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BASIC BLT ( BACON, LETTUCE AND TOMATO) These are your basic ingredients.   Pretty straightforward!  Being from the south, we do...

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Tim and Eva relaxing at the beach.   Hello , my name is Eva.   Divarecipes.com is the brainchild of...

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Kitchen Saucery - the Secrets to Making Classic Sauces

To an inexperienced cook, there is something magical about making white sauce. The process begins by cooking butter and flour together. This is called a roux – pronounced ‘roo’. Cooking the roux looks hard enough, but adding liquid to that without ending up with a lumpy mess seems almost impossible. It seems like a task for a saucerer’s apprentice, but once the trick is mastered, it will be one of the most useful in your repertoire.

With white sauce you have the basis of many dishes, from potato bake to lasagna. Basic white sauce can become Mornay, cheese sauce and white wine sauce, and it can accompany classic dishes such as Creamy Fettuccine, Chicken with White Wine and Lobster Mornay.

It may take practice at first to get the roux exactly right, but once you have mastered it, you have a recipe with such magical properties, you will wonder how you ever managed without it.

Bechamel sauce, cooking the flour with butter and adding milk, mixing it slowly and tada!! you got your bechamel... adding a little salt and Myristica

Bechamel sauce, cooking the flour with butter and adding milk, mixing it slowly and tada!! you got your bechamel… adding a little salt and Myristica

The first thing you need is a good saucepan – literally, a pan for making sauce. It needs to be well made and solid – a good stainless steel, anodised aluminum or copper bottomed pan will be best. A thin cheap pan will just burn your sauce.

Have every thing you need ready when you begin. You will need the correct quantities of butter and flour, a jug of milk (or milk and water) in the correct quantity, a wooden spoon and a wire whisk.

Put the pan on the heat and add a lump of butter. How much butter you use will define the amount of flour you use – these basic ingredients should be equal. So if you use one tablespoon of butter you will add one tablespoon of flour. The milk will be added to this and can be a more flexible quantity. One cup is the usual amount for a tablespoon of butter and flour. If you want your sauce thicker or thinner, vary the quantity of milk slightly. For a larger quantity of sauce you can double or triple the basic flour and butter, and adjust the liquid accordingly.

Melt the butter until it is just starts to foam. (Butter really is better when it comes to white sauce, but you can use good quality margarine if you prefer). For white sauce, the butter must not brown. Add the flour and stir it well with a wooden spoon, to blend it. Let it cook for a minute or two to cook the raw taste out of the flour, then add the liquid, stirring well.

Swap the wooden spoon for a wire whisk, and whisk the mixture in the pan briskly to prevent lumps forming. Keep whisking as the mixture cooks and thickens.

When it has thickened, it is ready. Now you work some further saucery, depending on what you plan to do with it. If you are making bechamel for lasagna, just add salt and pepper and pour it over the prepared dish. You can sprinkle grated parmesan over the top, but if you want cheese sauce, add a half a cup of grated cheddar cheese to the hot cooked sauce and stir it in. A more elegant version is Mornay sauce, where you add grated Gruyere or Gouda and a sprinkle of nutmeg. Serve this over cooked vegetables.

For a simple parsley sauce to serve with fish, add half a cup of chopped fresh parsley. For a curry sauce similar to the Japanese recipe, add a tablespoon of curry powder to the roux. To make a Veloute sauce to serve over poached chicken or fish, replace the milk with chicken or fish stock. For white wine sauce, simply replace the liquid with half white wine and half chicken stock.

Don’t be afraid to work some magic in the kitchen, and grow your skills from saucerer’s apprentice to master of saucery!


Fill Your Plate with Holiday Superfoods

Don’t feel guilty about indulging during the Holiday Season, as there’s not a problem if you choose nutritious Holiday foods. While you still need to watch your portion sizes to avoid excessive calories, certain Holiday favorites are bursting with health-promoting nutrients, leading to their status as superfoods. From cinnamon to turkey, this article gives you the low-down on seven Holiday superfoods to choose for your plate.


Holiday cakes, cookies and hot drinks just wouldn’t be the same without cinnamon, but did you know that regularly using this spice may help to protect your health? Cinnamon has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which may explain the promise it shows for preventing cancer and diseases of the nervous system. Cinnamon may also aid better blood sugar control, offering protection against diabetes, and normalize blood lipids, reducing your likelihood of coronary heart disease. Although sweet cinnamon treats are not the best bet for your oral health, cinnamon’s antibacterial effects may help you guard against tooth decay.

Group of friends laughing as they sit around a table eating and drinking at Christmas. One man is reading a joke from a christmas cracker. Party hats and christmas jumpers are worn.


Turkey isn’t the same without a spoonful of cranberry sauce, but as cranberries are so rich in antioxidants, you may want to use cranberries in a range of other Holiday dishes. Cranberries have previously been encouraged to prevent urinary tract infections and while the evidence for this health benefit of cranberries is somewhat limited, cranberry proanthocyanidins may also protect against infections targeting the digestive system. Additionally, cranberry antioxidants may play a role in the prevention of heart disease and strokes, as well as reducing your risk of breast, lung, prostate and colon cancer. Try cranberries as a healthy addition to cookies, muffins, cakes and desserts, though watch out for dried cranberries, as these are often loaded with added sugar.

