Category Archives: Eat

Randy’s Recipes: Olive, Fig, Ricotta, Orange Sandwich

Randy’s Recipes: Olive, Fig, Ricotta, Orange Sandwich (Randyjw; April 10, 2019)


It’s been a long time since I’ve stepped inside a Walmart; I usually found them inconveniently located, and didn’t find much enticing selection to warrant the trip.


But, this time was different. As I browsed the aisles, I found the shelves stocked with the best brands of commercially-available offerings I would have chosen, should my local market chains have kept purchasing them. But, as usual, the buyers always seem to discontinue my favorites in any categories, from food to cleansers.


I put together this “Walmart special,” and it wasn’t bad.


Randy’s Recipes: Olive, Fig, Ricotta, Orange Sandwich (Randyjw; April 10, 2019)


French Bread ($1.00 USD), or other of your choice

Ricotta Cheese, or other of your choice*

Orange ($0.68 USD), segmented

Olive and Fig Tapenade (small jar; a bit costly – – probably better to make yourself. Includes sea salt, cardamom, assorted vinegars, more.)


Try other options:


Spearmint leaves

Sunflower kernels


* Walmart has a nice selection of sliced cheese in a platter, although not best quality, such as this one, which was $7.00 USD, featuring: Irish cheddar, Havarti, Gouda, Imported Swiss (it didn’t taste like it, and had no holes):

Layer olive/fig spread onto open face of French bread loaf. Top with ricotta, or other cheese of your choice. Top with orange segments. Enjoy.


5 Yums Up


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Cooking Shows (PBS) and Food Blogs

Cooking Shows (PBS) and Food Blogs (Randyjw; June 2, 2018)


Our public television service in the United States, PBS, has some nice cooking shows. Some of the ones I like are:


Christina Pirello – Christina Cooks (Vegan)


Mary Ann Esposito – Ciao Italia (Italian)


Alamelu Vairavan – Healthful Indian Flavors with Alamelu (Indian)


Hubert Keller – Hubert Keller: Secrets of a Chef (Varied; He’s from Alsace)


Nick Stellino – Nick Stellino Cooking with Friends (Italian)


Pati Jinich – Pati’s Mexican Table


Rachel Allen – Rachel’s Favorite Food at Home (Varied; She lives in Ireland)


Sara Moulton – Sara’s Weeknight Meals (Varied)


These are some food blogs I like, excerpted from a list I posted previously :

Anisa Kazemi – – Always a love. You’ll love her, too.


Maya – artsyteenblog – A blog for teens. Really incredible. Craft projects and recipes. Check out her divine looking lemon-based dessert recipes.


Maureen Abood – – Lebanese and inspired food from her heritage.


Georgia McDermott – George Eats. – Interesting ideas and journey.


Ania – – A vegan life lived in the Greek Isles.


Christina – – Every episode of her tv show features tantalizing plant-based dishes that never disappoint. Get her tips and explore ideas at her website, as well.


Stunning food photography and edible artistry at:


Nepali Food: – Recipes, learning about local dishes, etc. – Delicious pix and easy Indian, and other, food recipes.


Morgan – – Great twists on classic dishes and fusion-food.


Pati’s Mexican Table: Mexican food is more than enchiladas. Pati Jinich shows you how:


New Scandinavian Cooking: Andreas Viestad cooks up some new, interesting recipes:


Nick Stellino: Italian food with friends.


The Free Range Cook: Annabel Langbein cooks up local foods grown in New Zealand:


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Randy’s Recipes: Fifteen Minute Macaroni Bisque


Randy’s Recipes: Fifteen Minute Macaroni Bisque (Randyjw; February 28, 2017)


1/2 box (12 oz.) macaroni, or other, pasta

1 can (10.5 oz.) bisque soup (seafood, lobster, chowder, corn, vegetable, etc.)

12 oz. chicken stock (two chicken bouillon cubes dissolved in travel mug sized coffee cup)

1/4 – 1/2 Tablespoon butter

1/8 teaspoon (4 shakes) garlic powder

1 bay leaf, small

4 drops apple-cider vinegar

Thickener, if desired (cornstarch, flour, etc.)

Optional Add-Ins: Port-Wine Cheese Spread (like Kaukauna) (I haven’t actually tried this, yet…)



Boil pasta, as per package directions; then, strain and set aside.


Combine the remaining ingredients in a saucepan until heated through, reducing sauce with continued heat to thicken. If using thickener, use some of the heated sauce and add to the powdered thickener in a separate bowl, to dissolve and to temper the thickener to the desired consistency; then add to sauce and stir. Pour over pasta. Season to taste.

6 Yums Up


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Randy’s Recipes: Banzai Bowties



Banzai Bowties (Randyjw; December 29, 2016)





A hungering need sends me

insensibly seeking consumption

myriads of spices

in pyramids’ reflection


Irreverently beckon

its scent fragrant

and unlessened

the lessons of life’s


Insistingly strengthened


Banzai — that’s why!

It’s the only thing

that’s said to work

when the rest is left

unshouted to the sky!



Randy’s Recipes: Banzai Bowties (December 29, 2016)


Based on a true story. The scent of curry wafted sweetly to my olfactory senses, as I opened the cabinet door upon my kitchen spice shelf. There was no choice but to combine these bowties I’d planned to make kasha with, a Jewish dish of buckwheat, toasted in a coating of egg wash, mixed with cooked bowtie-shaped pasta (gentlemanly, to note the least) with the curry. What else? Penne, by any other name, would have seemed no substitute.


I could’ve used some of the remaining coconut I’d toasted for my Chanukah latkes, but that thought didn’t cross my mind. Instead, I selected the trusty standby, peanut butter (thank-you, peanut butter), and my newest purchase, Ponzu. What was I thinking? What was I going to do with this ponzu? And why did my fingers type the beginning of two mysterious letters not even that close to each other on the keyboard as if it should shout?




Randy’s Recipes: Banzai Bowties (December 29, 2016)




Bowtie pasta, cooked and drained; or others, to preference

Indian curry powder, to preference

Peanut butter, to preference

Ponzu, to preference


Mix well and enjoy!


8 Yums Up

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Randy’s Recipes: Apple-Paleeza Oatmeal


Apple-Paleeza (Photos) (Randyjw; December 5, 2016)


Clockwise from Bottom: Baked Apples in Red Wine; Sliced Apples; Mini Apple-Filled Pie


Apples and Oatmeal; Baked Apples and Pears


Randy’s Recipes: Apple-Paleeza Oatmeal


Randy’s Recipes: Apple-Paleeza Oatmeal (Randyjw; December 5, 2016)



2 apples, cored

Manischewitz Concord Grape Wine (or your choice; other liquors work, also)

1 can Bartlett Pears in Syrup, diced, removed from syrup


Several packets Quaker Instant Oatmeal, Apples and Cinnamon flavor (rolled oats, puffed-corn style additions, granola, etc. also work)

Other add-ins (optional): fresh or dried fruits, like: raisins, cranberries, blueberries, apricots, peaches, jams, etc.; whipped cream topping, meringue topping; more dessert-style spices, such as cinnamon, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, etc. Use your imagination!



Place cored apples in an oven-proof baking dish and pour wine over top, allowing to fill dish about one-inch deep. Bake in oven at 350°F for about 55 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool, then slice apples into bite-sized pieces. Boil water for oatmeal and prepare according to package directions, then let cool. Dice pears and sprinkle with cardamom. Combine all three preparations. Place in container in refrigerator for several days to let flavors develop and meld. Enjoy.

5.4 Yums Up

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Randy’s Recipes: Braised Brussels Sprouts


This is an easy side dish you can prepare with either fresh or frozen vegetables. I had some frozen brussels sprouts in the freezer, and didn’t like the way the “fresh”, packaged ones looked at the market, with brown root stems, and a sickly look, each and every one — Oy! So, even though it was a bit mushier, due to the pre-frozen quality, it was still a quick and tastier uptick than just some veggies from a can or microwave steam-packet. I ate them for my entire dinner, and had a nice (canned plus fresh) fruit salad for dessert.





Randy’s Recipes: Braised Brussels Sprouts (Randyjw; November 6, 2016)



Brussels Sprouts, fresh or frozen; rinsed — you can cut in half, or leave whole

Sesame Oil

Butter: 1 to 2 Tablespoons, or to add richness without sogginess

Wine/Liqueur/Spirits/Alcohol Flourish (I used sweet, red wine, Manischewitz Concord Grape; you can use cognac, brandy, Jaegermeister, schnapps, rum, coconut-flavored, Grand Marnier, cherry….. etc.)

Carmelize rinsed brussels sprouts on the stovetop or in the oven on a sheet pan, allowing them to sit and take on color without stirring, but being careful not to burn them. Add in sesame oil and contine cooking. Add butter, only to richen and coat, but not make soggy. Same with the alcohol flourish — add in only a line or two to add flavor at the end, but to not make soggy. Cook to blend through a bit. Serve and Enjoy!

7.3 Yums Up

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Randy’s Recipes: Fun-Fusion Pasta


Randy’s Recipes: Fun-Fusion Pasta (Randyjw; November 6, 2016)





Sesame Oil (Optional)

Garlic (Optional) (I used powdered)

Soy Sauce


Optional Add-Ins:

Vegetables: Raw, Cooked, or Garnish












Boil pasta until done, drain, and return to pot. Remove from heat. Add a bit of sesame oil to moisten, then stir. Add a shake of garlic on top, and stir. Add a few lines of soy sauce across the top, then stir. Add about a tablespoonful of peanut butter; a little goes a long way, so only use a little and adjust later. Add another round of garlic, sesame oil and soy sauce, alternately adding to balance out all flavors. This is good with a heavy accent on the garlic. Add-in any options, if using. A few chopped scallions sprinkled on top would be delicious. Simple, easy and delicious.


6.9 Yums Up


November 11, 2016: I’m eating this again — this time eliminating the sesame oil and garlic; it’s still good. I’m going to re-list those ingredients as “optional”.

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Randy’s Recipes: Tabouleh-Topped Bagel And Cream Cheese


Randy’s Recipes: Tabouleh-Topped Bagel And Cream Cheese (Randyjw; November 4, 2016)



Tabouleh (see previous post for recipe, here:)

Bagel, toasted or plain (or your choice of toast or bread — any flavor, etc.)

Cream Cheese (I used plain, but that’s up to you…)


Prepare your bread/bagel/toast, or whatever you wish to use, as preferred (my bagel was lightly toasted, closed, so that the interior steamed, rather than toasted). Let cool slightly.


Top with cream cheese.


Top THAT with tabouleh. Enjoy!


7.2 Yums Up




After reading some selections from the website this morning, I felt that my soul had benefitted enough to soothe the worldly part of me that has been the more dominant aspect of my reactionary manner and mode, of late.


Afterwards, I prepared my breakfast, and everything tasted so wonderful and sweet! My combination turned out fantastic, and my coffee was blended just right! Although it was only instant (Nescafe’ Taster’s Choice, French Roast), a little sugar and milk set it off just superbly, and the tabouleh atop the bagel-and-cream-cheese was a big hit!


I prepared the tabouleh yesterday, and the blending overnight enhanced the flavors. I’m still trying different methods and ingredients for this. I used a larger chop on the vegetables, and this is a definite no-no. Although it’s more time-consuming, the end result of extremely fine-cut vegetables is the perfect incarnation for this dish. I toasted the bulgur wheat, and I’m not sure that I prefer that to a just plain-boiled version. I’ve got some other ideas, though — I just might not get to them very soon, as I’ve got several quarts of tabouleh now sitting in my fridge.


Blessed? You bet. After savoring that delicious meal (and for celebrating my day of life today), I thanked G-d with a prayer in praise. There are certain Hebrew ones which apply specifically to each occasion and action. Frankly, I’ve probably uttered just the one for wine. I’ve failed by not saying the proper one for bread (which I just remembered), or vegetables (I’m not sure if tomato, in Hebrew, is fruit or vegetable, but there are also the greens of parsley… Is that Maror, here, for the bitter herbs, or is that only at Passover?). I’m confusing myself.


