Thursday, February 28, 2013

Korean Beef Kalbi

Continuing on my fascination with grilling these past couple of weeks, I decided to try one of my favorite Korean dishes from my most favorite Korean blogger, Maangchi.

Maangchi's website is easy to navigate and her recipe posts (to include videos) are perfect.

I tried my hand at grilling her Korean Beef Kalbi (Barbecued Beef Short Ribs) this evening and am so glad I did.

My husband and I loved every single bite of this yummy barbecue.

It's a fantastic recipe that's super simple to make.

If you like Korean food, you're going to love this.

Click here for her recipe.


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Huli Huli Chicken

There's a little Hawaiian restaurant right down the street from our house that we've been dying to try.

They've always been closed when we've stopped by, but last week their seldom lit sign indicated their doors were open.


I love Hawaiian food.

Every wonderful bite just brings me back to my fun business trips and relaxing vacations to the islands.

At the restaurant, I ordered Huli Huli Chicken with rice and macaroni/potato salad.

And lemme tell ya ...... It was heavenly!

It inspired me to figure out a recipe to make Huli Huli Chicken on my own since the restaurant is open for only a few hours each day.

The cute Hawaiian lady who greeted us at our table explained their limited hours, "We're Hawaiian.  We work when we feel like it."

We loved their vibe!

We'd eat there every week if we could.

But with those hours, we're not guaranteed this dynamite dish whenever we want.

So, I found a recipe online, made a couple tweaks, and loved every bite.


Huli Huli Chicken     *Printable Recipe*
adapted from Taste of Home

6 chicken breasts
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup water
1/2 tsp chicken boullion powder
3-4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced

In a small bowl, mix brown sugar, ketchup, soy sauce, water, chicken boullion powder, cloves, and ginger.  Reserve 1 cup for basting; cover and refrigerate.

Add chicken breasts into one large resealable bag.  Pour remaining marinade over chicken.  Seal bag and turn to coat.  Refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.

Drain and discard marinade from chicken.  Moisten a paper town with cooking oil; using long-handled tongs, lightly coat the grill rack.

Grill chicken, covered, over medium heat for 6-8 minutes on each side or until no longer pink; baste occasionally with reserve marinade during the last 5 minutes.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Stitch Fix

My fellow bloggers have recommended a website that I just LOVE!

So I'm sharing it with you all.

The site is perfect for ladies interested in keeping their wardrobes current with personal styling.

Here's why I love Stitch Fix:

I like staying current...

I really don't like to shop for clothes...

I'm a busy mom...

My time in stores is limited with a 3 yr old...

There's no long-term commitment...

and I'm on a budget.

While I can't afford my own personal stylist or shopper, Stitch Fix certainly makes it possible.

Professional stylists hand pick styles they think you'll love, based on the style profile & budget recommendations you initially fill out.

Your "Fix" box comes in the mail (free shipping) ...

along with style tip cards for each item ...

to include detailed descriptions.

Keep whatever you like, and return the rest in a pre-paid USPS envelope.

A dream come true for me!

So I signed up for my first Fix.

There's a $20 initial styling fee that comes back to you in your first Fix box.  Also, if you like everything in your box, you can buy them as a set with a 25% discount.

Or....if you don't like anything, just send it all back and schedule another Fix.

No obligations or long-term commitments.


My first Fix is scheduled to arrive on March 11.

When it arrives, I'll share the details of my box with you.

If you'd like to sign up for your first Fix also, just click here.

After you sign up, you'll receive a link to share with your friends and get $25 credit after they get their first Fix.

The more people who sign up through your link, the more money you get towards your Fix.

Definitely a great deal!

(By the way, don't worry if there's a waiting list to register.  It's currently a very short list.  I only had to wait less than 24 hours before I received my confirmation email.)

Here's to looking good and more current this Spring!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Food Trucks

Folks, the food truck craze has made its way onto our military installation here in Texas, and I am so thrilled!!

Yee Haw!

It's a beautiful site.

I love that these local small businesses are cleared to come on base and serve the military community.

Other than the standard food court franchises offered on most military bases (i.e. Burger King, Popeye's, Robin Hood Deli, Charlie's Subs, Anthony's Pizza, etc.), it's refreshing to see authentic ethnic dishes available.

And the prices......well, they're great!

I was like a kid in a candy store hopping from one truck to the next.

Puerto Rican cuisine...

to Tex- Mex...

to Jamaican...

to good 'ole Southern BBQ.

