Saturday, December 29, 2012


My daughter Eren made this tree for our Christmas party this year.  She spent 2 hours working on it but it was worth the trouble!  Added wonderful colours to our table
Apple for the base
Carrot for the middle
Lots of toothpicks
Two different colour grapes
Kale for the bottom

You'll find the pictures at the bottom showing how it was put together
  • Cut the base of the apple.  This is an important step for balance
  • Core the middle of the other side of the apple to balance the carrot in it
  • Cut out a star for the top from using the melon
  • Wash and clean the rest of the fruits as required
  • Stick them on the carrot and the apple to construct the tree
  • Put some kale at the bottom for greenery

Thursday, December 27, 2012


These cookies are from Eren.  Christmas time is her favorite time of the year and she is always looking to do special things.  This is the first set of cookies this year after her night of tree decorations.  We'll have to wait and see what else she will make this year.

3/4 cup peanut butter
1 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup shortening
3 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 egg
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
Chocolate-covered mini pretzels
Mini brown M&Ms
Regular-sized red M&Ms

Makes about 40 reindeer cookies
  • Preheat oven to 375°F
  • Combine brown sugar, peanut butter, shortening, milk, and vanilla in large bowl. Beat at medium speed until well blended. Add egg; beat until just blended.
  • In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to creamed mixture at low speed. Mix just until blended.
  • Form dough into 1-inch balls. To make reindeer-shaped cookies, pinch the bottom of the ball slightly to form a point, then gently flatten with your hand. Space cookies about 2 inches apart on a greased cookie sheet and bake for 7 to 8 minutes, until set or just beginning to brown.
  • Remove from oven and immediately (and gently) press two mini pretzels into the tops of the cookies for the reindeer's antlers. Press two mini brown M&Ms in for the eyes and one red M&M for the nose (or any other color... some of mine ended up with green noses. They might be South Pole reindeer.).
  • Allow to cool 2 minutes on the baking sheet and then transfer to a wire rack or paper towel to cool completely.

Friday, December 21, 2012


These cookies are Serah's specialty cookies because they were the very first cookies she made on her own years ago.  They are delicious.  She made them with chocolate chips.  They are also very good without them or with other things like blueberries. 

3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
2 eggs
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Makes 30 cookies
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • In a small bowl, combine 3 tablespoons sugar and 1 tablespoon of cinnamon. Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, mix the 1 1/2 cups sugar, butter, shortening, and eggs. Stir in the dry ingredients. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  • Make small balls (size of a large walnut). Roll balls in the sugar/cinnamon mixture. Place 2 inches apart on non-stick cookie sheets.
  • Bake 8-10 minutes or until set. Immediately remove from sheets and cool completely on a wire rack
Note: You can substitute cream of tartar and baking soda with 2 teaspoon of baking powder.  It will make softer cookies

Saturday, December 15, 2012


Breakfast isn't just good for breakfast, sometimes it is a good change for dinner too.  Especially around Christmas time when there is so much goodies during the day and so much to do after work that you need an easy to make dinner.  Here is an idea, eggs in buns.  Quick to make and cooked to my liking (white is perfectly cooked but yolk is runny)
Buns (I use whole wheat)
Cheese (any kind will do.  Mozerella is always good)
Salt and pepper
  • Preheat oven to 350
  • Make a "hole" big enough for a slice of cheese and an egg in the bun
  • Line a pan with cooking paper
  • Put a thin slice of cheese and place it in the bottom of the "hole"
  • Break open an agg on top of the cheese
  • Cook in the oven until the white is fully cooked (approx. 20 minutes)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


Fish is not a popular meal in my family.  It is really good for you so I force everyone to have it once every couple of weeks.  The only fish they are even willing to eat is Salmon but they are now sick of the same old recipes.  I saw this one on my friend's blog:

I made some minor changes because I had more fish than her instructions.  It was delicious!!! I would highly recommend it.  We truly enjoyed it.  This recipe is a keeper for sure.   I am publishing with my changes.

To Caramelize the Leek:
3 large Leeks (a bunch)
3 tablespoons of cooking oil
1.5 tablespoons butter
1 or 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 big piece of Salmon (I cut it into 8 serving pieces
Salt, black pepper and red pepper on the salmon (don't omit the paprika.  It gives it a nice red colour)
  • Wash and clean the leek.  Remove outside skins.  Cut them lengthwise (approx 5-6 cm length). 
  • Put water in a large container.  Add a teaspoon salt and a teaspoon white vinegar.
  • Add Leek and more water into the container to cover the Leek. 
  • Vinegar will get rid of the bacteria and salt will remove dirt
  • Set aside for 15 minutes
  • When ready, rise with cold water and drain
  • In a large pan add oil and butter.  Add Leak and cook in medium heat until soft
  • Add salt and brown sugar and cook until some of the Leek turns brown.  Cover and set aside
  • Sprinkle Salmon with salt, black pepper and paprika. 
  • Preheat oven to 400 and cook Salmon for 40 to 45 minutes (or to your liking)
  • Add a couple of tablespoons of the Leek on each piece of Salmon and leave in the oven for 5 minutes until the Leek heats up.  I skipped this step and heated the Leek and put on the fish as I served as some people like it on the side.