In the wrong, but nevertheless, I made up my own prayer, to thank Him for… Everything! Maybe this is an actual prayer… I don’t know. But, here it is:


Baruch Atah Adonai, Elo(k)einu Melech Ha’Olam

Boreh (ha)Kol B’Olam


Blessed Art Thou, O Lord, Our G-d, King of the Universe

Creator of Everything in the World/Universe



I felt happy for having done so.


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Randy’s Recipes: Meals of the Mediterranean: Pasta Sauce and Tabouleh


Randy’s Recipes: Meals of the Mediterranean: Pasta Sauce and Tabouleh (Randyjw; September 27, 2016)


These two recipes share the same ingredients, amplified in the tabouleh, yet taste very different.


My cupboards were bare, so I combined running my various errands with a major shopping spree to buy all healthful items. I did rather well, with that mission, although I spent a minor fortune, and I forgot that the market in that area was a small, somewhat-limited one, in scope, so I was not able to purchase everything fresh, so I’ll write the recipes for fully-fresh, as well as including the pre-packaged items I used.


For so much effort, one may as well prepare everything with fresh, whole ingredients, but it also shows how we can begin to enhance our heat-and-eat home preparations towards something tastier and, likely, more healthful for us.


So, here are two dishes you can prepare, which will stretch far, and which will be ready to eat when your time is more pressing. Both are the fare one thinks of when dining in the Middle East and Mediterranean: Pasta Sauce and Tabouleh. I’ll give the recipe for tabouleh first (which is how my prep went; the pasta sauce was a last-minute quirk I came up with).


Randy’s Recipes: Tabouleh (Randyjw; September 27, 2016)


This is basically a Greek-influencd tabouleh, jazzing up a simple tabouleh with the addition of Greek-style elements, such as cucumbers and feta cheese. The recipe is basically the same, and not many twists are to be found; but, nevertheless, even exact recipes can taste quite different in the end product, dependent on a chef’s techniques and tools, etc.


So, this is my own recipe, at present, possibly to fluctuate, with its adjustments and additions, but it is similar (but, of course different) to that recipe which is found on the box of Near East brand tabouleh, whose company makes many great products, which I use. I didn’t really measure out my ingredients, and so, as usual, I’m recreating, by my guess, an approximately hopeful likeness.


This makes approximately 5 quarts (four, when the ingredients have had time to marinate, meld and wilt down, a bit).



2 supermarket bunches of fresh parsley, chopped fine (set aside a small portion, if also making pasta sauce; see below)

Handful fresh basil leaves, chopped fine (set aside a small portion, if also making pasta sauce; see below)

Handful spearmint leaves, chopped fine (set aside a small portion, if also making pasta sauce; see below)

3 or 4 tomatoes, salted and diced fine (cut an additional 4 or 5 tomatoes, or so, if also making pasta sauce; see below)

2 cucumbers, finely diced

Tiny bottle, extra virgin olive oil (minus two or three tablespoonfuls set aside, if also making pasta sauce; see below)

Bulgur wheat (if using boxed brand, like Near East brand, then use two boxes with its included seasoning packets) (here, I used the boxed version)

Onion; Any color; use vertical wedge cut from one large onion, sliced into thin, smallish slivers (set aside an additional small handful, if making pasta sauce; see below)

Dill; fresh, chopped fine; or, dried: about 1/8th teaspoon, or one smallish pinch

Pepper, to taste

Juice from 1/2-to-1 lemon, to taste

8 oz. (set aside 1 or 2 tablespoonfuls, if making pasta sauce; see below) feta cheese, crumbled


Combine all ingredients, then sort into lidded quart containers. Shake to blend. Keep refrigerated. Enjoy.

6.8 Yums Up



Randy’s Recipes: Pasta Sauce (Randyjw; September 27, 2016)



Approx. 2 or 3 tablespoonfuls Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Garlic; 1 or 2 cloves, smashed; or about 3/4-teaspoon dried, to taste

4 or 5 large tomatoes; diced fine and salted (adjust quantity to suit your needs); or, 1 large can Hunt’s tomato sauce

Onion; White or Yellow best; wedge cut from large onion, sliced into thin, smallish slivers

Hand-pinch fresh parsley, chopped fine

Hand-pinch fresh basil, chopped fine

A few leaves fresh spearmint, chopped fine

Pasta; approx. 16 oz., your choice (in this serving suggestion, I used bowties)

Pepper, to taste

Parmesan Cheese, Shaved/Sprinkled (serving suggestion, for topping)

Feta Cheese, crumbled (serving suggestion, for topping. This was excellent! I put it on after sprinkling parmesan on top, apres-photo)


In a large pot, boil water for your pasta. Add a small shake of salt, if desired, to taste. Add your pasta; stir, bringing to slow boil.

Remove leaves from plants, and stems from herbs; wash and set aside.

Pour oil into skillet.

Add garlic, and begin heating, to blend.

On a cutting board, chop your tomatoes, and salt them as you would, if eating plain. Pour off the running tomato juices into the pan, and let blend. Heat for a short bit.

Add your tomatoes, or tomato sauce, and let cook until bubbling for a short bit.

Add your slivered onion.

Sprinkle in herbs and let heat through.

Drain and plate your pasta.

Ladle sauce over top.

If using parmesan, feta, or other cheeses, sprinkle on top.


7 Yums Up

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Israeli 5 in Top World Restaurants


The October, 2016 release of Condé Nast Traveler lists Israeli restaurants among the world’s top designations for food connoisseurs and others of discerning palate.


Five restaurants, chosen in varying locale, place Israel in a place of prominence among those listed for the honor this year. Pilar Guzmán, editor-in-chief of the eponymous magazine, has chosen 207 restaurants declared worthiest to earn the designation of “World’s Best Restaurant”, featured as the cover story, in her guide, “Where in the World to Eat”.


The Israeli restaurants named, in alphabetical order, are:


Elbabor – Umm el Fahm

Machneyuda – Jerusalem

Muscat Restaurant – Rosh Pina

Studio Arcadia – Jerusalem

Tzfon Abraxas – Tel Aviv-Yafo


The solemn sound of the ram’s horn, the shofar, will be heard next month in October. If you have never heard this soul-searing sound, I encourage you to get close to Divinity and to do so, in Israel.


At least it’s reason enough to come for the food.


Ghermezian, Shiryn. “Prestigious US Travel Magazine Includes Israeli Eateries on List of World’s Top Restaurants”.; September 21, 2016:


Condé Nast Traveler:

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Randy’s Recipes (Mom’s): JM Blueberry Muffins


Randy’s Recipes (Mom’s): JM Blueberry Muffins (Randyjw; September 17, 2016)


1 box/pint fresh blueberries

1/4-lb. margarine (or butter)

1-1/4 cup sugar, plus extra for dusting

2 eggs

1/2-cup milk

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

Cinnamon, for dusting




Preheat oven to 375°F.

Grease a muffin tin, including the top. If using muffin liners, place one or two into each cup.

Wash 1 box/pint fresh blueberries. Pat dry and lightly dust with flour to help suspend the blueberries in the batter.

Measure out 1/2-cup of blueberries and divide among the cups, placing them at the bottom of each cup or liner.

In a large bowl, cream together margarine and sugar.

Add eggs, one at a time.

Add alternately milk, flour, baking powder and salt.

If a more dispersed blueberry batter is desired, mash some of the blueberries and fold it into the batter. Carefully fold-in rest of whole blueberries.

Place batter into each cup or liner, filling each to the top.

Sprinkle each top with cinnamon and sugar.

Bake for 25-30 minutes at 375°F.

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Randy’s Recipes: Apricots and Coconut Creme


Randy’s Recipes: Apricots and Coconut Creme (Randyjw; September 15, 2016)


Delish in your dish!

Figure about 1 can per person.


1 can apricot halves, in syrup

Coconut creme/cream: cold or toasted


Sprinkle cold, or toasted, (or both) coconut creme (more consolidated than shredded flakes) (may need to scrape from bar, if very dried) on canned apricot halves, and Enjoy!

6 Yums Up


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Randy’s Recipes: Four Seas Coffee


Randy’s Recipes: Four Seas Coffee (Randyjw; September 15, 2016)


If you’re looking for a way to get your coffee kick in the morning, without the unneeded sugar and dairy additions that normally compile the usual selections, just make yourself a cup of this interesting exotica, and you’ll find you might not even miss it — and, in fact, prefer it!


The Four Seas Coffee tastes like a Mediterranean island escape, but can be made in a jiffy. For a quick fix, use instant; for the longer-haul, brew a nice French, Turkish, or Javan Sumatran Highlands 😉 roast. Shut your eyes, inhale deeply, and sip.


Four Seas stands for “Four ‘C’s'”:

Coffee – Instant or Brewed; your preference

Cinnamon – 2 or 3 dashes

Cardamom – dash or two

Cup – One, Two, Three…


Brew your coffee, or Boil your water and add instant coffee. Pour into a nice, tall mug and add a couple dashes cinnamon, and a dash or two of cardamom. Stir. Enjoy!

6.8 Yums Up

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Randy’s Recipes: Cardamom Club BLD


Unassembled Cardamom Club BLD with Havarti Cheese, Alfalfa Sprouts, Tomato (Veggie Option #1)


Randy’s Recipes: Cardamom Club BLD (Randyjw; September 15, 2016)


The BLD stands for the fact that this is a “Buildable Recipe”. There is a base recipe from which it can branch into other possible configurations, and also that it could be a Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner recipe.



English Muffin, split and toasted (best choice; but, substitute, as you prefer)

Cardamom, sprinkled on top of toasted muffin half



To the above base, layer on, to preference, in the preceeding order, the following (optional):



Lunch Options:


Cold: Sliced Havarti or Camembert

Hot: Melted Gruyère or Swiss

Veggie Option #1: Alfalfa Sprouts, Tomato

Veggie Option #2: Sliced Shiitake or Portobello Mushrooms, with a splash of Soy Sauce

Meats: Delicatessen Selections, such as Sliced, Roasted Turkey, etc.



Dinner Options:

Braised or Roasted Fowl, such as Cornish Game Hen or Capon, torn off bone

Venison with Berry or Port Wine Glacè

Sliced Brisket

7.8 Yums Up




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Randy’s Recipes: Canned Fruit and Cardamom


Recently, I’d been on a quest to track down cardamom, that sweet, specific spice common to the Middle East. I found that it wasn’t entirely absent from the spice shelves of the local supermarket, but that the probable reason for its scarcity was due to the lack of usage in the United States, and its concurrent high cost.


Whether this is because of conditions in its growth or harvest and bringing it to market, or because of its unfamiliarity in this part of the world, I have found this spice to be a difficult to source ingredient. Additionally, where economies rely more on wholesale movement of goods and production, local sourcing often disappears.


Thankfully, this trend is reversing itself with a back-to-nature movement, where people are establishing little gardens and artisanal endeavors in their backyards and at home. Yay! I’m all for this artsy-craftsy stuff and for preserving the tradecraft of all those who have paved those paths ahead of us, literally, and figuratively-speaking, of course.


G-d answered this one and brought me cardamom to market at half-price! Spice certainly hasn’t been first and foremost in my mind as I was potentially facing homelessness, that was for sure. I was very lucky to have Him looking out for me, right now, and saving me through my mother, who came to my last-minute rescue. I can’t thank both enough. I still have some non-essential foodstuffs I am thankful for, and these include some coffee, which I can’t seem to do without (it’s that addictive caffeine which prompts that), and my spice collection, which I’ve carted about with me in many of my moves.


Have Spice, Will Travel! I would have been quite at home, in another time and place, to have found myself leading a nomadic lifestyle replete with camel crossings and tentpoles, wending my way along the Spice Route in the production and marketing of spice and other fineries. Do we all have these thoughts, or is it part of an ancestral heritage carryover, seeping into my consciousness, from times past?


