Sweet and Spicy Asian-Style Green Beans

These green beans rock my world. They get tons of flavor and a bit of heat from one of my favorite secret ingredients – chili garlic sauce. A touch of honey gives them just the right amount of sweetness and soy sauce gives them an undeniable Asian flair. They’re the perfect side for an Asian inspired meal but these flavors are also a great complement to so many dinner basics, like roasted chicken or grilled steak. They were perfect with our beef tenderloin at Christmas and will also be a great choice when summer BBQ season is in full swing…. [Read the full post]

Super Bowl Favorites from My Favorite Redhead

I have a special treat for you all today. It involves some great recipes for Super Bowl, a super cool giveaway, and a redhead named Julie who has some serious skills as a decorator AND as a cook. I know you’re all going to love her just as much as I do so let’s get to it….take it away, Julie! Well, hello Valerie fans! My name is Julie, and I live in Michigan. My hubby & I met in college and have been married for 20 years. We are blessed with 2 beautiful girls. “From Valerie’s Kitchen” first caught my… [Read the full post]

Chili Dogs for a Crowd

Chili Dogs for a Crowd

Rumor has it there’s this big football game happening next weekend. Apparently lots and lots of people will be watching and Bruno Mars is performing at half-time so it must be a really big deal. I have to admit, I’m not a very big football fan (can you tell?) but I happen to be married to one so I’ll be watching the Bruno Mars Show, whoops – I mean the Super Bowl – right along with him. I love Bruno Mars (can you tell?). Since we’ll be watching football, it’s time to talk about football food. The idea of baking… [Read the full post]

Cheesy Baked Bean and Rice Burritos

Last week I shared my make at home version of Restaurant Style Mexican Rice. Today I’m going to show you one of my favorite ways to make use of the leftovers. I’m not letting any of that delicious rice go to waste. No sir. I’m using the same no oil, oven “fry” method for these cute little burritos that I use for my Baked Chicken Taquitos. It results in a toasty, crisped tortilla – all the satisfaction, less guilt. This simpler bean and rice version is an excellent choice to serve to the football watching crowd or to have on hand in… [Read the full post]

Bridget Goes to the Beach

Since the sun was shining and the temperatures have been unseasonably warm this week, it was time for Bridget to get her first taste of sun, sand, and waves. Although California is known for it’s beautiful weather, trips to the beach in January are not typical. But on this day, it was all blue skies and 76 degrees of gorgeousness at the dog-friendly beaches of Half Moon Bay. We are lucky to be a 45 minute drive away from this view.  Bruno took the lead to show Bridget how it’s done. He’s a veteran. Bridget followed along but as you can… [Read the full post]

Restaurant Style Mexican Rice

There’s a little Mexican restaurant that we frequent on a regular basis and it may seem odd, but one of the things that brings me back time and time again is their heavenly rice.  I’ve spent many of my meals there contemplating why this rice is so incredible and short of chasing after the sweet little lady that prepares it, I was bound and determined to figure it out for myself. What sets it apart are the little bits of soft cooked potato and carrot mixed in with the light and fluffy rice. I’ve come to find out that adding… [Read the full post]

Southwest Salsa: A Healthy Alternative to Game Day Snacking

The holidays are over and I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling the need to make amends for the loads of goodies I’ve consumed over the past couple of months. Problem is, we still have all that football to watch and all those cheesy, high calorie, game day recipes are taunting me. That’s where this recipe comes in. It’s chock-full of nutrition, calls for ingredients you can keep on hand in your pantry, and is incredibly fast and easy to put together with the help of your food processor. Del Monte® Petite Diced Tomatoes with Zesty Jalapenos and Del Monte® Golden… [Read the full post]

Tortellini Broccoli Salad

Maybe I should have held off sharing this one till we were closer to the warm weather months but I couldn’t hold back. This bright and cheerful little salad is the perfect side dish for your summer BBQ but I love it any time of year. As a matter of fact, I  served it the day the boys came over for our annual Christmas photo shoot and decided it was high time it made an appearance here on the blog. Plus, I’ve been fighting a cold and summery happy food makes me feel better. So here it is, my first… [Read the full post]

15 Great Appetizers for New Year’s Eve

I don’t see the point in cooking dinner on New Year’s Eve when we all know we’re going to be snacking until the ball drops in Times Square.  Instead of planning an elaborate, full dinner, I like to make an assortment of goodies to snack on throughout the night with a nice bottle of wine or some festive cocktails. I’ve compiled a list of my favorites here, some of which will be making an appearance at our house this year. Of course I’ve got some cheesy dips but I also have some healthier alternatives for you that are absolutely delicious…. [Read the full post]

Crock-Pot Italian Beef Sandwiches

On a Saturday afternoon just a couple of weeks before Christmas I somehow managed to get all four boys over to the house at the same time so I could take the annual Christmas photos. This is not an easy task to accomplish these days. They all have busy lives, college, work, etc., but I wisely promised them lunch if they came and – jackpot! They all arrived, on time, nicely dressed, with smiles on their faces. This, my friends, is the power of food. These Italian Beef Sandwiches were just the ticket on a day like this. They’re warm,… [Read the full post]

The Costco Haul – November/December 2013

The November haul was lighter than usual and consisted mainly of pantry re-stock items that I’ve shared in my previous Costco Haul posts. But, December’s haul was another story. I’m back with the goods, prices and all, from both shopping trips.  In addition to my tried and true pantry staples, I tried a few new items that I was very pleased with and even did a little Christmas shopping. Let’s check it all out. I got a double pack of these delicious Butternut Squash Ravioli in November and they ended up in my cart again in December. Delicious! I believe… [Read the full post]

Pecan Tarts

I apologize for the sweets binge I’ve been on lately but it’s Christmas time, for crying out loud! We have an excuse, so I’m going for it. See you on the other side…or at the gym. This is another classic recipe from my mom’s recipe binder that just had to be on the blog. You may know them as pecan tassies but she called them tarts so tarts they shall be, for me. Tassies, tarts, whatever you call them, they are divine little pecan pies with a flaky cream cheese based crust. And, they need to be in your house… [Read the full post]

Apricot Bars

I associate Apricot Bars with Christmas because they were on my mom’s cookie trays each and every year. Christmas time is also when she made her phenomenal Lemon Bars. The fruity bar thing was always a nice addition to all the traditional sugar cookies and gingerbread men. So, I got a little nostalgic this year and whipped up a batch. As soon as this post is published, they will be packaged up with an assortment of other Christmas goodies I’ve baked over the past couple of days so I can share the love with those I love. Mom  wasn’t much… [Read the full post]

Gastrolux Cookware

You may have heard me singing the praises of Gastrolux Cookware over the past several months. There is a good reason for this. I’ve been using and absolutely LOVING this cookware since I received my first pan back in July. I’ve reached for that pan more times than I can count and there’s evidence of that in many of the posts I’ve published since then. As we know, quality in cookware comes with a price tag but after trying these pans, I know it is an investment that will pay off in years and years of use. AND, I’m happy… [Read the full post]

Our Newest Addition

This sweet baby girl joined our household a couple of months ago. Shortly after she came home with us, I put this picture of her out to the world via Facebook and mentioned we were having trouble choosing a name. I was overwhelmed with the response! I received over 500 comments including hundreds of name suggestions. I read each and every one of those comments and appreciate so much all of your sweet and thoughtful words. I almost feel I should compile and publish the list of names that was generated through that post. We decided not to rush into… [Read the full post]

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