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Posts from — February 2015

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, blueberries, strawberries, or blackberries. He won’t eat berries or anything berry flavored.  It blows my mind!


To add insult to injury, Dave doesn’t like citrus! He won’t eat an orange, a grapefruit or even the sweet candy-like clementines. The saving grace is that he will eat foods and dishes with citrus in them.


I know, they are strange men!

For Sunday supper, I made pork chops with 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

Friday = Cocktail Time

cocktail board

Today is the last day of “Cocktails & Cupcakes” bridal shower details and recipes.

What better note to end a week on than cocktails!?!

We’ll start with the recipes and end with a fun decor item that the mother of the bride, Laura, her sister, Mary, and I created.

the bar

These following two cocktails come from The Bar Book Elements of Cocktail Techniques by Jeffery Morgenthaler with Martha Holmberg. Martha taught a modern sauces class at Les Gourmettes last month and I was the happy recipient of this bar book.

tom collins

Tom Collins

  • 2 ounces (1/4 cup) gin
  • 3/4 ounce (1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons) fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 ounces (1 tablespoon) simple syrup*
  • Ice cubes
  • 2 ounces (1/4 cup) chilled soda water
  • 1 lemon peel for garnish


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February 13, 2015   2 Comments

strawberry margarita cupcake

It’s finally time for the cupcake recipes from Megan’s “Cocktails & Cupcakes” bridal shower!


Actually, time for the cupcake recipe. Only one cupcake is new to this blog. Links to the remaining cupcakes from the shower area at the end of this post.

lime zest

I found the recipe for these Strawberry Margarita Cupcakes through Pinterest and I had some trouble with it. The problem was with the frosting. It’s similar to the frosting for Toffee Crunch Mini Cupcakes (which works perfectly) but this one still gave me fits.

The frosting was a nice consistency until it was time to add in the strawberry purée and the other liquids, then it became a runny mess, and the only way I could fix it was to add cups (so very many cups) of powdered sugar. The result was an overly sweet – basically pure sugar – frosting. I’ve corrected the recipe, but please still take extra care when adding the strawberry purée, add a little at a time and keep an eye on the consistency. If you do this, you should not have to add any powdered sugar!

fill tins

Also, when looking at the photos, please keep in mind that I made a double the batch so that I could make regular and mini cupcakes. So when you see 4 eggs instead of the 2 called for – don’t be concerned.

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February 12, 2015   5 Comments

Sweet ‘n Spicy Meatballs

Some people may think I was crazy to host two bridal showers in as many weeks. Crazy like a fox is what I say!

brides to be

The shower that Abigail, Kaley, Alyse, and Marissa threw for Lindsey left me with a bounty of items and ideas to use for Megan’s shower, two weeks later.


Kaley did such a beautiful job with the chalkboard art that I immediately knew I’d be using it again!

perfect signs

Abigail left behind a wonderful bulletin board where she had guests write words of sage advice for the bride-to-be, Lindsey.

advice pinboard

I just had to recycle it for Megan’s shower, as seen on the left edge of the photo below.

present time

Then there were the “Welcome” and “Presents” banners that Abigail made.



Yes, I reused them as well.


So, as you can see, hosting two versions of the same sort of party in a short amount of time is easier than hosting just one!

Here is another appetizer from Megan’s shower.

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February 11, 2015   3 Comments

Bloody Mary Shrimp appetizer


In keeping with the bridal shower theme of “cocktails and cupcakes” the wine barrel in the entry was decked out with seltzer bottles, cocktail shakers, flowers arranged in silver mint julep cups, and ice buckets, and of course, cupcakes.

Today’s recipe was the most popular of the appetizers served at Megan’s Bridal Shower.

spoon appetizer

I’ve been making this appetizer for years in various incarnations. If I remember correctly, it came from Gourmet Magazine some 10 years ago.

You can buy Chinese soup spoons at Asian markets, on Amazon, or at Cost Plus World Market.  They are not only perfect for this recipe but great for all sorts of appetizers and little dessert tastes.

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February 10, 2015   3 Comments