Thursday, August 22, 2013


I remember running around with the other kids on the block sucking on salted plums as a little girl.  I forgot all about them until someone mentioned them and how expensive they are now for just a few dried plums.  I thought since I had a bag of dried but soft prunes I would make some.  They came out wonderful.  So with that, I thought I'd share. This is not for all folks but 4 dried prunes holds a lot of potassium.

  • One bag soft dried prunes. Pitted is best but not necessary
  • One cup salt
  • 1teaspoon citric acid (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne red pepper (Optional)
  • Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl.  
  • Add prunes and mix well. 
  • Let sit 3 hours in the bowl. Then brush off excess salt
  • Put on a cookie sheet and bake on low till done about 3 hours
  • Store in a air tight container once cooled.
It makes a great stocking stuffer, or a nice tray at a party.or to just reminesque old time memories. Just pop one of these salty sour dried plums.  It would make every hair on your body stand on its ends.  Lol.

 Well, for those interested now you know how easy it is to make.  Please feel free to share with others on facebook, or Pinterest, or your own collection of my guest.  Thanks for stopping by.  Till the next time...many blessings.


Mary Helen

Thursday, August 15, 2013


Hi everyone,

I'm always up for a challenge, and when my friend Alma told me that she had black bean ice cream in Guatemala, and the way she described it made my mouth water.  I had to try this and woe is me, I had no recipe.  NOT! I just got the opportunity to be in my element. I added basics like vanilla and sugar and I still was not feeling it.  It was okay, just okay ... until I added some unsweetened cocoa.  Voila!  What a marriage:)  Who knew Chocolate Black Bean Ice Cream could taste so good.  Now this is healthy eating right?  Protein, vitamins and minerals and a good fat for your body to absorb it all.  I did promise cheap ways to eat healthy right?

  • 2 cups cooked black beans
  • 1/2-3/4 cups of sugar (as sweet as you like)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil (I used coconut oil)
  • 3-4 tablespoons cocoa unsweetened
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6-8 cups ice
I mixed all these ingredients and blended them in my Ninja 1500.
It almost broke down all the ice.  I was afraid if I went any longer, I
would have chocolate black bean soup.  Hey?  Not today:))
Instructions via photos:

I cooked my beans in a crock pot.  Two cups
of black beans I added the chocolate, sugar and oil.

I added 3 tablespoons of cocoa, very chocolatey, however, the
coconut oil overpowered the chocolate.  NO BEAN FLAVOR,
I mixed all the ingredients in my Ninja 1500w.  It left a few chunks of ice, but get the picture?  It's Chocolate Black Bean Ice Cream.  Tastes like almond joy (just the flavor).  And again it it healthy and very cheap and easy.

Well, I dare someone besides me to try this PLEASE!  Let me know the outcome.  Till then please like and share with a link below.  Thanks for stopping by and allowing me to be of service one more time.  Many blessings to all.


Mary Helen

Friday, July 26, 2013

CANDIED TOMATO PRESERVES, Not your peanut butters Jelly.

This thick Candied Tomato Preserves goes great with cheese and crackers.  If cooked down
enough it becomes almost like a soft candy chew when cold.  Yum!  Chewable vitamins:)
I have been making Candied Tomato Preserves for about 40 years now.  I've tweaked it a bit to my benefit of course.  But, I must say, these are not your ordinary preserves. For one, it has about 1/2 the sugar than regular store bough preserves. Secondly, the tomatoes retain their fresh homegrown tomatoes taste and condensed micro-nutrition. Third, you cannot find these tomato preserves in your local markets. And last of all it is cheap and easy to make. (Being cheap and easy makes it an affordable gift in a gift basket for any occasion.)
This 4 ingredient Candied Tomato Preserves goes exceptionally well with cheese and or crackers.  It would definitely be a delight to serve the newborn King (when he gets older), but for now, let's treat us!

  • 1 pound Small tomatoes (cherry or grape seed)  Homegrown or organic is best as the flavor makes a big difference in taste.  Also, soft skinned tomatoes works best for this recipe as the skin breaks down to a candy.  You can put them in the blender to break it down more. Also, you can always opt to skin the tomatoes by blanching them in boiling water for one minute before you remove the skins.  I've also made this with canned tomatoes, but I added jalapenos, and bell peppers.  So many ways to play with this recipe.
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Lemon Juice (reconstituted is fine)
  • 1 teaspoon Salt

I put all the ingredients in a stainless steel pot and cooked it down on a medium low flame for 30 minutes.  Stirring and mashing them frequently towards the end to avoid the bottom from burning

Next, you want to reduce the flame to low, and mash the tomatoes some more stirring frequently for about 10-15 minutes
or until you smell a caramel smell.  It is quite thick but will thicken a lot more when it has cooled down.

