How to Make Fettunta (Italian Garlic Bread)

Fettunta is of my favorite things to serve as a part of heavy appetizer or to go alongside a yummy stew during the wintertime. If you haven’t heard of fettunta, it is Italian version of garlic bread. It’s full of flavor, and you toast it until it’s crisp around the edges but still soft in the center.

You will need:
Olive oil
Baking sheet

*The bread you see in the video is a bit of a unique color because I used kalamata olive ciabatta.

1. Slice garlic bread into 3/4 inch slices and place on baking sheet.

2. Drizzle or brush with olive oil.

3. Cook on broil setting for approximately 5 minutes, being sure not to burn or over toast bread.

4. Remove and rub with with a clove of garlic or the entire bulb with the cloves exposed. The flavor is best if this part is done when the bread is still pretty warm.


I’ve made a video making this yummy and easy bread as well:

Housewarming Party Menu Items

Lots of people are moving or have recently moved, so I find that the most common questions I get center around preparation for a housewarming a party. I recently made a video on tips for hosting a dinner party, or you can watch How to Have a Housewarming Party on  a Budget.

I’ve put together a list of easy, delicious and healthy housewarming foods that your guests are sure to love! Mix and match 4 to 6 items from this list and you’re off to a great start! Simply click on the photo to link to the recipe.

 Mint Berry Sparklers  mint berry yt thumb
 Fresh Mex Salad  fresh mex
 Quinoa & seafood Greek salad  blog2
 Glam Water  20140108-231055.jpg
 Baked Donuts  IMG_7782
 Frittatas Florentine  DSC_5354
 Fruit Kabobs  lainey2
 Mediterranean Potato Salad  IMG_0013
 Avocado Boats  Avocado-Boats2-Small-300x203
 Zucchini Fritters  6075468562_8fd29a0c83
 Italian Sausage Lasagna  32427
 Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies  healthy-chocolate-chip-cookies

Memorial Day Weekend Barbecue and Picnic Foods

I’ve put togteher a list of recipes from my site and the sites of other awesome food bloggers to enjoy over Memorial Day weekend. Some are a little indulgent, but most are flavorful and healthy. You’ll find salads, main dishes, drinks and desserts. Just click on the image and it will take you directly to the recipe. Enjoy and have a fun safe holiday weekend!



 Cucumber Melon MedleyIMG_3447 Faux Ahi Poke Salad (Vegan)DSC_4958  Mediterranean Potato SaladIMG_0014
 Baked Garlic Buffalo WingsBaked-Garlic-Buffalo-Chicken-Wings10  Grilled ShrimpGT0102_shrimp-two-ways_s4x3_lg  BBQ CornGrilledCornCob_lg
 Mint Berry Sparklermint berry yt thumb  Grapefruit MojitoOriginal_Mocktails-Virgin-Grapefruit-Mojito_s4x3_lg  Sparkling Lemonade6507668623_6061393116_z
 Fruit Kebabslainey2  Spicy Red Velvet CupcakesIMG_0015 Peach-and-Toasted Pecan Ice Creampeach

Delicious Side Dishes | Instagram @divinehostess

This year Christmas dinner was the usual delicious spread of indulgent American cuisine. I volunteered to contribute a couple of sides with the added benefit of knowing for sure there would be meat free dishes I would enjoy. I made a green bean salad and pan seared brussels with caramelized onions. Both were easy to make and a big hit!

Interested in the recipes? They will be available in just a couple days in my new book, The Divine Hostess: A Guide to Cooking, Hosting, & Healthy Living.



Quinoa Lentil Pilaf | Thanksgiving Side Dishes

by Sasha

Sasha was gracious enough to share one of her delicious recipes and I think this is a fantastic dish for Thanksgiving. Vegetarians and vegans are often looking for main and side dishes that can go along with a traditional holiday meal, while non-vegetarians are often looking for a new dish that is a little out of the box. I love this dish because many of the side dishes on holidays are vegetarian, but not vegan. This dish is also a great source of fiber and protein!

