Foodie Friday: Italian Sausage & Tortellini “Stoup”

Even though we’re based in Florida,  I am obsessed with making heavy, comforting, savory meals. Though it is technically a soup, the sausage, cabbage and tortellini makes it heavy enough to ALMOST feel like a stew. Perhaps it’s the start of the new school year and my inner child is yearning for the cooler temperatures (not really…well, maybe a wee bit) but I always start to make this dish in September.

I experimented a lot with this dish because typically I’m not a fan of cabbage but when I omitted it, it lost much of it’s depth. I use sweet Italian sausages because 2 out of three children do not like anything spicy so if you like some heat, bring on the spicy sausage! When I went shopping, I normally look for a very small head of cabbage because I’ll use 1/2 to 3/4 and eliminate the rest. I hate wasting food, but again, I hate cabbage. When I went to the store the other day they only had freakishly large heads…like, 3 1/2 pounds! I couldn’t justify wasting so much food. So I went to the bagged salad area and got a bag of slaw which was the perfect amount. Not gonna lie, I didn’t like the consistency. I want my cabbage to be more coarsely chopped, less fine. It tasted fine. Just wasn’t the same.

Lastly, this goes great with some crusty bread and if you want, some Italian style croutons and/or Parmesan is GREAT on top of it.

This fed a family of 5 with some leftovers.

olive oil


2 box cartons of Beef broth



3 spoonfuls of tomato paste


1 onion diced


2 cloves garlic chopped


1 very small head of cabbage or half of medium. chopped


1 package of Italian sausage


1 bag of frozen cheese tortellini


Salt to taste

croutons, Parmesan and crusty bread (optional)

Brown the sausages in a frying pan with a splash of olive oil on medium heat. Take your time browning all sides so that it partially cooks inside. Take of the pan and reserve to the side.

Next add a splash more olive oil (if needed) and brown your onions and garlic. While this is happening, start cutting your sausages into bite size disks. Add to the pan.

Next empty both cartons of broth and 3 spoonfuls of tomato paste into a large pot. Bring to a light boil. Add cabbage and onion/garlic/sausage mixture. Reduce heat to medium high. Cook for 5 minutes. Add frozen tortellini and turn off heat. Let it sit for 10 minutes.

I find that when I cook the tortellini over heat on this dish, it gets mushy quickly and I want it to be firm.

Season to taste.


Foodie Friday: Simple 4 Ingredient Broccoli Aioli Pasta

There was a point in my life that I was a dedicated vegan. It lasted a good four years and I was probably the healthiest I ever was but I was in a part time job and was able to commit the time to making fresh, tasty, nutrient dense foods.
As I fell into the fast paced world of full time jobs, school aged kids and messy houses, my commitment waned and I had resorted to quick meals.

This particular recipe had survived the “change of life” due to its simplicity, flavor and my children’s desire to eat it. By cooking the broccoli with the pasta the flavors all get infused, the shell pasta becomes little cup holders of deliciousness and the broccoli medallions gives an added texture that is surprisingly delightful.


Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes

1 bunch of broccoli
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 small to median cloves of garlic
Shell pasta or Barilla Collezione shell pasta.
Salt to taste


Start a large pot of water to boil.
Cut of the heads off the broccoli and peel the tough outer skin of the stems (with either a peeler or a knife) cut the stems to create disks/medallions and throw in the pot.
Next, chop the broccoli heads into small bite size pieces and throw in pot with the stems.
When the water begins to boil and the broccoli has taken on a slightly brighter hue, add the pasta in to the pot as well, stirring occasionally to ensure nothing sticks.
Follow manufacturers directions for time cooked (personally, I like al dente)
While its cooking, take two to three garlic cloves, peel off outer layer and smash with the flat of your chopping knife the chop into tiny pieces.
As pasta finishes cooking, get a large measuring cup and reserve about one cup of the water that the pasta/broccoli mixture cooked in. Set aside. Then drain pasta and return to pot.
Heat olive oil in pan and add garlic. When the garlic just starts to really sizzle, turn off heat. Cooking too long can create a slightly bitter taste.
Pour over pasta and add the reserved cup of water. Season with salt and Stir well.
Serve with some shredded Parmesan.

Tell us what you think!

Foodie Friday – Hawkers Asian Street Fair in Orlando, FL

1103 North Mills Avenue

Orlando, FL 32803

Hawker’s chefs select the best authentic street food recipes fro macross Asia to the table for you to experience.

Two Chrysanthemum Tea is great for the immune system.

Crispy Roast Pork “Siu Yoke” Seasoned tender pork belly, roasted to a crisp and served with a hoisin dipping sauce. This is like bacon on crack. It was hot and juicy and sinful. Total food porn moment. I will do 20 crunches when I get home as punishment.

Curry Duck Noodles A Southeast Asian favorite. Egg noodles, vegetables and roadt duck stir-fried in Hawker’s own curry recipe. The curry sauce is perfect. So perfect. I don’t know what else to say.

