Posted by: Melanie Mathos | February 14, 2011

Vanilla Bean Love Scrub

So, my sister broke the no-present rule and brought me this WONDERFUL sugar scrub for V-day. And then, proceeded to take me out for a pedicure and fro-yo. Well, rules are made to be broken… 🙂 She was kind enough to share her recipe. It is fantastic! It’s almost edible, but not quite…

Source: Maria Rakes


  • Sugar
  • Vanilla bean
  • Vanilla extract
  • Unscented body oil


  • Combine 1 cup sugar, 1/3 cup oil, 1 tsp. vanilla extract, and 1/3 vanilla bean
  • Store in resealable jar
  • Rub small amount in hands and feel the love!
Posted by: Melanie Mathos | January 31, 2011

Veggie French Onion Soup

Gary had some French onion soup at a restaurant the other day and it looked soooooo good that I thought I would try to recreate it veggie-style. It turned out delicious and was super easy to make!

Source: Melania (with inspiration from


  • 1 Carton veggie broth
  • 1 1/2 Med. onions or 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • Two cloves garlic, minced
  • French bread
  • Jarlsberg cheese
  • 1 tsp. Balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbl. flour
  • 1 Tbl. butter
  • French bread
  • Italian herbs
  • Salt/pepper


  • Saute onion in butter over medium heat, allowing to brown
  • In the meantime, heat broth in a soup pan and add garlic, vinegar, and flour, stirring until combined and adding herbs, salt and pepper
  • Add onions to soup pot and simmer for 20 minutes
  • In the meantime, slice 3 – 4 pieces of French bread (about 1/2 inch thick)
  • Brush with olive oil and toast
  • Once soup is done, add to crock
  • Place piece of bread on top
  • Cover with thickly grated cheese (the more, the better!)
  • Broil until bubbly on top
Posted by: Melanie Mathos | November 25, 2010

Grandma’s Snowy Mashed Potatoes

On Thanksgiving Eve tonight, I made a very special recipe. One that brings back a lot of good memories of family gatherings, and especially, my Grandma Jean Apostolou. This was one of her signature holiday dishes, and each holiday we would look forward to digging into the fluffy, rich potato concoction. Snowy Mashed Potatoes are so good, you don’t even need gravy. I look forward to carrying on the tradition tomorrow and sharing it with my family at our annual Thanksgiving dinner at Santee. (Even though many special members will be sorely missed.) Happy Thanksgiving!

Source: Grandma Jean Apostolou


  • 12 Medium potatoes
  • 1 8 oz. Package of cream cheese, softened
  • 1 Cup Sour cream
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 t. pepper
  • A Few garlic cloves, smashed with a mortar and pestle
  • 1/4 Cup fresh chives, chopped
  • 1 Tbl. Butter
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika (reserve for topping)


  • Boil potatoes until tender (about 20 minutes – stick a knife in them and if they fall apart, they’re done)
  • Drain
  • Mash with beater and add other ingredients
  • Spoon into greased baking dish (I used a 9X12 pan and they fit perfectly)
  • Sprinkle with paprika
  • Dot with butter
  • Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until lightly golden
Posted by: Melanie Mathos | October 31, 2010

Pumpkin Pancakes

The temperature dropped below 80, we had a bonfire last night, and I was feeling very fallish on this Halloween morning. So, I decided to make pumpkin pancakes. Happy Halloween!


  • 1 1/2 Cups whole wheat pancake mix
  • 1 Tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 Tsp nutmeg
  • 1 Tbl vanilla
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 Tbl brown sugar
  • 1 Tbl vegetable oil
  • 3/4 Cup canned or pureed pumpkin
  • 1 Cup milk, (add more for desired consistency)
  • 3/4 Cup chopped pecans


  • Mix the pancake mix and spices together
  • In another bowl, whisk the egg and the brown sugar together
  • Stir in the oil, vanilla, the pumpkin, and the milk
  • Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients
  • Stir with a spatula until just combined adding more milk to obtain the right consistency
  • Cook over medium heat, adding nuts right after you pour the pancakes in the pan
  • Serve hot with maple syrup and confectioners’ sugar sprinkled on top
Posted by: Melanie Mathos | October 5, 2010

“Whutchewmeanthereaintnomeet” Vegetarian Chili

So, I must admit, I’m not a vegetarian that absolutely loves vegetables. I like them spiced up, in things, dipped in things, covered with cheese, fried, you name it. But, I don’t like when a vegetarian dish becomes a vegetable dish. You with me? Well, chili is just one of those things that you don’t want to recognize any vegetables in other than some beans. But, you don’t want all beans either, because then it’s just, well… beans. So, I set out to find a vegetarian chili recipe that reminded me of the school cafeteria chili that I was such a fan of. (I know, I’m a weirdo that I have fond memories of a cafeteria food.) Well, ladies and gentlemen, I found it.

Source: Inspired by Kesi Perea’s post


  • 2 Tbl Olive oil
  • 1/2 to 1 Package Morningstar crumbles
  • Can pinto beans
  • Can light kidney beans
  • Can dark kidney beans
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 2 tsp Pepper
  • 2 Tbs Paprika
  • 1 Tbs Red pepper or Cayenne
  • 1 Tbs Chili powder
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • 2 Cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 White onion
  • 1 Green bepper
  • 1 Large can whole tomatoes
  • Shredded cheddar
  • Sour cream

Read More…

Posted by: Melanie Mathos | September 29, 2010

Chi-Chi’s Chimichangas!!

