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Hey guys, I think I kind of like this blogging!  I wasn’t sure when I started if I would, but it’s been keeping me busy and making me cook a lot more so my husband is happy, and I’m not bored!  But I wanted to add the ability to print recipes and who knows what else I might discover so I switched to a hosted site.   Unfortunately, I had to change my web address a bit.

So check out my new site:   It’s not real pretty yet.  But hopefully I’ll get the hang of it soon enough.

Thanks for following along with me and my adventures…mostly in the kitchen!

Training for a Warrior Dash- Week 2

Second week of my “training” is complete and I have to say it didn’t really go as I expected.  I think it’s going to be harder than I thought to get on a specific routine.  Between me going out of town and the ladies I’m trying to work out with juggling their kids’ summer schedules, it’s turning out to be pretty random workouts.  But at least I’m doing something!

Here’s what I did this past week:

SUNDAY:  Nothing!  We’re suppose to have one day of rest after all, aren’t we?

MONDAY:  Week 2/Day 2 of 5K Runner (2X).  Stats:  49.25 minutes/12:49 avg. pace, 3.85 miles, 405 calories burned.  Ok, let me just start off my comment with saying it was so darn hot and humid I thought I was dying!  The entire time I was complaining to myself…then I passed two muslim woman on the track outside the base that were fully covered getting exercise so I thought if they can do it in this heat and humidity so can I!  I also saw some poor construction workers installing metal roofing.  Seriously, if they can be out on a building doing that then I can certainly walk/run a few miles!  Lesson learned:  Get my lazy butt out of bed earlier in the morning and beat the heat!

TUESDAY:  I was in Philadelphia for the Jimmy Buffett concert so I went to the gym at the hotel.  Did Week 2/Day 2 5K Runner (oops, didn’t mean to repeat the same day but I did!)  I only did it one time instead of two, frankly because it just seems so much longer on a treadmill going nowhere.  Then I did the all the weight machines.

WEDNESDAY:  We drove back home Wednesday so I just went out for a 4 mile walk (pretty easy)

THURSDAY:  Trying to do the 5K Runner twice is kind of hard because it begins and ends with a 5 minute walk warm up/cool down and repeating just gives 10 minutes of walking.  Since I can’t figure out how to skip that first cool down and second warm up and go straight to repeating the training portion of the app, I had to improvise.  I think for now on I’m gonna skip this app and just walk during one song and jog during the next.  Anyways the map my run said I did this: 57:38 minutes/12:05 avg. pace, 4.77 miles, 539 calories burned.  Oh and by the way…I woke up early and went out before 8:00 am!  Felt much better.

FRIDAY:  The gym was being painted so we had to take our Obstacle course training program outside.  I have to admit, it was much harder outside in the heat!

SATURDAY: Walked the loop on base with a friend.  6.63 miles, 1:32:19 time, average pace 13.55.  It was hot and the neuromas on my foot were killing me.  I had to stop 3 times for that darn foot!

SUNDAY:  Upper body weights

I still feel like I’m not working out very hard, probably because I’m not as sore as I think I should be when working out every day.  Oh well…I’ll keep on going!

Green Beans with Ginger Soy Dressing

Last night I planned what I thought sounded like a really fantastic summertime dinner.  Grilled chicken marinated in a Grand Marnier marinade, black rice salad with oranges and avocado, and a Green Bean Salad with Ginger Soy Dressing.  I was so excited to eat, I could hardly wait! While snapping a few photos with my iPhone (I need a real camera and photography lessons from my son!) all that was running through my mind was how I’m going to post all these recipes…together as a menu or individually?  Certainly it was going to be a fantastic meal worth telling the world about.


