Lemon & Dill Tuna Salad

Protein packed, simple and delicious –this is a healthier twist on the classic tuna salad recipe. All the flavor you crave but without as many calories.

I love making salads. But not just traditional green salads, but rather salads that I can make ahead of time, pop them in the fridge and that last for several days. They are also perfect for if you work late or need a quick lunch to bring to work because they are available when you need them.

This recipe, is a creation that I made for this purpose. To make sure that we have a healthy and delicious meal on hand in a pinch, whether it be for a packed lunch or a dinner meal. It’s simple, quick and easy.

Here’s the recipe:

Lemon & Dill Tuna Salad

  • 1 c light tuna (in water, drained & rinsed)
  • 2 T fresh dill (chopped)
  • 3 scallions (chopped)
  • 1/2 lemon(juiced)
  • 2 T olive oil
  • salt & pepper (to taste)

Preparation:

Drain and rinse the tuna and place it in a bowl.

Add the chopped dill and scallions.

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Drizzle over the lemon juice and olive oil.

Season with salt and pepper and stir well.

Serve & Enjoy!

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Guten Appetit!

Rivulets

via Daily Prompt: Rivulet

Rivulets

by EE Winkler

eberhard-grossgasteiger-398985-unsplash
Photo by eberhard grossgasteiger on Unsplash

I was walking in darkness I could not see

until I was awakened to His truth about what He has done for me

It was a day that I won’t forget

He was knocking on my heart and I let Him in

He poured out His love like rivulets

and he paid a price that I won’t forget

now I am alive because His spirit lives in me

set free from my bondage now I am free

Within His kingdom there is a place

for anyone and everyone that will profess His name

not as slaves but as children to the Father’s love

a love greater than any other I cannot completely fathom

He poured out His love like rivulets

and he paid a price that I won’t forget

now I am alive because His spirit lives in me

set free from my bondage now I am free

Grace, grace is what He gave

paid by the His body broken and blood poured out to save

Love, love is found in His name

purer than any other all for love to this earth He came

He poured out His love like rivulets

and he paid a price that I won’t forget

now I am alive because His spirit lives in me

set free from my bondage now I am free

©All Rights Reserved

Turkish Style Hummus

Traditional cuisine meets modern with this Mediterranean classic! 

What I appreciate about hummus is that it is just so simple. All you need is a few minimal ingredients and then you have something really special. The tahini is an absolute must! A paste made from ground sesame seeds, tahini compliments the flavor of the chickpeas and creates layers of flavor within the hummus.

Here’s the recipe:

(Hint: you’ll need a good food processor or blender for this recipe)

  • 2/3 c dried chickpeas
  • 1/3 c tahini
  • 3 garlic cloves (crushed)
  • 2 lemons (juiced)
  • 2 TBSP pine nuts
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 TBSP butter
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • salt & pepper (to taste)

Preparation:

Soak the chickpeas overnight in water. Drain, rinse and boil for 2 hours (until the chickpeas are tender).

Drain, rinse and remove the skin from the chickpeas (Note: this is not a necessary step but it creates a smoother hummus).

Pour the chickpeas into a food processor. Add the tahini, crushed garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper and the lemon juice. Blend until smooth, stopping the food processor from time to time in order to stir and scrape down the sides.

Once the hummus is smooth, pour onto a platter.

In a small frying pan, toast the pine nuts for 1 minute and then add the butter and melt. Remove from the heat and pour over the hummus.

Serve & Enjoy!

Afiyet Olsun!

This recipe is from the culinary classes at the Gaziantep Mutfak Sanatları Eğitim Merkezi. For more information or to take a class, visit their website

Fresh Mint Lemondade (All Natural, Healthy & Kid-Friendly)

Refreshing, cool & so good! This mint lemonade is a twist on a classic recipe. Full of fresh chopped mint it is a cool delightful beverage for any day of the week.

As a kid, summertime always meant Mom’s Lemonade. Homemade with simply lemons, water and sugar and with the perfect ratio of all ingredients to make it not too sweet and not too sour.

This recipe adds some fresh mint to the mix. The mint adds just a subtle layer of flavor and it pairs so lovely with the lemons.

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Here’s the recipe:

Fresh Mint Lemonade

  • 5-6 lemons (juiced)
  • 1/2 c fresh mint (finely chopped)
  • 1.5 c white sugar
  • 1.5 L water

Preparation:

Juice the lemons and pour the juice into a measuring cup.

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Add the sugar to the lemon juice and stir vigorously to make a “lemony slurry.”

Pour the lemon and sugar mixture into a pitcher of water (half filled).

Finely chop the fresh mint.

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Stir well with a wooden spoon and then add the remaining water to fill the pitcher.

Add the fresh chopped mint on top and stir again.

Garnish with a few lemon slices.

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Serve & Enjoy!

 

Red Lentil Soup (Eksili Malhita Çorbasi)

A creamy lentil soup, blended to perfection and topped with mint, it’s so delicious and satisfying without feeling overly full.
The best part of this recipe is that it’s a one pot recipe and the lentils are the star of the show. You literally place the lentils and rice in a large stock pot and simmer them until they are tender and then let an immersion blender do the rest of the hard work.
It’s a classic Turkish soup that’s delightful to compliment any meal or even serve as a meal itself with a fresh garden salad.
Here’s the recipe:
Red Lentil Soup (Eksili Malhita Çorbasi)
  • 2.5 c red lentils
  • 1 c rice
  • 2 T tomato paste
  • 2 T butter
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 T mint
  • 2 T red pepper flakes
  • Salt & pepper (to taste)
Preparation:
In a large stock pot, simmer the lentils, rice and garlic in 2 liters of salted water or broth.
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Once the lentils are tender, use an immersion blender to blend them until they are smooth.
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Then add the tomato paste and lemon juice. Stir well and simmer for another 5-10 minutes.
In a separate frying pan melt the butter and olive oil. Once it is simmering, add the mint and red pepper flakes. Then pour it into the soup and stir.
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Serve & Enjoy!
Afiyet Olsun!

