Warming up for the Season October 25 2018, 0 Comments

Hey all! What the heck happened to our weather?!? When Autumn officially hit, Mama Nature turned down the temps, YIKES!

But with the cool weather, the creativity and need to cook begins to bubble over! By that, I mean exploring flavors that bring the season into our homes. Aromas of roasting meats, veggies and of course warm gooey fruit pies fresh from the oven! I mean the aroma, flavor and love that pours out of our homes this time of year. Scents of ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg that makes us all warm and fuzzy and long for home.

This need has lead me to use our abundant local fruit harvest in making desserts using Durango Olive Oil Co flavored balsamic vinegars to bring the essence of the fruit to the palate. Also, I am not a baker, but I have given it my best, with good results! I made the pie as easy as possible, because baking is really a lab experiment that you need to follow exactly. The only thing I had changed in a basic pie recipe was to swap out the amount of sugar and replace it with a balsamic that complemented the fruit.

I had over the years tried several recipes of apple pie with varying degrees of success. So, after scouring some of the better recipes, I found a good guideline for this venture as most of the recipes were about the same with minor differences. Of course, every other recipe, I had to improvise and after two successes here is my version of a deep-dish apple pie that came from ( I like this one as it was easy to use and less prep and bake time were needed. Plus, because the dessert is in a deep dish, not bottom crust needed!

As I had access to plenty of apples, I had to think of the flavors that would bring out the essence of the fruit without being over powering. Of course, certain flavors jumped to mind like traditional (safe flavor) to chili or spicy mango (wilder). I decide to play it safe and used Durango Olive Oil Co vanilla and caramel balsamics in the following recipe.

Deep Dish Caramel Apple Pie


5 - large apples, ¼ inch sliced and cored

½ c. cane sugar

3 tbsp. vanilla balsamic vinegar

3 tbsp. caramel balsamic vinegar

1 tsp. cinnamon

¼ tsp. nutmeg and all spice

1 tbsp. flour

2 tbsp. melted butter


1c. cane sugar

2 lg eggs

1 tbsp. Vanilla balsamic

1 tbsp. Caramel balsamic

1 c. flour

1 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp. nutmeg

½ tsp. pink salt


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut and core apples into ¼ inch slices and place into medium size bowl. Mix sugar, balsamics and spices into bowl and mix well to coat all the apples. Add flour and butter and mix well before putting into a lightly greased deep sided pan.

Set aside.

In another bowl, beat eggs and sugar until well blended. Add balsamic vinegars. Add flour, baking powder and spices into the mix and beat until creamy smooth. This mix will be gooey but spread mix over the apples as well as possible.

Bake until golden brown about 40 minutes. Serve warm with a scoop of your favorite ice cream and enjoy! 

Cooking with Lavender Olive Oil October 17 2018, 0 Comments

Cooking with flavored olive oils for success

Using Coffee in Main Meal Dishes July 13 2015, 0 Comments


Sorry folks! Too a bit of time off and had a hard time getting a blog done, but what you all have been waiting for – a new blog that looks at recipes that use coffee as an ingredient.

Every morning is the same pattern; get up, go into the kitchen, turn on the waster kettle, pour coffee beans (Maui grown) into the grinder and nap on the counter until the kettle is done. After grinding and putting into a French press I have coffee soon after! But sometimes we don’t use the entire pot, so I usually have chilled brewed coffee in the fridge for iced coffee later. If I don’t use the cold brew in a bout a week, I have to toss it.

So I began searching the web for ideas to use up that coffee in recipes other than the aforementioned – iced coffee.

Coffee is considered a spice and I thought that there must be recipes for main course meals because coffee is a savory spice. I other words it adds a richness because it is subtle and doesn’t overpower the other flavors like tarragon, garlic, onion or oregano.

Have you thought of a mouthwatering So getting back to my topic, I found 14 recipes from epicurious that use coffee in main meal dishes as well as desserts such tiramisu or coffee crunch bars. Here’s the link to the site:

I have also added the following recipe of Coffee Rubbed Cheeseburgers with Texas Sauce (below). As a note I have tried this with Lelani’s Durango Fajitas Beef Rub with great success and it too has coffee!