Oh my heavens!

They'll be rotating out, so we'll get to experience a variety of cuisines on base and support our local small business community.

It's a win - win all the way around.

My husband snapped this photo of me chatting with the Grillin Rice Taco Truck.

And this one of me lovin' on one of their yummy beef tacos.


Saturday, February 23, 2013

Cajun Pork Roast

Two years ago I feasted on cajun pork roast during a Thanksgiving luncheon hosted by my husband's co-worker, Adam.

The roast was amazing.

Everyone raved about it.

And I begged for the recipe.

The recipe belongs to Adam's cajun grandmother and is unbelievably spec-tac-u-lar.

It's an impressive dish to say the least, and can either serve a large crowd or be divided up and stored in the freezer to use in multiple recipes (I'm thinking carintas, burritos, sandwiches, salads, etc.).

Oh, and its simple to make with just a few ingredients and three easy steps before baking.

Here's what it looks like after 17 hours of cooking in the oven at 225 degrees.

No, that wasn't a typo.

I know what you're thinking...

17 hours!!??

Yup, it takes that long to cook this yummy roast, but believe me....

It's OH - SO - WORTH - IT!

Nom - Nom - Nom!

 Nom - Nom - Nom!

The meat just falls apart and the bone slides right out.

Holy cow!

(I mean "pig" .... hee!hee!)

I also peeled the skin off the top, put it on a cookie sheet lined with foil, and baked it for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Broke the skin into pieces and TA-DA.....

Super crunchy flavorful cajun chicharones!

If chicharones aren't your thing, then just skip this step.

But I love them!

Anyway, back to the roast...

Here's my plate of this most amazing Cajun Pork Roast.

It's so full of flavor, incredibly tender, and just melts in your mouth.


Cajun Pork Roast    *Printable Recipe*
Pork roast:  Boston Butt (or Picnic cut)
3-5 carrots, chopped
10-12 garlic cloves, minced
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
Tony Chacheres' Creole Seasoning

1.  Stuffing: combine carrots, garlic, bell pepper, and 1/2 Tbsp creole seasoning into bowl.
2.  Poke numerous, deep holes all over the roast, and stuff with the stuffing.
3.  Score the fatty side of the roast however you like, sprinkle creole seasoning.
4.  Place roast into cast iron skillet or baking pan equivalent and cook (fatty side up) at 500 degrees for 30 minutes.
5.  Turn down the heat to 225 degrees and cook for 15-17 hours.

Friday, February 22, 2013


Thank you everyone who sent me emails regarding this blog.

I'm deeply humbled and sincerely grateful for your readership, encouragement, and continued interest in joining me on my new blog.....Beaches & Berries.

As it turns out, I figured out how to keep my old URL ( by redirecting it to my new URL

So regardless of which web address you use, either old or new, you can still find me.

I love that!


Thank you for inspiring me.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Time For A Change

My blog desperately needed a facelift.

So, this past week I made a few changes and ...

Voila .... she is clean

(Finding Nemo reference, I couldn't help it)

I'm still editing here and there, but for the most part this is my new love.

One of the changes that I'm working on is a new title and blog address.

The two currently don't match, so it's about time I changed them.

If you'd like to continue following my site (I hope you do), just send me your email address and I'll include you in my distribution email announcing my new blog address.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day Cookies

Happy Valentine's Day!

My son & I made some festive sugar cookies yesterday...

Wrapped them up in little baggies tied with ribbon...

And passed them out today at the library and community center on our military base.

He's only 3 yrs old and still in the "mine" non-sharing phase, but in my opinion it's never too early to teach about being a cheerful giver.

"Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver."  - 2 Corinthians 9:7

By the way, these are amazing sugar cookies.  Very easy to make and cut out.

Either frost them after they've cooled or if you're like me with an antsy toddler by your side, just sprinkle some pretty pareils on top before baking.


The Best Rolled Sugar Cookie   *Printable Recipe*

1/ 1/2 cups butter, softened
2 cups white sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth.  Beat in eggs and vanilla.  Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Cover and chill dough for one hour (or overnight).  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Roll out dough on floured surface 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.  Cut into shapes with any cookie cutter.  Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.  Bake 6 to 8 minutes in preheated oven.  Cool complete.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Shortbread Cookies

Tuesdays are my days to relax with my little guy and attempt to integrate into our military community with a morning playgroup on post.

This morning we casually got up, slowly ate our breakfast, and watched morning cartoons on the Disney channel before getting ready to leave.