Well, perhaps we won’t know about that — until it then becomes known. But, meanwhile, I’m going to share with you some uses for cardamom in the next couple of individual recipes I’ll be providing: one, first; and then others in soon-to-be released posts.


This first one I discovered last night. Was I in some palace, as I sampled first one way and then another? No, I was on a journey of discovery, placing first one apricot half on my spoon, and then combining it with other spices or additions to sample its results.


Verdict? The ones that get printed are worthy, most worthy. This one marries the perfect complementary tastes together: apricot, in syrup, with cardamom. You’ll want to figure one can, per person, it’s just that good.


Randy’s Recipes: Canned Fruit and Cardamom (Randyjw; September 14, 2016)


One can per person, canned fruit: apricots in syrup (substitute other canned fruits, or use fresh fruits, if desired) (speaking of syrup, you could add other syrups, if desired, but I didn’t)

Cardamom, to taste/preference


Sprinkle cardamom, or add as an infusion, to canned fruits (here, I used halved apricots in syrup) for a perfect blend of opulent indulgence and resplendent, refreshing relaxation.


8.5 Yums Up

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Randy’s Recipes: Yogurt Ambrosia


Randy’s Recipes: Yogurt Ambrosia (August 20, 2016)


This light and delicious fruit salad makes a delicious lunch, pot-luck or dinner party dessert addition, and it’ll be a winner for second-rounds. Simply add flavored yogurt to any cut fruits, and you’ve got an exotic taste treat, which is like another little slice of heaven.


Cut fruits: quantity to suit (melons work well; here I used honeydew. Everything works! Bananas, peaches, plums – try it all!)

Yogurt: quantity to taste (lime works great, as does lemon, or substitute other flavors to go in a new direction.)


Cut fruits, straining-off liquids, and leaving as dry as possible to accept the yogurt as a coating. Pat dry, if need be, and place into bowl. Stir-in yogurt, using more than seems needed, as it thins out. Therefore, only add it as close to serving time, as possible.


You can also try additional add-ins, if you like: marshmallows, marshmallow creme, honey, coconut, etc., only limited by imagination. An extra squirt of citrus, such as lime, or a juice, sich as orange, might be nice.


8 Yums Up

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Randy’s Recipes: Lychee Iced Tea: Easy And Fresh Versions


Randy’s Recipes: Lychee Iced Tea: Easy and Fresh Versions (Randyjw; June 25, 2016)


Easy: Approx. 12 oz. (approx. one-half of 23 oz., tall, $0.99¢ can) AriZona Green Tea with Ginseng and Honey (adjust to taste)

Pour approximately one-half of liquid from tall can into a large container or pitcher.

Fresh: Fresh green tea leaves, packed into tea steeper, or placed into container (powdered green tea may be substituted); Approx. 2 small slices ginseng, thinly sliced; Approx. 1 or 2 tablespoons honey (fragrant kind, such as orange clover, etc., best) (All amounts adjusted to taste)

Heat water to before boiling, cool slightly, and pour over green tea leaves to steep (or, if using steeper, place tea leaves into steeper and place steeper into heated water and steep; green tea powder, adjusted to taste, may be substituted). Add two small, thin slices ginseng; Once steeped, add approx. 1 or 2 tablespoons honey, adjusting all amounts to taste.


Easy: Approx. 1/4 – to – 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom (or to taste)

Stir in cardamom to cold AriZona Green Tea with Ginseng and Honey, and whisk well to distribute.

Fresh: Approx. 3/4 tablespoon fresh cardamom (or to taste)

Rub cardamom slightly between hands and drop into tea mixture. Stir well.


Easy: Approx. 2 dashes cinammon (to taste)

Sprinkle a bit of cinammon into mixture and whisk well to dissolve.

Fresh: 1 cinammon stick

Put cinammon stick into mixture and allow to steep well.


Easy: Approx. 1/2 teaspoon dried chamomile (to taste)

Rub slightly between hands the dried chamomile and sprinkle onto tea mixture, allowing to infuse for several minutes.

Fresh: Approx. 1 teaspoon chamomile (to taste)

Rub slighly between hands the chamomile and sprinkle onto tea mixture, allowing to infuse for several minutes.


Easy: Pour into separate container, straining separated spices and removing large pieces.

Fresh: Pour into separate container, straining separated spices and removing large pieces.


Easy: Reserved liquid from 1 can lychees in syrup

Stir lychee syrup into tea mixture. Chill and serve (it’s nice over ice).

Fresh: Reserved liquid from 1 can lychees in syrup

Stir lychee syrup into tea mixture. Chill and serve (it’s nice over ice).



8.9 Yums Up

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Happiest Meals

Happiest Meals


    To Anisa

Love ❤ Randy

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Randy’s Recipes: Lemon-Guava Creamery Treat

Randy's Recipes: Creamery Treat (clockwise from left): Coconut-Lime, Lemon-Chamomile, Lemon-Guava

Randy’s Recipes: Creamery Treat
(clockwise from left): Coconut-Lime, Lemon-Chamomile, Lemon-Guava


Randy’s Recipes: Lemon-Guava Creamery Treat (Randyjw; June 11, 2016)


Ingredients (Makes three 16 oz. containers):


2 tablespoons lemon-sugar slurry (cold lemon-peel sugar infusion)

2 or 3 overflowing REAL tablespoons cream cheese

1 – to 2 – cups whole milk

14 oz. can sweetened, condensed milk

1/4 – to 1/2 – cup sugar

2 tablespoons flour

Pinch baking powder or baking soda

1-1/2″ – to 2″ – wide strip cut width-wise from 14 oz. block of guava paste, melted on low heat and thinned with water and milk

3 oz. – to 6 oz. lemon yogurt

Water, to thin, if needed

Optional add-ins: mashed banana, coconut flakes, other spices, other fruits, other yogurts, etc.

1/2 – to 1 – day prior, prepare a cold lemon-sugar infusion. Cut the peel from a soft, ripe, lemon with edible peel (a Meyer is good, but use your preference) into small pieces, and stir with copious amounts of sugar, several times, into a jar or container. Cover and refrigerate, preferably overnight.

Over medium-low heat on the stovetop, blend together the cream cheese, milk, condensed milk, sugar, flour and baking powder/soda until smoothed and heated through. In a separate saucepot, melt the guava strip with a little water, and then with some milk.

Into a 16 oz. container, place between 3 oz. – to 6 oz. lemon yogurt, lemon-sugar slurry, melted guava and any add-ins. Stir through. In small batches, add about 1/3 of the stovetop mixture to the yogurt mixture, reserving the remainder for two more batches of flavors of your choice. Cool!

IMG_20160630_084003   IMG_20160630_192943

In this expanded batch, I added extra pieces throughout, keeping larger pieces of guava paste intact, and sprinkling two tablespoons of lemon-sugar slurry into the middle top of this cool “confection”, for added flavor bursts, throughout.

7.5 Yums Up

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Randy’s Recipes: Lemon-Chamomile Creamery Treat

Randy's Recipes: Creamery Treat (clockwise from left): Coconut-Lime, Lemon-Chamomile, Lemon-Guava

Randy’s Recipes: Creamery Treat
(clockwise from left): Coconut-Lime, Lemon-Chamomile, Lemon-Guava


Randy’s Recipes: Lemon-Chamomile Creamery Treat (Randyjw; June 11, 2016)


Ingredients (Makes three 16 oz. containers):


2 tablespoons lemon-sugar slurry (Cold lemon-peel sugar infusion)

2 or 3 overflowing REAL tablespoons cream cheese

14 oz. can sweetened, condensed milk

1 or 2 cups whole milk

1/4 – to – 1/2 – cup sugar

2 tablespoons flour

Pinch baking powder or baking soda

1 tablespoon crushed chamomile

3 oz. – to 6 oz. lemon yogurt

Water, to thin, if needed

Optional add-ins: mashed banana, coconut flakes, cinammon or other spices, other fruits, other yogurts, etc.

1/2 – to 1-day prior, prepare a cold lemon-sugar infusion. Cut the peel from a soft, ripe, lemon with edible peel (a Meyer is good, but use your preference) into small pieces, and stir with copious amounts of sugar, several times, into a jar or container. Cover and refrigerate, preferably overnight.

Over medium-low heat on the stovetop, blend together the cream cheese, milk, condensed milk, sugar, flour, and baking powder/soda until smoothed and heated through.

Into a 16 oz. container, place between 3 oz. – to 6 oz. lemon yogurt, lemon-sugar slurry, chamomile and any add-ins. Stir through. In small batches, add about 1/3 of the stovetop mixture to the yogurt mixture, reserving the remainder for two more batches of flavors of your choice. Cool!

6.5 Yums Up

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Randy’s Recipes: Coconut-Lime Creamery Treat

Randy's Recipes: Creamery Treat (clockwise from left): Coconut-Lime, Lemon-Chamomile, Lemon-Guava

Randy’s Recipes: Creamery Treat
(clockwise from left): Coconut-Lime, Lemon-Chamomile, Lemon-Guava


Randy’s Recipes: Coconut-Lime Creamery Treat (Randyjw; June 11, 2016)


Ingredients (Makes three 16 oz. containers):


2 tablespoons lime-sugar slurry (cold lime-peel sugar infusion)

2 or 3 overflowing REAL tablespoons cream cheese

1- to 2 – cups whole milk

14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk

1/4 – to 1/2 – cup sugar

2 tablespoons flour

Pinch baking powder or baking soda

1 tablespoon coconut cream

3 oz. – to 6 oz. lime yogurt

Water, to thin, if needed

Optional add-ins: mashed banana, coconut flakes, other spices, other fruits, other yogurts, etc.

1/2 – to 1 – day prior, prepare a cold lime-sugar infusion. Cut the peel from soft, ripe, preferably edible-peel limes into small pieces, and stir with copious amounts of sugar, several times, into a jar or container. Cover and refrigerate, preferably overnight.

Over  medium-low heat on the stovetop, blend together the cream cheese, milk, condensed milk, sugar, flour, and baking powder/soda until smoothed and heated through.

Into a 16 oz. container, place between 3 oz. – to 6 oz. lime yogurt, lime-sugar slurry, coconut cream, and any add-ins. Stir through. In small batches, add about 1/3 of the stovetop mixture to the yogurt mixture, reserving the remainder for two more batches of flavors of your choice. Cool!

6.5 Yums Up

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Randy’s Recipes: Vanilla-Chamomile Ice Pie


Randy’s Recipes: Vanilla-Chamomile Ice Pie (Randyjw; June 6, 2016)



1 box Nilla wafers, crushed

1 plus 3/4 sticks salted butter, melted

4 REAL tablespoons lemon-sugar slurry

2 REAL tablespoons water, if needed

1/4-cup coconut milk

1 REAL tablespoon coconut cream

7 oz. can sweetened, condensed milk (approx. 3/4- cup)

1 banana, mashed

1 REAL tablespoon dry, crushed chamomile

3 REAL overflowing tablespoons cream cheese

6 oz. vanilla yogurt, or your favorite flavor

At least 1/2-day to 1-day prior, prepare a lemon-sugar slurry infusion by cutting the peel from a ripe lemon with an edible peel (a Meyer works well, but you can choose your own) that is soft and can be eaten. Stir into a jar or container, with copious amounts of sugar, repeating several times to form a thick slurry paste. Set in the refrigerator to infuse overnight, if possible.


When ready for preparation, begin with the crust. First, preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the butter in a small saucepot at low heat on the stovetop to melt. Transfer the Nilla wafers into a large plastic bag and crush fairly fine (small pieces are okay). Mix in the melted butter, in small batches, to coat the crumbs. Add in 4 tablespoons of lemon-sugar slurry, including the peels (make sure they’re edible, first; if not, just use the slurry). If needed, add a tablespoon or two of water, to hold the crust together. Coat your pie/baking dish with a light dusting of flour and baking powder/soda (if you want to grease it first, you may). Press crumb mixture into the baking dish or pie plate using a 1/2-cup measuring cup to press the crumbs evenly around and up the sides of the dish, and to smooth. Bake crust for approximately 11 minutes at 350°F, then remove, and turn oven down to 325°F. Run a knife down along the dish edge to loosen the crust to make it easier to slice, later.