Coffee Rubbed Cheeseburgers with Texas Sauce


Coffee rub:

1 tablespoon freshly ground coffee

2 teaspoons (packed) golden brown sugar

2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt


8 slices applewood-smoked bacon

1 pound ground chuck (preferably grass-fed)

1 pound ground sirloin (preferably grass-fed)

8 slices smoked provolone, smoked caciocavallo, or smoked Gouda cheese (about 8 ounces)

8 potato-bread hamburger buns


8 slices red onion

8 slices tomato

Texas Barbecue Sauce


For coffee rub:
Mix all ingredients in small bowl. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 week ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.

For burgers:
Cook bacon in large skillet until crisp. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Break in half. Gently mix chuck and sirloin in large bowl. Form meat into 8 patties, each 3 1/2 to 4 inches in diameter and 1/3 to 1/2 inch thick. Using thumb, make slight indentation in center of each burger. DO AHEAD: Burgers and bacon can be prepared 8 hours ahead. Cover separately and chill.

Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Sprinkle 1 teaspoon coffee rub on top side of each burger. Place burgers, rub side down, on grill rack. Grill until slightly charred, about 4 minutes; turn.

Place 2 bacon slice halves atop each burger. Cook 3 minutes.

Top each with 1 cheese slice. Cover and cook until cheese melts, about 1 minute longer. Place burgers atop bottom halves of buns. Top with onion slices and tomato slices. Spoon dollop of Texas Barbecue Sauce over. Cover with bun tops and serve, passing additional sauce alongside.

Again at we have many different dry rubs including Lelani's Durango Fajitas Beef Rub to help in your kitchen adventures. Call us and we can help your next meal! Until next time, Mahalo and Aloha




Matcha, Matcha, Matcha - Whats all the hype about? May 07 2015, 0 Comments


This morning as I was slowly waking up by drinking a cup of joe I was catching up on the news and I heard the show discussing matcha. Matcha is a powdered green tea that contains an incredible amount of health benefits. Drinking one cup of matcha is equivalent to consuming 10 cups of green tea alone.

Matcha has historically been the tea used in Japanese tea ceremonies which focus upon the preparation, serving and consumption. I was lucky enough to witness the ceremony on several occasions, but my mom knowing that I am a klutz never let me partake of the event. This is a very beautiful tradition and if you get a chance to observe or participate, enjoy!

Anyway, getting back to matcha, I’m sure you’re wondering why matcha is so great. It is because you’re drinking the whole leaf and not just steeping leaves which then are thrown in the compost pail. That is the big difference.  

Matcha tea bushes are grown and processed differently than other green teas. The tea bushes are covered for several weeks to prevent contact with direct sunlight. This causes the bush to slow down it growth and increases it the growth of chlorophyll levels which in turn causes the leaves for turn a darker green. Why would one want the darker green in the leaves from higher chlorophyll levels? L-Theanine that’s why (among other health benefits) (!

L-Theanine is an amino acid and can be found in all green and black teas, but one cup of matcha will provide over 5 times of the amount of this vital amino acid! Plus L-Theanine has been show to aid in mental clarity and relaxation and has been used for centuries by Buddhist Monks for meditation ( The function of this amino acid is to increase the brain’s alpha waves – which promote calmness and relaxation. Stress causes a slew of negative health impacts like high blood pressure and brain beta waves increase. Drinking or consumption of matcha will counter act these beta waves by increasing alpha waves. Hurray for alpha waves!

Other studies conducted on matcha, it has been tested and shown that the higher chlorophyll levels help the body to detoxify. Chlorophyll helps to rid the body of contaminants that we are exposed to daily. Contaminates like chemicals and heavy metals that are harmful to the body and the mind. As a former water scientist, I can attest to this! Everyday we ingest minute amounts of heavy metals and chemicals in our drinking water. Although water treatment is great and removes almost all contaminates, it cannot remove all pollutants. Matcha’s higher levels of chlorophyll bind with these to expel them from our systems. Hurray for higher chlorophyll levels!

