Thursday, 29 December 2016

Mistletoe Kiss

We are just a few days away from the end of the year and the beginning of 2017…! There are many parties going on this weekend and if you are hosting one of them, you definitely need something “cool” for your guests.

Besides hors d’oeuvres, music, decorations, cute napkins and fancy little hats with noise makers, you still need one more thing to impress your invitees… What about a drink?

In this video, I’ll share with you my Mistletoe Kiss. This drink can be sipped after-dinner as a digestif or just as a straight shot during your party. The taste of it is so Holiday-ish (if I may) and the layered colors definitely set the tone for the seasons celebrations. It is the perfect drink to have under the mistletoe to cheer the farewell of 2016 and welcome in the New Year. Of course, I think I don’t need to remind you to drink responsibly.

Thanks to all of you for your lovely support of my new venture in the crazy world of cooking, I would like to wish you a healthy, Happy New Year filled with love, laughter and prosperity… !
Happy New Year!

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Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Turkey Tetrazzini

Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner is barely over and you are already thinking about what to do with that mountain of turkey leftovers. What to do with all that turkey? Hmmmm… Turkey sandwich, turkey salad, turkey soup, turkey jerky…? By this time, you’ve had so much turkey, you start saying gobble-gobble… sound familiar?

I’ve got just the recipe for you… Turkey Tetrazzini which is a simple casserole with a bunch of ingredients, sure to please everyone except the turkey… of course! It makes plenty so if you still have a house full of relatives hanging around, you’ll have something to feed them.

So where did this recipe originate?

Tetrazzini often thought of as an Italian recipe is actually an American dish. The dish is named after famous Italian opera star Luisa Tetrazzini and believed to be invented around 1908-1910 at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco where Tetrazzini stayed as a long-time resident. So now you know the history behind this dish, let’s talk about what goes in it…

Made with diced poultry and mushrooms with butter, cream or milk, and cheese, tetrazzini is served hot with thin pasta and garnished with parsley, cheese and sometimes bread crumbs. To make this dish creamy, some will use cream cheese however I prefer to use cream of mushroom soup and milk but it doesn’t stop you from using what sounds good to you. In my tetrazzini, I use a lot of vegetables, herbs and spices which may not be traditional but they add a ton of flavor and color.

Also some recipes add white wine but I think that with so many ingredients, the wine will be lost anyway…. so I use more chicken broth and have more wine leftover for me… after all it’s the Holidays, isn’t it? Lol!

Now, I’m sure I don’t need to mention it but if you want to, you can always switch to chicken or seafood as your protein. You’re going to love this recipe so much, you’ll be gobbling it up….
Bon Appétit!

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Thursday, 22 December 2016

Spicy Holiday Chocolate Bark

The best word that describes the Holidays is “fast”. The month of December goes by “in a flash”. Although we shouldn’t, we tend to drive “faster”. During lunch time, we eat on “the go” so we can spend the rest of the time shopping quickly. We go home, making dinner rapidly (actually I think this is the most popular month for take-out) so we can spend the rest of the evening energetically wrapping gifts after sending the kids to bed… expeditiously if possible! We also sleep briefly depending on how crazy our schedule is. Everything else we pretty much do in a hurry!

When having guests over, the recipes that we decide on are the ones we can make in a snap! Especially when the house is filled, everything seems to go so suddenly; turkey is ready at the same time as the potatoes and squash plus your youngest just made a boo-boo and your great aunt is standing in the middle of the kitchen trying to help…

The recipe I’m about to share with you is a favorite of mine because it doesn’t take that much time to make and you’ve got yourself something extremely different and Holiday-ish! As soon as the chocolate quickly melts, you can put everything together in less than 4 minutes – yep we are that specific with timing!

This is something your great aunt or the youngest can participate in when you expressly try to put dinner together and serve it ASAP before it gets cold!
Have a speedy Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year… in a flash… lol!


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Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Leftover Gravy Solution - Don't throw it away - Tips & Tricks #9

What to do when there’s not enough leftover gravy for another meal? Don’t throw it away and use this trick!

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Onion Soup Mix (Homemade) - Make Your Own - Tips & Trick #8

Making Onion Soup Mix from scratch couldn’t be easier! No need to rush at the store next time you need some! What you need is…

– 1/4 cup dehydrated chopped onion
– 2 tbsp. instant beef bouillon
– 1/4 tsp. onion powder
– 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
– 1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

This recipe is the equivalent of one package of Onion Soup Mix

FOOTNOTE: This recipe is great for meatloaf or other casserole dishes as well as a dip for chips. Just mix it with 200g light sour cream and add more sour cream to taste. If there’s leftover dip the next day and it’s too thick, add a tsp. of milk at the time until smooth and creamy again!


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Stuffed Dates with Gorgonzola

With all the festivities, the invitations, the running around, the last minute shopping, planning and tight scheduling as well as other unexpected situations, there’s not much time for you to do anything extra. Even more when it comes to serving your guests fancy appetizers or bouchés which are bite-sized hors d’oeuvres. Actually, when you really think about it, you don’t have to spend much time at all to serve something both elegant and tasty.

When serving bouchés, you want something that can go with different types of cocktails and wines. The perfect hors d’oeuvres to me are something not too light in taste but definitely not overpowering. A little “zip” is acceptable but please don’t go beyond this otherwise you’ll have a bunch of dried up leftovers that night (unless your guests are starving to death).

Cheese is always a good item when hosting a soirée but serving it on its own is boring (i.e. sliced cheese on a tray…). Even with crackers, it is so unexciting. You need something to dress it up and in this video you have a great vessel for it… dates

Quick to make and loaded with flavor, this bouché is a great combination with almost any type of wine and definitely any cocktail. It also goes extremely well with sparkling wines and champagne. This is one of my favorites when hosting a soirée or dinner during the Holidays and after trying it, you’ll understand why.
Happy Holidays!


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Thursday, 15 December 2016

Christmas Stollen

I love the Holidays! I love the nostalgia and magical side of it. Although very colorful, the energy is peaceful and serene. It takes me back to my childhood when closing my eyes tightly anything and everything was possible; my dreams and wishes were at my fingertips. I’m still a big kid inside and I never want to grow up because of the beautiful feelings that rush back each Holiday!