Saturday, December 1, 2012


This is my first introduction to Kale.  Needless to say, I am just learning how healthy it is for you.  It not only has vitamins K, C, A but it also has calcium, magnesium, and more.  I chose this simple recipe for my introduction and fell in love with it.  I guarantee a Kale salad will be my lunch at least for the next couple of weeks for sure.  Why for 2 weeks you ask.. because I plan to lose a couple of pounds just before Christmas so I can eat all the goodies and gain it all back before new years.  I will then go back on my diet to lose some more :-)  Joking aside, it will give me the opportunity to try other interesting salad recipes.

2 cups washed, dried Kale
1 or 2 hard boiled egg
1 medium sized carrot, graded
1/3 cup graded Parmesan
1/3 cup almonds

3-4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
Sea salt
  • Wash and dry the Kale
  • Cut out the hard roots in the middle and thinly chop the leaves
  • Hard boil the egg and cut up lengthwise into 6 pieces for each
  • Mix together Kale, 2/3 of graded carrot, graded Parmesan and almonds
  • Top with remaining graded carrots, graded Parmesan cheese, almonds and sliced eggs
  • Prepare sauce by mixing all the ingredients and making sure the salt is melted
  • Add the dressing just before you serve the salad
  • Don't forget to praise yourself for making such a healthy salad and Enjoy!
Here is a picture of Kale:

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


We are not even in December yet but we are already in Christmas mood.  Last weekend, we put up our tree.  My daugher had to make cookies to share with her friends.  Our pick was Red Velvet Cheesecake Cookies.  They are simply delicious.  We saved some of the cream cheese and sugar mix and made a side order of strawberry santas too.  We think our santas turned out a little "creepy" looking :-) but they were delicious just the same.

For the cake dough:
1 box red velvet cake mix
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
1/2 cup cooking oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the cheesecake filling:
4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the white chocolate drizzle:
1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips, melted

Makes 10 giant cookies. 
You can make smaller cookies but we found smaller the cookies, the more difficult it is to wrap the dough around the cheese.
  • For the cake dough: Combine cake mix and flour and set aside.  Mix eggs, cooking oil and vanilla extract.  Slowly add the flour mix until smooth.  Wrap the dough in plastic wrap. The dough will be oily. Refrigerate for at least two hours.
  • Prepare the cheesecake filling, using a mixer.  Combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth. If you are making 10 giant cookies, divide the cream cheese filling into 10 "balls" using a teaspoon or a scoop. place on a wax paper covered plate.  Place plate in the freezer and freeze for at least two hours.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Line a large baking sheet with baking paper
  • To assemble the cookies, divide the cake dough into 10 equal amounts.  Flatten each dough in your hands. Place a piece of the cheesecake filling in the center and wrap the cookie dough around the filling. Gently roll into a ball and place on prepared baking sheet.  Repeat until all the dough is finished.
  • Make sure you place only 3 cookies on the pan as they spread quite a bit during cooking.
  • Bake for 11-13 minutes or until the cookies begin to crackle. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes. Remove from baking sheet to a wire cooling rack and cool completely.
  • Melt the white chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl or over a double-boiler. Drizzle the white chocolate over the cooled cookies. Let the cookies set until the chocolate hardens.
Note: We saved a bit of the cheesecake filling to make strawberry santas.  I won't explain them because it is very easy to figure out from the picture.  For the eyes we used chocolate chips

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


This is a very popular recipe in Turkey because it is easy to make and so very delicious.  No cooking is required.  Good for special occations.  The trick: it needs to be made ahead and stay in the freezer over night.  Banana is the most popular fruit for the middle but I also like strawberries or kiwi too.
1 egg
1/2 kg (500 gr) Riccota cheese
Social tea buscuits
1 cup icing sugar
1 package vanilla
2 medium size bananas
3 tablespoons unsalted butter (melted and then cooled)
1.5 cups cold milk
Chocolate syrup (I used Nestle's chocolate syrup for sundeas)
  • For the cream mix together eggs, cheese
  • Add icing sugar, butter and vanilla and continue to mix until smooth
  • Take a big piece of aliminum foil (size of the cake you want to make) and spread on a smooth surface
  • Line the aliminum foil with Saran wrap
  • Put 1/3 of the cream on the wrap
  • Dip biscuits in cold milk and remove from milk quickly and put them on the cream
  • Repeat layers with cream and cookies
  • Put bananas in the middle
  • With the help of the Saran wrap fold into a triangle
  • Cover with aliminum foil
  • Leave in the freezer over night
  • Take out of the freezer 1 hour before serving
  • Cover with chocolate syrup and decorate as you wish
  • Maybe at Christmas, write merry christmas on the side with red and green icing

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


Tomorrow is Halloween.  I made easy banana muffins, decorated with candy worms.  I used store bought icing.  If you are short of time, this is easy to whip up.   The bananas are mashed so, you it is not mushy which is the way we like them.

1 egg
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup cooking oil
1 1/2 cup flour
3 medium size very ripe bananas mashed
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup coursely gound walnuts (optional)
Vanilla icing

• Spray or oil the muffin cups.  Sprinkle flour at the bottom or line with paper muffin cups
• Mix together the egg, sugar, and milk
• Add the milk, oil, salt and baking podwer and blend well
• Slowly add the flour and blend using a fork.
• Add mashed bananas, chocolate chips and optional walnuts
• Divide batter into the muffin cups equally
• Preheat oven to 350 and bake until golden brown.  You can test by sticking a wooden skewer in the middle of one, if it comes out clean, it is done
• Cool them before dekorating with icing and candies.
  • Makes 12 muffins

Friday, October 19, 2012


There are certain foods from childhood that you hold special.  Nothing takes its place.  This is one of those.  Last night, I was watching a Turkish show on the internet.   They were having Pogaca for breakfast with Turkish tea.  I just had to have some.  I prepared "breakfast for dinner" for my family.  This recipe makes a lot of dough so, I made some plain ones to serve with some cold cuts as sandwich bread, flattened some and fried in a little bit of oil as well as Feta filled pastries.