Yes, it is true. The fine people at The Food Network resurrected one of my favorite recipes. Every year when I was younger, we got to choose where we wanted to go for our birthday lunch. Chi-Chi’s it was for me – not only because of their delicious chimichangas, but also the free fried ice cream and goofy sombrero they would give you. (Where is the recipe for Chi-Chi’s fried ice cream Food Network?!?) Tonight, I recreated the masterpiece, and although I have never been a good burrito roller, it turned out fantastic. I was lazy and skipped the sauce, but will for sure make it next time. I can’t believe the crispy yummy texture the chimichangas get just baked in the oven. This was an easy dinner for me to make for Gary and I – I just added the chicken to his after the sauce went on. Mine were almost as delicious as I remember for being vegetarian.

Source: Food Network Magazine, October, 2010


  • 2 Tbl unsalted butter
  • 4 Tbl vegetable oil
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 3 Cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 Jalapeno (seeds removed)
  • 1 1/2 Tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 Tsp cumin
  • 1/4 Tsp Cinnamon
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 Small tomato, chopped, plus more for topping
  • 2 Tbl chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 1/2 Cups shredded rotisserie chicken
  • 1/4 Cup sour cream
  • 1 15-ounce can refried beans (vegetarian)
  • 4 10-inch flour tortillas
  • 1 Cup shredded monterey jack cheese, plus more for topping
  • Mexi-sauce for topping
  • Shredded lettuce, for topping
  • Mexican rice for serving
  • Two 4-ounce cans chopped green chilis
  • Vegetable broth

Read More…

Posted by: Melanie Mathos | September 19, 2010

My Favorite Muffin

So, a bit of trivia time. What is My Favorite Muffin? If you know me really well, you know that it is the place where my career got its start. 🙂 At age 15, I worked at My Favorite Muffin in Flint, Michigan until I realized that I could work at Pacific Sunwear and meet skater dudes. (Enter Gary) There, now you know.

But seriously, this weekend, I did make the best darn muffins you’ll ever taste. Fall is in the air (or at least I wish it was) so I decided to buy a pumpkin spice candle and get my bake on. Check out this recipe for Pumpkin Spice Muffins. Mmmmm… I skipped the cream cheese frosting, but the recipe for that is at source link too.


The Pioneer Woman *slightly adapted


  • 1 Cup whole grain flour
  • ½ Cups sugar
  • 2 Tsp baking powder
  • 1-½ Tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ Tsp fresh-grated ginger
  • ½ Tsp nutmeg
  • ½ Tsp salt
  • 4 Tbl cold butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 Cup (heaping) pumpkin puree
  • ½ Cups evaporated milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1-½ Tsp vanilla
  • Topping
  • 2 Tbl sugar
  • 1 Tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ Tsp nutmeg

Read More…

Posted by: Melanie Mathos | August 30, 2010

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

This recipe is a family favorite for holidays and birthdays – especially my dad’s birthday. This recipe was passed down from my grandma to my mom, and I made it for my mom’s birthday this weekend. I even bought my own bundt pan – eivai keki mori!  One lesson learned – don’t try to go all healthy on a non-inherently healthy thing like cake. (I used whole wheat flour, and it didn’t turn out the same.)

Source: Grandma Jean Apostolou


  • 1 1/2 sugar
  • 1 cup butter (softened)
  • 2 eggs (beaten)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Posted by: Melanie Mathos | August 18, 2010

Elotes! (Roasted Corn)

So, back when my friend Jamie was working with Teach for America, Lisa and I visited her at her gangster house on the border of Texas and Mexico in a little town called Roma. (Apparently there was a drug raid/shootout there before she moved in, so she rented the house super cheap.) They stuck out like a sore thumb with their blond locks and Cosmo style. I wore a lot of red at the time, so could have passed for a senorita. One night we went for a walk and decided to perch on this giant rock overlooking the Rio Grande. Ah, it was beautiful (well, not really, it looked more like a mudslide), but, we still enjoyed catching up by the side of the river. All of a sudden, the border patrol screeched up beside us in their SUV, kicking up dust. They were serious. “What are you girls doing here?” Us: “We’re looking at the pretty river.” Them: “Get lost.” Apparently, they thought we were smuggling something or someone. The only thing I wanted to smuggle out of Mexico on that trip, (aside from myself, because I left my drivers license at home) were the elotes that Jamie introduced us to. Mmmmm…. The roadside treats of roasted corn with chile and lime were so delicious. Here’s a do-it-in-your kitchen recipe.

Source: Tyler Florence, The Food Network


  • 6 ears fresh corn, unhusked
  • 1/4 pound butter (1 stick), room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 lime, zested
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges

Read More…

Posted by: Melanie Mathos | August 9, 2010

Glory, Glory Cacciatore

This is an adapted recipe that my dear Grandma Jean Apostolou used to make. It’s kind of ironic, since I vegetarianized the recipe that literally translates into “hunter” in Italian. However, I  promise that you won’t even miss the meat trifecta that it traditionally contains. When I cooked this recipe today, it filled our home with a nostalgic smell, rich with onions and herbs.

Source: Grandma Jean Apostolou ❤


  • 1 lb. Vermicelli (I used whole wheat angel hair instead)
  • Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup Olive oil
  • 3 Onions (or about 1 1/2 if you have gargantuan SC-sweet onions)
  • 2 Cloves Garlic (chopped)
  • 2 Stalks celery
  • 1 Green pepper
  • 2 Carrots
  • 1 14.5-oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 Tsp. each: garlic powder, salt, seasoned salt, thyme, marjoram, chili powder, dry mustard
  • 1/2 Tsp. each: onion salt, oregano
  • 1 Tbsp. Italian herbs

Read More…

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