My kind of sushi!



Recently, on Pinterest, I came across this new fad called “Lazy Sushi”!  Basically it is deconstructed sushi.  No need to suran wrap a bamboo mat, or get out any sushi tools at all!  That is my kind of sushi. 🙂

I decided to do a smoked salmon roll without all that cream cheese involved and also for those who do not like raw fish, this sushi option is COOKED!  I pickled some cucumbers,carrots, and green onions and sliced up some avocadoes, because we love avocado on just about everything.  I toasted some Nori sheets (basically dried seaweed) and crumbled that up to put on top of the rice.

It turned out awesome!  All you have to do is mold the rice into a log on a plate and start piling all the other stuff on.

Only hard part of this dish is making sushi rice.  You need to make sure you rinse the rice until it runs completely clear and then let it soak in what you are going to boil it in, for about 30 minutes.  Then you basically cover it once it comes to a boil for 20 minutes on low and then let it sit for 5 minutes off the heat.  There is a mixture that gets mixed into the rice as well, but that’s the easy part 🙂  Hope y’all enjoy the recipe as much as Matt and I did!


1 cup Sushi Rice
1 1/2 cup Water
1/4 cup Rice Wine Vinegar
1/2 tsp Sugar
Pinch of Salt

1 English Cucumber
1/2 cup shredded Carrots (usually can buy already shredded)
1 Green Onion
4 tbsp White Wine Vinegar
Small Pinch of Sugar
Pinch of Salt
Pinch of Pepper
Couple dashes of Spicy Toasted Sesame Oil (If you can only fine regular toasted sesame oil, just add some hot pepper flakes)

1 Avocado
2-3 Nori Sheets (Sold in the international isle of grocery stores)
3-4 oz Smoked Salmon


Sushi Rice:
In a medium sized bowl add the cup of sushi rice. Add enough water to the rice to rinse it well with your hands and then drain the water as best you can and repeat until the water turns clear. This is about 10 – 15 times.
In a saucepan, add the rinsed rice, that has been drained completely, and then add the 1 1/2 cups of water to it and let that soak for 20-30 minutes.
Bring the rice to a boil, and then stir around the rice and cove. Turn the rice down to low and let simmer for 20 minutes. Then take the rice off the heat and let stand for 5 minutes.
In a separate bowl, add the rice vinegar, 1/2 tsp sugar and pinch of salt. Place in the microwave for 30 seconds to dissolve the sugar and salt. Stir the mixture and set it aside.
In a large bowl, add the rice and slowly a little bit of the rice wine mixture and mix in well to the rice by folding it in. Continue adding the rice wine mixture until it is completely gone, or until you get the taste you desire.

While the rice is cooking seed the cucumber and slice it up into small sticks.
Dice up the green onion as well and add all those ingredients including the shredded carrots into a small plastic bag, or bowl.
In a separate bowl, add the white wine vinegar, salt, pepper, sugar, and sesame oil. Microwave ingredients really quickly to dissolve the sugar and salt. Cool slightly and then add it to the bag with the veggies. Place in the fridge while the rice finishes cooking.
In an oven at 400 degrees, quickly toast the Nori Sheets. These sheets only need about 30 seconds in the oven. So make sure you watch them really close to make sure they do not burn. Once the sheet starts to crinkle it is toasted and you should remove the sheet and set aside. Once all your sheets are toasted you can crumble them up into small pieces and set aside.
Cut up the Smoked Salmon into small chunks an set aside.

On a plate, spoon out some sushi rice and then mold it out into a long rectangular log. You can put a little bit of water on your finger tips to help the rice not be so sticky 🙂
Then take the crumbled Nori pieces and sprinkle them onto the rice.
Quickly slice up the avocado (doing this now so that the avocado didn’t turn brown) Try to make the avocado slice thin so they lie nicely.
Add the pickled veggies to the top of the avocado.
Then top it off with the Smoked Salmon.

