Thursday, June 7, 2018

Grape Leaf Tacos

Get ready to eat with your hands and get messy! These aren't your ordinary Mexican tacos, and much more exotic tasting. I made this recipe specifically to be able to eat Grape Leaf, which is full of nutrition (please see hyperlink). I particularly appreciate the grape leaf's anti-inflammatory properties, not to mention other great healing properties of this precious plant. Native Americans and Greeks have been eating and using this plant for medicinal reasons for thousands of years. Thank you Mother Earth for giving us this plant full of healing.  


1/2 cup of cooked rice
1 pound of grass-fed lean ground beef 
1/2 onion chopped
2 garlic cloves minced
1/3 cup parsley chopped
1/2 orange pepper chopped
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 jar of grape leaves 


1/2 Teaspoon of Garam Masala
1/2 Teaspoon of cumin
1/2 Teaspoon of ground black pepper
1/2 Teaspoon of sea salt 

First, cook the rice in a separate pan. Next, on medium heat sauté onions in the olive oil until translucent. I like to use my iron skillet because it always adds flavor. Add the ground beef with a splash of water to get it cooking while mixing it with the onions. Once the meat is cooked, lower the heat to low, adding the spices, garlic, parsley and orange bell pepper. Continue cooking on low for 5-8 more minutes tossing all ingredients together.  

Turn off heat and add cooked rice to the mixture in the pan. More salt might be need for taste. 

Next take the grape leaves out of jar, and rinse them, as they usually are preserved in brine water. Pat dry the grape leaves and place them on the plate. Finally serve a spoonful onto each leaf. This can all be done at the table with a communal dish in the middle of the table. 

This dish is not likely to be served at a dinner party, but to be eaten with family, so you can laugh and enjoy these exotic beauties without feeling embarrassed to eat with your hands! 

Dish serves 4 people with 9 small tacos each. 

Good Health to you! 

Power Energy Balls

Plants have undeniable life-force for living creatures to ingest. We eat every day to survive, but do we eat to thrive? Thriving in my mind means eating plants that are full of the sun's energy, planet's minerals, and helps us live our lives' true potential. I eat these delicious bite size powerballs before a hike, a novel writing session, or when I need quick pick-me-up under a stressful situation. Life can be stressful, but we don't have to give into it. Instead we can take charge of our nutrition.

The energy balls presented in the picture above are easy to make and can be adapted to whatever plant energy you need. I used almond butter, but you can also use peanut butter, or cashew butter. I used Protein superfood, which has green vegetables, but you can also use spirulina, which can give the balls a pretty green hue and mega nutrition. I used flax seed meal with high health benefits like high Omega-3, protein, and fiber to name a few. You can use hemp or chia seed ground meals. I used Cacao powder and Maca because of the incredible health benefits (see underlined links for more details). My ingredients can be intermixed in any manner, as I stated above. Just follow the general guidelines and get creative. 


6 Tablespoons of Almond Butter
4 Tablespoons of Flax Seed Meal
3 Tablespoons of Maca Powder
2 Tablespoons of Cacao Powder
4 Tablespoons of Protein Superfood
4 Tablespoons of Maple Syrup
1 Teaspoon of Coconut Sugar (or flakes)
1 Teaspoon of Hawaiian Sea Salt (optional) 

First set up a cookie tray with parchment paper to set the balls on. 

In a large bowl, measure out the almond butter. Next add flax seed, maca, protein, cacao, and maple syrup. Stir ingredients until all are well blended. Now that you have a nice paste, using your hands roll into small balls. 

Next, take the coconut sugar with sea salt and sprinkle evenly on a plate. Use the plate to roll the balls until covered and return to the cookie tray. 

I store the energy balls in a glass container with lid in the refrigerator. Enjoy the powerballs! They last more than a week or two in the refrigerator. 

Good health to you! 

