Red Velvet Beignets – Recipe

Red Velvet Beignets

  • 1 teaspoon dry active yeast
  • 5 7/8 ounces warm water
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 large organic egg
  • 4 ounces evaporated milk
  • 3 cups King Arthur all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoon vegetable shortening
  • 2 teaspoon red food coloring
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon citric acid or ascorbic acid
  • Peanut or Cottonseed oil for frying

*Makes: 40-42 beignets


–      In a mixing bowl add the yeast, 1 tsp of the sugar, and the warm water. Whisk and let sit for 10 minutes or until the yeast is bubbly.  In a separate bowl, mix the flour, cocoa, and shortening. To the yeast, add the rest of the sugar, salt, egg, evaporated milk, and red food coloring. Using the dough hook on the mixer, mix the ingredients until combined. Add ½ cup of the flour and mix the dough.  Slowly add the rest of the flour, cocoa and shortening mixture, scraping the sides down to incorporate. Once all of the flour is added, take the dough out of the bowl and using flour, roll into a large ball. Place the dough in a floured bowl, wrap with plastic and chill in the refrigerator overnight.

–      The next day remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll out using flour to a ¼ inch thickness. Using a pizza cutter cut the dough into 2 inch by 2 ½ inch rectangles.

–      Mix the powdered sugar and citric acid together in a large bowl, set aside.

–      In a large pot, heat Peanut or Cottonseed oil to 350F and fry the beignets about 6 at a time for 3 to 4 minutes moving them around somewhat frequently.  Remove the beignets from oil and rest on a paper towel then immediately add to the powdered sugar and citric acid mixture. Serve immediately.

(c) 2015 Valerie Renèe

Smoked Jamaican Oxtails – Recipe

Smoked Jamaican Ox Tails

Jamaican Jerk Marinade


5 scallions – chopped

1 Tbsp Fresh Thyme – chopped

2 tsp Kosher Salt

1 tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper

1 Tbsp Brown Sugar

2 tsp Ground Allspice

1 tsp Nutmeg

1 tsp Cinnamon

2 Scotch Bonnet Peppers – chopped

1/3 c Soy Sauce

2 Tbsp Canola Oil

1/4 c Apple Cider Vinegar

1 medium sweet onion – chopped

1/2 c Orange Juice

3 cloves Garlic – minced

1 Tbsp Fresh Ginger – chopped


Place all ingredients into a food processor and pulsate until larger items are pulverized.  Puree for 2-3 minutes until very smooth.

Makes 3 cups of marinade.  Store in the refrigerator for up to a month.



15- 20 nice sized oxtails – fat trimmed

Granulated Garlic

Seasoning Salt

Onion Powder

Dried Thyme


Season oxtails lightly with spices and place into a large bowl or freezer bag.  Toss generously with the marinade and place into the fridge for 6 hours to marinate.

oxtails - seasoned

Place oxtail on the grate of a grill or smoker over prepared, ashed over charcoal and hickory wood chips.

oxtails - on grill oxtail - on grill done

Smoke oxtails until the internal temperature is 160.



In an aluminum half pan,  cut up onions, garlic, carrots, sweet pepper, mushrooms, potatoes, thyme, tomato and put them in the pan along with 4-5 bay leaves, red wine, beef stock & a little orange juice. When the oxtails were at 160 place them on the veggies and wrapped it up tight in foil to steam/simmer:

oxtail - veggies oxtail- on veggies oxtail - grilling

Leave the pan on the grill for 3-4 hours over the hot coals.  Remove and serve.

(c) 2010 Valerie Renèe

Slow Cooker Cubed Steak & Onion Gravy – Recipe

slow cooker cubed steak


    • 2 lbs cubed steaks (about 8 pieces) or 2 lbs round steak
    • 3 (3/4 ounce) envelopes brown or au jus gravy ( you may also use beef, mushroom beef, herbed beef, mushroom)
    • 1 pk Lipton Onion Cup of Soup mix
    • 2 cans cream of chicken or cream of mushroom soup
    • 3 1/2 cups cold water
    • 1 large sweet organic onion, sliced
    • Chicken breader mix or plain flour seasoned with seasoned salt and pepper
    • Seasoned salt  (to liking) (1-2 tsps should be sufficient)
    • Fresh ground black pepper (to liking)
    • Canola oil


Heat oil in a frying pan to medium high. Season meat with seasoned salt and pepper.  Dredge in the seasoned flour.