Foodie Friday – Oasis Mediterranean Deli & Grill in Cocoa, Florida 

Oasis is right on US1 in Cocoa near the Village.

513 South Cocoa Blvd. 321-433-9991

Salam & Ziad Abudallo are the owners.

I got the falafel pita wrap and he asked me the golden question that wins my heart every time: Do you want that spicy? Of course! It was delicious! I love that you can also purchase some grocery items that you cannot always find at your regular grocery store. I brought it in for the salon staff to try and they are now hooked. The falafel is a great option for vegetarians but they also have lamb and chicken if you don’t want to go meatless. 


I brought the other half of my meal to the salon for everyone to try and they were incredibly impressed.

Pub Americana 

Pub Americana is a new establishment located in Cocoa Village where Ryan’s Pizza was previously located. It has a large menu with delicious selections and a very relaxing atmosphere and welcoming staff. I loved their goat cheese burger. The drinks were classic with a modern spin. I am very excited to have another place to visit here in the village. 
Village Mule: Menage a Trios Vodka, Royal Jamacian Ginger Beer, fresh lime juice and fresh mint. 
Margherita Pizzette: Fresh Mozzarella, fresh tomatoes, basil and garlic cream sauce.

Goat Cheese Burgers: Goat cheese, caramelized onions, provolone and lemon honey aoli. 

Mediterranean Dip: Spinach, artichoke, parmigiano, tomatoes and spice.  


Bahn Mi: Homemade pulled pork, pickled daikon, pickled carrots, jalapeños, cilantro and sriracha-honey aoili. 

Aegean Pizzetta: Kalamata olives, artichokes, fresh arugula, goat cheese, tomatoes and homemade white sauce.

Arturo Alici the chef who created the menu. 

Napoliana Floridiana: Crabmeat tossed in home early romulade, layered with avocado and mano on a crustino.

Foodie Friday – Orlando Food Trucks

Tasty Tuesdays  in Orlando’s Milk District was hot and muggy but the cold beers helped cool us down as we tried something from every truck! I was in heaven. They were crossing items off their menu as the night went on. I love the food truck culture and the blood, sweat and tears that goes into it. Please head to the Milk District on a Tuesday to support their food truck’s dreams. 
















Foodie Friday-Dinner with Friends 

 I love having dinner parties and cooking for friends. Usually, Sundays are my designated casual dinner party day. I made my Caribbean-ish dinner because it is something different and feeds a crowd. I have a very rogue and go with the flow cooking style. A little bit of this, a little bit of that!  


I lightly coated a large casserole dish with coconut oil and then placed chicken breasts in the dish. I drizzled a little bit of teriyaki over the chicken and applied a healthy amount of curry powder and jerk seasoning. After straining a can of crushed pineapple, I topped the chicken off with it and brown sugar. I baked it at 350 until the chicken was cooked all the way through and then broiled the last few minutes to give the pineapple a caramelized finish. Top it off with fresh cilantro and scallions and enjoy. 

I had more people show up than expected and having a fear of not having enough for everyone, I opened my pantry for an episode of Chopped to whip up another side dish. I mixed hominy, corn, garlic seasoning, paprika, hot sauce, cream of chicken and topped with cheddar and baked it! 


I always serve this dish with jasmine rice and black beans. I topped it with raw onions and mixed balsamic with lime and a hint of soy sauce and garlic seasoning to drizzle over the beans and rice. Definitely a hit and fairly easy and inexpensive to make. 

Wanderlust Wednesday – Hanson’s Shoe Repair

Hanson’s Shoe Repair is the latest craze for a hand crafted cocktail. It is a small and hidden prohibition style bar that requires proper attire and a password to get in. Located in downtown Orlando, you will pass through an artsy bar to find a door upstairs.  You cannot come in and order a rum and coke or a vodka and Redbull. Instead, you are going to try something new and special that fits the speakeasy vibe. The lights are dim and the atmosphere feels like you stepped into a time capsule or are in NYC for the evening. 

For thirteen years, the sale and manufacturing of alcohol was prohibited starting in 1919. During this time, people got very creative in finding ways around this new law, thus inspiring  the “Speakeasy.”  


I tried the Au Revoir Ete which is made with St. Augustine Gin, Salers Aperitif, orchard peach, lemon, honey, and rosemary. Very strong and uniquely flavored. It was perfect. 


27 E. Pine Street in Orlando, Florida

Call 407-476-9446 to get the password! 

If you love bourbon as much as I do, try Through The Looking Glass. 

Foodie Friday-Crush Eleven In Cocoa Village


*Photo by Misti Blu


*Photo by Misti Blu

Crush Elevenin Cocoa Village, is the sister restaurant of The Fat Snook in Cocoa Beach. This rustic restaurant offers a very urban and modern vibe with fresh, local food and creative handcrafted cocktails. Nathan is our favorite bartender, who takes his passion home with him and is constantly crafting new spirits. They have taken bartending to a whole new level by creating artisan cocktails with a mix of prohibition and farmers market flare. My favorite was the Scotch with the chamomile tea ice ball.