While I was sitting on the couch sipping my coffee, I realized .....

EEEEKKKKKKkkkkk.......I forgot to make cookies and buy valentines for the playgroup's Valentines Day party in 45 minutes.

I ran in the kitchen, took inventory of my fridge and pantry, and started thinking...


Shortbread cookies!

These cookies only take 30 minutes to throw together, make 35 bite-sized cookies, and only require four ingredients.

Here's a close up of these little cuties before baking.

Cooling on the rack.

All done.  Nice and warm and ready to take to the playgroup.

Make sure to put one aside for yourself before you leave the house because once you put them out at the party there won't be any left to take home.


Shortbread Cookies     *Printable Recipe*

1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup corn starch
1 1/2 cup flour

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Whip butter with an electric mixer until fluffy.  Stir in the sugar, cornstarch, and flour.  Beat on low for one minute, then high for 3 to 4 minutes.  Roll cookies into balls.  Set 2 inches apart on ungreased (or parchment paper) cookie sheet.  Bake for 12 to 15 minutes in the oven.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Birthday Visit

My niece celebrated her birthday this past weekend, and we were blessed with the opportunity to make it to her party.

It's nice being back in Texas (even if it's just for a few short years).
with the birthday girl
watching presents being opened
note to self:  wait for the boy to finish chewing
his pizza before asking for a smile.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Zuppa Toscana

Kale is in season and it is super yummy this time of year.

Unlike the summer months when it's tough, chewy, and slightly bitter.

Last night, I made one of our favorite Olive Garden soups ..... Zuppa Toscana.

I found a great recipe, slightly adjusted it to reduce the fat, and zippity-do-dah.

Tastes just like the soup at the restaurant, but more healthy, hearty and full of flavor.

Oh...the kale just melts in your mouth.

It's so delicious and so good for you too.


Zuppa Toscana   *Printable Recipe*
adapted from

3 Hot Turkey Italian Sausage links ( I use Honeysuckle White brand)
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 potatoes cut in 1/4-in slices
1/2 chopped onion
3 chopped garlic cloves
2 chicken boullion cubes (I use Knorr brand)
6 cups of water
1/3 cup fat-free half and half cream (I use Land O Lakes brand)
1 bunch of Kale, stems removed and shredded

Remove casing from sausage links.  In a large pot, saute sausage in 1 Tbsp olive oil until cooked.  Remove sausage from pot and set aside.  Add 1 Tbsp olive oil to pot, garlic, and onions.  Saute until tender.  Add water, boullion cubes, potato slices, and cooked sausage.  Cook on medium heat until potatoes are tender (approx 10-15 minutes).  Add kale and half & half cream.  Cook until kale is slightly tender.

Japanese BBQ

Since the weather has been beautiful here in San Antonio and the evenings are perfect for spending outside, I've been in the grilling mood.

I just love the smell of food on the grill.

Last night we grilled one of my favorite chicken dishes that I copied off of my mom years ago.

She calls it Japanese BBQ, but I'm not even sure if it's truly a Japanese recipe.

Nevertheless, I call it Japanese BBQ.

It's very very very simple to make, hard to mess up, and tastes incredible.

I hope you try it on your grill.  


Mom's Japanese BBQ     *Printable Recipe*
2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
1/4 cup Rice Wine (I use Aji Marin)
1/4 cup Soy Sauce
1/4 Honey
salt to taste
1 bunch green onions

Mix rice wine, soy sauce, honey, salt, and green onions.  Add chicken thighs.  Marinade overnight and grill the next day.  Serve with rice or green salad.

note:  do not marinade for more than 24 hours.  chicken will be too salty.  trust me!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Family Vacation 2013

Last week, our family went on our annual vacation.

And it was, well....... GLORIOUS!

We spent 7-days on the Disney Magic cruise ship with stops in Grand Cayman and Cozumel.

We loved every single minute.

The simplicity of the cruise ship, the ocean, and the beaches are definitely our cup of tea.

I recommend a Disney cruise over Disneyworld or Disneyland any day.

There's less stress, less time wasted, and tons more fun for everyone.

After a tough year of selling our home in Virginia, moving to Texas, mourning the loss of our unborn baby, and adapting to our new life in San Antonio, we really needed some time to reconnect, unwind, and unplug.

We're beyond thankful for our wonderful time together.

God sure is good!

Here's an album below filled with our most cherished memories...

Turn your favorite photos into a photo book at
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