Now on to other benefits of matcha such as L-Theanine. This is an amino acid which has been tied to improvements in energy, mood and mental clarity. Although matcha does contain caffeine it will increase energy without the caffeine jitters. It helps in improving metabolism which in turn burns more calories! A great way to help those who are dieting to reach their weight loss goals (

Finally, matcha also contains higher levels of antioxidants that prevent premature aging and disease. ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) testing has shown that consumption of matcha is higher in antioxidants then goji berries, acai berries, broccoli and spinach! Another benefit from increased antioxidants include those great catechins which help to fight effects from free radicals from sources that are hard to control such as, chemicals, UV radiation and pollution (

So now you're informed about the benefits of drinking matcha the next piece of information you will require is which grade of matcha should be purchased? There are several different types of matcha available for specific purposes such as “Ceremony’, “Classic”, “Café” and “Kitchen” (matchasourcecom). This should be pretty self explanatory, but what you want to look for is matcha that is vibrant green and has sweet grassy aroma. Ceremony matcha is an excellent grade of tea because this is composed of only the tender young leaves of the tea bush. Flavor is superior to the other grades and this grade is pricey.

Café, classic and kitchen grades are the mature leaves that have been harvested. The more mature the leaf is courser and contains veins and stems. It will also be slightly bitter than the ceremony grade and the color will be darker. The cost of these grades of matcha will be less expensive which can be a benefit to the budget.

Although there are obvious pros to purchasing lower grades of matcha, this type of matcha can be used in smoothies, ice cream and main entrees as well as for sipping. Lelani’s has several recipes for smoothies on that matcha can be added to for additional health benefits. If interested please find us on Lelani’s will also be posting recipes using matcha in the future. Please check out our website store. Until next time, I have added a smoothie recipe below to start you out in your exploration of matcha!

Coconut Vanilla Matcha Smoothie (


What You Need

  • 1 can light coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon Aiya cooking-grade matcha
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 ½ tablespoons agave nectar*
  • ½ cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1 cup frozen pineapple
  • ½ ripe banana
  • ½ cup ice
  • Small pinch salt

What To Do

In a blender, blend all ingredients together on high-speed, stopping to scrape down the sides if necessary.



Matcha Source, (, (

A Couple of Cooks, (




Earth Day Ideas April 22 2015, 0 Comments


Today is Earth Day and instead of blogging about recipes, teas or spices, this article will be as a tribute to the most influential person in my life – my mom. She was the one who instilled environmentalism into my life as a small kid. She made taking care of the Earth an everyday priority in our family’s life by making it fun and magical. She told me that the water percolating through the soil was the plants saying thank you for the cool drink of water. At 5 years old that was magical and the first step down the road to helping to protect the Earth.

Dr. Seuss also helped me along with his book “The Lorax”. Most, if not all school children have read his book about a boy who finds the Lorax. The Lorax warns this boy about taking from the land without consequence in that his world is dark and bleak. Dr. Seuss’s words of wisdom I took to heart and am happy to say I am a card carrying member of the Tree Hugging, Earth loving, dirt worshipping granolies!

We are all aware that the Earth is in crisis. Everyday we are informed of the impending doom about Climate Change, droughts and ocean acidification. Although there is more than enough to focus our attention and because I am a water scientist (really) I chose to talk about how we as individuals can do our part in conserving our water by reducing our usage on a daily basis. We need to change our habits and lifestyles and do what we can to conserve water for today and into the future.

Let’s think about rivers, streams and wetlands. As National Geographic points our “Rivers are the veins of the planet, pumping fresh water into wetlands, lakes and out to sea”[1]. I believe that the Earth is a living being and to me, this makes sense. Think of the rivers in your community and region. How different would you community be without a river? Could your community grow and prosper without a river.

But rivers play a vital role in how our communities are created. Here in SW Colorado, we are in the midst of a multiple year drought. Even though we are not facing the situation as California, we need to begin planning and developing policies that help to protect our water and aquifer resources. But I am sure your saying to yourself, “I am only one person and how can I conserve when others are not”.

