Posted in Gather Together

Portable Feast: Caramelized Onion Potato Salad

Here’s something delicious for your next BBQ or picnic. Since there is no mayonnaise involved, it can be served cold or at room temperature, making it perfect for any feast, anywhere. Even at home, so don’t wait to try it.

Caramelized Onion Potato Salad


  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar, maple syrup, or preferred sweetener
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large red or yellow onions, sliced ¼ sliced
  • 3 pounds yellow or red baby potatoes
  • ½ cup lightly packed chopped fresh dill, about 6 sprigs
  • ½ cup sliced green onions
  • ¾ cup chopped dill pickles
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. In jar with tight fitting lid combine all dressing ingredients. Vigorously shake until combined. Set aside.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in large pot over medium heat. Add the sliced onions. Cook, stirring every few minutes, for about 40 minutes (mine took longer) or until onions are very soft and deep golden brown. They should not be dry or crisp, but rather soft and almost jammy in texture. To achieve the soft, jamminess you may need to lower the temperature and add a little water. When finished, set aside to cool.
  3. While onions are cooking, place potatoes in a large pot, cover them with water, and bring to boil with no lid, over medium-high heat, then lower to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes or until just tender when pricked with a fork.
  4. Drain potatoes. Run some cold water over them to cool enough to handle. Cut them into bite-sized pieces. Place in large bowl.
  5. To the potatoes add cooled caramelized onions, chopped dill, green onions, and chopped pickles. Salt and pepper. Pour dressing over salad and toss to combine.
  6. Yum!


“A picnic is a state of mind and can be made anywhere.”



Posted in Yumminess

Time Well Spent

It was one of those weekends.

Yep, the kind I love because I had the opportunity to do something good. I was in Mexico for another Hands of Mercy project to build a small house for a very deserving family. A mom and dad along with their daughter will have a safe place to live, thanks to a group of men, women, and children who put their time and money toward loving their neighbor. It’s always fun, sometimes challenging, and very rewarding. Something changes in your heart as you work side-by-side with someone to serve others, it makes the world a little bit better place to live. Check out Hands of Mercy here or read my other posts For Goodness Sake and Hope Under Construction to learn more about this great organization.

One thing that always takes place. . .

on these weekends is good food, and this weekend was no exception. The kitchen at Rancho Casitas, our home away from home in Mexico, comes alive as the teams return from working in the surrounding community. Chopping, good conversation, and laughter happen around the kitchen island as stories of the day are shared. Before the evening is over, we gathered for a meal of something delicious. But not just stomachs were filled with goodness, hearts and souls also overflowed with satisfaction that comes from a day well spent.

We need worship for our spirit, fellowship for our soul and committed subservience for our body. ~ Larry Norman

Joy, our wonderful hostess, had us prepare a salad of cucumbers, tomatoes, and avocados which rounded out our meal of hot Italian sub sandwiches. Oh man, was it ever good. I hope you find it yummy, too.

Cucumber, Tomato, and Avocado Salad


  • 1 pound grape tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1 cucumber, sliced and halved
  • ½ medium red onion, sliced or diced
  • 2 avocados, diced
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper


  1. Place tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, avocado, and cilantro in large bowl.
  2. Combine olive oil and lemon juice, and pour over vegetables. Toss gently to combine. Add salt and pepper. Toss.
  3. Enjoy!

Note: There are other possibilities for this basic salad. I am omitting the avocado and cilantro tonight and tossing in some feta cheese to go with our Greek inspired dinner.

Posted in doing life with friends, living well, salad

Fond Memories

Redlands Bowl

Today’s moments are tomorrow’s memories.

Sushan R. Sharma

Picnic basket in tow, my husband and I joined my brother, his wife, and ten thousand others for an evening of music under the stars. Redlands, California has a long time tradition of free concerts, plays, and dance performances through the Summer Music Festival established in 1923. Their ‘music for all’ vision provided a place for anyone who wanted to attend regardless of their ability to pay for admission. This is a wonderful thing. Our family has going there since our girls we small. It allowed them and us to be exposed to the arts we would otherwise be unable to afford.

The night we attended, James Garner performed his Tribute to Johnny Cash. It was great fun to listen to all the songs my dad had sung along to on Sunday drives when we were young. As each song started, my brother and I would exchange smiles of remembrance and for some, we even joined in with the singing— just for old time’s sake.

Our picnic wasn’t half bad either. Each person in our group showed up with wonderful things to eat. Falafels, hummus, and bread came with my sister-in-law from her favorite Mediterranean café. I added a Summer vegetable salad and grapes, while wine and sweets were produced from a Trader Joe’s bag to round out a very fine meal. It was a bit like the story of Stone Soup. No one went away hungry. Our hearts, as well as our stomachs, were filled from an evening of good conversation, yummy food, and sweet memories.

Summer Vegetable Salad is a pretty mixture of potatoes, tomatoes and fennel. Very low calorie and great for picnics because it contains no mayonnaise.

Summer Vegetable Salad

Good Ingredients:

  • 1 pound new potatoes, quartered
  • ½ pound carrots, cleaned and cut diagonally into 2-inch pieces
  • ½ pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • ½ cup julienned fennel
  • 1 red onion, peeled, cut vertically, then thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • ½ cup  black olives
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons fennel fronds, chopped
  • ¼ cup parsley, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How To:

  1. Separately steam potatoes, carrots and green beans until al dente. Drain and place in large bowl. Pour wine over vegetables and toss.
  2. Add julienned fennel and onion. Sprinkle with vinegar and toss.
  3. Add olives, tomatoes, fennel fronds, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. Toss and serve.
  4. Enjoy!

