Simple advice for a better life.

Birthday Party AppetizersWhether you are cooking at home, dining out, or ordering take out, there are almost always some leftovers to deal with after the fact.

There is nothing wrong with having leftovers.   After all, you spent time and money on this food, so you deserve to enjoy it to the last morsel.

Some prepared dishes are not suitable for later use as a leftover…they lose their taste and texture, so it is best to just part with them right there and then.

Numerous others, on the other hand, are still great for at least one or two meals, or even to be frozen for that rainy day when you have no time or desire to cook.

Some people do not like leftovers, and never keep them.  However, if you are like me, you don’t mind them, and feel that you get your money’s worth if you use them.

Most Europeans don’t believe in leftovers….maybe because they hardly ever have any.

They serve their meals already preportioned per plate, and make just enough to feed the crowd they accounted for.  The portions are large enough to satisfy the consumer, so there is no need, or room, for seconds.  Therefore, there are no leftovers.  Any remaining food on each plate, which hardly ever happens, is discarded.  It is almost impolite to ask for a “Doggie Bag”.

Here in the USA we have no problem asking the waiter/waitress to pack up our leftovers to take home with us.

It is very important to keep track of your leftover food in your fridge, which is one of my pet peeves.  I almost feel like I am a fridge police, whether it is at home or at work.

There is nothing worse than seeing “old” food sitting in the fridge way past its safe consumable time.

My personal time line for using up leftovers in up to 3 days…4 being the absolute max.

Now I will share my best way of using up leftovers, and keeping your fridge fresh, and ready for restocking.

Since most of us work full-time, and don’t have much time for cooking during the week, we prepare extra food on weekend, to hold us over for couple of days.  Then by mid-week, it’s time for some take out.  By Thursday we have leftovers to use, or lose.

I consider Thursday  a “Leftover Smorgasbord Dinner Day”.  We pull out all the leftovers from the past few days, and add something new if needed, and call it a day.

Everyone is to create their own plate of food from the smorgasbord spread available.  We also use disposable dishes and utensils that day, to save time on clean up effort.  Whatever food is remaining after this dinner, gets discarded for good.

This is the BEST way to free your fridge of leftover food, and to prevent any food from hiding in there for too long.

Since we have no dishes to wash on this day, we devote our time to cleaning up the fridge, and getting it ready for fresh food from Friday or Saturday shopping.

It works very well every time, and it also is fun, economical, and stress free.

I suggest you try it too, and share your comments.

Have fun!


Independence Day in the U.S. is always celebrated on July 4th.  Many businesses are closed that day in observance of this holiday.

Families and friends get together for a cook out, outdoor fun.  In the evening everyone is looking forward to an exciting display of fire works, usually prepared by a local fire department.

My contribution to this celebration will consist of links to some of my previously posted recipes, which you may wish to prepare for your guests.


These  Pork Ribs with Bourbon Whiskey Barbecue Sauce take little more time to complete, but are awesomely delicious, and the meat, literally, falls of the bone.


For the vegetarian guests, this easy to assemble Vegetable Platter will be a hit, for sure.


Sweet and Sour Coleslaw is another vegetarian choice, as well as an excellent side dish to accompany your barbecue meats.


Delicious and healthful Broccoli Salad.



Your gusts will just LOVE this easy, no bake Low Fat Jello Cheesecake.

This dessert should be made a day ahead, or several hours before serving, to give it a chance to firm up.


If you are looking for much simpler dessert recipe, nothing will take less effort than this Strawberry Cream Cheese Jello Mold.

Enjoy your Independence Day party, and stay safe!







The hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping is over for most of us (many Ukrainians will still celebrate Christmas on January 6th and 7th), so now it’s time to plan the New Year bash.

Since I will not be hosting  New Year  party this year, and not preparing anything exciting, you may click on the highlighted links to my previous posts with many fun party foods.

Also, I pinned a lot of interesting party foods on my Pinterest board, which you are more that welcome to check out, and test them out.

H A P P Y   N E W  Y E A R!!!







Fresh Tomato Salad 2Growing up in a household with an abundance of home grown fruits, vegetables and herbs, made me accustomed to include them in my daily diet, and loving them all.