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Chicken Tajine Made Easy

I was searching for a warming meal that had the characteristics of fall, dried fruits and spice combinations. Finding a Chicken Tajine recipe, I simplified it, so that ordinary folks could enjoy the ancient casserole from North African dating back to the 8th or 9th century. The dish was mentioned in a text: One Thousand and One Nights. Also, known in English as Arabian Nights, it is a collection of medieval Arab, Persian, Turkish, Indian, and Jewish folklore. We are lucky to be able to have such knowledge from the past. 

This dish was originally made in a cone shaped tajine earthenware pot, but I cooked my dish in a HEATH 12” casserole dish with lid and it turned out splendidly. 

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. 


3 pounds of chicken thighs 
1 cup of olive oil
2 cups of okra
1 cup of prunes 
1/3 cup of shallots
2/3 cup of onion
1 cup of cilantro
1 cup of Italian parsley

2 Tbsp. of lemon juice
1 ½ Tbsp. of chopped garlic (5 large cloves of garlic) 
1 Tbsp. of chopped ginger
1 Tbsp. heaping of turmeric 
1 Tbsp. heaping of cinnamon
1 Tbsp. salt
½ Tbsp. black pepper

First, cut and prepare all your ingredients. In a large bowl, combine olive oil, shallots, onion, cilantro, parsley, lemon juice, garlic, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Mix into a paste.

Next, rinse and pat dry your chicken. Place the raw chicken pieces in casserole skin sides up.

Pour your ingredients over the tops of the chicken, smoothing out the so evenly covered all pieces of chicken.

Cover the chicken with lid and place in oven on middle rack. Bake for 1 hour.

After the hour of baking, add okra and prunes to the dish, stirring in to fit in between chicken pieces. Bake for another ½ hour.

Enjoy this delicious Chicken Tajine main course, served hot to your family or guests! I found this dish goes well with a full-bodied wine. I have tried Pinot Noir and Bordeaux, all complex enough to bring out the flavors of this dish. Cooked cranberries on the side made for a nice tart contrast to the sweet prunes.

This recipe serves 4. 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Millet Pumpkin Bread

This dense and delicious Millet Pumpkin Bread is sure to warm up your house in the cold months ahead! Here is the perfect gluten free bread to please any of your hungry household.

Millet is believed to have been cultivated more than 7000 years ago simultaneously in Africa and Asia. The wonders of millet never seem to end. Millet has a high nutritional value, and is considered one of the super grains, though it is often passed over in the grocery stores. One cup of cooked millet has: 207 calories and tons of mineral content: copper 31%, phosphorus 25%  manganese24%  magnesium19%, according to the Food Rating system. Millet is also, high in fiber and vitamins! Your gut and heart will benefit from this ancient grain!

The Health Benefits of Millet are numerable: Does not feed pathogenic yeast (candida); Acts as a prebiotic to feed important microflora in your inner ecosystem; Provides serotonin to calm and soothe your moods; Helps hydrate your colon to keep you regular; Is alkaline; and Millet digests easily.

And that's not all. Many studies have been done on millet nutrition to identify its benefits for your health. Here are some findings from Body Ecology website :
·       *Magnesium in millet can help reduce the affects of migraines and heart attacks.
·       *Niacin (vitamin B3) in millet can help lower cholesterol.
·       *Phosphorus in millet helps with fat metabolism, body tissue repair and creating energy    
           (phosphorus is an essential component of adenosine triphosphate or ATP, a precursor to    
           energy in your body)
·       *Millet can help lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
·       *Fiber from whole grains has been shown to protect against breast cancer.
·       *Whole grains have been shown to protect against childhood asthma.

Baking Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease you desired pan with butter. You can use a 7x3 inch loaf baking pan, but for this bread I used a deep pie dish, which allowed me to slice it like cake!

Bake for 1.5 hour. Your oven might take longer, because it is a dense bread. 

In a large bowl, mix the pumpkin puree, eggs, and vegetable oil, butter milk and sugar.
In a separate bowl, mix the flours, baking soda and all the spices. Next integrate the two bowls into one, making sure that you blend them slowly, and if need be splash some more buttermilk to keep the mixture moist. Add the walnuts last.
Pour into buttered baking dish, and set on the middle rack of hot oven.
Bread will be done when fork comes out clean.
Let it cool, but best served warm!

