The cardone, in English known as cardoon, is a celery stalk like thistle plant, that is related to the artichoke family.  The flavors are close to the artichoke as well, being that it is an earthy mellow flavor.

Fried cardone is a traditional Italian side dish that my family has always made for Thanksgiving or Christmas, and never sits around very long. The dish is unassuming but is spectacular in flavor and one of my all time favorites.

Prepping cardone to cook can be timely, but so worth it.

**To Prep you will need to blanch the vegetable;  Trim all leaves, peel the stalks, cut into four-inch pieces and boil them in salted water for fifteen minutes to remove any bitterness.


Fried Cardone

1 large stalk of prepped cardone
1 cup of flour
S&P to taste
EVOO for pan frying

1. Combine flour with s&p in a bowl.

2. Heat oil in frying pan over medium heat.  If it’s too hot the flour will burn too quickly.

3. Flour the prepped cardone.


4. Place as many pieces of cardone in the pan at once, adding more oil if needed.


5. Brown on all sides till tender, then remove from heat. ** Clean the frying pan between each batch with a paper towel/clean tea towel to remove the fried flour between each batch, as to not burn the flour further.


Poblano Roasted Tomato Salsa

  • 4 medium-sized vine ripe tomatoes, seeds removed
  • 1 small clove garlic, peeled and root end trimmed
  • 1 large poblano chili pepper, roasted (instructions below)
  • 1 medium Vidalia onion
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • Freshly ground pink Himalayan salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
Roast Poblano Peppers
  1. Preheat oven on LOW broil.
  2. Place whole poblano pepper on a baking sheet lined with tin foil into the oven.
  3. Cook till the skin is blistering.  Flip the pepper on all sides until completely blistered/charred.  Watch the poblano carefully so it doesn’t burn.
  4. Remove from the oven, let cool wrapped in foil.
  5. Remove skin.
  6. Cut in half, remove the top and all of the seeds.  Set aside


Making the salsa

  1. In a food processor, add all the ingredients: pepper, tomatoes, onions and garlic.
  2. Pulsate a handful of times to incorporate the ingredients together.  Add cumin and lime juice and let the processor run a minute to mix fully.
  3. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Refrigerate.

How to… Roast Beets

I was given a nice bunch of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) veggies from my sister over 4th of July weekend.  Her friend is a member with a local farmer’s CSA and was going to be away, so she gave my sister her share this time.  LUCKY!  The amount of vegetables one can get through a CSA is overwhelming, and sometimes not exactly what you like or even recognize, but I love veggies and am happy with it all!  So, I was stoked when she told me she was bringing veggies over for me, and part of the lot contained beets!


But most people buy them already roasted or canned ready to eat…I usually only buy one brand, that is the Love Beets organic brand beets.  I highly recommend them, but if you can, I definitively recommend doing it yourself!  Everything is better when you do it yourself!  And this is too easy to not do yourself.

So here’s a quick walk through on how to roast your own beets.


How to… Roast Beets

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Clean beats by removing the stems and washing with cold water, scrubbing the rough dirty spots.
Lay a large rectangle cut of aluminum foil over a baking pan (I used a 9×13, my rectangle was 2/3 longer.).
Wrap beets each in a layer of foil. Then lay on top of the baking pan, covering with the overlap of the rectangle of foil.
Roast until beets are soft when pierced with a knife, 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on their size. These beets took 1 hour.
Cool beets in the packets they were cooked in; trapping the moisture inside the foil will help with removing the skin.
Once cooled, rub off skins (use a paring knife for tough spots).
Done!  Enjoy right away or place in plastic bag in the fridge for later.
I love beets!

Roasted Cauliflower

Roasted Cauliflower
1 head of cauliflower
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 large pinch fresh parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh grated Parmigiano Reggiano
Salt and pepper to taste

Pre-heat oven to 400F convection roast, or 425F conventional heat.

On a cutting board clean the head of cauliflower:  remove the stem/stalk, leaves and the interior leaves. Then rinse the whole head under cold water.

