Speakeasies, Secret Bars and Rooftops- Oh my! Food Trends 2023

So, a new year is upon us which means it’s time for Foodie in Miami to look into her crystal ball and decide what new Food Trends are happening in 2023. Without further ado…

  • Pizza Ovens are HOT!

I got an Ooni pizza oven for Christmas, as did my niece’s husband Tug, but it’s not just us! Ooni’s revenue increased 264% in 2021. Could it be a Pandemic hangover of wanting to cook your own pizza or just an interest in making the best and hottest pizza at home?

  • Chili Crisp

This condiment, a hot sauce made with red chilies fried in hot oil, is all the rage and ranges in price from a couple dollars (Trader Joe’s) to $47 (Momofuku). I’ve seen it in many recipes, including one I tried with homemade gnocchi from the New York Times. It can also be used on eggs, noodles, tacos and fried chicken sandwiches. Is Chili Crisp the new Siracha?

  • Mushrooms

I’m not just talking about using mushrooms in recipes, which is popular right now, as part of the Plant-based revolution, but also medicinally- in drinks, supplements and in gummies. Mushroom supplements offer a variety of claims- to help you focus, relax and sleep better. Are mushrooms the new CBD?

  • Gummies

Gummies are big right now, filled with all kinds of ingredients. CBD Gummies have been around for a while, but now there are also Mushroom Gummies (see above) and Alcohol Gummies. What’s the advantage of taking these ingredients through gummies? They’re sweet, fun and make you feel like a kid again. “Just a spoon full of sugar, helps the medicine go down.”

  • Miso

This ancient Japanese Condiment, made with fermented soybeans, has been trending for a while now, but shows no sign of stopping. A little miso- whether it be in a salad dressing, a glaze for fish or in vegetable dishes- adds that je nais se quoi that will leave your guests wondering what other tricks you have up your sleeve. It lends umami and depth of flavor to dishes in an easy manner.

  • Low or No Alcohol Cocktails

Another trend that seems to be getting bigger each year. My cousin Stephanie who works for Yelp in San Francisco started a side hustle called Better Bar, catering to this exact need. She told me it’s very popular on the West Coast and her company offers drinks such as the Lowgroni and the Lesspresso Martini. This trend is for people who don’t drink, but also for those who want to cut back on their drinking or just mix it up. Sober curious?

  • Old Fashioned Cocktails with a twist

Old school cocktails are back, but likely now served with a twist, so maybe not your grandfather’s Martini. Also the very Italian Negroni Spagliato is super popular now. It’s all alcohol with vermouth, Campari and Prosecco, but the prosecco lends some fizz and subs for the traditional and higher-alcohol gin. Sours- Whiskey Sours, Margaritas and Sidecars are big, as are agave-based spirits. Lastly, according to bartenders ( and Martha Stewart) 90’s era drinks are back in style. Long Island Ice Tea, anyone?

  • All Kinds of Boards

Of course we all know about the classic (and now ubiquitious) Charcuterie Board, but there are other boards fighting for their time in the spotlight as well. Butter Boards are the obvious Golden Girl of the Board Battle, but there are also Breakfast Boards, Burger Boards and Dessert (like Smore’s) Boards. While boards are a fun way to serve, they seem to be getting more and more elaborate, with salami and strawberry roses, cut out cheeses, truffled honey. Truthfully, I’m a bit over them. I guess you could say I’m bored with boards.

  • Speakeasies, Secret Bars and Rooftops

At least in Miami, this seems to be a trend. At Coyo Taco, you enter a door that says “Employees only” to discover a secret bar with a DJ and plenty of liquid fuel to keep you dancing into the night. At Bodega Taqueria y Tequila in the Grove, enter a Port-a-Potty entrance to get into a Speakeasy offering Happy Hour and Late Night (until 5 am!) fun. Also, Miami finally got the memo and is taking advantage of our year-round great weather and spectacular views by offering Rooftop drinks and snacks at various restaurants. Mamey has a great happy hour on the 5th floor and Amal’s rooftop (called Level 6) has been getting rave reviews.

