Naomi Chanbers. Powered by Blogger.

Thanksgiving Pics

I made three stuffings, one cheesecake, one gravy and tangerine cranberry sauce.

One word


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Butternut Squash Ravioli

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The season to make wine

In Washington State the berries and rock fruits are in full bloom. Now is the time for our wine making.

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Honey Infusions

This is a great idea

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Homemade Herb and Spice Blends

Pike Place Market - Seattle
The other day, I went to the Pike Place Market with my son to look around and see what was going on. How I love that market! The smell of flowers, coffee, and fish...ahhh, nothing quite like it. I saw some pepper ornament things hanging from the ceiling of a shop and asked one of the employees if they were real peppers. He abruptly say, "yes". It was closing time, and he clearly did not want to stand around and chit-chat with me. Anyway, I took the above photograph at Seattle's Pike Place Market. These are drying peppers and garlic. From closer inspection, they look like Thai Red Peppers. I thought that they were so pretty hanging there that I needed to take a picture. I started growing Thai peppers in my garden, and have yet to use them in any dish. The image inspired me to publish a quick blog about Seasoning Blends. (Note: these are not my recipes, I got most of them from

Seasoning Blends tend to be very expensive in the supermarket. When we look at the ingredients, it is plain to see there is no reason we should not be able to make these at home.

Alas - here are some of my top picks: 

Thai Seasoning Blend:

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ground white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh, dried, ground Thai chili pepper (featured above)
  • 2 tablespoons dried, ground lemongrass
  • 2 tablespoons dried lime zest
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons ground ginger
  • 2 tablespoons dried mint
  • 2 tablespoons toasted, unsweetened, coconut
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar

Taco Seasoning Recipe:

  • 1/4 cup Chili Powder
  • 1/4 cup Cumin Powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon Oregano leaf (or oregano leaf powder)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 cup himalayan salt or sea salt (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper

Homemade Curry Powder Recipe:

  • 1/2 cup Paprika
  • 1/4 cup cumin
  • 1 tablespoon Fennel Powder
  • 2 Tablespoons Fenugreek powder (optional)- gives sweetness
  • 2 tablespoons Ground Mustard Powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground Red Pepper Flakes (optional)- adds spiciness
  • 3 tablespoons ground coriander (optional)
  • 1/4 cup ground Turmeric root
  • 1 tablespoon ground cardamon (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves powder (optional) – Adds complex flavor

Homemade Italian Seasoning:

  • 1/2 cup Basil leaf
  • 1/2 cup Marjoram Leaf
  • 1/2 cup Oregano leaf
  • 1/4 cup cut and sifted Rosemary Leaf
  • 1/4 cup Thyme leaf
  • 2 tablespoons Garlic Powder (optional, especially if you cook with fresh garlic)

Homemade Rajin’ Cajun Seasoning:

  • 1/2 cup paprika
  • 1/3 cup Himalayan Salt or sea salt
  • 1/4 cup Garlic Powder
  • 2 Tablespoons Black Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons Onion Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Cayenne Pepper (optional- won’t be spicy without this)
  • 2 Tablespoons Oregano leaf
  • 1 Tablespoon Thyme leaf

Healthy Ranch Dressing Mix Recipe:

  • 1/4 cup dried Parsley leaf
  • 1 Tablespoon Dill leaf
  • 1 tablespoon Garlic Powder
  • 1 tablespoon Onion Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Basil leaf (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Homemade Lemon Pepper Seasoning:

  • The zest from 4-6 organic lemons (or 1/2 cup pre-dried lemon zest)
  • 6 Tablespoons ground black pepper (or whole peppercorns if you are using fresh lemon)
  • 5 Tablespoons Himalayan Salt or Sea Salt

Fajita Seasoning:

  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons Sea Salt
  • 2 tablespoons Paprika
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne powder (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon cumin powder

Chili Seasoning Mix:

