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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Coffee brewing - french pressing options, reprise

My brother's new Mr. Coffee espresso maker - it is pretty!

My new French press - small yet efficient!

Today I visited with my Mom and my brother Mike. He showed me his new espresso maker that came today from - it is a Mr. Coffee version and cost only $37! It's a very modern design, I like it a lot. The picture I took is when it is brewing water only - my brother likes things to be very clean, so his machine is now ready to go.

I didn't take a picture of our dinner, but I made a tortilla (potato omelet) with italian sausage. It was really tasty. I pan fried the sausage first (2 links, hot sausage, from DeFalco's Deli) and then let it rest and then sliced it in 1/4 " slices. Then I microwaved 4 medium size baking potatoes for 7 minutes thirty seconds (Fresh & Easy has a bag for 99 cents). Then I removed the skins and browned them in the leftover sausage juices (mmmm) and added a bit of olive oil to the pan as well. Once the potatoes were browned, I added the sausage slices back in and covered everything with 6 beaten eggs and cooked the mixture until most of the liquid was incorporated, then I flipped it and cooked the other side until all of the liquid was gone as well.

On the side we had a loaf of sourdough bread from Bluewater Grille and a tomato/basil/olive oil salad. Cooking in with one's family is sure a nurturing thing. I highly recommend it when you have the time.

Sorry, don't have any pictures this time of the meal, but do make the potato omelet, and add Italian sausage if you can get it. If not, asparagus will do, or spinach, or bell peppers and onions. Mmmm... I am getting seriously carried away now.

Today I found a french press coffee maker at Tuesday Morning at 36th St./Indian School for only $10.00. I figured it was a steal so I snapped it up (see picture).

Mother's Day is coming up, so I asked my Mom today what she wanted for her big day. I figured she would want See's Candies (her usual) but this time she said she wants a really good garlic press. I will go to Standard Restaurant Supply on McDowell and find her a top of the line model. She is also looking for a plastic wisk that won't hurt the bottom of her new pans (like a metal one would scratch them). I haven't found one yet. Any suggestions?

In the meantime, make a potato omelet. Now. Right now!!

What's for lunch - molinari salami with sourdough bread

The molinari salami from DeFalco's in Scottsdale is delish.

Today I was stumped for lunch when I spotted in my refrig a bit of a Molinari salami from DeFalco's deli. The grind is a little coarse, which I like, you have to chew it and I like to "work for my food" so this salami is perfect for the kitchen wench (yours truly).

I toasted some sourdough bread (a baguette that had been frozen from Blue Water Grille) and added some Trader Joe's California Estate Bottled olive oil on top. Makes for a tasty lunch! Add some blueberry yogurt and an earl grey tea for the finale and you're all set (or I'm all set, as it were).

Happy lunching.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Potstickers and rice

Trader Joe's veggie postickers are amazing.

Trader Joe's is a great source for all things lunch related (and dinner and breakfast related too). Recently I spied a few veg potstickers left in my freezer, these are really easy and economical to make. You pan fry them over medium heat in a tablespoon of olive oil for a few minutes until they are a bit brownish and then add a few teaspoons of water to the pan and steam them, covered, for about 4 minutes over low heat.

I like these over rice (see picture). Today I had white but I prefer their brand of brown basmati rice made with chicken stock. I made a sauce with kung po sauce (in the jar) mixed with peanut butter and soy sauce. It was pretty tasty, albeit a bit too salty.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I had a chamoyada from Oasis Raspados prior to my potstickers, which are filling me quite well.

Happy eating!

Postino on Central - reprise

a bunch of grapes tattoo - how cool is this?

Neat artwork displayed at Postino on Central

A "board" of bruschetta with pesto/salmami and brie/fig preserves/apple slices

Jason took me to Postino on Central yesterday for a late lunch. I had a barbara salad (field greens/beets/candied walnuts/grapes/chicken with a herb vinaigrette) and Jason had a nine-iron sammie with chips on focaccia bread that had chicken and bacon with some melted cheese. We also shared a board (see picture) that was very tasty and I had a glass of garnacha Spanish wine.

We talked to one of the owners (or a server, maybe?) who had a beautiful tattoo on her arm of grapes, which she designed. Very cool, no? She is also a chef, which this kitchen wench appreciates very very much.

We also saw this cool artwork that reminds me of batik in a way, it looks like it is "stamped." We're not sure who the artist is, but it is art that should be displayed proudly!

Get yourself to Postino on Central for tasty eats. Now! Right now!!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Jan Shepherd What's Eating You? 5 Food-Thought Patterns and Their Effect


For most of my life, I was paralyzed by fear and anxiety. Fear of failure, fear of making mistakes and fear of expressing what I really felt and thought. So instead of participating in life, I built up and then hid behind 200 extra pounds. And to make certain I stayed stuck, I denied myself the permission to enjoy learning.

I thought I had to know the subject perfectly even before I studied it. As a consequence, the simple and natural act of learning (as well as anything to do with performance) created a state of almost constant anxiety and an inclination to say no to life. It wasn't until I discovered that it was my thinking that required a major overhaul that I was able to truly begin my journey of getting to my normal weight and staying there.

For me, it was finding what worked and what didn't. It was learning that my ego was what was fragile, not me. And it was my beliefs that were holding me back, not my mistakes or failures. If I believed that I was capable, mistakes would just be a blip on my radar and I would be much more likely to take risks. The breakthrough came when I found out that I could use positive beliefs to move forward on my path just as I had used distorted thinking to get me into and perpetuate my addictive cycle of yo-yo dieting.

There were two highly destructive distorted thinking patterns that drove me. The first was "polarized thinking" -- thinking things are black or white or good or bad. The idea that you have to be perfect or you're a failure. It is a place, unlike reality, with no middle ground. Once I switched that type of thinking, I knew I wouldn't collapse if I ate a cookie and one cookie wouldn't lead to me eating the whole bag. Any ol' set-back did not make a journey, it was just a step.

The second distorted pattern was "emotional reasoning" or believing that whatever you feel must be true. If you feel stupid and boring, then you must be stupid and boring. I kept believing I was inadequate even though I could converse with the smartest folks in the room, so I often just shut up. I don't know if that was because I was afraid of making a mistake or appearing foolish or both. I do know that I would then go home and stuff my face with food creating a 200 pound mistake by using that distorted thinking strategy. A very well known, highly successful friend of mine has a sign in her office that reads "Make A New Mistake Everyday." I can now take a deep breath and allow myself that luxury. And instead of weighing 350 I weigh 135.

The bottom line is that it's not only what you eat that is the cause of obesity, it's what's eating you and that change is only possible when we approach our lives and "problems" from many levels. Yes, I made wise food choices. But making wise thought choices has made it much easier for me to make wise food choices.

While this blog details two that were significant for me, there are many different types of distorted thinking patterns and limiting beliefs that keep people stuck whether or not they are struggling with eating disorders. I'd be happy to send you the complete list ( which was given to me 12 years ago by Dr. Charles Portney, a well respected eating disorders psychiatrist. For now, here are five additional patterns. Are any of them keeping you stuck?

Filtering: Taking the negative details and magnifying them while filtering out all the positive aspects of a situation.

Personalization: Thinking everything people do or say is some kind of reaction to you.

Control Fallacies: Feeling externally controlled, seeing yourself as helpless.

