Thursday, February 8, 2018

Happy Birthday to the Best Husband on the Planet!

Our 37th Anniversary was Dec 30th. We had been remodeling our basement (new flooring, painted the ceiling and remodeled the bathroom), so I let it slip by without a word.  Sunday is my husband's birthday and I just HAVE to say how amazing he is. For 37 years - most of his life - he has put up with my constant projects/remodels without complaining.  He puts up with my OCD and attention to detail that would drive anyone absolutely crazy!  Sometimes he quotes Princess Bride and responds to my requests with, "As you wish" - that drives me mad, but he is almost always cheerful about helping me get things done. He is not a typical gift-giver - he hates "having" to purchase a gift, but if he sees something he knows is perfect for me he buys it, "just because".  Daily he looks for ways to make my life easier.  Sometimes that means washing up the dishes, scrubbing toilets, making dinner, or sometimes getting a new I-pad, computer or phone set up because he knows I will lose my mind trying to figure it all out. He has a wonderful sense of humor and it always comes out at the most unexpected times. He is always kind, never critical (my struggling self-esteem thanks him), he makes me laugh at myself when I am being dramatic about something.  He plans out the best antique shops whenever we travel anywhere - and is happy about the shopping.  He reminds me about things I need to do when he knows I have a ton on my plate and might forget.  He just brings out the best in me.  He makes me want to do more, to be better, to push myself - without ever nagging.  He is my best cheerleader.  When I started in Real Estate he wanted to know what my business plan was - what was that?  I didn't even have one!  Being sarcastic, I finally said, "I just want to make more money than you!"  Without batting an eye, he said, "How can I help you do that?"  Been my best assistant ever since.  He has even made small repairs for my clients without hesitation.  Seriously-how can I not love him?!  

He is so wonderful with his grandchildren.  Two of them lived with us for nearly four years and it was wonderful to see him interact with them.  I always appreciated what a good father he was to his own 3 boys.  He has always put his family first and has always been a great example - never hypocritical.  Truly a man of his word. 

I am blessed beyond measure.  He isn't quite perfect, but I love him the more for his imperfections.  They are few.  Happy b-day to the best husband on the planet.  Here's to many, many more beautiful years together.  

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Sauteed Shrimp over Creamy Spicy Spaghetti

A wonderful shrimp and pasta dinner recipe. With just enough heat to spice things up. 

1 pound Spaghetti 
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
1/4 cup hot water from cooked pasta 
1/2 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced 
1 teaspoon paprika 
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper 
1 teaspoon dried thyme 
1 teaspoon salt 
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 cup dry white wine, room temperature
2 cups Heavy cream, room temperature 
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice 
1/8 cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated


1. Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid. Return to the pot and toss with the 1/8 cup olive oil and reserved cooking liquid. Cover to keep warm. 

2. In a large sauté pan, heat the remaining olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, paprika, cayenne, thyme, and salt. Cook, stirring for 1 minute. Add the white wine and cook over high heat until nearly all evaporated. Reduce heat to medium low, add the cream, cooking and stirring occasionally until slightly reduced. Remove from heat, stir in lemon juice and keep warm. 

3. In the meantime, toss the shrimp with some additional paprika. Heat oil in a pan and cook for 1 - 2 minutes per side. Set aside, cover and keep warm. 

4. Add the cooked pasta to the cream mixture and toss to coat. Cook until the pasta is warmed through, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and add the Parmesan Cheese. Stir in some of the shrimp into the pasta mixture, reserving a few to garnish. Serve with more grated Parmesan, small pieces of parsley.

Recipe taken from my Pinterest board and found at:

NOTE:  this was seriously amazing if you like a little spice!  Just the right amount of heat for me!  I used the frozen shrimp from Costco instead of raw.  You really must try this one!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Milky Way Bars


  • 2 cups light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • See note about mix-ins below:
  • 1/2 cup Caramel Bits (or use caramel squares that have been cut in quarters)
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 15 Fun Size Milky Way Candy Bars, chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9×13” pan with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Cream brown sugar and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until combined. Add baking powder, salt, and flour and mix.
  3. Stir in caramel bits, chocolate chips, and chopped Milky Way bars (see note).
  4. Press into prepared pan (dough is sticky, spray your hands with cooking spray to avoid it sticking to your hands).
  5. Bake for about 22-25 minutes. (Be careful not to overcook – the center will still be jiggly when you take these out of the oven and they will finish cooking and firming up as they cool.) Cool completely before slicing into squares.
  6. Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