1 cup warm milk
1 cup warm water
1 cup oil
1.5 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon yeast
1.5 teaspoon sugar
4 - 5 cups flour
250 gr. Feta Cheese
1 egg white (save the yolk for glaze)
4 table spoon finely chopped parsley (optional)

1 egg yolk
Sesame seeds (optional)

  • Add 1.5 teasoon of sugar to 1 cup of warm mik.  Stir.  Add yeast and stir again and set aside for 15 minutes to allow the yeast to rise
  • Prepare the filling by grading the Feta cheese and mixing with the rest of the filling ingredients
  • Put 3 cups of flour in a big bowl.  Make a little dent in the middle.  Add water, oil, salt and the yeast and start mixing to start forming a dough. 
  • Continue to knead and add flour to get a soft dough
  • Cover and set aside for 2 hours
  • When ready, use my easy method (rather than rolling it out and cutting out pieces; although that is certainly an option) by taking small pieces of dough and flatten it in your palm.  Add a teaspoon of the filling and close it over (see the collage at the bottom)
  • Put them on a lined pan
  • Mix egg yolk with 1 tablespoon of cold water and brush a bit on each of the pogacas
  • Sprinkle sesame seeds
  • Preheat oven to 350
  • Cook until golden brown (approx. 45 minutes)

Monday, October 8, 2012


Thanksgiving dinner at my house is a tradition.  Menu is always turkey, stuffing, peas, mashed potatos, mashed turnip, borek, salad.  There are other things that change a little bit year to year.  Desert is always brought by other family members.  I forgot to take pictures of the table I set but I took a picture of a cake I bought.  I thought it was very nicely decorated.  Happy thanksgiving!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


This is an easy dessert made with puff a pastry.  Much better than store bought version not just in taste but also in cost.  I used a puff pastry dough (meaning it requires to be rolled out) but I recently discovered that I can buy puff pastry in a box that comes already rolled out.  My guess is it'll be too thick to try for this recipe but if I do decide to try it, I'll post separately.

1 package of puff pastry (please see picture of the package below)
2 cups (500 gr) milk
2 egg yolks
85 gr sugar
1/2 cup (60 gr.) corn starch
40 gr. butter
1 package vanilla
1 package dream whip
1/2 cup milk (60 gr)
To decorate: Icing sugar, Strawberries and Chocolate sauce (store bought version for ice cream topping)
  • Roll out the puff pastry as thin as you can without breaking it
  • Cut into equal sized rectangles (each will make a top and a bottom). 
  • Preheat oven to 350 and bake until golden brown
  • Prepare the "cream" filling by mixing 2 cups milk, 2 egg yolks, 1/2 cup corn starch and 85 gr. sugar together and cook on medium heat until it thickens.  If you get lumps, you can use a hand mixer to remove them.  I found it cooks without any lumps if you continually mix it during cooking.  Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Mix a package of dream whip with 1/2 cup milk until it thickens and mix into the pudding.
  • Put 1 layer of pastry, 1 tablespoon filling, 1 layer of pastry.  Continue until your pastry is all done.  I had a bit of filling left over.  We ate it like a pudding.
  • Decorate with icing sugar, strawberry and chocolate sauce like the picture
  • Let it rest in the fridge for a couple of hours.  Then enjoy!

    Monday, September 10, 2012


    This is a quick salad that you can serve with just about anything.  Great with barbeques.  Nice and colourful too.  Good choice for a pot luck.

    1 large can chick peas
    1 large can of kidney beans
    1 medium sized red onion
    1 large green pepper
    Sauce: salt, vinegar and olive oil
    • Drain and rince the chick peas and kidney beans
    • Wash and dry green pepper and slice them lengthwise
    • Peel and cut onions
    • Prepare the sauce by mixing all the ingredients
    • Mix everything together in a bowl and serve.

    Sunday, September 2, 2012


    I bought beef ribs for a barbeque to take advantage of the last few good days of the summer.  Unfortunately, life got busy.  Still wanting to have it for dinner, I changed to a slow cooker recipe.  They were simply delicious.  Beef was so well cooked that it was almost falling off the bone (just the way I like them).

    2 kg. beef ribs
    1/2 cup ketchup
    1 cup honey
    1 tablespoon garlic salt
    3 tablespoon soya sauce
    1 tablespoon worchishire sauce
    1 tablespoon hot sauce
    1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
    tuz, karabiber
    • Cut ribs into pieces
    • Fry each side a little.  Salt and pepper.
    • Mix together ketchup, garlic salt, honey, soya sauce, nutmeg,  worchishire sosu and hot sauce
    • Put the ribs in a slow cooker.  Pour the honey mixture over the ribs
    • Cook at low heat for 4.5 to 5 hours.
    • This time I served with rice, corn and salad

    Monday, August 27, 2012


    I usually buy Sushi at the grocery store because my girls like them a lot.  Last few weeks, they just did not look fresh in the grocery store.  My friend Emel makes her own.  She encouraged me to try making them at home.  I did and decided we are never going to buy them again.  They are easy to make and since they are so very fresh, they simply taste better.  I made different types of filling.