  • Crazy Restaurant Bathrooms

I noticed this at Sexy Fish, with their over-the-top Men’s Bathroom. It features James Bond (Daniel Craig) dressed in Scuba gear taking a whiz, amid a bathroom with an enormous pink octopus and a beautiful, sea-inspired decor. It’s one way for dining spots to distinguish themselves from other restaurants; photos are encouraged.

The last thing I will say about Dining Trends for 2023 is that the hike in prices diners experience Post-Pandemic is not about to abate. Higher prices are here to stay, unfortunately. But diners, hopefully, are more grateful than ever to be able to dine out freely after the couple years of lock down, even with sticker shock menus. Happy Days are here again!

Up Next: What to bring to a Tapas Party

New Year, New You?

That’s what the magazine covers always say in January. Time to reinvent yourself- eat healthy, exercise, get organized. Organize your home, your business, your finances. It all sounds good to me, but I really didn’t make any New Year’s Resolutions this year.

I do try to eat healthy and exercise on a normal basis, but I would like to try and mix it up this year. Try some new healthy foods (made easier by my subscription to CSA Empower Farms) and try some exercises beyond my walking and tennis. I’ve already done Yoga once this month and went Swimming as well. Maybe I’ll even try Pickleball! Doing exercise that’s fun means it’s more likely you’ll keep doing it. So, maybe my New Year’s Resolution for 2023, is simply More Fun.

Trying New Restaurants is also fun and I’ve already tried two this year. I ran into food blogger Pat Mackin at the Villager’s Home Tour (check out her Instagram at patmakincoconutgrove) and asked her for restaurant recs for the Grove. She recommended Sushi Garage, in the newly redone Coco Walk, for their Happy Hour so I tried it.

Coco Walk is a happening place these days! And Sushi Garage (we sat outside) is in the midst of it all.

Happy Hour goes from 5 to 8- quite a long Happy Hour- and features 1/2 off drinks. I tried the Lychee Mule and then the Fat Cucumber, both delicious. The bites offered for Happy Hour are $4, $6, $8 and $10. For some reason, our server recommended all the $10 bites (hmm), but everything we sampled was good and a great deal. In particular we liked the Hamachi Serriole (Yellowtail Roll), the Tempura Shrimp Bites and the Chili Shrimp Dumplings. We also got Shishito Peppers, Edamame and 1/2 Bagel Roll.

This new year, I also ate at The Bayshore Club, in the former Scotty’s location. It’s a beautiful venue and the night we ate there it was a Full moon and they had live music. Luckily, we sat away from the music (it was a little loud) for dinner. The drink The Slip ($16), with vodka, Elderflower liqueur and dill, was quite refreshing.

The Conch Fritters ($16) were very good, as was the the Coral Reef Ceviche ($18) I ordered for my entree, with Rock Shrimp. My friend’s Mini Ahi Tuna Tacos, in fried won ton wrappers and topped with caviar, looked delicious and she loved them. Others at the table ordered Fried Chicken Sandwiches ($15) and Fried Fish Tacos ($18). I sampled the French Fries. They were a tad underdone and just so-so. Prices were a little high, but not outrageous.

The Bayshore Club is part of The Grove Bay Hospitality Group, which also has Glass & Vine and Root & Bone, among other restaurants. The food was decent, definitely better than Scotty’s. I wouldn’t run back for the food, but I would run back for the location and ambiance. They also have specials, like $2 oysters on Monday nights and 1/2 off bottles of wine Wednesday, as well as Happy Hour Monday through Friday (4-6) and Live Music Wednesday through Sunday.

I got a pizza oven for Christmas! It wasn’t on my list (Zeke went rogue) but, ever since we visited Kuleto Winery in Napa, where they had a homemade Wood-fired pizza oven, I’ve longed to get one. This one is by Ooni; pizza ovens are very hot items (pun intended) these days.

Cooking a Margarita Pizza in the Ooni.

Our first pizza, a Margherita, was a total success. Zeke said it was the best pizza he’s ever eaten. We kept it simple with Publix pizza dough, Rao’s red sauce, fresh mozzarella, basil, crushed red pepper, Parmesan and olive oil. It was truly delicious and, at 900 degrees, only took about 3 minutes to cook. It does take 30 minutes for the oven to come to temp.

