Category Archives: Toi Kitchen

Let’s break bread! Find my favorite recipes, drink ideas and food obsessions.

Patti Pie! Behold the Power of Patti LaBelle!

Patti Pie! Behold the Power of
Patti LaBelle!

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(Courtesy of Patti LaBelle.)

Hey everyone, welcome back!

If you haven’t heard, there is currently a major viral, tweeting, sweet potato pie frenzy happening across the country at sold out Walmart’s over Ms. Patti LaBelle’s Sweet Potato Pie!

Last Friday, an incredibly hilarious and entertaining video review of Ms. Patti’s pie, by a very talented personality by the name of James Wright swept social media by storm. He indulged in this unknown sweet potato pie that you can only find at Walmart for $3.48 and claimed that you were going to sing like Patti LaBelle after eating it– and honey did he sing! Hilarious, yet entertaining, James belted line’s from Ms. Patti’s classics –Onnn my owwwwwn….why did it end this waaaaay….(Watch the video below and prepare for a good laugh)

The video that started it all!

The video was shared on his Facebook page over 7 Million times since last Friday and it literally sent people across the country to every Walmart they could find, only to find out:

1. It’s only sold at Super Walmart’s
2. Many of them were SOLD OUT!

Walmart needs 2 Million pounds of sweet potato’s to restock the shelves with this delicious pie! Heaven help the bakery’s night shift!

This just in – Walmart needs 2 Million pounds of sweet potato’s to restock the shelves with this delicious pie! Heaven help the bakery’s night shift!

It was a sweet potato pie frenzy! Thousands of people (myself included) drove to Walmart, called Walmart– GPSed the closest Super Walmart! I live by at least 5 so I was positive that I could find some… boy was I wrong!

I jumped on the bandwagon and documented my whole experience searching at least 6 WALMART’S before finally finding some in Secaucus, NJ 40 min away from my house! I actually called and asked for them to put 4 pies to the side for me– the girl in the bakery said they were going fast, someone just left with 20 boxes. Her name was Joyce. Praise be to Joyce! She had those 4 boxes waiting for me. The last 4 in the store.

Yes, I did my own video review of the Sweet Potato Pie because I needed to share every last experience with you all! I documented my entire journey and it…is… hilarious!

And yes, I did my own video review of the Sweet Potato Pie because I needed to share every last experience with you all!

I documented my entire journey and it…is… hilarious!

Check them out here.

How exciting and ridiculous is this entire Patti Pie ordeal? Let’s just say in 2 days, my 1st video of me searching for the pie had over 12K views and my 3rd video reviewing the pie has over 10K…. the day I uploaded it!

Comments from my viewers noted that the pies are sold out in, Cincinnati, New Jersey, Maryland, Los Angeles, New York, Tennessee and many more! According to Yahoo Food, a representative from Walmart said, “For 72 hours, we were selling one per second.” (For a bit of context, Walmart might sell two pumpkin pies every second in the month of November. But still, $1 million in sweet potato pie sales is a lot of pie.)….

In my Opinion: No But’s!!!…You sold 1 pie every second in a weekend–not a month– keep it real. The only reason why you didn’t sell anymore is because you ran out!

(continue yahoo)…Walmart was caught off-guard by the frenzy, Ales said.

“Friday morning, the team was working with the [sweet potato pie] supplier to see how we can keep up with the demand,” Ales said. “The supplier… was having a hard time finding [enough] sweet potatoes. So we walked down the hall to the produce department [and said,] ‘We need about 2 million pounds of California sweet potatoes!’ So that’s what we’ve been working through.”

Ales added that Walmart is working hard to replenish stocks at sold-out locations. “We’re really sorry about that,” he said. “We’re looking at where stores are out and how we can quickly move pies to that area.”

(My “Power of Patti” videos explains how companies market Pumpkin pie around the holiday’s to a general demographic instead of tapping into the African American market who were born and raised on Sweet Potato Pie. The only boxed pie that sells Sweet Potato pie in most supermarkets is Mrs. Smiths… and that’s if you can find it.)

Take a look at the videos below and enjoy! Don’t forget to share!

My Patti Pie Journey!

FINDING Patti LaBelle Sweet Potato Pie – Walmart Pt1
Mission Impossible: Watch how we search high and low on this hilarious journey for Patti LaBelle’s Sweet Potato Pie!

REVIEW Patti LaBelle Sweet Potato Pie -Walmart Pt 3
Mission COMPLETED: We finally got our hands on Ms. Patti LaBelle’s Sweet Potato Pie!  have some concerns people! Watch to see if it was worth the trouble! HINT: YOU HAVE TO HEAT IT UP for a better experience!