The Holidays also represent a time when people want to get closer, to reunite and to share more great memories together. Love is what this time of year is about!

Somehow it is not the presents we have received that we remember the most. What creates memories from the Holidays are simple things like a smile, a song, a phrase, a dish, a smell, a specific ambiance frozen in time. To me that’s what the Holidays are all about and this is what traditions are based on. Each country has its own traditions and favorite Christmas foods and each likes to proudly boast about their favorite.

My partner David has a German heritage and I thought it would be awesome to bring a traditional Holiday dish from his roots; Christmas Stollen also called Christstollen. This bread is recognized as a precious Christmas pastry around the world. The history of Christmas Stollen goes back to the 14th century and originated in Dresden. Back then (14th century), butter and milk were banned by the Church and Stollen were made only with flour, oats and water so you could just imagine how tasteless they were.

Today, the Stollen are amazingly tasteful and highly requested worldwide. Each year in December a festival is held which is called Stollenfest which showcases a gigantic Stollen. If you really, really want to serve a true Traditional Holiday Treat, this is the perfect recipe for you!
Merry Christmas!

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Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Slow Cooker Beef Stew

With all the errands, last minute shopping, the dinner hosting, parties to attend, and getting ready with cooking, baking and decorating plus the usual schedule, it doesn’t leave us much time to cook a day-to-day regular meal. We wish we could hire a personal chef for a couple weeks until the madness is over.

You don’t have to cook, you don’t have to hire a chef and you can still eat a great meal at night. If you go to your pantry and remove that dusty slow cooker of yours, you can check off pretty much everything on that list; no cooking, no personal chef (although it would be awesome to hire one) and eat a tasty decent meal after a long exhausting day.

This recipe I’m about to share with you is what I call “my no-time recipe”. This is a flavorful, succulent dish that takes very little time in the morning to prep and by the time you get home, the beautiful aroma floating in the air welcomes you to a yummy dish that’s ready to serve.
Bon Appétit!


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Thursday, 8 December 2016

Cognac Chicken Liver Pâté

Ok, I know what you’re thinking… chicken liver…..eww!

It sounds like what people in medieval times were eating… which is actually true! Interestingly in 1788 there was a land trade made between the Governor of Alsace, Maréchal de Contades, and the King of France, Louis XVI, and the currency used was…pâté de foie gras (goose or duck liver pâté)! So yes, it has been around longer than you might think…

Traditionally pâté is a mix of liver cooked with a combination of vegetables, herbs, and spices and may include selected wine or alcohol. These ingredients are then minced or puréed into a smooth meat spread usually served cold on bread of your choice, crackers, or crostini and sometimes, I say sometimes, people put a dollop of mustard or honey on top. Pâté should not be confused with foie gras made from the livers of fattened geese or ducks which is cooked and sliced but not made into a spread.

Making pâté may sound complicated but is actually quite easy. The ingredient list is short, it doesn’t take long to prepare and most importantly, you can choose what goes into it. With this recipe you can adapt the taste to your liking and choose to add wine, brandy or cognac for a rich, luxurious flavor.

Delicious, creamy, decadent and simple to prepare, pâté is not only tasty but highly nutritious and packed full of an array of vitamins, minerals and amino acids. Liver has a high concentration of Vitamin A and just 1–2 ounces will provide 100% of your recommended daily intake. Vitamin A maintains healthy eyesight and blood pressure and also plays a vital role in bone growth plus reproductive and immune system health. Vitamin B12 is plentiful in liver and an important component of red blood cell & DNA synthesis.

Pâté is also full of several minerals. Just to name a few… Calcium aids in building and maintaining strong bones. Iron plays a strong roll in production of red blood cells and hemoglobin and also promotes muscle strength and reduces fatigue. Magnesium is important for regulating blood sugar and pressure. Zinc, boosts your immune system.

This nutritious inexpensive dish, served as an appetizer, will surely impress your guests at your next dinner party. Don’t hesitate to give this a try sometime soon.
Bon Appétit!


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Tuesday, 6 December 2016

French Baguettes

When I walk by a bakery, just the smell of fresh baked bread drives me crazy! It doesn’t matter if I’m hungry or not, my brain sends a signal to my stomach and I start salivating… Frankie wants bread!
To resist the temptation of not having any is even more insane!

We all have our weaknesses and bread is mine. Interestingly enough, I barely eat any of it but when I do it has to be fresh! I mean so fresh that when you try to slice it, it collapses. The freshest way for me to take care of my bread craving is to bake my own.

There are so many kinds of bread out there and it’s hard to choose one to bake, but I’ve decided on (drum rolling)… French baguettes! Who knew… lol! The whole technique of bread making without using a bread machine is extremely simple and you can enjoy bread as fresh as can be without stepping out. How awesome it is to bake your own French Baguettes. As soon as it comes out from the oven, slice a few pieces and spread butter on top… now that’s a piece of heaven in your mouth!
Bon Appétit!


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Thursday, 1 December 2016

Orzo with Chicken & Asiago

December is insanely crazy-busy! Although Christmas falls each year on the 25th (I’m pretty sure I’m right on that one…lol), we manage to run, rush, and panic just to be ready for the big day! Of course we like to blame it on “not enough time”. It has nothing to do with mismanagement of our precious time. We could’ve started to do our shopping… let’s say in October and start cooking last month. But noooo, let’s leave everything to the last minute… sound familiar!

All right enough sarcasm… you got my point! So what to eat and cook when we do not have enough time on our hands?

The recipe I’m about to share is not one of my creations. I actually saw it a few years ago on “My Recipes” website. I haven’t really changed much besides increasing the amount of chicken broth and less water, adding some cayenne, eliminating salt and definitely rasing the amount of asiago cheese (yes, yes my nickname is Minnie Mouse). This is a one-pot meal. It is fast to make and within 25 minutes, you have yourself a great dish. We eat this often at home when I don’t feel like cooking… yes, it even happens to miss Frankie here!

Get yourself a good quality Asiago and you’re good to go. Take 25 minutes and give it a try!
Bon Appétit!


