Sunday, December 17, 2017

Chicken Shawarma - Oven Baked and Lightly Grilled

"Chicken Shawarma should always be in the fridge. Perfect on rice, in pitas, on salad...this lemony garlic pepper chicken is pretty awesome stuff!"

The season is here and I've been a million different directions. Let's just say it hasn't felt quite festive around here but we are making the best of it. Manservant and I just returned from a quick visit to Philly where Zoe cheered us up. All is fantastic in her world and that makes a parent feel good. I do feel though that life has gotten in the way of this blog and for that I apologize. After all this is supposed to be the time that one cranks out recipes and cheer and gains readers by the boatload. Don't I wish? 

This doesn't mean I've stopped cooking, though I've had a very hard time putting positive words to paper. Just wanted to let you know that I'm not dead or anything but I'm not really sure what or anything means. In any case I do want to wish you cheer and goodwill and all kind things for mankind. Womankind. Peoplekind. Life is a wondrous journey filled with ups and downs and hopefully we all have more of the ups.

If you've read my blog long enough I'm sure you realize that I don't just talk about food; though sometimes that might be the better avenue. Life isn't always one grand boulevard lined with flowering trees and quaint cafes, though I wish it was, and food doesn't always help, though I do believe it's a pretty good cure. I could use some powerful chicken soup with magical qualities about now, but instead I'll just give you this recipe for chicken shawarma. It may not be powerful, but it sure was awesome. We all need a perfect escape from heavy rich food and this is colorful enough to bring a smile to anyone's face.

I made this for a casual dinner party. I also made some gorgeous saffron yellow and white rice to go with it. One had the choice to shove this into pitas or to eat it on a bed of rice. Toppings are your choice but we had hot sauce and pine nuts and cilantro. Of course there was hummus and tahini and feta. Tomatoes and cucumbers aren't necessary but they sure are good. And in case I left out the kitchen sink, just know that almost any garnishes work for this. Make a lot for leftovers because this shawarma is also great on salad.

Food is pretty powerful stuff. Here's hoping it cures what ails me! And here's hoping it sends a little joy your way!

Some Chicken Soups for the Soul:

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Yield: 4-6 ServingsPin it

Chicken Shawarma

prep time: 10 MINScook time: 50 MINStotal time: 60 mins
Chicken Shawarma should always be in the fridge. Perfect on rice, in pitas, on salad...this lemony garlic pepper chicken is pretty awesome stuff!


  • 2 lemons juiced
  • 1/2 c plus 1 T olive oil
  • 6 minced cloves of garlic
  • 1 t kosher salt
  • 2 t fresh ground pepper
  • 1 t ground cumin
  • 2 t smoked paprika
  • 1 t ras el hanout
  • 2 lbs boneless skinless thighs or breasts
  • 1 large red onion, peeled and quartered
  • 2 T chopped fresh parsley
  • For Garnishes: Hot Sauce, Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Scallions, Cilantro, Feta, Olives, Pine Nuts, Tahini, Hummus, Rice, Pita, Your choice!


  1. Prepare marinade for chicken by combining lemon juice, 1/2 c olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, cumin, smoked paprika, ras el hanout and chicken in a large zip lock bag. Mix ingredients well and marinate for at least 1 hour and up to overnight.
  2. When ready to cook preheat oven to 425. Use the remaining tablespoon of oil to grease a rimmed sheet pan. Add the quartered onion to the chicken and marinade and toss to combine. Now spread the chicken and onion from the marinade and place on the sheet pan evenly. Reserve marinade.
  3. Place in oven and roast until browned and cooked through about 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven, allow to rest a few minutes then slice into chunks or bits. Alternatively I took the thighs and breasts and placed them on a preheated high temperature grill for about 5-10 minutes to give them a smoky grilled taste. I also basted them with the reserved marinade.
  4. After removing from the grill I cut the chicken into chunks or you could slice into bits-your choice. Serve the chicken with your choice of garnishes.
Created using The Recipes Generator

Monday, December 4, 2017

Belgian Dark Chocolate Waffles and #TheBindery

"Belgian Dark Chocolate Waffles are loaded with dark chocolate chips and chunky bits of sugar. Not too sweet and just right for a holiday brunch, these waffles will quickly become a favorite!"