While crust is baking, prepare the filling. Mix coconut milk, coconut cream, condensed milk and chamomile together. Mash banana into mixture. Stir in cream cheese, then yogurt. Pour into pie crust and bake for about 6 minutes at 325°F, then raise heat to 350°F again, and bake for another 4 minutes, or so. Remove from oven and let cool. Freeze to set.


Garnish with fruits, whipped cream or meringue, nuts, coconut or chocolate shavings, or interesting spices. Hope you enjoy!

9 Yums Up



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Randy’s Recipes: Guava Cheese Snacks


Randy’s Recipes: Guava Cheese Snacks (Randyjw; June 6, 2016)



Guava (I used paste, cut into small squares)

Cheese (I used mild cheddar, but you can use mozzarella, or your preference, cut into small squares)

Place one square guava atop one square cheese. Sweet and tangy make a nice blend. Try a citrus topper, like orange, or add a nice citrus splash with the juice from a lime, a lemon, an orange, or a grapefruit, etc. Blend into a salad with some coconut flakes, too! Enjoy!

4-1/2 Yums Up

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Randy’s Recipes: Lychee-Lemon Freezer Pie


Randy’s Recipes: Lychee-Lemon Freezer Pie

(Randyjw; June 1, 2016)



1 plus 3/4 sticks salted butter, melted

1 box Nilla wafer cookies, crushed

Candied lemon peel and cold-sugar slurry of 1 lemon (made 1/2 – to 1-day previous)

Dry flour for dusting

Pinch baking soda or baking powder, for dusting

1 banana, mashed

3 REAL overflowing tablespoons cream cheese

1 can (20 oz.) lychee nuts (fruit) in syrup; (reserve approx. 1/4-cup liquid for filling; set aside 6 lychee nuts for garnish, cut  horizontally in half; chop remainder of lychee nuts for filling [optional])

Approx. 2 oz. coconut cream

1/4-cup coconut milk

6 oz. lemon-flavored yogurt (standard single-serve yogurt size) (or your flavor preference)

6 oz. mandarin orange-flavored yogurt (standard single-serve yogurt size) or your flavor preference)


At least 1/2- to 1-full day ahead of time, prepare the lemon peel/sugar infusion. Make sure to use a very ripe, soft, thinner peel (a Meyer lemon is generally good, but use your preference) and cut it from the lemon into very small pieces. Sprinkle copiously with sugar and stir, repeating several times, to develop a thick slurry paste. Let set overnight in the refrigerator, if possible, to infuse the sugar with lemon aroma/flavor.


When ready to prepare your pie, preheat the oven to 350°F. Begin by melting the butter in a small saucepot at low heat on the stovetop. Lightly dust a baking dish or pie plate with the flour and the baking powder (or soda); remove most of excess — a light coating is fine. Transfer Nilla wafers to a large, heavyweight plastic bag and crush cookies fairly finely (small pieces are okay), then pour into a bowl (or leave in bag). Stir melted butter into cookie crumbs to form a crust. Add one-half to-entire contents of lemon peel (if edible — if not, strain out) and sugar (more for stronger flavor; less for weaker essence) to crust mixture, blending well. Spoon the mixture into the baking dish as evenly as possible. Using a 1/2-cup measuring cup, press the crumbs into the dish and up the sides, smoothing and evenly filling the dish. Bake at 350°F for approximately 11-12 minutes.


Into a medium-large bowl, mash one banana. Then cream together the banana with the cream cheese and coconut cream. Add the lychee juice and the chopped lychee nuts/fruit (if a creamy texture throughout is preferred, omit this ingredient here, or substitute another for a different flavor/texture). Stir in the coconut milk. Add the yogurts (use less than the whole if adjusting for too much liquid). Pour filling into pie crust and smooth evenly. Place back into oven (you may need to adjust temperature to 325°F and/or time during this phase) and bake for another 8-14 minutes, or so, finishing the last few minutes on 350°F. Remove from oven and let stand on counter to cool and to thicken slightly.


Insert a thin, flexible knife, such as a steak knife, between the crust and the dish, and pull the rim of the dish toward you, holding it with a potholder, to loosen the pie edge from the plate. Use the same pulling technique with a moist paper towel or napkin, to clean the rim and outer edges of the dish. If you want to pre-cut the pie to make it easier to cut in its more semi-frozen state, you may do so. As well, you may garnish now, or after it has frozen, with cut lychee fruits (or toppings of your choice: mandarin orange segments, sliced banana, whipped cream, meringue, coconut flakes, etc.). Freeze to set-up and firm the pie (or refrigerate).


If you prefer a creamier texture, add more sweetened, condensed milk or additional banana. To boost the lemon flavor, spoon a couple of tablespoonfuls of lemon-sugar slurry into the filling. Similarly, if you are not a “frond” (hah-hah!) of coconut, then omit it. For smaller pie plates or a less-full effect, reduce yogurt content. Enjoy!


9.1 Yums Up

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Randy’s Recipes: Easy-Make Jumbleayayaya

A “hot mess” is what my brother would’ve called this concoction — a recipe, it’s really not. But, what it is, is a fairly tasty half-and-half meal — half-prepared, half-preparation.


Randy’s Recipes: Easy-Make Jumbleayayaya (Randyjw; May 31, 2016)


Ingredients (serves 1):

1/4 – 1/3 bag (approx.) brown rice, boiled

1 can Hormel tamales (approx. 6 per can)

Cilantro, dried (or fresh); to taste

Garlic powder (or fresh, prepared); to taste

1/4 – 1/2-cup (approx.) dry-roasted peanuts (optional)

Add-ins (optional): beans; tomatoes; onions (raw or cooked); potatos; shredded cheese; cooked ground beef; cooked chicken; cooked crayfish (jumbalaya-style); etc.

Garnish (optional): sour cream, scallions, shredded cheeses, etc.

Preheat oven to approximately 375°. In a saucepot on top of the stove, boil rice in plain water until finished. Spoon cooked rice into a loaf pan or other baking dish. Add spices and any other add-ins, and mix through. Unwrap tamales and place on top of rice. Pour remainder of tamale sauce over top and bake approximately 8-10 minutes, or until heated through. Mix-in peanuts, if using, then add garnishings. Enjoy!

5 – 3/4 Yums Up

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Randy’s Recipes: Onion-Cocoa Gravy, with Meal Ideas


This gravy is a sautéed delight of onion, paprika and cocoa, serving as well for a vegetarian meal, as it does for a base of chicken or beef. This can be prepared Kosher, with the proper ingredients and utensils, if desired. Obviously, you wouldn’t use butter if preparing this as a Kosher meal using meat or chicken. Here, some of the ingredients used are not Kosher, and the meal is not meant to suggest Kashrut-compliance.


I enhanced the meal with the selections of beverages well-paired to the dish. I highly recommend a coffee served on the darkish side, something deep and earthy — perhaps a strong cup of Turkish roast, or even a slightly-lightened instant would do fine (again, not pairing dairy with meat or chicken, if cooking Kosher). Because I’m normally not one to drink a hot beverage with dinner, the cold beverage I made was a homemade lime-slurry (lime peel-infused cold-sugar syrup) mixed with cold water, for a lightly-blended, but not bland, fragrantly-flavored water. I’m not one for alcohol with meals, either, but I suspect the same earthy essences would pair nicely: oakey, leathers and chocolates, definitely deep into the berry with this; perhaps lighter-tinged if on the honeyed side.


This turns into an entrée by simply topping over rice or pasta or potatoes, etc. The gravy/sautée is prepared first and the meat is mixed in, once it has finished. So you will want to have your bulks pre-cooked, to mix-in at the end. Please enjoy!


Randy’s Recipes: Onion-Cocoa Gravy, with Meal Ideas (Randyjw; May 22, 2016)


Ingredients (Makes 1-2 servings; but for me, it was just one: FYI):


White onion; 3/4- to 1 whole; Large: sliced in varying sizes

Paprika: “Hot” (or you can use “sweet”)

Oil\butter: I used a combination of both oil and salted butter to sautée the onions, using roughly four slices off the stick throughout the sautèeing process.

Cocoa Powder, unsweetened: 1 REAL Tablespoon, levelled

Chopped dry-roasted peanuts\Garnish: (optional, but most highly recommended)

Rice\Pasta\Potatoes: Base for either vegetarian or meat/fowl-based meal. I used about 1/3-bag (2 lb. bag) brown rice, although I cooked an extra 1/3-bag at the same time to keep on-hand.

Fowl\Beef\Eggs: Main Entrèe Ideas; feel free to substitute your own – I used a can of chipotle chicken, which totally changed the flavor, but was still really good.


Prepare whatever add-ins you choose with this dish ahead of time, whether chicken, veal, bison, venison, duck, beef, etc. You could also add these to the pan after the onions have turned translucent during the sautè process.


Put your water on the boil in a saucepot if preparing additional vegetables, or a starch, such as rice, potatoes, pasta, and begin to prepare as you normally would. I made a plain-boiled brown rice, forgoing the extra fats in its preparation in the suggested package instructions, as it would have been overly heavy in addition to the oils used for sautèeing.


While your base is cooking, prepare the sautè. Place your oil or butter and chopped onion(s) into a frying/sautè pan and begin heating. (I used a bit of corn oil to emulsify the spice and make it slippery, supplemented by 2 slices off the stick of salted butter, to start; increasing to about 4 slices total, throughout the process). Stir occasionally. As the onions begin to soften, add some good dashes of paprika, to start. If you need to cook your meats, or prefer to do so now, then add that in now. Add a bit more paprika as it continues to cook, as well as butter as it starts to dry, as well as about a handful/1-4-cup of water, added in small amounts, to moisten and thin, as needed. Towards the end, sprinkle about a level tablespoonful of unsweetened cocoa powder on top, and stir. If adding pre-cooked extras, such as meats, add these now and heat through, stirring occasionally. I used a small can of chipotle white meat chicken; I’d never had it and wanted to try it. It changed the flavorings of the meal and overpowered the other flavors, slightly, but was still good.


Remove from heat when done and combine with your bases and any extra vegetables or additions you prepared. I spooned the gravy over a bed of brown rice and topped with a sprinkling of chopped, dry-roasted peanuts.


Drunken in tandem with the dark coffee and the lime-water, it was a rich, gourmet meal on a low budget and a full stomach!

8.2 Yums Up


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New Food Ratings: Yums Up


New Food Ratings: Yums Up (Randyjw; May 19, 2016)


Hello! Thank you for all your kind likes, follows and nice comments. I really appreciate that you’ve taken your time to read my thoughts and respond with yours. That’s really kind.


In response to thesmilingpilgrims’ one-word compliment, “Yum”, on Easy Cheesy Rice, I replied something like (maybe not verbatim), “My thoughts plus yours make two Yum’s Up”! After a short while, it occurred to me that that would be a cute food rating system we could use across the blogosphere, no? Anything up to Ten Yums, allowing for fractions, versions and decimals will be permissible.


If I forget to do it and it becomes too burdensome, then I’ll drop the idea like a hot potato (ha-ha). But, meanwhile, I offer it to food bloggers and food lovers out there who might have fun with the idea.


I suddenly went on a food blog tangent the other day and began seeing what was out there, since I’d recommended someone to do the same. I liked what I saw. I decided I’d tell you what caught my fancy in the nice food blogs I’ve seen on that journey. I’m not getting formal with links and total accuracy here, but you can check for yourself and see what you like. P.S. These are non-tested; you’re the judge.


The Hirshon / The Food Dictator – – Totally amazing recipes and background research make this a Ten Yums Up site!

Anisa Kazemi – – Always a love. You’ll love her, too.

Maya – artsyteenblog – A blog for teens. Really incredible. Craft projects and recipes. Check out her divine looking lemon-based dessert recipes.

Maureen Abood – – Lebanese and inspired food from her heritage.

