Serves 2

Such simple ingredients. Stale bread, ripe tomatoes, onion, basil, olive oil and vinegar. It’s amazing how basic items can be used to create delicious food and good lives. We talk about make simple changes on MakeYourSomedayToday, my twice a week motivational podcast.

2 tablespoon olive oil (use the best you can afford, because you will tastes the difference in low quality oil)
2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
2 pieces of bread, dried completely and broken into bite sized chunks
2 medium tomatoes, cut into 1/8ths or 8 cherry tomatoes, halved
3-6 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade cut (Roll the leaves into a tight tube, and then cut across the tube into thin strips.)
1/4 cup diced red onion

  1. Combine first three ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Combine the last five ingredient in a bowl. Toss to mix.
  3. Pour the dressing on top, toss and let the bread soak up the dressing for 3-5 minutes.
Nutritional data:
Calories:       178
Fat:            14.4g
Sat fat:         2.0g
Chol:            0mg
Sodium:    110mg
Carbs:        12.6g
Fiber:           3.7g
Protein:        2.8g
Note: you can use any bread that you prefer. I use Healthy Life’s High Fiber because of the good fiber content along with the low calories and sodium. It also tastes good, dries well, and is easy to find in stores.

I used a very high quality olive oil from Olivada Oils in Sheboygan, WI which was a Chipotle Infused Olive oil. It gave this salad a delicious heat and a nice kick to balance the sweet tomatoes and tart vinegar.

I think another variation would be to replace the red wine vinegar with a white balsamic (I think a traditional balsamic may overpower the other flavors, but that is a theory that is untested as of right now.) Olivada carries excellent balsamic vinegars, too. (I receive no compensation from Olivada, I just like promoting local businesses with great products. They will sell online and ship to you.)

Question of the day:
You are abandoned on a deserted island. Which THREE vegetables would you bring (and only three veggies, no fruits)? After I get responses from at least 10 people, I will tell you my three choices.

Make Your Someday Today is a twice-weekly podcast, where we talk to successful people in all walks of life and around the world on Monday, and then on Thursday, I take a specific message from the previous guest and give my “Trevitorial”, where I help you apply that message to your life. The entire purpose of the show is to help all of us overcome our challenges and fears and become the person we want to be, the person we deserve to be.

Pan-Fried Pork Cutlets (Six Versions!)

Pan Fried Pork Cutlets
Serve 4

4 boneless pork chops or pork half loin, 4-5 ounces each
2 tablespoons, flour
1 egg lightly beaten, in a bowl
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
2 tablespoons cooking oil