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Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Soufflé Mexican Omelet

I have a confession to make… I like breakfast a lot but I don’t eat it often. Weird, I know! Through a whole year, I might eat breakfast maybe 30 to 40 times and that is pushing it. I don’t know how many times I scheduled to have a nice breakfast with David and somehow just don’t have it.

Basically what I’m saying here is I’ve been trying to make this recipe more times than you can imagine and each time I somehow find a way to postpone it to another day then the day turned into weeks and months. So finally, I can share this awesome breakfast recipe with you.

I enjoy omelets and it was one of my favorite’s breakfast foods when my father was making it on Sundays. His were so fluffy! I like the fact they are so versatile and you can flavor them the way your heart desires on that particular morning. One “rare” morning though, David and I decided to make an omelet with what we had left in the refrigerator and that’s how this recipe was created. The first time ever made, it was good but not exactly where I wanted it to be. Of course, it took months before I gave it another try and now it is a favorite of mine when I make the effort.

It is a little “perky” as a breakfast meal but it’s all good and the flavors marry well together. Served with fresh fruits and a side of toast, this omelet can also become either a lunch or dinner dish… it’s quite filling! I hope you’re not like me and will give it a try sooner rather than later… lol!
Bon Appétit!


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Thursday, 24 November 2016

Cranberry Cream Cheese Crisp

I’ve been collecting recipes forever and something that was way overdue was me going through my recipe “shoe box”. Some were written on napkins, others were hand written on paper that people had given me, but they all have one thing in common, they were more than 20 years old, I could tell just by the yellowish color of the napkins/papers.

One of the recipes I found was one with leftover cranberry sauce. Initially it was cream cheese in a Graham cracker pie crust with cranberry sauce on top and an oats mixture to cover it all. Although this recipe looked pretty awesome, I just couldn’t wrap my mind around the graham cracker crust. Why I asked – there’s too many different things going on.

So I’ve decided to make a nice oat mixture with nuts and my secret little touch then proceed with the rest of the ingredients, finishing with the same oat mixture and layer in between with cream cheese & cranberry sauce. Now this dessert looked much more balanced.

Till this day I have no clue where this recipe came from but with a few alterations, now I can call this sweet creation mine. It is sweet but still has a subtle tartness to it from the cranberries. If you make your cranberry sauce very sweet, you might not have any tartness in this dessert.

After trying it, this will give you a reason to make much more cranberry sauce and use your leftovers for this fabulous dessert. If you are looking for a nice subtle homemade cranberry sauce, last month for Canadian Thanksgiving, I posted my Citrus Cranberry Sauce ( ) with a twist. It goes great in this recipe.
Bon Appétit!


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Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Udon Noodle Soup

November can be pretty wet and grey! It’s not very cold and it’s not very warm… it’s in between – the “grey” zone, I like to call it! November is also the “transition” month of when fall is almost gone and winter is just ahead. I’m a summer girl and like a bear, I go into some sort of “hibernation” around this time of the year. I relax in my “cave” until the flowers start blooming again… unless it’s an exceptional winter and the weather is not too “chilly”.

I can’t stand the cold weather and I make sure to keep myself nice and cozy. There’s nothing more comforting than eating a nice soup and even more so when it’s cold outside. It is even better when the soup becomes your main course.

I am all about rescuing any leftovers in my fridge and one of my favorite recipes I like to make quite often is my Singapore Noodles… but here’s the thing. I’m always left with some bean sprouts and char siu (Chinese BBQ Pork) whenever I make this dish. Therefore, I had to come up with another dish. Being inspired by Japanese cuisine, I’ve decided to create a dish with my leftovers and this is how the Udon Noodle Soup recipe was born!

This soup has so many great ingredients in it, enough to become a meal on its own. It is extremely satisfying and filling but you won’t feel bloated! It is the perfect dish to warm you up and keep you nice and relaxed. So next time you make my Singapore Noodles (link here ) , keep in mind you can always use your leftovers for this comforting dish.
Bon Appétit!


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Old Fasioned Stuffing with Giblets

As a kid, we never had stuffing with giblets on our Thanksgiving dinner. Is it because my mother didn’t know how to cook with it or because no one’s enjoyed the taste of giblets? So basically my first taste of this traditional dish was when I was a “young lady” – by the way I’m still am…lol! I had good ones but I also had pretty bad ones.

Stuffing with giblets in it is not for everyone, I realize it, but when cooked properly, you’ll be surprised how many can enjoy it. My first stuffing making was a few years ago when I was in my 20’s… okay, okay I’m just kidding (can’t have fun anymore)! When I started cooking the giblets, I made sure all my guests were out of the kitchen (just like the IKEA commercial with Nona saying “tutti fuori” – everyone out). The logic behind my madness was to prove a point; if they don’t see they won’t know and perhaps… just perhaps they might like the stuffing.

Sure enough during dinner everyone, that includes my mother and my brother, had my stuffing. My mother couldn’t stop asking what was in it and how delicious it was. For my brother, he didn’t say much but went for a second and third (his way to say “yummy”). I waited until after dinner when we were having our “digestif” to announce what was in my stuffing.

My point was proved and you can do the same with your “picky” eaters. Give it a try, you’ll be surprised with the results.
Bon Appétit!


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Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Chicken with Creamy Mushroom Garlic Sauce

If there’s one thing I know about me is that I love to experiment and I’m not afraid to combine a bunch of ingredients together to create something special. I just cannot stand “blah” food therefore I need spices, seasoning and big flavor to satisfy my palate!

As I mentioned, experimenting is my thing so one day I looked at what I had in my refrigerator and… that was it! I knew exactly what I wanted to prepare and, rolling up my sleeves, I just went for it! What I’m sharing with you today is one of my latest creations; Chicken in Creamy Mushroom Garlic Sauce. It is what I call a successful experiment. This dish is what you want to prepare as the ultimate comfort food. It is a little on the spicy side but the heat is tamed by the silky smooth cream sauce.