Georgia McDermott – George Eats. – Interesting ideas and journey.

Ania – – A vegan life lived in the Greek Isles.

Christina – – Every episode of her tv show features tantalizing plant-based dishes that never disappoint. Get her tips and explore ideas at her website, as well.

Stunning food photography and edible artistry at:

Nepali Food: – Recipes, learning about local dishes, etc. – Delicious pix and easy Indian, and other, food recipes.

Morgan – – Great twists on classic dishes and fusion-food.

Pati’s Mexican Table: Mexican food is more than enchiladas. Pati Jinich shows you how:

New Scandinavian Cooking: Andreas Viestad cooks up some new, interesting recipes:

Nick Stellino: Italian food with friends.

The Free Range Cook: Annabel Langbein cooks up local foods grown in New Zealand:


Nominate a food blog, read food tips, get recipes:


Anthony Bourdain – Oh, yeah… HarperCollins Publishers’ books include cookbook authors, and the Ecco imprint was the line reserved for Anthony Bourdain and his choice selections of break-out, budding talents. I found this info under the HarperCollins website and learned they have a New Zealand/Australia/World branch, which I clicked on. I found their site rather friendly toward the solicitation of new materials. If you’d like to make a submission of your work for consideration, please do so on a Wednesday only, and here is the link: I also read some Anthony Bourdain quotes, one of which really had me laughing alot, at:


I’m sure I probably inadvertently left off people I meant to include — that’s one problem with lists. If I remember for the future, I’ll try to add-in more as I go along. Meanwhile, thanks for reading. May your life and health, as well as your food, be hearty and happy! – Randy

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Randy’s Recipes: Easy Cheesy Rice


Randy’s Recipes: Easy Cheesy Rice (Randyjw; May 18, 2016)


Jasmine Rice, cooked per package instructions (substitute your own favorite type of rice)

Parmesan cheese, grated (block-form you grate yourself, ot the kind you sprinkle from a canister)

Pepper, to taste

Salt, to taste




After boiling rice and letting it absorb what water it will, cooked as per package instructions, just season with a good dose of cheese, and salt and pepper, to taste. Easy and well-done! Yum.

4.2 Yums Up

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Randy’s Recipes: Green Zeitim


“Zeitim” is Hebrew for the English word “olives”. One most associates the old olive trees in Israel with the green variety, some trees living for thousands of years back to the times when all three monotheistic faiths could witness their growth, both the trees and their religions, through the Jewish lens of Jerusalem and Judah/Israel. Both the trees and the Jews were there to witness these births and the impacts they have had on humanity — and, not to mention, on the Jews and the trees, themselves.


The Jewish people, and its faith, believe that the Messiah will arrive to usher in the G-dly reign by walking through the double gates in the city walls of the Old City of Jerusalem, opposite Har HaZeitim, or, as it’s English name is called, “The Mount of Olives”. This physical site is the rising mountain located next to and over-looking the Beit HaMikdash, the Jewish Temple, which stood upon the Mount opposite, which now is home to the famous gold-domed and silver-roofed house of Islamic prayers.


Because we believe that the Messiah will arrive  at that spot, it has behooved us to build our graves there, so that we can be closest to meet the Messiah, at that time. In life and in death, we believe in G-d. It is for this reason that Har HaZeitim, the Jewish cemetery, is situated directly across from the expected arrival spot. Har HaZeitim is the oldest known cemetery in the world. It’s gravestones are graves of stone.


Stone has a lasting permanence; it is what G-d has chosen in creating the bedrock and mantle of the crusts of the earth, and of its many interesting geological formations in the composition of the mountains. A small rock or pebble is placed atop the gravemarker upon visiting the site of a Jewish grave location. The tectonic plates which are pushing against one another as they slowly contort the landscape might be riding on the waters which separate firmament from firmament, and from the waters above of the firmaments above. Careful reading of the Bible would show this as a possible meaning to the wonders of our worlds — things we only don’t discover until much later, if at all.


The love of the Jewish people for the words of G-d, and their belief that the land He delivered them and the place that He requested as His abode, within the Beit HaMikdash (Jewish Temple) upon its mount, resting on the bedrock of Jerusalem, in the land of Judah/Zion/Israel/etc., has prompted the correlation by the derivative monotheistic faiths to develop tandem, or occasionally, replacement-based theological viewpoints, sometimes leading to major movements.


These three evidentiary details should be clear proof that the Jewish claim, not only to the site of the Temple Mount, but to the land of Israel, is legitimate: the Jewish cemetery built on Har HaZeitim to greet the Messiah shows that the Jews cherish and respect the Holiness which G-d accorded it. The cemetery is the oldest in the world, continuing to serve its intended function as a Jewish cemetery. This precedes any possible other claims, being an original, archaeological physical proof, as well as a faith-based demonstration of the Jewish spiritual reality and attention to its fulfillment. The retaining wall to hold the Temple Mount in place has been known as the “Wailing Wall” to successive generations of faithful believers (the “Western Wall” to Jewish sources, translated from the Hebrew “Kotel HaMa’ariv”) who have undertaken specific pilgrimages of faith to visit there throughout the centuries. It is known in extant extraneous sources of written literature attesting to these travels to the revered site in Jewish history and its lore from a broad range of faiths and people throughout history. These documents are being ignored in ceding the site to Arabs, but should not be. The site was built to support a massive structure, requiring the placement, right down to the very bedrock, of 144-ton stones to support the distribution of weight across its surface and to raise it upon its pedestal. There is nothing built below bedrock — no other culture found below this level. It’s walls rise up through the striations of following levels of human existence, but it remains rooted to the earth at its very foundation level. Knowing its importance in relation to the Jews’ perceived relationship with G-d, other faiths built there to receive the glory, as well. It is the reason for the abundance of structures of all faiths, throughout the centuries, enjoining that they receive their share of spiritual accord, too. Some, such as the Arabs, meant to take all the glory away from the Jews; during the time of their actual reign here, too, they made certain to stop the Messiah’s arrival, which would bring the Jews back to their glory, by blocking-up the entry-gates of the walls to the city through which He is supposed to enter. The difference in workmanship, and that this bricked-up addition to already existing entrances to a much older structure, should be obviously apparent (– but, it’s ignored).


The wood of the olive tree has had major Biblical significance, as well. Because of the olive tree’s significance, mentioned throughout testaments of varied faiths, it and its wood, used in the Bible, are extremely revered and imputed with hallowed significance in the industry built up around its usage for keepsakes. Carvings from its wood are especially helpful as a means of employment, particularly among the Arabs who carve and sell such figurines from its wood to the burgeoning Christian pilgrimage visitors, as well as casual tourists, visiting Israel’s sites. Olives are among the species of Israel listed in the Bible. Its oil and the millstones and vats used for its pressing are found in ancient archaeological excavations around Israel.


My first encounter with a green olive occurred many, many years ago. Our family was the home where Thanksgiving took place, and my cousin coaxed me to try one. Perhaps it was profaning the sanctity of its species in a secular observance which embittered its taste in my mouth, and my reaction was rather exaggerated and it had to go; and go quickly it did, in a rather irrational manner.


My next attempt to try one came directly from a tree in Israel at the site called Gan HaShlosha (or, “Garden of the Three”), a paradaisical oasis of natural hot springs, date palms, olive trees and unbelievable beauty in the sandy desert-like conditions mostly surrounding it. A pool containing the visible portions of this spring has been built to enhance its comforts, and it is definitely a must-see place to visit. It also has another name called Sachne Oasis. I tried the bitter offering of the olive straight from the tree before being brined or preserved, and again, had the same reaction; I wasn’t alone in this — the entire group did, as well. But that was, again, a less commital exertion, on my part, to comply reasonably with facets of our faith’s practices and observances — So, no-go.


Then, when I had the right intent, or at least the best of intents on my part to commit further to Israel, the olive became an agreeable and loved and adored foodstuff from G-d that I crave in my diet and which provides me so much sustenance. Thank you, L-rd! And this came about in the most secular manner, by the way. I had visited a mall and there found a Kosher Domino’s pizzeria inside! Fancy that!? It was sortof expensive and I was going to have none of that, but somehow the pizzamaker had convinced me I needed to try it, and that was that. I don’t recall exactly, but I think that we were also debating the merits of an Israeli Jewish staple, at least in terms of pizza toppings, as pepperoni, sausage and bacon do not aspire to the list. It wss an “Ode to the Green Olive” (my title theme eventually to continue in the future, so I claim it as mine — no grabsies). Past occurences notwithstanding, there it was — now on my plate before me. He was right. I don’t recall whether I agreed or whether I received it by “accident”; but, perhaps, maybe there are never any real “accidents” in life. Perhaps this represents an ascension, an accedance, to the realm of the metaphorically-relevant existence operating in G-d’s spiritual realm.

This dish can be eaten as a side accompaniment, as a meal in itself, or used raw or cooked in entrees and hors d’oeuvres, like a tapenade. It’s flavors are spicy. Mixed with sweet apple, as I did here, it became a melding of perfection — peppery bite with underlying temperedness of sweetness. It reminds me of the Yiddish embodiment of Jewish expression.


Green Zeitim (Randyjw; May 18, 2016)


Lemon rind (washed, ripe, edible — can be substituted with other edible citrus peels or the zest from non-edible rinds; other substitutes, and your favorites, might work, as well), cut fairly small

Sugar (any kind; I used white, granular; to be the base for the sweet, syrupy slurry that will be infused with the aroma of the add-in; other substitutes, like agave nectar or honey, etc. can be utilized additional to, or in place of, the sugar)

Green Olives, chopped

Cinammon, sprinkled

Apples, sliced (optional; never-ending adds: on toast; over rice; as a stock-starter to jump off on other dishes, etc… Also: on lettuce, as well as on lettuce and with a garlic-pasta all-together)

At least 1/2-day to 1-day in advance (it’s better this way, but if you must proceed otherwise, don’t let that stop you), prepare the slurry by zesting the peel (if hard and inedible) or cutting the edible, soft, ripe, washed rinds of citrus or other matter you are turning to a liquid-derived, flavor-infused slurry into a container and coat with sweetener, several times stirring and adding, until a thick slurry has formed. If you can, allow it to infuse for a time, overnight in the fridge, or so. Remove when ready to begin next steps of preparation. Using a bit of the slurry that has hopefully had time to “marinate”, add this to some chopped green olives in a bowl. Sprinkle and stir-in a couple dashes of cinammon — the flavor will really come alive and bloom by opening it up to the addition of the cinammon, just like an Israeli sabra in the desert.

9.1 Yums Up (Green Zeitim/Fuji Apple Version, only)

Update: Substitutes can also be used, though, the recipe is really just meant for the Fuji apples. Here, I used pears, and, since it needed a flavor changer/enhancer, I added about a half-jigger or so of Marsala wine. I made this version especially to show to Jyotee, who does not love apples (still, I think it should be apples, but…)


Afterwards, I then turned it into a piecey poached-pear chutney, of sorts, here:


Here it makes a delicious dressing atop plain iceberg lettuce:


and, then, it was love at first bite when I threw-in a garlic-butter-pasta-green herbs side dish, (which had been uninspiringly dry as its plain, old left-over self):


It was wonderful mixed with sliced peaches:




Additional Reading (Added June 25, 2018):


Flatow, Stephen M. “‘Un-Settling’: The Royals Understanding of Jerusalem”; Reprinted in secondary source by from Jewish News Syndicate (JNS); June 25, 2018:



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Randy’s Recipes: Szeged Veg


The country of Hungary, located in the more South-Central/Eastern region of Europe, had had a sizable wartime population of 800,000 Jews, prior to their deportment to, and their deaths in, the Nazi death camps established across Europe to receive them.


Jews had lived here in Hungary, in the territory previously referred to during the Roman Empire rule as the province of Pannonia, since at least the second century C.E. In its conquering swath, the Roman Empire managed to eventually subdue the sovereign Jewish land of Judaea/Israel.


