The Weekly Wrap

I love Sundays.

Most people kinda dread them because it means going back to work.  It means having to do Mondays.  It means the weekend is over.

I love them.  Sundays are my day to grocery shop, do laundry and cook all day long.  There is nothing I love more than hearing the constant hum of the washer and dryer, the smell of lingering bacon from breakfast well into lunch time, the smell of clean laundry, and sweet chaos of the kids laughing and playing and even the occasional scolding from Daddy.

Sundays are the sound of family.

Sundays are also the day I like to reflect on the week that just happened and the week that is about to come.  Time moves at lightening speed these days and I like to remember all the moments in between.

Love that my front yard has been taken over by clover.  It smells like fresh herbs when we mow.

Monsoons in July.  Love them.  They give us a gentle reprieve from the Arizona summers.

So glad to have her home.  10 days with the grandparents. Longest we've been apart in 8 years.

Late night grub.  Love Fili B's when you want to be really bad!

So glad he's home too.  He was with Sissy and the grandparents.  10 long days without that face!

It means "I Love You."  At least that's what the dinosaurs say.

Oh yeah.  That shizz is real, yo.  Weeds taller than me in my garden area. Lots of work.

Gorgeous Arizona sunsets.  Hotter than hell, but still pretty.

Mind blown.  That's it.  Had to have them.

On my way to date night with the Hubby.

Looking Forward To:

  • School supply shopping with Penelope.  I think I'm more excited.
  • Greg to be done with his mid-terms.
  • Pay day.
  • Cousin sleepover at our house.
  • Co-worker coming back from vacation and seeing his trashed pranked office.
Have a great week!



Twice Baked Potato Skins

We'd been talking about potato skins.  I started craving them.  But, between you and I, I've always been a bit perplexed about the discarded carved out potato.  It just seemed wasteful.  So then I started thinking about twice-baked potatoes.  And then "ding" it came to me...TWICE-BAKED POTATO SKINS!!!  Holla!  I'm sure I'm not the only to think of this, but thought you might enjoy my recipe regardless.  

Twice-Baked Potato Skins
  • Potatoes - Use whatever you have.  I had a bag of Yukon Golds
  • Oil - Enough to rub the outside of the potatoes
  • 1/4 cup (give or take) sour cream
  • 1/8 - 1/4 cup of milk
  • Butter - the more the better.  Seriously.
  • Grated Cheese - enough to sprinkle on the assembled potato skins.  I used a mix of cheddar & jack.
  • Parmesan Cheese - as much or as little as you want.  I used the grated stuff.
  • Salt & Pepper - to your taste.
  • Garlic - 1 clove crushed and grated.
  • Green Onions or chives.  Whatever you have on hand.
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Rub outside of the potatoes with oil and bake until the skins are crispy and they are tender.
  3. Let potatoes cool and cut in half.  Scoop out the insides and save.  Leave enough of a "potato border" so the skin is sturdy.
  4. In a bowl, mix together the potato insides, sour cream, milk, butter, p-cheese, salt, pepper and garlic.
  5. Scoop the mashed mix into the potato skins, top with grated cheese and bake until bubbly golden, melty and delicious.
  6. Sprinkle with green onions or chives.  Oh, I also added a little dollop of sour cream when served.

Variations, Add-Ins, Spin-offs...
  • Bacon of course.  Duh.
  • Sauteed mushrooms & Swiss cheese.
  • Sauteed green chiles and queso fresco or cotija for that extra kick.
  • Caramelized onions.
  • Anything really.


Aloha Hawaii - Part 1

Where to even begin?

We were lucky enough to be able to ring in 2013 in Maui, Hawaii and let me tell you, it was the most beautiful place I have ever been.

A picture is worth a thousand words...so I'll let them speak for themselves.


First Day - Beach Babies
I love how happy they are here.
I hope they are always this close.
They always do this.  Always.  I have so many pictures of the four of them holding hands.
Roadside Smoothies!
Roadside Farmer's Market
Sugar Cane!
On a Pineapple Farm Tour - Getting Washed
Baby Pineapple



DIY: Trash to Treasure

It's no secret.  I love thrift shopping.  I love finding discarded treasures.  You'd be amazed at some of the amazing pieces I have found over the years, especially my amazing vintage Pyrex collection.  That deserves and will get its own post later.

Anyway, I found this little gem and I couldn't pass it up.  It usually happens this way...I see something in it's current state and then immediately see something else entirely once it's mine.

Look around...you'd be surprised at what you can find!



Everyday Inspiration: Old Fashioned Produce Bags

I'm pretty sure I'm the only that has a freak-out session in the grocery store when beauts like these are spotted.

