Tuesday, June 25, 2013


We started a Summer Challenge at my work to help us through bikini season...HA HA!  I am very excited to share this journey with a few of my friends here.  The main reason is that I need to get back on track and be ACCOUNTABLE!

We are taking turns bringing a little gift to the winner of the week. This week my friend Cheyann kicked BOOTIE with 2.32%.  I am proud of her, she has been doing a great job...this is a challenge to her for this week...I'M Gonna take you down to CHINA TOWN sista:)

I will be posting a week one through week 12 side pic...aaahhhh! stay tuned!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Fennel...the food of gods

I came home tonight thinking I had a nice 9x13 of spaghetti to reheat from the other night that I made with Turkey sausage and fresh vegies.  The nice thing about the kids being home for summer is that they eat the left-overs and I know they are getting good food.  The flip side is that you are thinking dinner is prepared ahead of time and when you get home it is GONE!

Luckily, I plan enough ahead, that I just started cooking what I was planning for tomorrow night, and I am glad, because it was delicious!

The first thing I did was grab some chicken tenders out of the freezer.  I buy chicken when it is on sale, and I make sure I repackage into sizes that I can grab out of the freezer, thaw in the micro, and cook.  I usually buy a big bag at Costco so they are flash frozen and you can grab them individually, OR I put enough in the freezer package I prepare for @ meals, and cook enough chicken the first night to cover the second.

I took the chicken tonight, put a smokey, earthy seasoning I put together with paprika, garlic salt, onion powder, chili powder, cumin and a hint of cacao, and threw it on the grill when my roasted vegies were about 15 minutes out on their cooking time.

Here is the star of the show tonight...


6 yukon gold potatoes, chunked
1 bulb fennel (keep the stalks and fronds for other meals)
one leek ( first one out of my garden for the year!)
one clove fresh garlic
2 T olive oil
1t. fresh oregano (chopped fine)
1t. fresh thyme(chopped fine)
cracked black pepper
1 t. butter
1/8 cup parmesan cheese
sea salt

Take the fennel bulb and cut in 1/2, or into thirds.  When Fennel grows, the layers get sand or dirt in between, so rinse well.  Chop into chunks the same size as the potatoes.  (do you smell the licorice smell?)

Rinse the leek well, as the dirt and sand gets in there too when growing.  Toss with the potatoes and fennel and olive oil to coat well.  smash the garlic and add, as well as the fresh herbs

I used my orange thyme tonight.  It smells like heaven...

Here is my oregano, it is growing like crazy.  These herbs are just mixed into my front flower bed...

Spread the vegies on a cookie sheet to roast.  The secret to roasting vegies in the oven instead of steaming, is to make sure each one is touching the bottom of the pan.  sprinkle with black pepper and put in the oven on 375 for 45 minutes, or until the vegetables are starting to carmelize, your house smells like heaven and the potatoes are fork tender.


Pull them out and drizzle the one t. butter, melted on top, then sprinkle with parmesan cheese and sea salt to taste.


Riley (18 year old son) said about the fennel "That is a funny looking vegetable; I'll bet the carrots and lettuce make fun of it!"  I commented that it tasted like roasted candy and my husband said "Like roasted starbursts?"  These guys give me a hard time, but guess what?  There were NO LEFTOVERS...HA!

I pulled 1/2 the grilled chicken off and served for dinner, the other half was chopped and put in a gallon baggie for tomorrow nights dinner.

This was served with a simple fruit salad that was watermelon chunks, tossed with red grapes and blueberries.  (Sorry the picture got shaded...my poor phone pictures!)
Sigh...I love summer!

Monday, June 10, 2013


“Do one thing every day that scares you.” 
― Eleanor Roosevelt

Strawberry Balsamic Parfait with Mint and Black Pepper

DON'T Freak out!  This does not sound like it works, but this is an amazing, light, delicious and a bit different dessert that is SO great for a summer evening.

I always say that the two things you need in your kitchen is a good balsamic vinegar and olive oil.  I have a black cherry balsamic vinegar right now that I am in LOVE WITH.

You can use a regular balsamic too, but the touch of sweet in this black cherry is DIVINE!

This is a fun way to use your fresh strawberries which are in season right now, so they are a good deal!


2 cups of fresh strawberries, washed and sliced
1t. balsamic vinegar ( I used black cherry)
1t. coconut sugar or brown sugar
1 cup of greek strawberry yogurt
1 cup of honey greek yogurt ( you can substitute this for 1/2 and 1/2 whipped with a dash of sugar)
1/2 cup granola ( oh, I need to put my amazing recipe for home made granola up, huh?)