1 TBSP olive or grapeseed oil
1 sweet onion, diced
2 medium carrots, peeled & diced
2 large celery stalks, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 TBSP parsley (dry) or 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp cumin
1/2-1 tsp turmeric
1 cup tricolor quinoa
2 cups of lentils cooked, drained
2 cups water
1 TBSP bouillon
2 pkt True Lemon or 2 tsp lemon zest

Sauté onion, celery, carrot in oil. Cook 10 minutes or till tender. Add rinsed quinoa, drained lentils, and the bell pepper. Add all seasoning and stir. Add water and bouillon. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cover for 15-20 minutes. Turn off heat and let sit 5-10 minutes before serving.

Harvest Festival & Halloween Party Treats

With Halloween around the corner, I’d like to share some yummy treats that are great for house parties or for your to enjoy as you pass out candy. Some do not officially celebrate Halloween, but it is still a great day to enjoy movies, warm food, and healthy (and some decadent) treats!

Healthy Chicken Strips from Oprah:

Baked Sweet Potato Steak Fries by The Divine Hostess:

Spicy Roasted Butternut Seeds from

Roasted nuts by Lemons and Anchovies:

Halloween Cake Pops by Bakerella:

Pumpkin bread from My Baking Addiction:

Butter beer from Bakingdotcom:

Chocolate Lover’s Candied Apple by The Sweetest Vegan:

Labor Day Weekend BBQ Foods

Who doesn’t love a good 3-day weekend? I know I do. I am looking forward to a little extra rest, and some time to catch up with family and friends. Many will be hosting or attending events throughout the weekend. I am providing you with some simple recipes that will help keep you from being the guest who brings the store-bought potato salad. 🙂

Here’s my top 10 list of things to make for your cookouts and barbecues.

1. Loaded Baked Potato Salad. Need I say more? And yes, a vegetarian just recommended that you eat bacon.

2. Deviled eggs. Deviled eggs are a great appetizer and for most– you cannot go wrong with eggs.

3. Easy Turkey Rollups. These are healthy, kid-friendly, full of protein, and they make a fantastic starter food.

4. White cake with lemon frosting. What’s a BBQ without a delicious dessert? Whether it is made as a cake or as cupcakes, this is a great treat to conclude festivities.

5. Barbecued Corn. An absolutely delicious and new way to eat barbecued corn. A must read!

6. Cucumber Melon Medley. Fruit salad is always a hit, but it’s nice to do something a little more unique. This will balance out all of the high protein barbecue foods, and keep you cool and hydrated.

7. Summer Sangria. You will need to make this about 4 hours in advance, but the recipe is surprisingly easy!

8. Quinoa & Seafood Greek Salad. This has been a huge hit at parties for me. It’s a nice refreshing salad, that is surprisingly hearty. Something about the lemon flavor is nice and light for hot weather.

9. Fresh Mex Salad. Here’s a salad that is Mexican-inspired. This will pair well with grilled shrimp or carne asada.

10. Carnitas. Do something different for the holiday! This recipe for slow cooked pork could pair well with any of the salads mentioned and may be something a little out of the box for your guests.

Guide to grilling beef and pork found here.


Fresh Mex Salad

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A Housewarming Party Made Easy (and inexpensive)

Note: Maybe you did not just move in, but maybe you want to have a nice dinner party and enjoy the summer weather. If so, this post is for you!

Follow the link below to watch the video that goes along with this post:

House warming parties are so fun and cozy whether you are just moving to a new apartment on the other side of town, or you have just purchased your first home. Often times because of the stress of the move, time it takes to unpack, and a limited budget, housewarming parties do not happen until months or even a year after moving in. Yet, all the while you find yourself wanting to do it– and wishing you could have one sooner. I’d like to share some easy tips for putting together an inexpensive housewarming party within the first 90 days of moving in.

Hopefully, you’ve unpacked. Let’s assume you’re one of those organized packers, so you had all the boxes neatly marked with labels like “Kitchen Utensils” and “Linen Closet” and such. If you set aside working hours for yourself to unpack each day, you’ll be done in no time.

Now, for the food and decor.