The Jewish Revolt had been initially successful in repelling the Roman invasion from Israel, but eventually, this last, mighty group was defeated, and Jews were then forced to live as a vassal state in Israel/Judah — ruled by Jewish kings, but with acquiescense of Roman heirarchy.


During this period, there were the Hasmonean Kings and its dynasty, as well as the more familiar Idumean converts to Judaism, Herod and sons. Because of this Roman overrule, Judaea/Israel was renamed in the guise of the Jews’ old arch enemies, the Falastin (The Philistines — a people absorbed without trace and of no known discernible historical continuation to any known people today).


Roman generals utilized three legions from Pannonia against the Jews during these wars of the second century and captured Jewish slaves, bringing them back to what would eventually be known as the region of Hungary.


It, like many other of the European towns purged of their Jews, struggled to resurge in the Holocaust’s aftermath. Szeged has become, albeit a shell of its glorious former self, a place where the Jewish community has again tried to rebuild their shattered lives from the ashes of their destruction.


Estimates place the Jewish population of Hungary between 35,000 – 120,000 people now. They melded along the way in a high rate of assimilation with the general populace via intermarriage and were generally given relaxed and mostly-favorable treatment by the region’s rulers. At other times, there were pogroms and anti-Semitism, and the practically complete cooperation in compliance with Hitler’s edicts to round-up the Jews to export them to their deaths.


In the intervening years, Jews had become skilled merchants and artisans. They lived in Hungary prior to the land’s receipt of that same name. They made prized wines, which eventually drew the jealousy and ire of the locals, whereby an official law was then created barring Jewish production of fine wines. Jews dealt in spices and trade and became generally successful people.


Capsicum (pepper) is said to have been brought in to Hungary in the late 16th century, with its derivative spice, called “paprika”, evolving about 100 years later. Both paprika and wine are used in the famous dish of Hungary’s region (and one of my favorites), Hungarian Goulash.


Sources:; Citation 4: Web Way Back Machine:


World Jewish Congress (Communities/Hungary):


This simple side takes its hot and spicy cues from the flavors of the region, utilizing the famous spice, which become paprika, in the town of Szeged, where it became largely popularized. I have a large can to last me for years — a “hot” version. A second, “sweet” version is the usual type found on supermarket shelves. You’re likely to find the “hot” variety at international or specialty stores.



Randy’s Recipes: Szeged Veg (Randyjw; May 18, 2016)


Onion (I used white, but you can use your preference), sliced into small, wedge-like bites

Carrots, bias-cut (my preferred style, generally; but, use your own)

Paprika (“hot” or “sweet”), to taste

Cinammon, to taste

Oil (I used corn, which was at-hand; others you might try are: grapeseed, sesame, peanut, flaxseed — experiment!), lightly drizzled

Honey (or other natural sweetener) (optional; cuts the heat)


Combine all ingredients. Enjoy! This can be used as the basis for a cooked main course, mixed with fowls, meats, fish, pasta, over rice, sauteed with diced potatoes to make home fries, etc.

3.2 Yums Up

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Randy’s Recipes: Laissez Caffe


Randy’s Recipes: Laissez Caffe (Randyjw; May14, 2016)


Instant coffee


Sweetened condensed milk

Coconut Milk

Cinammon, a few dashes or 1 stick


Mix into large mug. Add boiling water and stir until ingredients are blended and dissolved.


Relax and enjoy!

7.8 Yums Up

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Randy’s Recipes: Divine Lime String Beans



These are unusual, to say the least. There must be no bitterness to the lime, or this won’t work.


Randy’s Recipes: Divine Lime String Beans (Randyjw; May 11, 2016)




Peels of 4 limes, cut small


Fresh cleaned string beans

Maple syrup

Butter, dotted along the top

Matzah meal (optional)


Prepare a lime-syrup slurry at least 1/2- to 1-full day in advance. Cut the peels from four washed, ripe, sweet (as possible) limes. Place them into a container and sprinkle copiously with sugar, stirring and coating to build up a thick slurry paste. Cover and refrigerate overnight, if possible.


Next day, clean fresh string beans and par-boil in a pot. Remove beans from pot and lay them into a baking dish. Dot with butter along the top. Pour some maple syrup over top in a sweep around the dish. Add some lime-syrup slurry, making sure not to pour any peel into the dish. Sprinkle a dusting of matzah meal, if using, on top. Stir. Add another light coat of matzah meal, if using. Place into oven and bake at about 345°F until heated through.

6.1 Yums Up

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Randy’s Recipes: Island Pie



Randy’s Recipes: Island Pie

(Randyjw; May 1, 2016)


I should have written the quantities used as I went along; the sweetened condensed milk amount is a guess; taste the recipe and adjust amounts as needed. Also, all tablespoon measurements are made with a fairly flat, but overflowing amount around the sides of a real tablespoon. So, if anything, this recipe and post are definitely real. Change the citrus-y flavor, if desired, by omitting the candied lemon- and lime slurries, and by exchanging the yogurt or mashed banana to something else more to your preference. You can substitute whipped-cream in the filling, etc.



1 lemon, peels only

4 limes, peels only

Sugar, for candied peels/syrup slurry

1-3/4 sticks butter (I used salted)

3/4- to 1 box Nilla Wafers (I ate some out of the package!)

Approx. 2 tablespoons flour, for dusting (excess removed)

Pinch baking soda or powder, for dusting

1 banana (additional banana for garnish, if desired)

3 flat, but overflowing, real tablespoons of cream cheese

1 yogurt, 6-oz. lemon or lime (I used lemon, but you can use whatever flavor — be inventive! Try coffee, or peanut-butter, etc. — you might like to meet your preferences)

1/4-cup coconut milk

1/4-cup, plus two tablespoons (up to 3/4-cup, or so; adjust to taste) sweetened, condensed milk


Garnish (for design above; or substitute your own):

3/4 banana, sliced

Mandarin orange segments


Prepare the candied lemon and lime, at minimum, 1/2-day, to one-day, in advance. Cut the peel from one lemon (I used a Meyer Lemon) into a jar or container and sprinkle copiously with sugar. Stir until well-coated and place in refrigerator. Crush and save the innards of the lemon to use for fresh juice in other recipes. Finely grate (or cut) the peel, or “zest”, from the limes and also sprinkle copiously with sugar to do the same in a separate jar, also keeping the innards aside for use elsewhere other than this recipe (I used four limes in order to infuse the sugar syrup very well). Both the candied peels and the infused sugars make excellent bases for other recipes: Lemon- and Lime-Ades, Raspberry-Lime Rickies, Mojitos, food-based items, more. You can use the end-stems and other less-edible portions in your sugar shaker/bowl, as well.


Crush the entire box of cookies from the Nilla Wafers and place into a medium bowl. Add melted butter and stir until mixture is able to hold its shape well enough as a crust. I probably overdid it, but I used about 1-3/4 sticks of butter. It did bubble up as it cooked for the first round, but that’s okay. Add about half of the entire candied-lemon mixture, peel and all (test for edibility, first) to the crust mix. (If peels are too hard, just use the slurry). Dust the bottom of a round pie or baking dish with flour combined with a little baking soda (or powder) and shake out, leaving a fine, dry coat. Evenly spoon the crust mix into the dish, pressing it around the sides and bottom with a 1/2-cup measuring cup to even it out and seal any holes. Place into a 350°F (approximately; my numbers are rubbed off the dial, so I guess…) oven and bake for about 11 minutes. Turn down oven to about 325°F. Prepare the filling, below, while this is baking.


Mash one banana into a medium-large bowl. Stir-in three real over-flowing tablespoons of cream cheese, one 6-oz. yogurt, 1/4-cup coconut milk, 1/4-cup plus two tablespoons sweetened-condensed milk (see note regarding this amount, above), and four real tablespoons of lime-sugar slurry (if the peels are edible and you like that, then use it; if not, just press the spoon into the mixture and syrup-slurry will seep onto the spoon). Pour into semi-baked pie crust (above). Having adjusted the heat, now place the pie into a 325°F oven for about six minutes, then raise heat back to 350°F and bake for another four minutes or so. Check on it and adjust accordingly. Remove when done.


Holding onto the rim with a pot-holder, turn the dish as you run a sharp, thin, flexible knife, like a steak knife, around the edge of the crust, to loosen it from the dish. Clean the edges of the dish in the same manner, using a water-moistened paper towel or napkin along the rim and edge of the dish.


Let cool slightly, cover, and place into freezer or refrigerator to chill and set-up more properly. Garnish before serving with toppings of your choice: whipped-cream, meringue, fruit, sprinkles, etc. I used mandarin orange segments and banana slices, in the sunny design above. Enjoy!


9.8 Yums Up


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Randy’s Recipes: No-Nut Charoset/Berry Good Passover Compote/Pesach Shake/Citrus Passover Salad/Charoset So-Smoothie


Presto, Change-o !!!


My own personal preference in making charoset includes adding a nut to the dish, such as walnuts; however, as some people have nut allergies and I didn’t have nuts to add to the recipe, I made it with ingredients on-hand. This recipe serves one for the First Night and the Second Night. It is the result of my Passover preparations with a limited pantry, and not necessarily the best charoset recipe, ever. Maybe I’ll work on that, future and G-d providing…



No-Nut Charoset (Randyjw; April 24, 2016)


Approx. 5 medium-to-large apples (actually, the more, the merrier), any type of your choice (I used Red Delicious)

Several ounces of liquor/wine of your choice (I used a sweet wine: Manischewitz Concord Grape Kosher For Passover wine — it comes in other flavors, such as raspberry, or cherry, as well)

Ground cinammon

Sugar, of any type of your choice

If using: Nuts, any of your choice (I like walnuts, but almonds and pecans, or other nuts would be delicious, as well)



Pare the apples. If using a knife and leaving some inner apple attached to the skin, it will leave them more moist. If using a vegetable peeler, the skins will become quite thin and more crisp. I used the thicker method, which leaves them a bit rubbery and more to the chew, but you can experiment and see which, if any, you prefer (you don’t have to use the skins, at all).


Chop the skins (small, fine, or a bit larger — your preference) and place on a baking tray. If using nuts, you can add them here, to make candied nuts; or, use them in the main mixture of apple, below; or, add them to each batch!


Sprinkle cinammon and lots of sugar on top.


Toast in the oven (or toaster oven) until crisp, but not burnt. Keep an eye on them; they cook fairly quickly as the sugar heats up and kindof carmelizes.


On a cutting board, chop the apple innards, minus the core, which should be discarded, and the seeds, which should be planted ❤


In small batches as you proceed, pour a bit of Kosher for Passover wine (other liqueurs work fine: Cognac, Brandy, Chambord (yummy raspberry and honey liqueur), Plum, Cherry, Muscat, whatever your preference might be. Please note that these non-Kosher liquor choices nullify both the Passover/Kashrut designations. Any item, or recipe, should be verified Kashrut-acceptable by strict Rabbinic sources, of which I am not).


You can use nuts here, or add them into the above mixture, as well (or do both)!


Last minute at serving, sprinkle the apple skin mixture over the light apple innards, leaving two distinct, unblended, separate flavors, allowing the individual to mix to the extent that their preferences desire.


The first photo is actually the combination, innards hidden from view by its covering. With leftovers and time, the flavors will meld, anyway.


After two days, almost all the charoset was gone, eaten by yours truly.

5.1 Yums Up



Berry Good Passover Compote (Randyjw; April 24, 2016)




No-Nut Charoset (see recipe above)

Mixed fruit (I used a frozen bag of mixed berries and bananas, but you can use fresh fruit, canned fruit, or frozen fruit of your kind and preferences. If using frozen fruit, cut open bag and rinse frozen fruit. Pour out fruit into a bowl to thaw. Drain and reserve liquid from frozen fruit for Pesach Shake; see recipe, below)



Combine ingredients.