Stovetop Homemade Macaroni & Cheese

Creamy, comforting and delicious homemade macaroni and cheese! Comfort food at its finest and a throwback to childhood.

Macaroni and cheese in my household was an art. In fact, I never knew about the box version until I went to my best friend’s house at the age of 5. Her mom was making a the box version of Macaroni and Cheese and our conversation went a little something like this:

“What are you making?” I asked.

“Macaroni and cheese,” replied my friend’s mom.

“But you’re making it from a box and on the stove. That’s not how you make it,” I replied.

“It’s how you make it at our house,” replied my friend’s mom.

Kudos to my friend’s mom for giving a sassy answer to my sassy question, lol! But seriously, the way I learned to make macaroni and cheese always involved an oven. It was BAKED macaroni and cheese the Southern way (if ya’ll know what I mean).

Anyway, although there is NOTHING quite like my mom’s baked macaroni and cheese (passed down from Grandma’s recipe, hello!), my version of a stove top homemade mac and cheese is a close second for me. Plus… it’s really quick and simple to prepare so that’s a bonus. Especially since this recipe was curated from my old NYC apartment when I was super hungry and in need of some comfort food. Just a few basics and voila, deliciousness! (Is deliciousness a word? Hmmm, I don’t know but you know what I’m saying).

Here’s the recipe, it’s love at first bite (seriously, it’s legit!)

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Stovetop Homemade Macaroni & Cheese

  • 1.5 c dry macaroni (pre-boiled)
  • Bechamel sauce (per my recipe–find it here)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1.5 c cheese (your favorite of course –cheddar, provolone, mozzarella or even all 3! Let’s get crazy, lol!)
  • salt & pepper (to taste)

Preparation:

Follow the instructions for the Bechamel Sauce Recipe.

Bechamel STEP 7 Final Whisk

Then add 1 cup of milk to the bechamel sauce and bring back to a simmer.

Reduce the heat and stir in the cheese and keep stirring until it’s melted. Then add the cooked macaroni and stir thoroughly until it is well coated with the cheese sauce.

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Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper (as needed).

Serve and Enjoy!

Mmmmmm….

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Authentic You (an inspirational & motivational poem)

via Daily Prompt: Authentic

Authentic You

by EE Winkler

There is only one authentic you

not another one could do what you do

uniquely created by God’s loving hands

whose good thoughts about you outnumber the sand

There is only one authentic you

shaped and molded for good things to do

with a plan and purpose for your life

you can live at peace knowing God is right by your side

There is only one authentic you

perhaps you need to see yourself from another view

stop focusing on all the negativity

but see your potential and the possibilities

There is only one authentic you

beautiful, brilliant and accepted too

you will never be able to measure the depth of how you’re loved

with a love so deep that a billion words would never be enough

to describe the magnitude of His love for you

it would make you love yourself  and your neighbor too

There is only one authentic you

oh the peace if you only knew

that there has never been and never will be

another person just like you or me

you might find a twin

or have familiar looking kin

but none of this will change what’s true

that there is still only one authentic you.

©All Rights Reserved

 

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Mini Meatballs in a Garlic Yogurt Sauce (Cacikli Arap Köfte)

      Delicious mini meatballs made of ground beef and bulgur nestled in cacikli a thick yogurt sauce with parsley, garlic and spices. 

Here’s the recipe:

Mini Meatballs in a Garlic Yogurt Sauce (Cacikli Arap Köfte)

  • 4 c thick yogurt
  • 2 bunches of parsley (finely diced)
  • 10 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 10 oz ground beef
  • 3 c finely ground bulgur (simit bulgur)
  • 2 onions (finely diced)
  • 1 lemon (juiced)
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 2 TBSP butter
  • 1 TBSP red pepper flakes
  • Salt & pepper (to taste)

    Preparation:

    In a large, shallow bowl knead together the beef, bukgur, onions, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Knead for approximately 10 minutes.

    Then roll the meat into balls (about twice as big as a chickpea).
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    Place the mini meatballs in a steamer (or a collander that rests in a pot with a little water underneath and cover with a lid). Steam for about 10 minutes.
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    In a frying pan melt the butter and add the olive oil. Heat until hot and then add the meatballs. Sauté until lightly browned.
    To make the cacikli:
    Meanwhile, place the yogurt in a bowl and whisk it until smooth.
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    Chop the parsley and mince the garlic and add them to the yogurt.
    Squeeze in the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Stir until well combined.
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    To serve:
    Plate the cacikli on a platter. Then top with the meatballs.
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    Enjoy

How to Make a Bechamel Sauce

Creamy and silky smooth, a delicious bechamel sauce is the perfect base to many culinary creations, especially a really quick and yummy stove top macaroni and cheese.

Bechamel Sauce. From the moment I heard the name of this sauce as a kid, it sounded so fancy. It was something that I saw French chefs talking about on television.

But when I finally made bechamel sauce myself, I was relieved to discover that I already knew how to make it. If you can make gravy, then you can make bechamel sauce and as a kid I learned early on from my mom who to make a really good, yet quick gravy.

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So here’s the recipe:

Bechamel Sauce

  • 3 T butter
  • 2 T all purpose flour
  • 2-3 cups of milk
  • salt & pepper (to taste)

Preparation:

Melt the butter in a small sauce pan.

