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salad color

easter egg radishes

If you can find Easter egg radishes and colorful heirloom cherry tomatoes at your grocery store or farmer’s market, this perfect colorful summer salad!

heirloom tomatoes

If not, I’m sorry for you but it will still taste fantastic without the “fancy” vegetables.

IMG_1713 copy

Isn’t it pretty?

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July 12, 2014   No Comments

Oven Roasted BBQ Chicken Thighs

platter of thighs

These mouth-watering BBQ chicken thighs were inspired by a recipe from the Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond.

Basically all I did to make them my own was switch out peach preserves that she used to kick up some purchased BBQ sauce with red pepper jelly to really spice it up. The result – fantabulous!

These are what I was baking while the haboob rolled into and over Scottsdale and did a number on my 4th of July decorations the night before the party.


I neglected to let you know how all that turned out … it was fine. I spent the latter part of the night trying to track down all the blow up stars that had been hanging from the front pillars. They were blown all around our cul-de-sac. I found about 2/3 of them that , the dark, and the rest the next morning. I was able to hang up and repair all the damage from the storm. So all’s well that ends well!

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July 11, 2014   2 Comments

George & Julie’s side dish

4th food

For the 4th of July Potluck BBQ-Pool Party, I asked guests to bring a salad, a side or a dessert. George, who works with Dave, said he’d bring a side. When he told his wife, Julie, it turns out there was some discussion about what constitutes a side dish. Julie wanted to bring a pasta salad, or maybe a grilled vegetable salad or some other sort of  dish with the word “salad” in it. All of which George put the kibosh on because they were “salads” and he signed up for a “side.”

Of course, anything they brought would have been just fine and greatly appreciated. They agreed this chilled green bean side dish would qualify as a side and all was right with the world.

Indeed it was, and it was delicious! Julie found the recipe on Rachael Ray’s website.


Here Dave is giving George a little grieve about giving Julie grieve about what is a salad and what is a side!


This is, Coney, he is the resident lifeguard at our pool. He may not have eyes to watch over swimmers, but his buff bod keeps people in-line!

volleyball [


July 10, 2014   3 Comments

Sheila’s Goat’s Milk Ice Cream

Peggy, Raechel, Sheila and I met at The Simple Farm last Thursday for their last market of the summer. No worries, they’ll reopen in October when the cooler weather returns.

You might remember Raechel from my craft classes. Raechel was pregnant when she came to her first craft. Then at next class she brought her beautiful newborn baby girl, Brooklyn.


We were so happy to see Raechel and 7-month old Brooklyn at the market. How adorable is this little cherub!?!


Sheila bought a few cartons of fresh goat’s milk and a jar of The Simple Farm’s Goat’s Milk Caramel Sauce.


Best of all, she shared it with us by making Goat’s Milk Ice Cream and letting us drizzle the amazing caramel sauce all over it!

Oh my, was it good! Thank you, Sheila for sharing your farm bounty with all of us!!!

Sheila Drizzle

Beautiful Sheila drizzling away.

Steve Drizzle

Steve, very excited to be drizzling Goat’s Milk Caramel Sauce into his bowl of homemade ice cream !

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July 9, 2014   3 Comments

Sheila’s Potato Salad

Besides the deliciousness of this old-fashioned potato salad recipe, I also love that when Sheila sent me the recipe she named specific brands of mayonnaise, pickle relish and seasoning salt.

All three of the brands are true Red, White & Blue Americana, all created in the early 1900’s!


Hellmann’s Real Mayonnaise

In 1905, Richard Hellmann from Vetschau, Germany, opened a delicatessen on Columbus Avenue in New York City, where he used his wife’s recipe to sell the first ready-made mayonnaise. It became so popular that he began selling it in bulk to other stores. In 1912 he built a factory for producing Mrs. Hellmann’s mayonnaise. It was mass marketed and called Hellmann’s Blue Ribbon Mayonnaise. It was so successful, Hellmann closed his delicatessen by 1917 to devote full-time to his mayonnaise business.


