Tag Archives: bbq

Wanna Be CPK ~ BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad

Always trying to duplicate the Original BBQ Chicken Salad from California Pizza Kitchen…

This will just have to do ~

1 bag romaine, chopped into smaller pieces

1/2 of a rotisserie chicken {or leftover chicken}, cooled and chopped

1/4-1/2 can black beans, rinsed and drained

1/3 cup {or so} sweet white corn {I use frozen, thawed}

1/4 cup shredded cheese {I used Mexican blend, light}

1/2 red bell pepper, chopped

1/2 cucumber, peeled and chopped

Chopped cilantro {however much you like ~ we like A LOT}

1/2 of an avocado, sliced or chopped

red onion, finely chopped {optional}

Squeeze of lime {optional}


I just mix a little store bought light ranch and some bbq sauce and toss!

{You can also get fancy and drizzle bbq sauce over the salad like CPK does, but the brand I bought wasn’t a squeeze bottle and I didn’t want to over-do the sauce/dressing}

They have a new Caramelized Peach Salad that I will try to recreate soon!


Nighty Night!

Kids Eat Free

Tonight Holden ate FREE at Casa Aspiras.

Our Target recently underwent the {fresh food upgrade} and we’ve gotten a couple free coupons to come and check it out. I’m in there at LEAST once a week so why not grab some free eggs and a free box of Kraft mac n cheese, right? Those two are staples in our house.

Holden chose the Perry The Platypus mac n cheese and that was his dinner ~ almost the whole box. Done.

Elliott had leftover Thai food and leftover jasmine rice. Done.

Jay and I sampled some Pasta Fagioli {recipe coming soon} that I made and polished off the baby backs from last night!

For our anniversary dinner I made Mel’s slow cooker baby back ribs.

The best baby backs I ever had were in OKC while there on business about 8 or 9 years ago. I’ll never forget them. Because of those ribs I have to ask at every restaurant, “Do your baby backs fall off the bone? I mean really, literally FALL off the bone? If not, I will send them back!” If I sense any hesitation from the waiter, I will order something else. That is how serious I am about my ribs. I have never made them in a slow cooker, but figured if I did them on low for 8 hours they couldn’t help but separate from the bone….and that is exactly what they did! The sauce is a cherry dijon BBQ sauce and it couldn’t be easier to prepare. We will be making these LOTS more ~ thanks, Mel!

We paired these up with some blue cheese mashed potatoes {3 large potatoes, peeled and cubed and boiled until fork tender. Melt some butter [4 tsp] and a small carton of whipping cream [1 cup? the teeny tiny one] in a sauce pan and add that to the potatoes after draining. Pour in about half to 3/4 container blue cheese with some salt & pepper and mix with a hand mixer or low on your Kitchenaid until blended and creamy} and some boring steamed broccoli.

For dessert, I made one of Jay’s and my all-time favorites, tiramisu. This was a first for me to actually make and I was petrified because there are all kinds of raw eggs going on in this dish, but we lived to tell about it.

I followed this recipe.

It was magnificent. Don’t let the raw eggs scare you…I would not feed it to the kiddos or anyone that has an compromised immune system just to be on the safe side.

We may have had some tonight, too, and it is better the longer it sits….so I’ve heard. 😉


This is a fancy dinner {the ribs not the Perry the Platypus mac n cheese} that you can literally enjoy on a weeknight. Stick the ribs in the crock pot in the morning and they’ll be ready by din din. The mashed potatoes can be made a day ahead or over the weekend and keep well in the ‘fridge for a couple days. They reheat really well. And the broccoli, that’s just there so you don’t feel too guilty about the tiramisu, but you could substitute any veggie or a green salad for that if you’re not a fan.

Happy Monday, friends. I hope your weekend was fabulous.

Tomorrow I will be announcing a little giveaway which is a bundle of some of my favorite things…stay tuned!

Nighty night.

Get Your Grill {and your ballet flats} On!

While in Santa Monica today, Jay found this cute red BBQ bucket grill at Sur La Table:

Charcoal Bucket Grill

Perfect for the 4th. Labor Day. Memorial Day. Summer.

Take it to the beach, the park, the lake, the stadium…

Only $9.99 ~ regularly $29.95!

Love the RED!

Would make a cute gift with a bag of charcoal and some fancy BBQ sauce!

They had lots at the store we were at…..go grab one in the morning and grill up some burgers, dogs or s’mores tomorrow before the fireworks begin!


I, on the other hand, found this bargain at The Bullseye Boutique:


Once Fall comes, I will dial down the flip flop wearin’ and pop on these cuties!

I’d been eyeing them for awhile and they FINALLY went to 75% off…


Hope your weekend has been full of some fun, frugal finds as well!

Welcome, Summer!