Brown the meat on both sides until golden brown and a “crust” has formed – about 3-4 minutes each side.

Place the meat in the bottom of your crockpot.

In a large bowl, put cream soup, onion cup of soup mix, and gravy packets.  Add water and whisk until smooth and pour over meat in crockpot.

If you are adding onions and/or mushrooms, add them also.

Cook, on LOW, for 8 hours.

Cinammon Roll Pancakes – Recipe

Texas Hill Country's photo.

for the Pancakes:
4 C. King Arthur all-purpose flour
8 teaspoons baking powder
2 tsp. kosher salt
4 C. Organic whole milk
4 T. canola oil
4 large organic eggs, lightly beaten

for the Cinnamon Filling
1 C. butter, melted
1 1/2 C. brown sugar, packed
2 T. ground cinnamon

for the Cream Cheese Glaze
1/2 C. butter
4 oz. cream cheese
1 1/2 C. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla


To make the Pancakes:
Mix the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet
ingredients in another bowl. Stir them together
until everything is moistened leaving a few lumps.
To make the Cinnamon Filling:
Mix the three ingredients together. Place
in a disposable piping bag and snip the end
off or put in a Ziploc bag and snip the corner off.
(This will keep in the fridge so you can make them again and again and again!)

Heat your griddle to 325 degrees. You don’t want
these too cook too quickly. Make desired size
pancake on greased griddle and then using the
piping bag and starting at the center of the
pancake, create a cinnamon swirl. Wait until
the pancake has lots of bubble before you try
to turn it. You will find that when you turn it
the cinnamon swirl will melt. If you have your
griddle too hot, it will burn the cinnamon, so I
suggest 325. The cinnamon kind of melts out and creates the craters which then fill perfectly
with the cream cheese glaze.

To make the Cream Cheese Glaze:
In a microwave safe bowl melt the
butter and cream cheese and then stir
together. Whisk in the powdered sugar and
vanilla. Add a little milk if needed to make
it a glaze consistency.

Place pancake on plate, then cover with cream cheese glaze.

Using Donor Eggs & Epigenetics – The 411

ivf - epigenetics


How are we different?

I am sure that it will be a surprise for you to learn that 99.9% of genes are identical for every person on earth. This means that the differences we see at birth don’t depend on whether that child has a specific gene inherited from you bit rather, differences are as a result of tiny variances in single genes.

The power of the womb

DNA does not produce life.  It is the womb that, despite fertilization, will determine embryos attachment and nourishment. Both whilst the embryo is growing in the womb and after birth, differences perceived between children are not so much about the tiny variable sin single genes but also die to specific genes being “activated” in some humans and not in others.

This “activation” in only certain genes is affected by many different factors during our lives including lifestyle, hormones, exposure to carcinogens and, among other factors, the normal physiological working of the body. How we feel, think and react also causes certain genes to be expressed and others reserved. One example of many is the incidence of breast and ovarian cancer that has been lined to a woman’s specific exposure to estrogen and progesterone ad the affects that these hormones have on cell differentiation.

These mechanisms that are expressed in some people and not in others are outside the gene and termed epigenetic factors. The expression of genes begins in the womb. The woman carrying the child; her internal environment is responsible for how the baby’s genes are expressed. This early stage of life, the first 40 weeks or so, begins to shape the characteristics of the child birthed.

The extent of Epigenetics

Epigenetics is a field of biology dealing with information held above and beyond the gene.

http// “In biology, the term epigenetics refer to changes in phenotype (appearance) or gene expression caused by mechanisms other than changes in the underlying DNA sequence, hence the name epi – (Greek: over; above) – genetics. These changes may remain through cell divisions for the remainder of the cell’s life and may also last for multiple generations. However, there is no change in the underlying DNA sequence of the organism; instead, non-genetic factors cause the organism’s genes to behave (or “express themselves”) differently.”

