Grilled Chicken with Heirloom Tomato Salsa

Serves 6

1/2c - olive oil
1/4c - fresh lemon juice
2T - fresh chopped basil leaves
2t - fresh garlic
1t - black pepper

8 - 4oz boneless chicken breasts
1pt - baby heirloom tomatoes, halved
1T - fresh chopped basil leaves
        sea salt

  1. Make marinade-process first 5
    ingredients in blender, divide in half
  2. Marinate chicken in 1/2 of
    marinade for 2-4 hours
  3. Mix second half marinade with
    tomatoes, 1T basil & 1t sea salt
  4. Salt chicken, grill to 170 degrees, thinly slice
  5. Top sliced chicken with salsa 

Weekly Wisdom – Food Rules Part 2

Eat foods made from ingredients you can picture in a raw state or growing in nature!

  •  Can you picture Twinkie or Pringles ingredients in their raw state or growing?
  •  …or ingredients such as beef fat, cellulose gum, dextrose, wheat starch, MSG? Likely not.
  •  This rule will keep all sorts of chemicals & “food like substances” out of your diet

Source: Michael Pollen, Food Rules

Weekly Wisdom – Food Rules Part 1

Don’t ingest foods made in places where everyone is required to wear a surgical cap!

Source: Michael Pollen, Food Rules

Got Weeds? Use Vinegar!

Weeds in your gravel path or walkway?

  • Use cheap, undiluted, store­brand white vinegar
  • Use watering can, bottle or pump sprayer to apply
  • Use vinegar instead of toxic name brands!

Caution – DO wait for a calm (not windy) day, since vinegar is not selective and will also
harm grass & ornamentals

Dinner party with world class Chef

During a recent trip to Chicago I had the dining experience of a lifetime. I was the “date” to my cousin Kellie who was invited to a personal dinner party featuring world class Chef Rene De Leon. I thought this dinner party would “merely” involve indulging in his fine cooking. Imagine my surprise when he actually put us to work, chopping vegetables and stuffing dumplings. From spring rolls to dumplings to whole fish, we assisted Chef Rene in preparing a feast of flavors. I spent most of the night in awe of this amazing chef who has cooked at acclaimed restaurants such as Next & Alinea. What an incredible night with great conversation and stellar food. 

Click here for a peek into the dinner party

The Roanoke food scene

A friend & I decided to walk around downtown Roanoke Saturday evening. I used to go downtown just about every weekend, but it’s been years since I spend any time there. There are all different types of stores-you can get high-end designer clothing, uniforms, ‘hippie’ attire (think tie dye). There are several art galleries, jewelry stores, bead shops, what-not or tshatshki stores, sweet shops & bakeries and so on-just about anything you want or need can be found in the 3-4 blocks of the downtown market-including a huge farmers market on Saturdays. In addition of the fresh produce, meats, dairy & baked goods you would expect to find, there are local artisans selling furniture, jewelry, soap, etc.

The most pleasant surprise was how many cool new restaurants there are! The newly renovated Market Building has NY style subs, Japanese food, burgers, salads, pizza, and a couple other cool kiosks. My favorite (and where my friend & I had dinner Saturday) was the Cuban place, Habana. You can access it from inside the market building as a grab & go option or you can get a table-inside or out, and be waited on.

I had a house salad with avocado vinaigrette. It wasn’t as good as I remember Carlos’ Brazilian cuisine dressing being, but still very tasty! The Cuban roast pork with black beans & rice was delicious. The pork was tender, and the rice & beans very flavorful. I will definitely go back!

Another place I’d like to try is the Lebanese restaurant on Campbell. I’ve heard their falafel is the best around. I’ve been to Alejandro’s-great Mexican! Nawab has an excellent Indian buffet. And in my opinion, Picaso pizza has the best pizza in Roanoke!

If you’re in the area-stop in to downtown & check out the scene. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed!

Lemon Pudding with Berries

Serves 6

3⁄4c - sugar
1⁄4c - cornstarch
21⁄2c - milk
3lg - egg yolks,lightly beaten
2T - finely grated lemon zest
1 - pinch salt
1⁄2c - fresh lemon juice
2T - butter, softened
1lb - fresh berries

  1. Whisk sugar & corn starch in 2-qt saucepan
  2. Gradually add milk, whisk until smooth
  3. Add egg yolks,lemon zest, salt
  4. Cook on med-high, stir until thickens & coats spoon
  5. Remove from heat,stir in lemon juice & butter
  6. Pour through fine mesh strainer into individual serving dishes
  7. Cover with plastic wrap, chill for minimum 2 hours
  8. Top with berries and mint

Healthy eating

For many the the name alone conjures up thoughts of deprivation and images of boring salads and overcooked, tasteless vegetables. I recently came upon this fantastic article about healthy eating “seasonal, fresh, whole food” which basically sums up how I feel about eating. While I admit to being a chocolate lover, I don’t think I have ever met a roasted vegetable I didn’t like. I love the author’s adjectives for describing healthy foods such as “ farm fresh, sweet, baby”, etc, etc.

Whether you are passionate about your food or just looking for a better way to “sell” healthy eating to your family, read on!

Weekly Wisdom – Food Rules… Eat only foods that have been cooked by humans

  • Let humans cook for you, not corporations
  • Corporation cooks = too much salt, fat, sugar, preservatives, coloring, etc. & aim for “immortal” food
  • Treat restaurant meals as special occasions-professional chefs (albeit human) often cook with large amounts of salt, sugar & fat

Source: Michael Pollen, Food Rules

Weekly Wisdom – The # 1 thing you can do to be healthier


  • People who cook for themselves eat healthier diets
  • 3 cooking tips: patience, presence, practice
  • Be patient while cooking & don’t rush
  • Cooking is important for your health, your family life & your sanity

Source: Michael Pollen, Food Rules