Quick and Easy Alfredo Sauce

1/2 cup butter
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 cups milk
6 ounces grated Parmesan cheese
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1. Melt butter in a medium, non-stick saucepan over medium heat. Add cream cheese and garlic powder, stirring with wire whisk until smooth. Add milk, a little at a time, whisking to smooth out lumps. Stir in Parmesan and pepper. Remove from heat when sauce reaches desired consistency. Sauce will thicken rapidly, thin with milk if cooked too long. Toss with hot pasta to serve.

Easy Weeknight Chicken Parmesan

I made this off of a Pregresso Can and it turned out great. I highly recommend this recipe for a quick weeknight FAMILY dinner!


8 oz uncooked spaghetti

1/3 cup Progresso® Italian style panko crispy bread crumbs

1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, flattened slightly

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 can (18 oz) Progresso™ Recipe Starters™ fire roasted tomato cooking sauce

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (4 oz)


Cook and drain spaghetti as directed on package.

In large resealable food-storage plastic bag, mix bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese. Shake each chicken breast in bread crumb mixture; set aside.

In 12-inch skillet, heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Stir in garlic; cook until garlic starts to brown. Add chicken breasts; cook 6 to 10 minutes, turning once, until browned. Pour cooking sauce around chicken; sprinkle chicken with remaining bread crumb mixture and mozzarella cheese. Heat to boiling. Cover; reduce heat to medium. Cook 5 to 8 minutes or until juice of chicken is clear when center of thickest part is cut (at least 165°F) and cheese is melted. Serve with spaghetti.

Ham and Cheese Crepes

2013-03-18 10.01.40For the crepes:
250 ml whole milk (1 cup + 2 TBS)
125 grams AP flour (1 cup + 2 tsp)
2 large eggs
1 tsp kosher salt
5 grams unsalted butter, melted & reserved

1. Combine eggs & milk in blender and pulse to combine.
2. With motor running slowly add flour and salt, blend till completely combined.
3. Chill for 30 minutes to overnight.
4. Heat an 8″ nonstick (or crepe pan) over medium high heat.
5. Add butter, when melted add to batter and pulse to combine.
6. Add batter to pan, tilting and swirling to cover bottom of pan.
7. Cook until edges are slightly browned, approximately 1 minute.
8. Turn and cook for 15 seconds. Remove to plate till ready to use.

For the filling:
1/2 cup ham (preferably NOT smoked), diced
1 cup gruyere cheese, grated

For the sauce:
1 Pint mushrooms (white, crimini, shitake or blend), sliced
1 shallot, minced
1/2 clove garlic, minced
2 TBS flour, AP
1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
Butter for pan

1. Heat a large saute pan over medium high heat. Add butter to melt.
2. Add mushrooms and saute until light brown, add shallot and mushroom and saute until just softened.
3. Sprinkle flour over mushrooms and stir to combine.
4. Add milk/cream stirring to combine. Bring to boil and reduce to simmer.
5. Season with salt.

Crispy Fried Chicken

2013-03-17 18.29.312 1/2 – 3 lb. cut up frying chicken
Crisco for deep frying

1 1/2 c. flour
1 tbsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 1/2 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. poultry seasoning
Combine all ingredients. Set aside.

2/3 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 beaten egg yolk
3/4 c. water

Combine flour and seasonings in a bowl. Combine water and egg yolk. Gradually add to dry ingredients. Heat Crisco to 365°F in deep pan or fryer to a depth of about 2-inches. Moisten chicken pieces. Dip in seasoned flour then into batter then back in flour. Fry in hot Crisco for 15 to 18 minutes or until well browned. Drain on paper.

5 to 6 servings.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Simple and easy, it’s a harvest tradition in our house. Here’s what we do:

Take all the seeds from all the pumpkins, soak them in warm water to remove the guts. Pull out the clean seeds and place them on foil lined cookie sheet. Liberally drop tablespoons of butter in several strategic spots on the sheet. Sprinkle a tablespoon of salt over the still wet seeds.

Bake in a 325 degree oven for 45 minutes.

Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of sugar over the seeds

Bake in 325 degrees for another 15 minutes.

Cool and enjoy!

Barstow-Calico KOA

Barstow Calico Koa

35250 Outer Hwy I 15 N
Yermo, CA 92398
(760) 254-2311

As we headed out on our first RV trip and making this the first KOA we have ever stopped at, it was a decent experience.  The park had good clean facilities.  The hookups were solid, and the playground was new.  It was easy to pull in and out of, and was far enough off the highway so noise was not an issue.

Happy Birthday Marine!

•To the Shores of Tripoli (1805)

•Fortitude (1812)

•From the Halls of Montezuma to the Shores of Tripoli (1848)

•By Sea and by Land (1850’s)

•Semper Fidelis (1883)


Formal Colors of the USMC



•Forest Green


Official Marine Music

•The Marine Hymn (official song)

•Semper Fidelis (official march)

•The Marine Version of The Navy Hymn (official hymn)


Uniform Colors of the USMC

•1775 Green with white or buff facings

•1779 Green with red facings

•1798 Blue with scarlet facings

•1833 Green with white facings

•1840 Blue with scarlet trim,in force from 4 July 1840


Unusual Customs and Traditions of the Marine Corps

•Marines take the right of the line or head of the column when in formation with elements of the other sea services (i.e., the Navy and the Coast Guard, not to mention NOAA).

