What joins us together ……

As I awoke this morning I learned of a loss. One of my dearest lifetime friends lost his mother. I began to relive all the precious memories I had stored of her in my life.

I then began to figure out how I could help, as friend.  I instantly turned to food. It is the comfort of our souls. It is the breath and laughter we share around a table or a patio. It is the gift we give to each other. I am in my kitchen pulling up a new recipe to share, to comfort and give hope to his grief that  I pray will in time heal.

As we journey through our day and lives, to me the memories and bonds that hold us together are what we share and give when we have nothing but love for one another.


Summer travel

Honolulu, HI Summer 2014

Honolulu, HI
Summer 2014

Pineapple Pancakes Summer 2014

Pineapple Pancakes
Summer 2014

Local Favorites Summer 2014

Local Favorites
Summer 2014

KCC Market Saturday's July 2014

KCC Market
Saturday’s July 2014

Summer travel. Whether  you went to a local theme park or to another continent one thing they both have in common is trying out and experiencing new food.

This summer we spent time in Honolulu, Hawaii.  It provided me with the opportunity to cook and bake with local fruits and flavors. I had a great time creating pineapple biscuits and pancakes. I ate the most divine white peach ever. I added it to wine and cheese platter one evening….scrumptious!

Discovering the local market on Saturday mornings was a jaunt I dearly loved. It seemed that Saturday on the island did always feel like a “Saturday in the park, I think it was the fourth of July”.  That jaunt was 8 miles round  trip. Because of this we did not always take back an abundance of food but we did eat our fair share while at the KCC Market.

One of my favorites was a pesto sauce pizza with fresh tomatoes and mozzarella cheese. These gals grew everything on their land and it was simply delicious. I needed the 4 mile walk back to simply wear off my indulgences. When we  returned home I found myself passing on our Texas pineapples at our local market as  they really did appear to be of a different breed. This both saddened and excited me; I was sad because I really enjoyed those pineapple biscuits. But, I was excited because now I knew what I wanted in a pineapple and would not settle… but now look forward to my travels back to  the island I love.

I think this speaks to my desire to travel, to experience the food, and the people and to live in a culture that is not my own but one in which the community invites me in to share.

Happy Cooking ~




Alzheimer’s Association Advocacy Forum 2014

United States Capitol Building

United States Capitol Building (Photo credit: Jack Says Relax)

This week I am attending my 2nd advocacy forum for Alzheimer’s. The “ASK” is for Congress to support the Alzheimer’s Accountability Act (S.2192/H.R. 4351). The Act would require the scientists at the NIH to submit an annual Alzheimer’s research budget proposal directly to Congress and the President, specifying the resources needed to fully implement the National Alzheimer’s Plan without political and budgetary restrictions. We will take to the hill tomorrow and be the voice for those who eventually become silent.

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San Antonio & South Texas Alzheimer’s Association ~ Services

The Alzheimer’s Association, San Antonio and South Texas Chapter, serving 47 counties in central and south Texas, provides a variety of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias support programs and services.  These have been developed to support the person with the disease, their families and professional caregivers from the onset of symptoms through the progressive and final stages of the disease.


  • 24/7 Helpline at 1-800-272-3900: Our 1-800 Helpline is staffed by highly trained professional who can assist with a variety of issues, including treatments and clinical trials, care strategies, and legal, financial and housing decisions.  Information and referrals are made for local support and multiple language translations are available.
  • ALZConnected is the first dedicated online social networking community for anyone impacted by Alzheimer’s disease. It provides a safe place for people to connect with others in similar situations 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. http://www.alzconnected.org
  • Alzheimer’s Navigator is an online assessment program provided by the Alzheimer’s association to help caregivers and people with dementia evaluate their needs, execute action steps and connect with local programs and services. http://www.alzheimersnavigator.org
  • TrialMatch is a free service that makes it easy for people with Alzheimer’s, caregivers, families and physicians to locate clinical trials based on personal criteria (diagnosis, stage of disease) and location.  Through clinical trials, researchers test new ways to detect, treat and prevent Alzheimer’s disease and other related dementias. http://www.alz.org/trialmatch
  • Resource/Referral Lists include listings of various types of providers. Call our office or visit http://www.communityresourcefinder.org
  • Caregiver Center includes information and tools on an easy to navigate site http://www.alz.org/care


Safety Services:

