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rainbow summer salad

This salad is so beautiful, full of color and healthy goodness. The glistening arils from pomegranates, the red chewy dried cranberry, the creamy richness of avocado, the crunch and spicy bite of the pepitas – oh my!

Salad with Crasins, Avocado, Candied Spiced Pepitas and Sweet Balsamic Vinaigrette

I use the one-pound box of greens from Costco, their “half and half” mix, half baby spinach and half colorful spring mix.

costoc greens

Any lettuce or combination of greens you prefer work just fine. Be sure to use a full pound though, this is a “big” salad! Once the dressing is added to the greens, the salad won’t keep for long, so be sure to wait until the last minute to put it all together.

I use my Candied Spiced Pepitas. These Candied Almonds would be wonderful too.

Quick Tip: This vinaigrette uses sesame seeds. Store sesame seeds in the refrigerator. Those little things go rancid in a hurry if they are stored at room temperature.

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September 3, 2013   4 Comments

sizzlin’ fajitas

Connor is between semesters at school so he is home for a couple of weeks. On Sunday, I asked him to decide what we’d have for dinner and he didn’t hesitate – he requested fajitas.

fajita fixins

It’s been ages since I’ve made ‘em, so I went all out and cooked up not only traditional beef, but also shrimp and chicken. The best part about that… we had plenty of leftover beef and had tacos on Monday night. Yay for leftovers!

flap meat

Connor and I shopped at Food City for our meal. In our search for skirt steak, we happily stumbled upon flap meat. Flap meat can be difficult or next to impossible to find at standard grocery stores like Safeway, so when I come across it, I can’t help but get a little excited.

Flap meat comes from the bottom sirloin, and although it’s from a similar region as flank steak or skirt steak, it’s a different cut. The flap is not very tender, but it is well-marbled and very flavorful. It’s sometimes called flap steak or bavette and is an excellent meat for carne asada and fajitas.

If you can’t find flap, use either skirt or flank steak for this recipe.

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August 27, 2013   2 Comments

Zucchini Carpaccio

Zucchini "Carpaccio" and Avocado Salad

This is a healthy, refreshing and easy-to-make summer salad, and a great way to use up some of the zucchini bounty from your garden.

It served as one of our side dishes for Father’s Day dinner on Sunday.

Carpaccio is the international name of a typical Italian dish made with very thinly sliced raw meat.

Nowadays the term carpaccio is used for any preparation made with thinly sliced raw meat, fish, vegetables or fruit.

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June 18, 2013   3 Comments

sitcom or reality

“Here’s a story of a lovely lady, who was …”

No, stop there! Not “bringing up three very lovely girls. All of them had hair of gold, like their mother, the youngest one in curls.”


Let’s try again..

“Here’s a story of a lovely lady, who is all about getting what she wants. She uses trickery and scams plus plans and schemes, and drives her youngest child insane.”

That could be the theme song for my own sitcom or reality show. Honestly, I drive poor Connor crazy with all my ideas. He desperately tries to resist, but somehow he can’t escape when I pull him into these plans, completely against his will and better judgement.


I’m going to give you the recipe today first, and then if you feel like hearing the story behind it, feel free to read all about it, after the recipe.

waffled ingred

This is a fun way to make grilled cheese.

3 cheeses

Use whatever cheese or cheeses you like.

the stufings

Top the cheese with your favorite additional fillings, or no fillings at all.

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April 21, 2013   8 Comments

taco time

Yesterday was National Taco Day, so naturally, we had tacos for dinner. Shrimp tacos to be exact.

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October 5, 2012   1 Comment

creating a dish for the new dish

I recently purchased this cool “entertaining set” and have been itching to use it. My first thought was that I’d make my “world famous” cucumber martinis for one side and a chilled gazpacho for the other – as a Friday night happy hour for Dave and myslef. But Fridays kept filling up with other things.  Opportunity knocked last Sunday when my dad came over for dinner and Connor came home for the weekend.

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September 28, 2012   3 Comments

wash away that bad cholesterol

Earlier this year I heard Dr. Oz say that pistachios are good for you. They are rich in phytosterols, antioxidants, unsaturated fat, carotenoids, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Additionally, they are lower in calories than other tree nuts. As a result, for the past several months we’ve kept a bowl of pistachios on the island to snack on.

Last week on the Today show, I saw an interview with nutritionist, Joy Bauer.  She spoke about the health benefits of lentils and pistachio nuts:

Lentils are and excellent source of protein and are high in soluble fiber which acts as a magnet to escort bad cholesterol out of the body. Lentils will drive down bad LDL cholesterol. It is advised to eat lentils twice a week.