Mix the strawberries with the sugar and the vinegar, and add a dash of cracked black pepper.
In some nice see through glasses ( we used martini glasses last night), layer the honey yogurt ( or cream), strawberries, strawberry yogurt, then a light layer of granola, repeat.

I like to chop the mint into strips at times and layer along with the other ingredients.  Last night we just put the mint on top and I tore mine into little pieces and mixed into this light, amazing dessert.


My Birthday Dinner

This posts kind-of follows the last post about my children being able to/liking to cook.  I mentioned that they prepare amazing dinners for my birthday.  I need to share this years dinner with you!

They prepared some AMAZING lemon pepper grilled chicken, and chipotle/sweet mesquite chicken, a roasted yellow and red beet salad with arugula, pecans, goat cheese (amazing!)  There was fresh pineapple and blackberries, fresh watermelon, snap peas and carrots with hummus.  different artisan breads with balsamic vinegar and olive oil for dipping, and a fresh strawberry cheesecake that was a mile high.

Fun food, laughter, vitamins mixed in and amazing little chefs...happy, content, lucky mom.

I had forgotten to mention that I had a freshly squeezed beet/apple juice and a beautiful bouquet of flowers on my desk when I got to work from my darling Jord and Jon.

Jenica and Christina and Christopher got me an amazing white orchid and some cute turquoise earrings.  (have I told you I am in to turquoise lately?

Riley knows I am a sucker for a good sandal and got me some darling ones...not too many 18 year old boys can choose sandals that their mom loves.

Jacey cleaned my kitchen ( I love a sparkly sink) and got me an amazing knife sharpener...you have to know how fast our poor knives get dull.

Jocelyn was her amazing self and helped with all.

Jeff got me some amazing BLUE GLASS ( my latest antique obsession) and some antique coco cola crates...LOVE

Did I tell you I am a lucky lady?


Sunday, June 9, 2013


Here are a few of the ideas I have on how to get your kids to love amazing, fresh, healthy, vitamin-rich FRESH fruits and vegetables.

I never really thought about this until I got remarried and my new ( amazing ) husband started eating dinner with us while we were dating.  I had 5 children and he had none.  My kids were ranging in age from 15 to 6 years old.  We came home from the grocery store and we had a bag of mini snickers and a carton of fresh mushrooms, (among other things).  My kids ran up to see what was coming home from the store, and they were all chirping in "Can we open the mushrooms?" They proceeded to open them, rub them clean, then salt them an eat them.  Jeff was dumb-founded.  He could not believe they went for those in excitement, especially when there were SNICKERS RIGHT THERE!

He continued to be amazed when we had meals that featured many fresh fruits and vegies and the kids ATE THEM.  He would say "ewww" once in a while, but tried the dished and realized that they were not to bad.  I actually  have him "trained" now to like almost all of them, and if he doesn't he is quiet about it and still dishes up and eats:)  DONT ever tell him I told you this, he will deny it.

Here are a few tips:

1.  YOU are the best example.  Show the kids that your favorite foods include these healthy delicious treats.  It really isn't more expensive if you eat in season.  Buy your fresh, succulent watermelon in august, straight off the vine.  Share your love for fresh peas, asparagus and tender radishes out of the garden in spring.  The apples and oranges and fresh pineapple are wonderful in december.

2.  I have always had a garden.  The kids have grown up planting the little seeds, watching them grow, and picking the vegies and eating them out of the garden when they are small.  I think to this day, most of our snap peas have ever made it into the house.  My kids eat them off the vine.  Warm little cherry tomatoes as well.  Even yesterday, my 18 year old son went out to the garden, picked himself some radishes and brought them in, chopped them up and ate them like candy.  The kids have a sense of pride when they spot the first zucchini  or bring in the carrots that have grown long andare so sweet.  (Jordan still wont eat the carrots with multiple "legs").  If you live in an apartment, you can grow pots of bush tomatoes, chard, and herbs...dont let it stop you.  My older kids who have moved out STILL raid the garden...they will get a bag and fill it with spinach, chard, cucumbers, kale, snap peas, carrots, tomatoes, kohlrabi, fresh green beans, etc...I love to share and I am so happy they still love good food.

3.  When you are grocery shopping, make the produce section special.  Instead of telling the kids they can have some candy for being good, let them know that they can take turns picking out a fun new (or old favorite) fruit or vegetable for the family to try.  My kids have chosen cumquats, brussel sprouts, dragon-fruit, star-fruit, golden beets, white asparagus and tiny red bananas to name a few.  They think that these are the treats, and they really are.

