Colorful Cole Slaw

Cooking is about details, and to me, details mean side dishes. We often overlook side dishes to our glorious, attention-grabbing main dishes and entrees. However, a corned beef sandwich sometimes really needs a fried pickle next to it or a little bowl of creamy cole slaw! This side dish is not only easy to make and beautiful to look at, but it’s tasty and family friendly too! The tanginess of the vinegar mixed with the creaminess of the sour cream and mayonnaise is blissful.

A good cole slaw can be used in so many ways – in a sandwich, mixed into cold leftover pasta for a pasta salad, as a a filling in grilled or fried fish tacos, and so much more. Would love to hear your favorite ways to serve cole slaw!

PS – Thanksgiving is around the corner. Here is another great idea to add to your spread!

Enjoy! πŸ™‚

Yields: 8 servings
1/2 head green cabbage, shredded
1/2 head red cabbage, shredded
2 large carrots, finely shredded
3/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sour cream
4 tablespoons grated white onion
2 tablespoons sugar, or to taste
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
Kosher salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, onion, sugar, vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl.

Mix both types of shredded cabbage in a large mixing bowl. Add your dressing to the cabbage mix and combine well. Taste for seasoning, and adjust salt, pepper, and/or sugar seasoning to your desired taste.

Chill in the refrigerator and enjoy! Can be made up to 1 day ahead.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Why waste the beautiful seeds that come out of our Halloween pumpkins every year? Create a delicious, healthy snack out of pumpkin seeds! Only 4 ingredients and an oven needed! πŸ™‚

Enjoy! πŸ™‚

2 cups raw whole pumpkin seeds, cleaned and dried
2 teaspoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder


Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C).

Toss seeds in a bowl with the melted butter, garlic salt, and cayenne powder (or chili powder). Spread the seeds in a single layer on parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake for about 1 hour 15 minutes, or until golden brown; stir occasionally during the roasting process for even browning.

Serve hot and sprinkle Kosher salt on top, as desired. You can also sprinkle a little sugar on top for a sweet-savory flavor when they are still warm!

Classic Banana Bread

It’s amazing what some ripe bananas will make someone like me do πŸ™‚ At our startup’s office (InsideVault), bananas are everyone’s favorite fruit to consume and thus I oblige by keeping the stock of bananas as plentiful as possible. Sometimes I can’t keep up with how quickly bananas disappear! But other times, no matter how hard I try to predict banana-eating behavior around me, I inevitably find myself staring at anywhere from 4-6 perfectly ripened (and unwanted) bananas from time to time.

And thus was born my classic banana bread recipe below – it’s easy, simple, and puts to use food that would otherwise go to waste. And if you know me, you know I hate wasting good food (and I hope many of you agree with me!). Everyone who I have shared this bread with has enjoyed it very much and I hope you do too! πŸ™‚

PS – remember not to use rotten bananas, only ripe and very ripe! πŸ™‚ A good rule of thumb is to use bananas you would eat, perhaps not at your favorite moment in it’s life, but one you would nonetheless still eat if you had to πŸ™‚

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup white, granulated sugar
1/3 cup butter, softened
2 large eggs
2-2.5 cups mashed ripe banana (about 4-5 bananas)
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cooking spray


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl – stir with a whisk or fork and set aside.

Place sugar and butter in a large bowl, and beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (approximately 1-2 minutes). Add the eggs one at a time, incorporating them well into the butter and sugar mixture. Now add the mashed banana, yogurt, and vanilla; beat until blended.

Add flour mixture and beat at low speed just until moist. Use a spatula if needed to ensure that none of the flour mixture is left dry and unmixed.

Spoon batter into an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan (other pans work too, as long as they are non-stick) coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees F for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean (this depends on your oven strength, so start testing after the 40 minute mark).

Cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.

If desired, sprinkle powdered sugar on top of bread once cooled and serve sliced.

