Make Your Own Tahini! (The Genius of Duane Kirkwood!)


If you could see me right now, you would see my hand shooting up and waving enthusiastically.  I LOVE HUMMUS!  So delicious.  So guilt free.  So surprising!  Ugh!  Just so wonderful!

My dad just happens to be the hummus master.  He has been to Israel probably 5 times or more, experienced the cuisine, and never been the same.  For years he has been trying to perfect the art…and I do believe he has mastered it!  Me, on the other hand, have always wanted to follow in his footsteps…but my attempts have always been foiled.  Why?  Well…whenever I think to make it, we tend to be at the end of the month with little funds, so when I go to grab Tahini, one of the main ingredients…I would cringe and put it back because of the price.  Hummus would have to wait until “next month.”


Cause my dad is a genius.  And makes his own Tahini.  To make his own hummus.  To eat on gyros.  That he made.  On his own.  MAN!

Wanna know how?!  So you can make your own Tahini.  To make your own hummus.  To eat on gyros.  Or with pita.  or bread. Or veggies.  Or crackers…..?!?!

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 Cup Roasted Sesame Seeds
  • 1/4 C Olive Oil +
  • Kosher salt to taste

And here’s how you do it:

  1. Put sesame seeds in a blender, make sure they reach the blades.
  2. Start by adding 1/4 C Olive Oil and blending until smooth.  If needed, drizzle in more olive oil until it reaches a deliciously creamy texture.
  3. Salt to taste.

IT’S THAT EASY!!!  Now you have your base for hummus….  Don’t know how to make hummus?!  Watch my blog closely, and I will soon let you know!  Because my dad visited me.  And made hummus 😀

See?  You just put it in the blender and blend with enough olive oil to make it creamy!

Tahini 1


Adjust as needed with olive oil, just like the pops here!!  Isn’t he amazing?!  🙂Tahini

Isn’t it pretty?!Tahini 2

Salami Swiss Stuffed Chicken with Creamy Garlic Mushroom Sauce


If that name itself doesn’t entice you, then I don’t think you are human.  Or at least, you don’t have taste buds.  Or a heart.  One of the two.  Hehe, just kidding.

I just have to say one thing.  My dad is the bomb.
See, he came all the way from Washington to spend a week with me in New York!  We had all these fun options of things to do with him, but you know what he wanted to do the most?  Just be with his daughter and son in law, living life how they do.  Experiencing their day to day.  Sweet.  😉  Yes, I know I am getting mushy, but…you should be thankful, because it was his above mentioned attitude and desire that birthed this monster of a recipe.  He knows how much I love my food blog, and that it brings me joy to create beautiful meals…so he decided that together, we had to create a fabulous idea from scratch.  So we put our brains together, and this bad boy came into existence.

I tell you what.  You won’t want to miss it!  I don’t usually do mushrooms.  I was shoving this sauce into my mouth as fast as I could!  And the stuffed chicken was just such a fun combo!  Man!!!  You should try it!  Maybe make it with a family member and spread the love!  We had lots of fun dreaming it up, so we hope you can share in that!

So, here’s what you need:

  • 6 Chicken Breasts
  • 6 Slices Quality Deli Salami
  • 6 Slices Swiss Cheese
  • 4 Tbsp Butter
  • 1 Package Mushrooms, Sliced (or chopped into bits.  Ours started sliced and ended chopped, haha!)
  • 6 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 C Half and Half  (We were splurging for celebration!  If you want to keep in lines of my usual, slightly healtier habits…use almond milk and increase the amount of flour…use a good quality, healthier flour)
  • 1 Tbsp Flour
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Pinch of Oregano


And here’s how you do it:

  1. Slice your Swiss Cheese and remove 6 slices of salami from the bag (if you have extra, that is.  You are going to be touching raw chicken, so you don’t want to grab one piece at a time and contaminate the rest!  That’s good sammich meat there!)
  2. Carefully split your chicken lengthwise, but not all the way.  Butterfly!  If this is your first time butterflying a chicken breast, you can see my pictures below for help…and please be careful!
  3. Place a slice of salami and swiss on one half of each breast, folding as necessary so you don’t have a lot hanging over.  Flop the chicken breast closed.
  4. Cook your chicken in a method you choose…baking or grilling would work great!  We grilled ours in foil packets and it worked pretty well!  You just have to be careful not to leave it on too long so it doesn’t dry out 🙂
  5. Now start your sauce!!  Slice your mushrooms and mince the garlic!
  6. Melt the butter in a pan.
  7. Add mushrooms.  Cook a few minutes, until beginning to soften.
  8. Add garlic and cook for an additional minute or so, until you get a wonderful garlic smell!
  9. Add the rest of the ingredients, mix in, and simmer until thickened.
  10. Spoon over cooked chicken, and devour!



With pictures!!:Salami Swiss Stuffed Chicken with Mushroom Sauce 4Slice your Swiss Cheese and remove 6 slices of salami from the bag (if you have extra, that is.  You are going to be touching raw chicken, so you don’t want to grab one piece at a time and contaminate the rest!  That’s good sammich meat there!)

Salami Swiss Stuffed Chicken with Mushroom Sauce


Place chicken breast flat on your cutting board.  Put your palm flat  on top of the breast, and line the knife up lengthwise about halfway down.  Slowly and carefully begin slicing toward the other end, but do not cut all the way through.

Salami Swiss Stuffed Chicken with Mushroom Sauce 2



Salami Swiss Stuffed Chicken with Mushroom Sauce 3


Here it is, butterflied.  Open it up and lay it flat.

Salami Swiss Stuffed CHicken with Mushroom Sauce 5


Place one slice of salami and swiss on top of one half of the breast.  Take the other half and close it back up.  Now cook it up how you wish…baking or grilling!  Meanwhile….

Salami Swiss Stuffed Chicken with Mushroom Sauce 6


Start your sauce!  Slice up your mushrooms.

Salami Swiss Stuffed Chicken with Mushroom Sauce 7


Melt the butter in a cast iron skillet….is it weird that just that is appetizing to me?  Haha!

Salami Swiss Stuffed Chicken with Mushroom Sauce 8


Add your mushrooms and begin to saute, and chop up if you want smaller pieces.  We went this route! 🙂

Salami Swiss Stuffed Chicken with Mushroom Sauce 9


Let cook a few minutes, until mushrooms begin to soften.

Salami Swiss Stuffed Chicken with Mushroom Sauce 10


Add your garlic and stir in.  Cook for about 30 seconds to a minute longer.  You should be smelling a heavenly garlic smell right about now.

Salami Swiss Stuffed Chicken with Mushroom Sauce 11


Now add the rest of the ingredients and stir in.  Let simmer until it thickens to a wonderful creamy goodness.

Salami Swiss Stuffed Chicken with Mushroom Sauce 14


Now place the chicken on a plate and drench in a big spoonful of sauce!

Salami Swiss stuffed Chicken with Mushroom Sauce 15


How good does that look?!  Let me tell you….it is FANTASTIC!!

Here’s to you daddy, and a beautifully created meal!

Chef of Honor: Hannah Hayner with Kale Quinoa Feta Salad

Ohhhhhh man!  Earlier this summer Mr. Rodgers and I went to a barbecue crammed with good friends, good times (our life was forever changed by being introduced to Kan Jam!), and, of course….plenty of food temptation!   To make matters better (and worse!), it was held at our friend’s house who is a baking genius…oh man.  I was trying so hard to be good, but it was difficult with all the cakes and dips and the like.  But then I discovered this, made by one of my favorites, Miss Hannah Hayner.  WOW!  Just wow.  I no longer felt like I was missing out.  It had so much flavor, was so incredibly satisfying.  To put it simply, it rocked my world, haha!!  And so I escaped the post-bbq sick feeling, and was so satisfied!  Since then I have made this salad for Mr. Rodgers and I multiple.  It never lasts long.  It turns my husband into a human vacuum.  It’s so good.  You’ve got to try.  This lady is a flippin genius.  🙂   So, here’s what you need:

  • 10 leaves kale, cleaned and chopped into bite size pieces (or grab a bag of the pre washed, pre cut stuff and use a few good handfuls, enough to almost fill a large bowl.)
  • 1C uncooked quinoa
  • 2 C water
  • 3 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 lg Garlic Clove, minced
  • 1 tsp black pepper (freshly cracked, reduce amount if using small grain stuff)
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1/2-1 C Sunflower Seeds
  • 1 C Raisins or Craisins (She usually uses craisins, I stick with raisins because there is no sweetener added to them :))
  • 3/4 C Feta

Are your taste buds wailing yet?!  😉   And here’s how you do it:

  1. Start your quinoa cooking.  Bring the water to a boil, then stir in your dry quinoa.  Bring it back to a boil, put the lid on and turn it down to a simmer.  Let cook about 12 minutes, so that you can no longer see any moisture.  Remove from heat and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes.  Remove lid and let cool (if you are patient like that.)  We usually decide that we are starving and don’t care if our kale wilts a little by having hot quinoa dumped on top, haha!
  2. Whisk together your dressing ingredients!  AKA Olive Oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper.  Pour over kale and toss.
  3. Add sunflower seeds, raisins or craisins, feta. and quinoa.  Toss again and serve!  You won’t regret it!  SO much flavor, but still so fresh and “good-feeling.”


Kale Quinoa Salad 1

Make sure your quinoa is going.  Get your kale cleaned, cut, and in a bowl.  Whisk together the dressing ingredients, dump over the kale, and toss.

Kale Quinoa Salad 2

And the rest of the ingredients,

Kale Quinoa Salad 3Toss…

Kale Quinoa Salad 4

And enjoy along with a good healthy meal!  Thank you, Hannah, for introducing us to such a wonderful recipe!!!

Sweet Red Onion Marmalade and Garlic Butter (Steak Additions)


Onion marmalade?!  Who has ever heard of that?!  I sure hadn’t until I was browsing Pinterest and saw a picture of one.  I am ALWAYS on the lookout for fantastic new sauces to take a typical mid-week meal’s protein to the next level.  Every day to extraordinary!  This marmalade did not disappoint!  In fact…we loved it so much that we made it again a few days later, haha!

Now garlic butter isn’t new or unheard of…but smeared around on a hot steak, then topped with this marmalade…it simply can’t be beat!  So I wanted to inform you of the great potential it has in this dish.  😉

I’m sure you are intrigued, so let’s get down to business.

Adapted from

So, here’s what you need:

  • Steaks of choice!  Something good for grilling!

Onion Marmalade:

  • 2 Tbsp Butter (Or Coconut Oil)
  • 3 Red Oinons, sliced
  • 1/4 C Agave
  • 4 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 1/3 C Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1/4 C Water
  • 1 Tbsp Thyme Leaves
  • Pinch of Red Pepper Flakes (A little heat is fantastic in this, do it to taste)
  • Kosher Salt

Garlic Butter:

  • 1 Stick Butter
  • 5 Garlic Cloves, or a tsp or more of garlic powder
  • Pinch of Red Pepper Flakes


And here’s how you do it:

  1. Start your onion marmalade almost an hour before you are ready to serve.
  2. Heat your butter or coconut oil over medium heat.  Add in your onions and agave and cook for 35-45 minutes, so you have beautiful caramelized onions.
  3. Add the rest of the marmalade ingredients.  Cook until the marmalade is thickened nicely, at the consistency you desire.  Should take just a few minutes.
  4. Now…,for the garlic butter.  You can do this two ways.  The fancy, original way which is definitely the more “foodie” way.  Put it all in a pan and melt it and cook it just for a minute or so, then remove from the heat and let it sit so the flavors can fuse.  Or…if you are starving like I was and are just done waiting…put the butter in a microwave safe dish, melt it in the microwave and whisk in the garlic powder and pepper flakes.  (You could use fresh garlic too, just microwave it with the butter.)
  5. Now you know how to do the rest.  Grill your meat and baste it often with the garlic butter.  Top with your fantastically delicious, sweet, kinda spicy, all delightful marmalade!!  Yeaaaah!



