Category Archives: Chocolate Business & Vacation

Donya Marie’s Kitchen Tips Now Available!

Donya Marie's Kitchen Tips

Donya Marie’s Kitchen Tips

Whether you cook a little or a lot, plain or fancy, healthy or hearty, for your family, just for fun or for a business, this is the one book you’ll use often. Organized in an easy-to-find format, Donya Marie’s Cooking Tips includes aclickable table of contents organized by category for quick reference to allow you to quickly jump to the help you need.Find out how to follow the example of this professional chef as you discover:

• How to get more juice from a lime or lemon
• How to soften butter quickly
• How to keep produce and other foods safe from spoilage
• How to blend spices for the optimal taste treat
• How to enhance beaten egg whites or pie crust with the addition of vinegar
• How to consistently make cakes more moist
• How to make your own cake flour or Bisquick® substitutes
• How to store and use stale breads
• How to prevent soggy or hard waffles
• How to substitute ingredients instead of running to the store
• How to use chocolate in ways you’ve never dreamed of
• How to save time using Donya Marie’s shortcuts and restaurant tricks
And so much more!

With this book, you can cook with skill, confidence, and pleasure knowing your cooking solutions are by your side whenever you cook. It’s the book you’ll reach for when you have a question or run across a new challenge in your kitchen.

Or just sit and read through it at your leisure to see what useful tips you can discover and try. Donya Marie’s Cooking Tips is a book you can simply pick up for fun when relaxing on the sofa. You can open it to any page in the book and just start reading. It will become your go-to kitchen tool.

Whether you’re just browsing or desperately trying to solve a vexing cooking emergency, every cook will appreciate this book.


How to Prepare Meats/Vegetables Safely

With the recent nice weather we’ve been having that means that the grilling season is here!  We need to be sure to prepare our meats and vegetables safely in order to avoid food borne illness.  Most of you probably already know how, but it’s always a good reminder for me and I thought it would be for you as well.


It’s a good idea to start by sanitizing your grill.  Preheat your grill on high heat for 20 minutes before cooking. The high heat will sanitize the grates and burn off anything you left on the grate. 


Choose your cutting boards with care.  You’ll want to use a separate cutting board for meat and another for vegetables to avoid cross-contamination. If you are using the same board for both vegetables and meat, prepare your vegetables 1st.  Then, very thoroughly wash and sanitize the board, before using it for meat.


All surfaces, sinks and tools should always be sanitized after use. Use a commercial sanitizer sheet or spray approved for “food contact”.  You can find food safe sanitizers at most grocery and warehouse stores. I personally use vinegar mixed with water in my home kitchen.


Store all meats in the refrigerator.  When storing meats in the refrigerator, place the longest cooking meat on the bottom and the shortest cooking meat on top.  For example, pork loin on the bottom, chicken above the loin, then fish on top.  This is done so that if juices from the fish drip into the chicken, the chicken cooks longer than fish, so the juices will be sure to cook thoroughly.


Also, store meats at the bottom of your refrigerator, not the top, to avoid dripping onto other foods that may or may not be cooked before consuming.


Use two sets of tongs: Use one set of tongs for raw meat and another clean set for cooked food. 


Throw out excess marinade that is left over if it has had contact with meat.  If you need extra sauce, reserve fresh sauce from the bottle to be brushed on during the end of cooking or for dipping during the meal.


Always wash your hands with warm water and soap after handling meat.  Food borne illness is an extremely serious matter and it can happen just as easily in your kitchen as in a manufactures kitchen.


Watch for my “Grilling VegetableS” tips in the next post.

Chocolate on the Coast

Whale Vista Veiw

Earlier in the month, Jason and I headed to the Coast for a combined business / vacation trip.  The Oregon coast is my favorite place to be.  I love it for the rugged shorelines, the unpredictable storms, and the devilish weather.  I can’t imagine anything more beautiful, except for an Arizona sunset (which I’ve seen countless times and never tire of them).  I get an absolute thrill out of being able to witness numerous storms combined with bursts of sunshine in one day while on the N. Oregon coastline. 


Jason and I first started coming to the N. Oregon coast in 2002, which is the biggest reason we find ourselves in the Pacific Northwest now.  We try to make it to this part of the coast at least once a year.  We always rent a house that has exceptional views of the ocean; otherwise, what’s the point.  We can sit and do our work and enjoy the mystifying beauty of the ocean at the same time.  Life does not get much better than that, other than the addition of a glass of 03’ Cabernet from Bittner’s Vineyard, located in the Snake River appellation of Idaho, and eating 86% dark chocolate with it, as I am doing while I write this post!


