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    Baked Spanish Turkey Empanadas

    June 6th, 2019


    Baked Spanish Turkey Empanadas - hero

    My love for culture

    I love being exposed and introduced to different cultures. Perhaps it is the fact that I grew up in Houston, a city teeming with diversity. Maybe another reason I’m that way is the fact that I grew up with 3 cultures at the same time.




    This is why I think I get excited when someone is from another country. I love learning about different cultures and even being exposed to the foods they enjoy.

    I usually don’t make the same meal again unless someone requests it and even then I don’t make it the same way again unless someone whines about it. My husband and chili have a long history. 😂

    Baked Spanish Turkey Empanadas - dinner ready

    Cooking Inspiration

    I often get asked where my inspiration comes from and it really depends. Sometimes it can be the way I feel. Maybe it’s just being inspired by the available ingredients in the fridge or pantry.

    Other times,  I read someone’s personal story about in a cookbook and that inspires. I recently was able to meet Chef Tune, a chef who won Food Network’s Chopped Competition in 2016.

    Shuman Farms RealSweet Onions collage

    He was cooking up a storm at Acme grocery store one Saturday using Georgia’s Real Sweet Onions. He was frying beer-battered onion rings and sliders with tomato onion jam. I enjoyed chatting with him and learning that he too was from Houston.

    I couldn’t wait to get home and cook!

    Shuman Farms RealSweet Onions

    Onions don’t get alot of exposure but I use them daily and even twice a day when I cook. These specific onions are sweet and make for delicious caramelized onions.

    Onions are high in antioxidants and vitamin C and a they also are a naturally fat free vegetable.  A huge plus is the fact that  onions also have a plant nutrient that helps fight varieties of cancers and even contributes to bone health.

    Something I learned growing up is that it’s important knowing how to store onions.  If they are mixed with any vegetable, they rot a lot quicker. They also need to be stored in cool dark dry spaces.

    Have I convinced you to make onions a staple in your cooking?

    Baked Spanish Turkey Empanadas - RealSweet Onions

    Baked Spanish Turkey Empanadas

    Many cultures have their own recipe for empanadas or turnovers, as they are known in the states. The varieties I grew up were both sweet and savory. My Mexican grandmother would fry hers and they were generally made with masa (corn- based) while my Chilean grandmother would make monster handheld meat pies that would make our dinner complete.

    Baked Spanish Turkey Empanadas - oven

    Both recipes hold sweet memories in my life.  As I owned my fridge, I was inspired to make a Spanish version fused with my Chilean recipe. The result? My family of 5 devoured all 12 large empanadas.

    I call that a successful meal! I hope you enjoy making these because they are easy and quick. I used lean ground turkey instead of the traditional beef recipes and no one noticed. 👌

    RealSweet Onions and ingredients


    Baked Spanish Turkey Empanadas

    by Noelle Kelly

    Prep Time: 20 minutes

    Cook Time: 25 minutes


    Ingredients (20 empanadas)

    • 1 lb 93% ground turkey
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 2 packages Goya frozen dough discs, thawed
    • 2 Real Sweet yellow onions, peeled and diced
    • 4 garlic cloves, minced
    • 5 ounces jarred pimientos, drained and diced
    • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
    • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
    • ¼ cup raisins
    • 5 ounces small black olives, sliced in half
    • 1 egg, whipped for egg wash


    Preheat oven to 375F. Remove the dough discs from the fridge 30 minutes before beginning.

    Caramelizing Onions - Shuman Farms

    Heat a skillet on medium heat. Add olive oil and the onions. Cook them for 7 minutes until caramelized. Remove from heat and spray pan with olive oil. Add the turkey meat, garlic, and spices and cook for 7-10 minutes. Add the raisins and mix well. Remove from heat.

    Adding ingredients to meat - RealSweet onions

    The dough discs are divided with plastic sheets, and should be removed one by one. Add about 2 tbsp of the meat filling in the center of the dough disc and three black olive halves and then bring both edges of dough together to seal. Fold the edges over, pinching to seal.

    Filling Empanadas with Meat

    Repeat with the rest of the dough and place on a greased baking sheet. Using a silicone brush, brush the tops of the empanadas with egg wash. Spray the empanadas with olive oil spray.

    Prepping empanadas

    Cook empanadas for 25 minutes and serve with a cabbage slaw or green salad.