    Seaweed sheets (I used Nori)
    1/2 cup sushi rice
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    2 tablespoon rice vinegar

    Filling for Tuna filling:
    1 can solid Tuna (drained and chopped)
    1 or 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
    wasabi or other spicy sauce to your liking
    For the veggies in this one: graded carrots, avocado and cucumber

    California roll:
    Crab legs (thinly sliced)
    1 or 2 tablespoon mayonnaise
    Sesame seeds (goes on the rice before all the other ingredients)

    For Shrimp filling:
    Precooked and chopped shrimp
    Wasabi sauce to your liking
    • Rice is one of the key parts of this recipe.  I bought special sushi rice because this was the first time I was making it but any short grain rice will work.  Cook it to package instructions with salt after washing it and letting it rest for 20 minutes to cool.
    • Prepare the filling you want to use
    • Add rice vinegar.  This actually doesn't add any flavor to your cooking but makes the rice a bit shiny.  It is a "pretty" dish, so it is important to make the rice look shiny
    • Put your sea weed down flat.  All recipes say the shiny part down but I had a hard time figuring out which side was shiny.  My sea weed had visible lines on one side, I used this side to put rice on.
    • Spread the rice to one end to the other.  Not right to the end though.  I left about 1 cm to start to help roll it over on both sides.  See the pictures below.  Make sure the rice is thinly spread otherwise they end up too big
    • Place the filling on top of the rice but only to one side and roll the seaweed over the filling into a "log".  People recommend the use of a bamboo mat to roll it.  I bought one but I found it harder than just use my hands.  Maybe it is because I am used to making stuffed grape leaves that I found it easier.
    • Roll over like a log and wet the very end to have the seaweed stick at the end
    • Cut into bite size pieces
    • Let it rest in the fridge 2 - 3 hours
    • Serve with soya and wasabi sauces

    Thursday, July 26, 2012


    Just like Pizza, Turkish Pide can be made with different toppings.  Our favorites are ground beef topping or cheese, egg and sucuk.  I didn't have sucuk (which is like pepperoni only with ground beef and spices), I made cheese and egg version this time.  Usually served with Ayran (yogurt drink).

    1/2 cup warm milk
    1 teaspoon sugar
    2 teaspoons yeast

    1.5 cups warm milk
    2 tablespoons oil
    1 teaspoon salt
    3 cups flour

    Ground beef topping:
    1/2 kg medium ground beef
    1 large onion(finely chopped or graded)
    1 large cubenella pepper ( finely chopped)
    3 medium tomatoes (finely chopped or graded)
    3 tablespoon parsley (finely chopped)
    Spices to your liking: salt, pepper, cumin, red pepper
    1 tablespoon red pepper paste
    1/2 cup water
    Feta cheese topping:
    100 gr beyaz feta cheese
    1 egg
    2 tablespoon parsley (finely chopped)
    • First get the dough ready
    • Combine 1/2 cup warm water, 1 teaspoon sugar and 2 teaspoon yeast in a tall cup and set aside for 15 minutes.  Yeast will rise.
    • In a large bowl add 2 cups of flour.  Add 1.5 cups warm milk, salt, oil and the yeast.  Start mixing together.  Slowly add the rest of the flour.  You have to "feel" the dough.  It should be soft but not stick to your hands too much. 
    • Make 8 "balls" , see picture in the collage.  Cover with Saran wrap and let it rest for 1 - 2 hours
    • Combine the topping ingredients
    • You can either make large pides and cut them in half before serving or individual servings.  If you are making large pides then use each ball for one pide otherwise, use half of each ball for one.
    • Roll out to oval shape.  Put topping in the middle and leave 1 cm space on the sides to fold over to make a canoe shape with each one.
    • Place them on your pan (make sure your pan is a non stick one or use cooking paper)
    • Prehear oven to 350
    • Cook for 20-30 minutes until the bottom and the top of the dough is golden brown.

    Saturday, July 7, 2012


    Last few weeks, we have been on a high protein diet.  Now we are starting to get pretty sick of meat.  So, for dinner tonight, we switched to a vegetarian lasagna.   This is an excellent recipe.  Lower in calories because of the cottage cheese.  Very easy to make because both the noodles and vegetables are used from raw.  Even if you are using the kind of noodles that normally require to be cooked first.  We used a spicy spaghetti sauce.  It was delicious!

    3 cups pasta sauce
    (I used Classico spicy tomato red pepper sauce.  I also used the whole jar of 650 ml rather than stick to 3 cups like the original recipe)
    2 cups cottage cheese
    1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    1 cup mozzarella cheese
    9 whole wheat lasagna noodles
    4 cups mixed vegetables (I used spinach, mushrooms, and broccoli)
    1/2 cup water (if required)
    • Mix all the cheeses together.
    • Spray 11 X 8 glass pan.
    • Place 3 noodles side by side in the pan (no need to cook them)
    • Cover them with 1 cup pasta sauce
    • Add 1/3 cheese mixture first then 1/3 vegetables
    •  Repeat 2 more times.
    • Add a bit of water (1/2 cup)
    •  Cover tightly with aluminum foil
    • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
    • Bake one hour.
    • Makes 8 servings

    Saturday, June 16, 2012


    I don't know if calling this desert "Serkerpare" is a good idea because it is quite different than the autehentic Sekerpare.  I called it that because it has the same main ingredients except this one has much less calories and the coconut gives it a nice texture which is not used in Sekerpare.  There are a couple of important things to remember when making this recipe.  First, it must be made 1 day ahead to rest for 24 hours but not in the fridge.  Second, when syrup and cookies are combined syrup must be warm and cookies must be hot.  It works really well if you make the syrup and set it aside before you start the cookies.  Once the cookies are out of the oven, let them rest for 5 minutes and pour a couple of tablespoons of syrup over them and cover the cookies with another cookie sheet.  I use a deep glass pan for the first batch.  This way the syrup can be poured and it can be covered easily with another cookie sheet.