You can serve this incredible dish over rice but I personally prefer to serve it over pasta like spaghetti, fettuccine or linguine. Let’s not forget to sprinkle some Grana Padano cheese and if… only if… you think it’s not “hot” enough, add some red pepper flakes.
Bon Appétit!


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Thursday, 10 November 2016

Moroccan Couscous Salad

I love to try different ingredients that I’ve never had before. It all started because… I’m curious! That’s right! I’m a little curious kitten! Even at a young age, I wanted to taste “new” food. Later on when I was a young lady, this curiosity still remained. One day, I met a man, Mario, who had the same interest as me. Once a month, we would go out to a different ethnic restaurant and try its cuisine. The method of choosing was quite simple. In the yellow section of the phone book was a page with all the International Restaurants in the Montréal area. We took turns and picked one each month…! Tada! Unfortunately, this lasted for only a short time and we never went to all of them of course.

One restaurant I still recall to this day was Moroccan. The flavors and aromas were out of this world… well out of this continent for sure…lol! I couldn’t believe how everything tasted so wonderful. There were spices I never knew existed. There dishes were so colorful and inviting! It was probably one of my best nights out that I experienced from our restaurant tour.

I went to this restaurant a couple times before the owners sold it. One traditional dish from North Africa I worked to duplicate for years from that restaurant is Couscous. There are so many variations of this popular dish and I’m sure if you visit Morocco or Tunisia, you’ll find yourself eating couscous in many different ways. My version is absolutely delicious and pretty close to what I can remember. I am positive you’ll enjoy the taste and its aroma. It is such a lovely side dish to serve with any protein. Give it a try, you’ll love it!
Bon Appétit!


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Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Salted Caramel Sauce

I wonder if I’m a condiment “enthusiast”. Every opportunity I have to make my own condiments, I just jump on it. It doesn’t matter if it’s sweet or savory, I want to make my own. My major concern when buying “stuff” at the store is what those big food companies put in their products. There are so many chemicals in food products these days and it’s basically for the sake of shelf life and cost of production. Who cares about our health? Well I sure do when it comes to mine…!

Now that I look back on what I wrote so far, I am not a condiment enthusiast but more a health conscious lady that happens to enjoy cooking! If I have to be “bad”, I’d rather to be bad as good as I can…let me explain. Eating a lot of sugar is bad for you but when you’re craving something sweet, why not have something that you made yourself. I enjoy my homemade vanilla ice cream and I also enjoy flavoring it with…caramel sauce! It is such a quick recipe to make at home and the result is better than the jars from the store. It tastes like my grandma used to make, with deep color and intense flavor.

You can do what you want but if you are interested in trying something that it is a homemade treat for your “sweet cravings” then you’ll enjoy this recipe. Just a little warning before you watch the video; the sugar will be extremely HOT which means you have to be very careful of not dropping any on your skin otherwise you’ll get yourself a nasty burn…not good… be very careful!
Bon Appétit!


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Thursday, 3 November 2016

Spanish Paella

When I think of Spain, I think of architecture, landscapes, music, history and food. Located in Southwestern Europe, Spain is one of the oldest countries in Europe and is mostly surrounded by water; the Bay of Biscay to the North, the Mediterranean Sea to the East and the Strait of Gibraltar to the South. Its neighbours are France, Andorra, Portugal and Gibraltar. Although Spain was and still is influenced by many different cultures, the Spanish love their fish and seafood and come 2nd after Portugal in consumption.

Spain is on my bucket list and I just can’t wait to go there for a visit one day. In the meantime, I enjoy Spanish cooking and savor their food. One dish I love to make at least twice a year is my Spanish Paella. For me, September is the best time to make paella with the abundance and freshness of seafood, shellfish and crustaceans in the markets. To make a successful paella, you need fresh ingredients.

This Spanish Paella is perfect if you are entertaining 5 to 6 guests for dinner. It is quite simple to make as long as you follow each step and don’t try to rush anything. Kick back, relax and have a glass of wine (or two) and chill out with your guests…lol! Try this amazing dish and it will become one of your favorites for entertaining!
Bon Appétit!

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Basil Lemon Butter

When using fresh herbs, the enhancement of flavors is absolutely lovely! Each year David and I grow fresh herbs on our patio. One of the herbs that are a must to grow each year on the patio is basil. It is such a beautiful aromatic herb and it is used worldwide in many cuisines. I like cooking with it and when the end of the season comes, I make a few dishes/recipes that I freeze so I can use it up later.

The most popular use for it is pesto but there are other ways to use this herb. Each year I make my Basil Lemon Butter and freeze it for other recipes. It is an amazing way to enrich a dish and the flavor is fabulous! It tastes just like freshly made even after a few months in the freezer. I use this butter for poultry, sauces and so on as well as on its own with fresh baked bread. This recipe is extremely quick to make and you can enjoy savory basil butter all year round.
Bon Appétit!


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Thursday, 27 October 2016

Grandma's Crunchie Bars


Grandmas, Nonnas or Omas have always been important figures to families. They’re the ones who bring the family together. They are the peacemakers, the matriarchs, the storytellers and of course the amazing cooks! My grandma could cook almost anything from scratch and it was always delicious!

 Every time we went to visit my grandma in Québec City, I was so excited. I couldn’t wait to see her beautiful, warm smile and jump into her arms. To me, she was “home”, a place where I felt safe and loved.


Of course it was a matter of minutes before she was carrying me to the kitchen and asking me if I was hungry or wanted a treat. It didn’t matter if we just finished eating before visiting her, she always placed some food on the table. “No Thank you” wasn’t something she could understand easily. If our stay was for a few hours, she would ask us at least 20 times if we wanted something to eat or wanted to try this or that.


Back then, women were making most everything at home. They didn’t have big grocery stores around the corner and also lots of them were living in rural areas so going to the city was only by necessity. People were pretty much self-sufficient especially when it came to food.


My grandmother was privileged to receive a very good education in a private school. She learned from the “nuns” what a young girl from society should learn and one was obviously cooking. Not just because she was my grandma, but boy did she ever know how to cook. I wish we had lived closer together so I could have visited her more often and learn even more from her.