Blaming: Holding yourself or others responsible for every problem.

Shoulds: Having a list of ironclad rules about how you and other people should act. People who break the rules anger you and you feel guilty if you violate them.

Stovetop tilapia with Mexican-style tomatoes over rice

This is super quick cooking tilapa (stovetop) and you don't have to turn on your oven.

The larder has been a bit empty yet lately so I have been cleaning out my freezer for overlooked edible items. To my surprise I found a frozen tilapia filet that my aunt had given me a month or so ago and I also had some leftover white rice (that I cooked yesterday to eat with Trader Joe's veg potstickers). I usually like to use Trader Joe's Brown Basmati rice, but alas, I gave my last bag to my Dad to take back to San Diego with him the last time he visited.

I also found a can of Mexican style tomatoes that were cubed and in some juice, so I thought I would make a mock "Veracruz" style fish (no green olives in my refrig!) over rice. I heated some olive oil in a skillet and then plunked my filet down with some tomatoes on top. I cooked this covered on low (after bringing it to a medium heat) for 10 minutes and the fish was flaky and perfectly cooked. It was great over rice (see picture).

Make this for yourself, and add green olives if you have them and serve with slices of lime for garnish.
Happy Cooking!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Coffee brewing - french pressing options

A french press mug is a good option if you are on the go
and still want good coffee, made at home.

According to Canoe (an online store), this coffee maker is pretty neat.

They say: The perfect antidote to today's gulped-on-the-go, chain coffee shop concoctions that feature dubious ingredients (Pumpkin Spice?). Designed by a German born chemist and based on laboratory glass vessels, the Chemex employs gravity and a special paper filter to produce a superb cup of pure and simple coffee. Perfect for brewing after a good meal, the Chemex far outshines any electric coffee maker in aesthetic appeal, bringing functional good looks right to the table. Includes box of 100 square filters. Included in the Museum of Modern Art New York's Permanent Collection, it has been in continuous production for over 60 years.

We all know there are a lot of coffee maker options when we brew, so this might be a good one to try. In a pinch when don't have time to make it (what an excuse, right?) I go to Mama Java at 36th St./Indian School and order a cafe au lait for $2.50. It is cheaper than a latte, a good option for this frugal kitchen wench.

I am considering buying one of those french press mug jobbies. I have seen them at REI and Target (see picture above). They run less than $20 and considering the cost of getting your java on the street, it can help you save a few nickels.

Happy caffeinating.

An Easy Cooking Class for Men - I couldn't resist - (en Español)


Cómo preparar una buena barbacoa.
Nivel de dificultad: 3
Una vez que un hombre se ha decidido a hacer una barbacoa, hay una serie de acciones encadenadas que se ponen en marcha. . . .
1) La mujer compra la comida.
2) La mujer hace la ensalada, prepara la verdura y el postre.
3) La mujer prepara la carne para la barbacoa, la pone en una bandeja junto con los utensilios necesarios y la lleva al exterior, donde el hombre ya se encuentra sentado ante la barbacoa con una cerveza en la mano.
Ahora el punto culminante de la actividad.
5) Siguen más actividades rutinarias: la mujer lleva los platos y cubiertos al exterior.
6) La mujer informa al hombre que la carne se está quemando.
7) Él le agradece esta información vital y aprovecha para pedirle otra cervecita mientras se ocupa de la emergencia.
Y ahora. . . otro momento culminante!!!!!
9) Más trabajos rutinarios: la mujer coloca los platos, la ensalada, el pan, los cubiertos, las servilletas y las salsas y lleva todo a la mesa .
10) Después de la comida, la mujer quita la mesa, friega los platos y. . . otro momento importante!!! :
12) El hombre pregunta a su mujer qué le ha parecido el no tener que cocinar. Cuando ve que ella se mosquea, llega a la conclusión de que no hay manera de entender a las mujeres.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Riva Greenberg on overeating at

Obesity: Overeating Is Planned and Designed Into Our Foods

Call me late to the game, this book came out last year, but I just read Dr. David Kessler's The End of Overeating, Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite. Wow! If you haven't read it, you should. It's never too late to tell someone about a good book.

I can no longer look at food as anything but salt loaded on fat loaded on sugar. It is a refrain throughout this in-depth work that pulls the curtain open to reveal, among other things, how manipulated we are into over-eating by food manufacturers.

The book is segmented into three basic categories

1) Why we are addicted, emotional eaters - In part, because more and more people are looking toward food as an indulgence. A reward for, and a break-away from, their over-packed, stressful lives.

Because salt, sugar and fat create the perfect storm for craving and addiction: The perfect blend that keeps us returning to a food, hooked beyond intelligent reasoning. What Kessler, the former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, calls "conditioned hypereating."

Kessler's research suggests that how we think about food and what we eat today has actually changed the neural pathways in our brain, setting up a push-pull struggle (I want this food/I shouldn't have it) so that we are almost powerless against temptation. Further, this leads us to follow an eating script that has been written into the circuits of our brains.

2) How America's food manufacturers are spending millions to hook us and keep us hooked - In part, by purposefully creating salt, sugar, fat explosions of flavor that are novel, to spark and stroke our senses. By creating food that is maximally chewable and easy to swallow. How devious. This makes eating so easy and quick that we're consuming loads more food than we realize, and before we have time to feel full. And, that inexpensive, highly processed food is available everywhere, anytime.

3) How to break our addiction and take control over our eating - Here Kessler suggests a number of cognitive strategies. Like changing our visual cues. If you pass an ice cream shop you can't resist while driving to work, change your route. Don't diet - it only leaves you feeling deprived and you will resume your old habits when you quit. Replace rewarding yourself with food with other things. Also, plan your eating, talk yourself through how you will feel after you eat that food and move toward what you want. In other words, make a commitment to health rather than run from the foods that have you stuck like Chinese water torture.

I agree with Kessler's strategies to help break our food addiction, but most people will not be able to execute them. They take powerful attention, concentration, a deep commitment to change and practice, practice, practice. Dr. Kessler agrees, telling us repeatedly that it is hard work.

Personally, I found the first two sections of this book mesmerizing. We are treated to some historical knowledge of how our whole food schemata changed in the early eighties. For instance when Coca Cola got fast-food restaurants to supersize drinks from 8 oz to 12 oz to 16 oz to today's 32 oz, and, stop giving out water. When food started coming out of laboratories rather than off the farm.

Don't just think McDonalds and Burger King are to blame for our rising obesity. Rather, think every chain restaurant across America like Chili's, Ruby Tuesday, Houlihan's, the Cheesecake Factory, Outback Steakhouse and more also bear the blame.

At Outback, for instance, one of Kessler's food consultants ordered their signature dish, 'Aussie Fries,' and it came smothered with cheese and topped with bacon bits. He calls this enormous plate 20 cents worth of cheap filler for $5 worth of wow!

Our feel-good, family restaurants also get our kids hooked early on fat loaded on sugar loaded on salt. The ubiquitous spinach dip found in many of them is a high-fat, high-salt dairy product where the spinach adds mostly color. Breaded proteins like chicken and fish are deep fried before they leave the food factory to be shipped and then fried again when you order them. That's fat on fat. Cheese in a dish adds hefty salt and fat. Even Starbucks has joined this ratty pack. Their white chocolate mocha frappucino is coffee diluted with sugar (up to 58 grams of sugar), fat and salt.

