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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Where I'm going to eat when I get to NY

No, I don't have an immediate trip planned to NY, but I have a new reason to go: bocadillos!

Bocadillos are the typical sandwich in Spain, made of french crusty bread filled with anything from chorizo to potato omelet to Iberian hammmmmmmmmmmmm.....

That is one word, right?

In the meantime, since I do not have a befactor (yet) or the funds or the vacation time to go to NY, I'll be having sandwiches here:

Defalco's Italian Deli

They are on Scottsdale Road, between Oak and Thomas, on the West side of the street in a strip mall.

They make italian sandwiches that are really delicious. See picture - I think this one is with sausage and peppers, I saved it from their website. One of my favorites they make is a chicken cutlet that is similar to one made at Tortas Paquime on McDowell and 24th Street. They make a pollo milanesa that is delicious! You gotta go there if you haven't been.

But, I digress. At Defalco's they do a great chicken cutlet sammie on french bread with lettuce, tomato, onion and italian dressing if you like. I also like their prosciutto sandwich, the quality of their sliced meats is superb.

Rumor has it that their sausage recipe came from my grandmother or my great grandmother, according to my aunt. But I have not been able to prove it.

Buon apetito! Mangia, mangia! (eat, eat!)

Acme World Shop - cute animal lights

You could mount this cute light on the wall in your kitchen,
dining room, living room, your child's bedroom, .... possibilities are endless!

This is the cutest mounted light I have ever seen!

This company donates 5% of it's profits to the Brooklyn Animal Resource Coalition, that's a cool thing.

These lights are so neat, that they are sold out, but you can email them and ask when they will be available again.

I like this one (see picture).

Wow this girl really needs to win the lotto. Or needs a benefactor. Anyone out there?

Pretty hanging light for the kitchen table

I saw a picture of this light in the NY Times today - it's amazing.

Who wouldn't want this pretty flower hanging above their kitchen table?

Where to get it:

What to do first: Win the lottery.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Arriba's with aunt Char

Carnitas adobada burrito at Arriba's

I went to Arriba's for lunch today with my aunt Char. It's our new Saturday thing - so you'll be hearing from me on Saturday afternoons when I post a review of where we went.

So, lunch at Arriba's today: tasty, spicy, fresh.

And portions are big, so there's leftovers for dinner. Score one for the economizing kitchen wench!

Had: carnitas adobada burrito dry (without enchilada sauce) and a side of black beans and rice. And a Corona Extra cerveza.

See picture.

Enough said.

Go there now. Now!

Portable espresso machine

This looks pretty cool

This looks like it would be great for travel - - but for the price of $160, Starbucks will probably be my choice while on vacation. And you have to have a grinder, or bring your beans ground already.

At home, I make it at home:

Mr. Coffee has an espresso machine at Walmart for around $30.

The price is right!

Walmart's efforts to sell local produce

I saw this article today on Mark Bittman's "bitten" blog at - it looks like Walmart is trying to help sell local produce.


Friday, February 26, 2010

Grandma Paul's Sand Tarts - delicious cookies - similar to Mexican wedding cookies

Grandma Paul's Sand Tarts is a cookie recipe that was given to me by a co-worker, Lynn Parsons. Thank you, Lynn!

You need:

1 cup butter

1/2 cup confectioners sugar, plus more for coating cookies

1 tsp vanilla

1 3/4 cup flour, plus more for dusting hands

1 cup chopped pecans (very small pieces)

Preheat your oven to 270 degrees, line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

cream buter and sugar till smooth, add vanilla and beat in, at low speed add flour.

mix in pecans with a spatula.

With floured hands, take out about 1 tablespoon of dough and shape it onto a crescent. Place the cookies 1 inch apart on the prepared cookie sheets. Cooks note: continue to dust your hands with flour as you make more cookies.

Bake for 40 minutes. Dust with additional confectioners' sugar while still warm. Cool completely on wire racks and store in airtight containers.

Happy Baking!!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Chamoyadas - keeping your car and clothes free of chamoy

Chamoyada - my favorite snack

If you are like me, you like Chamoyadas and Raspados, aka "Mexican Slurpies." My preferred choice of venue is Oasis Raspados on 32nd St. and McDowell. They fill your chamoyada to the top, it is brimming with serpentinas (tamarind candy), cacahuates japoneses (asian peanuts) and chamoy, which has a bright red color that does not come out so easily from one's clothing.

