My daughter and her fiance Pete,  are majorly into cooking these days. I love hearing about all the exciting recipes they try out.   One of their really hit recipes is  the classic Spanish dish of Paella, which Pete recently made.  This Paella has a bit of everything in it and is flavorful, nourishing and looks colorful besides being really delicious.  

What you need:

* Herb Blend:

1 cup chopped fresh parsley

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 large garlic cloves, minced

* Paella:

1 cup water

1 teaspoon saffron threads

3 (16-ounce) cans fat-free, less-sodium seafood broth

8 jumbo shrimp (about 1/2 pound)

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 skinned, boned chicken thighs, cut in half

2 links Spanish chorizo sausage (about 6 1/2 ounces) or turkey kielbasa, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices

2 cups finely chopped onion

1 cup finely chopped red bell pepper

1 cup canned diced tomatoes, undrained

1 teaspoon sweet paprika

3 large garlic cloves, minced

3 cups uncooked Arborio rice or other short-grain rice

1 cup frozen green peas

8 mussels, scrubbed and de-bearded

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

How to make:

1. To prepare the herb blend, combine the first 4 ingredients, and set aside.

2. Combine water, saffron, and broth in a large saucepan. Bring to a simmer (do not boil).

Keep warm over low heat.


3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large paella pan or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; sauté 2 minutes on each side. Remove from pan. Add sausage; sauté 2 minutes. Remove from pan. Add shrimp, and sauté 2 minutes. Remove from pan.

4. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add onion and bell pepper; sauté 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Add tomatoes, paprika, and 3 garlic cloves; cook 5 minutes.


6. Add rice; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.

7. Stir in herb blend, broth mixture, chicken, sausage, and peas.

8. Bring to a low boil; cook 10 minutes, don’t stir once the broth has been added.

9. Add mussels to pan, nestling them into rice mixture. Cook 5 minutes.

10. Arrange shrimp, heads down, in rice mixture, and cook 5 minutes or until shrimp are done. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup lemon juice.


11. Remove from heat; cover with a towel, and let stand for 10 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges, if desired.  Enjoy!



Healthy & Delicious Banana Pancakes


Nothing quite hits the spot like eating pancakes for breakfast. Recently, I’ve been exercising a lot and didn’t want to undo my  hard work by indulging in my favorite breakfast food. Luckily, I found a solution to my cravings that is much healthier and just as delicious. As a bonus, it requires only a few ingredients and is extremely easy to make.


What you need:

1 banana

2 eggs

2 tsp cinnamon powder

1 tbsp honey or agave nectar

Fruit (optional)

*Note: This makes about 3 pancakes. You can double the recipe if you want to make more.

How to make:

  1. Cut your banana into slices and place them in a bowl.Use a fork to mash up the pieces as much as you can.
  2. Next, add your eggs, cinnamon and honey. Mix everything until you reach a smooth consistency. 
  3. Using either olive oil or coconut oil,  heat your saucepan on low to medium heat. 
  4. Use a ladle to place the mixture on the saucepan. Keep adding the mixture to the middle to create a bigger pancake. Flip the mixture once one side is done.
  5. Once the pancake is done, serve with fruit and drizzle with honey or maple syrup. You won’t be able to tell the difference! Enjoy 🙂

~ Ria

Reuben Sandwich

Once I tried this delicious and savory treat, I was hooked and had to learn how make it. It is surprisingly quick and easy to make, making it one of my go-to recipes. Special thanks to Pete for the recipe!



1. Rye bread
2. Sauerkraut
3. Corned beef (pastrami works great too……personal preference!!!)
4. Swiss cheese
5. Thousand island dressing (Russian dressing is the same thing)
6. Salted butter


1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.

2. Butter the outside of the bread so when you put it on the baking sheet the un buttered parts are facing the inside of the sandwich (be generous with the butter).

3. Make the sandwich in the following order; meat, sauerkraut, thousand island, Swiss cheese. Again the buttered parts should be facing outwards.