When we finally sat down to eat I had my answer. I knew what I had to talk about.  The green beans.  They were by far the standout in this meal…at least in my opinion.  Mark liked everything (he’s easy to please). And since he grilled the chicken I’m sure he was secretly hoping I’d say the chicken was the best.  Actually, it was quite delicious, but I just don’t think the Grand Marnier marinade was blog worthy.  And I loved the idea of a black rice salad, but this one, while quite yummy, needed a little more zing. Maybe after some tweaking I’ll have those recipes perfected and ready to share.  But for now I want to share the green bean recipe because it really was that good.  So much so that my mind is swirling with many ideas for uses with the dressing.  I even poured some of the leftover dressing on the black rice salad and it was great! I got this recipe from a cookbook by Hugh Carpenter & Teri Sandison called “Hot Vegetables”.   Give it a try, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed!


Green Bean Salad with Ginger Soy Dressing

1 lbs. green beans

1 Tbls. toasted sesame seeds


1/4 C. unseasoned rice vinegar

2 Tbls. soy sauce

1 Tbls. sesame oil

1 Tbls. sugar

1 tsp. Asian chile sauce

2 Tbls. minced ginger

1 green onion, chopped

2 Tbls. chopped cilantro

Blanch the green beans in boiling water until they brighten and taste tender, about 5 minutes.  Transfer to an ice bath to stop the cooking.  Drain and pat dry, store in refrigerator until ready to use.  Toast the sesame seeds and set aside.

Combine all the dressing ingredients.  When ready to serve, toss the green beans with the dressing and sprinkle sesame seeds on top. This would be a great dish for parties or when you want to make something up ahead of time.

Black Russian Cake

I believe a cake exists for the main purpose of being used as a vessel to get the yummy buttercream frosting into my mouth.  I love square cakes because there’s four corners and if I’m lucky enough I’ll get one of the corners which means MORE FROSTING!  But this Black Russian Cake is the one exception to my rule.  I love this cake.  Even if it doesn’t have my beloved frosting on top!  I’ve been making this cake for years and have no idea where I first got the recipe. But a quick search around the internet proves its been around for a long time.  So if you want a really, really great dessert, make this cake, NOW!  Everyone will love it.



 1 box yellow cake mix (w/o pudding if you can find it)

6 oz. box instant chocolate pudding

1/3 C. sugar

1 C. vegetable oil

4 eggs

3/4 C. water

1/4 C. vodka

1/4 C. Kahula

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a bundt pan with Pam or your preferred method of greasing a cake pan.  Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix with hand mixer for about 2 – 3 minutes on medium speed.  Pour batter in prepared bundt pan.  Bake 45 minutes. Let cool about 10-15 then invert on serving platter.  Drizzle glaze on top of warm cake.  Then, if you’re like me, you’ll drizzle more glaze on top again when it has cooled completely.


1/2 C. powdered sugar

1/4 C. Kahula

Blend together powdered sugar and Kahula to make a glaze.  Pour over warm cake.  When cake is cooled you can garnish with berries and sprinkle powdered sugar on top if you want to make it look pretty…or just dig in and enjoy!


Jimmy Buffett Concert

So I should start this post off by saying I’m really NOT a Jimmy Buffett fan. My husband on the other hand is a huge parrot head.  For years he has wanted to go to a Buffett concert but was never able to make it work…until this past week.  I guess looking back I never really minded Jimmy.  I had no opinion one way or another.  That is, until a couple years ago when we bought a new car that has satellite radio.  Now every time I’m in the car with him Margaritaville is on the radio.  Sure, on short trips it’s not so bad. But we go to DC frequently and that’s a two hour drive.  Two hours of Jimmy is just too much for this girl.


My Gaga concert outfit

I prefer more current day music.  In fact, as my friends will attest, I’m a huge Lady Gaga fan and I thought that would be the concert I’d be going to in Philly…until she had hip surgery and there went my first Gaga concert experience (so bummed).  But as the loving, supportive wife that I am, I bit the bullet and went with my husband. And guess what? I hate to admit that I actually had fun!