Why is Everyone Going out to Get Patti Pies?

If you want to know why everyone is flocking to get these pies, I break it down for you in the video’s below where I talk about the power of demand vs. supply, the power of word of mouth marketing, the power of the black dollar and most importantly the Power of Patti. When the holiday’s come, companies market towards a general demographic who they assume LOVE pumpkin pie. But, in the African American community, you couldn’t be any more off base. We love SWEET POTATO PIE honey! Here’s why…

Patti Pie’s – The Power of Patti (Is it that serious?) Pt 1
Many of you have watched my #PattiPie videos (Thank you, You guys rock!) and left me a bunch of question’s. I felt a video could answer some of them with the most important question being answered…Why are all of these people running out to get a Patti Pie?

Watch Patti Pie’s – The Power of Patti (Is it that serious?) Pt 2

References:

MARKETINGCHARTS.COM – “14% of Americans Are Black. 3% of Major Media Ad Spending is Focused on Them.” (Quotes Nielsen)
http://www.marketingcharts.com/tradit…

FORBES.COM – Word of Mouth Marketing – (Also quotes Nielsen)
http://www.forbes.com/sites/kimberlyw…

NIELSEN: http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/about-us…

SHOPRITE: List of Pies – http://www.shoprite.com/pd/category/G…

https://youtu.be/Q6pg_r2YXHs?list=PL1G1qx9lLJ0gzKTxh74IQrlRRbePo9ujZ

Crock Pot Chicken w/ Gravy! Recipe!

Back in the Kitchen for a day!

Last night I made the most delicious #Crockpot #chicken with #gravy! One of my favorite #passions is #cooking ! I haven’t had much time to #cook recently with the finishing of my new #book taking priority, but i can tell you it feels good when you have time to be in your own kitchen! #yummy #yumm #yummi #yummyinmytummy  #sundried #tomato #tomatoes #onion #carrot #onions #soup mix , #salt #pepper #italian #seasoning #olive #oil  #honey #paprika #cinnamon ! #bonappetit !

Take on Innovation – In your Kitchen!

Quick recipe:
  1. Grab a whole chicken from the market. Clean it thoroughly, remove the bag of gizzards inside, place in crock pot.
  2. Grab your favorite seasonings. Se above for my choice of flavors. Cinnamon was a secret season and it added just the right touch of spic, minus the sweet.
  3. Slather the entire chicken in Olive oil, front and back.
  4. Season each side of the bird generously.
  5. Throw in your favorite veggies. DO NOT ADD WATER See above for my favs! Yum.
  6. Set the Crockpot on high for 6-8 hours depending on the size of your chicken. Then forget it!
  7. Do your laundry, write your book, make body scrubs, go for a run or simply relax with a glass of wine. The hardest part is done.
  8. GRAVY: If you want gravy (and who doesn’t right?), about halfway through once your chicken starts to make a broth, remove  half of the piping hot fluid and place in a microwaveable container.
    Sprinkle some flour in the broth, constantly stirring until it begins to thicken. Don’t put too much flour. Just enough to get it thicker than the original broth.
    Place in the microwave to for 2 min and allow it to thicken some more. This is you thickening the gravy more with heat without putting it on the stove.
    Remove and place to the side. That’s it! If you want it a bit thicker, just repeat with a bit more flour, but not too much. You don’t want dumplings for this recipe.
  9. When you can smell the the delicousness coming in from your kitchen annnnnnnd you see the little thermometer popped up out of the chicken, you are DONE!
  10. Cut what you need, Place on your plate, add your sides, drizzle your gravy and enjoy!
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T.O.I House by Toi Stori

 

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Host a Holiday Pot Luck – Zesty Apple Blueberry Cobbler Recipe

 Is This Your First “Holiday” Supper?

As the holidays quickly approach on the heels of a summer not ready to be forgotten, like clockwork, family and friends are already trying to claim you at the head of their dinner table. And rightfully so – you’re the life of the party I’m sure!  But, with so many invitations and dramatic personalities to avoid, how do you decide which ones to attend? This year, you don’t have to! Why not host a holiday event at your place for once and show them how it’s really done? Stress free, guest participation and absolutely budget friendly!

Being the oldest in a family of four and the oldest grandchild of a family eleven times as big, I stayed in the kitchen, picking up tips, recipes and lending an extra hand during the days of my childhood. Until, of course, one year I was left to make Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners practically alone. It was a great learning experience nonetheless, but as I got older I realized, I did not want to feel like I was working in a soup kitchen on my favorite holidays, serving large groups of people four course meals and barely getting enough time to enjoy family time, let alone eat the food I slaved over for days! No I’m not exaggerating… DAYS! And of course, who do you think was in the kitchen cleaning up? Muah.

