Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Fudge Bars

Oh, it is the week that every student and instructor dreads- it is Final's Week! Here I sit watching students stress about the testing that determines if they are successful in this class. While they contemplate the filtration of the kidney and the action of muscle contraction, I sit here and blog about fudge bars and sweets. For me, it is all fun and games until they turn in those tests, and then the burden is on me. The grading! Oh, the grading.... and the emailing to students who are begging for extra credit. And the emails that rarely appear that say thank you for all your help and effort. It kind of feels like I am in suspense of this great culmination of work but I have to wait and watch and sit. And then there will be a big rush to the finish!

For now, I am just going to sit back and dream about fudge bars and chocolate cupcakes and gingersnap ice cream and enjoy the calm before the grading storm.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Veggie Sausage Omelet Muffins

This post is in homage to the "girlies" that make me laugh everyday and who feed me with their wonderful, nutrient dense eggs. The raising of chickens has been a wonderful experience that I would encourage everyone to do at some time in your life. I have always had dogs, but these little girls have taught me a ton about what it takes to raise an animal that you get something from other then love. Dogs are our companion animals but there is a lot to say about these girls who not only give me food but that also gives me a source of togetherness and affection. While my chickens are not the cuddly type that come and sit in my lap (I wish they were,) they do depend on me for their daily needs and in turn they give me a lot of love and great eggs.

Upon meeting me, most people would not think that I am a chicken person or that is what I have been told. (I have never really been sure what a "Chicken Person" is.) When I talk to my anatomy students about "my girls," they are taken aback. One class even requested pictures to be sure I was not pulling one over on them. Recently, in a cab ride when I was all dressed up, I mentioned having to take care of the chickens before I left home and got the strangest look in the rear view mirror. Fortunately, that led to a really enlightening discussion. And to top off all of the "chicken shock", I think my family thought I lost my mind when I told them I got chickens.

While all of these chicken discussions, have been somewhat humorous, most people don't get it till they see the girls. Several of my friends have shown up at my house and have seen these funny girls waddling behind me, chattering the whole way, as we water the flowers in the back yard or patiently waiting while I pick them a tomato from my summer garden. They are always there to tell me their funny little stories and to see what we are going to do next. They have become the #1 attraction at my house. Some bring them an apple, most want to check for eggs and even my Dad (who I am sure thought I really lost it) has had a few laughs due to these girls. Even though he might not admit it, he enjoys checking their nest when he visits.

A lot of people say, "they are just chickens." And I can't argue with that, but what makes anything a "just?" We are JUST people!  I will admit that chickens are not the most intelligent creatures but that doesn't mean they don't deserve kindness and a happy life.  These girls are a perfect of example that if you value something, respect it for what it is, give it a happy place and show it love, that all of those feelings will be reciprocated. It is an everyday confirmation of the good in life and in others,; no matter how small.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Ossi De Morte (Dead Bones)

Happy Christmas Eve!

I know it has been a while since I have posted, but it has been an interesting few months!! This fall, I have been working at three local colleges which has kept me running in every direction and in July, I had a bit of a surprise visit by some cells that, well, just weren't quite right... (we don't like to use the real word!) It took months, but as we know, bouncing back is what I do!

And now it is Christmas! My little dog and I have made it home to PA and there is so much to be thankful for. I am with the people that I love and in a place that I will always call home. To see my parent's Christmas tree and be with the people who are most dear to my heart is what Christmas is all about for me! I am so happy to be here and I am happy to share this recipe with you. I guess you can say it is my little Christmas gift to you! Thank you for reading and supporting me!

So let's get down to the story of this recipe! This is the perfect time to share the story of my Gram H. who the "Biscotti" portion of this blog is inspired by. The recipe that you see here has been part of the Italian side of my family for a very long time. My great-grandmother used to make this recipe when my Gram and her 5 siblings were young. Like most families in my area, many of my great-grandparents were immigrants who came through Ellis Island. They came from their countries for a chance at a better life and for work opportunities. Upon settling in Western PA, both sides of my family earned their living and supported their families by working in the coal mines. This is what almost every man in my area did for generations.

So, this is the recipe that my great-grandmother used to bake. It has a cute little story that has been repeated many times in my family; especially when my Gram and her siblings get together. After my great-grandmother used to make these little half cookie/ half candy gems, she would store them in a tin in the pantry.  In the winter (before the times of global warming,) my Gram and her siblings would bundle up in their warm clothes and head outside into the snow. On the way outside, they used to sneak into the pantry,  open the tin of cookies and take "just a few" to fill up their pockets; thinking that their Mother didn't notice. The brothers and sisters would head out to the big sled riding hill where all of the neighborhood kids congregated. Unfortunately, they did not have a family sled to join in on the snowy fun. But what they did have was pockets full of Ossi de Morte which they used as cash to buy rides on the other children's sleds. Only two of these small wonders would get them a ride down the hill and a place in the lore of the town. While they didn't have the money to buy a sled, they had the ingenuity and the camaraderie that brothers and sisters have when there was something that was really important to them. There is nothing like the bond of family! Still to this day, in tough times, my Gram reminds me that I am descendant of this strong family and that I can solve any problem or overcome any diversity.

