Smoky Vegetarian Chili


This Hygge inspired chili recipe comes from the recent Issue of Our Green Plate.  This is a vegan friendly vegetarian soup perfect for watching the snow melt outside.

serves 6 to 8


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 red bell peppers, diced (or any other color bell pepper)
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 ribs celery chopped
  • 6 cups cooked black, kidney, and/or pinto beans, washed and drained (4 small cans. I used equal parts kidney and black beans).
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 3 large carrots chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 minced chipotle peppers minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup lentils rinsed
  • 1.5 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 3 15 ounces cans diced tomatoes and juice
  • 3 to 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)



  1. Saute peppers and onion in olive oil until softened over medium heat in a large pot (approximately 5 minutes).
  2. Add garlic; saute for 2 more minutes until fragrant.
  3. Add lentils and two cups broth, bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer until tender approximately 25 minutes
  4. Add remaining ingredients except cilantro; stir to combine. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for at least 20 minutes.
  5. Add cilantro during last five minutes of cooking. Top with hot sauce and serve over rice if you want, and enjoy!

Dutch Winter Split Pea Soup


I worked on a soup recipe for the new magazine Issue of Our Green Plate. This split pea soup is a very meaty and hearty soup. A great meal on its own. This soup is worth all the meat products you have to buy. The recipe comes from a local restaurant in Illinois.

this is the content from the magazine:

Dutch Split Pea Soup

Recipe courtesy of Chef Tony Jamin

Al’s Café & Creamery is the quintessential local gem. Located in a Victorian style building in downtown Elgin, Chef Jamin, who trained in Holland, Germany, and France, creates outstanding globally inspired Euro-American dishes.

43 DuPage Ct., 847.742.1180,


A Dutch Winter Soup served as a Main Course

(6-8 servings)

2 large onions, cubed

2 leeks, sliced thinly

1 bunch of celery, sliced thinly

4 bay leaves, 6 cloves, and 6 whole black peppercorns tied up in cheesecloth to make a spice bag

16 ounces smoked ham, cubed

2 thick bone-in pork chops

8 ounces bacon, cubed


3 cups dried green split peas

1 smoked sausage, sliced

Croutons (optional)

Pumpernickel bread, buttered (optional)

Crispy bacon bits (optional)

Combine first 9 ingredients (onions through cubed bacon) in a large soup pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat and boil for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to a simmer and skim off any foam that forms on the surface. Leave uncovered and continue to simmer for 3 hours or until pork easily comes off the bone. Remove spice bag. Remove pork chops and cut meat from bone. Cube the pork chops and return to soup. Add salt to taste. Add split peas and simmer until peas are soft. This will thicken the soup. Stir frequently to avoid burning. Add sausage.

To serve traditionally, top each serving with croutons and offer sides of sliced buttered pumpernickel bread topped with crispy bacon bits.


food styling and propping: Karla Spies

Bacon Hazelnut Bark


If you know some bacon lovers, this chocolate bark is simple and yummy. A dark chocolate sweet and salty treat. I found the toasted hazelnuts at Trader Joes in their nut section.  The recipe come from the book The Practical Paleo.  Hey,  if they can do chocolate and bacon I might be in.


1 cup dark chocolate chips
1 tsp. bacon grease (or coconut oil)
1/4 cup toasted hazelnuts
4 strips cooked bacon, chopped
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
I put the chocolate chips and the coconut oil together in a bowl and microwaved it for one minute. Stirred the chocolate and then microwaved it in 30 second increments till melted.  The recipe calls for spreading the chocolate out on the parchment paper and let it cool for a minute and then spread the chopped nuts and bacon on top.
But I like mixing half of the bacon adn nuts in with the chocolate and then spread out on the parchment. sprinkle the rest of the bacon and nuts on top. And last sprinkle the sea salt on top. Let cool and break into pieces.

Homemade Aged Eggnog Recipe


I have a few staples at the holidays and eggnog is one of them. Thankfully there is no calorie counting allowed during the holidays. I made this recipe last year and have been thinking about it ever since. It is worth the effort the taste and quality is above anything you can buy in the carton. I suggest making it at least two weeks ahead of time. It is quite boozy, so the longer the nog ages the mellower the flavor of the liquor. Rumor has it the eggnog can last for a year in the frig. But no worries it will be gone before that.

“The word nog was an Old English term for ale, and a noggin was the cup from whence it was drunk.

Although most Americans think of eggnog as something they get out of a milk carton during the two-week period leading up to Christmas, eggnog descends from sack posset, a strong, thick English beverage built upon eggs, milk and either a fortified wine (like Madeira) or ale. It was a highly alcoholic beverage, often served so thick it could be scooped. It was also very much an upper-class tipple, as rich folks were usually the only ones who could procure the proper ingredients.”

