Friday, September 3, 2010

What's Your Status?

Everyone lives the same lives differently. Wouldn't you agree? Now I'm not saying that God gave each one of us here the same *map of life*. He didn't just print 20 billion kazillion copies from the same mapquest search of life and said "here ya go -- everyone start at a different spot, but stay on the same red dotted line". No I'm saying we all are here, for a different purpose, yet all dealing with the same earthly sins/pleasures at different times.

I look at my Facebook Live Feed and read through my *friends* statuses.

.....had some rocky mountain oysters today
.....hopefully, these farmer's markets will work out for me
.....Did laundry and found 5$ (not mine) treating myself to in n out : D !
.....In 24 Hours I will be in Costa Rica
.....Day not going as planned. Trying to take a deep breath & go with the flow.

On any given day you can find these same statuses, just worded a little differently. Contentment, Stress, Joy, Excitement, The Unknown.

I find life fascinating. I just finished writing a letter to my beautiful cousin as she just lost her baby boy this past week. He went to be with our Father in Heaven at 2 1/2 years old. If I'm being absolutely honest with you, after hearing this horrible news I thought to myself --- I must update my status. Isn't that disgusting. And I'm not trying to bag on Facebook or all of us who change our statuses letting everyone know whats *going on*. So today as I finished up my letter of sorrow I logged on to my FB account and read the statuses I listed above.

Everyone is going through different stages in their lives, yet we can all relate in one way or another to each other. I often think about this when I get a rude woman at the grocery store or someone cuts me off while driving. Granted I have a few Italian Woman genes in me so my first thought is WHAT THE HECK!!??, but on a good day you can catch me wondering "what's going on in their life?" (that's said in a *caring* tone of voice).

Now that my daughter is up from her nap and screaming into my ear, I'm not really sure what the purpose of this post was -- I guess just me realizing that everyone's joys and sorrows come at different times during the day, but we all need to stop and remember that we too have or will go through those same circumstances so we must always have a compassionate heart.

My daughter is up, didn't take a morning nap, not sure how tonight will go and I can't wait for dinner!

Friday, July 30, 2010

My Dream Kitchen...

As I rolled out dough to make my mom homemade cinnamon rolls this past Monday, searching for a spot to place my melted butter bowl, and grabbing the sugar with who knows what as a measuring spoon I started dreaming of my future kitchen. The kitchen I'm in now is not technically mine, so I can dream of my future home featuring the top of the line cookware and utensils. I can hear the laughter and conversations now as I type this post, of my loved ones enjoying their favorite dishes, while sitting at one (yes one, I'll be having two) islands in my kitchen. Everyone with food in hand telling stories while the little ones run wild in and out of my kitchen dodging warming drawers, pasta being drained and the opening and closing of my stainless steel refrigerator. Not to mention sneaking treats from my walk in pantry. (Most girls dream of a walk in closet---I dream of a walk in pantry filled with pasta of every shape, spices from fine grocers and shelves of my favorite ingredients). So, after putting my daughter down for a nap and praying that my old oven will keep temperature somewhat even to bake my mother some birthday cinnamon rolls I started thinking of what I would have in my future kitchen. First, like mentioned above, I would LOVE to have two islands. One for preparing food along with a wash sink, warming drawers and possibly even a flat top stove. And the other with barstools, large enough to have all my appetizers or treats on display for everyone to *nom* on. Oh and I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to have all my counter-tops as chopping blocks. Some friends of ours have a chopping block as their counter top and I am in love with it.

I would also love to have the induction hyprid cook-top by Electolux. It's amazing. It will boil water in 90 seconds. Automatically detects the presence of magnetic cookware and will activate the induction field and adjust it to the exact size of the pan. Heat is transferred directly to the cookware, so the cooktop stays cooler and better for having kids around because it isn't that hot. (and keeps your kitchen cooler).  Plus I love Kelly Ripa's commercials..hah! (and she's the spokes woman for Electolux).

Warming drawers for additional dishes at holidays.

Chopping block counter so I can chop and cut anywhere I please.

Walk in pantry (like mentioned above) ~ Two Dishwashers; one full size and one that is just a top rack drawer ~ Trash compacter ~ Additional Freezer/Refrigerator in pantry area

An ice maker/machine ~ French Door Refrigerator with bottom freezer ~ Double Wall Oven ~

And just for fun - a beverage center (to keep wine chilled, mugs frosty and specialty drinks cold) and probably a kegerator for Jeffrey!

