Amazon Fresh. Is it for you?

My thoughts on Amazon Fresh:

•At first I thought this might be good for some people but I don’t need it. I am perfectly capable and have the time to do grocery shopping. 

•Then my sister tried it and she loved it so I decided to use the free first month to check it out. Super smart of Amazon to offer the free trial so you can decide for yourself if it is for you. 

•The selection is good. Lots of brands that I normally use. I selected produce, dairy, meat and staples to check out the quality and freshness. 

•The pork tenderloin I received was excellent. Dairy products were all fresh and expiration dates were good. All of the produce was very fresh except some strawberries that were soft and they immediately refunded the cost and gave me a $9.99 credit on my Amazon account. 

•The prices were surprisingly ok! Might be a bit higher but I know that I am saving a lot by not buying “impulse” items that I always by in the grocery store. 

•Packaging is awesome. Delivered right to my door. Cold things cold. Frozen items frozen. I even ordered ice cream to see if it would stay frozen. 

•This would be an excellent service for shut-ins who are not able to get to the grocery store. 

•My next order is already in! I know that I will save way more than the $14.99 monthly charge in “impulse” buys alone!

•Try it. You might like it!

We Help Each Other. That’s What We Do. 

Here is a face to put to the devastation of Hurricane Harvey.

I just learned that my housecleaner, Maria’s, daughter – Karen- lost everything: home, car, and all her belongings in the flooding in Houston. On top of this Karen has recently been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She and her two children, a three year old girl and a sixteen year old boy, are currently in a shelter in Houston.

Maria will be leaving on Friday to travel to Houston to see if she can help her get a car and get into some housing. Also to see if they can get into the doctor because her appointment was cancelled due to the flooding. The appointment was to stage the cancer and discuss treatments.

You guys all know me and you know that I have never done any type of fundraising on my page before. BUT…. if you are looking for a way to help someone that was affected by the floods and you feel led and you want to know that your money will go to a specific person please consider donating to this gofundme account. ANY amount will help.

With everything going on in our country today it is amazing to see the stories coming out of Texas of people helping people. We have it in us. That is who we are.

Thank you so much in advance. #cancersucks #texas #thisisamerica

Here is the link for Maria’s gofundme account:


Garden Picked Pasta

My son and his wife came over to play cards today. We have a year long tournament going on right now. Its my son and I vs the Hubs and our daughter-in-love, who, by the way, is expecting our ninth grandchild in January!!!!

They decided to stay for dinner and I hadn’t planned anything so……. time to raid the garden, pantry, and fridge.

I love, love, love summer when I can go out my backdoor and pick my dinner from the garden! We picked zucchini, orange grape tomatoes, pattypan squash, and fresh basil.

I found a pound of Italian sausage in the freezer and a pound of Delallo Whole Wheat Pasta in the pantry. I always have the Delallo Whole Wheat Pasta on hand. It is the absolute best whole grain pasta that I have found. It always cooks up beautifully and has a bit of a sweet nutty taste to it.

This jar of Bella Sun Luci Italiano Dip was also just hanging out in my pantry. I picked it up at Sam’s Club a while back and I was waiting to try it. Today was the day! It can be used many different ways. On top of cream cheese or goat cheese, dip for chips, on chicken, or as I used it- stirred into a pasta dish.

The flavors in this recipe really came together nicely and it was oh so fresh!

Garden Picked Pasta

Serves: 4


1 lb Delallo Whole Wheat Pasta (any shape you desire)

1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1 medium brown onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 medium zucchini, chopped into one-inch cubes

2 medium pattypan squash, chopped into one-inch cubes

1 lb bulk mild Italian sausage

1 handful of grape tomatoes, whole

1/4 cup Bella Sun Luci Italiano Dip

1 bunch of fresh basil, cut into strips

Parmesean cheese for garnish

Cook pasta according to package directions.

While pasta is cooking, brown Italian sausage in frying pan until crumbly. Drain grease and add the grape tomatoes and turn off heat. The tomatoes will soften up just sitting in the warm sausage.

In a separate pan sauté onions and garlic in olive oil until onions are translucent.