I began to despise the holidays, being met with gender role responsibilities, it just made me angry until it came to a head one year and I refused to lift a finger. That lasted all but 20 minutes until I saw things falling apart, and no, I’m not talking about the freaking turkey! I needed a change and quick. This event occurred twice every year and if I was going to survive it, I had to come up with a better solution.  And then it came to me…

Why not host a Thanksgiving POT LUCK?!!

I invited friends and family to my home who I just knew would enjoy the idea and use this opportunity to show off their own culinary skills. Everyone brought something delicious with their own utensils and containers, liquor and wine, games, games and more games! And what’s even more exciting, they helped me clean up! Pa-RAISE the holiday heavens!

Oh my God it was the best idea ever! Instead of cooking an ENTIRE meal by myself, the most I had to do was coordinate the menu with everyone so we didn’t have five pans of mac and cheese, three turkeys and one bottle of soda on the holiday spread! Instead of spending my time cleaning greens, basting turkeys, glazing ham and peeling sweet potatoes, I spent my time making a couple of dishes and decorating my adorable little apartment like the cute little DIY’er I am. We enjoyed great food some of us may not have tried otherwise; great laughs and of course better memories to last me through the next holidays for years to come. Every now and then, when I have to drag myself to an event I’m attending out of obligation, I reminisce on the great times I had with amazing people and secretly plan the next one.

If this is your first time hosting a holiday event or you have a fear of cooking for a large number of people, try alternating holidays this year. This Thanksgiving, host a pot luck at yours or a friend’s house and save your Christmas cheer for those who really need it! You know exactly which members of your family I’m talking about! Bah- humbug!

Here are some great tips on how to host a Holiday Pot Luck.

  1.  Create an INTIMATE list of fun friends and family. Do not invite people out of obligation or I can assure you, you will not have the fun you set out to have. Instead you’ll be catering to a party pooper and that just defeats the purpose now doesn’t it?
  2. Use a free online invitation service like Evite, utilizing the amazing templates to give your party a nice festive theme. Here, people can leave comments confirming their attendance and the dishes they choose to bring. It’s also a good idea to ask your guests to list any allergies or food preferences so everyone is accommodated. Here is a link to some Evite Thanksgiving Pot Luck specific invites.
  3. Pick 1 maybe 2 dishes you’d like to make and stick to it. Don’t get over excited and decide to cook any and everything.  That’s why the universe gave us friends. Use them.Word of advice:
    If you’re set on having turkey at your pot luck, do yourself and your guests a favor and bake turkey wings. For some reason, people love to fight over wings  and unfortunately the third person looses. Some folks don’t understand that God only gave them two. Don’t make them wait around for next year. Just buy a bag and keep it movin’.
  4. Purchase seasonal decorations from the dollar store. They have great cheap decor and punch bowls, plastic utensils, table covers and anything else you think you would need. But remember, don’t overdo it.  Keep it budget friendly.
  5. The week of your event, reach out to anyone who has not responded and confirm your total guest list and menu. Make sure your guests aren’t bringing double dishes unless of course it’s a cook off, then its game on!
  6. Invite and/or inform your neighbors. If you don’t want them in your house because you don’t really know them, no biggie. Don’t invite them. But, do inform them of the festivities you’re hosting so they’re not surprised – number 1 that you even have friends let alone noisy ones and you’re not surprised when the Po-Po is knocking on your doh-doh!
  7. Make sure your playlist is set and you have enough music to last you all night. It sucks when people are waiting for guests to arrive and it’s just you, the punctual friend and the scratches at your bedroom door from your dog you stashed away for the evening. Play some music to drown him out.
  8. Have some munchies before the main courses are served. Chips, meatballs with colorful tooth picks and punch will do. Save all of the good food for later.
  9. DO NOT use this time to invite your EX just so they can see how much fun you’re having without them. Inviting drama is not cute. DO invite that guy or girl you’ve been talking to and introduce them to the fun people who matter in your life.
  10. Take lots of pictures, play ice breaker games, enjoy your night and remember to have fun! It’s also fun to vote on everyone’s favorite dish and give an early Christmas gift as a reward. Something budget friendly of course and if you can stretch it, a goodie bag on the way out.
  11. Don’t be shy to ask for help cleaning up. Pass out garbage bags if you must. If they’re your friends, they’ll get your sense of humor and they’ll understand why. After all, it’s just you and the dog right? I’m sure after you locked him up in the room all night, he’s not in the mood to wash your dishes and take out your garbage.

