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Fumi Salad



This unique salad and “Pot Luck Favorite” is very easy to make using most pantry items and will become a favorite to your family and friends. Its a unique dish that most people will ask for a copy of it as it’s so delicious and kid friendly. One recipe will feed an ARMY of people. A great go-to dish in the summer!







1/4 c slivered almonds, toasted


1/4 c plain sunflower seeds, toasted

3 Tbsp plain sesame seeds, toasted

3 Tbsp black sesame seeds, toasted


1/2 medium head green cabbage, shredded

1/2 medium napa cabbage, shredded


1/4 red cabbage, shredded

1 c carrots, shredded


6 green onions, sliced

1 pkg. Ramen noodles, uncooked

3 tbsp. fine sugar

2 tsp salt

1 tsp black pepper



3/4 cup vegetable oil

3 tbsp rice vinegar




In a small nonstick skillet over low-med heat, toast sesame seeds, sunflower seeds and almonds separately,

stirring constantly. Set aside.


In a large bowl, combine cabbage, carrot and green onion. Set a side.



Break Ramen noodles up and set aside.



In a small bowl or lidded jar, combine sugar, seasoning, oil and vinegar.


Just before serving,

add almonds and sesame seeds to cabbage mix and top with crushed noodles.


Add dressing and toss until coated. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator for at least 2 hours



Serve cold or room temperature.


Makes 8 to 10 servings. Recipe can be halved


Note: if the salad will not be served right away, take the various ingredients in separate baggies and assemble on sight. The noodles and cabbage gets soggy if salad is allowed to sit overnight.


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Loaded Up Baked Potato Soup


What’s not to love about potatoes?

It’s a staple in the majority of kitchens across the globe, an everyday ingredient with no limit to what one could make. Lets see there are potato chips, mashed potato, potato galette, au gratin potato, potato pancakes, french fries, home fries hash browns and good old baked potato, just to name a few.


It’s a no wonder the “spud” is considered the worlds most versatile vegetable, whose origins are both Peruvian and Chilean that date back to 500 B.C.

Archeologist have discovered The Incas grew, ate and also worshipped the potato. They buried potatoes with the dead, they’ve hid potatoes in bins for use in case of war or famine, they dried them, and carried them on long journeys to eat on the way. Ancient Inca potatoes had dark purplish skins and yellow flesh. The Incas called the potato “papas,” as they do today.


The potato has become a symbol of Irish cuisine, by the 18th century, potatoes were an essential food in Ireland, they were cultivated throughout the country. Ireland’s rainy, cool climate was perfect for cultivating spuds by the thousands, the Irish people ate them almost as fast as they could grow them. This vegetable is so high in vitamins and minerals and was easy to grow, Irish farmers and workers could afford to feed their families on them, and their families grew healthier as a result. Mortality rates in infants went down, life expectancy went up, and the population boomed. Between the late 1700s and mid-1800s, the Irish population nearly doubled in size, due to the potato.

Although potatoes are grown throughout the United States, no state is more associated with the potato than Idaho. The first potatoes in Idaho were planted by a  Presbyterian missionary, Henry Harmon Spalding in 1936. His first crop was a failure, but the second year was a success.

The potato is truly a marvel that continues to evolve in the culinary world today, with no limits in sight.

Personally I never get tired of potatoes, so much so that a few weeks back I was going through pictures of dishes for my blog, when I realized I use potatoes a lot.
When I started thinking about which dishes I would re-shoot minus potatoes, it was hard to pick because I loved them all, why reinvent the wheel?

So when I started thinking about what I would write about as a guest blogger for  I decided to go with a seasonal dish that also wears a comfort food crown, a timeless classic “Potato Soup”, but loaded like a baked potato!


My recipe is easy in spite of the seventeen ingredients, so if you’re a newbie to cooking don’t let that intimidate you, cause this recipe is easy peasy and the bonus?


Ninety minutes from start to finish, so here is my
“Loaded Up Baked Potato Soup”



5 Tbsp Unsalted butter
5 Tbsp Flour
1 Medium yellow or brown onion, diced
6-8 large celery stalks, chopped into 1/4 inch pieces, include the celery heart.

