Basil Lemon’itos!

T.G.I.F.  I am not usually a huge fan of the whole “TGIF” lingo but right now, I’m tellin’ ya…I’m thanking God it’s Friday!  🙂

Whew…what a week it has been.  For my Medtronic partners and friends, “Cheers to finishing FY11 Q1!  We did it!”  It’s time to kick up our heels for the weekend and indulge in a cold tasty libation (or 2 or 3 or 4)!  And to all the rest of you who put in a long week, this one is also for you.  

Today I share with you my new favorite poolside refreshment. 

Don’t get me wrong, those Red Wine Spritzers are still tied for first place…but this new concoction my husband worked up is amazing! 

We call them…


Serving: 1 drink

  • 7- 10 Md – Lg Basil Leaves
  • 1/2 Lemon – juiced
  • 1/2 tbsp Sugar
  • 3 – 4 parts Simply Lemonade
  • 1.5 shots of Vodka
  • Serve in high-ball glass, water glass, or even a pint glass!

Lightly muddle the basil, sugar, & lemon juice in the bottom of the glass until the sugar is dissolved and leaves are fragrant (even more so than when you placed them in the glass).  Add enough ice to fill ~half of the glass.  Fill with 1.5 shot vodka (or more if you like…this one hides it well!) and 3-4 parts lemonade.  Top with 1 part diet 7Up.  Stir Vigorously from the bottom-up.  Garnish with a slice of lemon and a basil sprig!


Ahhhh.  Refreshing.  A beautiful summer weekend is in store & we’ve earned it. ENJOY!

Indulge.  In Life.  In Love.  In Food.

Flight Restaurant & Wine Bar

I have been dying to share this post with you.  As you all probably noted, I make my fair share of trips to Memphis every year.  With the Spine & Biologics Division of Medtronic located in Memphis, I have come to enjoy parts of this historic city….mostly, the food!  I have several trips to Memphis booked for August…and then again in September, so I will continue to share these local hotspots with you as I frequent them.  But first, one of the most amazing restaurants I’ve dined in…FLIGHT.  Those of you who know me well know that I have eaten in MANY restaurants.  Working for Pfizer and also for Medtronic, traveling across Iowa as well as across the country, has afforded me these opportunities.  So trust me when I say, this is one of my all-time favorite restaurants.  Clever, intriguing concept paired with great service and exceptional food, presentation & flavor!  If you at some point make your way to Memphis…just a few blocks from Beale Street is this fantastic joint, Flight Restaurant and Wine Bar.

It was just a couple of weeks go that I was in Memphis last.  The first week of July I was there with a surgeon and the second week I was there for training.  While I was there with a partner and surgeon of mine, we dined at FLIGHT.  Despite my best efforts, I could not hide my excitement during our dinner.  I was in love with concept, pleased with the atmosphere and in awe of the presentation.  I couldn’t wait to come back the following week to really take it all in…on my own time! 

So…the very next week, I did just that.  All alone, I grabbed a cab and headed to Flight.  This is what you need to know:  Every portion of the menu is built around the “Flight of Wine” idea.  So, instead of coming in and ordering a simple glass of Sauvignon Blanc (which I almost always do), you can order a flight of wine.  Red, White, Sweet or Dry.  You get the idea.  Next up…a soup or salad flight!  Why order just a wedge salad when you can get sample portions of the wedge, caprese, and watermelon salad?!  And for a main course…order a flight of tenderloin or mix and match like I did.  Small portions of scallops, filet, and halibut!  Finally, if all of that isn’t enough to satisfy your appetite, how about a flight of cheesecakes, for example?!  I mean, come on.  Even if you aren’t hungry, you have GOT to order dessert at a restaurant like this!

Let me share my meal with you.  I am still dreaming about it.

First things first…Vino!

I opted for the “What a Tart” flight.  It included an amazing glass of Whitehaven Sauvignon Blanc.  So it was the obvious choice for me!

In addition to the Whitehaven Sauvignon Blanc, this flight included Zolo Sauvignon Blanc and a Ferrari Carano Fume Blanc.  Heaven in a glass, really.