For breakfast I grew up eating Rice Krinkles with milk or Oscar Meyer liver sausage on toast. Let's just say that the Weiner home wasn't big on breakfast. Sunday mornings sometimes featured my dad's fried eggs or Bisquik pancakes but that was about it. What a shame because I love breakfast and it was weekend breakfasts that often enticed my kids to get out of bed and start their day. Not too long ago, I was inspired while reading The Bindery's brunch menu featuring dark chocolate liege waffles with smoked maple syrup and black walnuts so I decided to whip up my own version. Though I haven't yet had The Bindery's version, I have no doubt they will quickly become a favorite.

It was just a month ago that The Bindery opened in Highlands, in a great location that features free parking, (what a concept), and a panoramic view of downtown Denver. Built on the site of an old printery, this new modern building takes its name from history. This eclectic marketplace combines a bakery, cafe, bar and fine dining under chef/owner Linda Hampsten Fox. A private chef and caterer, Linda is an artist and her medium of choice is food.  Thank goodness those of us in Denver are the beneficiaries of that expertise.

Trained in Switzerland, France and Italy, in addition to venues in Mexico, The Bindery has created an eclectic menu of flavors featuring Chili Braised Beef Cheeks over parmesan grits, a deconstructed Coq au Vin,

the Secret Garden with its own organic, delectable "dirt" and maple carrot jerky,

along with a Rabbit Rarebit that had me hopping to grab the last slice.

This beer braised smoked rabbit with Vermont cheddar, pecans and mustard was perfect for a cold rainy night on which I didn't even know I liked rabbit! Mascarpone and radicchio ravioli in a poppy seed broth must have been born from Linda's Eastern European roots, but in true Linda style she fashioned this dish into something inventively new.

This creativity also helped design dessert and turned a Baked Alaska into a Baked Colorado by highlighting tres leches cake, dulce de latte ice cream and bitter caramel all coated in dark chocolate and torched meringue. Definitely worth the price of admission alone!

Though I haven't yet had the opportunity to try the bakery, cafe or marketplace the artisanal small batch products are quite appealing. Jams, syrups, and hot sauce along with delectable baked items, plus take out dinners and lunches are designed to be convenient and irresistable. The Bindery's sunny atmosphere with tall paned windows, open kitchen and baker's ovens are front and center and add to the appeal of the elegantly casual 4000 square foot space. Just like Linda, this space is warm and comforting. And just like the menu says and we all know, "Food is one of life's great pleasures."

The Bindery serves food filled with love, along with rustic, traditional and elegant modern flavors. The Bindery, I predict, is one for the record books.

The Bindery
1817 Central Street
Denver, CO 80211
Closed Mondays


So back to these dark chocolate waffles filled with bittersweet chocolate and chunky sugar bits... Manservant loved them. I loved them. Not too sweet, they are perfect with maple syrup and they would also be perfect with the ancho tequila maple syrup below. I served them with a mole pork sausage and they were killer. You could add cinnamon to the recipe but I loved the flavor of chocolate on its own. Can't wait to try this on the brunch menu at The Bindery to see how they compare but then again I might just want to try the Dutch Babies with Milk Jam and Berries!