Slice your onions and toss in a pot over medium heat with your oil and agave!  Cook for 35-45 minutes until caramelized!

Onion Marmalade 1


Add the rest of the ingredients and cook for a few more minutes, until thickened.  Yummy!  What a pretty color!Onion Marmalade 2


Now serve atop a garlic-butter-basted steak fresh from the grill!!  Heavennnnn!

Onion Marmalade 3


This is our little back porch picnic party, just me and my love, Mr. Rodgers!!

Onion Marmalade 5YUMMYYYYYY!


Summer Veggie Salad With a Crunch!

I really loved this for many reasons!  First, because it is a diced salad, which I have never made before!!  All the little uniform cubes of veggies were so cute and colorful, and made it easy to eat!  Secondly, it’s just stinking delicious!!  Refreshing, simple, and quite Mediterranean feeling!  But lastly…and mostly…because this lovely little (actually, not so little, it makes a huge bowl of salad) salad comes with a SAVORY granola!  Say whaaat?!  Why yes.  I had never heard of savory granola, nor ever comprehended the idea.  But it was so delightful!!  The perfect crunch!  The dressing on the salad is extremely simple, so the granola adds layers of flavor and a hint of sophistication.

Those are all the reasons I love this salad!  Let me tell you how to make it so you can discover all the reasons you will too!  🙂

This was ever so slightly adapted from one of my favorite books you may have heard me mention before, Deliciously Healthy Vegetables!  I encourage all of you to look it up and give it a try!  Click here to check it out!

So, here’s what you need:


  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil (Or Coconut Oil if you don’t like heating olive oil)
  • 1 C Old Fashioned Oats
  • 1/4 C Pumpkin Seeds (Make sure they are out of the shells.  I may have missed that little detail, but it was still fun!)
  • 1/4 C Slivered Almonds
  • 1/4 Sunflower Seeds
  • 2 Tbsp Sesame Seeds
  • 1 Tbsp Herbes de Provence
  • 1/2 tsp salt


  • 3 Medium Tomatoes, Diced (I’m not a huge fan of tomatoes so I decreased the amount…feel free to tweak!)
  • 4 Medium Cucumbers, Diced
  • 1 Orange Bell Pepper, Diced
  • 1 Yellow Bell Pepper, Diced
  • 1 Red Onion, Diced
  • 1/3 C Parsley, Chopped


  • 4 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 3 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • Salt and Pepper

And here’s how you do it!  It’s kind of fun!

  1. Heat your pan over medium-low and add your oil.  I used my wonderful new big cast iron skillet!!  Toss in your oats and stir around for a minute or so.  Add the rest of the ingredients in your “granola” list and continue cooking for about 4 minutes or so, until it looks good and smells good!  It should get a bit of a golden color.  🙂  Granola, check!
  2. Dice your veggies!!
  3. Put them all together in a large bowl…
  4. Whisk together your dressing and pour over your veggies, then toss.
  5. Sprinkle with granola and eat!  (We let each person put the granola on top of their own bowl of salad, so they could choose how much they wanted!)

Now eat!!  Let me show you my pictures, I am excited for you to see how colorful and pretty it is!

Gather your ingredients!!  I love beautiful summer veggies!!

Cucumber Salad with Savory Granola 4

Cucumber Salad with Savory Granola 2

Start your granola!  Heat your oil over medium low heat and toss in the oatmeal.  Cook for a minute or so.

Cucumber Salad with Savory Granola 1

Add the rest of your granola ingredients.  Stir and cook for 3-4 minutes more.

