Engaging stories of love, joy, comfort and friendship with proven scrumptious, healthy recipes, we celebrate LOVE as the secret ingredient for wonderful food!

Sauteed Kale and Beet Greens with Maguey Sweet Sap

Villa de Patos Maguey Sweet Sap.Maguey Sweet Sap from Villa de Patos is the second item in our MARY’s secret ingredients summer box! This is the coolest product – a delicious sweetener low in fructose and glucose with a delightful “green” taste as it comes from the maguey (pronounced mah-gay) plant that is native to the arid highlands of Mexico. The plant needs to be at least 12 years old before you can get any syrup out of it!

Since ancient times, the maguey plant has served as a source of nourishment, shelter and textiles for the people of Mexico. The Aztecs worshipped the maguey as the goddess Mayahuel, naming it the Plant of the Gods because of its alleged medicinal properties. The plant also serves as a soil protector and regenerator, helping to prevent erosion and acting as a natural healing agent for the land.

The sap is rich in naturally occurring phytonutrients, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, amino acids and prebiotic fiber. The prebiotic fiber found in Maguey Sweet Sap helps balance the ecosystem of your intestinal flora and serves as the “food” for probiotics.


It’s all that and more importantly, it’s super delicious!! Use it on anything and in anything that needs a little sweetener. It has a thinner consistency than honey but like honey, it is also a raw, unrefined and an unprocessed product. The color of the syrup will change over time, getting a little darker. It is super yummy drizzled over plain Greek yogurt, in tea or on pancakes. I chose to use it in this kale and beet greens recipe and it was divine! Because of its more “herbal” taste, I felt it went particularly well with these sautéed greens. I wanted to combine these two different greens because I think it just makes the dish more interesting. Kale is good and all the rage, but personally, I adore beet greens. To me, they’re even much more interesting than the beets (and I do love beets). Separate your stems from the leafy greens when cooking as the stems do need to cook longer and hmmmm (!), just delicious!! The pancetta with the Sweet Sap addition along with the acid from the vinegar – total YUM!!! Savory and sweet – my kind of thing!
Maguey Sweet Sap with sauteed kale and beet greens in a skillet.SAUTEED KALE AND BEET GREENS WITH MAGUEY SWEET SAP – serves 4

1 Tbs. olive oil
6 cloves of garlic, sliced
1 bunch of beet greens, washed, stems separated from the greens, all cut in 11/2” pieces
½ medium red onion, cut in 1/8” slices, and each slice cut in half
One ¼” thick slice of pancetta, cut in 1/4” cubes
1 bunch of Russian kale, washed, stems removed and cut into 11/2” ribbons
2 Tbs. ginger rice vinegar or plain rice vinegar
11/2 Tbs. Maguey Sweet Sap
Maldon sea salt flakes to taste, crushed
Black pepper, fresh ground, to taste

On low heat, in a medium sized skillet, warm the oil. Add the garlic, beet green stems, red onion and pancetta and stir to combine. Cover and cook for 10 minutes.

Remove cover and raise heat to medium. Add kale. Toss and cook for 3 minutes.

Add beet green leaves, toss and sauté for 3 – 5 minutes, until done.
Maguey Sweet Sap with sauteed kale & beet greens finished in skillet.Turn off heat and remove from hot burner. Sprinkle all over the 2 Tbs. ginger rice vinegar and 1.5 Tbs. of Maguey Sweet Sap Syrup. Stir to combine all. Top with crushed Maldon Sea Salt Flakes and fresh ground pepper. Serve with LOVE and enjoy!!
Maguey Sweet Sap with sauteed kale and beet greens as a bed to spice-rubbed roasted salmon.I served this as a delicious vegetable “bed” to some spice rubbed roasted salmon. Delish!!

I also used this Sweet Sap in place of the honey in my Sweet and Sour Coleslaw recipe and it was totally great!!

Our fall box ships on September 25th and it’s going to be great! The supply is limited so best to order now before we run out.

Maguey Sweet Sap on Sweet and Sour Coleslaw.

MARY’s secret ingredients summer 2015 box revealed!!