    1 small tub of margarin (250 gr), room temperature
    1 cup icing sugar
    4 tablespoons semolina
    2 tablespoons coconut (sweetened, small cut is fine)
    2 eggs
    3 cups flour
    1 package vanilin sugar
    2 teaspoons baking powder

    2 cups sugar
    2 cups water
    1 tablespoon lemon juice
    Ground natural pistachios and coconuts. 
    Makes 25 - 30 cookies
    • First make the syrup by combining sugar and water.  Bring to boil.  Add lemon juice.  Reduce heat to medium and cook for 20 minutes.  Set aside
    • Make the cookies.  Mix egg and powdered sugar together.  Add all of the ingredients of the cookies except the flour and mix well.
    • Add flour a little at a time and make a soft doug
    • Spray the pan and make small round cookies in your hands and put on a pan
    • Cook at 350 degree preheated oven until the cookies are golden brown on the top
    • Once ready, take out of the oven.  Let it rest for 5 minutes.  Pour a couple of tablespoons of syrup over the cookies with a tablespoon.  Cover the pan with another pan.
    • Once all the cookies are done pour remaining syrup over all of them evenly and cover with a pan and let it sit overnight at room temperature
    • Decorate when ready to serve

    Sunday, May 20, 2012


    Did you know Chili is an American dish?  Lots of people think of it as a Mexican because of the beans and use of Chili powder but it is actually from Texas.  Best part of this dish is that it is easy, fast and delicious.  Unless of course if you are making it in a crockpot.  Today, we were painting our kitchen when my daughter's university friends showed up unexpectedly.  I quickly made chili and served with garlic bread.  I added watermelon, some chicken wings and french fries from frozen.  For the vegetarian friend, we added a mixed salad and spanich and feta pastries from the day before.  We had dinner in a jiffy.

    Seasoning Mix
    4 tablespoons chili powder
    2.5 teaspoons ground coriander
    2.5 teaspoons ground cumin
    1.5 teaspoons garlic powder
    1 teaspoon oregano
    1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

    Other ingredients
    2 tablespoon olive oil
    1/2 kg. lean ground beef
    1 onion
    1 (800 ml) can diced tomatoes
    1 (450 ml) can tomato sauce
    2 (450 ml) cans kidney beans
    Grated cheese
    • Mix together seasoning mix.  This mix will give you more seasoning than you will need for this recipe but you can store it in a container for convinence for next time.
    • Put 2 tablespoons of oil in a skillet and cook ground beef until no longer pink.
    • Drain.
    • Chop onion
    • Drain and rinse the beans
    • Pure 1 can of beans
    • In a big pot add all the beans, ground beef, onions, tomatoes and tomato sauce, 5 teaspoons of the seasoning, salt
    • Cook until it thickens to your liking in low or medium heat
    • If you are using a crockpot, cook on low for 6 to 8 hours
    • Serve with a hot sauce on the side for those who prefer it really spicy
    • Top with grated cheddar cheese. 

    Sunday, May 13, 2012


    This is a nice light and low fat desert.  Good in any season but best in the hot summer days.  You can top with cool whip or ice cream or chocolate sauce instead of grated chocolate.  This is a great way to use the bananas that are starting to go brown as well as a good source of calcium for those who don't like to drink milk (like me).

    4 cups cold milk (1 lt)
    4 tablespoons cornstarch (I use a soup spoon steepingly full) 
    2/3 cups sugar
    1 teaspoon unsalted butter
    1 teaspoon (9 gr) vanilla
    3-4 mashed bananas
    Top: Grated chocolate or cool whip or icecream or chocolate sauce
    • Mix cold milk, corn starch and sugar in a pot
    • Cook in low heat stirring constantly until it thickens
    • Add in vanilla and butter.  Stir until butter is melted
    • Add bananas
    • Put in serving dishes and let it cool in the fridge for a couple of hours (covered with saran wrap)
    • Top with your choice of chocolate pieces, cool whip or ice cream.

    Saturday, May 5, 2012


    Translation of Un Kurabiyesi is: Flour Cookies.  I've been meaning make these cookies for a very long time simply because I missed them so much.  I don't make them often because of the calories but I have to tell you, they are absolutely worth it.

     250 gr unsalted butter (1 cup)
    1/2 cup oil
    1/3 cup corn starch
    2/3 cup icing sugar
    1 package vanilla (2 teaspoons)
    3.5 cups flour
    • Cream butter and oil together.  I left the butter at room temperature overnight.  It was so soft that I did not need a mixer.  I used a fork.
    • Add corn starch, icin sugar and vanilla
    • Add flour a little at a time to get a soft tough.  Dough does crumble a bit.  You need to make sure it sticks together by hand.  Set aside to rest for 10 minutes
    • Split the dough into 6 equal parts
    • Make a roll with each piece of dough using your hands.  Be careful with the crumbs just stick them together by hand
    • Cut each piece into 5 cookies
    • Put on a lined cookie sheet
    • Pierce with a fork
    • Preheat oven to 325
    • Cook until the edges turn pink.  In my oven it took 20 minutes
    • Cool and sprinkle with icing sugar

    Sunday, April 29, 2012


    Turkish Chicken wraps have a very different look and taste.  Although I haven't tried it with soft tortillas, I am thinking they would likely work well as well.  In authentic recipe, there is not ketchup or mayonnaise but my family felt they go well with this and use it so I added them to my recipe.