3.7 Yums Up


Pesach Shake (Randyjw; April 24, 2016)




No-Nut Charoset (see recipe, above)

Reserved Liquid from frozen fruit of Berry Good Passover Compote (see recipe, above)

Milk (almond milk, coconut milk, soy milk, rice milk, or substitutes also exchangeable and encouraged)

Dollop of fruit from Berry Good Passover Compote, if desired (see recipe, above)

Fruit jam, preserves, marmalade or dessert topping, to flavor and thicken



Combine all ingredients.



3.7 Yums Up


Citrus Passover Salad (Randyjw; April 24, 2016)




No-Nut Charoset (see recipe, above)

Berry Good Passover Compote (see recipe, above)

Lime Yogurt (lemon, or other flavors also work well)

Additional fruits, as desired



Combine ingredients.



3.8 Yums Up



Charoset So-Smoothie (Randyjw; April 24, 2016)




No-Nut Charoset (see recipe, above)

Berry Good Passover Compote (see recipe, above)

Citrus Passover Salad (see recipe, above)



Process ingredients together in a blender or food processor until pureed and smooth.


Add a dollop of whole fruit from Berry Good Passover Compote (see recipe, above).



3.8 Yums Up


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Randy’s Recipes: Ramen A-Go-Go


I’m a laugher. At just about everything. Including myself. I enjoy, and often succeed at, cracking myself up. That’s a good thing, as life has way too many sadnesses, of which I probably have more than someone’s fair share. So, I laughed at putting this up on the web as a recipe and at the name I decided to give it. Maybe this is what happens when you live by yourself for too long and really don’t get out much.


Randy’s Recipes: Ramen A-Go-Go


1 packet beef-flavored Ramen noodle soup

1 packet chicken-flavored Ramen noodle soup

Peanut butter (roughly Two tablespoons, or per taste)

Garlic (powder, or per preference) – a good shake, to taste

Wasabi (roughly 1/2 to 1 teaspoon, to taste)

(Update: My wasabi is a blended wasabi/horseradish one from brand: Silver Spring. It may make a difference in the outcome. So, you can use wasabi, or horseradish, or both. The one I used really livened up the soup).

Options to add-in: chopped scallions, soy sauce, coconut milk, curries or other spices, lemongrass, ginger, vegetables, fish, shrimp, chicken, meat, nuts, etc…..

Break noodles in half and add to water filled under halfway point of a medium saucepot. If using vegetables, or other items needing cooking, you might want to add these in now, also. Slightly past boil-point, turn stove to medium low and finish cooking noodles. Add packet seasonings at end. Pour into large serving bowl. Add good shake of garlic, peanut butter and wasabi. Crush down peanut butter with fork to dissolve and mix through soup. Add options which don’t need cooking here.


Whether Masala or Marsala, the ramen soups make a nice base stock from which to jump off and depart to flavors of other places: Korean, Chinese, Japanese, etc.

5.1 Yums Up

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Randy’s Recipes: Open-Faced (Or Closed) Curried Chili Sandwich

Convenient, fast, throw-together, American-style. And not half-bad, either. Nowadays, American fare has developed into fusion food — the melting pot meeting of diverse cultures coming together to create something exciting and new, with old-culture sources as its base.


The lead-up to this recipe deservedly belongs elsewhere, as I think it’s better than the recipe itself. ‘Recipe’ is used lightly, as it’s just a throw-together and I can’t stand when people call such things creations, like I often make, recipes! Technically, though, the term does apply. My cooking creds are zilch, besides.


But, this polyglot quick-meal had a little taste and I figured I could share that. So, here it is.


Randy’s Recipes: Open-Faced (Or Closed) Curried Chili Sandwich


2 cans Chili (beef-and-bean, or vegetarian bean)

1/2 medium bag rice (white, or your preferred)

Curry powder (or seasonings of your choice; I used Pereg Brand Indian Curry)

Bread, sliced or torn (White, or your preferred; plain or toasted; I used Wonder-brand bread under this, and it added a just-right sweet note to the combination)


Pick dry rice of any grains that don’t look good and any foreign matter. Rinse the rice grains in a strainer and let drain. Place grains in a medium saucepot with water, filled about an inch or two above the top of the rice level (general measure; eyeball for right height — you’ll learn this with practice) and simmer until grains are moist but most of water has evaporated. Heat chili in another saucepot. Fold chili and rice together. Place into an oven-safe baking dish and generously sprinkle curry powder on top, leaving it on top to become heated and dried, as is. Bake at 375°F-400°F for about 15-20 minutes, or until desired dryness is reached. Place on bread and enjoy!

 3.4 Yums Up

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Randy’s Recipes: Pistachios and Cool Whip (Mom’s)


Charity Begins At Home

My Mom claims to have not even known how to boil water when she first started cooking. Luckily, by the time of my arrival, she was practically a gourmet chef. We have a very large extended family, many members of which I barely know, if at all. One relative on my Father’s side had married three times, and had about ten children with each wife (or so I’ve heard; recently another cousin said it was about eight with each — I don’t know). I never could quite follow the descriptions of our connections, and gave up in my youth to figure out such complications. So now, they’re basically what I would call “cousins”; beyond that, I couldn’t deign to relate (or should I say, “relate”).


My Mother spent considerable time with a particular female relative, and they learned many crafting techniques together: beadwork, various artwork, and others. They discovered the places to shop to make a home, the clothing to wear to adorn themselves as beautifully as their countenances deserved, and the dishes to prepare to please their husbands and families. Both women were accomplished cooks, and my Mother’s style and recipes were greatly influenced by this particular cousin. They were equally impressive in their service work, in their positions of employment, and in their efforts to assist other humanitarian and charitable organizations and endeavors.


The husband of this cousin of mine was a “gabbai” for the Conservative temple and prepared children for b’nai mitzvah (their bar- and bat-mitzvah services). He also helped me prepare for my own bat-mitzvah. He was strongly in favor of female participation in Jewish rites, as well as in assisting people who wished to convert to Judaism.


I grew up in the same region in a time of strong, emerging equality issues, including for those of women. Conscientiousness was being raised about the way in which we treat people (or rather, about seeing with new eyes the way we HAD been treating people), and to try to change it through raising both our awareness and our standards, in the formulation of new laws and new ideas. These were rising in movements such as the Civil Rights movement, Feminism, Disability rights, and others. My mother and my cousins helped pave the way with their actions. While I may have reticence about the necessary impact this will play on our society and in our religion, I cannot escape that it has been made a part of me, even with my change to a modern, more Conservative outlook today.


One of the earlier jobs my Mother held was working for a non-profit agency. It helped advocate for people with developmental delays, as well as providing a place for such children to learn and grow. Many laws, due to the advocacy of organizations and grassroots advocacy such as these, were created and passed, and form the basis for our existing precedents in these areas.


That workplace, in addition to teaching skills to some of the program’s participants, was a large home and had the atmosphere as such. At Christmas, they set up a tree with decorations, and it lent a sentimental, nostalgic, and homey feel to the place. I sometimes played with the children upstairs, or learned to type using the fantastic, new-fangled IBM Selectric III typewriter (and occasionally typed letters there) — a fondly remembered and still-favorite (were they still to be around) choice of office equipment.


I loved all of the workers there. It was a small group of about five or six people. I remember how particularly brilliant and compassionate the program worker was. She was a Hindi woman, whose son, I believe, was affected with these issues. We lost her at a young age — she who had shown the way — she who had so much to give to the world — instead given over to cancer. Our own family was touched by these issues, as well.


One of the workers there had been my “fake” Aunt. She and my “fake” Uncle are no longer living. When my “Uncle” passed away, they named one of their fund-raising events in his honor. In order to help the programs and the functioning of the building and the assistance to people needing and creating resources for those with disabilities, funds were needed to sustain them. They often created multiple, large-scale efforts, which became almost a vanguard in fund-raising events standards and in raising the bar.


They devised major marathons and garnered the participation of local media and celebrities. They secured corporate sponsorship and partnership with the entities to make it all happen: water from bottlers; ice from the ice house; signage, security, everything. They put together golf classics and tennis tournaments. My “Aunt” developed rapport with generous people such as Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, and others, who were the most gracious, kindest people you could imagine — always helping out for these events (sadly, I never met them, but their pictures with my “Aunt” and my Mother hung on our walls). Frank Sinatra has been so kind to the Jewish people, and we loved him so much. His name adorned the international student center at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. It was very sad that a Hamas terrorist from east Jerusalem committed a bombing in the cafeteria inside that center, killing students just making a start in their lives by trying to better themselves there. Update: I think here is the appropriate place to insert the sad news of the sudden passing recently of Frank Sinatra, Jr., son of the man honored above. The Jewish people lose, in the Sinatra family, people who have cared greatly, in compassion, not only for us, but for the world. The children give much when the family is a part of the American story in such a public way. Thank you for being with us every step of the way. You will be greatly missed.

Here is a link to a brief summary of Frank Sinatra’s work with the Simon Wiesenthal Center:


So my childhood was spent oftentimes in the kitchen, alongside my Mother, helping her with chores to prepare meals. I can’t say it ever really “took” in me, but only now, in the second half-century of my life, are the things I’ve been making something I could actually enjoy, and say, hmmmm… that was actually delicious (surprise, surprise)!


We were forever the home of large gatherings and dinner parties, and I’d be enlisted to offer hors d’oeuvres, clear and set new courses, and dry dishes as she washed, sometimes until 11:00 p.m., or later. She was such a dedicated homemaker, in addition to working full-time, with additional side jobs as well, and she kept an immaculate, impeccably decorated home. She slaved away to scrub the floors on her hands and knees and ironed our clothing after washing them at 2:00 in the morning, after an already full-day’s work.


A two-income household in those days was fairly rare; little did we realize it would become practically a necessity in today’s day and age. Women were mostly the home-makers, and for many, that was their sole job. But my Mom did it all.


She instilled in me the practical outlook of a hard-working work-ethic, and I worked at a young age for family friends or contacts secured for me, back when it was permissible to do so without screamers of child-slavery, a totally different matter, changed the country’s relationship with work, in general. Today’s “kids” sometimes don’t start their first jobs until they’re in their mid-twenties!


It’s important for young kids to spend time with their parents, in the mundane chores as well as in the special outings or events. This provides family continuity and cherished memories they will look back on and impart in special anecdotes to their own children. I recall the hours of cooking preparation spent with my Mother; I wish the osmosis would have imparted my Mothers’ special touch to me.


I had to pick up my clothes, keep my room and house neat, make my bed and sometimes that of my parents or to help with it, sometimes help fold the laundry or linens, set the table nightly and clear the dishes, and sometimes help wash or dry the dinner dishes.


One of my food chores was to grind walnuts into a can to use in various baked goodies, such as butter-horns, apple coffee-cake (some people say apfelkuchen), and other yummy things. These ground walnuts feature in many of the baked items my Mother made.


So my Mother learned her trade craft in various manners and means. Many of her recipes come from my cousin mentioned above. One of the many fund-raisers for the agency where she worked also included the compilation of a cookbook, which was sold to raise money for the agency. My Mother contributed many of her own recipes to it, as well as calling up all her friends for theirs. And if those friends had friends who were cooks of any decent stature, they, too, would contribute recipes. The director’s wife was a great cook, and contributed many of her own recipes, as well. So, there are a couple of cookbooks whose recipe authors are people I know, and may have touched my life in some way: family friends, acquaintances, and more.


They were transcribed many times over (and often taste-tested, first). After publication, they were often re-written out and dispersed to even more friends. I, myself, spent weeks and months, recently, transcribing maybe four-dozen recipes for an old school-friend who requested it. Sometimes I might err and can’t figure out whether the “t” of my Mother’s recipes means “teaspoon” or “tablespoon” (if you find out I was wrong and I haven’t found it, I hope, perhaps, you’ll let me know). Sometimes, treasured family recipes get lost. That is a huge devastation. Sometimes, someone might have it that you passed it along to. Sometimes you have to settle for a different, not-as-good version. Occasionally, they come from published sources. Due to many moves, and many copies along the way, I hope that the sources haven’t become too obscured or garbled. If I print a recipe in this manner, it is assuming safe authorship, with the hope it isn’t accredited beforehand elsewhere. If so, it is unintentional.