  1. 12 large eggs (pasteurized if you need peace of mind)
  2. 1 pound sugar
  3. 1 pint half-n-half
  4. 1 pint whole milk
  5. 1 pint heavy cream
  6. 1 cup Jamaican rum
  7. 1 cup cognac
  8. 1 cup bourbon
  9. 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (plus more for serving)
  10. 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  1. Separate the eggs and store the whites for another purpose.
  2. Beat the yolks with the sugar and nutmeg in a large mixing bowl until the mixture lightens in color and falls off the whisk in a solid “ribbon.”
  3. Combine dairy, booze and salt in a second bowl or pitcher and then slowly beat into the egg mixture.
  4. Move to a large glass jar (or a couple of smaller ones) and store in the fridge for a minimum of 2 weeks. A month would be better, and two better still. In fact, there’s nothing that says you couldn’t age it a year, but I’ve just never been able to wait that long. (And yes, you can also drink it right away.)
  5. Serve in mugs or cups topped with a little extra nutmeg grated right on top.
Recipe by © Alton Brown, 2014

Cherry Pie

CherryPie_28505I just wanted to share this pretty cherry pie picture we had on set the other day.  The amazing stylist Karla Spies was preparing it in the studio and I had the pleasure of getting to watch her and see all the trade secrets.  First of all its really a mash potato pie with a layer of cherries on top, so I guess a savory sweet pie.  And the other tip I learned was she made her lattice pie crust on a sheet of wax paper and then put it in the freezer so she could lay the whole top on perfectly. Then let it thaw out and crimp the edges.

It was a thing of beauty, of course those stylist always make it look so easy. Perhaps this will inspire you for those thanksgiving pies that are right around the corner.

thanks Robin


Fall Harvest Dinner Menu



Harvest Salad with Pears and Pepitas

1 lb baby spinach mix blend, 2 bosc pears, 1 cup pepitas, 4 oz goat cheese

To roast pepitas, toss them in a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for 13-15 minutes in a 325°F oven

Add salad leaves to a large serving bowl. Top with sliced pears, roasted pepitas and crumbled goat cheese. Toss with a 1⁄2 cup vinaigrette and serve.


Apple cider vinaigrette
3⁄4 cup olive oil
1⁄4 cup raw apple cider vinegar

1 garlic clove

2 tablespoons raw honey
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
combine ingredients in small bowl and whisk to combine. Continue reading

Spicy & Sweet Roaster Cauliflower

auliflowerHeadcauliflowerRstdCauliflowerSo much good bounty at the farmers market, I love this time of year. I found this beautiful head of cauliflower, I had to spend some time with it taking it’s portrait.

This roasted cauliflower recipe so delicious and addictive. The flavor of the coconut oil and maple syrup really shine through.


  • 4 cups cauliflower florets
  • 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons Sriracha
  • 4 Tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Tamari
  • salt and pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. In large bowl combine all the ingredients and toss around till the cauliflower is well coated.
  3. Pour the cauliflower onto the cookie sheet, make sure the cauliflower is spread out and has lots of room to breathe.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes



Bubbly Champagne Sherbet



Take the time to celebrate any occasion, these champagne floats are sweet, bubbly and creamy. Pick your favorite sherbet flavor scoop into the glass and pour some champagne over the top and watch all the sparkly bubbly action that comes to life with your first scoop. Or you can wait for the sherbet to melt and sip.  Ice Cream and bubbly could be for breakfast or dessert.



Spicy Maple Candied Bacon

I am lucky enough to have this served to me when I visit Wild Country Maple Syrup farm.  This recipe transforms bacon into a sweet and salty candy treat with a nice thick chewy bite. Great to snack on its own or use in other recipes. I recommend a bloody Mary garnish.


  • 1 pound sliced bacon
  • ½ cup pure maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a jelly roll baking pan with foil. Spray with nonstick spray.
  2. Combine maple syrup, and cayenne pepper in a small bowl.
  3. Drizzle the maple syrup over the slices of bacon and grind Black Pepper on top and for some more spice sprinkle some red pepper flakes.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes or until the bacon is browned and crisp.
  5. Let cool on a rack for a few minutes to let them dry and stiffen up.



This is a new pizza I photographed that is in now in the grocer stores.  I thought I would share this today because I thought it was a great new product.  It has all natural ingredients with a nice flaky cornmeal crust. One of my favorites is the mushroom, I recommend adding fresh arugula to the top right out of the oven.  Give it a try.