Bechamel STEP 1 Melted Butter

Then sprinkle the flour on top and whisk thoroughly. Keep whisking until the mixture is smooth and lightly toasted (Note: it will become a little fragrant and you will smell especially the butter).

Bechamel STEP 2 Flour

Bechamel STEP 3 Whisk

Then slowly add in the milk as you keep whisking until the mixture becomes smooth.

Bechamel STEP 5 Add Milk

Bechamel STEP 6 Whisk Milk

Bring back up to a light boil, whisking frequently, until it is thickened.

Bechamel STEP 7 Final Whisk

Then immediately remove from the heat, unless you’re making Stovetop Macaroni & Cheese, then you’ll want to keep it on the heat but reduce it considerably.

Enjoy!

Homemade Baked Pita Chips

Crunchy, flavorful and so good. These homemade pita chips are super simple and super delicious.

I love pita bread but sometimes I find it difficult to consume it all before it spoils. So, these pita chips are the perfect solution. Once they are baked I toss them in a sealed plastic bag and they stay fresh (although most times they don’t last for more than a few days).

Plus, these pita chips are super affordable. For the price of one bag of chips I can make at least 3 bags. Another bonus, no artificial ingredients. When you make your food at home, you get to decide what goes in and what stays out.

Here’s the recipe:

Homemade Baked Pita Chips

  • 8 pieces of pita bread
  • 4 T olive oil
  • salt (to taste)

Preparation:

Preheat your oven to 375 F (approx. 160 C) & line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

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Cut the pita bread into triangle pieces (or whatever shape you like. You can be creative here because they will taste great regardless of their shape).

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Divide the two layers of the pita bread to create single layer thin chips.\

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Place a handful of the pre-baked pita chips on the baking sheet.

Drizzle with half a tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with salt.

Toss until well combined and spread out to form an even layer.

Bake for 7-8 minutes (may vary depending on your oven).

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Place on a serving platter & enjoy!

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Guten Appetit!

Parallel Lives

via Daily Prompt: Parallel

 

Parallel Lives

by EE Winkler

javier-graterol-16314-unsplash
Photo by Javier Graterol on Unsplash

We were walking parallel lives

but from two different parts of the globe in time

each traveling round on roads unknown

to learn about life outside of our home

while others around us stayed in their comfort zone

we destined out to unafraid and alone

We were walking parallel lives

each within the same lifetime

yet with all of the places that we trekked

we still somehow never met

we were both being shaped and prepared

for one another and the love we’d share

like a harvest there would come a time

when the fruit would finally appear on the vine

We were walking parallel lives

until suddenly our worlds collide

some might describe it as a cute first meet

while others say it was simply meant to be

you reached out your hand and I reached out mine

two parallel lines became one life

with all the years I waited for you

in a moment a thousand prayers came true.

©All Rights Reserved

 

Dolangel (Flakey Pastry with Pistachios & Cream)

Flakey, crisp and just sweet enough –dolangel is a must try Turkish dessert! If you like Turkish baklava, then you’ll love this dessert!

It’s the type of dessert that when you take a bite, the flakey pastry bursts in your mouth. Crispy and so light, it’s so delicious.

The yufka (a dough similar to phyllo dough or puff pastry) is what gives it that delicious flaky texture.

Here’s the recipe:

  • 1 package of yufka (approximately 6 sheets)
  • 3 1/4 c chopped pistachios
  • 3 c sugar
  • 1 L water
  • 1 L milk
  • 1/2 c semolina
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1 3/4 c sunflower oil

Preparation:

Combine the semolina and the milk to form a thick paste. Scoop into a pastry bag and set aside.

To prepare the simple syrup: combine the sugar, water and lemon in a saucepan. Simmer over medium heat until it forms a light syrup. Set aside.

Take 1 piece of yufka. Fold it over to reveal a top, bottom and a double layer in the middle.

Using the pastry bag, pipe about 1-2 TBSP of the creamy milk mixture.

 

Then cover it with 1 TBSP of the chopped pistachios.

Then drizzle over 1 TBSP of oil.

Fold over the top and the bottom. Then twisting the edges, gently shape into a roll and place on the baking sheet. Drizzle with another tablespoon of oil.

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Continue until all of the dough or materials are used.

Place the dolangel in the oven to bake for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown.

Top with the sugar water, serve and enjoy!

Afiyet Olsun!

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Daily Prompt: Fret

via Daily Prompt: Fret

Why Fret?

by EE Winkler

nikhil-mitra-510780-unsplash
Photo by Nikhil Mitra on Unsplash

Why fret and worry your life away?

when one worry will not gain you an extra day

we only must live this life to the full

and make the most of every moment to do good

Why fret and worry your life away?

it does no good to get so carried away

on the things that are beyond our control

we can only have faith and trust as they unfold

Why fret and worry your life away

there’s more to this life than words can convey

have you ever seen a bird worry with a furrowed brow?

searching for food and hoping to build it’s house?

Does a bird have more faith then you?

To believe that God will provide it with food

Why fret and worry your life away

you are treasured and loved just as you are today

simply have faith and believe

that the God unseen will provide your every need.

©All Rights Reserved

 

Homemade Mashed Potatoes

Creamy, smooth and so delicious — there’s nothing like mashed potatoes made from scratch!

Mashed potatoes is one of the most quintessential foods of my childhood. Thankfully, in my house it was not just reserved for holidays but also for Sunday suppers or even for weekday dining. I learned how to prepare mashed potatoes through watching my mom. She doesn’t have a recipe but rather she simply knows when it’s right, and it always is. Thanks mom for teaching me how to make mashed potatoes and many other dishes.

