of all Leftovers sitting in your fridge.  Now what?  Don’t waste it.  But you don’t like leftovers?  Here is the problem with leftovers.  If you try to recreate the exact same dish the way you had it the night before, it just won’t work.  It’s never quite the same and it feels like you are having a dry, sub-par dish.  You feel cheated.  Trust me, I know!  I used to be like that too.  But my husband turned me on to this quick cheat for turning day-old food into a dish that is just as good, dare I say better than what it used to be.

Sometimes I look forward to leftovers…ssshhh!

What you need to do is transform your leftovers.  Here is my favorite thing to do with Thanksgiving leftovers: A HASH.  In fact, this will work with any type of leftovers when you have a protein, veggies and a starch to work with.

Take your leftover turkey, sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts, beans, whatever you have on hand and transform them into an awesome brunch or dinner the next day.  Here’s how:


Turkey Hash – flexible, serves up as many leftovers as you have

Heat up a skillet of your choice (I like cast iron) and melt a tablespoon of butter.  Take equal portions of your Thanksgiving leftovers, and reheat them in the skillet flattening them.  Leave them like this for a few minutes. Turn your hash every now and then.  You want to get crispy, brown bits all over the hash.  In the meantime make yourself a soft boiled egg.

Serve and top your plate with a soft boiled egg.  Split the egg open and instantly you have a sauce for your hash.  Enjoy!

How do you make a soft-boiled egg you ask?  I have a dummy proof method.

Here’s how:


Soft-boiled eggs – makes 2-4 servings

Bring a saucepan full of water to a rolling boil.  Once it’s reached a hard boil, turn it town to a simmer, add 4 eggs.  Set your timer for 4 minutes and 30 seconds.  Timing your eggs is important.  Soft boiled eggs, I like to leave them for 4m30s or 5 minutes.  If you are a fan of less runny eggs, then go for 6-7minutes.  Once the desired time is over, remove them from the heat and run cold water on them for several minutes.  This will help you peel your eggs, even when they are “soft boiled” and very delicate.




A red sea of cranberries…

November 29, 2015

A couple years back, I was driving to Wausau, Wisconsin.  Usually, there is not very much traffic on the road to Wausau, so I found it very odd when every car on the road came to a screeching halt.  As I slowly inched my way into town, I finally saw what the “gawkers” were looking at.  A trailer truck split open down the center, sacrificing its contents onto the road.  An enormous red seas of tiny red cranberries had made their escape.  That was a sight to behold.  Along with snow, ice and fog, Wisconsin can now add cranberries to the list of hazardous driving conditions.

So cranberries, that under appreciated fruit…

Okay, it’s the day after Thanksgiving and you brined and roasted the turkey.  You candied the sweet potatoes.  You grilled the brussel sprouts, mashed the potatoes and topped them with gravy.  And then, chased it all down with pumpkin pie.  It’s official.  You have a Thanksgiving Cooking Hangover.  You don’t want to cook ever, ever again.  Solution:  Leftovers!

I for one, LOVE left over Thanksgiving fare.  All the hoopla leading up to Thanksgiving will yield several days of easy dinner meal planning.  It’s like a power-Sunday cook-up, but on a Thursday.  So, I am sure you all have ideas of what to do with left over turkey.  Turkey hash, turkey tetrazzini, turkey enchiladas.  Left over sprouts?  Stick them in an omelette.  Left over sweet potatoes?  Mash them in between a couple of corn tortillas with cheese and black beans and you have a fall-like quesadilla.  The list goes on and on.  But what do you do with left over cranberry sauce?


We all know that cranberry sauce is a very important but sometimes under appreciated part of Thanksgiving.  It’s the colorful pop on a plate full of brown, orange and green.  It’s the cool sweet treat to lighten up your mouth after a heavy, gravy-laden roast dinner.

So what do I suggest you do with these little glimmering jewels of leftover sweetness?  Here are a few easy things you can do with cranberry sauce especially when you don’t want to cook anything serious until next year!