Stir in squash and sauté until tender. Add a little chicken broth or water if needed to get squash to a crisp tender level.

Drain pasta, reserving about 1/2 cup of the water to use if needed to loosen sauce.

Place the pasta back in the pan it was cooked in. Stir in the Bella Sun Luci Italiano Dip. Add cooked veggies, the sausage and tomatoes and stir gently. Add a bit of the reserved pasta water if you need to loosen it up a bit.

Pour into large bowl and garnish with basil and parmesan.





Fresh From the Garden Healthier Zucchini Bread


What to do with all that zucchini from the garden? Make zucchini bread of course!

This is my favorite recipe for zucchini bread. It was inspired by this recipe. I switched out the all-purpose flour for King Arthur 100% Organic White Whole Wheat Flour. I like using whole grains whenever possible and using this white whole wheat flour gave it a richer, nutty taste.

I also substituted melted organic coconut oil for the vegetable oil. I am trying to avoid corn and canola oil and prefer the healthier aspects of the coconut oil.

You could add nuts, chocolate chips, or whatever you like to this. My grandkids like it just the way it is and they eat a whole loaf up quicker than you can bat an eye!

I hope you will try this recipe and let me know how you like it.

Fresh From the Garden Healthier Zucchini Bread

Yield: 2 loaves


3 cups King Arthur 100% Organic White Whole Wheat Flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

3 teaspoons ground cinnamon ( I love the Kirkland Signature Ground Saigon Cinnamon from Costco)

3 eggs

1 cup organic coconut oil – melted

2 1/4 cups sugar

1 Tbsp vanilla extract (Do not use imitation vanilla extract. Ever! For anything!)

2 cups grated zucchini (about 2 medium sized zucchinis)


-Preheat oven to 325º (I used the convection/bake setting on my oven but the regular setting is fine)

-Grease and flour two loaf pans.

-Sift flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon together in a bowl.

-Beat eggs, coconut oil, sugar, and vanilla in bowl of standing mixer until well combined. (Or stir by hand)

-Add dry ingredients to the mixing bowl and beat on low until combined. It is best to use a mixer here as the batter will be thick.

-Add the zucchini to the mixture and mix on low speed just until combined.

– Spread batter into the prepared pans.

-Bake for 40-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. (Mine took about 47 minutes.)

-Cool in pan on rack for 20 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely.



Baker Stone Pizza Oven Box

When we were planning our new backyard living area the Hubs was contemplating building a pizza oven. While I love pizza, I just didn’t feel that we would use it enough to justify the cost. 

After researching alternative options to a built in pizza oven, we decide to purchase the Baker Stone Pizza Oven Box. 

So. Glad. We. Did! For right around $120 we now have an amazing little pizza oven that works right in our existing gas grill.  

This oven cooks a beautiful pizza in about 5 minutes and the crust turns out beautifully baked and toppings are cooked to perfection. 

We have had fun pizza parties with the kids and grandkids and everyone gets to choose their own toppings. There are a ton of great recipes on Pinterest to try and believe me, I have pinned a bunch for future use. This Apple Cheddar Rosemary Bacon from has become one of our favorites. 

I highly recommend this pizza oven as an addition to your backyard cooking options. You will not be disappointed. 

RV Camping – Zion National Park – Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort

On our recent road trip we spent 5 nights at Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort. Wow! This place has it all. In fact it was named one of the top six adventure resorts in America.

Here is what US News and World Report has to say about this resort: “Located just outside of Zion National Park, Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort offers plenty of activities for those who love the great outdoors, including canyoneering, horseback riding, ATV tours, rafting, rock climbing wall, zip lining and other family-friendly adventure activities — and that’s just on its property.”

Glamping site

Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort has every type of accommodation to suit your needs. Tent sites, group sites, cabin suites, Cowboy cabins, glamping tents, and full hookup RV sites.

We had dinner at Ray’s Restaurant on the property one night. This is a nice, reasonably priced restaurant. The fresh homemade bread with honey butter that they bring to your table is out of this world. I must say that we probably most definitely ate way to much of it! Portions were large and very tasty. If you have been in the park all day and just don’t feel like cooking, this is an excellent choice. Breakfast is buffet style and they also serve lunch.