  • 1/2 cup chili powder
  • 1/4 cup garlic powder
  • 3 tablespoons onion powder
  • 1/4 cup oregano
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1/4 cup cumin
  • 1 tablespoon thyme

Herbs de Provence:

  • 1/2 cup thyme leaf
  • 1/4 cup marjoram leaf
  • 2 tablespoons of cut and sifted rosemary leaf
  • 2 tablespoons savory
  • 1 teaspoon of lavender flowers (lightly ground-optional)
  • 2 teaspoons dried orange zest (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon ground fennel

Caribbean Jerk Seasoning:

  • 1/4 cup onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons thyme
  • 2 teaspoons ground allspice
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne powder (optional)

Asian 5-Spice Seasoning:

  • 2 tablespoons anise powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon ground fennel
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground cloves
  • 1 tablespoon himalayan or sea salt

Pumpkin Pie Spice:

  • 1/4 cup cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons allspice powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves powder (optional)

Apple Pie Spice:

  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tablespoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 dried lemon peel

Cajun Spice Blend:

  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons papirika 
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoons dried red pepper

Chicken Seasoning Blend:

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon crushed dried rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seed 
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/8 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon chicken bouillon. 

Greek Spice Blend:

  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons dried Greek oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill weed
  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram 
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried nutmeg

Basic Indian Spice Blend:

  • 2 tablespoons whole toasted cumin seeds
  • 2 tablespoons whole toasted cardamon seeds
  • 2 teaspoons whole toasted coriander seeds
  • 1/4 cup ground turmeric powder
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne

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Naomi's Culinary Extracts

I love to bake, especially with two boys in the house, I will need to bake and freeze my breads, treats and goodies. When you soak certain fruit in alcohol, the alcohol draws out the flavor and aroma. Aroma is a very important part of flavor. Have you ever noticed that when your nose is stuffy, food does not taste right? The same process is at work when making extracts. It is a matter of making a tincture. A tincture uses a solvent, such as vodka or rum, to extract oils, nutrients or phytochemicals of a plant.

Extracts are very expensive, expect to spend $10 to $12 on a six ounce bottle. One of the reasons they are pricey is because infusing the flavor and aroma takes a very long time. Manufacturers have to pay for shelf space and storage. I love to garden, harvest, and make as much as I can from scratch. I am able to make more diverse dishes and treats while spending only a fraction of the cost. I found a few wholesale supplier of nuts and seeds for my extracts. Nuts In Bulk and Oh Nuts. (Nuts in Bulk appear to offer the best deals) My products make great gifts, and if I stumble upon something that is very good, it might make its way to the local farmers market. 

So here is my current project: Orange and Vanilla Extract. Infusion should be finished May 1st, 2013. 

Many foods are soluble in alcohol and water. Sometimes you can use either Vodka or Rum with water. The extract will be perfectly fine if you add water. Natural vanilla beans contain hundreds of compounds which give it its complex flavor and aroma, it would make sense to use both alcohol and water as solvents (i.e., to use 100 proof alcohol). Different percentages of alcohol to water will tend to have different properties when it comes to dissolving various flavor and aroma compounds over a fixed period of time. Presumably, commercial producers of top quality natural vanilla extract have figured out the best mixture of ethanol to water for the vanilla beans they use, the extracting process they use, and the signature flavor/aroma profile of their extract.

For my extractions, I will be using 80% cheap Vodka with 20% spring water. It really does not matter what kind of Vodka you use, because the beans, fruits, or nuts you are using will take over the flavor. So go for the cheap stuff. 

After I made my extracts and photographed the jars for this blog, I placed them in a dark place. Light degenerates the extract, so keep it in a dark place for proper infusions. When the batches are finished, they will be packaged into small amber bottles from Specialty Bottles (my favorite supplier). 