So, how does a girl manage to keep her car seat/dash and clothes chamoy free, do you ask?

Well, here's what you do. When you order a chamoyada, diablito or other raspado, ask for a medium but tell them you want it in a large cup, otherwise you spill it on yourself and your car. The nice folks at Oasis - and most likely la gente at other places - will oblige. You can see the one I got tonight has quite a bit of room at the top, that's because I asked for a medium in a large cup.

You can do it!! In Spanish/En español es: Yo quiero una chamoyada mediana, pero quiero que el vaso sea grande. I want a medium chamoyada, but I want it in a large cup.


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Blueberry muffins

I planned to make blueberry muffins this morning before work, since I had some leftover blueberries that I bought recently at Trader Joe's. Btw, they are an excellent source for blueberries, and all things yummy such as olive oil, whole wheat pasta, guindilla peppers, fig bars, etc.

You get a HUGE container of blueberries for $5.99.

You should go get some of these blueberries now...and take some to work for snacking and they are also good for smoothies. Use the rest for - baking!

In this morning's case, I made blueberry bread since I left my muffin tin elsewhere and need to get a new one (some might say that could imply I made breakfast for someone else, left the pan there - and you can read into that what you wish).

I baked the bread at 400 degrees in a rectangular bread pan - like the one you make banana bread in - for 30 minutes.

2 cups flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 tsp salt

1/3 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 cup milk

1 stick melted butter

1 tsp vanilla

1 ¼ cup blueberries (put these in at last otherwise your dough will be purple!)

Sift dry ingredients together. Beat eggs w/ sugar, add milk, vanilla and melted butter goes in last. Add the dry into the liquid and combine. Fold in blueberries. Use paper liners in your muffin tin and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Makes 12.

You must make these muffins. They are delish! My mom gave me this recipe out of the Fanny Farmer cookbook. I use a little cinnamon on mine put a some "sugar in the raw" on the tops.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Vietnamese New Year

"Chúc mừng năm mới" - Happy New Year!

I went to the Vietnamese New Year Celebration today at the International Rescue Committee ( with my good friend and visited with fellow teachers, community leaders and students. We ate yummy Vietnamese food and learned that many members of the Vietnamese Community became citizens of the United States last year. This is such great news. Now they can vote, hold a U.S. passport and apply for government jobs.

I brought red envelopes with money inside for the children, some who were dressed in traditional Vietnamese clothing. (You can find these at House of Rice Store in Scottsdale - or they also sell them all over Chinatown if you are in San Francisco.) It is traditional, according to wikipedia, "Children receive a red envelope containing money from their elders. This tradition is called mừng tuổi (happy new age) in the north and lì xì in the south."

There was music, singing, speeches, a raffle and the instructors were given a poster with Vietnamese artwork in commemoration of the Vietnamese New Year.

I'm so happy to be an honorary member of the Vietnamese community in Phoenix.

"Chúc mừng năm mới" or, as we know it - Happy New Year!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Baked penne pasta with whole milk mozzarella cheese and sausage

My Mom had me over for dinner tonight and made the most beautiful baked penne pasta with whole milk mozzarella and sausage which was procured from Niccoli's deli on 16th Street. She told me she always likes to go there because it's a great store filled with yummy products and delicious looking sliced meats.

I can't argue there. I told her we need to go back as a family one of these days and get italian sandwiches from Niccoli's. They used to bake homemade cinnamon rolls...not sure if that is still the case but they are lovely folks, get down there and get some italian yummies. Now!

So, this baked pasta my Mom made: she cooked 1 pound of penne and made a zesty tomato sauce with olive oil and whole tomatoes that she blended to a combination of smooth and chunky - then she added some basil to the sauce and some cooked sausage courtesy of Niccoli's. So, when the pasta is done boiling she puts some of the tomato sauce and sausage mixture in the bottom of a large pyrex pan and then puts some penne - layers is what she does - then she puts some cheese, then more penne, more sauce, more cheese, etc and then at the end she sprinkles parmesean cheese on top and bakes it at 325 degree oven for 30 minutes.