1. Remember that your guests, who presumably are friends and family– are not expecting to walk into a Crate & Barrel showroom. They are expecting to come into something nice and cozy, and congratulate you on your move. Don’t feel like your home decor has to be perfect. One good idea is to concentrate traffic in the areas of your home that do happen to be complete. Kitchen, living room, dining, room– these are places people can hang out. There is no need for them to peek at the bedrooms–especially if they aren’t ready yet. If you need to, place cute little signs on the outside of the off limits rooms so that your super nosy guests keep out. Something like “Under Construction” will be funny and unimposing.

2. Don’t feel like you have to provide a full meal for your guests, who will only be dropping by your house for short moments of time. If the invite says “Drop by from 11am to 4pm” guests will already have the idea that they are just casually coming by to show their love and congratulations.

Food can really get pricey. Instead of buying those very convenient party trays, buy the dips (or make those too), but cut up the vegetables and fruits, and buy the crackers yourself. This really ensures you get the freshest produce, since you picked it yourself. I love cutting the carrots, zucchini, and broccoli myself so that I can choose the right sized pieces and ensure that none of the veggies or fruit will be too old or dry looking.

3. It is tempting to buy frozen wings or pick up wings from a local restaurant to serve. This cost can add up– and often times the food runs out quickly. Instead, I recommend adding meat to another dish like pasta, rice, or salad. It goes a longer way, and is very easy to make. Try buying a roasted chicken from the grocery store and cutting it into pieces, or adding shrimp to a nice pasta salad.

4. Bake something! There’s nothing more inviting than walking into a home where fresh brownies, cookies, or muffins have been baked. If you lack time or the skill to bake, you can buy pre-made dough, and just pop them into the oven 30 minutes before your guests are to arrive. They can check out your new abode with a sweet treat in hand! I even created a sample menu for you!

5. Check our your local party supply store for utensils. Paper and plasticware have come a long way. There are wine and champagne glasses, disposable party bowls, and more. They are even in matching sets. Check and see what’s available, and see if this is a more viable option over things you must wash during and after the party.

6. Alcohol can be a huge expense, so there are a few ways you can go:

  • You can hit up your local health food market, or the well known store BevMo and grab inexpensive wines, and when they are gone, they are gone.
  • Make a party punch like Sangria– so that it goes a longer way. There are tons of recipes for things like Sangria, frozen drinks, etc.
  • Announce that is is a “Bring Your Own Wine” event. This depends on your level of comfort. It can be a nice addition, since many are unsure of what gift to bring to a housewarming.
  • Have the housewarming earlier in the day– you can serve water, iced tea, and other beverages. Skip the alcohol altogether.

Don’t forget to load your iPod with great music for the event!

Lastly, the important thing is to stay within your budget, and do it in a tasteful way. It is also important to have an event that is more fun for you than it is stressful. Check your budget first, then plan accordingly. The most important part of the event is not the decor, food or showcasing the home– it is the time spent with those you love and who love you.

Any additional questions I didn’t answer in this post? Visit my Facebook page ( and send me a direct message! I hope you enjoy your parties and gatherings this summer. I know I will!

Quinoa & Seafood Greek Salad

We just celebrated my gram’s 76th birthday. It was so fun! It’s easy to go all out for someone who has spared nothing to help others accomplish their dreams. She means a lot to me, and everyone she meets has felt her generosity and beautiful spirit. This year the celebration was a late lunch. We filled the house and patio with festive hues of pink (her favorite color) and filled the tables with snacks, sweets and hearty foods. Mommie asked me to make a cool salad to go along with the array of veggies, meats and breads. She specifically asked me to make a pasta salad, but I like to color outside the lines. I knew that sautéed veggies and baked chicken would go well with a Mediterranean inspired salad, so I had that in mind with a new twist. Although quinoa has it’s roots in South America, the salad’s deliciousness was kicked up a notch with this healthful ancient grain. This dish will be a hit with many guests because it is refreshing, yet filling. It has seafood in every bite, and the quinoa is nutritious and gluten-free. I’ve designed this dish to feed 30 guests. You may make portions smaller or larger according to your needs. It can also stand alone as a one-dish meal.