I ended up with 10 ounces of Sweet Candied Tomato Preserves.  Put this in a container with a lid.  These pic show it nice and thick while warm.
Like I said earlier, the taste is incredible good because I used
organic.  I used 1/2 the normal required sugar, but you would
never know.  These Candied Tomato Preserves,
cannot be bought at you local market, which by the way,
makes great gifts. Also, The price was right!  Fridays, out local 99 cent
store sells organic produce.  I also got the lemon juice and sea
salt there. 
Ok, how easy was this?  No need for a candy thermometer, or pectic, artificial flavors, or any other gadgets. Personally, I think it is definitely worth the time and effort to treat yourself to a tasty dish loaded with condensed micro-nutrients like vitamin C and Lycopene.  Well that's it for now.  I have a lot of catching up to do.  So till the next time, please like and share.  You have my permission to Pin It, Thank you for allowing me to be of service.  Till the next time...Many Blessings.

Mary Helen

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


This goes great with some nuts crushed on it for a bit more protein.  One time I added a bit of whipped cream.  Chocolate
syrup would work too. Yes it
was good.
This was my lunch today. Protein and omega 3's with a fruit serving. Tastes so good, you'd think you we're doing something bad:). No need to explain how this is made, but you're in for a treat like dessert. Yes, it does curb that sugar tooth in a much healthier way. However, please consider a healthy peanut butter that has not been hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated. These are clogging and unhealthy oils. Too bad they taste good.

Slice this up and you are ready to eat.  My friend Shekinah who is a Hollywood makeup artist and a beautiful bikini model.  Well she does lot's of modeling, but looks great in anything.  Anyway, it's yummy for the tummy.  I thought I'd share.

Thanks for letting me be of service.  Till the next time stay safe, and many blessings.


Mary Helen

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Holy Mackerel That is Good Fish

Brenda Watson, a worldwide famous health practitioner said in one of her infomercials that Mackerel is an excellent source of Omega 3 fatty acids.  She also said "who wants to eat mackerel every day", and laughed because, not many folks do.  Well I found a way to make that fish taste pretty good.  

Canned Mackerel and tomatoes served with rice

You'd be saying..."Holy Mackerel That"s Good tasting fish, and it's good for you too. This Mackerel dish  cost about $2.50 and serves 4 hungry mouths.  However this can says it's serves 7.5.  I can't see it, because I enjoy food.  LOL.  Perhaps too much, but oh well. Anyway, I've done quite a bit of research on Omega 3's and it's benefits. and I suggest you do the same because its remarkably good.  The can does not list all the nutritional benefits.
I found this can on sale at the 99 cent store.  So I thought it was a very good
deal.  I bought two cases a few months back.  Yes I do believe in food
storage, and good deals.

So there is HOPE here after all.  Sorry I had to through that in.  Brenda Watson also said that it was important for us to have HOPE every day in our diet.  So with that, I HOPE you try this.  You might like it.  By the way hope stands for
H...........High Fiber
O...........Omega 3's  (M

  • One can mackerel in tomato sauce
  • Tomatos, canned, diced ( fresh is good too)
  • Lemon Juice 1 ounce
  • Oil, 2 tablespoons
  • Garlic 2 cloves minced
  • Onion 1/2 minced (I ran out so I made it without)
  • Parlsey 1-2 teaspoons (use lavishly, it has almost no taste and is very healthy in the greens 
  • dept.
  • Cayenne pepper according to taste
  • Sugar 1-3 tablespoons ( I mixed sugar with sweet and low)
  • Soy sauce  a couple of good dashes.
  • Oyster sauce 2-3 heaping tablespoons
  • Cold Water 1/4 cup
  • Cornstarch 2-3 teaspoons
Well here goes the instructions via pictures.  I hope that works for you.

Heat oil in pan, add garlic and saute till caramelized.  Add all the ingredients EXCEPT the mackerel, water and
cornstarch.  Simmer for 5 minutes...
Mix cornstarch with cold water and add to pot stirring slowly.  Add fish.  See there were only three little
pieces in that 15 oz can.  Serves 7.5? Not on my table.  LOL. If you want it thicker, just add more cornstarch.
Since there are only three small pieces I did not cut them till I was ready to serve it.

And this is what I did with the left overs.  Thank God for Press'n Seal.  Now
I have something for another day.
See how quick and easy that was.  Not to mention cheap yet healthy.  Shhh, don't tell anyone it came from a can and they will never know.  Well, that is it for now.  So till the next time, stay well, and many blessings:)


Mary Helen

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Tortillas, Eggs, And Cheese = Quick Chilaquiles=quick breakfast in one pan

Yummy breakfast chilaquiles, all made in one pan.  Think
of it like a tastier quesadilla or enchilada with a twist.

Well this is what I cooked to feed my hungry mouths today.  All I had was three eggs and four unexpected mouths to feed.  Well to stretch the food out and still make it tasty, filling and really cheap, I added corn tortillas.  