4. Put the sandwich on a baking tray and cook it in the oven for 10 minutes (do 12 minutes if you prefer extra crispy)


Pear Frangipane


Quick, mouth-watering, and easy to make – this lightweight dessert is a surefire crowd pleaser. Appropriate for any occasion, people will be impressed not just by the elegant name but also by the sumptuous taste. Be sure to give this one a try!


What you need:

2 medium to large pears

1 shot of brandy (or to taste)

3/4 cup white sugar

1 cup ground almonds

3/4 cup melted butter

3 tbsp plain flour

How to make:

1. Preheat oven to 250°C.

2. Peel and slice pears into quarters and place in a microwavable bowl.

3. Pour in shot of brandy over pears and heat in microwave for 90 seconds.

4. Whisk the sugar, almonds, butter and flour together in a small bowl.

5. Take the pears out and stir the juices left in the microwavable bowl in with the almond mixture.

6. Transfer the entire mixture into an oven-proof dish.

7. Lower the pear slices into the mixture.

8. Bake in oven for about 40 minutes or till done.

9. Remove from oven and decorate the frangipane with some fresh fruit.  I had blackberries on hand so I used those.  


Es Pokat (Indonesian Avocado Drink)


A light and refreshing afternoon snack!

Healthy and delicious, avocado is one of the most versatile fruits. In addition to using it in salads and guacamole, it also tastes great in smoothie form. My friend found this recipe (courtesy of Tastemade) and since we are both avocado lovers, we just had to try it out.

~ Ria

What you need (serves 2):

4 ripe avocados

1/3 cup water

1/3 cup sugar

2 cups of small ice cubes

Shredded chocolate as garnish

How to make: 

1. Add water and sugar to a pot, and bring to boil for about 1 minute to create a syrup.

2. Store in the fridge for about 20 minutes so it is chilled.

3. Cut out the avocados and remove the pit. 

4. In the blender, first add the ice. Then, add the avocados and the sugar syrup and blend away till the mixture is smooth.

5. Pour into glasses and garnish with chocolate shreds or chocolate syrup (optional).


Strawberry and Blueberry Crumble

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I wanted to make a healthy dessert which used seasonal fresh fruits.  With so many fresh berries(locally produced) available abundantly in the farmers market, I decided to make Strawberry and Blueberry crumble.  A delicious dessert this can be served with a side of cream to drizzle over it or with a big scoop of ice cream!

~ Ria

What you need:

1 16 oz pack of strawberries

2 6 oz pack of blueberries

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup rolled oats

2/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted cold butter, cut into 1/4-in pieces

How to make:

1.  Wash, hull and quarter the strawberries.  Mix the blueberries and strawberries together.

2.  Preheat your oven to 350˚F and set aside a 7 x 11-in baking dish.

3.  Using a food-processor, mix the flour, oats, sugar, cinnamon and salt, and pulse to combine.

4.  Add the butter and pulse until the butter is evenly dispersed.  

5.  Remove from food processor into a plate and roll the mixture between your fingers to form crumble.

6.  Put the berries at the bottom of your pan and spread the crumbs evenly on top.

7.  Bake for 35-40 minutes until the topping is golden brown and the berries bubble thickly.

8.  Let cool for 10-15 minutes and serve with a drizzle of heavy cream or a scoop of ice cream.

Quinoa with Spinach and Feta


Tasty and healthy way to enjoy Quinoa

Quinoa is versatile, healthy, delicious, and easy to make…what more can anyone ask for?!? One of my favorite recipes is quinoa tossed with crumbled feta, spinach,cherry tomatoes and you guessed it…avocados! Mom and I made this tasty treat in less than half an hour (and devoured it in half that time).

~ Ria

What you need:

1 tbsp olive oil

1/4 cup chopped onion

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 cup uncooked quinoa

2 cups chicken stock

1 avocado, cut into bite size pieces

1/2 cup cherry tomatoes

1/2 cup chopped spinach

1/3 cup crumbled feta

How to make:

1. Warm oil on a saucepan over medium heat. Saute garlic and onion until onion is translucent (3-4 minutes).

2. Add quinoa, stirring constantly for 3 minutes.

3. Add the chicken stock, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

4. Remove the pan from the heat and let it sit for about 5 minutes.

5. Serve fluffed and tossed with avocado, tomatoes, spinach and feta.