    3-4 Chicken breasts
    1/3 cup olive oil
    1 teaspoon salt
    2 - 3 tablespoons tomato paste
    1 teaspoon thyme
    1/2 teaspoon black pepper
    1/2 teaspoon red pepper
    Optional: currie and allspice

    Lavash bread or Indian Roti bread

    Fried potatos, lettuce, tomatoes, sliced onions with sumac, garlic pickles, hot peppers, ketchup, mayonnaise
    • Slice chicken legthwise
    • Add olive oil, salt, tomato paste, thyme, black pepper and red pepper
    • Mix well and marinade for 3-4 hours in the fridge
    • Cook at medium heat until all the juice comes out and evaporates.  This takes over an hour of cooking.  You can continue to stir fry in its own juice at the very end.
    • While chicken is cooking prepare the potatos.  Peel, wash and cut them in small cubes.  Fry them in small amount of olive oil.  Add salt at the end
    • Get all the filling option cut up and ready
    • Serve in warmed lavash bread.  I used Indian roti bread.

    Saturday, April 14, 2012


    Some people love Broccoli while others don't even like them.  Those who don't like Broccoli but try to eat them do it usually because they know how good it is for their health.  My household is no different. My husband likes them plain, my yougest daughter will only eat it if it is made with this recipe.  Me and my older daughter will eat Broccoli in any recipe because we love them.  If you are one of those people who try with Broccoli, you must try this recipe.  I hope you enjoy it.

    1/2 kg. Broccoli
    2 full tablespoons flour
    2 tablespoons butter
    1 cup milk
    salt, blackpepper
    1/2 cup permasean cheese
    1 cup shreded mozerrella cheese
    • Separate Broccoli florets and boil them lightly in salted water making sure they are not too soft
    • In a pan, melt butter and  add flour.  Cook until the flour changes colour to light yellow.  I find this to be the most difficult part of this recipe as the flour sticks to the wooden spoon.  Make sure you have a fork handy to scrape off the spoon so you can continue to cook
    • Add mik.  Reduce heat and cook until the sauce thickens a bit
    • Add Permasean cheese and remove from heat
    • Mix the sauce with broccoli
    • Spray the bottom of your pan
    • Pour Broccoli and the sauce.  Try to make sure broccoli is single layer.  It should not be too thick.
    • Sprinkle shreded cheddar cheese
    • Cook at 350 degree preheated oven until the top is golden brown (approx 20 minutes)

    Friday, March 30, 2012


    Coconut is an absolute favorite of mine.  Not only in cookies but also in chocolate and all kinds of deserts.  I made these cookies for valentines day last month but did not get a chance to publish them until now.  This is one of those must try recipes (in my opinion of course).
    1 cup shreded dry unsweetened coconut
    1 cup sugar
    2.5 cups flour
    3/4 cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
    2 eggs
    1 teaspoon vanilla

    1 cup icing sugar
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla
    3 tablespoons milk
    • Using a food processor, process coconut and sugar until it is fine as flour
    • In a separate bowl, mix together butter, and flour until you get a "crumble"
    • Mix everything together. 
    • Mix eggs separately and add to the flour mix and to get a medium dough.
    • Turn to a lightly floured surface and roll out 1/2 cm thickness.
    • Cut using a cookie cutter any shape you like
    • Preheat oven to 350
    • Cook 8 - 10 minutes (until the edges change colour a bit)
    • Set aside to cool
    • Prepare icing and spread on your cookies.  If you like you can add coloured candies too
    • Set aside for about 1 hour.

    Wednesday, March 21, 2012


    Origin of this dish is southern Turkiye.  In hot summer days, Saksuka with yogurt and garlic sauce and fresh bread for dunking in its juice makes a perfect light dish.

    2 large eggplants
    4 potatoes
    3 cubenella peppers
    3 pieces of garlic
    salt and pepper
    1/2 kg. tomatoes
    cooking oil (or olive oil)
    • Partially peel the eggplants (see the picture - they look like zebras)
    • Fill a large bowl with water.  Add 1 teaspoon salt.
    • Cut eggplant in cubes and leave in salted water for 20 minutes.  This removes any bitterness from the eggplants
    • Drain the eggplants
    • Put some cooking oil in a frying pan.  Add Eggplants a little at a time and fry them until cooked
    • Remove from oil and remove access oil.  I use a paper towel lined plate.  I leave them on the paper towel until some of the oil is gone and then move them to a large bowl
    • Peel potatoes and cut them into cubes similar to the eggplants and fry them the same way
    • Finally wash and cut pepper and fry them
    • Add all of the fried vegetables together in a large pot
    • Wash and chop the tomatoes.  Put them in a pot.  Add in crushed garlic, salt (optionally some dry basil).  Bring to boil.  Reduce heat and cook until some of the juice is gone.  Set aside to cool.
    • Combine all of the vegetables and half the tomato sauce
    • Move to the serving dish
    • Pour remaining tomato sauce on top.  Optionally, you can pour yogurt garlic sauce (see the sauce section for the recipe.  All you need is yogurt and crushed garlic) first and then top with tomato sauce.