Although you may only be one person, when everyone does their part in conserving that will add up to vast amounts water that can be returned to rivers, wetlands and aquifers. To begin, National Geographic[2] has a handy tool that can measure your “water footprint”. I took the questionnaire and felt that it did not capture all my information; it did give me a general idea of my annual water consumption. By making me aware of the amount, I became more conscience of usage and made me think of ways to reduce that amount. For instance, instead of washing a small load of clothing, I now wait until I have a larger load. I reuse my dish water (wash and rinse) to water my plants. The dogs and cats water also goes for plants. Baths are now out of the question as that takes a huge amount of water. And when the irrigation begins, I will not allow the water to run into the street as I am not growing asphalt.

There are other ways to reduce water usage. If you need to wash your car, do it on the lawn. Replace your shower head with a low flow faucet. This doesn’t reduce the pressure, only the amount of water used. When cleaning the house use a large pail of soapy water for all your cleaning tasks. If you use a mild soap, you can use that water to water your plants for instance.

My gardens will not be as extensive as prior years, and plants that are not drought tolerant will be replaced with others that can go without for longer periods. Sorry Pansies – but your out. I have taken the Nat Geo pledge to reduce my personal usage and do my part to return water to the Colorado River Delta. Please visit  to learn more about water issues and please visit and take the pledge. If each person reading this blog, then the possibilities of saving the Colorado River Delta can become a reality!


 [1] Fresh Water – Why it Matters, National Geographic, 2015,

[2] Change the Course, National Geographic, 2015,

White Tea: Geography v. Process Techniques March 27 2015, 0 Comments

Aloha and happy spring!

It is beautiful here in SW Colorado. I have flowers beginning to bloom, birds have returned and I am beginning to uncover my gardens and finding small treasures!

So as promised, here is the March blog about the differences between white tea and all other teas. This last Sunday I tuned into the Splendid Table on the local NPR station - KSUT and Lynn Rossetto Kasper was in a discussion with Bill Waddington of the Tea Source about this very topic (Splendid Table).

White tea was discovered in only three small isolated villages in china - the Fijian province. These villages produced this type of tea which is the lightest brew of tea that is soft and delicate and has a subtle flavor that imparts a sweet flavor to the the finished brew. When the Americans and Europeans discovered this wonderful tea, its demand and popularity grew to the point that the villages could not keep up. Because of this, white tea cultivars were taken to other areas of China and eventually the world to produce.

Enough with the back history, but keep this in mind because it has caused a controversy in the production world. The dispute lies with geography verses process methods. Process methods differ greatly between white tea and all other tea types because white tea is the least handled/processed tea available. From an earlier blog I discussed the different process methods of tea, so if this is a rehash, please forgive me.

White tea is the least processed of all teas. Tea leaves are allowed to whither in the sun for up to 5 days. Heat is then applied whether by firing or electric heating to pull the remaining water content out to reduce the chances of bacterial and mold growth before packaging. All other teas on the other hand are withered for a few hours, then the leaves are crushed or hand rolled. This allows for the oxidation of chemicals in the leave to interact with the atmosphere prior to applying heat.

The release of chemicals and oxidation process produces black teas such as Oolong, pekoe and Lapsong teas. Oxidation is the only difference between the black and white teas. And the process procedures are different to obtain green teas, but I have already touched on that topic earlier.

I hope that this information helps to define white tea, but regardless of the controversy I have found them to be very light and flavorful for afternoons and evenings. Lelani's carries white teas in blends and if requested we can provide un-blended white teas for your enjoyment.

Until next month which I will find another topic to blog on, Happy Spring!


Splendid Table, National Public Radio, 03/22/2015

Pork Loins with Chanterelle Cream Sauce February 27 2015, 0 Comments

Aloha from my perch on a brilliantly sunny February day.

So, o.k. I missed an opportunity to discuss any Valentines ideas or recipes. My bad and I'm sorry, but February in SW Colorado should be chilly and not pushing 60 degree temps! In fact at the moment I am basking in the sun getting my early suntan for the upcoming summer.

As I had stated in an earlier blog, I am not a baker, but rather a hack chef and with that I will let you in on a new recipe that I thought up trying to bring a new dish to the table. I found that the local organic butcher had pork loin steaks that were too good to pass up. The loins had to be 1.5 inches thick and had good marbling throughout the entire slab. So I got two for the express purpose of making a delicious new dish for Valentines dinner. Unfortunately I got chocolates for my special guy and all I got was a lousy cold! But I digress as usual on a different track.

