Marco Rice and Beans

Time to check in and see how the Challenge went for you!?

I am proud at myself how much space I made in my pantry this last week and also how much money I saved in the grocery store. I have to admit that it somehow makes me a bit uneasy to have such an empty pantry – like I would expect whatever apocalypse coming upon us at any minute – but I think that may be a very natural feeling to have when you are in charge of cooking food in your family – sometimes as often as 2 times a day..

I think that next grocery store run means to stock back up but on grains and beans and pasta which makes it easier to whip up a meal last minute when you decide to do so.. – but that said, at least I managed a shift on the expiry date front and can now start with fresh resources and make smarter choices…

Big lessons learned:  Do a pantry challenge at least every 6 month! Stop buying hummus and start using the 4 jars of Tahini! and last but not least..: dried beans are not for me  (although cheaper) – I prefer canned!

And here we go with my weeks favorite recipe that I have learned from a roommate we had back in London. His name was Marco and he was from Puerto Rico. He cooked this dish at least once a week and ate the leftovers for 2 to 3 days! Thanks for sharing Marco!!

This Rice and Bean dish tastes so authentic that it almost feels like a little vacation in the Caribbean! It is also a great alternative to the mexican chili and a good addition to every potluck! Double the recipe to have leftovers – it’s worth it!!

Marcos Rice and Beans

serves: 6 – prep time: 5 min – cooking time: 35 min

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4 cans of Kidney Beans – or mix 2 kidney with 2 black beans or pinto beans – the recipe calls for the cans with the juice although I prefer to rinse my beans and add 2 cups of water instead

1 big onion

1 green pepper

1 big bunch of cilantro

1 Tbsp dried oregano


4 cloves of garlic

5 rashers of bacon

1 tube of tomato paste (equals 5 oz or 140g)

*1/2 butternut squash – cut in cubes and steam or bake until soft then mash with a fork or potato masher

*2 cups of rice – wash and rinse – add a dash of olive oil and salt and cook slow and covered until the water is absorbed

First: set up the rice and the squash to cook

then start the bean dish by cutting the rashers of bacon and fry them in a deep large pot (5 min)

meanwhile cut the onion, pepper, garlic and cilantro – just roughly chop them as they go in a food processor or blender anyway – blend with salt/pepper and the Oregano until smooth

add the mix to the bacon and fry for another 5 minutes

add the tomato paste and fry for another 5 minutes

add the canned beans with the juice or add the rinsed beans and add 2 cups of water

cover and cook for about 20 minutes on medium-low heat – stir from time to time so the beans don’t get stuck to the bottom

add the mashed squash and let sit for 10 minutes to thicken

serve with your rice of choice and sprinkle with cilantro

Buen provecho!

*in front of an ingredient means, that I added the recipe next to where I listed the ingredient..


clean out the pantry challenge

It’s January and we all have taken a small step into the year of 2017.. We have achieved, played, lost and started again.. doesn’t need a whole year to get there – we all have our hopes and dreams for this year and maybe even created our own little challenges..

The no smoking challenge, less booze challenge, no junk food challenge, spend less money challenge… I have thought about it all… maybe not the no smoking one as I don’t smoke but I think I covered basically everything else. Then I realized what my personal achilles heel is and what I would like to change, so I am about to start the pantry Challenge.

This may sound familiar to you: going to the grocery store, buying your fruit and veggies, meats and then it comes to the aisles where I always overbuy… International food, grains, beans, snacks, nuts,… – my shopping list turns into my mothers voice telling me to keep focusing while my eyes wander the aisles in search for interesting products. But I can easily convince myself – every time – to buy a few more cans of beans (because they are healthy and we should eat more of them), more cans of crushed tomatoes, the new rice and grain mix, veggie pasta, more dried mushrooms… and there we are.. back in my kitchen I am trying to cram in the 14th can of pinto beans, the 7th packet of ancient grain and rice mix, some more kennel corn, spice blends and and and…

We recently moved out of our house which meant to clean out the whole kitchen, freezer and pantry and gosh I tell you – I had a lot of expired cans and other products that went straight into the trashcan!

How sad! So I have set myself the one week


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and these are the rules:

I am only allowed to buy fresh fruit and veggies and 2 different kinds of meat as well as one choice of fish and everything else has to come from my kitchen cabinets!

You think it sounds doable?  Then pick up the challenge and clean out your food overload! Don’t forget to post your own fun and crazy recipes in the comments below! I would be curious how and what you are concocting in your kitchen!

Ready – set – GO!!

Dukkah Salmon with Eggplant and Kale

I discovered this recipe last weekend when I cleaned out the fridge and was due to make lunch.. I found some kale – the kale was still nice and green but a few leaves were a bit withered – so it needed to be used, also a salmon fillet was to be consumed and an eggplant that was in the fridge for a while…

I also went through my spice drawer to find a perfect blend or spice to use with the fish and I found a mix that I recently bought and wanted to try – DUKKAH:

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it smells amazing when you open it (almost like a free trip to southern Africa with your eyes closed..) and it suggests to dip bread in olive oil and then in the Dukkah mix.