Here’s the recipe:

Homemade Mashed Potatoes

  • 2-3 large potatoes
  • 1 c milk
  • 3-4 TBSP butter
  • salt & pepper (to taste)

Preparation:

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add salt (to taste).

Peel the potatoes and chop them into even size pieces.

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Rinse the potatoes and then add them to the pot of boiling water.

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While the potatoes are boiling: add the milk and 3 tablespoons of butter to a small sauce pot and cook until just warmed through but not boiling.

Cook them until they are fork tender and then drain and rinse the potatoes.

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Place the drained potatoes in a large bowl or back in the pot and set aside.

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Pour the milk and butter mixture over the potatoes, half at a time, and mash with a whisk, a masher, or even a fork. (Note: I like my mashed potatoes a bit chunky but if you don’t then you can mix them together in a hand mixture or stand mixture).

Once the potatoes are fully mashed, pour them into a bowl. Top with a tablespoon of butter right in the middle.

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Serve and Enjoy!

 

Daily Prompt: Song

via Daily Prompt: Song

A Song for You

by EE Winkler

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Photo by Sergei Akulich on Unsplash

She wakes up in the morning

tosses and turns while she rubs her eyes

The sun is shining on her face

through the window pane so bright

There’s no telling what this day will bring

but she awakes with a smile in the presence of her King

And she sings…

“I wanna sing a song for you

I wanna make every line a melody so true

I wanna sing a song for you

cuz you gave me this voice and singing is what I do

oh, ohhhh, a song for you”

With a few steps out of bed she pours a cup of ‘Joe

and gets herself dressed from head to toe

With one last glance in the mirror she heads out the door

“here we go,” she says with a smile and on her way she goes

She stares up at the pale blue sky

and whispers, “if you’re listening I hope this one makes you smile,”

“I wanna sing a song for you

I wanna make every line a melody so true

I wanna sing a song for you

cuz you gave me this voice and singing is what I do

oh, ohhhh, a song for you”

She never would have guessed it that this very day

would be the last one of this earth before her heart gave way

A sudden accident and in an instant she was lifeless and cold

but when she opened her eyes again, her King, she could behold.

And she smiled said…

I wanna sing a song for you

I wanna make every line a melody so true

I wanna sing a song for you

cuz you gave me this voice and singing is what I do

oh, ohhhh, a song for you

©All Rights Reserved

 

Red Lentil Meatless Meatballs (Malhitali Köfte)

A tender, delicious, savory, meat-less version of a meatball backed with bulgur, lentils and veggies.

     Yet again, this is another great köfte (Turkish for “meatball”) recipe. Instead of meat, it’s packed full of bulgur, red lentils, vegetables and spices. They are a flavorful addition to your menu for vegetarians and meat-eaters alike.

Here’s the recipe:

(Lentil Meatless Meatballs) Malhitali Köfte

  • 14 oz red lentils
  • 12 oz fine bulgur
  • 2 onions (diced)
  • 5 scallions (diced)
  • 5 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 2 bunches of parsley (finely chopped)
  • 2 TBSP butter
  • 1 1/4 c olive oil
  • 3/4 c tomato paste
  • 1 TBSP red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • salt & pepper (to taste)

Preparation:

Place the lentils in a large stock pot with water and salt. Simmer the lentils for 10-15 minutes or until they are tender. 

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Stir in the bulgur, tomato paste, red pepper flakes, cumin, salt and pepper and continue to cook until the bulgur is done (adding a little more water if needed, but the mixture will be very thick).

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In a small frying pan add the butter and olive oil. Once they are hot, add the onions and fry until they are tender. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes. 

Transfer the lentils and bulgur mixture to a large shallow bowl. Then add the onions and stir well.

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Transfer to a clean work space and knead the mixture until it’s well combined.

Then add the scallions and parsley and continue kneading for 2-3 minutes.

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Then take gold ball size pieces in your hand and roll into an oval shape. Then using your fingers, shape it to resemble a piece of dough with an imprint of your fingers on one side. NOTE: This is a special technique that takes some practice. Alternatively, you can just roll it into the oval shape.

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Serve and enjoy!

Afiyet Olsun!

DIY Self-Rising Flour

Don’t forsake your favorite recipe that requires self rising flour, thanks to this simple DIY recipe to make self rising flour in a flash!

Growing up, my mom always had two containers of flour. On one container she labeled it “All Purpose Flour” and on the other she labeled it “Self Rising Flour.” I noticed that there was always less self rising flour than all purpose flour and the main reason for this was simply because she used the self rising flour a lot more. Quite frankly, when she took out the self rising flour, I knew she was going to be making something I loved (e.g. cakes, pumpkin bread, biscuits, etc.)

Living abroad, is always a good reminder for me that it’s important to know how to make self rising flour. So, thus this recipe. It really is quite essential; not only if you can’t find it at your local grocery store but also for the simple reason that if you run out, you do’t have to run to the store right that moment in order to finish off the recipe.

Here’s the long and short of it (“The Recipe):

Self Rising Flour

  • 1 c all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Preparation: 

Place all of the ingredients in a bowl, stir, and add to your favorite recipe.

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Note: If you need multiple cups of self rising flour, you can multiply this recipe based on your baking needs.

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So simple.

I love it.

Enjoy!

Guten Appetit!

