Archive | July, 2014

5 Recipes I’d be Cooking if I Weren’t on a Night Safari

29 Jul

If I did all my pre-trip math right, while you’re reading this I’m probably on a night safari at the Singapore zoo. Can’t you just see JetSet and I on one of these things?

10_top_tenI’m hoping it’s as exciting as the last safari we went on, which made JetSet laugh this hard:

292710_828235806655_931121_nWe’ll keep you posted.

In the meantime, here are 5 recipes I would be making, if not for celebrating the best ten days of the year– FERRAGOSTO!!!!

Jimmy2.0Kef’s Mama’s Meatloaf

28 Jul

Ed Note: I’m off with JetSet in Malaysia. Today’s very much non-vegetarian post is brought to you by Jimmy2.0Kef, who is smart enough to be marrying into the family Kef in June 2015! –Chef Kefi, RN

Being a conservative eater, my young dinning life was not easy for me or my mother. The foods I eat have expanded but not by much. My fiance’, BabyKef, regularly says I have the palette of a 5 year old.

That being said I’ve always loved my mother’s meatloaf. My family would sit at the table before my mother would leave for the night to work the night shift as a nurse (Ed. Note: Nurses are AWESOME!). The great smell along with mashed potatoes with gravy and peas gathered us to the table to eat something together. This made my mother happy since she would only have to make one meal, instead of a special meal in addition just for me and my limited tastes.

Today it is one of the few but delicious meals I cook. Generally I base my sides off of whether or not I’m making gravy that day. If I am, I’ll pair the loaf with mashed potatoes. If I decide against gravy that day, I’ll make macaroni and cheese. Not matter what I always make some kind of vegetable as well, generally peas, corn, or broccoli.

Mama’s Meatloaf


  • 1-1 1/2 lbs ground beef(80% or more)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 c ketchup
  • 1/3 c- 1/2 c breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder or minced onions (personal preference) – add a little more if using minced onions
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 pepper
  • 1 beef bullion cube dissolved in about 1/4  c of warm water


1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Place beef in a mixing bowl. Add egg, onion powder, garlic powder, and pepper. Mix together using your hands. Add beef bullion mixture and mix with hands.

2. The moisture of the loaf will determine how you proceed from this point. If the mixture is very wet at this point, add bread crumbs first. If it is dry, add ketchup first. You will likely not use all the bread crumbs if using a 1/2 cup. Add until until loaf mixture no longer sticks easily to the bowl and starts to hold shape/doesn’t fall apart when picked up.

3. Mold into a loaf and place into a small glass pan. Cook for one hour and enjoy!

Jimmy2.0Kef is a teacher by day and a fan of all Philly sports teams by night (Ed Note: Can’t account for personal taste!). He enjoys gaming and taking care of the dog he co-parents with BabyKef. In June 2015, he will earn the title of Luckiest Man in the World.

Grandpa B’s Extravaganza Eggplant Parm

25 Jul

The Family Kef is all about the extravaganza. Your first heard about it when I published the first ever Kefi Christmas Personality Quiz and I raved about it again after a Very Kefi Christmas. These days, the Extravaganza spans two days in December and a few legal holidays during the summer (though those are simply ‘Stravaganzas… sort of like the casual Fridays of family get togethers if the B’s were ever casual and the Family Kef ever let anything be simple). I digress.

Today’s guest post is a WORLD PREMIER VIDEO of PurpleHeart Kef from GRAMP’stravaganza December 2013. PurpleHeart Kef is a two-time Purple Heart recipient (not to mention the Bronze Star, North African Campaign medal, European Theater Operations medal, Good Conduct medal, New York State World War II medal, and Infantry Badge), lifelong OCNY resident, devoted Yankee fan, and a true connoisseur of Italian cooking done right. Plus, he’s the one who drinks all the mulled wine at the Christmas Extravaganza. Read more about PurpleHeart Kef’s World War II experience here.

Today’s post is more of a procedure than a recipe (when I asked CafeKef to fill in the amounts PurpleHeart Kef omitted, she responded simply, ‘We’re Italian–we don’t measure.’)– but the method is a good one and I estimated amounts based on past experience. Be prepared to need more or less in actuality. Be sure to not to miss the point at 2:15 when PHK shows off how tight he is with aubuergines by referring to them in the informal (“2-3 ‘plants”). That gorgeous woman in red in the background? She’s the true-blue ITALIAN CELIAC, ChampageOnly Kef, who approves this recipe, so rest assured that this is pretty much the best gluten-free eggplant parm on the planet.



