Relish Cranberries!

When a former Fox suggested this week’s topic, “Your Favorite Recipe”, she added, “one for Tonette!” Little did she know how I groaned at seeing it. My favorite recipe? As hard as listing my favorite books and authors, I at least was allowed ten of those!
If anyone reading this does not know, I have been cooking all of my life. I am a former professional cook and baker, I had my own bakery restaurant and I have a food blog:

Tonette Joyce:Food,Friends, Family

Being stuck for a choice, in the last week or so I have asked friends and family what recipes of mine are their favorites. I got answers ranging from lasagna to several kinds of cookies; seafood pasta salad to turkey dressing.

Fresh, sweet and versatile, Cranberry Relish

Fresh, sweet and versatile, Cranberry Relish

However, the one reason I started my blog was to teach people who didn’t think that they could cook, those who were afraid to try and those who felt they didn’t have the time or money to entertain. One point I stress is to know one’s audience/guests and with the non-cooks here, I decided to go an easy route and also take one that is seasonal.
So I offer to you my recipe for Cranberry Relish…and don’t scoff till you’ve tried it. It isn’t bitter; in fact, you can make it as sweet as you’d like.

My mother made a cranberry sauce every year that was inedible to everyone but her. The ‘goop’ surrounding the cranberries wasn’t bad, it was made with oranges and spices, but it was horribly sweet, too sweet, which only made things worse when you bit into the cooked but still-sour cranberries.(Think of the strongest cherry pie you have ever had and multiply both the sweet and sour aspects four-fold!)

I developed this recipe as an alternative and it is always a hit. I also use it to grill over chicken, to top #2 Son’s favorite, Brie en Croute, to stuff into dried apricots, to layer into a trifle or to top mini cheese tartlets, cheesecake, etc…but Husband’s favorite way is just as it is, or over plain cereal.
It is so easy…and it’s healthy, vegan and gluten-free:

Cranberry Relish:
1 package fresh cranberries, washed, with any soft ones removed (This was one of my first kitchen jobs; I must have been 3 or 4)
½-2/3 cups walnut pieces (or pecans)
2 large apples, washed and cored,(but not peeled), approx.1 ½ cups
1 large Orange, peeled and membranes removed, approx. 2/3 cup. Reserve a 1X3 inch strip of orange peel
Sugar, Steia or Xylitol

Place the cranberries, apple, orange, peel and nuts in a food processor and chop them coarsely, (can be done by hand.). Add a small amount sweetener, toss. Check for sweetness and add more if needed.( It will depend on your taste and the sweetness of your apples and orange.)

That’s it.

The relish  will stay in your refrigerator for up to two weeks; it can be frozen with some success,(it will be a little softer and have some liquid.)

Any thoughts? Please give it a try.

Posted in childhood, Family, Holiday, Life, Lists, Random thoughts, recipe, Tonette Joyce, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Origins of MacTunaPea

The Origins (and Recipe) of MacTunaPea
OR… as some people call it, TunaMacPea

by Jeff Salter

I should probably explain that I’m not handy in the kitchen and I’m loathe to prepare dishes with multiple, complicated steps. My basic rule for meals is two steps: (1) open container and (2) nuke in microwave. I’m willing to stir contents or rotate the package – whatever – but no further ministrations.

So, with that explanation, you may well imagine a meal involving THREE containers and a total of FOUR steps… is already stretching the limits of my skill-set.

I can’t claim to have invented the combination of macaroni and tuna fish… in fact, it may be printed right on the box somewhere. But I know for a fact that I originated the addition of green peas to the mix. It was some time in the mid-1980s as best I can recall. [Note: I’ve since seen instructions for some sort of casserole which uses my primary ingredients – plus something else – and I’m certain they stole that idea from me.]


* 1 (12 oz.) box of Kraft macaroni shells with the cheese ‘sauce’ in a pouch [do NOT try to use the powered cheese substance — it’s nasty]

* 1 (12 oz.) can of white albacore tuna [I prefer StarKist, but any major brand will do as long as it’s packed in water and NOT in slimy oil]  Note: you don’t really need 12 full ounces, but it needs to be quite a bit more than the standard 6 oz cans.