A china hutch in my kitchen to display all my beautiful Princess House china. ~ Deep Cherry
Cabinets (staggered) ~ Oh yes, a drop down cabinet for my Kitchen Aid Mixer.....they are so amazing...drops below your counter top and easily brought up when ready to use

I've always wanted a pan rack to hang above either my stove or one of my islands. I like the way they look.

A drawer dedicated to knives of every size. ~ A touch screen recipe organizer (not sure if they make that, but I'm dreaming right? - I think that would be pretty awesome -- something that could be voice activated so you don't have to get the screen dirty when your hands are covered in what hopes to be dinner)

But the item the I want the most. Above the warming drawers, the walk in closet (I mean pantry) and yes, even above the chopping block counter tops......

I would love a kitchen window. A window that I can look out and see the backyard (or even front yard...I'm not going to be picky) Something that I can see God's amazing blue skies, our beautiful green grass and take just a moment to take a deep breath and be reminded of all the blessings in my life.

Just a window...

Cinnamon Heaven

Ya, I'm pretty sure I don't need to say much more

Chicken Lasagna (and cheese for me)

Last week I made an amazing Chicken and Cheese Lasagna....I know I shouldn't praise myself, but seriously!! This dish just melt in your mouth.

As many of you know, and previously stated, I'm kind of a lunatic when it comes to meat. I use to eat it all the time...homemade meatballs with my parents, cheeseburgers from Super Chili Burger in Chino, you name it...Then about 6 years ago I just became disgusted with it. Kind of a bummer I did not eat it for 5 years. Then when I was pregnant with my daughter I realized that I was more of a "Carbatarian" rather than a Vegetarian and started including chicken into my bread and noodle diet. Basically because I was too lazy to figure out how much protein I needed through nuts, beans, eggs, etc. So my daughter was born and I continued to eat chicken...but's where the lunatic part comes in....about 4 weeks ago--- all of a sudden...AGAIN! I don't want to eat. Ya Ya...I'm crazy. And like many of my posts I've trailed away from my original subject - Chicken Lasagna that is seriously making me salivate just looking at the picture!

It was real simple. Just whipped it up out of no where. Boiled some lasagna noodles. Heated some tomato sauce and added my own spices (garlic, roasted garlic, cumin (new fav), pepper, salt, oregano...) Fried some chicken in the skilled, then shredded. Then started the layer process. Noodle, Sauce, Cheese, Chicken on Half, and repeat 3 times! Heat in the oven at 350 and vwa-la...Chicken Lasagna!!! SOOOOOO GOOOD!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

My little secret...

For a little over a year now I have been secretly trying to perfect a homemade pizza recipe. It was actually Jeff's idea for me to do. Anyways, we've tried a few recipes and they all come out "just ok".

Well to start off our *Birthday Week* last week I tried out a new recipes (while adding a few of my own touches) and let me tell you...I think we're almost there!! The flavor of the sauce was savoury and delicious, complimented by the crispy honey crust dough oozing with cheesy delight!

I still need to work on the process of baking my dough. (I continue to blame it on our old...yet still working oven).

So we shall see. I still have one more dough ball in my freezer..might need to try it again this week! YUM.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

My New Favorite Place ---- MY KITCHEN!

I know I know, it may sound silly that I'm saying that MY KITCHEN is my newest favorite spot. You'd think....this chick wrote a cookbook and loves creating new dishes, shouldn't her kitchen always be her favorite spot to be? Well yes and no. I do love being in my kitchen. Dishing out family recipes, creating my own and trying my new favorites from cookbooks and magazines. But at the same time, I LOVE LOVE LOVE trying out new restaurants. There is nothing better than finding that little unknown hot spot that you can share with your friends. Or even that bakery that's been a gem for years and you are just barely coming across it.