Grandpa B’s Extravaganza Eggplant Parm


  • 2 eggplants, ends cut, skins peeled and sliced to about a quarter-inch thick
  • bowl of water
  • 1/4 c salt
  • 1-2 c flour (Cup4Cup preferred for GF, rice flour will do but is not as sticky)
  • gallon ziploc bag
  • 4-5 eggs
  • 1-2 c Parmesan cheese
  • 1-2 c mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • oregano  (Grandpa recommends using “lotta it”)
  • a “pretty nice” amount of oil (probably about 1/3 cup)
  • your favorite tomato sauce, to taste
  • mozz and parm for topping the eggplant, probably another 1 c
  • No salt. We don’t use salt.


1. Add salt to your water and then throw your eggplant slices in the water. Let the eggplants just sit for at least an hour (Ed note: some people do this in the ‘fridge–PurpleHeart Kef doesn’t specify here).  It’ll get brown, and that’s alright.

2. Dry ’em out with a dishtowel until they’re good and dry.

3.  Put flour in a ziploc bag . Shake the slices of eggplant in small groups so they’re good and covered in flour.

4. Stack the dry, floured slices on the counter somewhere.

5. Beat the eggs. Mix together the cheeses, garlic powder, and oregano. Combine the cheese/spices with the egg. Now you’re ready to dip.

6. Over medium, heat a frying pan full of a pretty nice amount of oil. Get right next to the sink so you don’t make a mess. Get the floured eggplant, dip in the eggs, shake off the excess and throw it in the frying pan. Fry until the slices are golden brown and both sides (flipping ’em once, “like a pancake!”).

7. Once all the slices are browned, spread about 1 c tomato sauce on a rimmed pan (or get your amazing daughter Donna to do it, which is Grandpa B’s method). Then spread the slices of browned eggplant on the pan. Layer with more tomato sauce and cheese to your taste, then stack slices on top and repeat layering.End with cheese at the top.

8. Bake at 350F for 30 minutes.

9. That’s it!

The Best of Cooking Up Kefi

23 Jul

Some of my favorite recipes, posts, and links from the last three (3!) years of blogging:


Paulatimi’s Famous Peanut Butter Cake

21 Jul

Ed Note: I’m off with JetSet in Malaysia. Today the Puts-Martha-to-Shame hostess who is my mother is sharing with us a tried-and-true cake FULL of sugar and gluten… when the gluten-free cat is away, the chock-full-o-sugar mice come out to play. If you need something sweet and healthy, try these creamy yogurt pops,  salted-caramel ice cream cake or any of my favorite almost-healthy snacks.But probably, you should just listen to my mother. ChefKefi, RN

Hi from Walden!!! I’m the MAMAKEF!

I can’t remember when I started making this cake. I have made it for many different people, occasions, and places and it is always GONE.  It is very simple and can be made/eaten while checking the status of your crazy children’s flight path when they go off to God knows where with God knows who.


photo 4

Paulatimi’s Famous Peanut Butter Cake


  • 1 box yellow cake mix (Duncan Hines is the best I’ve used)
  • 1 c water
  • 1/3  c vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs

  • 3⁄4 c (11⁄2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 6 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 3⁄4 c creamy peanut butter or to taste
  • 1.5 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3.5 c confectioners’ sugar (or to taste)
  • (optional–for a chocolate peanut butter icing) cocoa powder, to taste

  • creamy peanut butter, to taste
  • Reese’s Peanut Butter cups for garnish (I don’t mess with store brand candy) Quarter them if you’re using full size; chop them in half if you’re using the minis.


1. Follow directions for boxed yellow cake mix on package to make two 8-inch round cake layers (Ed note: my momma ain’t here to tell you what you already know.). Let cool. Once cool, flip cake so flat sides are up.

2. Assemble frosting. Using a stand mixer with paddle attachment or handheld mixer and large bowl, beat butter on medium speed until creamy.  Add cream cheese, peanut butter and vanilla; beat until fully mixed. Gradually increase mixer speed to high and continue beating until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of bowl as necessary with spatula. Slowly, add confectioners’ sugar and beating on low speed until well mixed. Turn speed to high until smooth while scraping down sides of bowl, about 2 minutes.

3. Spread flat side of one layer with your favorite peanut butter (I use about 1/3 jar but some people like to pile it on and make it good and creamy). Spread frosting on the flat side of the other half. Stack the cake with the two flat halves together.