Despite the hard circumstances they ran into growing up, the happy times always float up! You can see it in my Gram's face when she tells the stories of her family. And rarely does she tell a story that is about bad times! It is the good we remember as family and those moments are the ones that hold us together this special time of year.  So, this Christmas. fill up your pockets with these cookies or something else that is special to your heart and hand them out; not as a type of currency but as a way to say "I love you" to family and friends.

Merry Christmas to you and yours!!

Rebecca and Dexter

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Sweet Potato and Quinoa Chili

So, as my Mama used to say, it is time to "get back in the swing of things."  Summer is coming to an end! My wonderful vacation in Charleston was just what I needed to transition to this busy time and my time away was fabulous. In Charleston, you can always count on great food, a beautiful beach and amazing weather. But this time, it also included meeting awesome, new people.

Like most of the rest of you, my life is about to become busier, but that is not bad. I am a girl that kinda loves a good routine. For years, I saw patients on a set schedule and taught school at given times. I kinda prosper in that schedule and if nothing else, it makes fun times more appreciated and anticipated.

For me, with that more regular schedule comes more organization and preparedness. Most nights, that includes a lunchbox ready the night before. This recipe is one of my go-to lunch staples!! It is so healthy and full of veggies and protein and it freezes so well!! I also have to note that you will not miss the meat in this chili! It is hearty and delicious! If you are a bit more of a healthy, traditional chili eater (what???) give my Turkey Pumpkin Chili a try. I will admit, I have slipped that one by several chili afficiandos and they had no idea it was good for them! What they don't know.... I won't name names!!

I have to admit, I have been making this recipe for about 3 years and have not shared!  Shhh... Shame on me!!!!  (And some of my vegetarian meals are my most popular!)

Sometimes a girl needs a secret!

Sweet Potato and Quinoa Chili

As usual, I made this recipe in a large quantity and plan on eating some in the next few days, but also will freeze smaller quantities for lunches. This will serve multiple purposes: I have an awesome homemade lunch and I have a built in ice pack! Heat, eat, (check teeth for spinach) and back to work!!!

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 hot pepper, diced or one can of chopped chilis
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 yellow or red bell pepper, diced
5 – 6 garlic cloves, pressed
2.5 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano or a handful of fresh oregano
salt and pepper, to taste
1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
1 can (15 oz)  diced tomatoes or 1 1/2 cup diced fresh tomatoes
4 cups (32 oz) vegetable broth, more as needed
1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained
1 can (15 oz) kidney beans, drained 
1 can (15 oz) garbanzo beans, drained
1 and a half large sweet potato, peeled and diced 
1 cup dry quinoa
A bag of fresh spinach or large bunch of kale, washed and chopped

In large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions all peppers, cook until soft (about 7 – 10 minutes). Add garlic, cook for another minute or so. Add the tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, oregano, cook for 2 more minutes stirring constantly. Add tomatoes, broth, beans and sweet potato, stir until combined. Add quinoa, bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover slightly ajar and cook for 30 -35 minutes, stirring often as this may stick. At this time, add spinach or kale and cook until wilted. No more than 5 minutes. Chili is ready when sweet potatoes are tender and greens are soft. Add additional water if chili is too thick for your liking. This chili is great right after it is finished or you can use in later in multiple ways. As I stated, I like to freeze individual portions for lunches. I have also used it as a side dish with fish or chicken.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Canned Oregano Tomatoes

So, here is the last of the tomato series that I have to share with you. I do have a bruschetta recipe that I will be posting in the near future as well, but I wanted to get this one out before the tomatoes were all gone and before I take a little vacation by the sea! I am headed to Isle of Palms, one of my favorite places on earth to clear my head before starting into the fall semester of school. This upcoming fall semester is gonna be a tricky one because I will be teaching in 3 different locations i.e. cities.  Even though it is a lot of driving, I have been so happy to add Asheville to my regular teaching circuit! Love that town and the students are so refreshing. Also after class,  it gives me the opportunity to hang out in some places that I really love.

Well, sorry this is not a longer post but this girl has to pack! Bathing suits, flip flops and of course some good craft beer! I will also have my camera with me at all times. Hoping the sun and sea and the magnificence of the Charleston area can revitalize me to be back in the classroom in only 11 days!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Freezing Tomatoes


This is the most simple way to save tomatoes that I know of. When I am feeling really lazy (which is often!) I just freeze a bunch of tomatoes rather than messing with canning them. For whatever reason, most people look at me like I am crazy when I say that I do this, but it really works. This is a trick that I learned from my Mom and  it come in handy when the winter gets cold and you want to make a chili or soup. Just get out the frozen summer tomatoes and run them under really hot water. The skin peels right off in your hand. Then into the pot they go. They are way better then anything that you can get out of a can and remember- You grew them! So go ahead and feel accomplished! Sometimes, the little things make the day a little brighter!