My waitress was so sweet.  After listening to me rave about Whitehaven, she decided that I should try Cakebread’s Sauvignon Blanc. She brought me yet another sample to try.  Don’t get me wrong, it was good…but it wasn’t Whitehaven!  So naturally, I ordered a “full” glass of Whitehaven to enjoy with the rest of my meal! 

Next up was my flight of salad.  You know me, I could have been perfectly happy with the Caprese…but I just had to try the full flight.  I am so happy I did. 

First in the salad flight was a “Watermelon & Feta” salad.  (FRESH WATERMELON, FETA, RED ONION, CHIFFONADE OF MINT, AND BASIL OLIVE OIL)



On any normal day…in any every-day-run-of-the-mill-restaurant, I would have been stuffed and put my fork down right then and there.  Delicious and satisfying.  But oh-no, not at Flight!  I was just getting started!  If the salads weren’t everything I’d hoped for (which they most certainly were), the main course was to-die-for. 

I decided to create my own mix and match flight…Filet Mignon, Scallops, and Halibut!  Oh My!

I am from Wisconsin…born and raised.  It is pretty hard for me to pass up a good steak.  It is also hard for me to find a steak outside of “my” midwest (WI, MN, IA) that is as tender and flavorful as it is in any of those 3 states.  But this one…oh this one was good!

Petite Filet Mignon w/ Lobster, Scallon, & Bacon Infused Mashed Potatoes…drizzled with Bourdelaise Sauce.  Need I say more?

And one of my latest obsessions, scallops!  Seared Sea Scallops w/ Black Bean Ginger Beurre Blanc and Bismati Rice.  SO GOOD.

Last on the entree flight…Pan Seared Halibut w/ Tropical Salsa in a Warm Brown Butter Sauce.  My mouth is watering…again.

At this point…I am definitely full.  I have maxed out my ability to take another bite.  In fact, I have even left some on my plate.  Excellent or not…I wanted my pants to fit the next day!  But, all that said, I couldn’t leave without ordering a flight of dessert!  That just wouldn’t be fair to YOU!  🙂 


So…I went ahead and ordered the “Cheesecake Flight”! 

Chocolate, Caramel, & Toasted Pecans.

Vanilla-Poached Strawberry.

White Chocolate with Raspberry Sauce.

Believe it or not, I didn’t eat any of these cheesecakes.  I took the pics…admired the presentation and wished I had a sweet-tooth and room to dig in…but I didn’t have either.  So, I politely asked the waitress if I could package them up and take them back to a few of my female colleagues who I was sure would devour them!  🙂

What a fun night I had in Memphis.  Sure…I was alone at a fantastic restaurant but it was wonderful.  Not only did I go do something I normally wouldn’t do (head out to dinner solo) but I treated myself to a wonderful food experience.  I went back to the hotel feeling relaxed (well, a little buzzed maybe), satisfied, and adventurous.  I encourage you all to do the same.  Choose a restaurant you haven’t been to…maybe one you have been dying to try and dine there in the next 7 days.  Don’t wait for someone else to fit it into their schedule (we all know coordinating schedules is hard), go alone.  Quality time with yourself is therapeutic!

And if you are ever in Memphis, please stop into Flight Restaurant and Wine Bar.  You won’t be disappointed.  Pinky swear. 

FLIGHT. 39 South Main Street. Memphis. TN. 38103.



Indulge.  In Life.  In Love.  In Food.

Summer Lasagna

Really, it’s Monday…arleady!?   I suppose so…but what a great week it is going to be!  I don’t know about you, but every Monday I try to pick one thing that I am looking forward to later in the week.  Maybe that one thing is lunch with a friend, a homemade pizza with my hubby, a nap on the porch with Ruby, or a Wednesday night to myself.  But this week…I have my sights set on something MUCH more exciting.  This weekend one of my dearest friends, Delaney, and her family are making their first trip to Iowa to visit Ryan & I!  I am so excited!  

Let me tell you a little bit about Delaney.  She is the friend I can talk to for hours on end and feel as if only 5 minutes has passed.  She is always there to listen…to laugh…to tell it like it is.   When we first met, she thought my shoes were ugly.  (In hindsight…they were hideous!)  I thought she was a little outspoken.  (In hindsight, I should have been more outspoken!)  And now…I couldn’t imagine my life without her in it.   If you don’t have at least an hour carved out of your week for a friend, schedule it today.  Be thankful for your friendships…they are priceless.

