I know it's been a few days since I posted. 

I took a weekend to "check-out" for a few days with some girlfriends. We went to the desert town of La Quinta.  Friday night, we walked to down to a favorite mexican restaurant and shared an appetizer plate for dinner.  

We slept in Saturday morning, savored our coffee and hotel breakfast and then enjoyed a relaxing Saturday in the pool, lounging, sipping ice cold drinks, chatting, reading magazines and simply having the best longest day I can remember.  We all remarked that the day seemed to last forever and since we were having such a good day, we were very thankful that time slowed to a crawl for us.

Sunday morning, we slept in even later, ate our breakfast outside on the patio and enjoyed some more poolside time before heading home.  One last stop on our drive home--the outlet mall outside of Palm Springs for a bit of shopping.

It was so nice to have a couple of days with no agenda to follow or appointments to meet.  

But now back to the real world...work and appointments call my name.  It was fun while it lasted!



This is going to a short and 'to the point' post today.

I love Tasty Kitchen.  I love all the deliciousness there.  I could stop there and literally lose myself for days amongst the scrumptious, delectable, sweet, chocolatey, hearty, spicy, photos and recipes.  I wouldn't even have to pack a thing.

That's all I have to say...I just felt the need to share today. 



I went out to my garden and checked on my jalapeno peppers.  I have quite a few in various stages of growth.  Some are small and there are a bunch of tiny peppers coming on and also some flowers that I am hoping that I hope will turn into more hot peppers. 

I would like to get enough to make one more recipe of jalapeno pepper jelly.  I took a couple of jars of the second batch up to my brother's house Friday night and served it over a block of cream cheese with crackers as an appetizer to have before dinner.  It was delicious with the bottle of Leonesse Syrah we sipped with it, but again, the jelly wasn't spicy. No kick.  Just a hint of heat.

I am going to be using all whole peppers in the mix to kick up the heat in my next batch.  Probably my final for the season.  The flavor is really good in both of my other batches, but the heat is just not there. I would still call this one mild.  I won't go as far as to call it boring this time, but still not "there" for me.

I think my peppers will be ready in a couple of weeks and I will be up to my elbows in jelly making again!


Today I'm tired. Why?  Let me see if I can come up with the answer to that question.

  • I stayed up too late last night (we were watching season 2 of Sons of Anarchy).

  • Yesterday, I spent a couple of hours completing some housework and some much needed organization in our garage, so we could access our home gym area and work out. THAT was a workout in itself.

  • I started my weekend out Friday night socializing at my brother's house--super fun night--eating appetizers, sipping wine, outstanding steak dinner, telling stories, laughing a lot and finally, late in the evening we watched Don Henley's 'Inside Job' concert DVD. It was 1:00 a.m. when we said our good-byes and headed home. One of the best Friday nights ever! 
  • I need a lot more sleep than I manage to get.

  • I should have taken a nap yesterday.

  • I had a restless night and a hot flash.  Gotta love middle age.

  • I am always tired on Mondays.  It's how I roll.

  • I have a lot on my mental "to-do" list and that always makes me tired.  Note to self: write some lists today, and get all of that outta your head.

  • I stayed up too late last night....



I told y'all that I would post the link to the recipe for jalapeno pepper jelly that I used. And, being a woman of my word, here it is:

Jalapeno Pepper Jelly Recipe 

Super yummy and super easy! 

The main variation that I made in making this recipe is that I used all of my cooked pepper mixture to fill my jars and I didn't strain it.  Thus, my recipe made 12 half-pint jars rather than the 6 specified in the recipe.  Note: I did not double the recipe.

I used a ratio of 4 whole peppers in my first batch and 7 whole peppers in my second batch. I haven't tasted that one yet. 

As I said before, I didn't think the first batch was spicy, so you may want to experiment with the level of heat you like. 

I'll report how "hot" the second one turned out, and you can use that as a gauge, but honestly, it may simply come down to a personal "heat" preference and making a few batches of your own.  You can't go wrong. 