French-Style Goat Cheese & Mushroom Baguette

This is a fabulous, vegetarian party appetizer where you hardly miss the meat! The wholesome mushrooms cooked in the sherry and fresh parsley and garlic is a delicious, French way of cooking these mushrooms. Coupled with cheese and baguette, you are truly eating like a Parisian!

If you are not a big fan of the tanginess of goat cheese, feel free to substitute with brie cheese (also a lovely combination!) for a more mellow taste, or even thinly sliced swiss cheese.

Enjoy! πŸ™‚


2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound large cremini or button mushrooms, trimmed and sliced through the stem end
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/3 cup sherry (preferably dry sherry, but regular cooking sherry works)
1 teaspoon paprika (ideally use hot smoked Spanish paprika)
4 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
zest of 1 lemon
KosherSalt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Goat cheese, to taste
16 slices baguette (can be sourdough, whole-grain, etc.)


In a large saute pan, melt the butter with olive oil over medium-high heat, until frothing (but not smoking!). Add the mushrooms and cook while stirring frequently, until just cooked through and beginning to brown (approximately 3-5 minutes).

Now add the garlic and cook for 1 minute longer, or until fragrant. Add the sherry, paprika, parsley, and lemon zest, and stir for 30 seconds, or until most of the liquid is absorbed into the mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper. Note: Do a taste taste after you think it is done, and add more salt and pepper as desired.. Set aside.

Spread goat cheese on each slice of baguette and spoon about a tablespoon of the mushroom mixture on top of each slice.

Note: Another way to serve this is to lay out the baguette slices, goat cheese log, and bowl of mushroom mixture and allow your guests to assemble their own slices as they want (I prefer this method since many of my friends do not enjoy cheese, so they can omit that and still enjoy a mushroom baguette!). Whereas, if it was me assembling my own slice of baguette, I would lather on the goat cheese! πŸ˜‰

Enjoy πŸ™‚

Pair it: with a great glass of Chardonnay!

Basil & Goat Cheese Filled Cherry Tomatoes

I served these recently at a tapas party and they were a hit! Feel free to use red or yellow cherry tomatoes, both taste and look beautiful! This is a great, no-cook recipe that is sure to be a crowd pleaser. If I would give one piece of advice for this recipe, do not skip the FRESH basil (i.e. dry basil is not a good substitute!).

If you are familiar with piping, feel free to fill the cheese mixture into a piping bag with a pretty styling tip, and pipe the mixture into the cherry tomatoes for a more fancy look!

Enjoy! πŸ™‚


1/2 cup goat cheese
1/4 cup minced fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon salt (be careful to not over-salt the cheese mixture since goat cheese is already tangy!)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
24 cherry tomatoes

Variation: Add grilled corn to the cheese mixture for an added sweet crunch! πŸ™‚


Combine the cheese, basil, salt and pepper in a bowl with a fork, until well-incorporated. Taste test the cheese mixture and adjust seasoning as desired.

Cut the top off each cherry tomato and using a small knife and spoon (or clean hands!) carefully cut and scoop out the pulp to make a hollow, yet sturdy, shell. Note: Drain off any juice that may be in the tomato shells.

Using a small spoon (or your clean hands!), fill each tomato shell with the cheese mixture.

Arrange beautifully in a platter and serve! Can be refrigerated a few hours ahead.

Baked Vegetable Quinoa Cakes

I had these quinoa cakes at my friend’s house recently when she cooked dinner for us and boy did I fall in love with these. Many of you already know I am a HUGE fan of any rice-substitute (think: cous cous, quinoa, wheat berries, etc), so perhaps in the beginning I was a little biased in loving these little cakes of heaven.

However, I quickly learned that this dish is actually an all-rounder and appealing to carnivores and vegetarians alike! My friend graciously gave me her recipe and below is my adaptation of it. The main changes I made were to add pine nuts, use almond butter instead of tahini, and use yam instead of sweet potato. I also omitted sun-dried tomatoes and spinach out of the recipe not because I didn’t like them in the dish, but because I wanted to simplify it a bit (feel free to add these ingredients when you try it out – absolutely delish!). Also, the recipe calls for regular quinoa, but you can also experiment with red quinoa if you’d like! πŸ™‚

Thank you A for this recipe, and I hope you all get to share this healthy and delicious recipe with your loved ones like I did.