And in honor of the upcoming visit, today I am going to post my Summer Lasagna recipe which is inspired by a pan of lasagna that Delaney once made for us.  Before I left for Memphis 3 weeks ago, I threw together a pan of this delicious pasta and divided it up for Ryan to enjoy while I was gone.  Oh..don’t worry, I indulged in a hefty piece before I left!  🙂


Inspired by Delaney’s Lasagna

Serves 8

  • One 8oz box of Oven Ready Lasagna Noodles
  • 1 Jar Red Sauce (Tomato & Basil)
  • 1 Jar White Sauce (4 Cheese Alfredo)
  • 1 Can Diced Tomatoes w/Garlic & Olive Oil
  • 2-3 Italian Sausage Links (Hot), sliced
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper, sliced
  • 1 Eggplant, slivered
  • 1 Zucchini, sliced
  • 1 lb Ricotta
  • 1 Egg, lightly beaten
  • 1-2 Ilbs Mozzarella, freshly shredded
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Romano
  • 1/2 cup fresh Basil, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp EVOO
  • Sea Salt & Ground Black Pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat a skillet over medium heat and drizzle EVOO. 

Heat the sliced sausage until browned on both sides (~3-4 mins/side).

In a large bowl, combine the ricotta & romano cheeses.  Fold in basil, egg and season with salt and pepper.  Mix well.

In another large bowl, combine red sauce, white sauce, and diced tomatoes.

Start by ladling enough sauce into the 13 x 9 dish to cover the bottom (this will prevent the noodles from sticking).   Layer 1:   Slightly overlap noodles lengthwise so they cover the bottom of the pan.  Layer 2:  the cheese.  Spread the ricotta cheese mixture over the noodles and smooth out with a spatula, and then cover with a thick layer of shredded mozzarella cheese (the more the better!). 

Layer 3:  the goods.  In a design all your own, top the cheese with sausage, red pepper, eggplant, and zucchini (or veggies of your choosing).   Layer 4:  the sauce.  Top veggies/meat with a full layer of sauce (half of the remaining sauce).  Smooth it out with the spatula.  Layer 5:  more noodles.  Finish with a layer of noodles, tomatoes sauce, and the remaining mozzarella.  Bake for 1.5 hours, until golden and bubbly. 

Allow the lasagna to sit for 20 minutes so it doesn’t ooze all over the place upon serving. 

Garnish with additional tomato sauce and grated mozzarella.

Simple!  Enjoy for dinner tonight…and have leftovers for the rest of the week.

“My friends are my estate.”  – Emily Dickinson

Indulge.  In Life.  In Love.  In Food.

Shrimp Linguine w/ Creamy Pesto Sauce

Thank you all for your well-wishes for little Ruby.  She did have another seizure last night…ON the medication. Luckily, it was noticeably less severe.  It is our hope that as the next week unfolds, she will begin to build a constant therapeutic level and get back to being herself.  Keep those prayers coming!  We appreciate it. 

And…let me guess.  You looking for another “pesto” recipe?!   I knew it!  You are in luck!  😉

As I browsed the Food Network website waiting for my flight home from Memphis two weeks ago, I found this delicious recipe by Emeril:  Shrimp with Linguine in a Pesto Cream Sauce.  With our Girls Cooking Night coming up that weekend, I decided this recipe would serve as our main course! 

Brooke, Lauren, Abbey, Sarah, and Bonnie – call them, email them, facebook them…they’ll tell you.  It was great!  In fact, a jar of pesto went home with each of them, along with a promise to get this recipe posted ASAP.   Here it is girls!  Emeril really nailed it with this one!