Well lately I've been back in my kitchen making my lunches in between cleaning up pureed green beans that went all over my pajamas that I'm still in at noon when my daughter sneezed while putting the spoon to her mouth. (Yes...happens more than you'd think). Anyways, I am currently in love with the Black Bean and Chipotle Gardenburger. They are soooo delicious! Oh and I'm obsessed with tomato and mozzarella salads too! For lunch yesterday I toasted a bun then added fresh cut tomatoes, sprinkled with salt and pepper a top crisp green leaf lettuce and grilled black bean burger. As a side I cut up the rest of my juicy tomato, added some mozzarella cheese and drizzled with Balsamic Vinegar, Olive Oil, Rice Vinegar, Cumin, Garlic Salt and Pepper..... DELISH!!
(you're drooling right?)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

CAKE BALLS ---- (for lack of a better name)

*Cake balls...have you heard of them? Have you tasted them? Cake balls were introduced to me by a good friend a few weeks ago and this clever little treat is one that makes me think..."Why didn't I think of that"

They are simple to make and a real crowd pleaser! The ::simple instructions:: is to mix one box of cake with a tub of frosting and then dip in chocolate...vwa-la! Cake Balls!

(now you all know my thoughts on box cake, which ironically, every year for my birthday my cake of choice is box Strawberry Cake, which (1) I despise ever bringing box cake to someone's house (2) I hate ever admitting that my cake of choice for my birthday is box Strawberry -- yes yes, I'm a hypocrite...well I guess not big issue is when people claim box cake as homemade----ok ok...totally off subject...I've been doing that lately haven't I)

There are many way's you can make Cake Balls --- favorite sheet cake recipe, any white cake/red velvet/ chocolate cake -- the possibilities are endless.

Since hearing about Cake Balls I have made them twice and my advice to you is:

-Refrigerate your cake/frosting mixture before dipping in chocolate
-Don't melt your dipping chocolate too much, you don't want it too thin
-Make sure to be ready to sprinkle with toppings, that chocolate dries fast
-Cake balls are just as good without a stick!

Have Fun and Enjoy...and for heavens sake...come up with a better name!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Honey Moon Sweets

O   ---  M --- G ---

I had the privileged of biting into one of these exceptional cupcakes on July 3rd and I still cannot get over how delicious it was.

I love cupcakes. I truly do. They make me so happy. Call me crazy, but I even get happy just looking at cupcakes. Go on....Google Cupcake Images ... I'm sure you'll smile.

My hubby surprised me by taking me to Honey Moon Sweets before we headed up to Wickenburg to celebrate the 4th of July Fireworks display at Sunset Park. Originally we thought they might be more of a breakfast bakery serving up cinnamon rolls, muffins and bagels, but to our pleasant surprise they specialize in cakes, cupcakes and pies. They do offer cinnamon rolls, just not in the yea, you got me....I'll be sneaking over there in the fall to sink my teeth into one of their cinnamon rolls..I can only imagine how yummy they are. .....

Ok wait wait wait...this post is suppose to be about a cupcake!

Do you ever feel just weighed down after eating a dessert? That's because most are made with crap....sorry to use that term, but its true. Desserts made from scratch...with REAL ingredients are hard to come by, but Honey Moon Sweets has hit the mark! Its a real good thing that we only purchased one cupcake, because I could have probably consumed a 1/2 dozen.

The cream cheese frosting compliments the red velvet so well. Plus adding the white chocolate confetti! Perfect! I think I might have to sneak over there for my birthday this Friday! Yum!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

DYK..??::JoAnn's/Baby Section::

I know my blog has been all about food thus far, but lately I've been wanting to blog about more and more rather than creating another blog with all my other thoughts I thought I'd just add a DYK section. So Here it Goes...

Did You Know....

that JoAnn's Fabrics has baby stuff? In the section where they sell items for those who Bedazzle they have baby onesies, burp cloths, bibs and beanies.(they even have colored burp cloths, not just plain white) Sure, you might not think this is as exciting as it was for me...but here's the real kicker. 5 white onesies from Babies R Us costs $9.99 and that is the same price they sell it at JoAnn's BUT JoAnn's also mails out their 40% off coupons! Hello??~~!!! I've only gotten 20% off coupons from Babies R Us which is still good, but you can't beat that.  So, there's my DYK for today. If you need white onesies use your coupon for JoAnn's.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