* 1 small (8.5 oz.) can of green peas [the peas are mainly for color... and to keep my wife from eating it — ha]


* Boil water in medium-size pot

* Add macaroni

* Boil for 10-12 mins. (or whatever the box says)

* Drain off water

* Squeeze ALL the cheese goop from the pouch… and mix well

* Dump in tuna… and mix well

Important note:

If your spouse is willing to eat MacTuna but despises Peas… this is the time to scoop out a bowlful and set that aside.

* At the very last minute, add the peas… but do not mix-in too vigorously (because it breaks the peas open and they get mushy).

* Serve in a large bowl and enjoy.

Note: MacTunaPea also tastes very good the next day (assuming you properly refrigerate the leftovers). Just add a teeny bit of water to the leftovers before you nuke it.

* Nuke for about 45 seconds

* Stir and nuke again until it reaches desired temperature

CAUTION: bowl will be hot!

- – -

Important Note:  I can no longer eat this version of MacTunaPea because I learned, in late 2011, that I’m allergic to GLUTEN.  Substituting the G-F pasta for the Kraft macaroni makes for a fairly nasty blend.  I do still eat it occasionally, but it’s a far cry from the REAL Stuff.

Posted in authors, Jeff Salter, Life, recipe, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 12 Comments

hot chocolate

This week we’re to post a favorite recipe. It is that time of year where hot chocolate is something the kids ask for all the time, their friends from church want hot chocolate brought to them. They go to school with hot chocolate to help keep them warm on the way there. It only makes sense to make it in large batches especially if I know there is going to be a lot of going in and out to play. Slow cooker hot cocoa is the way to go. I found this recipe on Hi It’s Jilly and it is perfect, though I have to cut it down because we don’t need this much but here is the recipe.

Delicious Crockpot Hot Chocolate
serves 18 to 20 (I use about half of this recipe on a busy hot chocolate day, so feel free to divide it up the way you need to)

12 cups milk
3 cups heavy whipping cream
1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
2 tsp vanilla
2-3 dashes cinnamon
1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
5 oz dark chocolate melting wafers/baking melts

1. Toss all liquid ingredients in a large slow cooker and whisk. Stir in chocolate chips and melts.
2. Cover and cook on low 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally (every 20 or 30 minutes).
3. After all the chocolate is melted, turn your slow cooker down to ‘warm’. Before serving, whisk or blend with an immersion blender.

When it comes time to serve you get to have fun with it. I like this recipe because each of my kids likes something different. This gives us the basic hot chocolate and then each kid can have what they want added into theirs to get the taste that they like. This is great for parties.

Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments

Simple Summer Smoothies

simple summer smoothie


I posted this as a draft last week, but I can’t find where the drafts on this blog are kept. Can anybody here help me??

For this week’s topic, I’m supposed to share my favorite recipe. 0?  Scratching my head over that one, since I really don’t cook any more.

I guess I’ll go with an easy and yummy summer smoothie recipe I make. I made it up all by myself!  What I do is place a handful of frozen fruit (any kind) or a ripe banana in a blender and chop it all up.

Then I add a small container (6 oz) of yogurt, and a like amount of milk. Blend it all up and it’s ready to enjoy!  Makes about a couple of servings.

How about the rest of you? What other refreshing simple summer recipes are out there?



Posted in Uncategorized | 9 Comments

A Non-Cook’s Recipe

If last week’s topic was a challenge, this week’s is even more so! I don’t cook much – not because I can’t, and not because I don’t want to, but because I don’t have to. When hubby and I divided the labor thirty-odd years ago, he decided to be the chief cook in our house. The main reason for that was because he got home from work three to four hours before me. Besides, his job required him to get up so early in the morning that if he waited for me to get dinner ready he’d be sound asleep by the time it was on the table. The only time I cook is when he’s sick (which isn’t often) or when he’s not home (which is even less often). So a favorite recipe was really hard for me to come up with.

My time in the kitchen is usually limited to making dessert. And since I have firmly waged war on my spare tire, dessert-making has come to a screeching halt. Now I just cut up veggies and fruit for my snacks, and set aside my portion of the main course before it gets smothered in whatever kind of sauce hubby prepares.