More Waffles to Love:


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Yield: 12 Waffles

Dark Chocolate Belgian Liege Waffles

These dark chocolate waffles filled with dark chocolate and chunky sugar bits that caramelize when baked in a waffle iron will get anyone out of bed.
prep time: 60 MINScook time: 15 MINStotal time: 75 mins


  • 3c unbleached  flour

  • 1/2 c unsweetened cocoa

  • 1 package dry yeast

  • 3/4 cup lukewarm milk

  • 2 sticks softened butter

  • 2 eggs

  • 1/2 t salt

  • 1 t vanilla

  • 3/4 c bittersweet chocolate chips (I like Ghiradelli)
  • 1/2 bag of Lars pearl sugar or 4 oz pearl sugar or coarsely chopped sugar cubes


  1. Dissolve yeast in lukewarm milk for a few minutes. After it sits a few minutes, I use my mini whisk to blend the mixture better.

  2. Gradually add all the ingredients to the flour, except the pearl sugar and chocolate. Feel free to use your hands, a pie crust blender or a mixer to do this. Really, I just use my hands and smush and form into a blob. Cover dough with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place until doubled. This takes  about 30-45 minutes. Now smush in the sugar and chocolate.

  3. Divide dough into small patties about 3-4 ounces each or use a 1/4 c measure. I make them a bit on the large side. 

  4. After your waffle iron has preheated plop each patty in. They take about 90 seconds to bake. Take them out carefully so the sugar doesn't burn you however don't wait too long to eat them. Nothing like a hot waffle. Dust with cocoa or powdered sugar and serve with warm syrup.
Created using The Recipes Generator

Friday, November 17, 2017

30 Thanksgiving Favorites from our Colorado Home to Yours

Thanksgiving is getting close and because it isn't at my house this year, I will miss making some of my favorites. Manservant and I will probably still conjure up a few of our faves like tamale stuffing and maybe we'll even smoke a turkey breast, because personally one of my favorite things about Thanksgiving is being blessed with leftovers. We love leftovers in our house! I've never shared all of my favorite foods for Thanksgiving, so like someone says, there is no time like the present. Maybe you will find a new favorite here, or a new way to make one of yours, whatever it may be I wish you a great holiday with lots of family, lots of food, and lots of blessings. This is the time to be grateful.

The morning of:
I don't know about you but I don't usually want everyone in the kitchen while I'm finishing up for the Thanksgiving meal. Though I don't always get my wish (check this post on shakshuka out) I do try to put out a few things that can be taken into the den while watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. These Maple Glazed Scones definitely work!

If you need something a little more filling and also seasonal this Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal will surely keep everyone full until dinnertime. Just mix it up and bake it in a dish.


I admit I have a weak spot for appetizers. I usually serve too many. And then you know what happens...everyone gets full and can't eat the main meal. But Thanksgiving is the holiday of gluttony so just maybe it's OKay for once.

Our table always includes an artichoke dip. I think my mom's Artichoke Dip is made for Thanksgiving. Three ingredients plus dippers and you are done. After all on Thanksgiving we need to keep some things simple. Artichoke dip has been on my table since I was probably 10 years old and there is no need to replace it now!

From Artichoke Dip to Onion Dip, well I couldn't leave this one out! I do love the kind from the container in the refrigerator section but OMG, this one is my all time favorite. Pass the potato chips!

So enough dips. Pimento Cheese is always a winner and this spicy-but not too spicy-version is always a hit!

Of course there are plenty more to choose from under my Recipes tab up above. There are things like pumpkin hummus and lemon thyme crackers  and last but not least my sweet and spicy caramel corn. I think this is enough to get you started and not make you too full!

Another option besides lots of appetizers is starting with a more elegant bowl of soup. This pumpkin chipotle soup is a winner and super simple to make!

 I don't have a turkey recipe to supply you with but there are recipes galore all over the web. Turkey can kind of make me crazy because there are so many ways to make it. To tell you the truth, I've never made a turkey in the oven. My dad passed on the secrets of smoking a turkey many years ago to Manservant and therefore it is one thing I don't worry about on Thanksgiving. He smokes a mighty fine turkey and maybe one day I'll write it down for you! In the meantime I can tell you that this savoury turkey pie is a crowd pleaser and is really simple to make. Complete with cranberries and sweet potatoes in the luscious layers this is a great alternative to a big bird!

