Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Organic Summer Salad w/ Lemon Vinaigrette

In Food on August 11, 2013 at 2:27 pm

I made an All-Organic Summer Salad with Homemade Lemon Vinaigrette that is just perfect for this time of year. This is really simple and easy. Older kids will love it and can help prepare. Tomatoes, cucumber, avocado and feta tossed with a quick lemon vinaigrette. I’m posting what I did, but because I don’t measure you won’t find how much I’ve used of any one ingredient. I use my senses- eye it, smell it and taste it as I go along. Helps the creative juices flow when preparing food (which I think is an art in itself) LOL πŸ™‚

I used these organic cherry tomatoes (which are naturally sweet) along with small yellow and orange tomatoes. These different colors give a variety of flavor from sweet to not so sweet. I found them on sale in pint baskets at Whole Foods but you can probably get them at farmers markets too. My local grocery store only has the mini Roma tomatoes that are organic so I have to venture elsewhere to get them.
Cucumber – well, nothing surprising here…as I sliced it (about 1/4 inch thick) I also sliced it horizontally down middle so the slices were about comparable to the tomatoes.
Avocado – this texture and flavor was surprising. The mild creaminess mixed with the feta, tomatoes, tang of the dressing and crunchiness of the cucumbers was incredible. This was new for me to try in this kind of salad and I am glad I did.
Feta- well I added the crumbles to where I thought the ratio would be just right and not over powering.

Vinaigrette –
I started with some spices (21 Salute from Trader Joes, Mrs. dash or similar, ground mustard, dried minced onions, granulated garlic) and put those in the bottom of a small deep bowl. (Get your wisk!)
Then I used a very juicy lemon (had about a half and 1/3 left), squeezed everything out of it and even used some of the pulp in there.
Then I added some white wine vinegar and began to whisk it all together (and of course smell it too..the base smelled aromatic) I wanted this to be a more tangy and less oil based dressing. So I say go heavy on the lemon and vinegar and you can always add more oil if you want.
Then I added unfiltered organic extra virgin olive oil (I used the Braggs brand). This gave it a fantastic flavor and added more depth. Eye this one, whisk as you add and fast to see if you have the right ratio. This part is all about personal preference.
Add A pinch or two of salt- again whisk, taste and adjust.

Take the veggies and add them to another bowl that has room for you to incorporate…then spoon the vinaigrette over it and gently toss (I used a spoon). Place into bowls and sprinkle fresh cracked pepper over it and enjoy!!

(#organic #avocado #cucumber #feta #yellowtomatoes #cherrytomatoes #orangetomatoes – #freshsqueezedlemon juice #whitewinevinager #oliveoil #spices) #fresh #goodfood #foodie #salad




Spinach & Cheese Stuffed Manicotti

In Food on April 21, 2012 at 8:56 pm

Saturday night dinner


Charmy’s Tasty Guacamole

In Food on December 4, 2011 at 5:45 pm

This one’s easy…Simple Guacamole and it even works if you don’t have cilantro! Recipe below…


  • 3 Hass Avocados ripened
  • 1/8 to 1/4 cup onions minced (very finely chopped)
  • 1 roma tomato chopped (or any flavorful tomato you have on hand)
  • 1 lime sliced into quarters
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (to taste)
  • cilantro (optional)


  1. Slice the avocados in half, and take the pits out. Then take a knife and score them about 4-5 times lengthwise, and about 5-6 times width wise so you have small squares (You are doing this to make the mixing of the avocado easier). Take a spoon and scoop the avocado into a bowl.
  2. Take your onions, and add them to the bowl. Start with 1/8 cup and work your way up to 1/4 cup only after you have added all other ingredients (you don’t want the onions to be too overpowering)
  3. Add the tomatoes and the 1/2 teaspoon of salt to the bowl with the avocado and onions.
  4. Take 2 quarters of the lime and squeeze the juice into the bowl. If you are using cilantro, add the amount you desire (Personally I start with a little less than a tablespoon).
  5. Now stir the mixture well with a fork, making sure to incorporate everything and smoothing the avocado chunks (if you like smoother guacamole).
  6. Now (and this is the fun part!!) take a tortilla chip and taste the guacamole to determine if more onions, salt or lime juice is needed. Take turns adding just a little bit of either and stir.
  7. Keep in mind that the more you stir the smoother the guacamole becomes, if you like your guacamole more chunky use a spoon instead of a fork to incorporate your ingredients.
  8. Cover and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

NOTE: It is better to prepare this close to when you plan to serve as the guacamole can turn brown as it oxidizes in the refrigerator. Additionally, you can show your guests what you are made of as you whip this up for them quickly while they wait. πŸ˜€ I did for Thanksgiving and it was gone almost before I could even get a taste.