Glimmer – Daily Prompt

Glimmer

Glimmer

by EE Winkler

yaoqi-lai-227961-unsplash
Photo by Yaoqi LAI on Unsplash

Watch it glimmer, watch it glow

a single flame that lights our way home

just a small flicker, a gentle light

that takes us onward through the night

Watch it glimmer watch it glow

we only see a little but still we know

there’s a purpose behind this journey we take

and very soon we will see more of the way

Watch it glimmer, watch it glow

our story still continues to unfold

the flame dances as the wind blows strong

we walk slow and steady and carry on

the night is dark but our flame glows bright

keeping us with our vision and our sight

Watch it glimmer, watch it glow

just a little longer, we’re almost home

we press on though weary and tired

we know this journey will be worth it when we arrive

Watch it glimmer, watch it glow

this single flame it seems to know

that there’s a reason why we’re rushing home through the night

someone awaits for us to behold Him with our eyes

©All Rights Reserved

 

 

Daily Prompt: Disrupt

via Daily Prompt: Disrupt 

A Sleeping Lion

by EE Winkler

johanneke-kroesbergen-kamps-190783-unsplash
Photo by Johanneke Kroesbergen-Kamps on Unsplash

Shh…be very quiet

whisper, don’t shout

there’s a sleeping lion we don’t want to disrupt

he’s stretched out reclined in his den

but with one shout you’ll find him awake again

his eyes will open slowly like a shade

to reveal his large golden eyes glistening beneath his mane

Shhh…be very quiet

whisper, don’t shout

there’s a sleeping lion we don’t want to disrupt

although he might look like a cuddly friend

he’s the king of the jungle and he’ll make sure you know it

with a single pounce he can jump over 10 feet

and there before our eyes the lion will be

our feet are not fast enough to outrun his

and if it was a race, well the lion would win

Shhh…be very quiet

whisper, don’t shout

there’s a sleeping lion we don’t want to disrupt

all around him his pride is sleeping

but with his orders you’ll find them creeping

seeking a prey for their dinner to be

when the lion awakes he’ll be alert and hungry

Shhh…be very quiet

whisper, don’t shout

there’s a sleeping lion we don’t want to disrupt

©All Rights Reserved

Peynirli Künefe

A sweet delicious dessert packed with sweet cheese, pistachios and a crunchy base and top layer! A Mediterranean classic dessert.

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Okay so I’ll admit that way before I started learning about Mediterranean cooking, the idea of cheese in a dessert (besides marscapone) didn’t sound so appetizing to me. It wasn’t until a friend took us out for a couple of rounds of künefe, that I finally wised up to discover just how delicious this combination is.

The cheese that used, is not salty and savory like what you use in pizza or pasta. It’s thick like ricotta in some variations while in others it has the flavor of ricotta with the texture of mozzerella.

Filled generously with pistachios and covered with a sugar syrup it’s actually not too sweet. It’s hits the palate as a perfectly balanced dessert.

At my favorite künefe place, they serve it with clotted cream, fresh fruit and shot glasses of milk. It’s a beautiful thing and worth experiencing at least once in your life. But once you try it, once will never be enough.

Although making künefe is an art, it is possible to make it at home. The biggest challenge may be acquiring the ingredients but once you’ve jumped over that hurdle then the rest will seem like a breeze.

Here’s the recipe:

  • 6 c kadayıf (made from shredded yufka or phyllo dough. NOTE: buy pre-prepared)
  • 2 c sugar water (equal parts sugar and water, simmered on low heat to form a thick syrup)
  • 2 c unsalted pistachios (shelled & chopped)
  • 3 c Urfa peynir (substitute a moist, crumbly ricotta cheese)
  • 2 TBSP oil
  • 4 TBSP butter (for greasing the pans)

Preparation:

Grease two 12 inch round shallow pans with 2 TBSP of butter each.

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Fill one of the pans with 3 cups of the kadayif. Press down gently.

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Sprinkle the chopped pistachios evenly over the kadayif.

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Then evenly crumble the cheese on top of the pistachios.

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Cover with the remaining 3 cups of kadayif and press down gently.

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Then drizzle the oil on top.

Cook the künefe over an open flame until it is light brown on the bottom. Remove the künefe from the heat. Using the other pan, cover the künefe and flip into the other pan so that the browned side is facing up.

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Cook until the other side is light brown. Pour over the sugar water and let simmer for a few seconds. Then remove the pan from the heat.

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Serve & enjoy warm with some clotted cream.

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Afiyet Olsun!

Gavurdağı Salad (A Traditional Turkish Salad)

A fresh & delicious Turkish salad with the perfect balance of savory and sweet with an olive oil and pomegranate molasses dressing.

      This salad was love at first bite. One of the beautiful things about Turkish food is the vibrant and fresh ingredients that are used in every facet of traditional cooking.

This salad is so fresh, flavorful and delicious. Frequently it is served as an appetizer or to compliment a main dish but I eat it as a main dish because I love it so much.

I hope you enjoy this recipe and discover for yourself why it is a favorite of mine.

Here’s the recipe:

Gavurdağı Salad

  • 1 large tomato (diced)
  • 1 large cucumber (diced)
  • 1 sweet red pepper (diced)
  • 1 bunch of parsley (finely chopped)
  • 10 walnuts (finely chopped)
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 T pomegranate molasses*
  • salt & pepper (to taste)

Preparation:

Combine all of the vegetables together in a bowl.

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Drizzle over the olive oil and pomegranate molasses.

Season with salt and pepper and add half of the chopped walnuts.

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Toss the salad thoroughly.

Garnish with the remaining chopped walnuts.

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Serve & Enjoy!