But on to the more important side dishes. I prefer to think of them as front and center because personally I like them better than turkey. Though I must admit that cranberries do taste mighty good with a bite of turkey in the mouth! The all time family favorite is this frozen cranberry mold. It wouldn't be Thanksgiving without these. Sometimes I make them in little muffin molds for individual servings. However you make them, these are a winner!

If you want cranberries that have oranges then I would make these. Still a bit out of the ordinary and still a family pleaser, plus it gives something light to a heavy meal. These candied jewels of cranberries and caramelized oranges work as both a side dish and also are perfect for a light dessert. Top a poundcake with these or even tomorrow morning's yogurt.

And then there are the more traditional cranberries. These store bought cranberries are spiked with a bit of tequila and orange bitters which make these awesome with a smoked turkey and a sandwich. 

Cheesy Baked Pineapple is a weird sounding side dish but I promise it is good. Many like it with ham, but since I'm not a ham eater I eat this with turkey! 

Now onto potatoes. You can't go wrong with mashed and though I don't have a recipe on the blog just remember your milk, cream and butter should be warm when you mix them into the warm potatoes. Another option, and a decadent one is this scalloped truffle potato casserole.  Not being gravy folks we always loved this!

My pommes anna recipe would also be fun to serve not only because it tastes good, but because who doesn't love their own stack of potatoes?

Another twist instead of potatoes might be this squash dish. I love squash and this silky smooth puree with browned butter and crispy sage leaves is outstanding.

A new classic is this toasted quinoa, dates and pumpkin mixture that I threw together last year. Love the toasted quinoa and besides this looks so pretty, doesn't it?

I don't have a sweet potato recipe either though Manservant always loves to resort back to his upbringing and claims the kind topped with marshmallows are the best. I prefer a brown sugar cinnamon and pecan version but this one has both.

Bread is kind of a no brainer. I have a great recipe for whipped cream biscuits. Yeah, these are great! However in my family we fight for the last one of these gorgeous maple challah rolls. These are glorious and also make perfect little slider buns for turkey leftovers.

Now on to some healthy things like salad. I know not everyone eats salad on Thanksgiving but personally I like the idea of something besides a hot veggie. Check out this farro and kale salad with a browned butter vinaigrette. This one can tolerate sitting on the buffet for awhile without getting soggy which makes this perfect for any party.

After posting 435 recipes on this blog I can assure you that there are many more delectable dishes to grace your table with. Don't forget to check out my recipes tab and scroll on down. And if you need suggestions just drop me a note. I promise I'll respond.

So that leaves the best for last. We can't finish without dessert. I just gave you a little bite in the form of maple glazed cookies. Then there are these decadent maple chomeur puddings and this maple pecan cream cheese pound cake that I can't get enough of!  Let's continue please! Instead of pecan pie I always make these little shortbread walnut or pecan bars. Trust me this is so the way to go! And for pies? I always have to have something chocolate so sometimes we do this. Yes chocolate and oatmeal go together very well.

And if you haven't had enough cranberries this cranberry crostata is easy to make and tastes good too! But you know that already right?

If you want something pumpkin, these pumpkin butter bars are like way better than pie. Just sayin'!

So I think that about covers it. I guess by next year I should add a few standards that are missing.  Hopefully however, these suggestions will help you create some new food traditions for your favorite folks. Check out my recipes tab and as usual I am always grateful when you share my recipes on social media. I am a small little blogger and do what I can to get the word out!

Thanks for reading and being such great friends. I am very thankful for all of you!

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Friday, November 10, 2017

Slice and Bake Maple Glazed Maple Shortbread

"This easy shortbread made with maple syrup and brown sugar, is the perfect holiday cookie. Chilled in the fridge and then sliced and baked, this maple glazed cookie is a maple lover's dream."

