Roasted Sunchokes


Some people have never heard of Sunchokes. It’s just one of those vegetables you might walk by because of the way they look. Sunchokes look like ginger roots so make sure you’re double checking before purchasing. They aren’t the prettiest vegetable, but have great flavor. Like I mentioned before in my posts, roasting veggies will bring out the sweetness in any vegetable. This will also help with the picky eaters in our lives. This is the perfect side for dinner.


1-2 pounds small sunchokes, peeked, scrubbed and halved lengthwise
3 tablespoons evoo
Salt and Pepper, to taste
4 large garlic cloves,
6 sprigs of thyme
Crushed red pepper, optional for garnish
Parsley, chopped optional for garnish

Preheat oven to 375 F degrees

Combine cleaned sunchokes with EVOO, salt and pepper in a large bowl; toss well to coat. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Arrange sunchokes, cut side down, in pan; cook 5 minutes or until slightly golden brown. Arrange garlic and rosemary evenly over sunchokes. Place pan in oven; roast at 375° for 35 to 40 minutes or until sunchokes are tender and deep golden. Sprinkle with crushed red pepper and parsley.

A Platter of Thoughts · Food!!

Think Local Give Local


Think Local, Give Local: An Evening Benefiting the Garces Foundation



Garces Foundation presents Think Local, Give Local, an event with tastings from the area’s most acclaimed chefs and a food-themed silent auction to benefit the lives of Philadelphia’s immigrant community.



In a year when the rights of immigrants are more important than ever, the sixth annual Garces Foundation Benefit has gone all out with making this the best event yet. Chef Jose Garces has handpicked a group of local chefs to deliver an unforgettable epicurean experience, highlighting Philadelphia’s unique culinary talent. Throughout the evening guests will enjoy everything with a local twist – cocktails made with local spirits, regional handcraft beer, design and décor made by local artists such as Petals Lane and Event FX and more. Additionally, Entertainment will be provided by American Deluxe

Guests will participate in a live auction featuring exciting and unique experiences, including a New Year’s Eve overnight package at LUMA Hotel Times Square. Tito’s Handmade Vodka is matching the first $5,000 raised for each live auction item.


The Chefs’ After Party will feature cocktails made exclusively with Tito’s Handmade Vodka.



Friday, April 13, 2018

VIP Preview 6:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m.

General Admission 7:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m.

Chefs’ After Party 9:00 p.m. -midnight

Stage program including video and live auction will occur at 8:15.


Loews Philadelphia Hotel, 1200 Market Street, Philadelphia


Stations from Garces restaurants including: 24, Amada, Buena Onda, Distrito, Distrito Moorestown, Garces Events, Garces Trading Company, JG Domestic, Olón and Okatshe located at Tropicana Atlantic City, Ortzi NYC, The Olde Bar, Tinto, Village Whiskey, Volvér

  1. Kitchen, Eli Collins
  2. Abe Fisher, Yehuda Sichel
  3. Baba’s Brew, Olga Sorzano
  4. Bing Bing Dim Sum, Ben Puchowitz
  5. Cake Life Bake Shop, Lily Fisher
  6. Cheu Fishtown, Ben Puchowitz
  7. Ela, Jason Cichonski
  8. Gilda’s Biscotti, Gilda Doganiero
  9. La Peg, Kenneth Bush
  10. , Nicholas Elmi
  11. Mission Taqueria, Andrew Sabin
  12. Osteria, Jeff Michaud
  13. Subarashii Kudamono Gourmet Asian Pears, Holly Harter
  14. Food & Drink, Greg Vernick
  15. Zeppoli, Joey Baldino

Guests will enjoy drinks from Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Patron, Beam Suntory, Yards, Brooklyn Brewing and Estrella, Bluecoat Gin, Coca-Cola and wine from Winebow.


Leading up to the benefit, Tito’s Handmade Vodka will be donating $1 per cocktail sold at each of the participating Garces restaurants.


General Admission – $150
VIP Admission – $285 receive exclusive access to the after party on the 33rd floor and a preview tasting.
Cocktail attire.



In 2012, the Garces Foundation was founded to support Philadelphia’s immigrant community, particularly employees of Philadelphia’s hospitality industry and their families. The foundation raises funds to provide this community with medical and educational programming. The goal is to help Philadelphia’s immigrants take advantage of these resources so that they may actively contribute their talents to making this city truly world-class.