The second pizza I attempted- a Hawaiian Pizza with Ham, Pineapple and Mozzarella- was a total disaster. The pizza dough had gotten sticky in the fridge and when I tried to slide the dough off the peel (the metal tray with a handle) the toppings slid into the oven, while the dough stayed behind. What a mess! I ended up throwing the sticky dough away and using the toppings to make English Muffin pizzas for dinner. Live and learn.

It’s a learning curve and I’m sure, in no time, we’ll be making all kinds of delicious pizzas. I envision Shrimp Pizza with Pesto, Breakfast Pizza with sausage and egg and Potato Pizza with Truffle Oil. The possibilities are endless and it’s a great way to use up leftovers.

One thing I do want to do (that was on my list of things to do last year) is revamp my Foodie in Miami website in order to put the recipes into an index. This was a suggestion by several Foodie in Miami readers and I’m determined to do it in 2023. I may need professional help, however, as Foodie in Miami is not a Technology Whiz.

So, stay tuned… and Happy New Year! New Year, new you?

And now we welcome the New Year. Full of things that have never been.

Rainer Maria Rilke

Up Next: Food Trends 2023

Best Miami Bites of 2022

It’s fun to look back at the year that’s about to end and remember all the wonderful meals eaten. Not all my meals were eaten in Miami, as we traveled to Charleston, New York, Hawaii and San Francisco this year, but this article is centered on food from my hometown- the 305- since this is a “Foodie in Miami” post.

These are in chronological order of when I ate the dishes, starting in January of 2022. No descriptions given, as a picture speaks a thousand words. Here are my Best Bites in Miami for 2022.

  • Spicy Chicken Ramen from InRamen (January)
  • Filet Mignon Sandwich from Josh’s Premium Meats on the Tour of Kitchens (March)
  • Fried Bird’s Nest Cake with Roast Pork and Green Tea and Duck Dumplings from Kon Chau Chinese (April)
  • Passionfruit Creme Brulee from Lan Pan Asian (June)
  • Papaya Salad from Lung Yai Thai Tapas (June)
  • White Truffle Garlic Bread from North Italia (June)
  • Sourdough Pancake with Honey Miso Butter from Zitz Sum (August)
  • Truffle Rakakat with Roasted Grapes from Amal (October)
  • Spinach Croquetta from Tinta Y Cafe (October)

Ghee Roasted Plantains and White Truffle & Brie Sandwich at Mamey (November)

  • Alambre Hawaiano from Morelia Taqueria (December)

Price was not a factor in picking these Miami Best Bites. Some of the more expensive restaurants I visited were very enjoyable, with an inviting atmosphere, but didn’t serve any stand-out dishes that linger in the memory at year end. Others, like this last dish, were inexpensive, but left a lasting impression. This last dish, Alambre, is a Mexican dish served in a restaurant that was actually attached to a gas station in Florida City!

Up Next: The New Year!

The Best Macaroons

This is a bold statement, I realize, but I didn’t proclaim these Macaroons the best; several people in my Improv Class, where I brought them to be shared, did. Macaroons are the cookies made with coconut, not to be confused with the brightly colored disks made from egg whites, the French Macaron. Macaroons have two O’s, Macarons, only one. I like both but decided to whip these up as a quick treat for my last class in Improv and my fellow students went wild for them, including ones who don’t like coconut!

Having said that, if you hate coconut (there are a lot of coconut haters out there!) you can skip this recipe. I’ve tried several Macaroon Recipes and this one was the easiest and came out the best. It takes about five minutes to stir together, 15 minutes to bake, making them an easy Holiday treat to make at the last minute. If you want to get fancy, you can dip the bottoms in melted chocolate, which would be lovely, but not necessary.

For some reason, I forgot to take a photo of the finished product! Oh well.

The Best Macaroons

Recipe by Louise AllenCourse: DessertCuisine: ChristmasDifficulty: Easy
Prep time


Cooking time



This recipe was clipped from the Miami Herald Food Section. It said ” Louise Allen modeled these macaroons after ones she enjoyed as a child from Andalusia Bakery in Coral Gables. The egg whites are not beaten; all the ingredients are just stirred together- Incredibly easy!”


