The Journey

The Spoon Rest

Milano. Italia. A long glorious weekend spent with my family.

It’s part of what makes my life so enchanting. I, yes me, I get to experience what many people only dream about, live and breathe life in Italy as a local. It’s my born heritage. In fact, it’s even my birth certificate. I am an Italian citizen.

So, what and why does this even remotely have to do with a “spoon rest”?

It’s a Saturday. My mom, zia, cugini, and I go to the market in Milano. Not just any market but this is the market Arts, food, crafts. The market followed the river for a mile or two and then back again crossing the bridge. So many vendors. So much to see.

It was difficult and enchanting going from artists to farmers. Chefs to winemaker. Difficult, because I wanted to sample, buy, collect ideas. Enchanting to hold each moment in a memory. Hear a story, taste a cheese. Breathe in a market so far away from home. Wanting each moment to stand perfectly still.

But I always wait for the piece that speaks to me. It’s a connection. It’s the passion. It’s so simplistic. It’s a spoon rest for my kitchen.

It’s this small symbol each and every day that bonds me to my family that is an ocean away. Each and every stir in the pot, sauté in the pan and delicate hand wash after the meal is done connects me to me. Yes me. The person who is part of a life far away. To a place where others romance and dream. For me it’s part of who I am.

So every day. Breakfast, lunch or dinner I create a meal, simple or complex and connect myself with my family using my simple spoon rest.

The Journey

Farmer’s Market Eve

Tomorrow I’m looking forward to bringing out my inner farm girl. No, I’m not digging, planting or harvesting. I am going to meet my friend June at one of our local Farmer’s Markets. We’ll mingle with hundreds of people as we get to select from the winter’s bounty from our local farmers and vendors.

I feel so fortunate we can buy the freshest ingredients from local farmers year round. This time of year there are lots of leafy greens, beets, brussels sprouts, lemons and herbs. To name a few. My Bon Appetit magazines are organized by the month so I can grab all of the January issues I collected through the years and look for recipes calling for seasonal ingredients. There are times when our coffee table is covered with my cooking magazines and cookbooks. I could spend hours looking through each page, reading ingredients, and getting ideas from different techniques. It’s a bit of an obsession.

At this point of the evening before market day, I’m still not sure what I have in mind to cook but once I get to the market, all inspiration cuts loose. So grab your recycle bags! Let’s go!

The Journey

It’s Good To Be Back

Pull up a chair and chat with me for a few minutes.  I just came home from Trader Joe’s and put a bottle of Pinot Grigio in the freezer.  It should be nice and chilled soon!

It’s been a long while since I’ve done any writing.  One of my friends fired up on Facebook and said too many people were just sharing recipes and not saying anything about life.  Guilty as charged.  I am one of her friends sharing away all the recipes I hope to try one day.  That is if I can ever get my nose out of the insanely amount of cookbooks and Bon Appetite magazines I have surrounding my desk.  Yup, it’s an addiction!

So what’s up? What brings me back from the writers block?

A move.  Many of you know my blog was born in Santa Barbara, CA. Who couldn’t be inspired to write being surrounded by paradise.  It was a big leap for me moving from Napa.  But wine country to wine country can be very inspiring.  I learned a lot and made life-long friends.

The decision to move back to Arizona was a long and thoughtful process.  So, John and I moved (gradually) from the middle of December and finally finished in February.  Whew!  Fires, mudslides, and all kinds of changes thrown into the mix.

So here we are, and I’m really excited to bring myself back to life in Scottsdale!

I feel so blessed to have experienced so much while we lived in California.  From Orange County to Napa and then Santa Barbara.  The adventures we had, the food we ate and the wines we drank.  Oh. My. Goodness!  But most of all I will say again, the amazing life-long friends that we will always have in our hearts and minds.  The door is always open when visiting the beautiful Sonoran desert.

After 8 years away, we come back to what feels like a more vibrant culinary scene and vineyards are north of us in Cottonwood.  Wilcox has grown leaps and bounds in wineries.  The wines we’ve tasted so far have been really good.  John and I have barely scratched the surface exploring the terroir of Arizona, but we definitely will be heading out soon to check them out.

So here I am.  Back at it again. Excited for changes and looking forward to sharing our adventures in California and our next journey in Arizona.  Stay tuned!

Wine is chilled and time to make dinner.  Cheers!





The Journey

Sea Breeze

On a recent Friday late afternoon, we sailed on a Catamaran Sailboat cruising along the American Riviera.  Perfect weather, a special birthday celebration for one of our friends, and of course clinking glasses of fine wine.

Riding the waves and feeling the salty air fill my lungs once again reminds me of how blessed John and I are to be able to experience God’s wondrous graces.  How often we buzz through life without those special pauses.  The captain motored around and then lifted the sails throwing caution to the wind.

I’ve never been on a sailboat or a catamaran.  It was so much fun, relaxing and I can’t wait to do it again!


The Journey

And The Journey Begins…..

Good morning! It’s really early and soon I will be ready for my first cup of coffee.  This blogging thing is new to me so bare with me as I figure this out.

First of all, I want to name my blog “The Flannel Shirt Chronicles”.  It’s not like I have a closet full of flannel shirts.  I have two.  Both of them I bought at Costco.  They are like a warm hug in the morning and sometimes all day long.  It may sound strange blogging about a flannel shirt but there you go.  I have to start somewhere.

Today is May 10th and I live somewhere in Santa Barbara.  We call the month of May, “Gray May” followed by “June Gloom”.  It’s a beautiful time of year when the marine layer covers the coastal cities like a warm blanket.  It makes that hot cup of coffee or tea taste that much better.  It’s cozy, chilly and a perfect day for my plaid flannel shirt.

I’ve truly been blessed to live in some amazing places.  Santa Barbara is beautiful, historic and has a lot of one way streets.  The coastline is unique as you face south to look at the ocean.  The nickname for Santa Barbara is called the American Riviera. It’s really beautiful.  As my mom would describe it, look one way to watch the waves, turn around and see the mountains.  Not too far are vineyards.  Now that’s where I get really excited.  I definitely have a passion for wine!  Look forward to many conversations about wine and food.  You’ll see photos of homemade goodies, sweet and savory as well as culinary creations while dining out.  Cooking is my form of relaxation.  I love cooking for friends and family.  Hopefully you will enjoy my blogging journey.  Cheers!