Graces shares her family's fondness for Slurpees.  A girl after my own heart.  Nothing better on a hot day than an ice cold Slurpee.  Unless it's a photo of my sweet granddaughter with a Slurpee.

I know this next photo isn't in clear focus (at all), but it fits along the lines of sweetness, so I am sharing it anyway.  A sent me this photo from her phone and said that Grace insisted on wearing her pink knitted cap to the grocery store yesterday, so she took a pic and sent it to me.  I think it is adorable.

Have a sweet Monday!



I made another batch of Jalapeno Jelly yesterday.  This time I increased the ratio of whole jalapenos to seeded ones to raise the heat in this recipe.  I also added some red food coloring to it, so I could determine which was which.

Here is a photo my finished product of both recipes

We opened one of jars from the first batch yesterday and I served it over some cream cheese on crackers.  While the flavor was YUMMY, it had very little heat. Mild, which, to me translates into b-o-r-i-n-g.

But that's just me.  Not everyone is a fan of food with hot, spicy flavors. However, because I love (and crave) spicy food, I think the next batch will make my taste buds much happier. 

I have some more flowers on my plants, so I have my fingers crossed that I will get enough Jalapenos to make one more batch before the end of the season. 

I am planning to really turn up the heat on that batch and see how it turns out.  Maybe, before I do that, I should try this second batch?

Nah....I think I'll live dangerously and just go for it.



Bruce and I attended a beautiful wedding in Julian Thursday night. D and J were married at the Pine Hills Lodge.  D is in the Navy and recently returned from his first deployment to Afghanistan.  It was such a lovely ceremony and reception.

The setting was a late afternoon wedding inside the Lodge and the entire room was candlelit and warm. I loved the Mason jars placed on each table and filled with flowers while smaller jars holding candles were placed everywhere around the Lodge.

Lily was the flower girl. She is three years old and the the bride, J's adorable niece.  She stood quietly during the entire ceremony watching intently and smiling the entire time.  

After the wedding ceremony, while everyone waited for the reception to begin, I was sitting at a table that had a large woven checkerboard and was set up with over sized checkers.  I was people watching and sipping a glass of wine.

Lily approached me and asked, "Are you playing a game?"

"No" I replied, "Would you like to play?"

"Sure!" she chirped and slid into the chair across from me.

"Do you know how to play checkers?" I asked her.

"Yep! " (such confidence for a three year old)  I was surprised she knew how to play, but what do I know? It's been forever since I had a three year old at home.  Kids are more advanced today.

She settled into the chair and looked at the board and began turning all of her checkers over to put the crown side down.  I'm thinking at this point, she really does know how to play.  I'm in trouble.  It's been forever since I played checkers. Is it like riding a bike?  I hope so.

I let her take the first turn.  She lifted a checker from the back row of her side of the board and carried it all the way over my side of the board diagonally across from one of my checkers.  Uh oh. 

I jumped her checker and took it.  She furrowed her eyebrows into a scowl. Uh oh.  But she grinned as soon as I showed her that she could do the same thing with my checker and she was lightning fast when she snatched my checker up in her little hand.  Glee all the way!

Then, she kept taking my checkers, one by one. It was clear she didn't know the rules of the game as she sailed her checkers over to an open spot on my side of the board, but I couldn't risk seeing her scowl again.  It was so intimidating. (It was actually very cute, but I thought intimidating was a better word for this story). 

Okay, so with Lily winning, I was thinking, 'we're good'.  We continued taking turns for a few more moves and I let her take a few more of my checkers.

It became clear that I was off my game and obviously was not enough of a challenging player for Lily, because she suddenly looked up at me and with a big smile said, "I'm all done here, have a great day!"

And off the chair she hopped and skipped off.

For the rest of the night, Lily kept referring to me as 'her friend 'and after dinner, came over to my table, grabbed my hand and led me out to dance with her (and three others girls she rounded up) for the song "Love Shack". 

Lily took control of the dance floor and performed tiny ballerina leaps across the floor and around all of us. It was late for Lily.  And me, for that matter, but I digress.  Lily was keeping the party spirit alive for everyone.  There was no slowing her down.

