Sunday, December 25, 2011

EggNog to go!

Recipe to come! Off to the movies Merry Xmas!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Photos at GMA

This is a recent photo generously taken by
Blake D'Ambrosio, great all around guy and fantastic stage hand, and darn good photographer I might add... of Joe , me KP and Chris.
I am with Joe who was my go to guy at GMA who just retired, and will be sorely missed, and Chris the current and up and coming stage hand to the stars!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving xo

Photos, food, by Karen Pickus 2011
Courtesy Karen Pickus 2011

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Karen's Pumpkin Soup

 In Honor of Thanksgiving I wanted to share one of my favorite and frequently created soups.                                                  
This soup is made with fresh roasted sugar pumpkin, but you can easily substitute it with any other yellow winter squash such as butternut or to save time use canned pumpkin, 3-4 cans depending on
how thick you want the soup...add more stock if necessary.


1- 6 Lb. sugar pumpkin
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 yellow onion, med diced
2 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
2 shallots, sliced thinly
1 stalk celery, diced
6 fresh sage leaves, chopped
1 sprig thyme
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp. freshly ground nutmeg
1 tsp. salt
freshly ground white pepper
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
3 Tbs. maple syrup
¼ cup cream


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut the pumpkin I half, take out the seeds and place on a parchment lined sheet pan cut side down. Place the two halves in the oven. Bake for 1-1/2 hours until pumpkin is soft to the touch and gives a bit when pressed on the outside.
Remove from the oven and let cool.
Meanwhile, in a 6 quart pot sweat the onion, garlic, shallots and celery over medium low heat so that the vegetables soften but no color develops,8 minutes, add the herbs, spices salt and the white pepper. Continue cooking for about 20 minutes until vegetables are cooked through.
While the vegetables are softening, scoop the pumpkin out of the shell.
Add the pumpkin to the vegetables and stir.
Add the chicken broth and raise the heat to high, and bring quickly to a boil.
Lower the heat and simmer 30 minutes.
Remove the thyme sprig and carefully puree the soup in batches in a food processor.
Add the maple syrup and cream and simmer gently for 5 minutes.
Serve with the pumpkin seeds

Spicy Pumpkin seeds

These seeds are a terrific snack or great accompaniment to the pumpkin soup.
They are a good source of magnesium, and, zinc, important minerals and protein.


1 cup shelled pumpkin seeds
1 /2 Tbs. egg white
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp Fleur De sel or kosher salt
¼ tsp ground sage
¼ tsp. cayenne


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spread the pumpkin seeds on a sheet pan. With your hands, coat the seeds thoroughly with the egg white. In a small bowl combine the herb, spices and salt. Toss the combined spices on the coated seeds, making sure the seed are evenly coasted with the spice mixture. Place  in the hot oven.
Roast the seeds for 12 minutes until they are nutty brown and crispy. Remove from the oven and toss gently with a metal spatula.
Garnish the seeds for the pumpkin soup.

 Happy Thanksgiving... The Gorgeous Birthday flowers from my friend Anthony
Recipe, Photos and Writing by, Karen Pickus 2011
Courtesy Karen Pickus 2011

Monday, October 17, 2011

How to Roast Winter Squash

I love the fall. A great time to eat winter squash. Roasted is my favorite way to eat them. Butternut makes a great soup and is wonderful for pies too. Here I will share my best way to roast a winter squash be it butternut, delicatta, small sugar pumpkins or acorn, and/or any other thick skinned starchy yellow to orange squash you happen upon.


1 medium winter squash cut in half
4 Tbs maple syrup
freshly groundwhite pepper
freshly ground whole nutmeg
ground cinnamon


Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In an oven proof dish to fit the squash, place the squash cut side up.
Drizzle the maple syrup equally over both halves. Sprinkle the salt, freshly ground white pepper, the fresh nutmeg and the cinnamon evenly over the maple syrup.
Place the squash in the hot oven for 50 minutes to 1 hour until the squash is tender.
Serve with your favorite fall dinner.

Recipe, writing and photos by Karen Pickus 2011
Courtesy Karen Pickus 2011

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Great Snack!


I first wash the potatoes...russets or Idahos work well but you can get a sweeter taste by baking a red bliss or white boiling potato, they are great too! Set the temperature in your oven to 450 degrees. Bake a potato by cutting slits into the potatoes,  put them right on the oven rack and roast them for about an hour until they give when you press against the skin firmly with your finger.
Roast the garlic by cuting the top 3rd off of a bulb of garlic. Place the bulb of garlic in a small piece of aluminum foil. Place into the hot oven and roast for about an hour until the cloves are golden and have softened.
When they are ready. Place the potato on a plate, cut it open and (experience the tableside sauna) then season with coarse grain sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Separate 2-3 cloves and squeeze the garlic from the peels. Top with Dijon mustard and sour cream and you have a great mid afternoon snack ( I sometimes do this with a small boiling potato if I have them on hand) that will definately hold you for dinner or serve with dinner to accompany the entree and veg.
These are also great without the garlic, if you prefer.