Upcoming Projects are going to be:

  • Cherry Extract
  • Strawberry Extract
  • Lemon Extract 
  • Blueberry Extract
  • Chocolate Mint Extract
  • Peppermint Extract
  • Chocolate Extract
  • Coffee Extract
  • Orange Extract
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Almond Extract
  • Hazelnut Extract
  • Green Apple Extract
  • Peach Extract
  • Coconut Extract
Last night, I made: lemon, chocolate, cinnamon, and coconut extracts. I have to do cheery, strawberry, blueberry, almond, hazelnut, green apple and peach.

When I make the basic extracts, I am going to make some more complicated extracts
  • Pumpkin Pie Extract (cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, allspice)
  • Chocolate Chip Mint Extract 
  • Peanut Butter and Chocolate Extract
  • Tropical Extract (coconut, lime, mango)
  • Turtle Cheese Cake

There is a lot to think about. 

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Polish Borscht

This is my first attempt at making Polish Borscht Soup. I found several recipes and YouTube tutorial videos.борщ and featured on Ukrainian postage.(see image) Borscht is beet root based recipe popular in many central and eastern European countries. The original Ukrainian name does not end with a 't', the final t sound was added when the dish was adopted by Yiddish speaking Jews.

My base recipe came from the following YouTube video. Red Borscht - Barszcz Czerwony - Christmas Menu Recipe #51. There is a follow up video, how to make miniature Polish mushroom dumplings, Uszka. Ukrainian Borscht is more complicated, as it calls for carrots, potato, cabbage and beef.

As this is my first Borscht, I do not know if I prefer the Polish version or the Ukrainian version. I will be making it my own way. In Ania's video, she strained the soup with a cheese cloth, and recommend we do not bring the soup to a boil more than once as it will turn brown. In another Polish language video, (featured below) they used a strainer instead of a cheesecloth. Ania recommended letting the soup sit overnight, then slowly reheating it the next day.

  • 1 can beets
  • 1 red apple
  • 2 cans water
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 1 shallot
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 4 tbs orange juice
  • 1 bay leaf
  • sugar
  • salt
  • pepper
How Was it Served?

I served it with a dollop of sour cream and chopped green onion. The sour cream sank right to the bottom, which I did not like. I think that the sour cream is intended for the Russian/Ukrainian recipe and not the Polish recipe. I served it with chopped green onion, as I did not have time to make the mushroom dumplings.

How Did it Turn Out?

I thought that it was delicious, my husband thought it was too tart. Next time, I will replace 4 tbs Orange Juice with 2 tbs lemon juice. My intention is to make this soup again during the Winter Holidays. The Polish Borscht should be transparent, not cloudy, much like a red won-ton soup whereas the Russian/Ukrainian version can be cloudy, and hearty.

Continue Reading to see images of borscht

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Easter Cakes and Cupcakes

I often wondered what was the connection between Easter Rabbits and Eggs. Rabbits do not lay eggs.

Rabbits and Eggs are fertility symbols. Rabbits were once believed to be hermaphrodites  and it was also believed they could reproduce without sex. Birds lay eggs and rabbits give birth in large litters in early spring, the two became symbols of rising fertility of the earth at the March Equinox.

Ēostre or Ostara (Northumbrian Old EnglishĒostreWest Saxon Old English: ĒastreOld High German*Ôstara) is a goddess in Germanic paganism who, by way of the Germanic month bearing her name is the namesake of the festival of Easter.

The fertility symbols (rabbit, egg), the word Ēostre ( sounds a lot like Easter doesn't it), were incorporated into Christianity. I could care less. It is a lovely holiday. There are not nearly enough holidays in the spring. 

Lets take a look at some public domain Easter cake and cupcake images. Maybe they will inspire you to make a cake at home this year.

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Classic Chocolate Cake For Children's Therapy Cake Dash

Today I am making a Classic Chocolate Cake for the Children's Therapy Center and Dynamic Partners 23rd annual charity event. I am donating this dessert, on behalf of Seattle Soap Company, for their dessert rush auction.