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    Baked Spanish Turkey Empanadas - inside
    Baked Spanish Turkey Empanadas - plated

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    Mexican Omelette for National Egg Month

    May 26th, 2019

    Creativity with Eggs

    Eggs are a major staple in our home. If we do not have eggs available, everything comes to a halt and a trip to the grocery store becomes imperative. The egg is a versatile ingredient. It can be used in its entirety or the egg white can be simply used. It can be prepared in the following ways:

    • Poached
    • Scrambled
    • Omelette
    • Hard-boiled
    • Soft-boiled

    Eggs can be any time of day and be consumed in sweet or savory items. If you think you do not like eggs, you might still be ingesting them in some form. If you quit on eggs long time ago, you perhaps have not been exposed the options in which the egg can be eaten.

    Eggs can be Healthy

    Over years you may have heard and dealt with the claims that the egg was not really healthy. Perhaps consuming the egg yolk could cause high cholesterol. Either way, you might have heard many claims .

    Pete and Gerry’s, an organic egg company, are running an Eggs are Healthy Campaign, where they petitioned the FDA to update its guidelines around what can be deemed ‘healthy’. There are many labels on products that claim to be healthy when in fact they are not. There are many recent dietary guidelines issued by the USDA and Department of Health that encourage the consumption of eggs.

    Eggs are in fact a rich source of protein and essential nutrients. They are an important food group for our family! Make sure you check out Pete and Gerry’s Campaign and see the food labeling guide issued by the FDA and deems FDA’s “healthy” criteria.

    Mexican Omelette

    Our family eats eggs every day whether it is the egg as a whole or the egg white itself. One of the ways I love eating eggs is creating omelettes. It is a great way for adding vegetables and healthy cheeses and fats that make for a complete meal. Our mornings become more productive when we have the necessary fuel to go on with our day.

    Pete and Gerry’s Organic Eggs are pretty easy to find in most grocery stores. I found mine at Giant Food stores. Want to give them a try? Sign up on their website to get a coupon.

    Have all the ingredients chopped and prepared the night before and then all that needs to be cooked the day of are the eggs. Since we are following a clean eating lifestyle, we love pairing our eggs with more veggies or with one slice of sprouted toast.

    by Noelle Kelly

    Prep Time: 10 minutes

    Cook Time: 5 minutes


    Ingredients (serves 1)

      For the Omelette

      • 3 Pete and Gerry’s Organic Eggs
      • 3 Tablespoons cilantro, chopped
      • 3 Tablespoons red onion, chopped
      • 2 Tablespoons jalapenos, deseeded and chopped (optional)
      • 2 pinches of salt
      • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, ground
      • 1/4 teaspoon cumin

      Omelette filling

      • 1/2 tomato, chopped
      • 1/4 cup fat free mozzarella

      Omelette topping

      • 1/4 avocado, mashed
      • 2 teaspoon lemon juice
      • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
      • black pepper


      For the Omelette

      Crack the eggs into a small bowl and whip them until they are mixed well. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.

      Heat a medium skillet on medium heat and spray with olive oil spray. Add the eggs and allow to cook for 5 minutes. Lift the edges of the omelette with a spatula, allowing the raw egg to go underneath to the pan. Allow to cook until edges are cook and flip the omelette over.

      Add the cheese and tomatoes to one side of the omelette and close the omelette in half and allow the cheese to melt.

      Top with the guacamole and enjoy.

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      Allergy Season with Similasan

      May 10th, 2019

      We officially have a spring in Pennsylvania. It is by far my favorite season and sometimes it simply does not last long. Growing up in Texas I knew that pollen was always an issue for me but then I moved to Michigan and then now to Pennsylvania. The allergy symptoms just kept changing not only for me but also for my husband.

      When I arrived to Pennsylvania, I started getting upper respiratory infections thinking I had a virus only to find out from my physician that I was suffering from allergies. So my quest to find relief became a mission.

      Memories in Switzerland

      Thanks to Moms Meet, I was introduced to Similasan, a brand focused on natural remedies. Truthfully, I realized that I purchased this brand back when I was in Switzerland when I was 16 years old. I distinctly remember suffering from allergies while vacationing in Interlaken with my grandmother. I found a pharmacy and received a sublingual option and eye drops.

      I was dealing with itchy eyes, sneezing and an itchy palate. I remember that I was thankful that I was able to find relief back then. Fast forward and now I am 40 and have 3 little girls. I have a large maple tree in my front yard and somehow, when spring and fall hit, our allergies hit. A mixture of pink eye, itchy and watery eyes, and sneezing occur between this family of 5 and it is no longer about the adults.

      Similasan Eye Relief

      Similasan originated in Switzerland in the 1980s and became popular throughout Europe. It has also become popular in North America as well! Similasan’s success is due to their commitment to provide temporary relief of symptoms the natural way—by engaging the body’s defenses to support the immune system.