What a weekend…

Today we ventured to the pool. For me, Memorial Day should include some pool or beach time.

It felt great to be out under the cloudless blue, getting some real color for the first time in months. A rainbow of flip flops lining the edge of the pool and at the sides of lounge chairs. The sound of little ones squealing and splashing. Mommies and Daddies getting caught up with their friends while keeping one eye on their little swimmers. Plastic tumblers holding “prohibited” beverages. Orange stained Dorito fingers and towels showing the same. Grilled hot dogs & cheeseburgers, macaroni & potato salads, chips & dips and brownies & cupcakes!

Dive sticks. Boogie boards. Floaties. Goggles. Wet towels piled up on the warm cement. Funny tan lines already emerging and peeling crying kids away from the water promising them another trip to the pool SOON.

Kids that fall asleep on the 3-minute car ride home and still look like this after 2 hours:

And little newly turned 5-year olds that say, “I had SO much fun!”

Now, that’s a good day.


This 3-day weekend was also full of all sorts of summer fare.

On Saturday evening, I made Carolina BBQ Pork again. Along with Down Home Baked Beans. And some Blue Cheese Coleslaw.

I don’t normally get excited about coleslaw, but this stuff is GOOD. Thanks to Hollie for planting the seed by mentioning this to me a few weeks ago!

Note: I only used 1/2 cup mayo as the bag of angel hair cabbage mix was only 10 oz. (and well, because frankly NOTHING should contain 1 cup of mayo). I also used Craisins in place of the grapes and they worked well with the blue. If you need a slaw recipe for your summer, you’ve got to check this one out.

We used some of the BBQ pork and baked beans for some Southern Skillet Nachos on the grill. I layered chips, chopped pork, baked beans and cheese in a cast iron skilled and Jay put it on the grill for about 10 minutes (until the cheese melted).

Traditional deviled eggs were a must this weekend, too.

Jay wanted to do some carne asada this evening…

Time was running out so I just went to Trader Joe’s and picked up some of theirs. It was very lean and super flavorful. We grilled some onions and peppers and made some mini burritos:

We washed it all down with these margaritas:

{Keepin’ it classy with the Keystone Light!}

I would say that we definitely had a well-balanced holiday weekend.

Dance class. Birthday celebration. Hollywood. Pool time. BBQ. A visit from Gramma & Popsi. Games of Twister. Laundry.

Yes, well-balanced!

About a week and a half to exhale and then we have a visit from Lolo & Lola, a preschool graduation and a Mardi Gras themed dance recital.

I have a feeling it’s going to be a summer to remember!

Nighty Night!

Tomato vs. Vinegar

When it comes to BBQ, there is a distinct difference between “Carolina BBQ” and say St. Louis BBQ. One has a mustard/vinegar base (Carolina) and the other is tomato/ketchup based. Personally, I prefer the thicker, sweet sauces of the St. Louis region, but the traditional Carolina vinegar variety is certainly nothing to turn up your nose at.

Jay came across a Carolina BBQ recipe in my new Crock Pot recipe book, so that is what we prepared for this week’s Sunday night din din.

I was looking for a light, low fat side dish and found a “Polynesian Coleslaw” recipe on allrecipes.com. If you haven’t discovered this website and love to cook, please do yourself a favor and check it out. Gazillions of great recipes to be found!

I was intrigued by the coleslaw because it had a peanut butter based dressing rather than the typical mayo based sauce. It will be great for summer picnics since there is no mayo. I thought it was delish and complimented the pork nicely. The reviews say that the slaw is better the longer it sits, so I am looking forward to seeing how the flavors marry overnight. I also added a bit of crushed pineapple ~ sweet, salty from the soy and tangy from the rice vinegar!

Polynesian Coleslaw

Carolina Barbequed Pork

2 onions, quartered

2 Tbsp. brown sugar

1 Tbsp. paprika

2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

1 4-6 lb. boneless pork butt or shoulder roast (I used a bone-in shoulder)

3/4 cup cider vinegar

4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

1 1/2 tsp. sugar

1/2 tsp. dry mustard

1/2 tsp. garlic salt

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

Hamburger buns (I used sesame to compliment the Asian flavors of the slaw)

Place the onions in the Crock-Pot. Combine the brown sugar, paprika, salt and pepper and rub the mixture over the roast. In a bowl, combine the vinegar, Worchestershire sauce, red pepper flakes, sugar, mustard, garlic salt and cayenne pepper. Mix well. Drizzle 1/2 of the vinegar mixture over the roast. Cover and refrigerate the remaining vinegar mixture. Cover; cook on Low for 10 hours or on High for 6 hours. Remove the meat and onions and drain. Chop or shred the meat and chop the onions. Serve the meat and onions on buns. Use the remaining vinegar mixture to drizzle over the sandwiches.

