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A Light & Bright Salad

Avocado & Shrimp Salad With Lemon Vinaigrette.

After indulging on Thanksgiving, I’m back on the band wagon and getting back into the healthy groove! Last night, I wanted to fill my tummy with something light and healthy, so I decided to make this refreshing salad. It was simply delicious!

Serves 2.


  • 1 bag butter lettuce
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen shrimp, thawed (cooked & tail on)
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 2 plum tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
  • 2 tbsp fresh chopped dill
  • 1/2 tsp crushed garlic
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • garlic salt/black pepper

Thaw your shrimp by placing in a colander in the sink and running cold water over it for about 10 minutes. After the shrimp is thawed, remove the tails. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a pan on medium heat and then add the crushed garlic and shrimp. Sautee the shrimp for 3-5 minutes and add the chopped dill and Old Bay seasoning. In a large bowl, mix the lettuce and tomatoes and add 2 tbsp olive oil and the juice from 1 lemon. Add a dash of garlic salt and black pepper and mix all of the ingredients together. Plate the salad and then top with the shrimp and avocado.


A Taste of Cleveland.

Since I just returned from a food-filled trip to Cleveland, I thought it would be a great time to share some of my favorite foods from there. Believe it or not, Cleveland actually has some great restaurants and hidden gems! Below are some Cleve-treats from some of my favorite spots.

Lucky’s Cafe (

Lucky’s Cafe, located in the Tremont neighborhood, has been featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. They make all of their ingredients in house. Gareth ordred this amazing reuben sandwich featuring all house made ingredients: corned beef, sauerkraut, rye bread and thousand island dressing, served with Swiss cheese, potato salad and a pickle.

I ordered this simple yet yummy curried chicken salad sandwich with a hint of curry and raisins. It came with a side of potato salad and a dill pickle.

Hot Sauce Williams ( 

Hot Sauce Williams has been featured on Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations as well as Man vs. Food. When you’re there, you should order what they’re known for: Po’ boy with shoulder meat. This includes a bun, Polish sausage, bbq shoulder meat, bbq sauce, fries and coleslaw.

Tommy’s (

Whenever I go to visit Cleveland, I have to go to Tommy’s. It’s my all-time favorite! Tommy’s has been around since 1972 and makes all sorts of amazing creations including lots of vegetarian options. When you go to Tommy’s, you must order one of their famous milkshakes. I went with Gareth and my friend Maggie who both ordered mint chocolate chip milk shakes.

This is my usual salad order, The Dave, which has babaganoush, black olives, shredded munster cheese, carrots, celery, tomatoes, pickle, and I substitute falafel for the egg. Mmmmm, so good!

This was Maggie’s salad, The Dale, which comes with falafel, munster cheese, tomatoes, celery and carrots.

Gareth ordered The Big Bear, which is corned beef with BBQ sauce, pickles, veggies, onions, mustard and cheese on toasted pita bread.

Their french fries are fresh made and are a must-have! The portion is massive, so get a plate to share with the whole table.

Naturally, I always order a pickle on the side. Tommy’s has the BEST pickles!

Lopez ( 

Lopez, which makes cutting-edge Mexican cuisine,  is one of my mom’s favorite restaurants and is just a short walk from the home I grew up in. We started out our meal with this appetizer, goat cheese fundido, made with goat cheese, house made chorizo and pico de gallo, and served with fresh- made flour chips. It’s very rich so definitely share with the table!

Gareth ordered shrimp’n’grits, which is made with corn, chile grits with smoked cheese, roasted peppers and scallions.

My mom loves the calamari at Lopez. The calamari is sautéed in a sweet and spicy sauce with carrot thread, scallions and peppers and then dusted with cumin chile.

I ordered three of their tacos, which I didn’t know were so enormous, so these were definitely shared with the table! The first taco on the left featured butter poached lobster, bacon, arugula, smoked tomato and guacamole. The middle taco was ancho battered catfish, jicama slaw and gaucho crema. Lastly, the taco on the right was made with tempura vegetables, green chiles, pico de gallo and chipotle crema. Amazing!

Crepes de Luxe (

Crepes de Luxe is located in Cleveland’s West Side Market. Gareth loves to get one of their yummy crepes when we visit the market. This crepe was made with Nutella, dark chocolate and fresh strawberries. They make it right in front of you and serve it up piping hot.

Frank’s Bratwurst ( 

Frank’s is also in the West Side Market been serving their homemade bratwurst sandwiches since 1970. You have two options at Frank’s: with or without sauerkraut and a hard or soft bun. Simple and delicious, you can’t go wrong!

Judy’s Oasis

Another West Side Market treat, Judy’s Oasis, cooks up all types of Mediterranean food. I ordered the spinach and feta pie, it was so tasty and fresh!


Thanksgiving 2011.

Thanksgiving: Stuffing & Mashed Potatoes

Leek & Pancetta Sour Dough Stuffing

Serves 8-12 people


  • 4 leeks, sliced
  • 1/2 cup diced pancetta
  • 1 loaf sour dough bread, 1 day old, diced
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 3 shallots, diced
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • salt/black pepper

The night before you make the stuffing, dice your sour dough bread and spread it out on a cookie sheet overnight uncovered.

Heat 3 tbsp olive oil in a large pan on medium heat and add the pancetta and shallots. Sautee for about 5 minutes until the pancetta begins to brown and then add the leeks and thyme. Sautee all ingredients together for about 20 minutes and put the lid on to allow the leeks to soften.

Once leeks have cooked, begin to add in the sour dough bread. Mix in the bread in smaller parts, rather than adding in all of the bread at once. As you add in the bread, pour in chicken stock to soften the bread.

After all ingredients are combined and bread is softened to a mushy consistency, add a dash of black pepper and salt and put the mixture into a greased baking dish. After the stuffing is packed firmly into the dish, pour 3 tbsp of olive oil over the top.

Cook the stuffing on 350 for 1 hour.

Reduced-Fat Mashed Potatoes

Serves 4-6 people


  • 10 small Yukon gold potatoes
  • 1/2 cup reduced fat sour cream
  • 1/4 cup 2% milk
  • salt/black pepper

Dice the potatoes and boil them until they are soft. Drain the potatoes, and while they are still warm, put them through a potato ricer. This will make the potatoes a smoother consistency and will also separate the skin from the potato.

Put the riced potatoes into a small pot and heat on low heat. Add the milk and sour cream and mix together while potatoes heat. Then a dash of salt and pepper.

Giving Thanks.

I am thankful for my family, especially my mom, dad and sister.

I am thankful for Gareth and how much happiness he brings to my life.

I’m thankful that my family is expanding to include Gareth’s family.

I am thankful for my wonderful friends who are always there for me.

I am thankful for my new job and the success that I’ve had.

I am thankful for pickles and olives… and pickle stuffed olives.

A Non-Edible Feast For The Eyes.

A Simple Meat & Cheese Plate.

This is a great plate to make if you’re entertaining friends for the holidays or even if you’re having a lazy afternoon at home. You can have nibbles and tastes without eating too much. Of course, the flavors are great with wine, too! This plate features Italian dry salame, a trio of Spanish cheese (Iberico, Manchego & Cabri al Vino), roasted gorgonzola crackers and reduced-fat tortilla chips. I chose three different types of olives: gherkin stuffed green olives, green Cerignolas and pitted green olives. Delicious!