You gotta makea this pasta dish!

Sorry the picture I took with my phone camera got deleted. User error. Will get one next time she makes it and share it with you.

Since I can't share a picture of the pasta, I will share a picture of a cute rabbit (and daughter of his customer) that my friend took when he was on the job - he's the big cheese at Clear Skies IT Solutions - he comes to you if you need computer help. Frequently he sends me pictures of cute puppies, kitties - and now rabbits - that he meets when he is working. I really enjoy cute cuddly things so I am always happy when a picture of his shows up on my phone. Soft bunny, warm bunny...

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Merluza en salsa verde - cod recipe from the Basque country

My friend Arantzazu emailed this recipe today -merluza en salsa verde - which is very typical basque receipe.

It is in her words:

It consists on getting real fresh fish (if posible), put it in warm (but not hot) olive oil, in which some garlic in slices have been fried, while you move the pan on the low fire forwards and backwards without stopping until the fish is cooked, then you add chopped fresh parsley on it and take out from fire.
That was the traditional way to do it, but you can also try to put some oil, garlics, fresh pasley and very little amount, let's say a tea spoon, of flour in a pot, mix it with the robot and cook the fish (anyone) I usually cook hake or cod, in low fire, moving if posible. Mooving makes come out the jelly the fish has itself, which makes the sauce "thiker" with no need of flour..... Salt of course if you want to....

She made this for me and my Dad back in March of 2008 when she hosted us at her beautiful home in Samaniego. She has the most modern shower I have ever seen, with many buttons.

Her in-laws are the proprietors of a winery - Ostatu - if you are ever in Samaniego, you must visit. Let me know and I will give you her contact information so you can schedule a tour.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Filiberto's on 32nd St. is moving

I visited Filiberto's on 32nd Street and Indian School last night and was informed they are moving to a new location at 25th Street (still on Indian School). The move should happen in a week or so. Their guacamole has been pronounced the best of all of the Fili's locations by my Mexican connection (a good friend). Also, their pollo asado tortas (chicken sandwiches) are very juicy and come with papas fritas (fries).

So...check them out at their new digs when you are in the hood.

¡Felicidades, Filiberto's!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

San Diego

My Dad

The Cheese Shop has great sandwiches
(and sells frisbees!)

A lonely seagull seemed like he wanted his picture taken

I visited with my Dad this weekend in San Diego. It was super fun. On Saturday morning we drank bloody marys poolside at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club. They were delicious, with celery and big Spanish olives that I like.

I paid for it the rest of the trip... but it was so nice to see my Dad and spend some goofy time together. He's looking good these days, about to turn 70 - but very spritely. We played frisbee on the beach and walked around the cove area and saw the seals at Children's Beach in La Jolla.

We also visited (twice!) a great restaurant near the tennis club called Osteria Romantica. For dinner last night he had cioppino and pronounced it one of the best he's had. It had a lot of fish, including a flaky whitefish, shrimp, mussels, squid (rings and tentacles) and clams and a tasty tomato based broth. I had a spaghetti dish with sausage, peppers and mushrooms in a light tomato sauce. Oh, and I had a duck breast salad with pine nuts, golden raisins and spinach in a very light vinaigrette. We shared a cannoli for dessert and both had a cappuccino. Delish! For lunch today we went back and I had a beet salad with arugula and walnuts in a light viniagrette and my Dad has veal scallopini with marsala sauce. His dish came with carrots, broccoli and thinly sliced zucchini that were not overcooked as many vegetables at restaurants can be.

La Jolla is such a great spot. If you haven't been, I highly recommend a visit.



Right now!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Nappa Cabbage Salad

If you love cabbage and Chinese food as well, this salad is for you!!

It occurs to me that cold chicken breast pieces would go well in this salad if you would like a little lean protein.

Thank you Nancy for this recipe.

Nappa Cabbage salad:

1 head nappa cabbage
1 bunch green onions
2 packages ramen noodles (broken up)
1/4 cup butter
1 package slivered almonds

Melt butter in skillet then add broken noodles and brown them, stirring occasionally
Add slivered almonds


1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup oil
1/4 cup white vinegar - I will use rice wine vinegar when I make this
2 tablespoons soy sauce

Boil dressing ingredients together and cool

Combine salad and dressing and enjoy this yummy salad.

