Tuesday, June 30, 2015

145.8...End of an Era

Last night was the first time both my kids were home in the last two weeks. We celebrated by going to one of their favorite restaurants: Souplantation. :)

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I can’t say I was super unhappy about it. Their ranch dressing and pizza bread is pretty dang good. You know what they also do well?

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Their chocolate lava/explosion/whatever it’s called cake. I can pass it up when they have it.

Breakfast this morning was back to my current favorite: 

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I dropped off my husband’s car at the shop, then went to Great News for their last cooking class ever. They are closing their door after many years! I’m so sad….I learned most of the things I know about food/cooking there. I will miss it SO much!

Today’s cooking class was taught by Phillis Carey and was called: California Party Time. 

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The first recipe was actually a drink: “California Bellini” (white peach and sparkling rose):

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I thought it appropriate to have a fancy cocktail to celebrate an end of an era!

The next recipe was Grilled Artichokes with Green Goddess Dressing:

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The dressing was outstanding. Probably the best Green Goddess Dressing I’ve ever tasted. Now, I have a confession: I’m not quite sure how to eat artichokes when they are served like that. Lol. I tried my best but I think I mostly failed. Guess I need some more practice! 

The next plate contained several fabulous recipes!

Santa Maria Tri-Tip with Bacon and Bean Relish, Cherry Tomato Salsa, Blue Cheese Cole Slaw and Grilled Garlic Bread.

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There wasn’t one bad thing on the plate. The highlight was the Bacon and Bean Relish. Quite possibly the best beans I’ve ever had.

Dessert was Mocha Tres Leches Cake with Whipped Cream Cheese Topping:

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The cake was good but I especially like the topping. A great frosting!

So, I’m sad to say that was the last time I will ever be at Great News. I learned a lot and had a ball over the last 8 years, especially thanks to Phillis Carey who was my favorite instructor there!

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Fortunately, Phillis will start teaching in other locations so stay tuned for that!

What store would you have a hard time living without if it closed?

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Monday, June 29, 2015

Reunited and It Feels So Good

What a weekend! Friday night, my husband and I went to The Pony Room for dinner. I had The Chop Chop Salad to start (iceberg, spinach, mushrooms, hard boiled egg, tomato, croutons, lemon, herb dressing):

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Eh. Even with all those fabulous ingredients, it was just ok.

That was followed by Mahi Mahi Fish Tacos (cabbage slaw, crema, radish, steamed corn tortilla, Spanish brown rice, black beans, guacamole):

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Excellent. I’ve had them before and enjoyed them.

After dinner, we went to Cinepolis to see Ted 2. I thoroughly enjoyed their Zebra popcorn. 

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I enjoyed the first Ted…this one was funny but not as funny as the first.

Saturday morning’s breakfast was the usual.

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My husband continued in his golf tournament and I went over to cheer him on. I got to enjoy a make-your-own sandwich bar while I was there. 

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The salad was Buffalo Chicken Salad. Yum!!!

My husband and his friend ended up placing 3rd out of 71 teams! I was very proud!

Later that evening, we went to the big celebratory dinner for the tournament. Dinner was buffet style and everything was delicious! 

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We skipped dessert and went home a bit early because I had to be up bright and early Sunday morning to fly to San Francisco to pick up my son from sleep away camp. At the airport, I had some coffee and an Einstein’s Bagel Egg White Bagel Thin Sandwich.

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Then, at last, I was reunited with my son after missing him for two weeks! We had lunch together at the San Francisco airport before we got on a plane back to San Diego.

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Club sandwich and fries. 

If that wasn’t enough crazy travel, once I got home, I had to leave again to drive to Los Angeles so that I could pick up my daughter from her sleep away camp this morning. I stayed at my brother’s house and enjoyed dinner with them. My brother made a fabulous cedar plank salmon.

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My sister in law Stephanie made broccoli and baked potatoes to go along with the salmon.

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This morning I left their house and drove to Encino to meet my daughter’s camp bus. Along the way, I picked up a latte and an egg white sandwich at Starbucks. 

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Then it was finally time to reunite with my daughter! It was so good to have my family back!

I drove her and two of her friends back to San Diego. We stopped at McDonald’s for lunch. 

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Grilled Chicken McWrap and a side salad. 

It’s great to have everyone back at home!!

What’s the longest you were ever away from home as a child?

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Friday, June 26, 2015

143.8...Raspberry Cheesecake Bars

The dessert I made for the “My Favorite Things Party" was Raspberry Cheesecake Bars. These are a favorite of mine and I’m glad I finally get to share them with you!

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Raspberry Cheesecake Bars

Recipe from Phillis Carey



1/3 cup golden brown sugar

1 cup flour

1/2 cup ground walnuts

1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted


1/4 cup seedless raspberry preserves



1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup sugar

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1/2 tsp. grated lemon zest

2 Tbsp. sour cream

1 tsp. vanilla


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. To make the crust, combine the brown sugar, flour, ground nuts and melted butter in a medium bowl. Remove 3/4 cup of the crumb mixture and set aside. Press remaining mixture into the bottom of a greased 8-inch square baking pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Set aside on a rack to cool.