Each table will donate money to the charity, the tables that donate the most get to choose the most desirable cake. My goal is to make my cake as desirable .. as possible. Nobody can see inside the cake, desirably is all in the decoration.


2/3 cup butter, softened to room temperature
1 2/3 cup white, granulated sugar
3 large eggs

2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup baking cocoa
1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

1 1/3 cups milk


I had a bit of a mishap when making this cake, I only had 1/3 cup white sugar. I substituted the rest with brown sugar. White sugar is considered a 'liquid' when baking because it melts quickly. Dark brown sugar is different in that it contains 6.5% molasses, the molasses is what gives it the brown color. The presence of molasses will change the baking chemistry. When brown sugar melts in the batter, it becomes a liquid in its own right, of sugar and molasses.

To make the swap balance itself out, reduce the water content of the recipe. If you swap 1 cup white sugar for 1 cup brown sugar, reduce other liquid by 3 tablespoons. I reduced the milk content of my recipe just a tad.

Brown sugar is used for heavier, richer recipes and will impart its own flavor. I tasted the batter before putting it in the oven. It tasted delicious to me.


This is the fun part!


Children's Therapy and Dynamic Partners made $11,000 from the cake rush this year! Yeah!

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Saint Patrick Day Cake Ideas

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Red Velvet Cake

One of My Best
I made this dessert for my family in Mexico City. A word of caution – be careful choosing your food color. I bought my food coloring for this cake at a store in Mexico. Everyone who ate the cake said that they had ‘caca roja’. Since this is a food blog, I am not going to discuss that too much.

One of the things I love the most about making desserts is that people really appreciate them. There is nothing more wonderful than presenting a beautiful pastry to your friends and family. Of all the things we cook for others, I find that desserts get the most appreciation.

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 ounces red food coloring
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon white vinegar

1 cup milk
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
1 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Grease two 9 inch round pans. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Make a paste of cocoa and food coloring. Set aside.

Combine the buttermilk, salt and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Set aside. In a large bowl, cream together the shortening and 1 1/2 cups sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the cocoa mixture. Beat in the buttermilk mixture alternately with the flour, mixing just until incorporated. Stir together baking soda and vinegar, then gently fold into the cake batter.

Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

To Make Icing: In a saucepan, combine the milk and 5 tablespoons flour. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens. Set aside to cool completely. Cream together butter, 1 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla until light and fluffy, then stir in the cooled milk and flour mixture, beating until icing reaches spreading consistency.

Decorating the Cake: I decorate my red velvet cake with strawberries and red velvet cake crumbs. Decorating the cake is probably my favorite part. I love making things beautiful. 

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Lemon Flaxseed Muffins

Lemon Flaxseed Muffins, I made this recipe today and everything went without a hitch. First thing's first, here is my recipe:
Naomi's Lemon Flaxseed Muffins
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup Apriva (zero calorie sweetener) Fred Meyer Brand
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons flaxseed 
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

First, let butter warm to room temperature. I find it is best to leave it out the night before. Combine Apriva, Brown Sugar, and Butter mixing until completely combined.

Add one egg at a time, continue mixing.

Combine all the other ingredients following normal baking standards (meaning one at a time, do not lump it all in there at once.)

It will form a very thick, sweet lemon smelling batter.

Scoop into muffin tins, or into a silicone mold. I prefer silicone molds because when the cake cools it is much easier to remove. Bake at 350 for about thirty minutes.


I love baked goods, at the same time, must watch my calorie intake. By using Apriva, instead of white granulated sugar, I reduced the calories by 194. The white all-purpose flour has about 912 calories for two cups. The quarter cup butter has 407 calories. The brown sugar has 212 calories. 
For the major stuff, we are talking about 1531 calories. This is for the entire batch of muffins and the little cake.  The batch makes about 16 muffins, which yields 95.68 calories per muffin.

Take into consideration that I did not add the calories from the baking powder, eggs, lemon juice or flaxseed. To play it safe, lets round it up to 100 calories per muffin.

