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What A Long Strange Trip It's Been
Saturday, 26 April 2014
The Cookbook is Published!
Mood:  on fire
Now Playing: Celebration by Kool & The Gang
Topic: Recipes

Well, I have finally done it!

After twenty years of writing, researching, tasting, taking pictures and much hemming and hawing, I have published my cookbook - online!

I am planning on reviewing it once more before it goes to print. Especially the breakfast section which I think could stand some re-writes and a new picture for the Bacon Cinnamon rolls. Will I ever truly be done?!

I thought I was truly finished two weeks ago until last night when the kids got hungry and didn't really know what they wanted. POOF - I created a new recipe called "I've got a craving & they don't deliver" Chinese Food - which kind of what I used to do in college - find stuff around the kitchen and throw it together. The children rated it with FOUR STARS, so I HAD to add it to the cookbook. Thus, the Meats section got another recipe since this wasn't really "Chinese Food" per se. If you want to weigh in and tell if you think it belongs in the Asian Pacific Islander section, please find the recipe, make it for yourself, and let me know. If I hear from enough of you, I'll move it Wink

I've also updated my LinkedIn profile was planning on updating Facebook.


Right now, though, I am chair dancing to Kool & the Gang!


Posted by amiga/trippiehippie at 4:43 PM CDT
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Monday, 26 April 2010
My fantasy restuarant
Mood:  chillin'
Topic: Recipes

My fantasy restaurant menu - breakfast and lunch served all day, dinner served after 5pm:

Breakfast / Brunch - all breakfasts served with seasonal fruit, and your choice of coffee, tea, or milk/soy milk.

Spinach, mushroom, and feta egg-white omelet with toasted Ezekiel bread

Canadian bacon and goat cheese egg-white omelet with toasted Ezekiel bread

Eggs Benedict

Huevos rancheros

Quiche Lorraine

Alison's Super Cinnamon Texas Toast with real maple syrup - powered sugar on request

Buckwheat Pancakes and fresh whole milk whipped butter with real maple syrup

Smoked salmon, capers, red onion, tomato and cream cheese on a freshly toasted onion, garlic or sesame bagel

Super Crunch Cereal - Mixture of Grape Nuts, Original Kashi GoLean, and California almonds, Crasins, fresh ground cinnamon & ginger, and fresh blueberries - choice of 2% milk or vanilla soy milk.

Lunch - all lunches served with seasonal fruit, and your choice of: Alison's Chunky Potato Salad, Baked Beans, or Tabouleh Salad

Alison's Sub Sandwich - 12" sourdough roll packed with hard salami, roast turkey, pastrami, yellow banana peppers, dill pickles, black olives, green leaf lettuce, sliced tomatoes, red onion, Colby/Jack Cheese, red bell peppers, alfalfa sprouts, mayo, mustard, extra virgin olive oil and crushed roast garlic.

Ortega Burger - ½ lb. Black Angus hamburger, Panela cheese, whole Ortega chili peppers, grilled onions with guacamole on toasted wheat bun

Gooey Louie Burger - 2 ½ lb. Black Angus patties smothered in grilled mushrooms, onions, and green peppers, topped with cheddar cheese, 2 pieces of bacon, lettuce, tomato, dill pickles, mustard, and horseradish mayo on a toasted Kaiser roll

Portobello Mushroom Sandwich - grilled marinated Portobello mushroom with Spanish goat cheese, and red wine sauce served on a toasted Cibatta roll, with savory mixed herbal greens

Foot long Polish Sausage with grilled onions and peppers on toasted sesame seed roll with spicy brown mustard

Chicken pita - freshly made pita stuffed with grilled seasoned chicken, diced tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, kalamata olives, and feta cheese with red wine vinegar sauce

Alison's Spicy Tuna - albacore tuna mixed with Nam Prik Pao mayonnaise, cheddar cheese, green onions, and dill pickles, melted on dark rye bread

Comfort Food Combo - Grilled cheese on Texas Toast with Tomato Soup. Sliced Spam on grilled cheese upon request.