  • Turn your turkey sandwich into a “leftover sandwich” with sprouts and mashed potatoes and a smear of cranberry sauce.
  • Do you like brie and preserves?  Top your brie with cranberry sauce instead.  Or better yet a grilled brie and cranberry sandwich.
  • Cranberries are not just for dinner anymore.  Have you ever thought of making a yogurt and cranberry sauce parfait topped with a pistachio coconut crumble?

Here’s the recipe I love:

Orange-Scented Cranberry Sauce, adapted from Martha Stewart


1 bag (12 ounces) fresh cranberries

3/4 cups sugar

1/2 cup fresh orange juice

1/4 cup of water

2  strips orange zest


In a medium saucepan, combine cranberries, sugar, water, orange juice and zest. Bring to a boil over medium-high. Reduce to a simmer and cook until thickened, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from heat and cool. Refrigerate until needed.

To make a parfait, just layer yogurt, crumble and cranberry sauce in a small glass or Ball jar.

So don’t knock cranberries.  They travel far to get into your belly.





November 25, 2015

Wednesdays, the no-man’s land day of the week.

Wednesdays…I was born on a Wednesday.  What do they say?  Wednesday’s child is full of woe. What’s that all about?  Personally I like to think I’m full of “whoa!” 🙂


Photo credit: @dtsatsarou

I blame that Germanic god Wodan.  Here is what has to say about that:

“The name Wednesday derives from two mighty but distinct gods. The Old English word for Wednesday indicates that the day was named for the Germanic god Woden. In Romance languages, the name is derived from the Roman god Mercury. (For example, Wednesday is mercredi in French and miercuri in Romanian.) Woden (also known as Odin) and Mercury have  been associated since Scandinavian and Roman cultures crossed paths. Under Woden’s supervision, the earth and sky were created from the dead body of a giant named Ymir. (WHOA!)  Woden also created the first man and woman from an ash tree and an alder. As if fashioning the human race wasn’t enough, Woden also established the laws of the universe.” (How about that?)

So it’s the middle of the week, but not quite over. You gotta hang in there for two more days before the glorious weekend.  Well let’s make Wednesdays a little easier and fill them with some “whoa!” shall we?

Here’s a little something to get you over that hump. Welcome to a new section on my blog where I post links to interesting things I find on the web. I call it #linklove_wednesday.  I like sharing cool things.  I think Wednesday is a great day to do it.  If you want to share something neat with me, put it in the comments below 🙂


Here are few of my favorite things this week, November 25, 2015:

  1. I always wondered how this happened.  Gobble gobble.
  2. Adele is hot right now. This made me chuckle.
  3. The original dysfunctional family for you mythology buffs.
  4. I am so making these burgers…after Thanksgiving.
  5. Gratitude.  Let’s have more of it.  Happy Thanksgiving.

❤️ Kallie

Turkey brine, or how to NOT make lemon oregano turkey

November 24, 2015

It’s Thanksgiving this week and I am cooking my first Thanksgiving Dinner all by my “big girl” self.  Eight people.  No problem.  I can do this.  After all it was my mother who made it her unofficial duty to make sure I was able to cook a feast for 40.  So I will pull from my days as my mother’s “sous chef” to make this dinner happen.  Of course, those days also make me think of Thanksgivings past…

My parents, who are originally from Greece, were so grateful for their new homeland in America, they of course wanted to assimilate and adopt their new country’s traditions, like making a giant turkey for Thanksgiving.  The problem however, was that they didn’t have very many American friends.  They mostly hung out with other cousins and friends from back home who also emigrated to the states.  Okay, basically it was as if they moved their entire village to the states…language, food, traditions, etc.  So there was a miniature Filiatra, Greece circa 1950’s mindset in Chicago.  My mom didn’t have a reliable source to reference for “how to make an good old fashioned American-style Thanksgiving turkey.”  So my mother did the only logical thing she knew how to do.  Lemon Oregano Thanksgiving Turkey.  True story.  If it worked for a chicken, why couldn’t it work for turkey?  It’s just a bigger bird after all.