  • 3/4 cup sugar

  • 2 1/2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut

  • 3 egg whites

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • pinch kosher salt

  • chocolate chips (optional)


  • Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  • Mix sugar, coconut, egg whites and salt by hand in a large bowl.
  • Spoon dough 1 tablespoon at a time, onto cookie sheet.
  • Bake 15 minutes, or until brown.


  • The recipe calls for chocolate chips as optional. I didn’t opt for it, but you could.

Up Next: Best Bites of 2022

Cleaning Up, Clearing Out

We are renting our condo in Key Largo next year for three months, so, in the midst of Holiday preparations, we’ve also been getting our condo ready to rent. This gives us the opportunity to look at our condo with fresh eyes and see it as a renter would see.

As such, we’ve gotten a new washer and dryer. Yes, we finally were able to get it up the spiral staircase. I should say the Maintenance Men in our condo- Ray and Luis- were able to get it up, as well as get the washer down the stairs. Zeke waited around all day on a Friday for the Plumber, Appliance person and Electrician to hook everything up. I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to get a Washer/Dryer in my life!

But things that we normally ignore- the white carpet that has turned a spotty beige, the garbage can with unidentified smudges, the shed with dirt and spiders lurking in every corner- are being cleaned in preparation for our renters. Also the rusty front door frame, worn furniture and shed door are all getting a fresh coat of paint. We replaced batteries in the Smoke Alarm and doorbell, so our tenants will know if there’s a fire or they have a visitor.

I’ve also realized I have four white towels, but they don’t match, so I’ll make a Home Goods run to replace them and also get brand new sponges, because ours are disgusting, growing something that’s not Christmas cheer. Our stove and oven are ancient- from the 90’s- so Zeke ordered a new one. It was supposed to be in December 9th, now they’re saying January 3rd. We’ll see. I gave the tenants the option of using the old one or getting the new one. They opted for new.

Many religions and cultures have traditions centering on cleaning out spaces. In the Jewish religion, Spring Cleaning takes place before Passover, to make sure all yeast bread and products are removed from the house. Kind of like ridding your pantry of junk food before a diet.

In the Chinese Culture, the house must be cleaned thoroughly before the Lunar New Year begins. Families undertake a total home purge, making sure every nook and cranny is scrubbed, the house is organized and everything spotless. This is to sweep out bad luck from the last year and prepare for the good things coming in the new year.

At my friend Martha’s house, where we often celebrate New Year’s Eve, she makes sure to get a pot of water and throw it out the front door before midnight. She’s Cuban and this is a tradition, apparently to get rid of the bad juju in the house.

In the Keys, I will also go through all the food in my pantry, my spices and all the drawers and give them a thorough cleaning, throwing things out along the way that need to go and packing away items (like booze and photos) that I don’t want to leave for our renters. Although it’s kind of a pain having to deal with this cleaning in the middle of the Christmas Holidays, it also feels like a good time to do it, at the end of the year, before a new year begins. Out with the old and in with the new, as they say.

Besides that, I’ve been going to lots of Lunches, Holiday Parties and eating rich and delicious food. I finally decorated the Christmas tree! Even though Zeke said it looks awful, I think it looks cheerful with the red bows I hung. I don’t have the energy or the inclination to drag out every Christmas ornament I own and hang it on the tree. I’m also trying to decorate the house in a Kid-Friendly way, anticipating two toddlers- Liam and Phoenix- coming over for Christmas Eve dinner.

On T.V., we’re watching the last season of The Crown. Once again, they’ve changed the whole cast, something I’ve gotten used to by now. And I started streaming White Lotus on HBO Max, after hearing so much about it. The 1st Season takes place in Hawaii and they shot at the Four Seasons, right next to the hotel where we stayed for our Honeymoon. The White Lotus isn’t at all Christmassy, but it is good.

And I’m trying to take a deep breathe, to relax and enjoy the merriment the Holidays offer, and not get swept up in the shopping frenzy, craziness and stress. My favorite thing to do is have a glass of wine with Zeke, in front of our Christmas tree and listen to Christmas music. I hope you find the thing that makes you happy during the Holiday, and do it as much as you can. Before you know it, it will all be over and we’ll be welcoming 2023.

