Snooze-Gilbert, AZ

As my much needed, amazing weekend with all three of my girls was coming to an end...we decided to try Snooze for breakfast.  My daughter, Brittney suggested it because she frequents the one in San Diego quite often.  I really do not like to go out to breakfast; I prefer a boiled egg and coffee or spinach and scrambled eggs.  However, after the girls finished their 6:30am photo shoot they were starving.  They also told me the place has Bloody Mary's, and I happen to be on a quest to find the perfect one.  Yes, the wait was a half hour, which I don't do normally.  Now that I am older, I have a no tolerance policy for a lot of things :)  But I am very low maintenance, haha.

The Bloody Mary was awesome, spicy and not thick!  I don't want to feel like I am drinking marinara sauce.  The only thing missing was an olive. 

This is their traditional Eggs Benedict.  It was wonderful!  Remember if you are doing low carb, you can have it on a bed of spinach or arugula, and ask for vegies or tomato slices instead of the hash browns.  I just didn't eat the English muffin or hash browns.  I was too busy talking to remember to do that!  What a surprise ;)

They have six different Eggs Benedict, which are all made with free-range eggs and they are delicious.

For those who like something on the sweet side for breakfast...they have that, also.  Tara, Chloe and Erin said their breakfast was crazy good!

So even though I am not a fan of chain restaurants, Snooze an A.M Eatery, does not feel like one and is so worth checking out.

 Tara and Brittney at Snooze

Tara and Brittney at Snooze

 Photo By Tara pelsue

Photo By Tara pelsue


Thank you, Guacamole!

 I would just like to thank guacamole for all the happiness that is has brought me in my 25 years of life. Thank you for the creamy, chunky, and slightly spicy flavors that you fill my mouth with. Okay... I'm done. I love Guacamole if you can't tell. So today I made the best guac I've ever made. I dipped black bean quinoa chips in it as a healthier alternative to tortilla chips. 

You can make guacamole so many ways, but I decided to stick with the classic ingredients. 

I used...

  • 4 Avocados
  • Half of a Yellow Onion
  • Juice of one Lime
  • Two Cloves of Garlic
  • 1 Bunch of Cilantro
  • 1 Tomato
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Cayenne Pepper to Taste

Recipe by Brittney Hogan    www.virago-fitness.com

Happy First Day of Fall...finally!

So even though the calendar has proclaimed it is here...you are probably still feeling like it is summer.  It's okay, plant some mums, make a wreath and of course a nice celebratory sangria is in order.

Apple Cider Sangria

 serves 4-6 (YA RIGHT)

Ingredients:

1 bottle (standard size) of pinot grigio
2 1/2 cups fresh apple cider
1 cup club soda
1/2 cup ginger brandy
3 honey crisp apples, chopped
3 pears, chopped

Directions:

Combine all ingredients together and stir, stir, stir. Refrigerate for an hour or so (or longer!) before serving.

[Regular brandy can also be used, I simply used ginger brandy to give it more autumn flavor.]

This drink is sure to put you in the Autumn mood.  That, and maybe a couple scarecrows. 

Zucchini Turkey Meatballs

Everyone loves a good meatball. However, they are usually pretty heavy.  Well, not this time my friends.  I hope you enjoy these very light, extremely flavorful meatballs.

First, grate 1 cup of zucchini and 3-4 cloves a garlic.

Coarsely chop a bunch of fresh basil. Mine is from my garden.  It is really easy to grow.  If I can grow it in Arizona where it is 500 degrees, you can grow it anywhere.

In a large bowl, add two packages of ground turkey, the grated zucchini, garlic, 2 eggs, parsley, basil, sage, poultry seasoning, oregano, onion powder, 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, and spicy red pepper flakes. Add salt and pepper to taste. 

You can either bake them or you can sauté them in a large skillet with a little olive oil.  I prefer the skillet method, because it adds a little crunch on the outside, yet stays so moist on the inside.

After cooking each side for about 3 minutes on medium to high, add your favorite sauce.  Let it simmer on low for about 15 min.  I add a 1/2 cup of wine. It makes your sauce very rich and full of flavor.  Of course, you might need a glass for you as well.  I call dinner time the bewitching hour, because everyone is starving and everyone is tired.  You can't run away, because you are the mother, so the glass of wine makes everyone seem more pleasant or it makes you just not care.  Whatever works.  Don't forget to sprinkle some parmesan shavings on top.

I eat my meatballs on a bed of fresh spinach. Which is a great alternative to pasta if you are looking for low carb and low fat.  The rest of my family prefers pasta. (Whatever!)

