Category Archives: Cook

Happy Halloween with EF’s On the Go Vlog

I worked with Education First on a series of videos for their On the Go with EF YouTube Channel! And just like last year, we brought you all the Halloween action!

My new Kindle ebook “Not So Vanilla: Easy Recipes to make Leftover Store-Bought Vanilla Ice Cream into Something Extraordinary!”

For those of us who don’t like it too vanilla 😉 Here’s the ‘scoop’:

“Not So Vanilla” By Kendra Valentine Kindle ebook Cover

“So, it’s someone’s birthday and you’ve bought a tub of vanilla ice cream to go with the cake. Afterward, not only do you have leftover ice cream, but you realize that you already had a freezer burnt nearly finished batch already in the fridge from last summer’s blueberry pie.

This has been happening to me for years.

This little inspiration recipe book came through a lot of research trying to find a solution to the never-ending carton of vanilla ice cream. Inside you’ll find some pretty cool ideas to capitalize on leftover ice cream… so much so you might end up buying vanilla ice cream specifically for these recipes. All the recipes and ideas in this book are exclusively simple & easy ways to make that boring vanilla ice cream into something extraordinary. Like most of my recipes and solutions, this book is merely a guide! Let your creativity flow and use what you have on hand. And don’t worry…there are just as many grown & sexy recipes as family-friendly ones…

Included: A free downloadable handy little cheat sheet to put on the fridge… it’s so cute you’ll leave it up even after you’re a vanilla ice cream hacking expert.”

Let me know how you feel about vanilla ice cream and help out the cause at the same time by grabbing a copy for just .99 cents and reviewing the book on Amazon. I’m counting on reviews from the fam so download a copy for some cool ways to shift down to ‘chill’ mode for the summer! Or do it so I will stop with the puns. Your choice.

New Year’s Traditions from Around the World x On the Go with EF

Happy New Year! (God försattning)! And Gong Hai Fat Choy! I wanted to share a video with a few interesting New Year’s traditions from around the worldand to make it special, I picked a few countries where you can also find an EF school to start your New Year off right. So! No matter if you follow a solar or lunar calendar, here are a few cool facts about New Years…


Holiday Sugar Cookies & Egg Nog x On the Go with EF Vlog!

I’m working with Education First on a series of videos for their brand new On the Go with EF YouTube Channel! And since EF is the premiere language learning school, they include some excellent vocabulary words worth knowing for the holiday season. In the first video, I make sugar cookies! These cookies are just as much fun to make, as they are to eat … it’s like a two for one deal! And the next video we make a classic holiday drink: egg nog!

Soul Food Thanksgiving: What to Prep the Day Before

Thanksgiving happens to be one of the only holidays, specific to the Americas. In these trying times, when your neighbor is getting seemingly further away despite the world getting smaller, it can be the simple things that we all share which remind us we’re united, if only for one day. Here are my tips on prepping for the big day if you are cooking my Soul Food Thanksgiving menu!


Go Shopping in the morning! (If you didn’t do it earlier)

The market will be a crazy place if you live in the U.S, but you got that list I made for you, that was included in the back of the Soul Food Thanksgiving book, and as a separate download in the enhanced version.

Now, it’s time to concentrate on cooking/prep:

  1. Make Turley Brine (Needs time to cool before using at night)
  2. Make Pecan pie (can leave on countertop)
  3. Make Sweet potato pie
  4. Make cornbread for Dressing  (can leave on countertop)
  5. Make breadcrumbs for Dressing (can leave on countertop)
  6. Make Jellied Cranberry Sauce
  7. Make Potato Salad
  8. Pick & Wash Greens (put in Ziploc bags and throw in a cool place, outside on the balcony works to save fridge space, unless you live in the tropics or Southern hemisphere, lucky.)

Extra time? Do some chopping: onions, celery, peppers, etc. (you can also throw this outside to save fridge space. Nothing will go bad.)



Brine Turkey

*Jellied Cranberry Sauce

*Potato Salad


Then get some rest because it’s on tomorrow!  #SoulFoodThanksgiving

Alternatives to Collards for Those Who Live Abroad

So, you live in a country where you are hard pressed to find some greens for a proper mess ‘o greens? Can’t find collards or a culinary-linguistic expert to figure out what the local language calls them (if anything)? Then, here are a couple of suggestions…

Collard Greens: The Mayor of Soul Food

Cooked down in a smoky broth, collard greens can be dubbed the mayor of soul food. Not only will they fix any mood I may be in, but they are healthy: loads of vitamin A, C and K, along with manganese and folate.  Collards are members of the cabbage family, but are close relatives to kale. And although collards are available year-round, they are at their best after the first overnight frost of the year.

Although collards are a bit bitter and take a lot longer to cook, tradition has tied me close to preferring them as my choice greens. However, now that I live in Europe, I’ve had to spread my soul food wings and adopt other go-to greens candidates, most notably: curly kale. Here are a few you could try, but don’t forget:

An authentic ‘mess’ of greens needs a solid flavor base. They need to be cooked down with a ham hock (or other salty/smoky hack that I cover in Soul Food Thanksgiving) to make a juice so concentrated with love it has its own name: potlikker.