JoJo's Pizza

JoJo's Pizza Kitchen is by far one of the best pizza places I've ever had the privileged of enjoying. Their family recipes and quality ingredients make them top notch above all other restaurants. When I was in my first year of college back in California I started eating here with a friend of mine. She would come in at least twice a week so she knew everyone really well. When I told her that I was looking for a job she suggested I apply at JoJo's. I grabbed an application, had an interview and before I knew it I was in my uniform and ready to help the customers. I loved working at JoJo's as a waitress. The regulars always made our nights such a crack up! Its funny how people "think they know you" just because they see you in a restaurant every Friday night. Ok -- Just to give you an example of how dedicated and loyal these customers are I'll give you a scenerio that would happen pretty much every weekend...Ring Ring::: "Thank you for calling JoJo's how may I help you?" "Ya I'd like a Large JoJo's Special for delivery" "Perfect, its going to be about 2 hours though for delivery we're jammed pack." "That's fine...can't wait for our food"..................SERIOUSLY PEOPLE???? 2 HOURS???? YOU ARE GOING TO WAIT 2 HOURS FOR A PIZZA TO BE DELIVERED???? And they did...week after week.
Some delicious delights from JoJo's include their ever so tasty Tomato Basil Pizza, Homemade Lasagna, Alamara Sauce over Ravioli's or baked into Baked Penne and who could ever leave JoJo's without a Family Dinner Deal - Large Pizza, Large Garden Salad and oozing with Garlic and Butter Breadsticks. So Delish!
I could go on an on about their food....but really you'll just have to stop in and experience the homemade traditions yourself. And don't forget to say hello to Joe Sr....always there to great his guests!

Side Note: They are also great for catering! We had them at our wedding!!!

Zoyo Yogurt

My husband and I have been on this crazy yogurt fix for about 3 months keeps getting progressively worse. (or better...however you want to look at it). Well, we had always been ice cream lovers (and still are), but my husband started the P90X program back in February. Which if you can stick with it its REALLY worth it..he lost 45 lbs in the 90 days! Crazy?! I surely can't do it..I attempted the Ab video...I forget the name of it, ya...I pretty much laid their watching all the different ab workouts thinking..."!" ... 30 minutes later, I didn't break a sweat. So anyways, back to the yogurt, my husband had been craving some ice cream, but with it being high in calories (especially for the portions we like to enjoy) we wanted an alternative. I suggested frozen yogurt to my hubby and at first he wrinkled his nose in disgust. (even though he had never even tried yogurt before!) We made our way to Golden Spoon and he fell in love! Then shortly after finding out we both really enjoyed Frozen Yogurt, Zoyo Yogurt opened up right down the street (baaaaddd idea!).
We've been going pretty much weekly, and probably could go every other day if we let ourselves. I love the location and their flavors. They have a huge roll up door in front opening up their entire place which I love during these summer nights. Another plus is they have ESPN on so even during the Laker's Finals we went down and enjoyed a yummy cup of yogurt. Now I'm not too picky on the location of my frozen yogurt, just as long as I get to choose my flavors and sprinkle my toppings I'm in heaven. Lately whenever Jeff has taken me to Panchero's I sneak into Yogurtland to get my fix of frozen yogurt. (And Yogurtland has the PERFECT spoons!) But if I had to choose my favorite, Zoyo is definitely the one. The location, atmosphere and creamy flavors are above all else! Great Job Zoyo --- You're our favorite hang out!

To Answer Your Question...

To Answer Your Question.....

Yes I did eat at Juanita's while in California

And yes I brought a burrito back to Arizona for my mom ....... so good....

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Just a walk away

As I sit here today getting ready to take my daughter for a walk I started thinking of the places I wish were just a "walk away". A little less than a mile away is our "major" intersection leading to our residential area that consists of a Barro's Pizza, Good Will, Shell Gas Station, Day Care and a car wash on one corner and a Wing Stop, Dry Cleaners, UPS store and a few other office buildings along with several other empty commercial spaces. Often times I wish that I had a coffee shop that I could walk to in the morning and sip my favorite beverage while my daughter takes her morning nap. If I could choose my perfect corner that was Just A Walk Away it would include:

A Coffee Shop: Not really a chain like Starbucks or Tully's Coffee....but those would work. I'm thinking more of that mom and pop spot, where you can go get comfy on one of their couches or patio sets and catch up on the local gossip. Maybe even a morning acoustic guitarist or artist would be fun! Yes I would enjoy that.

A Bakery: Yes, a bakery is a must. Somewhere that I can stop in and get a specialty cupcake like at Cupcakes in Scottsdale  or Let Them Eat Cake in Phoenix. Or you know what would be wonderful is a full on bakery like at AJ's Fine Foods...I just love getting a freshly made Kuchen or Muffin. Like the coffee shop I'd be thrilled if it were mom and pop style but I'm good with pretty much any long as their products are made from scratch, with none of the yucky preservatives. Ugh.

