Cooking for the Soul




There’s nothing like waking up in the morning and being able to sit down to a steaming hot cup of coffee and a fresh slice of homemade cake. Well if you want that “Mama’s kitchen taste” that didn’t originate at your local grocery store, than this cake fits the bill. Thinly sliced Granny Smith Apples drenched in a cinnamon, nutmeg bath; added to a not-too-sugary batter makes this cake a delicious, moist delight.  

Include the fact that it’s easy to make and you have a winner! Serve it after an evening meal, for an afternoon grab-and-go treat, or an accompaniment to your morning latte. One more plus, the second day is even tastier. Enjoy!

7 cups of peeled Granny Smith Apples, sliced thin (about 4 large)

1 ½ cups of granulated sugar, additional 6 tablespoons granulated sugar set aside.

½ cup brown sugar

4 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 ½ cups all-purpose white flour

1 ½ cups wheat flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

4 eggs

1 cup vegetable oil

½ cup orange juice

3 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease a bundt or tube pan with butter. I used a stick of solid butter using the wrapper as a holder.

Combine the apple slices with the 6 tablespoons of sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a separate bowl; set to the side.

Combine white and wheat flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and set to the side.

Beat the eggs with the white and brown sugar. Add the vegetable oil, orange juice, and vanilla extract and beat well.  Little by little add the flour mixture to the wet mixture until completely blended.  About 1 minute.Note: I used my Cuisinart because I felt more confident knowing 
that it was doing the mixing.

Pour 1/3rd of the batter into your prepared pan.

Layer 1/2 of the apple slices on the batter.

Repeat with ½ remaining batter and top with the remaining apples.

Top off with the remaining batter, covering the apples. Use a bit of the remaining cinnamon/nutmeg/sugar mixture left from the apple 

mixture  to drizzle on the top of the batter. Just Drizzle, Don’t Use It All (you be the judge).

Bake 55-60 minutes until tester comes out clean (knife inserted in the center=tester) and top is a golden brown color. Turn out on a wire 

rack to cool for at least 30 minutes. Serves approximately 14-16.

-Jeanie Sallah



“Not Your Mama’s Chicken Salad”

You know what I’m talking about, the kind of chicken salad that your kid trades with his buddies to get another type of sandwich, a go-gurt, or anything that Mom didn’t make. This sandwich will have the other kids trading in their lunch money to get a taste of its chunky goodness and not-to-be-expected delights (Yummy). The subtle taste combinations with the sweetness of the craisins coupled with the savory baked chicken will totally have you asking for seconds. This is chicken salad elevated. Enjoy!

3 Large boneless skinless chicken breasts (season with ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ pepper)

1 cup craisins (approximately 5 oz)

1 cup celery- finely chopped (about 3 stalks)

½ cup slivered almonds (approximately 2 oz)

6 green onions (thinly sliced)

¼ cup sweet pickle relish

½ cup mayonnaise

Salt and Pepper to taste

8 red or green leaf lettuce leaves

8 flour tortillas

Prepared ranch dressing (to taste)

Cherry peppers/ Pickles spears


Bake chicken breasts at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes

Place seasoned chicken in a prepared baking dish and bake for 30-40 minutes. Chop chicken in fine chunks (I have to admit I toss the chicken in the Cuisinart for a quick pulse) and remove to a large bowl.

Add the craisins, chopped celery, almonds, sliced green onions, sweet pickle relish, and mayonnaise to the bowl containing the chopped chicken and mix gently. Note that the mayonnaise serves more as a binder for the ingredients; too much mayo makes the salad “soupy”. Spread the ranch dressing on the flour tortillas generously and place a red or green lettuce leaf on the tortillas. Place 2 heaping spoonfuls of chicken salad onto the lettuce topped tortilla and roll until you come to the end, securing it with a toothpick. Continue until you have made the eight wraps. Garnish with a pickle spear and a sweet cherry pepper. Serves 8 plus

Jeanie Sallah


Brandied Apple Raisin Bread Pudding


If you’re looking for a low calorie dessert option be advised “This is Not It”! This rich luscious combination of brandy, apples, and raisins combined in a rich custard is absolutely sinful; but oh so tasty. Serve it warm with a dollop a whip cream, delightful rum or caramel sauce, or a cool scoop of vanilla ice cream. We use non-fat frozen vanilla yogurt at my home, it’s just as yummy. Any way you serve it I guarantee your guests will be coming back for more!