Recipe by Emeril Lagasse, 2006

Servings: 6 -8
  • 1 pound linguine
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 tablespoons Emeril’s Essence Bayou Seasoning, divided, recipe follows
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup pesto
  • 1/2 cup reserved pasta cooking water
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
Set a large 1-gallon stock pot of water to a boil and add the kosher salt. Place the linguine in the pot and stir the pot until the water returns to a boil. Cook the pasta until tender, but with a bit of resistance (al dente), about 12 minutes.
While the pasta cooks, prepare the sauce. Set a 12-inch saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the butter and olive oil to the pan.
Once the butter has melted, season the shrimp with 1 tablespoon of the Essence and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and add the shrimp to the pan. Sear the shrimp until pink, about 1 minute, then turn over and cook for another minute.
Remove the shrimp from the pan and set aside.
Add the onions and saute until softened and lightly caramelized, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic to the pan and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the cream, pesto, remaining tablespoon of Essence, remaining teaspoon of the salt to the pan and bring to a boil.
Cook the sauce until the cream is reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Return the shrimp, linguine and the reserved cooking water to the pan and cook, tossing to incorporate for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove pan from the heat and add the parsley and parmesan cheese and toss to blend.
Serve immediately…with a chilled glass of Sauvignon Blanc!  If you haven’t tried Whitehaven Sauvignon Blanc, pick up a bottle.  It is amazing!
Delicious…down to the last bite. 
Indulge.  In Life.  In Love.  In Food.

Caprese Open-Face Bites

Good Morning!  I hope this post finds you all enjoying a great week and looking forward to a beautiful weekend. 

As I mentioned in my posts last week, I have been travelling back and forth to Memphis lately.  Unfortunately during this time, the love of our lives, Little Miss Ruby Tuesday, has developed Cluster Seizures.  Ruby has been known to experience a seizure every now and then, usually when one of us is travelling.  But last Friday, she began having 2-3 seizures a day, sometimes within 3 hours or less.  If you have ever been around a friend or family member…or in our case, a dog, who is seizing, you understand the helplessness.  Not only is holding her through the seizures frightening and helpless, but it is so disheartening to see a once happy, lively, full-of-personality little being become so quiet and lethargic.  Ruby’s vet has prescribed Phenobarbital which has slowed (and possibly stopped) the seizures since late Monday.  Now it is just a matter of tolerating the meds and regaining her normalcy. 

As the “parents” of an animal, it is sometimes hard to comprehend what a huge part these furry creatures play in our lives.  But crazy or not, it is substantial.  Some people will say, “My whole life is not my dog but my dog makes my life whole.”  So true.  As I was preparing dinner on Monday night, Ruby had her first of 3 seizures (in a 3 hour span).  After I comforted her and laid her in her bed to rest on the floor next to me, I looked down and saw Ryan embracing her.  I, of course, melted.  How he too, loves that little dog.  It was then that I stopped preparing dinner and laid on the kitchen floor with them for just a little longer.  Give your children or your pets an extra long hug today…for they are gifts from God.

“My little dog – my heartbeat at my feet.”  ~Edith Wharton

And with that update, I now give you the appetizer recipe that I have been promising since last week.  I’m sorry for the hiatus.

Homemade pesto…there are so many ways to utilize homemade pesto!  As we prepared for a wonderful evening/dinner with our friends Jeremy & Sara early last week, I contemplated what to throw together for an appetizer.  Realizing I wanted to use my fresh batch of pesto…while satifsying my craving for caprese salad, I created this tasty pre-dinner snack!  


Servings Vary

  • Wheat Thins
  • Fresh Mozzarella, sliced
  • Basil Pesto, homemade or store-bought
  • Grape Tomatoes, sliced in half
  • Balsamic Vinegar, reduced

On a serving platter, distribute evenly a single layer of wheat thins.  Top each cracker with a thin slice of fresh mozzarella, a dab of homemade pesto, and half of a grape tomato.  In a small sauce pan, over high heat, bring balsamic vinegar to a boil.  Stirring constantly, reduce heat to medium high.  Continue to stir until vinegar has reduced by at least half.  You will notice that the vinegar becomes thicker.  Remove from heat.  Cool for 30 seconds.  Immediately drizzle over the topped crackers.

Place in refrigerator until ready to serve or serve immediately. 

Delicious, elegant, simple, finger food.   Treat yourself…and your dinner guests!

Indulge.  In Life.  In Love.  In Food.

