Back to Basics

I know everyone is busy, every minute of every day... me too!

But, I find myself remembering and wishing for the simpler times. I remember as a child sitting down to dinner every night (or maybe not every night, but most nights anyway). And I remember my parents cooking those meals and serving us a large plate of whatever they've cooked up. Could be that's what has attributed to my weight issues (because we all have them:) throughout my life, but I find that as I get older, the time disappears so much more easily than I remember and with the time disappearing, so do my skills in the kitchen and my health. I'll admit that though my parents were cooking and feeding us so much food, it was much healthier than you can get at any fast food restaurant. So, I recently decided that it's time to take back my time and start prioritizing for me.

So, I decided to take a cooking class and on top of that I've been on Jenny Craig for a while. I started getting tired of the Jenny Craig and that's what led me to the cooking class. Now, I've always loved cooking, but I realized at some point that I don't cook from scratch, which I would love to be able to do! Part of the overeating I'm sure is attributed to the lack of flavor in some foods, which I think comes back with cooking from scratch. So, I set off...

Now, anyone who knows me knows that I'm picky about EVERYTHING! I hate, and I do mean HATE onions and I know they're great for flavoring just about everything, but I've always refused to use them in anything I cook and I've had a good excuse too. I can't cut them to save my life.

However, that's the best thing I learned in the Spice Up Your Life Culinary Skills Boot Camp Basics class at Kendall College in Chicago. I didn't even know this place existed until recently and it was one of the most fun things I've ever done for myself besides get a massage, manicure or pedicure! I have to say, they have other classes as well for baking, grilling, teens and more in-depth focuses too. This was a weekend long class (10-4 each day) that teaches you the proper way to cut vegetables, poultry, fish and other meats as well as the basics about herbs and spices, and every method of cooking you could possibly imagine. It was great! We made several sauces, dishes, stocks and desserts. And now it makes me want to cook everything under the sun! I only wish there were more people to eat it all!

And I will cook with the onions now because I no longer have an excuse. Plus, within the next few days, I'll have some great cocktails to serve with the foods I cook. We recently added a line called Wine - A - Rita! When it's posted to our website, I'll add a link. There are 3 different flavors -- Peach Bellini, Cosmorita and Wine Glace.


Like all of you, I’ve been busy. Summer hits and suddenly it’s nearly over already! But our wedding finally happened – what we’ve been anticipating and planning for nearly a year now! And what a gorgeous setting!

My son and his wonderful bride tied the knot in the mountains of Oregon. In a garden surrounded by flowers, pine trees and waterfalls, they exchanged vows.

But, some of the fun and most memorable moments were the downpour when we first arrived at Belknap Hot Springs, the afternoon before and helping people get bags out of their cars without trying to get wet since the carport was flooded; setting up for the Rehearsal dinner in the rain; the flower girl losing her basket in the stream of water flowing through the garden; the ring bearer poking the groom while the bride and groom were reciting their vows and then being bribed by the Best Man!

And as the reception progressed, so did the gathering clouds. Before long we were rushing for cover. But the reception went on way into the night. And our friend Kimberly, of www.kkayphoto.com captured the most incredible moments! (if any of you need a great photographer, she travels!) A most memorable weekend! (these are my pictures - if you want the good ones, check out Kimberly's website! Engagement photos: http://www.kkayphoto.com/blog/archives/366; Wedding photos: http://www.kkayphoto.com/blog/archives/250)

Family, friends and love... what more could you ask for?