Here are a few other tasty excerpts from the book:

Andrew, a typical food-craver, celebrated every Little League victory at Carvel, the legendary ice cream chain in New York. Now his childhood memory sends him back to Carvel whenever he sees one. He battles with his desire to go and his determination not to. Foods become imbued with emotional resonance.
Kessler says because a cookie makes him feel better, it's easy to develop the habit of seeking it out when he's sad or angry. Over time, as neural pathways link the change in his mood with the experience of eating the cookie, the association grows stronger. These products have a hedonic, calming effect. They relieve the itch, but the problem is the itch comes back.
Mike McCloud of Uptown Bakers, an artisanal wholesale bakery based in Maryland, talks of "tricked-out" bagels. "You take a basic concept like a bagel, which is a very clean bakery item and then you add ingredients to change the mouth feel and the texture.

Panera's crunch bagel is such an example. It has vanilla drops (sugar and partially hydrogenated palm kernel oil), brown sugar, honey, vanilla, salt, molasses, more palm oil and is then topped with sugar, cinnamon, and soybean oil. Taking his first bite, says Kessler, the topping gave a crunchy sweetness that contrasted beautifully with the soft interior. As he chewed the bagel it became a moist wad, easy to chew and swallow, with a lingering sweetness. Lubricated by its fat, he devoured the bagel in only a few chews."Panera," says Kessler, "manufactured the cinnamon crunch bagel to perfection."

Panda Express's "Orange Chicken" is described on the menu as "tender, juicy chicken pieces lightly battered and fried, sauteed in a sweet and mildly spicy chili sauce with scallions." Preparation of the dish begins in the factory where the meat is processed, battered, fried and frozen. The dark chicken chunks contain as much as 19 percent of a water-based solution: oil and salt are also added. More salt and other spices are added before the battered chicken nuggets are pre-browned in soybean oil, frozen and then shipped to Panda Express outlets. At the restaurant, the meat is deep-fried in oil just before you eat it. The accompanying chili sauce has sugar, salt and oil striking the golden triangle of our neuro-wiring and palate.
Food manufacturers have long been using focus groups to test for cravings and then designing their product for "irresistibility" and "crave-ability." When a food scientist at Frito-Lay analyzed what determines "irresistibility" five key influences were pinpointed: calories, flavor hits, ease of eating, meltdown and early hit. Companies know this and use this.

I continue to be amazed, and outraged, that as a nation we continue to subsidize the food industry to kill us. To line our supermarket shelves with chemical food substances. To refine the nutrition and fiber out of almost everything we eat. To make food so easy to swallow we don't even have to chew anymore, as foods race to our stomach on a slick of oil. To allow neighborhood suburban restaurants to saturate an ordinary piece of chicken with fat on fat and chemicals and write it up on the menu as if it were a healthy choice.

Is the government hoping we're too drugged out on donuts to think clearly and so big business keeps getting a free pass? Would we even need such reform in our health care plan if we revamped accessibility to, and affordability of, healthier foods?

The Culprits of Obesity
If you think being healthy is an individual choice, and solely up to the individual, you are not alone. But it requires enormous discipline to make enough right choices in the face of our unhealthy environment. Kessler says we are nearly powerless against the pull and craving of fat, salt and sugar and they are built into most foods and food products.

I have also always thought beside the obvious culprits aiding obesity - highly refined and processed foods, huge portion sizes, chemicals additives that mess with our metabolism, the availability of unhealthy fast food at cheap prices - that there is another culprit. We have elevated "thin" to a must-have so that eating now has an element of psychological warfare.

How often do you just eat and enjoy your food? Instead aren't you always sizing up calories, fat, carbs, playing tug of war with yourself whether you should give in to what you want or walk away virtuous? We depict the brass ring of "thinness" everywhere. But until we break the cycle of fat on sugar on salt on fat on sugar in our food, like an addict most of us will just keep reaching for more.

If I've whet your appetite to read Kessler's book, you too will likely look at that next slice of pizza or muffin or breakfast cereal or even seemingly harmless vanilla yogurt or virtuous protein bar as fat loaded on salt loaded on sugar. And maybe that's a useful strategy to help us break our craving and addiction. To deconstruct our processed food into its less attractive edibles. That may just push the "pause" button long enough to slow our reach.

As Kessler says, it's a process to break the cycle and create new habits. It took me two decades to change my eating habits so that fruits and vegetables are what I crave and salt on sugar on fat only tempts me now and then. Stopping counting calories, staying off the scale and looking toward what I wanted - health, energy, vitality and looking good in my clothes - rather than being fixated on, and running from, the three-headed monster, was what moved me to end my overeating.

John Robshaw textiles

This 6 x 9 rug would really tie my living room together, and at $375, not a bad deal

I'm waiting at the airport for my flight to Phoenix which is a couple of hours away - so I'm doing one thing I'm able to do at the airport (other than eat) that this kitchen wench really enjoys: online shopping.

I was at and they mention John Robshaw textiles in their home & garden section this week. I went onto their website, and spied a 6x9' cotton area rug on sale for $375 that I like quite a bit (see picture).

In my opinion, is a valuable source for home type items, they frequently mention stores and websites that have sales, so check it out!

La Jolla, continued

My brother Ken and his daughter Brianna (Chrissy was hiding).

The Cheese Shop makes yummy sandwiches

and they have some tasty candies!

Papalulus Restaurant is the place for breakfast

The kitchen wench outside Papalulus Restaurant

Today our eating experiences continued in La Jolla. My brother visited with his kiddos (see picture) and we went to Papalulus Restaurant for breakfast, where they have lattes, cappuccinos and drip coffee. They also serve homemade cinnamon rolls and muffins that looked pretty tasty as well. You can sit inside or outside. Today we opted for the to go option since my brother had two kids in tow and they wanted to go to the beach.

For lunch Dad and I ate my leftover pasta from last night and then we took a nap and watched a movie on Turner Classic Movies with Sidney Portier called Lillies of the Field. I gather it was a bit of a groundbreaking movie in terms of addressing racism in this country. Then Dad got a second wind and we decided to eat again at the nearby Cheese Shop where they make delicious sandwiches and have yummy side salads. Dad opted for a salami on ciabatta bread and I had a green salad with a few salami slices on the side, it became an antipasto salad, as it were. Light but still filled me up, just what the doctor ordered for this kitchen wench who tries to be healthy (eat healthy and exercise) when she can.

Papalulus and The Cheese Shop are highly recommended for your dining experiences when you visit La Jolla. Don't delay, get yourself to La Jolla soon, before the "off season" becomes a crowded "summer season."

La Jolla

These guys have great Italian food

Ahhhhh...poolside at La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club.

If you have never been to La Jolla, I highly recommend you visit. If you have been before, I recommend you return. Now! Right now!

I spent this weekend in La Jolla visiting with my Dad, my brother and his family and my sister. We had the best time, did some swimming, relaxing and most importantly, eating, according to this kitchen wench!

On Saturday we all spent time at the pool at the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club (see picture). We swam, had drinks and caught up on the latest family news. The pool water was about 80 degrees according to a club member (laa dee da) while the ocean hovers around 60 something. So, we opted for the pool...