*Searching for Pomegranate Molasses??? If you can’t find it at your local market, then you can either make your own (just combine pomegranate juice and sugar in a 2 to 1 ratio) or substitute a fruity vinaigrette. But pomegranate molasses is so, so good! One taste and your salads will never be the same without it. Trust me 😉

Ali Nazik (Roasted Eggplant topped w/ Seasoned Ground Beef)

A creamy, savory and flavorful entree, Ali Nazik is light and delicious. A traditional Turkish dish, it tastes and looks like a work of art.

I have tried many variations of Ali Nazik and I must admit that they were all good in their own unique way. I’ve even created my own recipe for Ali Nazik because I find it to be such a beautiful dish.

Through my Turkish cooking course, I have learned one of several ways to make Ali Naziik. This one is delicious because the ground beef is savory and rich and complimented by the eggplant and yogurt.

Here’s the recipe:

  • 2 lbs eggplant (the long, thin variety)
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 medium-sized red pepper (sweet or bell diced)
  • 1 medium-sized green pepper (sweet or bell diced)
  • 2 small tomatoes (peeled, de-seeded and diced)
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 TBSP sunflower oil (or any plain oil)
  • 1 TBSP tomato paste
  • 1 lemon (juiced)
  • 4 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 16 oz suzme yogurt (or any thick yogurt)
  • salt & pepper (to taste)

Preparation:

Preheat the oven for 375F.

Place the eggplant on a baking sheet and roast for 45-60 minutes, or until the eggplant is tender.

Peel the eggplant and dice into small pieces.

In a large bowl, whisk the yogurt until it is smooth.

Using a mortar & pestel (or finely mincing it with a knife) crush the garlic cloves.

Add the garlic to the yogurt and stir until well combined.

Season with salt and pepper (to taste) and squeeze in the lemon juice.

Stir in the eggplant and set aside.

Peel the tomatoes.

Dice the peppers and tomatoes.

In a small frying pan sauté the ground beef until browned.

Add the olive oil and sunflower oil and continue to cook the beef.

Add the diced red and green peppers and cook until tender.

Then add the peeled and chopped tomatoes, tomato paste and season with salt and pepper (to taste). Sauté everything together for another 5 minutes.

Slightly warm the eggplant and yogurt mixture and then pour it onto a large platter.

Pour the beef mixture over the center of the eggplant and yogurt.

Serve and enjoy.

Afiyet Olsun!

 

Daily Prompt: Froth

via Daily Prompt: Froth

Froth

by EE Winkler

It sits upon my coffee cup

I take a sip and drink it up

It leaves a little white mustache

But with one lick of my lips it does not last

It dances like a foamy white flower

But still it barely last one hour

Until it slowly fades away

Drifting to the bottom of the mug today

Until the next cappuccino when we meet again

Goodbye Froth my tasty little friend.”

You compliment a good cup of coffee so

I really do hate to see you go

But I bid you a found farewell

Until tomorrow your story I will tell.

©All Rights Reserved

 

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Photo by Eaters Collective on Unsplash

Turkish Green Bean & Yogurt Soup

Savory and flavorful, this soup packs a punch. Creamy and thick, it’s packed with meat, chickpeas, vegetables and saffron.

Here’s the recipe:

Turkish Green Bean & Yogurt Soup

  • 500g stew beef chunks
  • 500g green beans (blanched)
  • 1400g suzme yogurt (or any thick yogurt)
  • 1 egg
  • 4 scallions (white parts only)
  • 1 1/2 c chickpeas (canned & drained or pre-boiled)
  • 1 TBSP saffron
  • salt & pepper (to taste)

Preparation:

In a large stock pot, boil the beef with salt and pepper and 2 liters of water for 15 minutes.

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Add the chickpeas and continue to boil for 10 minutes. 20180112_094655

Then add the green beans, scallions and saffron and continue to simmer for 15 minutes.

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In a bowl, whisk the yogurt and the egg until smooth. Transfer to a sauce pot and warm the yogurt mixture over low heat, stirring occasionally.

Add a few ladles of the soup into the yogurt, stirring constantly (to temper the yogurt). Then pour the entire yogurt mixture into the soup, stirring constantly.

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Serve and Enjoy!

Afiyet Olsun!

 

 

7 Strategies for Starting a New Career & Making a Career Change

Starting a new career or making a career change is not always an easy transition. It takes courage to step out in the first place and then endurance to keep going in pursuing your goals and dreams.

7 Strategies for Starting a New Career & Making a Career Change

1.) Humility: Walking into a new career with humility speaks volumes. It shows that you have an open mind, you’re eager to learn and willing to start from the bottom. It’s true, that you will not be the expert, but humility will pave the way to success.

2.) Teachability: How easily can you be taught? Is it difficult for you or do you see something that you can learn from anyone and everyone. We must be eager and willing to learn, regardless of whom is teaching us. In a new career, this is essential since almost everyone who’s been working in that field a day longer than you will have something to teach you.

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Photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash

3.) Patience: Success does not happen overnight and starting a new career requires an extra degree of patience because it’s almost like starting over again. But success is a process. Day by day, you’re making progress if you stay diligent, committed and keep putting in your best.

4.) Disciplined Focus: Don’t allow yourself to get sidetracked but rather remember why you started in the first place. Get disciplined by creating a schedule for yourself in order to make ample time for your new tasks, responsibilities and independent learning. Focus on what you want to achieve and don’t let your failures weigh you down. Instead, use them as teachable moments to take you further.

5.) Adaptability: Your willingness, eagerness and speed to adapt will make a dynamic impact on your overall progress. Are you willing to accept that there will be differences, there will be things you did not expect (both good things and bad things), there will be obstacles to overcome and there will be opportunity.