4.Frost the top and sides of the cake with frosting. Garnish the cake with Reese’s  peanut cups. Watch of all your guests ask for “just a slice” and then come back for seconds and thirds!!!!

Paulatimi is an award-winning mother, hostess, community member, and Basket Bingo coordinator. When not sunning herself besides the pool, she can be found making hilarious comments on Facebook while ordering from QVC. Tony Danza is a huge fan of hers. She’s pictured here with her favorite Ginger and the chocolate version of the above cake recipe.


Happy Birthday, JetSet

19 Jul

By the time you read this, I’ll be somewhere over the Pacific Ocean on my way to Malayasia for JetSet Kef and my yearly vacation.

It will ALSO be JetSet’s 31st birthday! Let’s give a round of applause to this guy here:

photo 1

No- that’s not the result of a Stockphoto search for “Professional New Yorker”– it’s what JetSet looks like on any given Thursday night. As one does. Happy birthday!

Caveman Truck: Worth the Detour

17 Jul

Ed Note: I’m off with JetSet in Malaysia. Enjoy this awesome post from the OTHER gluten-free Greek named Kristina– yes, two of us exist! –ChefKefi, RN

When making a conscious effort to eat remotely healthy, one thing is clear: the struggle to find appropriate food on the go is REAL. As a travel blogger with a foodie streak, it only makes sense that one of my favorite restaurants is one that never quite stays in one place. Caveman Truck is an Indianapolis food truck notorious for serving the highest quality of locally-sourced ingredients with its own paleo twist on American dishes. And it is, without a doubt, a top recommendation.


Shelby Malaterre is the Founder and “Chief Caveman” of the Caveman Truck that patrols the Indianapolis area serving healthy, organic, and Paleolithic-approved meals. His story is a rather unorthodox and unexpected one: what initially began as a competitive weight loss bet ended in a drastic lifestyle change that revitalized not only his health but also his career.  The goal was to lose 10% of his body weight and maintain that level for two straight weeks. As a lifelong yo-yo dieter, Shelby anticipated an easy win followed by a quick weight regain–when he started, this was just about bragging rights. He began researching his approach and was quickly introduced to the paleo diet. But this was not your average “quick fix”–though Shelby lost 21 pounds in the first ELEVEN DAYS of the challenge, he gained an immediate increase in energy and wellness and knew he wasn’t going back. With a new-found awareness of how his body could feel by avoiding the grain-heavy Standard American Diet (SAD) Shelby combined his childhood love for food, 20 years of food service experience, and this new-found paleo lifestyle by creating the Caveman Truck in early 2012.


The menu features only gluten-free, casein-free, soy-free, organic, non-GMO, and paleo ingredients that are rotated by on the season. This alone is truly a blessing for those families with food allergies or special dietary needs– not many places can say they accommodate all of those criteria!

According to The Daily Meal, the Caveman Truck is ranked in the Top 10 Paleo-Friendly Hotspots in the US. Shelby is notorious for cooking a mean batch of “Barnyard Chili,” which is a delicious combination of three different organic meats, organic tomatoes, and organic sweet potatoes. That’s it. Plain and simple. Another dish that has gained popularity is the Chicken Breakfast Taco which contains shredded chicken, eggs, and guacamole. Now, you may be wondering, “How on earth you can have a paleo-friendly taco?” Shelby gets quite creative with his taco shells and rightfully so, since he offers several different breakfast and lunch variations. The shell is actually sliced jicama, you know, one of those pieces of produce that you simply overlook at the grocery. It is an edible tuberous root vegetable that is low calorie, low sodium, high in fiber, and full of vitamin C. Check out the photo of the Chicken Breakfast Tacos that was featured in an Indianapolis Star article below:


caveman brkfst taco

If you are like me and enjoy eating healthy while trying new things, then definitely make sure the next time you are in Indianapolis to stalk the Caveman Truck on social media (he posts and tweets his location daily on Facebook and Twitter). He may park downtown for lunch and in the suburbs for dinner. Wherever he is, you can be sure that he is serving the highest of quality local ingredients in a unique dish. He also provides the ability to order ahead and get “take out” upon your arrival instead of waiting in line and eating curbside. As a traveler, whenever I make a recommendation on anything it is based on whether or not something is worth deviating from your original route. The Caveman Truck is definitely worth a detour.

Kristina Keltner is the author of Seize the Globe. Long after discovering her passion for travel she decided to share her experiences with others who understand its value. Her goal is simple: to inspire and empower those who wish to explore the world.

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