Crab Arancini with Cheez-Its!

I have been cooking with Giada’s Italy cookbook and today I tried the Crab Arancini.

Giada uses risotto mixed with crab, cheese and bread crumbs to make these delicious nuggets.  As I go through Giada’s Italy: My Recipes for La Dolce Vita cooking I try to get creative and come up with my own version of each recipe.  I remember as a kid learning from my grandmother, aunts and mom certain recipes where they did not have exact ingredients written down; they were just in their head and measuring was a handful or a pinch and then sometimes added as they went along. I learned to be creative in tasting as you cook so you know if you need to add anything to make the perfect dish.  I originally thought I would try to make these somewhat healthy as it has been a long time since I have had any grains but then thought I will improvise as I go just as my family does.  I had a box of Trader Joe’s Mushroom and Herb Risotto in my pantry so thought I would use that. There are items in the recipe that I did not have so improvised on those as well.  Here is my take.


Prepare boxed risotto, take off stovetop and cool completely. Add in lemon zest, cheese, cream cheese, crab meat and mix thoroughly.  Cover and refrigerate for a few hours.


Prepare your breading station with beaten eggs, flour seasoned with salt and pepper and cheeze-its. Scoop out a tablespoon of risotto mixture and roll into a ball.  Dip in flour, then egg, then cheez-it mixture until you have used up all the mixture.  Cook in a frying pan with heated olive oil, turning to brown on all sides.

Homemade sauce:

(this was an experiment but proved to be pretty good.  You can increase the amounts to double this).  Mix all together and warm in microwave to serve over crab arancini.


Love and Light

Jeanine on the Scene

Pistachios For Your Health, Heart & Happiness

I think about how foods work to fuel our bodies and what benefits we retain from them; the good, the bad and the ugly. We sometimes eat for pleasure or for pain but do we really ever think about how to create a healthy environment in our bodies for what God designed for us to utilize and maximize our special DNA? Think about how you fuel your body and let me know what your go to snack is.

This thought brought me to todays topic about pistachios.  I have always loved them.  I remember as a kid going to a local shop in the Bayfair Mall in San Leandro, CA where you could purchase warm nuts of any kind, fresh hot and delicious.  I remember thinking what a delicacy these pistachios were when I was able to afford purchasing them and savored each bite as I cracked open the warm shell to release the salty nut inside.


The origin of this nut surprised me.

Origin: The pistachio tree is native to western Asia and Asia Minor,from Syria to the Caucasus and Afghanistan. Archaeological evidence in Turkey indicate the nuts were being used for food as early as 7,000 B.C. The pistachio was introduced to Italy from Syria early in the first century A.D. Subsequently its cultivation spread to other Mediterranean countries. The tree was first introduced into the United States in 1854 by Charles Mason, who distributed seed for experimental plantings in California, Texas and some southern states. In 1875 a few small pistachio trees, imported from France were planted in Sonoma, Calif. In the early 1900’s the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture assembled a collection of Pistacia species and pistachio nut varieties at the Plant Introduction Station in Chico, Calif. Commercial production of pistachio nuts began in the late 1970’s and rapidly expanded to a major operation in the San Joaquin Valley. Other major pistachio producing areas are Iran and Turkey and to a lesser extent, Syria, India, Greece, Pakistan and elsewhere.” www.

I did not know that the commercial growth of pistachios took place in Northern California but not until the late 1970’s!!!.  I grew up in Northern CA and was surprised to read this fun fact.

I was introduced to Wonderful Pistachios a few months ago. 

I love supporting local growers in California and was pleasantly surprised at their freshness and flavors, reminding me of my childhood and those first tastes of meaty nuts. I have tried their original Wonderful Roasted and Salted Pistachios in the shell and am hooked.  I also use  Wonderful Pistachios, No-Shell in my salads for extra crunch and protein.  You see there are many benefits of these nuts.

  • Heart health
  • Eye health
  • Skin health
  • Diabetes control
  • Cancer prevention
  • Immune system
  • Slowing aging process

Read more:
Follow us: @naturalsociety on Twitter | NaturalSociety on Facebook

Try these varieties as well:

Wonderful Pistachios Salt & Pepper Flavor Kid’s Favorite Snacks 8 x 4.5 Oz Bags – 2.25 Lb. Box – Salt and pepper, very addictive but a good kid snack for lunches or after soccer practice.

Wonderful Pistachios Sweet Chili, 7.0 OZ – 2 count – A new addiction of sweet, savory, spicy goodness.  Great for a mid afternoon pick me up and snack.

Check out #WonderfulPistachios @GetCrackin

Love and Light,

Jeanine on the Scene

Make sure to check out California Rare Fruit Growers, Inc. California Rare Fruit Growers, Inc. for more information edible plants.


Lobster, Arugula and Mushroom Quiche with Gluten Free Almond Crust

I am catering a “Bunco” brunch in October and was looking for quiche alternatives for those with gluten allergies.  I found this recipe from @Cookie+kate for an almond meal gluten free crust and created the lobster quiche.  Almond Meal and Almond flour are both finely ground almonds and basically the same.  Almond meal can be blanched (skins removed) or unbalanced, while most products labeled almond flour are blanched.  I used Bob’s Red Mill Super-Fine Almond Flour and use it for me cookies and lots of other baking.  The crust has garlic and thyme in it, making it very savory and light.


