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Barb’s Miracle Quinoa Soup

This soup is a lifesaver. It has single-handily helped ease the pain from my head cold!

barbs quinoa soup

The recipe comes from Barbara Fenzl’s Les Gourmettes cooking class. I enjoyed it after the class on Wednesday night and then again for breakfast yesterday morning. I also brought home some leftover asparagus, so I chopped that up and added it to the soup. Soup may not be your typical breakfast, but it works for me!

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March 6, 2015   No Comments

unpacking, work, and fog


I am typing this on Wednesday morning from the Austin airport, waiting for the fog to clear so that my delayed Southwest Airlines flight can depart. So far, we’re only 60 minutes delayed, but that is still in flux and could change at any time.

After Dave left on Monday morning – Jeff, Marissa, and I unpacked more boxes. We enjoyed a late lunch/early dinner at Austin Java, which is just a few steps from their new place. By early evening, I felt a head cold coming on, so I went back to my hotel room to get some much-needed sleep.

to work

On Tuesday, Jeff was flying out for a business trip and Marissa had to report to work for her first day in the new office. I drove her there. The office is just a few blocks from the state capital building.


I went back to the apartment and worked on the kitchen while waiting for the AT&T guy to hook up the internet.


Their kitchen is huge, especially when you compare it to what they had to work with in San Francisco!

no much of a stretch

That sad space was so small that Jeff could touch both walls at once.

Oh, and by now my cold was in full force, so I was popping DayQuil like it was candy.

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March 5, 2015   4 Comments


We Made It!


I’ll start with that for Day Four of our road trip, we made it! The title above is the hashtag that Marissa and I have used for our Facebook and Instagram photos of the trip.

Most of the same photos have been used here, but if you want to check them out, feel free.

On Sunday, we once again met in the lobby of a hotel for breakfast, this time it was a Hampton Inn instead of a Great Western, but the complimentary breakfast was basically the same.

We were on the road by 7:00 AM, Dave and Jeff in the truck, pulling the trailer, while Marissa and I drove Jeff’s car.


Except for the damn dense fog for the majority of the day, it was a great drive. Plus, driving in fog with the light of day is so much better than driving in heavy fog in the black of night!


Our favorite part of the drive was Fredericksburg, TX! Thankfully, there was not fog in Fredericksburg, I would have hated to miss seeing this adorably quaint and beautiful town! Marissa and I already have plans for a day-trip or overnighter, on my next visit.


It’s in the Hill Country Wine region of the state. The area is referred to Tuscany of Texas, or at least we saw one sign proclaiming it to be so!



We were on a mission to get to Austin, so we didn’t stop, but it was tempting!


I can’t wait to get back there!

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March 2, 2015   6 Comments

CA to TX – days two and three

Day 2 of the “San Francisco to Austin Adventure” found us waking up in a hotel in Fresno at 6:00 AM, eating breakfast in the lobby together by 6:30 and on the road by 7:00.

fruit trees

Our destination for the day? Home in our own beds in Scottsdale, AZ!

fruit blooms

The drive through California’s Central Valley, also known as “America’s Fruit Basket” was especially beautiful this time of year, with all the rows and rows of fruit trees in bloom.

pyramid lake

Along the way we passed the Smokey Bear Road exit and soon after that we drove along Pyramid Lake Recreation Area, which seemed to go on forever. It was a beautiful drive south through California. Soon after we turned east, not so much. Ugly desert for most of the rest of the day.


The best part was when we finally saw this welcoming sign! Dave and Marissa were in the car and arrived home about 90 minutes before Jeff and me, since we were driving the truck, towing the VW Bug. It was such a treat to sleep in our own beds, especially with the knowledge that we still had two long days of driving to go!

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March 1, 2015   3 Comments

CA to TX – day one


Dave and I arrived in San Francisco on Wednesday night. Marissa picked us up from the airport and we went directly to her apartment to help with some cleaning (me) and spackling (Dave).  After that, we spent our last night (at least for a while) at our favorite Pacific Heights hotel, The Hotel Drisco.

wake up

Bright and early on Thursday morning we hit the ground running.


Dave and Jeff went off to pick up the Pensky moving truck, while Marissa and I took apart the bed and kept on cleaning.