Writing, recipe and photo, by Karen Pickus, 2011
Courtesy Karen Pickus, 2011

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Breakfast of Champions

This is an amazing breakfast! It holds you. Loaded with protien, complex carbos and fiber and omega 3's. No refined sugar, or carbs and very hearty.

1/2 cup organic rolled oats
1/2 cup organic quinoa
2 cups water
2 cups fresh blueberries (you can use any fresh fruit here).
2 Tbs. ground flax seeds
Sprinkle of cinnamon on each serving

Bring the water to a boil in a 2 quart pot.
Rinse the quinoa in a strainer. When the water comes to a boil add the oats and the quinoa to the pot.
Lower the heat to simmer and cover. Cook for 10 minutes until all of the water is nearly absorbed. Let the grains steap in the pot for another 10 minutes.
Place the berries in the bottom of 4 bowls. Divide the cereal into 4 portions over the berries. Top with the ground flax seeds and finish with the cinnamon.
Serves 4.

Tip: Dedicate a coffee grinder to flax seeds and grind a container full and keep in an airtight container in the freezer and use on your whole grains, yogurt, soups and smoothies.

Recipe, writing and Tips and photos, by Karen Pickus 2011
Courtesy Karen Pickus, 2011

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Quick and Easy Bakes

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Simple Refreshing Cabbage Slaw

This slaw is a delicious accompaniment to grilled or out door fare. Excellent with Asian accented ingredients, a refreshing summer slaw.

 For the dressing:

2 Tbs. brown rice vinegar or rice vinegar
1 Tbs. agave, or honey 
2 tsps. fresh minced ginger
1 Tbs. toasted sesame oil

I/2 head cabbage, sliced thin
2 stalks broccoli sliced thin and the stem schredded with a box grater
3 stalks bok choy sliced thin
pinch of salt to taste

2 Tbs. sesame seeds for garnish


Combine the dressing ingredients in a bowl. Toss in the prepared vegetables until completely coated with the dressing. Serve immediately or chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour before serving.

Recipe, photos and writing by Karen Pickus 2011
Courtesy Karen Pickus 2011

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Entree Soup, money saving and nutritious

This soup has been a staple for dinner in our house for sometime. It is so quick and easy to make, so nutritious and very satisfying to eat. The varied textures and tantalizing flavors make it so. It is a take-off from an Asian style soup basically, and we love it. I vary the vegetables a bit depending on whats on hand and you can too! Make sure the vegetables do not overcook.


4 oz. beef sliced  very thin, either flank steak or tenderloin

3-4 TBS. Soy sauce
1Tbs. toasted sesame oil
2 carrots, sliced thin on the bias
3-4 inch piece of dikon Radish sliced thin on the bias
2 oz fresh Shitaki mushrooms
4 cups water
1 inch piece of fresh ginger peeled and grated or minced

3 cloves of garlic grated or minced

2 broccoli stems, sliced thin and florets (2 cups total)
2 scallion
1 cup baby spinach leaves

In a small bowl combine the beef with 2 TBS. of the soy sauce and toasted sesame oil. Then prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Place the marinated meat, the carrots, the dikon, and the mushrooms in a soup pot or Dutch oven.

 Add the water and remaining soy sauce, ginger and garlic. Over high heat bring to a boil and cook for 2-3 minutes until meat is cooked through. Add the remaining ingredients and cook for 1 minute. Vegetables should be emerald green, crisp and hot. Serve immediately.

Recipe, writing and photos by Karen Pickus 2011
Courtesy Karen Pickus 2011

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Some of my favorite things this time of year

Photos and Writing by Karen Pickus 2011
Courtesy Karen Pickus 2011

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

New England Boiled Dinner

This hits the spot even in summer, on a cool day in New England. It's hard to believe we might get a respite given the heat spell throughout the country this week. So when the heat subsides this might be a welcome change to salads and seafood. The rich beefy broth and tender meat enriched with carrots and potatoes are a robust meal all year round.

1 Lb. brisket
2 shallots sliced thin
2 yellow onions cut into rings
4 cloves garlic sliced thin
4 ribs of celery cut in thirds
1 bay leaf
4 sprigs fresh thyme

2 cups good quality beef broth

6 carrots sliced in half then cut in half lengthwise
6 small red potatoes quartered

1 cup broccoli florets

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
In a 3 quart pot, season the brisket with salt and pepper add the shallots, onions, garlic and celery, the bay leaf and thyme. Pour in the broth and bring to a boil.

 When the brisket comes to a boil add the carrot and potatoes. Cover the pot and place it into the preheated oven. Cook for 1-1 1/2 hours until the meat is tender. Add the broccoli, stir and serve. Serves 3-4.

Recipe, writing and photos by Karen Pickus 2011
Courtesy Karen Pickus 2011

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Breakfast Omelet Open Faced Sandwich... under 300 calories

Here I go again...on my quest for low cal high nutrition, high flavor natural food.
This was an omelet I made for my husband one hungry morning this week when we got fresh eggs from the farm around the road.


