3 Tips How to Manage Negative Stress…Better

It’s true, we all have to deal with negative stress at some point in our lives. But wouldn’t it be nice to deal with it better?

1.) Identify the Root Cause and Know Yourself: It is so important to ask yourself this question, “Why am I so stressed?” Then ask yourself, “Is this the real, underlining, root cause for my stress?” Perhaps work might seem like the reason why you are so stressed but perhaps it is not your work in and of itself but rather your response or attitude towards your work. What can you do to change this?

2.) Take Action: After identifying the root cause of your stress, now is the time to take action. To make a plan to take actionable stress in order to minimize and eliminate the stress in your life. For example, perhaps you need to take a different approach to the stress trigger in your life.

3.) Make a Plan, Stick With It, Assess and Re-Assess the Plan (as needed): What are you going to plan on doing on a daily basis to address the stress triggers in your life? Perhaps you need to make a list, or get an accountability partner or make a tangible commitment that will keep you on track. Commit to “sticking with your plan” and then be willing to make assessments as needed. The assessments are so important because you are changing and your environment is changing (even in small ways that you might not notice).

These three tips are what I have learned along life’s road through my personal experience. I hope that they help you and encourage you.

Feel free to share, how do you manage negative stress?


Turkish Egg Salad (Yumurta Piyazi)

A light, healthy, Mediterranean twist on a classic egg salad recipe!

When I studied Turkish cooking, I learned nearly two hundred different dishes. This one, although it is so simple, is one of my favorites. Perhaps it is because of its simplicity or perhaps it is because I enjoy eating eggs. Regardless, it is a simple, classic favorite of mine. Here’s my version of this beautiful, Turkish recipe.


Turkish Egg Salad (Yumurta Piyazi)

  • 2 hardboiled eggs
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 2 TBSP freshly chopped parsley
  • 2 scallions (finely sliced)
  • salt (to taste)
  • a sprinkle of red pepper flakes (pull biber)



Cut the hardboiled eggs into quarters (lengthwise) and place on a plate.

Drizzle the olive oil on top of the eggs.

Sprinkle over the parsley and scallions.

Then season with salt and red pepper flakes.

Serve and Enjoy immediately or pop it in the fridge to enjoy later!


Afiyet Olsun!

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A Foodie’s Story: Funny Outtakes from my Kitchen & 100th Video Celebration

Celebrating 100 little steps on the way to one big goal.

I will never forget the first time I “pretended” to host my own cooking show. I was seven years old, in our kitchen in Connecticut with a bowl full of cheese, ham and other assorted things. I proudly announced, “Hi, I’m Erica and welcome to my show! Today we will prepare…

“I proudly announced, “Hi, I’m Erica and welcome to my show! Today we will prepare…

I didn’t really know how to cook yet but I had spent enough time in the kitchen helping my parents and also watching classic cooking shows on television that I was convinced that I could host my own show. I was captivated how each cook or chef had their own unique personality and even more unique style of cooking.

I watched cooking shows like Martin Yan’s, Yan Can Cook with his snappy tag line of “if Yan can cook, then so can you!” And you know what? I believed him. As a little girl watching his show I was inspired by his delicious Chinese food creations and his lively personality. He had a contagious enthusiasm that seemed to come alive in the kitchen.

And you know what? I believed him. As a little girl watching his show I was inspired…”

But then I also watched shows like, Justin Wilson’s Cajun Cooking. With his blue shirts, red suspenders he always had a notable, familiar style. And with his tagline of “Whoo boy, that’s good! I guarantee!!” declared loudly nearly every time he tasted his food, I was convinced that I too could make food so delicious!

Of course Julia Child with her show, The French Chef, is an unforgettable part of my childhood cooking history. She showed the basics from start to finish and regarded every ounce of her personality as a strength and not a weakness.

Watching Jacques Pépin cooking with his daughter Claudine, reminded me that cooking truly was even better with family and when traditions and techniques are passed down from generation to generation.

My culinary education continued on from there with countless chefs and cooks, both great and small, known and unknown, ordinary and extraordinary, they all inspired and taught me endless knowledge. By the time I started working in restaurants at age 15, I felt like I belonged there in a strange sort of way. And even when I stopped working in restaurants (it can be a crazy and busy way to make a living), I still felt somehow nostalgic for them. I found myself writing recipes for my local newspaper and spending my evening cooking up my new creations in my home kitchen.

Some of my family and closest friends who have witnessed me in the kitchen say that it is indeed where I belong. I’ve worked with many different chefs and sometimes felt the pressure weigh in like a wrecking ball. I wondered why cooking had to be so stressful sometimes.