If you are a big pickled ginger fan make sure to pick up some of that as well as Tamari sauce, which is GLUTEN FREE SOY SAUCE. It tastes the same and it is actually made out of soy instead of the US Soy Sauce that is made out of wheat. I really hope you guys give this recipe a try. It might not be the easiest recipe I’ve posted, but it definitely gets my sushi fix in 🙂


-Nathalie 🙂

Inspiration —

Leas Cooking – Lazy Sushi

Moms Dish



Bacon Wrapped Pork Roast with Napa Cabbage Salad


My husband has some staples of his mom’s cooking that he likes me to try to make every now and then, especially around Thanksgiving.  This past weekend, he asked if I could make her napa cabbage salad and I was totally on board.  It is one of my favorite dishes that she makes. It has bacon grease and chucks of crispy bacon in it…..sounds awesome right!  I also love vinegar in foods and the dressing for this salad is a sweet vinegar one.   So what do you make to go along with that salad…more BACON!  I had a pork roast in the freezer so I thought maybe it would be delicious if it was rubbed with spices and covered in bacon. Hope you decide to give it a try 😉


Bacon Wrapped Pork Roast

  • Difficulty: easy
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2-4 lb Pork Roast
6-8 pieces of Bacon
-1/2 tsp salt
-1 tsp garlic powder
-1 tsp onion powder
-1/2 tsp pepper
-1/4 tsp ground ginger
-1/4 tsp cayenne
-1/4 tsp cumin
-3-4 TBSP brown sugar (depending on how sweet you want the rub)


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2. Cover a baking sheet with tin foil and set aside.
3. In a bowl,put all the rub spices together and mix well
4. Rub 3/4 of the rub mixture into the pork roast.
5. Take the bacon and cover the pork with them from one end to the other and flip the ends of the bacon under the pork.
6. Rub the rest of the rub into the bacon on top of the pork.
7. Place the roast in the oven and cook for 1 hour then check temperature. The pork needs to reach 145 degrees to be done. If it needs to go back in just check it every 10 minutes until it reaches 145.
8. At 145, take it out and cover with tin foil to rest for 10 minutes.

Napa Cabbage Salad by Lisa


1 Head of Napa Cabbage
5-6 slices of bacon
1/3 cup white vinegar
2 TBSP white sugar
salt and pepper to taste
2/3 cup water
3-4 TBSP bacon grease (you can add more or less depending on your taste)


1. Julienne the head of napa cabbage. Rinse and dry it and place aside.
2. In a frying pan, add the bacon and cook until crispy and then set aside on a paper towel. Reserve some of the bacon grease to add to the dressing.
3. In a sauce pan, add vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper, water, and bacon grease and bring to a light boil.
4. Pour the mixture over the napa cabbage and toss to combine.
5. Cut up the crispy bacon into small chunks and then add the the salad and toss.


Spanish Rice with Seared Chicken


The weather today in Louisiana was supposed to be something crazy that has not happened in like 3 years.  There were supposed to be widespread tornado outbreaks, baseball size hail, and gusts of wind up to 80 miles an hour.  They showed a map of our area the last time a weather event like this happened, and it showed like 30 tornadoes, and reported hail with every other one.  Needless to say, I was freaking out.  The first time I moved here I was witness to a storm that produced a tornado right down the road from me. I spent 40 minutes in a bathtub with my 8 month old and two barking shelties that could not help but pee themselves on the bathroom floor from fright.  I thought about peeing myself too.  The house was shaking, it sounded like a train was going down the street, and all I kept thinking was, “Why did I leave North Carolina?”  So when the weatherman was calling for an even worse day then that, you can bet I was doing anything and everything to keep myself entertained….i.e. I created a recipe and went to town cooking.  In the end, the storm was over and thankfully Baton Rouge was pretty much missed.

So here is the recipe that helped me get through that storm and thankfully it turned out great!  Nothing better then having the weather not get as bad as you thought, and you end it all with a great meal to calm your nerves.