      Similasan Allergy Eye Relief is formulated with natural active ingredients like Eyebright flowers and Sabadilla Lily. These eye drops do not have any additional ingredients like anihistamines, vasoconstrictors, or harsh chemicals.

      My family and close friends know that I love all things holistic, so knowing that Similasan is focused on natural active ingredients, makes me relieved knowing I can have temporary relief in helpful ways.

      Multiple products

      Similasan has a variety of other products that can be added to your medicine cabinet.

      • Earache relief
      • Pink Eye Relief drops
      • Allergy and Sinus relief
      • Nasal Allergy Relief
      • and more

      I was able to use the Nasal Allergy Relief in addition to the Allergy and Sinus Relief tablets and I was thankful to have another option to alleviate current symptoms, if only temporarily.

      Where to find Similasan

      Similasan Allergy Eye Relief is available to purchase at Albertsons, Amazon, CVS, Dollar General, Giant Eagle, Harmon, H-E-B, Hy-Vee, iHerb, Ingles Markets, Kmart, Kinney Drugs, Kroger, Meijer, Natural Grocers, Publix, Pharmaca, Rite Aid, Safeway, Save Mart, Schnucks, Sprouts, Supervalu, Swanson, Target, The Vitamin Shoppe, Vitamin World, Walgreens, Walmart, Wegmans, Weis, Whole Foods Market, and Winn Dixie.

      To find Similasan Allergy Eye Relief in your area, visit for thefull list of locations.

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      Vegan Dumplings with Stir-Fried Veggies and Spicy Mango Sauce

      April 9th, 2019

      Spring is officially here! Even though the temperatures have been very volatile,  I’m choosing to embrace April.

      Now that we’ve been in our new house about 18 months,  I feel like I’m able to manage decorating for every season and holiday. I’m currently setting up my home to look like spring and Easter.

      Do you like doing that? What inspires you?

      If you’ve been following me for a while you would know that I love cooking according to the seasons. Local produce and colorful meals make for inspired meals.

      Thanks to Nasoya for challenging me to create a completely vegan meal.  10 years ago I went vegan for 2 years but then I got pregnant and craved meat.

      Fast forward to now and I occasionally prepare meatless meals especially ones with tofu.  I have an awesome tofu press that removes excess moisture in a tofu block.

      Nasoya recently came out with two kinds of organic vegan dumplings:

      • Tofu Vegetable dumplings
      • Thai Basil Vegetable dumplings

      They are found in the refrigerated section of the health department in the grocery store near the tofu. Here’s a few facts about them:

      • Ready-to-cook
      • Fresh
      • 6 grams of plant-based protein
      • Great as appetizers, snack or meals.

      I decided to try the Thai Basil Vegetable dumplings because they sounded the most intriguing. I made an easy lunch dish to share with my husband.  Each package makes about 3 servings of dumplings but it can easily be for 2 people.

      Where to Find Nasoya Dumplings

      These products are very easy to find but if you have problems, check Nasoya’s store locator. Again, they will be in the refrigerated section of your natural product section. I have seen them at Wegmans and Giant Food, but you can also find them at Acme, ShopRite, and Weis stores. Want to try them?

      Nasoya coupon

      Dumplings with Stir-Fried Veggies and Spicy Mango Sauce

      by Noelle Kelly

      Prep Time: 10 minutes

      Cook Time: 20 minutes


      Ingredients (2 lunch servings)


        • 1 package Nasoya Thai Basil Vegan Dumplings
        • 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
        • 1 Tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce

        Stir-Fried Veggies

        • 2 cups green cabbage, chopped
        • 1/2 cup green onions, chopped (white section)
        • 1/3 cup grated carrots
        • 1/2 large red bell pepper, sliced
        • 1 garlic clove , minced
        • 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
        • 1/4 teaspoon salt
        • 2 Tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

        Mango Sauce

        • 1/2 cup mango pulp ( or 1 yellow mango, peeled and fruit removed)
        • 1/2 Tablespoon soy sauce
        • 1 Tablespoon red chili garlic sauce


        • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped



        Heat a large skillet on medium heat and add sesame oil. Remove dumplings from packaging and add to skillet. Fry on one side for 4 minutes and then flip the dumplings so they cook on the opposite side for an additional 4 minutes. Add 1/4 cup water and cover pan to allow water to finish cooking the dumplings for 4 minutes. Remove dumplings to a bowl.

        Stir-fried veggies

        In the same pan, add the sesame oil and heat on medium heat. Add the veggies and seasonings and stir-fry veggies for 8 minutes. While they cook, make the mango sauce.