Up Next: The Best Macaroons

Favorite Christmas Movies

My all-time favorite Animated Christmas Movie is Charlie Brown Christmas. That movie is my childhood, including the Hostess commercials in between, but here’s a list of are my favorite non-animated Christmas movies. I love watching one of these movies, while wrapping Christmas presents, thus multi-tasking through the holiday season.

shallow focus photography of red bauble
Photo by Todd Trapani on Pexels.com
  1. It’s A Wonderful Life It’s a classic for a reason. Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed star in this 1946 movie directed by Frank Capra. It’s the story of George Bailey, a boy determined to see the world but an unfortunate series of events force him to stay in his hometown. He gets to see what life would have turned out like if he hadn’t been there and he discovers, he did actually have a wonderful life. I never fail to cry at this movie!

Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings.


2. A Christmas Story

This movie used to show 24/7 on TBS on Christmas Day (maybe it still does), which is how I first watched it with my kids, who fell in love with the story of Ralphie, a little boy who wants a Red Rider BB gun for Christmas. Set in the 40’s, it’s nostalgic without being syrupy and, anyone with a family can relate to this family’s struggles and triumphs. It’s also a reminder of those special toys at Christmas we coveted as children and the joy of actually receiving them.

You’ll shoot your eye out!

Ralphie’s mother, teacher and even Santa about the Red Rider BB gun.

3. White Christmas

I’ve loved this movie since I was in High School, especially the scene where Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye perform “Sisters”. Their romantic interests are Rosemary Clooney and the ultra-skinny Vera-Ellen and it was directed by Michael Curtiz, of Casablanca fame. I love the ambience of the Vermont Inn, World War II theme, the costumes, musical numbers and Irving Berlin music. The ending scene, where all the old soldiers come to honor their general at his Inn, always makes me cry. And then, for the finale, it snows, making it a White Christmas at last.

Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! It won’t be long before we’ll be there with snow.

White Christmas

4. Elf

This is my sister Elise’s favorite Christmas movie, without fail. She even had a party revolving around it one Christmas with a huge cutout of Will Ferrell in full Elf mode. Made in 2003 by Jon Favreau, it’s the story of a human, raised by elves, who travels to New York City to try and find his biological father (played by James Caan). Will Ferrell plays Buddy the elf, with Bob Newhart playing his elf father and Ed Asner playing Santa. This is a heartwarming movie that is also hysterically funny. Every time we watch it, Zeke asks me “Is that Zooey Deschanel?” It is, but she has blonde hair in the movie. She plays Jovie, an elf at Macy’s. As added Christmas treats, the actor who played Ralphie in a Christmas Story, plays elf Ming Ming & there are a ton of references to Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer.

You sit on a throne of lies!

Buddy to the fake Santa at Macys.

5. Love Actually

I actually love this movie, set at Christmas time, which has nine interwoven plot lines. Emma Thompson and the late Alan Richman are marvelous, and, as complicated as it seems, it all works so well. The cast is a Who’s Who of actors, with Colin Firth, Liam Neeson, Hugh Grant each nailing their respective parts. While Hugh Grant hated it, I love the scene where he dances through 10 Downing Street as Prime Minister to Van Halen’s Jump. It starts and ends at Heathrow airport, with people greeting loved ones with hugs and kisses.

If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaky feeling you’ll find that love, actually, is all around.

Narrator of Love Actually

Honorable Mention goes to Home Alone and Miracle on 34th Street (Zeke’s favorite). What’s your favorite Christmas movie? I’d love to know.

Up Next: A Clean Sweep

Babysitting and Birthday Lunches

I watched Wyatt and Phoenix last week, as their parents were out of town.

Wyatt arrived dressed in his school uniform, but had been sick all night, so stayed home from school with me. I ran between my bedroom, where I gave him Gatorade while he watched T.V. and my den, where I was writing some of the house descriptions for The Villager’s Home Tour this Saturday. The deadline was the next day and I thought I’d have all day to write it, but…

Phoenix got delivered by the Nanny later on. Luckily, I’d made Turkey Tetrazzini ahead, so I just heated it up for dinner. Wyatt couldn’t eat, but finally had some broth that night and went to school the next day. I asked him about getting Phoenix to bed- did I just put him in his Pack ‘N Play?