Sand, surf and summer!!! You have got to check out this video created by our amazing and very talented team!! So FUN!!

Box-package-croppedThe summer box is awesome if I may say so myself. Full of great new products that are sure to inspire your barbecues and beach parties. We hope to make your summertime living easy and these products will do it. And thank you for your purchase because each one helps us in our partnership with Feed The Children, as no one should go hungry.

We hope to inspire healthy eating for you and we want to eradicate hunger in the world.

That’s all.

Fall box mails on September 25th. Remember there’s only a limited supply so order now!! They make a great gift and we can enclose a lovely note card with your message.

Here are all the products in the summer box:

Chipz Happen Cinnful Sweet Heat tortilla  chips bag.Chipz Happen

Chipz Happen, a family owned and operated business, manufactures a line of gourmet tortilla chips. Created by our “Mom” over 25 years ago in her kitchen for family and friends, she took a bold leap of faith at the age of 73 to launch a company. Our mission is to produce products that are made with limited, premium ingredients that consumers can understand.

We offer four unique flavor profiles** and all of our products are gluten free, non-GMO, no trans fats, artificial ingredients or preservatives.** Parmesan Garlic, Spice-z Parmesan Garlic, Cinnful Sweet Heat and Himalayan Pink Salt.Cinnful Sweet Heat: The first DESSERT tortilla chip made with an unexpected “kick” at the end. Similar to a bunuelo but made with corn, this GLUTEN FREE tortilla chip is like traditional cinnamon and sugar with a little heat of cayenne.

Serve it over vanilla ice cream for a Sweet Heat experience or crunch over pancakes, apple pie or any of your favorite desserts for an unforgettable burst of flavor.

Delta Blues Rice Rice Grits package.

Delta Blues Rice

Delta Blues Rice is grown, milled, and packaged on a multi-generational family farm that has been in operation for over 90 years in the Mississippi Delta. The rich soil of the Delta has given birth to both agriculture and the Blues, feeding both the body and the soul of our country. 

Delta Blues Rice Grits: Delta Blues Rice Grits are a delicious and versatile byproduct of the rice milling process. Traditionally known as “middlins,” rice grits are actually broken pieces of rice. The broken pieces cook up creamy with a texture that is perfect for sauces. Grits can also be cooked as a risotto or eaten plain with butter, salt, and pepper.


LOVE Grown Foods Power O's.


Love Grown Foods

Love Grown Foods was started to put healthier foods on the shelves because we are passionate about making delicious and nutritious foods available to everyone. We are also committed to educating kids, parents, and teachers about the importance of eating healthy.

Chocolate Power O’s: Power O’s will revolutionize your breakfast. Made with navy beans, garbanzo beans, and lentils, Power O’s are a powerfully nutritious cereal and a great way to power up your day!


Rufus Teague Touch 'O Heat sauce.


Rufus Teague 

Rufus Teague Made Some Sauce. He put some in a jar and shared it with the boys. They kept on painin’ him ‘til he fixed up another batch. Next thing he knew he’s makin’ sauce all the time. It’s damn good. All natural, gluten free.

Touch O’ Heat Barbeque Sauce: Rufus spiced it up a bit with this one. He always said, “A touch of heat will let you know it’s there”. Trust me, you’ll know the heat is there hangin’ out with all that delicious sweetness. This one’s special.


Speegee Spatula Squeegee.


My name’s Anthony Silva and I’m the founder of SpeegeeCo. I’m just a regular guy that loves to cook and try out recipes, while keeping things cost efficient. When faced with the plight of not wanting to buy anymore cooking tools just to try new recipes, was when the Speegee was born! The Speegee is a reinvention of the globally used silicone spatula. I found myself with cluttered kitchen drawers filled with items I’ve only used once, and tons of silicone spatulas! I asked myself, “Why have so many spatulas when it only really does a couple of jobs?”

Speegee Spatula: The Speegee was designed to accomplish any task that the spatula could, plus a whole lot more! From mixing, to folding, to spreading icing, transferring food, effortlessly scraping the sides of large pots, and even cutting, the Speegee outclasses the boring, old silicone spatula in every way. There’s no longer a need to clutter your drawers and spend a fortune on new tools, when one tool does it all!