Coyotas - Mexican pastry

my breakfast

my...snack (for later)

A good friend and my Mexico connection recently gifted me a package of coyotas. Coyotas are Mexican pastries from the mainly Hermosillo region - as shown by the packaging (see picture). A relative of my friend gets these directly from the baker so I am feeling quite privileged with this fine treat!

Sorry, the pictures aren't great. I was shaking in anticipation of eating these pasteles...

Coyotas are very simple and yet so delicous. I suspect they are made with:
lard, flour, sugar, piloncillo (you see this sugar at Food City and other Mexican supermarket), nuts and sometimes dates.

If you have a Mexico connection, ask this person to get you some coyotas.

You'll be so...feliz!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Shepherds pie

Today I am the recipient of a recipe from a lovely co-worker at my new job. She was having her lunch yesterday and it looked so delicious, I had to ask, "what is that?" She told me it was Shepherds pie and said she would bring me the recipe. Sure enough, she did.

Thank you to my lovely co-worker. You know who you are!

Shepherds pie

1 1/2 lbs hamburger
1 package of kernel corn (frozen)
1 can tomato paste (small)
1 onion chopped (optional)
Dried onion, is also an option, you just shake it over the hamburger when it is browning you need enough to cover the meat -
2 large potatoes should do it or you can use instant
3/4 cup water
salt and pepper to taste

Brown your hamburger, onion with the salt & pepper
Drain any excess fat
Put the mixture back in the pan and add 1/2 can of tomato paste.
Add the water and stir together, simmering until the water is gone
Make your mashed potatoes and microwave your corn

In a casserole dish layer:
hamburger mixture
top with potatoes and add pats of butter over top of the potatoes
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

This is lovely! Notice I am using this word over and over again...since it is so English. Much like this recipe.


Wildflower Bakery #2 - palmiers!


I'm usually not a fan of chain restaurants but I have to say that Wildflower Bakery on 44th St/Indian School is a pretty cool place. They have free wifi (and fizzy water, as mentioned in my last post). Today I find out that they have chocolate covered palmiers - or palmeras - a delicious pastry that I had written about in an earlier post when I was having nostalgia for Spain.

Here's a picture of this yummy pastry. You might want to come down here and get one!

I'm having IT issues monitor and cd rom drive went south - both! It's unprecedented, probably, and I am thankful to have a great friend and IT specialist at Clear Skies IT Solutions. If you ever need computer repair, send an email to these friendly and talented IT people at will come to your home or office and have reasonable hourly rates.

In the meantime, I am thankful to be "up and running" online with my little netbook (tiny version of a laptop) here at Wildflower Bakery.

I'm in....a happy place!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Feel good fridays - Urban Cookies

This is pretty cool, you might want to check it out!!

(From their email)

We're letting the cat out of the bag - but just this once! This Friday, Feb. 12, Urban Cookies is launching Feel Good Fridays and giving out 100 free chocolate chip cookies at our retail store.

The Fine Print:

1. Start following us on Twitter ( to find out our next giveaway date.

2. One cookie per person please :)

3. Free cookies are only available at our retail store.

4. If you get a free cookie, Pay it Forward and make someone else feel good.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Pasta salad with red bell peppers and oregano chicken

Food City had red bell peppers on sale last week - 4 / $1.00.

This is a steal!

So, I was inspired to make another pasta salad. It turns out so pretty with the red pepper, and I use fresh basil from Trader Joe's. I freeze it...if you put it in a ziplock bag and take out all the air it won't get freezer burn. The fresh basil adds a dimension of flavor to your pasta salad or tomato sauce that you won't get from dried.

Check out the finished pretty, and so economical.

I also made oregano chicken to go along with this. Just cover your chicken with oregano and bake at 400 degrees for 1 hour. Baste it a couple of times and then at the end (5 minutes left) give it a splash of red wine vinegar.

Except, this time I am I will use a squeeze of lime.

Make these dishes for yourself. You will be so pleased with the results. Homey, yummy food. And, all of this travels well for lunches. You'll be the envy of your co-workers.