•All Marine posts have a bell, usually from a decommissioned ship of the Navy.

•In the US Navy, when “Abandon Ship” is ordered, the last person to leave the vessel before the captain is his Marines orderly.

•On a warship Marines do not man the rail.

•Whatever the regulations say, Marines do not use umbrellas.

•The Marine Hymn is the oldest official anthem of any U.S. military service.

•The Marines always stand at attention during the playing of the Marine Hymn.

•The Marine Corps March, “Semper Fidelis” by J.P. Sousa, is the only march authorized by Congress for a particular service.

•The “Mameluke” Sword, first adopted in 1826, is the weapon with the longest continual service in the U.S. Armed Forces.

•In the Marines, the phrase “I wish…” or “I desire…” uttered by a senior is considered an order.

•The crowns of Marine officer’s service caps are decorated with an embroidered quatre foil, a heritage of the days when such designs helped Marines in the rigging identify their officers on deck below.

•Since 1850 Marine sergeants have been the only NCOs in the U.S. Armed Forces to have the privilege of carrying swords on ceremonial occasions, a weapon of a pattern that makes it the second oldest weapon.

•Officers and NCOs of the Marine Corps wear scarlet piping on their trousers, said to honor the blood shed by the Marines who stormed Chapultepec Castle in Mexico City on 13 September 1847, and traditionally called the “Blood Stripe”.

•In combat Marines never leave behind wounded comrades, and attempt to recover their dead as well.


Three Traditional Names for the Marine Bulldog

•”Sergeant Jiggs”, used between WWI and the 30’s

•”Smedley”, used for the Corps’ bulldog from the 30’s to the 50’s

•”Chesty”, used for the Corps’ bulldog from the 50’s to the present


One Famous Marine Duck

•”Siwashi” accompanied the 2nd Marine Division into action on Tarawa,Saipan and Tinian, after which , she in the meantime becoming a mother was sent home to the US.


A Notable Comment about the 1st Marine Division

•”The 1st Marine Division is the most efficient and courageous combat unit I have ever seen or heard of”, MG Frank E. Lowe , US Army , 1950


Daily Ration Allowance in 1775, Continental Marines

•1 pd bread

•1 pd meat

•1 pd potatoes or turnips, or .5 pd pease

•.5 pt rum


Unusual Honors of the Marine Band

•The Marine Band is the oldest musical organization in the United States.

•Since 1869, the Marine Band has serenaded the CMC at his quarters on the morning of 1 January, after which they are invited in for hot buttered rum and breakfast.

•The Marine Band has played at every Presidential Inauguration since 1801, and is known as ” The President’s Own.”

Tzaziki’s – best fast food lamb

I am constantly amazed by Franklin. While Cool Springs is often over run by “QSRs” there are several local chains that have excellent fast food. Today on a vendor lunch I have found another one. Tzaziki’s offer fast greek food, which is not so out of the ordinary anymore, what makes this place stand apart is the quality of their lamb. As many of my family members will tell you there is nothing more medicinal than good greek lamb.

I look forward to trying the other dishes on their menu, and the additional table side service at lunch is a nice touch.

Ferraris Cucina Italiana – Danville, CA

The best Italian food in the San Francisco Bay Area is in Blackhawk?!?

2 words. Chicken Parmi-OHMYGIANA!!!! 

The BEST Chicken Parmigiana this side of the Vatican.

Here’s a breakdown of our experience:

1) Greeted at the door by the staff. 
2) Given an accurate timeframe of the wait
3) Celine our fun and bubbly waitress was full of fun fun fun
4) Those huge Prawns and the sauce they are swimming in are an excellent appetizer!
5) The Luigi Meatball sammie is out of this world…although I would imagine you could put those meatballs on a shingle and it would still be amazing!
6) The Chicken Parmigiana. Most amazing italian dish ever served anywhere. Period. Westlake Joe’s who? Banchero’s who? How do you get the chicken to taste like that AND keep the breading so crisp?!? Black Magic?!?

If you get one dessert get the Tiramisu cake…but if you get one dessert you are an idiot. The Affogato with the hazelnut ice cream and ILLY espresso is such a ridiculous way to end the meal, don’t pass that up either.

Now one would think with all the chef’s success that he would start charging huge for his popular food, right?  Well evidently Chef Rodney is not a very shrewd business man because on the night we were there he was serving specials and one such special is a bottle of Justin Cab for $30. It paired perfectly with the Luigi, don’t judge me.

Bottom line: Great atmosphere, great food, great prices, great wait staff. 

After 25 years the Plaza has finally found an identity it can bank on!!!

Ferraris Cucina Italiana – Danville, CA.