Cooking Matters Mango Salsa

My new friend, Dorothy Hernandez, is the social media coordinator for Cooking Matters Michigan. It’s a cooking based nutrition education program operated locally by Gleaners Community Food Bank. She found my blog when she was looking for local bloggers who have a passion for food and cooking. That’s me.

Dorothy and Cooking Matters Michigan invited me to participate in a special event created for Detroit’s food blogging community. Dorothy wants to encourage local food bloggers to share their strengths with one another and learn a wealth of valuable food tips from professional chefs and dietitians in the process.

On Monday, July 16th we were invited to join other Detroit food bloggers for a Cooking Matters for Bloggers mock class. Cooking Matters is an interactive, hands-on six-week cooking based nutrition education program that aims to empower low-income families with the skills, confidence and knowledge to prepare delicious and nutritious meals at home. These courses are taught by volunteer chefs and dietitians who teach food safety, culinary skills and nutrition information. This national program is part of Share Our Strength‘s campaign to end childhood hunger in America, began in 1993. It has grown to serve more than 12,000 families a year. In southeast Michigan, the program has grown to serve more than 1,000 adults, teens and kids every year.

We talked to Dorothy before the class. Here’s a video of part of our discussion.

Dorothy shared this great mango salsa recipe with all the bloggers.  It’s delicious! So, now I’ll share it with you.

2 large ripe mangoes ( I used 3.)
1 small cucumber
2 medium green onions
1 medium jalapeño pepper
2 medium limes
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup fresh cilantro ( I used mint.)

1. Rinse mangoes, cucumber, green onions, jalapeño pepper and limes.
2. Peel mangoes. Cut mango flesh from the pits.

3. Cut cucumber in half lengthwise.

Diced cucumbers
4. Remove seeds.  ( I used a English cucumber and skipped the seeding but I did peel it.)
5. Dice mangoes and cucumber. Finely chop green onions.

Diced mangos

Green onions
6. Cut jalapeño pepper in half lengthwise. Remove stems and seeds and dice.


Diced jalapeno
7. Rinse and chop cilantro. (Or in my recipe, mint.)


Chopped mint
8. Cut limes in half. Squeeze juice from each half into a medium bowl. Discard seeds.

9. Add mangoes, cucumber, green onions, jalapeño and salt to bowl with juice. Add mint. Mix well.

Mango Salsa
10. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.

I used this mango salsa as a side dish for grilled skinless chicken breasts. Yianni loved it.

Grilled chicken breast & mango salsa

You can follow Cooking Matters Michigan on Twitter and on Facebook. Thanks Dorothy. I’m looking forward to more events with Cooking Matters Michigan.

Yassou! Festival

Last weekend Yianni and I headed toward Grand Rapids Michigan to attend the Yassou! Greek Cultural Festival. Co-chairs Esther Caruso Koukios and David Darling did a fantastic job coordinating this wonderful weekend event at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church.

My cousin Becky is featured here in this promo on WoodTV8.

I loved spending the weekend with my cousins Stathi and Georgia.

I’ve been to several Greek festivals but this one is definitely my favorite. The food was delicious. Look at all this souvlakia!
The pastries were incredible. My favorite was the galaktoboureko, a semolina-based milk custard in phyllo.
Music was performed by The Levendes and the Greek dancers were adorable.
You should definitely plan on attending next year. Here’s a slideshow of my photos of Yassou! Enjoy!

Like it says on the Yassou! t-shirt: Eat! Dance! Be Greek!

My garden in July

It has been very hot here in Michigan this month with temperatures in the 90°s. Although it is hot and I am grateful for air conditioning, my garden is loving all this sun. It’s absolutely glorious! Here is my photographic proof.

Look at my daylilies. I wish I could cut them and bring a few of them into the house, but if you’ve ever tried that you know it doesn’t work.

I love daylilies.

The mint is flowering. It’s a good thing I have it in a raised bed, otherwise it would be everywhere.

Raspberries are ready to pick.

And I think I am going to have quite a few tomatoes come September. More photos of my garden in my set on Flickr. How’s your garden growing?

Nouna’s 80th Birthday Celebration

My Godmother (she’s also my Aunt), Athena Dallas Afendoulis, turned 80 on Saturday, May 28th. Nouna Tina is an expert when it comes to Greek Cuisine and my inspiration.  A local celebrity Greek chef, she appeared regularly, in the ’70’s, on the Grand Rapids Michigan NBC affiliate WOOD-TV’s “Buck Matthews Show”. If I have questions on how to prepare any traditional Greek dish, she’s my number one resource.

My cousin Georgia Afendoulis Everse planned a wonderful birthday dinner event for Tina. She didn’t want her Mother to cook on her birthday, so she asked for a little help from Esther Caruso Koukios of Greek to Go.

Georgia and I made the Greek salad. (I took this photo just before it was replenished!)
Esther made Chicken Kapama… (here’s a link to my version)
and Beef Stifatho…(both those dishes were served with rice pilaf)
and Spanakopita.
Every dish was absolutely delicious and everyone had a wonderful time.

Here’s Yianni’s video of the celebration. Xronia polla Nouna! We love you!