Kale is not only less bitter than collard greens, but they cook a lot faster. Kale is also an excellent source of beta-carotene, vitamins C and B6. But, more importantly to curing a soul food craving: the curly more mature kale varieties are the closest I’ve found to collards.


Cavolo nero (“black cabbage” in Italian)

Cavolo nero has been grown in Tuscany for centuries and is one of the traditional ingredients of minestrone soup- so you know it stews well. It is a leafy and hearty green that will definitely do the trick.


Mustard Greens

Mustard greens have a stronger and bitter taste than collards, so it is best to mix with another milder green. However, they are tender enough to eat raw in salads, so cooking doesn’t take too long. They are also high in vitamin A, C and K, similar to collard greens.



Available widely in Europe, chard belongs to the beet family and cooks much quicker than collards as well. Rainbow varieties have a slight sweetness, so try blending with mustard greens for a nice balance. Chard provides high amounts of vitamins A, C, E and K, as well as magnesium and potassium.

Broccoli Rabe

Broccoli rabe has a nutty, bitter, and strong flavor reminiscent of mustard greens. It is a great source of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as potassium, calcium, and iron.


Spinach (not baby spinach!)

This would be my last choice only because spinach has its own distinct flavor and a very mild texture that does not stew as well. However, spinach provides much more folic acid than collard greens, and high amounts of iron, along with being high in vitamins A, C and K, manganese, and magnesium: so Popeye really knew what he was doing!


Once you get your hands on a few bunches of suitable greens, be sure to download my mini digital cookbook “Soul Food Thanksgiving” and check out my three-page recipe on making love to one of my favorite dishes of all time. 10% of profits will be donated to The Hunger Project.


And don’t fret, these greens are on average packed with more nutrients for collards. Just don’t get crazy and turn to Nieman Marcus for your fix… just a friendly warning.


Not Talking Turkey: Turkey Alternatives for Thanksgiving (By Region)

Turkey is the national Thanksgiving unifier. It might not be your favorite meat but it is what’s on the menu for most. It is very much tradition and the literal symbol of Thanksgiving...

... but one day, my family had a collective epiphany that none of us really liked turkey all that much. We mostly just loved having turkey tacos with the leftovers, and my sister and I partial to the novelty of the wishbone and humongous turkey legs. (Well, that was until one Thanksgiving when we finally had a fresh turkey, from a local farm, never frozen. That. Changed. Everything.) 

But if you happen to live in a country where turkey is not readily available, you don’t eat meat, or simply  want to change things up: here are a few turkey alternatives. If you live in the U.S, you can likely get any of these options, but I’ve broken them down by category for the rest of us, since, what is common locally is usually what’s best!




Pork Loin
Rib Roast
Center-Cut Ham
Whole Goose
Duck breasts

Europe North

Roast Side of Salmon (add oysters to stuffing, and bam!)
Moose Roast

Middle East/India

Rack of Lamb
Leg of Lamb

East Asia

Whole Snapper
Whole Roast Duck


Butternut Squash and Sage Lasagne
Eggplant Steaks
Sautéed Chanterelle Mushrooms

But, in the end, you could just skip the main protein all together... what we really want are those sides anyway! So be sure to download a copy of my mini digital cookbook "Soul Food Thanksgiving" and get to work! 10% of profits will be donated to The Hunger Project.


Soul Food Thanksgiving Cookbook

Officially announcing my first ebook: Soul Food Thanksgiving! It’s a digital cookbook of classic holiday dishes made using whole food that delivers big flavor. These dishes are what I grew up eating from the holidays, and special care was taken to develop recipes that would produce the same food, but with the love, flavor, and respect it deserves. Written to appeal to new and old cooks alike, this digital book contains genuine recipes not to be found anywhere online. I offer context on every technique, a little history, a full shopping list, and measurements in both U.S and metric, so those of you cooking outside the U.S can get down in the kitchen too! 10% of all profits will be donated to The Hunger Project. Below I’ve shared the foreword to the book:

Soul Food Thanksgiving cookbook by Kendra Valentine

Soul Food Thanksgiving cookbook by Kendra Valentine, photo: Claes Helander

Halloween Caramel Candy Corn Popcorn for EF On The Go Vlog!

I’m working with Education First on a series of videos for their brand new ON THE GO with EF YouTube Channel! Here in the very first episode where I show you a really cool Halloween treat, featuring a classic Halloween candy: Caramel Candy Corn Popcorn… yes, you heard right! And since EF is the premiere language learning school, they include some excellent vocabulary words worth knowing for the Halloween season…

You’ll need:

  • About 12 handfuls popped corn
  • 440g (1 c.) packed brown sugar
  • 164 g (1/2 c.) light syrup
  • 114g (1/2 c.) butter
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • As much candy corn (or other candy) as you like!

Chewy Granola Bars Experiment

I’ve never made granola bars before… so this was a real experiment! Nice tart cranberries, roasted toasted almonds, and creamy peanut butter made these granola bars come together… literally and figuratively!

You’ll need:

  • 1 cup soft dried cranberries
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar