Homemade Microwave Popcorn


Have you ever looked at the ingredients on a package of microwave popcorn? There are many ingredients that I cannot pronounce, which left me wondering, how can this be a healthy snack option? You’ll be surprised how easy microwave popcorn is to make. Again, this a “clean” recipe for a delicious snack.


brown paper lunch bag (although I usually buy the pink paper bags from Target)

whole kernel popcorn


Add 1/2 cup of popcorn kernels to brown paper bag.

Fold the bag over twice.

Place the popcorn filled bag into microwave, upright.

Microwave on high for 3 minutes, listening for the popping sound to diminish (once not rapidly popping remove the bag to avoid burning).

Add pinch of salt and a dab of butter, if this fits your tastes.

I like this other topping ideas:

– butter, salt, and nutritional yeast (for a vegan friendly cheese flavor)

– cinnamon, sugar, and honey (my version of kettle corn)

– chili powder, cayenne pepper, and salt (for a spicy treat)

Habanero (Hot) Pepper Sauce


This recipe is one of my favorites especially if you love hot sauce and are trying to “eat clean.” This all natural hot pepper sauce is great on everything from fried or grilled fish to hamburgers. It’s even great a top a green salad! The fresh ingredients are refreshing while packing a punch and adding great color to any bland plate. I put this on everything. But be careful… it’s HOT! You’ll never use store-bought hot sauce again.


20 orange habanero peppers

1/3 cup white vinegar

1/3 cup warm water

3 tablespoons yellow or creole (coarse ground) mustard

1 whole lime

1 whole lemon

2 whole bulbs of peeled garlic (approximately 12 cloves)

salt to taste


Rise lemon, lime, and peppers.

Count out 10 habanero peppers and remove the seeds from these 10 peppers. The other 10 leave whole, only discarding the stems. Wash your hands thoroughly to remove pepper oils. Be careful not to touch your eyes.

Cut the lemon and lime into quarters. Remove the seeds.

Peel the garlic.

Place lemon and lime quarters, peppers, and garlic into blender.

Add vinegar, water, and mustard.

Blend until coarsely ground.

Add salt to taste.

Store in a glass container. Enjoy!

Trinidadian Pelau



Pelau (pronounced pay-la-w) is an easy one pot dish, popular in Trinidad and perfect for liming,  at a picnic, or even at home on a lazy day. This popular rice dish can be cooked with any type of meat or combination of meat such as chicken, beef, lamb, goat, pork, and even “wild meat” (agouti, deer etc.). This is my sister, Lover’s recipe. We make this every year for our parish’s annual International Food Day. Disclaimer: I’ve never “measured” ingredients for this recipe, since I make it so often. The measurements may need to be adjusted slightly. Trinidad and Tobago Flag


3-4 cups  rice
enough water to just cover the rice
1 pot spoon of sugar (large metal spoonful)
seasoning salt and black pepper
2 lbs of chicken/beef (butchered for stewing)
1/2 pound of boiled salted meat (pig tail or salted beef)
1 can of pigeon peas (drained and rinsed)
2 tablespoons of  canola oil
1 tb butter
1/2 can of coconut milk or 1/2 pack coconut milk powder
1 onion diced
1/2 cup of diced carrots  and 1/2 cup of pumpkin peeled and diced
1 cup of sliced okra


Season meat with seasoned salt and pepper and put to the side. Add crushed garlic, Spanish Thyme, pimento, etc for more flavor.

Heat oil in a heavy pot. Once hot, add sugar and stir until caramelized. Be careful not to burn the sugar*.

Add seasoned meat into sugar mixture and stir meat until fully coated in browned sugar.

Cook meat until almost done or until no longer pink.

Add uncooked rice and peas to pot. Stir until coated with sugar mixture as well.

Add enough water to cover meat/rice/peas mixture. At this point you can add a whole habanero pepper, for added heat. Allow it to burst during cooking. Do not remove until you serve the pelau.

Next add onions, okra, carrots, pumpkin, salted meat, and coconut milk or powder.

Bring to a boil for 1-2 minutes. Place top on pot and lower temperature to low. Cook until rice is done, about 20 minutes. Ass butter just before serving.