THESE are like eating a candy bar!  So yummy!  You can substitute any variety of chopped candy bars or chips or nuts desired.  Wonderful texture!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017


  • 1 large spaghetti squash
  • 1 large chicken breast or 2 small, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped shallot
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, depending on how spicy you like things
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 ounce 1/3 less fat cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt
  • Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
    Spaghetti Squash
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with foil.
  2. Cut the spaghetti squash in half and scoop out the seeds.
  3. Rub or spray the interior with oil and season with kosher salt and black pepper.
  4. Place the halves cut side down on the baking sheet and roast in the oven for approximately 40 minutes or until a knife can be inserted in the flesh easily.
  5. Remove from the oven and let the squash cool until it can be handled.
  6. Using a fork scoop out the flesh in long strands and put them in a bowl.
  7. Place the skin/shell back on the baking sheet and set aside.
  8. Chicken and Broccoli Filling
  9. Preheat oven to broil.
  10. Spray a large non-stick skillet with oil and heat over medium high heat.
  11. When the skillet is hot add in the chicken, season with salt and pepper and sauté until cooked through.
  12. Remove the chicken from the skillet onto a plate.
  13. Turn the heat down to medium and add a couple teaspoons of olive oil to the skillet.
  14. Swirl the oil to coat the bottom of the skillet then add in the shallot, garlic and red pepper flakes.
  15. Sauté for about a minute then add in the broccoli florets.
  16. Season with salt and pepper then add in a couple tablespoons of water and cover with a lid.
  17. Let the broccoli steam for about 2 minutes, then uncover and add the chicken back in.
  18. Add in the cream cheese and chicken broth and stir everything until smooth and a sauce starts to form.
  19. Add in half of the shredded cheese and stir until melted.
  20. Remove from the heat and stir in the Greek yogurt until combined.
  21. Taste for seasoning then pour the filling into the bowl with the spaghetti squash strands and stir together until combined.
  22. Divide the filling evenly into the spaghetti squash shells and top with the remaining shredded cheese.
  23. Broil in the oven until the cheese is melted then serve.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Creamy Parmesan Garlic Mushroom Chicken

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive oil
  • Salt Pepper
  • 8 ounces sliced mushrooms
  • Creamy Parmesan Garlic Sauce:
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream or half and half
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup spinach, chopped

  1. In a large skillet add olive oil and cook the chicken on medium high heat for 3-5 minutes on each side or until brown on each side and cooked until no longer pink in center. Remove chicken and set aside on a plate. Add the sliced mushrooms and cook for a few minutes until tender. Remove and set aside.
  2. To make the sauce add the butter and melt. Add garlic and cook until tender. Whisk in the flour until it thickens. Whisk in chicken broth, heavy cream, parmesan cheese, garlic powder, pepper and salt. Add the spinach and let simmer until it starts to thicken and spinach wilts. Add the chicken and ,mushrooms back to the sauce and serve over pasta is desired.
NOTE: I double the amount of mushrooms and add extra spinach.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Chicken Mushroom Lasagna

  • 9 uncooked lasagna noodles
  • For the Filling:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into very small bits (1/2 inch or smaller)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 12 ounces whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 2 ounces grated Parmesan Romano cheese
  • For the Cheese Sauc
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 2½ cups milk (at least 2 %)
  • 4 ounces grated Parmesan Romano cheese
  • 12 ounces shredded mozzarella, divided
  • For the Mushrooms:
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Lightly grease a 13 X 9 baking dish (I rub a little olive oil on the bottom and sides).
  2. Cook the lasagna noodles according to package instructions, but only cook halfway (because they will cook more in the oven). Drain and rinse with cold water (stops the cooking process).
  3. While the pasta cooks, heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the chicken. Then add the salt, pepper, oregano, and basil. Brown the chicken over medium high heat. This will take only 4-5 minutes (because the chicken pieces are small).
  4. Set the drained noodles and cooked chicken aside.
  5. In a medium bowl mix together the ricotta cheese, egg, and 2 ounces Grated Parmesan Romano. Stir in the cooked chicken and set aside.
  6. Make the cheese sauce and cook the mushrooms at the same time. In a medium saucepan melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the flour until it thickens. Then pour in the milk, stirring while you pour. Bring it to a simmer.
  7. In a medium skillet (or re-use the pan you cooked the chicken in), melt the tablespoon of butter. Add the mushrooms and toss them with the oregano. Let them cook over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, until they are caramelly in color - about 5 minutes.
  8. When the milk in the saucepan simmers, stir in the 4 ounces of grated Parmesan Romano cheese, and 8 ounces of the mozzarella. Stir until it melts.
  9. To assemble the lasagna, lay 3 of the noodles on the bottom of the prepared pan. Spread ⅓ of the ricotta mixture over the noodles. Spoon or ladle ⅓ of the cheese sauce over the ricotta mixture. This will help it to spread. Top with half of the mushrooms.
  10. Repeat. When you get to the last layer, sprinkle the entire top with the remaining 4 ounces of shredded mozzarella cheese.
  11. Bake for 35-40 minutes