Our first experience was at the Nye Beach Hotel in historic Nye Beach.  It was a memorable stay at this eclectic Hotel.  We arrived around 9 p.m. that evening and when we located the Hotel for which I had secured reservations for on-line (those photos are always so misleading), we were speechless at the site of what we saw.  It conjured up images of the Bates Motel in Psycho!  We didn’t have much choice at this late hour, but to go inside and see what awaited us.  So we reluctantly went in and I asked the clerk on duty if we could see the room prior to unloading our luggage.  She looked at us as if we’d obviously come from another planet, Arizona maybe; but she agreed and showed us to the 3rd story room.  The room was advertised as having an ocean front view with a spa, fireplace, eclectic artwork and a four-poster bed.  Sounds lovely, right?  The room was oceanfront and the view was spectacular, out the very narrow sliding glass door.  Nearby there was indeed a small gas heater (our fireplace).  There was indeed a spa in the room; a spa tub located right next to the bed.  The four poster bed; it was there; an antique brass bed with coil springs!  The eclectic art work were posters with bolted plexus-glass covering them!  I wanted to laugh when I saw the room!  My main concern was covered; the room was clean.  We stayed for two days and became acquainted with historic Nye Beach and some of the nearby towns.  Through our discoveries on that trip, we fell in love with the N. Oregon Coast and began our plan of how to get closer to that area in the future.


We have since gone back to the area at least once per year, and sometimes twice a year.  We learned a year ago that the Nye Beach Hotel was torn down.  On our recent visit the land remains vacant, perched at the edge of the cliff, over looking the ocean.  Our stays have been in Netarts, Manzanita, Newport and now Depot Bay.  Our stay in Depot Bay, at the Whale Vista, has been the best view we’ve had yet.  The only draw back was having to drive several miles to a long beach for which we can do our long walks on.  But the sacrifice is well worth the drive.  The house sits perched 10 feet from the oceans edge, high on a cliff.  You can hear the waves crashing against the rocks all night long while you sleep.  The house has great views from almost every room, with a big patio overlooking the ocean as well.


Our first night we arrived at the house around 6 p.m.  Upon unlocking the front door and walking in, it was apparent that either we were in the wrong house, or someone was there!  After cautiously examining each room in the house we discovered that the cleaning lady had not been there to clean up after the last tenants.  Not exactly how we wanted to start off our vacation.  Jason said we could get a motel room and maybe it would be cleaned the next day…..I looked at him like he had lost his mind, saying, “Are you kidding me, and give up even one morning of this view upon my waking!”  He quickly caught on.  After a few phone calls we found ourselves sitting in Gracie’s Sea Hag, downtown Depot Bay. 


Upon entering Gracie’s Sea Hag we were immediately assaulted with loud live music…my first instinct was to turn around, leave, and find a quieter setting.  My nerves were on edge after traveling all day, then finding out that I may not have a place to stay that night.  Not feeling adventurous enough to scope out another place to eat, we stayed.  We ordered the Halibut Fish and Chips, and the Calamari Steak Strips and the Triple Layer Chocolate Seduction Cake (of course!).  Gracie herself came out and played her famous tunes on the liquor bottles behind the bar!  That beat all I’d ever seen – I was hysterical with laughter at this point.  The day was wrapping up quite nicely.  The loud music that assaulted our ears as we entered Gracie’s was none other than Michael Dane plaing Blue, Jazz, and Country.  Gracie showed us a good time that night!  Three hours later, we emerged, sated with good food, wine, and cheer, ready to go ‘home’ to our perch on the sea, which did finally get cleaned that night.


The business segment of our trip was for a 3-day show, SIP – McMinnville Wine and Food Classic, in the heart of Oregon wine country.  The show was held at the Evergreen Space Museum, which, if you have not been, is a beautiful building.  The space museum is next to the aviation museum.  The buildings are massive with hundreds of windows and skylights.  The sponsors and organizers of the show, Archdiocese of Portland, put together the best show we have ever attended as vendors and customers.  It was well organized, adequately advertised, and the show volunteers were extremely courteous, and helpful.  This was our 2nd year of doing the show and we intend to do next years as well.  


Regretfully, our trip was over.  It’s about the only time I leave home that I don’t want to come back.  Memories with chocolate and the coast are the best to have.  I shall have to start planning my next trip for more of such memories.