Gluten Free friends, remember when you purchase rice to make sure you are checking the labels.  Most of them will state in the ingredients portion of the label whether the rice has been made in an environment that is gluten free, or is possible to have been contaminated because it was produced in a factory that also produces wheat products on the same machine.  Not everyone will be affected by this, but most people with Celiac’s disease will.  So be really careful what brand you buy.  Again, a lot of the time the store brand or off brand will not be gluten free.  They usually cut costs for their products by stream lining and they do not care to have two sets of equipment for their products so that there is no cross contamination.  There are exceptions, but the best way to be sure is to check online quickly or read the back of the label.  Lastly, remember to always avoid flavored rice mixes like rice pilaf, Uncle Ben’s seasoned rice, Knorr rice sides, etc.  All these rice options have gluten agents in them that act as a thickener or a flavor enhancer.

Some common rice brands that are gluten free include:

Mahatma Rice – click Mahatma Rice and check their rice chart to see if your selected rice is gluten free

Lundberg Rice – Just check the outside of the package and it will clearly label if the Rice is gluten free.

Minute Rice – click Minute Rice and check and see if your selected item is gluten free

I hope these suggestions and sites help.  Also, with this recipe you need to be careful of the canned tomatoes with chili’s that you buy.  Not all are gluten free again.  I used Red Gold tomatoes with chili’s and they are gluten free.  On there website below in the frequently asked questions section they state:

Red Gold Tomato Products

Q.  Are Red Gold Products gluten-free?

A.  Yes, all of our Red Gold tomato products are GLUTEN FREE!

So you can rest easy and enjoy cooking up this totally gluten free dish 🙂  Let me know what you think!!

Spanish Rice and Seared Chicken


2-3 Chicken Breasts
1 1/2 cups Jasmine Rice
2 1/2 cups Chicken Broth
1 Onion finely chopped
2-3 Cloves of Garlic minced
1/2 Red Pepper diced
1 14.5 oz can Diced Tomatoes with Green Chilis (Red Gold Brand)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2-3 TBSP Olive Oil
1 Bay leaf
Garlic Powder
Onion Powder
Green Olives

1. Place a shallow saute pan with cover on medium heat. Add olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan.
2. Take your chicken breasts and lightly salt them as well as lightly sprinkle garlic powder and onion powder on them on both sides.
3. Add the chicken to the hot oil, make sure to use a splatter screen to protect yourself from the oil. The chicken needs to brown on both sides. About 5 minutes per side.
4. Remove the chicken and set aside
5. Lower the heat on the pan, and add the diced onion and bell pepper to the pan. Let that cook for a little bit and add a little bit of olive oil if needed. You will also need to scrape the pan a little bit to get all the good chicken bits into the veggies. Cook the veggies for 5 minutes.
6. Add the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes and then add the rice and mix to combine. Let the rice cook for a couple minutes and then add the 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Mix to combine well.
7. Add canned tomatoes with chili’s and the broth and stir. Add the bay leaf and then bring the mixture to a boil. Once the mixture comes to a boil stir one last time to make sure the rice is not sticking to the bottom of the pan and then cover and turn the mixture to low.
8. Let the rice mixture cook for 20 to 25 minutes or until the rice is no longer crunchy and water is absorbed. Half way through the timing for the rice, pick up the lid and stir the rice once quickly and then add the chicken breast back to the pan to finish cooking for the last 10 minutes.
9. Once the liquid is absorbed and the chicken is done it is time to plate. I garnish the meal with a couple of green olives with pimentos inside and chopped up cilantro. Hope you like it!!




I LOVE me some Polenta!!


Today was again a bit of a challenge for me as a mother.  My daughter has become very attached to goldfish and animal crackers (cookies) the last couple of weeks, since that was the only stuff we could get her to eat when she was really sick recently.  Well, she is all better now, and has turned into the worse eater ever.  Every meal she says, “cookie?” or “goldfish?” and then starts to cry incessantly.  I decided to strike back today, after experiencing a birthday party this past weekend where my kid was basically the only one eating just goldfish and icing.

This morning, I started her day off with a cheese omelette, a sliced up banana, and avocado pieces.  For snack time I offered her sliced apples, and at lunch, I served her the rest of the banana from this morning and chunks of hamburger with sweet tomato sauce.  She ate only the banana I gave her in the AM, and said, “no” to everything else.  So she went down for her nap with an empty belly pretty much and I was a wreck.  However, when she woke up she was starving!  I made her a grilled cheese sandwich and strawberries and she ate ALL OF IT!!!!  It was a miracle!  She never eats grilled cheese sandwiches!!