Wasabi Salmon Balls - steamed salmon, wasabi, and water chestnuts rolled in black sesame seeds, served with a soy & sesame seed oil green onion sauce

Sarma - rice and savory ground beef stuffed grape leaves served with tahini sauce

Baked feta stuffed grape tomatoes

Topig - vegetarian "meatballs" like falafel served with a variety of dipping sauces

Lemon & Leek Shrimp

Red wine marinated Portobello mushroom with Spanish goat cheese and apple slices on toasted pumpernickel rounds

Dinner - all dinners served with seasonal steamed vegetables, and your choice of: fresh garden salad, basmati rice pilaf, baby red garlic potatoes, or wheat berry & wild rice stuffing

Garlic & rosemary spit roasted Cornish game hen

Honey glazed stuffed pork chops

London broil - marinated for seven hours in the house specialty marinade of roasted garlic & various herbs and spices

Boereg - Armenian savory pastry filled with spinach, feta, and onions topped with tahini sauce

Baked stuffed eggplant - with pine nuts, tomatoes, red peppers, garlic, onions, and basil

Lamb kebabs - marinated lamb and assorted vegetables skewered and grilled

Phyllo wrapped artichoke stuffed chicken breast

Alison's Spaghetti Bolognese - hearty spaghetti served with thick Bolognese sauce made of ground Italian pork sausage, tomato paste, Cabernet Sauvignon and other secret family ingredients.

Lasagna LaPietro - vegetarian lasagna with sliced mushrooms, onions, red, yellow, & green peppers, olives, tomatoes, roasted garlic and zucchini in the LaPietro family's secret ingredient tomato sauce with five Italian cheeses: ricotta, parmesan, Romano, Asiago, and provolone.

Alison's Chicago Style Pizza - LaPietro family's secret ingredient tomato sauce, on Alison's own handmade pizza crust - your choice of toppings



Potato & Leek




Posted by amiga/trippiehippie at 2:03 PM CDT
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Thursday, 26 November 2009
Thanksgiving Menu at Chez Robbins
Mood:  celebratory
Topic: Recipes

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Now I say that in the spirit of the holiday, not in the "Thanksgiving Myth" kind of way with all the fake crap about the Pilgrims and Indians that whitewashed history wants you to believe. Don't we all know the truth by now? Well, I am not going to rehash it today here on my blog.

Today I am going to share my lovely menu with you:

 De-bone whole roasted turkey with a thyme, rosemary & garlic butter rub

Stuffed inside that deboned bird will be a wheatberry stuffing made with whole organic wheatberries, long grain brown rice, and wild rice, along with celery, onions, carrots, and of course garlic. If you don't know what wheatberries are they are the grain that is harvested from wheat that are dried and pounded into flour. In this form they are super high in fiber and have a nutty taste and are extremely healthy for you.

Au Gratin Root Vegetable side dish - made from sweet potatoes, ruttabaga, turnips, parsnips, and butternut squash. I blend heavy cream and goat cheese for the gratin part. It also has various spices to it - I'll post the recipe with pictures later.

Lightly steamed green beans and yellow squash - no green bean mushy casserole or cream cheese corn for us this year! No kids - thus - healthy adult food. Matt actually sighed in some relief and said - "Please no green bean casserole" when I asked him if I should make it. So, lush green beans steamed and then tossed in a hot frying pan with a nip of olive oil and garlic before being served.

Of course we will be having my secret mashed potatoes and homemade giblet gravy. That's a given. Matt would eat nothing but mashed potatoes today if I let him Surprised Let him? Please! That's a laugh. Ten bucks says that IF there are left over mashed potatoes they don't last a single day in the refrigerator. They'll be eaten faster than I can blink!

Apricot and cranberry white wine sauce - this is not my typical sauce that I make, that's the red grape and cranberry sauce. No, this is dried apricots, dried cranberries, fresh ginger and sweet vermouth. After cooking on the stove top it comes out to be a nice chunky sauce that you actually put on the roasted turkey on your plate. This is not some chilled jelly that's more dessert than anything else. This is a celebration of apricots and cranberries and their lush flavor and general yumminess. So excuse me while I turn my nose up at that jelly stuff from the can cut into circles. Wink

 For dessert is my homemade tofu pumpkin pie - now don't turn your nose up on tofu pumpkin pie. You wouldn't even know if I didn't tell you, it tastes exactly the same. I've totally fooled people and converted many to this new classic. Here is my nutritional breakdown on my pie:

Calories Fat Cholesterol Sodium Carbs Sugar Fiber Protein
180 8g 5mg 196mg 19g 0g 2g 7g

The fat and cholesterol is because I am lazy and hate making pie crust and use a store bought dough from Pillsbury. But, if you compare my pie to Mrs. Smith's Pumpkin Pie, mine has 100 fewer calories, 5g less fat, 40mg less cholesterol, 190mg less sodium, half the carbs. 10g less sugar, and 2g more protien. So yes, my pumpkin pie tastes just as good if not better and is better for you nutritionally - so there to you Mrs. Smith's Tongue out

 I am also going to make stuffed portobello mushrooms as a snack to eat around two hours before dinner. Just cheese and onions stuffed into half dollar sized shrooms. Don't worry, I'll post lots of pictures.