We have some really good friends that live outside of Philly, we were neighbors 20+ years ago, and they joined us for dinner and the concert.   We went to a great restaurant that I would highly recommend if you’re ever in Philadelphia, El Vez on 13th and Sansom.  First we started off with Margaritas (of course, it is a Jimmy Buffett concert after all).  A pitcher of Perfecto (El Jimador Blanco, Cointreauy, Grand Marnier, fresh lime juice) and a pitcher of Frozen Blood Orange Margaritas.  And to go with the margaritas some guacamole and chips. Not any old normal guac though, they had this fantastic guac with goat cheese, pistachios and roasted tomato. So yum!  For dinner we ordered some tacos and quesadillas to share.  We had Sea Bass tacos with potato purée, grilled scallion, fried jalapeños, crispy Mahi Mahi tacos with red cabbage, avocado, chipotle pepper remoulade, Grilled Beef tacos with refried beans, salsa mexicana, avocado crema, fried onions, Shrimp quesadilla with 3 cheese blend with tomatoes, pasilla sauce, pickled jalapeños and avocado espuma, and a Chicken Tinga quesadilla with 3 cheese blend, bacon, red onion and poblano crema.  Unfortunately, I was so engrossed in chatting and eating that I forgot to take a picture of all the food!  Shame on me.

Good Times with Good Friends!

Good Times with Good Friends!

Then with full bellies and, to be perfectly honest, just a little margarita buzz, it was off to the concert (don’t worry, we had a DD).  What an experience that was.  I have never seen so many middle aged people dressed like it was halloween in Hawaii.  So funny!  I was quite surprised to see so many young people there as well.  But I have to say, they weren’t all decked out the way the old peeps were.  Must have been a generational thing.

Well now I can say I’ve been there, done that.  I just hope it gets me a reprieve from Margaritaville on the radio for awhile…one can only hope!  Next concert…Jack Johnson, Oh Yeah!

“Ju-tini” Martini

So it’s Hump Day, and it’s almost Happy Hour which sounds to me like it’s time for a round of Martini Madness!  Today, I thought I would share with you my go-to cocktail, the one I’m famous for around the ‘hood.  It’s been fondly named a “Ju-tini” (since my name is Judy) by my neighbor Joyce.  I don’t think any of the ladies around here know what it’s really called (pomegranate martini), they just ask for a Ju-tini.  I think I’ve turned most of the neighborhood on to them…well at least the ones that frequent my house at Happy Hour.  Do you think maybe they’re just being polite and think they should drink what I’m drinking?  We live on a small base which has a “club” and I even taught the bartender how to make the “Ju-tini” to our liking!

Cheers to us... Ju-Tini's all around!

Cheers to us… Ju-Tini’s all around!

You can make this martini with any good quality plain vodka (I usually drink Absolute, Ketel One, or Grey Goose), or you can go a little more wild and try it with a citron vodka or  even an orange vodka.  Once my sister-in-law gave me a bottle of Hanger One lime flavored vodka and it was equally delicious with that too!


“Ju-Tini” Martini

2 parts vodka

1 part Cointreau (or Triple Sec if you want to save money)

1 part (or more to taste) Pom Pomegranate/Cherry juice

1/4-1/2 lime, juiced

Add all the ingredients to a cocktail shaker, and shake really well.  Strain into a chilled martini glass.  Drink up (but be careful, they can be potent)

Rosemary Garlic Lamb Lollipops

Olive Oil, Rosemary, Garlic, Salt

Olive Oil, Rosemary, Garlic, Salt

True confession:  I can’t cook plain ol’ meat.  I don’t know why but it never turns out very tasty.  I’m not particularly fond of roasts and I really prefer my steaks and chops cooked on a grill. Fortunately, I have a husband who loves to grill and will do it in any type of weather.  He seriously is the best grillin guy around!  Today’s recipe has to be one of my favorite things to eat, ever.  I love, love, love the little lamb “lollipops” that Mark cooks on the grill.  I rarely measure the ingredients so don’t worry if you’re not exact.  Rosemary, garlic and olive oil is always a yummy combination in any proportion, right?