It is the smalls things for us moms, right? Haha.  Just getting our kids to eat will make our days.  As for the meal I planned for tonight, I cannot believe that I had enough energy to make it.  Polenta takes some time to cook and is super delicate sometimes.  When you try out this meal make sure to slowly add the polenta to the boiling water and whisk the whole time.  You will also need to continue to stir the polenta throughout the cooking process so that none of it sticks to the bottom of the pan. You do not want the polenta to stick or be lumpy, that is just no good.  After the polenta cooks for 30 minutes on low, you can add the cheese, extra salt to desired taste, garlic powder, and onion powder.

You can serve the polenta by spooning it in to dishes like grits, or you can pour it all into a greased pan and form it.  If you want to do this you’ll need to let it sit for 10 minutes and solidify and cool just a bit.  Turn the pan over onto a plate or cutting board and you can cut the polenta into shapes or stripes, whatever you want!  Also, if you do not like goat cheese, you can add just about any cheese you would like that melts well.  Some people really like cheddar cheese.  Sharp cheddar also has a great strong flavor that can stand up against the corn flavor of the corn meal.

I decided to serve the dish with a salad of tomatoes and avocados tossed in a simple vinaigrette.  I thought it would add a little bit of lightness to the dish.

Also, this meal is, as always, gluten free.  I used almond flour and tapioca starch to bread the shrimp and if you want to make it paleo you can change the polenta out for cauliflower rice, or puree, and cook your shrimp in avocado oil, or olive oil 🙂  Gluten free people: you want to be careful what polenta you buy.  Bob’s Red Mill sells a Gluten Free Corn Grits, but they also sell a polenta grits mix, and even though the main ingredient in their polenta is corn, that packet is not gluten free.  Bob’s Red Mill is only gluten free if it is in big writing on the front of the packet.  When I first started out on the gluten free diet I thought I was safe to buy anything from the Bob’s Red Mill line, but I soon learned that they do not produce all their products in an environment that is free from gluten contaminants.  Basically, you just need to check to make sure the polenta you buy really is gluten free 🙂

Also, spices are not all gluten free. You usually need to buy a name brand spice because the store brands usually have a gluten agent in there that helps either keep the spice from clumping or kind of dilutes your spice. I know it is horrible. Also, do not forget that if you buy spices that are a “spice blend” sometimes those products, even with name brand options, contain gluten to keep the spices from clumping or for other reasons I cannot understand. So always check your spices to make sure they are gluten free. I usually do a quick online search and someone somewhere has called that company to find out 🙂

Let me know if you try this recipe out and what you think!!

Shrimp with Goat Cheese Polenta

  • Difficulty: medium
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For Polenta:
2 cups polenta
6 cups water
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder (more to taste if you want)
1/2 tsp onion powder (more to taste if you want)
4 oz goat cheese
2 TBSP butter

For Shrimp:
3/4 – 1 lb shrimp cleaned and de-shelled and de-veined
1/4 cup almond flour
1/4 cup tapioca starch
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp cayenne (add more as desired)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
Canola oil, olive oil, or avocado oil

1. Bring 6 cups of water to a boil with 1 tsp salt.
2. Once boiling, slowly add the polenta while whisking the water constantly. This is to keep the polenta from getting lumpy.
3. Turn the burner down to low and let the mixture cook for 30 minutes. You will need to stir the polenta with a wooden spoon every 2-3 minutes so that it does not stick to the bottom of the pan.
4. Once the 30 minutes is up you can add the garlic powder, onion powder, butter, goat cheese, and any additional salt you desire. Make sure to taste the grits at this stage to make sure they are seasoned to your liking.
5. Pour the mixture into a dish that has been greased to cool and set. Once it is set you can cut it up to serve. This usually takes 10 minutes
6. In a cast iron pan, at enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan and let it heat up on medium heat.
7. In a bowl, add the almond flour, tapioca starch, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, salt, pepper, and paprika and whisk to combine well.
8. Add the shrimp to the mixture and toss to coat the shrimp.
10. Once oil is hot, add the shrimp and cook on each side for about 2 minutes or cooked to your desired doneness.
11. Have a plate with a paper towel set up beside the cast iron and remove the shrimp onto that plate to get rid of any excess oil.
12. Plate this with the salad below