32 oz Low sodium chicken broth, or use your own.

Money Saving Tip $$$ Make your own stock from left over chicken bones and save money and reduce the amount of sodium! Try my recipe for making your own chicken stock.

Money Saving Tip $$$ Make your own stock from left over chicken bones and save money and reduce the amount of sodium! Try my recipe for making your own chicken stock.

32 Oz Heavy whipping cream
1/2 lb Applewood smoked bacon

3 Cloves garlic, minced

2 Tbsp Tabasco
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 tsp dried or ground oregano
4-6 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 Tbsp Fresh chopped parsley

Salt & Pepper to taste
8-18 Large russet potatoes
16 Oz cooked ham, diced into 1/2 inch chunks


Optional Toppings: Chopped Green Onion, Shredded Cheddar Cheese, Bacon Bits, Sour Cream, Chives, Crushed Red Pepper Flakes


Heat oven to 400 degrees.


In a large stock pot or dutch oven cook bacon on med-high heat, until crispy and fat is rendered off, remove and place bacon to the side.


Drain all bacon fat leaving a thin layer, just covering the bottom of the pot and reduce heat to low-medium heat.


Add celery, garlic and onions and over a low-med heat cover and sweat the veggies until onions just become transparent, remove cooked veggies and set aside


For this next step grab a wire whisk

Next add butter into same pot and melt completely, then add flour and stir mixing the melted butter and flour cooking the roux on low heat for 5-7 minutes.


This cooking technique is called a roux.


A Roux is used to thicken sauces and soups. Pre-cooking the flour will allow the granules in the starches to enlarge and absorbs moisture and will thicken a sauce or soup base.

Next add chicken stock and stir. Turn heat to medium and stir constantly until there are no lumps and there is a smooth consistency and sauce is now thickened.


Add back to pot cooked veggies, and bay leaves, fresh cracked black pepper, oregano and sprigs of thyme.

Potatoes should be somewhat cool to touch, if not use a kitchen towel and you can leave the skin on or remove all skins and dice into bite size chunks.

Add potatoes to pot as well.

If you want to add ham this is when you would add it.
Add heavy cream and adjust salt and pepper.


Turn heat up to low, stirring constantly and cook for 15-20 minutes.


Use a ladle and pour yourself a hearty bowl of homemade potato soup!


Top with the following; Shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, chopped green onion, and crumbled bacon.


Don’t forget to grab a loaf of bread, dinner rolls or biscuits to sop the bottom of the bowl.





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Stir Fry Chicken W/Snow Peas

To cook stir fry it is best done by using a wok.


You are cooking your meats and vegetables quickly. All Meats and vegetables should be cut up in bite size portions. When you stir fry, you will need to heat your wok to a high heat, then add a small amount of oil. The fastest method to any cooking is being organized and having all of your ingredients prepped and cut to uniform sizes.




Stir-fry was initially developed in China as a way of cooking that worked well on a simple brick stove. Stir-frying is a quick and fresh way to cook as it suits those with a hectic lifestyle and those who are health-conscious too.




Stir frying is a pair of Chinese cooking techniques for preparing food in a wok. The term stir-fry was introduced into the English language by Buwei Yang Chao, in her book How to Cook and Eat in Chinese, to describe the two techniques of cooking. These two techniques differ in their speed of execution, the amount of heat used, and the amount of tossing done to cook the food in the wok.

Stir-fries are one of the most popular and recognizable Asian dishes around. The hallmarks of this healthy dish are crisp-tender vegetables and a light coating of savory sauce made from easy-to-find ingredients. First, quickly stir-fry some sweet red bell pepper and snow peas. Next stir-fry the chicken in its marinade, cooking until the chicken is browned and the marinade has thickened. Add the vegetables back to the pan, stir to coat everything in the sauce, and serve this fast, fresh, vegetable-packed meal in about 30 minutes.