  1. Place chops or cutlets between think sheets of plastic or in freezer Ziploc bag. Pound thinly (1/4 inch).
  2. Mix together flour and your seasoning of choice on a plate or large bowl. (See options below.) Place panko crumbs on another plate or large bowl and toss with seasoning. (See options below.)
  3. Lay the pork in the flour and coat both side.
  4. Dip in egg wash, turning to coat both sides.
  5. Lay in panko crumbs, turning to coat both sides.
  6. Preheat non-stick skillet over medium heat.
  7. Add cooking oil. When it is hot, carefully lay the pork in the skillet.
  8. All the pork to cook until the crumbs are beginning to brown (4-5 minutes). Flip and repeat on the other side.
  9. Serve with your choice of sides. (I had my Asian Cole Slaw and homemade Kimchi. Sure, I was blending national cultures, but it is my kitchen! I can eat what I like!)
Nutritional data (for a 4 ounce raw cutlet):
Calories:      221
Fat:           10.2g
Sat fat:        1.5g
Chol:         60mg
Sodium:   253mg
Carbs:         8.5g
Fiber:          0.6g
Protein:     24.2g
Choices of seasonings:
Above is the basic recipe that can be modified to suit many needs.  When mixing the seasoning for this recipe, if the seasoning is a powder, it should be mixed into the flour. If it is more of a flake or dried herb, it gets added to the panko. That keeps the textures in each layer consistent.
For my meal, I used Chinese Five Spice powder (one of the few spice blends that is not available from Penzey’s) in my flour and panko for an Asian flavor, which fit well with my chosen side dishes.
For a more German flavor, use crushed mustard, garlic and rosemary (or just get Penzey’s Bavarian Seasoning) and serve with German potato salad and warm sauerkraut and a robust German Oktoberfest from Paulaner or Hacker-Pschorr.
If you want a more Russian characteristic add garlic, cinnamon, pepper and nutmeg (Penzey’s Tsar Dust Memories), served with a nice cold beet salad (I have a recipe for that, but it isn’t online yet) and coarse dark rye bread would be excellent. A Russian beer, such as Baltika #2 (pale lager) would work well, but Baltika #6 (Baltic Porter) is big enough to stand up to the robust flavors of this meal and would be a better choice.
Do you like Polish flavors? Use salt, pepper, coriander, garlic, crushed mustard and some sugar (Penzey’s Krakow Nights) served with a pile of braised cabbage with tart apples and smokey bacon, and a crisp Polish pilsner, such as Okocim.
A nice Italian flair would use basil, oregano, garlic and black pepper (Penzey’s Tuscan Sunset) served with angel hair pasta, boiled until al dente, drained, and then put into a skillet with olive oil and a LOT of garlic over medium high heat and toss until the garlic gets fragrant and lightly browned. (I would love to give a recommended wine for this dish, but to be totally honest, I am not that good at pairing wines. I like wines, but I love beers, so my strength is beer. Sorry.)
Northern Wisconsin flavor (my home territory) needs black pepper, coarse salt, paprika, thyme, rosemary and garlic (Penzey’s Northwoods Seasoning), crispy American fried potatoes, and my roasted carrots and peas. This needs a true Wisconsin beer, such as Leinenkugel Original, but I would suggest New Glarus Two Women which is crisp and balanced or Moon Man, which is bold and hoppy. But to get the New Glarus beers, you will need to travel to Wisconsin, as New Glarus does not distribute out of state.
Truly, the options are endless with this very basic fried meat. And if you buy a cutlet made from a half loin it will be very lean, too.
Note: I do not get any compensation from Penzey’s (and I tried) or the breweries (wouldn’t that be cool, though?) I just really enjoy all that they offer and want more people to know about them.
Two questions: 
1. Which version do you think you will try first?
2. What wine would you suggest with the Italian version?

What Do You Do To Improve Your World?

This isn’t a food-related post today, just something that popped up on Sunday’s walk.

One of our neighbors is hosting a “Little Free Library” (thanks go out to Naralyn Deloach Durbin for starting this) and another is about a half mile away near the village fire station. My wife, Tammy, is a Literacy Coach and I have loved reading since I first learned to read. We both appreciate the idea of books freely available to anyone and have an extensive personal library at home.

If you are unfamiliar with the idea, anyone can host a library. The Library can be mounted permanently to a post. Or in this case, it is mounted to a children’s wagon. It is filled with a variety of books, and other people can contribute more books to fill it. It is a simple way of helping improve the neighborhood.

If you don’t want to have a library in your front yard, what else can you do? I regularly donate platelets at the local Red Cross. My son has volunteered for a local food pantry. Tammy helps lead the education committee at our local zoo and works to promote literacy though the annual Literacy Marathon.

We all need to make our neighborhoods, cities, states and countries better. We don’t need to do a lot. We just need to do something.

What do you do to make your neighborhood a better place?

Grilled Pizzas (Version 2)

Each Serves 1

Cheesy Garlic Bread
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, mashed and minced
2 tablespoons (1/2 ounce) shredded mozzarella cheese

Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza
One half of a large hamburger bun
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 slice medium onion, grilled
1 ounce browned ground beef
1 slice cheddar cheese

Reuben Pizza
One half of a large hamburger bun
1 tablespoon low fat mayonnaise
1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
1 ounces deli corned beef
2 tablespoons sauerkraut
1 slice Swiss cheese