Cucumber Salad with Savory Granola 3

Now prep your veggies!!!  Dice dice dice dice!!  Oh!!  Guess what?!  I was so excited when I made this, becaaaause….I have been watching Food Network, and am always so amazed when they go to cut their bell peppers…and suddenly wabam!  They are whipping them around and doing something fancy, and end up with perfect little uniform pieces!  Well.  For this salad…I did it!!  For the first time!!  Wanna see?!

First, you slice a small amount off both ends.  Then you slice into it along it’s length, and run your knife along the flesh so that all the ribbing and seeds come off.  Lookie!!  How cool is that?!

Cucumber Salad with Savory Granola 5

Now you can julienne it!  Which makes it super easy to dice it into perfect little squares!

Cucumber Salad with Savory Granola 6

Finish dicing the rest of your veggies and toss them all in a large bowl.Cucumber Salad with Savory Granola 7

Add your dressing ingredients and toss…

Cucumber Salad with Savory Granola 9

Yummy!  Then, sprinkle some granola on top and eat it!  Unfortunately, because of the rush I was in, I ended up not getting a photo with the granola on top.  But you can take my word for it.  It completes the dish absolutely!  🙂

Cucumber Salad with Savory Granola 8

So perfect for summer, I tell ya!!!

Cucumber Salad with Savory Granola 10

Grilled Stuffed Avocados (Summer Grillin’!)


That just happened.  You may have noticed that I am on an avocado kick.  I don’t think that will change any time soon.  I love them.  They’re healthy.  They’re tasty.  They’re 5 for $5 at PriceChopper.  😀  And this was such a fun way to mix it up at lunch time!  Plus, this meal made my husband really happy, and making him happy makes me so happy!  Was that sentence confusing enough for you?  Haha.  Are you ready for this?!  I don’t know if you are.  Well, either way…we’re doing this!!!

I have to credit my inspiration to my former boss and forever friend Aly Hennessy…I reported for duty early one morning, and she had made me scrambled eggs and grilled avocado for breakfast.  Yeah.  You all wish she was your boss, don’t ya?!  I could not believe how great the avocado was with a little char and the big flakes of sea salt…mmmm!!  So you can thank her for this experiment-turned-success!

Tuna fish sandwiches will never be the same.  And are now so much healthier!


So, here’s what you need:

  • 2 Avocados, Sliced in half and pitted
  • 1 Can tuna
  • 2 Boiled eggs, roughly chopped
  • 2 Tbsp Mayo
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 3 Tbsp Carrot, finely chopped
  • 3 Tbsp Celery, finely chopped
  • 3 Tbsp Red Onion, finely chopped
  • 1 Clove Garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp capers
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Mrs. Dash to taste


And here’s how you do it:

  1. Start your eggs boiling.
  2. Prep all your veggies and toss in a medium bowl.
  3. Open your can of tuna, drain, and add to veggies.
  4. Peel your eggs and chop, and add to the bowl.
  5. Add your mayo and olive oil, capers, salt, pepper, and Mrs. Dash and mix it all together!  You have your stuffin’s!
  6. Heat your grill over medium.  Rub the avocado halves with a small amount of oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and throw on your grill for 2-5 minutes.  You don’t want it to get mushy, you just want to get some char…you know how I love grill lines!!  The added flavor is so fantastic, it really makes the dish.
  7. Remove avocados carefully, and stuff generously with your tuna filling!!  Eat, be satisfied, and love your life!!! 🙂


Grilled Stuffed Avocados 1


Prep your veggies…

Grilled Stuffed Avocados 2Put in a bowl with a can of tuna and two chopped boiled eggs.

Grilled Stuffed Avocados 3


Add all the other ingredients, minus the avocados, and mixed till well combined.

Grilled Stuffed Avocados 4


Rub your avocado halves with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Grilled Stuffed Avocados 5Place on a grill at about medium heat.  Cook just long enough to get a touch of char, 2-5 minutes.

Grilled Stuffed Avocados 6


See?  🙂

Grilled Stuffed Avocados 7Now stuff them generously with your tuna egg salad!!!  YUM!!

Grilled Stuffed Avocados 8


Enjoy!!!!  Yaaaaaay!