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are you a winner?!?

It was only a month ago that I held a contest for my 8th Blogiversary and here I am – at it again!

This time, it is Barbara Fenzl, owner of Les Gourmettes, who is graciously and generously donating the fabulous prize. I’ll get to the details about the prize and how easy it is for you to have a chance to win it in just a moment.

This is the current issue of Edible PHOENIX. The publisher and editor, Pamela Hamilton along with featured contributor, Sharon Salomon, Barb Fenzl and I are all members of Les Dames d’Escoffier International.

Every now and then, Sharon will ask me for quotes or thoughts about an upcoming article she is working on. This was the case for her most recipe article titled, “Step Away From the Recipe! Try Your Hand at Intuitive Cooking”

Thank you Sharon for featuring me in your excellent article!

This clever segue leads us to the contest and the prize. Barb is offering one FREE seat in an upcoming cooking class with Chef Danielle Leoni.  Coincidentally, Danielle became one of our newest Les Dames members this past Monday night. This prize will most certainly hone your cooking skills and aid you on your way to more intuitive cooking.

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September 20, 2017   5 Comments

And the winners are….

The 8th Blogiversary Contest has come to an end and The Lucky Three have had their names drawn out of a pot by a random Trader Joe’s employee.

Thanks to all 30 of you who entered.

Once again the prize is that each winner will receive $100 in cash to spend on a Shopping Field Trip. We’ll spend the day shopping and learning the in and outs and best buys at:

Trader Joe’s

Queen Creek Olive Mill

The Pork Shop

and

AZ International Marketplace

After I typed up all your names on a sheet of paper. I cut them into strips…

Then placed them in a pot, a saucepan actually, and drove myself and the pot to the Trader Joe’s on Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd, east of Scottsdale Rd.

I put the pot in a shopping cart and walked around looking for an employee that wasn’t too busy. I decided on the nice woman who was cooking up samples in the back of the store.

I let her know I’d be filming her and then posting the video on my blog, she kindly agreed and drew out the winning names.

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August 24, 2017   5 Comments

Blogiversary #8

Yup, it’s that time of year! Another year older. It’s time to celebrate!

Before we get to the details of this year’s giveaway, let’s run down a few stats:

1904 posts (posting an average of 4.5 times a week)

5216 comments (granted, nearly 1/5 of those are me commenting back to you)

254,629 spam comments …. that I have scanned through before deleting (legitimate comments sometimes get tossed in the spam folder) to prevent your delicate eyes from seeing. Let me tell you, there is more graphic porn spam than anyone should have to see!  If only the spammers used their time to do something good for the world … you get where I’m going with that.

Also, I’m sorry to say that I have sad news to share.

My high school friend, loyal blog follower and frequent commenter, Nancy Bull, passed away suddenly on her birthday on May 31st.

Nancy was the grand prize winner in the 7th Blogiversary Contest last year. The prize was to come to my kitchen and cook your favorite recipe with me and then have that recipe posted here on the blog. Nancy and I had the best time making her family’s Chili Rellenos recipe together. When I snapped this beautiful photo of Nancy, I had no idea it would be the last time I’d see her radiant smile. Nancy used the photo as her Facebook profile photo. It is there on her page to this day. It is a reminder of how lucky and blessed I was to share that special time with her. Prayers and blessings to Nancy’s family. She is deeply missed.

I know Nancy would want me to turn this back around and get to the fun and happy stuff. She entered every contest I have ever had and she would want you to enter this one, because it’s a goodie!

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August 16, 2017   26 Comments

7 year old’s story

When I was in Chicago last month, I met up with two of my nieces, Megan and Amy, for dinner. Amy brought her son, my grand-nephew, Greyson. Grey, is seven years old and had just finished 1st grade.

(You may remember Greyson from THIS POST in October 2014)

The three of them were already seated when Lori and I arrived and Grey was sitting at the end of the table. I sat next to him and noticed that he had a paper and pen in hand and was working on something.

Lori was sweet enough to take a photo of the four of us. (Amy, Greyson, me and Megan.)

