Category: Home

The Flower Fields

If you live anywhere near Carlsbad, California, then a must see is The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch.  The rolling hills of Ranunculus flowers seem like they go on forever (50 acres to be exact). This year, the day I visited was a perfect sunny California day, there was a cool breeze from the Pacific Ocean which made the flowers seem as though they were dancing and waiving as the visitors walked by.


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Chicken alla Vegetables

I remember when I was a little girl, on the way home from school, thinking about what wonderful smells would be waiting for me.  My mom was always cooking or baking something that you could smell from the moment you walked up the front steps.  I swear she would make her menu choices by how great the aroma of the food would be.   I try to do that same thing for my children.  I want their childhood memories to include the smell of wonderful food, like the way my home smells when I make chicken alla vegetables.

chicken alla vegetablesPreheat your oven to 425 degrees


8 chicken thighs

Sea salt


Onion diced

Leeks washed and cut into ovals**

Celery root peeled and cut into chunks same size as onions

Asparagus about 15 to 20 washed and chopped

1 Lb small red potatoes peeled just to take pits out and cut in 4’s

4 carrots peeled and cut similar size to potatoes

½ cup white wine

1 cup chicken stock

2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon of butter

Place a dutch oven over medium heat add olive oil and butter.  Place the thighs in the pot skin side down, season with salt and pepper.

Do not touch the chicken until it easily releases from the pan, turn over and season with salt and pepper.  Cook until both sides are golden brown.  Transfer cooked chicken to a plate.

Add the onion, leeks, celery root, asparagus, potatoes and carrots to the dutch oven.  Deglaze the pan with the wine and stock.  Cook vegetables for 8 minutes.  Return chicken to your dutch oven and place into your preheated oven for 45 minutes.


**If you have never used leeks before, make sure you clean the leeks very well.  Dirt hides in between the layers of the leaves.  I always cut my leeks first and then place cut leeks in to a bowl of cool water, swish around to remove all dirt.

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Big Heath Cookies

The big heath cookie

When I made these big heath cookies the first time, we couldn’t get enough, even my son who doesn’t eat sweets kept going back for more.  The heath bits are a nice change from the chocolate chip, maybe I’ll try adding both.  I have to warn you, make a double batch of the big heath cookie, they go really fast.

What you will need for the big heath cookies:

1 cup granulated sugar

½ cup brown sugar

1 ½ sticks melted butter, cooled

1 large egg

1 large egg yolk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups all purpose flour

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon baking soda

1 cup heath bits

Preheat oven to 325 degrees

In a mixing bowl, mix together sugars and butter until smooth.   Add egg and egg yolk, one at a time.   Mix in vanilla extract.  Add flour, salt, and baking soda a little at a time until completely incorporated.  Fold in heath chips.

I used a ice cream scoop, so each cookie would be uniform.  Once I scoped out the dough I rolled the dough in to a ball and place the ball on to the cookie sheet, then I pressed the cookie ever so slightly to flatten.  I put 6 cookies per sheet.  Bake cookies for 15 to 18 minutes until the edges are slightly brown.

Adapted from a recipe by Jeff Mauro

Give them a try and let me know what you think…Enjoy

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Sweet Chicken Strips


Over the weekend, I went to a friends house for a little get together.  It was a potluck, so I always like to try a bit of everything.  Someone brought chicken strips, I normally wouldn’t try them because I figure, a chicken strip is a chicken strip, but everyone kept talking about these chicken strips so I had one, then I had another, and another.  I couldn’t stop eating them.  So, I tracked down who brought them and begged for the recipe.  I made them last night.  I think you will find the ingredients quite interesting.  I did.

What you will need:

Oil for frying

2 eggs

1 cup buttermilk

1 ½   cups flour

¼ cup powder sugar

½ teaspoon paprika

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon white pepper

¼ teaspoon cayenne

2 pounds boneless skinless chicken strips

Heat oil in a cast iron skillet so it is about 1 inch high, to 365 degrees

In a shallow bowl add the egg and milk and mix together.   In another shallow bowl combine the next 6 ingredients and whisk until thoroughly combined.  Dredge chicken in egg mixture then in flour mixture.  When oil has reached 365 degrees carefully add chicken in to hot oil.  Do not over crowd the pan.  Fry chicken about 3 to 4 minutes on each side, until it is golden brown.  Drain chicken on a rack so it stays crispy.


Enjoy ~


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Easy Bread

I must admit something I’m a little embarrassed about…. I’m addicted to Pinterest!  I can’t get enough.  I am constantly checking it throughout the day, and I keep seeing the same Crusty Bread pinned all over.  So I had to try it.

You are not going to believe how good this bread tastes, and just how easy it was to make.  Don’t let the 18 hours scare you, it is worth it, and besides if you start it before you go to bed, a huge chunk of the time you will be sleeping. zzzzzzzzzzz

What you will need:

Cast iron pot with lid

3 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon yeast

1½ cups water

1 cup sharp cheddar cheese ~ Optional

In a bowl, mix together flour, salt and yeast.  Add water and mix together until combined.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set on counter for 12 to 18 hours (yes, you read that right) to rise.

Once the dough has sat on the counter for the allotted time, heat oven to 450 degrees.  When the oven is at 450 degrees place your cast iron pot with lid in the oven for 30 minutes.

While the pot is heating up in the oven, add cheese to bowl and mix in to the dough, turn dough out on to a floured surface, I used a piece of floured wax paper.

Shape the dough in to a ball and let rise while the pot is heating up, using the original plastic wrap to cover dough.

After 30 minutes, remove hot pot from the oven and drop in the dough ball.  Cooking time is 45 minutes; 30 minutes with lid on, then take the lid off for the remaining 15 minutes.  Remove bread from pot and place on a rack to cool.

