Tag Archives: Valentine’s

If I had a Valentine… what would I cook for him?

15 Feb

I love going out to dinner to a nice, fancy restaurant as much as the next girl… especially, if someone special is inviting.  But experience has taught me that on Valentine’s Day or around that date, it’s the WORST TIME to go out to dinner.  There may be some exceptions, of course…  but usually during this time, restaurants are extremely crowded, putting extra pressure on all the staff.

To me,  it’s more romantic to plan something special at home.  Make something you know you’re extremely good at and that you know your partner will love – for the awesome flavors, but also for the effort and care you put into it. Besides, when you have dinner at home… dress code is optional. 😉

Unfortunately, this year, I am spending Valentine’s weekend with a nice construction crew who’s remodeling my tiny, little kitchen into a very chic and modern tiny, little kitchen. And to top it all…  no romantic Valentine for me this year.

But… let’s play pretend.  If I had a romantic Valentine to invite over for dinner, what would I cook for him to let him know how much I care?

This is my menu…

Vegetarian Valentine 2015

Start with a Spinach, Arugula, Figs and Blue Cheese salad with a Balsamic Vinaigrette

Main course would be the exquisite Baked Pasta with 4 Cheeses,  that usually floors anyone who has it for the first time.

On the side, and because we’re in Puerto Rico, I need to have sweet plantains with vanilla and cinnamon.

And for dessert, I would make a batch of Carob Syrup to dip some strawberries in…  I would even add a pinch of cayenne to keep things interesting.


Do you like my menu??  What are your go-to dishes if you want to show someone you care?

Romantic Mains to Impress

10 Feb

Even though I am not currently dating someone special… I still like to cook something nice, even if it’s just for myself.

After all, Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate LOVE and there are many ways to express and celebrate love – love towards your parents, love towards your kids, love towards your siblings, love towards your pets, love towards your partner, love towards your neighbors, your family in general, your co-workers, your friends and most of all, LOVE TOWARDS YOURSELF.  Because, if you don’t love yourself, how do you expect others to love you too???

Here are a few ideas I have cooked in the past to impress a few loved ones…  hope you choose to make one to impress YOURSELF!!!

Cheese, Spinach and Mushroom Manicotti

My Plate

Roasted Stuffed Tomatoes over Pasta

Roasted Stuffed Tomatoes - 3 tom

Spinach-Stuffed Mushrooms

My Maggiano's Mushrooms

Eggplant and Goat Cheese Bake


Asparagus Tart

ASparagus Tart - Before 2 KFC

Korean Seasoned Tofu

Sesame Sauce

Chame’s Spinach Salad with Figs and Blue Cheese

Chame's Salad

Poached Pears with Blue Cheese and Almond Praline


Recap of our 2nd KarmaFree Cooking Class – Love Yourself First

7 Feb

Last week we had our 2nd KarmaFree Cooking class and our theme was Loving ourselves first thru our Food. Sometimes, we only cook nice things when we’re cooking for others. But why not cook something nice even if it’s just us in the house??

Clase Cocina KFC - Feb 2014 2

The recipes we shared are old and new KarmaFree Cooking recipes that work well made just for one person, for two or for a crowd. These are simple, quick and delicious recipes that work well to make just for you on a solo movie night at home and just the same are not much more effort making for a large dinner party.




Here was our class menu:

Pasta with Marinated Tomatoes over Brown Rice Pasta

 Pasta with Marinated Tomatoes - KFC2

Quinoa Pasta with Fresh Baby Spinach and Lemon Vinaigrette

 Pasta with Spinach KFC2

Spinach Salad with Macerated Strawberries


Baked Sweet Plantains with Cinnamon and Vanilla

 Platanos maduros - KFC2

Poached Pears with Blue Cheese and Almond Praline

 Poached Pears - KFC2

Even though these were all recipes we had shared in the blog before, it’s never the same reading and making them on your own as seeing how I make them, after I have made them over and over and over again. Your words… not mine.

Plato Completo - KFC2

The class is not only about sharing recipes and techniques. We also talked about alternative pastas… we talked about my favorite olive oils and vinegars. We also talked about microplanes and rasps to grate lemon zest and how I do not like to rinse pasta after I drain it. We also shared how the same ingredients for the Marinated Tomates can be used in a bruschetta as an appetizer or skewered to make for a fancier passed hors d’oeuvre.