2 slices of the bread I told you about  Alvarado flax bread 50 calories a slice, toasted
1 cup washed baby spinach leaves
2 oz. Soy Kass, Monterrey Jack, sliced
2 large egg whites


Spray a cast iron skillet with olive oil cooking spray. Place the skillet over medium low heat.
Separate the eggs letting the egg whites fall directly into the pan, don't stir. Spread the spinach leaves over the whites. Put the cheese to one side on top of the spinach.

 Cover the pan for 2 minutes, lower heat to low. Remove cover to check for melted cheese. Flip the "uncheese" side over the cheese.

 Serve with the toast or cut the omelet in half and serve each half on each slice of toast.

Recipes, photos, and writing by Karen Pickus 2011
Courtesy Karen Pickus 2011

Friday, July 22, 2011

Refreshing Lunch Salad

This is an entree salad for one or share the salad for two and serve with a shared sandwich.

1/4 cup imported feta crumbled
2 radishes sliced thin
1 plum tomato cut into12 pieces
2 scallion sliced thin
2 ribs celery sliced
2 sprigs of mint leaves only, torn
a pinch of salt
juice of 1/2 lemon
a few grinds of black pepper
a splash of olive oil


Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl, toss and serve.

Recipe,writing and photos by Karen Pickus 2011
Courtesy Karen Pickus 2011

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The woods off the porch

Gotta love summer.. especially when it is so near. Love the blue sky and clouds and trees...makes me feel grateful to my maker.

Writing and photos by Karen Pickus 2011
Courtesy, Karen Pickus 2011

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Dig them potatoes

I love roasted potatoes. I often make delicious ones with herbs and olive oil. These are particularly good with any south of the boarder fare. I recently served these potatoes with a braised, shredded, venison tortilla that I will blog about soon. Here is my recipe, hope you all enjoy it.

2 Lbs. small red new potatoes, quartered
1 tsp. each ground cumin and smoked paprika
1 1/2 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1 medium onion diced

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
In a half sheet pan toss all of the ingredients together until the potatoes are coated evenly.
Pop the pan into the hot oven. After 10 minutes and or when the potatoes begin to brown, toss the potatoes, using a thin metal spatula to carefully lift the potatoes in order to brown on the other sides. If you find the potatoes are sticking to the pan, let them cook a bit longer before tossing. Roast until the potatoes are crispy on the cut sides and the insides are softened. Cook a total of 20 to 25 minutes.

Recipe, writing and photos by Karen Pickus 2011
Courtesy Karen Pickus 2011

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Banana Cake

Banana Cake is fantastic. Especially when you have bananas that are a bit over ripe.
When eating bananas I prefer bright yellow with no spots. A bit starchy and sweet. But for cake I like them with some spots. When bananas begin to get into the cake territory, I often put them in the freezer and use them at my leisure for smoothies, even frozen banana "ice cream" that's what I call eating a banana plain right from the freezer; a low calorie dessert. When you have 5 you can make this cake. Either collect them from your freezer or take the spotted ones from the counter. Both ways you are off to a great start to a fantastic treat. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream and you just hit the dessert jack pot!


5 over ripe bananas
1-1/2 cups dark brown sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
4 eggs

1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsps. baking powder
2-1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 cup buttermilk
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (optional)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Butter an 8 or 9" square baking pan and dust with flour.
In the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, add the peeled bananas and the sugar. Mix together at medium speed until the bananas have broken up and are somewhat mashed. Add the butter and cream together until the mixture is mixed well. Add the eggs one at a time until incorporated. Add the salt and baking powder and continue mixing. Add the flour and mix until just combined. Pour in the buttermilk while the machine is on low. Scrape down the sides. Mix until smooth. Fold in the walnuts if desired. Place batter in the prepared
pan and bake in the center of the oven for 50 minutes to 1 hour. Let cool for 45 minutes before serving
 with vanilla ice cream. It's great warm with the ice cream or cool completely.

Recipe, photos and writing by Karen Pickus 2011
Courtesy Karen Pickus 2011

Monday, July 18, 2011

Mint Lemonade, Homemade

This is easy and delicious. Everyone will love you for making this. Hot summer, so refreshing.
Refrigerate overnight and it is fantastic! The mint gets army green by then so I recommend you scoop it out and replace it with some fresh sprigs. Only if you have any lemonade left.


Juice of 5 lemons (1 cup freshly squeezed)

1 lemon sliced thin
1 cup sugar
1 bunch mint sprigs
3 quarts water


Juice the lemons, slice the lemon and put these ingredients into a large jar or pitcher. Add the sugar and the mint and stir it all together to release the flavors. Stir in the water. Chill and serve or put ice cubes in the glasses.

Writing, recipe and photo by Karen Pickus 2011
Courtesy Karen Pickus 2011

Finished Slaw

Finished Slaw
Ready to eat!