Anyway, my pumpkin pie is in the oven right now, and I need to do some dishes before I take out my new mandoline and slice my root vegetables a perfect 1/8 an inch thick. I just love kitchen gizmos that save me work. Oh, and thanks Ed and Debbie for that microplane. It has saved me once again. I just love using it on my fresh ginger.

Happy Turkey Day to you all. I'd love to know what you are eating for Thanksgiving today.




Posted by amiga/trippiehippie at 10:51 AM CST
Updated: Thursday, 26 November 2009 10:52 AM CST
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Monday, 21 September 2009
There I go...
Mood:  celebratory
Now Playing: Don't Stop Believing by Journey
Topic: Recipes
Well, it has been 25 days since I started my medication and I have lost 21 pounds so far. I am very stoked by that. Of course I have been eating like I normally did, just without bread, rice, potatoes and pasta - which apparently - makes all the difference in the world as does my medication - oh, and not drinking soda pop.

I made leek and lentil soup on Saturday and had enough for dinner that night, and lunch the next day, AND lunch today and probably tomorrow. I am planning on starting a crockpot of lentil and mushroom soup tonight for tomorrow through the rest of the week. I am trying to up my fiber intake with many more beans in the diet.

Last night I experimented with making a homemade tofu pumpkin pie. It turned out beautifully. My pie has 180 calories per slice which is between 100 and 200 calories less than a 'real' slice of pumpkin pie, depending on the recipe. Here's mine:

1 pre-made pie shell
1 1/2 cups of cooked pumpkin (use small sugar pie pumpkins not jack-o-lanterns)
1 package of silken extra-firm tofu
4 packets of the "blue stuff" I used generic Wal-Mart Greater Value brand and it tasted fine
1 tablespoon (not heaping!) of pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon fresh or jar crushed ginger root

I cut a small pie pumpkin in half and baked it at 375 for an hour to cook the pumpkin. I then scooped about 1 1/2 cups of the cooked pumpkin into a blender and added the package of tofu. I pureed the mixer, adding in the blue stuff, the spice and the root. It was creamy and fluffy-ish. I poured that into a 9 inch pie pan lined with a pre-made pie shell and then baked it for 15 minutes at 425, and then for 45 minutes at 375.

It turned out perfectly, especially since I covered the pie crust after the first 15 minutes with aluminum foil so it wouldn't burn.

I am eating it today as a part of my lunch: Greek Salad, Leek & Lentil Soup, and Tofu Pumpkin main meal of the day! Pardon me if I seem arrogant, but, this pumpkin pie rocks! Laughing

Posted by amiga/trippiehippie at 12:33 PM CDT
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Saturday, 10 January 2009
Ultimate Spaghetti Bolognese
Mood:  hungry
Topic: Recipes

Ultimate Spaghetti Bolognese

This is one of those recipes I picked up on my travels in Europe and have modified only slightly – mainly due to my faulty memory. Trust me though, this is a keeper! It combines the delicious meat based sauce of Bologna with the lovely durum wheat pasta from Naples.

1 – 1 ½ ground pork sausage
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 small cans of tomato paste
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1 bottle red wine *see note below
1 cup of water

1 tablespoon Italian seasoning

2 bay leaves

1 sprig fresh thyme

Salt to taste

¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil

In a very large skillet, brown the pork sausage. Add the diced yellow onion to the browned sausage just as it finishes browning and cook until the onions are nearly clear. Add the tomato paste and continue until the tomato sauce is ‘browned’. Be sure to stir and scrape the pan often. You can add about half of the olive oil at this time if the mixture seems too dry, but the mixture should not be soupy at this point, it should be browned and firm-ish.

Add between a third to a half of the bottle of wine. Simmer and reduce over a low heat – about 30 minutes at the very least.

After it has been reduced, it is the time to taste the sauce, adding the garlic, parmesan cheese, salt, and Italian seasoning. The amounts I have listed are estimations. It depends on the wine that is used how much spice is really necessary.

After you’ve added the loose spices, add the remaining amount of the wine, stirring everything together and scraping the sides and bottom of the skillet. At this time, add about half the water. Also add the bay leaves and sprig of thyme. Simmer and reduce again – again about 30 minutes at the very least.