Yields: Approximately 12-14 quinoa cakes (depending on size of your cakes)


1 large egg
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons almond butter
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa (per package directions)
1/2 cup finely grated sweet potato or yam (but they are not the same thing!)
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup finely diced onion
1/8 cup chopped fresh parsley
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon salt

Preheat oven to 400Β°F. Line your baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray to prevent the cakes from sticking.

In a big bowl, combine egg, flour, almond butter and vinegar in bowl until well incorporated.

Stir in remaining ingredients (yam, pine nuts, feta, onion, parsley, garlic, salt, pepper) then mash together until mixture is firm enough to shape into cakes.

(Note: If you find the mixture to be too sticky, feel free to add a little more all-purpose flour or even breadcrumbs to help the mixture become more pliable).

Shape mixture into 1/4-cup patties with wet hands and place on parchment paper-lined baking sheet about 1 inch apart from each other (these will not expand much, so you don’t need to leave too much room between them).

Bake on prepared baking sheet 20-25 minutes on the middle/upper rack, turning once, or until cakes are browned.

These are most delicious when served fresh out of the oven and HOT! Accompany with either a homeemade pesto dipping sauce or even a cucumber-mint raita!

Note: Although you shouldn’t expect leftovers since these are THAT scrumptious, feel free to treat these like falafel and make tomorrow’s lunch by stuffing these into a whole-wheat pita or using it as the filling for a delicious vegetarian sandwich! πŸ™‚

Curried Chicken Tea Sandwich with Toasted Coconut & Almonds

This recipe is a new one in my repertoire and I put it together for a recent event I was hosting at my husband’s office. The food theme was ‘tapas’ and this fit the bill! I only had a few hours to put together a spread of tapas, and this was probably the easiest one for me to put together! The biggest reason is because this is pretty much a no-cook recipe – assembly only!

I bought a rotisserie chicken from the market, and after that it was all assembly! πŸ™‚ I decided to do sandwich triangles, but I also like the thin, rectangular presentation for tea sandwiches (classic is always lovely!). If you are worried about the sandwiches coming apart, feel free to put a toothpick through each sandwich.

Even though this is great as a ‘tea’ sandwich, this sandwich is perfect for a quick lunch sandwich to switch things up a little.

If you don’t want the sweeter taste that comes from the marmalade and coconut, omit them and add white onions and avocado cubes to the chicken mixture (although, try it once – you might be surprised how much you like it!).

Enjoy πŸ™‚

Yields: 24-36 tea sandwiches or 12 entreΓ©-size sandwiches

1/2 cup flaked coconut
1/2 cup chopped or slivered almonds
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons orange-ginger marmalade (or you can use orange marmalade if orange-ginger is unavailable)
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 cups diced cooked chicken (I take meat off of a fresh rotisserie chicken from the supermarket)
12 slices of bread of your choice, crusts trimmed (pumpernickel adds a great taste variance, but I usually have buttermilk on hand and enjoy that)
3 tablespoons diced green onions


Bake coconut and almonds in a shallow baking pan at 350Β°, stirring occasionally, 5 to 10 minutes or until toasted. (Note: if you want them to bake separately in case there are leftovers afterward, use different pans, otherwise to save time, I just put them in the same baking pan).

Stir together cream cheese and next 4 ingredients in a bowl; gently stir in chicken with a spatula until all ingredients are well-incorporated. This chicken salad filling can be made ahead and can be refrigerated for up to 4 days.

Spread evenly on bread slices and top with toasted coconut, toasted almond, and green onion, as desired. Cut each slice into 2-3 strips (optional) for tea sandwiches, or you can leave whole for an entreΓ© portion.