Pita Jungle: Yum. If you haven't seen my post about Pita Jungle please read it. I love this place. Its perfect for when you are burnt out on all the fatty other "out to eat" joints.

Zoyo Yogurt: I will HOPEFULLY be posting about Zoyo Yogurt soon, but we haven't gotten over there for our weekly fix yet. I am so happy this frozen yogurt shop opened up down the road. (not a walk away unfortunately). We are definitely on a yogurt obsession right now...which is fine in my book!

And I think I'd be content with those 4 shops. A nice pond nearby would be nice too....but I have one of those already. See I'm not to picky. A girl can dream right?!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Sweet Cakes

 Are you drooling yet??  ..... seriously....don't lick your screen.

These melt in your mouth, make you think of mom's cooking cinnamon rolls come from Sweet Cakes in downtown Mesa. Sweet Cakes was recently featured in TLC's "Best Food Ever" episode and their cinnamon rolls were definitely the best I've had from a bakery.

This past weekend I made the mistake of assuming that they opened early to serve up their cinnamon rolls, but we soon found out that they didn't open until 11:00 am on Saturday (not 9 when we arrived). But we hung out on their patio, walked the shops and waited for them to open --- THAT'S HOW GOOD IT IS!  My aunt from California had seen the episode that featured Sweet Cakes and asked me to stop by a few months ago while she was in town. I've been craving it ever since, so with Father's Day being last weekend I treated my hubby to one of these yummy goodnesses. (yep..just made that word up). They also serve up other baked goodies like Lemon Bars, Black & Whites, and several large cookies including: chocolate chip, gingersnaps, snickerdoodles, sugar cookies, oatmeal raisin and other made from scratch goodies. While we were there on Saturday a few customers were ordering lunch and the bread for their sandwiches looked absolutely delish...I wonder if they make their own bread too?? They have a large dining area perfect for luncheons for bridal and baby showers. Oh and another addition that recently opened is that they serve Frozen Yogurt in one portion of their restaurant. I can't wait to go back. I'm craving some cinnamon rolls already!! And I just had them....MMMmmmmmm...I'm a sucker for cinnamon.

In - N - Out

Anyone who's anyone knows that In-N-Out has been dishing up the best burgers for years. Their simple menu keeps cars lined up from open to close. For years we would sink our teeth into their fresh burgers before we even knew about their "hidden menu". Grilled Cheese, Animal Style Fries and Burgers, Protein burger, lettuce wrap and I'm sure many more that I don't even know about. Many have said that the In-n-out lovers are some-what of a cult, craving and following this family tradition. I'm pretty sure our best high school homecoming dinners were spent in the white and red decorated dining room of In-N-Out on Mountain and the 60 in California. My fav from In-N-Out is a grilled cheese spread only, animal fries and a chocolate shake.....when I'm feeling "healthy" haha...I get the grilled cheese with grilled onions, tomato, lettuce, ketchup instead of spread and add pickles.....YUUUUMEEEEE. Oh and just regular fries and a pink lemonade or water.
Not only does In-N-Out have the food concept down but their customer service is phenomenal. And last I heard their managers make over 100 grand! Hello--major career. I would love to go through their training program just once to see what they teach their employees.

Ok seriously, do you see this picture over here....I'm salivating as we speak (or type rather). My brother in law pretty much plans all his trips around stopping at In-N-Out when they come into town. And how can you blame him? My husband will even text/call him whenever we're there just to rub it in his face that we have them in our state....oh the love between brothers!

Pita Jungle

Remember my post about Juanita's? And how I had said that when we moved from California to Arizona I was truly bummed that I could not longer eat at Juanita's whenever I pleased? Well that is exactly the way I feel about Pita Jungle. If we were to move away from Arizona I would crave their jalapeno hummus, 5 cheese quesadilla's, spinach pasta salad and yummy pita pizzas. This restaurant has seriously been one the BEST finds yet here in the Valley. I love how fresh their food is and how each location has its own vibe. Their staff walks around in their dreds, sporting their tattoo's and all have such a laid back, relaxed attitude. I love it! This place is always busy filled with everyone from college-aged, yoga moms, business men and women, senior citizens, and those like me who just found this wonderful spot and fell in love. As many of you know my parents own Chaparral Homemade Ice Cream in Wickenburg so when my mom meets me half way to catch up and for her to see her beautiful grand-daughter this is where you'll find us. Relaxing and gabbing at our fav spot Pita Jungle at the Arrowhead Town Center. This past trip we actually ate at the location in Mesa because my poor hubby had to be in the hospital over the weekend.