What I am about to share with you in this video is her “toffee” chocolate bars. I put toffee in quotes because that is what she used to call them. Commercially, these are called Crunchie Bars. After you make these, you won’t believe how close they are to the ones you can buy at the store. Honestly, I’d rather make my own than buy them, because I know what goes into the recipe…I don’t need all the extra preservatives. If you want to be the star of your neighborhood during Halloween, you’ve got to try them…
Bon Appétit!


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Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Meat Manicotti

I started learning how to cook/bake in the 80s’. As a novice, I had a few recipes that I was proud of. No, I wasn’t cooking any Beef Wellington or Chateaubriand but whatever simple dishes I was executing turned out to be pretty good. This is how I started to get some confidence in my cooking journey.

One thing I liked to do was to make my favorite dishes from childhood… not sure but I think we kind of all do that, right? Anyway, one of them was pasta. It was easy to make and the chance of failure was pretty low until I started to venture further afield. This is when I realized that stuffing pasta can be quite a challenge!

In today’s video, I’ll share with you my “yummy in the tummy” Meat Manicotti. You’ll understand why it is so “yummy” when you make it. It has tons of flavors and the combination of ingredients makes this dish a star. Each time I serve it, everyone start saying “mmmm” around the table…! As many of you probably gave up on manicotti & cannelloni stuffing, I’ll show you my little trick to ease the stuffing process. After this, you’ll be more inclined to make this dish more often.
Bon Appétit!


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Thursday, 20 October 2016

Tomato Rosemary Foccacia

Making bread at home can be intimidating although there’s no reason to be. Yes I know…if you knead it too much or add too much flour, the bread will get hard. As the saying goes “Practice makes perfect” which can be true in most cases but not for this one.

Focaccia is the most ancient bread from Italy and still popular today. It was the architype of our modern pizza and while similar to it, focaccia is different in many ways. This flat oven-baked bread is flavored with herbs, seasoned with olive oil and often topped with more herbs, vegetables, meat and cheese. Focaccia is very versatile in its use as sandwich bread, a replacement for garlic bread, an antipasto or appetizer if you prefer. It all depends on the way it is dressed.

In this video, I’ll show you my version of focaccia. I like to serve my Tomato Rosemary Focaccia as an appetizer along with cheese, pâté, preserved peppers, a variety of olives, marinated and fresh vegetables. It is a nice presentation versus just plain bread and also much more flavorful. If there’s any leftover, it is nice to use it the next day as sandwich bread or just to snack on.

If you feel insecure about making bread at home, here’s the perfect recipe to gain some confidence and brag about your new skill to your guests. There is also a lot of satisfaction that comes with it. C’mon fresh homemade baked bread…who doesn’t love this idea!
Bon Appétit!


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Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Smoky Bacon Creamed Corn

What is a side dish? According to “Wikipedia”, a side dish may be some type of vegetable (salad can be considered as a side dish) and a starch along with the main protein. But what about when a side dish turns into a more “complex” composition…

In this video, the meaning of a side dish is totally out of bounds and isn’t that what cooking is all about? – innovative, creative and out of your comfort zone. This Smoky Bacon Creamed Corn is a pretty diverse combination for a “side dish”. It has vegetables, dairy, meat and seasoning.

Let’s not fool ourselves…this is not a “low-cal” dish! Even though its rich, this side dish is a perfect accompaniment for many proteins and after you try it, you’ll be making it more often than you think.
Bon Appétit!


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Thursday, 13 October 2016

Sweet & Sour Pineapple Pork

I enjoy Asian cuisine but in today’s video, this recipe is more “American-Asian” fusion. Pork, as you know, is a lean meat when the fat is trimmed. It is also one of the most consumed meats in the world. There are many ways to prepare pork and technically, everything about this animal can be eaten…yes that includes the head, ears, tongue, etc. I like to try new dishes but today I’ll be conservative.

Although I like sweet once in a while, I am not a fan of it when it comes to my main course unless it’s not the predominant flavor. One dish that I’ve always enjoyed since I was a kid is Sweet and Sour Pineapple Pork (chicken can be substituted here of course). I also loved garlic ribs but we’ll do that recipe another time.

In this episode, I’ll share with you my very easy and extremely flavorful Sweet and Sour Pineapple Pork. I tried to duplicate this recipe as close as I could from memory and I have to say, the result is not too shabby at all! It is a great flavorful dish to make and I’m sure you and your family will enjoy it.
Bon Appétit!


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Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Turkey Noodle Soup

If you are like me, you probably bought a big turkey for Thanksgiving. You invited a large group and still have a ton of meat left over. Your husband and children know what’s for lunch this week as well as what’s on the menu for the next 2 or 3 dinners. That doesn’t mean you should feel blasé after a couple days of eating turkey.

The beauty of leftover turkey is you can make so many dishes from it and each of them doesn’t have to taste the same as the other. One dish that is quick & easy to make is Turkey Noodle Soup. Add some vegetables, a few spices, noodles and you’ve got yourself a flavorful dish that everyone will enjoy.

Most of the time, October is pretty wet, gray and cold so there is nothing more comforting than eating a delicious bowl of soup.
Bon Appétit!


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Thursday, 6 October 2016

Citrus Cranberry Sauce

I love thanksgiving for many different reasons and of course one of them is eating that big juicy turkey. Although I enjoy this protein very much, the perfect condiment that goes super well with it is cranberry sauce! It’s like the cherry on top of the sundae. You can eat turkey without it but why would you??? You’ll be punishing yourself for no reason!

Cranberry sauce will probably be the easiest dish to prepare during Thanksgiving and yet you can brighten it up by simply adding a few ingredients. Although you can be very creative with the sauce, I prefer mine on the simple side with a touch of yummy goodness to change it up.

I won’t spoil the mysterious ingredients – is it really mysterious after all – but if you prefer not adding any, the result will still be delicious…this is entirely up to you. After all, you’re the boss of your Cranberry Sauce.
Bon Appétit!


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Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Pumpkin & Spice Cream Cheese Muffins

When I go to a large box store, I love getting deals on food and pumpkin pie filling is no exception. The only problem is the cans are usually bigger than normal and they make an odd number of pies. So what do you do with leftover pumpkin pie filling which isn’t enough to make
a pie?

