I promised to share the recipe for the Tuscan Chicken we grilled last night.  Here it is:


Tuscan-Style Chicken Under a Brick (Pollo al Mattone)*
 *  Recipe by Steven Raichlen from his book, Planet Barbecue

• 3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped

• 2 Tablespoons stemmed fresh rosemary leaves, plus the remainder of the bunch for serving (optional)

• 2 Tablespoons stemmed fresh sage leaves, plus the remainder of the bunch for serving (optional)

• 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

• 1/2 cup coarse salt (kosher or sea)

• 4 whole baby chickens, poussins, or game hens (each 1 to 1 1/4 pounds), or 2 whole chickens (each 3 1/2 to 4 pounds) 1/2 cup of the best quality extra-virgin olive oil, for serving

• 2 lemons, cut into wedges, for serving

• You'll also need 2 to 4 bricks wrapped in aluminum foil or metal grill presses

Place the garlic, 2 Tablespoons each of chopped rosemary and sage, and the pepper in a food processor fitted with a metal chopping blade and run the machine in short bursts to finely chop.

Add the salt and process to mix. Transfer the rub to a jar with a tight-fitting lid. This makes about a cup of herbed salt rub, more than you'll need for this recipe.

The leftover rub is also excellent for seasoning veal, pork, and pheasant and will keep for several weeks in the refrigerator.

Remove and discard the fat just inside the neck and body cavities of the chickens. Remove the packages of giblets and set them aside for another use. Rinse the chickens, inside and out, under cold running water, then drain and blot them dry, inside and out, with paper towels.

Spatchcock the chickens--I have attached a Steven Raichlen video demonstrating this method, below.

Generously season the birds on both sides with the herbed salt rub.

The direct grilling method is traditional, but using the indirect method will give you a crisp, moist bird without the risk of flare-ups or burning.

If you are using the direct method, set up the grill for direct grilling and preheat it to medium. Leave one section of the grill bare for a safety zone. When ready to cook, brush and oil the grill grate.

Arrange the birds skin side down on the hot grate at a diagonal to the bars. Place the bricks or grill presses on top of the birds.Grill the chickens until they are crisp and golden brown on the bottom, 8 to 12 minutes, per side for baby chickens; 12 to 20 minutes per side for full-size chickens.

Use an instant-read meat thermometer to test for doneness, inserting it into the thickest part of a thigh but not so that it touches a bone. The internal temperature should be about 170°F.

Give each bird a quarter turn after 4 minutes on each side to create a handsome crosshatch of grill marks.

If you are using the indirect method, set up the grill for indirect grilling, place a drip pan in the center, and preheat the grill to medium. Arrange the birds skin side up in the center of the grate over the drip pan and away from the heat and place the weights on top. Cover the grill and cook the birds until golden brown and cooked through, 30 to 40 minutes for baby chickens; 40 minutes to 1 hour for full-size chickens.

Line a platter or plates with the remaining rosemary and sage sprigs (this step is optional, but it looks great and it adds a fantastic flavor). Place the grilled birds on top, generously drizzle olive oil over them, and serve with lemon wedges.

I hope you all enjoy this recipe as much as we did.  This will be a repeat meal on our grill!  Let me know how you like it!



So, yesterday, I told you about the dinner we were planning to grill tonight.  I am checking in to tell you it was AWESOME.  Roll my eyes back in my head, crazy delicious!  Yeah, it was THAT good.

I made some Italian Pasta Salad to have with it.

Wheat Rotini pasta (tri-color) (cooked al dente)
Can of sliced black olives(drained)
1 chopped green bell pepper
1/2 chopped red onion
shredded Parmesan cheeese (as much or as little as you like)
Italian dressing to coat

I served a loaf of fresh Costco Bakery whole grain bread (which was heated in the oven and slathered with real butter).  I have to have real butter...that fake butter just does not cut it with me. I come from southern roots and we love real butter.  Just ask Paula Deen.

We drank some chilled Palomar Winery Viognier white wine with it and it was Perfect. Ooooh La La.  Is that over the top?  You know what I mean.

Here is a photo I took of our 'spatchcocked' chicken before it went on the grill.  By the way, Google 'spatchcocked' before you judge me.  Really. It's a cooking term.  Really.

And here is a photo of our fresh off the grill, drizzled with Olive Oil cooked Tuscan Chicken (before we dug in and devoured half of it). 