Scientific evidence has shown that genes and DNA are not responsible for the ultimate uniqueness of human beings. Some schools of thought have suggested the even “as we think” will affect expression of the gene. Genes may be expressed or remain dormant depending on energetic signals outside the cell, from our positive or negative thoughts.
Science Daily (13 April 2009) “A certain laboratory strain of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster has white eyes. If the surrounding temperature of the genetically identical embryos, which are normally nurtured at 25 degrees Celsius, is briefly raised to 37 degrees Celsius, the flies alter hatch with red eyes. If these lies are again crossed, the following generations are partly red-eyed – without further temperature treatment – even though only white-eyed flies are expected according to the rules of genetics.

The concept of epigenetics offers an explanation of this result. Epigenetics examines the inheritance of characteristics that are not out in the DNA sequence.

Another well documented example is that of the Agouti mice which are fat, yellow in colour and prone to cancer and diabetes. When the pregnant mice are nourished with a diet rich in folic acid, B12 and choline they give birth to healthy slim, brown offspring; as do these mice in turn.

The effect of epigenetics on donor egg conception

Remembering that 99.9% of a baby’s genes are identical to all other humans, 0.1% results in the variations we see in humans.

A baby conceived using a donor egg (roughly the size of a full stop) gets his/her genes from the donor; she gets the “instructions” on the expression of those genes from the woman who carries him/her to term.
This means that a baby conceived using donor egg has 3 biological parents: a father, the egg donor and the woman that carries the pregnancy. The child who is born would have been physically & no doubt emotionally different had another woman carried that child. In other words the birth mother influences what the child is like at a genetic level – it IS her child. She has had a “say” in her offspring as does the donated egg and the sperm used to fertilized.

In horse breeding for example, it’s not uncommon to implant a pony embryo into the womb of a horse. The foals that result, are different from nomal ponies. They’re bigger. These animals’ genotype – their genes – are the same as a pony’s, but their phenotype – what their genes actually look like in the living animal – is different. Taken from a booklet published by Freedom Pharmacy “Perhaps the greatest myth surrounds pregnancy. Many believe the uterus is simply an incubator. Nothing could be further from the truth. The most important aspect of all pregnancies – including egg donation pregnancies- is that as the fetus grows, every cell in the developing body is built out of the pregnant mother’s body. Tissue from her uterine lining will contribute to the formation of the placenta, which will link her child. The fetus will use

her body’s protein, then she will replace it. The fetus uses her sugars calcium, nitrates, and fluids, and she will replace them. So, if you think of your dream as you dream house, the genes provide merely a basic blueprint, the biological mother takes care of all the materials and construction, from the foundation right on up to the light fixtures. So, although her husband’s aunt Sara or the donor’s grandfather may have genetically programmed the shape of the new baby’s earlobe, the earlobe itself is the pregnant woman’s “flesh and blood”.  That means the earlobe, along with the baby herself, grew from the recipient’s body. That is why the child is her biological child.”

“A miracle is a miraculous gift from God, no matter how one received it.”

IVF #5 – BETA IS….. TWO – NEGATIVE… BFN ! – The 411

ivf 5 - BFN

After sitting and stewing most of the morning, I decided to go to the lab at the hospital to have my beta done since my mom had an emergency dental appointment after radiation treatment today.  My beta is 2.  Having a feeling that it is negative and seeing it live and in person, are two different things.   I am pissed off.  At the same time, I am glad that I did give my own eggs one more chance before moving on.  I realize that just because the eggs make embryos and they “appear” normal, does not mean they aneuploidy does not exist.  The embryos can appear normal but will not implant if they are abnormal, which happens more often than not the older we get.  Our eggs are just simply hard boiled.

This is the reason why doctors push for women who are advanced maternal age to move to donor eggs so that the embryos are healthy and not “aged”.

If anyone has any advice about donor eggs and good clinics I should look into, please feel free to send me the info !!

** Also, if anyone is in need of Lovenox (30mg), Desogen(Apri) birth control pills, or Delestrogen, feel free to shoot me an email, as I have left over meds I will now not need. (

Let the research begin !


baby - BFN 2

Today, eleven days past three day transfer, and I got another negative on the HPT.  I tested Friday, which was 9DP3DT and it was a negative as well.   This morning, the “pre-period” type cramping started and I have no other symptoms.  So, even with a different protocol and using embryo glue and transferring three perfect embryos, still NEGATIVE.  I have now stopped taking all the meds except the Synthroid and Lovenox.