The foundation currently runs two of its own programs that improve the health, language, and cultural skills of this community. The first is a quarterly Community Health Day where uninsured patients can receive free dental care, physicals, and medical screenings. The second is an applied learning English as a second language class for restaurant workers, English for the Restaurant and Everyday Living, which aims to narrow the language and cultural gap in the workplace and beyond.

  • Tickets:
  • Early Admission – $200
  • Weckerly’s Ice Cream, Andy Satinsky
  • V Street, Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby
  • Oyster Bar, Brett Naylor
  • On Point Bistro, Juan Lopez
  • Maison 208, Sylva Senat
  • Lacroix at the Rittenhouse, Jon Cichon
  • Hungry Pigeon, Scott Schroeder
  • Fork, John Patterson
  • Dim Sum Garden, Sally Song
  • Capofitto and Capogiro, Stephanie and John Reitano
  • Bistrot La Minette, Peter Woolsey
  • Bank and Bourbon, Thomas Harkins
  • Amis, Brad Spence
A Platter of Thoughts · Food!! · Travel

The Woodloch Resort


I’m excited to share this amazing place with all of you. My family and I had the opportunity to head to The Woodloch Resort here in Pennsylvania. This resort has so much to offer that my kids said it is 2nd to Disney World!  
We arrived on a Friday afternoon and were greeted by a staff that was super friendly and provided us with all the information we needed for our weekend stay. She gave me a calendar and stated that everyday their calendar changes to different shows and activities for the family. We were all excited about this because usually resorts only offer the same activities everyday. Below I made a video so you can checkout all the fun.  There’s a lot for all ages there!


Next we parked our car at the lot where our room would be. They have a bus that picks you up every ten minutes from your hotel to take you to the activities throughout the resort. Our room was the perfect size for a family of 4 with young kids. It had 2 queen size beds and a pull out sofa with a full mattress. 2 TVs, 2 full bathrooms and a mini refrigerator. We also had a gorgeous view of the lake.
Now let’s chat about the food, which of course is usually my favorite part. We had a 3 meal plan, which means 3 meals a day of course but every time it was a 3 course meal. Our waitress Courtney was absolutely one of the best waitress I have ever had. Super friendly and helpful. The food was delicious and the desserts were fabulous.

After dinner that night we went to the arcade and had some family fun. The kids also wanted to go for a late night swim. The following day we enjoyed some breakfast and decided to have some fun and enter the cupcake competition. We didn’t win but we had a blast, and met some new friends. Then we went snow tubing. Afterwards we had a great lunch and I had an appointment for a little massage at the spa. The spa is located at Woodloch Spa Resort which is an adults only resort perfect for a romantic getaway or for a girls’ weekend. I could had stayed at the spa all day. After my massage I got to enjoy the dry and wet sauna and hot tub. You can checkout all the spa services here
That night we went to dinner and enjoyed the amazing show in the club area. They had dancing to start then the show was about the best performances of the last few decades at Woodloch.  To end the night they had a family friendly comedian. What a fun night to make memories with our kids.

Our last day came quickly.  We had some breakfast and then went off to drive some go karts and checkout the petting zoo. The petting zoo included pony rides and adorable little animals.  
To close it all out we had lunch and the kids wanted to go to the craft room and create some fun art to bring home.  My only regret is that we didn’t get to stay longer, but it was one amazing get away. 
Thank you Woodloch Resort for having us. We made some memories that will last us a life time. We can’t wait to return in the summer to see what else Woodloch has to offer. Make sure to visit and plan your visit




A Platter of Thoughts

Let’s Talk!


For the last couple of weeks I have been missing in action here on my blog and I apologize for that. I wanted to chat with you about what happened. It’s rare that I go on lengthy posts but this one is important especially to all my women out there. Last month I went to the doctor because I felt a little lump above my left breast kinda felt squishy but I didn’t know what it could be.  For all I knew it could have been another lipoma which I had one last year removed from my back. The doctor felt something and said why don’t we get that checked with an ultrasound. I made an appointment and went in to the Women’s Health Care department at Holy Redeemer here in Philadelphia, PA. The office staff was super nice. The ultrasound tech did her thing and didn’t seem to locate anything. She told me I’m going to show the head radiologist. She came back and said since we didn’t seem to locate anything they wanted to get a mammogram just to be certain. Now mind you I have never had one done before. But I said okay better to be safe than sorry.