I don't have any photos of the salad or bread.  They were both really yummy, but you will just have to take my word for it. 

Dessert is coming up next. 

We are having Strawberry Shortcake.  Shortcake cups with fresh ripe strawberries loaded with a heavy scoop of vanilla ice cream and topped with some chilled whipped cream.  Mmmmmm... 

I might even brew a some decaf coffee to go with it....

We are living large here at our house this weekend. 



I'm so looking forward to this long weekend. I can't emphasize that enough.  So I won't even try.  You will just have to take my word for it.

I will be putting all hustle-bustle aside and, if we get some warm weather and lots of sunshine, I will be outside enjoying it.  Here is my weekend wish list:
  • Take a long walk at the Bay
  • Begin reading one of my new Jonathan Kellerman novels 
  • Water the garden
  • Get some more color on my legs (this is where the sunshine comes into play)
Yup, that's about it. 

Of course, we'll be grilling out a lot this weekend, too.  It's just who we are.  Grillers and patio dwellers. 

Bruce is going to grill a new recipe he discovered for Tuscan Chicken (I'll let you know how we like it and post the recipe) and maybe it will be nice enough to eat dinner on the patio. But if you want to know now, it is from the book, Planet Barbeque by Steven Raichlen. Bruce found this book at Costco and it is loaded with a ton of mouth watering recipes.

What's on your wish list for the weekend?  Chores, adventures, lazy days?



Last night, I walked with two new friends around a local lake.  It was my first Meetup activity and I had a great time.  Good conversation, laughter and an awesome workout. It was a beautiful evening and the weather was ideal!

We walked the 6+ miles in an hour and 40 minutes--we were truckin' it.  By the time we got back to the parking lot, my legs were already beginning to hurt and by the time I got home, every muscle in body was complaining.  I was dreading today.

However, I feel pretty good this morning.  I am not as sore as I thought I'd be.  It may hit me harder tomorrow. 

I have a few other local lake walks I want to try, but I plan to continue my Tuesday night lake walk with the girls and add the others. 

Tonight, I should get on the treadmill for a 30 minute workout--keep my muscles moving and do some stretching afterwards. 

Keeping it real here...what's new with you?



I have a confession.  I didn't make it on the treadmill yesterday.

I didn't sleep well at all and i woke up feeling like it was the middle of the night. 

Now, I know to some of you 5:00 a.m. IS the middle of the night and before I started birthing babies, nursing babies and keeping track of teenagers, it was for me, too.  Ahh...remember those days?  Sleeping in until nearly noon?

That was a lifetime ago for me.  

Oops, sorry, I got off track.

Today, I am making up for that missed treadmill time. 

I am going to be taking a walk with some girls from one of my Meetup groups.  We are walking around a local lake after work today.  It is a 6+ mile trek, round trip. I have walked it once before and it's a really good workout. 

My goal is to replace a lot of my idle TV time with being active. There are several weekly walks and hikes that I want to work into my week.

I'll check in tomorrow and give ya'all an update on my trek.

It's a beautiful day in San Diego, today...no sign of our usual May Gray.

Ths is a view of Balboa Park from my office window early this morning. 

And here is a view of the San Diego Harbor from another window.  I'd rather play hooky and be outside today. Wishful thinking... 

Make it a great day!



I've laid off the treadmill for a couple of weeks now, first, we went on our trip to Stagecoach and then our wonderful time with the grandbabies here. I did get some exercise during that time, but it was not my regular consistent workouts. 

So, before I get into a lazy mode, I have to say enough is enough. Tomorrow is the day I start back.  5:15 a.m. workout. 

Lately, I have been thinking about finding someone to walk/hike with in addition to my treadmill workouts.  Hit the track, hike the canyons, walk around the lake, stuff like that. But it's hard to do.  And I have been stuck just thinking about it. 

I discovered Meetup and found a group of women to join on outings for walks, hikes, and a lot of other activities we have in common.  It's very cool because there are enough members and activities every week to offer some variety and up the frequency of my workouts.  I have to make an effort to get out there and mix it up instead of locking into just using the treadmill. I think that this is a really good solution.

I'll let you know how it goes.  If it sounds fun to you...check out Meetup in your neck of the woods and let me know what groups you find and what you're up to.



I was in the grocery store tonight , digging out my ATM card when the young male checker smirked to his co-workers, "We have six more minutes until we are out of here." 