Oh no! You have to walk him up and down, up and down, up and down until he falls asleep.

Wyatt said.

Funny, his Mom didn’t mention this fact to me. It was his first time sleeping over at my house and, luckily, he just fell asleep on his own. Until about 1 a.m., when he woke up crying for his “Mama”.

This is when I did walk him up and down, up and down, up and down the hall, before bringing him upstairs to my rocking chair to rock him back to sleep. It took a couple tries until I was able to lay him back down and it didn’t last long. He ended up in bed with us, kicking and squirming all night. We got an awful night’s sleep.

As I was rocking him to sleep, tired as I was, I thought about how it was nice to be spending this time with him, with his little blonde head smelling sweet, rocking him in the same chair I rocked my own children (including his Mom) to sleep when they were babies. Those days went by so slowly and yet so fast. As a mother to young children, the moments drag on interminably, but the days fly by and you wonder what you did all day.

At any rate, I was tired, to say the least, by the time they left. As my sister Kelley said:

There’s a reason 60 year olds don’t have babies.


In the meantime, I also had Birthday Lunches.

The first was at Sadelle’s in Coconut Grove at the old Tigertail and Mary location. It’s a Brunch spot, but they also have Sandwiches, Salads. and Caviar. I felt like breakfast, so got coffee and the Salmon Benedict. It was delicious, the eggs cooked perfectly. I also tasted Leonor’s french fries, which were skinny, crunchy and really good.

Service was excellent, the food came out quickly and everyone enjoyed their meals. They also presented a Donut Extravaganza (complimentary) for the Birthday Girls that was quite impressive. The Birthday Cake Donut was my favorite and the donuts tasted very fresh. The only caveat was the parking was a little troublesome, but they do have Valet.

My other lunch was at North Italia in Dadeland. I’d dreamed of their Burrata and Tomato Salad I’d had a Book Club at Guta’s, but they didn’t have it on the menu. They had instead Burrata di Stagione ($15), which came with Butternut Squash, Fuji Apples and Hazelnuts, which is what I got. It was good, but needed more arugula, a dressing and toasted bread to scoop the burrata onto. If I got it again, I would order the Grilled Bread ($6) on the side.

My friends both got salads that they enjoyed. The dessert the server recommended was delicious; it was especially nice to spend time with old friends I haven’t seen in a while. But parking in Dadeland was almost as difficult as the Grove. The Holidays, I guess.

Down in the Keys, we had a major dilemma. Home Depot had delivered our new Washer/Dryer but refused to carry it up the spiral staircase to install. I called a mover I’d used in the past, who had brought up a bedroom set to the second floor, but he said the liability wasn’t worth it to him. We were getting desperate as we have renters coming in January.

Saturday, our friend Jim Armstrong helped Zeke carry down the old dryer from upstairs. I didn’t think the idea of two sixty-year-olds carrying appliances down a spiral staircase was a good idea, but luckily, they were able to do it. The washer, which is heavier and bulkier, was a different story.

Zeke was on the bottom, Jim was on top, holding a moving blanket to slide it and he couldn’t get a good grip on the washer. I smelled imminent disaster in the air, and begged them to leave it to the professionals, so they moved it back upstairs. Disaster averted, dilemma still intact.

We got our tree and the lights are on it, but I just can’t get motivated to decorate it. I posted this on Facebook and, so many people agreed with me, it must be a common Christmas ailment. I even watched Elf to put me in the mood.

The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.

Buddy, in Elf.

But I feel more like Charlie Brown in a Charlie Brown Christmas (my favorite animated Christmas movie, by the way).

I think there must be something wrong with me Linus. Christmas is coming but I’m not happy. I don’t feel the way I’m supposed to feel.

Charlie Brown

I’m hoping Holiday inspiration will strike soon.

I was going to recommend The Villager’s Home Tour today (10 to 4) if you’re not doing anything, but it Sold Out! But if you’re going, I will see you and if you stop by the Boutique at St. Phillips School, I baked the Zucchini Bread and the Applesauce Date Cake. They are available for purchase, as are many other items. The Villagers is a great cause, helping with Historic Restoration in Miami.

