Saturday, December 28, 2013


Thursday night before we left for Hawaii, it was the last ditch efforts of cleaning out the fridge. There was some Beef and Mushroom Ragu with Fettuccine  left so I devoured it for dinner. 

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We were up bright and early Friday morning for our flight to Maui, Hawaii. I had toast with peanut butter before heading off to the airport.

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We finally arrived in Maui later that morning. On the way to the hotel, everyone was hungry so we stopped at Outback.  I had the Cobb salad with grilled chicken.

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We checked in and headed to the pool. This is what we were all waiting for:

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We headed to Longhi's for dinner. The bread they bring to the table was mind blowing. There were two types of pizza bread: regular and one with jalapeños. The jalapeño one was the best, in my opinion of course.

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My husband and I split the Caprese salad.

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I ordered the Bolognese  (Prime ground beef, Italian sausage, garlic, crushed red peppers, fennel seeds, deglazed with Chianti wine and pomodoro sauce. Served on rigatoni with creamy ricotta cheese).

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It was just ok…nothing spectacular. Everyone else's food was delish so I'd definitely go back and try something else!

By the time I went to bed last night, I was wiped!

This morning we got breakfast from the lounge to bring back to our room. I just had an English muffin with peanut butter.

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I ate light because I was off to meet Tami at spin class! She's in town too with her family.

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It was an excellent workout and I'm so glad I went! Made me feel better when I ordered one of these later at the pool:

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We ate lunch at the pool. I had the "Everything But The Kitchen Sink Salad". It was basically a Cobb salad and it rocked!

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Then it started to pour so we headed back to the room. 

Now I'm chilling in the room until dinner. :)

Do you workout on vacation? I don't normally unless I'm gone for more than a week.

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Thursday, December 26, 2013

144.0…Chicken Marsala

Another new recipe came out of my kitchen Monday night. It was easy to throw together and tasted great. What more could you want? 

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Chicken Marsala (Serves 4)

Recipe adapted from


1/4 cup all-purpose flour for coating

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

1/2 tsp dried oregano

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, pounded 1/4 inch thick

4 Tbsp butter

4 Tbsp olive oil

1 cup sliced mushrooms

1/2 cup Marsala wine

1/4 cup dry sherry


1. In a shallow dish or bowl, mix together the flour, salt, pepper and oregano. Coat chicken pieces in flour mixture.

2. In a large skillet, melt butter in oil over medium heat. Place chicken in the pan, and lightly brown, about 2 minutes per side. Take chicken out and set aside.

3. Add mushrooms to pan and cook for a couple of minutes. Pour in wine and sherry. Cook another 2-3 minutes. Add chicken back in and finish cooking until chicken is finished, about 5 minutes.

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The chicken marsala was complete with some spaghetti and Caesar salad. Easy!

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Breakfast on Christmas Eve morning was scrambled egg beaters with the usual add-ins.

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Then it was off to Disneyland with the kids!! We arrived around 11:00am and went on a few rides before stopping for lunch at a Mexican place. I had chicken tacos.

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Eh. They were just ok. At least they had hot sauce.

We went on several more rides before it was time for dinner. We stopped at The Rainforest Cafe. My husband and I split the Spinach Artichoke Dip.

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I ordered the Rotisserie Chicken with Cole slaw.

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It was pretty darn good actually. I had only been to The Rainforest Cafe once before and remember not liking it. This visit was much better!

We spent the night at one of the Disneyland hotels and left for home Christmas morning. When I got home I made some coffee and a mini bagel with cream cheese.

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I set out some cheese, salami and crackers before my mom arrived to celebrate Christmas with us. 

Dinner was my sister in law, Stephanie's Grandmother's spaghetti (aka gravy!) and meatballs.

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I served the gravy with pappardelle noodles, Caesar salad and garlic bread.

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Beyond delicious. The perfect Italian Christmas dinner! :)

Dessert was an ice cream sundae bar. 

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Eventually everything was cleaned up and it was time for bed. After Disneyland and cooking all day, I was wiped!

Breakfast this morning was egg beaters again.

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Today has been spent doing laundry and packing for our trip to Hawaii tomorrow! We are spending the next 9 days there with the kids. I'm ready for some pool and beach time for sure!

I've been trying to clean out the refrigerator before we leave. Lunch was the last of the Chicken Marsala leftovers along with some pesto rice that was leftover.

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I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas!! See you from Hawaii! Aloha!

What did you have for Christmas dinner?


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Monday, December 23, 2013

144.6…Creamy Burrito Casserole

It's no secret that I love casseroles. They are usually some sort of comfort food and I love that everything cooks up in one dish. Any other dishes used to make it get washed while the casserole is in the oven. Then, after dinner, clean up is a snap!

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It is also no secret that we are a Mexican food loving family. This recipe for Creamy Burrito Casserole satisfies everybody!

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Creamy Burrito Casserole (Serves 6-8)


1 lb. ground beef or 1 lb ground turkey
1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 (1 1/4 ounce) package taco seasoning
6 large flour tortillas
1 (16 ounce) can refried beans
2 -3 cups shredded taco cheese or 2 -3 cups cheddar cheese
1 (10 3/4 ounce) can cream of mushroom soup
4 ounces sour cream
jarred hot sauce, if desired to spice it up


1. Brown ground meat/turkey and onion; drain.

2. Add taco seasoning and stir in refried beans.

3. Mix soup and sour cream in a separate bowl.

4. Spread 1/2 sour cream mixture in the bottom of a casserole dish.

5. Tear up 3 tortillas and spread over sour cream mixture.

6.  Put 1/2 the meat bean mixture over that.

7. Add a layer of cheese.

8. You could put some hot sauce on this now.

9. Repeat the layers.

10. Sprinkle cheese over the top and bake, uncovered, at 350°F for 20-30 minutes.

Printable Recipe

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Breakfast yesterday morning was a fried egg sandwich.