Disneyland and good eats

You will ask regarding the title of this post...what does Disneyland have to do with eating good food? Plenty, I tell you. First of all, they have juice bars and frozen bananas. Second, they have a candy shop with licorice whips and white chocolate bark. What else does a foodie need, honestly?

My nieces and nephew were at The Enchanted Kingdom this weekend and my Dad (their grandpa) sent this photo. I'm not sure how Chrissy feels about best he seems skeptical.

I love living vicariously through my brother and sister-in-law. Cute kiddos!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The best chamoyada...ever!

Oasis is the place!

A tasty snack

I am what you might call a chamoyada connoisseur. You can probably tell this by the address of my blog…

You might not know what a chamoyada is. Well, it’s a Mexican slurpee, of sorts. Take crushed ice, chamoy, mango pieces, Japanese peanuts, tamarind candy and a squeeze of lime. Put it all together and you’ve got a chamoyada.

My introduction to Oasis Raspados was through a good friend; we went to the location on Central Avenue and I had a banana split. It was so delicious and overflowing with yummy ice cream: chocolate, vanilla and strawberry. They put pineapple and chocolate sauce on top and then whipped cream and then rainbow sprinkles. I was in heaven. That day we had gone to Oasis with his nephews, they all had raspados and were happy campers. Then he took me back for my birthday and I had a chamoyada... and it was the best birthday ever.

I’m reminiscing a little today... pardon me, I digress.

Back to the best chamoyada ever. It’s at Oasis Raspados. The 32nd Street location (and McDowell) is closest to me but they also have the one on South Central Ave. and one in Mesa.

The chamoyada I had today had lots of mango pieces and a good sprinkling of tamarind candy (also known as serpentinas) and Japanese peanuts, just the way I like it.

They took a hiatus during the holidays, but now “they’re baaaaack!” Go get yourself a chamoyada, banana split or other tasty treat at Oasis Raspados right now.



Saturday, February 6, 2010

Panadería Tortillería Guerrero

a Mexican slushie (diablito)

their "claw" machine - love these vatos (dudes)

piñatas, yogurt, aguacates (avocados), tomatoes, etc.


This is where you go if you want a raspado at 8:30 in the morning

Just discovered this great Mexican bakery on 32nd Street just south of Thomas on the East side of the street, Panadería Tortillería Guerrero. ¡Dios mio! (OMG)

I drove by it on my way to Super Llantera on 32nd Street just south of McDowell. If you ever need a tire fixed (or replaced - used!), these guys can help you. Speaking a little Spanish is not a bad thing. They fixed my rim after a mechanic told me I had an air leak. These guys are really really good. And cheap.

Leaves more $$ for raspados (slushies), mmmm.

Okay, back to the Mexican bakery. It is amazing. Lots of Mexican pastries, dulces (sweets), groceries and on the other side there is a small eatery where they sell tamales, tortas and other yummies to take away a growling tummy. On the bakery side, they also make raspados...I couldn't believe my good fortune. I didn't see a raspado menu but when I asked for a chamoyada the cashier said no and I said, "y diablitos?" she said yes. So, I was able to get a Mexican slushie this morning after my tire was fixed. It is delicious, it has crushed ice, some type of tamarind syrup and tamarind fruit. It is sweet and sour, with just the right toque of whatever it takes to make a good slushie.

Finding out about this place made my weekend. Sisisisisisisisisi....!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Wildflower Bakery has wifi and fizzy water

I'm at the Wildflower Bakery this morning at 44th St./Indian School catching up on some emails and surfing a bit. It's very pleasant, there are lots of tables and booths and the place is well lit with natural light - which I like. It's also close to my bank and in between home and work, an added bonus. I'm having a lemon calistoga water and enjoying my little netbook that my friend and IT specialist at Clear Skies IT Solutions helped me procure last year.

Btw, if you need computer repair help, get in touch with Clear Skies IT Solutions at, they have reasonable rates and will come to your home or office.

In conclusion...Wildflower Bakery has yummy pastries, coffee, soda and salads/'s worth checking out.

Nutrition for optimal health - chart

This chart came from a food blog I believe - don't remember which one exactly right now. But it is a good guide to living a healthy life. Minimal animal protein and sugars with healthy fats and emphasis on whole grains, fruits and veggies.