Cauliflower Head Removing cauliflower stalk cleaned cauliflower head

Using your hands, pull off each floret of cauliflower from the head. You can use a paring knife, but I find they break right off. Then all you are left with is the interior stem, this can be roasted too, or stored in the freezer to use in soups.

cauliflower florets

In a large bowl add in the ingredients and coat the cauliflower well.

cauliflower with parsley, olive oil, s&p and galric

Then transfer to a baking dish.  Cover the cauliflower with the cheese.

cauliflower mixture with cheese on top

Place in the oven.

Total cooking time should be 30 minutes.  At the 10 minute mark take the cauliflower from the oven to stir, then let cook the remainder of the time untouched.


roasted cauliflower


Stocking Stuffer- Manicure Kit in a Jar

Stumbled upon this clever way to package a manicure set on pinterest a few weeks ago, and thought this would be a great pinterest craft to try and the perfect stocking stuffer (a rather large one) for my sister this Christmas!  Sorry, if you are reading this, but close your eyes now. 

Purchased a manicure kit for under $10. It consisted of a ton of things:

  • 1 small nail clipper
  • 1 large nail clipper
  • 1 mini scissors
  • 1 cuticle cutter
  • 1 cuticle pusher
  • 1 double sided nail file
  • 1 double-sided nail buffer
  • 1 mini nail brush for washing

Additional items purchased:

  • a wide-mouthed jar ($2.57)
  • a clear base coat ($3)
  • a color nail polish ($3)
  • a mini nail polish remover ($ .97)
  • and a bag of cotton ($1)

Started by filling the bottom of the jar with a handful of cotton balls.  Then strategically placed all the individual items inside around and embedded into the cotton so they wouldn’t clang and move around in the jar (adding cotton between as needed). One item didn’t fit inside the jar, the nail file. Figured to use it with the bow.  As I am a wrapping paper/present person, I had a bolt of tulle in my inventory and used it for this gift, too.  Measured the jar and cut a circle out of the tulle to cover and make a poof at the top.  Tied it with a candy cane bow and added the file to top it off.

This came out cute with the tulle and the peek-a-boo of all the things inside.. and I hope she likes it!

All the items needed for a manicure set in a jar
All the items needed for a manicure set in a jar
Voila!  A sweet bundle of manicured goodness!
Voila! A sweet bundle of manicured cuteness!

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

A few years ago, I was soo intimidated by brussels sprouts.  The thought of preparing them gave me cold feet. But once I saw someone prepare them and it was so easy; I got hooked! And at least once a week we prepare them as a side dish.  Below is a walk through on how to clean/prep brussels sprouts, using fresh brussels sprouts.

Brussels Sprouts taste amazing roasted, in olive oil and S&P as I walk you through below, but there is a product I want to share that goes amazingly with brussels sprouts. I really love love love to use a balsamic reduction, or as seen in the photo I am attaching, a balsamic cream. Drizzling a little bit over the roasted brussels sprouts takes the dish to another level with a sweet and sour flavor.  It’s a must try; and can be found at most grocery stores that have an international/Italian aisle.  This reduction is great on a variety of meats, vegetables, fruits and even ice cream!

Balsamic Glaze/Reduction.

What you’ll need:

1.5 lbs Brussels sprouts (prep directions below)
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3/4 tspn salt
1/2 tspn freshly ground black pepper

1 cookie sheet covered in parchment.

Preheat oven to 400F.

Cut off the stems of the brussels sprouts and pull off the bottom and first layers of the outer, darker leaves.  Score the bottoms with an X.

A washed brussels sprout. Isn’t he cute?
Without top layer of leaves.
Without browned stem
Score the brussels sprout with an ‘X’.

Mix them in a bowl with the olive oil, salt and pepper.

Place them scattered on a cookie sheet, and roast until the outside is browned and some outer leaves are crispy, (and that they are tender in the center), about 35- 40 minutes.  I like to set the timer for 20 minutes, then shake the pan up a bit so they brown on all sides.

The finished dish! Roasted Brussels Sprout

☞I enjoy eating roasted brussels sprouts as a snack..with chopsticks.

T’is me. YUMMY! (with the balsamic on it!)
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