Which do you prefer? Tomato or vinegar?

I’m stickin’ to tomato, but this meal would’ve made the Carolinians proud, I think!

Milestones & Munchies

This weekend Elliott was invited to her first official sleepover.

She was so excited.

Disney Princess suitcase on wheels packed with her Christmas pajamas, toothbrush and “Monkey”, her lime green, long-armed, long-legged stuffed primate.

Disney Princess sleeping bag rolled nicely inside the matching DP backpack over both shoulders.

Mermaid pillow under her arm.

We walked two doors down to Emilie’s…..Holden in tow and me with some nibbles for the Mommies to enjoy as we chatted and sipped on margaritas and eventually wine!

The four girlies feasted on mini pb&j’s, chicken nuggets, steamed broccoli, fruit salad and the ever popular nacho cheese Doritos.

Once the girls changed into their jammies, Holden immediately called out, “Jammies on! Jammies on!” So, he and I walked home, suited up in his “doggie jammies”, grabbed his “rocketship pi-woe”, zipped up the Buzz & Woody light up boots and headed back down to the girl fest:

Barbie And The Diamond Castle was playing, but not quite capturing all their attention because a pillow fight broke out:

Even though this picture is blurry, I loved it as I thought it captured her pure happiness throughout the night. Sheer excitement as the much anticipated “sleep over” was being played out in real life. A new milestone that I think she will want to relive again real soon.

I talked her through it and reminded her that I was not going to stay. She insisted that she would be OK.

And she was.


I brought a new appetizer that I’d been dying to try…Warm Blue Cheese and Bacon Dip. (Thanks to this cute blog!)

Super easy and super delish.

Here is the line up (minus half&half/milk):

And here is the final goodness:

Highly recommend this is you love the blue!

I also made BBQ Chicken Pizza:

Normally I am a traditionalist when it comes to pizza. Extra sauce, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes…just a simple vegetarian pizza, but I like to make this creation from time to time…reminds me of my BFF, Denise, down in San Diego.

Here’s what you need:

TJ’s Pizza dough (I use the whole wheat)

Your favorite BBQ sauce

Rotisserie chicken or grilled tenders or breast (I grill with a bit of olive oil and Montreal Steak Seasoning)

Red onion slices

Cheese of choice

Fresh cilantro, chopped

Follow instructions on dough package and roll out to desired shape and size. Poke dough with fork to prevent bubbling. Spread a bit of sauce onto pizza. Arrange red onion slices around the pizza and then cut up chicken in small chunks and toss around in a small amount of bbq sauce and sprinkle across pizza. Add shredded cheese and bake at 450 for about 10-12 minutes. Sprinkle with cilantro confetti, let cool and then cut into small appetizer size squares.

The Bachelor, Boot Camp & BBQ

OK, so I’m going to devote 2 minutes of blog time to The Bachelor…

Did I want him to choose Tenley? Yes
Would I be upset if he picked Tenley and then broke things off next week? Yes
Even up to the last minute did I see him picking Vienna? No

I actually thought he was going to opt out all together and walk away still “single”.

After I watched The Final Rose, I had different feelings, though…they both looked so happy. I am a hopeless romantic and whether or not it’s “reality love” or “real love” doesn’t matter…really. I’ll still watch the show and always HOPE that real love comes out of it.

Am I wasting my time? Can I be doing something way more productive? Probably. But I will tune into Jason & Molly’s wedding next Monday and I will be there when Ali begins her journey as the next Bachelorette.

I will always be there hoping for a fairytale ending….

You can judge me if you want ~ I’m OK with it.

Am I OK with Jake choosing Vienna? Yes
Will I be pissed if they break up tomorrow? Yes!!!

‘Nuff said!


I just signed up for boot camp.

I’m really excited.

Starting in late March on Monday and Wednesday evenings I’ll be busting my butt for 75 minutes and hoping for some results in time for Summer.

I’m going to take some “before” and “after” pics so I can track the progress. I think that by incorporating the boot camp into my usual elliptical training and sporadic running that I will see better results and enjoy a little variety in my workouts.

I’m actually looking forward to feeling sore and exhausted until the middle of May!


How good does this salad look?

Thanks to Hollie for suggesting that I put my leftover pulled pork into salad form.

I love, love, love the BBQ Chicken Salad at California Pizza Kitchen so I tried to do a copy cat version of that:

Chopped iceberg lettuce (I know, I know NO nutritional value)

Slightly warmed pulled pork

Diced red pepper

Red onion slices

Chopped cilantro

Chopped jalapeños

Corn kernels

Just a sprinkle of colby jack cheese

…and a drizzle of Ranch dressing


May have to make pulled pork more often……….