Fluff with fork. DO NOT STIR!

*Some people like their pelau dark, others like it brown or light brown. If you want it dark, be careful not to burn the sugar too much or else the pelau will taste bitter, and lose most of its flavor. I personally, prefer pelau that is not too dark. Instead of “burning” the sugar, some people buy ready-made browning. This saves time, but  be careful with the amounts of browning added.

Date Night Jambalya

This recipe for jambalya is one created by my best friend and , as a quick meal for our boyfriends, while in college. Although it is easy, it is also flavorful and can be “jazzed up” for more discerning tastes. I can’t say that this is “better than your momma’s” but if you brought this to your “momma and n’em” they’d enjoy it just the same. Recipe can be made with brown rice or without rice at all, and served over pasta.


1 tablespoon EVOO

1 pound skinless chicken breasts (boneless or bone in ok)

1 package andouille or smoked sausage (sliced into half-size rounds)

2 pounds fresh shrimp (heads removed and saved, deveined)

3 celery stalks

2 onions (1 cut in half, the other diced)

1 green bell pepper (diced)

1 red bell pepper (diced)

4 cloves garlic (minced)

1 16 oz can/tube tomato paste

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper

2 teaspoon Creole Seasoning (such as Tony Chachere seasoning)

1 teaspoon salt

5 cups water

2 cups long grained rice (uncooked)


In large pot bring to boil 5 cups water, chicken breasts, shrimp heads, 1 onion (which was sliced in half), 3 celery stalks, and 1 teaspoon salt.

Cook until chicken appears done (10-15 minutes). Remove chicken from pot and cool on cutting board. Once cooled, shred chicken using two fork method.

Drain liquid chicken was cooked in and set aside (save in order to cook rice).

In dutch oven or heavy cooking pot add EVOO. Once heated add diced onion, diced bell peppers, and garlic and sautee over medium heat until tender.

Once vegetables are tender, add chopped sausage, cleaned shrimp, and shredded chicken to cooked vegetables. Cook until shrimp turns pink (5-10 minutes), on low.

Stir in tomato paste and all dry seasoning. Add additional cayenne pepper if not spicy enough.

Once thoroughly mixed with vegetable and meat mixture, add 4 cups of chicken/shrimp stock (which was set aside), and two cups of uncooked rice.

Bring to a rapid boil for 2 minutes. Then turn all the way down to low and cover. Do NOT remove lid for 20 minutes. Once water is completely absorbed, lightly fluff rice mixture with fork. DO NOT STIR!

Serve with sweet corn bread (see recipe).



F. Oliver’s Oils and Vinegars

My home town of Rochester, New York, was once home to Frederick Douglass and Susan B Anthony, the Fortune 500 Hundred Super Powers Kodak and Xerox, and booming factories along the Genesee River. Now, the city is a shadow of its former self. But new life is beginning to emerge from the city tucked between the Genesee River and Lake Ontario. Rochester is home to an amazing wine, produce, and oil industry! Less than 20 miles southeast of Rochester is the city of Canandaigua.  Part of the Finger Lakes region, Canandaigua, hosts amazing winerys (http://www.canandaiguawinetrail.com/) such as my favorite, Casa Larga and unique little shops that highlight the region’s produce.

On my last trip home, I visited with my uncle and aunt, who although eat a plant-based diet, always have the latest kitchen gadgets and cooking accoutrements. I greeted them with my favorite dark chocolate caramels with sea salt, from my favorite Rochester Candy Institution, Stever’s Candy (http://www.steverscandy.com/) and they in turn introduced me to a new staple in their home- F. Oliver’s Oils and Vinegars (http://www.folivers.com/index.html)! My uncle allowed me to sample the pineapple balsamic vinegar and I was amazed! It could be drizzled on dessert, added to champagne, tossed in a salad or added to my favorite chicken recipe… simply delicious! The next day my mother and I drove to the F. Oliver’s location on Park Ave, while looking for apartments (I may be relocating back to NY while I complete my dissertation). Although it was difficult navigating how to enter the store, due to limited street parking which was exacerbated by all of the snow that had been plowed in an inconvenient way, the outside of the shop was lovely… especially because it was connected to a bakery. That was a win-win!