Lawry’s Seasoned Salt

The seasoning was originally created by Lawrence Frank, original owner of the Tam O’Shanter and Lawry’s The Prime Rib Restaurant, where the seasoning was used and sold to patrons of Lawry’s. In 1938, Lawry’s began marketing its seasoned salt in retail stores.


Vlasic Dill Pickle Relish

Frank Vlasic immigrated from Poland to Detroit in 1912 and started a small creamery with savings from his factory job. His son Joseph acquired a milk route in 1922, which eventually grew into the state’s largest dairy distributor. In 1937, Vlasic was approached to distribute a home-style pickle, later marketing their fresh-packed pickle in glass jars. A star was born!

mix box centerpiece

The mention of a “milk route” reminds me to show you one of my 4th of July “Americana” centerpieces.  Made with three Vintage Milk Dairy Porch Delivery Boxes.

In case you’re too young to know what these are, they are boxes that were left on people’s porches and a milkman delivered milk and other dairy products right to the door. Here is a little history from the Historic New England exhibit – From Dairy to Doorstep.

After World War II, change came to the milkman. The milkman was a familiar character in the neighborhoods of small towns and cities alike, and dairy products now held an unquestioned place in the American diet. Yet, refrigerators, supermarkets, suburban sprawl, and automobiles threatened home delivery. Consumers chose to live in different places and get milk in different ways. In fact, by the end of the 1950s, home delivery fell into a decline and never recovered. By the early 1950s, reliable power refrigeration replaced ice boxes and revised the homemaker’s job of buying and cooking for the household. Perishable foods like milk could now be bought in greater quantity and kept longer without spoiling, more meals could be made from leftovers, and frozen foods could replace fresh. The milkman did not have to arrive every day in order for the family to have unsoured milk.

milkman boxes

I am just barely old enough to remember the milkman. These boxes (purchased on eBay) make me really happy!


Speaking of happy – check out this lovely spread of food. The potato salad is in that huge yellow stoneware bowl in the upper left corner. YUM!

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July 8, 2014   6 Comments

star burger

16 burgers

For the 4th of July party main course(s), I made beer-boiled and grilled brats, oven roasted BBQ chicken thighs (recipe to follow) and chile-cheese stuffed burgers.

fireroasted chile cheese burger

Far and away, the burgers were the star. (Look for Sheila’s Old-Fashioned Potato Salad recipe tomorrow.)

Tram and Julie

Tram and Julie, filling their plates with burger and brat.

5 inch circle

This recipe makes enough burgers for a crowd. It can easily be halved or quartered. One thing you’ll need is a 5-inch template to form the burgers with. The center green area of this plate is exactly 5-inches, so I used it as my guide.

grill area

The Grill Pit – where the Magic Happens!


Chile & Pepper Jack Stuffed Burgers

6 Anaheim chiles
4 large jalapeño chiles
3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
12-ounces shredded pepper Jack cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 pounds ground beef, divided into 32 three-ounces portions
16 hamburger buns or Kaiser rolls, split and lightly toasted

Lettuce leaves, onion and tomato slices, sweet pickle relish, mustard and ketchup, for serving

on the flame

Roast the Anaheim and jalapeño chiles on either the grill or stovetop until blacked on all sides.


To prevent the jalapeños from falling through the grates, use a stovetop-roasting grate, which can be found at kitchen stores such as Sur La Table or ordered online from HERE.

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July 7, 2014   3 Comments

Tram’s Key Lime Pie

We weathered the storm, put everything that blew down, back up and had a wonderful pot-luck 4th of July BBQ/Pool Party.

dining table

I’ll be posting photos along with not only my recipes but the delicious recipes from the guests as well.

What better place to start than with dessert? All of the desserts were brought by guests, which makes them all my favorite!

We’ll begin with Tram’s Key Lime Pie. Tram and Steve brought Zak & Zoey, and they were the hit of the party, of course. No one could resist either one of the adorable nearly 4-month-old sweetie-pies.

Unfortunately, Heidi Klum ruined the party for Zoey. How on earth could a supermodel ruin a party for a baby, you ask! Tram, thoughtfully, dressed the twins in outfits that I had given them. The outfit I gave Zoey was from the “Truly Scrumptious Clothing by Heidi Klum” baby clothing line.