My Dad's friend Dianne joined us for dinner at Osteria Romantica where we had to wait awhile but the food was worth it. I had the spinach salad with duck breast and Dianne had a romantica salad which also looked delicious (but not as delicious as mine). The salads at Osteria Romantica are very fresh with a viniagrette dressing that is light but coats the greens well. My salad had golden raisins which I enjoy very much.

For the entree I had penne pasta with sausage, peppers and mushrooms in a light tomato sauce. It had just the right touch of garlic and I had enough to take home for lunch the next day (that would be today) and this frugal kitchen wench always appreciates having leftovers available. My Dad and Dianne opted for the stuffed salmon which included scallops and crab. They both enjoyed it and alongside the entree there were roasted potatoes and sauteed veg that appeared to be carrots and broccoli. Everything on their plates looked, well, yummy.

Osteria Romantica makes their own bread, it is crusty and delicious. They serve it with an uncooked marinara sauce which is very fresh tasting and garlicky. I was glad to also have access to butter (upon request) and Dianne was happy to receive olive oil to dip her bread in (upon request). Dad and I had a glass of merlot and then I had a second glass of chianti which I couldn't finish and we shared; Dianne had a chardonnay so we were not drinking alone, which was good. I never want to appear to be the only lush at the table. Haha.

I digress...for dessert Dianne had tiramisu and I had a cannoli which my Dad stuck his fork in a few times. Dad and I also had a cappuccino. Being a coffee snob (I make my own lattes every day) I can honestly say that Osteria Romantica has great java. They put a little ground nutmeg on top of their capuccinos which is a special touch. The milk is not too frothy and the coffee tastes very fresh and not bitter.

So...the moral of this post, get yourself to Osteria Romantica and The La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club as soon as possible. You may have to charge it - the rooms with a kitchenette start at $219 (off season, of course for this frugal kitchen wench) but, the upside is, it's right on the beach, and it is private. And, they have an amazing pool and their poolside restaurant is excellent (get yourself a blt). You get cozy terry cloth robes in your room. You will feel like a princess for a day, which as us ladies know, is not necessarily a bad thing.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Judith Wolff Designs

Judith - from Judith Wolff Designs will speak to your group

I attended a Wine Women Wardrobe and Design event this week and reconnected with Judith Wolff, who I met at Central Phoenix Women over a year ago. She invited me to wine and women where she presented a new fabric and rug selection with beautiful prints that included stripes, big flowers, "twigs" (like coral) and ethnic. Some of the rugs were shaggy and modern, one in particular I liked was red, it reminded me of one I saw at Design Within Reach that was cost prohibitive.

I let Judy know I really enjoyed her presentation and she told me she does presentations for charity functions, Mom's groups and just about any gathering. Something to keep in mind if you have a get together of like minded people who enjoy learning about new fabrics and decorating, and who might be in the market for a new piece.

Judy will "hook you up" (pun intended = rugs).

Judith Wolff

Judith Wolff Designs-Interior Design

p/f 480-699-0424

c. 480-299-6766

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

My Big Fat Greek Restaurant

While they do make mojitos, I opted for an iced tea to help quench my summer thirst

I had a wonderful dinner and catch up visit with my friend Sharon last night at My Big Fat Greek Restaurant in Tempe (Mill Ave. location). We both had a gyro and side greek salad, shared a hummus and she had coffee, I had tea, and then we shared a baklava cheesecake and I finished with a turkish coffee.

It was delicious and overdue.

Get yourself to Big Fat Greek for tasty Greek eats!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tokyo Express and the Dutch Brothers

This chicken salad has regular lettuce (iceberg) and cabbage with a rice wine dressing

Jason and I were at Tokyo Express last night, he treated me to a chicken salad (see picture) and he had a Tokyo Bowl with a side salad. We both had green tea.

The chicken salad at Tokyo Express is great, refreshing, light, and just perfect for the upcoming summer.

Afterwards we went to Dutch Brothers drive thru and I had an iced chai and he had an iced latte with vanilla.


Carlos O'Brien's and puppy love


a happy kitchen wench

chicken fajita burro (and his tacos in the background)

Do you ever have a week when days mesh together? In my case it's because I've been having a good time lately i.e. the days are meshing together because, well...this kitchen wench has found a special person that I want to be with in my life, for the long term.

This special person is Jason - he's been mentioned in earlier posts, but lately we've solidified our relationship, knowing we want the same thing: monogamy, laughter, sharing, friendship and...good eats!

Jason supports this kitchen wench in terms of good eats, recently he took me to Carlos O'Brien's in Scottsdale (I can't tell you what day because the days are meshing together - it's been a month since we've been together, and I'm on cloud 9).

Okay, I digress. Carlos O'Brien's has great food. I had 3 margaritas (I was celebrating) at the happy hour price and a chicken fajita burro (see picture). It is the most delicious chicken fajita burro that I have tasted since back in the day when I worked near 35th Ave./Northern where there was a place called Jal-O-Peños - I don't know if it's there anymore, but they had great chicken fajita burritos and a nice waiter who I think became a co-owner who I used to work with at Garcia's back in the day.

This kitchen wench is pithy today. Unusual for me...

But then, I'm basking in the warm glow of finding a special person to spend my life with.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

German barbeque

Go get some brats and pork chops to make this tasty barbeque.

My girlfriend Yecla in Wurzburg, Germany, sent this picture of her family's last barbeque. Honestly, how delicious does this look? A baked potato with some sausages and pork chop. Sounds right up this kitchen wench's alley. Honestly, I don't know too much about barbequing. I think you have to really know how to "work the heat" as it were. Yecla seems to have it down. She served this meal with a simple green salad (not pictured) which included lettuce, tomato, salt, oil and balsamic vinegar (one of my favorite vinegars - I also like rice wine and champagne but mostly use red wine). For dessert Yecla made barbequed bananas in foil with a little honey on top.

How delicious does that sound?

If you have a grill, go use it! If you don't, get one of those disposable ones from the store that has the charcoal already in them. But just make sure to use it outside, okay? This kitchen wench doesn't want to be liable for any bbq "incidents" other than yummy eating.

Tokyo Express and Dutch Brothers

My love interest and partner in crime Jason treated me to Tokyo Express yesterday for dinner. We had Tokyo Bowls (white meat chicken and veg) over rice with teriyaki sauce. If you haven't been to Tokyo Express lately, it's time to go back. I spied their bento bowls (to go meals) which have many options for main dishes and appetizers, and are reasonable (under $10). Their food is really healthy, filling and cheap.

Beforehand, we stopped at Dutch Brothers - or drove through, rather...they are at Camelback and Central and have great coffee and chai. Jason had an iced latte with vanilla and I had an iced chai. Normally I'm not down with iced drinks but it was warm yesterday and I needed to cool off. Or, maybe it's the company I keep.

Get yourself to Tokyo Express (10th St./Camelback) for healthy, reasonable and fast japonese food and treat yourself to a coffee or chai at Dutch Brothers. This combination could easily become a part of your regular routine...

Friday, April 16, 2010

Mariscos Playa Hermosa on Garfield and 16th St.

Order yourself a michelada - it's clamato and beer, dude...

mojarra frita - a whole fried fish

My auntie treated me to a late lunch/early dinner today at Playa Hermosa. She said they just received a great review in the AZ Republic, so she called and said, "wanna do lunch, on me?" That's all this kitchen wench needed to hear, so, off we went. Unsual that we should dine together twice in one week, but I'm not complaining.