Philly Cheesesteak Pizza
One half of a large hamburger bun
1 teaspoon olive oil
Your preferred herb blend (I used Penzey’s Sunny Paris.)
2 ounces sliced beef
1 ounce fire-roasted sweet bell peppers
1 slice medium onion, grilled
2 tablespoons (1/2 ounce) shredded mozzarella cheese

Chicken-Basil Sausage Pizza
One half of a large hamburger bun
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 of cooked chicken sausage (Al Fresco All Natural Sun-Dried Tomato is great), sliced
1 slice medium onion, grilled
2 tablespoons shredded mozzarella

Pepperoni Pizza
One half of a large hamburger bun
1 tablespoon tomato paste
Your preferred herbs (I used Penzey’s Tuscan Sunset.)
7 slices pepperoni
2 tablespoons shredded mozzarella


  1. Preheat grill on high for 10 minutes.
  2. For each pizza, spread the sauce/oil on the bun, and then top with the ingredients in that order.
  3. Place on grill, over indirect heat (only half the burners on–pizzas go over the cold burners.)
  4. Grill until the cheese gets melted.

Nutritional data:
               Cheesy      Bacon     Reuben     Philly   Chicken   Pepperoni
                 Bread     Cheese                                  Sausage        

Calories       146          292          317          215        182           143

Fat:             7.8g         15.3g       21.6g         9.8g      6.4g           7.2g
Sat fat:        2.2g              8g         7.5g         2.9g      2.5g          3.1g
Chol:        7.5mg         55mg        50mg      43mg     40mg        19mg
Sodium:   223mg       356mg      907mg     295mg   434mg      359mg
Carbs:       14.6g         2 1.2g       17.3g       14.7g       18g        13.2g
Fiber:          0.4g              2g            2g         1.2g      1.9g          1.3g
Protein:          5g         17.4g           12g       17.4g    12.6g          6.3g

From the top center, moving clockwise:  Cheesy Garlic Bread, Bacon Cheeseburger, 
Reuben, Philly Cheesesteak, Chicken Sausage, Pepperoni.

How to grill an onion slice:

Slice onion thickly. Slide a skewer through as shown. Brush with a bit of oil. Grill until finished.

Tasting notes:

  1. The Cheesy Garlic bread needed more garlic and maybe a bit more cheese.
  2. The Reuben was killer!
  3. The rest were all very good and simple.
  4. I found that toasting the bread before making the pizza (as in the previous recipes) is an unnecessary step.
  5. Using hamburger buns in this manner will allow everyone to make their own pizza exactly as they want it (or them?) All it will take is a supply of sauces and various toppings for a very simple pizza party.

Blueberry Cookies

Blueberry Cookies
Serves 48

Tammy found this recipe in Pinterest and made them this morning after breakfast.

1 cup Splenda or Stevia *
16 ounces (by weight) non-fat Greek yogurt (plain, vanilla or lemon)
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup fresh blueberries, washed.

  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Grease cookie sheets.
  3. Mix the first four ingredients by hand in a medium bowl.
  4. Whisk together the flour and baking powder in a large bowl.
  5. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.
  6. When fully mixed, gently fold in the blueberries.
    We made the batter in our vintage Fire King “Cinderella” bowl. 
    We use vintage cookware as much as possible. It makes the food taste better!  πŸ™‚
  7. Drop by teaspoonful onto baking sheet.
  8. Bake for 10 minutes or until the edges begin to brown.
  9. Let cool on the sheet for 2 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack to finish cooling.
  10. Enjoy!
Nutritional data (per cookie):
Calories:       29
Fat:             0.2g
Sat fat:           0g
Chol:        4.4mg
Sodium:  25.4mg
Carbs:         5.1g
Fiber:          0.6g
Protein:       1.8g
These cookies are light and soft, and really tasty. 
* If you prefer to not use non-sugar sweeteners, you can certainly replace the Splenda or Stevia with granulated sugar. That will add 14 calories per cookie and 4g of sugars per cookie. 