Villa de Patos Maguey Sweet Sap.Villa de Patos

Since 1980, Villa de Patos has combined ancient traditions with the newest technology to provide products that embody all that nature has to offer. Their products are minimally processed, or as we like to say, are preserved from the goodness from nature. Rooted in Aztec tradition and carefully crafted, Villa de Patos Maguey Sapis an ideal, unrefined and unprocessed alternative sweetener. Featured in Food & Wine as one of the top 10 objects of their obsession, Maguey Sap has a very unique flavor profile and tons of versatility in baked goods, marinades, dairy products, beverages and so much more.

Maguey Sap: Since Maguey Sap is never-heated and is all-natural, it is considered a “live” product meaning the colors will change gradually over time. The starting light amber color is ideal to use as an everyday sweetener, and the dark, rich brown color adds a one-of-a-kind flavor in sweet and savory dishes.



Let’s talk about temperature

Tomatoes on a blue and white towel.I hope you all had a great July 4th holiday weekend! We certainly did and the weather is glorious today, not too hot, actually amazing for July 5th, with the temperature in the low 80’s accompanied by cool breezes. We are here in upstate New York and had our friends Margaret and Wayne over for dinner last night. Margaret said she had even turned on the heat yesterday in her house!!

For our meal, I followed my own instructions, if you got our recipe email from MARY’s secret ingredients for dinner suggestions for the 4th. I made Barbecued Ribs, Corn on the CobSweet and Sour Coleslaw, and I started our dinner with my Smoked Tomato Soup(minus the Nueske’s sausage and Flathaus Cheese Straws) but decided to serve it at room temperature, which turned out to be a fantastic idea. Some time ago, I remember reading an article in Food & Wine magazine about famous chefs and their mentors. This one focused on April Bloomfield and she said her mentor taught her the most about temperature. Something she was making, she served way too hot. Her mentor said, in so many words, that all of the flavors were not blossoming with all that heat.

Well my soup, because the tomatoes were smoked and it contained smoky bacon, was actually intended to be served hot, but who wants hot soup on July 4th? So then, I thought, I’ll serve it cold and it’ll be a different form of gazpacho. But no, I said to myself, that won’t work. Serving it cold would obliterate the beautiful bacony, smoky flavors that I had worked so hard to create. So after I pureed it, I just let it sit on a cool burner on the stovetop, letting it come to room temperature – and it was divine!!

I made this decision to take a leap of faith – fortunately we were with good, forgiving friends if it turned out to be a really bad idea. However, this was a really great idea! So I just thought I’d share.
Smoked tomato soup in a white bowl.This soup also contains one of our new ingredients from our summer box. You’ll find it to be surprising so stay tuned for the upcoming posts where I’ll reveal all of the great new products!
Blueberries and strawberries in  an American flag formation.

Let’s all appreciate our freedom and give thanks!!

Best Barbecued Ribs Ever! Make them for the 4th of July!

Nothing says summer more than barbecued ribs and corn on the cob, right? Well after years of trying, I think I’ve finally perfected my ribs recipe. And while I call them barbecue, I cheat. I have found this oven method to be so much easier, (You can set it and forget it!), and it doesn’t use a ton of propane or time spent fiddling with the temperature on your grill. With the low, constant heat in the oven and the pan of water underneath, to provide steam and moisture, and then a final finishing on the grill (or under your broiler) to caramelize your sauce, this, for me, is the best foolproof way to cook ribs. I wanted you to have this recipe before the upcoming 4th of July weekend, so that maybe you’ll be inspired to make these Best Barbecued Ribs for your friends and family!
BBQ ribs on a platter ready to serve.Every time I serve these to guests, they always ask for the recipe. My original source is this crazy guy named Max Good, I think, but he goes by the name Meathead Goldwyn at amazingribs.com. Do take a look at his site if you have time, as he has interesting tidbits to share about cooking ribs and barbecuing in detail. It is chock full of information. The Huffington Post also put together an article on cooking his ribs on the grill. You can check that out here.
BBQ ribs spice rub in a jar  outside on a beautiful day.This is his rub recipe, cut in half. At first I cringed at his inclusion of sugars in the rub but if you read his chemistry defense on the fact that the sugar creates the crust (called “bark” by the pros) and you’re really not getting very much of it, it all makes sense. I also salt my ribs before rubbing the oil and sprinkling the rub on. If you forget to do the rub 24 hours in advance, it’s okay but not ideal. The marinating time is advantageous.

