Alfresco family dinner to go…

We decided to have our family dinner at Brandon’s house this year .  So I began  with a trip to the farmers market with my big straw bag for some fresh veggies and herbs.

I had to get some green onions, cilanthro

and most important basil and eggplant for my spaghetti sauce.

I love the smell of fresh basil. I use can whole tomatoes, sea salt, basil, garlic, eggplant, fresh ground round   for my sauce. I made the sauce early so the herbs blend throughly and brought everything over to Brandon’s house and set up on his back patio. The menu , spaghetti, bruschetta, fresh basil salad, wine, ice tea, double choc. cake with choc frosting with Trader Joe’s vanilla ice cream and choc cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.

 We have a new addition to the family and his name is Sam, the kids had a great time playing with him but Leo was upset when Sam jump on him. Finally we told Leo to stop running and tell Sam stop and to  sit.

I like to have the  dress white as this being the end of summer dinner.   Tanya looked so fresh in her white shirt and jeans.

and so did Melissa (right) and her mom (left). Everyone looked like they were having a nice time !

…but  us girls were having too much fun posing for pictures !

 Happy 23rd  Birthday  Justin !

And Happy  Birthday Melissa !!

Hope the magic of this evening stays with you both the whole year till next year at our end of summer family dinner !

We almost  made our list for the “Ten things we wanted to do for the summer’ except for ” #4 Have a tennis tournament at night. (everyone plays), oh well we’ll try ten for ten next year, hope everyone had a wonderful summer. Now it’s time to start  planning for  our annual Mystery Dinner next month !

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La Dolce Vita…

Summer has been very busy, with vacation days, beach days, pool days, birthdays and  lots of party’s and events,  I can hardly catch my breath. When I finally get some alone time I can honestly say I enjoy every minute . This special night  I gave Leonardo a big dinner and warm bath and put him to bed early. And this evening I decided to create a quaint alfresco dinner just for myself….la Dolce Vita (the sweet life) , complete with dishes I never use and lots of candles.

I bought these french blue and  cream  dishes at a flea market in Pasadena.  I love to find old gems like these plates. .. with a touch of yellow…Simply earthy.

I brought outside all my candles from the house.

 I decided to make a simple meal, a chicken spring salad and mint tea .

This salad is simple to make, fresh greens, cucumber, green grapes and grilled chicken. Topped with lemon , celery salt and olive oil.

I even bought a card for myself , and I wrote the menu on my chalkboard…

I enjoyed my alfresco dinner and I read my card over and over as I ate. Spending some quality time with ourselves is a perfect way to spend a summer evening. I had a cup of chai tea and strawberrys for desert .  After all  the work we do for our kids, we deserve to treat ourselves  !

la Dolce Vita … Ciao ! Thanks abeachcottage for Good life Wed.

What I eat now…

food kitchen 0171I have had some emails and some friends asking me what I eat now to keep me heathy and fit .

I start my day with a half of grapefruit and green tea with a slice of spout bread and  all natural peanut butter with a teaspoon of honey.

I have a mid morning snack of trail mix from Trader Joes . ( A protein shake if I exercise )

Lunch I have a salad with  spinach, cucumber,spouts and lime juice and lemon pepper. or a spout and turkey sandwich.

For dinner I have broil salt-less chicken and  spinach salad and a vegetable with a pad of real butter.

 And maybe a orange or apple with green tea for a late night snack.

I will have a protein shake after I exercise or maybe in the evening. I use coconut milk or soy milk for my shakes and a banana and muscle milk protein from Costco . When I go to Starbucks I have a bagged tea latte with soy milk. And I carry a water bottle with me at all times everywhere I go, and I have saved so much money not buying sodas. I don’t count calories .

It’s a life style change and I feel so much better…

thanks for the emails, xoxo Cheryl

The art of dining Alfresco

 

I love dinning Alfresco all alone in a beautiful city where I can just sit back and people watch…and take a few pictures.

