Tuscan Butter Salmon

Mike says that this is the best salmon dish that he has ever eaten.  Delicious salmon with creamy, cheesy tomato and spinach.  Definitely worth trying!








4 6 oz salmon fillets

1 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes

3 cloves garlic

1/4 cup herbs (basil & parsley)

1 lemon wedge

Black pepper, freshly ground

Kosher salt

2 tablespoons olive oil, extra virgin

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese


How to Make It

In a large skillet over medium high heat, heat oil.  Season salmon all over with salt & pepper.  When oil is shimmering but not smoking add salmon skin side up and cook until deeply golden, about 6 minutes.  Flip over and cook 2 minutes more.  Transfer to a plate.

Reduce heat to medium and add butter.  When butter has melted stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add cherry tomatoes and season with salt & pepper.  Cook until tomatoes are beginning to burst and then add spinach and cook until spinach is beginning to wilt.

Stir in heavy cream, parmesan and herbs and bring mixture to a simmer.  Reduce heat to low and simmer until sauce is slightly reduced, about 3 minutes.

Return salmon back to skillet and spoon over sauce.  Simmer until salmon is cooked through, about 3 minutes more.

Garnish with more herbs and squeeze lemon on top before serving.

This recipe is from Delish and is certainly delicious!

Cooking Mixed Greens with Apples

If you’re like me you are always needing a quick healthy meal.  This is one of my go to’s that is actually more steps than a recipe.  You can use it with any tender greens.  The apples are added to give a little compliment to the greens, a little sweet.  It can be used as a greens side dish or a meal itself, maybe adding a protein in with it.








Any tender greens but my favorites this time of year are tender young collards and kales




Steps to Make It

Wash the veggies & chop into small pieces  (If young and tender small pieces are good, if thicker greens roll up like a cigar and slice into thin ribbons

Chop your apples into small chunks or thin slices

Peel your garlic clove and mince

Heat your pan to medium high heat and add your oil

When hot add your apples and stir until starting to soften

Add garlic and greens and toss until they start turning a bright green and starting to soften

Season with sea salt, Herbamare or seasoning of your choice

At this point they are ready to eat or if not tender enough for you place the lid on the skillet and let steam a few more minutes until the texture you enjoy!


Zuppa Toscano Soup



1 pound Italian Sausage

2 large russet baking potatoes, sliced in half and then in 1/4″ slices

1 large onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 cups spigariello, roughly chopped  (can also use kale, swiss chard, spinach or other greens)

48 ounces chicken broth

1 cup heavy cream

Optional additions that are tasty:  bacon pieces & cauliflower florets


How do I make it

Brown the sausage in a skillet

Add the garlic and onions and saute till tender

Add the broth and potatoes and let simmer tell potatoes are tender

Add salt & pepper to taste

Add chopped spigariello and stir.  It will wilt quickly.

Stir in heavy cream just before serving.


Starting Your Vegetable Seedlings Indoors

Why you should grow your own vegetable seedlings

When you start your own seedlings indoors there is an excitement that comes from seeing those green sprouts emerge from the soil. You are on your way to growing delicious healthy vegetables to eat, beautiful flowering plants to look at and beneficial insects and butterflies to enjoy.

You may be asking yourself why I would want to go to the trouble of starting my own seeds when I can buy plants at the local garden shop in the spring.  I think there are several good reasons to start your own seedlings.

When you start your own seed you can choose from any variety of vegetable, herbs or flower that can be grown from seed, not just the plants you find at your local garden shop.

You can control the quality and quantity. Grow as many or as few of what you need without being forced to buy in multiples or sizes that the garden shops are offering them in.

If you want organic plants your selection may be even more limited at the garden shops. Everything I will share with you in this article will be using organic methods

Depending on how many seedlings you are growing you can grow you own seedlings for much less money each year than buying them . The upfront cost for some of the equipment you will need can be spread out over many years.

Ordering seed from a catalog or online from just about anywhere in the country is easy and although there are some restrictions you can order seed from around the world. Seeds don’t weigh much and are relatively cheap to ship.