Grilled French Bread Pizzas–Four Ways

Grilled French Bread Pizzas, Four Ways
Each pizza serves 2 or more, depending on if used as a meal or appetizer

French bread loaf, 12 inches (approximately)
Your choice of toppings (your options are infinite.) I used (from top to bottom):

Cheesy Garlic Bread
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large garlic clove, crushed and minced
1/4 cup (1 ounce) shredded mozzarella

Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza
1 tablespoon bacon grease (you can use olive oil if you prefer)
2 tablespoon tomato paste
4 ounces ground beef, cooked
2 strips bacon, cooked and chopped
2 slices cheddar cheese (sharp if possible) or 2 ounces shredded

Olive, Mushroom & Spinach Pizza
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large garlic clove, crushed and minced
1/2 can (4 ounce can) mushrooms (I use Pennsylvania Dutch brand, no added salt)
4 green olives, sliced thinly
4 Kalamata olive, sliced thinly
1 ounce fresh baby spinach, chopped finely
1 ounce (1/4 cup) shredded mozzarella

Mushroom & Swiss Pizza
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large garlic clove, crushed and minced
8 ounces fresh crimini mushrooms, sliced
1/2 medium onion, sliced
2 slices Swiss cheese (or 2 ounces)

The instructions are basically the same for each and only vary with the difference in toppings.

  1. Preheat your grill in high, or set your oven’s broiler on high.
  2. Cut the loaf in half, lengthwise. 
  3. Carefully remove as much the bread from the cut face of each half, creating a long bowl for the crust. When finished, each shell should weight about 2 or 2.5 ounces. (Save the removed bread to make bread crumbs, if you want.)
  4. Evenly spread the oil (or bacon grease) over the cut surface (not the crust). Spread garlic if the recipe calls for it.
  5. Prepare all fillings. If you didn’t cook the ground beef specifically for this recipe, warm it in a microwave oven in a skillet on the stove. (Do the same for the bacon.) Slice and chop all ingredients, and pre-measure the cheeses if needed.
  6. For the mushroom filling, preheat a nonstick skillet. Add a bit of cooking spray. Saute the onions and mushrooms until everything is softened the the mushrooms have released their water.
  7. When all toppings are ready, take the bread to the grill. Turn the heat to low and lay them, cut side DOWN, on the grill. Don’t walk away. The crusts go from raw to crispy to burned with very little time in between those stages. (Mine were getting close to burnt!)  This will take 1-2 minutes. If you are using your broiler, place them cut side UP, and give them the same 1-2 minutes. The idea is to crisp the crust, and help it resist absorbing any juices from the fillings and getting soggy.
  8. Take the crusts back to your work area. Fill the crusts in the order that they are given.
  9. Return the pizzas to the grill or broiler (in both cases, cut side UP.) 
  10. Remove when the cheese is melted.
  11. Let rest briefly, then cut and serve.
Nutritional data (per half of one pizza):
             Cheesy Bread    Bacon-Cheese  Olive & Spinach   Mush & Swiss
Calories       160                     322                    202                       245
Fat:             9.4g                     19g                 12.5g                    13.3g
Sat fat:        2.4g                    9.1g                   2.6g                      5.1g
Chol:        7.6mg                  54mg                7.5mg                    20mg
Sodium:   227mg                328mg                550mg                  209mg
Carbs:       14.4g                  17.9g                  16.9g                       22g
Fiber:          0.4g                    1.1g                   1.5g                      1.5g
Protein:       5.2g                  19.1g                    6.6g                    11.2g
Note: This is my first attempt at these recipes, and I liked the crispy crust. At Tammy’s request, I will try these techniques again, but not toast the bread initially for a softer crust. I will also use some different fillings (yet to be decided.) I will post the results here, later this week.

Cooking on Television

This was how the food looked prior to the second segment.

Angela Kelly, me and Meteorologist Phil DeCastro

As I noted in the previous post here, I was asked to return and cook again.  The next TV date is set for Saturday, September 14. I already know what I will make:

Grilled Jalapeno Poppers and Grilled Pizza (I don’t know exactly the crust I will use for the pizza.)