*Photo by Misti Blu

Next, we tried a fresh cucumber and aloe martini that was surprisingly delicious. It was fresh and crisp and went down very smooth. There were so many jars with fresh herbs and  fruit for their many mixology needs.


*Photo by Misti Blu


*Photo by 360 Enable

We had an amazing platter featuring their Smoked Pork Terrine with a deconstructed pickle slaw and cheddar drop biscuit. The Fried Marcona Almonds are warm and coated in rosemary and sea salt. The platter also featured the Kale Chips with a sambal aoili. I love the fact that I can come here and switch up the normal burger and pizza routine with foodie options. If you have not been yet, they also have an amazing brunch! You can get banana pancakes with maple bacon brittle ice cream and salted caramel with a Patron XO Latte with a candied orange zest. Foodgasms!

*Photo by 360 Enable

*Photo by 360 Enable

Wanderlust Wednesday: The Hunt For Local Organic Farm Fresh Goods


Cocoa Green Market and 12 Palms Farm
4880 Coconut Avenue,
Cocoa, FL 32926
Tuesday 12-3
Friday 10-5
Saturday 10-2

I am enamored with living a simple way of life.
Fresh fruit and veggies from the farm…
Milk from happy cows…
Eggs that are produced by healthy hens that rule the roost…Clean Wholesome Simplicity.

Full Disclosure: I am typing this on my iPhone while scarfing down a brown sugar PopTart and a Diet Coke.

This is my lifelong inner turmoil. An acute, bone-deep longing for a sane way of living and the lure of Pop Tarts. Add in the fact that in an urban setting it’s unusual to find a place that offers these “luxuries”.

Yes! Natural wholesome food and goods are officially a luxury! Crazy, right?


About 2 months ago, I stumbled across a video of a Cocoa, Florida farmer lovingly feeding homemade sourdough bread to her rooster, Elvis. I watched this beautiful bird peck the morsel from her hand, take a few steps away, and leave his bounty on the ground for his “lady” hen.
Charming and endearingly sweet… especially after viewing the atrocities on the documentary,Food Inc., with my boys a few days before. I was determined to go there even though their business hours typically coincided with mine.


What I expected was a farm that had a table set up with some vegetables. What I discovered was a bevy of creative people living the dream.
Well…MY dream anyway.




The property is sectioned off with different pens for goats, pigs, ducks, a horse and a llama. The hens, however, were not confined. Everywhere you went little hens roamed the property, undisturbed by the comings and goings of visitors.



Uncertain which building to enter, we followed a brood of hens (we are pretty sure they were escorting us) towards a lovely archway. We were delightfully surprised by a garden bordered with upended wine bottles and adorned with polka dotted boots and brightly painted chair frames.

image  image

Repurposed Pop Art ….in the middle of a farm.

The little vegetable stand that I expected, gave way to an outdoor room with refrigerators smartly painted with chalkboard paint filled with quality farm fresh meats, woven baskets filled with brightly colored produce and a hen who made herself comfortable in a basket in the corner.



When I stepped inside their air conditioned retail space I was warmly greeted by the owner, Judith McKenna. When asked, she spoke of the farm and the participants of the cooperative with both pride and affection. She was keen to point out that they were not a farmers market. This was a group of small farms and businesses that have a shared vision of healthy living, humane practices and of being good stewards of the enviroment. This is evident by their approval from The Animal Welfare Institute.
“Animal Welfare Approved has the most rigorous standards for farm animal welfare currently in use by any United States organization. Its
standards were developed in collaboration with scientists, veterinarians, researchers, and farmers across the globe to maximize practicable, high-welfare farm management. Animal Welfare Approved’s standards incorporate best practices and recent research and have been adopted only after rigorous review.” (see full statement about accreditation on their webpage)

Have I mentioned the happy animals?


My boys begged for some of their homemade ice cream, which they devoured while I perused their wide variety of crafts and goods. I want to give proper credit and description of all the products but there was so much I will surely forget someone. Freshly baked goods, hand sewn bags cleverly made from recycled materials, beautiful soaps and lotions, loose tea in glass jars…It makes a girl think its REALLY possible to live this way. It’s so accessible!



Wendy, one of the artisans that make the clever bags, was kind enough to take my boys outside and introduce them to Tony the llama while I made my purchases. Most items were comparable to regular supermarket prices. Some items I was pleasantly surprised by how inexpensive.


A carton of eggs, unpasteurized milk, homemade yogurt in a mason jar, local wildflower honey and a promise to return weekly.

If you haven’t yet, subscribe to their facebook page to see some great videos and pictures and go visit!