Tag Archives: cooking

Tuesday:) Toni’s Tasty Everything But the Kitchen Sink Salad

20 Jun

“Never underestimate the power of good food. Eating delicious food can be a life-changing experience.”

Shon Mehta


Many people say they hate cooking or they have trouble thinking of what to prepare for meals. I know I’m crazy, but I love to cook and bake. The secret is being creative.

I’m not a vegetarian or a vegan, but I’ll admit that I very rarely buy meat when at the store. Plus, I don’t eat fish, yuk. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll order a burger or chicken when I go out to lunch or dinner. Oh! Don’t get me started on chicken fried steak at Rick’s or chicken fried chicken at The Pantry. I just don’t prepare it at home.

I’d say that I fix salads 9 out of 10 times when I eat at home. My favorite salad is my Everything but the kitchen sink salad. I love organic baby spinach, so I buy the big plastic box to last me all week. I put a huge handful in a big bowl then add … a mixture of a lot of stuff.

Here’s my lunch for today.

I get a large bowl and add drained cans of….

I can garbanzo beans

1 can white navy beans

1 can sliced/diced beets (turns everything red, but that’s ok)

I can black eyed peas or whatever

1 chopped cucumber

1 chopped celery stalk

I diced apple

Some diced tomatoes

Some diced strawberries

30 or 40 grapes sliced in 1/2

Sometimes I add red onion…add whatever you like or have on hand.

Then I pour in some organic AC vinegar and a few squirts of Italian dressing. S &P and a few dashes of garlic powder. I don’t measure anything. Then, refrigerate. This is enough for all week, 5 or 6 salads.

I put a big handful of spinach in a bowl, top with about a cup or more of the bean/fruit mixture. Oh, I forgot. Sometimes I’ll sprinkle with some of the nuts that I keep around for snacking, adds crunch and salty.

I love my big easy-peasy everything but the kitchen sink salads, very filling, pretty tasty, and pretty good for you. And, it lasts all week.

After fixing this and feeling creative and healthy, that’s when I bake a few pans of brownies. I said I was creative. I didn’t say I was a health nut.

Wednesday:) What’s Cookin’ Miss Toni? TOni’s Ten Bean Soup

4 Apr

“Life is delicious. Waste not one bite!”

A.D. Posey


When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade, right? When your friends invite you to dinner on Easter, and are going to throw out their left over ham bone, you say…”Stop, I can make soup!”

My big problem is I love to cook and bake. It’s a problem for me, but not for my friends and neighbors, and local firemen, and let’s see, Desra the mail lady, the guys who mow my lawn…and the list goes on. So when I get in those moods, I cook, I bake, and I share.

Another big problem I have is I tend to get carried away. This tiny little ham bone and a few slices of ham turned into two huge pots of Toni’s Ten Bean Soup. Really, the soup packet, given to me by a friend, had my name on it.

Of course, the ingredients were enough to only make a few cups of soup. NO!!! So, I boiled the ham bone and pieces of meat and added tons of other ingredients. To the bean mixture, I added a bag of carrots, an entire stalk of celery, eight potatoes, a couple of onions, a can of Rotelle tomatoes with diced chilies, and a few extra cans various beans.

Well, it made a few gallons of soup. I shared with a few neighbors, and have plenty to take to my senior art group at Towne Creek on Friday.

Friday:) From the Oven

10 Feb

“When it’s freezing cold outside, and the snow is piled up, it’s time to crank up the oven.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


It’s winter in Chicago, it’s been snowing, so I’ve been cooking. What else is new? After a week of homemade tacos, Chicago pizza and Chicago hot dogs, I figured it’s time to fix a few healthy meals.

Thank goodness for weather predictions. Everyone and there uncle was at he grocery store yesterday stocking up on food and essentials. We have enough Fritos, Bugles, and potato chips in Mom’s cabinets, so we stocked up on fruit and veggies. (Hmm, I hope I have enough vodka for Black Russian Friday!)

I think we should be set for a while. Lots of roasted veggies. Yum!

When the going gets tough, the tough get cooking.

If you’re in the cold, stay warm and enjoy the view. If you are nice and warm….don’t talk to me. Just kidding. Have a good one.

Wednesday:) What’s Cookin’ Miss Toni

25 Jan

“Art is food for the soul, and an artistic climate is a healthy climate because it breeds empathy.”

~ Amanda Palmer


Well, last week I showed you some vases that were cooking in the oven. I painted another ten vases and baked them, but I also bake some real food. I love baked vegetables. So, when I went to Sprouts, I picked up a bunch of fresh vegetables and cut and chopped and diced and got carried away, as I often do. I started with potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, and green beans. After they were washed and chopped, I put them in a huge Tupperware bowl with some olive oil, garlic, salt and peppers and did the shake, shake, shake thing. I poured them into a huge baking pan.

I couldn’t fit more in this pan, so I got two more pans for a huge red cabbage, three eggplants, and two onions.

I baked all of the above, covered with foil at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes, not sure, I just peeked to see if they looked done. Then, I baked uncovered for another half hour or more. Oh my. When everything get toasty and yummy and sticks to the bottom, that’s the best part.