1-2 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thighs, or a mixture of both, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick pieces
1 medium red bell pepper, diced into small pieces
2 Tbsp oyster sauce or Hoisin sauce
2 Tbsp dry sherry vinegar
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/3 cup unsalted cashews
2 stalks of celery cut into 1/4 inch slices
2 stalks of carrots cut into 1/4 inch slices
8 ounces of bean sprouts
8 ounces snow peas
8 ounces of broccoli
1 medium red& green bell pepper cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 medium scallions
1 Tbsp plus 2 tsp vegetable oil
Steamed white rice, for serving


Place the oyster sauce, sherry, soy sauce, cornstarch, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk to combine.


Add the chicken, toss to thoroughly coat with the marinade, and let sit, uncovered and at room temperature, for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the remaining ingredients.




Core and remove the seeds from the pepper and cut it into 1/4-inch slices; set aside.

Rinse and dry the snow peas, and bean sprouts and set them aside.


Finely mince garlic and place it in a large bowl.

Next trim the ends of the scallions, cut them into 1/4-inch pieces, and add to the bowl with the garlic; set aside.




Heat a 14-inch flat-bottomed wok or large frying pan over high heat about 1 to 2 minutes.

Pour one teaspoon of the oil around the perimeter of the wok or pan and add the sliced bell pepper. Using a metal spatula or tongs, stir-fry until crisp-tender and charred in spots, about 1 to 2 minutes.



Drizzle another teaspoon of the oil around the perimeter of the wok or pan then add the snow peas. Stir-fry until crisp-tender, about 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to the large bowl with the garlic and scallions.




Transfer to the large bowl with the peppers, garlic, and scallions.



Transfer to the bowl with the other cooked vegetables.




Drizzle remaining tablespoon of oil around the perimeter of the wok or pan. Add the chicken along with the marinade, and arrange the chicken in an even layer. 




Let it sear undisturbed until golden brown on the bottom, about 1 to 2 minutes, then stir-fry until golden brown all over and cooked through, about 2 minutes more.

Toss cashews into chicken over high heat for one minute.



Add cooked snow peas, and remaining cooked vegetables.


Stir-fry until the marinade has thickened, is glossy, and coats the chicken and vegetables, about 1 to 2 minutes more.


Serve immediately over steamed rice.





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South Of The Border Taco Soup-Slow Cooker Marvel


From south of the border comes this spicy and hearty soup ladled over crisp tortilla strips, and can be topped with an endless list of many fresh ingredients.


Tortilla soup or in this case my “Taco Soup encompasses all things I love in Mexican cooking. Do you love fresh salsa? sliced avocado? cilantro? fresh hot tortilla strips? Taco soup is a balance of flavors from enchilada sauce, seasoned taco meat, fresh peppers, corn, and of course beans. For me soup becomes a lot more interesting when it’s seasoned with Mexican spices and chili powders.



Taco soup is also one of those “go to dishes” and a great “help yourself” sort of meal. Everyone can jazz up their bowl of soup the way they want it. I love to make this during cool weather using my extra-large slow cooker, and then lay out a variety of fresh toppings, that no two bowls look or taste the same. For maximum flavors make it a day before serving so that the flavors have time to marry.


This is a quick and easy version of the traditional “chicken tortilla soup” Except instead of using chicken were using ground beef, or ground turkey for those wanting to cut back on red meats!


All you do is brown the ground beef, dice the bell peppers, open a few cans, rinse, drain then mix it all together put into the slow cooker, and turn it on.


As for the beans I used in this recipe can be omitted if you’re not a fan of kidney or black beans. It’s a very versatile dish, so put your own spin on it!


For a hearty meal that’s full of flavor and spice, you can’t go wrong with Mexican Taco Soup! As some may notice I snapped several pictures showing variations of toppings. 



1-2 lbs ground beef or ground turkey
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground or dried crushed oregano
2 Tbsp New Mexico or California chili powder
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp Cayenne pepper
1 medium sweet onion, chopped finely
1 green bell pepper, diced small
1 red bell pepper, diced small
1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 15 oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 15 oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 15 oz can whole white corn, drained and rinsed
1 15 oz can whole yellow corn, drained and rinsed
1 small can diced green chillies
1 15 oz can tomato purée



Brown ground beef in a large pan, or in my die-hard favorite, cast iron skillet, drain fat completely and add to slow cooker.


Remove ribs and seeds from bell peppers and cut into small to medium size dice, and add to slow cooker.