Upon entering the store, my mother and I noticed that the vinegars and oils were stored in beautiful  vistas of fustis, which were gleaming tanks crafted in Italy specifically for the storage and dispensing of the freshest oils and vinegars. The young lady in the shop that day was extremely friendly and allowed us the opportunity to taste every flavor of oil and vinegar that we desired, despite arriving to the store five minutes to closing.


The flavor infused Extra Virgin Olive Oils included:

Cilantro with Golden Roasted Onion

French Accent Tarragon

Fresh Bright Basil

Fresh Pressed Blood Orange

Fresh Pressed Meyer Lemon

Fresh Pressed Persian Lime

Garden Fresh Gremolata

Heady Garlic

herbes de Provance

Petit Beurre (Little Butter)

Sage with Wild Harvest Mushroom

Smoky Chipotle

Tunisian Harissa

Tuscan Garden

In addition to the flavor infused oils, the store also sells speciality oils such as: Earthy porcini, Finger Lakes Fabulous Squash Seed Oil, Finger Lakes-Good for You Grape Seed Oil, Roasted French Walnut Oil, and White Truffle Oil.

The store also sells an extensive array of aged and flavor-infused balsamic vinegars imported from Italy. Their special reserve balsamic is aged eighteen years to ensure a rich, complex, and smooth taste. Yummy!

The flavor-infused balsamic vinegars include:

12 Year Old Dark

12 Year Old White

Aromatic Oregano

Autumn Cinnamon Pear

Blushing Peach

Cafe Espresso

California Apricot

Clementine Tangerine

Creamy Coconut

Dark chocolate

Farmstand Strawberry

Felix Oliver’s Special 18 Year Old Reserve

Fragrant Vanilla Bean

Ginger Spiked Blackberry

Honeyed Ginger

Lemon Bouquet

Mango Breeze

Mediterranean Cassis

Orchard Ripe Red Apple

Raspberry Treat

Ripe Fig

Royal Pomegranate

Sunny Pineapple

Sweet Rich Cherry

Zesty Grapefruit

I’m going to begin saving my pennies! I plan on purchasing 32 bottles ASAP and using them to further develop my recipes and even plan on trying a few of their recipes (http://www.folivers.com/recipes.html#Coconut). I am excited to use both the EVOO and balsamics, as well as support a local business.

With a Servant’s heart and hands,

The Ebullient Epicurean

My Guide to (my favorite) Cookware and Bakeware

Growing up, I was indeed spoiled. My mother’s kitchen had the top of the line cookware and utensils. My mother always illustrated that great cookware was just as important as using fresh local ingredients (shout out to the local farms in Upstate New York). There were four brands of cookware that I saw used on my mother’s stove growing up: T-FAL, IMUSA, Le Creuset and Mauviel. I enjoyed out trips to Williams and Sonoma to check out the latest merchandise (http://www.williams-sonoma.com/). Each brand was used for specific recipes, something that I would later understand the importance of as an adult. In my own kitchen I use IMUSA, Mauviel, and Le Creuset. Below I’ll introduce you to each brand and when and why I use that particular brand for certain recipes. 

IMUSA (http://www.imusausa.com/)

IMUSA has various collections, however I mainly use the calderos collection and the kitchen gadgets. The calderos collection, caldero literally means cauldron in Spanish, includes durable cooking pots, which are similar to Dutch ovens. They have a tight-fitting lid. The calderos are great for soups, stews, beans, and most importantly rice. There is no need for a rice cooker, when you have an IMUSA caldero.


IMUSA also makes great gadgets, that I remember seeing in my great grandmothers’ kitchens. From their kitchen gadget collection I use the wood mortar and pestle. It is perfect for crushing and smashing fresh herbs and spices. If you never use fresh herbs or roast your own spices, you are missing out. Such amazing flavor!


The last 2 must have gadgets from IMUSA are both associated with my favorite snack… plantains! Plantains are a staple in my cooking and can be steamed, fried, or boiled. When frying them for tostones (patacones) I use IMUSA’s   tostonera which is made from wood. It makes the plantain  just the right thickness and shape, easily flattening sliced plantains and prepares them to be fried.