    Saturday, March 3, 2012


    This is a classic banana bread recipe with an optional strudel topping.  You can add variety by adding apple pieces or chocolate chips or cinnamon into the batter.  A couple of key points to remember: First you do not need a mixer (use wooden spoons or whisk) and second, always butter and generously flour the bottom and the sides of the pan.

    2 eggs (beaten)
    3/4 cup sugar
    1/3 cup plain yogurt
    6 tablespoon (1/4 cup) melted unsalted butter
    1.5 cups flour 
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1.5 cups ripe bananas thickly sliced (approx. 3)
    1/2 cup coarsly chopped walnuts (optional but highly recommended)
    1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional but highly recommended)

    Optional strudel topping:
    2 tablespoons butter
    3 tablespoons brown sugar
    1 tablespoon cinnamon
    • Butter and generously flour the bottom and sides of your pan
    • Preheat the oven at 350
    • Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt, stir with a whisk.
    • Place sugar and butter in a large bowl and mix together
    • Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
    • Add banana, yogurt, vanilla and walnuts.
    • Add flour mixture
    • Spoon batter into an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan coated
    • Prepare the topping by mixing all the ingredients together and spread over the pan.
    • Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
    • Cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack

    Friday, February 24, 2012


    This recipe is a cross between a soup and a stew. Great for dipping bread into the juice.  I usually add both potatos and carrots but I skipped the carrots this time only because I forgot to buy them this week. "What do you serve with?" you ask. Bread of course for dipping in the juice; and either spaghetti or cooked rice with a side order of salad or cacik (yogurt and cucumber mix).

    1/2 kilogram lean ground beef
    1/3 cup rice
    3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
    2 onions
    2-3 potatos
    2 carrots
    1 egg
    salt, blackpepper
    2 tablespoons tomato paste
    3 tablespoons cooking oil
    3 tablespoons flour
    • First get your vegetables ready. Peel and cut carrots and potatos and set aside.
    • Then make your meatballs by mixing together ground beef, 1 chopped onion, parsley, egg, rice, salt and pepper. If you like, you can let it sit in the fridge half an hour so it is easier to handle when making the meatballs.
    • Take small pieces from the ground and make into small balls.
    • Put flour on a plate and roll the meatballs in flour. You don't need to do this individually.  Just spread the flour on a plate, put all the meatballs on the flour and shake the plate a little.  Meatballs will roll around on their own but make sure they are all covered lightly.
    • In a medium sized pan, put olive oil the second chopped onion and the meatballs and fry the meatballs without breaking them. You can use a wooden spoon to turn them over.
    • Mix 1 cup of water with tomato paste and bring to boil. Add in vegetables. Reduce heat and cook until vegetables are soft
    • You may need to add more water. This dish should be a bit watery.

    Saturday, February 18, 2012


    The specialty of this muffin is the strudel topping.  It reminds me of store bought muffins.  A couple of key points to remember when making this recipe is not to mix the flour too much to make sure it rises when cooking.  I used regular sized muffin cups to get 12 muffins.  I am thinking that mini muffins with these measurements would give a higher "rise" look.  Although this is really not necessary.  The top of the muffing with the strudel topping was a favorite at my house.  Even though we are trying to watch our weight, we couldn't help ourselves and finished all the muffins in one night.

    1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    3/4 cup white sugar
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    1/4 cup vegetable oil
    1 egg
    1/3 cup milk
    1 cup fresh blueberries

    1/2 cup brown sugar
    1/3 cup all-purpose flour
    1/4 cup butter, cubed
    1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
    • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
    • Line muffin cups with muffin liners.
    • First make the strudel topping by Mix ing all the topping ingredients together with a fork.  Set aside
    • Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, salt and baking powder.
    • Mix together the vegetable oil, the egg and the milk
    • Add the flour mixture and using a wooden spoon mix through.
    • Fold in blueberries.
    • Fill 3/4 of the muffin cups and sprinkle with crumb topping mixture.
    • Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until done.
    Makes 12 muffins

    Friday, February 10, 2012


    This cookie recipe is from my sister in law.  They were so good that it did not last too long in my house.  Try them for valentines day!

    2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
    3/4 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 cup unsalted butter, softened
    1/2 cup granulated sugar
    1/2 firmly packed brown sugar
    1 tablespoon grated orange zest
    1 egg
    1 cup white chocolate chips
    • Preheat oven to 350. In medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt.
    • In large bowl, cream butter, sugars and zest with electric mixer until light and fluffy.
    • Add egg, mix well.
    • Add dry ingredients to butter mixture, mix well. Stir in white chocolate chips. Drop on a cookie sheet using a tablespoonfuls or cookie scoop.
    • Bake 12-15 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Cool 3 minutes on pan; remove and cool completely on cooling rack.
    Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

    Sunday, January 29, 2012


    Yes.. Vegetarian raw meat is an oxymoron.  This dish is normally made with raw meat and bulgur.  Usually a very strong person kneads it like dough with spices for a very long time to get it right.  This recipe is done in a food processor with a day old bread and walnuts.  It is amazing how noone can tell that it isn't the real thing.  If you don't like spicy foods, you'll likely not going to like this recipe but if you enjoy currie and spices, this is a must try.