Once the boys returned, the real work began. Marissa and Dave went up and down two flights of stairs dozens of times with boxes and furniture, while Jeff packed it all into the truck and I … continued to clean the apartment.

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February 27, 2015   4 Comments

road trip

My posts for the next week to 10 days will be sporadic.

long drive

For good reason! Twenty-five+ hours and 1757 miles of driving will be the reason.

Dave and I fly to San Francisco today to help Marissa and Jeff pack their lives into a U-Haul truck.  Then on Thursday, we’ll drive with them to their new life and jobs in Austin, Texas. We’ll be driving the southern route, shown on the map above.

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February 25, 2015   7 Comments

crispy oven-baked chops

I may have mentioned once or twice before that Connor does not like berries. Not raspberries, or blueberries, strawberries, or blackberries. He won’t eat berries or anything berry flavored.  It blows my mind!


To add insult to injury, neither Dave or Connor like citrus! They won’t eat an orange, a grapefruit or even the sweet candy-like clementines. The saving grace is that they will eat foods and dishes with citrus in them.


I know, they are strange men!

For Sunday supper, I made pork chops with a strawberry salsa. Being the thoughtful mom that I am, taking Connor’s tastes into account, I also made chimichurri sauce to accompany the chops.

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February 24, 2015   1 Comment

“what should I make for dinner”

sweet salvage

Yesterday, I came home after a morning at Sweet Salvage and asked Connor what he wanted for dinner. It was his only night off this week, so he could pick whatever he wanted. He didn’t know but told me he’d think about it while I went off to a lunch appointment.

I had lunch with Marissa’s future mother-in-law, Amy, to go over some wedding details.


After lunch I sent Connor a text, “Any dinner thoughts yet?”

He replied, “Roast pheasant with buffalo sausage and sparkling cider sauerkraut.”

I said, “So helpful.”

He sent back a text, “Was it not specific enough?”

I thought, “He’s egging me on” … so I said, “Sure sounds good.”

I headed towards the grocery store, fully intent on just picking up some tortillas and making chicken enchiladas. I mean, if he wasn’t going to say what he wanted, I certainly wasn’t going to ask again.

A few minutes later, I get another text, this time with the website for his pheasant recipe!


OK, I’ll take the bait. I sent back a text, “Any idea where I can get pheasant and buffalo sausage, Mr. Smarty Pants?”

His reply, “Costco?”


As I drove, I thought, “What the heck! I’m going to take his dare and make a version of his darn recipe.”


I picked up Cornish game hens in place of the pheasant…


…and hot Italian sausage in place of buffalo sausage.


I checked out the recipe and it called for 6 pounds of prepared sauerkraut. Six pounds! A one-pound package costs $3.49, I’m not about to spend $21 on sauerkraut! So, I bought just one package. I mean, I was going to have to alter this silly recipe drastically anyhow.

Turns out Connor went on Google and typed in “What should I make for dinner?”  A few sites came up and from that he picked out-

Roast Pheasants with Buffalo Sausages and Sparkling Cider Sauerkraut


This recipe calls for juniper berries. I used them since I have them on hand, but if you don’t – there is no reason to go buy a jar – they honestly don’t add much flavor at all.

Here is my recipe for…

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February 20, 2015   8 Comments

layers of creamy potato goodness

outdoor table

For Valentine’s dinner, Dave requested a version of these potatoes, which he had seen in the food section of the Arizona Republic.

valentines dinner table

The original recipe did not call for the half-and-half or thyme, but I felt it needed both for extra creaminess and flavor.

heart plate

They were divine!

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February 18, 2015   No Comments

fennel-orange rub

Dave’s brother, Roger, has been visiting all week and was here on Valentine’s Day.

Roger’s specialty is grilled bacon-wrapped beef tenderloin. Dave’s specialty is perfect garlic bread.

Roger also wanted to grill salmon, so I came up with this spice rub. The potato recipe will be shared in tomorrow’s post.

feb 14 dinner

Fennel-Orange Spice Rub for Salmon

  • 1 tablespoon fennel seed
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppercorns
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Zest from 1 orange
  • Salmon
  • Olive oil
  • Red wine vinegar


Place the fennel seeds, salt and peppercorns in a spice grinder and grind.


Stir in the smoked paprika and orange zest.

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February 17, 2015   4 Comments