Lastly, I use IMUS’s plantain slicer. This slicer not only is great for slicing perfectly thin plantains, but can also be used to slice vegetables, fruits and cheeses.



I was first introduced to Mauviel Cooper Cookware on one of my trips with mother to Williams and Sonoma. I was attracted to the cookware because of the color, at first. But I later found that the “color” attributed to the great results I received when sauteeing items. The Mauviel Copper Collection is a heavy gauge 2mm cooper, which ensures that the heat is quickly absorbed into the pan. The stainless steel inside of the cookware results in easy clean up, while the handles provide an elegant French look. The Mauviel sautee pan with lid is a must for your kitchen! The Mauviel collections can be rather costly, so I recommend starting with the sautee pan with lid. It costs approximately $500 for the 3 1/4 QT sautee pan, but is well worth the price. Great for breakfast items, vegetables, and sandwiches.



I use Imusa and Mauviel when cooking atop the stove, but when utilizing my oven, Le Creuset is a must (especially when baking and roasting)! When roasting a chicken I always turn to my 3 QT rectangular dish. This dish allows for room for the juices to follow from the bird and moisten the meat, even cooking, and durability in high temperature cooking. For $50 you cannot beat this! They even sell Le Creuset at Marshall’s and TJ MAXX Homestore. Also, they come in an array of bright colors.


The Heritage Pie dish is another great addition to your kitchen if you enjoy baking pies. This dish will ensure that your pie  crust is perfectly browned and flaky – never burnt. The dimpled edge can also be used as a guide for an evenly fluted top crust.

 That’s a quick introduction to my favorite cook and bakeware! I’d love to hear about some of your favorite cook and bakeware, as well as general cooking utensils! I hope this inspired you to cook, bake, and entertain!

With a servant’s heart and hands,

The Ebullient Epicurean

My Childhood home and kitchen. All that I know now about cooking and baking I learned in my mother's kitchen. Although my parent's have since sold this house, my memories remain.

My Childhood home and kitchen. All that I know now about cooking and baking I learned in my mother’s kitchen. Although my parent’s have since sold this house, my memories remain.

Sweet Potato Breakfast Hash

An easy breakfast hash that will be a colorful addition to your Sunday Brunch menu or a healthy and quick weekday breakfast item! Simply dice and freeze sweet potatoes for quick addition and future meal preparation. Like many of my recipes, this can be adjusted for vegetarian/vegan eaters.

breakfast hash


1 yellow onion diced

1 bell pepper diced (orange or red)

2 sweet potatoes peeled and diced

2 habaneros diced (optional)

1/2 pack of Jimmy Dean Turkey Sausage Crumbles or your favorite turkey sausage cooked and fat drained

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon water

Salt and Pepper to taste


In heavy pot heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil

Once heated, add diced sweet potatoes tossing them in the olive oil. Turn heat to low.

sweet potato

Next add onions, bell pepper, and habanero peppers. Stir.

Add additional table spoons of oil to coat all vegetables and water. Put lid on pot and simmer/steam on low.

Let simmer 5-10 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Add cooked sausage and season with salt and pepper.

cooked hash

Serve and Enjoy!

Nutritional Facts

Per Serving (serves 4)

Calories 107.3

Total Fat 2.2g

Cholesterol 17.5 mg

Sodium 258.7 mg

Potassium 336.4 mg

Total Carbs 21.8 g

  Dietary Fiber 2.8g

  Sugars 6.9 g

Protein 7.5g

Vitamin A 63.5%

Vitamin C 114.0%

Iron 5.2%

Martin Luther King, President Obama and Servanthood

Rev Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and President Barack ObamaOn Sunday January 20, 2013, the children at my parish (St. Luke’s Episcopal) performed this play, written by me. Our church celebrates Martin Luther King Jr Day in a major way, with a large processional, freedom songs, and events honoring Black Leaders. I wrote the play to reflect on the life of MLK and how it could inspire President Obama. I also hoped that people would walk away realizing how important service and servanthood are to the development of community and our nation. I’ll post the video to this post as soon as I receive it. Enjoy!