Anyway, I applied a mixture of Lelani’s Citrus Lavender rub and Citrus Habanero Olive Oil prior to placing into a large zip-loc bag with a tropical fruit juice to marinade for a couple of days. Juice or wine marinades work well with pork, chicken and fish as it tenderizes and enhances the flavors of the rub and meat.

Prior to pan frying, I applied another sprinkling of the rub and set aside while heating up a large cast iron pan. As the pan is heating up, add fresh chopped shallots and crushed garlic to sauté till the shallots were tender and transparent. Remove and set aside the shallot mix for later use. Increase the heat and when ready add loins and sear both sides. Searing the outer layer of meat will seal in moisture and flavor. Once seared, reduce heat to low and cover pan and cook to medium well.

One piece of advice is not to over cook pork. This will cause the meat to become very dry and chewy (like shoe leather). It is best to under cook meat by removing and setting aside to allow the loins to finish cooking and to rest. This will keep the juices inside for great moisture and better flavor.

I reserved the marinade to use with mushrooms and shallot mix to make a cream sauce to top each loin. While the meat is cooking I put the marinade in a shallow bowl and added fresh sliced Chanterelle Mushrooms to absorb the liquid. Although I used Chanterelles, you can use most any mushrooms other than Shitaki as they tend to have their own distinct flavor which may not blend well with fruit juices. Let mushrooms soak for at least 10 minutes.

When the pork was finished and set aside, add mushrooms and marinade to the shallot mixture and sauté on low until tender, about 5 minutes. Add plain yogurt and Lelani's Citrus Lavender Rub to mix and blend well. Cook for 2 minutes and serve over pork loins as a cream sauce. To make a complete and healthy meal, I added Forbidden rice and fresh snow peas.

Below is my recipe for Citrus Lavender Pork Steaks - Enjoy!


Pork Loins with Chanterelle Cream Sauce


2 large pork loins (1-1/2 lbs)

1-1/2 c. tropical fruit juice

1 large shallot, chopped

2 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped

1 c. sliced mushrooms

1/4 c. flavored olive oil (Citrus works best)

2 tbsp. Lelani's Citrus Lavender Rub


Marinade pork loins in a large zip-loc bag with tropical juice for at least 2 hours. When ready to cook, remove steaks from bag and massage a bit of flavored oil and Lelani's Citrus Lavender Rub to steaks (1 tsp per side). Set aside.

Place sliced mushrooms into juice marinade and set aside.

After marinating steaks, heat skillet with some olive oil and sauté shallots, garlic until tender. When mixture is tender and transparent, remove and set aside for later use. Increase heat to high. Sear both sides of loins and then reduce heat to low and finish cooking to medium well (about 30 min). When finished, remove and set aside under foil to finish cooking.

Reduce heat to low and add sautéed mix to pan. Add mushrooms, juice and 1/2 tbsp Citrus Lavender Rub. Blend well over low heat for 2 minutes. Add plain yogurt to mixture and stir well. Cook an additional 2 minutes or until warm. Spoon cream sauce over pork steaks and serve.





Snow Down Supper Idea January 28 2015, 0 Comments


In Durango, CO winter can become a long and tedious season, but the end of January only means that Snow Down is right around the corner! What is Snow Down? The best way I can explain this is that Snow Down is the Cabin Fever Reliever! Some enterprising people found that mid winter is a great time for a week long party that includes stupid human tricks and contests!

It is a great time and I look forward to this party every year because it brings happiness and joy to an otherwise cold and dreary time of year. I also like this because it gives me a chance to try out new ideas from the kitchen on friends and family, who I thank a lot for their opinions. So this year is no different other than I decided to try out ‘chicken parmesan’ with marinara sauce.

I had worked in restaurants in the past and from each one of them I learned a lot about cooking and making sauces. Sadly though, I sux at baking! Anyway, taking what I learned and adding my individual touch I found I could create meals that family and friends enjoyed. Besides learning how to cook I also found lots of shortcuts to the entrees that I now use at home and in the recipe below.

