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Shef Shanan


Not much to say here.  It's sour cream and lemon.  Together.  Last I checked there wasn't much that could upstage the combination.  In fact by the time I went to glaze the darned things, about two thirds were m.i.a.... and the hubby, normally only supervised around chocolate inclusive recipes, was sitting pretty on the couch with a bit of a tummy ache (as he should have! I started off with over 30 cookies!).
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(Back into the kitchen after a long holiday break...)

Hi.  My name is Shanan and I am addicted to grocery shopping.  Every now and then, in an honest effort to curb how much I spend on all the necessary culinary components (because really, I do feel guilty), I open the fridge or pantry doors and scratch my chin. I literally "hmmmmm" outloud as I conjure ways to use up any of the random ingredients littering my kitchen from previous cooking adventures. You see, when I made fruit dip a month or so back, I bought a full jar of apricot preserves.  I don't use apricot preserves often, so I thought I would use the opportunity to look up or think up some new ways to use my leftovers rather than let them sit for ages until I ultimately tossed them. 
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I set as a home page tab eons ago in the thought that maybe I'd see something healthy and make it (always trying to be healthier, right?).  It hasn't worked so well... mostly because I just never view that tab (granted it is buried behind a bunch of other foodie sites).  But the other day I made an effort to visit the site and found an article about quick and healthy breakfast ideas.  This recipe stood out to me the most - perhaps because I'd just bought a can of apricots for heaven knows why - and the thought of tangy yogurt and apricots together sounded perfectly appetizing. 
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I grew up on this at church potlucks and other such gatherings.  I thought it was just as normal in everyone else's life as it was in my own.  But last time I made it I had a friend over who took a bite... and another... and another... and I quickly realized (between her bites and her nods of approval) that perhaps this was more of a unique gem than I'd previously realized.  I mean, I always knew it was special (it was always one of the first buffet items to go), but I think having it so often - right alongside jello salads and Costco bagged rolls - I mentally put it in line with, well, everything else on the table.  It was good, really good, but it was basic buffet food.  Right?
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I don't go looking for recipes with long ingredient lists nor do I go looking for recipes with intricate details and instructions.  Many people mistakenly think that because I am a freak about good food, I am a freak overall and therefore only gravitate towards foods that are freakishly difficult to put together.  I couldn't disagree more.  Those who really know me know that I just love good food.  I love healthy, close to the earth, fresh and simple to prepare foods and I try to compose the majority of my caloric intake around those things... but I promise you there's just as much of me that loves a can of this or that mixed with a bottle of this or that and eaten with greasy these and those.  I don't discriminate based on ingredients or level of difficulty. I just love good food. 
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If you're anything like me, the sight of a new cookbook - all enticing with it's pretty cover and crisp unopened pages - will stop you in your tracks. This happens to me all too often... as one can easily attest by viewing the bookshelf in my kitchen or many of the shelves in my pantry.  So rewind to last Fall when I spotted a Philly Cream Cheese cookbook at the grocery store.  A full display of these cookbooks were propped up announcing that I could get a free cookbook with every four cream cheese products purchased.  Now most "free" cookbooks and product brand cookbooks are easy to spot - they look free.  They are less than enticing and you're lucky if their pictures don't look like some experimental photo session from the 70's.   But this cookbook?  I would have paid the $19.99 value it claimed the "free" book to be worth.  This one made me drool and I had to have it.
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I was strolling the ever-so-exciting freezer section of Costco and this box of Black Bean Chipotle Burgers started calling to me.  They were great, yes, and I've converted many friends into fans.  However something always nagged at me to try making them at home - something about the list of ingredients sounding like something I could make even better in my own kitchen.  So I did a bit of looking around and concocted up a little plan and yea... it rocked.  They rocked.  They're DELICIOUS. Even the carnivorous husband found them quite appealing and that doesn't happen too often. 
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This recipe comes courtesy my friend Michelle.  She's an amazing cook and just when I thought I'd heard of most foodie secrets up her sleeve (not really... I'm sure she's got a thousand she has yet to share), I found this recipe of hers as a suggested topping for some banana pancakes I was making.  It is so incredibly yummmmmmm (don't ask how many times I've licked this from my fingers today), not to mention very straight forward with no frivolously added ingredients to make it look any more exotic than it already is.  I'm trying to think of a thousand other things to put this syrup on.  Any suggestions? (seriously, any suggestions?  It's not safe to have a bottle of this sitting around and nowhere to go... hmmmm, speaking of, perhaps I should go get a straw...)
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The New

I've sat here moping about for the last year+ wishing for a money tree to fund the blog of my dreams. I've contacted designers, and researched templates.I've a wish list a mile-long of things the real Shef Shanan site would feature. I didn't want to encourage visitors to the site until I had this dream site up and running. First impressions last. So until I could put my best foot forward, I didn't want to increase my viewership on a site screaming mediocrity.

But having that mentality has kept Shef Shanan in a rut. I may never be able to afford my dream website, but that shouldn't hold me back from getting as close as I can and it shouldn't keep me from trying RIGHT NOW. So a couple nights ago while playing in photo shop it just hit me. I may not have thousands of dollars and I may not be able to get exactly what I'm looking for at this moment in time, but I do have a few tools at hand. I do have some changes I can make. I have some functions I can build a work-around for. I can make Shef Shanan great.  

So what's new? Without boring you too much... here are the highlights:

  • Shef Shanan is now much easier to find at Please update your bookmarks or links from your own sites. The old URL will still work, but not forever.
  • Shef Shanan now has a button for All Recipes where you can view all Shef Shanan recipes by category and in alphabetical order. This is one of the work-arounds I mentioned earlier... and I hope it becomes a very useful tool for my viewers. (It's been HUGE on my wish list).
  • Shef Shanan now has an "About Me" button. This may seem trivial for some, but I have always wanted to be able to tell people who I was. I like to connect to other bloggers by reading about them, and I like others to be able to connect to me in the same manner. So while you may never even click this button, it's there. And it makes me happy.
  • Shef Shanan just looks a whole lot nicer!  While this may not be big on your list, it sure is on mine. Having a more professional and visually appealing site is uber important to me and I am glad to finally have one that makes me proud.

So take a moment to browse the new site. I hope you like it. And don't be surprised if you see a few more (minuscule) changes over the next week. There are still a few things I'm adding and changing around. But for the most part, it should stay about the same.

Thank you for visiting!

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We've been consuming dozens of bananas a week lately... heaven knows why I wanted to eat bananas again in yet another form... but I just couldn't help it.  We could eat pancakes for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  So these cakes are a great change of pace for us pancake fans who usually stick to the basic buttermilk variety.  But like all pancakes, these are also easy to change up by adding nuts, dried fruit, fresh berries, (or...chocolate chips?) - whatever you want!  Of course they're also divine with fun syrups.  Blueberry syrup, homemade buttermilk syrup, peanut butter syrup, or even coconut syrup (yes coconut syrup... I'll be posting that next!).   
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