With so much build-up, you would think that I am going to prepare you for a complex entree worthy of the fanfare leading up to it. But, below you’ll find just a simple, easy, non-gourmet dessert that’s easy, and throw-together, and light. In a way, it is a tribute to my Mom (who’s still with us, thank G-d). Her favorite ice-cream flavor was pistachio. The pistachio nut is an ingredient mostly associated with Iran/Persia, as well — basically out there in the relative proximity to the Middle East. So, I think it will be brought out to you, here, in this measure, with that in mind.

B’teh Avon!


Randy’s Recipes: Pistachios and Cool Whip (Mom’s):


1 package instant pistachio pudding

1 Large can crushed pineapple with juice

1 Large can chunked pineapple without juice

Walnuts, chopped

6 Tablespoons Cool Whip (or other whipped cream-like topping)


Put all together and add Cool Whip last.

8.1 Yums Up

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Randy’s Recipes: LENT-IL Soup


Randy’s Recipes: LENT-IL Soup


Giving up meat for Lent? Try this light, yet hearty soup. Even the word root is interesting: “Lent”, and the abbreviation for Israel, “IL”. We lend something with the premise of it being given back. Hopefully, Love will not be like that — it’s not generally supposed to be (but this soup is comforting in that event, as well).


It would be a misnomer to classify this recipe as my own. It’s not. But, “Randy’s Recipes” has a certain alliteration about it that I’ve decided to keep and employ as a general category. The previous recipes have been mine (the pita one belonged to my Mother), although, like I said, the bottle of Zahatar seasoning from Pereg brand does list cream cheese, as well as pita, in its Chef’s Recommendations on where to utilize its product.


The red pottage which became a symbolic token of the birthright exchange from Esau to Jacob in no way implies that the reverse occurred in the provision of this soup and the knowledge of its preparation from my Palestinian ex-husband to myself. While the recipe might very well have remained the same all these years, there are a couple of ways to achieve it. The recipe here uses whole ingredients. I have also cooked it with spectacular results using various seasonings/spices, when I didn’t have an onion to use, and it was just as good. I forget how I did it though, so I’ll just give you the basic recipe. I hope I never vowed not to divulge this, because I would feel badly were that the case. But the marriage, I believe, was perhaps a sham, and so many of the vows which should have been an inherent part of it were discovered to be missing — you drove me from my land with your threats of bodily harm and imprisonment — slavery, even, to masters other than even yourself. I left immediately, without my things. Never mind.


Enjoy this, “on the House”.



Randy’s Recipes: LENT-IL Soup (Randyjw; February 18, 2016)


2 bags red lentils (Goya, or other brand)

1 large white, Vidalia, or yellow onion: (quartered to-eighthed or whole, at your preference)

About 8 cloves peeled garlic

Lemon, fresh

Optional: Lime Syrup Slurry


Remove blemished, discolored lentils and any foreign matter from amongst the lentils, and rinse several times to remove the foamy residue accumulating at the start.


Cover the lentils several inches above their top level with water in a pot on the stove top. Turn the heat to a medium-high level to drive out the rest of the foamy matter and begin cooking the lentils. You want to leave it at a low enough  temperature in order not to quick-cook the lentil, but enough to skim the foam. Skim off this foam continually, at the first — if you don’t, it will taste dirty. When the lentils seem to have given up most of its foam, add the onion to the pot, and continue cooking. Use care to check that the onion and/or lentils do not stick to the bottom of the pot and burn; for this purpose, it may be best to leave the onion whole, and slice it, if need be, at the end. Turn down the heat to a soft simmer and continue cooking. Towards the last twenty minutes or so, add the garlic to the pot (enough time to cook it until soft, but not throughout the whole cook time).


Ladle the soup into its serving bowl. Cut a lemon and squeeze some of its juice onto the soup.


For optional lime syrup slurry, prepare 1/2- to 1- day in advance. Wash 4 ripe, sweet limes very well. Zest (if inedible) or cut rind (if edible) into small bits. Place into bowl or container. Sprinkle copiously with sugar and stir. Repeat several times until a thick slurry paste is developed. Cover and place into refrigerator and let infuse overnight. Dip spoon into bowl for slurry to seep onto it. Add a tablespoon of slurry or so per serving, mixed in at time of presentation, for a slightly different, uplifting version. Enjoy immensely!


This variation, below, adds israeli couscous, spices, and mushrooms to the soup, for a heartier version:

6.9 Yums Up

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Randy’s Recipes: Eaty Beety Borscht


Randy’s Recipes: Eaty Beety Borscht


There are certain food items or combinations that, in my mind, provide a noticeable benefit which can be felt at the cellular level. Now, don’t ask me the science behind it, or the proof that the phenomenon exists. I often propose wildly outrageous theorems based solely on creative mind-bending fancies. They occasionally feature in my discussions and writings. This is one of those times where  I feel that the oft-maligned root vegetables deserve their place in the sun.


The earthy beet was often a staple found on my family dinner plate, taken with care to be put there by a Mother striving to provide balanced nutrition with a vegetable accompaniment to the main meal, childhood “ick” factors notwithstanding.


This inspired dish, from the lands of our dispersion, is based from the Jewish community of the Russian Diaspora. I believe that the nutrients found in this “earth pomegranate” enhance human functioning to its core — it’s some wild theory I hold based solely on the feeling I get soon after its consumption. So, that’s not scientific pablum, but opinion, dearests.


But, I hope you, too, will benefit from its inclusion in your menu. Please try to obtain raw produce for this dish — but if you must use the canned variety, you must.


Fist-sized Beet(s), trimmed; leave the skins on the beet(s) to impart flavor: (I generally use between 1-3 for myself; gauge according to desired volume)

Sour cream



Some people would insist this soup is incomplete unless it contains at least one of the following items:

Garlic:  (powdered, minced, chopped, or in cloves)


Cucumbers, diced (within the body of the soup)


Cucumbers, sliced (atop soup)


Trim from the bulb of the beet(s) any extraneous matter, such as root, hairs, etc. Scrub and rinse the beet(s) clear of all dirt — in a soup, you don’t want to taste that! Use enough water to reach to about 1/2 to 2/3 of the beet level. The point is to thoroughly infuse the water with the beets, and not to add beets to water, almost as if an after-thought. Cook the beet(s) in a pot on the stove top until you reach this desired effect, checking that water hasn’t evaporated (more can be sparingly added, if required). The skin should be readily removable, once cooled. Remove the beet(s’) skin(s). Chop the beet(s) into small pieces and add back into the soup. Add a good scoop of sour cream and stir-in, to taste. If adding other ingredients, most can be inserted towards the end of cooking, and cucumbers or garnish applied/inserted in the finishing touches. Enjoy lukewarm, or further chilled from the refrigerator.

4.9 Yums Up

For Anisa (and Japan)


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Randy’s Recipes: Caper Caesar Salad


Randy’s Recipes: Caper Caesar Salad


For heavy-on-the-veggie eaters, the caper berries in this recipe replaces the anchovies normally found in regular Caesar salad recipes. There’s no need to measure any quantities, either — just use the amounts which suits your tastes. One head of lettuce will generally make about four 1-quart containers, and will keep for a couple of days in the refrigerator.


Lettuce (Iceberg, Romaine, or those which suit your preferences)

Carrots, bias-cut (I generally use baby carrots, but it doesn’t matter)

Sprinkle Parmesan Cheese

Capers, finely diced

Green Olives, diced chunkily (optional)

Other raw vegetables of your choice (optional)

Croutons (optional; Make your own by substituting bread for the pita wedges in my toasted pita chips recipe)



Canned or frozen vegetables: stringbeans, asparagus, peas, etc., sliced

Chunk or shredded cheeses

Meats: antipasto-style; chicken, turkey, salami, ham, etc., sliced

Bacon or bacon-substitute bits

Nuts: peanuts, sunflower kernels, pistachios, pecans, walnuts, filberts, etc.

Hard-boiled eggs

Marinated artichokes, sliced

Meals: corn or Matzah

Bread crumbs

Hearts of Palm, sliced



Mandarin oranges



Ramen or chow mein dry noodles

Bulgur Wheat



Cut all non-raw and non-vegetable items and put aside. Cut the lettuce and vegetables and place in a large colander. Rinse well, leaving water moisture in lettuce. Transfer to a large bowl. Sprinkle lettuce with parmesan cheese and mix, coating well. Add all other ingredients and toss well.

5.4 Yums Up


Update: In fairness to respect of food classification, I changed wording from my original article to reflect this. This corresponds to the more exacting terminology correlating to “conscientious consumption”, I’ll call it, of  food evolution and its processes. Of recent note is the topic being reported, breaking roughly half-an-hour ago in news outlets, of the amount of filler found in sprinkle Parmesan cheese canisters. The food additive, known as cellulose, “plumps” food by extending its volume. It is a vegetative, organic product produced by the plant kingdom. While it is used by humans in the manufacture of many products, including as wood pulp used in the production of paper, it is also the stringy stuff you find when you bite into a stalk of celery. Basically, it’s plant fibre. It is being used in sprinkle Parmesan cheese, basically as an anti-caking agent — I guess the issue under recent investigation is whether the amounts added represent more “filler” than initially stated. I realize the importance that people might place on food labelling, it’s accuracy, and what is going into their foods and packaging. It is an established, acceptable product, in my estimation, to add to packaged foods, and I’ll continue to do so, despite this contrary media storm. I just thought it was important to correct my usage of certain words, given hardcore adherance by some to their definitions, and I note that with respect, as it does matter to them. I would expect the same, say, from other labellers — for example, it’s important to label Kosher products correctly, for religious adherance. Now let’s focus on the double-standards applied to labelling Israeli products, versus no requirements applied to items produced in acknowledged “conflict” zones, and we’ll be all set. For now, I’ll continue sprinkling my cheese as I please!


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Randy’s Recipes: Toasted Pita Chips (Mom’s)

Randy’s Recipes: Toasted Pita Chips (Mom’s)

(Updated: 05/21/2016; I found the actual recipe)

Old and improved! These are really delicious and easy; they’re actually one of a recipe my Mother used to make.


1-1/2 – 2 small packages Pita bread

1-1/2 sticks butter

2 Tablespoons minced parsley

1 Tablespoon chives

1 Tablespoon lemon juice

1 Large garlic clove, crushed and minced



Zahatar seasoning

Cream together all ingredients, except pita bread. Let stand, covered, for at least one (1) hour. When ready, cut pita loaves into halves, and then quarters or thirds. Spread creamed butter mixture onto one side of pita bread. Place on baking sheet and bake 3 to 4 minutes at 450°F.

This can be cooled, then frozen, then reheated by baking for 2 minutes.

8.5 Yums Up

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Randy’s Recipes: Easy Blue Cheese Dressing


Randy’s Recipes: Easy Blue Cheese Dressing


This blue cheese dressing is so easy to make, and way better than the store bought kind. No measurements are required; adjust to taste.


Mayonnaise (I prefer Hellman’s)

Gorgonzola Cheese (or Roquefort)

Sour Cream (optional)

Garlic: Minced or Powdered (optional)


Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Refrigerate, then serve.

5.4 Yums Up


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Randy’s Recipes: Easy Herbed Cheese Spread


Randy’s Recipes: Easy Herbed Cheese Spread


This easy herbed cheese spread tastes like its more expensive store-bought duplicate. Buying the dry spices once will extend your kitchen considerations much farther than just buying one small tub of spreadable cheese. No measurements are needed — just season to taste, but always start lightly and then add more, if required.

I didn’t realize that the basic version listed here (without my additions) is actually listed on the side of the Pereg Zahatar bottle as one of their Chef’s recommendations.


Cream Cheese

Zahatar Seasoning (Pereg brand is good)

Butter (optional)

Minced Garlic (optional)

Green Schug (optional)

Sprinkle Parmesan Cheese (optional)


Harissa, or your favorite hot sauce


Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Chill, then serve.

7.1 Yums Up

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