4.  DONT overcook vegies until soggy and bland.  Simple sautéing,  grilling and accenting the flavor of the vegetable or fruit is important.  Fresh pineapple does not need to be drowned in heavy whipping cream to be sweet and amazing.  A quick steam on asparagus and a squeeze of lemon is amazing.

5.  Let your kids cook with you.  I LOVE to know that every one of my kids is an AMAZING COOK.  Let them experiment with different herbs or spices than you have used.  TEACH them how to make a soup, how to grill, what the basic ingredients are for many dishes.  I have lots of sous chefs, and sometimes I AM the sous chef.  I love it, they love it (most of the time), and you are spending quality time with those kids that is something you can always cherish, and they can take the skills on with them.  (Plus, I get an incredible birthday dinner every year that THEY COOK!)  You just cant beat that!

Fava Bean?

Hmmmm....the only time I have really heard of fava beans was in a movie and there was a body part served with them and a nice glas of chiante....f.f.f.f.f.f.f.  


I decided my family was going to like these little buggers.


2 pounds fresh Fava Beans
4 ears of corn, already cooked and cut off cobs
one small yellow onion
2 garlic cloves
1T butter
1T olive oil
4T chopped red pepper
Fresh tarragon and oregano ( if you dont have fresh...come get some out of my garden, or if you MUST, you can use dried...)
Sea Salt
Cracked pepper

*Shell the beans from the pods.  Have a large pot full of salty water boiling.  Throw those babies in there and boil for 3-4 minutes.  take them out and plunge into a bowl of COLD water.  Cool the beans then take off the outer, greyish looking shell.  (this is the point where my kids were questioning whether they were going to actually eat these or not...pretty interesting looking little fella's.

in a saute pan, we added 2 cloves of garlic, smashed, one small onion chopped,  3 4 T. chopped red pepper, a T butter and a T olive oil and some fresh tarragon and oregano out of the garden.  saute on med-high heat until the onions are just translucent and throw the beans and corn in there.  Heat through and cook on a medium heat for about nine more minutes, until the beans are nice and soft and season to taste with sea salt and cracked pepper.

This was actually a fun, spring dish.  We always HAVE to use everything in the basket...this is a fun way to get your kids to try new things...I have a whole blog post I will have to do on that!

Grillled Chicken Salad Sandwiches

Here is a fun summer dinner idea...a little twist on the regular chicken "salad" sandwich...

8-10 chicken tenders
1 large red pepper
2 T. chipotle olive oil ( if you have reg. olive oil, season with a dash of chipotle seasoning)
3/4 cup chopped fresh spinach
1/2 white onion chopped
8-10 red grapes chopped
1t. fresh basil, chopped
1/4 cup chopped, raw cashews
Havarti Cheese slices
greek yogurt or lite mayo
Sea Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper
1/4 lime
Your choice of rolls or buns

Drizzle the chicken tenders with the olive oil, turn to coat well.  Grill until no pink in the middle, watch closely so they dont dry out.  Place the red pepper on the grill at the same time, just cut it in 1/2, and turn once.  the skin will be nice and blistered and the red pepper nice and smokey-roasted...yummo.
Let the chicken sit for a few while you run the water over the pepper skin and slide it right off!  chop small.
chop the chicken and throw into a bowl with the roasted pepper, and the other chopped ingredients.
Add your greek yogurt or lite mayo until just moistened
squeeze the lime on and mix with the salt and pepper to taste.
Throw your buns on the grill that has just been turned off with the havarti slice on one side and let them toast up a bit and get that cheese melty.
Fill and enjoy

We simply served this with an icy cold glass of almond milk ( almost slushy) with a dash of cinnamon, and a simple chopped apple, clementine and mint salad...


Saturday, June 8, 2013

Grilled Chicken Nachos

We like to make our own chips from small corn tortillas.  simply cut with a pizza cutter and bake the slices or wedges with a sprinkling of chipotle seasoning and sea salt until crisp.  These are much lighter than regular chips and delicious!

Add shredded cheese, black, red or pinto beans, grilled chicken chunks ( or leave them out if you are veg. only).  

put under broiler till nice and melty...

Before hand, we made a simple Pico to top this  (recipe below)

PICO DE GALLO  ( we always have this on hand in the summer.  I love it on my salads instead of dressing, potatoes, to dip chips into or to put on wraps )

Chop 4 roma tomatoes
chop one white onion
chop 1/2 cup or so of cilantro
juice of one large or two small limes
Roast one jalapeno, peel and chop ( I do this on the grill in tin foil)
Sea Salt
Garlic clove smashed
pepper to taste
sometimes some red onion too, cucumber, or red pepper, whatever I have :)

Add the pico and enjoy!