The host (Angela) wanted a “football/tailgate” theme. I didn’t want to do the usual burgers, brats and wings, so I thought we’d go this way. I will have access to a gas grill, and we are going to grill good food!

Over the next week, the family and I will be eating many pizzas. I will post each on the blog for your input.

Saturday’s Television Segments Went AWESOME!

Just a quick post.

We just got back from the wedding and I still have a ton of stuff to prepare for tomorrow’s in-service at school. But, as promised, here are links to my segments on Good Day, Wisconsin, from Saturday morning.

Watch the first one, then click the forward arrow on the right side of the video to see the second segment.


Another question for you:

I was asked to return in about a month. Any suggestions for that visit? I want to stick to recipes from my blog.

Shoot me some ideas here, okay?

No stress. Nope. None at all!

The television cooking segments are two days away.

I decided to make Seared Tuna BLT, Baked Zucchini Fries and for dessert, the Strawberries with Balsamic Vinegar.

Thanks to Adrianne Ewald, Bushman, Fog and Flare, Andrew Carpenter, Louise Ciarleglio, and Chuck for helping me to set the menu. I appreciate your feedback here on the blog and on my Facebook page.

For those of you who live in the Green Bay area, this will be on WLUK Fox 11, on “Good Day, Wisconsin.” My segments are at 7:50am and 8:50am and will last 3-4 minutes. When the show is done, I will post links here (unless I can embed the video segments here directly. I will look into that.)  Watch for that probably on Sunday evening. As soon as I am done cooking, I need to drive home, pick up my family and go to a family wedding 100 miles away. It will be a bit hectic and I am not sure I will have any time to post anything here on Saturday.

I am really excited about this opportunity, and can’t wait for you to see it, too. Besides, you’ve seen pictures of me, but you haven’t seen me live or even heard my voice (except for a few here who know me.)

Who Is Your Greatest Fan?

Do you ride a motorcycle?

I don’t. To be totally honest, they scare me a bit. But I like the way they look. There are many brands and models. Dirt bikes, scooters, crotch rockets, three-wheelers, and big cruising bikes.

Quick! Think of one brand.

It was “Harley Davidson”, right? It is the iconic motorcycle, originating in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and you will see those bikes anywhere people ride. They have a distinctive look. They have a distinctive sound. They are not inexpensive, but if you love Harley’s, you don’t care. You won’t buy anything else.

Name another company–anywhere–that has fans who not only buy logo gear and clothing (everyone does that!) but has the logo tattooed on their body?

You think there are many Golden Arches tattooed on someone’s butt? (It would be appropriate, though.) I can’t imagine many tattoo artists have put the Coke or Pepsi logo on people. And seriously, you are either a Coke person, or a Pepsi person, right? (Me? Coke, when I have one, which is rare.) But even if you are a die-hard Pepsi drinker, I doubt that you would get that inked.

But Harley-Davidson? Lots of people get that logo inked. They don’t like H-D. They don’t love H-D. They live it. I doubt that anyone who has owned a Harley Fatboy Apehanger or Softtail has ever sold their bike and bought a Honda Goldwing. I just can’t see that happening. They are the biggest and most loyal of fans, they are the greatest fans.

Where am I going with this?

Who is your greatest fan? Who would be willing to get your logo or image tattooed on their body? Spouse? Maybe. Child? Less likely, but possible. The next door neighbor? Okay, that might be creepy.

However, I hope your greatest fan is yourself. I hope that you believe in yourself, and believe that you can succeed. You are worthy of success. If you don’t believe that, and if you aren’t your greatest fan, who is?

I want to see everyone here, all my readers now and the readers yet to come, become more confident in their abilities because self-confidence will bring success and increased self-worth. You will find out that you are your greatest fan, your greatest asset. (Because we all know the converse is true. Frequently you are your own worst enemy. Self-doubt and lack of confidence will prevent successes from even being possible.)

So, don your leathers and get on your figurative Harley, and ride to success. Ride along side with me as we find our successes.

Today’s question: Do you ride a motorcycle? What do you ride right now, and why?