There are also so many recipes that ask for only half a package of cream cheese… then what? What do you do with the remaining amount?

Perhaps I have the right solution for you…how about my Pumpkin & Spice Cream Cheese Muffins. Not only are they delicious but they are packed with a surprise inside. When you bite one, you’ll realize what the surprise is all about…a delicious cream cheese filling.

This Thanksgiving dessert/snack takes a little time to make but the results are definitely worth the effort. That should take care of your leftover pumpkin pie filling as well as your cream cheese. Don’t disregard this recipe because everyone will love them.
Bon Appétit!


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Monday, 3 October 2016

Tomato Ripening Trick - Indoors - Tips & Tricks #7

During this time of the year, it might not be warm enough outside to finish ripening your tomatoes. Don’t worry, you can still continue the process indoors. To find out about this simple trick, watch this video.

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Thursday, 29 September 2016

Mediterranean Fish Fillet with Tapenade

As you probably know, Mediterranean cuisine is very healthy and mainly made up of plant products. You’ll find these common ingredients in this cuisine; olive oil, whole grains, fruits & vegetables, beans, nuts, herbs & spices.

The reason why I love this cuisine so much is because I enjoy cooking with fresh ingredients and prefer using herbs and spices to enhance the flavor of my dish versus salt. I’ve never been a fan of salt since childhood and yet when I use it, I stay away from table salt and opt for the much healthier version which is Himalayan Sea Salt.

This recipe started because I had some chopped black olives sitting in the fridge and I didn’t want to waste them. From the very first attempt, this recipe was a success. It is light and fresh with some zip to it. This Mediterranean Fish Fillet with Tapenade is packed with flavor. It’s a simple healthy recipe that everyone will enjoy. An added bonus is that it is quick to prepare too.
Bon Appétit!

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Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Homemade Apple Sauce

Fall is here and on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, you and your family decide to go to the orchard to get some apples. Here’s a fun fact; there are 7500 varieties of apples grown throughout the world and 2500 are grown in the United States alone…that’s crazy!

Anyway…you’re back home with your baskets full of apples and now what? You could roll up your sleeves and bake apple pies, make apple jams and while you’re at it, apple marmalade or chutney. One other thing you can make is my Homemade Apple Sauce.

Apple sauce is easy to make and it should be a staple in anyone’s kitchen for a few reasons. First, apple sauce is great to enjoy as is for a healthy snack. It is also a healthy choice for cutting down on cholesterol and fat in baking because you can use apple sauce as a substitute for oil, butter and eggs. Apple sauce can also be used in sauces.

Here’s a little kitchen tip I’d like to point out. I wouldn’t add any sugar until you taste it. Most of the time, the sweetness from the apples should be enough for your apple sauce. If you think it needs it, add a little and taste it again until you’re satisfied with the sweetness. I would certainly avoid adding any sugar if you are making apple sauce for toddlers. They’ll have enough sugar in their lifetime without starting now! Enjoy this whole food at its best.
Bon Appétit!


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Thursday, 22 September 2016

Chicken Ham Sausage Jambalaya

Did you ever have the opportunity to do or experience something new and for some obscure reason decline? Well let me share one with you that to this day, I don’t understand why I didn’t jump on it sooner. A friend of mine, Vycki, invited me back when I was living in Windsor to join her and another girl to fly to New Orleans during Mardi Gras. I don’t remember why but I didn’t go and still regret it each time I see or hear something about New Orleans.

To ease my sorrow, I decided a few years later to make something Creole, something that is a New Orleans staple; jambalaya. Unfortunately I wasn’t totally making it from scratch and was buying the “prepared jambalaya rice mix”. C’mon that was way back then!

Since becoming better at making dishes without using “prepared” foods, today I am sharing with you my Chicken Ham Sausage Jambalaya. It is simple to make and also a good way to use up some of your leftovers. You can change your choice of proteins but the combination of these three is just fabulous. Try it, I’m sure you’ll love it!
Bon Appétit!

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Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Creton Maison

I’m originally from Montréal and as a young woman I moved to Toronto and spent the biggest part of my life living there. Every time I went back to Québec visiting family and friends, I wanted to satisfy some of my food cravings…let me explain.

The Province of Québec is mostly French speaking and the culture is quite different from the rest of the country which is English. When it comes to food, Québécois cuisine is noticeably distinct from other provinces, although the differences today seem much less apparent than they were in the 80’s.

Back to my cravings…when planning a trip to Montréal, I usually had a list of food that I was looking forward to enjoying again. Life was busy and I couldn’t go back to Montréal for several years and this gave me the idea that I should start making my own Québécois cuisine.
Now that I live on the West Coast, I’m glad I took the initiative of making the favorite dishes that I grew up with and can enjoy whenever I have the craving.

What I am sharing with you today is Creton which is a typical Québécois dish served mostly for breakfast. It’s a meat-spread/pâté people spread on toast, croissants or bagels with yellow mustard. It is obviously not your typical toast and jam fare and definitely a different way to enjoy the first meal of the day. You can also enjoy it for lunch between slices of bread, pita or tortillas with tomatoes, lettuce and of course yellow mustard.

It’s definitely cheaper to make this at home than to fly to Montréal or Québec City and enjoy it at a local restaurant. I hope you give this Québécois breakfast classic a try soon.
Bon Appétit!


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Thursday, 15 September 2016

German Red Cabbage

I have to admit, I really enjoy creating new recipes and taste experiences. It is also more enjoyable when my partner participates along with my “experimentation”. But what about when the roles are reversed; my partner becomes the creator and I become (let’s face it) the guinea pig. Well that is exactly what happened here.

It all started because David is German and as you know, Germans love their cabbage. Me being the French lady from Québec, dislikes cabbage. You can guess this vegetable wasn’t really a staple in our kitchen until David decided to create this recipe.

The first time he made it, I remember being in the office away from the kitchen and complaining about how smelly it was! Although I was whining, he still brought a spoonful of his new creation over for me to try (perhaps it was his way to make me shut up…lol!). Surprisingly, I loved it! The combination of ingredients turns this plain vegetable into something delicious!