The two of us enjoyed their Spinach Pasta Salad which consists of fresh spinach, rotini pasta, tomatoes, mushrooms, pesto, and bell peppers, tossed in a lemon vinaigrette....can you say yum? We also split their specialty pizza which really I can't remember all of the ingredients but it was a Chipotle Chicken Pita Pizza with fresh mozzarella and green onions....and hmmm...I don't remember.....all I remember was my tongue sizzling and my belly jumping with sweet delight!


Chick-fil-A ... what can ya say? As many of you know I have been a vegetarian for going on 6 years now. Prior to that I loved meat: homemade meat balls from dad, pastrami sandwiches from The Hat, Pepperoni pizza from any pizza joint, you name it...everything but a hot dog. (ugh). Then one November all of a sudden I became grossed out by it. Really weird...I just didn't want it in my mouth, but I'd be more than happy to prepare it for anyone. So on it went --- adventure into become a vegetarian. Well, I was a pretty lazy vegetarian...not focusing on the amount of proteins I really was more of a cheese and bread diet. My mom calls me the "carbatarian". When I became pregnant with my daughter this past year the doctor was concerned with the amount of Protein I was consuming and went over a whole dietary list of what I should include if I was going to continue my vegetarian diet. Black beans, nuts, tofu (ugh) etc......I figured, since I wasn't going to really focus on that, the easy fix would be to include Chicken back into my diet. I ate Chicken and continue to eat it while nursing my daughter. I am still picky about it.....which brings me to my next restaurant.....CHICK-FIL-A ... delish!!!

They are by far the ONLY fast food joint that I will order a chicken sandwich from. Its perfect....the flavor, the texture....all the way down to the buttered bun they serve it on. I've even perfered a Chick-fil-a sandwich over some of the chicken I've ordered in restaurants. (Some are rubbery---yuck). I love that I can also enjoy their mouth quenching lemonade and that they throw in a perfect buttermint for dessert. I have to say though...I'm always so overwhelmed with my meal because I never know which taste I want to end on.

Friday, June 18, 2010



Panchero's is definitely the next HOT SPOT for all the valley lunch go'er's. There is only one so far in Arizona located off the 202 and Scottsdale/Rural right next to the In-N-Out and I must say....I fell in love at first bite!! Panchero's is a similar concept to Chipotle and other "make in front of you" mexican bars, but the unique part to Panchero's is that they make the tortilla right in front of you! Oh and the best part is that they mix up your burrito ingredients before rolling it. PERFECT! (My husband and I always talk how we don't like biting into a burrito and only getting rice or only getting cheese in a bite).

They also have a delicious queso dip, perfect addition to their blue corn tortilla chips. My camera phone seriously does not do these yummy's justice.

Panchero's also serves up quesadillas, taco's, salads, burrito bowls and many sides and additions to add to any of your meals. I've been.....I think about 4 times so far (in the past 3 weeks) and continue to get the's just so dang good. Maybe someday I'll venture out and get say a quesadilla or something.

So Delish!

Thursday, June 17, 2010




Need I say more???

I seriously don't think so......

If you've eaten there you know EXACTLY what I mean....

.....ok...if you insist! My mom is the one that opened my eyes to the this wonderful little hole-in-the-wall. In fact, her and her highschool girlfriends use to go eat here. Now, as her parents, I'm surprised that all these girls weren't forbidden to wait in the lines at both Juanita's locations due to the .... well lets just say...not so pleasant neighborhoods----but they still went and continue to go. Before becoming a vegetarian I use to LOVE their pork, rice and cheese burritos -- seriously what do you marinate the meat in??? Now I crave just a rice and cheese burrito with their homemade salsa. Ok -- call me crazy -- but my mom even flew a burrito out just for me!!! Moving away from Juanita's was truly disappointing -- Granted I love our home in Arizona, but I still get bummed when thinking of the places we once ate and enjoyed in our hometown of So. Cal. Our fav location is : 1209 East 4th Street, Ontario, CA 91764 -- There is also another off of Indian Hill (as shown in my pic).