At first, I thought he was getting off work in 6 minutes...but then I realized he was talking about the Howard Camping Judgment Day prediction for 6:00 pm tonight--May 21, 2011. 

As a born again Christian, I had not given this prediction any consideration, since the Bible clearly states that no man knows the day or hour of Christ's return, not even the angels or Christ, only God himself.

Mark 13:32  "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father."

I believe the Bible is the ordained Word of God.  Jesus gave his life for my sin and all of the sin of the world. We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. I have sinned.  And I still sin every day that I am alive.  But God forgives me.  He is a just and loving God. I have confessed that I am a sinner and accepted Jesus as my personal Savior.

Being "born again" does not mean I am perfect.  Hardly.  It means that with the forgiveness of Christ, through his death and resurrection and my acknowledgment of my sins and acceptance of Christ in my life, I have been born a new person.  A new life with Christ.  A second chance.

I recently discovered this video.  It impacted me and so simply and clearly depicts the love of a father for his son and the sacrifice that God made--the sacrifice of His only son for us.  You and me. 

I cannot fathom that kind of sacrifice.  I am awed.

John 3:16  "For God so loved the world that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life." 

Everlasting life.  Wow. 

Have you ever thought of infinity and imagined everlasting life?  It is mind blowing.  I want to live forever with Jesus. Infinity in Heaven.  A never-ending life of peace and happiness. The promise of Heaven.

Life is hard.  In so many ways for all of us.  We each have our own struggles, temptations and battles. 

Being a Christian doesn't make life easier.  But I have help. I have Jesus.  Jesus is the one who gets me through the days that feel impossible.  The days that make me break down and feel as if I can not take one more step.  Endure one more rejection.  One more failure.  He is the one who carries me when I fall down and cannot get back up.  He is the one that consoles me when all I want to do is cry.  He is the one that forgives me when I screw up again. 

His face will be the first one I see when the Rapture does occur and I am taken up to Heaven. No matter the day or hour, I will be Heaven bound. I don't have to worry one day about when. No one needs to predict the day for me.  I am ready.



I am playing along with Kelly at Kelly's Korner for 'Show Us Your Life' this week.  The topic this week is Main Dish Recipes.

Since summer is quickly approaching, I wanted to share a favorite summer main dish that we love at our house. 

Add some fresh bread or tortilla chips (which is what I serve it with) and you have a delicious summer dinner that is perfect for those hot summer nights that no one wants to cook anything.

For the meat lovers in your family, you can always serve this with some fish or chicken on the grill, too.  For me, it's a perfect dinner just as it is.

It's easy, refreshing and healthy!  I have tweaked this recipe from the one my cousin sent me.  And I want to give credit where credit is due:  the original recipe comes from the Houston Junior League Cookbook.


1/2 cup olive oil (use less if you want to less calories)
1/4 cup lemon juice (feel free to use more if you prefer)
6 cups tomato juice -- This is 1- 46 oz. can, but I use the 64 oz. bottle of Campbell’s Tomato Juice. That way I can make a half recipe if I want to and I will have tomato juice in a plastic container to use for a future recipe.

1/4 cup finely minced red onion -- I use more onion than this
2 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
2 cups finely minced celery
1/8 teaspoon Tabasco (I usually add 5-10 shakes of Tabasco--it is not hot.  Use more if you prefer some heat and less if Tabasco scares you!)
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 green peppers, finely chopped
2 cucumbers, peeled and diced
1 avocado, cubed (or more if you love avocado like we do!)

Tortilla chips on the side

Beat olive oil and lemon together.

Stir in tomato juice, onion, tomatoes, celery, green peppers, cucumbers, Tabasco, salt and pepper.

Taste: add more seasoning if desired.

Chill at least 3 hours before serving. The avocados should be served separately as an accompaniment for the soup. I just add everything together in a large pitcher, chill and serve.

Serves 8-10. 




I didn't want you all to think I'd forgotten about you all.  We've had a busy week and I have been immersed in grand baby heaven--a wonderful place to be, by the way. 

We have been grilling out, entertaining, going to the zoo, taking walks, watching Disney movies, and I have been staying up very late chatting with my dear daughter while my SIL and hubby got their PlayStation gaming fixes.