Makes approximately 9 servings (Maybe you might want to double it?)


5 cups stale Kings Hawaiian Rolls- approximately 18 rolls (If not yet stale leave it out overnight. Another option is to heat your oven to 350 degrees and slice or cube your rolls and bake for 15 minutes, this process essentially starves the bread of moisture)

2 cups whole milk

5 eggs (beaten)

¼ cup butter (1 half stick)

*2 tablespoons additional butter for the apple, raisin, brandy mixture

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon nutmeg

1 cup white granulated sugar

½ cup brown sugar

½ cup brandy

2 cups chopped Granny Smith apples

½ cup raisins



Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 X 9 inch baking pan.


In a large bowl put your bread cubes in and set to the side. In a saucepan melt the 2 tablespoons of butter and add the chopped apples and raisins. Simmer until softened for approximately 7minutes. Add ½ cup brandy and set aside.


In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine granulated sugar and brown sugar, vanilla extract, 2 cups milk, and ¼ cup butter. Cook and stir until butter is melted. Pour and combine over bread mixture in bowl. Add the apple, raisin, brandy combination to the bread mixture.


In a small bowl, whisk together cinnamon, nutmeg, and eggs. Pour egg mixture over the bread cubes in a lightly greased prepared dish (I spray a little KIRKLAND Brand cooking spray in my pan, can you tell I’m a Costco member). Let it sit for 5-10 minutes.


Bake in a pre-heated oven for 45 -50 minutes or until pudding is set. Serve warm or at room temperature. Enjoy!


Jeanie Sallah



Bowl Of Luck Soup

"Bowl Of Luck" Soup

“Bowl Of Luck” Soup

I love, love, love New Years Day food, especially hoppin john, greens (collard, mustard, turnip, etc.), black-eye peas, and that velvety smooth, moist corn bread to name just a few-Yum Yum! “Bowl of Luck” soup offers a hearty combination of both the nutrient rich beans, and the calcium rich greens. Beans are high in potassium, iron, and fiber and because they are joined by turnip greens the soup packs a nutritional powerhouse punch. Just one cup of turnip greens alone contains 137 milligrams of calcium, 27 mg of vitamin C, and only around 20 calories.

Tradition has it that black-eyed peas represent our coins, and the greens represent paper money (I’ll have more greens please!). Black-eyed peas eaten with stewed tomatoes represent both wealth and health, which are two of the components this soup has. So if you believe in luck and good fortune, then pairing all these tasty foods together practically ensures a fabulous year!

Preparation Time: approximately 20 minutes

Cooking Time: approximately 1 hour, 30 minutes

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 ½ teaspoon thyme

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

½ teaspoon sugar

1 large onion, chopped

6 slices bacon, chopped

1 ½ tablespoon minced garlic (1 clove garlic or refrigerated minced garlic)

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

24 oz. bagged pre-cleaned turnip greens (equivalent to 1 full bag and an additional half bag-available in the produce section) (I also remove and discard some of the stems-too many)

7 cups chicken broth (feel free to use sodium reduced)

1/2 teaspoon chicken base

8 oz. frozen string beans

6 cups frozen black-eyed peas (approximately 2 ½ pounds)

1 can diced canned tomatoes (16-ounce)

24 ounces smoked kielbasa, sliced

Salt and pepper to taste

Heat a stockpot over a high heat and add the vegetable oil, thyme, red pepper flakes and garlic, cook for 4 minutes. Add the chopped bacon (I use a pair of scissors to cut the bacon) with the onion, and cook until the onion is tender. Fry the sliced kielbasa in the above mixture about 7 minutes.

Add the minced garlic and ½ teaspoon salt. Add 3 ½ cups of chicken broth to the above mixture and cook about 5 minutes. Slowly start adding greens until properly wilted, a little at a time. Add the remaining 3 ½ cups of chicken stock, sugar, and balsamic vinegar. Add the peas, string beans, and diced tomatoes. Cover and cook for an hour to reduce the liquid. Take off the cover and cook an additional 30 minutes. Serves 8.

I like to eat this hearty dinner soup with a crusty loaf of French bread. So if you want to start eating just a little healthier this soup might possibly become a quick go-to meal staple. Enjoy!

-Jeanie Sallah

2 thoughts on “Cooking for the Soul

  1. I’m going to tell you Ms Jeanie these recipes sound soo good and Delish “Yum” I can’t wait to try. Looking forward to that bread pudding. Keep um Coming girl…


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