Barro's Pizza

Can you see that cheese....baked to perfection? Ya...that's hard to come by. When my husband and I first moved to Arizona we were seeking out a Pizza and Beer joint. Now you have to realize, my husband comes from a family where every Wednesday was Pizza Night. This started when they were young and still continues to this day. In So. Cal it was real easy to find that "sports team" feel of a joint, but here we were really struggling (or looking in all the wrong places). But then.......there it was....Barro's Pizza
PIZZA AND BEER! Oh and a huge plus----TV's with the Game on. Hello?--- Cha-Ching! Money in the bank -- we found it! I have different classifications for my pizza -- and it all depends on what type of mood I'm in, but for that quick pizza fix (that is not a chain-fast food type--YUCK) Barro's is our go to place. Its like that favorite lipstick you have --- sure its not hot pink or classic red (like some other pizza bistro's that you might go to on a special night) but its your go to, looks good with everything shade of lipstick that never fails! (if you're a man reading my might not get my little analogy... but for you get it....right??!) Oh yes...and how could I forget---they have the BEST PRICES EVER!! My hubby and I can get away with a small pizza and large salad for less than $12!!! You spend more than that at fast food and feel crummy afterwards.

Barro's --- Try It --- I'm tellin go-to lipstick -- I mean Pizza you'll ever try!


Can you say YUM?? This 1/2 specialty pizza consisted of chicken, pepperoncini's, feta cheese, fresh mozzarella and green olives slathered in a tomato pesto pizza sauce accompanied by a pepperoni and Canadian bacon perfection! So gooey, so cheesy, so delicious.

This wonderful pizza came from a pizza joint that has caught my eye on a few occasions and my hubby and I finally stopped in last weekend. To say its a pizza joint is actually an understatement. Its quite cozy inside and smells delicious. Alright, alright, I'll tell you the name.....this gooey goodness came from Florencia Pizza Bistro located at: 3646 East Ray Road, Suite 20, Ahwatukee, AZ 85044. It actually took us about 15-20 minutes just to decide which pizza we wanted to sink our teeth in to because they all sounded so delicious. Florencia's also has sandwiches, salads and appetizers that were teasing our eyes as well. I highly recommend Florencia's. Even after choosing a specialty pizza and a salad our bill was only a bit over $20!! So good...I think I'm craving it again just typing about it. Yum

Chaparral Homemade Ice Cream

You'd be silly if you thought I wasn't going to start off my FOOD BLOG without posting about my parents first! My parents, Tony and Pam Rovida, purchased Chaparral Homemade Ice Cream in the summer of 2009. Chaparral has been serving up homemade ice cream for over 30 years and my parents now have the honor of continuing on the tradition. My dad enjoys being able to come up with new flavors while mom perfects her baked goodies, as well as homemade caramel, hot fudge and chocolate sauces. They also have a wonderful gift area featuring yours truly with my first cookbook, Our First Year - Cost Effective Recipes from the Home of Newlyweds. Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I actually just did a cooking demo for Good Morning Arizona which can be viewed at:

Alright alright....back to Chaparral. My parents also introduced a full lunch and dinner menu featuring the Jail Tree Cheese Steak Sandwich, Brawty Sandwich with caramelized boysenberry onions, fresh salads and personal pizzas. I always create some sort of specialty that leaves my dad confused. I've included a few photo's below from treats I've had at their parlor. (One is from when I was pregnant with my daughter).







Starting of the food blog

I have officially decided to start a food blog. First and for most, I LOVE FOOD!! I mean who doesn't? We all have different likes and dislikes, but when it comes right down to it....we ALL love food. I'm planning to give a small write up of some of the places that I love and eat often and to those that I've tried for the very first time and fell in love at first bite. I am not here to bash on restaurants for their quality or customer service, so will only be posting about those that I would recommend. I watched a TV segment once about how all these chef's were mad or irritated at all these "suzy-homemakers" who gave poor reviews on their blogs about the food and posting horrible pictures after already consuming half the dish. I do feel bad for these chefs in part because there is a lot that happens from the kitchen to the table, not to mention the poor quality camera's and camera phones that these so called "reviewers" are using. So, let me just lay it out there -- I will only post postive comments about the food and I am not claiming to have great photos of the food so please don't judge the place by the picture.

So now on to the real purpose of the blog: Sure, I'd like to believe that I have millions of followers who read my blog and try out restaurants based on my opinion, but when you get right down to it, I'm just a mom with a beautiful daughter who spends her baby's nap-times blogging about what she loves.

Hope you enjoy what I have to say. (If anyone is reading...hah)