Here’s a quick and easy recipe for your First Pot Luck! Enjoy and don’t burn the house down!

Zesty Apple Blueberry Cobbler
by Toi Stori

Prep Time: 20 min.  Active Time: 40 min. Total Time: 1 hr. Serves: 6

For the Filling:

4 Granny Smith apples
1 Medium sized container of fresh blueberries about 1 1/2 cups
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, Allspice or apple pie spice
2 oranges juiced
2/3 cup of brown sugar
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract

For the Topping:

1 Cup of pancake mix or all-purpose flour
1 Teaspoon of orange zest
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 Tablespoon of allspice
1/2 Tablespoon of cinnamon
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 Cup of water or milk
1/2 Cup of brown sugar

Zest Apple Blueberry Cobbler
Zesty Apple Blueberry Cobbler Ingredients .
Photography Credit: Toi Stori
For ToiHouse.wordpress.com

1. Preheat to 350 degrees F.

2. Make your filling: Peel your apples cutting them into 1/2-inch slices. If you have an apple cutter, even better and quicker. Throw them in a bowl and toss them with granulated sugar and lemon juice. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the apples and cook, until slightly softened, stirring occasionally for 10 to 12 minutes. Add flour, cinnamon, vanilla extract, orange juice and allspice and stir. The juices should thicken a bit in 2 minutes. When done, remove from the heat and add in the blueberries. Let this cool completely.

3. Make The Topping: Combine the pancake mix or flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, allspice,  cinnamon and orange zest in a large bowl. Cut in 3 tablespoons butter with a spoon. Add the water or milk; stir until you get light brown dough and until there is no loose flour in the bowl. Spoon the dough into your flour dusted hands and form round balls flattening them into biscuits. This should make about 6 pieces of dough.

4. Spoon the filling into a buttered casserole dish and top with brown sugar. Place the dough evenly around the casserole dish on top of the filling, finishing with 1 piece of dough for the center. Sprinkle with remaining brown sugar. Transfer to the oven and bake until the topping is golden and crispy, 30 to 40 minutes. Let cool for about an hour and eat warm.

Eat and Enjoy~

Mine turned out like this! It was fabulous! Try this and everyone will wonder where you learned to do that?!

Zesty Apple Blueberry Cobbler
Zesty Apple Blueberry Cobbler.
Photography Credit: Toi Stori
For ToiHouse.wordpress.com

Start Your Day Peachy!

Sweet Peach Raspberry Medley
(OAS) Friendly Recipe

Let me start off by saying, I LOVE peaches, but I have just 1 problem. I’m ALLERGIC! I, along with about 70% of people with pollen allergies, suffer from Oral Allergy Syndrome (OAS) caused by cross-re-activity between proteins in fresh fruits and vegetables and pollens.

I noticed a few years ago that I had developed an allergy to fresh pitted fruits. I was so annoyed because I love fresh fruit and this came out of nowhere! Never again would I be able to eat Apples, Bing Cherries, Nectarines, Plums and my all time favorite –  Peaches, in its natural form.

I discovered this sweet way to prepare my peaches without suffering from the effects of my allergies which include an itchy tongue, throat and swollen throbbing gums. By cooking or processing the fruit, the proteins are broken down so OAS typically doesn’t occur.

(If you have food allergies, please consult with your doctor before trying this recipe. This preparation works for me but others may be different)

So for breakfast, I wanted to make a quick fruit medley with Peaches and Raspberries. I wanted to feel like I was eating fresh juicy  peaches with a bit of a snap, so I nuked it in the microwave for 1 minute. Anything longer than that and they become mushy like cobbler, which isn’t bad, but that’s not what I wanted today. If you want, after nuking, you can cool them off in the fridge and when you take them out, they taste just like fresh peaches.

Here are the ingredients you need for a Sweet Peach Raspberry Medley:

Sweet Peach Raspberry Medley
(OAS) Friendly Recipe

Prep Time: 5 min.  Active Time: 1 min. Total Time: 6 min. Serves: 1

1 Peach
1 container of Raspberries
1 Tablespoon of Honey
1 Teaspoon of Cinnamon

Photography by: Toi Stori For ToiHouse.wordpress.com
Photography by: Toi Stori For ToiHouse.wordpress.com

 

1. Wash your peach thoroughly to loosen any dirt and possibly any pollen stuck to the skin; slice sections of the fruit, discarding the pit.

