Friday, July 29, 2011

For Now

I know this blog is about food and recipes but today I had a personal turing point in my life and I began to ponder a lot of things. What am I doing with my life, am I where I want to be in my personal and professional life. I have always said I am blessed to have a wonderful supportive family but some things you and you alone are responsible for. So I pondered a bit more, asked some questions to myself that maybe I really didnt want the answers to.

So humor me as I talk out loud.

“For Now”

Two words I dislike intensely. To me it means I have given in, lost the fight, and settled for less than what I really wanted.

We all know what happens when we say this is fine “for now”; let me fix it this way “for now”; I’ll stay in this job “for now”. It becomes a holding pattern, a shelving of ideas, dreams.

How long is “for now” anyway? Once we settle in, get comfortable, how long does it take before we forget to change the “for now” into what we really want as “forever”. When is it ok to leave it and just wish it were something more than it is?

I am as guilty as the rest when it comes to “for now”. I have a lot of those in my life. I don’t like it but I am not doing much to change it either. I forget to step out of my comfort zone and just begin to change.

“For now” is a band-aid; a temporary fix, a blanket for things we are not ready to take a closer look at. Like dishes in the sink, those extra 10 pounds – we know it’s there but if we ignore it long enough it will go away, hopefully.

So what if today, right now we stop with the “for now” and make everything “forever” like we wanted it in the first place? Do not sell out –sell short because we believe “some is better than none” another phrase I despise (we can cover that another time). Let’s work toward a goal. Set it and achieve it. Do not stop short be cause others think it silly, and unattainable, because it’s too hard, taking too long. Patience my friend “Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Everything is achievable if you want it bad enough. You have to work at it, for it, earn it with all your passion and strength. They say that 99% of failure could have been avoided if we just pushed on. We were so close to success but missed it because we gave in to “for now” too soon.

As we look around at other success stories with jealousy wishing and thinking if only that were me. Those who succeed, fulfill their dreams are no better or smarter than us. What makes them different from us is the fact that they didn’t settle for “for now”. All they see is the finish line in clear view. No matter how many times they were knocked down, told NO do it this way “for now” they never gave up. Like the energizer bunny they just kept going and going…….. Always keeping their eyes on the prize.

So who’s with me? Let’s make a concerted effort to turn one “for now” into one “forever”. Little by little it will become second nature not to settle for that quick fix, the band aid, and the phrase “for now” will be wiped out of our vocabulary. Once we do that we will come to expect and always get the “forever”.

Until tomorrow eat well, live well

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Finding Inspiration

There are so many cooking contests out there in the culinary world, and I love to enter as many as I can. Hovwever there are times I am just at a loss as to where to begin in creating that winning dish.

I begin by thinking of all the foods I love and there are plenty. I always go with what I know and try to stay true to my cooking roots. Beginning is the hardest part so I try to break it down in sections.

What is the theme of the contest.

Keeping my recipe simple (if there are too many ingredients or steps no one will want to make it)

Make sure my ingreditents are available to a wide audience (I come from New York where you can get anything) but maybe someone in a smaller area doesnt have the selection I do

Using as many fresh ingredients as possible, keeping it healthy and flavorful.

A woman I admire (Paula Todora) and a Friend through a cooking community RWoP gave me some ideas on where to find inspiration and I wanted to share some of them with you.

Use your five senses.
The SMELL of food can conjure up an idea for a recipe

Overripe bananas can lead to a wonderful Banana Muffin, Banana Bread, Banana Pudding

Using a favorite dish or platter can help you create that perfect presentation

Browse the aisles in the grocery store or farmers market to see what looks good today

Take an already favorite recipe and deconstruct it, then put it back together to give it a completly new spin.

My head aches sometimes with all the ideas in my head. I always keep a pad and pen with me to jot down those ideas . Some of my better creations have come from mixing and matching flavors I never thought would go together.

Inspiration can come from everywhere all you have to do is keep your eyes and mind open.

I'm off to the kitchen to get cooking. who knows that next dish I create may just be a winner

Until tomorrow eat well live well

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Party Perfect Appetizer

Season 2 for the Real Women of Philadelphia contest has begun. Each week is a different theme. Create an original recipe within the theme and the only real rule is that it MUST contain at least 4 oz. of cream cheese.

$500.00 will be awarded to the best recipe that captures that theme; and secure a spot in the Season 2 RWoP cookbook.

This contest runs for eight weeks with a total of 40 winning recipes. This weeks theme, "Party Perfect Appetizers". You must include a short description of what inspired this appetizer and a photo. You may submit multiple recipes and your only limit is your imagination. Hundreds of recipes are flowing in. There are some really talented women (and men) out there. The photo presentations are beautiful and I am excited to try most if not all of these appetizers at my next gathering.

Here is my submission and I am quite happy with it as it's one of my favorite meals. Caprese Salad simple yet flavorful and satisfying; but taken to the next level. Hope you are inspired to try it.

Perfect Caprese Bites with Cream Cheese Basil Pesto Dipping Sauce.

6 oz Philadelphia Brand Cream Cheese

2 plum tomatoes seeded and diced

1/4 cup fresh basil chopped

1/2 lb fresh mozzarella diced

salt- pepper-& garlic powder to taste

20 wonton wrappers

7 oz store bought pesto (or your own home made)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Mix 4 oz cream cheese with the pesto set aside.

Line wonton wrappers in mini muffin cups.

In a bowl combine tomatoes, mozzarella,and basil. Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder.

Evenly divide caprese salad mixture among wonton cups. Top each with the remaining 2 oz of cream cheese.

Bake for 10-12 min; until cheeses are melted and bubbly.

Remove from the oven and top each caprese bite with some cream cheese basil pesto.

Serve immediaetly with more basil pesto on the side for extra dipping.

Until tomorrow Eat well, Live well

Remove from the oven and finish with a teaspoon
// 10