Open all cans of beans if using more than one type, rinse, drain then add to slow cooker.

Repeat last step with corn.


Add in remaining ingredients along with Mexican spices and seasoning, stir until combined.


Remember to taste and adjust seasoning to your desired taste and/or heat level.


You can add a little water if it starts getting too thick, let the soup cook on low for several hours.

Endless Toppings:

Crispy Tortilla Strips (prepare in advance)


12 – 20 corn tortillas, cut into thin strips.


Fried in small batches in vegetable oil. Drained and allow to dry on paper towels.


Queso Fresco cheese, crumbled
Shredded Mexican cheese
Avocados, sliced or cut into small chunks
Tomatoes, diced. ( If you can find some colorful Heirloom tomatoes to dice, they will add bright color to your soup.)
Green chillies, diced
1/2 head iceberg lettuce or cabbage, shredded
Mexican or regular sour cream
1 onion red or sweet, finely chopped
1 bunch cilantro rinsed & dried, then finely chopped
Lime wedges
Roasted Pumpkin seeds



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Kung Pao Chicken


This spicy stir-fry dish made with chicken, peanuts, vegetables, and chili peppers originated in the Sichuan Province of central-western China and includes Sichuan peppercorns. Although the dish is found throughout China, there are regional variations that are typically less spicy than the Sichuan serving.

Kung Pao chicken is also a staple of westernized Chinese cuisine, which in my post on Beef & Broccoli covered its origination. This is one of my favorite Chinese dishes, as I have a flare for spicy foods. But in trying to keep things on the healthier side, this is stir fried, rather than deep-fried reducing the overall fat content



2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, 7 to 8 ounces each
8 small dried red chili peppers
2 cloves garlic
2 green onions (spring onions, scallions)
4 Tbsp oil for stir-frying, or as needed
1 tsp Szechuan peppercorn, optional
1/2 cup peanuts or cashews
a few drops sesame oil, optional


2 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
1 tsp sesame oil
1 1/2 tsp cornstarch


2 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
1 Tbsp Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
2 tsp brown sugar



Cut the chicken into 1-inch cubes. Combine with the marinade ingredients, adding the cornstarch last. Marinate the chicken for 25 minutes.

I used broccoli and diced red bell pepper.

I used broccoli, sliced onion and diced red bell pepper.

While the chicken is marinating, prepare the sauce and vegetables: In a small bowl, combine the dark soy sauce, rice wine, and sugar. Set aside.


Cut the chilies in half so that they are about the same size as the chicken cubes. Remove the seeds. Peel and finely chop the garlic. Cut the green onion on the diagonal into thirds.


Heat the wok over medium-high to high heat. Add 2 tablespoons oil. When the oil is hot, add the chicken. Stir-fry until it turns white and is 80 percent cooked. Remove from the wok.


Add 2 tablespoons oil. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and stir-fry until aromatic (about 30 seconds). Add the chili peppers and the Szechuan peppercorn if using. Stir-fry briefly until they turn dark red.





Add the sauce to the wok. Bring to a boil. Add the chicken back into the pan. Stir in the peanuts and the green onion. Remove from the heat and stir in the sesame oil. Serve hot.




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Black Bean & Corn Salad

Some call this dish a salad while others call it salsa and serve with chips. So what is this? I’d say both as it depends on what you are planning to serve or the occasion. I serve this as a side dish as its versatile, very easy to make, this dish goes well with a steak, chicken, or with southwest mexican food. Either way its healthy, fast, inexpensive, and delicious. I prefer to use fresh corn, or left over corn that i have grilled. If you don’t have any fresh corn on hand and only have canned or frozen go ahead and use that, just rinse the corn to remove as much sodium as possible, and the same for canned black beans.



How to pick a “hot” jalapeño pepper?


There is no scientific method to picking out a “hot” chile pepper, for some the level of heat increases with age. so the older the pepper appears the hotter it will be. Or when you’re peppers start to turn red, then the heat is at its greatest. Another method is peppers that have fine white lines, similar to stretch marks are indicators that the pepper will have more developed heat. While most people do know at least this about various chili peppers, is the capsaicin, the chemical compound that gives chiles the top. The heat is concentrated in the seeds and ribs. The flesh of the chili that is closer to the seeds will be hotter than the flesh near the tip.