This is seriously one of the best lasagnas I have ever had!  Favors blend nicely together and it the sauce keeps it creamy!  Wouldn't change a thing!

Found on Pinterest at :

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

White Sauce Chicken Enchiladas

  • 10 small soft flour tortillas (you can use corn but I like flour with chicken)
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded and cooked chicken (we like to use rotisserie chicken)
  • 3 cups Monterey Jack cheese - shredded
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 4 oz can diced green chilies (I like medium - they are not spicy at all)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Combine shredded chicken and 1 cup of cheese
  3. Fill tortillas with the mixture above and roll each one then place in a greased 9x13 pan
  4. Melt butter in a pan over medium heat
  5. Stir flour into butter and whisk for 1 minute over heat.
  6. Add broth and whisk together. Cook over heat until it's thick and bubbles up
  7. Take off heat and add in sour cream and chilies. (be careful it's not too hot or the sour cream will curdle)
  8. Pour mixture over enchiladas and add remaining cheese to top.
  9. Bake in oven for 20-23 minutes then you will want to broil for 3 minutes to brown the cheese.
  10. Enjoy!

Recipe found on Pinterest at:

Enchiladas are very creamy with an ample amount of sauce.  Great flavor!  Fast and easy to put together!

Monday, September 25, 2017

Chicken Enchilada-Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

2 8 oz chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1 2.5-3 pounds spaghetti squash, cut in half and seeded
1 1/4 cup enchilada sauce, divided
1 medium zucchini, diced
1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese

I always cook my chicken in the slow cooker for about 4 hours on low.  Then shred when somewhat cooled.

To prepare spaghetti squash:  Prick with a fork (like you do a baked potato) and microwave for 5 minutes.  Cut in half and removed seeds.  Place face down in a microwaveable dish and microwave and additional 7-8 minutes.  Allow to cool and use fork to scrape squash out of shells.  (alternatively you may bake for 40-50 minutes at 400 degrees.
Place squash, 1 cup of enchilada sauce, half the cheese, shredded chicken and diced zucchini in large bowl.  Mix well.  Place mixture in the shells and top with remaining enchilada sauce and cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.  Turn the oven to broil and allow cheese to brown.  Remove from oven cut each shell in half.  

Super easy and so good!

NOTE:  Pretty sure I added additional cheese.  :)

Monday, June 26, 2017




  • 4-5 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts*
  • 1 bottle beer (or chicken stock, if you do not like to cook with alcohol)
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 tablespoon chipotle powder (or 1 chipotle in adobo sauce, minced)
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2-4 fresh limes


  1. Add the chicken, beer, onion, garlic, chipotle, cumin, black pepper, chili powder, and salt to the bowl of a large slow cooker.  Gently toss to combine.
  2. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 4-5 hours until the chicken is completely tender and shreds easily with a fork.
  3. Once the chicken is cooked, preheat your broiler to high heat and grease one large baking sheet with cooking spray. Use a fork to shred the chicken into bite-sized pieces.  Then use a slotted spoon to transfer it to the prepared baking sheet, spreading the chicken in an even layer and leaving the juices behind in the slow cooker.  (Don’t discard the juices, we’re going to use them later!)
  4. Place one sheet under the broiler, 2 racks down from the very top, and broil for about 5-6 minutes, or until the edges of the chicken begin browning and crisping up. Remove the sheet from the oven, then ladle about 1/2 cup of the juices from the slow cooker evenly over the chicken, and then give it a good toss with some tongs so that the chicken is evenly coated with the juices.  Broil for an additional 5 minutes to get the meat more crispy. Then remove and ladle an additional 1/2 cup of broth over the crispy chicken.  Broil for an additional 5 minutes.  Then remove sheet from the oven, and toss chicken with the remaining broth.  Then drizzle with however much fresh lime juice you’d like (I love a ton of lime flavor!), and toss once more to combine.
  5. Serve immediately in tacos, burritos, salads, or whatever sounds good to you!  This chicken can also be refrigerated in a sealed container for up to 3 days, or frozen in a sealed container for up to 3 months.