You will absolutely love this. It’s ridiculously good.  The fresh flavors will explode in your mouth!  Yep!

Cowboy Beans

 It is approaching my favorite time of year, Fall time and the holidays.  At least that is what the calendar says.  It is still very warm here and I think we will be bbqing for many more weeks.  This is a really popular recipe with my family and also when we have catered country weddings in the past.  You can have this as a side dish or as a whole meal.  It is loaded with protein and fiber.  I made this adding my families favorite things, you can do the same.   Change it up, add to or take away, make it yours.

First drizzle a little olive oil in your pot.  Then sauté 2-3 cloves of garlic diced very small and 1/2 of an onion.   Cook for two minutes, then add one package of ground pork and one package of ground turkey.  Brown your meat over a med. to high heat.

  

Pour in one large can of tomato sauce.

1/2 cup Bourbon Whiskey

1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce

1/3-1/2 cup packed brown sugar

a splash or two of liquid smoke

1/3 cup cider vinegar

2 tablespoons of mustard

2 tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon garlic salt

Mix it all together

Add one large can and one small can of pinto beans

cook on low for 45 min.

 

 

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And now for the best part, cook half of a package of bacon or the whole thing if you want and chop it up and put it on top of the beans.

Last but not least add salt and pepper to taste and red pepper flakes.  I have a tendency to over salt everything because I love salt and I love everything spicy.  So I will leave that part up to you.

Who doesn't like Baseball and hot dogs!

Nothing says summer like hot dogs and baseball.  The question is how do you like yours? Do you get a little crazy, or are you a mustard and ketchup kind of person?  Check out some yummy ideas.  Also, a fun printable everyone will love. 

If you build it they will come...that also goes for hot dogs.

 Perfect for a party or family night! 

Perfect for a party or family night! 

 I love the Jalapeno and bacon dog.  Especially, since I have so many in my garden right now.  

I love the Jalapeno and bacon dog.  Especially, since I have so many in my garden right now.  

 Of course, the low carb hot dog wrapped in bacon, who needs a bun!

Of course, the low carb hot dog wrapped in bacon, who needs a bun!

Here is the fun printable.  Celebrate Summer and everyday!  Don't forget to check out a baseball game.  Batter up!

Savor the flavor of summer

My family always wants lasagna, but it is so heavy and high in fat.  So I wanted to come up with something healthier and a little lower in fat.  I will also show you how to make it low carb, the way I eat it! 

I am starting with cherry tomatoes and fresh basil from my garden and lots of garlic.  Chop cherry tomatoes in half, tear the basil into little pieces and chop garlic into small little pieces.  Nothing compares to ripe produce straight from your garden.  I did this the day before.  Because you can makes tons of this and freeze it.  You can use it for so many different things, instant bruschetta if friends drop by.  Or just as an appetizer to give your family after work and school, because they swear they are starving to death while you make dinner.  It is outrageously yummy and so healthy!   You can add this in the sauce you make or as a base for a soup.  Of course, you can also use this as a pizza topping on top of some fresh mozzarella.The possibilities are endless.

After I chop everything up, I put it on a cookie sheet, drizzle with evo, sprinkle with Kosher salt and pepper and dried oregano.  I put it in the oven at 250 degrees for 20 -25 min.  Instant heaven, your kitchen will smell absolutely amazing.

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I sautee 1/2 of an onion and ground turkey.  When they are done I add one bag of spinach, salt and pepper to taste and a pinch of red pepper flakes to give it a little kick.  Then just add your favorite sauce and add 1/2 cup parmesan cheese and 8oz. of ricotta cheese.  This is not a low fat dish, but it is lower than usual.  I also like to add 1 1/2 cups of chopped zucchini, easy way to get more vegetables into your family.

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Doesn't look to pretty at this point but taste so good! 

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At this point, I take out some sauce and put it over a bed of spinach or zucchini.  If you are eating low carb you will love this.  Actually, my husband likes it this way, also.  He says he does miss the pasta, I don't at all.  Chloe a different story, but she is 11. 

If you are making a regular lasagna, boil your pasta, start layering, add your cheese of choice, you know the routine. 

Time to eat!

Best Mexican Food, so far...

We have been on a quest to find the best Mexican food in AZ.  My husband and I, both cook so we are very hard to please.  We would rather cook at home than go out.  We have had some okay, chips and salsa, with some mediocre food. Friday night we went to a Mexican restaurant in North Scottsdale.   Ajo Ali's did not disappoint, we had great service, high end Mexican food, and amazing chips and salsa.  It is family owned and operated.  Can't wait to go back!