1 can of (15 oz) pumpkin puree
2 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup of brown sugar
2 cups of millet flour
1 ½ cups of gluten free flour
1 ¼ cup of buttermilk
1/3 cup of chopped walnuts
2 teaspoons of baking soda
1 ½ teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon of ground cloves
1 teaspoon of ground ginger

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Party Quinoa Salad

Quinoa Salad

Quinoa is a very nutritious grain that originated in area surrounding Lake Titicaca in Peru and Bolivia in South America. It was cultivated by the pre-Colombian civilizations of the Andean region over many centuries. It became a highly cultivated grain because of its high balance and essential amino acids and proteins. Of course, the Andean native people of these regions didn't have this type of information, but certainly they knew how satisfied and energized they felt after eating it. 
I made this salad for our uncle's 80th birthday party and it was a big hit, mostly because of its flavor - Bragg's Liquid Aminos was the little secret, made from soy protein and often used as a soy sauce alternative.  

Quinoa can be cooked in large quantities to feed a lot of people! The recipe is for 5 cups of quinoa, but make it to your needs. 

 I used uncooked vegetables, cucumber, orange pepper, red pepper and some fresh tomatoes chopped into small cubes. The fresh herbs I used were Italian parsley and green onions. 

I also added several baked zucchini cooked on a cookie tray in the oven at 400 degree oven, till slightly browned. Make sure to douse the zucchini pieces with olive oil or butter. 

When you mix all the ingredients be generous with the Braggs, I used a 2/3 cup for 5 cups of uncooked quinoa, but you can gauge it by tasting as you go. Also, when mixing salad, add more olive oil, dash of lemon juice, sea salt, dried oregano, and dried garlic powder. Salad will need only a slight sprinkle of salt since Braggs is very flavorful.

Have a wonderful meal with this nutritious grain and be well! 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Bacon Mac & Cheese

Happy Holidaze! 
I thought perhaps you foodies might enjoy Bacon Mac & Cheese. A little midnight snack for my husband and I, but you might need this dish for a special occasion.


2 cups of shell pasta 
1/2 cup of organic whipped cream 
1/3 cup organic cream
5 slices of Applegate organic bacon 
1 cup of 3 cheese mix - Asiago, Romano, Parmesan 
2 stalks of green onion
1 teaspoon of nutmeg
1 teaspoon of ground pepper
1 teaspoon ground onion
1 teaspoon of ground garlic


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
First, cook pasta and drain. 
Second, in a medium size bowl, mix the creams and the cheese, and add seasoning till fully mixed together. Put the bowl to the side till needed. 
Third, cook bacon in your iron skillet. 
Fourth, place bacon strips to drain on a paper towel and pour out excess fat out. 
Cut cooked bacon into small bite size pieces. 
Fifth, in same skillet, place the cooked pasta shells and pour the cream mix on top, no need to stir the pasta. 
Sixth, sprinkle bacon pieces, and a pinch more of the parmesan on top. 
Seventh, place iron skillet in middle rack of oven and bake for 20 minutes.
Finally, sprinkle the finely chopped green onion.

Serve hot! 
Serves 4 very hungry individuals. 
Being a meal in itself, you will not disappoint! 

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Low Carbohydrate Cheesy Crackers!


Hello lovely people, 
So many things have improved for our house since my last post in April, of 2014!

We have turned our focus on urban farming, just as I had imagined, but to the detriment of my Foodie blog. In the meantime, I have learned lots about raising chickens from chicks, building a chicken coop (with my husband's help), and building vegetable raised bed in our backyard. It has been a very productive spring to spring cycle! 

In the meantime, the severity of the California drought has been brought to our collective attentions and is slowly affecting our behaviors. Case in point, saving the warm-up shower water, and using the boiled vegetable water to water our plants and fruit tree. We are even planning on landscaping our front yard grass for a California native plant yard. That is a whole other project yet to begin.
Also along the same lines, how much California drought is affecting our eating habits, knowing beef and almonds take up so much water to produce. Please see this informative article by Leslie Ziegler: Not to mention how new health information affects our overall body health awareness. Which brings me back to the recipe of today, Low Carbohydrate Cheesy Crackers. We are trying to be more conscious about our carbohydrate intake, and thanks to a close friend who shared this delicious cracker recipe, I can share with everyone.