For myself personally, I got my tip from an episode of “Iron Chef America”. when you select your peppers, you want to look for peppers with a curl on the stem. If the stem is straight, the chili pepper is not hot. I’ve gone by this tip for many years and so far I have yet to pick a bad pepper that has no heat.




15 oz can yellow corn; drained and rinsed
15 oz can white corn; drained and rinsed
15 oz can black beans; drained and rinsed
1 red bell pepper; ribs and seeds removed and diced
1 yellow bell pepper; ribs and seeds removed and diced
2 medium jalapeño ; ribs and seeds removed and diced finely
2 Serrano chiles; ribs and seeds removed and diced finely
3 medium tomatoes; seeds removed and diced
3-4 green onions; sliced
1/2 small red onion; small diced
Zest of one lime
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 bunch of cilantro; chopped fine
Salt & Pepper to taste



Wash your vegetables, citrus, herbs and pap dry with paper towel.Chop up all your peppers and place in a large bowl


Chop and add your tomatoes, onions,corn and black beans.


Mix all ingredients well making sure vegetables and beans are well incorporated.


Add and mix, the lime juice and chopped cilantro, add salt and pepper to taste.


Chill before service for most flavor!  Serve as a salad, side dish or add to a salsa bar with lime-tortilla chips.


 Can be made in advance, just add cilantro before serving so you don’t end up with soggy, wilted cilantro




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Left-over Chicken Salad

Do you have leftover chicken that you don’t want to go to waste? This recipe you can use leftover chicken both white and dark meat or cook a couple of large breast and treat yourself to a delightful salad that can be served on a bed of crisp lettuce, or on a toasted french roll. This recipe is a tried and true favorite of mine, as I don’t care for using fruit such as diced apples or cranberries in my chicken salad. However if you’re a fan then throw in a 1/4 to 1/2 cup of your favorite fruit, or add chopped nuts, for another layer of flavor and texture.

If you prefer to add nuts make sure before you chop them, you toast them first. Yes, toast before you chop. Why toast walnuts, or any nuts for that matter? When you toast walnuts you enhance their sweet nutty flavor. This rule applies to all nuts. and it is very easy to do. there are two methods. you can dry toast them on a non stick skillet over a medium high heat for about 3-5 minutes. Or spread nuts on a parchment lined sheet tray, and place in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for about 5-7 minutes. Once you start to smell the sweet, nutty aroma they are done. Just don’t leave the kitchen, as all it takes is a few seconds to scotch leaving a burnt and bitter taste.

This is a dairy based salad so remember if you make this dish for a potluck or picnic that you keep the salad properly chilled.


2-3 pounds cooked chicken, shredded all bones, skin, fat removed.
2 small or 1 large carrot, grated.
3 celery stalks, diced small
1 celery hearts, chopped fine. (center of bunch of celery)
1 bunch green onion sliced thin
1/2 large red onion, diced small
1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts
1/2 – 3/4 cup mayonnaise
3 Tbsp Champagne Vinegar
Salt & Pepper to taste.


Using fresh cooked or leftover chicken, make sure to remove all skin, bones and any excess fat and then shred and put aside.





Grate carrots, chop celery and remaining vegetables.

If you use some of the celery hearts and leaves, your adding  additional celery flavor without adding "celery salt or celery seeds".

If you use some of the celery hearts and leaves, you’re adding extra celery flavor without adding “celery salt or celery seeds”.


Using a skillet over medium heat, toast walnuts for about 5-7 minutes before chopping.


spread nuts on a parchment lined sheet tray, and place in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for about 5-7 minutes.

spread nuts on a parchment lined sheet tray, and place in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for about 5-7 minutes.


Dry toast them on a non stick skillet over a medium high heat for about 3-5 minutes.

Dry toast them on a non stick skillet over a medium high heat for about 3-5 minutes.


Once all vegetables are chopped add chicken and using tongs mix all ingredients in a large bowl.

Add champagne vinegar and mix well. Add mayonnaise, again mix all ingredients, and add salt and pepper to taste.


Chill, serve and enjoy!


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