Playa Hermosa serves primarily seafood, I had mojarra frita (a whole fried fish) that came with rice, a side salad and some of the most delicious refried beans I've ever had. Also I had a choice of flour or corn tortillas (I prefer corn so that's what I ordered) and my aunt ordered the pescado veracruz, fish done veracruz style, with tomatoes and olives on top, also served with rice, a side salad and beans. She loved it and we both had a little drinkie to celebrate: she had a bud in the bottle and I had a michelada made with Tecate.

If you have never had a michelada before, I urge you to order one the next time you are at a Mexican restaurant. It is a mixture of beer and clamato. Then some people add worchestire (how do you spell that word, anyways) or soy sauce and some people add chile powder, black pepper and use a glass with a salted rim. I really like this drink, it is super refreshing. The waiter told us it is made differently depending on what region you are from in Mexico. Get yourself a michelada, now!

Playa Hermosa also serves flan, we were told, but alas, we did not have room for this rich custard dessert. Next time.

Get yourself to Playa Hermosa for some tasty fish. Now, right now! ¡¡Arre!!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Postino on Central

Barbara salad from Postino on Central

I was treated to a yummy lunch today by my partner in crime, Jason. He took me to Postino on Central. It was buzzing! Lots of people waiting to eat yummy salads, and sandwiches, which is exactly what we were wanting and craving.

I had a Barbara salad - technically not on their menu but a staple at their 40th St./Campbell location, named after Barbara (I don't remember her last name). We met one day after I had a successful client meeting and I was feeling prosperous, hence my visit to Postino that day. Barbara had a delicious looking salad and told me I could order it even though it wasn't on the menu, it had been designed especially for her, since she goes there all the time. She said I must try it. And I have been ordering it ever since, for the past year and a half or so. I digress. This tasty salad has field greens, pear, beets, carmelized nuts, tomatoes, dried leeks and an herb vinagrette, with shaved chicken (optional). This salad is so delicious, you must go get one.

Jason had a chicken sandwich with bacon on focaccia with some type of gooey cheese that looked very good. His came with chips and we shared a board with brie/apples/fig and salami/pesto bruschetta.

The weather was nice enough that we could sit outside, and it was somehow cooler than sitting inside.

Postino's is highly recommended as they have first quality and consistency in their food. We'll be back!

Wall decals help to hide cracks

This is pretty cool, saw it today at

Wall Decals Help to Hide Cracks

Instead of seeing a crack on your wall as a problem that needs to be repaired, consider it an opportunity for decoration. That’s the idea behind TakeBreak, a set of wall decals created by the Taiwanese design firm AHead Creative that can transform a crack into a flowering plant inhabited by birds, snails and butterflies.

“It turns an imperfection into a piece of art,” said Fumi Suzuki, a manager at MollaSpace, a California distributor of quirky Asian accessories that brought the product to the United States. “It encourages people to use their imagination — a crack in the wall can be seen as a tree.”

Each $6 set contains 15 decals. Information: (888) 665-5277,

Sausage, peppers, onions, potatoes

I went to DeFalco's deli on Scottsdale Road yesterday with my aunt - she wanted to get one of those Molinari salami's that I bought recently that is really, really tasty. I slice it thin and eat it on whole wheat crackers, ideally with some pear, almonds and a glass of syrah.

At DeFalco's I picked up ten hot sausages and cooked at my Mom's. Dining companions included: my brother Mike, my boyfriend Jason and my Mom, a kitchen goddess.

The meal:

Place sausages in deep glass pan (I like pyrex) and poke with a fork.
Cut 5 skinned baking potatoes in quarters
Slice 2 large brown onions
Quarter 4 bell peppers - I used green since they were on sale (2/$1.00) at Fresh & Easy

Coat all ingredients with olive oil - a few tablespoons at least, and bake uncovered at 400 degrees.

I didn't use any salt and pepper on this and didn't miss it since the sausage is so spicy.

We served this with a simple spinach salad that had a red pepper in it and a couple of roma tomatoes. The dressing was olive oil, red wine vinegar, dijon mustard, salt and a pinch of red pepper flakes.

The bread...I can't forget the bread. We had the most delicious sourdough bread from Bluewater Grille (formerly The Fish Market) on 16th St./Camelback. You can go and buy a loaf of bread, uncooked/smoked fish and they also have sides for sale like rice or potatoes.

So...the moral of this post: make a meal with your family. Enjoy it. Make sure to cook enough so there are leftovers.

Happy Cooking!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

NYPD Pizza, H20 store

Spaghetti & Meatballs at NYPD Pizza will fill you up - and you may have leftovers!

The H20 store is a great place to get a snow cone.

Had lunch today with my auntie at NYPD Pizza. I had the spaghetti and meatballs (see picture) that I really enjoy. My aunt had the mussels in red sauce over linguine and we shared a large antipasto salad. And we each had a glass of wine. It was a little over the top, for a weekday lunch, but we needed to catch up and we both had the time, so...

Then we went over to the new Fresh & Easy store at 40th St./Camelback. It was bustling, as today was their opening day. I spent $10 so I got a free tote bag (and so did my aunt) - among my purchases: earl grey tea (2), bell peppers (4), onions (3) and raisin bran (their brand). Got all this for about ten buckaroos. I think I'll be going back. They have a large wine/beer selection and they also have their brands of coke and other sodas. Good for this kitchen wench's budget! Also spied yogurt that was a reasonable price and a pasta sauce for 99 cents a jar. 99 cents!

After shopping at Fresh & Easy, my aunt smoked a cigarette and loaded the car while I went to the H20 store on the same corner. They have snow cones - a medium size is $2.75 and you get to choose 3 flavors. I had piña colada, blueberry and cherry. If you want to go to Hawaii, but don't have the budget, get yourself to the H20 store at Camelback and 40th St. Their snow cones will cool you off and won't break the bank.

Happy eating.

Hava Java - great coffee

I met a friend this morning at Hava Java on 32nd St. and Camelback for coffee - and WOW - this place is hopping. If I was a single gal (which I'm not) I would be coming back, a lot. Lots of eye candy, to be sure.

The coffee was delicious (thank you Maria) - I had a decaf latte along with a V8, which I was happy to see among the offerings which included Naked Juice, bottled water, yogurt and various yummy looking pastries.

While we were visiting, Maria recommended a sandwich place to me which I will mention - Pane e Bianco. I am excited to go there since I have a strong relationship with carbs (viva ciabatta bread and focaccia) and Maria assured me that their bread is delicious. Enough said. I'll be going. Also she said Lux coffee is right next door and their coffee is highly recommended so that sounds like a plan to get a sandwich and then go get a coffee to drink with it while the sandwich is being prepared...I will go to both places, try them out and take pictures, then report back to all of you my findings. Sounds like tough work for this kitchen wench. haha.

Get yourself to Hava Java today for some serious beverage enjoyment and eye candy (bonus). I forgot to mention they are next door (right next door) to one of my all time favorite places, the Gelato Spot.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

What's for lunch - spinach salad with chicken

Go get yourself a bag of spinach and make this salad - now!!

I had an extra cooked chicken thigh in the refrig today so I decided to make a spinach salad with tomatoes and chicken. I buy the bagged spinach since it's super convenient to use and it stays fresh for about a week. I typically get about 5 servings per bag - and at $1.99 per bag (courtesy of Food City) it falls within this kitchen wench's tiny budget.