After many years, imagine my surprise when I discovered that lemon and oregano were in fact NOT traditional Thanksgiving flavors.  It’s true.  So I said, “Mom, it’s time we make a change here.  Gravy should not be tangy.”  And from that point forward, we figured out how to make the traditional turkey.

Which brings me to the real point of this blog post, how does one make a truly delicious turkey for Thanksgiving?  Is it your turn to host Thanksgiving?  Are you googling, “how to roast a turkey?”  There are 76,500,000 results by the way.  Is it the first time you are cooking a giant chicken..ahem, I mean, a turkey?  Do not fear the turkey.  I will show you the way.

Here are a few tips to make your life easier and take the guess work out of making a turkey?

  1. Buy a fresh turkey, not frozen.  Frozen turkeys are already pumped up with salt solutions.  You should be controlling the flavor and saltiness instead.
  2. Use a proper meat thermometer.  The breast meat should read 160F.  Those plastic “pop up” turkey timers never work.
  3. And please, I beg you, DO NOT BASTE your turkey.  Read why here.  Basting only lets the heat out of your oven every time you open it.  It’s not going to keep your turkey moist.

If you want a tasty bird that is juicy without fail, then you have to BRINE.  Yeah, I’m a believer.  It’s easier than you think and everyone will be amazed.


My favorite turkey brine, is the one that Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman makes.  It’s her favorite turkey brine too.  Just look here, she says so.  I trust her.  And you should too.  She uses oranges and rosemary to flavor her brine.  Hey, isn’t that kind of like using lemon and oregano?  Citrus and an herb.  A little?  No?  Yeah no!  Don’t.  Ree’s brine recipe is the way to go and will produce the most tender, fragrant turkey you ever had.  I promise.

See that picture up there?  I did that.  And you can too.  Yes, I know it looks like a science experiment, but cooking IS science.  And magical and scientific-y things are happening in that brine.  So stop googling and start brining.

Let’s do this.

Best Turkey Brine Ever – from Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman


3 cups of apple juice

2 gallons of water (that’s 32 cups if you are measuring that way…LOL)

4 tablespoons of fresh rosemary leaves

5-6 cloves of minced garlic

1 & 1/2 cups of kosher salt

2 cups of brown sugar

3 tablespoons of whole peppercorns

5 bay leaves

the peel of 3 oranges


Here is how the timeline will work:

Make this recipe the day before you want to brine your turkey, so that it’s nicely cooled.  In a large stock pot, add all of your ingredients together and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar.  Once your brine comes to a boil, turn it off an cover.  Cool your brine down and place in the refrigerator until you are ready to use.  Done.  Easy.  Go to sleep.

The next day, place your turkey in a brining bag with the brine you diligently and easily made the night before.  Pat yourself on the back.  Place your brining turkey in the refrigerator for 16-20 hours.  Ree says that her recipe is for brining a 20 lbs bird.  If you have a smaller bird, consider brining it for less time.  I usually brine a 15 lbs turkey for 12 hours.  That works for me.

When you are ready to roast your turkey, remove it from the brine and rinse it well.  Let it sit in a sink full of fresh water for 15 minute to help rid it of excess saltiness.  The brine will have done its work already, so rinse away.  Roast as you would normally.  Prepare to receive compliments.  Smile.

Enjoy.  I won’t say “I told you so.” 😉

Happy Thanksgiving.