Walnut Basil Pesto

Lucky me!  This afternoon I fly home to Iowa.  Don’t get me wrong.  It has been a great week in Memphis.  A week full of learning and reflection and lots of good eating…but I am ready to be home.  Please keep an eye on the blog over the next week. I will be sharing some of those wonderful food experiences with you!

But today, as I finish out this visit to our Medtronic Spine and Biologics Headquarters, I want to share with you a little something that I whipped up last weekend…something I then used to create a small appetizer for Jeremy & Sara on Monday and will again use this evening to prepare a tasty dinner for my girlfriends.  Last Saturday, as I worked in the yard, I acknowledged the fact that my basil was overgrown and NEEDED to be harvested.  With a solid 5-6 cups of packed basil leaves to utilize, I whipped up a hefty batch of pesto.  Pesto is so fresh and versatile and delicious…I figured, why not!?

If you have a basil plant that is growing leaps and bounds, consider this easy and delicious pesto recipe.  This version is a little “nuttier” than some others but the control is all yours.  Alter this recipe to suit your tastes…you won’t be disappointed!


Makes 6 cups

  • 6 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/4  – 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups good olive oil
  • 1 cup Parmesan, freshly grated
  • 1/2 cup Romano, freshly grated
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
In a food processor, process nuts and garlic.  
After 30-60 seconds,  add the basil, salt, and pepper.  Gradually pour the olive oil into the processor while the machine is running. 
Process ingredients until the pesto is thoroughly pureed.  (Keep in mind, the more basil you add, the greener the pesto will be.  The more nuts you add, the more brown the pesto will appear.)  Add the cheeses and puree for another couple of minutes.
Divide pesto among jars and add a thin film of olive oil on top of each serving.
Serve immediately, store in refrigerator/freezer….

…or share with friends!  I intend to do all 3. 

Enjoy your weekend and as always…

Indulge.  In Life.  In Love.  In Food.


This is for you, Ryan…

And this post….I dedicate to my husband.  We’ll call it the FART SANDWICH POST.

Yes…you read that right.  Fart Sandwich.   (A.K.A. Egg Salad Sandwich)

I am working in Memphis this week and Ryan says he’s missing me.  And so I thought, today I will dedicate a this to him…

It all started again last weekend when I found yet another item that reminded me of my childhood.  See that tool in the picture below?  That is the tool my mom always used to chop up eggs for egg salad sandwiches when my sister and I were little.  It has been years since my mom gave it to me to keep…but it seems like just yesterday that she was using it to make us lunch.  We loved those sandwiches…still do.  Fortunately or unfortunately for me, my husband despises these delicious treats.  In fact, as soon as I start making one, he yells from the other room, “Really Robin?!  You’re making Fart Sandwiches?”  Enthusiastically I respond, “Yep!  Want one?”  LOL  I know dang well he wouldn’t take a bite.  There is just something about the smell of eggs…  🙂

This recipe is not extravagant or elegant or even entertaining.  But it is good.  And I promised to share pieces of my “younger years” as I work to put together the album…so here is another piece:


  • 4 eggs, hard-boiled
  • Light Miracle Whip
  • Mustard
  • Lettuce
  • Bread (I use Amana 12 Grain…my Mom uses…WHITE.)

Boil eggs for 15 minutes.  Strain and let cool.

Remove shell and chop eggs.

Add 3/4 Miracle Whip and 1/4 Mustard…enough to be spreadable.  (My Grandma Genrich would have added chopped celery too…but I wasn’t a fan of that. haha)

Spread on bread.  Top with a piece of lettuce and serve with a chilled glass of milk!   Egg Salad…it’s a nice change of pace. 

Still miss me, Buddy?  🙂

Indulge.  In Life.  In Love.  In Food.

Grilled BBQ Chicken Pizza

Good Morning and Happy Monday!  Let me tell ya, it was BBQ Chicken Pizza madness at the Boudreau household this weekend!  I think I have mentioned this before but just before I leave for work trips…or on the nights that I return, I am always wanting homemade ‘zza.  Call it comfort…call it whatever you like…but I want nothing other than a night in the kitchen with my hubby making our own homemade pizza.  This weekend was no different.  On Friday night I flew home from 2 days in Memphis…and tomorrow, I head back to Memphis for another 4 days, leaving Ryan & Ruby to hold down the fort once again.  All of this travel to and from Tennessee called for pizza….Friday night AND Sunday night.  (No, it never gets old.)