I made dressing from Trader Joe's olive oil - this one is called Extra Virgin California Estate and it's about 7 bucks a bottle but it's well worth it. I think it's unfiltered and is very good in salads, it has kind of a fruity taste. I don't cook with it, but instead use their virgin olive oil for cooking. So to the olive oil, I added a drizzle of honey and a splash of lime from Bokados Lime Juice (Food City again) and it made a nice light dressing. I'm thinking I'm going to be making this a lot during the summer.

This dressing will work well for pasta salads, too. I already am planning ahead (a gal on a budget has to) so I have the Trader Joe's whole wheat penne pasta, a can of black olives, Spanish Guindilla peppers (also from TJ's) and I will add cherry tomatoes to it and some fresh basil, and there you go.

Some strawberries, a club soda and lunch is served. Maybe a liquid yogurt later.

Happy cooking.

AJ's Fine Foods

Breakfast with technology - a beautiful thing

I've talked about AJ's Fine Foods before, but it's worth another mention. Why, do you ask? They have wi-fi, at least at the location I'm at currently on Pima and Union Hills. I'm outside enjoying a hot latte with a blueberry scone.

Wi fi is a great thing because not only does it connect you to others online, it connects you to people (bystanders) who are curious about technology - in my case this morning, my netbook. It is an ASUS and is very small, great for travel(see picture). I'm hoping that potential new clients will be impressed with it this weekend at the small business event I'm exhibiting at called Conexiones. I was on TV last weekend promoting it - and myself - channel 3 has a time slot they donate for Nuestra Causa; it is once a month, on a Sunday morning, at 6:30 am, for us earlybirds.

Speaking of technology, if you need tech support, email the nice folks at Clear Skies IT Solutions at They will come to your home or business for a reasonable hourly rate.

Technology and caffeine, what could possibly be a better combination, really...?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Cost Plus World Market - great place for kitchen stuff

A tiffin is a good portable option for storing your lunch

Look at all of these spices - they have the best prices in town

Nutella - the kitchen wench's snacking staple - great with french bread

I went into Cost Plus today with the intention of looking at their selection of sofas...the best one I've found so far is at Denmarket across the street from Cost Plus at 18th St./Camelback. It is leather and 81" long, would look great in my living room. Alas, this kitchen wench has champagne taste on a beer budget so I really should be shopping at Ozzie's (earlier post) but you know how the id, the ego and the super ego works...

Anyways, I digress. I was in Cost Plus today looking at sofas when I spied their selection of area rugs, then bath rugs, then kitchen ware and then food. They have tiffins, which are indian style lunchboxes. Their version has 2 tiers as opposed to some others that I have seen with three, but for the price ($10) I think this is a steal. They look very substantial and of good quality. Also while I was in their kitchen section I found myself walking towards their specialty foods which are right next to the kitchen stuff - in between the tea/coffee section and the wine section, which are both ample. It is easy to get distracted in this store, because they have all kinds of spices - one of which is chipotle powder which I have had trouble finding elsewhere - it is a good rub for chicken or pork or beef or...whatever kind of protein you like. Rabbit, even, I would bet. They also have a great selection of chocolate spreads - one I noticed is a banana chocolate spread that was among the nutella, which I am very fond of in between french bread, it makes a great chocolate sandwich and is very popular in Europe. I highly recommend it for breakfast along with some la brea french bread from AJ's Market.

Okay, I am getting seriously sidetracked now thinking of food. I have two chicken thighs in the oven and today I stopped at The Gelato Spot for lunch (strawberry shake) since I was hungry and I knew the chicken would take an hour to bake.

The bottom line of this post - get yourself to Cost Plus. They have cool stuff!!

I forgot to mention they have chocolates from England and other places and cookies from Spain and New Zealand. Mmmmmmm!!

Veggies - article

California: If It’s Monday, It’s Veggies

Tuesday was a good day for vegetables — and San Franciscans who love them — as the city’s Board of Supervisors passed a nonbinding resolution declaring every Monday as “meat-free.” The resolution, sponsored by Supervisor Sophie Maxell, a vegetarian, urges restaurants, stores and schools to offer “plant-based options” every Monday to improve the general civic health. Ms. Maxwell tied the measure to the fight against global warning and said it would “encourage citizens to choose vegetarian foods as a way to protect the planet and their health.” The board also passed a nonbinding resolution commending businesses that use only cage-free eggs. Ms. Maxwell invited the entire board to her office “for a vegetarian treat.”

El Tovar Hotel - Grand Canyon

If your sweetie takes you to El Tovar, it may put you in a romantic mood.

This past weekend Jason whisked me away to the Grand Canyon and we stayed in the famous El Tovar Hotel.

If you have a special occasion to celebrate, I highly recommend a visit to El Tovar. It is plushy. They have good eats and the view is...well, if I was pithy, I would say it is super, amazing, incredible and enormous. But I will leave the pithiness to my partner in crime, Jason and simply say, it is wonderful.

We had dinner outside, overlooking the Canyon at the bar and both agreed their chicken wings and shrimp cocktail were good enough to go back for. And we had a chocolate taco with chocolate mousse. Decadent!

The company was pretty good, too.

So, get yourself to El Tovar for your next special occasion - anniversary, birthday, or something you make up so you have an excuse to go. Does one need an excuse to see beautiful scenery, architecture, history and have great eats! This kitchen wench thinks not.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Women's group - Trip to Rocky Point

¡¡Viva Rocky Point!!

This looks like a lot of fun.
Girls Gotta Go to Mexico!
April 15th to 29th, 2010
Like water which can clearly mirror the sky and the trees
as long as its surface is undisturbed, the mind can only
reflect the true image of the Self when it is tranquil and wholly relaxed.

Time to take a deep breath of fresh ocean air and relax with us on the beach in Puerto Penasco (Rocky Point) Mexico. Enjoy bliss filled days with nothing more to do than read, collect sea shells, relax, walk on the beach, or watch the changing tide. Shoppers note: town is just a short drive away and vendors do come along the beach. For a special treat, luxuriate with a soothing massage on site by appointment with our own massage therapist.

Our beautiful, spacious, light filled casa sits right on the beach, courtyard lush with flowers, wide covered patio facing the sea. Savor sunny days, cool nights, a perfect blend of relaxation, solitude and a lovely opportunity to laugh and talk with others. Want some adventure? Explore the unique ecosystem in this area of the northern Sea of Cortez.

This is a gathering of women of varying ages and stages of life. All rooms/beds are shared. If you do not bring a roommate and we have no one to match you with, there will be a single supplement added to your total. All rooms have king size beds and private bath.

Total cost is per person, double occupancy and is determined by the number of nights you stay: $109 per night for 5 nights or more: $119 per night for 3 or 4 nights (3 is the minimum stay). Price includes lodging and generous, fresh cooked meals featuring local seafood, fresh vegetables and more. On occasion, LaReina de Cocina (me) takes a night off and goes out for dinner. You may choose to eat out too or enjoy the bounty in the kitchen at the casa.

Send $100 NOW or by February 24th, to reserve. Balance due March 24th. Remember, we fill up fast so the sooner your deposit is received, the better your chance of securing a place. Weekend reservations must include at least Friday thru Sunday nights. Please be committed to your dates of choice as there are no refunds or transfers after confirmation. Requested dates or rooms will be confirmed when your deposit is received.