I know the Ketogenic diet (high fat, low carbohydrate diet) is all the craze, but I am far from being in the extreme practice of this. Eating smaller quantities of all foods, in a balanced way is much healthier than anything I have found, but these crackers can be a wonderful addition to a balanced dietary regiment. Fortunately, I found these crackers delicious with anything from olive tampenade or guacamole dip, to an olive and fig dip I just found at my local store! Amazing discovery. These delicious healthy crackers will be loved by your entire family. 


½ cup of coconut flour
½ cup of flax seed meal
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (dry crumbled)
½ teaspoons of salt
½ teaspoon of black pepper
½ teaspoon of granulated garlic
½ teaspoon of granulated onion
½ teaspoon of thyme
1- 1 1/2 cup of water
1/4  Chia seeds can be added if you want a more high protein cracker. 
2 tablespoons of olive oil. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients well.

Next, add water slowly, until you have a dough like consistency that is holding everything together, but not too moist!
Make sure that dough is not breaking up because need to spread on a baking pan.

Cover a baking pan with olive oil. 

Place the ball of dough in the middle of pan, using a wax paper, cover the top of ball and press down on it to spread it evenly into the pan. I found just rolling hand over the waxed paper to spread worked very well. It is the hardest part and takes the longest time, but be patient and thoughtful as these crackers are more of a labor of love.

Make lines with pizza cutter or knife. Also, using a brush, you can spread some olive oil on top of dough before putting in oven.

Bake for 45 min.

Check the baking tray, maybe even rotate the baking tray. My new oven does not heat evenly as my old one. Leave another 20  minutes in oven. 
After the last 20 minutes turn off heat and leave in oven another hour or less. 

The crackers should be dehydrated by then, and with a spatula you can remove from baking tray. You will then have 1 inch size squares to eat. Some of the edges of tray will not be square of course, and these will be your rustic pieces also quite edible! 

Happy baking and be well! 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter Lamb Stew

Happy Easter!  
Happy Fertility and Abundance of nature to all my pagan friends! 

This pic shows 1.5 pounds of lamb
casserol before going into oven

Anyway you celebrate, I am sure you had some amazing food. 
Here is my version of slow cooked stewed lamb. For this recipe I used two casserolles to accommodate the quantity of lamb, but you can half the recipe if you have less people to feed. This recipe fed 7 people comfortably. 
I used Niman Ranch lamb meat which turned out quite delicious.
The vegetables used were all organic and local!

Preheat oven to 400 degrees


3 pounds boneless lamb shoulder cut into cubes 
4 russet potatoes cubed
10 multicolored carrots cubed.
6 pearl onions cut in half 
2 parsnips chopped into cubes
4 garlics chopped in quarters
2 cups of water to cover vegetables and meat.
2 cups of beef broth to cover vegetables and meat
A handful of fresh parsley chopped 
A handful of  fresh oregano chopped 
2 teaspoons of pepper. 
2 teaspoons of sea salt. 
2 dashes of cumin 
2 dashes of dried sage
2 tablespoons of flour 
2 tablespoons of sugar 

First, prepare your vegetables on the cutting board and have them ready to add to the lamb. At medium heat, sauté lamb in casserole with the salt, pepper, sugar and flour for 5 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown. You must keep turning lamb pieces over, so they cook evenly. Turn off heat. Next, take out the extra liquefied fat from the pan with a large spoon. Next, add all herbs, cut vegetables, and seasoning on top of braised lamb cubes. Finally add liquid water and beef broth to mostly cover lamb and vegetables. The liquid does not need to cover them completely. Lower oven to 325 degress and  cover casserole with lid and place in middle of oven for 1.5 hours.
When ready, the meat and vegetables should be tender and easy to cut into.
Serve with sauerkraut, or slow simmered cranberries, or cocconut date rolls. 