I'll party with Lily any time.  She is my kind of party girl. 



Given that it is feeling so much like autumn here in San Diego, I have been getting into my homemaking mode. 

And since my jalapeno plants have been going crazy producing gorgeous, green, spicy peppers, I decided to try my hand at making some jalapeno jelly this morning. 

I found two recipes that caught my eye and sounded easy enough for a cautious beginner.  After reading through both of them about a fifty times (well, at least 10 times), I decided to go with the first one I had come across.  The author actually lives here in San Diego, too.

I used a yellow and orange pepper as my two additional pepper choices to go with the 9 jalapenos I plucked off our plants this morning.

Right now my jars of jelly are cooling and my house smells like peppers! Because I prefer chunky jalapeno jelly and I chose to use most of the pepper mixture rather than straining most of it out like the recipe suggested, my recipe actually made 12 half-pint jars of jelly.

I didn't add any food coloring to mine this time, but if this batch turns out good, I will make some more for Christmas gifts and add red food coloring to that batch.

I will update with another post when we try our jelly and let you all know how it turns out and then I will post the link to the recipe for anyone who wants to try their hand at jalapeno jelly.

Making jalapeno jelly was super easy and only took about an hour total time to make. 

I think the hardest part for me is going to be leaving the jars alone to cool for 12 hours. 



There is something in the air of late, that feels like autumn.  The night air has a crispness and chill that says that summer is winding down.  I can't quite put my finger on it, but there is a certain feeling settling in that has my thoughts turning away from tank tops, iced cold drinks and tan lines.

I have begun to envision pots of steaming soup or chili on the stove, cozy blankets draped over the end of the beds and the couch.  Hot apple cider sipped after a drive to Julian for to take deep breaths of cold mountain air.  Hot apple pie, right out of the oven and driving up the winding highway lined with oak trees wearing their gorgeous Fall colors. 

I am also longing to pull out a skein of yarn from the basket beside my couch and begin a crocheting or knitting project--maybe something soft in muted hues to wrap up in. I can already smell the scented candles welcoming guests and see my candlelit dinner table filled with hearty meals and surrounded by friends.

Today was a beautiful day that looked like summer, but it was wrapped in the hint of autumn.  The warmth of the day did not linger into a summer night.  It was chased away before the sun set. And I didn't miss it.

Autumn found her way.  If you had asked me how I thought I would feel about the arrival of autumn, I probably would have told you that I thought it would feel rushed, but instead, it feels just right.


Last night after work, we stopped at our favorite Friday night haunt, sat at the bar, and enjoyed some fried zucchini and Italian sliders.  I sipped chilled Chardonnay with mine and Bruce had cold IPA. It was a change of pace for us since we've been sticking closer to home this summer and spending our Friday evening at Sardinas was a nice change of scenery for us.

We ran our errands this morning and prepped our dinner so we could relax for the rest of the day.  Since our weather this weekend is sunny and warm with a cloudless blue sky and our pool temperature reached 85, we floated in the pool for a couple of hours, showered and will be grilling dinner tonight.  We're having seasoned drumsticks with some potatoes/onions/green bell pepper mix cooked in a foil pocket on the grill.

I tried out a new drink recipe "Coconut Mojito's" which are surprisingly tasty and very refreshing!  I got to use several sprigs of fresh mint we have growing in our garden, too! 

This is just the beginning of an awesome weekend of taking it easy and savoring each and every moment of it.



The pot of vegetarian white bean chili I made last night with our pressure cooker was delicious and easy!

I admit that my pressure cooker intimidated me a bit when I took it out of the box and used it the first time to cook a pot roast, Sunday night. But I was more confident when I cooked Tracy's recipe for vegetarian white bean chili for dinner last night. Each step felt more natural and my nervousness was eased.

We had soaked an entire 16 oz. bag of small white beans all day while we were at work, so they were ready to cook when I was ready to make dinner. I followed her recipe, using 1 tablespoon of oregano and cumin and a whole box of vegetable stock. I used three celery stalks and half of a yellow onion (both diced very small) and sauteed them in some olive oil, adding in our garlic at the end of the sauteing process.