1 Rack of Lamb (I get mine at Costco)

1/3 c. chopped, fresh Rosemary

6 cloves Garlic, minced

1 1/5 Tbls. Kosher salt

1/4 c. Olive Oil (adjust amount +/- to make a loose paste)

To prepare rub, combine rosemary, garlic, salt and olive oil in a small bowl.  I put it all in a cereal bowl and use a fork to mix it all up making a loose paste mixture.  The salt helps with this so it’s important to use salt.  Adjust the amount of olive oil as needed to get a moist consistency.

Rub this paste mixture all over the lamb, cover,and let it “marinate” for a few hours in the refrigerator.  When ready to grill, remove from refrigerator and set it on the sink to warm up before putting it on the grill.

Rosemary Garlic Lamb Lollipops

Rosemary Garlic Lamb Lollipops

Mark cooks the lamb over a medium low heat about 20 minutes, flipping the lamb every 5 minutes, until internal temperature reaches 135 degrees. If you prefer your lamb not so pink just cook a few minutes more. Remove from grill and cover with foil and let sit about 8-10 minutes.  When ready to serve, slice between the bones into “lollipop” chops.  In my book it’s perfectly acceptable to eat these with your fingers!


Greek Inspired Leftover Salad

I don’t know what my problem is.  I have been an “empty nester” for several years now.  My husband travels every week.  And yet, I still buy too much food!  I can’t help myself.  I love to grocery shop.  But I don’t like having to run out and pick up a few items last minute when I want to throw together dinner.  So I usually stock up on way too many vegetables, then throw a bunch away when they get yucky.  This afternoon my husband and I were sitting in the backyard pondering what we should have with the grilled lamb chops we planned on making for dinner tonight.  I really wanted some artichokes or asparagus but I didn’t have any.  And since we won’t be home for dinner for the next couple days, I didn’t want to run out and buy more food at the store.  It was time to use up what we already had.

Food challenge of the day:  Make something up from cleaning out the fridge!

I found a zucchini, some baby potatoes, baby carrots, half a jar of Hearts of Palm, some Kalamata olives, some grape tomatoes that were starting to shrivel (but still edible!), a few random scallions, red bell pepper, some parsley and basil and a tub of feta cheese.  All that sounded a little Greek to me so I set about making a Greek inspired side dish/salad.

I cut up the potatoes, carrots, red bell pepper and zucchini, tossed them in some Meyer Lemon Olive Oil and Cavender’s Greek Seasoning and roasted them at 425 degrees for 15 minutes.  While the vegetables were roasting, I sliced the Hearts of Palm, cut the olives and tomatoes in half, sliced the scallions and chopped the herbs.  I also had some oregano outside in a pot so I chopped up some of that too.

When the vegetables finished roasting I let them cool, added them to a bowl with the other ingredients, tossed in the feta cheese and some toasted pine nuts I had in the freezer.  I also added a little bit (about 2 tablespoons) of some greek salad dressing I had in the fridge.

Result:  SUCCESS!  And it’s nice to know I used up some veggies that otherwise would probably have gone in the trash in a couple of days.

Stay tuned…. up next the very best grilled lamp chops ever!

Training for a Warrior Dash

Well it’s official.  I’m entered in the Warrior Dash on August 24th at the urging of my friend Joyce.  For those wondering what a Warrior Dash is, you can check it out here.  We have a group of women doing this, so I thought why not?  I’ve never had a desire to do one of these types of races, but then again, I never really had a desire to do the San Diego Rock & Roll Marathon or the La Jolla Half Marathon either.  But I did them both (mostly walking) at the urging of my BFF Lyssa and now I can put a check in the box.  Unfortunately, since I moved away from San Diego 2 years ago I don’t seem to enjoy working out as much as I used to.  It’s hot and humid here in the summer and freezing and windy in the winter.  I prefer walking at the beach, Torrey Pines and  La Jolla Cove are my favorites.

The view from a walk in La Jolla, CA

The view from a walk in La Jolla, CA

I even use to walk from La Jolla Cove to my house in Point Loma frequently (13.2 miles).  Since I’m a fair weather girl it takes a lot of motivation to get me out for a walk when the weather conditions aren’t so great.  Result:  I’m not really in the best shape for this kind of race.


