Category Archives: Food

Pepperminty Goodness

Finally made the Peppermint Brownies.

They are really good.

A bit time consuming, but worth it.

Tomorrow the kids will deliver some to their pediatrician’s office and I will send some to work with Jay so they won’t mysteriously jump into my mouth.

If you decide to make these delicious little gems, I suggest cutting them into tiny bite size pieces since they are very rich and, not to mention, loaded with calories! I made mine in a 9X13 pan and got approximately 50 1″X1″ squares plus the 6 triangular pieces I used for the photo. So, it makes TONS without even doubling the recipe!

Again, here is the recipe I used: Peppermint Brownies

I had to go ahead and up the caloric intake a bit more and add the crushed candy canes on the top. I also added about 8-10 drops of green food coloring to the peppermint butter cream layer to make it  a little more festive! (as far as I know, that doesn’t add calories!)

Here is the final product:


And here is the assistant who helped me:


Well, not really, but isn’t he the cutest? Love him!

Artichoke Dip

Happy December!

Trying to get ahead this holiday season since we’re leaving for Vegas on Saturday morning!

Cards ready to send out, tree trimmed, Santa visited…what next?

Here is a picture of the kiddos decortaing the tree with Popsi who came to visit for a few days after Thanksgiving:


And here is a quick recipe that you can take to your holiday get togethers. Super simple and super delicious!

I don’t recommend substituting lowfat cream cheese and mayo with this one…it just isn’t the same. In my opinion, you’d be better off not eating it at all. Sorry!

1 can quartered artichoke hearts in water, drained
1 brick cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
2 tbsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. dill weed

Chop artichoke hearts or put in a small food processor (that’s what I use). Put cream cheese, artichoke hearts, mayo and parmesan cheese in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir often to keep from burning. Once everything is heated and combined, add the garlic and heat a few more minutes. Add dill weed at the last minute and give it one last stir. Serve with sliced baguette or crackers. Enjoy!

Smells Like Christmas!

I’m like a big candy cane during this time of year. If it’s labeled “peppermint”, I’m in. Sign me up. All over it.

I’ve been loving my cheap Suave Peppermint Bliss shower gel, Coffeemate Peppermint Mocha creamer and Yankee Cranberry Peppermint candle.

This morning, after all my errands were run, I treated myself to my first CBTL Peppermint Ice Blended of the season. I didn’t think about the caloric intake, I just delighted in every sip that came up the trademark purple straw! Ahhh, pure joy!


This afternoon I made espresso brownies for Jay’s work potluck tomorrow.

No, there’s no mint involved, but these are beyond good. That’s all I will say. You should really see for yourself!

Here are the ingredients:


Here is the final yumminess:


Here is the recipe:
Espresso Brownies

Perhaps next week I will try these:
Peppermint Brownies

…with crushed candy canes on top, of course!

Healthy, Hearty Soup

OK, so after the post about holiday traditions, I felt guilty about all those calorie laden comfort food recipes I included!

I wanted to make sure you knew that I do try to eat healthy, too! My sister turned me onto this soup and I have made it lots over the past couple months. I must say that the beans make this soup a “meal” – for me anyway. Jay appreciates a grilled ham & cheese alongside his.

I make a big pot of this and eat it for days. It gets better the longer it sits.

Here are the ingredients:


And here is the final product. Something you can feel GOOD about eating during the holidays!


Tuscan Vegetable Soup

Enjoy! ‘Tis the season for SOUP!

Holiday Musts

The holidays come and go with the blink of an eye. Each year we hurry to fit in our standard traditions before the magic of Christmas slips away.

My friends Denise and Niki turned me onto a tradition a number of years ago of getting a personalized family ornament. Jay and I bought our first one in ’03 when we bought out first house. Here is the one from last year:


I saw the one that I want for this year…hope it’s still there when I go back!

Of course, we make the required mall trip to visit Santa. Now, I’m not proud that I take my kids to the local Westfield Mall to whisper their wishes in Santa’s ear, but that’s where we seem to end up each year. We get there right when they open so there’s no line and it just works out perfectly. In and out and onto the next tradition! Here is the pic from last year:


The kids LOVE to drive around and see the lights! Last year was our first holiday in Valencia and there are LOTS of lights, but one street in particular was our favorite. If we were out after dark, Elliott would always ask to drive by the lights. It instantly puts you back in the holiday spirit in case you think you’re done and can’t take anymore! This year we said we were going to grab some peppermint hot chocolate and walk through “Wakefield Wonderland” instead of limiting the view from the car. Almost time to get bundled up for that…I’m sure they will be ready for all us lookie-loos after Thanksgiving! Here is Wakefield Court last year:


This year I told Jay that we HAVE to put lights up on in the front of the house even if it’s just one strand! In a tree, on a bush, around the front door, whatever, just so the kids can have lights on their house! They don’t care if it’s one strand or 100 strands.

Then there is, of course, the tree fetching ceremony. We make it easy and go to Home Depot, get a 3-4 foot Noble Fir, put it up on a table to make it a little more difficult for our 2 and 4-legged kids to get to, add some lights and our special ornaments and we’re good to go. No fuss, no muss! Easy!

And then there is the holiday grub! I make “Puppy Chow” or “Monkey Munch”…whatever you call it, I don’t care, it’s G-O-O-D! I make it for Jay’s co-workers and they love me! Maybe if you’re nice, I’ll make some for you!