Tomates Marinados - KFC2

Pinchos de Mozz Tom - KFC2

I am so grateful for all of those who attended… we had a larger class this time around. Some repeats and some new students. I want to give a great shout out to Adriana from Great Food 360 who attended once again and contributed with the wonderful pictures. She rocks!!!


Again to my lovely assistants Angie and Mom… who help me with the little things that keep the class rolling smoothly.

Hope you can join us for the next installment… Late April. Mark your calendars – Recipes to celebrate Mom. I am already planning the menu.


Carob – The Vegetarian Alternative to Chocolate

14 Feb

Chocolate has become the star of any Valentine’s celebration… it’s become a symbol of sweetness and love all around the world. But what would happen if one day you were not able to express your undying love for someone thru chocolate???

I am self-proclaimed chocoholic. And when I had to give up chocolate I thought my world would end… it was a long time ago and had nothing to do with being vegetarian. I had to steer away from chocolate because of its caffeine content. Many people consider chocolate a vegetarian food… which in essence it is. It comes from a nut. However, just like coffee, chocolate contains high levels of caffeine, a stimulant that affects your nervous system and irritates greatly the digestive system.

But then… Carob entered my life. Because a world without something chocolatey… would be like a day without sun. Wouldn’t it?? I will be honest with you, if it doesn’t taste similar or better than the real thing, I won’t eat it. There are good products out there:

Carob Bars


I get these bars every time we travel to NYC. You can get them in many health food stores. Their taste resembles bittersweet dark chocolate because of their slightly bitter aftertaste. They’re the perfect substitute to your favorite bar candy… my mom buys them by the dozen every time we find them.

Carob Chips


I use these carob chips from Chatfield’s in my regular chocolate chip cookie recipe and I can’t tell the difference. I also use them the same way you would use chocolate chips in recipes like my Brown Rice Krispies Treats.

Carob Powder


Carob, is also available in both bar and powder form, makes a very delicious caffeine-free alternative to hot chocolate. And because carob is a bit bitter it resembles the bitter bar chocolate used to make hot chocolate from scratch. I have also used it on cake and brownie recipes and it’s amazing.

Check out these recipes using carob in various forms:

Caffeine-Free Hot Carob

Brown Rice Krispies Treats

Cherry and Carob Cookies

Carob Granola

My point being… not need to deprive yourself totally of chocolate-like desserts when there’s carob around… even if you still dream of a piece of Hershey’s Kisses in your lips. I know the feeling…

Some Romantic Menu Ideas for Valentine’s

6 Feb

I am in love with the idea of being in love… I admit it. I find so appealing those giddy feelings when you’re getting to know someone, that initial attraction, those butterflies in the stomach when someone we’re getting to know calls or texts us.

I may not be married yet (YET being the operative word here), and even if Valentine’s Day is mostly celebrated by couples, it does not mean you have to I have certainly stay on the sidelines watching couples celebrate their love for each other. I have certainly used it to celebrate the lovely people who share my life day in, day out. Love is love… and it is all important and necessary part of our life and well-being. Sharing our love and being appreciative of the love in our lives will only bring more love into it. Isn’t that what Valentine’s Day is all about.

If you wish to celebrate all the loves in your life, I bring you some ideas for easy menus that will express your love and impress even the most adamant of non-vegetarians. I divided this into 4 sections – Appetizers, Main Courses, Desserts and Drinks. From these ideas you can mix and match whatever you prefer, feel it’s easiest or what will impress who you’re cooking for.

Besides… who wants to fight over a reservation in a restaurant on the busiest restaurant day of the year???

Love, Madelyn.

Salad Collage


Chopped Avocado Dressing Salad

Watercress Salad with Horseradish Dressing

Spinach Strawberry Salad

Chame’s Spinach, Figs and Blue Cheese Salad

Main Courses Collage

Main Courses

White Truffle Mac and Cheese

Gorgonzola Stuffed Peppers

Cheese and Spinach Stuffed Shells

Smoked Gouda and Spinach Risotto

Arroz Kristina

Dessert Collage


Meyer Lemon Granita

Poached Pears with Blue Cheese and Hazelnut Praline

Cranberry Trifles

Mango Ginger Granita

Drinks Collage


White Sangría

Passion Fruit Guava Fizzy Drink

Aniette’s Bull

Spearmint Infusion

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