This recipe is the one pinned from, I did adapt the recipe a bit.  I still can’t believe how heavenly it tasted and how easy it was to make. What can you think of adding to this bread……Garlic? Sunflower seeds? Poppy seeds?

Let me know what you added and how it turned out!




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Almond Muffins

I love a great muffin.  Who doesn’t?  When I eat these muffins, my mouth does a happy dance.  These almond muffins are so easy, they have become a Saturday morning favorite in my home!

Almond Muffin Batter

½ cup Sugar
½ cup Brown sugar
½ cup Butter softened
3 eggs
2½ cup sifted flour
2 teaspoon Baking soda
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
¾ cup Buttermilk

Crumb Topping

½ cup Sugar
½ cup almonds finely chopped
½ teaspoon Cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix together sugars and butter until smooth, add eggs, one at a time.  In a separate bowl, combine sifted flour, baking soda, and cinnamon.  Alternate adding the flour and the buttermilk to the sugar/butter mixture.  Mix batter until smooth.  Place paper-baking cups in to a muffin tin; fill each paper cup ¾ full of batter.  For the crumb topping, add sugar, almonds and cinnamon in a bowl, stir to combine.  Top each muffin with the crumb mixture completely covering the top of the batter.  I also add a few chunks of almonds to the crumb top.

Bake for 25 minutes in a preheated 375-degree oven; insert a toothpick in to the center of a muffin, when done, the toothpick will come out clean.


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Butternut Squash Soup

I remember the first time I ate Butternut squash soup, I was at a Mother/Son luncheon.  I could not get enough of the soup; I ate my soup, my son’s soup, and the woman sitting on the other side of me, I ate her soup.  Needless to say, I didn’t eat the chicken entrée.  I think my son might have been a tad embarrassed.  It took many tries to come up with a recipe I loved as much as that first Butternut Squash love, but I finally got it.

It’s really is quite simple…


3 pound Butternut Squash peeled and cut in to chunks

1 large Onion cut in to chunks

Olive Oil

2 tablespoon Butter

3 cups Chicken Broth

1 tablespoon Pepper

1 tablespoon of salt ~Divided

6 dashes of Chipotle Tabasco

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine the butternut squash and onion chunks with 1 teaspoon of salt and enough olive oil to coat all pieces.  Place squash and onion chunks on a foil lined jelly-roll pan (the foil just makes for easier clean up) and place in a 450-degree oven for 40 minutes, please keep a close eye on the vegetables as each oven is different.  When the vegetables are done roasting (they are soft and edges are brown), place them in a soup pot over medium heat along with any olive oil that may be left on the jelly-roll pan.

Add the chicken broth, pepper, remaining salt, and Tabasco to the vegetables.  Cook for 45 minutes.  With an immersion blender or a blender, blend the soup until you have a smooth consistency.  Once the soup is completely smooth, add butter and continue to cook for another 25 minutes.

…And now you have a cream soup, with no cream.  Enjoy!

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Sausage and Onions

Not everyone in my family liked sausage and peppers when I was growing up, so my mom would make a sausage and onion version.

 I use to eat the caramelized onions right out of the pan while my mom wasn’t looking, funny, I still do that when I make caramelized onions, in fact I always put in an extra onion now.  This is such an easy week night dinner.

3 Medium Onions ~ Cut in half then sliced

2 tablespoons Olive Oil

2 tablespoons Butter

6 Italian Sausages

6 Soft Rolls

Heat the oven to 375 degrees

Spray your baking dish with a light coating of cooking spray, add sausages, cover sausages with foil and bake for 40 minutes.

Add olive oil and butter to a large sauté pan.  After butter has melted add sliced onions, cook on low/medium heat.  I know it will seem like a ton of onions, but they cook way down.  You will want to cook the onions rather slowly so the onion will caramelize properly.  This process takes about 20 minutes.

After the sausage have cooked for 40 minutes remove foil and cook for a remaining 15 minutes to brown.

Place a sausage in each bun and top with caramelized onions. Yummy!

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California Chic Home Tour

Have you ever just walked in to a home that was so beautiful it took your breath away? I’m not talking about the largest home you have seen or the most elaborate home.  I’m talking just a beautiful decorated home with the same style carried in every room, every detail!  I think for most people who love to decorate, this is the ultimate goal, to have a beautiful style carried throughout our home. I am going to share with you a home tour I had the pleasure of being invited to recently.

This is the most amazing kitchen; I was moved by its charm from the moment I walked in, I was taken by the delicate chandelier hanging over the sink of the beautifully framed window.  I love the French inspired open shelving.  Wouldn’t it be great to have a window behind the stove, like in this magnificent kitchen? All the wonderful cooking aromas would make your neighbors wonder what you were making?  The hood is such a presence of elegance with the fleur de lis ornament.  Couldn’t you see yourself making napoleons for dessert?

When I first walked in to this master bath all I wanted to do was get into the claw foot tub and take a bubble bath.  The chandeliers add a romantic touch to this beautiful space.  I could just imagine how beautiful the room is in the evening, lit by only candles.

I found this chair in the daughter’s bedroom, which has hand painted walls of beautiful flowers that transports you to another time.

I love how the yard is divided in to several conversation areas, this makes it a  wonderful party area for small gatherings and large parties.  The day I was there it was a very cold, rainy day, well cold for California, we are wimps here.

I hope you enjoyed this beautiful home tour~

Thank you to the Jones family for inviting me in to their magnificent home and allowing me to share it with all of you.

Disclaimer:  I am not sponsored by The Jones Family. I am just a girl who likes beautiful homes and are giving you an intimate look in to their world.

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