        Mango sauce

        Add all mango ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.


        Divide veggies between two plates. Add dumplings over veggies and drizzle with mango sauce. Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro.

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        Rack of Lamb with Roasted Rutabaga Medley

        March 28th, 2019

        Thanks to Superior Farms for sending me different cuts of lamb to cook with. I was very impressed with the flavor and the way it was packaged.


        How to not over cook meat

        Growing up my mother would alternate making different cuts of meat but specifically she would make lamb for Easter. I really did not learn how to cook any cuts of meat other than making sure it was not red.

        Wait. Overdone meat? Yep, everything was WELL-DONE.

        When I got married 10 years ago I was taught and enlightened to the fact that I had not been enjoying meat the way it was intended.

        Fast-forward to my current kitchen situation and I am equipped with my trusty Therama-pen and I can confidently say that I have hardly overcooked my meat.

        This is one of the reasons why I have not cooked or handled certain meat.

        Lamb – a whole new experience

        I have had some experience hearing about the difference between lamb from New Zealand, but I had not been convinced about American lamb. All I tried to explain to my husband is that the lamb flavor could be very pronounced. Can anyone relate to lamb tasting too….LAMBY or GAMEY.

        According to Quora, “The ‘gamey’ taste in sheep comes from the lanolin. … Lamb has a mild gamey taste, and mutton(sheep over a year old) is more gamey. However, hair sheep such as Katahdin or Dorper sheep do not have the gamey taste even as they age due to the lack of lanolin in their fat. Hair sheep meat is mild and delicious!”

        I learned something from that because I thought it was just me.

        Superior Farms

        Superior Farms is an employee-owned company based in California. They allow their lambs to pasture immense grasslands and are sustained on natural vegetation making them all natural with no added hormones. Superior Farms is the number one choice of top chefs allowing many to create fantastic dishes.

        They have existed since 1964 and are run by ranchers solely focused on raising their lambs with care. Many are also 4th generation ranchers really taking care of what they raise. The integrity of the product is attractive and shows how much they care. Everything is humanely handled and Halal-certified.

        Rack of Lamb with Roasted Rutabega Medley

        I only do what I know best. I create my dishes based on inspiration and what I have on hand. I created a nice rub to go on the 2-lb rack of lamb that I allowed to marinate over 2 1/2 hours. I really wanted to focus on a simple dinner that a family of 4 or 5 could enjoy over Easter. While we have little kids, we do not serve them anything different that we eat. Our 7, 6 and 3 1/2-year-old girls ate the lamb and savored each bite. They loved the outside of the lamb that had the rub the most!


        by Noelle Kelly

        Prep Time: 30 minutes

        Cook Time: 30 minutes

        Keywords: bake grill entree lamb rutabega Easter American spring


        Ingredients (4 people)

          Rack of Lamb rub

          • 1 teaspoon Himalayan salt
          • 1 teaspoon dried minced garlic
          • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
          • 1 teaspoon oregano
          • 1 teaspoon parsley
          • 1 teaspoon paprika
          • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
          • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
          • 2 Tablespoons olive oil


          • 1 rack of lamb, frenched ( bones are exposed)
          • This fed 2 adults and 3 toddlers.

          Rutabaga Medley

          • 2 cups rutabaga, peeled and chopped
          • 1 large orange bell pepper, deseeded and chopped
          • 2 small red onions, peeled and chopped
          • 2 cups green beans
          • 2 pinches of Himalayan salt
          • 1 teaspoon onion powder
          • 1/2 teaspoon black powder




          Rack of Lamb rub

          Remove excess fat from the rack until there is a thin layer of fat.

          Mix all the rub ingredients in a small bowl. Spread the rub all over the rack of lamb. Place on a plate and cover with plastic and marinate overnight or for 2 hours.

          Remove from fridge and place on a large pan.

          Rutabaga Medley

          Preheat oven to 400 degree Fahrenheit.

          Mix all the veggies except the green beans together and spray with olive oil. The drippings from the lamb will be added to the veggies to finish cooking. Add the veggies to the lamb on its pan. The green beans will be added last.

          Cook the lamb for 20 minutes. Remove the rack of lamb from the pan and place on another small pan with green beans. Increase heat to 450 Fahrenheit and cook lamb for 10 minutes until internal heat reaches 145 Fahrenheit for medium doneness.

          Add the cooked green beans to the rutabega medley and mix well with lamb drippings. Allow the lamb to rest for 5 minutes before slicing into chops.

          Drizzle veggies with balsamic glaze.

          Serve with mashed potatoes.

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