Who really wants to go out to exercise when you have to dress like this?

Who really wants to go out to exercise when you have to dress like this?

So it’s time to start a little training for the event. While I can walk (pretty fast) for miles without a problem, I have no upper body strength at all.  I hate lifting weights for upper body and I detest push ups the most!  Pull ups?  Forget about it.  Never have I ever been able to do one in my life, even when I did gymnastics in high school (and threw the discus).  If you look at the race details, this is an obstacle course.  With lots of running, jumping, climbing, and getting dirty.  I THINK I’M GONNA DIE!  But I have a plan, sort of.  I have an app on my phone to train for a 5K (5K Runner) and a trainer at the gym that’s giving us girls a couple work out programs.  One is an obstacle course fitness program and the other is an upper body weight workout.

So here’s what I’ve done this week:

MONDAY:   Week 2, Day 1 of the 5K Runner.  I figured I was in good enough shape to skip the first week.   This included a 5 min. warm up walk, then 1.5 run, 2 min walk, repeated 4 times, then 1 min run, 1 min walk, repeated twice and a 5 minute cool down.  But that seemed too easy and only got me to the front gate here on base so I did it again on the way back home.

TUESDAY:  Obstacle course workout.  Basically it’s a 5-8 minute warm up  Then jog on the treadmill 2 mins, then 1 min. of an “obstacle” like the dreaded pushups, or mountain climbers, or broken table, there’s a whole list to choose from), then 2 min. on treadmill, 1 min. obstacle (different from first), 2 mins treadmill, 1 min. obstacle (different from first and second).  Then repeat the cycle for 2 more times.  I only jogged at 5.5, 5.8, then 6.0 which was fairly easy…in fact I thought the whole workout wasn’t too hard (except for push ups!)  Guess I’ll have to push myself harder next time.

WEDNESDAY:  Walked/jogged around the base with a friend.  6 miles.  Guessing I only jogged maybe a total of 2 miles???

THURSDAY:  Upper body weight workout.  Can’t remember everything on the list.  I think my mind conveniently blocks out painful things.  My shoulders were sore then next day!  In the evening I was bored and hungry so I went for a 4 mile walk.

FRIDAY:  Walked/jogged.  Downloaded Map My Run on my phone.  It says I went 3.94 miles in 48.18 minutes.  Average 12.15 pace. 439 calories burned.

SATURDAY:  Walked around the base with a friend, 6 miles.  Now here’s what’s interesting.  I must have done something wrong because the Map My Run said I went 7.52 miles in 1:37.14.  Average 12.56 pace. 783 calories burned.  I know for a fact it’s not a 7.5 mile course so I don’t trust this thing!

Sorry if all this is a little boring, but putting it out there in cyberspace just might be the only thing to keep me going… especially when the heat and humidity hits full tilt boogie!

Grapefruit Martini

It’s Hump Day Happy Hour time!

I had two lonely pink grapefruits sitting in my fruit bowl for awhile and I never quite decided what to do with them.  Well, it was happy hour time, and I had a couple friends over, so I thought it was the perfect opportunity to try out a new martini.  I had scribbled down a recipe that sounded delicious from Liv Life’s blog that I came across earlier in the week and now was the perfect time to give it a try.  Boy am I glad I did!  It was quite refreshing…and not too sweet.  If you prefer a little more sweetness to your flavored martinis, just add a splash of simple syrup.  I tried it with and without a splash and I liked it best with a little simple syrup.  One friend preferred it without.  So it’s really just a matter of personal preferences, and the sweetness of your grapefruit.  The recipe on the blog also gives proportions to make a pitcher which I think would be ideal if your are making this for several people.



1 1/2 oz. Vodka

1/2 oz. Limoncello

2 oz. fresh squeezed pink grapefruit juice

1/2 oz. fresh squeezed lime juice

Optional:  splash of simple syrup

Add ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice and shake well.  Strain into a chilled martini glass and enjoy!



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