Anyhow, I asked Greyson what he was doing and he said, “I’m writing a story.”

As we all chatted and caught up, Grey continued to put pen to paper and write his story. A while later he announced that he was done and asked if I would like to read it.

“Yes!”

He handed me the paper and I proceeded to read it out loud.

“Once upon a time there was a man.

One day the man went to a castle, he went in the castle something punched him. Aaaaa!

It was an invisible guy. The invisible guy cut the man’s hand off. The man found a hook, he put the hook on his hand. He ran out of the castle.  

The invisible guy grabbed a bow and arrow and shot the man. AW! AW! AW! AW!

The man never went to the castle.”

By: Greyson Hopkins
Monday, June 26, 2017
7 years and 1 month old
Summer between 1st and 2nd grade

 

I have to say, I was impressed! He just turned seven a month before. Amy told us that he loved to write, so she had enrolled him in a summer creative writing class. What a fantastic and proactive mom she is!

I asked Greyson if I could keep it and he said that he wrote it for me. My heart melted. I asked if he would sign it for me. He said yes and asked if he could make all the letters in his name into pictures. I told him I’d love that, but asked if could he please sign his name on the front and sign it again on the back in pictures? He did and then he even wrote his name backwards for me too.

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July 28, 2017   4 Comments

my temporary home

I may as well begin the tour of the lovely house I am renting with a photo of the lovely wood floors in the master bedroom.

More honestly with of photo of my roommates, Bailey and Bombay, just because they’re so darn cute. As you look at the photos of the house, these two will be showing up in the background of a few. Feel free to play a kitty version of “Where’s Waldo” and see how many times you spot one or the other.

Here is the front view of the house. Some of the fabulous features are the huge pine tree in the front yard that provides great shade from the early and mid-morning sun. And take note of the high pitch above the garage. See those three beams poking out? This was the model home and sales office when the homes in the subdivision were built in the mid-80’s.  The garage served as the sales office and is finished with beautiful high-pitched wood-paneled ceilings and massive amounts of lighting.  More on that later.

The east and west sides of the garage have French doors with concrete paths leading up to them. These office doors are now bolted permanently closed from the inside.

Next up is the backyard. Another large mature tree provides wonderful shade.

The renters before me had a big dog who basically destroyed the sprinkler system, and the grass. I’m doing my best to bring it back to life.

This is the back west side of the house. I brought the lighter deck box from the other house. A week after I moved in, I picked up the two dark boxes from Costco and took the better part of an afternoon assembling and filling them with smaller garden items. I’ve given up on trying to revive the grass over here.

The back east side yard is crushed granite, so all my large patio furniture is being stored over here. I spent a Saturday morning covering the stacks of furniture with tarps to protect it from the sun and monsoons. The majority of it had been under covered patios in “Linda Land.”

Even though I’m living in less than half the square footage of the Equestrian Manor (from here out referred to as EQM) house, it’s not the inside space I miss… it’s the outside living space and that amazing backyard we created. My wish is to duplicate that on a smaller scale when I start the house-hunting for my next home.

Here is the cute little patio I’m living with for now.

It’s tight – but cozy.

And it has a really nice built-in grill. Loving that! OK, let’s go back to the front door and go inside.

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July 19, 2017   8 Comments

images from my new hood

I’ve been in my rental for just over a month now. Bombay, Bailey and I are settled in and have our routines.

Part of their daily agenda is anticipating the visit from this neighborhood cat. The photo above was taken on the first day he visited and these two were not pleased at all!

He was just sitting there, all casual, grooming himself, while they crouched down, hissed, howled and had the hair on their backs straight up in the air.

Now, it’s old hat. They look forward to his visit and longingly peer out the window when he struts away. I’m not sure who he belongs to or how far away he lives. Part of my daily routine is to walk 4 miles around the park that is two blocks from my house. And many a day, I’ve seen that cat roaming around on the far side of the park.

Speaking of my morning ritual… I walk by this house each day. And it took me nearly two weeks to notice this…

Seems hard to miss! Look back up at the picture of the house. Did you see it at first? LOL!