Summary: Barack and Michelle Obama are preparing for bed on the night of Barack’s reelection.  Talk leads to Martin Luther King Jr and other heroes and heroines of the Civil Rights Era. As they sleep, in heaven, Martin and Coretta King, discuss the recent reelection of President Obama. They ask God to inspire President Obama by speaking to him, in the president’s dreams.

Scene I

            Setting: The Presidential bedroom

Michelle (MO): I am so proud of you Barak! God’s favor has carried you through!

Barak (BO): Yes, Michelle! To God be the glory! The people of this country have reelected me!

MO: Can you believe it? God has placed you in a position to not only serve this country, but to give Him all of the glory!

BO: I couldn’t have done it without your support, God’s favor, and other people who paved the way for me.

MO: Like who?

BO: You know… Generations of enslaved people, who built this nation, leaders from around the world such as Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Ella Baker, Shirley Chisholm and those many other silent heroes.

MO: You’re right! I wish the people who didn’t live to see your election in 2008 and now your reelection tonight, could see how far this nation has come.

MO: Just today, I overheard Malia talking about her Sunday school lesson about the role of women. Her Sunday school teacher shared with the students the story of Deborah and Barak from Judges Chapter 4, verses 9, 11, and 17 through 22. In Judges, Deborah told Barak that Israel would be delivered by the hand of a woman, through prophecy. Because Deborah knew God for herself, she was able to strengthen Barak, allowing him to lead the army of Israel to victory. You see, God has used women not only to strengthen the hands of others but in being spokespersons and leaders in their own right.

BO: You’re right Michelle! There were many women who played a critical role in our history and creating opportunities for us today. There was Harriet Tubman who escaped slavery and led many on the Underground Railroad to freedom farther north. There was Sojourner Truth, who after her manumission from slavery in New York State, preached God’s word of liberation for Blacks and women. There was Miriam Makeba who sang freedom songs in South Africa until the apartheid government banished her. And there was Ella Baker, whose strong organizational skills were indispensable in building up the NAACP, and in helping to organize the SCLS and SNCC.

MO: Yes. Ella Baker also established the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party in 1968, which forced the rules to be changed on the governance of the Democratic Party that influences the experience of freedom for all. Those rules of inclusion were critical to your election in 2008 and reelection today.

BO: (nods head in agreement) Not only do I wish that they could see how far we’ve come, but also help give me advice on how to further improve my leadership skills as well as once and for all ending racism, sexism, classism and other issues.

MO: Well, let’s thank God tonight for his blessings and ask Him to continue to lead us in the right direction.

Barak and Michelle hold hands as they pray

BO: Sovereign God, thank you for blessing us with this opportunity! Help us to keep an open ear to your summons to service. Lord, call our name; move us towards justice. Help us to know that we are the ones that we have been looking for. And by the movement of your Holy Spirit make your presence known in our lives and in our communities, and nation in these troubling times. In the name of Jesus Christ…

MO and BO: Amen!

Michelle and Barak lay down to sleep

“Heavenly” music plays

Scene II

Enter Martin Luther King and Coretta Scott King,

Setting: Drinking Coffee together in heaven

Martin (MLK): Didn’t the heavenly angels sound great tonight?

Coretta (CSK): Oh yes! It seems as if they were inspired by the reelection of Barak Obama.

 MLK: That young man was destined for greatness. I’m so proud to be able to look down and see how far our earthly home has come. They still have a long way to go, however.

CSK: But if they keep God first. Love their neighbors and listen to His directives, they’ll get it together.

MLK: You’re right, Coretta.

CSK: Martin, in their prayers tonight, Barak and Michelle prayed that God help them move towards justice. Is there any way that we can intercede on their behalf?

MLK: Sure! Let me put a call in using this intercessory prayer line. I know just who to call.

MLK picks up telephone. It rings. God answers.

God (G): Hello?

MLK: God, it’s me. Martin. How are you?

G: Hi, Martin! I’m blessed and highly favored! You?

MLK: I’m great! I was calling to see if you could intercede on behalf of President Obama and the first Lady’s prayers. They need help moving the country in the right direction. They say that they were inspired by me, but I thought that you would also be a great inspiration to them to.