NOTE:  I always use chicken stock and top whatever I make with avocado.  SIMPLY DELISH!!!!

Friday, May 12, 2017

Best Home-made Granola

This recipe was shared with me by Hannah Silva a few years ago.  Truly the best granola I have ever had!  Super easy to make too.

3 cups rolled oat
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1 cup raw sunflower seeds
1 cup unsweetened coconut chips (If I can't find them, I just use shredded coconut)
1 1/4 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup maple syrup, preferably Grade B (I always use a good quality, but whatever I can find)
1/2 cup olive oil
dried cran-cherries (to your liking)

Place all the ingredients except maple syrup, olive oil, and cran-cherries, in a large bowl and mix well.  Add the maple sugar and olive oil and mix well.  Place on large cookie sheets lined with parchment paper and pour mixture onto pans.  Spread mixture until evenly distributed.  Bake at 300 degrees for 45 minutes, stirring every 15.  Remove from oven and let cool.  Add cran-cherries and break granola up into small chunks.  Store in an airtight container for up to one month (if it can last that long!)

Makes about 7 cups

NOTE:  You can really use any combination of nuts and any dried fruit you desire.  Such a great flavor!  The original recipe calls for 1 tsp kosher salt, but I never salt anything, thus I omitted it.

Friday, May 5, 2017

My Little Piece of Paradise!

I thought I would give you a little peek into my silence over the last while.  The weather is warmer and I am living in the yard every spare second I get!  I have water features all over my property to make "working" in the yard therapeutic.  It is a wonderful way to relax and unwind from my stressful, crazy life as a realtor!  I think a lot while I garden and it is good for my soul.  I am NOT a photographer and that is painfully evident, but it will give you an idea of what makes my heart sing.  Always a work in progress, this has been a year of ripping things out.  The sage was completely removed from the first weeping rock we installed, as it was much too big and by the end of the season, you could scarcely see the fountain at all.  That was like removing a tree - the roots are insane!  Took me a complete day of hard work, sweat, and breaking my husband's shovel to get them out.  :)   I planted some new bushes that remain small and have a beautiful golden color.  

East side yard - gets lots of shade and is such a relaxing place to chill. You are barely able -to see the chimney pot fountain my husband made behind the bench.  Super nice sou

Also east side - looking toward the street

Flower pot on east side

East side toward front

East side toward front - love the turbine - it spins in the wind

Very front east side

Front east side - love the little tree - the flowers are pretty well spent here, but so pretty in early spring!

One of many bird houses

My little squirrel friend

Flower pot in front of garage

Rabbit in front landscape

Front door

My funky little owl on the front porch - he often wears a chalk board sign welcoming guests to please come on in!

Front pots

Front pots

Love this little tree - it replaced a weeping cherry tree that failed to weep.

Front mill stone water feature - one of my favorites and the first one we ever installed.

Funky upcycled owl

Front bench under the Japanese maple - one of only two trees that remain from the previous owners

Chillin rabbit in the front bed

front landscape

Front weeping rock - we had to have this one craned in - I killed 3 trees here before we decided to go with the fact there is too much water and install the rock.  It is the low point on our property.  Such beautiful sound.

Swing by the front weeping rock.  A favorite spot for our grand daughters.

Front landscape

Another favorite birdhouse - this one is "occupied" every year! - Different bird families on each level

Another front yard sitting spot on the west side of the house

Yes, I am obsessed with bird houses - the one in the background is an old ammunition box

And another one!

More bird house and a rusty owl

Love the shutter angel

My other millstone fountain on the west side of the house

West side - more bird houses

And yup, another

You didn't think I was done, did you?

Newly planted tomatoes in the garden boxes - we plant a "salsa" garden every year.  The other box has all kinds of peppers.  Nothing like fresh salsa!

One of four pots on the back patio

Another back patio pot

My chill spot on the back patio - this area is "waterproof" and I can watch the storms from here.

Fairy gardens for the grand daughters

Back yard weeping rock - the first one we ever installed

The back west corner of the yard - archway leads to the garden boxes

Upper deck and the perfect "perch" to watch all my crazy birds.

If you need me, I'll be chillin' in the back yard!  Come sit awhile.  I never get tired of it.