We now eat his amazing German Red Cabbage dish quite often. Each time he cooks it, I try not to complain (still can’t stand the smell when it starts cooking) knowing how wonderful this side dish will be. This is definitely a must try and for those of you who don’t like the smell of cabbage when it’s cooking…I hate to say it but suck it up because you’re about to experience something amazing!
Bon Appétit!


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Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Beef & Broccoli Stir Fry

September is a great month! I’ve heard it’s the best time of the year because the kids are back to school…lol! Fine so they’re are back to school and here you are again juggling with time! Between homework, hockey games, ballet rehearsals, music lessons, often it doesn’t leave you too much time to prepare a good meal.

You don’t need to have kids to be squeezed by lack of time. Commuting can takes a whole lot of time (or that) and when you get home, you just want something quick & easy to prepare. Store-bought meals, to my opinion, are very bad for you. Why feeding your body with something that can make you sick in the long run? I realize not all of us have the luxury of “time” but there are ways to have a very decent, healthy meal if you organize your schedule properly. Cutting corners to save “time” is totally acceptable.

The recipe I’m showing you in this video is my Beef & Broccoli Stir Fry. You can prep your vegetables as well as marinating your beef ahead so when you’re ready to cook, this meal will be on your dinner table in no “time. It is a flavorful dish and your family will totally enjoy it!
Bon Appétit!

 P.S. I don’t like to repeat the same words but honestly I couldn’t find anything else to describe “time”


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Thursday, 8 September 2016

Bread & Butter Pickles

Do you like gardening? If you do, you are among millions of other gardeners around the world. It is probably one of the most popular hobbies of all. I enjoy gardening and so did my parents who had a pretty decent garden. They were growing so many vegetables and at the end of summer, my mother was pickling and canning what was left in the garden.

As a child, one of my favorite condiments was “pickled cucumbers” which I found out later are called Bread & Butter Pickles. My mother was canning the cucumbers in several big jars and way before Christmas, they were all gone. These pickles were on the dinner table every night, so they disappeared quickly and never lasted in our household.

After my parents sold their house, I hadn’t had them since. A few years ago I started getting into canning/pickling so I decided to give it a try. With little experience, I made my first batch and I was pleasantly surprised with the results – they were exactly like what I remembered.

Just as a child, the Bread & Butter Pickles don’t last in our house. This is a great way to make use of your cucumbers after harvesting. If you don’t have a garden, it is still fun to make your own without the unwanted ingredients in store bought varieties added to preserve them. The process is very simple and after making the homemade healthier version of Bread & Butter Pickles, you won’t go for the store-bought ones.
Bon Appétit!


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Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Bumbleberry Pie

We are at the end of the summer and it’s time to harvest the garden. Canning, pickling, freezing fruits & vegetables for the upcoming cold season are the chores we have to do. We also make sauces, jams and pies. Did I say pies? Bakers around the world are baking their favorite pies; apple, blueberry, cherry, peach, pear, rhubarb, strawberry and so on. Sometimes though, you don’t have enough fruit to make a full pie with one kind so here’s a delicious solution…mix a few fruits together like the one I’m about to share with you.

I have one that we really enjoy and it is our Bumbleberry Pie. The combination of berries makes this pie so amazing…well you’ll just have to make it to understand. I could try to describe it but I wouldn’t do it justice as to how wonderfully flavorful this pie really is.

Last month I posted my Foolproof Pie Dough so now you can make this pie totally from scratch. I should warn you though…you’ll have to make a couple Bumbleberry Pies because they disappear so quickly, you might not even get a slice!
Bon Appétit!

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Friday, 2 September 2016

How to do Home Canning a step-by-step tutorial - TIPS & TRICKS #6

Home canning is pretty simple. Follow the steps in this video and you’ll become an expert in no time.

PROCESSING TIME: If you live at a higher altitude, the water boils at a “lower” temperature therefore the processing time has to be longer. Adjust the processing time according to your elevation.
    • 1000 to 3000 feet (306-915 meters)         = 5 minutes
    • 3000 to 6000 feet (916-1830 meters)      = 10 minutes
    • 6000 to 8ooo feet (1831-2440) meters)   = 15 minutes
    • 8000 to 10000 feet (2441-3050 meters) = 20 minutes
HEAD SPACE GUIDELINE: Depending on the food type, the head space may differ. Please refer to the guideline below.
    • Jam & Jelly —- 1/4 inch (0.5 cm)
    • Fruits & Fruit Sauces —- 1/2 inch (1 cm)
    • Tomatoes & Pickles —- 1/2 inch (1 cm)
    • Relish, Chutney & Salsa —- 1/2 inch (1 cm)
What to do when jars didn’t seal: There are two options…
  1. Place them in the refrigerator and eat within 1 to 4 weeks depending on the type of food (pickles will last longer than jams).
  2. Remove the snap lids, wipe the rim of the jars and place new lids on. Don’t forget you’ll have to boil the new lids before placing on the jars. Process again in the water bath – follow step 6 and 7 again.
MORE INFO: With low acid foods (such as Vegetables – Meat & Game – Poultry – Seafood – Stews & Soup) these must be processed in a pressure canner because it needs to reach 240ºF (116ºC) to destroy the C. botulinum spores (Clostridium botulinum).

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Caribbean Jerk BBQ Pork Chops

Living in the East, I traveled to the Caribbean a fair amount. Although pretty close to each other, the islands have their own cultural individuality and this also applies to their foods. I’m a typical tourist, but I have an adventurous side. I enjoy stepping outside of the tourist zone to get a better feel for the culture. I like to go where the locals go, shop where they shop and eat at their local restaurants/cafés/bistros and bars.