The chart turned out kind of small when I attached it as a jpg on this blog, so if you need a larger version (so you can print it out and put it on your refrig) just email me at and I will email it to you.

Now, how to implement it with all of the yummies abound? It may be a challenge, but it is a good reminder to what direction we need to be moving towards, especially since meat production is not good for the environment.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Cuernavaca - Summer 2010

My friend Dr. Foster at Phoenix College reminded me about the Cuernavaca trip this summer. I went in 2001 and had a great time. You must go if you enjoy Spanish, eating new foods and want to improve your language skills. Here are the details:


THE LEARN, LIVE AND LOVE SPANISH STUDY PROGRAM IN CUERNAVACA, MEXICO is celebrating its 23nd. consecutive year. The program which will take place June 18– July 3, 2010 is open to all students and members of the community. Students study at the well known UNIVERSIDAD INTERNACIONAL CENTER OF MULTICULTURAL STUDIES where they are totally immersed in the study of Spanish language and culture. Students are not only taught by Mexican university professors, but they also live with Mexican families.

Living with a Mexican family is the ideal way to learn Spanish in the shortest time possible. The purpose of the program is to offer students the opportunity to achieve fluency in Spanish conversation and an understanding of Hispanic culture. Classes are held daily from 8:00 a.m. – 4 p.m., and students study intensive Spanish conversation 3 hours a day in small classes with 5 students and one professor. The rest of their program includes classes on Latin America and workshops on different subjects like music, art, dance, literature and history.

$860.00 (Private room and bath) or $785.00 for PLAN B (shared room and bath). Not included in the cost: transportation, books and spending money. Students fly
to Mexico City and then take a bus to Cuernavaca, The City of Eternal Spring. Cuernavaca is an ideal place to study in that it is close to many interesting places: Mexico City, Puebla, Acapulco, Taxco, Tepotzlán, archeological sites as well as beautiful natural refuges.

This study program has been highly successful, and over the years, many university and community college students have enjoyed learning Spanish at EL CENTRO along with community members that have included college administrators, lawyers, doctors, teachers and business people. Families are welcome to participate in the program.

Virginia R. Foster, Ph.D. has been resident director of the program and can be reached at Phone: 602.254.9620.


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Lentils with chicken wings - bilingual post #2

This recipe came from my good friend Jose in Vitoria, Spain and comes courtesy of 1069 Recetas by Karlos Arguiñano.

I will try to do a proper translation.

• 300 g de lentejas • 1 cebolleta • 1 cebolla roja • 3 dientes de ajo • 1 pimiento morrón asado y pelado • 8 alas de pollo • 3 patatas • sal • pimienta • aceite • agua.
Cuece las lentejas (previamente remojadas) en agua con una cebolleta, sal y un chorro de aceite, durante 40 o 45 minutos. Después, añade las patatas, peladas y troceadas, y déjalo hacer otros 15 minutos.
Salpimenta las alas de pollo y fríelas, hasta que estén doradas, en una sartén con aceite donde habrás puesto 3 dientes de ajo, enteros y con piel, y la cebolla roja picada.
Sirve las lentejas en una fuente y coloca sobre ellas las alitas. Acompaña con la verdura (cebolla y ajo) y los pimientos en tiras.

300 grams of lentils, 1 small green onion, 1 red onion, 3 garlic cloves, 1 peeled roasted red pepper, 8 chicken wings, 3 potatoes, salt, pepper, oil, and water.
Cook the lentils (that have already soaked) in water with the green onion, salt and a tiny amount of oil for 40-45 minutes. Then add the potatoes (peeled and cubed) and let everything cook another 15 minutes.
Season the chicken wings with salt and pepper and fry them in a skillet with oil that you have added 3 whole garlic cloves to (do not remove the skin or chop them in pieces), until they are golden, along with the chopped red onion.
Serve the lentils in a serving bowl surrounded by the wings (you could put the bowl on a platter). Serve the garlic and onion on the side of the wings, sprinkled with the red pepper pieces.

Sorry, I haven't made this yet, so I don't have a picture...

I'm a huge fan of lentils and chicken wings. Just have never eaten them together this way. Can't wait to try it.

Food tax goes into effect Apr 1

I'm opposed to this...does anyone have thoughts?