Oh my gah!

Found at my local Whole Foods

I was immediately drawn to them and had I not been on my lunch break, I might have just filled each bag with their respective treats!  Hmm, maybe it's all a marketing ploy.  Oh well, I still fell in love with the colors, fonts and graphics on each bag.  I also LOVE the ideal of these old produce bags coming back.  I love the handles, I love, I love, I love.  I have issues.

Regardless, it's fun to find inspiration in uncommon places.  Sometimes it is the creative juju you need to get things jump started.  Look around!  You might just be pleasantly surprised in the simplest things.



Tortilla Soup

Food is nostalgic.  Isn't it amazing how a smell...a taste...a combo of the two can take you right back to place you visited years ago?

It was our first major trip.  Jilliann (my very best BFF of 26 years) and I pinched pennies for months to make our first trip out of the US to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.  Back then it was just a trip to escape to somewhere tropical and to be able to drink without being 21.  In retrospect, it was such a coming-of-age moment for us both.  We danced the nights away with boys, spent lazy mornings poolside, and afternoons immersing ourselves in the town and all its nooks and crannies.  In the in-between moments, we dreamed big and made lifelong promises of friendship.  We consumed just 3 main meals while in Cabo:  chips, pico & guacamole every morning while poolside, tortilla soup in the afternoon, and quesadillas from the street vendors when we closed the bars down.

It was over quite a few bowls of tortilla soup that Jilliann and I sweetly moved from young girls to young women.  Yes, food is nostalgic.

It's been 17 years since I had my first bowl of tortilla soup that literally rocked my world.  I had never tasted such a rich, flavorful broth.  My naive palate unable to discern the complexity of favors.  My untamed heart fearful I'd never find a replica.  17 long years of trying every "tortilla soup" on the menu and 17 long years of disappointment.

Then a few days ago, I was going through a bevy of old Food Network mags and ripping out recipes to add to my binder.  And there it was...a recipe for tortilla soup with a picture that was a dead ringer for my beloved soup.  Could it be the same?  Would I be disappointed, yet again?  The next day I set out to gather the few ingredients needed.  I made myself wait in eager anticipation as I planned the best night to make my beloved.


I made the soup.

And then...

The Heavens parted and Angels sang.

My beloved soup had returned to me.

I immediately texted Jilliann and she made me swear I was not lying.  I promised her I would make it for when she visits.

My first bite instantly transported me back to my 19 year old self when I first took a sip of the soup in Cabo.  Food is nostalgic.  And in that nostalgia we find comfort.  I  wouldn't want it any other way.

Although this soup requires you to reconstitute dried chilies, I made this soup and quesadillas within 45-50 minutes on a work night.   Perfecto!

Tortilla Soup - Adapted slightly from the October 2009 issue of Food Network Magazine.

  • 2 Ancho chiles - soaked and de-seeded - I did not have time to soak, so I just boiled some water, dropped the chiles in let them get soft.
  • 2 Tomatoes - I used 3 Romas
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Chicken/Beef stock - 6 cups - Recipe only calls for chicken, but I didnt' have enough chicken so I used both chicken and beef.
  • Corn Tortillas
  • Cilantro 
  • Cotija Cheese - I forgot this, and the soup was still divine.
  1. Puree the chiles (after removing stems & seeds), onion, garlic and tomatoes.  You will probably need to do this in batches.
  2. Fry the puree in oil.  Yes, I know it sounds weird, but it's like making Spanish Rice, you cook the sauce.  It just tastes better.  So, you heat up about a tablespoon of oil in a pan and then pour the puree in and cook it for a few minutes.
  3. Add in the broth to the mixture.  The recipe called for 6 cups of chicken stock.  I only had 4 cups of chicken stock, so I also used 2 cups of beef stocks.  Delicious.
  4. Salt to your taste 
  5. Simmer
  6. In the meantime, fry ups stips of corn tortillas.  The recipes show the tortilla stips as almost a garnish, very small.  But, I did bigger strips.  My beloved soup had thick strips of tortilla in it and I wanted to make it the same way.  
  7. Ladle the broth into a bowl and garnish with tortillas strips (the more the better!), a few sprigs of cilantro, and cotija cheese.
**Notes:  I added diced chicken to the soup since Greg needs meat in every dish.  Very good, but in Mexico, my beloved was broth only.  So, it's up to you...delish either way.

Although this probably looks like an ad for "Tortilla Land" products, I assure you it is not.  Just happens to be what I use in my house.  Buy, they are spectacular!