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We spent the day at the Chargers game. I enjoyed a hot dog and a sweet victory over the Raiders!

Dinner was homemade pizza and salad.

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Breakfast this morning was Honey Nut Cheerios. 

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I went to Cardio Muscle class and had a fabulous workout. My workouts have been few and far between lately so I made this a good one. 

Lunch was with a  couple of friends at Love Boat Sushi. 

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Ah…my favorite: the Wasabi Roll. You sinuses will be cleared up, I promise!

Are you a casserole fan? Do you have a favorite?

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Saturday, December 21, 2013

144.0…Homemade Gravy

Before this past Thanksgiving I had yet to find a homemade gravy that I liked. I happened to be watching Barefoot Contessa about a week before Thanksgiving and saw her Homemade Gravy and knew I had to try it. Her recipes have yet to disappoint me. I tried it on Thanksgiving Day and it was a fabulous success!

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Homemade Gravy (Makes 3 cups)

Recipe adapted from The Barefoot Contessa 


1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion (2 onions)
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Defatted turkey drippings plus chicken stock to make 2 cups, heated
1 tablespoon Cognac or brandy
1 tablespoon white wine, optional
1 tablespoon heavy cream, optional


In a large (10 to 12-inch) saute pan, cook the butter and onions over medium-low heat for about 45 minutes, until the onions are lightly browned. Don't rush this step; it makes all the difference when the onions are well-cooked.
Sprinkle the flour into the pan, whisk in, then add the salt and pepper. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the hot chicken stock mixture and Cognac, and cook uncovered for 4 to 5 minutes until thickened. Add the wine and cream, if desired. Season, to taste, and serve.

*Note: If you don't like seeing the onions, either strain them out or blend the mixture. I ended up straining them out.

Printable Recipe

Last night my husband and I went to Ruth's Chris Steakhouse for dinner. I hadn't been in a long time and it was a very nice treat!

We split the wedge salad to start.

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We also split the filet mignon and creamed spinach. The baked potato was his and the shrimp were mine. Worked out quite nicely. :)

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Dessert worked out nicely as well!

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Chocolate Explosion cake with vanilla ice cream.

Breakfast this morning wasn't as exciting, I'm sorry to admit. Scrambled egg beaters with the usual.

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So far it's been a relaxing day at home. Right now we are watching the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl. Fight on Trojans!

Lunch was a turkey sandwich, carrots and ranch dressing.

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Making a new recipe for dinner tonight! I love weekends at home!

Do you have a favorite gravy recipe?

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Friday, December 20, 2013

143.6…Mini Mac and Cheese Bites

At Dina's holiday party last weekend, everyone had to bring an appetizer. I didn't want to bring anything boring and was going back and forth on what to bring. When I saw the recipe for Mini Mac and Cheese Bites, I knew those were it.

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Before I baked the bites, I tasted the mac and cheese itself….amazing. Even if you don't bake them into bites, make it just for the mac and cheese!

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Mini Mac and Cheese Bites (Makes 3 dozen)

Recipe courtesy: Phillis Carey


1/2 lb. small elbow macaroni

1 1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter, plus more for brushing

1/4 cup finely ground Parmesan cheese, divided use

2 Tbsp flour

3/4 cup whole milk, warmed

1 cup grated cheddar cheese

4 oz. deli-sliced American cheese, chopped

1 large egg yolk

1/4 tsp. smoked Spanish paprika


1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cook macaroni in a pot of boiling, salted water until just barely tender, about 5 minutes. Drain, shaking off excess water.

2. Brush 48 mini-muffin cups with melted butter. Sprinkle with 2 Tbsp of the Parmesan cheese.

3. Melt 1 1/2 Tbsp butter in a large saucepan. Whisk in the flour and cook over medium heat for 1 minute. Whisk in the warm milk and cook, whisking, until it boils. Whisk in the cheddar and American cheeses and whisk until melted. Off the heat, whisk in the egg yolk and paprika. Fold in the macaroni.

4. Spoon slightly rounded tablespoons of the macaroni into prepared muffin cups, packing them down gently. Sprinkle the remaining 2 Tbsp Parmesan on top. (Can be prepared to this point and refrigerated overnight.)

5. Bake the mini macs for about 10 minutes or until golden and sizzling. Cool in pan for 5 minutes. Using a small spoon, carefully loosen and remove to a platter and serve.

Printable Recipe

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Last night, my mom and I went over to my brother and sister in law's house to celebrate my birthday and "Fake Christmas." Neal and Steph are going to Steph's family for Christmas this year, so we celebrated last night.

The evening was complete with wine, cheese, salami and crackers.

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Steph made amazing pulled pork slider with slaw and tater tots. 

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Dessert was chocolate birthday cake. 

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Every year this is my request. Chocolate birthday cake. It doesn't get any better than this. 

We opened gifts and had a very merry "Fake Christmas!"

Breakfast at my mom's house this morning was a toasted English muffin, half with honey butter and half with peanut butter.

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I packed up and hit the road for San Diego. I ran some errands along the way, stopping at Bistro 067 for lunch. I had a delicious turkey and pesto sandwich.

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The kids are at a friend's house this evening so my husband and I are going to use the time wisely and go out to dinner. This weekend is pretty quiet and I'm looking forward to getting stuff done around the house and getting some rest!

Any fun weekend plans?

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