2. Place on a microwavable plate/container (cover it to steam – best)  and microwave for 1 minute to 1 minute 30 seconds (longer if the peach is a bit firm)

3. Toss a handful of raspberries on top; drizzle honey over fruit medley; sprinkle cinnamon

Eat and Enjoy~

What foods have you sacrificed for OAS? Find a way to enjoy your favorite foods again!

What’s In The POT?! – Recipe for Chunky Garden Pasta w/ Turkey Sausage

Let me start off by saying I LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE to cook! It’s one of my most favorite things to do. I’ve been cooking since I was old of enough to know what being nosy meant. You know, when you just sit there staring and salivating over juicy, succulent goodness and the cook (momma, granma, auntie or some other woman in the family) says, “Why are you so nosy?” They think you’re trying to listen to their conversation, but really, you want to know… WHAT’S IN THE POT?!

Welcome to my life. I always wanted to know, what was in the pot. What are you seasoning it with? How long do you leave it on for and most importantly, what does it taste like?

Over the years, I’ve experimented with different flavors, textures and temperatures. I am proud to say that I left the “I want my food burnt to a crisp” club years ago and am able to enjoy a nice medium-rare to medium steak. My family (excluding my little sister – I turned her on to it) are still running in that club hard and strong…smh. But I digress. Can’t save the world.

Recently, I’ve been blessed to be busy and put into motion the things I love to do. Unfortunately, it just made me too tired to cook like I used to. I missed it. The food I was scarfing down, wasn’t nearly as nutritious, yummy or inexpensive. Last night, I’d had enough. I was going to make the most delicious vegetable chunky garden  pasta with fresh veggies I’d picked up from my local Farmer’s Market (the veggies there are sooooo much cheaper and even fresher than your favorite grocery store). I like my pasta with a protein so I bought some turkey Italian style sausage. I like sweet Italian pork sausage best but substituted so that I could share with a friend who is not pork friendly. Bless his heart.

My measurements are based off of years of experience pinching and sprinkling, handfuls and a half of this and half of that’s. I’ll try my best to give you the proportions I used but this made quite enough to eat for lunch and dinner for 2 days.

Anyway, for about $10,  I gathered these ingredients:

Chunky Garden Pasta w/ Turkey Sausage

Prep Time: 5 min.  Active Time: 20 min. Total Time: 25 min. Serves: 4

3 cloves of fresh garlic
3 plum tomatoes
1 white onion (chopped)
Half a bunch of asparagus (chopped)
1 sprig of basil (about 2 1/2 leaves)
1 whole portabella mushroom (chopped)
1 pack of Sweet Italian Sausage (Turkey or Pork) – sliced in half inch circles
2 handfuls of fresh spinach
1 box of thin spaghetti or angel hair pasta
1 jar of your favorite tomato sauce
Scallions for garnish

Garlic salt and pepper
Cayenne pepper or chili pepper
Olive oil (OO)
1 tablespoon of sugar

Veggie Pasta w/Turkey Sausage Ingredients. Photography Credit: Toi Stori  For ToiHouse.wordpress.com
Veggie Pasta w/Turkey Sausage Ingredients.
Photography Credit: Toi Stori
Recipe by: Toi Stori
For ToiHouse.wordpress.com

1. Cook pasta in a large pot  of boiling water until al dente (this means not boiled to death). Drain pasta.

2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Drizzle enough OO until it coats the pan. Add in your sliced sausage; season with salt and pepper to taste; cook until both sides have browned about 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally; remove from heat and place in a bowl to rest.

3. Drizzle a teaspoon more OO into the pan and add in your chopped asparagus; stir for 3 minutes until its coated with the fat and OO mixture until bright green; add a pinch of salt; remove from heat and place in a separate bowl. Asparagus should be crunchy.

4. Add in your onions, garlic and 1 teaspoon of OO; bring flame down to medium-low heat; cook until translucent scraping the bottom to join seasoning and onions; as the onions sweat, add in chopped portabella mushrooms; cook until tender; stir in chopped plum tomatoes; after 5-7 minutes; add sausage and sauce. Sprinkle in cayenne or chili powder, sugar and chopped basil; Simmer for 5 minutes; turn off the flame and add spinach, folding sauce over leaves.

5. Plate your pasta; add chunky garden sauce with sausage on top of pasta; toss asparagus over it along with chopped scallions for garnish.

Eat and Enjoy~

Mine turned out like this and it was amazing! A glass of Merlot would compliment this just fine. Try it and tell me how you enjoyed my recipe!

Veggie Pasta w/Turkey Sausage Ingredients. Photography Credit: Toi Stori  For ToiHouse.wordpress.com
Veggie Pasta w/Turkey Sausage Ingredients.
Photography Credit: Toi Stori
For ToiHouse.wordpress.com