I have been thinking a lot about Paris this week…

November 21, 2015

I have been thinking a lot about Paris this week.  It’s been a little over a week since last week’s tragedy.  Les mots me manquent pour exprimer ma tristesse, mais mes penseés sont avec vous.  I have never been to Paris, but I have felt a connection to this city ever since I was little and for the craziest reasons.  And so when Paris is in the news, I can’t help but think about other things too…


Photo credit: How Sweet Eats

Few people know that my mom’s hometown in Greece, Filiatra has a miniature “La Tour Eiffel” at the entrance of the town.  And that her town is also known as “mikro Parisaki”…mini Paris or micro Paris, if you will.  Oui, c’est vrai.  Those that know it, know that it’s NOTHING like Paris, except maybe for the ornate, antique bronze fountain in the town’s square, but we love it anyway.  It’s a small, rustic town about a kilometer and a half away from the sea, in the southwestern Peloponnesian prefecture of Messinia.  You’ll find tractors parked in the street as easily as you will find a Peugeot.  The sidewalks might be a little cracked but the cafes are plenty.


La mini Tour Eiffel de Filiatra

How might you ask does a miniature Eiffel Tower end up in a small agricultural town in southwest Greece?

Well, I’ll tell you.  An old doctor named Haralambos Fournarakis, was so enamored with the French language and culture, that he changed his last name to Fournier and gifted to his hometown of Filiatra this replica of the Eiffel Tower.  Back in the day, it used to sit in the courtyard of the foreign language school. Later, when the school closed, they moved the pint size Eiffel Tower to the main entry of the town, so that there would be no doubt where you were as you drove in…”we’re in mikro Parisaki now!”  Of course there is a sign that says “Filiatra” just so you don’t worry that you drove way too far and ended up in France.  Very kind of them.  😉

Adding to this absurdité the miniature Eiffel Tower of Filiatra has even claimed it’s 15 minutes of fame by starring in a Gorden’s Space Drink commercial too.  I’m not kidding, look!  Click here!

But let’s get back to Paris.  Let’s celebrate all the joy and bon vivant they have been generous enough to share with the world.  I love their language, their food, their style and their cafe lifestyle.  They gave us le camembert, le cafe au lait, la boeuf à la Bourguignonne, le vin, la champagne et la bouilliabaisse.  Oui!  And they gave us the le Renaissance, la Revolution et la Reverie.  They are the city of lights and l’amour.  A city of thinkers and philosophers.  So in my “micro-way”, in honor of Paris and it’s Eiffel tower, this girl whose roots stem from a micro-Paris in southwest Greece, I offer to them, and to you, a twist on the classic French recipe, Croque Madame Egg Cups.

Mais oui!  Allons-y!


Croque Madame Egg Cups – Adapted from Rachel Khoo’s “Little Paris Kitchen”

Makes 6, serves trois 😉


6 eggs

6 slices of sliced bread (I used Udi’s gluten free)

6 oz of swiss cheese

3 tbsp of melted butter

3 slices of Virginia ham

For the béchamel sauce

1 tbsp butter

1 tbsp flour (I use Dove’s Gluten Free White Flour)

8 oz of milk

1 tsp dijon mustard

1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg

1 oz of grated gruyere cheese

salt & pepper


Preheat oven to 350 F.

Start by making the béchamel sauce.  in a small sauce pan, melt a tablespoon of butter, then add the flour.  Slowly add the milk, whisking the whole time so that you avoid clumps.  Then add the dijon mustard, nutmeg, salt and pepper.  Take the sauce off the heat once it’s thickened and add the gruyere cheese.  Set aside.

Cut the crusts off the slices of bread and then roll them flat one at a time.  Once you have done that, brush them with melted butter and fit them carefully into a muffin pan to form the toasty “shells” of your crock madame.

Next, tear pieces of ham into each egg cup and then carefully crack open an egg into each muffin.  I like to use small eggs for this recipe, but if you have large ones you can pour out some of the whites so that your muffins don’t overflow.

Once you have each muffin filled with the bread, ham and egg, spoon a couple of tablespoons of béchamel sauce over each one and top with the remaining swiss cheese.  Place in the oven for 15 minutes.

And in the wise words of Julia Child, bon appetite!



Le jambon


Les ouefs


Le sauce béchamel

Au revoir =)