That day I went home and started to research mammograms. Different ways to prepare like don’t wear any deodorant or lotions because this can mess with the mammogram. Also take ibuprofen an hour before your exam. Most importantly stay calm.  The following day was my appointment (which was on my birthday, ugh). They were going to do a mammogram on both my breasts. After that they put me in the waiting room. They called me back again because they needed 2 more photos of my right breast. Got that done and went back into the waiting room. This time they came back and said we are going to do an ultrasound of your right breast. At this point I knew they had spotted something. I went in and you could see something tiny on the ultrasound machine. The ultrasound tech said I’m going to show this to the head radiologist and I will be back. To my surprise he came back with her. This is when your mind just goes blank as they start to say they found something. They didn’t really know what it could be, but they wanted to do a biopsy to make sure it’s nothing serious. He mentioned Fibroadenoma (which is a noncancerous breast tumor).  At this point I was holding in tears. They said I can make my appointment with the nurse. After speaking with her and making my appointment I had to wait 2 weeks before my consultation.

After leaving the office I was a mess. You start to think about the worse case and about your kids and family. I’m lucky to have such an amazing husband who kept me calm and was my strength. If this was something serious at least they caught it early. SO of course I got home and started to research Fibroadenoma. I started to look at different vitamins and different things I could do to prepare for my biopsy. The first thing I did was reach out to my friends at Lizzy Jays Juice to kickstart a detox of my body which I read was really good to do just to get all the toxins out. I stayed positive and I think that’s the important part.

The day of my consultation came.  The doctor was super nice and explained a lot to me about the care of our breasts, and this could have been something that was always in my breast. After that we set up the big day of my biopsy. I was so nervous but I knew that this would all be over soon. The biopsy went well and they placed a marker clip inside used for breast biopsies and made of titanium or surgical stainless steel.  It is about 2 millimeters in size. When the radiologist or surgeon feels a marker should be used, they are inserted at the end of breast core or needle biopsy procedures to mark the site of the biopsy for later reference. This is for future reference.  Now when I go to get a mammogram they will know that I had a biopsy there and its nothing serious. After the procedure I got up to get a mammogram.  I got so light headed that my blood pressure dropped to 83/60 which was super low, so they had to lay me down. I think the emotions got to me.

After all was said and done I returned home and the waiting game of the results began. The bruising and pain was not bad at all on my breast. I think waiting for the results was the worst part. Finally 3 days later I got the call. “You are free and clear!” they said.  “It was a Acinar Calcification benign (noncancerous).”  I felt the weight of the world off my shoulders. The reason I wanted to share this experience with you is because sometimes as women we put our familes and loved ones first or we are scared of going to get a mammogram or go to our OBGYN but that reality is if its something serious and they can find it sooner rather then later it can save your life.  I thought I had something on my left breast, but instead there was something on my right.  Bottom line is that we don’t know enough ourselves, so we need to get ourselves checked out regularly.

Some of you may have had different experiences this was just my story.  Feel free to share yours in the comments below.  Thanks for reading.


Easy Escarole Soup

This soup is by far one of the easiest soups you can make. It’s done in less then 25 minutes and perfect for those busy weeknights or chilly cold weekends. It’s an Italian favorite for sure. Top with some parm and crushed red pepper and with a glass of vino. You are set.


1 lb Escarole, chopped 

2 garlic cloves, minced 

1 small onion, diced 

Salt & Pepper, to taste 

2 tablespoons Evoo 

32oz of broth of choice 

2 cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1 small piece parmigiano reggiano, optional of course but totally worth it

Crushed red pepper flakes, garnish and optional 

parmigiano reggiano cheese, garnish and optional


Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions cook for about 3 minutes until translucent, add garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the escarole and saute until wilted, about 2-3 minutes. Add salt and pepper, Add the chicken broth, beans, and Parmesan cheese rind. Cover and simmer until the beans are heated through, about 5 minutes. Serve and garnish


Super Bowl Cheesesteak Appetizers


Super bowl Sunday is almost here. It’s time to get those appetizers together for the big game day. I had a fun segment on Fox29 here in Philadelphia and had people messaging me for the recipes of the dishes I’d made.

These recipes are all cheesesteak related from dips to the mini bites. Feel free to change up the cheeses to your liking. Also these go great with a cold beer. Trust me these will not disappoint the crowd. Below you can find my segment as well. All of my ingredients were purchased at Giant Food Stores.


One more thing GO BIRDS!! Fly Eagles Fly

Cheesesteak Dip

8 Oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Salt & Pepper, to taste
1 lb Thinly Sliced Steak, Chopped into small pieces and cooked
1/2 of an onion, chopped and caramelized
1/3 cup sour cream
Chives, optional for garnish


Preheat oven to 400 F degrees

In a medium skillet over medium high heat drizzle some evoo. Add steak, season with salt and pepper. Cook for 3-4 minutes until done. Add Worcestershire sauce stir. Remove from heat and set aside. Next add onions to same pan and caramelize for 8 to 10 minutes until golden. Set aside and let cool.
In a large bowl mix together the cream cheese, cheddar cheese and sour cream. Pour steak and onions mix until well incorporated. Place in an oven safe dish top with additional cheese and bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Serve with baguette, chips or veggies.