The pool area is super nice. It has two hot tubs and two pools. There are also a couple of water slides for the kids. I am sure that in the summer months this is a happening place.

Laundry facilities, showers, and all public areas are really well kept up and clean. We were there the week before Memorial Day and there were plenty of employees around getting ready for the crowd.

While we were there they were working on road improvements so there was some dust. They were getting ready to pave a lot of the roads so some of them were a bit bumpy. The paving should be done early June and I think it will be a huge improvement.

We stayed in RV site #8 and had a majestic view of a plateau full of pines. The only negative thing I would say about this particular site is that it was difficult to level our 40 ft motorhome due to the incline. The area for the picnic table and to set up your cooking area outside your rig was also on an incline. Otherwise, hookups were easy and we got great satellite reception. They offer free WiFi and it is just what you would expect in an RV park. Ok but not super fast or reliable.

The resort is about a 20 minute drive to the beautiful Zion National Park. Spend the day exploring and then head back to Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort for a relaxing evening. Or spend the day at the resort taking advantage of all the adventure activities they have to offer.


Maria’s Four Ingredient Mexican Dip

When we were visiting my sweet cousin Maria in Utah last week she made this super good, super easy Mexican style dip. Maria is an awesome cook and I use many of her recipes. We have so much fun when we are together and I love her so much!

This dip was perfect to make for my book club last night. We had just finished reading “Rain of Gold” by Victor Villaseñor. The book is set in Mexico during the revolution and also in Southern California. So naturally, the theme for the food was Mexican.

This dip fit right in and was so good and got rave reviews. Serve it with veggies or chips. It was even good as a dollop on tacos!

You just need four ingredients. How easy is that?

Maria’s Four Ingredient Mexican Dip


1 16 oz container of sour cream (I used the light sour cream)

1 can refried beans

1 small can of diced green chilis

1 package of Hidden Valley Fiesta Ranch Dip (make sure you get the “Fiesta” Ranch Dip)

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Refrigerate for a few hours to let flavors blend.


Fresh Strawberry Pie (Or as We Sometimes Call it “Birthday Cake!”)

In Southern California as spring rolls around we start seeing the strawberry stands popping up. I love it when we are able to stop at a little stand and purchase fresh, fresh strawberries. Not only are they delicious, but it means summer is even closer! (I am a summer girl in case you didn’t know.)

Ever since I can remember my 38 year old son has requested strawberry pie for a birthday “cake”. Even when he was little. So of course, strawberry pie it is!

When I first started making this pie I would use that jar of red red red (not a natural red!) strawberry glaze that you can buy in the grocery store. As my tastes and cooking ability began to improve I began to make my own glaze. It is really easy to make and such a huge difference in flavor. The homemade glaze tastes so much fresher.

I have made this pie using both a store-bought graham cracker crust and a homemade regular crust. I like both, but my son and the Hubs prefer the graham cracker crust. Either way, this pie is delish!

Strawberry Birthday Pie

Yield: 1 pie

4 cup strawberries

1 cup sugar

3 Tbsp corn starch

3/4 cup water

Graham cracker crust

1 egg white

For glaze:

Wash strawberries and mash one cup of them up. Combine sugar and cornstarch in a medium saucepan. Stir in mashed strawberries and water. Bring to a boil while stirring constantly. Boil while stirring for three minutes or until thickened. Transfer to a bowl and let cool for 10-15 minutes.

To finish pie:

Brush graham cracker crust with one egg white. Bake at 375º for 7-9 minutes. This step is important as it helps “set” the crust which makes for easier slicing.

Slice the remaining strawberries in half and place in large bowl. Pour glaze over strawberries and gently stir to coat.

Pour strawberry glaze mixture into prepared crust and refrigerate for 2-3 hours.

Slice (the first slice is not the prettiest one!) and serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.





You Can Take the Girl Out of LA but ……….

I am a LA girl deep down inside. I love the Dodgers, Dodger Stadium, Tommy’s, Griffith Park, the Hollywood Bowl, Travel Town, Giamella’s, Porto’s, the Smoke House, Damon’s, and so much more.