This weekend however, we decided to deviate from our standard homemade pizza and throw together our favorite BBQ Chicken Pizza, grilled crust and all!  A thank you goes out to my brother-in-law Cory for convincing us to grill our crust.  Thanks Cory!  It was awesome.  🙂


  • HyVee (Pillsbury or Jiffy will do too) Pizza Crust Mix, prepared as directed below
  • 1 Grilled Chicken Breast, diced
  • 1.5 cups of Sweet BabyRays Honey BBQ Sauce
  • Extra Light Olive Oil
  • Red Onion
  • Red Pepper
  • Baby Bella Mushrooms
  • Mozzarella Cheese, freshly grated
  • Smoked Gouda Cheese, freshly grated

To begin, prep all of your toppings.  Vegetables should be thinly sliced and cheeses should be freshly grated and stored in the refrigerator until needed.

Second, grill your chicken breast.  Trim chicken.  Brush both sides with olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Grill at 400 degrees for 6-7 minutes per side or until cooked through.   Cover with tin foil and set aside.

To make the pizza crust, follow the instructions on the back of the box AND ADD a dash or two of Presti’s Pizza seasoning, garlic salt,  and garlic powder prior to adding the water.  Be careful not to add too much water. 

Thoroughly flour a rolling-pin and pizza stone.  

Roll dough to shape and thickness of your liking.  We make our pizza rectangular to fit half of the gas grill so that it may be cooked by indirect heat (see below).  

Brush both sides of the dough/crust with olive oil and carry on stone out to the grill. 

The grill should be at ~400 degrees (after grilling chicken).  Turn one half of the grill OFF to cook crust and pizza via indirect heat.  Place crust on the grill (burner side OFF) and cook until crust has formed and “grill marks” have been established.  Flip and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.   Once crust is lightly golden brown, take it off the grill and beginning building your pizza!

Spread BBQ Sauce over crust.  (Play with your food…write messages like Ryan did for me!)

Add Mushrooms, red pepper, onion, and chicken.  Spread Evenly.


Cover pizza with Mozzarella.  Sprinkle with Smoked Gouda.

Place pizza back on the grill (indirect heat once again) and heat at 400 until cheese is melted.

Remove pizza from grill and carry in on pizza stone. 

Slice and Eat. 

And don’t forget a perfectly paired bottle of wine!  We chose Rosenblum’s Zinfandel for two reasons.  1.  Zinfandels are great with bbq, pizza, and grilled foods including chicken.  2.  We visited Rosenblum’s Winery on our travels through Napa and Sonoma in 2007.  (Still waiting to go back!)  If you like smooth, jammy red wines…give this one a try alongside the Grilled BBQ Chicken Pizza!  Perfect Combo.  Enjoy! 

Indulge.  In Life.  In Love.  In Food.



Picking Raspberries w/ Grandpa

Earlier this week I mentioned my newest project, a collection of photographs that remind me of my childhood.  Today, I have some more of those photos to share with you. …along with an amazing cheesecake recipe!   Do any of you remember the “Walking with Grandpa” poem?  When I was young, I gave that poem to my Grandpa…one of my favorite people on earth. 

Walking With Grandpa
Author: Rodney O. Hurd

I like to walk with Grandpa,
His steps are short like mine.
He doesn’t say “Now hurry up!”
He always takes his time.
Most people have to hurry,
They do not stop and see.
I’m glad that God made Grandpa
“Unrushed” and young like me.

Not only did I like to “walk” with Grandpa, or “Papa”, as my sister and I called him, but I loved our Saturday morning trips to the dump in his old pick-up (yes, we were easy to please), going to lunch at “Mr B’s” and “stirring” our ice cream until it was runny, watching the Johnny Carson Show, and maybe most of all, picking raspberries in his raspberry patch and selling them on the sidewalk!   Grandpa might be going on 92 yrs old…but he is just as lovable and determined as ever. 