Cheesesteak Cups

24 mini muffin cups


1 1/2 lbs Thinly Sliced Steak, Chopped
1 small onion, diced
Salt & pepper, to taste
2 cups shredded white cheddar cheese
6 mushrooms, diced
1 store bought pizza dough
Parsley, optional for garnish


Preheat oven to 400 F degrees

In a medium skillet over medium high heat drizzle some evoo. Add steak, season with salt and pepper. Cook for 3-4 minutes until done. Add Worcestershire sauce stir. Remove from heat and set aside. Next add onions to same pan and caramelize for 8 to 10 minutes until golden. Set aside and let cool. Again in the same pan add mushrooms cook for another 3 minutes remove from heat.

Tip: you can have the cooked meat, onions and mushrooms all in the same bowl to cool.

Next layout your pizza dough with a small cookie cutter cut out 24 pieces of dough. Spray mini muffin tin with cooking spray. Place the dough into all 24 spots. Put them in the oven for about 6 minutes. Bring them back out and add the steak, onions and mushrooms. Top with shredded cheese and bake for another 10 minutes until golden brown.

Serve and enjoy!

Cheesesteak pinwheels


1 lb Thinly Sliced Steak, Chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1/4 lb Deli American cheese
S&P, to taste
1 store bought pizza dough
Chive, optional for garnish


In a medium skillet over medium high heat drizzle some evoo. Add steak, season with salt and pepper. Cook for 3-4 minutes until done. Add Worcestershire sauce stir. Remove from heat and set aside. Next add onions to same pan and caramelize for 8 to 10 minutes until golden. Set aside and let cool.

Next layout pizza dough. Place slices of American cheese across the dough in a straight line. Now take the steak and onion mixture and place it on top. Now begin to roll the dough. Lay the log on a baking sheet and brush with some evoo. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden and crisp. Slice and serve.

Cheesesteak mini muffins


1 1/2 ground meat
1 small onion, diced
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
Salt & Pepper, to taste
1 1/4 cup bisquick mix
1/2 cup milk
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese or cheese of choice


Preheat oven to 400 F degrees

In a medium skillet over medium high heat drizzle some evoo. Add ground meat, season with salt and pepper. Cook for 3-4 minutes until done. Add Worcestershire sauce and onions. Cook for another 2-3 minutes. Set aside to cool.

In a medium bowl, mix the biscuit mix, milk, cooled meat mixture and cheese.

Next take mini muffin tins and spray with cooking spray. Scoop a tablespoon into each spot. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Serve with ketchup or favorite condiment

Link to segment

A Platter of Thoughts · Travel

2018 Toyota Avalon


I’ll keep this little review short and sweet. The new 2018 Toyota Avalon had great comfort, quality and impressive fuel economy. We drove all around and had a little mini getaway a couple of weeks ago in the Pocono mountains of Pennsylvania, and the fuel mileage was great.

The kids loved that they had enough leg room to stretch out in the back seat. This has now become one of my favorite sedans. It also had great speed and performance on all those windy mountain roads. A pleasantly surprising feature was the automatic high beams that came in handy on dark roads.

I think this is the perfect car for parents with grown kids or even a family just starting out. Also there are an abundance of airbags, five-star crash-test ratings, and advanced active safety tech. Which to me is super important when traveling with a family. Visit for more information.



Classic Beef Stew

I hope everyone is keeping warm because here on the East coast it’s freezing. This is the perfect weather for comfort food and crock pot use. Beef stew is a classic and everyone just loves the taste and how tender the meat gets. You can never go wrong with this dish. It’s also great for big crowds. I love to top it with some Parmesan cheese to kick it up a notch. Enjoy and stay warm.