  • MedicAlert + Alzheimer’s Association Safe Return is our 24-hour nationwide emergency response service for individuals with Alzheimer’s that wander or who have a medical emergency. http://www.medicalert.com/safereturn
  • Dementia & Driving Resource Center tips and strategies for this topic http://www.alz.org/driving
  • Comfort Zone powered by Omnilink, is a new comprehensive web-based location management service that remotely monitors the location of the person with Alzheimer’s, sets up safety zones and receives alerts (via text or e-mail) when he or she has traveled beyond a pre-set zone. www.alz.org/comfortzone

Educational Presentations:

The Alzheimer’s Association has developed a number of educational programs to inform and assist those going through this disease.  Programs are offered on a regular basis throughout the community and by request.  Current offerings include:

  • Alzheimer’s disease: Know the 10 signs
  • The Basics: Memory Loss, Dementia and Alzheimer’s
  • Living with Alzheimer’s Series
  • Financial and Legal Matters
  • Available online at http://eLearning.alz.org

Support Groups:

Support group sessions are a valuable therapeutic intervention for assisting persons with Alzheimer’s disease and their families to overcome feelings of isolation, depression and despair.  They are confidential, coordinated by trained facilitators and are offered for both the person with disease and their families/friends.  Please contact the chapter office for a complete listing of support groups in the area.


Community Outreach Activities:

Our vision is a world without Alzheimer’s; to achieve this vision we must raise public awareness and create a more accurate understanding of the disease, its symptoms, and early warning signs.  We accomplish this through a wide range of activities that include:

  • Health fair presentations
  • Educational conference and programs
  • A Volunteer Speakers Bureau that provides speakers for club meetings, company presentations, etc.
  • Media outreach including radio talk show and print media
  • Promotion of our website http://www.alz.org and http://www.alz.org/sanantonio
  • Walk to End Alzheimer’s, our largest community event to raise awareness and funds held each September


  • Join us our efforts to raise concern and awareness among our elected officials to support our legislative issues and cause http://www.alz.org/advocacy
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Faux-tisserie Fun

This month’s bon appetit (March 2014) has an abundance of recipes I’m looking forward to diving into and trying out.  The first one I gave my hand at was the Herb Faux-tisserie Chicken and Potatoes.  Now, I did do this recipe on  Sunday, though I purchased my bird on Wednesday. I wanted to try this 3 hour dish during the week to see how convenient it would be with the work day schedule. But, as life often laughs at some of our plans, Sunday turned out to be the day that worked best this time around. The only additions/changes I made to the recipe was I added lemon zest right before it went into the oven and I squeezed an entire lemon over it as it was at rest out of the oven. I like lemon. To go with this main course, I roasted a few Brussel sprouts in olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic for 30 minutes at 400 degrees. I also made my new ‘go-to’ scratch bread recipe that I have found myself making 3 out of the 7 days  a week. I learned while in Florence, Italy that I like Tuscan style bread.  Traditional Tuscan bread is made with out salt. Though upon serving the bread I slice it  in small chunks, grind some course sea salt over the still warm bread and drizzle some green virgin olive oil. The recipe I discovered is from King Arthur Flour.  Instead of the 24 hours they recommend I have managed to get the process down to between 4 to 5 hours; I’m still  very pleased with the end results. To round out the table, I served  a traditional Greek salad, banana pudding for dessert and included a nice Syrah wine. The chicken was delicious and so easy to do, I can easily see making this Faux-tisserie chicken as one of my new go- to meals. 





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Join me!

Walk to End Alzheimer's

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I want you by my side! The Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s® is the world’s largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research. Held annually in more than 650 communities nationwide, this inspiring event is a display of combined strength and dedication in the fight against Alzheimer’s.

The end of Alzheimer’s starts with me, but I cannot do this alone. Please join me in the fight against Alzheimer’s by walking with me. Together, we can become an unstoppable force against this devastating disease.

Please visit my personal fundraising page to register for my team. If you are unable to join me, please consider making a $35 donation to my fundraising campaign.

Thank you in advance for your generosity!

Click here to visit my personal page.
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Click here to view the team page for Amber’s Allstar Angels
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If you no longer wish to receive email messages sent from your friends on behalf of this organization, please click here or paste this URL into your browser: http://act.alz.org/site/TellFriendOpt?action=optout&toe=f1361c8a066a2f8ea34b9f49cb0bd2348e7a992322e5379e


Alzheimer’s Association is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization.
© 2014 Alzheimer’s Association. All rights reserved.
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Bacon, Bacon and more Bacon

Chocolate bacon cupcake with chocolate butterm...