Gluten Free Almond crust

  • 2 cups almond meal or almond flour
  • 3 cloves garlic, pressed and minced
  • 1 Tbsp. minced fresh thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1/3 cup evoo (extra virgin olive oil)
  • 1 tbsp. + 1 tsp. water

20180918_154016.jpg20180918_155328.jpgPress down crust into prepared pan.

Lobster (or crab), arugula, bella mushroom filling

  • 1 Lobster tail, shelled and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 1/2 cups whole bella mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • 2 cups arugula
  • 1/4 cup pecorino cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup lactose free sour creme
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • dash of red pepper flakes (optional)



  1.  Preheat oven to 400.  Grease a 10 inch glass pan Pyrex Glass Bakeware Pie Plate 9″ x 1.2″ Pack of 2 with olive oil. Combine crust ingredients in a bowl, mixing the dry ingredients first then add the olive oil and water and mix well.
  2. Press the dough into the prepared pie pan, making sure to move up 1/4 inch on the sides and disbursing evenly. Bake 15-50 minutes or until the crust is golden but not too brown.
  3. In a frying pan add olive oil, mushrooms and a little salt, stirring until tender.  Toss in the lobster meat and cook for another minute or two until pink.  Turn off heat and add arugula, tossing gently until wilted.  Take off heat.
  4. In a separate mixing bowl whisk together eggs, milk, salt and pepper and sour creme. Fold in pecorino cheese and then the mushroom mixture.
  5. Pour into finished crust, spreading evenly and bake in oven for 35 minutes or until the center is firm to the touch and knife pulls out clean.

20180918_155518.jpgFold in the arugula, mushroom lobster mix to the eggs.

20180918_155532.jpg20180918_155545.jpgThe crust is light and flaky with the savory thyme, garlic and salt, yum!

    • Love and Light,
    • Jeanine on the Scene

Lamb Bolognese

Happy Friday and welcome to another day with Giada’s Italy *Giada’s Italy: My Recipes for La Dolce Vita. I continue to utilize the recipes in this wonderful cookbook; adding my own versions to the recipes.  I used ground lamb and ground turkey instead of ground beef.  Both lamb and turkey are lower in fat but not losing any flavors.  By slow cooking in a dutch oven; the flavors are allowed to marry together and fill your home with delicious scents.This recipe makes 6 cups and yields 8 servings so you can use half for now and freeze the rest for later use.


  • 1/4 stick unsalted butter
  • 4 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 3/4 lb. ground lamb
  • 3/4 lb. ground turkey (90/10)
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp. Calabrian chile paste
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1 28 oz. can whole San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 3 in. piece of Parmigiana-Reggiano rind
  • 1 8 oz. package of pappardelle pasta (see homemade pasta recipe under my favorite things!)
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiana-Reggiano

Heat a medium dutch oven and add the butter and half the olive oil until butter melts. Add carrot, onion, celery and 1/2 tsp salt and cook stirring frequently for about 6 minutes until the vegetables are soft.  Add the lamb and turkey and cook and break up into small pieces until meat is cooked through.  Add garlic, Hot Chili Peppers Crushed in jar, McCormick Culinary Ground Hot Red Pepper and tomato paste, cooking for a few minutes; stirring to cook down the tomato paste.



Stir in the milk and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until most of the milk evaporates.  Add the wine, crushed tomatoes, bay leaf, cheese rind and remaining 1/2 tsp salt.  Reduce heat once it comes to a simmer, gently cooking for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Skim oil off surface.  Remove half the sauce into a container for later use. Keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or freeze. Cook pasta in well salted boiling water cooking until al dente. Remove from water and toss the pasta with the herb butter.  To serve place pasta in a beautiful dish : CERAMICHE D’ARTE PARRINI – Italian Ceramic Art Pottery Serving Plate Dish Food Hand Painted Decorated Lemons Made in ITALY Tuscan add the sauce to the top and sprinkle with parmesan cheese and some fresh Italian Parsley.  Enjoy!

Love and Light,

Jeanine on the Scene

*Adapted from recipes from Giada’s Italy cookbook.

Dinner for One: Pan Roasted Clams

Its Giada Day!  I searched through the recipes looking for an easy weeknight dinner for one.  I love getting “Pot of clams” when I go to the Bluewater Grill and decided to give this a try.  Super simple, super easy and quick.


  • 1 1/2 lbs. manila clams, scrubbed and rinsed
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh flat leaf Italian Parsley
  • 1/8 cup (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
  • 3 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 tsp. grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp. grated orange zest
  • 1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 ciabatta roll

In a medium flat frying pan, heat pan on medium high heat.  Add clams and cover to cook, shaking the pan to distribute heat to open up clams for about 3 minutes.  Discard any clams that do not open.  Remove clams to a bowl, sprinkle with the parsley; leaving the juices in the pan.  Add butter, thyme, lemon and orange zest and red pepper to pan and cook on medium heat until butter is melted. Pour the sauce over the clams.  Add the ciabatta roll to the pan, moving it around to get the rest of the sauce for grilling bread until crispy.  Make sure to use the bread to soak up all the juices. So easy and delicious. Done in 20 minutes or less.20180905_201440.jpg

Love and Light,

Jeanine on the Scene