Marinara is a very easy sauce to make and depending on your time, can be made in as little as 45 minutes. When I began working in these establishments, I was very much afraid of making mistakes especially with sauces as the sauce is the very first taste you get in your first bite. Italian and French sauces are very intimidating but I learned how to succeed with creating sauces for any meal. The key to Marinara is the first step of sautéing the onions and garlic before adding anything else. Also remember to smash the garlic cloves to get the best flavor. I also use a flavored olive oil like citrus habanera or ginger garlic for added complexity of flavors!

Below is my version of this signature Italian meal and I hope that you give it a try! Marinara is typically a very thin and flavorful sauce, my Marinara version, it is a bit thin by still chunky. So my sauce will end up chunky from the quartered tomatoes and diced onions and sweet peppers even if minced. I prefer a thicker type of sauce and this shows it.

Until the next blog post - Aloha & Mahalo!

Chicken Parmesan with Marinara Sauce

Marinara Sauce        

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 onion, coarsely diced

1 sweet pepper, coarsely diced

1-2 tbsp. olive oil

4-6 Roma tomatoes, firm and dark red in color

1 16 oz can tomato paste

½ c. red wine, (Cabernet or Claret)

1tsp. smoked salt

2 tsp. sugar

1 tbsp. Papule Chixen rub


Sauté garlic and onions in oil over medium heat until onions are translucent in appearance. Quarter up tomatoes and add to onions and garlic mix. Add diced peppers and stir in tomato paste and wine. Add salt and seasoning rub and mix well. Mash down tomatoes when thoroughly cooked. Reduce heat to a simmer for at least 30 minutes.

Chicken Parmesan

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts

1 tsp. olive oil

2 tbsp. Papule Chixen rub

¼ container bread crumbs

4 -6 slices Provolone Cheese


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Using a mallet, tenderize both side of each breast. Apply olive oil and Papule Chixen Rub over both sides of breasts and set aside in a bowl. Pour breadcrumbs over each breast and gently press breadcrumbs onto both sides of the chicken.

Place chicken breasts into large oiled shallow pan and cover with aluminum or lid. Bake for 45 minutes or until done. To finish off, melt provolone cheese over each breast.

Serve chicken over fettuccini or linguini and top with a ladle of Marinara over entire dish. Add a salad and good crusty Italian bread will complete the meal!







True Cajun Chicken & Sausage Gumbo January 13 2015, 0 Comments

Aloha all!

 Well here it is my first blog of 2015 and I am trying my damnedest to keep my resolution to our readers! I had to think hard about to blog about, but today (1/13/15) I awoke to about 3 inches of wet heavy snow and the yard was beautiful and I began plotting and planning for that Calvin & Hobbs Snowman for the front yard. That was before I saw some of the damage from this storm and the snow was too wet to really make a good snowman.

So after shoveling the wet stuff from the steps 3 times, I changed gears and decided that this day needed a large pot of Chicken and Sausage Gumbo. The recipe below is courtesy of Tim Richard (a true Cajun), so if you every meet him, say thanx! Although this may seem like a difficult winter dish to make, but it is very simple. The key to making gumbo is to begin with a very thick and golden brown roux as the base.

Making a good roux is not hard to make as long as you don’t let it become scorched or burnt. To start pour 1 cup of oil into a cast iron Dutch oven. Mix in 1 cup flour into the oil and stir the mixture and remove all lumps. Keep the heat at medium and keep stirring! The mixture will become more golden brown as it cooks and this is what you want. The entire process will take approximately 20-30 minutes to get the deep golden brown color for the gumbo. If you find black specks, you need to start over again as the roux has been burned and will impart that flavor to the remainder of the ingredients.

As the roux is chugging along, chop onion, celery and peppers into bite size pieces. When the roux is completed mix the chopped veggies into the roux and stir (again), keeping the heat on medium. Add chicken broth and stir to keep mix from burning. When everything is well mixed, add chicken and sausage to pot and stir mixture well.

Now add wine and seasoning to mix and if needed more chicken broth to pot till the mixture resembles a thick – I mean thick- soup. Put heat on low and cover with a tight fitting lid and let cook, stirring occasionally. I used the Moo Moo rub for the seasoning which was added to the pot to simmer and meld with the veggies and meat!