And his raspberries…they are still going strong as well!


I wish I could describe just exactly how it feels to walk into his raspberry patch.  Suddenly, I am a child again.

I also wish you could taste these little buggers.  Perfectly….Perfect.  And he’s not sharing his secrets!  LOL

While I took photos of this amazing patch, Mom helped herself to some berries.  (I thought about charging her $5 bucks but Grandpa said to give ’em to her for free.)   🙂

And with the wonderful memories fresh on my mind and the taste of home-grown raspberries on my lips, I headed back to Iowa to make a special dessert to honor my Papa…and his Raspberry Patch!   You have GOT to try this one.  Ryan loved it.  Our friends Jeremy & Sara indulged in a hefty serving.  And even I, the no-so-into-sweets-girl, loved it!  And really…it is pretty easy.  Be patient…and enjoy!


Serving: 1 (10-inch) cheesecake

For the crust:

  • 1 cup slivered almonds
  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs (7 ounces)
  • 3/4 stick unsalted butter, melted

For filling:

  • 8 ounces Ghiradelli white chocolate,
  • 4 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened (1/3 less fat)
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 whole large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups fresh raspberries (11 ounces)
  • Fresh raspberries and blueberries, for garnish
  • Melted Raspberry Jam, garnish
Make crust:
Finely grind almonds and crumbs in a food processor and add butter, blending until combined.  Press over bottom and 2/3 up side of a 10-inch springform pan.
Make filling: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt chocolate in double boiler or a large metal bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring until smooth, and remove from heat.
Beat cream cheese with an electric mixer at medium speed until fluffy, then beat in sugar.   Add whole eggs and yolks, 1 at a time, beating well at low speed and scraping down bowl after each addition.
Beat in flour and vanilla until just combined, then add melted chocolate in a slow stream, beating until filling is well-combined.
Arrange berries in 1 layer over crust and pour filling into crust.   Bake in the middle of the oven until cake is set 3 inches from edge but center is still wobbly when pan is gently shaken, 45 to 55 minutes.
Run a thin knife around edge of cake to loosen, then cool completely in pan on a rack. (Cake will continue to set as it cools.)   Chill cake for min. of 3 hours.   
Slice and Serve chilled.  Garnish with raspberry jam, white chocolate shavings, fresh raspberries and blueberries.
Dig in….and Indulge!


You can’t go wrong with this beautiful and satisfying cheesecake!  Treat yourself or a loved one this weekend.  Enjoy!

Indulge.  In Life.  In Love.  In Food.

Strawberry Salad…Feed the Soul

It’s not too often that you add something new to your “favorites” list…but last week, I did! 

Red Gerber Daisies…

Aren’t they gorgeous!?  Vibrant and Simple…just the way I like ’em!

Every now and then Ryan likes to surprise me with flowers…and every now and then, I buy my own!  🙂  I’m usually a huge fan of tulips and peonies and roses…but this week, we added Gerber Daisies.  Ryan came home with these because quite honestly, HyVee was out of just about everything else…oh, and they matched our living room!  That part is key.  LOL

Thank you Ryan for surprising me with flowers.  I appreciate them.  And I love you.

While we are on the topic of favorites (and items that match our living room), I decided to share another one of my favorite salads with you.  The first time I had a salad very similar to this one, I was in Minneapolis having dinner with my dear friend Delaney.  She made it…and I loved it.  Little does she know, I have been making it ever since (and believe me, it has been years).


  • Spring Mix Salad
  • Strawberries, sliced
  • Almonds, sliced (I use “Almond Accents, Butter Toffee Glazed”)
  • Craisins or Dried Cranberries
  • Goat Cheese or Feta, optional
  • Annie’s Balsamic Dressing

Combine the first 5  ingredients and drizzle with Annie’s Balsamic Dressing. 

For a fresh summer salad, you have to try this one.  Thank you Delaney!

Enjoy this salad yet this week…and pick yourself up some flowers for the table!   Remember:

“Bread feeds the body, indeed, but flowers feed also the soul.” ~Unknown

Indulge.  In Life.  In Love.  In Food.