I kept nibbling on the crispy parts, then put three bags of veggies in containers for the freezer, and kept the rest out for several more meals.

Here’s what I’m having for dinner tonight.

I put a flour tortilla in a dry pan with cheese and veggies. Cooked on a low heat, covered.

Then, I added avocado and tomatoes. A veritable vegetarian delight. I’m not even a vegetarian, but I love this meal. I could eat this every day.

Saturday:) Somethin’s Cookin’ at Grandma’s

23 Dec

“The only way I know how to cook is for an army. Bring on the troops!”

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


When I come to visit Mom, I always try to do a little baking and cooking. Well, I take that back. I do a LOT of cooking and baking. This way I can freeze a bunch of containers for future dining pleasure, but also to share with my sister and Mom’s friends.

My sister and I went to the grocery store yesterday and got all the fixin’s for beef stew and mini pot pies. I started last night with COMMERCIAL COOKING. I call it that because I get up during commercials, do a little chopping, then back for the segment of Hallmark mushy movies. I love Hallmark, but I’ll be glad when all the mushy Christmas episodes are done with. They all have the same plot and premise. AND?..that ain’t how it happens in the real world…excuse me!

So, I was up well past 1am doing commercial cooking. Then, today I finished up the stew. I needed an extra big pot that my sister brought over, and a few other things I forgot, so I could have two big pots. It couldn’t all fit in one.

I made 18 mini pot pies using biscuits that I split in half to use for crust and top.

Here’s a tip…I found out the hard way. Cover loosely with foil while baking so the top crust doesn’t brown too quickly and lets the bottom crust bake.

Look how yummy! Oh, that one missing on the left…that was the mandatory test sampler. I had to check and see if they were good. Yep, they were pretty darn good.

The rest of the stew went into containers for freezing, a couple for eating, and Some for sharing.

Cupcake baking later tonight. Ho ho ho!!!

Happy Holidays, Happing Baking, Happy Everything,

Taco Tuesday:) What’s Cookin’ Miss Toni

19 Jul

“Nothin’ says lovin’ like massive quantities of home cooked meals.”

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


(Thank you Mary Hodits- it’s Tuesday not Wednesday. Maybe the Texas heat and all the cooking has fried my brain.)

I suffer from a very serious and little known disease called OCCBD. Those initials stand for Obssesibe Compuslsive Cooking Baking Disorder. When it comes to cooking and baking, I don’t have a shut off valve. I don’t know how to cook for one, and they don’t have a support group in my area where I can get help. So instead, I just cook and bake with reckless abandon, feeding firemen, neighbors, friends, and occasionally total strangers.

I’ve been trying to use items I have squeezed and crammed in my freezer. I had some ground beef and decided to make tacos on Sunday. I invited a couple of friends for dinner, trying to use up tortillas and other left overs. I made tacos and quesadillas, served with some homemade sangria.

But, here’s the problem. There was a little ground beef left over, but not enough to make anything substantial. So, I boldly scoured the recesses of the freezer and found some ground pork sausage. Ah, I’ll make some penne pasta. Not just a little, but a big vat of it, of course.

I told you, I have that disorder. I took some over to Kathy’s. I just let myself in with my key and left it in her fridge with a note. She loves my surprises and she hates to cook. Good combination. I made some for my neighbor Mr. Mike and then took some over to Sweet Spot Bakery and had a late lunch with my friends Kathy and Elizabeth.

There’s a tiny bit more room in the freezer, but now the fridge is over loaded until I dispense most of the food frenzy.

If you know of a good support group I can join, please let me know, otherwise… come on over for dinner. There’s always somethin’ cookin’.

Wednesday:) What’s Cookin’ Miss Toni

26 Jan

“If you can tell a good cook by a messy kitchen, then I’m the world greatest cook.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis



I love to bake, I love to cook

I’d be much thinner, if I read a book.


This week has been busy with a lot of cooking and baking, and eating. My favorite pastimes.

One day, I roasted all the vegetables laying lonely and neglected in the bottom fridge crisper. The potatoes were starting to grow eyes and the onions were sprouting. I peeled, chopped, and drizzled with olive oil, garlic, then shake and bake.

Oh my goodness, they were so good. I almost ate half the pan. Then, the next day, I boiled some mostaccioli, and added the vegetables, a little more olive oil, Parmesan and mozzarella cheese and baked. Here’s my secret ingredient. I add about half a teaspoon of oil from jarred jalepeño peppers. It adds a little tang. Another fantastic meal, all made from food in the fridge and in the pantry.

Tuesday, I made the brownies for my firemen friends and a few neighbors.

Today, I went into the freezer and found two ziplock bags of brownie bites. When I have leftover brownies, ( I know that’s hard to believe) I cut them in half, mush them in my hand, and roll into small balls, then freeze. So, I decided to take those out and dip in melted chocolate, about thirty in all.(Minus a couple I had to taste test)  A nice treat to share with my support group. They enjoyed them, and it helped me free up a tiny bit more freezer space.

I always have a messy kitchen, but I also have a lot of friends who appreciate the mess.