  • Any salt-free seasoning blend (Mrs. Dash, 21 seasoning, etc)
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • 1-2 large English cucumbers, washed, halved and seeded
  • 1 cup of pitted Kalamata olives
  • 1 Lemon
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Dry oregano
  • ½ cup crumbled feta (I used herb feta)
  • 1 cup fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 package of quinoa (11 servings. I used a tricolor quinoa for an extra dimension of color)
  • ½ large red onion, minced
  • Sea salt
  • 1 lb of medium shrimp
  • 1lb bag of mixed seafood (such as scallops, calamari and shrimp, I bought from Trader Joe’s)
  • 3 Roma tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 lb baby spinach



  1. Cook quinoa according to directions. I used the microwave directions to free up stovetop space. Allow it to cool down once cooked.
  2.  On a large cutting board, cut halved cucumbers into thinly sliced pieces. Next, roughly chop tomatoes and add all contents to a large mixing bowl along with minced onion.
  3. In a large skillet, saute seafood, if raw. You have the option of unthawing already cooked seafood as well. You may need to break it up, since it is a large quantity. On medium high, heat 1 TBSP olive oil. Once heated, add seafood and toss in 1 TBSP balsamic vinegar and a dash of sea salt. Cook for about 3-5 minutes. Shrimp should become translucent and begin to turn pink. Remove from heat, and allow to cool.
  4. Saute baby spinach in about 1 to 2 tsp oil with sea salt and salt free seasoning. Should begin to wilt after 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
  5. In a large mixing bowl mix quinoa, olives, seafood,  vegetables and about half the parsley.
  6. Dressing: in a small bowl add 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, 1 TBSP balsamic vinegar, the juice of 1/2 lemon, a dash of sea salt, and 1 TBSP dry oregano. Whisk together.
  7. Toss salad with dressing and place salad in its proper serving container.
  8. Sprinkle more salt free seasoning over the salad, sprinkle feta over the top, then add 1 cup of roughly chopped parsley over the top for garnish.
  9. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

Salad before adding to serving container and topping with feta.

Lemongrass Thai Fried Rice

Fried rice is a one dish meal that is simple & good for any time of the day. My mother would sometimes use leftover rice from another meal & mix in veggies, soy sauce & eggs. It was definitely a favorite amongst my sisters & me. Although I have tried nearly a dozen of Trader Joe’s rices dry, precooked and frozen– I have yet to try them all. I recently tried the Thai confetti rice & was blown away by how perfectly seasoned it was with the lemongrass, ginger & thai basil. With the onions & baby corn it is totally delicious & worth every bit & more of $2.99 per box for 4 servings. Rather than go with my urge to consume more than my serving, I filled up on veggies & added a protein to go alongside it. I hope you enjoy this dish as much as I did!

For this dish you will need:

  • 3 eggs
  • 2 packets of Trader Joe’s confetti rice
  • 1/4 pound of snow peas
  • 1 large green bell pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper
  • 8 to 10 oz of protein (shrimp or tofu work well)


  1. Microwave confetti rice according to instructions & set aside in a large bowl.
  2. In a large non-stick skillet or wok, cook protein & then set aside. I used tofu, but chicken for my guests. Shrimp is also a good option. The proteins were cooked in a skillet on medium high heat with EVOO, a dash of sea salt, black pepper, garlic powder & soy sauce. This takes 5 to 7 minutes.
  3. In the now cleaned skillet, scramble eggs, but do not cook all the way through. This will prevent overdrying when they are cooked again with the fried rice. Set aside.
  4. Cut bell pepper in to 1×1 inch pieces.  Cook snow peas and bell pepper pieces on medium heat until slightly tender in 4 tbsp of oil.
  5. Turn heat to medium high & add confetti rice, eggs & eventually protein.
  6. For additional spicy flavor, add your choice amount of crushed red pepper.
  7. Garnish with Thai basil and serve.

Makes approximately 4 servings

Tip: Serve with Thai gyozas or spring rolls.