6.) Positive Attitude: You can’t always control your circumstances, but you can control your reaction to them. To have a positive attitude is something you must practice. See the best in every circumstance and try to find something positive. Choose to let difficulties make you better and not bitter.

7.) Courage: The voice of fear will always try to keep you bound and rob you from achieving your dreams. But having the courage to see the fear and do it anyway says a lot about your character. Courage in the midst of fear is like paving the road for possibility just simply taking the first steps.

 

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Stuffed Zucchini with Saffron & Pistachios (Kuzu Icli Kabak Dolmasi)

The perfect balance of a savory ground beef filling with aromatic spices, pistachios and almonds.

In Turkish cooking, I’ve been learning about the myriad of different variations on stuffed vegetables. There are many variations. This is already the third variation of stuffed zucchini and it tastes completely different than the last recipe I learned.

The ground beef is seasoned with cinnamon, saffron, salt and pepper. Then pistachios and almonds are added to create a unique and delicious texture to the overall dish.

Here’s the recipe:

  • 25 zucchini
  • 8 oz ground beef
  • 1/2 c white rice
  • 3 TBSP pistachios
  • 2 TBSP almonds
  • 1 tsp saffron
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 4 c sunflower oil (for frying)

Preparation:

Clean the zucchini and cut into thirds. Core the inner part of the zucchini and set aside.

Heat a large frying pan with sunflower oil. Once hot, fry the zucchini in batches until golden brown. Remove from the oil and place them on a cooling rack.

Rinse and drain the rice. Set it aside for later.

In a small frying pan, sauté the ground beef in 2 TBSP of olive oil.  Add the rice and stir.

Then add the cinnamon, saffron, salt, pepper, pistachios and almonds and stir for 2-3 minutes more until well incorporated.

Remove from the heat.

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Using a tablespoon, fill the zucchini until it’s two-thirds of the way full. Press the top together and place in a large stock pot.

Cover the zucchini with a large ceramic dish (to weigh them down in the pot) and add about 2-3 cups of hot water.

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Cover and cook on medium low heat for 10-15 minutes.

Serve and enjoy!

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Afiyet Olsun!

This recipe is from the culinary classes at the Gaziantep Mutfak Sanatları Eğitim Merkezi. For more information or to take a class, visit their website

Curry Chicken

Tender marinated chicken coated in a creamy flavorful curry sauce with mushrooms and sweet red peppers.

I love curry chicken. And I know that curry in general is one of those spices (although it’s actually a combination of spices but that’s a whole other story) that people seem to love or to hate.

As a kid, I had the opportunity to try many different cuisines and flavors. From the first time I tried curry chicken until now, I feel the same — I love it. But I do understand that others don’t love it.

This recipe is simple and delicious. The focus is on the tender marinated chicken and the curry sauce. The combination of these two things makes an unforgettably delicious meal.

Here’s the recipe:

Curry Chicken

  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1/2 c thick yogurt
  • 1/2 lemon (juiced)
  • 1 red pepper (sweet or bell)
  • 1.5 inch piece of ginger (minced)
  • 4 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1.5 onion (diced)
  • 8 oz mushrooms
  • 1.5 T curry powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 4 tsp cumin
  • 4 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 – 1/2 c heavy cream
  • 3 T sunflower oil (or any neutral oil)
  • salt & pepper (to taste)

Preparation:

To marinate the chicken: Mix together the yogurt, 1 T oil, half an onion, half an inch piece of ginger, lemon juice, 2 tsp of cumin, salt, pepper and 2 tsp of oregano. Stir and cover with plastic wrap. Place in the refrigerator overnight to marinate.

To prepare the curry chicken: Toast the spices until fragrant (cumin, red pepper flakes, oregano and turmeric).

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Sauté the onions, ginger & garlic.

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Sprinkle over the cumin, red pepper flakes, turmeric, curry powder, salt & pepper.

Add the chicken and sauté.

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Add the diced red pepper & stir until well combined.

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Add the cream and keep stirring until warmed all the way through.

Serve & Enjoy!

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Oven Roasted Potato Wedges

Crispy and flavorful on the outside, tender and delicate on the inside–these oven roasted potato wedges are cooked to perfection to make a delicious and simple dish.

I have yet to meet someone that doesn’t like a good potato wedge. As a kid, wedges were my favorite way to eat potatoes. I loved the fact that you really get to taste more of the potato flavor in a wedge than your average french fry.

Although there are a plethora of frozen or fast food options to pick up potato wedges, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised to discover just how simple they are to make at home.

Here’s the recipe:

Oven Roasted Potato Wedges

  • 3 large potatoes
  • 2 T olive oil
  • salt & pepper (to taste)
  • parsley (optional garnish)

Preparation:

Pre-heat the oven to 375F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Thoroughly wash the potatoes and then pat them dry.

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Slice them into thick wedges and place them on the parchment lined baking sheet.

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Drizzle them with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss the potato wedges to liberally coat them.

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Then place them in the oven to roast for about 45 minutes, flipping them over on the other side halfway along the way.

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Plate the potato wedges and garnish with parsley. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce and enjoy!

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Mmmmmmmm….

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Guten Appetit!

Turkish Abugannuş

Lusciously creamy, thick and with a hint of garlic, this is a beautiful and simple preparation of the classic Babaganoush.

It’s true. I’ve tried so many different variations of Babaganoush that they all tasted like a completely different dish. They all had eggplant but everything else about them was very different. Some had tomatoes, while others used yogurt and still others were garlicky, while others were lemony. I’ve come to terms with the fact that Babaganoush is one of those dishes that will vary from country to country and from person to person. Even the spelling and pronunciation of it varies so of course the recipe itself does too.

