Ok, so I am a little burnt out – not from cooking {even though I do it every single day}, but from writing about it. There’s only so much you can write about a Pot Roast or a cookie before getting a little dry of words. So, in lieu of my boredom, I have decided to write about someone who inspires me as a chef. Her name is Nigella Lawson, and I have only heard about her since just before this time last year.

Lawson is a beautiful woman, and I bought her cook books as soon as I could get my hands on them. Her recipes are so stimulating – I know that’s a strange word for a recipe, but just watch her show and you’ll understand what I’m talking about {she has been coined as the “Queen of Food Porn” – not in a dirty way}. She is, in all literal terms, addicting. As someone who struggles with self-worth and body image, I find Nigella alluring because she provokes those who are stick thin by her pride of being a curvaceous, gorgeous and intelligent woman who enjoys food beyond all comprehension.

Thumbing through one of her cook books the other day, I found that she has no recipe that is of the ordinary. In fact, being a “Stay At Home Mom & Chef,” and thinking I know all about food, I discovered probably hundreds of recipes that I had never heard of before – shows how much I really know! Innovating and enticing, I plan on making particular recipes as soon as I can. They call out my name:

Crostini Del Mar {Made with: baguette, garlic, olive oil, parsley, mussels, clams and vermouth}

Hapiness Soup {Made with: yellow squash, lemon, olive oil, turmeric, chick. stock, basmati rice and s&p}

Linguine with Mussels {Made with: mussels, linguine, olive oil, garlic, long red chillies, sherry and parsley}

Raw Beet, Dill, and Mustard Seed Salad {Made with: dill, raw beets, lemon, olive oil, mustard seeds and parsley}

Red Mullet with Sweet and Sour Shredded Salad {Made with: red mullet OR red snapper, Thai fish sauce, lemon, sugar, peanuts, green papaya, carrots, scallions and long red chillis}

Black & Blue Beef {Made with: beef rump, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, sesame oil, sugar, pepper and scallions}

Grilled Quail {Made with: quail, soy sauce, sesame oil, hoisin sauce, rice vinegar, ginger, garlic and orange}

Caponata {Made with: eggplant, s&p, olive oil, onion, plum tomatoes, sugar, white wine vinegar, bittersweet chocolate, salted capers, green olives and a hard boiled egg}

Figs for A Thousand and One Nights {Made with: figs, unsalted butter, cinnamon, vanilla sugar, rosewater, orange-flower water, mascarpone cheese and pistachios}

View her program, and trust me – you’ll be hooked, also.


Rustic Poptarts

My children love poptarts – and I hate that. They have nearly NO vitamins {which children NEED, especially with all those germs in schools}, 9 grams of fat and 13 grams of sugar {which they definitely don’t need}. All this for just ONE cardboard-like and flavorless pastry {if you can even call it that – aren’t pastries supposed to be soft and flaky?} – you don’t even get the whole package. So, I started brainstorming and researching until I could make something healthy and delicious for my kids, because their health is so important for their growing 4 & 6 year old little bodies.

I hope that I can instill a sense of healthy eating for them at a young age, and by making these poptarts, I’m proving that home-made not only makes you stronger, but also tastes better {which is all the convincing a child needs}. They should be aware of what they are putting into their bodies and why – why it is either good or bad for them, and then when the time comes for them to make their own lifestyle choices, they have all the knowledge they need to produce healthy habits.

What you’ll need:

2 Cups of Whole Wheat or Brown Rice Flour

1 TBS of Truvia {or the equivalent of your choice of natural sugar substitute}

1 TSP of Salt

1 Cup of Fat Free I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter {or other healthy butter alternative}, cut into little squares

2 Large Eggs

2 TBS of Milk

3/4 Cup of Sugar-Free Preserves of your choice (I used Strawberry)

1 TBS of Cornstarch

1 TBS of Water

Mix together the flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl, then add the butter, working it in with your hands {I don’t have a food processor… maybe someday. Hint, hint}. Work until the mixture has small lumps of butter and sticks together when pressed. Add milk and one egg until everything is viscid, then do a quick knead, divide in two parts, and pop in the fridge for 20 minutes, with a towel over the bowl.

When dough is slightly cold, but still pliable, roll it out {you can try making it into rectangles, but I found ovals or circles were much easier} until it is about 1-8 to 1/4 inch thick. Use either a circular/oval cookie cutter, knife, or pizza cutter {whichever tool you find useful} to cut into poptart-size rounds – about 3X5. It is important to make sure you have an even number – this is why we divided the dough in half {8 for each half}.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Quickly mix water with cornstarch in a separate bowl, and in a small saucepan, heat the jam and cornstarch mixture until it starts to boil. Simmer while stirring for about 3 minutes, or until your concoction thickens. Remove the saucepan from heat, and let it cool.

Beat the left over egg, and brush {about 1/4 inch thick} around the diameter of the first set of pastry rounds {this is our glue to hold the other side on}. Place a tablespoon of jam in the middle of the round. Take the other half {or the second set of pastry} and place on top. Cinch around the outside edges with a fork, pressing firmly so no jam escapes while baking. Brush egg over the entire pastry top. Repeat with the rest of the pastry rounds.

On a parchment lined baking sheet, lay the confections, separated by at least an inch between each. With a fork, make several tiny holes on the top of the pastries to let air escape.

Refrigerate again until your tarts are cold.

Bake for about 18-22 minutes {until lightly golden}. Makes about 8 treats.

And now, you have yourself an easy and enchanting “Mock”-Tart!

Here’s the stats:

Amount Per Serving
  Calories 158.9
  Total Fat 1.8 g
  Saturated Fat 0.5 g
  Polyunsaturated Fat 0.3 g
  Monounsaturated Fat 0.6 g
  Cholesterol 46.4 mg
  Sodium 492.5 mg
  Potassium 30.4 mg
  Total Carbohydrate 34.3 g
  Dietary Fiber 3.7 g
  Sugars 0.4 g
  Protein 5.8 g
  Vitamin A 21.8 %
  Vitamin B-12 2.5 %
  Vitamin B-6 1.2 %
  Vitamin C 0.1 %
  Vitamin D 3.3 %
  Vitamin E 0.0 %
  Calcium 1.5 %

I get my valuable nutrition info from