They have happy hour Tuesday-Friday from 3-6,  and all day Monday with drink and appetizer specials.  To top it off they have a great Wine selection and Skinny Margaritas.

http://www.ajoals.com/

Award Winning Father's Day Ribs

Happy Father's Day to all the Father's out there who are giving it their all! 

My husband, Joe loves to BBQ, and I have never tasted BBQ as good as his!  It is always the perfect combination of grilled on the outside and juicy and tender in the middle.  He never has to drown them in sauce.   We do make our on sauce for dipping but they don't need it!

If you use a dry rub, your favorite or ours, start off on the top rack and slow cook, finish up on the bottom rack for a crispy outside. 

Others have asked how he gets that perfect combination and he doesn't mind sharing his secrets with them. 


Dry Rub

  • Brown Sugar – 1/3 cup
  • Paprika – 1/4 cup
  • Coarse Salt – 3 Tbs
  • Black Pepper – 1 Tbs
  • Garlic Powder – 1 Tbs
  • Onion Powder – 1 Tbs
  • Chili Powder – 1 Tbs Optional
  • Cayenne Pepper – 1 Tbs Optional

The C Spot

It is no secret that I am a wine drinker. I love wine!  I love everything about it: the bottle, the cork, the openers, wine glasses, and of course the beautiful vineyards.  I love the oak barrels!  However, I don't like Chardonnay. I don't like the Oak taste. It gives me a headache.  I really only enjoy very dry white wine.  My poison of choice is Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio. 

I love where I live, however, the retail area leaves a lot to be desired.  Very few stores here have a good wine selection.  So I decided I need to do something to make that bottle of Chardonnay a little more desirable.  Well, I did and I love it!  In fact everyone I have made it for really likes it, too.

I don't know about where you live, but where I live summer has arrived.  It is about 500 degrees (give or take a degree or two).

My daughter, Brittney, who is almost 25 year old said we needed to name the drink.  So it became the C Spot. We will leave it at that.  But I am sure you will love the refreshing and light citrus flavor!

Make your own C Spot :

Slice a navel orange and put it in a zip lock bag.  Freeze it for at least one hour.  It will not dilute your wine and it will keep your drink ice cold!  Eating the orange after it has soaked up all the wine flavor is the best part.

Add the frozen orange slice to your glass of Chardonnay

Add a splash of Grand Marnier or Triple Sec

Garnish will a sprig of mint.

Cheers!

Warning: It does go down very smooth.  Drink responsibly.  Walk with caution. Talk with caution!

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Cutting the Carbs!

Just because you are cutting carbs, processed food, all the bad white stuff, doesn't mean you have to cut the flavor!  We like to make Friday evening appetizer night.  One of my famous recipes, (with my family)  is my Bruschetta.  I have been making it for years.  However, I don't make it as often as I would like to because of the bread.  Recently, while having appetizers night at my mom's house, I really wanted to make my Bruschetta.  However, I didn't want to eat the bread and my sister was recently diagnosed with Diabetes, so I wanted to make something healthy but yummy.  I sautéed chicken breast, that I had butterflied and cut into the size of two bite pieces and put the bruschetta on the chicken instead of the sourdough bread.  It was amazing and full of flavor and it was minus the guilt!  So try your favorite bruschetta recipe on chicken instead of sourdough bread.   Or you can try mine, see below.

Chicken Bruschetta

 

  • 2 large cloves garlic, cracked away from skin, finely chopped.
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • 3  tomatoes chopped into small pieces.
  • 1/2 cup of a purple onion
  • 20 fresh basil leaves, chop or tear into small pieces.  Garnish on top after it is out of oven
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste

After chicken cools, put a little cream cheese on each piece of chicken, makes bruschetta stick and gives a great creamy flavor.  Combine tomatoes, garlic and onion in a bowl then spoon onto chicken.  Drizzle with EVO and salt and pepper to taste. Put in oven on cookie sheet with a little EVO on the bottom of pan.  Cook at 400 degrees for 4-5 min.  Garnish with the fresh basil.   Makes a great appetizer or use a full size chicken breast and make it a meal. 

 Here the Bruschetta is pictured with its best friend Bacon Wrapped Jalapenos.  Also, low carb! 

Here the Bruschetta is pictured with its best friend Bacon Wrapped Jalapenos.  Also, low carb! 

 A lovely evening with family, Cheers!

A lovely evening with family, Cheers!

Breaking Bad...

Breaking bad habits, that is.  Forget the chips, or the sugary snack you reach for between lunch and dinner.  Choose something healthier, something that will fuel your body and help heal your body.  Everybody is talking about kale chips, and I honestly like them more than regular chips.  But then again, I love vegetables. 