What Seeds need to grow

There are four things that seed need in the correct amounts to grow seedlings. Water, light, temperature and air supplied in the correct amounts will pave the way to a successful hardy seedling ready to plant in the garden. I have outlined seven steps below for you to follow to provide these four things in the correct amounts.

How to know when to plant your seed

Selecting your varieties to grow is the first step. I like to subscribe to several seed catalogs so I can check for new varieties to try.  Some seed catalogs have valuable information about how long it takes for seed to germinate and at what temperature. You can also look for DTM which stands for Days to Maturity. This will tell how long your seedling will take to mature or when it will be available to harvest. This is the time it spends in the garden after transplanting and not counting the time indoors at the seedling stage.

To decide when you need to plant your seeds indoors consider most seeds take about 6 to 8 weeks to reach a size that is good to be moved out to the garden. Determine the right date to plant outside in your climate and count backwards on the calendar to select the correct time to plant your seed.

Remember it is better to have short stocky plants than tall ones so don’t plant too early or your seedlings will be overgrown.

Select an organic potting soil

Select a potting soil to start your seed in. You need a seed starting mix that is fine but well drained. Many mixes are available that are a combination of peat moss, vermiculite and perlite with just a small amount of fertilizer. You can also look for a mix that meets organic standards and will have an OMRI label from the Organic Materials Review Institute. Be sure to add a little water to moisten soil before you fill your pots or seed containers. The soil should be moist to the touch but not soggy.


What type of a container should you use to grow seedlings








Select your pots and or containers to plant your seed in. You can use new or used plastic containers,  just be sure you clean the used ones so that you don’t spread any disease. Peat pots are ok as well as homemade paper pots. Just be sure that water will drain through the container you choose.

If you are growing bigger plants like Tomatoes and Peppers you may want to first plant these seed into an open seed container and then when they have four leaves developed you can transplant them into  individual pots. This extra transplanting will give you a chance to bury the stem deeper to make a shorter stockey

How To plant and sprout  seeds

If you have more seed than you need in your seed packet be selective on which seeds to plant. There can be a difference in germination and vigor so select the plump seeds with good bright color.

I plant by hand by first pouring a few seed into palm of my left hand and taking a pinch of a few seeds with my finger and thumb with my right hand. I gently roll these seeds out from between my finger and thumb one at a time the best I can. Don’t worry if you drop two seed too close together occasionally because you can thin them with a pair of scissors later when they sprout.

I like to cover my seeds very lightly with fine vermiculite but if you don’t have that you can use some of the same potting soil you planted in.

All seed have a preferred temperature to sprout at. By reading seed packets and seed catalogs you can find the best temperature to sprout your seed. Most seed will germinate covered with a little soil exposed to the light so I like to have bright lights on as soon as germination occurs so that my seedlings don’t stretch and become weak. In the winter we are usually trying to sprout seeds that need warm soil. Most seeds need temperatures anywhere from 70 to 80 degrees to germinate. When the soil temperatures are lower you might get some seeds to sprout but the time it takes the seed to sprout will be longer. I use extra heat from electric heat mats to get my seed to germinate. After they sprout the seedlings can be moved to a cooler environment of around 60 to 65 degrees to grow on until it is time to move them outside and finally to the garden. While the seeds are on the heat mat I make sure they are well watered and stay moist. A cover over the seed like a plastic dome or inside a food container with a clear lid works good to keep a warm humid environment while the seed is sprouting. After I see the first two leaves unfold I remove the cover and move them to a slightly cooler environment.

Important information to grow your seedlings






Strong Light and Good Air Circulation

Very few gardeners will have enough light to grow seedling in their house. There is just not enough light coming through a window to keep the plants from stretching and getting weak. Artificial light hanging 3 to 4 inches above your plants will provide enough light. Grow lights work great but I have had good success with fluorescent and the newer LED lights. The key is to keep your seedlings directly under and close to the light. Putting your lights on timers and keeping them on 16 hours a day works best.

Good air circulation around your seedlings will help keep the leaves dry and discourage disease. Just placing a fan in the room can help. After the seedlings are up with 4 to 6 leaves a gentle wind that moves the leaves slightly will make the seedlings stronger.