Leafy greens

Even if you aren’t a fan of Brussels sprouts, collard greens or broccoli, you probably serve these green leafy vegetables up at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Leafy greens are a nutritional powerhouse, providing lots of beta-carotene, folate, vitamin C and K, as well as the mineral potassium, all of which are linked to better heart health. While beta-carotene and vitamin C have antioxidant activity, additional antioxidants in cruciferous vegetables may explain why the likes of cabbage, spinach and sprouts may protect against prostate, colon and lung cancer. If you dislike cooked leafy green vegetables, try lightly cooking in a stir-fry or serving as part of a salad.


Although nuts are high in fat and calories, nut-eaters tend to be slimmer than people who avoid this festive snack. Nuts are also rich in heart-healthy nutrients, making them a good option for Holiday nibbles. For instance, an ounce of pecans, equivalent to around 19 halves, gives you 3g of fiber and a good intake of vitamin B1, copper and manganese, all of which play a role in heart health. Meanwhile, almonds are rich in the antioxidant vitamin E and walnuts provide a plant alternative to omega-3 fish oils. Keep a jar of mixed nuts to hand for when hunger strikes, but try to avoid nuts with added salt and sugar, as these additions reduce the health benefits of nuts.


The lovely orange color of pumpkins is thanks to their beta-carotene content, with a 3.5oz serving of pumpkin meeting your daily requirement for this vitamin. That’s good news, as beta-carotene is a powerful antioxidant, which may protect your blood vessels from narrowing and lower your risk of cancer. If you usually opt for pumpkin pie or cookies during the Holiday Season, why not try some savory pumpkin recipes? You don’t need to limit yourself to pumpkin soup though, as pumpkin works well in everything from chilis and curries to salads and stews.

Sweet potatoes

These orange vegetables are even richer in beta-carotene than pumpkins, providing around four times the amount by weight. Sweet potatoes are also a good source of vitamin C and B6, as well as potassium and manganese, all of which are cardio-protective. Baking sweet potatoes and holding the butter is a better option than roasting or frying if you are calorie conscious, though a small amount of fat can help your body absorb their beta-carotene more effectively. However, if you have a sweet tooth, sweet potato can make a healthy addition to various Holiday desserts from homemade ice cream and mousse to brownies and crumbles.


As long as you leave the skin, turkey is a low-fat meat option, but its fat content isn’t why turkey is a superfood. Turkey is rich in the mineral selenium, which plays a key role in helping your body scavenge the free radicals that contribute to health problems such as heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes and neurological conditions. You’ll also get a good helping of B vitamins, especially vitamin B3 and B6, to help maintain your metabolism. Additionally, turkey provides useful amounts of zinc, which strengthens your immune system and supports wound healing. Finally, while turkey is not the richest food source of tryptophan, this amino acid is essential for serotonin production, which is associated with feelings of well-being and relaxation.

Although a varied diet is essential for good health, including superfoods may enhance your wellness and reduce your risk of future medical problems. Choosing your Thanksgiving and Christmas menu carefully can help you take advantage of several festive superfoods and their health-promoting properties.

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How to Save Money on Groceries

Saving Money on Groceries

Everybody needs to eat, but food can be incredibly expensive. Many people have wondered how to spend less at the grocery store. There are many simple tricks that you can use to minimize the cost of food. These may seem complicated at first, but once you get the hang of them, they are incredibly simple.

Buy in Bulk

Generally, a smaller item will appear to be cheaper than the larger one. If you do the math, the larger one is usually a better option. Grocery stores know they can make more profit with the smaller items because more people are inclined to purchase that size.

Buying a larger size is a good idea if you will be able to use the bigger option. If you buy a 10lb bag of potatoes when you were only going to eat 5lb before they went bad, the smaller option is better.

For some staples, such as flour, sugar, and corn meal, and some non-essentials, like candy and trail mix, you can find more savings by shopping in the bulk section. You have complete control over how much you buy and the price per pound is likely lower than any of the pre-bagged brands.

Buy Whole Foods

Pre-prepared foods get rid of so much hassle. A frozen dinner or pre-sliced meat brings down preparation time. It’s a shame that the food gets a significant markup when it’s in a packaged form

Buying food in their original form is cheaper than just getting parts. It may take a bit longer to cook than the packaged food, but the time you spend in the kitchen is time you’re not spending working to pay for the packaged dinners. Your cooking skills may end up surprising you. Food made from scratch will always taste better than food from a can.

Try the Store Brand

Don’t worry about the store brands tasting bad. Consumers Reports did a taste test between major brands and store brands. In most of those cases, the store brands tasted as good or better than their brand name counterparts.

Because stores control their own brands, they may have extra deals, like more frequent sales or bonus points for a points program. These deals make the store brand even more affordable.

Stick to a Meal Plan

Impulse shopping can lead to your grocery bill skyrocketing, but its sneakier cousin, unplanned shopping, can hurt your wallet just as much. Unplanned shopping occurs when you buy something promising yourself that you’ll use it, but you never do. People throw out up to 20% of their food. That wastefulness costs you.