Now that I’ve come to terms with this reality, lol! I found extremely freedom in creating my own Babaganoush recipe. It’s called Simply Delicious Roasted Babagannoush. It’s really good and really simple! A win, win situation! Lol!

Thanks to my Turkish cooking course, I learned a new way to make Babagannoush. I find a beauty in the simplicity of this recipe that let’s the eggplant shine as the star of the dish. It’s simple and doesn’t try to be anything else.

Here’s the recipe:

  • 8 medium eggplant (about 6 inches long)
  • 2 lemons (juiced)
  • 3 TBSP olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 800 g suzme yogurt (or any thick plain yogurt)
  • salt & pepper (to taste)

Preparation:

Preheat the oven on 200C

On a large sheet pan, coat the eggplant with olive oil and roast the eggplant for 45-60 minutes until soft.

Allow the eggplant to cool for 5-10 minutes and then peel off the skin of the eggplant and discard.

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Dice the flesh of the eggplant into bitesize pieces and add to a bowl.

Add the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, yogurt and salt and pepper (to taste).

Mix until well combined.

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Serve and enjoy!

Note: This dish is delicious warm or cold. Afiyet Olsun!

This recipe is from the culinary classes at the Gaziantep Mutfak Sanatları Eğitim Merkezi. For more information or to take a class, visit their website

5 Lessons in Character Building from ‘Black Panther’ (the movie)

Perhaps you’ve seen the movie Black Panther. Was it just a movie to you or did you glean anything insightful from this feature film? 

Valuable life lessons exist in a myriad of contexts and feature films are no exception to this principle. I was excited to see the movie Black Panther and after I saw it, I was not disappointed. It was a great movie! But not only was it entertaining for me, but it was also insightful.

Here are some things that I gleaned from the movie:

5 Lessons in Character Building from Black Panther (the movie)

1.) Community — in the movie you see a deep rooted sense of community that’s held together in times of celebration and defeat. We all need community — essentially, people that are in our corner and who have our back through success and failures. Your community can be your family, colleagues, friends etc.

2.) Sacrifice — nothing good in life is achieved without sacrifice. It’s actually what makes a story interesting and in the movie you see that sacrifice is a vital component of overcoming obstacles. From time to time we too have to make sacrifices in order to achieve our desired goals. Sacrificing by waking up early to run, sacrificing by working extra hours to complete a project, sacrificing your career to stay at home with your kids, etc. But the positive sacrifices will always reap a reward in due time.

3.) Justice — it’s something we all inwardly crave; this deep desire to make the what’s wrong right. In the movie we see that when the Black Panther loses the battle, for many of the people of Wakanda, they seek justice. They seek for the wrong to be made right. In our lives, we must let our desire for justice not just be used to benefit our own lives but also the lives of those around us.

4.) Integrity — doing the right thing at all times. In the movie, we see the integrity of the Black Panther shine through because he does the right thing even when it would be easy and acceptable to do the wrong thing. At the end of the movie, we even see him willing to make some changes and speak at the UN in order to offer the resources of Wakanda to benefit other nations. We also must be people of integrity, committed to doing the right thing even if it’s not popular or common. We must not compromise our integrity.

5.) Love — an essential part of any good character, love is what makes it all worth it and the driving force. Especially if it’s a love that it unconditional and selfless and truly seeking the greater good of whomever is the object of your affection. This type of love is what kept people fighting for what it right until the end. And ultimately, love conquers all. If you let love lead your life then it will affect every area of your life in a positive way and most certainly build your character.

      Character-building is an ongoing process but thankfully there are so many opportunities for us to learn and grow on a daily basis. What character-building traits did you find in the film?

Photo by Chris Leggat on Unsplash

Savory Bulgur with Caramelized Onions (Sade Simit Asi)

 

Creamy and smooth bulgur, packed with flavor and topped with caramelized onions.

If you love polenta, then you will love this bulgur dish. The bulgur is simmered in a delicious tomato broth until it is tender and creamy. Then it topped with caramelized onions and ready to enjoy!

Here’s the recipe:

Sade Simit Asi

  • 3.5 c simit bulgur (finely ground bulgur)
  • 1 large onion (diced)
  • 1 1/4 c tomato paste
  • 2 TBSP sunflower oil
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 2 TBSP red pepper flakes
  • salt & pepper (to taste)
Preparation:
Sauté the onion in the olive oil and sunflower oil for 3-5 minutes. Add 1 TBSP of red pepper flakes and set aside.
Then in a large stock pot, add the tomato paste, 1 TBSP of red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Stir well.
Then pour in the bulgur and 6-7 cups of hot water.
Stir until well combined and simmer on medium heat for 10-15 minutes, adding more water as needed.
To serve, plate the cooked bulgur and top with the onions.
Enjoy!

Afiyet Olsun!

This recipe is from the culinary classes at the Gaziantep Mutfak Sanatları Eğitim Merkezi. For more information or to take a class, visit their website

Daily Prompt: Radiant

via Daily Prompt: Radiant

Radiant

by EE Winkler
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Photo by Alex Knight on Unsplash

His love is so radiant it shines so bright

too brilliant to see with the naked eye

beyond our comprehension our minds cannot grasp

His eternal love that always was and is and never will run dry

His love is so radiant it dazzles more than any star

it has no limit and it covers everyone near and far

there’s no way to measure His love so divine

so pure and perfect by design

Just as you are you are accepted by Him

His radiant love has covered your sin

a free gift open to all

whosoever will answer His call

Not with condemnation did He come

but with arms open wide on a cross He hung

forever don’t forget His open embrace

His love so radiant that He came to save

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