Chocolate bacon cupcake with chocolate buttermilk frosting (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This month’s issue of Food Network Magazine, March 2014, is all about bacon. Now I’ll  admit that at first glance I was not quite certain about the Chocolate Bacon Cupcakes and I am still not sold, but the issue did have some interesting reveals. Like it is best to start cooking your bacon in a cold frying pan. There are three different types of curing listed: wet-cured, dry-cured and uncured. Here’s a link to those cures, their meanings and a bacon buying guide.

My personal favorite Ina Garten’s Caramelized Bacon

Recipe courtesy of Ina Garten

Recipe from Barefoot Contessa Foolproof: Recipes You Can Trust. Copyright (c) 2012 by Ina Garten. By Arrangement with Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House, Inc. for Food Network Magazine

Caramelized Bacon

Total Time:

45 min
15 min
30 min
Yield:15 to 20 servings
Bacon Appetizer Cocktail Party
thye1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 cup chopped or whole pecans
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1/2 pound thick-sliced applewood-smoked bacon (such as Nodine’s)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil (for easy cleaning) and place a wire baking rack on top.

Combine the brown sugar and pecans in a food processor and process until the pecans are finely ground. Add the salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper and pulse to combine. Add the maple syrup and pulse again to moisten the crumbs.

Cut each bacon slice in half crosswise and line up the pieces on the baking rack without touching. With a small spoon, evenly spread the pecan mixture on top of each piece of bacon, using all of the mixture. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the topping is very browned but not burnt. If it’s underbaked, the bacon won’t crisp as it cools.

While it’s hot, transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels and set aside to cool. Serve at room temperature. (The caramelized bacon can be made early in the day and stored at room temperature.)

Another fun section is: In the Know, What’s your Bacon IQ?  This issue has so much fun information and thought-provoking recipes go online or pick up an issue and let me know what you think.

Happy Cooking!

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Report on Restaurant Nutrition by Healthy Dining

The Mediterranean Diet: Becoming the Way of Life in America

The Mediterranean diet continues to grow in popularity. Although termed a “diet,” it is more an eating style, with an emphasis on healthful high antioxidant-, fiber-rich ingredients such as fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains and healthier fats derived from olive oil, nuts, and seafood. Not only are consumers driven towards this flavorful and freshly prepared cuisine, but growing research on its numerous health benefits has given it precedence in the scientific community, as well.

For years, respected health organizations such as the American Diabetes Association and the American Heart Association have supported the Mediterranean Diet for its emphasis on incorporating variety into the diet rather than restrictions, and a panel of physicians and nutritionists ranked it this year’s top plant-based diet and third best diet overall in the U.S. News & World Report Best Diets 2014.

The latest research out of the Harvard School of Public Health provides additional evidence for supporting this cuisine. In their study, individuals with greater adherence to a Mediterranean-style diet—without making any intentional modifications to their current diet or lifestyle—were found to have significantly less weight gain, lower cholesterol, and reduced risk of developing metabolic syndrome.


And the adventure begins


Today is the day I head off for a seven-day adventure to Florence, Italy. It all began with an email in November. An invite for a girls trip to Italy. The four of us board the plane for a week of friendship, laughter, fun, food and rejuvenation in just one of the most fabulous cities ever.  I will be taking lots of pictures, testing tons of food, maybe even a cooking class or two.  There has even been talk of the Vespa wine tour.  Wishing you a great week.

Ciao Bella ~ Happy Cooking!

When baking goes Bad

ok 297When baking goes bad, oh what to do? A few weeks ago I went to the grocery store while some banana bread was in the oven. I had 45 minutes to make the trip. Well needless to say  I was gone to long.  That bread could have been used as a brick. I was wishing I was at the ranch so at least I could give it to the free-roaming chickens and not feels so bad about tossing it out. Next up was the banana cranberry bread with orange zest,  with about a half of a cup of sugar short.  Yeah, not a good idea either. I went for a run thinking maybe I will add a little powder sugar glaze or even better, when in doubt add that brown sugar!

As I begin to do more experimental cooking and baking, bad things do happen. I just wish on some of these dishes or breads they could be salvaged. I do so love hanging out in my kitchen. Experimenting, risking, adventure taking,  all in order to stretch my inner cooking goddess. This truly has become a wonderful journey for me.

I guess it is like one of those famous quotes we always hear, that “if something is always going right then there is no learning going on”.  I have a lot of learning going on!

Happy Cooking ~ even when it goes bad!

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