Posted in Food Favorites, Freedom Friday


Everyone likes new recipes. I mean, I love new recipes and I don’t cook that often. I cook once a week, typically on a Saturday, and I change things up by trying new ingredients in my recipes. But with guacamole—why am I thinking Whac-A-Mole?—there are a few things I do to spin the recipe on its head.

Guacamole inside the bowl ready for mixing
Guacamole inside the bowl ready for mixing

Football season is here and it’s all about guacamole today. If you enjoy food, this Freedom Friday post is just for you.

I learned how to make guacamole from watching master chefs on Food Network Canada a number of years ago when all I watched was Food Network. The thing that attracts me to this Aztec cuisine dip is its versatility in its use.

For instance, I use it for a Saturday night dip with broccoli. If you don’t like broccoli, you can use almost any vegetable and it’ll still make the snack extra special to munch. Just don’t try dipping something crazy like kale with it. Although, I haven’t really tried it, in which case it may actually be somewhat good. Have you ever tried kale chips? Oh, you have to—it’s to die for! I digress.

Let’s get to the recipe, as I know you’re probably wondering what it is.

Ingredients (Serves 2):

  • 7-8 cherry tomatoes
  • 2 avocado
  • ½ lemon
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 4 slices of onion
  • Cilantro (to taste)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Jalapeño (to taste)
Guacamole ingredients
Guacamole ingredients


  • You can make this recipe two ways. The first way is to use a mixer and make it smooth. The second way is to use a fork, a deep bowl, and mix it by hand. If you go the mixer route, you can make the guacamole very smooth and creamy. It will go well as a dip. If you like chunky, I would suggest the second way—the one I prefer, as you’ll get a nice texture from the mix, but also a wonderful blend that you can taste the ingredients individually.
  • Prep work is easy. Cut the cherry tomatoes into halves in order to have them blend properly in the mix. Add them to your mixing bowl.
  • Scoop the meat of the avocado; they’ll break down easier in the mixer, and by hand mixing. Into the bowl it goes. (Note: Make sure the avocados are ripe, otherwise you’ll end up with double the mixing time.)
  • Squeeze the juice of half a lemon.
  • Chop a medium garlic clove in fine, small pieces. Very small is what you’re going for—the smaller the better. Did I say small?
  • This is where it gets tricky, as I don’t really measure from this point forward. I rather eye it. Depending on the strength of the onion, I go for four slices but if you don’t like so many onion slices, go for less. Two will work as well.
  • Cilantro is one of my all-time favorite herbs. It goes well with salads, dips and as garnish for fresh vegetable recipes. It is so good. Just grab a couple of sprigs, wash and pat dry, and chop finely to add in the bowl.
  • Salt is up to you. Go light at first, believe me, guacamole doesn’t need too much of a kick to taste great.
  • Lastly, add your jalapeño. Cut a couple of small chunks, again, chopping finely, and add to the bowl.
  • Once all the ingredients are in, mix to your choice consistency. As I’d mentioned, I like mine chunky, but you may prefer smooth. It’s totally up to you.

This recipe takes me about 10-15 minutes max to make. It’s easy, tasty and ready to serve. Try it with broccoli, as it makes for a lovely snack.

Most of all—have fun!


Do you make your own guacamole? What do you do to make it special?

Posted in Food Favorites, Freedom Friday

Cucumber Salad

Cucumbers are one of my favorite vegetables. I add them to salads. I have them plain. I even toss them into a bowl, dipping them into olive oil as a snack. Cucumbers are great. That’s why for this Freedom Friday post I’m going to share with you one of my absolute favorite cucumber salad recipes ever. If you’re looking for something to eat on a Sunday afternoon, this is the recipe for you.

My cucumber salad recipe
My cucumber salad recipe

Although tailored for summer fun, this recipe came from my ongoing experimentation with different food combinations. If anything, this dish has more of a Greek/Mediterranean flavor combination suitable for an evening get-together with friends and family alike. But it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it any other time.

Let’s get to it.

Here are the ingredients you’ll need:

  • Half an English cucumber
  • 1 avocado
  • Half a lemon
  • Oregano
  • Half a garlic clove
  • Salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • Greek olives
  • Feta cheese
  • Olive oil


  • Cut an English cucumber in half, peel it and slice it into small pieces, and add it to a deep bowl. Some folks like keeping the skin on the cucumber, which is great because the skin has lot of vitamins. In this case, however, I peel it to give the dish a particular flavor I’ve grown to like. Nonetheless, you can keep the peel if you want.
  • Chop half a garlic clove and add it to the bowl. Trust me, adding half a garlic is being stingy. I’m Italian, garlic runs in our veins. Too much garlic is never enough.
  • Now, add oregano, fresh ground pepper, salt, Greek olives, a generous dousing of olive oil and a splash of lemon juice. Regarding the amounts to add, I can answer that simply by saying “to taste”. I love oregano, so I add quite a bit of it. The same goes for the fresh ground pepper, nothing quite like the flavor to surprise someone trying it for the first time. 
  • Toss the ingredients with salad spoons or ordinary spoons for that matter.
  • The last step is to scoop the meat from an avocado into the bowl. Add a good amount of feta cheese on top and you’re good to go. The reason we don’t toss the final ingredients in the salad is to avoid them from getting soggy. No one wants a mushy salad.
Cucumber diced in bowl
Cucumber diced in bowl
Spices added
Spices added
Before tossing the ingredients
Before tossing the ingredients
The complete dish
The complete dish

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do. If you ever do try it out, make it part of a BBQ on a hot summer evening and let me know what you think.