I grew up in LA. Burbank to be exact. Say what you want about Los Angeles but there is just something about it. It is a pretty exciting place to be. Ed and I headed up there on Saturday to see Billy Joel at Dodger Stadium. Pretty awesome. Billy Joel! Dodger Stadium!

Our first stop was at Philippe the Original for french dip sandwiches. If you have been to LA and have visited them, you need to! There is nothing like a french dip from Philippe’s.

Philippe’s is an LA institution. They have been in business since 1908. The french dip sandwich was invented by Philippe Mathieu. According to Philippe’s website, “One day in 1918, while making a sandwich, Mathieu inadvertently dropped the sliced french roll into the roasting pan filled with juice still hot from the oven. The patron, a policeman, said he would take the sandwich anyway and returned the next day with some friends asking for more dipped sandwiches. And so was born the “French Dipped Sandwich,” so called either because of Mathieu’s French heritage, the French roll the sandwich is made on or because the officer’s name was French. The answer is lost to history.”

Our next stop was in my hometown. Burbank. Yes, Beautiful Downtown Burbank. It has changed so much since I grew up there but one thing that has not changed is the tea cakes from Martino’s Bakery. Yes, they have changed their location but it is still the Martino’s I love.

How do you describe a Martino’s tea cake? Well, if you are from Burbank you know exactly what one tastes like. I can’t describe it any other way than, “tea cake.” It is a honey-y, cake-y, maybe a tinge of citrus flavor that is so so good. Especially with a cup of coffee. When I was a child every Girl Scout meeting, every PTA meeting, every Woman’s Club Tea had them.

Martino’s also has other amazing baked goods but if you go there, you must try a tea cake. (Or a dozen!)

Last stop of the day was Dodger Stadium. Let me tell you. If there is one place that reminds me of my childhood it is Dodger Stadium. I spent many a warm summer night there with my dad and my brothers watching my Dodgers play. Love them!

The reason we were there at Dodger Stadium was to see the Billy Joel concert. He did not disappoint. What a great venue for him to perform at! He sang for over two hours. He also had two surprise guests for us. First Pink came up and sang with him. She has such a great voice. Then a little later Axl Rose came up and he and Billy did a cover of Highway to Hell. The best part of my night was seeing my sweet Bible study friend rocking out to it! Amazing concert. And Dodger Stadium.

All in all, it was a great LA day. A little bit of a trip down memory lane, a little childhood food, and a little rock and roll.

Easy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup to the Rescue!

Well. I guess I really do need bone broth after all!

So glad that I made a big batch of the broth on Monday because yesterday I came down with a nasty sinus infection that has knocked me out for the past few days.

Today I had the energy to make it downstairs and when I opened the refrigerator I saw those lovely jars of bone broth. And the extra chicken meat that I plucked from the bones before making the broth. Win.

Ahh…… chicken soup! Nature’s antibiotic. (Although I got a Z Pack as well!) I have also read that chicken soup is good for sinus infections. I just know that when I am sick, chicken soup sounds so good.

I am not a fan of canned soups. The Hubs loves them but I try to make him homemade soup whenever I can. I always have Kirkland Organic Chicken Stock from Costco on hand but I was super excited to have my own homemade broth to use.

I looked through the pantry and the fridge and threw these ingredients in the Bella Electric Pressure Cooker and voila – an easy, fast, yummy soup was ready for my lunch. Now, back upstairs for a little nappy poo. We have tickets to see Billy Joel on Saturday at Dodger Stadium and I need to get better!

So yummy and comforting!

Here is how I made it:

Easy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Serves about 6


4 stocks celery – cut into chunks

3-4 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks


Baby carrots – as much as you want (I usually don’t have baby carrots on hand-these were left over from something and I needed to use them up)

3/4 cup uncooked wild rice

1-2 cups cooked chicken

2 quarts chicken broth

Throw it all in the electric pressure cooker and push the “soup” button. Release pressure after timer beeps.

Garnish with green onions or whatever your little heart desires. Easy!