 

 

This is a quaint little cafe in Santa Barbara, one of my favorite places to people watch…

 

 

Cafe Shell, I love the yellow umbrellas…

 

 

and the cute colorful  french menu, with the perfect color plates…

 

 

When your dinning alone they always bring the food out quickly….and the waitress always stops to chat.

 

 

This salad was as  delicious as it looks…

 

 

The perfect setting, a delicious salad,  and the perfect sunny day….The art of dining Alfresco .    

 

 

Hope everyone has a simply relaxing day !  

Dining Al Fresco and Darrill’s cooking

 

Leo and I spent the day on the lake boating with my son Brandon, so when Darrill said he would make dinner I was excited . I set a  simple outdoor table , white table-cloth , white dinner plates, my basket of silverware, fresh flowers, and  Darrill did the rest. What I love about Darrill’s cooking is he get’s his recipes online or in a cook book so his meals are well almost perfect.  I on the other hand always cook the tried and true, why mess with perfection. Darrill goes to the market and get’s everything on the list and puts all the right ingredients in, I use what we have on hand and add my own special touches.   But we both use fresh herbs.

 

      

 

 

I think he said he was making grilled Greek potato salad….

 

 

with cooked small red potatoes, wow this looks pretty good.

 

 

 

This salad has 1 yellow peppers,1  red peppers, 1 med red onion, 1 med cucumber, a basket of grape tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, all sliced and diced, 3 pounds of roasted red potatoes , fresh oregano  (2 tablespoons) and  a greek vinaigrette and olive oil. 

 

 

Next he made  grilled sirloin steak, with a buttery garlic and  parsley topping. Combine   1/4 cup of butter softened, 3 tablespoons minced parsley and 1 teaspoon minced garlic. 

 

 

Ok Darrill your meal was great, well almost perfect…

 

 

Darrill made wine coolers, and I bought  some  vanilla ice cream with strawberries for desert.  See how simple. Well simple for me, thanks Darrill for doing the cooking !!

Hope everyone has a fun weekend, dining Al Fresco.  

A Spring Green Meal

I love cooking simple and  fresh  meals. I don’t have a lot of time to cook,  but I want a fresh meal for Leo and Darrill.  Here is one of my favoite spring green meals.

 

I start with fresh organic spinach, fresh basil,  artichokes , cucumbers and limes, which I buy at my local farmers market.

Then I put a chicken half in a piece of foil and I add fresh basil and spinach, and garnish with slices of limes , garlic salt and pepper. Then I bake  it in the oven at 400 for 35 min

 

Then I put the artichokes in salted boiling water for 30 min. 

I buy my spices from Spice Merchants in Temecula Ca. I love their picnic blend, I add it to sour cream for a great dip for the artichokes.

Next I make  my green salad with spinach, cucumbers, fresh basil and a few red grapes or black olives.

I add fresh tortellini from my market which I cooked for ten min.  and top off the  salad  with olive oil and parmesan cheese .

 

 This meal goes perfect with fresh brewed green tea garnish with a  slice of lime.

The chicken is done and smells wonderful, this meal is low-fat and healthy too ! Hope you enjoy .    

  

My Spring Salad

I love spring salads, after eating all those winter foods, soups , stews, chili beans,  breads, you know all those  foods that put on all those extra pounds ,  so when spring comes around we all end up on some kind of diet. I hate to diet. I don’t diet  because if I tell myself I am on a diet I will eat everything in sight.  But I love  fresh salads. 

  Here is one of my favorites, organic greens, with strawberrys, apples, cucumber, green onions and fresh lime juice.

Salad dressings never taste fresh so I use fresh lime juice and season salt.  I love green tea,  so I brew Lipton passion fruit  green tea and add some strawberrys and a sprig of lime juice. A good source of antioxidants and it’s a refreshing drink.

A simple but fresh way to enjoy spring, this is a meal that you should eat outdoors.

Hope everyone has a fresh and fun weekend.