Here are a few photos from our day at the zoo that Heather took (Thanks Heather!):

Pepaw, Memaw and Grace

Grace and Aaron

Pepaw and Grace

Uncle Cameron, Heather and Grace...isn't this the cutest photo?

Here are some photos of the quilts that my parents made and bought for the Grace and Aaron.  The lion quilt was originally begun by my mom and grandmother for my youngest (T) but it was never finished.   My dad found it in their garage in a bag and located a local quilting shop that would finish it for them and they gave it to Aaron. I think it is so adorable!

Of course, Miss Grace can't be left out!  Mom found a quilt online through EBay for her and the soft bunny Pillow Pet makes it perfect for snuggling under while Grace watches her favorite Disney movies.  Isn't it precious?

I have photos on my camera to upload and share, too.  I have just been too busy with work and then too tired at night. I hope to get them into a post by the end of the weekend.

In the meantime, have a great day everyone!



Okay, here's the deal.  I know I've been MIA.  I've been thinking about blogging, but my blogging time seems to have been nonexistent lately. 

I decided to write a quick Invisalign update.  I went to my orthodontist appointment yesterday to get 6 "attachments" on my teeth.  Attachments are tiny tooth colored blobs that are cemented to the teeth that need additional help in moving with Invisalign trays. 

I have 4 on the top (1 on each of my canines and the next tooth back, which are the bicuspids) and I have 2 on each of my lower canines.

Having the attachments applied was painless, but these rough little buggers are taking some getting used to.  My trays now fit VERY snug, but I can get them out much easier than I thought I would be able to.

I am grateful for my short acrylic nails which enable me to pry my trays off without breaking a nail.  I would think that if one did not have acrylics or very strong nails you would have to purchase that special tool (which looks like a crochet hook) to help get the trays off once you get the attachments.

When my trays are off (when I am eating a meal or drinking my morning coffee), the attachments feel like tiny rough pebbles rubbing against the inside of the front of my mouth. And after I eat, it feels like I still have food all over the front of those teeth.

It has only been 24 hours since they were applied, so I know that I'm early into the adjustment period, but I wanted to journal my experience from the get-go.

Despite this new discomfort (which I expect to be temporary), I am still super happy with my choice to go with Invisalign.  I did a lot of reading before I decided to go the Invisalign route and honestly, I have not experienced a lot of the aggravations reported and that I expected to experience.

No headache or pain when wearing a new tray for the first day.  Yesterday, they were tight, and my canines felt sore last night when I took them off for dinner.  But this morning when I took them off after waking up this morning, no pain. 

They have been easy to take off and snap on.

My speech adjustment was pretty quick -- within the first full week.

That wraps up this episode of my Invisalign update.


I am excited.  Why?  Because later this afternoon, our daughter and son-in-law, A and K and our two adorable grandbabies, Grace and Aaron will be pulling into our driveway for a visit.

We haven't seen our sweeties since early December when little Aaron was only 6 weeks old (he is now 7 months old).  Grace is already almost 2-1/2.

We are planning a family BBQ on Sunday afternoon and a trip to the San Diego Zoo on Monday.  FUN! 

I have a busy morning before they arrive--clean house, run some laundry and bake a loaf of banana bread. 

Hope you all have a good weekend!



We're back home. 

Tanned, relaxed and our live country music fix satisfied.  We had such a great weekend in the desert.  We spent a lot more time by the pool this year...they have music piped in poolside (and played country over the weekend we were there since most of the hotel guests were there for Stagecoach). 

Here are a few pics of our weekend:

Look at this crowd!  I think there were more people there this year than last year!

 We sat near one of the many walkways they left open for people to make their way up and down the concert area. 

I'm a little bit country....

Enjoying my pool time and sunshine.

After getting back into our work and running laundry, grocery shopping, we are gearing up for a fun weekend here at home with friends and family.  On Saturday, we are taking our friends to Temecula to the winery for some wine tasting and then we are coming back home for a Mexican fiesta: carnitas, homemade refried beans, spanish rice, guacamole and some ice cold margaritas.

On Sunday, we are hosting a family BBQ to celebrate Mother's Day. We're keeping it easy with beans in the crockpot, some potato salad and hamburgers and hotdogs on the grill! 

We've had such wonderful warm (and hot) weather the past two weeks and its been so nice to be outside on our patio....today it was 90 degrees (hot!), but it's supposed to cool off a bit and the temperature is predicted be 70 this weekend.  Perfect weather.