Avocado and Tomato Salad with Simple Vinaigrette


1-2 avocados
2 Roma Tomatoes
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp pepper
3-4 TBSP olive oil
2-3 TBSP Red Wine Vinegar


1. In a mixing bowl, add the olive oil, vinegar, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and salt and whisk vigorously.
2. Dice the avocados and tomatoes and add them directly to the mixing bowl and toss well to coat. Make sure to get the avocados coated well otherwise they will brown fast. The vinegar stops them from browning.
3. Plate with above recipe 🙂 Enjoy!



When you’re in a pinch…

Today was a little crazy for us.  Wait, let me rephrase that, every day is always a little crazy, but today was a little extra, if you know what I mean.  Apparently, I over planned…haha.  I do that sometimes.  I cannot help myself!  Once the weekend arrives, I am beyond excited. My husband is home, and I have some helping hands with Emma, and I just want to get out and do things and see people.  Being a stay at home mom is great, but the four walls are real and they can close up on you fast if you do not get out and enjoy, even if it makes for a crazy day!

So how does that play into our foodie plans?  Easy, I got home late, tired, and needed something fast.  Thankfully, I have a great husband who loves my food.  He immediately said, “Sweetie can you make that avocado toast with eggs?”.  Yes!  This is one of the easiest meals, and fastest meals you can make.  I always have avocados on hand.  I buy them in bulk and I use them daily, whether for lunch with tuna salad, or one of my favorites, sliced tomatoes with sliced avocados and sharp cheddar cheese.

The open faced sandwich my husband is referring to is well known to avocado lovers.  You just need to mash up a couple of ripe avocados, slice some ripe roma tomatoes, and mix the avocados with a couple tablespoons of lime juice and salt, pepper, and garlic powder as desired.  All that is topped with a creamy, perfectly cooked poached egg.  The yolks are runny and the whites are done.  Just the way I like it!

This is a great opportunity to let you know the gluten free bread that I love and use often.  It took me forever to find a bread that not only did not have an after taste, but also had the texture and chew that you typically feel never happens with gluten free options.  I use Schar Bread.  I am so thankful for that line, and it has really helped me enjoy bread again.  I live in Louisiana, but it is not like I found this brand in a specialty store.  I discovered it at Walmart!  They also have a online site that you can order or search for locations near you where they sell their products.  I used to always have to toast gluten free bread to make it taste any where close to normal bread and have the same texture.  This is the first time I have been able to buy a loaf of bread and make a “soft” sandwich and not feel like I am eating something that is too dense, or that leaves a horrible after taste.  I hope you will try it.  I am so glad I did.

Places where you can find Schar Bread:


Schar Bread Site

Amazon Grocery

Recipe for this easy and quick meal is below:

Quick Avocado, Tomato and Poached Egg Sandwich

  • Difficulty: medium
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3-4 TBSP White Vinegar and 1 Tsp Salt

2 Avocados

2-3 TBSP Lime Juice

1/2 Tsp Salt/Pepper

Sprinkle Garlic Powder

1 Roma Tomato (thinly sliced)

4 Eggs

4 slices of gluten free bread (I prefer Schar Brand)

Sprinkle Paprika (Garnish)


  1. Toast the bread.
  2. In a 2 quart saute pan, pour enough water to reach an inch to an inch and a half in the pan.  Bring the water to a boil and then turn it back down to where it barely bubbles, but it is still steaming.  Add the vinegar and 1 tsp salt and stir.
  3. I usually only add two eggs at a time.  When you add them add them slowly to the hot water.  Set the timer for 4 to 5 minutes.  Set aside a dish that has a paper towel on it.  Once the eggs are to your desired firmness, use a slotted spoon to remove the eggs and put them on the paper towel to dry.
  4. While they are drying quickly spoon out the avocados and mash them.  Add the salt, pepper, garlic powder and lime juice and mix well.
  5. Slice the tomatoes
  6. Top the toasted bread with the avocado mixture and then the sliced tomatoes.
  7. Carefully place the poached egg on top of the sandwich and top with Paprika.
  8. Enjoy!!!