All along, I never forgot about this dream of mine to cook on a cooking show. I even auditioned and pitched my ideas to different networks on numerous occasions but without success. I felt a little defeated by this. In a way I convinced myself that maybe my cooking was strictly meant for my home kitchen and not to share with others outside of my family and friends.

After much encouragement, I finally started filming my own cooking shows. I dug up my old college filming and editing knowledge and researched filmmakers for inspiration to try to somehow create my own cooking show. I won’t lie, it was terrifying. I wanted to give up almost right after I started. I thought, what is the point? Will anyone watch them? Am I interesting? Can I create enough recipes? Can I film alone? Can I edit all of my footage? How do I edit a cooking show in the first place? Is my camera good enough? On and on, the questions and waves of doubt rolled in. But you know what, I just decided to make the cooking videos anyway. Then something really special happened… I started to learn a lot and learn a lot fast and the cooking videos, filming and editing started to get better. And to tell you the truth, I am still learning a lot. It is the hardest job I’ve ever had and pays the least in terms of actual revenue. But truth be told, there’s a priceless value on finally doing work that I really love doing. Work that I am proud of. Work that really allows me to be myself. After 17 years of working (yes I know, I am still very young), it feels great to have daily work doing something I am passionate about even if other people do not understand it or take it seriously. I understand it just fine and I take it quite seriously. I don’t allow myself to get hung up on what other people say. I am open to learn from anyone, but I have decided to not let the critiques cripple my creative process but rather build it.

“…but I have decided to not let the critiques cripple my creative process but rather build it.”

The work can continue around the clock but along with that I have experienced an ongoing creative inspiration that seems to run through my veins 24 hours a day. I see ideas and get inspiration so quickly now. I have learned and am learning that if you want to be more creative, then you must simply create MORE! Even if you feel like you have nothing to say, give or create, just do it anyway and eventually, the creativity faucet will not stop flowing. I have experienced this beyond just for filming cooking videos but also for writing novels, poetry and music.

“I have learned and am learning that if you want to be more creative, then you must simply create MORE!”

There are so many lessons that I have learned and that I am still learning but all I can say is thank you! Not to myself but to God. You know I prayed for something like this but I never knew how to “make it happen” but I know He has been my driving force behind it all, filling me with bursts of creativity, excitement, fun and strength. He makes it all worth it. I am reminded even now that He is the reason why I create. He is whom I create for. It is His applause and approval I seek and I believe I have because He has accepted me as I am (and you too by the way). So many days of filming and editing alone I am reminded that I was never really alone. He was and is and ever will be with me. There’s a beauty and a peace in knowing this and moreover, knowing HIM.

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Käsebrötchen (German Cheese Bread Rolls Recipe)

Light, fluffy and cheesy bread rolls! Käsebrötchen are a special and irresistibly delicious German treat!

I’ll never forget on our first breakfast on our first trip to Germany with my husband. We were at his parent’s house and there were a plethora of fresh German bread rolls but a couple of my husband’s favorite — Käsebrötchen.

They looked absolutely delicious, covered with cheese and soft to the touch.  When I took a bite, Mmmm, I was not disappointed. They are irresistibly delicious! So, I was determined to learn how to make them myself. And after tasting many, here is my recipe creation! All I can say, is that these bread rolls did not last long. The recipe makes 6 large bread rolls but it can be doubled, tripled, quadrupled — well you get my point. Guten Appetit!

Here’s the recipe:

Käsebrötchen (German Cheese Bread Rolls)

  • 1 cup all purpose flour (plus more for dusting and kneading)
  • 2 tsp dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 TBSP water
  • 1.5 – 2 cups shredded mozzerrella cheese*

*Or your favorite type of cheese


In a large bowl, stir together the yeast and the water until the yeast is dissolved.

Then add the flour and salt and stir well.


Pour the dough onto a floured surface and knead for 5-7 minutes. Then shape the dough into a ball.

Pour 1 TBSP of olive oil into a bowl and lightly grease it.

Place the ball of dough into the greased bowl and cover with a damp kitchen towel. Put it in a warm place and allow the dough to rise for 1 hour.


Then divide the dough into 6 equal balls. Lightly grease a parchment lined baking sheet with the remaining 1 TBSP of olive oil and place the dough balls on the baking sheet. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and place in a warm place to rise for another 15 minutes.


Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven for 180C/356F.

After the second rise, whisk together the egg yolk and 1 TBSP of water.

Using a pastry brush, coat the top of each bread roll with the egg yolk mixture.

Then take the shredded cheese and liberally, and I really mean liberally, top each bread roll with the cheese (let the cheese fall all around each bread roll).


Then place the bread rolls in the pre-heated oven and bake for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and lightly browned.


Serve & enjoy immediately or save for later.


Guten Appetit!

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