Charmy’s Healthy Chinese Chicken Salad

In Food on December 4, 2011 at 5:15 pm

I made Healthy Chinese Chicken Salad (my new name for this dish) for lunch today…and it came out great. I started to follow the Asian Chicken and Vegetable Slaw recipe on this linked site, but made a few changes though based on what I had on hand. This is a great recipe to use when you have leftover roast chicken and aren’t sure what to do with it. Also the use of cabbage and and different colored vegetables are so good for you. I just love eating healthy food and enjoying all the flavors!! The family loved this, and my daughter came back for seconds. (In case you were wondering…My changes are below)

Here is what I changed:

  • Instead of peanut oil I used vegetable oil
  • I added about 1 teaspoon of sesame oil
  • I omitted the peanuts, the sesame seeds, and the ginger (the ginger only because I forgot to add it!)
  • Instead of lemon juice, I used 1 tablespoon of lime juice and 1 tablespoon of orange juice (didn’t have any lemons)
  • I added about 1/2 to an extra 1 teaspoon of honey (after I tasted how the dressing was…figured it needed just a little bit more sweetness added to it πŸ™‚
  • I omitted the serrano chili – instead i added about 1/2 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon of sirachi chili sauce to the dressing mixture
  • I used the cilantro and green onions as a topping instead of adding to the entire salad since it can be too overpowering at times (just sprinkled it over the tops of each serving)
  • I DID NOT add the dressing to the entire mixture. The reason for this (and any salad for that matter) is that if you want to enjoy leftovers, the dressing will soak in and wilt the greens which totally changes the flavor into something not so desirable. Instead I drizzled the dressing over each serving. Everyone can then control how dry or how much they want to drown their salad.Β  (Personally “less is more” is something I live by with my salads when it comes to dressing)
  • I know usually there are some kind of crunchy topping (like fried wontons or something similar). Since I didn’t have anything like that I improvised…I took some of the Honey Wheat Pretzel Sticks I had, put them in a ziploc and pounded them slightly…then sprinkled them on top of our plates. You don’t have to add anything like that. This dish is great without any “crunchies” πŸ™‚

That’s it!!Β  Hope I’ve inspired you!Β  Let me know what you think….

What’s for dinner at Charmy’s?

In Food, Love, Organization, Planning on April 10, 2011 at 8:02 pm

It’s that time again…time to prepare for the week and plan out the menu for each of our dinners.

To be honest, I’m not always the most motivated to sit and plan for our weekly menu, or anything for that matter (yes, I know…not a good thing and trust me, I am praying earnestly to change that!) however, I’ve found that we spend less money when I am consistent about having a schedule for what we eat, and plan ahead each day prior to the prepared meal. In addition, our family works as a single unit, each with our own responsibilities (more on that later :). One of my responsibilities is to cook and plan our meals., which I do end up truly enjoying IF I plan appropriately (yes, time management is an important trait to cooking) I try to make everything I do (including cooking) enjoyable, so I pretend like I am running a small restaurant for my family and cook with love!

So in preparation for creating our menu, I took an inventory of things that need to be eaten in both the freezer and the fridge.Β  Our list for this week:

  1. Meats: Ham, Turkey, Bone-In Chicken Breasts, Chicken Wings, Whole Chicken, Basa, Tilapia, Beef Short Ribs, Top Sirloin, Italian Sausage, Bacon and Sausage (breakfast meat)
  2. Veggies: Peas, Corn, Mixed Veggies, Mashed Potatoes
  3. Other items: Tortellini, Ravioli, Chicken Pot Pie, Prepared pasta mean
  4. Fridge Items: Mushrooms, Bell Pepper, Cauliflower, Ricotta, Buttermilk, Cream

Now…To figure out what to use for the weekly menu (Monday through Sunday usually), which isΒ  usually based on what we have already, specials at my local HEB, Costco, and coupons for deals and of course whatever family favorites there are. Already I have some ideas…

  1. Chinese Noodle Soup (with Bok Choy & mushrooms)
  2. Pasta with Onions, Peas and Ham
  3. Bonzai (Teriyaki) Turkey Burgers
  4. Split Pea Soup or White Bean soup with Ham
  5. Turkey Soup or Turkey Chili
  6. Fish Tacos
  7. Salisbury Steak
  8. Roasted Bone-In Chicken w/Wild Rice and Cauliflower
  9. Breakfast for Dinner (makes life a bit easier to have something simple on hand)

Now it’s just a matter of putting this all together in a way that offers variety (no chicken twice in a row), uses leftovers well and gets approved by the family. I’ll try to keep you entertained with what we eat each day I cook. Let’s see what happens…