Since my lease started June 1st, if I want to walk, I have to get up before the sun to do it. I leave my house no later than 4:45 and even then it’s already up to at least 85 degrees. That’s the low temp for the day and one particular morning, it was 90 degrees at 4:30 AM!

But  it’s worth it. Along with the skeleton in the rusted out car, I see a flock of peachfaced lovebirds every morning.

These two sweet men with their “boyfriend and girlfriend” dogs. They’ve been meeting at the park every morning at 5:15 to walk their dogs for 2 years.

And on one magical morning I spotted this gorgeous creature. I followed him around and filmed him for about 20 minutes. I’ve never seen such a colorful bird in Arizona in all my life.

While visiting my mother-in-law in Illinois last week, she pulled out her bird book and helped me identify it as a Vermilion Flycatcher. Awesome!

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July 3, 2017   1 Comment

beyond busy

My house sold!

This is the story of my life. I am averaging five hours of sleep a night. Not only because I have so much to do but worse, I can’t shut my mind off.

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May 3, 2017   4 Comments

where flowers bloom

My plan for this week was to get ready for Easter. I was going to make some gold speckled robin’s egg Easter eggs, start decorating the house, get my table ready and have fun doing it and then share it with you. The only thing I’ve accomplished this far is the update of my letter-board.

Instead, I’ve spent countless hours at the Verizon and Apple stores.

While I type this post, on Thursday evening, I’m actually sitting at the Apple Genius Bar. I’m dealing with my Mac laptop and issues with my Photos library. Basically what happened, is that I lost all 49,000+ of my photos when I updated the operating system, late on Tuesday night.

I installed the update because I needed to back up my phone, so that I could transfer all content from my iPhone 6S to a new iPhone 7.  The reason I needed a new phone was because on the morning I was leaving for my NYC trip (a week ago Wednesday) my phone fell from my back pocket into the toilet.

I know, it’s the worst!

I put the phone in a container of rice to dry it out and carried that container with me throughout the two flights from Phoenix to Houston to New York. All seemed fine on Wednesday night when I arrived in NYC and pulled the phone from the rice. It was still working fine on Thursday and on Friday morning. Then, out of the blue, on Friday afternoon, the camera stopped working. I had no front camera for the rest of the trip, only the back “selfie” camera worked.

The phone could not be fixed, so I spent all day this past Tuesday at Verizon, trying to back it up, to no avail. The Verizon dude told me to bring it home and plug it into my Mac and use iTunes to back it up…. hence the update of the Mac’s operating system before the phone could be backed up.

The new phone is all good but the update of the operating system on the Mac somehow jacked up my desktop. Everything disappeared, so I brought the computer to the Genius Bar on Wednesday afternoon. They fixed that problem and I thought that my technology challenges were over… until I got home and found that ALL of my photos were gone!

Well, I do have most of them on an external hard drive, but I discovered that the last time I used the drive was in 2014. Oops!

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April 14, 2017   2 Comments

NYC with my girl

I returned on Monday night, after a glorious long weekend in New York City with Marissa. We hadn’t had a mother/daughter trip since we went to Paris and London, the summer after her freshman year in college.

We had The Best Time!

The first morning, we went to LIVE with Kelly, where we saw Mandy Patinkin, Rashida Jones, Jason Statham, Kelly’s charming and fun co-host for the week, Scott Wolf and even got to give high-fives to James Bond himself, Pierce Bronsan!

Kelly Ripa was adorable and everything you hope she would be; funny, quick-witted, beautiful and sweet to everyone on set and in the audience.

We were actually there for two shows. The live show on Thursday, when we sat in the front row. And again about an hour later for the taping of the Friday show, where we were up in the balcony. Both vantage points had their advantages. It was fun to be in the front, but there were often production crew and cameras blocking our view. It was great to be up high because we could easily see it all.

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April 13, 2017   4 Comments

new toy obsession

I have a new toy!

It’s an old-timey letter board from the sweet family-run business, Letterfolk.

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April 5, 2017   2 Comments