Do you have any cucumber recipes you’d like to share?

Posted in Freedom Friday, Photo Opportunities

Anniversary Week—Part III

December 17th was the one-year anniversary when Jack Flacco: The Official Site went live. In celebration of this milestone, I will present the Top 5 Most Popular Freedom Friday posts of 2013.

But before anything else, allow me the gift of your attention to thank you for supporting me during 2013. This certainly has been a year of surprises, for sure. For instance, if you’re curious as to how many views and visitors I had this year, you can read this week’s Monday Mayhem post for site statistics. Also, in keeping with my wanting to express gratitude, I wouldn’t have thought my book would have been the success it is today without the help of my review team and all those who paid me kind words after its release. Thank you so very much, folks!

Onward. When choosing the Top 5 Most Popular Freedom Friday posts, I first wanted to present them based on amount of views. The more I thought of it though, more it didn’t make sense. For instance, a visitor may pop into the site and hit the same post several times within the day. I didn’t think it fair, considering there could have only been two visitors for that day and a hundred views.

Next, I thought I’d use comments as the benchmark. You know, the more comments a post has, the more popular it is. Again, I didn’t think it represented a good way to measure popularity given I can comment on my own post a dozen times and push it ahead on the popularity scale.

No, what I used is the number of “likes” a post has garnered throughout the year. It will not only present a fair representation of popularity for a post but also prevents users from gaming the system with multiple “likes”.

Okay, now for the list. You’ll notice that for third place we have a tie. Other than that, it’s straightforward. Are you ready? Here it is.

The Top 5 Most Popular Freedom Friday posts of 2013:

  1. Canada's Wonderland Water Fountains
    Canada’s Wonderland Water Fountains

    My Favorite Things“For a long time, photography has inspired me to travel great distances, survive sour weather and mangle my body into weird positions all in the expectation of capturing that perfect shot. Today, I hope you enjoy this edition of Freedom Friday because today, I’d like to give you a tour of my favorite subjects. As…” ~86 likes

  2. Dinosaur Paws
    Dinosaur Paws

    Royal Ontario Museum“During this year’s spring break, my family and I skipped the idea of going to the Ontario Science Centre and decided to hit the Royal Ontario Museum instead. It was a cold and dark morning, raining to no end, and we thought it great if we could be in among history. Besides, I wanted to…” ~79 likes

  3. A path to the foot of the woods
    A path to the foot of the woods

    Autumn Photography“Every autumn I go on safari. Not really. I treat it as a safari, though. I pack my camera in my satchel, slip on a warm jacket, and head for the woods. What am I hunting, you may ask? Trees, leaves, nature—anything really to depict this glorious season we call fall. And that’s my Freedom…” ~77 likes

    Niagara Falls
    Niagara Falls

    Niagara Falls“Recently, my family and I took a trip to Port Colborne, a small town west of Fort Erie, half-an-hour away from Niagara Falls. Due to the nature of the trip, it was only for a couple of days, we traveled most of the time in and out of the car, and in and out of…” ~77 likes

  4. Thunder and Lightning Storm
    Thunder and Lightning Storm

    My Dark Secret“I have a secret. A very deep and dark secret. It’s the kind of secret that would make the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end. Yet throughout the past year, holding my tongue, I never thought it possible I could ever admit to having this secret. This is my Freedom Friday…” ~71 likes

  5. Avocado & Lemon
    Avocado & Lemon

    Avocados“Did you know avocados are a fruit? I didn’t know that for a long time. Much like tomatoes, they have a seed inside. According to science, that’s what makes it a fruit. In cooking, however, it’s a different matter. Served in delicious savory meals, chefs define it more as a vegetable. Avocados also provide an…” ~69 likes

That’s it! Thanks for a great first year here at Don’t worry, I’m not going anywhere. I’ll be back next week with more posts for your reading pleasure. Have a great weekend!


Do you have a favorite Freedom Friday post you’d recommend to your friends?

Posted in Food Favorites, Freedom Friday


Did you know avocados are a fruit? I didn’t know that for a long time. Much like tomatoes, they have a seed inside. According to science, that’s what makes it a fruit. In cooking, however, it’s a different matter. Served in delicious savory meals, chefs define it more as a vegetable. Avocados also provide an enjoyable snack for the health conscious.

Avocado & Lemon
Avocado & Lemon

For my Freedom Friday series, I would like to show you how easy it is to make avocados a part of a nutritious, balanced diet.

When my wife first introduced avocados in our diet a few years ago, I wasn’t sure what to make of it. I trusted her sense of flavor, but as in all things borne from the unknown, I still had my reservations. She got the idea from watching someone. And one day she brought a bag full of the Persea americana from the grocery store. From there, as my sense of curiosity got the best of me, she went on to show me how to eat it.