I could have used ½ cup apriva and cut out the brown sugar entirely. I did not want to do that because I had a lot of brown sugar in the pantry that I need to use.

I decided to add a couple tablespoons of flaxseed to the batch because they are incredibly healthy, and loaded with Omega 3 fatty acids. I try to take in a good amount of fatty acids because they are great for the skin, and help reverse some sun damage.

The muffins were delicious. I recommend making this recipe sometime. 

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the salmon breakfast

As of late, I have been carefully watching my nutrition. For the past three months I committed myself to resistance training: lunges, squats, leg bridges, and many other exercises. My goal is to build as much muscle as I can until mid March. In March, I am going to jump into an intense cardio routine and try to get cut.

Building muscle requires eating six times per day, eating carbs before a workout, and most important - eating a good amount of protein. The problem with female diets is that we tend to eat more carbohydrates and fats.

In the images, I am showing you what I logged in today for breakfast and lunch. The ratio of protein, fat and carbs are perfect.

I expect that many of the recipes I publish on this blog will be high protein recipes involving salmon, almonds and egg whites.

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French Onion Soup, Stuffed Chicken Breast and Roast Potato Salad

This morning I decided that we would have French onion soup for dinner. Before taking the boys to story time at the Library, I sautéed the onions until they were golden and translucent. Then I put them to simmer in one cup of water. My husband babysat the onions until I got back home around 1pm.

At 2pm, I added the Beef Broth, salt, pepper, splash of vinegar and one bay leaf. I put the soup back on the stove to simmer for another two hours.

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Chicken Enchilada Casserole

This recipe is very hearty. I recommend it as a dip rather than entree. 
Final Product
Okay, so lets get started with this. I made my red enchilada sauce early in the day. If you are using traditional enchilada sauce it will come in a green can. But, this is the United States and I am doing it my way. Unless I am eating salad or guacamole - I do not like eating anything green. Dr. Seuss can take that green eggs and ham and eat it himself.

I am feeling a little lazy today, so I will spare you the details and just show you in photos how I made this recipe.

If anyone wants the recipe, leave a comment on this blog and I will respond.

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Diet Change

Many of you have noticed by now that I am not making as many treats as I did before.

My two year old son has been eating too many cookies, and it is completely my fault. He is not getting chubby or anything, but he is getting too spoiled and picky. He is on a no-cookie diet for a few months.

I am on a high protein diet, so many of the things that I publish are things only my husband will eat. My diet consists of egg whites, chicken, fish, rice and vegetables. I have not had time lately to really sit down and think of creative ways to cook high protein meals.

If you are wondering why I changed my diet, it is because I started a new workout routine almost two months ago. It consists of weights and a lot of resistance training. I am trying to put on as much muscle as I can until late March. In March, I will cut back the protein, increase the complex carbohydrates and start high intensity cardio workouts. I am getting ready for bikini season ten months early.

I will be publishing some high protein healthy recipes for you health nuts soon.



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Orange Chocolate Cake

Today I baked two dozen chocolate cupcakes with a faithful, basic recipe. It is one of those recipes that will go wrong only when a person makes an effort to mess things up.  Last night I experimented, making three kinds of frosting. I made an simple butter cream frosting (butter, granulated sugar, confection sugar, orange concentrate, finely grated orange peel). I made a creamy filling with confection sugar, and French Vanilla coffee creamer. I know what you are thinking, what in the hell was I thinking using the coffee creamer to make the frosting? I used only two tablespoons, a little milk, and presto…a very unique frosting. It was all about experimentation. What is the point of making desserts if one is unwilling to use their imagination? My imagination did not stop with the French Vanilla Coffee creamer; I made the last glaze with confection sugar and diet Mug Root Beer Soda. It came out a dark, translucent beige color.

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Rustic Chicken Recipe and Video

I made this yummy dish a couple days ago for my husband. It was simple and very healthy.

chopped up into chunky pieces

Rosemary and lots of it
Salt and Pepper
Italian Seasoning

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