Deposit NOW! Make checks to Kathie Kelling, mail to 3323 North 25th St., Phx, AZ 85016. With your deposit note the requested dates of your stay, how many nights you wish and if you will be a rider or driver (with whom). Availability will be confirmed by mail.

We encourage and coordinate ride sharing but are not responsible for your
transportation. We make sure that those of you coming from out of state are
connected to rides or appropriate transportation. More information will be sent with your confirmation after deposit is received. e-mail questions or call 602-808-9314. Looking forward to seeing you on the beach.
Please feel free to send this along to your friends.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Lamb Tagine - from

I can't wait to make this as I am very fond of lamb and green olives. I developed a taste for lamb in New Zealand and green olives in Spain (of course). But, I need a dutch oven or tagine to make this. Does anyone have an extra they want to loan this kitchen wench? In return I'll invite you to dinner...and promise to serve a decent wine.

2010: Lamb Tagine With Green Olives
By Andrew Carmellini, the chef and an owner of Locanda Verde in Manhattan. If you can get your hands on ras el hanout, you can use it instead of making the spice mixture. And no worries if you don’t have a tagine — a covered Dutch oven will work just fine.

For the spice mixture:

3/4 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon paprika

Generous pinch cayenne

Pinch saffron

For the tagine:

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 pounds lamb stew meat, cut into chunks

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 medium onion, sliced into medium-width pieces (about 1 cup)

1 clove garlic, peeled

1 tablespoon diced, fresh ginger (from about 1 inch)

Juice of 1 orange

1 14-ounce can diced or chopped tomatoes

1 2-inch-long piece of orange peel

2 cups chicken broth

1 teaspoon honey

1 medium carrot, sliced ½-inch thick (about 1 cup)

1 celery rib, sliced ½-inch thick (about 1 cup)

1/4 cup sliced almonds

1½ tablespoons sesame seeds 8 green olives, sliced into quarters (about 1/4 cup)

For the citrus rice:

1½ cups basmati rice, rinsed 3 times

1 bay leaf, preferably fresh

Grated zest of 1 lemon

Pinch of salt

1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Juice of 1 lemon

1 orange, sectioned and chopped (about ¼ cup)

2 scallions, sliced.

1. Make the spice mixture by stirring together the spices in a small bowl. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a large, ovenproof stew pot or tagine, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Season the lamb all over with salt and pepper. Add the meat to the pot and stir to coat in the oil. Brown for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure the meat browns evenly on all sides. Transfer the meat to a bowl and set it aside.

3. Lower the heat to medium and add the onion, stirring to coat. Sauté for about a minute, until it begins to soften. Add the garlic and ginger and add the meat back to the pot. Stir everything together. Squeeze the orange juice into the pot and mix well. Add the tomatoes, orange peel, spice mixture, chicken broth and honey. Mix well. Raise the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a simmer, then cover the pot and put it in the oven. Cook for 1 hour or until the meat is about half-cooked.

4. Stir in the carrots and celery and return the pot to the oven. Cook for another 30 to 45 minutes, until the sauce is thick and reduced and the lamb is tender.

5. While the tagine is in the oven, toast the almonds and the sesame seeds in a small pan over low heat until the nuts are golden, about 5 minutes, stirring regularly to make sure the almonds don’t burn.

6. About 15 minutes before the tagine is finished, make the citrus rice: Put the rice and 2 cups of water in a large pot set over high heat. Add the bay leaf, lemon zest, salt, red-pepper flakes and butter. When the water boils, lower the heat and cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid. Continue to simmer until the liquid has been absorbed, about 12 minutes. Turn off the heat. Add the lemon juice, orange pieces and scallions and mix well. Transfer to a large bowl and serve immediately.

7. Remove the garlic clove and orange peel from the tagine. Add the olives and spoon the tagine onto a large serving plate. Sprinkle the almonds and sesame seeds on top. Serve immediately, with citrus rice. Serves 4.

Orange Salad -

My grandmother used to make a salad similar to this, with oranges, cured black olives, onions, olive oil and garlic. It is in Pompeii's honor that I post this recipe.

Thank you, Grandma for having me in your kitchen while you, aunt Char and grandpa Elmer made cannoli shells!


1980: Spicy Orange Salad, Moroccan Style
This recipe appeared in an article in The Times by Craig Claiborne.

3 large seedless oranges

1/8 teaspoon cayenne

1 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon garlic

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon red-wine or sherry vinegar


Freshly ground black pepper

⅓ cup chopped parsley

12 pitted black olives, preferably imported Greek or Italian.

1. Peel the oranges, paring away all the exterior white pulp. Cut each orange into 8 wedges. Cut each wedge into 1-inch pieces. Set aside.

2. Place the cayenne, paprika, garlic, olive oil and vinegar in a salad bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste and whisk to combine. Add the oranges, parsley and olives. Toss gently to blend. Serve cold or at room temperature. Serves 4.

Regent University does good works - 4th Annual Legal Food Frenzy

Being a student at Regent University, I have to "toot my own horn" in this blog and say how great my school is for organizing this food/funds donation event:

4th Annual Legal Food Frenzy

Monday, April 5 - Friday, April 16, 2010

Help the Virginia Bar Association Law School Council beat hunger for the statewide Legal Food Frenzy! Please donate food or funds for contribution to the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia. The following items are acceptable: Chunky Soups, Canned Fruits, Canned Meats, Canned Tuna, Canned Vegetables, Canned Juice, Snack Foods, Boxed or Canned Powdered Milk, Cereal, Pasta, Pasta Sauces, Peanut Butter, and Water. You may drop-off your donations in the following locations: Robertson Hall, Administration Building, Communications Building, and the Student Center.

Robertson Hall Atrium

Event is Free


RSVP not required


Mario Batali and golf/good eats

As I have mentioned in a previous post - Mario is a close and personal friend (not really, but we did meet on an impromptu basis in Madrid, Spain).

This looks like a lot of fun, but it is out of this kitchen wench's very modest budget!

Swing Session - Inaugural Mario Batali Foundation Celebrity Golf Classic

Wilshire Country Club, Los Angeles


Join world renowned chef Mario Batali for a day of golf and you eat and drink your way through a memorable eighteen holes featuring cuisine from such A-list chefs as:

Joes Andres - The Bazaar
Lee Hefter - Spago
Nancy Silverton - Osteria Mozza
Kerry Simon - Simon LA

Breakfast provided by La Brea Bakery.

Awards dinner menu created by the one and only Chef Mario Batali.

Foursomes - $10,000 (celebrity player will be paired with each foursome)
Individual - $3,000 (limited availability)

-Welcome Reception at Sunset Marquis the evening of May 16th
-Golf + Food & Cocktails (All Days)
-Awards Dinner & Prizes
-Live Auction
-More Specialty Cocktails
-Lots of Shwag...

Special rates available at Sunset Marquis. If you are interested in reserving a room please contact Darcie Purcell at 630.618.4756 or

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Baking with less waste - silicone baking mats

Target's version of a silicone baking mat - cheaper than a silpat by about $15 bucks

I have been wanting to make some scones, but I have been out of parchment paper. Yesterday, when I visited Sweet Basil, the cooking store, I saw their "silpat" silicone mats, which can be used in lieu of parchment paper. They are a little pricey, but today I saw a generic version online at Target (the fancy french store) and they sell for less than $10.