Found today on

Desperate to save police, fire and other city jobs, a divided Phoenix City Council on Tuesday approved a sales tax on grocery items that will generate tens of millions of dollars a year.

The 2 percent food tax will take effect April 1 and expire after five years, though Mayor Phil Gordon said the council has the option of reversing its decision after it hears from the public during 15 budget hearings planned for this month.

The tax on milk, meat, vegetables and other food purchased by shoppers will generate an estimated $12.5 million for the fiscal year that ends June 30. It will raise another $50 million for fiscal 2011. Food purchased with food stamps will not be taxed.

The extra tax revenue means Phoenix will have more money in its coffers to help close a $241 million general-fund budget deficit through June 2011. Last week, budget officials proposed cutting $140 million in services. Other special funds for things like transit also could get money.

City Manager David Cavazos proposed eliminating 1,379 citywide positions, including nearly 500 police officers and firefighters. Among the dozens of targeted cuts, libraries and senior centers would be closed, an after-school program would be dismantled, and bus and light-rail service would be significantly reduced.

It's unclear exactly where the extra money would be allocated. On Feb. 9, Cavazos and other staff will offer options of how they can reverse proposed cuts using food-tax revenue.

Phoenix shoppers who buy paper towels, toothpaste and other non-food items at a grocery store already pay an 8.3 percent sales tax, 2 percent of which goes to the city. But Phoenix has not taxed food items since the early 1980s.

After Tuesday's vote, Mesa and Surprise are the only Valley cities that do not tax food items, though Surprise is eyeing a 1 percent food tax.

Elizabeth Van Wie told the council that the tax will be devastating for her family of six, which spends $900 to $1,300 a month on groceries. Business at the Van Wies' car wash has taken a 60 percent dive during the recession, and the family has begun growing vegetables to save money.

She suggested taxing fast food, cigarettes or alcohol, instead. "To tax a basic need for my family is disastrous," said Van Wie, her four young children in tow.

But union leaders argued the tax would keep more police officers and firefighters on the streets and emergency response times down.

Pete Gorraiz, president of the United Phoenix Firefighters Association, said city budget officials told him the food tax could provide a $6.9 million boost to the fire budget, saving nearly 40 firefighters' jobs and up to eight civilian employees. The extra revenue would spare three engine companies and an ambulance.

"There are services, and there are critical services," Gorraiz said. "In our business, if you start taking away our ability to meet response times, it's literally the difference between life and death."

Council members approved the tax on a 6-3 vote, with council members Sal DiCiccio, Bill Gates and Peggy Neely dissenting.

DiCiccio called the tax regressive, saying it harms the working poor, seniors and others on fixed incomes. Gates and Neely said they objected to pushing the tax through without giving residents enough time to have their say. Gordon had called for a special meeting just 24 hours earlier so the council could vote on the tax.

"We need to wait until everyone has had an opportunity to weigh in before we vote on this food tax. That is the Phoenix way of doing things," Gates said during the four-hour meeting. "I'm concerned this will enflame some people who will say, 'I didn't have the opportunity to be heard.' "

Gordon said that the sooner the council adopted the tax, the more money there would be to reduce proposed cuts. Implementing the tax in April means the city would have an extra $12.5 million for the current fiscal year.

Added Councilman Michael Nowakowski, an early supporter of the tax: "We're investing in our kids, we're investing in our seniors, we're investing in our libraries and our parks. We're investing in our future."

But local grocers and shoppers said Phoenix's food tax will hit them in their pocketbooks at a time they can least afford it.

"You can't do that to people right now in this market. They're being crunched in every possible way, and this was the only area they were not being taxed on," said Ken Schnitzer, owner of Luci's Healthy Marketplace, a specialty grocery store that opened last year in Phoenix.

"We're a new business that is trying to make it," he added. "Obviously, this will hurt our sales because people can't spend much money, and these are essentials that people need on a daily basis."

Buying cookies and other snacks at Bashas' Supermarket at Seventh Avenue and Osborn Road, Mark Evertz, a snowbird from Montana, said he may start spending winters in Mesa or another community that doesn't tax food items.

"It doesn't take long before a few pennies here and a few pennies there start to add up," said Evertz, 59, a disabled veteran who relies on his fixed pension benefits.