This is the easiest avocado recipe in the world. Anyone can make it. With a handful of ingredients, guaranteed you’ll like it too!


  • 1 avocado
  • 1 lemon (you really don’t need a whole lemon, or half a lemon for that matter)
  • salt


  • Cut the avocado lengthwise exposing the seed as an oval. I usually use a steak knife, but you can use any ol’ knife. Just make sure it’s sharp and can penetrate the avocado’s hard skin. To remove the seed, I always stab it in the center with the knife, jostle it a bit, and it should pop right out of there.
  • Once you’ve removed the seed, with the same knife gently poke holes into the avocado’s meat. They don’t have to go all the way to the bottom. And you don’t have to poke a million holes. Just enough for the next step.
  • Squeeze some lemon on the meat. All that lemon juice will then seep into the holes from the previous step. This way a balanced coat of flavor covers the meat.
  • Sprinkle salt to taste
Avocado Ingredients & Utensils
Avocado Ingredients & Utensils

To eat it, all you need is a spoon. Believe me when I say it’s a refreshingly delicious snack!

For those wondering the health benefits of avocados:

Do you like avocados? Do you have a recipe you’d like to share?

Posted in Food Favorites, Freedom Friday

My Sushi Recipe

I’m back with another Freedom Friday post. If you’re joining me for the first time, I tend to use Fridays as the day I can let loose, chat about nothing really and still try to make sense of the whole thing. Get it? Yeah, me neither. You can read all my Freedom Friday posts simply by clicking on the link on the Features panel.

My salmon & avocado dish at The Sushi Garden
My salmon & avocado dish at The Sushi Garden

Okay, I feel like food. Well, I feel like talking about food. Strange, coming from a guy whose main preoccupation is zombies, aliens, and female superheroes. The caveat to writing all my blog posts is I get hungry occasionally and need to eat. What does a mind focused on the undead eat? Ah, good question. I thought I’d share a recipe with you.

No, it’s not man brains served on a platter. What am I, Hannibal Lecter? Besides, that’s kind of gross.

My Salmon's Lover's Sushi dish at The Sushi Garden
My Salmon’s Lover’s Sushi dish at The Sushi Garden

For anyone who knows me, I have an affinity for sushi. If you haven’t tried sushi, get into a sushi bar pronto and live a little! It’s an experience you will soon never forget. And just because it’s called a sushi bar doesn’t mean they serve alcohol. It means, it’s an all-you-can-eat restaurant of sorts, with plenty of time for chitchat. Whenever I go there with the family, it’s no less than three hours of absolute delight. Lots of food, and lots of chatter.

Anyway, getting back to my sushi recipe. I’ll first give you the ingredients then I’ll provide the directions—hows and whys, and all that stuff.


  • Nori (raw seaweed)
  • Sticky rice (uh-hu, it’s really called sticky rice)
  • 1-2 Avocado (this will serve four)
  • 1 Lemon
  • Smoked salmon (sliced, preferably in sealed package)


  • Cook the rice as directed on the package. The typical cooking time is twenty minutes with a standing time of five minutes. Cook as much as you need. If you’re cooking for four then one avocado will do. I tend to cook for eight because…well, my family likes sushi.
  • As the rice cooks, take the time for prep. You’ll need a Bamboo sushi mat. So make sure it’s clean. I wrap my mat with plastic wrap (hey, that rhymes). You’re going to need the sushi mat to roll your maki. Maki is the name for a particular type of sushi. You can learn the various other kinds of sushi names by reading the menu from a sushi bar first. This is how I learned how to make my sushi. Silly, I know. But it worked for me.
  • Once you’ve cooked your rice, you can start the rolling process. First, take a sheet of nori, lay it on the sushi mat, and spread the rice evenly on the sheet. What you want is a nice bed for the filling.
  • Next, lay the smoked salmon slices on the rice. This is so good. No cheating. Don’t eat any of the slices while you’re making it—it’ll spoil your supper.
  • When you’re done, scoop some avocado and spread it on the salmon. Make sure it’s even. What you don’t want is to get a piece without the filling. Believe me, a piece with only nori and rice is good, but a piece with the filling included is better.
  • After you filled the entire sheet, you roll the sheet into a roll (there’s a tongue twister).
  • The last part is cutting the roll into pieces, laying them on the presentation plate. Spray a little lemon, so as the avocado doesn’t get brown, and serve.

And there it is. My salmon sushi I make from scratch, right at home. Food fit for a zombie slayer!

The final product: My Maki Sushi
The final product: My Maki Sushi

To see how it’s done, check out this video on YouTube.

By the way, with every sushi meal you need some wasabi, Japanese pickled ginger and soy sauce. I should have mentioned that earlier. This is how it’s done: Take a small plate, pour some soy sauce, add some wasabi, stir and dip the sushi in the mixture. While enjoying the bite, slip in some ginger.


Have you ever made sushi? What do you like about it? Do you like eating it at a sushi bar or at a dedicated restaurant? If so, why? I’d love to hear your comments!