I'll be going to Target soon to get one. And then I'll make the apricot scones I posted recently and show you a picture of the finished product.

Mmmm yummies!

The Coffee Lady

Kathie greets you with a warm smile at The Coffee Lady

I had a lovely visit today with Kathie at The Coffee Lady on 40th St. and Indian School. She is a evocator, or a mentor type person...and I think her sort is of great value in this world.

It was my first visit to The Coffee Lady, I spied all types of coffee drinks that they make, they also have a cute counter where you can sit, or there are tables. I love that they have club soda for $1 a can (this frugal kitchen wench appreciates that) and it appears there is frozen yogurt and smoothies, too.

Kathie and I talked about Ozzie's which is a St. Vincent De Paul enterprise (next door) which sells gently used furniture, artwork, all kinds of things one needs for one's home. We also talked about a new flower shop that is opening next door, it appears the owner gifted lots of the small businesses nearby with a purple orchid plant, which is beautiful. I will have to stop there when she opens on April 15.

Also, the Fresh and Easy is opening at 40th St. and Camelback on April 14th, which is right in the neighborhood...and I do want to go one of these days in my pj's since their parent company - Tesco - has reportedly not allowed people in their pj's to visit their stores in England. Which makes me want to go in my pj's all the more. I mean, haven't we all seen the scene from The Big Lebowski when Jeff Bridges is at a Ralph's grocery store buying milk for .67 (that he writes a check for) in his robe. Classic!

Get yourself to The Coffee Lady today for java, or a smoothie...or a sandwich!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Area rugs -

I found this "language" rug that I liked and...

this one that my cousin - a dog groomer will approve of - titled "menagerie"

I was online tonight looking at area rugs. I need two - one for my dining area - which may become a gaming area (ping pong anyone?) and I also need one for my living room/area where the couch is and I tend to watch tv there. These two I really liked. I ordered the swirl one in blue and white, I thought it would go with my newly painted concrete floor which is a terra cotta color. The other one "menagerie" is not on sale yet, but if it does go on sale (hint, hint to the cfo at - please put this rug on sale) I will order it.

Get yourself to Anthropologie - there's one at Kierland Mall and also at Scottsdale Fashion Mall...or if you're at home, alone...with a few bucks on your credit card, go to and place your order online. They have really cute furniture, pillows, kitchen stuff, light fixtures, shower curtains, etc. Check out their sale section as this frugal kitchen wench tends to do.

Happy days!

kudos to Jamie Oliver - for trying to keep us healthy

Kudos to Jamie Oliver for Leading the American Food Revolution

"For all the debate lately, one basic fact about America's health care crisis is rarely mentioned. Namely, the one thing that could really reform health care is you, collectively speaking: People living healthier lives."

- Steve Lohr, New York Times

As I've listened to the health care debate over the last year, my main concern has been the limited focus on preventive medicine. Did you know that studies show that 50 to 70 percent of the nation's health care costs are preventable? And do you know what is one of the best ways to prevent disease?

Eating a healthy diet!

Here's something important to know: This is the first generation of children who aren't expected to live as long as their parents.

It's no secret that kids today are growing up in a soda-filled, carbo-centric, junk food culture. According to the Centers for Disease Control, childhood obesity has more than tripled in the last 30 years (and the numbers keep growing). This increase in obesity has both immediate and long-term health effects for our kids, and our country. For example:

• Obese kids are more likely to have risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure.

• Obese kids are at a greater risk for bone and joint problems, sleep apnea, social and psychological problems such as stigmatization and poor self-esteem.

• Obese kids are more likely to become overweight or obese adults, and therefore are more at risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, osteoarthritis, and several types of cancer.

• Obesity can cut off 10, 12, 15 years or more of one's life.

Lots of people may be aware of this information, but why hasn't there been change?

2010-04-02-junkfood_lunch.jpgThe fact is that even if parents are trying to feed their children healthy foods at home, the school lunch programs around the country are feeding them JUNK. French fries and chicken nuggets are school lunch staples. Add to this, the soda and candy vending machines around school serving your children sugar bombs are destined to set them up for diabetes, mood swings, and in my opinion, attention deficit issues.

Jamie Oliver, chef, foodie author and television personality, is now on a mission to change the way America eats. After airing a four-hour television series in the UK aimed at improving school lunches, he got the British government to allocate one billion dollars to revitalize the British school lunch system. The revamped program includes more fresh foods, more local foods, better food standards, and no more junk in the vending machines. Nice work! Now Jamie is on an even bigger mission in the US doing what he calls, "Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution." Through a TV series, recently published book, and his website, he is inviting Americans to take a stand and change the way we eat in our home kitchens, schools and workplaces.

Can he do it?

2010-04-02-MichelleObama.jpgLuckily he's got First Lady Michelle Obama on the same team. Last month Michelle launched her Let's Move initiative aimed at solving the childhood obesity epidemic (within one generation!). Let's Move was designed to get healthier foods in schools, give parents support to make healthier choices for their children, and get families up off the couch and active together. Furthermore, and I think probably the most important aspect of the program, it is focused on getting healthy, affordable food available in every part of the country. Whether we want to talk about it or not, money is a core element of the health equation, and cannot be ignored.

"The culture of supermarkets - buy one get one free, and the bargain deals - is so weighted on the highly processed cheap foods, junk foods, snack foods, and drinks. But also give us some deals on something seasonal and local in America," said Jamie in an interview with Oprah that aired last Friday, the same day that Food Revolution premiered on primetime ABC.

In my opinion, if our country wants to get itself back on its feet fiscally, health should be our number one priority. Without our health, what we do have? Now is the time to heal the huge disconnect between wanting to be the best country in the world and at the same time abusing our health, which is the very core of who we are. It is time to heal the rift between what we vision in our minds for our future, and what we are actually feeding our bodies in the present.

"Enough is enough," says Jamie. "The standards in this country are not protecting your kids, and I want mothers and fathers to get angry about this."

Anger can be a good first step, as long as it fuels the fire for positive action.

As with many things in life, just a little effort can make a massive difference. If you want to make a positive difference in the health of your children and in effect, the health of our country, here are some simple things you can do.

• Shop for your family at your local farmer's market.
• If you don't have a local farmer's market, buy local foods at your grocery store.
• Buy organic as much as possible.
• Take your kids with you to shop for foods and teach them where the foods come from.
• If you have outdoor space, start a vegetable garden with your kids.
• If you already have a garden, involve your kids in it.
• If you have limited outdoor space, consider planting herbs, small lettuces, and cherry tomatoes in window boxes.
• Talk to other parents about the changes you'd like to see in the lunch program at your child's school.
• Attend PTA meetings and give voice to changes you know need to happen.
• Talk to the school principal to open up dialogue about food at the school.
• Sign Jamie's petition for fresh foods in school. Jamie will take this petition to the White House to show President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama how many people across the country really care, and ask for their support.

2010-04-04-JamiesFoodRevolutionjpg.jpgYou can get healthy recipes to be used in your child's school or in your home on Jamie's website. The LunchBox: Healthy Tools to Help All Schools is also a great resource for healthy menus and recipes.

Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution can be viewed on Fridays at 9pm/8c on ABC.