Planning meals in advance helps to curb spending by telling you what items you’ll need to buy to make those meals. It’ll help you make sure that you use every item that you buy. It can even help with time management and healthy eating, as you no longer have to struggle with the question of “what am I going to make for dinner?”

Keep Track of Seasons

Clothes, hair, and décor go through seasons, but few people talk about seasons when it comes to the food they put on their table. However, seasons matter more with food than they do for most other items. Think about it: if there is a blizzard outside, what are the odds that the apples you’re buying are in season?

Some produce, like mushrooms and lettuce, is in season for most of the year. Other kinds are only available for short times. Cucumbers and peppers are summer foods, while sweet potatoes are harvested in the winter. When your favorite vegetable isn’t in season, its price goes up.

Mind the Expiry Date

Expiry dates aren’t God. They aren’t even consistent. Sometimes, they are called “Best Before” dates, other times they are “Use By” dates, and sometimes you are presented with a date and no appellation at all. Depending on the type of food, the expiry dates may be meaningless. The only type of food with regulated expiry dates in the United States is baby food.

In most packaged goods, like canned food, crackers, and other things that do not perish quickly, the Best Before date refers to the date that a manufacturer believes the food will lose some of its flavor or texture. The food is still safe to eat, but it might not taste as good.

With perishable items, like dairy, meat, and produce, the expiry dates are more important. You can usually smell or see when something has gone bad. Even with vegetables that look a bit wilted or milk and meat that is only a few days behind the best before date, you can revitalize the food by cooking it.

Eat Before Shopping

Early humans would eat food the moment they got the chance. Modern humans still have that instinct. That means that if you are going grocery shopping while you are hungry, everything looks tastier than it is.

The simple solution to this problem is to eat before you go. It doesn’t need to be complicated. Even a granola bar will do. It’s just important that your stomach is full before you go so you aren’t tempted to buy everything that you see.

Avoid Samples

Sometimes, grocery stores or food brands will hire a third party to hand out free samples to customers. Other times, they give out free samples themselves. These tiny morsels of a product are enticing. Who doesn’t like trying new things?

The reason stores set up free sample displays is because free samples are one of the most effective marketing tactics that a grocery store can use. Avoiding free samples means avoiding the temptation to buy the associated product. These products may not be products you’ll use, so you’ll save by avoiding them.

Use a Calculator

Calculators can be incredibly useful tools to figure out how much you’ll be paying before you get to the counter. They can help you stick to hard budgets and even help to figure out which deal is better.

It might look awkward to bring a calculator to a grocery store. Most phones, even non-smart phones, have calculator applications on them. You will look far less conspicuous pushing buttons on your cell phone. Keeping the amount you’re spending in your mind as you shop will help you make better purchases.

By using one or all of these techniques, you can save plenty of money. You might learn additional tricks that are unique to your area or your grocery store. At first, these techniques may be frustrating, but over time, you will learn to master them. Your wallet will be heavier, and your belly will be full.


A little about

Diva Recipes


Tim and Eva relaxing at the beach.

Hello , my name is Eva.  

Divarecipes.com is the brainchild of my husband. His name is Tim.  I’m not a chef or a trained professional, but apparently my husband thinks I am!!  (Lucky for me!!)   Tim has always kinda considered me a DIVA when it comes to recipes and cooking…. thus the name!!!!!

I’m planning to showcase some of my favorite recipes.   Many of these are tried and true recipes passed down from my grandmothers and mother!   Over the years I’ve naturally added dishes from my beloved mother-in-law and friends.  Other recipes couldn’t be further from those!   Just dishes I’ve come to enjoy and perfect over our 37 years of marriage.  One of my first memories as a “married woman” was calling my mother and asking her “Mom, how do you cook a roast?!?!?”   I’ve come a long ways since then!!!

Speaking of my late and great parents, they were both wonderful cooks!   My mother was a natural cook and I think just cooked from instinct.   My dad, on the other hand, was genetically blessed!!   Apparently everyone in his family could cook and he had a brother and sister who owned and ran restaurants.  (I’ve always thought he secretly wanted his own!!)    He obviously absorbed everything he saw my mother cooking and baking, because after she passed away, my sister and I never had to teach him a thing…. cooking breakfast, making pot roasts and even baking cakes!!!

Nowadays, with every thing being so readily available and already prepared in grocery stores  and fast food restaurants on every corner, many young people are not learning the basics of cooking!  Hopefully, some of these recipes will be “the basics” for you cooks just starting out.  Others will be more intricate, or at least as intricate as I’m willing to try.   For the most part we’ve found that we love “the basics”, but every now and then I try to jazz it up a little.   After all, they say “variety is the spice of life”!!   But, speaking of spices, I will say,  Tim’s a salt and pepper man!!   So remember, you won’t find anything too, too fancy on this site!!   HAPPY COOKING!!!

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I’ve always loved duck!   I usually order it whenever I see it in restaurants.   So when our local...



BASIC BLT ( BACON, LETTUCE AND TOMATO) These are your basic ingredients.   Pretty straightforward!  Being from the south, we do...