Be sure to keep a close eye on your seedlings every day because they can dry out quickly and wilting will reduce the quality if not kill them. You can water with a mister bottle or when they need a little more you can use a water bottle to soak the soil good if you find they are drying out often.

Don’t worry about adding extra fertilizer in the beginning. Most seedling soil mixes will have a small amount. After the 4th or 5th week you can apply a quarter to half strength of a liquid organic fertilizer like fish emulsion. At this point temperatures need to stay at least above 50 degrees F and 65 degrees F would be optimum.

Continue with strong light 16 hours a day and good air circulation. Check on your new seedlings at least once or twice daily.

What you should do to your seedlings just before you plant them in the garden







Hardening Off

Before you take your seedlings out to be planted in the garden it is good to give them a few days to a week to adjust to the real world outside. As the weather permits move your seedlings outside to a place that is partly shaded from the sun and wind. As they get adjusted you can move them into more sunlight after a day or two until they can take the full sun all day just as they will be in the garden. You may have to do a lot of moving of the plants at this point because you don’t want to leave them out on a night that is below 40 degrees F.  Having your pots in a tray will make this job easier.

After 6 to 8 weeks they should be rooted completely throughout the container you have them in and the plants should be thick and stocky. You can always grow them in the pot for another week or two if needed but better to not let them get overgrown and flopped over.  It’s time now to put your strong, healthy plants into the garden.


Baked Sweet Potato Chips

IMG_20171129_073428116Sweet Potatoes, yummy! Baked, casseroles, potato chips, you name it they are good and good for you.  Sweet Potatoes have a lower glycemic index than your usual white potatoes meaning that they don’t raise your blood sugar as fast.  Just another reason to add more sweet potatoes to your diet!  The purple sweet potatoes add even more appeal.  They are not quite as sweet and a little more starchy making great chips.


2-3 medium sized sweet potatoes

Coconut oil or oil of your choice

Sea salt

How do I make them:

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F.

Scrub your potatoes and cut off the ends and any blemishes

Slice your potatoes super thin, using a mandolin works great or just a sharp knife

It is important to keep your slices as uniform as possible so that they cook evenly

Toss the potatoes in a small amount of oil (you want them glossy but not dripping with oil) or if you prefer spray with a cooking spray

Spread out on a baking sheet making sure they aren’t touching

Sprinkle lightly with salt

Bake in a 325 degree preheated oven

Bake 15-20 minutes until starting to crisp

Remove as soon as you see any browning starting

Watch carefully toward the end of cooking time to be sure they don’t burn.



Beef Roast with Carrots & Fingerling Sweet Potatoes

The sweet aroma of dinner in the crockpot welcoming you home when you walk in the door is a sweet aroma indeed.  If you didn’t get dinner on cooking before leaving for your days activities don’t be disheartened the instant pot can still help you get it on the table in a bit.






The following recipe can be used in the crockpot or instant pot.



A 2-4 pound beef roast, needs to be a size that will fit the crockpot or instant pot, whichever you are using

1 1/2 cup beef or vegetable broth

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 pound carrots, cut into thick chunks

3/4 – 1 pound of fingerling sweet potatoes

Salt & pepper to taste

Fresh thyme

How to Make It

In the Crockpot

In a skillet add the oil and heat till sizzling.  Add the roast and sear it on all sides.

Add the broth to the pan to deglaze and add the drippings to the crockpot.

Add the roast, veggies and seasoning and cook on low for 8 hours.

Serve with fresh thyme sprinkled over the dish


In the Instant Pot

In the instant pot add the oil and press the saute function.  When the pot reads hot add the roast searing it on all sides.

Deglaze the instant pot with the broth.

Cancel the saute function and close the instant pot lid.

Press Pressure for 40-50 minutes depending on how thick the roast is.

When cook time is up open the lid using the Quick Pressure Release.

Add the potatoes and carrots.

Close the lid and set the pressure cooking time for 10 minutes.

When time is up open the lid using the Quick Pressure Release.

If you would like a sauce remove the vegetables and roast and add 1 cup red wine and 4 tablespoons butter to the instant pot.

Using the saute function reduce the liquid to about half.

Drizzle over the roast and veggies.

Sprinkle with fresh thyme.