Meatless dishes are a welcome change to our family’s routine of meat based meals.

During the summer months, my mom utilized her home grown fruits, herbs and vegetables , in most of her cooking and baking.

Today I will post one of the tomato salads she used to prepare, which brings back many childhood memories.

This salad can be served as a side dish, or as a light lunch, accompanied by a piece of toast, or a piece of fresh Jewish Rye Bread, smeared with sweet butter.

I am sure you will agree that homegrown tomatoes have much richer flavor, and smoother texture, than the store bought ones, making this simple salad that much more delicious.

Sliced cucumbers and radishes may also be added to this salad, to enrich its color and flavor.

If you are not a big fan of sour cream, you may use Greek Yogurt, or omit them both, and enjoy still very flavorful salad, but much lighter in calories.

Since sour cream was not available during those days in Europe, my mom would use heavy cream mixed with clabbered milk .

This recipe yields 2-4 servings.


  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1 Tbs. chives, chopped (0r you can slice 1/2 onion)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbs. sour cream


  1. Wash the tomatoes, and cut out stems.
  2. Cut each tomato in half, horizontally, then cut each half into 6 or 8 wedges.
  3. Peel and mince the garlic
  4. Place the tomato wedges, minced garlic and chives in a medium bowl.
  5. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  6. Fold in the sour cream, just to coat the tomato wedges.
  7. Sprinkle some chopped chives, as garnish.



Pickling cucumbers - Day 1If you like pickles, this post will interest you, and you will be pleasantly surprised about how easy it is to make your own delicious pickles.

You already know that besides cooking and baking, I also enjoy gardening.

This year my garden did not do very well, but I did have lots of tomatoes, potatoes, green peppers and cucumbers.  My green beans, red beets, corn, zucchini and squash were not as productive.

My sister does a lot of canning and pickling, so she encouraged me to pickle my own cucumbers.

She shared her recipe, but I did not have the Red Currant leaf or horseradish root, so I had to improvise and use the ingredients I had available.

Since I wanted to use my pickles as soon as they were ready, rather than preserving them for winter,  the recipe is quite simple, and it does not require any special equipment.

If you are wondering about the type of pickling jar I was using….well….I did not have a jar large enough for this project, so I used a large glass vase……it worked perfectly fine.  I sterilized it first, of course, and used a tea towel  over the top, during the pickling time of about 4 days.

Pickling my own cucumbers was very easy, fun, and rewarding, especially after sampling the finished product.

Homemade pickles


  • 10 medium pickling cucumbers (they are short, firm, and low on seeds)
  • 10 medium garlic cloves
  • 10 peppercorns
  • 10 Allspice kernels
  • 2-3 whole Dill weed stalks with seeds
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 3 quarts of cold water
  • 1/2 cup of Kosher Salt


  1. Prepare the pickling brine by boiling 3 quarts of water, with salt, then set aside to cool off to room temperature.
  2. Wash the cucumbers under running water, and brush off the small pricks found on their skin surface.
  3. Trim off both ends, and cut each cucumber into 4 sections, lengthwise.
  4. Set aside.
  5. Peel the garlic, and cut each clove in half, lengthwise.
  6. Trim off the roots of the dill weed, rinse the stalks under running water, set aside.
  7. Clean your jar (vase in my case) with hot, soapy water, and rinse well.
  8. Place half of the dill weed stalk at the bottom of the jar.
  9. Drop in half of the peppercorns and whole allspice.
  10. Place half of the cucumbers in the jar.
  11. Place another dill twig over cucumbers, drop in more garlic and spices, plus a bay leaf.
  12. Add the remaining cucumbers, cover up with another dill weed twig, and pour the brine over the cucumbers until totally submerged.
  13. Tie the top of the jar with a breathable material (such as a tea towel), and keep it in a dark, cool place for few days, to let them pickle.
  14. Once the cucumbers are ready (4 days later), you can leave them as is, or remove the dill weed, and transfer them  into few smaller jars, along with the garlic, spices and pickling brine.
  15. Close each jar with a lid, and store them in the fridge, to extend their shelf-life.

I use pickles on  sandwiches, as well as in Deviled Eggs, Potato Salad, or even in a veggie soup to enhance its flavor to an interesting light tangy taste.


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