After simmering several hours I serve the gumbo over a mix of Jasmine and Forbidden Rice and this is a great hot meal for the family to enjoy on a cold winter evening!


True Cajun Chicken & Sausage Gumbo


1 c. oil (sunflower or olive)

1 c. flour


Heat oil and add flour in a cast iron Dutch oven. Stir mixture to remove lumps and prevent burning until mixture is a deep golden brown.

Gumbo mix:

1 lg. onion

4 stalks celery

1 ½ bell peppers

1 jalapeno

1-2 c. chicken broth

1 c. dry white wine

½ lb okra (optional)

2 tbsp. Moo Moo Rub


Chop all veggies into bite size pieces and stir into roux mix to coat well. Add chicken broth to mix and stir. Add more broth if needed along with wine. Add seasonings and stir. Cover and simmer pot on low for at least 2 hrs.

Serve gumbo over rice mixture and enjoy with a salad and fresh bread!

My mahalos and love to Tim Richard who taught me the art of Cajun Cooking!

Coffee - that other beauty tool September 17 2014, 0 Comments

Aloha All!

As promised in the last blog, here are some great beauty and health tips using coffee! BTW, I am now using a green tea rinse almost daily and I can say that I am seeing a slight improvement. Will keep everyone posted!

As you sit and sip away at your morning coffee, think about this - Did you know that you can use coffee for more than just that jolt in the morning to kick start the ol’ motor? It is true! In response to my last blog, I found quite a bit of information about using coffee in your daily regime of beauty and health.

Skin looking tired and dull? Try using a handful of coffee grounds as a scrub. The rough texture of the grounds will help to slough off dead skin from the surface, leaving a fresh glow in its place. Additionally the caffeine will help to tighten skin and fine lines, reduce puffy eyes and dark circles but wait! Antioxidants a coffee scrub will help to protect your skin from daily environmental damages i.e. pollution and UV radiation! You can also add cane sugar and palm, grapeseed or olive oils for additional moisturizers!   

Besides being a great facial scrub, did you know that you can also use this scrub to get rid of cellulite? Coffee is a main ingredient of many products targeted for cellulite and can reduce water retention in problem areas. Additionally antioxidants will tighten skin over time and try adding tea tree oil your mix to improve scent. Mix up some fresh grounds with brown or white sugar and oil and spread onto problem area, rubbing in a circular motion. From what I have learned in researching this is that over time you will see noticeable improvements in the reduction of cellulite. If anyone tries this let me know how it works!

Coffee is also a great addition to your shampoo routine as it will remove residual buildup of hair products, stimulate hair follicle grow and leave your hair lustrous and more manageable. To make a good coffee hair masque, brew a strong pot of coffee and allow to chill to room temperature. Pour the coffee onto your hair and massage into the scalp for the benefits from antioxidants. Cover your hair with a towel or bag and sit for 20 minutes before washing as normal. One caveat to this tip – if your hair is chemically treated, colored or have naturally light hair, this may discolor your hair.

Finally, to help you all out I have added coffee recipes from my searches below for your experiments! Let me know what works and doesn’t work and I will pass it on with future blogs. Thanks to the following sites which made my job a bit easier:

Facial Scrub:

3 tablespoons coffee grounds (new, if possible)
1 tablespoon natural oil of your choice: Olive, grape seed, or coconut
1 tablespoon cane sugar

Mix all dry ingredients, then add oil. Based on the kind of scrub consistency you want, add more or less brown sugar. Massage onto your face in gentle, circular motions and rinse with warm water.


1 cup coffee grounds
1/2 cup white or brown sugar
1 cup coconut oil

Mix all the ingredients together thoroughly. After you’ve washed your body, massage the scrub into wet skin for about 60 seconds per area, rinse with warm water. Tip: use a drain screen as this scrub could clog your tub.

Hair treatment


1 pot coffee (room temperature)

2 tbsp. tea tree oil

Prepare strong coffee and let it cool until the mixture is lukewarm or room temperature. Add tea tree oil and mix prior to application. Pour the coffee onto your hair and scalp, wrap hair with a plastic cap or towel and allow sit for 20 minutes. Wash out with warm water. Style as usual.