And the songbirds are singing, Like they know the score. And I love you I love you I love you, Like never before.

Christine McVie

Up Next: Best Holiday Movies

Mom’s Famous Deviled Eggs

When I asked my Mom for her Deviled Egg recipe for the Serve It Up! cookbook, she really had to think about it. She said something about why you don’t ask old people for recipes, but it’s actually exactly why you should! She had nothing written down, it was all in her head and if we don’t get these recipes now from our loved ones, they might be lost forever. That is one of the main reasons why I write this blog.

Anyway, my Mom has been making these deviled eggs for ages and they are always the first appetizer to go. You could, of course, jazz them up with caviar, candied bacon or even lobster chunks, as fancy deviled eggs seem to be a thing these days, but my Mom just sprinkles them with paprika or maybe some parsley sprigs.

Now if you have the Serve It Up! Ace for Autism Cookbook, you already have this recipe. You also have a great recipes for: Guacamole, Tuna Nachos, Caviar Pie, Pickled Eggplant, Buffalo Chicken Dip, John Schild’s famous Conch Fritters and my favorite Grilled Shrimp recipe. And that’s just in the Appetizer sections alone. P.S. I have one left if anyone’s interested.

Another secret my Mom taught me is to use my InstaPot to hard boil the eggs for this recipe. It’s pretty much the only thing I use my InstaPot for! So, put your eggs in the steamer basket, add 1 cup of water and cook on high for 5 minutes. Let sit for 5 minutes, run under cold water and peel. These eggs (I’m guessing because of the pressure inside the egg shell) peel like a dream!

Mom’s Famous Deviled Eggs

Recipe by Lyla RiceCourse: AppetizersCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy


Prep time




  • 12 hardboiled eggs, peeled

  • 1/2 cup Hellman’s mayo

  • 1/4 cup Miracle Whip

  • 1 1/2 tsp. hot dog mustard

  • 1 tsp. grated onion

  • 1/4 tsp. salt

  • 3 Tablespoons sweet pickle relish


  • Peel eggs and slice in half, removing yolks to a small bowl.
  • Mash yolks and other ingredients, until mixture is smooth.
  • Use a pastry bag with star opening for nicer presentation.
  • Decorate with paprika, parsley or pimento.


  • You can keep the egg halves and the mixture in the fridge for a day, if doing it ahead.

Up Next: Birthday Lunches and Too Many Dilemmas!

Monday Morning QB

Well, the Superbowl of Meals, aka Thanksgiving, is over and the pressing questions have been answered.

Was the turkey moist? Was the stuffing delectable? Did the pies dazzle and delight?

Yes, yes and yes on my part. Although getting a hot meal out on plates for 14 people isn’t an easy task, so as people sat down, grace was said, in rounds. Two of the couples at our meal had to go to another Thanksgiving dinner, at other houses.

When Zeke and I were first married, we did the two Thanksgiving meal marathon. The problem is you’re eating the same exact meal- turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes and pies- twice. The only variety is the question of the green side- green beans, brussel sprouts or (God forbid) salad. Salad is never a good idea at Thanksgiving as there are too many other yummy things to eat. At any rate, after that first back-to-back day of duplicate meals, I put the kabosh on two Thanksgiving meals in one day.

Zeke’s Dad used to serve champagne and heavy hors d’Oeuvres at Thanksgiving. I’m against heavy appetizers, since there’s so much food awaiting. My Mom always had a vegetable plate for Thanksgiving, with those black olives out of the can that taste like band-aids, so I asked her to bring that and her famous Deviled Eggs, which got wiped out. The pies were Pumpkin and Pecan and my sister Elise baked a Yellow Cake with chocolate frosting for my birthday.

I got my Empower Farms delivery last week. Normally I would be delighted to get a basket of unusual vegetable goodies, but on the week of Thanksgiving? It’s like those cooking shows where they throw you a curve ball at the last minute and you have to incorporate it into your game plan.

I got starfruit (which I don’t need because I have an overloaded tree), zucchini, plantains, papaya, yuca, okra and a small pumpkin. The pumpkin looked as if it needed to be used, so I took off the top, took out the seeds and sliced it into rings for later use. I don’t like papayas, so gave them away. Yuca and plantains scream Cuban Food, so Zeke picked up bone-in Pork Chops to go with my Cuban meal on Monday.