I really hope you enjoy this quick meal and let me know what you think!!!!!





Stuffed Cabbage Rolls with Sweet Potato Bake

Last night, we had a play date dinner with our neighbor and her son.  I wanted to make something that the adults would enjoy, as well as, the kids.  Correction, that my friends son would eat because Emma is in the “Yea right…I am not eating that” phase.  She will completely reject hamburgers, hot dogs, or even mac and cheese, but if you put play dough or tiny rocks in front of her…you’ll have a salt dough filled stomach and a trip to the hospital.  I do not understand her.  Needless to say, I am very much looking forward to this phase ending.

Either way, I chose to make stuffed cabbage rolls.  They are slightly sweet and you can always take off the cabbage on the outside and then it is bascially meatballs in a sweet tomato sauce.  I thought it would be a winner with her son and I was right!  At first, he was a little cautious, but in the end he ate the cabbage and meat and I was elated.  There is nothing better then watching a toddler (or anyone) eat your food and enjoy it.  It is the little things that mean the most and his “mmmmm’s” and “yum’s” were the perfect way to end a day full of cooking.

This was my second time making stuffed cabbage rolls and the first time I made them I was not so happy with the results.  This time they turned out great.  I used a recipe by Parsley Sage Sweet and when this women means sweet she means sweet.  I used half the amount of sugar called for in the tomato sauce and I definitely could have used half of that half, but it still was delicious and I definitely believe the sweetness was essential to my success with the kids.  But do not forget that if you like a more savory dish definitely use 1/4 of what she calls for in sugar for the tomato sauce.

Also, when you are at the “boiling cabbage” part, make sure you remove the core before you start and I mean all the core.  The leaves do not come off easy as it is and if you leave on any bit of the core, it makes it even more difficult.  Also, keep the water boiling and the ice bath ready.  You will have to remove and ice leaves and then reboil the cabbage head again to get more leaves to come off.  This process took me like 30 minutes.  Hopefully you have a little more luck then I did.

Also, this recipe is gluten free but definitely not Paleo.  Be sure when you purchase your canned tomato sauce that you buy a brand that is gluten free.  I use Hunts because they state that their tomato sauce, paste, and canned tomatoes are gluten free, but their pasta sauces are not.  So be careful.  If you are a person that has Celiacs, I would always double check if you are worried by calling the number on the can to check and see.

Well I hope you will give this recipe a try and let me know how it worked out.  Be careful on the sweetness.  I will probably do this recipe again, but make it my own way so that it is a little more savory and has a little more herb flavor in the meat.  ENJOY!!!


Below is the Sweet Potato Bake recipe of mine.  You’ll need a mandolin.  Slice them as thin as you’d like.  I do my 1/8 of an inch.  They then get tossed in a mixture of butter, olive oil, garlic powder, brown sugar, salt and pepper.  They bake, covered, in the oven at 350 degrees for 45 mins to 1 hour and then they need to go back in for 15 minutes at 450 degrees just until the tops start to brown up.