It turned out so good! I was surprised that mine turned out super spicy, and I decided that it was might be that I used Embasa salsa verde rather than Herdez, though they may both be spicy. But it was more than likely because I used canned jalapenos instead of fresh. I have fresh jalapenos in the garden, but I am planning to make jalapeno pepper jelly this weekend, and since I was not sure how many jalapenos I had in the garden to use for my jelly, I used canned jalapenos for my chili.

We were able to temper the heat with a nice dollop or two of sour cream on top of the chili and we enjoyed a hot pan of cornbread with butter to go with it.

If you don't like heat (as in spicy) in your food, you might want to omit the salsa verde and substitute a 7 oz. can of diced mild green chiles instead.

I was so pleased at how tasty this chili is and my pressure cooker made it super fast and easy to make.

You will love the aroma of this delicious meal cooking in your kitchen! I can't wait to experiment with this recipe and see what other delicious variations we come up with.



I arrived at the Superior Courthouse yesterday morning, Jury Summons in one hand, my book tucked inside my purse and a cup of coffee in the other hand. I was prepared for my long day of sitting around and waiting.

My least favorite thing to do. Sitting around and waiting that is.

Three hours into my morning, a few chapters of my book read and my name was called. I followed along with 40 of my fellow jurors up the escalators, across the bridge to the Courthouse next door and finally arriving at the assigned courtroom. We were all sworn in and took our seats and waited as 24 names were called. 12 to fill the jury box and 12 alternate seats in the audience section.

My name had not been called and I was both relieved, yet antsy for something to do, other than sit around and wait.

This part of the process is called Voir Dire.

"Voir dire is the opportunity to examine the jurors before their appointment as regards to their integrity and balanced approach. Voir dire means to see the person and talk to him personally with a purpose to evaluate him. Jurors are interviewed by judges and attorneys before assigning the case to them."

While the 24 potential jurors answered a litany of questions and were screened by the Judge, we (who had not been called yet) were asked to also answer those questions to ourselves so that if we were ultimately chosen to take a seat made empty when one of the 24 were excused, we would be up to speed.

The question that kept coming back in every scenario brought up, was could we as jurors be fair and impartial? Despite any strong feelings and opinions we may have about illegal drug use, the drug epidemic in the U.S. and despite our own experiences with law enforcement,whether positive or negative and any effect that drug use by loved ones impacted our lives or the lives of the people we cared about, could we, in this case, still be fair and impartial? The attorneys had a tough job at this juncture and we had to do a lot of soul searching and answer honestly. We MUST be fair and impartial. We must decide on facts alone. We must also use our common sense and life experience to help us.

Listening to the questions and answers and applying them to my own life helped the time pass quickly. I was captivated. Several jurors of the original 24 were excused before our lunch break and our numbers had dwindled. As we were dismissed for a lunch break, I was of about 8 others whose names had not yet been called.

After we returned from lunch, the prosecutor and defense attorney both began to ask questions of the jurors. This process also eliminated a few more and my name was called to replace Juror #8. Now it was my turn to answer questions. It was my first time inside of a Juror box and it was an interesting perspective.

It was late in the afternoon and it was time for the prosecutor and defense attorney to take turns excusing jurors. This process is called a Peremptory Challenge.

A Peremptory Challenge refers to a right in jury selection for the defense and prosecution to reject a certain number of potential jurors who appear to have an unfavorable bias without having to give any reason.

During this part of the process, the defense attorney called my name and excused me from this trial. Since this was a criminal case, I believe factors including my occupation in the legal field and having relatives and friends in law enforcement played a big part in the defense excusing me from the jury panel.

This was a good experience and though the day began slow and boring, eventually became an experience to evaluate what it means to be fair and impartial and truly question what affects each one of us in our ability as a juror to be able to do that.

I left the courthouse yesterday afternoon with a deeper appreciation of our justice system and the intricate pieces of the process of selecting a jury.