Oh My, Sweetie Pie!

Sweet Potato Hash Browns



2 medium sized sweet potatoes, cleaned, peeled and shredded

Grape seed oil (or extra virgin olive oil)

1 tsp or more (low sodium) salt

1 tsp or more ground black pepper

1/2 tsp or more paprika (optional, to taste)

1/2 tsp or more ground cinnamon (optional, to taste)

1/4 tsp or more nutmeg (optional, to taste)

1 tsp butter or margarine (optional)


1. Clean sweet potatoes and bake in microwave on high for 1 minute.

2. Peel sweet potatoes with a knife or vegetable peeler.

3. Grate sweet potatoes (with a cheese grater or a mandilon) into a medium sized bowl.

4. Heat large skillet or pan on medium heat. Add grape seed oil or evoo (about 3 tbsp).

5. Add spices (salt, pepper, paprika, cinnamon and nutmeg).

6. Mix hash browns and allow them to cook on low to medium heat to absorb any moisture. Allow them to brown a bit before flipping them in the skillet or pan. Repeat. They may be a bit mushy and will lighten in color (orange to a yellow-orange).

7. Cook for about 10 to 15 minutes or until crispy and golden brown. If they begin to burn, turn to low heat and let them crisp up.

8. Top with cinnamon, a dollop of margarine/butter or sour cream. Or, my favorite, heinz tomato ketchup (optional) and enjoy!

Verdict: A healthier, and tasty, alternative to regular baked potato hash browns. Made them on a whim and they turned out excellent. Sweet, with a bite of crispy, these hash browns will make you wish you did not make more. Scramble a few eggs or eat them alone, they certainly would be a crowd pleaser. An excellent way to get potassium into your diet, while still being a bit gluttonous! They remind me of the holidays, when all I used to eat at Thanksgiving was potatoes! A wonderful, delicious side dish for any occasion. Serving size: 2

Suggestions: If you want to make the sweet potatoes not as sweet, add granulated garlic or onion to them. These potatoes would make a creative a casserole dish as well, paired with onions, mushrooms, peppers and sausage. Also can be used as a base for a sweet potato pancake.

*Note: I apologize for the terrible photographs. Poor lighting can really do some damage!

Gettin’ Saucey

Vodka Sauce (With Shrimp & Baby Bella Mushrooms)


I have made this three times, and each time I used different tomato sauces as the base. I will share the ingredients I felt were most successful in the completion of this dish. My tip: use up what sauces you have in the kitchen pantry – the texture may be a little different each time, but it does not stop you from enjoying what you intended to do in the first place – make a delicious, home-cooked meal! 🙂

Originally found on, and adapted from, Rocco DiSpirito: http://www.oprah.com/food/Penne-Alla-Vodka


16 ounces (one 1 lb box) Barilla pipette pasta (up to preference) (The amount of sauce being made can withstand 1 1/2 boxes pasta, if you would like a higher pasta to sauce ratio)

1 jar Francesco Rinaldi Hearty Tomato sauce

1 jar Francesco Rinaldi Tomato & Basil sauce (or Traditional Tomato & Basil sauce)

1.5 oz (one shot or more) Kettle One vodka (any brand of vodka can be substituted, up to preference)

8 ounces (1 container) mascarpone cheese (Beligioso)

1/2 tsp or more ground and/or crushed red pepper, up to preference

Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Oregano, to taste

Garlic powder, to taste

6 tbsp Italian cheeses

1 tbsp heavy cream (optional)

12 or so extra large shrimp (26/30), cooked and deveined (optional)

3 Baby Bella mushrooms, washed and sliced thinly (optional)


1. In a large pot, cover salted water and allow it to boil. Cook pasta according to boxed directions.

2. Meanwhile, in a medium to large saucepan, heat both jars of pasta sauce on low to medium-low heat.

3. Heat through, add vodka. Stir well, and allow sauce to simmer.

4. Add spices (crushed/ground red pepper, oregano, garlic powder, salt and pepper).

5. Add mascarpone cheese and stir well. Sauce should be a light red color, not yet blush.

6. Spice more to taste. Too much red pepper will overwhelm your palette, so be sure not to add too much unless you are ready to sweat! As an option, add heavy cream to make more of a blush sauce.

7. Add shrimp and/or mushrooms to sauce. You can also sauté the mushrooms in extra virgin olive oil first, with a few dashes of salt, pepper, and garlic.

7. Toss cooked pasta in sauce. Mix well. Sprinkle with Italian cheeses. Enjoy!


Adventure Time




[“Did you not learn your nation’s airport codes in high school?” – Kenneth Parcell, 30 Rock]


One of my absolute favorite things to do while I am on vacation is to eat. I love exploring the cuisine and diverse menus the local areas have to offer. Being that I have lived in Florida before, the variety of foods offered in the south have more than doubled since I had been there only a year ago.

My favorite restaurant I have been to thus far is located in Lake Mary (one of three locations):

Dexter’s Restaurant


Each location has a main menu, which includes a variety of unique sandwiches and salads, as well as pastas made from scratch. However, all the locations also have their own unique cafe menu, with exclusive dishes created by the current executives chefs. They seem to only change seasonally, about every 9-12 months, give or take a few.



There are a variety of delectable fresh fishes to chose from, and indeed everything on the menu reads so well you could almost eat the parchment it is printed on. But, better save some room for their fresh, homemade pasta because it is seriously some of the best I have ever had.


[parmesan shells with shrimp]


[from the dinner cafe menu – chimmi churri mahi with blue crab salsa and lime garlic spinach]

Layers upon layers of flavors! And such a beautiful display.

Liam Fitzpatrick’s Pub



I have been desiring to add stout to a french onion soup or a beef based broth, and wouldn’t you know it? This place did it! And it was right on the money! (As Guy Fieri would say)

And the rest of the trip was all smooth sailing…




If there is one thing I must share with the readers of this blog…


I took mine for granted, and I have been living in my own designated hell and disaster for the past year because of it. I have finally found the courage and strength to take the world head on and take life at face value. From all the bad that came from my experiences, I have learned some very important lessons and I will attempt to never make those silly mistakes again. My future is much brighter and sunnier, and I have concluded which path I would like to take – the present. Because looking too far into the future is the most traumatizing, and looking back into the past is the where the guilt and resentment stems from. I am so grateful I have the opportunity to finish school and go back to where I started – so I can proudly state I am not a quitter (for all the right reasons) and I no longer run away from my fears.


[UCF main campus]

[rosen rosen

[Rosen College of Hospitality Management – one of the largest in the nation! And brilliantly stunning]

So I have decided…

Goin’ back to Philly, I don’ think so!