Enjoy with family and friends! 
Love, Tarabud

Monday, February 24, 2014

Joyful Living In Ecological Awareness

Hello Foodie Cooks, Farmers, Urban Homesteaders, and Followers, 

It's 2014, and I am coming up on the four year anniversary of Foodie Out Of The Closet Blog. I clearly started this endeavor in February 2010 with my Foodie Manifesto, and it has been a fun adventure of videos, audio podcasts, meeting new people (farmers and makers) in the community who are passionate about sustainability and the future of our planet.

I hope you don’t mind I quote myself.
After finishing my graduate degree at John F. Kennedy University in psychology, and practicing for a few years in the community, I fell into an emotional slump. I was reading and watching many films about the demise of our planet, and was seriously passing through Eco-Anxiety. The most productive phase of this Anxiety Disorder is when you become an active spearhead to bring awareness to the community. I quit my job and began doing my Foodie Out Of The Closet blog, incorporating all my love for cooking, food, farming, and planet awareness. I set out one morning to interview the local vendors at my farmers market, in Oakland.

This time of reflection has brought me right back to focus on the new home my husband and I have begun to invest our energy into. It has been such a long time coming, that we are able to live our lives as we imagine it, gardening where we grow as much organic food as we eat, raising chickens, collecting our own rain water (California drought permitting), solar powering our home, among others things such as living minimally and as gently as possible on this precious planet. This home has not only been a great blessing that we have actively manifested, but also a lot of work! My husband just finished installing wood floors, which was no easy job, for one person. Of course, I provided the lemonade, the meals, and the supportive remarks! Next project will be to remove the two satellite dishes on the roof from previous owners, installing rain gutters, followed by building a fence to give us more privacy in our back yard, and immediately following that, building a chicken coop! 

This brings me to raising our baby heritage breed chicks, and the losses that become little thorns of change in our lifestyle. Raising your hens is a bit of double edged sword. For one thing, we are being more sustainable because we are not driving to the farmers market which thankfully lowers our carbon foot print, we are recycling wasted food from our own kitchen, they are wondrous fertilizers and bugs eaters, lovely pets, and moreover we are more self-sustaining; but at the same time, there will be this loss of community in not visiting with our local farmer Mr. Ledesma at the farmers market and talking about his farm and the growing seasons, most of all buying his delicious eggs. It’s a tricky balancing act, and obviously the positives outweigh the losses, but let’s not ever imagine that we can do urban farming completely isolated.
Top to bottom:
Myrtle - Black Australorp
Pepper - Plymouth  Rock
Mrs. Rhodes - Rhode Island Red
Goldie - Cochin Bantam. 
Our business is now directed to a local homesteaders shop called Pollinate Farm and Garden  in Oakland, California, for baby heritage chicks, organic baby chicken feed, wood shavings, grit, and other necessities of raising chickens at home. We are certainly engaged in the community, like never before, as I will be sharing our back yard chicken eggs with friends and strangers in the community. For example, with the Home Depot salesman who cut wire fencing for me without charge as he found out I was raising baby chickens in an incubator, only if I brought him back some fresh eggs in a few months. We will also be supporting local establishments like Economy Lumber that has great recycled wood pieces for our future chicken coop. We do our best to remain as local as possible. 

I used to want to travel endlessly (which I did), but now I just want to stay home, cook, plant  vegetables in my garden beds, raise a little gaggle of hens, and write poetry and novellas. How things change in wonderful ways as we age?!  Being at home more, has allowed my imagination to run wild and come up with my newest historical fictional novellas, set in Colombia (Author's Page). These are the benefits of living a more settled life more in-line with my values, things percolate and one can become more focused or more invested in the future too, because I still believe that one family’s choice makes a difference when they add up to multitude of families making more informed decisions toward the future. This year, I look forward to more posts that reflect urban homesteading lifestyle, local gourmet food makers features, farmers interviews, even some wine makers, and perhaps more quiche recipes! May the spirit of joyful ecological awareness be with you and your family! 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Wooden Spoons Interview

Listen to the interview with owner Julie Gordon of, making delicious gourmet appetizers for your family and gatherings!