2. Spread the cooled crust with the raspberry preserves.

3. To make the filling, combine the softened cream cheese with the sugar and beat until fluffy. Beat in the egg, lemon juice, lemon zest, sour cream and vanilla. Pour filling oven jam and sprinkle with remaining crumb mixture. Press the crumb mixture lightly into the filling.

4. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until filling is set. Cool on a rack. Cut into squares and store in the refrigerator. 

Printable Recipe

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My husband is playing in a golf tournament through the weekend. There was a dinner last night for it that I attended. At the cocktail hour, I enjoyed a couple plates of sushi and various appetizers. 

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Dinner was a buffet and I, of course, tried to see how much I could fit on my plate. 

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I sampled a few things for dessert:

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It was the usual for breakfast: 

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I went to Zumba class at the gym. Lunch was at Sushiya with Lisa. My meal started with miso soup:

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Followed by tuna, yellowtail and salmon sushi. I also tried a new roll…the Spanish Roll. Aka my new love. 

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Inside was crab, cucumber and cilantro. On the outside was salmon, green onion and ponzu. Simple yet fabulous!

Have you many any new food discoveries lately?

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Thursday, June 25, 2015

143.0...Ricotta and Caramelized Onion Flatbread Topped with Prosciutto and Arugula

Last night I threw a small party at my house. It wasn’t just any party…it was a “My Favorite Things” Party. Now, I can’t take credit for it….my sister in law Marit shared with me the idea. And a fabulous idea it was! The premise for our party was you bring a favorite item of yours (under $10) for each person attending the party. It could be anything: food, beauty, clothes, etc. You explain why you love it and go home with everyone’s favorites! 

The party was easy to host because I asked everyone to bring an appetizer to share. I made something that I’ve been dying to make. I don’t know why it took me this long to make it but I’m so glad I did. Ricotta and Caramelized Onion Flatbread Topped with Prosciutto and Arugula. This one will be repeated many times…..

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Ricotta and Caramelized Onion Flatbread Topped with Prosciutto and Arugula (Serves 4 to 6)

Recipe adapted from Phillis Carey


2 Tbsp. plus 2 tsp. olive oil, divided use

2 cups thinly sliced red onions

1 Tbsp. light brown sugar

2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

Pinch crushed red pepper flakes

1 package prepared pizza dough

1 cup fresh ricotta cheese

6 to 8 slices prosciutto

1 cup arugula, coarsely chopped

1 tsp. lemon juice


1. Heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add onion and brown sugar and cook until onions are golden and very tender, stirring frequently, 15 to 20 minutes. Mix in vinegar and pepper flakes. Cook until mixture is thick, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Season generously with salt and pepper.

2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Stretch the pizza dough out onto a split covered baking sheet and let rest for 15 minutes. Stretch out again if the dough shrinks. Brush with 1 Tbsp. olive oil and spread with onions. Dollop ricotta all over the onion layer and carefully spread. Top with slices of prosciutto. Bake until caramelized and crusty, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove immediately and cut down the center lengthwise and then again across into 6 to 8 slices.

3. Toss arugula with 2 tsp. olive oil and lemon juice.  Place arugula over pizza slices. 

Printable Recipe 

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Let the fun begin! 

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After enjoying the appetizers, it was time to sit down and get to business! 

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My favorite item was Big Sexy Hair’s Volumizing Dry Shampoo.

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I am obsessed with this stuff. I use when my hair is clean OR dirty. I like to put it in the roots of my hair to create volume. It’s amazing!

Dina had THREE products! Way to get more for your money! 

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1. NYX HD Concealer (I have this and it’s great!)

2. TRESemme Fresh Start Volumizing Dry Shampoo (obviously Dina and I think alike. I’m excited to try this! Dina said that this one isn’t as “sticky” as mine.)

3. Trader Joe’s PB&J Milk Chocolate Bar (speaks for itself!)

Silvana’s favorite item was Victoria’s Secret’s No-Show Thong:

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Obviously, I’m entranced.

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 I’ve never tried those specifically but I have tried other brands which I like. Excited to try these. Never let people see your panty lines. Seriously.

Tami brought an item I had never heard of: Waxelene.

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It’s the natural alternative to petroleum jelly. I’m excited to use it as a lip moisturizer. 

Cathi brought NYX Lip Primer

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You use this to line your lips to keep your lipstick in place and to not feather or bleed. Genius!

Lauren brought everyone her favorite wraps!

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She bought them at Nordstrom Rack. No link, sorry but it’s a standard type wrap that you could get in many places. I chose the coral color!

Alicia’s favorite item is also one of mine: MAC’s Lipglass in Prrr.

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It’s my favorite lip gloss. Ever. Nuff said. 

Finally, Lisa’s favorite item is another one of mine! CVS Teeth Whitening Pen!

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I use this every night (you can use it up to 4 times a day, I believe) and it really works!

Nice Swag! 

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After our Favorite Things exchange, we had some Raspberry Cheesecake Bars for dessert. Recipe coming.

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Great party! We decided it would be an annual event. I can’t wait for next year!

Breakfast this morning was the usual:

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I went to Sculpt class at the gym. We had a sub today. He kicked my a**. I’m not joking. I hope I can walk tomorrow. After that, I wobbled to Marketplace Grill for lunch. I needed food. 

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 Grilled Chicken Greek Salad. Ah. Much better. 

What item would you bring to a My Favorite Things party?

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