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls by Parsley Sage Sweet

Cabbage Rolls
  • 1 large head green cabbage, about 2 to 2¼ pounds
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 eggs (not necessary, you can leave them out, but they do make the meat fluffier)
  • 1 medium onion, grated or minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ cup raw long-grain white rice *
Tomato Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons butter or vegetable oil
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (medium dice)
  • 2 15-ounce cans tomato sauce or one 32-ounce can whole tomatoes, pulsed in a food processor with juice until pureed.
  • juice of one lemon or 2 tablespoons (or more to taste) apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ to ¾ cup light brown sugar (Depending on amount of sweetness you prefer. Start with ¼ cup and taste sauce, adding if you like it sweeter. If you prefer it completely savory, add only 1 tablespoon brown sugar and the juice from half a lemon)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ cup golden raisins (optional)
  • Chopped parsley, for garnish
  1. Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a rolling boil. When the water comes to a boil, fill a large bowl with ice water. Cut out as much of the core as you can from the bottom of the cabbage, then drop the whole, cored head into the boiling water for 3 to 4 minutes. Once the leaves separate and are pliable, immediately remove and drop the blanched leaves that separated (keep the pot of water boiling) in the ice water. Once cooled down, remove and pat the leaves dry. Repeat with any leaves still attached to the head and not pliable, until you’ve gotten all the leaves off the head, and they are all soft and pliable.
    Alternatively, If you’ve got time on your hands, you can freeze the wrapped head of cabbage for two days then defrost. When defrosted, the leaves will peel off easily and be soft enough to roll.
    Here’s some other ideas from readers, although I have yet to try them so I cannot confirm that they work. 1. Place the cabbage in the microwave for 6 minutes. The core will slip right out and the leaves will be perfect for rolling. 2. Throw the whole, uncored head of cabbage into the boiling water. The leaves won’t separate on their owm, but should be easy to peel off.
  2. Set aside about 16 of the largest leaves (these will be your cabbage rolls. If you can only get 14 leaves, just add more meat to each roll)) and slice off any thick parts of the vein on each of them, or, just cut out the thick vein since that part will be covered once the cabbage leaf is rolled. Chop some of the remaining cabbage leaves to make 1 cup of chopped cabbage, and reserve.
  3. Mix the ground beef with the eggs, grated onion, chopped garlic, salt, pepper, and rice. (If you use cooked rice, you can test the seasoning of the meat mixture to your liking by frying up or microwaving a piece of it and tasting, if desired). Divide the meat mixture into sixteen equal pieces, or 14 equal pieces, about 2 to 3 oz each, depending on whether you have 16 or 14 cabbage leaves. Using slightly moistened hands (or not, since it rarely sticks to my hands), form the pieces into thick cylinders. Place a cylinder of filling near the bottom of a cabbage leaf (if the vein in the leaf is really thick, shave it down more
  4. with a knife before placing the beef on it, being careful not to cut through the leaf itself OR, cut the thick vein out completely in a narrow V. When you roll the cabbage, that V will be covered sufficiently, as mentioned above).
  5. Roll the meat filled cabbage leaf up, folding both sides over the filling, (like you see in the above photos) and finish rolling to enclose the filling, like an eggroll. Continue, filling and rolling all the cabbage leaves. Place them seam side down, on a tray or baking sheet. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
  6. Over medium heat, melt the butter in a heavy, nonreactive saucepan. Sauté the second onion until soft and golden. Add the garlic and saute for 2 more minutes, then add the reserved 1 cup chopped cabbage and sauté for about 30 seconds to 1 minute more.
  7. Add the tomato sauce, lemon juice, brown sugar, salt and pepper to taste, and stir to combine. Increase the heat until it comes to a boil, then lower it and simmer for 5 minutes. Add raisins now, if using.
  8. Line of the bottom of a 13 x 9 roasting pan or glass dish with a layer of sauce. Place cabbage rolls, seam side down, on top of sauce. Top cabbage rolls with remaining sauce then cover the whole pan with tin foil. Bake for 2 hours in a preheated 350 F oven.

Sweet Potato Bake


4-5 Sweet potatoes that are pretty normal in size throughout so that the slices are even as possible
3 TBSP Butter
3 TBSP Olive Oil
1/2 Tsp Salt and Pepper
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
3 Tsp Brown Sugar
pinch of cayenne for spice if you want


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a pan that will fit all of your sweet potato slices. I used a bread loaf pan because that is what I had on hand.
2. Peel sweet potatoes and slice at 1/8 inch or other desired thickness.
3. In a large mixing bowl, add together the melted butter, oil, and spice and mix well.
3. Add the cut up slices of sweet potato and mix well til they are all coated.
4. Arrange the slices in the pan that you greased and cover with tin foil.
5. Put in the oven, and back for 45 mins or until soft.
6. Uncover and turn temperature up to 450 degrees and bake for about another 15 minutes until the tops have browned. You are going to want to watch this part to make sure they do not burn.