Zoey looked adorable, but the outfit was either pinching or scratching or somehow irritating her.  The otherwise sweet-natured Zoey was very unhappy. She screamed bloody murder until the outfit was finally removed but by then she was so wiped out that the only photo I got of her was of her sound asleep on my bed. Poor little Zoey!


Zak, on the other hand, was the life of the party!


Every woman in attendance had their hands on him at one time or another, as seen here with Sloane, proudly showing him off, while Papa Steve is showing off his burger and brats.

Tram and Steve

Tram and Steve hamming for the camera as they dish up their dessert plates.

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July 6, 2014   4 Comments

colorful summer salad and a tomato tip

tomato halves

I’ve seen this cool tip for cutting a bunch of cherry tomatoes at one time all over the internet and on Pinterest. I’ve used it for sometime now, but keep forgetting to share it with you. It not only comes in handy for this salad but is especially fabulous for THIS RECIPE and any other recipes calling for roasted cherry tomatoes.

Summer Squash and Salmon Salad

Summer Squash and Salmon Salad

1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds zucchini, ends trimmed and then thinly sliced
2 tablespoons pepper jelly
3 pound salmon fillet, skin on
2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes
6 cups fresh spinach leaves
1/2 red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
2 avocado, diced
1 cup chopped pecans


In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil and lemon juice, season with salt and pepper. Add the zucchini, toss to coat and let marinate at room temperature for at least 15 minutes.

coat salmon

Spread the pepper jelly on the flesh side of the salmon. Heat a grill or broiler to high.

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June 30, 2014   4 Comments


I don’t recall if I’ve ever shared this before but I will now confess….

hot coffee

… I don’t drink coffee. I’ve never like it. I love the smell, I adore coffee ice cream, but I knew that if I was to become a coffee drinker, I’d need to load that bitter liquid up with sugar and cream and I don’t see the point of starting each day off with that!

creamy coffee

Most mornings I start my day with water, now and then with juice and if someone offers, I’ll have hot tea. Not in the summer, but other times of the year. That’s the other thing I don’t get, how can people drink steaming hot coffee when it’s 100 degrees out? It is often 100 degrees out by 9 AM here in AZ!

Iced Coffee – that has sounded like something I might enjoy, once in a while, when I need a kick-start. Not too often, since it too, is loaded with cream and sugar.

Today is that day, I’ve been up since 4:15 and I am already dragging. I can’t be dragging today, I have too much to do. Iced Coffee! I’m gonna give it a try.

I’m going with the simplest recipe possible for this first try. One thing I do know is that it is best to start with cold brewed coffee. Since I don’t drink coffee, I don’t make the best tasting coffee, so I bought a bottle of cold brewed coffee at Trader Joe’s.

My verdict?  It was OK, maybe a person who likes coffee would like it more. I’m going back to the drawing board and I’m going to make something more exciting. I’ll keep you posted. Until then, here is my simple iced coffee “recipe.”

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June 28, 2014   No Comments

BPP Pizza

Last night’s beautiful Arizona sunset. No filters, no Photoshop, just pure natural beauty!

AZ sunset

This quick and easy pizza has some of my favorite Italian ingredients and they can all be found, along with the pizza dough, at Trader Joe’s.


Burrata, a luscious cream-filled fresh mozzarella cheese.


Pancetta, Italian-style bacon, already diced into “cubetti” pieces. Actually, I don’t know if the word “cubetti” has anything to do with the diced pieces, but it is convenient!


Prosciutto, this package is actually from Costco and was in my freezer, so don’t be alarmed with the “use by” date. Prosciutto can always be found at TJ’s too.

TJ pizza dough

I prefer Trader Joe’s whole-wheat dough, but while pulling a package from the back of the case (looking for the freshest bag – a selfish little thing I always do with fresh packaged food) I accidentally grabbed the plain dough. The reasons I like the whole-wheat better are two-fold, it is easier to work with due to the texture and I think the taste is superior.

The only other ingredients you need are a little olive oil, a medium ripe tomato and a smidgen of freshly ground black pepper and red pepper flakes.

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June 27, 2014   6 Comments