They're super easy to make, so give them a shot!  It's one of those rare things that's okay to do because everyone else is.

Drizzle or spray a little olive oil, sea salt, and for us spicy girls, red pepper flakes.  Bake at 350 until crispy (about 5-10 minutes).  Roasting in the oven will not affect the Vitamin K.  Good for your heart and bones!

Quick Tip

Storing Leftover Coconut Milk

Freeze leftover coconut milk in small quantities; an ice cube tray is ideal, or snack-size ziplock bags.  It will appear separated when thawed; simply stir until smooth.  Add to smoothies, pancake batter, or whatever else you use it in.

I also do the ziplock bag method with chicken broth.  I buy the very large can of broth available at Winco.  I use it instead of water for my rice and I also cook my veggies in it.

Yes-Carbs, No-Carbs

It's so hard to cook for a family when we all have different likes and dislikes.  Spaghetti is one of those meals that is so easy to customize.

If you are trying to cut the carbs, sauté a couple of zucchini in a skillet with a little drizzled olive oil.  Add some garlic and dried oregano, salt and pepper to taste.  You can also skip the olive oil and sauté the zucchini in chicken broth to cut fat. Put your meat sauce and parmesan cheese on top.  This is so much more flavorable than pasta, I don't miss it at all. 

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Jade Soup

Spring Greens Soup

This satisfying soup is a variation of “Jade Soup,” a light, vegetable-sparked broth traditionally served in the spring.  It is infinitely customizable and fits into nearly any dietary plan.

Ingredients:

1 quart water
1 quart chicken broth (2 16-oz. cans or boxes)
3 large carrots, peeled and cut into medium-sized "coins"
3 green onions, chopped (both white and green parts)
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. ginger (or one 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, grated)
¼ lb. spinach leaves, stems removed (about 20 leaves)
1-2 small boneless chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
1 Tbsp. dark sesame oil
Dash crushed red pepper flakes (or substitute several drops of liquid pepper sauce)
Dash Chinese 5-spice powder (optional)

Directions:

Pour broth and water into a medium-size saucepan.
Add ginger, garlic, 5-spice powder (if desired), and soy sauce.
Add the chopped carrots.
Bring to a boil over medium heat.
When carrots are crisp/tender (about 15 minutes), add the green onions and spinach leaves,
Add diced chicken.
Reduce heat.
Stir in sesame oil and red pepper flakes (or pepper sauce).
Simmer until the chicken is cooked through.

Note: Use vegetable stock and substitute tofu (one 12.3 oz. package, drained) for the chicken to make this a vegetarian dish.  Swap coconut aminos for the soy sauce to get a gluten-free soup.  Use low-sodium broth and soy sauce if watching salt consumption.

Serves 6-8 as a starter; 2-4 as an entrée


Katherine Tomlinson is a former magazine writer and editor who now works as a freelance content creator. Her writing has appeared on sites as disparate as InSide Magazine. Bier Magazine, BellaOnline.com (where she was the “chocolate editor” for a year), Criminal Element, and Seared. She has also written a number of informational ebooks under both her own and “house” names. Her memoir pieces have appeared in What Was I Thinking? (St. Martin’s Press) and Pearls of Wisdom from Grandma (Regan Books). She writes romantic fantasy under the pseudonym “Kat Parrish.”  Follow her @storyauthority and @eyeofthekat.

Italian Vegetable Soup

I started making this soup back in 1995.  My daughter, Brittney, was born with life threatening food allergies.  Not just one or two - she was pretty much allergic to everything in the free world.  I would make this for her at least once a week.  Of course, I would not use the four cheese Classico sauce (I would just use a traditional sauce), and I would not garnish hers with shaved parmesan cheese, since dairy was one of the things she was allergic to.  She would eat bowl after bowl of this soup.  She has always been my healthiest eater.  So if you don't do dairy, or if you want to eliminate the fat, just make those changes.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts - cubed
  • 1 medium onion - diced
  • 2 zucchini - diced
  • 1 cup cauliflower
  • I cup of broccoli
  • 1/2 cup carrots
  • 15 oz diced tomatoes
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 Tbsp. dried basil
  • 1 Tbsp. dried oregano
  • ½ Tbsp. garlic powder
  • 1 jar four cheese Classico pasta sauce (or your favorite sauce)
  • ½ - 1 tsp. chili flakes (varies depending on if kids or wimps are involved)


Instructions

  1. Place chicken breast in pot, cover with water just over the top of the chicken.  Cook on medium for 40 min, then add everything else and cook for 30 additional minutes.
  2. Garnish with fresh basil, shaved parmesan cheese, salt and pepper to taste.