This was my last own egg cycle.   I have had a few people tell me that I should attempt to do a couple of IUIs before moving on to donor eggs, but I truly do not see how that would be a benefit.  My egg quality seems to be good, my numbers on all of my tests seem to be in the normal range, yet, for some reason, implantation alludes me.  Although the quality seems to be good, with maternal aged women, there is really no way of knowing that the embryos are viable unless they are tested genetically, and even still, that is only testing one cell so things can be missed.  So many ladies I have spoken with over these past two years that have done genetic testing and transferred the embryos, only to have them not take, have said they wished they had just moved on to donor eggs instead of paying thousands of dollars for testing.

I did have testing done on the embryo when I had a miscarriage following my first IVF and the baby was genetically normal, so I did not feel I needed to test my embryos.

At this point, I am tired.  Tired of injecting my body with meds.  Tired of going through these cycles of hope to disappointment.  Tired of hoping.  Tired of believing.  Tired of having faith.   At this point, I am ready to move on to something more sure fire.

I have an appointment with my Internist and with my OB on Tuesday and will talk to the OB about doing a biopsy of my uterine wall to determine if there are implantation issues or endometriosis that has not been diagnosed.  I have been on a very aggressive autoimmune protocol, so my immune system is not the culprit.  I want answers.  Is it the eggs?  I do not want to save up and shell out $30,000 plus meds for a donor egg cycle, only to transfer embryos that will not implant.

I am going to have to wait until after the new year to be able to do the donor egg cycle at the clinic I want to use.  This clinic, IVF NJ, has a 92% success rate.  I  am torn about doing a donor egg cycle at CNY.  I have done five own egg cycles of IVF and still do not have a baby in my arms.   At CNY, it would cost me about $19,000 to do a cycle, but I would rather apply that money to a cycle with a clinic with proven success rates.  I love CNY, but I really have to think about the end game.   I also do not have a lot of egg donors to choose from at CNY.   The women who are black, do not possess the attributes I would want in an egg donor, nor do any of them resemble me in any way.  That is important to me.  I want my child to at least look like I am the parent. I will speak to the donor egg coordinator and get more info, but I am really leaning towards using IVF NJ, CCRM, or UCSF Center for Reproductive Health.

I am disappointed, but not as heartbroken as I thought I would be.  I think deep down, I knew this cycle would be a bust and I would have to go the donor egg route in order to have a healthy child.

This weekend, I have been on set the entire time filming for Valerie the Pajama Chef and also Plan B Chronicles.  We are about to tape the one on one interview segments and then it will be a wrap for the weekend.  My film crew is leaving at 4 pm to head to Union Station so they can go back to NYC.

Tomorrow, I am supposed to go to LabCorp for beta, but I think I will just let my OB do the blood draw while I am at the office for appointments on Tuesday instead of doing blood draws twice.   There is no way the beta will be positive, so what is the point?

This is going to be a LONG six months, but at least I will pay for the procedure and will not owe any monies after the fact.  Now I am torn as to what to do with all the baby items I have amassed.  I have tons of cases of diapers, clothing, blankets, books, toys, bottles, and baby items.  I really do not want to move that stuff to another home in 7 weeks and stare at it for six month….

Butter Basted Rib Eye Steaks – Recipe

Butter basted rib eye steaks

Two 1¼-pound, bone-in, grass fed, organic rib eye steaks
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons canola oil
4 tablespoons unsalted organic sweet cream butter
4 thyme sprigs
3 garlic cloves
1 rosemary sprig
Season the rib eye steaks all over with salt and freshly ground pepper. Let the meat stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
In a large cast-iron skillet, heat the canola oil until shimmering. Add the steaks and cook over high heat until crusty on the bottom, about 5 minutes.Turn the steaks and add the butter, thyme, garlic and rosemary to the skillet.Cook over high heat, basting the steaks with the melted butter, garlic and herbs, until the steaks are medium-rare, 5 to 7 minutes longer.

Transfer the steaks to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes. Cut the steaks off the bone, then slice the meat across the grain and serve.