Lemon Butter Roasted Chicken with Glazed Carrots


Today was one of my more challenging days.  My daughter Emma was in one of her moods.  That means even if everything was going her way she still was unhappy or sour.  We went to the park early in the morning and played for a couple hours, then she got to play for over an hour in the back yard with the dogs this afternoon, and she went for a ride in her play car as well.  What child would not be happy and pass out for us at the end of the night…you’re probably thinking just about every kid haha.  I was definitely impressed with myself though.  I was able to do all that with her and prep the chicken and let it sit for half the day marinating.  This was a little bit of a lengthy meal though.  I definitely did not have my timing down on this one.  It takes about an hour and a half to cook and I just let time get away from me, but it turned out really good either way.  Depending on the size of your chicken, you definitely want to take it out the last 30 minutes and check the temperature.  Mine definitely got a little overdone, but thankfully I marinaded it under the skin and I think that really helped save it to the point where it still tasted great.  I also put together a quick sauce on top for my partner in crime.  No meal is complete for him without a splash of rich sauce.  If you cook your chicken in a roasting pan just remove the chicken at the end to a cutting board and cover it with tin foil and let it rest for about 15 minutes.  Take the juices from the chicken, lemon, and onions in the roasting pan and put that straight onto a burner on medium heat.  Once it starts to boil, add about a 1/4 of a cup of wine (white, dry vermouth, or sherry) and a cup of water.  Let that come back to a boil and then take about 2 tsp of tapioca starch and pour about 1/4 cup of the boiling liquid into a separate dish and mix until there are no lumps.  Once you have mixed it well and there are no lumps, add it to the roasting pan and stir.  Let it come back to a boil and it should start to thicken.  Once it has thickened and coats the back of a spoon really well then you are good to strain it through a sieve and get rid of all the chunks of lemon and onion so you get a smooth sauce.  Add 1-2 tbsp of butter to the smooth sauce and let it melt then stir.  And there you have it an awesome sauce for your chicken 🙂

My recipes are below.  Let me know what you think 🙂

Lemon Butter Roasted Chicken

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1  4 to 6 lb Chicken (gizzards removed, rinsed, and patted dry)
2 medium Onion cut in 4 parts
2 Lemons
4 TBSP Butter
3 TBSP Chopped Parsley
3 Cloves of Garlic
Olive Oil

1. In a small bowl, mix together 4 tbsp of softened butter, 1/2 tsp salt and pepper, 3 minced garlic cloves, the juice of one lemon, and the parsley. Mix well.
2. Cut up the onion in four parts and add to the roasting pan along with the second lemon cut up into slices.
3. Add enough olive oil to coat the onions and lemons and toss. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss once more.
4. Take your chicken that you have removed the gizzards from, rinsed, and patted dry, and place it on a cutting board.
5. Take your fingers and separate the skin on the top of the breast from the meat itself so that you can have access to all the meat under the skin. Use the butter mix and stuff it into the area between the skin and meat. Use the remainder to coat the outside of the chicken. Tie the two leg bones together with cooking string and tuck the wings under the carcass.
6. Place the chicken in the roasting pan on top of the onions and lemons.
7. Let the chicken marinade like that for a couple of hours or you can also go ahead and cook. It is up to you.
8. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
9. Put roasting pan in over for 30 minutes uncovered, or until the chicken is nice and golden brown all over. Once it is golden brown put a cover on the roasting pan and cook until the 1 and a half hours is complete. Check the chicken in the last 30 minutes to check how far away it is from 165 degrees. You do not want to over cook it.
10. Once it is done, remove it to a cutting board and let it sit covered in tin foil for 15 minutes before slicing.
11. I gave a recipe for making a sauce out of the drippings in my comments above. ENJOY!

Glazed Carrots


1 bag of baby carrots
2 TBSP Butter
2 TBSP Honey
Salt and Pepper

1. In a sauce pan, add the carrots and some water to steam the carrots until the carrots are soft.
2. Drain and add the carrots to a saute pan on medium to medium high heat
3. Add the butter and honey and cook until browned.
4. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste and serve 🙂