I found the Summer Vegetable Salad in Great Good Food: Luscious Lower-Fat Cooking  by Julee Rosso. I tweaked the original recipe a bit to suit my pantry and tastes. I have had this book on my shelf for years primarily because its fun to look at. It has the recipes grouped in events rather than categorized by mains, sides, desserts. It is full of ideas of menus that celebrate life.

Posted in BBQ, Easy Cooking, Yumminess

Summer Ease

Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.

Sam Keen


Now that summer is in full swing, most of us have an opportunity to enjoy picnics, BBQs, and al fresco dinners.  These days it can be as simple or as fancy as you like, but the real focus of any event are the people we will share with. For that reason, ease is important to me. Less time in the kitchen means more time with friends and family. One of our family favorites for the grill is Hawaiian BBQ Chicken. This dish has an easy prep with a very delicious outcome. Pair it with grilled veggies, Hawaiian Macaroni Salad, and fresh fruit, and you will have a beautiful table.

Hawaiian BBQ Chicken

  • 2 pounds chicken boneless skinless thighs or breasts, cut into serving size
  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons minced ginger
  1. Mix pineapple juice, brown sugar, soy sauce, garlic and ginger in a resealable plastic bag or glass dish with lid.
  2. Add chicken pieces and marinade for up to 24 hours.
  3. Drain and discard marinade from chicken. Moisten a paper towel with cooking oil; using long-handled tongs, lightly coat the grill rack.
  4. Grill chicken, covered, over medium heat for 6-8 minutes on each side or until no longer pink.
  • Alternative method of cooking: bake in a 375-degree oven until done. Time will depend on the thickness of your chicken pieces.


Grilled Veggies

  • One or a combination of vegetables, washed and sliced into uniform pieces. I especially carrots as do most of the grandkids. I also use zucchini, yellow squash, asparagus. You can use most any summertime produce. Peppers, onions mushrooms and tomatoes are also good choices.
  • Herbs, fresh or dry. Use something to compliment your main dish. Don’t forget garlic.
  • Olive oil. Any cooking oil you have will work.
  • Salt and pepper.
  1. Notice I don’t really give amounts. I just fill up my grill pan or basket with veggies (Vegetables shrink as they are cooked. You’ll want to make more than you think you need.), drizzle with enough oil to lightly coat, sprinkle on the seasonings and give it a stir. (I apologize in advance to those who want amounts and times.)
  2. Place pan/basket on grill and cook until desired doneness. This can also be done in an oven set to 375 degrees. I actually like the oven method best and it can be done ahead of time if you like.
  • Tip: Some veggies cook faster than others. Asparagus is very quick. Maybe just five to ten minutes. Squash, perhaps twenty minutes and carrots-thirty.  Try to choose ones that have a compatible cooking time.
  • And just one more thing—Leftover roasted vegetables are great additions to pasta salads, sandwiches, pizzas, or even omelets.


Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

Before I give you the recipe, I must give you a disclaimer. I have never been to Hawaii. Nope. But I have eaten at a few Hawaiian BBQ places. Most serve a scoop of steamed white rice and a scoop of macaroni salad. I have made up my own version which I have tweaked even further to lighten it up a bit. Even with the tweaking, it is going to be heavy on the calories. There are just some things that you have to splurge on a bit. The rest of the meal is light so we can afford to.

  • ½ pound elbow macaroni, cooked to al dente
  • 1 small carrot, shredded
  • 5 scallions, chopped
  • ½ cup light mayonnaise
  • ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup pineapple juice (Substitute 2% milk, if preferred plus a tablespoon of honey, brown sugar or other sweetener.)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Pepper, to taste
  • Optional mix-ins—imitation crab, frozen peas, pineapple tidbits, or ham. Some people add cilantro. It really depends on your preference. We have always used the imitation crab and peas, but I’m up for trying something new in the future. Maybe, even a little Spam. It is Hawaiian after all.
  1. In large bowl, mix together cooked macaroni, shredded carrot and chopper scallion plus any mix-ins you desire.
  2. In separate bowl whisk together the remaining ingredients to create the dressing.
  3. Pour dressing over macaroni mixture and chill.DSC_0227.JPG


These recipes are featured in July 2016 issue of  Broken But Priceless: The Magazine, where I am currently writing for the food section called The Corner Bistro.


Posted in The Party's in the Kitchen

I Do Love a Good Potluck!

Fourth of July is upon us. Friends, family and FEASTING! Bring on the potluck!

Have you ever wondered where the term potluck came from? It seems a strange name a meal where people gather and food is shared. The orginal term, a pot of luck, was used to descibe what would be served to an unexpected or an uninvited guest. You got what you got.

I am so glad that down through the ages, the word has taken on a new meaning. Now it has become a way of offering hospitality away from home. No longer a ‘you get what you’ get meal. Extraordinary recipes are carried in covered dishes to gatherings. There may even be a bit of friendly completion going on amongst the cooks. Yumminess abounds. I think LUCK does come to mind when sampling the best my friends’ kitchens have to offer.

carrot saladAs I considered what I might bring to the TWO potlucks I have been invited to (lucky me), I was reminded of a Marinated Carrot Salad that was at every gathering when I was a kid. So, I stirred some up this week to see if it was as good as I remember. It was and it will be coming to the gatherings with me. I can’t wait to see what else shows up. Between my friends and I, a delectable feast is sure to happen.

“We all eat, and it would be a sad waste of opportunity to eat badly.”

Anna Thomas

There are many recipes out there for this salad. I go for a very easy combination that has a great taste.

Marinated Carrot Salad

  • 2 pounds carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 1 can tomato soup
  • 1/2 vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Steam sliced carrots to a crisp tender.
  2. In bowl whisk together soup, oil, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper.
  3. Add steamed carrots, bell pepper and onion.
  4. Cover and chill for several hours.

Enjoy! So tell me, what are you taking to your gathering?