This spice blend originated in Egypt and was the bread seasoning after baking.. The main ingredients are herbs, nuts and spices. This is the very affordable Trader Joe’s version, but it is usually found in bigger grocery stores with a well sorted international section.


Dukkah Salmon with Eggplant and Kale

feeds: 4 – prep time: 5 min – cook time: 20 min

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1 pound fresh salmon fillet

1 Eggplant

1 bunch of curly kale (remove stem and cut roughly)

Dukkah spice mix



1 clove of garlic (minced)

olive oil or your preferred high heat oil (avocado, sunflower, canola, peanut, coconut…)

heat up your oven to 400F

find a skillet that can be transferred to the oven and heat up the olive oil – I use a cast iron but a stainless steel is fine too – !!this is a stove to oven recipe so please do not use a non stick pan or any pan with plastic handles!!

Cut the eggplant in chunky squares and fry it with the garlic in your skillet – 1 minute

Push it to the side and add the salmon with the skin down to your pan – put 2 tbsp of Dukkah on top of the salmon (or as much as you need to lightly cover the salmon with it) press it down a bit and spray with oil

add the kale all around and push it around the eggplants – salt the veggies (go easy on the salmon as depending on which Dukkah you bought it may already have salt in it)

transfer to the oven and bake for 17-20 minutes until the kale started browning on the edges and the salmon is cook through

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enjoy with some Couscous, Rice or Quinoa

Anytime Muffin Quiche

My wonderful new magic bullet is buzzing along ever since it’s made it’s way into my kitchen – making healthy shakes, pestos and cocktails..

While searching for lunch box ideas for my daughter I found this wonderful and quick recipe – eggs, cheese, ham, veggies… it has it all! I had to try it out and adjusted a few ingredients to my and my childrens liking but still easy cheesy!

These are also perfect for brunch or breakfast or simply bring them to the next potluck. Consider them as snacks and appetizers – just get creative with the veggies to put in and it’s a fingerfood that everybody will love!

My friend recommended these Silicone Muffin Liners to me and I use and love them ever since! Colorful fun in the Lunchbox and zero waste!

Anytime Muffin Quiche

makes: 6, prep time: 5 min, cook time: 20 min

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I made 2 different batches of 6 muffins each – each had other veggie or meat ingredients

3 eggs

1/2 cup of milk (dairy or non dairy)

1/2 cup of broccoli

2 slices of ham



1/2 cup of cheese (i use cheddar)

Alternate mix-ins: chicken, Spinach, smoked salmon, herbs, peppers, mushrooms, Chorizo, Salami, cauliflower or add cooked grains like quinoa and rice,..

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees

Combine all ingredients except the cheese in a blender/magic bullet and pulse together a few times (really just a few times so you don’t loose the consistency of your food!)

Distribute the muffin liners in your muffin baking tray and spray them lightly with oil

Pour the mixture into the forms and sprinkle the cheese on top

Bake for 20 minutes – let cool

I freeze half a batch to have them handy for my kids lunchbox – simply unfreeze the night before and they are ready to go!

It is nothing bundt delicious! Marmorgugelhupf – Marble bundt cake

I hope y’all had a very festive and wonderful holiday season! We had a very busy one this year – not only we wanted to spend Christmas still in our own home also we wanted to move out a few days later to get our renovations starting.. All of that meant we had Christmas – boom – then we had to pack all the boxes – boom – packed even more boxes – boom – emptied the house from all furniture – boom – and all of that with the kids out of school – Phuuh – not an easy job I tell ya!

I guess you can recall why my pots and pans had a break too – but now in a new year and in my new temporary beach habitat – also to mention a kitchen twice the size – I am picking up where I have left you last year and welcome back for the first post in 2017!

I guess everybody is done by now with eating their sugar cookies and flushing them down with some egg nogg. So it’s about time to concentrate on a less sweet dessert, but just as delicious – in my household also eaten for breakfast…


Marmorgugelhupf – Marble bundt cake

feeds: 12  – prep time: 20 min – cook time: 50 min

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200g/ 7oz butter (soft from outside)

100g/ 3.5oz powder sugar

100g/ 3.5oz sugar

4 egg yolk

4 egg whites

230g/ 8.1oz flour (I use 100g/3.5oz whole wheat and 130g/4.6oz white)

4 Tbsp coco powder (Nesquick or unsweet kind)

1 pkg vanilla sugar (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)

1 pinch of salt

butter and flour for the pan

Preheat your oven to 180C/ 350F

Use the butter paper where you have unwrapped the butter to butter the pan and then dust it with flour

Beat the egg whites with the sugar until they stiffen – set aside (if you do it this way around you don’t have to clean your beaters)

Now beat the butter (room temperature) with the icing sugar, the Vanilla sugar or extract and salt until fluffy – add egg yolks one by one – add the beaten egg whites – beat on minimum setting – add flour – beat on minimum setting until well mixed

put half of the batter into the cake tin

add cocoa to the rest of the batter and mix well – add it to the form and then swirl it with a thin tool like a kebap stick to get a nice marble finish

put on the middle rack for 50 minutes – then let cool and serve with some extra powder sugar

Tip: My daughters love this cake as a breakfast cake with some jam or apple cinnamon butter!