I know there are many variations in making chilaquiles.  I like them with chicken, olives and cheese, or with green chili, cheese, and a white sauce. Yummy.  Anyway, back to this breakfast quick one pot dish. Besides the main ingredients, using the right spices is key to making anything taste good.  This is what I did.

  • Corn tortillas 6-8 cut into two inch strips
  • Eggs 3
  • Cheese 1/4 cup (white or yellow)
  • Oil 1/8 cup
  • Chorizo 1/2 sausage (Mexican sausage, I used soy and found it at the dollar store(optional)
  • Onion 1/2 chopped small
  • Garlic 1-2 cloves
  • Salt to taste or chicken bullion like Knorr
  • Pepper to taste
  • Cayenne Red pepper 1/2-1 teaspoon crushed or powder (optional)
  • Chili powder 1 teaspoon (optional)


  • In a large skillet heat oil on medium/high.  Fry tortillas till crispy and remove to a dish.
  • Add onions and garlic to skillet and brown
  • Add chorizo, cook till brown.
  • Add tortillas back to the pan, mix lightly
  • Add eggs and stir in spices.  cover till eggs are cooked
  • Top with cheese and serve warm. 
I was able to stretch out the three eggs to feed four, and this meal probably cost about $2.00  Well everyone here is now a happy camper, especially me.  I hope you can use this chilachiles for breakfast, or any time of day.  It works, and is tasty too.  Well, till the next time, many blessings.


Mary Helen

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Homemade Seasoned Bread Crumbs.

Here I have wheat crackers, corn flakes, flour, cornstarch,
and the main ingredient...dry bread.  Don't forget the
Seasoned bread crumbs made from day old bread can be used in many recipes like breading fish, chicken, or vegetarian patties.  If you make the bread into larger pieces, it is great to stuff that turkey or chicken without having to purchase the packaged stuffing.  Seasoning your dry bread is easy to do using your favorite herbs and spices. It is a great way to use that extra bread that is either getting dry or just forgotten.  Just make sure it is still good and not moldy.  Once prepared, I keep a large canister with all my seasoned breadcrumbs in the pantry ready to scoop out whatever I need, whenever I need.  However, my breadcrumbs don't just contain bread.

All blended nicely in my Ninja
I use whatever has been made with nuts or grains.  For example there might be 1/2 cup of corn flakes left in the box, or other non sweetened cold cereal.  That will go into my canister.  Maybe I had some extra toasted sesame seeds, that too goes into the canister.  Perhaps I have some leftover sourdough bread, or any other kind of bread.  That too goes in the canister.  Anyway, here is a basic recipe guaranteed to give your meal that crispy crunchy texture one looks for in a fried chicken or fish, or veggie patty.  This is what I do.

Ingredients: Note, all ingredients must be dry.
  • Bread any kind, 1/2 pound of dry bread. You can dry it on a cookie sheet in your oven, using your pilot light, or oven light.  Note, you can use some cold cereal like corn flakes, just add it to the bread crumbs.  It gives it taste and texture.   You can also use crackers, like matzo, and saltines, and wheat crackers.
  • Cornstarch 1 cup
  • flour  1/2 cup.
  • Wheat bran 1/2 cup (optional)
  • Salt  Season to taste
  • Pepper season to taste
  • Garlic  season to taste
  • Onion season to taste
  • Cayenne Pepper, season to taste
  • Parsley dried 1/4 cup
  • Poultry seasoning if you are cooking chicken and want that Southern fried taste
  • Italian seasonings if you want that Italian Kick
  • Curry powder and so on.  Get the picture.  
I would make a basic seasoned bread crumbs ready for you to use, using all but the last three spices.  I only add the last three spices when I know I am cooking Italian, etc.  Then I add some Italian herbs.  I wouldn't want to add Curry powder when I am going for Italian right?

Voila!  Instant seasoned bread crumbs.  It still has bit of corn flakes,
 and wheat crackers.  Also helps to  give it great texture.
Anyway, it's that simple.  You get to use all that extra bread.  By the way, every loaf of bread usually has a few pieces of bread that does not get used up.  I freeze them in a freezer bag until I accumulated enough to make these seasoned bread crumbs.  See, I told you it was easy.

Well, that's it for tonight.  Thank you for allowing me to be of service.  Goodnight, and many blessings:)


Mary Helen
Below are some dishes I made using this Seasoned Bread Crumbs.

This bread crumb stuffing is made with my bread crumbs.  Only difference
is I used larger pieces of bread.  I pre-cut the bread before I dried it.
Here are vegetarian patties that held up well with my seasoned breadcrumbs
These Chicken strips were cooked with my seasoned breadcrumbs.

And so was this shrimp:)
Finally, but not all, my boneless fish strips and potatoes were also made with my seasoned breadcrumbs....see
the heart potato?  Yum Mojo style.  Crispy and not greasy.