2 lbs chuck roast, trimmed of excess fat and diced into 1-1/2 inch cubes (you can find cubed chunks at the supermarket)
2 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 medium celery stalks, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup tomato paste
3 cups low-sodium beef broth
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp herbs de provence or Italian seasoning
12 baby red potatoes, cut in half
2 cups baby carrots
1 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch (depending on how thick you like it)
1/2 cup peas, which I ran out of but we love it in our stew
NOTE: you can purchase celery, onions, potatoes and carrots already cut and ready for use at the supermarket
Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large heavy bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Season meat to taste. Sear in skillet until browned. Pour meat into the crockpot.
Add remaining 1/2 Tbsp oil to oil in skillet reduce burner to medium. Saute onions and celery 3 minutes, add garlic saute 30 seconds longer then add in tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute.
Pour 1 cup beef broth into skillet along with Worcestershire, herbs. Add potatoes and carrots over beef layer in slow cooker, then pour broth mixture in skillet into slow cooker along with remaining 2 cups beef broth. Season lightly with salt and pepper (add more to taste at the end). Cover and cook on low heat for 7 hours.
In a small bowl whisk together cornstarch with 1 cup of stew broth until smooth. Pour into slow cooker and gently stir, cover and cook on high heat for 20 – 25 minutes until thickened slightly. Stir in peas cook for another 5 minutes. Serve warm garnished with parmesan cheese and parsley if desired.
A Platter of Thoughts

Dunkin’ Donuts Launches New Game Day Offer for Philadelphia 76ers Fans

Sixers fans can score a $1 medium Hot Coffee on all Sixers home game days when they use On-The-Go Mobile Ordering in the Dunkin’ Donuts app
Dunkin’ Donuts, the Official Coffee, Breakfast Sandwich and Donut of the Philadelphia 76ers, today announced the launch of its new Sixers Game Day offer to help keep DD Perks® members and Philadelphia 76ers fans running throughout the regular season.
Beginning Jan. 3 as the Sixers take on the San Antonio Spurs, DD Perks members can receive a $1 medium Hot Coffee on all Sixers home game days when they use On-the-Go Mobile Ordering in the Dunkin’ Donuts app. The offer is valid at participating Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants in the greater Philadelphia-area (Southeastern PA, Southern NJ, and Kent and New Castle Counties, DE) throughout the regular season. Fans can become DD Perks members by enrolling at or through the Dunkin’ Donuts app.
“Dunkin’ Donuts is excited to sponsor the Philadelphia 76ers for the second year in a row,” said Jessica Weissman, Field Marketing Manager, Dunkin’ Brands. “We are excited to launch the new Sixers Game Day Offer to reward our most loyal fans, our DD Perks members, with the chance to score $1 medium Hot Coffee on all Sixers home game days, and look forward to keeping our Dunkin’ Donuts guests and Sixers fans cheering loudly throughout the rest of the season.”
In January, Dunkin’ Donuts and the Philadelphia 76ers signed a multi-year agreement making Dunkin’ Donuts the Official Coffee, Breakfast Sandwich and Donut of the team. Throughout the 2017-18 season, guests can expect to see an array of Sixers-themed promotions and special events including performances by the Sixers Dunk Squad presented by Dunkin’ Donuts. The Dunkin’ Donuts Community Cruiser will also be on-site at select Sixers home games sampling Dunkin’ Donuts delicious hot and iced beverages.
To learn more about Dunkin’ Donuts, visit or follow us on Facebook ( and Twitter @DunkinPhilly.

A Platter of Thoughts

Dunkin’ Donuts Announces New Game Day Offer for Philadelphia Flyers Fans

Dunkin Donuts the Official Coffee and Donut of the Philadelphia Flyers, announced today the launch of its new Flyers Game Day offer to help keep DD Perks® members and Philadelphia Flyers fans running throughout the regular season.
Beginning Jan. 2 as the Flyers take on the Pittsburgh Penguins, DD Perks members can receive a $1 medium Iced Coffee on all Flyers home game days when they use On-the-Go Mobile Ordering in the Dunkin’ Donuts app. The offer is valid at participating Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants in the greater Philadelphia-area (Southeastern PA, Southern NJ, and Kent and New Castle Counties, DE) throughout the regular season. Fans can become DD Perks members by enrolling at or through the Dunkin’ Donuts app.
“For four seasons now, fans have come to rely on Dunkin’ Donuts to fuel their passion for the Philadelphia Flyers,” said Jessica Weissman, Field Marketing Manager, Dunkin’ Brands. “We are excited to launch the new Flyers Home Game Day Offer to help keep Flyers fans cheering loudly throughout the rest of the regular season.”
Dunkin’ Donuts returns as an Official Partner of the Philadelphia Flyers for the 2017-18 season. The long-standing partnership with Dunkin’ Donuts and the Philadelphia Flyers includes numerous community initiatives, promotions and events.
To learn more about Dunkin’ Donuts, visit or follow us on Facebook ( and Twitter @DunkinPhilly.