Jocelyn also makes a killer guacamole...let me see if she will give me the recipe...I am yelling for her now...


KK...here is it...warning, it is different every time.  Here is the basic idea...

open your cupboard and dump in everything you find in there.  (That is what she just typed....let me see if I can get more out of her)

Usually there is 2-3 avocados...smash them up.  add the juice of one lime.  put in a bit of onion chopped.  a garlic clove.  red pepper flakes, a bit of cayenn, paprika and onion powder.  salt 
whatever else she feels like...


Last Few Weeks Recipes....

Hello friends....

Here is a break-down of the bountiful basket recipes from the produce we got a few weeks ago...

The Basket contained mangos, honeydew melon, lettuce, tomatoes, butternut squash, fava beans, corn on the cob, bananas, apples, apricots...

Here are our Recipes:

Butternut Squash Soup

chop one Butternut squash into one inch cubes, peeled and dejunked ( the yucky middle stuff)...chop one small, white onion, peel 2 garlic cloves and toss these with a bit of olive oil, put on a baking sheet and bake in a 375 oven until fork tender, and nice and roasted. ( I used coconut oil once...good too)

Put these in a stock pot with about a quart of chicken or vegie stock...sea salt, pepper and I put some fresh oregano from the garden, one celery stalk and one carrot, chopped fine. Simmer for about 15 minutes.  I take a cup or two of this mixture and blend until smooth, putting back in the pot.

put 2 T coconut oil or butter in a sauce pan and heat until melted and mixed...

 add one cup of heavy cream if you dont mind the calories, or I use almond milk or a can of fat free evaporated milk.  you can add more milk to taste, according to how creamy you like it

Heat through, and add a bit more salt or pepper to taste.  We garnish with chopped Kale and toasted pine nuts...

Jenica is 25!

I can't believe my birst born baby girl is 25 years old.  So many things go through my mind when I think of her being a quarter of a century old.  I think of the day she was born, and they put her on my chest.  I remember her wonderful baby smell, the love I felt was going to burst through my heart into hers.  her cuddles. Her wonderful white, curly hair flying all over when she danced about when she was little.  Her love for life and friends and fun, and music and creatures and her incessant energy.

Jenica is a beautiful woman.  Her mind is so colorful and rich, and she is so artistic.  She feels with the depths of her heart and soul.  It is hard for her to share, because she will give so much of herself.  She does not understand why others cant give like she so freely does.

Jenica lights up a room when she walks in.  Her laugh, her energy, her crazy sense of humor and style are refreshing and amazing.

I love you Jen...I love your soul and I love your beautiful heart.  I wish you the best and know you have potential beyond measure.

You are my little peanut forever....

Momma Bear


OK friends and family...we are starting a new challenge on June 15th.  This will be a 12 week program.  You need to weigh in and send me a picture (before) of you by that date with your weight, your goal for this 12 weeks, this can be a weight, a pant size, eating healthier...ANYTHING.  The last thing I would like is measurements of chest, waist, hips and thigh...

I will keep track here on my blog and we can work together.  PLEASE COME JOIN ME!  I need competition and motivation, and most of all, ACCOUNTABILITY.

If you dont want your pics or weight posted, I will not do that!  I will only give percentages of weight lost.


You can text me (801) 602-9944, send me a message on Facebook or post in the comments here on the blog.



For those of you who know me, you will know that I LOVE to be out digging in my yard.  I LOVE seeds, sprouts, dirt, plants, flowers, vegies and even the worms.  I am a little scared of the snakes if they startle me, and I HATE snails and wont even talk about mice, so they BETTER not show up.

I got a beautiful new rose this year, it is a creamy peachy/orangey /yellowy bundle of beautiful.  I even love to snip around in my roses, although they scratch me something fierce.

My yard is not perfect, I love things to look like nature, and not look like I measured inbetween each tulip to make sure they are 4 inches apart.  I love to go out and feel like I am in an old, grown over garden of love.  We still have one side of our yard that we have to conquer, and it is going to take some effort, but WE CAN DO IT!

Guess what?  Jeff said I can put fruit trees over there!  I have not been allowed to have fruit trees, because he thinks they are too messy.  I will pick up EVERY FRUIT!

Here are some pics of my heaven...

Come over for a tall glass of iced peppermint tea from my garden and sit on the back porch with us ANYTIME!