G: Sure! What do you need me to do?

MLK: Appear to Barak and Michelle in a dream. Inspire them to better serve their nation and the world.

G: Got it! I’ll do it right away.

Martin and God hang up intercessory prayer line (phone)

“Dream-like” music plays

 Scene III

God appears standing over Barak and Michelle, who are sleeping


                        Barak and Michelle, like my other children you have been called to be great. My gracious love reveals my purpose and plan for your lives in moving you towards greatness. Often, however, people on earth misunderstand what that means. Many think that greatness means being served, you should discover that greatness means being a servant, like your personal hero, Martin Luther King. My desire for my children is to have greatness, which is connected with your role in my plan of salvation and deliverance for all people. I give those with personalities like mine the opportunity to get their understanding of greatness in perspective so that they will be used for the kingdom of God.

            You see, in experiencing greatness in me requires that you grow in the grace of me. Having greatness is not instantaneous; it is a process that often involves painful situations. I’m sure you faced many of those during your last presidential campaign. But in order to understand the meaning of true greatness, you needed to go through a process that only difficult circumstances could teach.

            You think you had it tough with all the mudslinging? Just reread the bible.

            My children have learned important lessons on their journeys towards greatness, just as you have. They’ve learned to be humble, to provide excellent service, to have a good attitude, and most of all, to give glory to God from where all of their gifts and abilities come from.

            You’re inspired by the Reverend Martin Luther King, right? Well, he used his gift of oratory (speaking) to give me the glory. I challenge you to ask yourself what are your gifts? And how can you use them to give me the glory.

            At times, you’ll probably feel lonely. Sometimes, you might even believe that I have forgotten about you. How do you think Martin Luther King felt while he was in jail? Nevertheless, negative things are external to my favor and grace.

            I hope this helps!

Scene IV

Barak and Michelle awaken the next morning

MO: Barak, how’d you sleep last night?

BO: I slept well, but I had the strangest dream.

MO: What about?

BO: About God.

MO: Wow!

BO: After that dream, it’s evident that God sets people aside to do great things. God predestined for all of those leaders we were discussing yesterday to do great things!

MO: You’re right! God chose our parents, gender, skin color, personality and other characteristics to help us in our journey toward greatness. It’s too bad, people have used those things to oppress others.

BO: But look at people like Nelson Mandela. He was a Black lawyer in South Africa during apartheid. Or Hosea Williams who survived imprisonments because of his work on civil rights. Or Martin Luther King, who fought against Jim Crow here in the United States. It’s obvious that greatness is defined by the power of God that lies on the inside of a person and their willingness to serve God. Many people do not realize their own potential for greatness because they are looking at themselves through the lens of the world and not God. However, all of us are made in the image of God, and we all look great!

MO:  The sense to feel either inferior or superior can only be overcome by God’s grace. This is why we as African Americans, despite centuries of abuse, could identify God’s grace in the midst of racial prejudice and violence. From the days of slavery to even some of the issues that we must overcome today, we are able to sing songs like, “Woke Up This Morning with my Mind” and “Oh, Freedom”. Even though we’re fighting for freedoms for all, we’re able to keep focused on our goals and move toward greatness of soul and mind. Faith enables us to experience God’s grace, knowing that God is present even in the midst of evil.

BO: You know Michelle, our crusade like that of the civil rights movement, should be to not only level the playing field for all, but to also bring people together and end oppression. That can be our proclamation that we are all God’s children with significant roles to fulfill in bringing forth God’s kingdom. We are heirs to the Kingdom and the pathway to that Kingdom is servant hood. Anytime we have the opportunity to serve, we have an opportunity to move on the pathway of greatness in God. Greatness has to do with being a servant, giving people a lift to the next level in doing the will of God. That’s our goal during this next four years. I’m sure that, that would make civil rights leaders, our communities, and most of all God proud.



What Cha’ Cooking Contest

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In the fall of 2011 a soror, who had dined at my home on numerous occasions, suggested that I submit a video to her news network for a cooking contest. Knowing that many of the contestants would be submitting videos … Continue reading