Just remember that this recipe takes a fair amount of time so plan accordingly – besides the marinating time, you’ll need the hour before going in the oven and then 5 to 5.5 hours in the oven and then some time on the grill. But all of it is worth it and relatively easy. Make it with LOVE and sit back and enjoy the compliments!

BEST BARBECUED RIBS – serves 4 – 6 (depending on how big your eaters are)

2 racks of St. Louis cut ribs
6 Tbs. canola oil
8 Tbs. Memphis Dust
1 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce

Memphis Dust – makes about 1.5 cups (store extra in a glass jar with a tight fitting lid)

6 Tbs. firmly packed dark brown sugar
6 Tbs. white sugar
1/4 cup paprika
2 Tbs. garlic powder
1 Tbs. ground black pepper
1 Tbs. ground ginger powder
1 Tbs. onion powder
1 tsp. rosemary powder (grind dried rosemary leaves)

Mix the ingredients thoroughly in a bowl. If the sugar is lumpy, crumble the lumps by hand or on the side of the bowl with a fork. If you store the rub in a glass jar with a tight fitting lid, it will keep for months.

The day before or at least 4 hours before: Rinse your ribs well and pat dry with a paper towel. If the butcher has not removed the membrane from the back side, do it yourself. Insert a butter knife under the membrane, then with your fingers, work a section loose, grip it with a paper towel, and peel it off. Trim the excess fat off from both sides as well. 

Lightly salt both sides of the ribs to taste with Kosher salt.
BBQ ribs with rub on.Rub the oil in on all sides using about 1.5 Tbs. per side. Then sprinkle on the rub, using 2 Tbs. per side. You don’t want a heavy thick coating. You want some meat to show through as in the above photo.

Place ribs in a glass dish, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 to 24 hours.

Serving day: Remove ribs from the fridge an hour before putting in the oven.

Preheat oven to 230 degrees.
BBQ ribs in the oven.Arrange the 2 racks of ribs, meaty side up on wire racks on a rimmed baking sheet as shown. Fill another baking pan with hot tap water and slide that in on the bottom oven rack. Slide the ribs in on a rack spaced above the water and bake for 5 – 5.5 hours.

BBQ ribs on the broiler pan.When ribs are done in the oven, light your grill and brush the ribs with your favorite sauce and grill to caramelize the sauce, being careful not to burn the ribs and ruin your hours of cooking time. If you don’t have a grill or access to one, you can also carefully broil them as I did here. Place the pan in the center of the oven, about 10 inches away from the flame and turn the broiler to low.Watch carefully so they don’t char. About 5 minutes per side did it for me. 

Assuming your meat is all good and natural, these will be the best ribs ever!!!

No Fuss Lunch and last day for a summer box!

No Fuss Lunch.Recently I met this woman I’d like to tell you about. Gaby Wilday is a trailblazer. Based out of Ridgewood, NJ, Gaby is doing something that should be available all across the country. I think she’s aiming for that and I sure hope she achieves it. She’s a mother of 3 children, one 9 year-old and 7 year-old twins. She saw a need for providing truly healthy lunches for her kids and other children in school.
She is a co-founder of No Fuss Lunch where parents and children can go online to choose and order their lunch for the next day, as long as they do it by 8 pm the night before. That is very generous, time-wise. Gaby and her team of 18 people now, create healthy nutritious lunches that contain non-GMO ingredients, no white sugar, no white flour, no high fructose corn syrup and no MSG. The lunches consist of a wholesome entrée, fresh fruit, a vegetable with a dip, a small sweet treat, an antibacterial wipe and a bottle of spring water. She says their “secret ingredient” is their dip because including the dip insures the child will eat the raw vegetables. That’s super smart and a little sneaky too, but hey, that’s okay. However, I’d say their secret ingredient is the love they put into it too!