During the holidays my favorite Starbucks bev is a Peppermint White Mocha with whip and red sprinkles – the whole nine! It’s the holidays, people! Go all out! The Peppermint Ice Blended from Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf isn’t bad either on a typical warm Southern California December day! Then there is Baskin-Robbins peppermint ice cream (or ANY peppermint ice cream for that matter) Love it!

Every Christmas morning I serve the Jimmy Dean breakfast casserole. It’s the best and I assemble it on Christmas Eve so all I have to do in the morning is throw it in the oven. For as long as I can remember we’ve also served Panettone (a typical bread of Milan, usually prepared and enjoyed forChristmas and New Year around Italy, and one of the symbols of the city) on Christmas morning. My Gam started this tradition years and years ago by bringing one over during the holidays. I now get mine at Trader Joe’s. We cut it in wedges, put it under the broiler, slather softened butter on it and enjoy with coffee! The joke growing up was that my Mom would always burn the Panettone, so if you try this, please stay close to the oven because it gets toasty quick! That reminds me, I need to get to T.J.’s and pick one up soon!

I also love to do a full turkey “Thanksgiving Do-over” on Christmas Day. Roast Turkey, cornbread stuffing, green bean casserole, mashed taters, candied yams, sweet potato pie, oh yeah! Used to get a Honeybaked ham, but they’re expensive and I wasn’t too pleased with the last couple, so we’re sticking to just the bird! OK, now that I am STARVING, here are the recipes:

Puppy Chow

Jimmy Dean Cassserole

Green Bean Casserole

Sweet Potato Pie

Mashed Potatoes

Cornbread stuffing

Candied yams

This year I hope to start a new tradition of constructing a gingerbread house. I am a bit anal when it comes to crafts, but I know the kids will love it and it’ll be fun. Between the four of us we can come up with a quirky, colorful confection! We can all decorate one side of the “gingerbread mansion”.

I also want to have a gift wrapping get together. It’s always more fun to wrap when you have good company, food, wine and holiday treats around. Christmas music in the background. Candles lit. Mulling spices on the stove. I hope to fit this into the holiday craziness this year and make it another yearly occurence.

Hmmm, what else can I fit in? The good news is is that I start my Christmas shopping like in the summer and tuck things away here and there. Then I don’t have to stress myself out when it gets down to the knitty gritty. Oh, the holiday cards…I stay up late in a quiet house and fold, stuff, seal, address and stamp. I love it. There is nothing better, though, than driving to the Post Office and dropping those bad boys off. That is one big relief in my book!

Whatever your holiday traditions are, I hope that you celebrate them with the ones you love this year and make plenty of beautiful memories. I know I will!


Burger Bliss


OK, you have got to make these burgers. Seriously!

If you think you don’t like horseradish, you do. If you think you don’t like Rachael Ray, you do.

These are the best. I make them all the time. Perfect for Fall. Turkey & Cranberry. Yum!

Serve with Alexia sweet potato fries (in the frozen aisle) and a simple green salad. I roasted some brussels sprouts to go with this meal, but left them in a little too long and they weren’t very photo worthy.

Here is a link to the recipe:

Turkey Burgers with Horseradish & Cheddar Cheese


Quick Chili

I’ve been using this chili recipe for years. It’s from my good friend, Christina! It’s super quick, easy and a healthy lowfat Fall comfort food.

Here’s what you need:
1 lb. ground beef, turkey or chicken
1 onion, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 big can chili beans
1 can diced tomatoes (I use fire roasted with garlic)
1 can corn, drained
1 small can tomato sauce
1 package chili seasoning
1 poblano or red pepper chopped (optional)

Here’s what you do:
Saute the onion and garlic (and peppers if you’re using) in a little Extra Virgin Olive Oil for 5 minutes, add the ground meat and brown breaking up with a wooden spoon. Add the package of seasoning mix with a little water (maybe 2 TBSP) Stir in seasoning mix to cover meat and cook until browned. Add in the beans, tomatoes (undrained), drained corn and tomato sauce. If you like a thinner chili, add another small can of tomato sauce. Simmer on low for an hour or so, ladle up a bowl and top with shredded cheese and a dollop of sour cream. I like to serve with Marie Callender’s corn bread and honey butter. Enjoy!

P.S. Sorry I don’t have a “finished product” pic. ;-(


Bliggity Bloggity BOO!

Welcome to my blog! I thought it’d be fun to make my first post on Halloween, but it looks like the carriage has already turned into a pumpkin!

My two little sugar-filled monsters are all tucked in and I have an extra hour to rest my weary head on my pillow tonight ~ what a TREAT!

I was inspired by a martini I saw on Food Network’s website for tonight’s ghoulish cocktail. It involved candy corn and vodka so I was immediately intrigued. The recipe called for an egg white which freaked me out so I decided to improvise a bit. I got some Mandarin Mango juice and decided to throw that in a shaker with the vodka, ice and a squeeze of lemon and see how that went. The jury is still out, but I feel the drink needs a little tweaking. Perhaps the Food Network has it all figured out with their egg white and has a higher salmonella threshold than I do. At any rate, I thought the concept was super festive for this fun Orange & Black holiday! I added a halved black licorice vine as a garnish along with the candy corns. At least I have 365 more days to perfect this for next Halloween…below is the link to FN’s version. Enjoy and nighty night!

Candy Corn Cordial

Candy Corn Cordial