Pistachio nuts contain a plant compound that blocks cholesterol. It is recommend to eat 1 to 2 handfuls of pistachio nuts per day. (that’s between 15 to 20 nuts)

All of that inspired me to create this truly delicious and easy-breezy recipe. Dave said he’d eat it at least 3 times a week if I’d make it that often. Yeah, it is that good!

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September 12, 2012   3 Comments

…not your everyday tuna fish sandwich

I went to Costco yesterday with the sole purpose of buying a package of their fantastic ahi tuna. If they didn’t have any, I had no idea what I was going to make for dinner… I was craving ahi and ahi it was going to be… hopefully.

Connor came along with me and as we walked toward the back of the store, we passed an very tall older gentleman wearing a blue pinstripe seersucker suit. He was holding an extra-large reusable “cold” bag. You know, the insulated kind you take shopping to help keep your groceries cold on the way home. He was talking rather loudly and animated to the guy selling the cell phones. Not in a mean tone, just really loud and attention drawing.

On our way to the seafood, we got distracted by some cool maps we saw, and in the process, Mr Seersucker passed us by.  When we arrived at the seafood area, he was already there, filling his bag with salmon, crab legs, lobster tails, and more. Basically, he was just going down the aisle, putting one or two of every sort of seafood in his bag. As I scanned down the open refrigerator for the ahi, I walked past him. There it was, at the far end of the refrigerator, the ONE and ONLY package of ahi left. I snapped it up and put it in our cart. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see Mr Seersucker, near the center of the long refrigerator, looking in my direction, he did not look pleased.

Connor and I headed to the bakery to get the rolls for our ahi sandwiches and I watched as Mr. Seersucker called over an employee and proceeded to ask him about finding some more ahi tuna for him. The employee shook his head, and told Mr. S. that no, there was no more ahi today.

Linda Scores with a mere second or two to spare! Sorry, Mr. Seersucker, the crab legs, lobster, and salmon will have to do.

The other thing from Costco that I used was this tasty Roasted Pineapple & Habanero Sauce as my marinade. But use whatever sort of marinade you like, such as teriyaki sauce.

The ever-popular roasted raspberry-chipotle sauce would be a great choice too.

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July 25, 2012   3 Comments

new easier taco salad

Initially, I was going to label this “new and improved” taco salad. But after going back and looking at the original taco salad I posted in November, 2010, I determined that it isn’t improved, just different, and a whole lot easier!

I love this dressing, it is so smooth and creamy. Feel free to add whatever else you’d like to the salad toppings; black beans, diced red or green onion, and pickled jalapenos are just a few things that come to mind.

I used the multi-grain Tostitos Scoops as my chips of choice. Connor thought that was a waste of the perfectly formed Scoops, so I dumped out the package and picked out all the broken pieces, so we wouldn’t waste a single “Scoop”!  Then I had the brilliant idea of making Individual Taco Salad Bites as a party appetizer. If you decide to make these cuties for your next party – be sure  to chop the lettuce finer, place the shredded cheese in the “Scoop” first, then the rest of the ingredients and fill at the last minute to keep them from getting soggy too quickly.

I used some of this delicious Jalapeno Olive Oil that I’d bought last year at The Olive Press store which was located inside the Jacuzzi Family Vineyards in Sonoma, California. But any olive oil you have or prefer will do nicely.

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July 20, 2012   1 Comment

summer’s super soup

Dave does not like cold soup. Something about it just seems wrong to him. Seriously?!  I mean, it’s gazpacho, what’s not to like?!

  1. First off, it’s soup, for goodness sake. Soup = Love!
  2. It’s full of tomatoes. Tomatoes = Yum!
  3. It’s over 100 degrees outside: Cold Refreshing Soup = Smart!
  4. It’s called gazpacho = Fantastic word to say, especially if you say it in your sexiest Antonio Banderas voice!

Obviously, I love gazpacho!

I made it for the last class of my series and brought home a container of leftovers.  At dinner the next night, I made a bowl for myself and said to Dave, “I’m having gazpacho, would you like a bowl?”

“No, thanks”, he replied.  I went about putting together our plates and as I was doing so, he suddenly noticed that there was shrimp topping my soup. “Oh, I’ve changed my mind, I’ll have a bowl”, he said.

Really? All it takes is a couple  little shrimp for you to change your bad attitude over cold soup?  He ate the entire bowlful. Whatever, men are exasperating!

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May 19, 2012   2 Comments