There’s a dish I went completely nuts about back then while visiting one of the islands (can’t remember which one to save my life). It was so tasty, spicy with a hint of sweetness and packed with “personality”. It was so great I went there 4 times during my stay and ordered the same dish. Years went by and I almost forget about it…until recently

I don’t mind pork chops but they definitely need help in the flavor department. A grilled pork chop with a few seasonings is okay but nothing to rave about. So here I was a couple months ago with 4 pork chops staring at me and this is when the light bulb went off. I went to the grocery store, came back, started combining ingredients and blended everything together. It was an “Oh My God” moment, 9 ½ hours later when I took my first bite. It took me right back to that local joint on that Caribbean Island. Somehow I duplicated that amazing dish I enjoyed so much back then. Savor my Caribbean Jerk BBQ Pork Chops with its tasty marinade and you’ll be hooked like me. I have to confess…I love eating pork chops now and you’ll see why I do after trying my recipe.
Bon Appétit!

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Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Steakhouse Sautéed Mushrooms

I love to go out to restaurants…. of course I have a few favorites that I like to go back to but somehow wherever I travel, it seems like one type of restaurant that’s always on my “fav” list is a good steakhouse. Doesn’t matter if I’m in Toronto, Montréal, New York, Los Angeles, Seattle or Vancouver…I always have a favorite steakhouse on my list.

As strange as it may sound, I enjoy the ambiance of a steakhouse. I love the smell, the energy and obviously the food. I also like the side dishes you mostly find at a steakhouse. Their menu has a wide selection of side dishes but one that seems more in demand than others are their famous Sautéed Mushrooms.

Each time I make these at home, it’s a homerun….everyone enjoys them! They pair so beautifully with a good steak, easy to make and are quite flavorful. At your next BBQ party, serve your guests this side dish along with a great steak and I bet they will be a hit at the BBQ.

Bon Appétit!

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Thursday, 25 August 2016

Lemon Raspberry Muffins

Who doesn’t have a sweet tooth once in a while? I sure do and I enjoy baking pies, cakes, pastries, etc. Unfortunately there’s a little problem…there’s only two of us to eat my baking unless we invite people over to help out.

What to do when I have the craving for baked goods? The answer is muffins! Yep, that’s right…muffins. They are so versatile…okay let me explain. First they are amazingly yummy. Second, you can eat them anytime of day – breakfast, lunch, mid-afternoon snack, dessert, after dinner…why not? And lastly, I can freeze some and when I have to “fix” that tooth, I take one from the freezer and reheat it in the microwave or I can just wait and thaw it out for a few hours…NOT! Lol…!

Muffins are easy to make, bake and …obviously eat! There are so many recipes for delicious muffins to choose from, it can be hard to decide what kind to make. In this video, I’ll show you how I make my Lemon Raspberry Muffins. They are moist, full of flavor and there’s just the right balance of tart and sweet to them. I have many muffins recipes and this one is in my top ten favorites. After you’ve tried them, you’ll understand what I mean.
Bon Appétit!

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Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Homemade Tzatziki Sauce

I am not a fan of GMOs’, food additives or preservatives. I try my best to make most things from scratch if I can. Not only is it much healthier to make homemade but you are also in charge of what & how much you put in your recipes. Also, c’mon…it is pretty rewarding to make your own…well it is to me.

Years ago when I was first introduced to Greek cuisine, I always ordered a menu item that came with Tzatziki Sauce. I remember my girlfriends and I making jokes about “10 things to do to Stay Single” and one of them was, of course, eating tzatziki sauce.

One day at the grocery store I was going to get a store-bought tzatziki sauce and peaked at the label. My eyes probably went twice their normal size. I couldn’t believe how much salt was in it plus all the “other ingredients” – when you try to pronounce them, you sound like you’re on some sort of medication and the mouth doesn’t move the way it should. I put it back on the shelf, went to get an English cucumber, yogurt, dill, garlic and lemon…the end of store-bought tzatziki.

This sauce is not only super easy to make but also very healthy. Yes, there’s a lot of garlic in it but if you don’t mind THE breath or if you already have enough friends, you’re good to go! Delicious, unbelievably fresh flavor, this classic Greek sauce is a winner.
Bon Appétit!


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Thursday, 18 August 2016

Chicken Gyros

Grilled chicken breasts on the BBQ are quite popular during the summer. Although it’s great to baste them with some BBQ sauce and eat them as is with veggies and a salad, there are many other ways you can serve a grilled chicken breast.

Last month I showed you a video on my Chicken Sub. I mentioned to you that when the mercury on the thermometer rises, I feel lazy, don’t really want to cook and have absolutely no problem eating a “sandwich” for dinner.

A sandwich that is so easy to make and you won’t have to go to a Greek restaurant to enjoy, is Chicken Gyros. A snap to make and totally delicious, this dish is the perfect dish to break the “chicken breast” routine. Next week, I’ll be sharing with you my Homemade Tzatziki Sauce so there is nothing stopping you from making this tasty sandwich.

Also in this video, I’ll show you how to wrap it just like the professional gyro makers so you can look like a pro yourself in front of your family and friends.
Bon Appétit!

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Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Foolproof Pie Dough

Some say that if you had a bad cooking experience in the past, you likely won’t try to attempt it again. Mine was pie dough and let me explain.

In my late teens, I really enjoyed baking and overall was pretty good at it. One day I decided to make an apple pie from scratch. After a long conversation with my mother over the phone and a detailed list of ingredients and directions, I made my dough and completed the recipe with apples. As soon as the pie came out of the oven, I couldn’t resist having a slice with vanilla ice cream (didn’t make my own back then) along with cheddar cheese. Oh My! My first apple pie was perfect…well for a short period of time.

When my boyfriend back then came home, I told him how succulent the pie was. We had dinner and of course Steven couldn’t wait to enjoy my masterpiece. As much as he tried, he never was able to slice it with a knife. What he needed was a pic and a hammer! As the pie cooled off, the dough became insanely hard (probably too much flour and kneading) and a potential harmful object. That was the first and last time I made pie dough…until last year.

Gaining lots of confidence in the kitchen, I overcame my fears and tried pie dough from scratch again. Now, that was a success! Nobody had to use heavy machinery or tools (other than kitchen ones) to slice the dough even after a day sitting on the counter. Since, I’ve been making my Foolproof Pie Dough at least a dozen times and each time, it comes out light and flaky.

For those of you who have had a bad experience with pie dough and have given up making it…there’s still hope…lol! Believe me, try this recipe and your fears will disappear as mine did.
Bon Appétit!

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