I like to think of November to January as cookie season. I also like to imagine myself as the cookie monster and being able to inhale all the cookies I want. Alas, that is not the case, but for some reason cookies are my passion. Perhaps it is the fact that my mother didn't bake cookies often, but when she did they disappeared fast. Alex and Zoe were used to having cookies around and were never monsters when it came to the cookie. However Alex was when it came to the dough!

I'm always looking for reasons to bake cookies and the sip and see was a good occasion. And I'm not sure I told you, but I have another one coming up in two weeks. Yep. I must be the sip and see queen. And notwithstanding Thanksgiving is coming up too. AND FAST! Fortunately for you - all my faithful readers - who I am so THANKFUL for - I have a cookie that is ideal for not only sips and sees, but also the Thanksgiving table.

Thanksgiving often fills me to overload-well, actually it is me that fills myself to overload, but whatever the reason, somehow by the time I hit dessert I have to press the reset button. Faced with scrumptious pies and who knows what all; I gravitate towards the little bite syndrome. And I don't care what you say but a little sliver of pie just doesn't look attractive on a pretty plate. That little sliver of pie always looks like it's starving to me. And YES...that's why you need this cookie.

Cookies fill the little bite syndrome just perfectly and they do so without making us look virtuous. After all everyone is entitled to a cookie. And cookies can be baked small and petite and cute and sweet. Oh I do love to use my words! Enter the maple glazed maple shortbread. Designed for maple lovers. And anyone with a just want a little bite syndrome.

I love this cookie. It makes about 60 cookies depending on how thick you slice them. The dough can be kept in the fridge and sliced and baked as needed. The baked cookies can be kept in the freezer and glazed when you remove them. (Which will be happening often.) Or they don't even need to be glazed, though I heartily recommend it.

So splurge and buy real maple syrup. You know you want too. Costco has great buys and so does Trader Joe's. Surely one of those is nearby. These cookies are quickly made and quickly eaten and received lots of compliments from the sip and see'er's. And that was a tough one given that chocolate chip cookies and brownies were also on the table. But there is something about maple and though this is cookie season, I also declare it maple season. So what are you waiting for?


And there are heaps more cookies under the recipe tab up above!

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Yield: About 60 cookies

Slice and Bake Maple Glazed Maple Shortbread

This easy shortbread made with maple syrup and brown sugar, is the perfect holiday cookie. Chilled in the fridge and then sliced and baked, this maple glazed cookie is a maple lover's dream.
prep time: 30 MINScook time: 15 MINStotal time: 45 mins


  • 2 c soft butter
  • 1 1/2 c brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/4 c real maple syrup
  • 4 1/2 c unbleached flour
  • Turbinado or Maple Sugar for sprinkling
Maple Glaze
  • 2 1/4 c powdered sugar
  • 1 t pure and real maple extract
  • 3 T milk or more if needed


  1. In a mixing bowl fitted with the paddle attachment beat butter and brown sugar on medium high speed until smooth and light in color.
  2. Beat in egg yolk and maple syrup until combined.
  3. Add flour and stir in gently. Cover mixer with a towel and continue mixing until flour is beat in. (The towel prevents the flour from flying everywhere.)
  4. Turn out dough onto  lightly floured surface and roll into one log about 2 inches in diameter. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until firm or overnight.
  5. Preheat oven to 350. Line baking sheets with parchment. Slice rounds about 1/2' thick. Place 1 inch apart on cookie sheet. Brush tops with beaten egg and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Take cookies off of sheet and let cool on wire rack.
  6. When cool these may be stored in a sealed container or a zip lock bag for up to 4 days. They may also be placed in the freezer. 
  7. If you choose to glaze the cookies, combine the powdered sugar, maple extract and milk in a small bowl. Whisk until smooth. Dip each cookie into glaze and place on a wire rack until glaze hardens. Sprinkle with additional maple or turbinado sugar.
Created using The Recipes Generator