I’ve never cooked yuca before. I peeled it, chopped it, boiled it and served it with an olive oil, garlic and lemon dressing. I sauteed the plantains in oil and made black beans and rice as another side. Zeke seasoned the Pork Chops with a spicy Coffee Ancho Chile rub and grilled them. They were delicious!

It’s a pretty good Cuban meal for two gringos.

he said.

And it was, but I needed to start cooking and prepping for Turkey Day, so my next two meals may go down as the worst in my personal history. Tuesday I ate Fried Okra and Cinnamon Ice Cream for dinner. The only way I know how to make okra is by frying it and I’d made the cinnamon ice cream to go with the pies for Thanksgiving. The ice cream, from The Perfect Scoop, is made by steeping broken cinnamon sticks in the cream mixture; it was creamy, spicy and delicious.

I may have topped that meal with my meal the next night, which was Lays Potato Chips with French Onion Dip at Riviera for dinner and some pre-Thanksgiving Stuffing for dessert.

After Thanksgiving, I wanted to breathe a huge sigh of relief, but there was no time as I had to head down to the Keys with Wyatt to visit the Turtle Hospital on my birthday. After a meal of Turkey Sandwiches on Hawaiian Rolls (yum!) we headed to Marathon. The Turtle Hospital tour was very informative and we learned the many ways sea turtles can get injured out in the water. We also got to see some turtles in tanks and feed them.

After our tour, was a quick drink at the chickee hut for sunset and on to Di Giorgio‘s Cafe, an Italian restaurant in Key Largo, where I got a free Birthday Meal. Wyatt loved his Shirley Temple with extra cherries and his Spaghetti with Meatballs. The next day I was to meet A.J. at her new place of employ- Patch of Heaven Sanctuary– for lunch and a tour.

Wyatt and I crammed a day of activities into a half a day on Saturday. First, breakfast at Waffle House (Wyatt’s suggestion), a little tennis, some paddle boarding and then swimming in the pool. And then, off to Homestead to meet A.J. and Phoenix. We had lunch and a tour of Patch of Heaven, which is a lush, zen, tropical oasis. It was a lovely day. I kissed them goodbye and then drove back to the Keys, exhausted.

Sunday, Zeke and I took the boat out for a spin. We were trying to find Ocean Reef, where we got married. We didn’t find it, but did almost run aground. We ended up at Alabama Jacks for lunch. The food was good (Lima Bean Soup and Shrimp Egg Rolls) but our server had a major attitude. Good service can make mediocre food tolerable and make good food leave a bad taste in your mouth.

So, the last piece of pecan pie has been eaten, the last bit of stuffing put into my Turkey Soup. Thanksgiving is over, December is upon us and that mad dash to the finish line of the Holidays and a New Year.

This year I hope to remember to do things that keep me sane; things I often get too busy to do during the Holidays. These are activities Steven Covey labeled: “Important but not Urgent” in his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. These things don’t necessarily keep your little world spinning, but if you don’t do them, you might stop spinning yourself.

For me these are: getting a good night’s sleep, exercising, meditating, eating healthy foods and journaling. I’m sure you have your own list. You do you and whatever keeps you sane this Holiday Season. Ho ho ho!

Up Next: My Mom’s Famous Deviled Eggs

Aunt Josie’s Ricotta Gnocchi

This is a very easy recipe from my Aunt Josie, that uses ricotta cheese instead of potatoes. This makes the gnocchi lighter than the traditional, so the pasta feels almost like little clouds under your floured fingers, as you roll it out.

I taught Anne and Denise (nee Joffre) how to make this recently at a Cooking Class at my house. Their mother Eleanor and my grandmother Julia were good friends and Denise was in regular touch with my Great Aunt Josie.

The recipe is easy to remember, with the proportions being 1/1/1. One egg, one cup of flour and 1 cup of ricotta. A recipe I read online said to drain the ricotta in a sieve for half an hour before using, but I’m pretty sure my Aunt Josie didn’t do that. It also said to use 00 flour, but I just used All-Purpose.