I remember, when my kids were young, the mornings were very, very hectic. I made homemade cookies almost every Sunday afternoon for the week ahead. Bar cookies were the best and easiest option. On school-day mornings, between flipping pancakes or frying bacon and scrambling eggs, and making the sandwiches for their lunches, while making sure the backpacks had the right homework, not to mention we had a neighbor boy come for breakfast every morning for a little while, I was a bit of a non-stop maniac. So much so, that when my oldest son was in high school, he gave me the book, Take Your Time by Eknath Easwarin, which got me into a meditation practice that I still use today. The book was about focusing on doing one thing at a time because I used to drive my son nuts! But I digress. Those days were crazy and many mothers don’t even go there, with good reason.

However, with No Fuss Lunch, these moms today don’t have to be so crazy in the morning. The lunches are made by other moms, just as concerned about healthy eating, for good bones and good brains. Gaby started with 7 lunches a day in one school. She and her team now serve over 2000 lunches a day in 5 different school districts in NJ. The lunches are made fresh that morning and delivered to the school in time with each child’s name on the bag.

No Fuss Lunch is now even branching out to delivering healthy family meals too! Gaby Wilday.Of course I LOVE Gaby’s philosophy of clean healthy eating and even for her dinner delivery service, she talks about “comfort food, but not the “comfort food” trend of the past several years: fattening, heavy, brain dulling. Modern comfort food is truly taking care of your family with ultra-healthy, intelligent choices, ease, and delightfully delicious options. All of the flavor, none of the FUSS.”

I think Gaby has a great thing going on here – for individuals and for our country as a whole. No Fuss is all about building a healthy future through smarter food.

You are what you eat.

Add a little LOVE, and you’ll be just fine!!

And to add some healthy inspiration to your dinners, order a summer box, up until midnight tonight! This was our spring box and our surprise summer box will be even better. Use the code FOODIESLOVE for 25% off!Subscription box, MARY's secret ingredients, Spring 2015.

The Very Best Way to Cook Corn on the Cob

Corn on the cob on a plate ready to eat.It’s the season!! And there are so many ways to cook corn on the cob. Boil it in regular water, water with a little sugar, water with a little milk, place it in boiling water, turn the heat off and let it sit, shuck it and steam it, shuck it and grill it and so on. However, this way, I guarantee will become your favorite. This produces the freshest cooked corn on the cob because you don’t remove it from its natural packaging until you’re ready to eat it. Never, ever water-logged, cooking corn this way turns out so wonderful, (assuming it’s good corn), and so sweet, you won’t even want butter!


It’s that good.

Plus, you won’t have all that sticky silk all over your kitchen floor because you had to shuck it beforehand. No siree!!

You’re gonna LOVE this!!

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Buy your corn by feeling the heft and weight. Do not peel back the husks and peek. Corn on a baking sheet.

Just remove any dried and damaged outer leaves, trim dark silk ends hanging out at the end with scissors and put all your ears on a cookie sheet. Bake in the oven for 25 – 30 minutes, each ear with its full husk on. Corn on the cob out of the oven.When done, remove and peel husks off using hot pad mitts and serve. You don’t even need butter on this corn because what happens here is that the silk melts into the corn and makes it so sweet. Plus, it isn’t water logged so it’s crisp, and you don’t have the awful job of shucking them beforehand with all that silk making a mess. This is great, naked, fresh corn. (and low in calories with no butter needed) Enjoy!! Roast an extra ear or two, shuck and wrap in plastic wrap to store in the refrigerator and use another night. Cut the corn off the cob for a salad. Use a serrated knife for best results.

Now here’s the sad part, corn is one of those things, of all vegetables, that is most likely to be genetically modified, so try to buy your corn from a local organic farmer who knows his seeds were not GMO. Ask first. :)