My go-to veggies are cucumbers and tomatoes. Since hubby is a meat-and-potatoes kind of guy, he often forgets to include a vegetable for our meal. I’ve gotten used to this and try to stay prepared. Greek Salad is a quick and easy addition to a meal. In fact, it’s so easy it seems silly to call this a recipe, but here goes:

Greek Salad
(makes two large servings)

1 medium tomato, cut into cubes
1 small cucumber, peeled and cut into pieces similar to tomato
¼ medium red onion, cut into thin slices
¼ cup crumbled feta cheese
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
a bit of oregano
Most recipes call for kalamata olives, but since I don’t like those I leave them out.

Combine veggies and cheese. Combine olive oil and vinegar and pour over the top. Garnish with oregano.
That’s it! My kind of recipe. Cut, mix, eat. The picture below is what it SHOULD look like when it’s done.


What’s on your menu tonight?


Side note & promo: I ate a LOT of Greek Salad during my trip to Greece in 2008. My youngest daughter did a study abroad on the Greek Island of Paros, and of course I had to go and make sure she was okay! After I got home, I decided to write a story set there, and in 2012 Astraea Press released Aegean Intrigue. If you click on the book cover you can read more about it!


Posted in Patricia Kiyono, recipe | Tagged , , , , , , | 11 Comments

One of These Things Is Not Like the Others…

This week’s topic is Three Facts, One Fiction about our lives, and you are to choose which you think is the one that is not true. Sticking with a writing theme, I offer these.

However, I cheated a bit:

All are based on fact, so if you have any knowledge of my work or relationships with authors, you will get no hints from any of it.

1:A name that I suggested for character’s baby in an author’s NYT best-selling series was chosen. The initials were the deciding factor as essential for the running jokes in the series. It was a real challenge to come up with a acronyms since the last name begins with an “O”, but I came up with a few. The child’s mother is a real fashionista, so I named the child Evangeline Chanel Honoria, “ECHO”, (as in “Little Miss Echo”). I foresee that she will follow in her mother’s footsteps.(The mother is also a self-centered woman, so my second favorite suggestion was  Emily Giselle, “EGO”).

2: The title I suggested for another famous author’s recent work in one of her many series is now the name of her newest novel, to be released before Christmas. I thought her original title was wonderful, but it was vetoed by her editor as suggestive of drug use.The title had to be a play on the theme of that particular series.

3:I have a long-range plan to write a musical based on a character in a work I’ve had published. The non-fiction character is very interesting, but I may have to protect their memory and that of others by fictionalizing/dramatizing portions. I also might have to broaden the interest base to make it more commercially viable.

4: I have a short-term plan to adapt a play about a visit to a famous author into a readable story. I had hoped near the beginning to make it into a movie short, but it’s more expensive than I ever imagined, even if we bare-boned it with a handheld camera, (art-house style), with minimal cast and sets.

So, can you guess which one is not true? Will you please tell me why you think they are either true or untrue?

Posted in authors, Books, Family, Fantasy vs Reality, Fibs, Friendship, Life, Lists, movies, Random thoughts, romance, Tonette Joyce, Uncategorized, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

One Fib Hidden Among Three Truths

Three Truths and a Lie

Jeff Salter

We’re all about fibs this week.

I think I’ve participated in a variation of this at least three other times. No longer recall which stories I’ve used. Every time, however, I’ve made the lie too easy to spot.

But for this one, I really believe I can stump you. To make it even more tricky, all of these are from my younger years, when most of youse guys didn’t even know me.

So let’s see if you can tell which ONE statement is a lie.

# 1
            With a lit firecracker in my hand, I fell out of a tree, briefly blacked-out, and came to on a lower branch of that same tree… where I’d landed on my tailbone. About 13 yrs old.

# 2
            Unlike many red-blooded kindergartners, I never played “doctor” with the neighborhood girls.

# 3
            As a middle-schooler, I jumped off the roof of my house… just so I could say I’d done it.

# 4
            In my middle teens, I ate two BK Whoppers (at one sitting)… just to try to impress some girls.

Think about them before you guess. And please let us know HOW you reached your decision on which one is the fib.

Posted in Uncategorized | 26 Comments