Garlic Basil Mahi Mahi on the Grill

Some friends created a recipe-sharing group on Facebook a while ago, and it’s been a great resource, especially when I’ve been stuck on a particular food bent, or when I’ve simply been feeling uninspired to make dinner. As frequently happens in these types of online food communities, certain recipes seem to gain celebrity status – everyone has to give them a try! One of those recipes for this group is Jamie Oliver’s Tender and Crisp Chicken Legs with Sweet Tomatoes.

It’s a truly delicious recipe and I love making it. The recipe calls for tomatoes and basil, as well as 90 minutes of oven time. This is an issue for me because tomatoes and basil are summer produce, but summer around here means a “cool” day is when it gets down to 90 degrees. So, I am not going to be running my oven. But in the cooler weather months when I don’t mind baking, basil and tomatoes are not nearly as readily available or as good. I thought I’d come up with a version that I could make on the grill that captures the basic flavors of this recipe without needing the oven.


Isn’t this the epitome of summer bounty?



It’s Monster Jam time!

My kid loves his truck. He bought it off of CraigsList with his own money. He loves his truck so much that Daddy has been busy tricking it out. His projects have included adding a trunk, seat belts, headlights and tail lights, and today he added a stereo. It even has an input for an MP3 player.

Tricked out kid truck

So, how appropriate was it that while Daddy was busy figuring out the wiring situation for the stereo that I grabbed the kid and took him to see the Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam? I’ve never been to anything like this in my life, and it was exactly as I expected it to be.

MonsterJam01Right from the get-go, the trucks were getting some insane air. It was jaw-dropping. The Sleep Train Arena isn’t that big a venue, and the trucks really seemed cramped in there. Despite the limitations, they brought it. They would kind of sneak up to the little dirt hill, and then just gun the engine, and whammo – they’d go flying!


Getting ready for Monster Jam!

I’m so excited. You know why? I applied to a blogger PR opportunity, my very first one, and my family is now going to the Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam on Saturday! We had heard about the show but hadn’t gotten around to picking up tickets. My son is ecstatic. He loves going to performances and this one is going to be like no other!

Photo Credit / Kenny Lau

Photo Credit / Kenny Lau


Lemon-glazed persimmon bars

A number of years ago, my father-in-law’s friend gifted us a huge brown paper bag full of persimmons. I was rather unfamiliar with them at the time, but some research helped me learn about the two basic types and how to use them. You can call me an official persimmon fan now. My 1-year-old daughter absolutely goes nuts for the fuyu variety.

It’s such a lovely fruit. The hachiya persimmon is almost heart-shaped, and hangs on the bare tree like orange ornaments. It’s so pretty, especially at Christmastime.


Learning to Listen, Learning to Teach

I have spent much of my adulthood talking in front of groups of people. As a zoo educator, I presented to groups of all ages in numbers ranging from 15 to 700. As a dog training instructor, I taught dozens of adults and families on a weekly basis. Other significant public speaking and opportunities to design adult educational programs came with my next job, as well. I did a good job. I followed the example of speakers I enjoyed and respected. My audiences were engaged and learning. I was doing everything right, right?

In the mid-2000’s, I had the opportunity to attend a class that changed everything I knew about public speaking and adult learning. (more…)

Neapolitan Cookies

When my friend Jeanne posted a photo to her Facebook page of these cookies, I knew I had to make them. She mentioned that they contain almond paste. Lord knows I’m a sucker for almond paste. (more…)


In my husband’s family, everyone knows what a bambushka is, and may even start salivating involuntarily when you mention one. Before I met him, the only bambushka I had heard of was the similar-sounding Russian “babushka” (no M), meaning elderly woman, or sometimes referring to a Russian woman’s headscarf. Similar to my experience with my friend’s family’s noodlas, I can’t find anything on the Internet about bambushkas. The only thing I can figure is the Russian nesting dolls are sometimes called babushka dolls, so maybe these are named bambushkas because of the treasured filling inside.

So what are bambushkas? It is a rich egg and yeast dough, rolled thinly, and filled with a sausage, ground beef, bacon, onion and sauerkraut mixture. I think it’s the sauerkraut that makes it truly magical. When we made this batch, I ate two for dinner and then couldn’t wait until breakfast so I had an excuse to eat two more. They go quickly. (more…)

Gift idea: A year full of goals

Oh, what a challenge it is to buy a gift for my husband. He buys himself whatever he needs pretty much as soon as he decides he needs it. He’s a really hard guy to shop for: he doesn’t wear ties, his alcohol selection is limited, he has all the outdoor gear and tools he needs, and he’s not into sports or golf or any of the typical “guy gift” things. What he needs most – and what we need – is more time together.

One of my friends shared a neat idea. The gift giver had planned out 12 dates for the year and put each one in an envelope. Cool, huh. (I saw a bunch of variations on this theme on ye olde Pinterest, like this one.)

On December 24 at 10 p.m., I decided to tweak the idea a bit. (more…)

How to display holiday cards year-round

I’m a sucker for holiday cards and letters. This is somewhat ironic, since the holiday season makes me roll my eyes a lot, and I do not enjoy seasonal decorating at all. You’d think that I would get all Scrooge-ish about holiday cards too, but no – quite the opposite. I absolutely love opening the mailbox and getting cards from family and friends, near and far, and then seeing their faces or the card they selected displayed on our wall for the season.

Ok, I’ll be honest. The cards often stay up much longer than the holiday season. Much longer.  (more…)

Independence Day Tradition: Noodlas and Watermelon

Every year for the July 4th Independence Day, one of my bestest friends, Kelly, gets together with her family and makes noodlas and watermelon. Now, you might be wondering what the heck a noodla is, and dearest reader, you would not be alone. I have never heard of them before meeting Kelly and her family, and I can’t find anything about them! Do things really exist if they don’t exist on the interwebs? Well, after this post, they will indeed exist somewhere online.  (more…)

Next Page »