(I admit these were hard to take pictures of! Usually I take all my pictures outside and when I took these frozen guys out in our 90 something degree heat they instantly got a little frosty. They don't look like this in the freezer, but I guess it does get the frozen point across.)

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Slow Roasted Tomatoes and Herbs for Freezer Sauce

Tomato salvation #2. This is one of my all time favorite ways to save or "put up" (as they say down south) tomatoes. And this one involves those prolific cherry or grape tomatoes that seem to pop up overnight. I have literally been picking 2-3 quarts of these per day but maybe that is my fault. See... I have this theory that if I make my garden just "a tad bit bigger" every year..... I have to mow less grass!! Yes, I know. What reasoning! But I think in the past 3 years, at this one house, I have cut out mowing maybe 3 extra feet on the one end of the garden. Wow!  Every inch counts for me when it comes to mowing grass. I hate mowing! In case you didn't notice, it just comes back..... And in the South Carolina heat, that just means another day dripping sweat at 7 am before the real scorching temps set in. So instead of mowing that extra little space, I prefer to can, freeze and preserve these little jewels. They are worth the sweat to plant, nurture and pick because I get to enjoy them all year!!

My backyard better watch out .... in 10 more years I won't have to mow grass.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Pickled Cherry Tomatoes

As we all know, it is tomato time of the year!!! Despite the oppressive heat here in South Carolina, this has been a great year for some awesome tomatoes. I am sure that I am not the only one that is feeling a little overwhelmed by their garden goodness. For those of you that garden and stand with me in your love for all thing tomato, I am planning on posting a little tomato series here. Some of these recipes will help you save a lot of those tomatoes for the cold winter months when you are dying for that taste of summer sweetness. Other recipes will allow you to enjoy the tomatoes right now when they are at their juiciest and most abundant. However you want to look at it, this is the month of the tomato and your chance to savour every bite. In just a few months, we will all be wishing for the day in spring when we can plant again and anticipate what mother nature will give us.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Crockpot Madras Lentils

As of today, I am not longer a partner in my chiropractic office. It has been a hard transition. Since I was in middle school, I wanted to be a chiropractor with her own office. In 2004, with a partner who was also my husband, I achieved that dream. It was not a small task for two people with no real experience. We had the backing of a local bank that believed in us and family support, but other than that we were very much Newbies! It was a grand endeavor and something that I am still proud to say I was part of.  At the beginning of any adventure, there is a lot of adrenaline and excitement. This and the great people of Greenville made us a success in business for many years. The problem was that there was no relationship in my marriage except business. No personal life. Work was 24 hours per day. This was felt very deeply in 2008-2011, when health care began to change, the housing market collapsed and banks suffered. Our business was affected. All of this work stress was brought home every day and it crushed the last inkling of any kind of personal life that was left. Despite my best efforts to stop this pattern, it worsened. It was taking everything out of me as a person, a chiropractor and a wife.

In 2011, I finally made a change. In 2013, I divorced my partner and put into works the ability to leave the practice that in the past years had caused me so much pain. February 27, 2015 was my last day seeing patients. Today, at a meeting, I officially signed over my shares of my business and resigned as corporate president. It was bittersweet.  In these past 2 months, I have felt at peace with my decision and have even looked forward to my last day. Today, signing those papers took a huge weight off my shoulders. I am happy! For the first time in probably 5 years, I am happy!

So where does that leave me? That is still up in the air. I will always be a chiropractor and I am currently an instructor at local universities. But overall, right now, I am celebrating my decision and strength. I am taking some time to nurture ME! I know that can not last forever and I don't want it to. I will be back in some large way soon. I am not sure what capacity that will be or in what city, but I know that I have learned a lot and will use all my experiences to take the next big step.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

White Lasagna with Sausage, Spinach and Portabello Mushrooms

Look at me! Baking and blogging up a storm these past few weeks. Am I just overly ambitious? Hmm... I wish!  I am BORED!  I have been iced or snowed in my house for 3 days in the past week with more days off probably tomorrow and possibly Friday! I don't sit still well.(It is how I was raised.) I can not watch any more Netflix or worse than that, daytime TV.  Dr. Oz and Steve Hardy make me want to jump off the bridge downtown.... if only I could get there!

So, instead of causing bodily harm, I have been spending my time reading blogs and recipes and pulling out a lot of the cookbooks that I have stashed away and making things that are on my wish list. That list is actually so long that I could probably have a whole year of snow days and still not complete everything on it!

This has been my new South Carolina "snow life!" Waking up, showering, putting on fresh Pjs, scouring books and webpages and then getting busy in the kitchen. Usually, at some point in this process, some wine or craft beer might come into the mix. My biggest fear is if this weather doesn't clear up and I continue to churn out these rich, comfort food recipes, the only clothes I will be able to wear is Pjs or elastic pants. Ugh.... Praying for no more snow!!!

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