Fresh & Easy - part II

So, have any of you been to Fresh & Easy in your PJ's since this story came to light? I would like to know...I am considering publishing a coffee table book with people shopping in their PJ's but only in places where it's not allowed...otherwise where would the fun be in it?

British Supermarket BANS Shopping In Pajamas

First Posted: 01-29-10 10:52 AM | Updated: 01-29-10 11:15 AM from The Huffington Post


A Tesco supermarket in Cardiff, South Wales has banned customers from shopping in their pajamas, reports. A spokeswoman explained that the move was in response to customer complaints pertaining to other shoppers' outfits.

The store has installed a sign labeled "Tesco Dress Code Policy," which reads: "To avoid causing offence or embarrassment to others, we ask that our customers are appropriately dressed when visiting our store (footwear must be worn at all times and no nightwear is permitted)."

Jeans and sneakers are permitted.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Tamales and empanadas

Don't these look tasty...?
Yummy tamales and empanadas a la Marisol

I am the recipient of yummy tamales and empanadas from a good friend. They are made by Marisol, who makes Mexican food fresh daily for pickup. She can make any tamales you like - chicken, pork, beef, etc. The masa she uses is delish and very fresco. Also she makes empanadas (a small pie). The ones I have are filled with cajeta - a type of caramel but she also makes piña and could probably put anything you want inside them. The empanada dough is sweet but not too sweet and super crumbly, as you would want them to be.

Gracias to my good friend - you know who you are - and Marisol for the goodies!

Get in touch with me to order:

You must pick up, however, since Marisol doesn't deliver (yet)! It's worth the drive, she's at approximately 43rd Ave./Van Buren. Place your order today...!

Did I mention she makes tortillas also? Any other tortillas are falsas (fake)!

She can also do whole wheat flour tortillas if you are feeling healthy.

Filiberto's new location

Coca Cola a la Mexicana

It was my pleasure to have dinner with a good friend tonight at the new Filiberto's in Tempe on Washington and Priest. I had the 99 cent taquitos - they are really more like flautas, very full of yummy carne and the tortillas they use are quite fresh and super crispy when fried. My friend had a chicken burrito and he proclaimed it excelente.

Not only does Filiberto's have a 99 cent night on Tuesdays, they have a free salsa bar with chips and spicy carrots - yes, I did say free - and they also sell paletas de fruta (fruit popsicles) and Mexican Coke and Fanta (see picture).

Doesn't get much better...!

Go see the Fili's folks at their new location, you won't be disappointed.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Lunches this week - economy style

It comes 6 "demi" french loaves to a bag at Costco for about $4.50 - a steal! Keep them in your freezer until you use them to keep them super fresh.


I came up with the bright idea of making a big tortilla (potato omelet) and picking up some La Brea french rolls at Costco to create economic lunches. I make the tortilla in a not so traditional way; in Spain, the potatoes are casa kitchen wench I microwave them (between 4-6 minutes depending on how large they are) and then I brown them in olive oil. Once browned, I add a little kosher salt and 5 beaten eggs. I'm not a big fan of just the whites but if you need to for your health, by all means, use just the whites. I let the omelet cook on one side and then flip the tortilla and cook a few minutes more. You will get better flipping it the more you do it. Don't be shy, make this yummy dish.

In Spain it is common for people to take a bocadillo de tortilla for lunch (potato omelet sandwich) on french bread. It is so delicious. You must make it and take it for lunch. People at your workplace will hover around you in wonder and awe. It is also great for picnics and travels well since it can go unrefrigerated in moderate temperatures for 5-6 hours.

I'm going to have my potato omelet sandwich with an arugula and tomato salad for lunch all this week. ¡A comer!

Pizza Hut #2

That's a nicea pizza!
(does that sound like something "Don" Homer Simpson would say?)

A new job and new working hours. That seems to be my excuse lately for eating things "not so healthy." I picked up a pie from Pizza Hut tonight, thin crust, large, black olives and pepperoni. 3 slices later, it is a tasty pie...

Speaking of pizza, I found a recipe for deep dish pizza at this cool food blog,, it is about feeding two people on thirty bucks a week, mostly vegetarian. There are some good recipes. When I make the pizza I will post it and give credit where credit is due. Mmmm pizza.