    1/2 cup fine bulgur
    1 piece of a day old bread (with crust)
    1 small onion
    2 cloves of crushed garlic
    1/4 cup crushed walnuts
    1 full teaspoon tomato paste
    1 full teaspoon hot red pepper paste
    1 full teaspoon spice mix (below)
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    2 tablespoon finely chopped parsley

    Spice mix (You can make this mix and save for other recipes) :
    1 tablespoon allspice
    1 tablespoon blackpepper
    2 tablespoon hot red pepper
    2 tablespoon cumin
    2 tablespoon curry
    1 tablespoon ground coriander
    1 teaspoon mint
    1 teaspoon thyme
    • Put the bulgur in a colander and pour boiled water through the bulgur.  Set aside to dry.
    • In a food processor chop onion and add all ingredients except bulgur, olive oil and parsley and mix through until you have a sticky mixture.  Add in bulgur and mix through.  Finally add in olive oil and mix that through in the food processor
    • Remove from the food processor and add in parsley and knead like a big dough making sure parsley is all through.
    • Make small bites and serve in a bed of lettuce with pickles on the side

    Sunday, January 22, 2012


    I called it Turkish Dumplings but it could also be called Turkish Tortolini.  Is this dish time consuming to make? Yes.  Is this dish bad for a meal if you are dieting? Yes.  Is this dish deeelicious? Absolutely!!  Not only is this dish a favorite of my girls, it is also a favorite of all their friends from school.  Even when their first reaction was eeewww!

    2 Eggs
    2 cups water
    1 teaspoon salt
    6.5 cup flour

    300 gr lean ground beef
    2 onions
    1/2 bunch parsley
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon black pepper

    2 tablespoon butter
    1 tablespoon tomato paste

    Garlic yogurt (see the recipe in the sauce section)
    Sumac, mint, red pepper flakes

    For those who don't like yogurt, regular spaghetti sauce also works well.
    • Mix the eggs with salt.  Add in water.  Slowly add the flour.  First 4 cups is pretty easy as it is still soft but it starts thickening after that.  Add 1 cup of flour at a time and continue to knead.  You need a fairly solid dough. Cover. Set aside to rest about 30 minutes. 
    • Prepare the filling by mixing all of the ingredients (ground beef, graded onion, parsley, salt and black pepper)
    • When ready to make the manti, cut dough into 8 equal parts. 
    • Take 1 part dough and roll out on a floured surface.  It doesn't have to be rolled out too thin and cut small square pieces (see picture below)
    • Put a small piece of filling on each square and fold.  To fold, first make a triangle and then make the ends meet (see picture below). Shape is really not that important.  You just need to make sure that it does not come apart during cooking.  Put each one on a lined pan apart from each other to make sure they don't stick.
    • To cook boil salted water (just like cooking spaghetti). Drop Manti in making sure they don't stick to one another.  I usually drop them in one at a time but you need to do this fairly quickly.  They will first sink to the bottom, then as they cook, they will float.  Cook for 10 minutes.
    • If you want to make soup later, you should save some of the water.  Otherwise, you can drain
    • Serve with garlic yogurt and the sauce on top.  Sprinkle with sumac and dried mint
    Hint #1: Because this is hard to make, I make a big batch and freeze.  To do this you make the Manti, and put on a smaller pan.  Put in the freezer until they are frozen.  Once frozen, you can move them to a container.  They will not stick to one another.  You can just take them out and cook when you need them.

    Hint #2: You can also make manti soup.  Just add the water you saved.  You can even add in a couple of spoonfuls of cooked chick peas.

    Tuesday, January 10, 2012


    Falafel is from somewhere in the middle east.  Many countries claim it for their own.  Who ever invented it, we appreciate and enjoy it.  It is extremely easy to make and ready in 15 minutes.   The key is getting the consistency right to make sure it does not fall apart during frying.  It has to be a thick "dough".   I use a food processor all ingredients except the flour.  I add flour by hand and knead like a dough and continue to add flour until it is thick enough to roll into patties.

    1 can chickpeas (540 gr.), drained
    1 medium onion, finely chopped
    1 tablespoon minced garlic
    2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
    1 teaspoon ground coriander
    3/4 teaspoon cumin
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    6-8 tablespoons flour

    For frying: Cooking oil

    In pita bread with humus, chopped lettuce, tomato and pickles.  You can also make a sauce with yogurt, garlic and chopped cucumbers.
    • Drain the chickpeas and rinse with cold water. 
    • Put all (except flour) into a food processor and mix together
    • Take out of the processor into a big mixing bowl. 
    • Start with 4 tablespoons flour and kneed like a dough.  Continue to add flour 1 tablespoon at a time to get a solid "dough"
    • Make "patties" or "balls"
    • Fry in a little bit of oil until both sides are light brown (Approx. 5 minutes)
    • Serve with pita bread, humus, lettuce, tomato and pickles along with a sauce made of yogurt, garlic and cucumbers.

    Monday, January 2, 2012


    Chestnuts are often used in rice and other dishes in Turkey but roasted chestnuts are likely everyone's favorite.  They are often roasted on an open fire.  Sold in the streets in a code shaped newspaper.  Chestnuts always remind me my childhood vacations with my grandmother in Izmir.  Livingroom of her house had a huge window with the view of the ocean.  She also had an indoor mangal (barbeque) in her house.  She not only roasted chestnuts on it but also made her Turkish coffee on her little barbeque.  She was very fond of her coffee.  It had to be freshly ground (in a hand grinder) just before the coffee is made.  People tell me I look just like her.  I guess I am like her in more ways then just looks :-)

    All you need for this is chestnuts (as much as you like) and water
    • Soak the chestnuts in water for 30 minutes to soften them
    • Make a small cut in each one (make sure the cut is pretty deep)
    • Preheat oven to 350
    • Cook for 45 minutes
    • Cool, peel and enjoy!