Boil your spaghetti for 12 minutes in salted water.

After you’ve simmered and reduced you should have a thick dark red to brown sauce. Add the cooked spaghetti to the large skillet and cook the spaghetti in the sauce, turning the pasta so that it is coated thoroughly in the sauce.

Serve pasta with a little extra sauce, parmesan cheese, and toasted crusty herb & butter bread. The sauce will be very rich and the bread will most certainly be needed to sop up the delicious juices.

*Note on wine: Use a Shiraz (Sryah), Shiraz Cabernet, or a Cabernet between 8 and 10 years old for best results.

On the whole - the simmering, browning, etc takes roughly one and a half hours in this reciepe. Often though, I find the longer the simmering the better. Just add water and taste again and again. You MUST taste the sauce as it cooks or you not come away with the desired results.

Posted by amiga/trippiehippie at 1:58 PM CST
Updated: Saturday, 10 January 2009 2:12 PM CST
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Friday, 14 November 2008
Alison's Chicken Stuffed Soup
Mood:  lucky
Now Playing: Polkarama! by Wierd Al Yankovic
Topic: Recipes

Stuffed Chicken Soup 

2 large cans of cooked chicken or

2 cups of leftover cooked chicken

1 large can of cream of chicken soup

½ cup of milk

1 bag or box of stuffing mix

½ cup of diced celery

½ cup of diced white or yellow onion

¼ cup of diced garlic

½ cup of butter (cubed)


In a large non-metal mixing or casserole bowl, combine chicken, milk and soup, mixing thoroughly. Slowly add in the stuffing continuing to stir until all the chicken mixture has been absorbed by the stuffing. Then, mix in the celery, onion, and garlic.


Place bowl in a microwave for 3 minutes on high. Remove from microwave and stir. Contents of the bowl should be steaming or at least hot.


This can be served as is or, if you prefer the crunchy part of stuffing, as my family does, then place in an oven heated to 325¢ª until the top gets the desired crunchiness which typically takes 10 to 15 minutes at the most. My family also prefers several pats of butter on the top of the stuffing while in the oven.


Meanwhile, make a salad while this is in the oven and a yummy dinner will be done in less than 20 minutes.

Posted by amiga/trippiehippie at 12:01 AM CST
Updated: Saturday, 15 November 2008 5:40 PM CST
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Wednesday, 12 November 2008
Super Spicy Tuna Melts
Mood:  caffeinated
Now Playing: "Snow (Hey Oh)" by Red Hot Chili Peppers
Topic: Recipes


Super Spicy Tuna Melts

Preparation & Cooking Time: 30 minutes

24 appetizer servings

2 cans of tuna in water

3 heaping tablespoons of mayonnaise

¼ cup of red chili sauce - Thai variety

1 heaping tablespoon of minced garlic

1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Diced green onion

24 slices of cocktail rye bread





Combine all ingredients except the green onion and bread. Spread the tuna mixture on the cocktail rye bread and sprinkle with diced green onions. Bake at 350º for 10 to 12 minutes or until tuna and cheese are cooked and bubbly.

Posted by amiga/trippiehippie at 12:01 AM CST
Updated: Saturday, 15 November 2008 5:47 PM CST
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Monday, 10 November 2008
Grilled Portobello Mushroom in Red Wine
Mood:  happy
Now Playing: "Rubberband Man" by The Spinners
Topic: Recipes


Grilled Portobello Mushroom in Red Wine  

2 large Portobello mushrooms

1 heaping tablespoon of garlic

1 tablespoon of Italian seasoning

2 cups red wine (merlot, chianti, whatever)


Before you leave for work in the morning combine all the ingredients in a Ziploc bag and let it marinate in the fridge while your gone. When you come home pour the contents into a wok and cook with the lid on for 10 minutes. If you have the barbecue going or you have a grill top, you can grill the mushrooms, while using a pastry or marinade brush to coat them again with the wine mixture.


The mushrooms will come out soft and juicy like fine meat. Serve them with a soft cheese like chevre or feta and some toasted garlic bread. One mushroom cap is a perfect appetizer for two. Two caps serves four or five.


You can also cut them and make a sandwich on toast. If you make a sandwich, spread the cheese on the bread, and cook some sliced onion in the wine mixture, adding a teaspoon of butter. A mushroom, onion, and cheese sandwich is very filling.


Posted by amiga/trippiehippie at 12:01 AM CST
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